November 12, 2022
[00:00:57] Podcast Sponsors
[00:06:04] Podcast and Guest Intro
[00:09:28] How would Tyson describe pickleball to people?
[00:13:53] How did Tyson get into pickleball?
[0016:05] Can you win money in pickleball?
[00:19:47] What does a typical day look like for Tyson, like an optimized training day?
[00:24:05] Is there any special diet Tyson recommends?
[00:25:42] What's the best way to get started in pickleball?
[00:27:49] What kind of things could you do if you can't get to the court that help your pickleball game?
[00:30:34] Why does the paddle matter?
[00:32:21] Podcast Sponsors
[00:37:45] cont. Why does the paddle matter?
[00:39:28] What sort of training program would you put together for a top pickleball athlete?
[00:58:56] What to do about cramping?
[01:10:53] Closing the Podcast
[01:14:00] Elements of Vitality
[01:17:38] End of Podcast
Ben: My name is Ben Greenfield. And, on this episode of the Ben Greenfield Life podcast.
From a sport longevity and an injury prevention standpoint, I would be doing the foam rolling and deep tissue work using something like Kelly Starrett's “Becoming A Supple Leopard” book technically under red light or in a sauna or something like that. And then, you combine that with something like Dr. Eric Goodman‘s Foundation Training, his true to form training. I mean, if you were to do that stuff and combine it with the with the kettlebell and with the calisthenic type of programming, it would be absolute game changer, the calisthenic and the plyometrics. So, those are a few suggestions from the biomechanical standpoint.
Faith, family, fitness, health, performance, nutrition, longevity, ancestral living, biohacking, and a whole lot more. Welcome to the show.
Let's talk probiotics. You may have glutes, you may have abs, but what about your gut or your inputs and outputs, what you put into your body affects, for lack of a better word, your poop? The truth is we could all be pooping better, I think. Taking a daily probiotic and prebiotic is one of the game changers in this poop department. Enter Seed, pretty good name, pretty good website, they're at Seed.com. I don't know how they scored that URL, but it's pretty good. Seed makes what's called a DS-01 Daily Synbiotic, 24 clinically and scientifically studied probiotic strains not found in yogurt and most supplements or fermented foods or beverages specifically designed for easy poops and gut health. They've got a fully sustainable monthly refill system, packaging designed to be gentler on the planet, refillable glass jar, compostable biobased pouches, ecological paper made from LG that would otherwise damage fragile marine ecosystems, and green cell foam made from corn that you can watch dissolve in water or eat. Seriously, it's the most sustainable company on the planet, and perhaps more importantly for you, did I mention easy poops?
So, it's called Seed. And, like I mentioned, Seed.com. Go to Seed.com/Ben because if you go there, you can use code BEN15, that gets you 15% off your first month of Seed's Daily Synbiotic. That's Seed.com/Ben, S-E-E-D.com/Ben and use code BEN15 for 15% off your first month.
Alright, what's the problem with wine today? Wine is highly processed just like our food. I like wine just the same as you probably do. I drink a glass of wine almost every evening. But, here's the problem. Three giant wine companies sell over 50% of the wine in the U.S. Over 76 additives are currently legally approved for use in winemaking. We're talking dyes, thickeners, and GMO yeast. The top 20 wines sold in the U.S. contain very high levels of sugar and alcohol. And so, basically, we're drinking poison a lot of times. That's why you wake up and have a headache and you feel blah. I can drink, I don't do it, but I can drink two or three glasses of the type of wine that I actually drink. It's organic and biodynamic. It's sugar-free. It's low alcohol. It's lab tested for purity. It's grown on small family farms. It's keto-approved. It's paleo-approved. It's got free shipping right to my door. It's called Dry Farm Wines. It's the best natural wine out there. They've got access to 55,000 acres of organic vineyards.
Alright. So, a lot of these come from Europe where there's healthy soil and dynamic biodiversity using natural wine farming. They work with 600 small family farmers sourcing from over 600 these small family growers all who make their wine by hand using things like regenerative farming, avoiding machinery. Dry Farm Wines even helps to teach them a lot of the tactics that make for better wine. They save a billion gallons of water with this wine because you don't have to pour a bunch of water on wine. That makes it sweet and juicy. And, we want our wine to be antioxidant, rich and tannic. And, that's the way these Dry Farm Wines are.
So, I call them Dry Farm. They don't use much water, so it's better for the planet. Less than 1/10 of 1% of the world's wines are grown to the standards of Dry Farm. But, they pick them out for you. They cut out all of the work for you. And so, you know guilt free when that box arrives, every single one has been screened. They got free shipping, straight to your door, free of charge, 100% happiness. That means any bottle you don't like, they'll replace it or they'll refund it. And, better yet, they're going to give any of my listeners an extra bottle of Dry Farm Wines in their first box for a penny. Yup, 1 penny, because alcohol they can't sell for free. But, here's what you do, you go to BenGreenfieldLife.com/DryFarmWines. That's BenGreenfieldLife.com/DryFarmWines, and that's all you need to get started with your Dry Farm Wines adventure today. Drink the same wine I do. BenGreenfieldLife.com/DryFarmWines
Alright, here's the deal whether you run or ride or hike or swim or work out, you understand what it means to have this deep desire to push harder and reach farther and go the extra mile. And, believe it or not, the fuel for that drive can be in your blood. It can be in your blood. And, if you're not tracking your blood, then you're missing out on what you might need to actually know how to build endurance, boost energy, and optimize your health, and eat the right way, and supplement the way, and know if you're going to get sick or if you're not going to get sick, or if you need certain nutrients or don't need other nutrients.
There's this company called Inside Tracker. They not only do your blood but your DNA and your fitness tracking data too. They identify where you're optimized and where you're not. And, these scientists that work for the company, they're in aging, they're in genetics, they're in biometrics, they work together to give you a daily action plan on Inside Tracker with personalized guidance on the right exercise and nutrition and supplementation for your body. So, when you connect it with, let's say, your Fitbit or your Garmin, you get to unlock real-time recovery pro tips after you complete your workout. So, it's like having a personal trainer, and a nutritionist, and a blood work person, whatever you call those all in your own pocket. And, they're going to give 20% to all my listeners if you just go to InsideTracker.com/Ben. That's InsideTracker.com/Ben. You don't need a code, go to InsideTracker.com/Ben and you're off to the blood work and biomarker races.
Well, well, well, folks, I recently got into a new sport that I'm pretty excited about actually. It's called pickleball. Pickleball, that's right. So, I come from a competitive tennis background. Meaning, I played tennis up through my freshman year of college and always kind of thought pickleball was kind of like, take no offense, the gentler old person senior version of tennis that you play at the nursing home with a cheesy little wiffle ball or in a retirement community. And, after picking it up a few months ago, holy cow, was I ever wrong, first of all, and second of all, in the past several weeks, I've started playing more. I've totally fallen in love with it. This new place open near my house called the Pickleball Playground where they have leagues and singles and doubles.
And then, two weeks ago, I played singles for the first time in my life because I just, at that point, been just hitting around the family. And, I am absolutely enamored with it. Now, it's like the ultimate combination of reaction time and speed and power and mental and physical chess and everything I'm looking for in a new sport especially as I get older and I'm tackling new categories and new things to learn. Now, I know why I think the fastest-growing sport in America. It's the official state sport of my own home state of Washington.
