[Transcript] – Tattooed Crossfitter To Bearded Monk: How Mushrooms Rewire Your Brain, Yoga Tune-Up Balls & More With Mike Bledsoe

Affiliate Disclosure


Podcast from: Bengreenfieldfitness.com/mikebledsoe

[0:30] Kimera Koffee

[1:31] Exo Protein Bars

[2:45] Fitlife Green Juice

[3:53] Introduction

[5:27] Explosive diarrhea and baking soda

[6:45] Discussing about the worst biopsy experience

[13:20] Mike Bledsoe – His Journey: Construction to CrossFit to Barbell Shrugged

[20:28] How Mike and Ben started their podcasting career

[30:03] Magic mushrooms and psilocybin

[37:40] How psilocybin and ayahuasca rewire neurons in your brain

[39:50] How to find a good shaman

[43:19] Health & Longevity

[47:52] Mike’s 1-2 combo for breathwork and deep tissue work

[54:51] Mike’s evening routine

[56:17] Indica and CBD

[1:00:38] End of Podcast

Ben:  Hey folks, it’s Ben Greenfield. I’m podcasting from Paleo f(x) today.  The episode that you’re about to hear is with a guy I’ve had the opportunity to hang out with a few times at Paleo f(x).  Mike Bledsoe.

You’re gonna learn a lot more about Mike in today’s episode.  Everything from how he got started into CrossFit to his journey into plant-based medicine and far beyond.  I really dig this dude and I think you will, too.

But first just a few quick announcements.  This podcast is brought to you by high altitude premium coffee infused with nootropics.  Kimera Koffee.  Now I haven’t talked to that much about how this stuff is grown.  I’ve talked about what it has in it that spins the dials in your brain.  Everything from Alpha GPC to Taurine to L-Theanine to DMAE, but this stuff is actually grown at 5,000 feet altitude.  They source their beans from a single estate coffee plantation that’s been run by the same family for over 40 years.  They actually have a farming practice where this coffee is grown in which they plant a really wide diversity of trees and that prevents things like soil erosion.  Also helps to maintain the perfect PH balance and soil nutrition when they grow their coffees. You can check this stuff out at kimerakoffee.com.  It’s K-i-m-e-r-a k-o-f-f-e-e dot com.  When you go there you can use discount code Ben.

This podcast is also brought to you by something else that I’ve had a chance to try here at Paleo f(x).  Something designed by an award winning 3 Michelin starred chef the former head of R&D at the Fat Duck that was ranked the number 1 restaurant in the world.  Well, this guy kinda designed something slightly unique.  It’s a protein bar, it’s a protein bar made with cricket.  You may have seen in Men’s Health, you may have seen in New York Times basically what he’s done is actually figured out a way to take sustainable protein from crickets and put it into a pretty dang tasty bar.  The flavor that I’m gonna recommend you try today is Banana Bread.  It’s probably my favorite. Right up there with Peanut Butter and Jelly.  You can try any of their flavors though, there’s sweet stuff or there’s savory stuff.  You go to exoprotein.com/ben.  That’s E-x-o protein dot com slash Ben.  And when you order you can get a sampler pack from them with all their most popular flavors for less than ten bucks and that includes free shipping.  That’s about a 33% discount.  So check ém out.  exoprotein.com/ben.

And then finally, this podcast is brought to you by Organifi Green Juice.  A lot of green juices that are out there, they get heat oxidized by the time they get to you they’ve actually got more damage in them that will do damage to your body than they have goodness in them.  This stuff though is gently dried.  It’s a superfood mix that has things like coconut and ashwagandha in it.  And it means that you can get your green juice without blending, without chopping, without making a big mess in your kitchen.  Super easy you can put it in a Ziploc bag, travel with it, toss in anything you want, tastes fantastic.  Coconut, ashwagandha, turmeric you name it, and you get a discount on this stuff.  Just go to Bengreenfieldfitness.com/organifi.  That’s Bengreenfieldfitness.com/organifi, and you’re automatically gonna get a 20% discount off anything from Organifi FitLife.  Check it out.

And now on to today’s episode.  Starting right out on the porch in front of Paleo f(x) in Austin, Texas with the great Mike Bledsoe.  Enjoy.

In this episode of the Ben Greenfield fitness show:

“If it’s something that I don’t like that’s happened to me, it didn’t happen to me I did it to myself.  The good things that happened I made those things happen.  Everything that is going on around me I have some control over it”.  “Through these experiences I care less about my own personal gain and what I find is when I serve people more, more goodness comes into my life in ways that I could never imagine.  Like my life is a dream.  And the more that I am looking out for others, the more really good stuff just happens to fall on my lap.”

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:  ‘Coz we’re just talking about an explosive diarrhea and baking soda. 

Mike:  That’s usually where you wanna start.

Ben:   That’s a perfect place to start a podcast.  No, but there is good research behind baking soda.

Mike: It works.

Ben:  Yeah, and decreasing lactic acid.  But the problem is you have to, from my experimentation with it teeny tiny doses over 2 hours leading up to whenever you wanna blast off.

Mike:  Gotcha!

Ben:  Unless you really wanna blast off your backside.

Mike: (laughs) 

Ben:   Whole bunch all at once. 

Mike:  Yeah, there’s always a trade-off.  

Ben:  Yeah. 

Mike:  It seems.   

Ben:  So Mike Bledsoe, how did you first become interested in baking soda?

Mike:  It was brought to my attention, actually I was attending the University of Memphis I was in the Kinesiology Department.  I was confidently signing up to be a lab rat for all the studies being done.

Ben:  Did you pay for that?

Mike:  Huh?

 Ben: Did you pay for that when you were in college?

Mike:  Oh yeah.  I was…

Ben:  For some of our college students listening in.

Mike:  Yeah, like 50 bucks or 100 bucks a pop.

Ben:  That’s a lot of money.  College?

Mike:  I mean.  I used to like.  I’ve got like nine stars in my Vastus Lateralis from my muscle biopsies which I think I made less than a thousand dollars total for donating my muscles to science.

Ben:  Muscle biopsies hurt.

Mike:  Yeah, they’re not fun.  Yeah. 

Ben:  Yeah.  I still have scars.

Mike:  Yeah, exactly.  Worst biopsy ever.  I went up to Ball State up in Indiana, and they were doing a study and they had done a lot of a, they were doing tendon biopsies, they’re taking patellar tendon biopsy.  And they had been taking them from cyclists and Darren’s athletes.  And they’re like, oh yeah two weeks later you’re fine.  However, we’ve been giving a lot of endurance guides.  We needed to get some weightlifters in here so my background’s in Olympic weightlifting.  And we need to get some guys who were you know, it’s quite a heavy load so we understand that things might be a little bit different from y’all. 

Ben:  Yeah.

Mike:  So we wanna get your tendons.  We’re like 2 weeks, right on, and we happen to…

Ben:  Two week recovery period, doable.

Mike:  Two week recovery and my friend Dr. Andy Gallop and he was looking to go to school there.  So he was up there visiting the school and Doug, Andy and I all decided to give tendon biopsy samples.  Two years, because…

Ben:  Two years to recover from giving a biopsy?

Mike:  Yeah, so and they actually, after that they stopped doing ém for that reason is,  and again they were working with cyclists and it not only was I’m a weightlifter so it didn’t bother me when I was weightlifting as when I was doing jujitsu.  And I’d be wrestling and I would drop my knee to the mat.  And I would drop that patellar tendon.  I’d put on my weight on my patellar tendon in a very dynamic fashion and shooting pain like a tear coming  out of the side my eye type.

Ben:  For that long, for like years after the biopsy.

Mike:  Yeah, and Doug experienced the same thing. 

Ben:  Wow!  

Mike:  It’s still not a big deal, it’s like I just wouldn’t do it again.

Ben:  Still though 50 bucks, I mean, for a couple of years that’s not bad.

Mike:  Oh yeah, not bad at all. (laughs)

Ben:  My biopsy experience, my one biopsy experience was I did the, have you heard of Jeff Volek’s Faster Study?

Mike:  No.

Ben:  Where he took a bunch of athletes and had half of them follow a strict ketogenic 90% fast fat based diet for a year.  And then another group, did just a regular, regular and…

Mike:  Oh, that’s intense.  Are these college students?

Ben:  No, this was just athletes.  Some were may have been college students, I don’t know but and I was one of the high fat guys.  And so, they took me in and they did a fat biopsy out of the right and left upper butt cheek and then a muscle biopsy off of the hamstrings and the quads.  But what they had me do right after the biopsy was run on the treadmill for 3 hours.

Mike:  Woah.

Ben:  And it was pounding.  And for those of you who are listening and if you haven’t had a biopsy basically involves shoving a needle that’s got like a mini guillotine in it into the muscle, and then shaving off part of the muscle drawing it back out so you could look at things like how much glycogen is in the muscle tissue before or after exercise.

Mike:  Yup.  You can get a direct look at fast twitch to slow twitch.  If any data you want out of it.

Ben:  Yeah.  Yeah.  It’s a cool protocol yeah, you can learn a lot but yeah it hurts a lot.

Mike:  The one that I had shoved on my leg was about the size of a number 2 pencil, it’s got a little window in it.

Ben:  Yeah, the other pig.

Mike:  So they gotta like make an incision and then they put it in.  And the thing about muscle biopsy they go about an inch deep is, they can put Lidocaine on the surface but it really can’t deaden anything happening in the muscle.  A, there’s not a lot of things going on in there and B, if you put if you deaden that area like you’re impacting the study.

Ben:  Yeah.

Mike:  So you gotta like put back a number 2 pencil under your thigh and then you gotta like push it to the side so muscle slides into that window, and then it’s called like a suck and chop I think it’s what it’s called suck and chop method.  So it’s like somebody pulls a little bit, it creates a little suction pulls the muscle in and chop.  Yes, it’s like the guillotine as you described it.

Ben:  Suck and chop is such a horrible term.

Mike:  (laughs) 

Ben:  And they call like the knee procedure, the lavage and debridement which sounds very scientific.  You’re gonna go unique and cleaned out.  Suck and chop and they always tell you.

Mike:  (laughs again)

Ben:  They always tell you right before the bio ‘coz the two people that did my biopsy both before and after, they always tell you right before; this is not gonna hurt.  Right?  

Mike:  Oh yeah.

Ben:  There’s Lidocaine.  We’re gonna numb it up. You’re just gonna feel a little pressure.

Mike:  Science is full of liars.    

Ben:  And by pressure they mean, intense 9 out of 10 pain.

Mike:  Actually, my friend, I was his first subject.

Ben: Really?

Mike:  Dr. Andy Galpin the first time he was in the master’s program and he comes up to me in the lab and I had already been a subject before and he was like, hey I got something I wanna ask you?  And as soon as he said I was like, yes I’ll do it.  I’ll let you, I’ll be your first subject ever. 

Ben:  Yeah.

Mike:  And it was funny because he had to go in a few times, didn’t get it the first time and as he was digging in, I was like, no you’re gonna have to push more to this direction, no not like that.  I was like having he gut ‘coz I’d experienced it before, so I knew how it should feel.  So I’m sitting there in excruciating pain and I like guiding the, helping him guide the procedures.  Its kind’ a funny.

Ben:  When I was a kid, my dad owned a non-emergency medical transport business.  So he competed against the city to transport people to the hospital.  So he had a bunch of employees or EMTs who work for him and I used to go hang out at the station and I would get chased around at 10 years old for guys who wanted to practice sticking me for IV’s.

Mike:  (laughs)

Ben:  That was my childhood so yeah, people practicing medical procedures on you unless you’re getting paid.  At least $50.  I’d say $50, Mike?

Mike:  Yeah.  Always fifty bucks.  You know what people wondered like, how did you get to where you are?  You know, you just gotta like do a bunch of dumb (curse word), along the way and it figures you’ll learn something.

Ben:  Yeah.  Exactly.  I was a kid getting chased around by EMT’s with needles.  What about you?  What was your childhood like?

Mike:  Construction.

Ben:  Construction?

Mike:   Yeah, my dad owned a remodeling, like a home remodeling and home improvement business.  Yeah, so my days and my childhood were reroofing houses, replacing windows, hanging siding, tearing out walls, building new ones.  Yeah.

Ben:  When I first met you, you were hanging out with a bunch of the guys from the Barbell Shrugged podcast.

Mike:  Yes.

Ben:  Doug, who you already mentioned.  And who is the other guy?

Mike: Chris Moore.

Ben:  Doug and Chris Moore.  And my impression of you when I first met you was that you were just a dyed-in-a-wool, tattooed CrossFitter.  Although I have to admit I believe it was on this very porch where you are standing at Paleo f(x).  When I came across you, you were tucked away in the corner.  I think with a Headspace app or some kind of a meditation app or something like that?

Mike: Quite possibly, yeah. 

Ben:  So I knew you were wired a little bit differently ‘coz you were tapping in to some of the woo woo stuff.  But as far as the whole Barbell Shrugged podcast and the whole CrossFitter crowd, how did you get plugged in to doing that podcast, and where did you go from construction, working with your dad and to doing stuff like CrossFit?

Mike:  Yeah, it’s actually a really long journey I’ll try to make it fairly short.

Ben:  Do try ‘coz I’m sure you tell it a million times on other podcasts for people to go download.  Just tell the cool stuff.

Mike:  Yeah, as for the cool stuff.  Yeah, so throughout high school I did a little bit of that.  I ended up life karting.  I was a big, I was actually a big swimmer.  I love being in the water and I decided I was gonna go in the military and I was like, we’ll I’ll go in the Navy, I love the water.  I’ll try to be a Navy Seal ‘coz those guys, yeah I mean, they get paid to dive and blow things up so, yeah I’ll do that.

Go in, didn’t quite make it through BUDS.  Got hurt.  Never liked. Oh!

Ben:  So you started to go through BUDS?

Mike:  Oh yeah.  I went into hell week.  I did 3 days of hell week.  There was about a 24-hour period.  I really jacked up my hip flexor.  Just poor running technique.  I was 19 years old, I didn’t know any better.  We’ll you’re carrying around boats and logs.  And so my hip flexor just shot to pieces and nothing was like permanently torn but it just, it wasn’t, I couldn’t keep up with the group.  And they were like, alright we’re gonna roll you back and you’re gonna do it over again.  Like I’m gonna start over at the beginning.  I was like ding!  I’m out!

Ben:  The last seeing you on hair buzzed is you gotta stretch.  You were 3 days in.

Mike: Three days into hell week and they wanted me to start over phase 1 which I was like the 5th week and phase 1 was like…

Ben:  At that point what was the hardest thing you’d done?

Mike:   You know the thing that actually (curse word) the most.  The thing there was running with weight.  I just wasn’t prepared to run with weight.  The cold water didn’t bother me.

Ben: You mean like rucking?

Mike:  Yeah, like rucking.  Carrying a boat on my head, log in my arms.  It was just, it was the, I was good runner, I was good swimmer, the cold water didn’t bother me, the sleep deprivation I was cool with.  I’m a person who when I’m experiencing a lot of stress, I have a hard time eating.  So two things were happening during hell week was I didn’t get enough calories, and I and, my running just broke down under the load.  So I wasn’t used to running with weight.  In you know, in retrospect it’s obvious I should’ve trained for that more.  But you know, that’s how life does.

So, I spent time in the Navy.  I did a lot of running, swimming, lifting.  I tried to get back to BUDS, it never happened ‘coz when you’re in the military you don’t exactly get to make all the choices.  I started going, I get out of the Navy.  I started going to university in Memphis.  I go, oh there’s Exercise Science?  Dope, I didn’t even know that you, like you could do that.  I love exercising, you know.

Ben:  Right.

Mike:  I love being physical.  So, I started studying that.  I was super fortunate that… 

Ben:  And they didn’t call it Physical Education?

Mike: No.

Ben:  And that’s what attracted me to Exercise Science as well ‘coz that’s what I studied was it wasn’t called PE.