And, I'm gobbling up YouTube pickleball videos and trying to find people in the community to play with. And, it turns out one of the top pickle ball players in the entire world lives near my home. We're actually going to get together for dinner tomorrow night and hopefully hit the courts later on this weekend because we've recently become acquainted. His name is Tyson McGuffin. Tyson McGuffin. You may have heard of him before. If you haven't, you got to go check out his Instagram channel or his YouTube and see what pickleball at the top level actually looks like, like darting, weaving, cutting, sprinting, through the leg shot, behind the back, just crazy stuff. It's like ping pong and tennis on steroids. It's like ping pong and tennis met and had a crazy baby after a night in Vegas.
Tyson has a podcast too. It's called the McGuffin Show. We thought it'd be fun to geek out on this new sport. If you've never heard of it, I know many of my listeners actually are starting to play, so we'll talk not only about Tyson's perspective on the sport and how you can get started with it or get better at it if you're already started with it but then also because Tyson has a podcast and he wanted to open his audience up to some of the nutrition and fitness and training and supplementation and recovery concepts that I can talk about, we figured this would be a little bit of a two-way chat where I get to pick his brain, he gets to pick mine. So, that being said, all the shownotes are going to be at BenGreenfieldLife.com/Pickleball. That's BenGreenfieldLife.com/Pickleball. Tyson, welcome to the show, man.
Tyson: Ben, thanks for the introduction, brother. Appreciate that. Happy to be on. I know we live about an hour away and I probably should be at your house right now doing it with you, but I got a full day ahead of me. And, as you know, I've got four kids. Anyhow, happy to be on and appreciate your time.
Ben: Yeah. Don't worry about it, man. I already pulled the chicken for tomorrow night. We're going to do my wife Jessa's world-famous roasted chicken, and we'll do some fresh-made sourdough bread, and we'll throw down a pretty good time. Even if we aren't doing podcasting and pickleball together, we're going to eat well together. So, we got that going.
Tyson: Sounds brilliant.
Ben: So, you're a two-time U.S. open champion or five-time national champion. You got six PPA titles, a triple crown, you get the number one ranking in men's singles. I believe you're top five in men's pro doubles. You're way up there in mixed doubles as well. You're running clinics all over the country. You have all these YouTube instructional videos, plus like you mentioned most importantly, you have four beautiful children, you're married. And, I guess the number one question that I have for you before we get into your story just to let people know what they're getting into here is, how would you describe pickleball to people? We were sitting next to somebody on a plane and they ask you, “What the heck's the wiffle thing that you're doing?” What do you tell them?
Tyson: I'd tell them that it's the best racket sport out there. It's a better version of tennis. It's a better version of ping pong. And, it caters to everybody, it caters to all demographics. It's the type of sport where you can be on a family vacation and nobody has any racket sport ability or maybe any athletic ability. And, you can hop on a pickleball court and you can maybe have your five-year-old, you can have your grandma, and somebody else. And, you could play doubles. And, within five minutes, everybody can have a great time, they can have a 10-ball rally. And, that same type of deal in tennis would take months.
So, what's great about pickleball is that the learning curve is very quick. It's easy to play. It's fun. You can talk a little trash. It's good physical activity. There's this whole new community that people feel like they're a part of. It's super embracing. It's swept me off my feet. I've been on the tour for the last seven years. I've met my beautiful princess on the pickleball court. I told myself I would never crap where I slept. You know what I mean? And, it just worked out where I met my princess. She was in my pickleball 101 class. I had moved to Coeur d'Alene, Idaho. And, this is about four or five years ago and yeah, she took my 101, she took my 102, and then I took her on a date.
Ben: A pickleball date.
Tyson: Pickleball date. But no, it's a beautiful sport. We see a lot of racket sport athletes making their way over. It's a perfect sport for people that are 50 plus that maybe play tennis or play golf and maybe they can't play tennis anymore because they can't move on a court that's 72 by 36 or maybe they can't play racquetball anymore because their shoulder's blown out, but they can come on a pickleball court and play on a court that's 44 by 20 and have a great time, talk a little trash, hit some dinks, and meet a lot of great people.
Ben: Yeah. I love how you say hit some dinks. There's this whole new terminology as I'm having to get used to like dinks and Ernies. And, even the entire history of the sports. One person told me it was because the people who invented it had a dog named pickles that would run around the court and chase the balls. And, I started looking into this. See, I do my research, Tyson, I do my research. It turns out that the people who invented it, one of them was used to row crew and the name of the one of the boats that has a thrown-together crew drawn at random from available rowers is called the pickle boat.
And so, they called a pickleball because they just, as you just alluded to, grab a random group of ragtag folks, some of whom have played before, some who hadn't, but it's just so easy to pick up that they just throw a random amount of people on the court and play. And, that's been my experience with it. I've been throwing paddles in my bag when I travel, I just got back from Lexington, Kentucky. I found two friends who played. We went and hit the courts. I didn't have to bring all the tennis rackets and messing around with all the court reservations because the pickleball seems to always be open. And then, two little wiffle balls. And, you can take this anywhere. I mean, I can hit against the wall of the garage, I can get a little pop-up net in my backyard. I was even playing pickleball in the ping-pong table with my kids the other day, I just put that on Instagram actually. And so, it's one of those sports that teams are just like travel everywhere, which is awesome with minimal equipment.
And again, I said the doubles component of it, and as you were just talking about, it's pretty fun, it's pretty social, it's kind of fun to get some folks together, but dude, singles is freaking athletic. With doubles, I got into doubles because my knee was hurting especially when I play the space of a tennis court. When I got into pickleball, I could play doubles for hours and just have no pain anywhere. And then, I started playing singles and it's a whole different ball game in a good way. It's just power and it's speed and its reaction time. And so, now I'm like, “Holy cow, I got to start to get more fit if I want to play singles and really start to get into this.” When I pick stuff up, I like to get pretty serious about it. But, I'm curious for you.
When you came into the sport, were you actually an athlete already? How did you actually get into pickleball in the first place?
Tyson: Yeah. So, I'm the youngest of seven. I grew up in a wrestling family. My dad was a wrestling coach for about 40 years. I broke my [00:14:07] _____ my senior year because I had a wrestling scholarship and I had a tennis scholarship, I ended up taking a tennis scholarship. Yeah, played a couple years of junior college tennis, played some pro tennis, and then came to the dark side in about 2015. There was a gentleman at my tennis club. He was a tennis player and blew out his shoulder and couldn't play tennis anymore. And, he started playing this silly game called pickleball, and I kid you not, he would show up at the club every day and bug me about this game and tell me I should go to the local YMCA and go play some pickleball with all his old-timers.
So, I ended up showing up at the local YMCA typical setting or typical format that you used to see back in the day. Not so much anymore. There was three courts. The first court was 3035, the second court was 40, and then the last court was the highest-level court. And, each court had 20 or 30 people waiting. It wasn't very organized. We're playing on a gym floor. And, I ended up getting my butt kicked by a couple guys in their 50s and 60s. And, Bill was one of them. Anyhow, pride was hurt, I thought I was some high-end tennis player, I just come off the tour at that time and one thing led to another, ended up going home that night and watched every video I could on pickleball. I got educated and I came back to that YMCA and beat up on some old timers about a week later. And, I would say right then and there, I kind of had some passion for the sport, so I started playing a bit more, I started practicing with some guys in my area there in Yakima, Washington, and started playing some tournaments.
And, within about eight months, I played a guy that was top 10 in the world. I was able to play him pretty tight, ended up losing in three games. And right then and there, I kind of knew that pickleball was my outlet. And so, I ended up going professionally. And, later on, kind of ended up resigning as the director of tennis, went on the road started teaching camps. And yeah, I've been playing professionally for about the last seven years now. I own a camp business called Tyson McGuffin Signature PB Camps and also have a podcast. So, I'm all in, Ben.