Mike:  Right.  No, I didn’t want PE.

Ben:  Nobody wants to major in PE, but Exercise Science makes you sound smart at least.  Smart chap.

Mike:  Exactly.  But I didn’t even know what I was gonna do with that.  I’m like, all I know is I like this ‘coz I started off doing a business major and I was like, I did an accounting class and like this is not for me.  I’m gonna go and I was like exercise, I can do that.  First class: Weightlifting 101 and I’m like, pffft, I know weightlifting, I’ve been in the gym for like 9 years.  Walked in.  I got handed a pvc pipe and my, and the guy who ended up being my weightlifting coach was like, alright we’re gonna do the snatch and the clean and jerk.  Starting with pvc, I was like, what is going on?  An hour later, completely fall in love with the lifts.  Snatch and clean and jerk.  I became a weightlifter.  I started training with him all the time.  He was actually one of the, he’s one of the, he has some of the most of the research published on Olympic Weightlifting in the United States.  Dr. Brian Schilling or Dr. Andy Frye.

Ben:  That was the name of this guy, Dr. Brian Schilling who was teaching this Weightlifting 101 class?

Mike:  Yeah, I lucked out that he was teaching it ‘coz that class could’ve been taught by somebody else and I would not have gotten the benefit.

So I’ve given to weightlifting and then one of my Navy buddies comes like a year later and goes hey, there’s this CrossFit thing going on.  So I go, oh! that looks really dumb.  He’s like showing me, he’s like doing wall ball shots and box jumps for reps.  And I’m going, ah! I don’t think that’s right you know, everything that I’ve learned…

Ben:  Is this like early days of CrossFit, like how long was this?

Mike:  Two thousand six.

Ben:  Two thousand six.  So pretty early?  Right?

Mike:  Nobody in my town was doing it.

Ben:  Not that I profess to know when CrossFit started ‘coz I’ve done maybe 10 CrossFit work outs in my life.

Mike:  Yeah, there you go.

Ben:  So, that’s my level of knowledge of CrossFit.

Mike:  So, six months later ‘coz I’m also doing MMA at the time.  Six months later, I’m like, you know what, I don’t have any competitions coming up for weightlifting.  I’m gonna try this CrossFit thing out.  I’m gonna do work, I’m gonna do Fran or something.  I did it and I was actually considering opening a gym at the time.  And I did Fran and then I did Diane.  I did some these names, I go, this is a lot of fun!  Was a lot of fun, I was like if I’m gonna open a gym like that’s the kind of gym I wanna run, you know, and teaching people how to move like that.  I’ve been a personal trainer but at that point in like a gym full of machines and some dumb bells, and…

Ben:  Right.  No pvc pipes.

Mike:  Yeah, no pvc pipes.  No bumper plates. no kettle bells.  So, I started like really digging on this gymnastics rings.  All these stuff was like just blowing my mind.  And I’m like, you know what, there’s no CrossFit gym.  I’m gonna open one.  And I don’t think there was 150 gyms open when we opened our box.  We were the first one in Memphis.  So I had, a lot of CrossFit gyms opened up and they don’t have that background.

Ben:  Right.

Mike:  Their first introduction to fitness is CrossFit.  I already had like a really good education around strength and conditioning, so when I found CrossFit I have like this advantage as an athlete and as a coach.  And so, we opened up the box and we got rolling in and we were doing really well.  And my business partner now Doug Larson, he joined me and he’s very complementary to help me run the business.  And we started giving, we were producing good athletes and then we were also, we started studying business.  We were running our gym really well.  So I had a lot of people calling me like in the region like, “oh how are you doing this, all these?”  I was like, I was, I found myself doing like free consults like 2 or 3 hours a week, and I would really enjoyed it and I loved giving advice and I was like coaching guys in a different way.

Ben:  So you guys were making a lot of money with this CrossFit box?

Mike:  We were making good money.

Ben:  What is good money with a CrossFit Box like in that day?  Like what would be considered profit?

Mike:  I think anything over thirty thousand a month would be, I mean that’s fair money.  You know that, with a typical model which is all classes and stuff like that and a lot of personal training going on. There are gyms…

Ben:  Right.  Is that gross revenue over the course of a month there?

Mike:  Yeah.

Ben: Okay. 

Mike:  And so you know, there are some gyms now that are you know, they’re breaking a million dollars a year.

Ben:  Yeah.

Mike:  They’re doing you know, eighty, ninety, a hundred thousand dollars a month.

Ben:  Right. 

Mike:  It’s possible, you know.

Ben:  But there’s overhead expenses running a gym like that as well, right?

Mike:  Not as much as a lot of other gyms, though.  I mean the equipment’s relatively cheap.

Ben:  Yeah.  It is pretty basic, I mean ropes, kettlebells, bars.

Mike:  Yeah, I mean I can spend twenty, thirty thousand dollars and have all the equipment I need, whereas some gym, you walk in a public gym…

Ben:  You don’t have to hire someone to come in and fix the elliptical trainer every week?

Mike:  Dude, yeah, I mean you walkin’ a good treadmill’s $10,000, you know?

Ben:  Yeah.

Mike:  So, we were doing that and I was like getting so many phone calls, I was like you know what, I’m gonna change my phone number and I’m gonna start podcasting.  I heard Rob Wolf’s podcast and I was like, and I liked, I really enjoyed listening to his stuff.  And then…

Ben:  You’re gonna change your phone number?  What do you mean?

Mike:  People were calling me.

Ben:  People were literally calling you for advice?

Mike:  Yeah.

Ben:  Really? So your gym members have like your personal phone number?

Mike:  Not my gym members, these were other gyms.

Ben:  Oh really?

Mike:  I had other coaches calling.

Ben:  Okay, so other gyms were calling you up for advice and this is how you’d start a podcast to start giving them that advice.

Mike:  Yeah, I was like, I would just blast out of a megaphone instead of like one on one calls.

Ben:  Yeah, yeah.  Make it scalable.

Mike:  So we’re like, so we just started the podcasting and it really sucked in the beginning.  Like I was really bad at it.  And then uh…

Ben:  Was that what it was called Barbell Shrugged?

Mike:  Barbell Shrugged from the very beginning.  Me and my buddy, Chris we screwed around with it, we called it Chit Chat with Mike for a while.

Ben:  Hmmm.  I like that.

Mike:  But we never posted that. (laughs)  So maybe I’ll bring that one back when the…

Ben:  That’s a winner for new and noteworthy at iTunes.

Mike:  That’s right.  That’s right.

Ben:  By the way for those who are wanting to get into podcast, Mike, do you know the secret to getting on new and noteworthy on iTunes?

Mike:  Yeah.  Yeah.  I’ll give it away.

Ben:  Let’s hear it.

Mike:  I don’t know it’s, I think most podcasters…

Ben:  I know what it is.  It’s called Start a Podcast.

Mike:  Huh?

Ben:  That is how you get on.  I’m not kidding.

Mike:  But there is a strategy though.  Which is record 5 and get people who have followings as your first live interviews or ten.  And then release them all at once.  And then notify those people.  Hey!  And then they should post it too.  So what that’s gonna do is that gets you a lot of downloads at once which is gonna like iTunes, the way the algorithm works is it, you’re preferred if you’re new and if you get a lot of downloads, then you’ll shoot to  the top for a short period of time.  At least.  So but yeah, you just start doing it.  I don’t know how many people are like, you’re right though, Ben, they’re waiting for the perfect situation.  They’re waiting ‘til they can afford the equipment or this or that.  It was like, I mean I was looking up.  I was doing well in business so I was like, I’m gonna spend a thousand dollars on this equipment.  So I went out.  I went to the guitar center, I was like, what would a thousand dollars get me?  And now my set up’s a little more expensive because I’m a huge believer in really high audio quality ‘coz if you have pretty audio quality, no one’s gonna listen.

Ben:  Yeah.  Yeah. Exactly.  But don’t worry we’ll give you the voice of God on this podcast.   Absolutely!

Mike:  Yes!  Yes!  You got the filter on, right?