Just opening the kimono a little bit. Is there much money in pickleball? Because you and I had a private discussion going back and forth about this doctor friend of mine who wants to start an actual pickleball squad, one of my friends who runs this Wild Health physicians' network. They sponsor a baseball team and they put them through this executive health screening and then they just throw a bunch of money at the team and send them around to compete. But, this guy, Dr. Dawson, he's super into pickleball. He told me, “Dude, we're going to start the first-ever pro pickleball team. We're going to throw a bunch of money into it. We're going to optimize all these players and go big in pickleball.” And, he told me all this, I was like, “Oh, it's interesting, but I actually don't even know” because tennis, if you get to the — I think even the quarterfinals of Wimbledon, you're getting close to a half mil as far as a paycheck. What's it like in pickleball as far as the actual money in the sport right now?
Tyson: Yeah. Obviously, very different from tennis and golf. I mean, tennis, even if you make first round of a Grand Slam, so if you lose first round of a Grand Slam in tennis, whether it's Wimby, French Open, U.S. Open, or the Australian Open, you're guaranteed 40k, which is not too shabby. So, if you're inside the top 124 in rankings in tennis, you're guaranteed 40 to show up at each of those Grand Slams. Pickle is very different. So, pickle, it's definitely heading the direction. We have three different tours to a certain degree. We have the PPA, the APP, and then Major League Pickleball.
So, there's a gentleman named Tom Dundon. He owns the Carolina Hurricanes. It's an NHL team and was one of the early investors in Topgolf. He just bought the PPA tour, the tour that I play on, and bought it about two years ago. So recently, the last year and a half, pickle has gotten pretty real. There is more money in the sport. Next year is my first year where I'm going full-time pickle. I'm not going to be teaching as much, I'm still going to be doing my content and doing my stuff from home. But now, I'm doing well with brand endorsements. There's enough appearance fees and prize money coming in where now I can actually support my whole family and my four kids and do it the right way. But, the last seven years, I've been grinding away, I've been teaching 20, 40 camps out of the year, doing lots of content and all the above to make up for not being able to just play as an athlete. I would say 90% of the pro players right now playing pickleball working 8:00 to 5:00.
Ben: Yeah. But, let's say if you were to win the U.S. Open, what would be the paycheck for something like that in pickleball?
Tyson: Yup, yup. So yeah, so if you win the U.S. Open, you're probably guaranteed 5,000. And, what makes it right now is having sponsors that match prize money. So, I have anywhere from 8 to 10 sponsors that all take care of me and I have a couple of the sponsors that all match prize money. So, it's not in the initial prize money, it's obviously building your brand, making yourself marketable, so you can get sponsors, and then really trying to put it on those sponsors to match prize money. And, that's where the big payouts are. So, I would say, right now, the top five male and top five females probably all have anywhere from one to three matches from sponsors that all match prize money. I would assume in the next five years with prize money growing with the sport heading the right direction and with prize money being much bigger, I would assume that sponsors in five years are not going to be matching prize money if you know what I mean.
Ben: Absolutely. I know a small handful of freaking billionaires who are obsessed with pickleball, which means going down the pipe, I know there'll be more money and more sponsors kind of supporting the sport. So, I think it's only going to go uphill because $5,000 is for winning a national championship that's obviously, you know this, is kind of chump change compared to —
Tyson: It's peanuts, Ben. Peanuts.
Ben: Yeah, the popularity the actual sport.
So, related to that because I used to run into this, in Ironman triathlon, and this was honestly one of the reasons I really didn't hardcore pursue a professional ranking in Ironman was because I looked at the number of hours and time and energy spent training. And, I knew I couldn't support a family doing it, but I'm just curious with something like pickleball, is training kind of a full-time job? Or, what does a typical day of training look like for you? And, we got time to delve into this because I have an audience who really loves the fitness, the biohacking, the recovery. So, tell me what a typical day would look for you, like an optimized training day.
Tyson: Yup. So, I play 30 tournaments a year or 25 to 30 tournaments a year. I'm on the road. Yeah, I mean, shoot, 30 to 35 weeks out of the year.
Ben: Okay. Wait, with the tournament, I've never ever been to a tournament or watched a tournament. I want to. I definitely want to play in a tournament someday. But, with tennis, sometimes like two or three matches a day, two to three days in a row, what's a pickleball tournament look like as far as the physical rigors?
Tyson: Tournaments are a complete grind, Ben. So, tournaments, I'll play singles Thursday. So, I'll usually fly on a Tuesday. So, I'll fly in Tuesday afternoon. I'll be sure to get a session in or get a practice in here in Coeur d'Alene Tuesday morning. Fly to Spokane airport Tuesday afternoon, get to my hotel Tuesday night, get a good night's rest, practice Wednesday, practice Wednesday morning, probably get an afternoon practice in as well. So, do two on that Wednesday and then rock and roll Thursday through Sunday. So, Thursday usually a singles, Fridays mixed doubles, Saturdays gender doubles, and then Sunday is championship Sunday. And, I'll play anywhere from, let's say, four to eight matches in a day. And, my day usually starts around 8:00 a.m. and ends anywhere from 2:00 to 6:00 just depending on how I do. Obviously, if I make a final, then I then my final on Sunday.
Yes, when I'm home, I'm usually home for a week or so. We do have a little four to six-week break during the summer. And, I usually use that time to get my ass in the gym and get very aggressive with strength training, functional training, mixture of boxing, cardio, but yeah, so an average day to me, I'm waking up at 5:00, I usually get my hot tub around 6:00 to crank out all my emails and get all my social media stuff done from 6:00 to 6:45, get a nice little sweating in the hot tub. I just ordered a cold plunge as well. So, once that cold punch gets here, I'll be doing some hot and cold in the morning. I'm usually out the door by 7:00 practicing from 7:00 to 10:00. Directly after practice, I'll go work out.
I have a guy locally. His name's Craig Feistner, ex MMA guy. I'm a big UFC fan and obviously used to wrestle back in the day. So, I'll go see Craig. Craig has a gym in Coeur d'Alene, it's called CDA 1ON1 Fitness. And, I'll usually spend about two hours with Craig. And, like I mentioned, we'll do a mixture of interval training, functional training, band work, cardio, boxing. But usually, big thing for me is core, hand speed, foot speed, and then making sure that my gas tank is up to par, right?
Tyson: Yeah. And then, directly after that, I will go back and do a second practice. Maybe it's from 1:00 to 3:00. After that, I'll go do my recovery. There's a place in town here in Coeur d'Alene called The Zone. I'll go do cryo, like to do IVs as well. When I do IVs, I usually do Myer cocktails. I'll do NAD every five to six weeks. And, when I do NAD, I'll do 500 milligrams.
I'm also the brand ambassador of Bemer. I use Bemer morning and night. It's a medical device you lay on that helps with blood flow and helps with mental clarity, sleep, recovery, all that good stuff. I also use compression boots. I use compression boots morning and night. I'm all in. So usually, it's practice in the morning, workout, back to practice, and then get all my recovery stuff in.
Ben: Yeah. Wow, you're actually doing a lot of stuff to stay put together. It doesn't surprise me at all. But, as far as a typical weight training routine, are you doing a lot of high rep low resistance, high weights, more power-based exercises, kettlebells, bands, or just a mix of everything?
Tyson: Mixture of everything, yeah. During in between tournaments, high reps low weight. If I have that little break in between season that I have four to six weeks to work with, then I'll go higher weight lower rep, and try to try to build some muscle. But, usually, in between tournaments, it's more so just trying to maintain.
Ben: Yeah, yeah, that makes sense. Wow. So, it's pretty rigorous.
And, what about the diet? I just subscribed to Pickleball Magazine, so I've got that. I've hit the pickleball playground, like I mentioned, and don't really see much as far as you walk in a CrossFit sometimes, it's the fridge with the primal bars and the done-for-you, I don't know, quinoa bowls with salmon and all that jazz. But, in pickleball, is it just old school tennis is where if I walk into tennis club, it's Gatorade, power bars, and some low-fat scones and then wine and beer for people to socialize with afterwards? In pickleball, is there any type of nutrition or dietary trend right now?
Tyson: I would say some of some of the top players are doing it right and definitely dieting the right way. For myself, if I try to stay away from sugar, stay away from bread, stay away from fried food, if I could just stick to smoothies in the morning, taking my supplements. I usually do two protein shakes a day, morning and night. And then, protein and veggies, that's my go-to. So, I try to be as clean as I can whether it's dieting, practicing. Recovery, I try to do everything at the best of my ability if you know what I mean.
Ben: Yeah, yeah, that makes sense. So, are you doing anything like macronutrient tracking like low carb or keto or carb loading or anything like that?
Tyson: None of that yet. No. Once I get working with someone like yourself, I can definitely start improving in those areas.
Ben: Yeah. Actually, I want to delve into that in a little bit because I think we can tear down your supplement, your nutrition routine and kind of get into asking your questions. But, before we get into the nitty-gritty of how to train, how to eat different supplements that might come in handy, et cetera, a few more practical questions regarding pickleball.
First of all, let's say somebody wants to get into this sport. I know there's a bunch of apps that let you find a court and somebody local to play with. I know there are magazines like Pickleball Magazines, there's books out there. If somebody's listening in and they either just got started or have no clue where to start, what's the best way for somebody to get started in pickleball?
Tyson: Best way to get started is you can go to usapa.com, get signed up as a member, check to see where there's courts at. So, I would say first and foremost, go to USAPA. That's the governing body in pickleball. They can give you lots of information, lots of resources about how to get involved.
There's local parks everywhere, Ben. And, the great thing about pickleball is that I mean, just like what you mentioned earlier, you can simply just show up at a park, find some people that are super embracing whether they're high level or low level, and just jump on a court. And, that's the beauty of this sport, brother.
Ben: Yeah, that's what I've experienced too. You can just jump on even if you're not that great. Everybody seems super nice. They just welcome you right onto the court.
So, I did download an app recently that got recommended to me. Let me grab my phone here. I'll tell you which one it is. But, it apparently lets you look for courts, look for players. Pickle Play.
Tyson: Yes. And, Pickle Play wasn't sure if you were trying to use that as a plug or not, but thank you. Pickle Play is actually —
Ben: No, I wasn't. Are you involved with it?
Tyson: Yeah. So, I'm actually the brand ambassador of Pickle Play. Pickle Play is an app where you can find level-specific play in your area, you can find courts, you can set up leagues. There's a text chain in the app where you can talk to people in there. So yes, if you want to get involved in pickleball, if you want to find courts or find people to play with, please check out Pickle Play. It is owned by a couple in Indianapolis. And, their names are Blake and Alex Renaud. They have a couple of kids that are very friendly with my kids and they're great people. So, check out Pickle Play today, please.
Ben: Okay, cool. I've got to download. I'm going to be messing around with it later on today.
And then, my other question is, so I'm busy, I'm on the road a lot of times. I don't have the time to leave my house, but I got 10 minutes here, 15 minutes there, or I'm at an Airbnb or hotel when I'm on the road, and I have my paddle and I have my ball.
What things could you do if you couldn't get to the court that would still make you a better pickleball player? Are there certain drills that you could do in a small space or things that even if you can't make it to the courts can allow you to continue to evolve? And, this is related to, I used to get frustrated because I bow hunt, and shooting the bow is pretty important and I just obviously can't throw my bow into a suitcase everywhere I go. But, I got a tip from a guy named John Dudley about how to take your bow handle and a string and use your release and basically travel with little bow and a string and release just be able to practice your release and your form while you're on the road. And, I even had a downloadable track that would walk you through how to breathe, okay, take your shot, visualize the animal, et cetera. And, I could literally just practice shooting my bow in my hotel room without my bow. So, kind of related to pickleball, what would be your tips if you can't make it to the court?
Tyson: That's a great question, Ben. So, something you can do is grab your paddle and you can do some shadow swinging. You can shadow swing dinking technique, you can shadow swing ground strike technique, you can shadow swing volley technique. But, a good way to really work on your technique is by doing some stationary shadow swings. Also too if you have a ball, you can really work on your paddle skills, you can work on your grips. If you have a ball, you can do ups or basically, your palm is facing up, you have your paddle, you put the ball on top of the paddle, you can try to get a hundred of those. It's kind of like you're dribbling but you're dribbling up in the air, try to get 100 of those. If you're on the first floor of your hotel and there's nobody below you, you could also do some downs in that same manner where now your palm is facing at the ball or your palm is facing towards the ground and you're dribbling, you can get 100 of those. You can also do some flip-flops. But yeah, I guess if you are by yourself and you can't get to a court, you can do some shadow swinging which more so works on technique or you could do those paddle skill drills with the ball to focus on working on your grip pressure and working on your control with your paddle.
Ben: For people who need to visualize that, have you ever done a video like how to get better at pickleball without going to the pickleball courts or something like that?
Tyson: I have not, but I've been asked to do that video various times. So, something I'm going to do —
Ben: Do it.
Tyson: Exactly, I know.
Ben: It'd be popular. I know there's other pickleball like what did I found? I found YouTube channel the other day called The Pickleball Kitchen, I think it was called. And, that makes sense because for people listening, part of the court where you're not allowed to volley and yeah, let the ball bounce and do what's called a dink, it's the kitchen, which is counter-intuitive to tennis where you volley at the net. In pickleball, you can't volley at the net, you got to let the ball bounce at least if you're at a certain proximity to the net.
So, I was watching this YouTube show called The Pickleball Kitchen. There's some good videos on there, but what I was specifically looking for was how to get better at pickleball without actually having to go to the court for the busy people who could maybe only make it out to play on, I don't know, a Saturday and a Sunday or something like that.
Tyson: Can you tell your listeners what paddle that you're using?
Ben: Well, I know it's made by Selkirk. Where's Selkirk based on? Aren't they super close to us?
Tyson: Selkirk is based in Hayden, Idaho, baby.
Ben: Yeah. Okay. And, they're one of the top, from what I understand, pickleball equipment manufacturers in the world, which is great. I had no clue they even existed, but I was at the pickleball playground and somebody picked up this paddle and they said, “This is the one that you should use if you were a former tennis player.” And so, I picked it up and I messed around with it a little bit and I think it was called a Vanguard or something like that. And then, I texted you and you sent me one I think it has your name on it, but it's made by Selkirk. What's the actual make and model because I love it compared to the just the cheapo $10 amazon one I was using?
Tyson: Oh, yeah. Best looking pad on the game, it's my signature model, it's called the Invicta. It's called the Tyson McGuffin Selkirk Invicta. And, it is pretty. I'll tell you what.
Ben: Why does the paddle matter? We don't have to go deep into the science because I'm sure that people could just geek out on this for hours, but what are the main things that make getting a better pickleball paddle a good idea?