Ben:  No dude, I mean like I remember my first podcast 9 years ago I sat down in front of my, I didn’t even think it was a Mac at that point, I think it was a…

Mike:  Were you like recording on tapes and [0:22:32.4] ______ to people?

Ben:  Oh I was in my personal training gym, and I was using the webcam on my computer and I started a video podcast.  I was one of the first podcast in iTunes.  I was doing video.  I did two podcasts.

Mike:  Nice. (curse word) I didn’t know you’re around that long.

Ben:  I did two podcasts.  It was me with the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research.  And I had the journal open with all of my highlighted sections I was going through geeking out on the journal like the latest research.

Mike:  Ahhhh.  That’s a good idea.

Ben:  And it was me and I had my shirt on with my logo and my hair done and everything.  I did two podcasts and then I realize…

Mike:  Was this back in the body builder day?

Ben:  This was actually a little bit after the body building.  I was a body builder like 11 years ago.  This was a little bit after that.  But I yeah.

Mike:  This was the triathlon days. (laughs)

Ben:  This was starting to the triathlon days.  This was skinny Ben.  And I got two video podcasts in and realized that if you do audio, you don’t have to take a shower.  You can be naked like you and I are right now.  Obviously.

Mike:  Yeah.  Buck naked.

Ben:  Yeah.  We are buck naked right now for those of you want the visual.  And you could just talk.  And so I converted into audio, but yeah, I mean like back in the day the wild, wild, west of podcasting, there were no health and fitness podcasts.  At least not as many as there are now.  So you…

Mike:  Yeah.  Well you know, when I opened my eyes though I was, Rob Wolf was doing.  I was like man, this guy.

Ben:   Yeah, Rob Wolf was my first guest.

Mike:  Like I don’t wanna do just pure content and then I heard Joe Rogan and I go, oh you can do whatever you want.

Ben:  Uhhm, you just talk.

Mike:  That’s when I was like, okay I’ll do it.

Ben:  Yeah.  Yeah.  So you start up this podcast Barbell Shrugged and from there you’ve been basically just podcasting for the past few years, or?

Mike:  Yeah, doing podcast.  We created some you know, we have a good following and we have training programs online, that’s how we funded a lot of the things we do.  We travelled the world visiting like some of the best coaches.  And I’ve been really fortunate that because we always do our shows in person I get in real deep you know, for every hour you see me podcasting for somebody that’s probably a day or three that I spent with them.  Eating meals and like talking philosophy of training like the show like just taught me more about training in life than anything I’ve ever experienced before.  It’s amazing.

Ben:  Yeah.  Yeah.  Well my apologies that I haven’t taken you out for a meal prior to our podcast.

Mike:  What the hell?  What the hell?

Ben:  I know seriously.  I’m gonna make that up to you.  [0:24:44.3] ______

Mike:  My favorite story about Ben I like to tell people, I wanna tell this right now.  Even though we haven’t like, you haven’t taken me out for a drink or anything like that.  I was up in Vermont for something Joe De Sena was putting on.

Ben:  Yeah.

Mike:  We were both there and Joe had brought Ben in like all these authors and speakers and all that stuff, and I came in late ‘coz I’m cool like that.  And then the next morning we all woke up early to go hike around the mountain.  And I’m talking, we had already hiked to the top my wife and I.

Ben:  Was this out at Joe’s farm in Vermont where he does his death race and everything?

Mike:  Yes.  Yes.  So I’m like walking through, so I started like going on discoveries so I’m like walking, I’m going off the trail.  And then all of a sudden I hear like a grunting and like just leaves shuffling around like dude, I think there’s a bear out there.

Ben:  (giggling)

Mike:  And I’m like, alright be careful Ashley, and I come up and it’s Ben with his shirt off and I think you had head phones in.  And I was like, what the (curse word).  I was like, “what are you”, you had this giant stone in your arms, I was like, “what are you building?”  You look up at me and you go, “I’m building my body.”  And then you look away and just keep walking.  I was like, that was probably the funniest thing I’ve seen.

Ben:  I actually, I remember that carrying the rock up the mountain at Joe’s farm, yeah.  That was back after world championships a couple of years ago.  Yeah, and the crazy thing about his farm was that was right after the death race.  And my keenest memory of that particular foray into Joe’s farm was that my kids went out and played in the woods and they came back in and their feet were covered in human feces.

Mike:  Oohhh!

Ben:  Because when people are doing Joe’s death race they’re just like taking a dump out in the woods.

Mike:  What ‘ya gonna do?

Ben:  When they gotta go, they gotta go.  So be careful of human poo out at Joe’s farm.

Mike:  I’m now gonna look out for that.  I’ve been out there a few times and I was not looking for that.  Now I’ll be focused.

Ben:  Yeah.  Yeah.  You don’t need to take your probiotics out there.  Get them for free.  Let’s go back to you sitting in the corner of the porch that we’re standing on when I first saw you/met you.  We actually recorded a podcast together.  I was on your podcast Barbell Shrugged.  Best episode you’ve ever had.  I’m sure or not.  Or the least number of downloads.  One of the two.

Mike:  I think it was the best episode ever.  (laughs)  I tell you this, my audience doesn’t like Darren’s or they just like CrossFit and weightlifting.

Ben:  Yeah.  Yeah.  Well you know what I say though is…

Mike:  I like to expose them to things a little bit outside of that.  It doesn’t always get the most following, and I think it should.  I think if I, that’s part of my job is to exposing people to things that they aren’t looking for.

Ben:  Yeah.  The one thing that I think that a CrossFitter should do.  ‘Coz I know now we’re gonna get a ton of CrossFitters listening in since the Mike Bledsoe is on.

Mike:  Yeah, probably.

Ben:  Is every once in a while they need to out on a heavy backpack and go out for like 7 or 8 hours in the woods.

Mike:  No doubt.

Ben:  And just do the stamina component.

Mike:  Or 7 – 8 days, whatever.

Ben:  ‘Coz that’s the one missing component, right.  You wanna make sure if you get dropped in the middle of nowhere with a hundred miles all around you, you can make it out alive.

Mike:  Yeah.  Yeah.

Ben:  And I think that’s where the endurance athlete might be able to win depending on who can kill the bear with their bare hands.

Mike:  Yeah.  There’s the whole Neanderthal.

Ben:  Yeah.  The Neanderthal component feeds in.

You were sitting in that corner right over there behind us.  You had your eyes closed, you had a headset on, you were doing Headspace meditation, etcetera.  When did you start to delve into what some people would consider the woo woo, the mental game, the mindset game?

Mike:  Yeah.  It’s funny is I think I was like getting into it when I was in high school but I didn’t even, there was no teachers available to me.  The internet wasn’t like out there teaching people meditation and I had some interest in.  When I went in the Navy I kind of like dropped all of it.  I was like oh that’s just silly stuff.  I was like thinking about when I was kid.  But what really happened is about 3 years ago where I really started deciding to dial in the inner game.

And so like, I had pretty much I wouldn’t say I mastered the outer game, but I had put my entire life’s effort into building my body, building and in different ways very exterior phasing, and then I started playing around with meditation because I was being stressed out.  You know, I’m running multiple businesses.  I’m having to do shows, because doing a show is not easy.  When you’re interviewing…

Ben:  What do you mean, doing a show?  You mean, doing podcast?

Mike:  Like doing a podcast.  Yeah, when you’re interviewing people.  It can be very stressful.  I mean, you gotta like be on top of your game.  You gotta figure out what the audience needs to hear and you gotta stay engaged with the person you’re talking with and there’s a variety of things going on.  There’s a lot of distractions.  You might’ve, you know I was up late that night.  Up early the next morning going on, you know I was experiencing sleep deprivation.  So I was doing things like meditation to try to focus my mind and it’s all about performing at a higher level.  And I had watched in Ted Talk where the guy who started the Headspace gave this Ted Talk and the way he described meditation just like oh (beep sound) this actually makes sense now.  This is something that I need to invest some time in and they developed the Headspace app.  And so that was like my first dive into that.  Now…

Ben:  Guided 10 minute meditations, that’s the Headspace app, right?

Mike:  Uhhmm.  It starts off at 10 and 15 and then 20.

Ben:  Oh, so it fools you into…

Mike:  Yeah, like it’s a training program.

Ben:  Into getting longer and longer.  Yeah.  Yeah.

Mike:  Yeah.  So after you do the ten, 10 minute meditation then you’re gonna pay, you know eighty bucks a year something like that so many pounds, I think it’s like sixty pounds ‘coz it’s English.

But, so I was getting to that but what really triggered that is, I was interested in that for productivity but I had listened to Joe Rogan’s podcast.  I’m just gonna tell a little bit of a story here.  It’s a little bit personal and having some people might go (cursed word).

Ben:  That’s okay, we’re naked you can get personal.

Mike:  Yeah.  So I was listening to Tim Ferriss on Joe Rogan’s podcast, and Tim Ferriss is a guy I respect and you know his 4-hour work week is like really changed my life in a lot of positive ways as an entrepreneur.  Like it really caused me to think about how to approach business differently.  And so, when Tim Ferriss speaks, I listen.  And then he started talking about magic mushrooms.  And Tim Ferriss goes oh yeah, like every six months I eat like a half gallon bag of mushrooms to kinda hit the reset button.

Ben:  That’s a lot more than the standardized 3 gram dose of psilocybin.

Mike:  No doubt.  Yeah, I mean and Joe was surprised by that and who knows what really the dosage he’s talking about.

Ben:  Right.  Right.

Mike:  And I was like, and at that point I was like, I thought all that stuff was dumb.  Like I’ve been in the military.  I had that mentality…

Ben:  Or dangerous or unhealthy.

Mike:  Exactly.

Ben:  ‘Coz that was my impression of what was it ‘coz it’s just gonna destroy your liver so you don’t go there.  Just like alcohol.

Mike:  Exactly.  Exactly.  And so he says that and so it came up on my radar.  I was like, what is going on?  Months later I go to a conference some marketing conference, 7 days long, super intense and there’s a psychedelic art that is around this conference.  And we were doing these exercises on empathy at the conference, ‘coz if you’re studying marketing at all…

Ben:  What conference was this?

Mike:  Accelerate by Eben Pagan.

Ben:  Oh yeah.

Mike:  So I’m sitting there and I’m going, and we’re doing this empathy exercise because if you have a lot of empathy then you can connect with your audience better, right?

Ben:  Right.

Mike:  I could not do the empathy exercises.  Like we’re teaming up with people.  I’ve got this worksheet, and I’m looking at somebody, I’m like struggling.  I’ve never been so frustrated in my life.  The whole week goes by and I learned a lot and I just feel like I had to digest it, and for some reason I had like this intuitive understands like, I was like, I think that if I eat mushrooms that it’ll help me digest this information and figure out what’s really important and what’s not.

Ben:  Nobody told you that?  You just thought of it?

Mike:  I think it was like I had heard people talking about things but I was like, I just had like this, it was like it just hit me on Saturday night and I’m walking down the street to get dinner, and I’m like I’m supposed to eat mushrooms.  Like I don’t know exactly why I couldn’t place it.  So I got some, I went to the park and I ate a bunch.  And I don’t even know what like a proper dosage was or anything like that.

Ben:  When you say you got some, what did you do just like wander into a mushroom shop off the street or like where d’you get mushrooms?

Mike:  So one of my friends, I was aware that he had some.

Ben:  Right.

Mike:  And he did talk about the benefits of it before.

Ben:  Yeah, I only ask because my experience with a lot of these mind altering plant medicines is the source can tend to be a little bit important.

Mike:  Yes.  My source was extremely reliable.

Ben:  Right.  If you’re listening in don’t goggle online pharmacy mushrooms.  Go for a reliable source.

Mike:  Yes.  Yeah, I mean.  Go to another country.

Ben:  Right.

Mike:  Go to Amsterdam.

Ben:  Thailand.

Mike:  Yeah.  Go somewhere where it’s legal because if you don’t know somebody you trust that’s actually doing the work, then you know, it’s not worth the risk.  So I eat ‘em and then I realize I’m looking with the sky and it completely goes fractal and I’m in this park and then the entire world falls into my head.  And I realize that everything that I experienced is inside like everything I see is being computed in my brain like everything is just like this is all kind of like my creation in a way and where I’m sitting right now is completely in my control.  Everything, my entire life up to this point is my own doing.  If it’s something that I don’t like that’s happened to me, it didn’t happen to me I did it myself.  The good things that happen I made those things happen.  It is everything that is going on around me, I have some control over of what’s going on.

Ben:  Right.

Mike:  And its things don’t happen to me, I happen to things.  And so there was like a level of understanding of like, oh, like if things are jacked up in my business, if my relationship with my wife isn’t where I want it to be.  It is 100% my responsibility.

Ben:  Yeah.

Mike:  It’s my actions and behaviors up to this point that caused that.  And…

Ben:  Whereas up to that point what we’re you following, fate?

Mike:  I was.  Nothing.  I was like…

Ben:  Yeah.

Mike:  I would be like if a relationship wasn’t going right in the business I was blaming other people.  I’d be like, it’s the gym down the street, it’s their fault we’re not having as many members or, you know, my wife just doesn’t understand me.  It’s like all that stuff you know, like I was frustrated with the world.  I thought other people were dumb.  And you know, I’m like why can’t they see it like I see it.  Like and so I had that and then I had, that was a beautiful realization.  I just cried and then I, I’m in a dog park actually and these people who were getting off work at five o’clock and their bringing…

Ben:  This is where you were at when you were doing the mushrooms in a dog park?

Mike:  Yeah.  I’m a genius.

Ben:  Interesting place to choose, yeah.

Mike:  I wouldn’t do, I mean.  Yeah, first time don’t do that.  So these people come in and their bringing their dogs and then their playing with their dogs but they’re on their phones at the same time, and I can tell the dogs are frustrated.  And I can imagine I’m going, oh this dog’s been cooped up in the house for like 10 hours this person’s been at work.  Their throwing a tennis ball or a stick and they’re on their phone, and the dog is frustrated.  They were not giving their undivided attention.  And I’m sitting on top of this hill watching all this go down and I’m getting (curse word) I’m like (curse word).  I can’t believe you’re not giving your dog your full attention, it’s been sitting at home, its frustrated can’t you tell?  And then I go oh, (curse word) I do that to my dog.  Oh, I do that to my wife.  I do that to my mom.  I do that to my business partners, my clients and I decided in that moment I was gonna start giving people my full attention.

Ben:  Yeah.

Mike:  And I realized I’ve never given anyone my full attention.  I was always waiting to say the next thing or I didn’t shut my mouth long enough to hear what people were saying.  And so, I got home and I sit down with my wife, and I listened to her for the first time ever.  It might have been the first time anyone ever listened to her.  And I just asked her questions, I wanna know more about, we’ve been married for like 3 years and I’m like asking her questions.

Ben:  Were you still tripping on mushrooms at that point or was it like later on?

Mike:  No.  This is later on.  And I started asking her questions that I was afraid to ask her up to that point.

Ben:  Interesting.

Mike:  And so, I started asking her questions and then it was like the first time she felt like I really was interested in getting to know her, even though we’d already been married 3 years.  And up to this point we were actually considering divorce.

Ben:  Wow.

Mike:  Like that was the discussion.

Ben:  Wow.

Mike:  And I went home and I started asking her questions and learning about her and just asking and not responding with anything other than another question.  And she looked at me and was like, what is going on?  Are you?  I mean she knew what I had done that day and she was like, this is really weird.  And I was concerned at that point I was like I don’t know if this is gonna stick.  Like I hope this is permanent.  So I’m like, but you know, whatever.  So I wake up the next day, still there.  The next day, still there. The next day, still there.  So I was trying to get a hand on this empathy thing, and so…

Ben:  Is that common like, have you looked into this since then like the biochemistry of psilocybin or mushrooms and if they can actually permanently affect the neuronal wiring in the brain or something like that or if this is?

Mike:  Yes, that’s exactly what’s happening.

Ben:  Really?