Tyson: Well, just paddle technology in general starting to get a lot more advanced, they're starting to play with different materials, like honeycomb and carbon. Carbon is kind of like the new material. And, it seems like with carbon, you get best of both worlds, you get feel and you get lots of power. And, previously in the last five years or so, it kind of seemed like paddles were either feel-oriented or they were power-oriented. Now, with paddle technology getting more advanced and we're having various engineers play with different materials and really raise the level of power and spin and all the above, but it seems like now paddle manufacturers are going the route of being able to use materials that give you best of both worlds where you get not only power but you get some good feel as well.
I just got back from a trip. My Levels continuous blood glucose monitor is waiting for me. I slapped it on, it's on the back of my arm right now. I've been using this thing for two years. Total game changer. I'll put it on for about two weeks and then take a break for a month or two. Some people wear all year round, but it gives you real-time feedback on your diet, or your lifestyle, or your exercise, anything by using what's called the continuous glucose monitor.
Now, poor glucose control is associated with a number of chronic conditions, not just diabetes, but also Alzheimer's and heart disease, and stroke, even affects your day-to-day energy levels, your ability to control weight, your sexual function. So, I started tracking my own glucose to learn more about not only what I should and shouldn't be eating, but how I should train, other things that drop my blood glucose, things that raise my blood glucose. When I started as a Levels member, I thought I understand my metabolic health pretty well, it turns out, like most people, I didn't have that great of an idea about how some foods surprisingly were affecting me like steak spikes my blood sugar, cold bath decreases it. Green beans spike my blood sugar. Not so much with oatmeal. It's super weird. And, everybody's different, which is why you really don't know unless you test. What you read in a magazine that's going to spike or control your blood sugar is not necessarily what's accurate for you personally.
So, if you want to try one of these continuous glucose monitors also known as the CGM, you go to levels.link/Ben. They got a really well-researched in-depth blog I recommend checking out if you're just looking to learn more about topics like metabolic health, longevity, and nutrition. Very well written, but levels.link/Ben is where you can actually get one of these continuous glucose monitors for yourself.
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Yeah, I definitely noticed something different about. I mean, I should know that knowing the tennis racket technology, but I never thought the paddle could make a big difference. But, it's a cool-looking paddle too. So, there we go already pimping Tyson stuff, but it seems to work well.
So, what happened, I think the way that we got connected was I started to play pickleball and then I wanted to see as I do with a lot of sports, I'm like, “Okay, what's this look like at the top level?” And, I was again, like I mentioned, blown away once I pulled up some Instagram and some YouTube videos and started to watch people playing pickleball at a high level and I was like, “Oh, this is way more than just a retirement community sport.” Again, no offense to any senior citizens listening in, that was just my initial impression of it.
And then, I came across your Instagram and I think what I went to do was message you and I was going to ask you about, it was just basically tips or something like that. And, I pulled open the Instagram message and you had messaged me at some point and I never replied because I rarely check Instagram messages at all, but you had asked me a couple questions about training or nutrition or something like that. And so, then we wound up exchanging phone numbers and we got together, we decided to do this podcast. But specifically, one of the things we want to get into was, of course, even though we've established, we've well established the fact that I'm not a pickleball expert, anything like that, but I am an expert in human physiology and nutrition and biomechanics and how to hack any sport when it comes to optimizing the mind and the body.
So, I figured you probably had some questions as well and I'd love to delve into anything you want to get into like training, recovery, nutrition, hydration, anything like that. So, let's have fun and start to geek out on some of the nitty-gritties of the biomechanics and the body chemistry when it comes to pickleball.
Tyson: Okay. So, I guess just looking at the movements and the biomechanics of pickleball. What sort of training program would you put together for a top pickleball athlete?
Ben: Yeah. So, it's interesting because a lot of times these days, I'm recommending that people who want to stay fit for life do a combination of very super slow training like single set exercises to exhaustion like full body like chest press, row, shoulder press, pull down squat, deadlifts, single set to failure to exhaustion. And, that's 20 to 25 minutes three times a week, and then do lots of walking and throw some calisthenics in here and there. And, that's what a lot of people are doing now just because it's more the anti-aging and longevity routine. But then, if you pivot and you look at more of an athletic routine, there's some definite differences.
So, the main thing with something like pickleball is that you want a high amount of power and fast switch muscle fiber capacity without necessarily excess slow twitch muscle fiber, which is why a lot of tennis players won't run any longer than a mile because I mean, case in point, I used to be able to dunk a basketball in college and now I can barely grab the rim because I switched to endurance sports like Ironman, for example, and I developed a lot of slow twitch muscle but it's not as explosive or fast or powerful as fast twitch muscle. So, you almost want to avoid a lot of the advice about take 15,000 steps a day, hit the treadmill now and again, the elliptical trainer, and do a lot of chronic cardio or even some of this super slow training, which is technically more of the slow twitch muscle fibers, you instead want to focus on power.
And, I think at the top of the totem pole when it comes to power and athleticism and kind of like the secret sauce that I wish more power-based athletes, power and speed-based athletes knew about would be the kettlebell. I did a Russian Kettlebell Training certification and then also what's called a Strong First Kettlebell Training certification and learned a lot of the concepts behind this Russian trainer, Pavel Tsatsouline‘s ideas when it comes to the way to train to actually build a super strong and fast and wiry and powerful and explosive body without at the same time building a lot of the muscle that you obviously got to carry around the court and you got to cool. And so, I mean, if people were to google you and look at your body, I mean you've got this fast twitch almost like the way that you'd see a powerlifter, small wiry explosive and fast. That's the type of body and that's the type of training that a kettlebell really supports very, very well. So, we're talking about everything from mobility exercises like the Turkish get-up to kettlebell swings, which are the crème de la crème of power and explosive-based exercises to kettlebell overhead presses, kettlebell goblet squats, kettlebell snatches. If you were to add kettlebells to your repertoire, I guarantee that you'd be ahead of the curve when it comes to one single tool that will rule them all in terms of the type of training that I'd implement.
The other thing that I would consider, and you probably already do a lot of this, would be the inclusion of just a ton of plyometrics: box jumps, lunge jumps, clap push-ups, even kipping pull-ups. Any of those type of really quick powerful exercises that involve mostly calisthenic-based moves. That one is another one that I'd really recommend.
Now, as far as the strength training, I mean really the kettlebell would do almost all of it for you, but throwing a little bit of powerlifting like overhead push press, deadlift, squats, things like that into the mix would also be good. So, that's number one. From a training standpoint, I'd be using a lot of kettlebell, I'd be doing a lot of plyometrics primarily using body weight or a very light weighted vest, like a 20-pound weighted vest, for example. And, if you don't have access to a kettlebell, if you're on the road, doing a lot more barbell-specific power-based exercises.
The strength component is covered with something that, but then the weak links as you know like tennis players with their shoulders or their IT bands or their Achilles, there tend to be certain injuries that pop up over and over again. And, I think that the program if you want like a done-for-you program that I think addresses a ton of weak links in the average athlete, I would look up Ben Patrick's Knees Over Toes stuff. I don't know if you've heard of him before, but he's primarily in the basketball community. But, he has a book. It was one of the top-selling little fitness books on Amazon for a while called “ATG for Life.” I think his business is called Athletic Training Group.