Mike:  Yeah.  So psilocybin allows those connections the neurons to disconnect and reconnect more rapidly.

Ben:  Really?

Mike:  Yeah.  And so it changes.

Ben:  So it can literally rewire neurons?

Mike:  Absolutely.  Yeah.

Ben:  Interesting.

Mike:  And psilocybin is not the only thing like that.  And so since then I’ve gone to places like Peru and done Ayahuasca which does the same thing.  Now because you’re rewiring the brain, you have to be very careful because you can set yourself up for success or you can set yourself up for failure.

Ben:  What do you mean?

Mike:  So I had set myself up for success ‘coz I had been at a conference all week talking about empathy, talking about relationships because business is nothing but relationships so I was set up for success.  Now, if you go into it thinking I’m just gonna have a good time and you would have a bunch of discussions before that that weren’t, that were negative in nature or you’re listening to Death Metal before you go in where the lyrics are basically sending a negative message about hate or whatever.  You’re kinda setting yourself up for failure.

So if you wanna rewire your brain in a certain direction, you go in with an intent.  You go in with an intention of saying hey, this is what I wanna get out of this journey.  And if you go in with a pure intent, you’ll get it on the other end.  But you have to have to be in right environment.  I highly suggest, and so now after having that experience, I travel outside the country to do this because in the United States it’s like you know, a lot of these things are scheduled, one…

Ben:  You travel outside the United States for psilocybin, for Ayahuasca or for just everything?

Mike:  All of it.  Yeah.  So I don’t like to screw around with it in the United States just because there’s risk associated with this.

Ben:  Do you have specific places that you go that you research, and let’s say somebody’s listening in and no clue where to start but they are interested in that type of setting a good intention, neuronal rewiring, trying some of this stuff.  What would be your recommendation?

Mike:  I think that you gotta do a lot of research and I went to Peru for Ayahuasca.  There are quite a few Ayahuascoes down there.  And there’s just shamans and some are better than others just like anything you know, there’s some chiropractors that are good some that aren’t so good you know, trainers that are good and not so good.  Same thing happens with shamans.  And so you can find guys in Amsterdam and go to Amsterdam, and do the magic of truffles.

Ben:  But there’s no like online yelp shaman directory for good shamans?

Mike:  No maybe we should start one.  You know, maybe there is one, I just haven’t known it but what I found is, if I just kinda put it out into the universe if I’ll go look, this is what I’m looking for I’ve had enough conversations with people.  Someone will go, oh I know a guy, oh I know a guy.  And next thing you know.

Ben:  Yeah.  That’s interesting.  As that’s what’s happened to me like, I did a podcast two weeks ago on my first psilocybin experience, and it was literally one of my good friends James Radina who was in the podcast, and he had a very, very good reputable source of psilocybin down in Kauai, and we set extremely good intentions and it was one of the most life changing decisions I’ve made for my business in the past 5 years as far as utilizations.

Mike:  Nice.  Dude.  Dude.  I would not be standing here right now without it.

Ben:  Yeah. I mean same thing with, have you ever micro dosed with LSD?

Mike:  Yeah.

Ben:  I’ve tried that, it’s like a neurohack.  I had my first experience with that and I’m working on a podcast about it.  Last week same thing, set intentions and took it, got it from a good source.

Mike:  Yeah.

Ben:  And you know, it’s one of those things where you have to know somebody or set that intention and just begin to talk to people.

Mike:  Yeah.  Do it with somebody who has a lot of experience and who has had a lot of good experiences.

Ben:  Yeah.

Mike:  I know a lot of people who, this is the situation you should avoid for your first timer you know, is like, don’t go to a concert and decide you’re gonna eat a bunch or little or whatever like your first.  Sit with somebody who has used these for personal development, specifically.  And if you start talking to people you might be surprised at who is doing these things, if you just kinda put it out there.

Ben:  Do you find that these, there’s starting down the road of plant medicine, and perhaps what many people in the physical exercise culture would consider to be taboo or not interesting has brought you out of the world of CrossFit and fitness, I mean where are you at in terms of like your fitness protocol and your gym and all those type of things right now?

Mike:  I would say this the, (deep breath) alright for the gym and for coaching, it’s helped me care about other people more.  Which has made me ten times the coach I used to be.

Ben:  And you’re still running a gym?

Mike:  I own a gym.  I don’t run it daily though.

Ben:  Okay.

Mike:  But I have 20 people on my team who I’m coaching.  I coach gym owners, so I have a barbell business which is basically a business set up for CrossFit gym owners.  So I’m coaching people on fitness…

Ben:  So you went from owning a gym to starting the Barbell Shrugged podcast to now running barbell business?

Mike:  Yeah.  Yup.

Ben:  Got it.

Mike:  And so, it allows me to come from a place of service and wanting to help people more. Through these experiences I care less about my own personal gain and what I find is when I serve people more, more goodness comes into my life in ways that I could never imagine it.  Like my life is a dream.  And the more that I am looking out for others, the more really good stuff just happens to fall in my lap.  I can’t complain.

And regarding my training, one of the things that really took a major shift is I did stop competing.

Ben:  You stopped competing in CrossFit?

Mike:  Yeah and weightlifting too, like because it wasn’t serving my purpose anymore and those experiences with the plant medicines really did allow me to access my purpose and service.

And I found that by competing, I found that I could be doing other things that would be more beneficial and I also started considering the long term more.  So I started taking care of my body.  So I went from having a mentality of when I went into a training session is I’m not good enough.  Like oh I’m not you know, this isn’t big, I’m not big enough, I’m not at the right weight, my shoulders are jacked up, my hips aren’t where they’re supposed to be.  It’s not good enough, I gotta like beat my body into submission.  I’ve gotta like, I’m gonna, I’m going to beat my body into submission because I don’t like my body.  And it’s not good enough.  It’s not what I wanted it to be.  And I was comparing myself to other people.

And then after I kinda went into this transformation with the plant medicines really help facilitate.  I now approach all my training from I love my body.  I’m super grateful.  This is the one I have.  You know, there are things about my body like my feet are flat, my right foot you know, my right leg lacks good internal rotation so I end up with back problems.  My shoulders have to work on them every day for, to keep them from being internally rotated.  And, but my approach is different.  I now find it much easier.

Ben:  Your beard also by the way, I was gonna tell you it’s a little more trimmed on the right side than the left.

Mike:  Oh (curse word).   Do not know.  Now, I’m all subconscious.

Ben:  You can take your break and you need to get it fixed.

Mike:  Yeah. (laughs)  But I usually, people used to be able to (curse word) with me they go, dude your right quad is looks bigger than you left quad and I’d be in like, what, what’s going on?  And so like now it’s all about being healthy.  It’s all about like, I can perform at a higher level than I used to be, because my approach to training now is different.  I don’t, I do things that are healthy for my joints not because I’m just trying to get stronger no matter what.  I’m capable of taking a longer term approach.  I can go, oh I wanna still be healthy in a year.  It’s not about this 12 week cycle.  It’s about where do I wanna be in a year, 3 years, 5 years.  When I’m 70 I wanna be moving really well.  And that means that I have to like really love what I’m doing with myself even though it’s not fun.  By working on my diaphragmatic breathing and like…

Ben:  Yeah.

Mike:  Every morning is not, it used to not be, I wasn’t interested in it because I couldn’t see how it helped me in everything, in every aspect of my life.  And in that respect like so all my training is like I’m loving it.  I’m feeling it.  I’m not thinking about what I have to do before or after my training session.  I’m not like, I’m not doing a training session because I feel like I should do it or I have to do it.  There’s no obligation.  When I’m moving, I’m moving because I love to move and I’m putting all my focus into my movement practice.  And it’s all about increasing the quality of my movement versus how much weight am I lifting?  How fast am I going?  It’s about there’s so much more focus on the quality of my movement because I know that if I’m operating at the highest quality then the results will come.  I trust that.

Ben:  Yeah.  You’re looking at a world through the lens of not just performance but also health and longevity.  It’s interesting because one of the things that’s happened to me and I don’t know if it’s because I have begun making more forays into plant-based medicine and opening myself up to that.  I don’t know if it’s because my spiritual life has gotten stronger.  If it’s probably a combination of a lot of those, but one of the things that I used to be obsessed with was performance and was that narcissism and was seeing myself running you know, or a photograph of me doing a Spartan race and not liking the way my foot turned out.

Mike:  Yup.

Ben:  And one of the, I mentioned I have, for example a realization with psilocybin for example.  My purpose in life is not to go out and kick (curse word) and take names on a race course.  My purpose in life is to actually inspire other people to go out and climb their own personal Mount Everest.  And that’s been a huge, huge realization for me.  It’s not even about my own personal health and longevity.  It’s about everybody else.

Mike:  It probably change how you podcast.  Change how you do social media.

Ben:  It’s changed a lot.  Yeah.

Mike:  Yeah, I mean.  My posts now, none of my posts are for like, hey look at me.  It’s like, hey like, I wanna inspire you to live your life better.

Ben:  I do still Snapchat gym selfies.  You gotta Snapchat gym selfies.  If you wanna, if you want to be successful on Snapchat, yes.

Mike:  That’s inspiration. (laughs)

Ben:  You talked about diaphragmatic breath work and you told me yesterday when we were at this little health entrepreneurial gathering that we were at that that was one thing that you were going to answer now this breath work.  I’ve talked to Brian Mackenzie on the show, he’s talked a little bit about the use of the training mask and diaphragmatic breath work.

Mike:  Yeah.

Ben:  What is it that you’re doing when it comes to breath work that you think is something people should know about?

Mike:  Yeah, I do a variety of things and I’m always tweeking, so I’ll do something for like a month and then I’ll like I’ll layer another 10% on top.  So I’m talking to guys like Brian Mackenzie as well and trying to pick their brain on what they think is working right now.

Actually the thing that I find works, like the thing that’s made the biggest impact on me is, are you familiar with Jill Miller the Yoga Tune Up?

Ben:  Is she like the Yoga, yeah, Yoga Tune Up Balls?  Yeah.

Mike:  Yeah.  She has this Coregeous ball, that’s what it’s called.  It’s a big.

Ben:  Is that a gorgeous ball?

Mike:  Coregeous.

Ben:  Oh Coregeous.

Mike:  Core, yeah it’s for your core?

Ben:  Coregeous, got it.

Mike:  Yeah, yeah, yeah.  She…

Ben:  I think we should invent a gorgeous ball too.

Mike:  (laughs)  Definitely.  But it’s a big soft ball and when you look at it, like I’m supposed to roll on this?  And so, using that and breathing into it has been if you buy…

Ben:   So you lay on top of it?

Mike:  You lay on top of it and your front and back, and you learn to breathe into the ball.  So it’s like you’re trying, like so I might be laying on it over my belly button or something like that.  And I lay on it and I relax and I breathe into the ball like I’m trying to feel the ball.  And it’s teaching me some proprioception that is kinda tough to do otherwise.  And you can do it on your own.  You don’t have to have someone pushing on you.  So if you go get therapy a lot of times around your breathing, someone’ll have to push on your belly and go like hey, breathe into my hand.  But what I like about the ball is I can do it every morning.  And I can breathe into it, and I can actually feel it expanding as I’m crushing this ball and when I breathe into it, it does expand.

And so you know, I use that ball to really warm up my torso every day because if I start my day off with really good breathing patterns then I have more energy all day.  I’m not wasting energy breathing into my upper chest.

Ben:  Can people find this protocol online?  This breathing in the ball?

Mike:  I’m not sure if you just buy her book, you go to Amazon.com, “Yoga Tune Up” By Jill Miller.  And you can buy like the book and the balls set, and all that kind of stuff.  I wish I had an affiliate link. (laughs)

Ben:  If you guys go to bengreenfieldfitness.com/mikebledsoe.  That’s M-i-k-e B-l-e-d-s-o-e.  I’ll put some links to Mike’s website and some of those stuff that we are talking about in the show notes.

But this breathe work, does this also help with like a morning bowel movement, things like that?  I mean are you doing it for that purpose?

Mike:  Yeah, I do it before a…

Ben:  Like for an enhancing digestion?

Mike:  I do find it does help with that, yeah.  I do it before I eat.  I get things moving around.  I find that you know, I do go take a (curse word) afterwards.

Ben:  Yeah, actually you’re gonna laugh.  You’ve seen these new like they’re basically glorified car buffers that people are selling now for self-massage.

Mike:  Oh yeah.  Yeah.

Ben:  I’ve gotten a few of those mailed to me everything from like the hypericed foam rollers, vibration ball, the car buffer.  I’ve actually tried the you know, how your colon travels from the right side of your rib cage to the left side down the left side over across the right side and then down and that’s what where it empties.  I’ve started experimenting with these car buffers…

Mike:  Ahhh!

Ben:  Just for like 2 minutes when I wake up in the morning.  You take the car buffer across the left side, down, across to the right side and down.  And dude, I mean, you go take a giant glorious baby-like dump.

Mike:  Nice.  I have a feeling you and I are gonna be, we’re gonna be like a hundred years old.

Ben:  Uhhmmm.

Mike:  ‘Coz we’re taking care our bodies every morning like this.

Ben:  A hundred and fifteen.  Hundred and fifteen.

Mike:  You know what, by that time bio tech’s gonna get to a point where you know, basically they’re gonna inject little nano technology and then our brains will though attached to the neurons, and then we’ll have access to all information all the time and we’ll be operating from pure consciousness.

Ben:  You’re just making that up, or you really truly think that?

Mike:  Yeah I really think that.  I think if we can live long enough for that technology to come online, that’s gonna be an interesting time.

Ben:  Yeah.  That’s fascinating.  That’s fascinating.  Couple other question I wanna ask you.

Mike:  People just went, now Mike’s crazy (laughs).

Ben:  Any of our listeners who are left.

Mike:  (laughs some more)

Ben:  Some of the things that I’ve seen people tap into when they get into plant based medicine, when they get into that deeper connection with nature.  Things like wild plant foraging, hunting, sit spots in nature that you know, things like that.  Have you gotten into any of those type of things?

Mike:  I have not.  I definitely, I wouldn’t say I feel guilty but I feel drawn to more hunting and gardening, both.  And I do recognize that I feel very disconnected from my sources of food, and I live on the road most of the times.  So there are some challenges there, you know I can make up excuses and I.  What I really need to do is I really think that we are missing that connection with nature and that is you know, I think that’s part of a spiritual journey.  And I think that’s…

Ben:  Yeah.   That’s actually one of the problems of the conference that you and I are at right now Paleo f(x) is if you look at the actual schedule of talks, there’s not much talk about growing your own food, and about hunting, and about wild plant foraging.  I think that, that’s a little bit of a disconnect ‘coz that might seem [0:53:10.4] ______.

Mike:  We’re gonna.  We’ll talk to them about it.  You know what?

Ben:  And don’t get me wrong I love this conference.

Mike:  I’m going to, this is my favorite conference every year actually.  I’m gonna go fishing up in Oregon this fall, some salmon fishing.  My business partner his dad is just an expert up there for that.  I wanna start giving him the spear fishing.  I’ve been starting to research that.  I lived down in San Diego where you can just take a kayak out, anchor out.  Have you done that before?

Ben:  Just put the finishing touches on my car roller with the rails so I can step up the weight of the fish that I’m going after.

Mike:  Nice.

Ben:  I did a week long free diving course to get my breath hold time up to 5 minutes.

Mike:  Woah.  Nice.

Ben:  So I can go deep enough to get basically breath hold time to 5 minutes and depth to 80 feet which is what you need to get decent fish.

Mike:  Wow!  Have you done the Wim Hof at all?

Ben:  Ah yeah.  Wim’s been on the show a few times and you don’t want to use Wim Hof breath for free diving.

Mike:  No, no. no.  That’s a different thing.