And, I've had a lot of people who I have doing strength training programs and resistance training and certain forms of high-intensity interval training on all their off days. They'll do that routine, which is a 20- to 30-minute routine that's done for you as far as bulletproofing the body and addressing a lot of the weak links like the external rotators, the glute medius, the rhomboids, the rotator cuff, some of the muscles that are supportive of the knee like the vastus medialis, and then areas that don't get targeted with a lot of specificity compared to something like kettlebell training or powerlifting or something like that. so, that one's called ATG and that's Ben Patrick's program. And, if you were to do something kettlebells plus plyometrics plus addressing weak links on a regular basis with a program like that, I mean, though those alone would be absolutely stellar for the physical training side of things.
And then, the other thing I'd throw in would definitely be the mobility component, the so-called young muscle component, this idea that cross-linking of fibers occurs especially in an aging athlete. And, the best way to tackle that is if you don't have access or funding for something like regular massage therapy is a ton of work that's very similar. Have you ever seen Kelly Starrett's book “Becoming A Supple Leopard“?
Ben: So, that book is like a bible for taking any nagging ache or pain or tight spot in the muscles and working it out with things like foam rollers, lacrosse balls, peanut-shaped rollers, a lot of the vibrating muscle therapy devices that are out there, stick type of device devices, even using kettlebell handles and things like that. And so, typically what I'll have a lot of my athletes do is they'll get up in the morning because I like the idea of just priming the body at the very beginning of the day for something like this and do anywhere from 10 to 20 minutes of deep tissue work.
Many folks who have access to an infrared sauna or a sauna or some type of red light therapy device, they're doing it under one of those devices or in one of those saunas, so the muscles are a little bit more warm and supple. And, it's a great way to start off the day too because a lot of those red lights simulate sunrise. So, it's really great for your circadian rhythm too. But, typically in a red light type of room or a sauna, you start the day with 10 to 20 minutes of deep tissue work where you're just hunting down any tight spots in the body and rolling them out or doing a lot of press and release or a lot of wave and sheer type of activity. And, that that book “Becoming A Supple Leopard” by Kelly Starrett is just fantastic in terms of almost like a cookbook where you can hunt down anything that's tight.
And so, it's not the same every day because it depends on what feels most beat up for the day, but allotting 15 to 20 minutes preferably as early in the day as possible to do a lot of the deep tissue work is a game changer, especially for longevity in the sport. And then, I'll a lot of times recommend that people combine that with another program that you can also do in the morning or perhaps during the day when you have a little movement snack or time to throw in something extra.
There's a guy, he's actually coming to my house in a couple weeks to take me through a training session, his name is Dr. Eric Goodman. He's worked with a bunch of executives to pro athletes, to Tour de France cyclists, to a lot of people who tend to have back tightness or glute deactivation. And, two of those or those two things actually hold back a lot of athletes in terms of their movement potential. So, he has a program called Foundation Training. And, it's a series of very simple exercises. One of his master trainers is out there in your neck of the woods. Her name is Kate Murphy. Shout out to Kate. And, she'll actually meet with people and take them through these training routines.
But, if you haven't looked into Foundation Training, it's self-inflicted combination of breath work and isometrics and elongation of the spine and what's called decompressive breathing. In many cases, folks who have disc problems or spinal compression, they'll do this as a way to apply traction to the spine or decompress the spine. But, it's fantastic as far as one of those things that more people should know about in terms of a way to get the body into a super hyper-athletic state using no resistance training at all, it's just basically you and your body. And, there's about 10 core moves. Most of the people I recommend when they start, they take about a month until they can actually memorize all the moves and then they'll, for example, get up, do the foam rolling, and go through the 10 core foundation exercises or get up, do the foam rolling. And then, during lunch break, do the 10 core foundation exercises, which typically take about 15 to 20 minutes.
But, from a from a sport longest gravity and an injury prevention standpoint, I would be doing the foam rolling and deep tissue work using something like Kelly Starrett's “Becoming A Supple Leopard” book technically under red light or in a sauna or something like that. And then, you combine that with something like Dr. Eric Goodman's Foundation Training, like his tree to form training. And, I mean, if you were to do that stuff and combine it with the kettlebell and with the calisthenic type of programming, it would be absolute game changer, the calisthenic and the plyometrics.
So, those are a few suggestions from the biomechanical standpoint.
Tyson: Awesome. Thank you for that. Something else that I'm looking to add to my routine in the mornings not only are we getting a cold plunge, but we're purchasing a sauna from Costco. And, that sauna has red light therapy, so I can wake up, go on my back porch, do some hot and cold, jump in the dry sauna with that red light and get my get my day going, brother.
Ben: Yeah, yeah. So, I'll give you a couple tips for that.
And, by the way, there's one other thing that a lot of baseball pitchers and tennis players are using these days. I've got one mounted on a squat rack in my gym and it's great for warming up, especially for shoulder work. And, it works fantastically for keeping the shoulders put together. It's called crossover symmetry. You heard it before?
Tyson: No, no.
Ben: Okay. So, you could get them on Amazon. They're the set of bands that come with a little placard that walk you through about 8 to 10 different shoulder-based exercises from horizontal flexion, to extension, to internal and external rotation. Any athlete who's in a shoulder sport should definitely grab those and mess around with them. You could just use them as the warm-up. Meaning, if you're going to warm up for a kettlebell routine, you hit the Aerodyne bike for five minutes, you hop off, you do the series of crossover symmetry exercises. Those crossover bands also travel really well. You can use them as a warm-up for a match or a game. That's another one that I forgot to mention that I would definitely consider throwing in the mix.
For the heat and the cold component, a lot of athletes, I think, get a little bit nervous about this idea that's getting thrown about right now. I don't know if you've heard it before, Tyson, about how cold because it shuts down inflammation and does such a good job doing so that it could inhibit your gains or inhibit your adaptations to training or inhibit the protection of mitochondria or something like that. The thing is that that is true if you do a long cold soak after workout, but most the studies that show that occurring were talking 10 plus minutes in pretty cold water or some pretty hefty cryotherapy sessions at a really, really cold temperature.
Ben: If you're doing a longer cold sit for recovery like 10 plus minutes in an ice bath or in a cold pool, which of course I know is a pain in the butt and a real drag for a lot of people to sit in the cold for that long but it's fantastic for recovery, the fact is though it's so good at quelling inflammation that you would want to space the longer cold exposure by preferably four plus hours from any workout that you do. Meaning if you're a lot of your training in the morning, you do your cold soak like say in the evening before dinner, which is a great time to do it anyways because it makes you super insulin sensitive and you can have all your carbs. For example, if you show up early tomorrow and we decide we're going to punish half a loaf of my wife's bread, we'll just go jump in the cold pool for 5-10 minutes and get nice and chilly before dinner, which is actually a great way to not only avoid the meat sweats but also be able to stay super-duper carb sensitive.
That being said though, the shorter cold soaks post-workout, they're fantastic at decreasing the body's core temperature and allowing you to recover a little bit better without necessarily quelling the inflammation. It's also fantastic. And, this is a great hack during the hot summer workouts or the warmer months. You actually get in the cold before you go and start your workout and you get this huge rush. Only two or three minutes, you get in there, but you get this huge rush of adrenaline and epinephrine and this drive to train and this really, really reduced rating of perceived exertion during your training by getting cold before you actually get in and train.
I learned this from a guy named Brad Kearns who wrote an article about it on my website about how he'd use cold before he'd go sprint. He's a top masters track and field athlete. So, there's some interesting about getting in the cold before you actually go work out as well for a brief cold exposure. And then, you save the longer cold soaks for later on in the day preferably. And then, if you're doing the cold after the workout, yeah, you do it but not for a long period of time.
Now, back to the sauna. This whole idea of hot-cold contrast is a game-changer for recovery. And, I think the two best ways to do, I'll throw three at you, a couple that you could use or one that you could use on the road and then two that you can use at home. So, the first one is very, very simple, gold standard for the use of that sauna like the one you're getting from Costco is you go about 25 to 45 minutes in the heat and then you finish with three to five minutes in the cold. That routine gives you a ton of the recovery adaptations, the insulin sensitization, the nervous system recovery, the conversion of not that you have a ton of fat, but it'll help to convert white adipose tissue in a metabolically active brown fat. And, that's a very, very simple routine, it's just the sauna set plus the cold. You don't have to go back and forth and back and forth, you just do the sauna plus the cold 25 to 45 minutes in the sauna and then three to five minutes in the cold. And, that would be something you could do at home. So, I do that routine three to four times a week and I'm addicted to it. I did it this morning. I mean, you just feel on top of the world. And, that's provided you could still do your main training session later on in the day or this would be on a recovery day, for example.
On recovery days, I always have a whole, what I call, parasympathetic menu for my athletes where they've got option for sauna, option for cold, option for a longer foam rolling session, or even a massage options for working in that core foundation training, some different stretching routines, some different yoga routines, even the use of breathwork apps like one of my favorites is called Othership for really great breath work routine. So, it's the recovery days. Some of the people I work with, literally people who are training for competition or a pro athlete or someone who has a lot of time in their hands, they're doing sometimes on a recovery day two hours of what some people might perceive as training even though it's all just recovery-based activities like sauna and cold and foam roller and massage and recovery boots and breathwork. And so, by the end of the day, even on recovery day, there's a ton that you can do to amplify recovery.
But anyways, when you're on the road, you aren't going to have your sauna with you or your cold plunge. And so, there's two things on the road or at home that can work really, really well for getting that same hot-cold contrast recovery benefit. One, and this is what I do when I'm traveling, I got access to nothing but a shower is 20 seconds cold, 10 seconds hot, 10 times through. It's a five-minute routine. I learned it from this. He was actually a former NASA engineer who was in Wired Magazine and had connected with Tim Ferriss on using cold for fat loss. And, he had some people he was training literally burn almost 10 pounds of fat in a month just by doing this hot-cold contrast shower once in the morning and once in the evening. But, it turns out it's fantastic for recovery as well. It's very, very simple. In the morning in your hotel room or in the evening post-training, you go cold for 20 seconds, hot for 10 seconds, 10 times through, it's total of five minutes. And, the amount of blood flow and recovery and removal of metabolic waste products with muscle is fantastic when you do something like that.
The other one is more of an immersive routine, but this would be one to do on a recovery day. And, I'll do this typically two or three times a month for recovery and it works so well. And, sometimes I'll do it with friends, we'll just be chatting and socializing while we do this. And again, if we have time, I could take you through this one tomorrow because I got a hot tub right next to my cold pool. But, it's five minutes hot, five minutes cold, four minutes hot, four minutes cold, three-three, two-two, one-one. And, that's using typically a hot tub and a cold pool. You could technically do with a sauna and a cold pool, but the immersion works better just jumping from one body of water to the other. And then, for people who have a ton of time, you can actually ladder back up and do once you hit one-one, then go two-two, three-three, four-four, five-five. I mean, you feel a new human being after that type of hot-cold contrast.
So, just a few examples of what you could do as far as the heat and the cold.
Tyson: Love it. Okay.
I've been told that with me using Bemer for the last four years, it's really increased my blood flow. And then, with that comes a lot of sweating. And so, something I've been struggling with honestly is I just sweat like a machine and there's just sheets and sheets of sweat that come off of me. And, when I'm playing in Vegas, Palm Springs, west coast when it's dry, it's an 8 or 9-shirt type a day. When I'm east coast and it's hot and humid, I mean literally I'm suffering out there, I'm going through 15 to 20 shirts. Generally, halfway throughout the day, I'm kind of crampy, I start cramping in my abs and it leads to my full body. I'm the brand ambassador of this company called SaltStick, so I take electrolytes through them and take their salt caps. But, I've gone into full body cramps a couple times, definitely not fun. There's been some people that have seen me hurting pretty badly during some matches, but something that I dealt with two weeks ago, it was brutal. So, I was in Dallas, it was hotter in hell on that Saturday. It was 95 degrees with 90% humidity.
Anyhow, I played six or seven matches that day, didn't even play singles. I played mixed doubles. And then, I was supposed to play in a men's doubles final that night. I could tell throughout the day. I don't know, it's funny there's certain days where I can tell I'm going to cramp early. But, I'll start feeling my gas tank does not feel endless. It feels like I'm kind of hitting a wall early in the day. It's almost a heat stroke comes on where I start seeing particles in the air. My vision gets blurry, the back of my neck starts getting a little tingly. Anyhow, that given day, I ended up going into full body cramps and couldn't play my finals match and had to go back to my hotel, got a mobile IV nurse to come over and give me an IV. I ended up getting pretty nauseous as well. Anyhow, I was in full body cramps and I was dying.
I guess, is there anything you could suggest that would help with my cramping?
Ben: Yeah, absolutely, I got a few ideas.
So, first of all, it's actually pretty rare that cramping is due to a loss of electrolytes and dehydration during the actual match or during the actual play. As a matter of fact, if you look at professional marathoning, the majority of athletes who log the fastest marathon times when they cross the finish line, they're actually the most dehydrated of the bunch and have lost the most body weight; Whereas, the people who wind up in the medical tents are typically the ones at the back who are drinking too much water and Gatorade and develop something called hyponatremia. And yet, there's this myth that's pervasive that's not really helped out too much by folks like the Gatorade Sports Science Institute and sports drinks manufacturers that the number one cause for cramping is a loss of hydration electrolytes that needs to be replaced during competition. The fact is it's usually the things that you've done leading up to competition that put you into a state where you're going to be more prone to cramping.
And, there's a few different things to bear in mind. First of all, the number one reason that folks cramp is due to what's called an alpha motor neuron reflex. The alpha motor neuron reflex, it's a protective mechanism, it's basically, let me put it this way, you see reports of a mom lifting a burning car up in the air to save her baby who's underneath, and I don't know if that's true but sometimes folks can engage in feats of superhuman strength. And, the reason for that is because their alpha motor neuron reflux becomes inhibited. And, that muscle protective mechanism that would technically keep the muscle from tearing itself after it's exerted itself too much goes away.
Now, that's a good mechanism because obviously if we could just lift cars and throw around logs all day, we would be sore, we would have rhabdomyolysis, we'd have muscle fiber breakdown, we'd be getting injured a lot, very strong creatures, pound for pound compared to humans like gorillas and monkeys, for example, they don't have as much of that reflex, as much as that inhibitory reflux. So, they have what might be considered almost superhuman strength, the average chimpanzee, but what they don't tell you is those type of primates also tend to tear muscle fibers, rip muscles off of joints, cramp, and get all sorts of, I'm sorry, cramp, they basically damage the muscles. And, that's due to the lack of that reflex.
Whereas, in humans, we have this protective mechanism called a cramp where the muscle will seize and cramp up before you get to the point where you can actually tear it or damage it. And, the reason that that protective mechanism kicks in most often is because folks are asking their bodies to do something in competition or in racing or in match play that they haven't asked their bodies to do in training.