Ben:  Yeah you breathe out but your CO2 and…

Mike:  I find the Wim Hof stuff can help me get more comfortable.  Like I do Wim Hof, so I do the Coregeous ball and then I do Wim Hof after that.  And then so I get the breathing patterns going with the ball and then I, and then while I’m doing my power breaths with the Wim Hof, I actually am focusing on breathing properly while I’m doing these power breaths.

But I could see where the Wim Hof stuff, I was down in Cabo last week and doing some snorkeling and I actually and that was the first time I’ve gone snorkeling since I adopted the Wim Hof breathing method, and I noticed that I was just more comfortable holding my breath longer.  You know, just the minimal thing, you know.

Ben:  Yeah.  I know I do the same thing.  I do cold pool swimming in the morning and use some of the Wim Hof stuff.  Hit me up after we finish and we’ll talk.  I gotta a lot of spear fishing and free diving resources for you.

Mike:  Yes.  Yes.

Ben:  I wanna ask you one other thing that’s kinda related to that morning routine and that is sleep.  Are you doing anything to kinda wind you down, I mean you’re a driven, high achieving guy, lot of folks I talk to in this industry who are wired that way.

Mike:  Uhmmm.

Ben:  They do have their own special protocols to help them wind down at night.  How do you get to sleep at night?  Stay asleep?

Mike:  Alright.  So, staying asleep is hard part.  Yeah, so I don’t do the electronics for 90 minutes before I go to sleep.  In fact, I have a lot of windows in my house.  I don’t have to turn my lights on during the day.  When the sun starts going down my body starts winding down.

Ben:  No electronics at all?  No Facebook?  Nothing?

Mike:  So what?  No Facebook, no I mean, unless it’s gotta be an emergency.

Ben:  What do you do for those 90 minutes?

Mike:  Oh I’m reading.  You know, I just put on dim light.  I read.

Ben:  What do you read?

Mike:  So, usually in the evening I read some spiritual text or I read sci-fi novels.  I read things that help me relax or get me out of thinking about the business.  And I meditate in the mornings and then in the evenings if I’m having a hard time, if I feel like I’m getting stuck in my thoughts, then I do some meditation.  And yeah, I keep a little bit of cannabis on hand too.  I have a little Vapen that’s mostly Indica.  Actually I have this really great…

Ben:  Indica works really well for sleep.

Mike:  I actually have a 2 to 1 ratio of CBD to Indica.  So we now have the technology to vape CBD which is fantastic.  You could take it orally.  I know you have a CBD.

Ben:  I do.  I’ll send you some maybe you could try compare it to the vape ‘coz I’ve actually vaped Indica and CBD and taken the nano CBD that I make now.  And I think the nano CBD kicks [0:56:46.4] ______.

Mike:  Okay.

Ben:  But I’m obviously jaded too because I sell it.

Mike:  What I really like about it is it’s easy to travel with.  So I, it’s a 2 to 1 ratio of CBD to Indica.  So it’s just highly relaxing.  The CBD helps you relax anyway and then you have the Indica which helps your, it’s a deeper relaxation with the Indica and so, I do that most days I mean, I think CBD is just it’s so good for you and you know, the anti-inflammatory  property and everything it’s just like, it’s dumb not to take, like CBD’s just dumb not to do.

Ben:  The endocannabinoid system is totally underplayed right now as far as the amount to which people tap into it.  And it’s literally just as important as your endocrine system or your cardio vascular system.

Mike:  One of my favorite things about the CBD is that it’s sustainable.  Like fish oil, like I’m a huge fan of fish oil, I take it but it’s not necessarily sustainable, there’s like over-fishing is an issue.  CBD man, we can just grow more of that.  No doubt.

Ben:  Yup exactly.  Not in the US strangely enough.  Just dumb. I mean, well you don’t see a lot of like industrial hemp growing in the US.

Mike:  Yeah, I think a lot of it comes from Latvia.  (laughs)

Ben:  Yeah.  So if you guys want to try out Mike Bledsoe’s routine basically in the morning he’s using that ball all across is you’re basically laying on it.  Stomach, digestive organs all that jazz.  Follow that up with Wim Hof breathing, and in the evening 90 minutes before bed no screens, use a little bit of Indica, CBD.  Boom lights out.

Mike:  Yeah, and after the Wim Hof breathing in the morning I do about 30 minutes sitting Zen meditation that style.

Ben:  Nice.  Nice.

Mike:  So after you’ve had, if you’ve played around plant medicines at all well in my experience, after having played around plant medicines, my meditation is, I’ve been able to get more deep with it and it becomes more meaningful, and in my experience especially with mushrooms.  Its kind a shown me where I’m supposed to be going when I meditate.  Which is nice.

Ben:  Yeah.  See he’s not just a tattooed, bearded, CrossFitter.  He’s a deep man.  I’m gonna link to Mike’s website, and also some of the materials he has out there everything from Barbell Shrugged to Barbell Business, just go to bengreenfieldfitness.com/mikebledsoe, and you’ll be able to dig in to all the goodness that is Mike and get to know this guy a bit better.

We actually gave a really good talk at the entrepreneurial conference I was at that happened the day before Paleo f(x).  And it’s really good.  For those of you out there who are business owners, gym owners, definitely look Mike up in terms of the advice that he’s dishing out on that front too.  Mike, thanks for coming on the show, man.

Mike:  Thanks for having me on, Ben.

Ben:  Alright folks, this is Ben Greenfield and Mike Bledsoe.  Should we go put our clothes back on now?

Mike:  Yeah, they might want us to do that before we go onstage.

Ben:  Let’s go get dressed and thanks for listening in folks.  Check out Mike bengreenfieldfitness.com/mikebledsoe, and 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.



The first time I met Mike Bledsoe three years ago, he was hunched over in the corner of a busy porch at the PaleoFX convention meditating with a “Headspace” app.

I took one look at this bearded, tattooed Crossfitter and judged him to be yet another exercise and fitness junkie meathead.

I was dead wrong.

Mike is profound, interesting, chock full of knowledge on everything from plant-based medicine to the fitness business to meditation and breathwork, and (like me) was homeschooled K-12.

He is one of the founders and owners of Faction Strength & Conditioning Home of CrossFit Memphis. He has a degree in Exercise & Sport Science as well as a long list of meaningless certifications that might awe some people but not most and definitely not the people who are probably on this website.

At 19 years of age, Mike thought he should donate his body and mind to the service of his country in the US Navy. It was there that he discovered that he didn’t like taking orders. He did extremely well and had a good time, but being part of a system was not his ideal (and he’s one idealistic dude). Getting out was scary, but made the entire world available to him.

At the ripe old age of 24, he began college at the University of Memphis in the business department but before the first semester could end he changed his major to Health & Human Performance. It was there that he was first introduced to Olympic Weightlifting, by Dr. Brian Schilling.

While in school he regularly donated his body and parts of it to research in the name of science. It was during his senior year that he and a guy named Rob Conner started CrossFit Memphis. Dropping out of school after the first semester of grad school, Mike devoted his time to growing the business and becoming a better coach.

Mike “Matraca” Bledsoe (matraca means chatterbox in portuguese) is most well known for his ability to not shut up, and you’ll understand why during our discussion in today’s podcast, in which you’ll discover:

-Why Mike was so confused the first time he saw a PVC pipe in a gym….

-The strange story of Mike and Ben’s meeting at Joe DeSena’s farm in Vermont…

-What Mike discovered by going on his first magic mushroom trip in a dog park…

-How psilocybin and ayahuasca rewire neurons in your brain…

-How to find a good shaman if you decide you want to do ayahuasca…

-Mike’s one-two combo for morning breathwork and deep tissue work…

-Mike’s evening routine, and what he completely avoids for 90 minutes before bed…

-And much more…

Resources from this episode:

Ben’s podcast on mushrooms



Jill Miller’s yoga tune-up balls

Wim Hof


Ask Ben a Podcast Question

One thought on “[Transcript] – Tattooed Crossfitter To Bearded Monk: How Mushrooms Rewire Your Brain, Yoga Tune-Up Balls & More With Mike Bledsoe

  1. slope game says:

    Hi Ben,

    The Joovv light is quite expensive. Can you suggest a less expensive alternative?

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