Now, even though that's the number one cause for cramps, not being physically prepared from a training standpoint for what it is your body's about to experience, that's actually a very rare reason for cramping amongst the pro athlete population like you because you obviously train your butt off. It's not like you're one of those people who's jumping into a marathon with very little training and trying to run 26 miles and then cramping because your muscles are trying to protect themselves because you're asking them to do something that they haven't had to do in training.
However, I just want to make sure that folks know the physical preparedness and the lack of physical preparedness is typically the reason that you would cramp during an event. And, that just means you ask your body during training to engage in some efforts that are similar to what it's going to experience during competition. That's back to why I recommend the powerlifting and the kettlebells and the plyometrics and the explosive training for somebody like you or anybody who wants to get good at this sport.
So, let's shove that aside for a second because let's just say you're training properly and it's not because you have a poor training program. Well, a few of the other reasons for cramping, but first of all, top of the totem pole is a magnesium deficiency that's built up for weeks or months leading up to competition. Most athletes don't take enough magnesium. It's the number one electrolyte or mineral that's responsible for cramping during sports. And, that's an easy fix. You keep a bottle of transdermal magnesium or topical rub on magnesium by your bed stand at night when you travel, when you're at home, and you just rub that into as many muscles as you can particularly focusing on the ones that tend to cramp most often. And, that gets absorbed very well. It goes straight into the muscle and you combine that with some type of oral magnesium supplementation.
Now, for the transdermal, there are some great I think two of the better companies out there. One's called Cymbiotika. It's spelled with a K, Cymbiotika. They do a really good transdermal spray on magnesium. Another company called Ancient Minerals. They have a really, really good transdermal magnesium lotion. And, you can just apply that right before you go to bed. You could technically apply it pre-competition, but the problem is a little bit of a muscle relaxant. So, I would instead do it before bed. And then, I think one of the better forms of magnesium out there right now is by a company called BiOptimizers. They have one called Magnesium Breakthrough. And, you can take about anywhere from three to six of those capsules before you go to bed at night, nice side effects, is there also a little bit of a stool softener. So, you can go to the bathroom easier in the morning. But, magnesium would be one big one to focus on, that in addition to a lot of the trace minerals that the average sports drinks. And, I think you're supplemented by some electrolyte companies, right?
Tyson: Correct. SaltStick is the main one.
Ben: Okay. Yeah. So, SaltStick is good. I mean, that's a full-spectrum mineral supplement. So, you're probably getting what you need from that. I think that top of the totem pole for minerals is something called Quinton, Q-U-I-N-T-O-N. You could probably throw in a little bit more of that in your morning glass of water and you should be doing a giant Mason glass of water every morning when you get up anyways. But, I do that giant Mason glass of water in the morning. I put a few things in it. I put hydrogen tablets in it because those are a selective antioxidant that are just fantastic for quelling inflammation and allowing you to recover a lot more quickly. I get them from a website called Water and Wellness. So, I'll do three of the hydrogen tablets, I'll do one packet of this Quinton, which it tastes super intense sea water but you'll know as soon as you taste it like, “Oh, there's salt and then there's salts,” this literally tastes like I'm drinking seawater but it'll build up your minerals.
So, you can still use the SaltStick especially during competition, but I would supplement that with some of this Quinton in the morning in that giant Mason glass of water. So, you have hydrogen, you have Quinton, and then the other thing that I'd throw in there is this Adrenal Cocktail because a lot of people, especially athletes who are training a lot people are stressed out. Your adrenal glands on top of each kidney, they burn through a lot of minerals and a lot of vitamin c when you're stressed out. So, this Adrenal Cocktail, it's a powder that's made by company called Jigsaw Health and you just put a giant heaping scoop of that powder in your giant morning glass of water with some Quinton and some hydrogen, and that's the go-to tonic that you drink in the morning and combined with the magnesium spray and the magnesium at night. So, you're literally, for weeks and weeks leading up to every competition, topping off the mineral and the hydration and the magnesium levels to the point where you're at far less risk for cramping during the actual event.
Now, a few other things related to cramping. One would be, and this is super interesting, it's kind of funny. There's companies out there now selling Pickle juice for cramping or selling what they call hot shots for cramping. They're super spicy or super bitter or sour compounds that people despite Pickle juice obviously being pennies on the dollar just pour some extra Pickle juice from the container in your fridge into a little bottle and drink some of that when you get a cramp, people are now profiting heavily off that phenomenon that shows that pickle juice actually does reduce cramping. They're selling these pickleball shots. It's crazy. It'd be great though for the sport of pickleball. Obviously, there's some cross-branding there for a company who has a good idea like the pickleball Pickle juice or whatever.
The interesting thing is that when you have the pickle juice, you don't even have to swallow it for the cramp to go away, you just taste something super salty. Or, let's say those SaltSticks, if they're capsules, you can break them open and just taste them in your mouth. And, that super salty taste is what actually sends the signal straight to the brain before the stuff can even get absorbed into the bloodstream that causes a inhibition of that alpha motor neuron reflex that cause the cramping. So, the reason I'm telling you this is that let's say you do everything I told you but you got a super long match, super-hot day, and you develop a cramp, the way to get rid of it within 10 seconds is you grab the saltiest bitterest most sour thing you can find. Again, a lot of people use Pickle juice, a lot of people rather than swallowing the electrolyte capsules will literally rip them open and dump them into their mouth. And, the cramp goes away due to that mouth-puckering super salty taste that fills your mouth. It's just really interesting phenomenon. It's the same reason that athletes who are bonking, if they literally just taste glucose in their mouth, it gives this surge of energy. So, it's really, really an interesting phenomenon. So, what you do is you get Pickle juice or you get your electrolyte tablets, and if you do cramp, you just put as much of it in your mouth as possible. And, that super salty taste can reverse the cramp.
The other two things I would consider. One would be what I already mentioned that foam rolling, the cross-linking between muscle fibers, these adhesions between muscle fibers, that's a huge reason for that reflex to kick in. So, the more you can keep those fibers aligned with regular foam rolling, regular lacrosse ball work, regular deep tissue work, the better. Even the use of these percussive massage guns that you could use before a match, that's actually super related to cramping.
And then, finally the last thing I wanted to mention related to the heat issue, which goes hand in hand with cramping, is there something that a lot of people, they've shown that when your body temperature is cooler, when it's at night and you're sleeping, you sleep a lot better. And so, a lot of sleep supplements now are putting something called glycine into their sleep supplements. Now, glycine is really interesting because it actually lowers the body's core temperature naturally. It's an amino acid that's found in muscle tissue. And, supplementing with it can increase energy. But, typically a dosage of 500 to 1,000 milligrams of glycine, naturally it brings the body's temperature down. So, you could technically supplement with glycine about an hour before your match 500, 2,000 milligrams of glycine. It's a natural way to cool the body's core temperature. So, you should also consider that in addition to the minerals, that morning cocktail that I mentioned, the topical magnesium, and the nighttime oral magnesium, the foam rolling, and the taste of the Pickle juice.
And then, the last little thing I want to throw in. This one kind of flies under the radar, but there's a company called Fast Vitamin IVs. It's run by a doctor. He's been on my show before, Dr. Craig Koniver. And, he actually makes these IVs. They're small push IVs that technically you're not supposed to do yourself but nudge, nudge, wink, wink. It's a push IV. It takes 60 seconds. Once you figure out how to give yourself these IVs, I literally just use a vein in my arm and give myself one like once or twice a week, it's like a Myers cocktail but it's got a ton of these electrolytes and amino acids. And, compared to paying 150 bucks going and sitting in a chair for an hour, et cetera, I'll throw an IV in a little mini sandwich cooler in my bag with a little butterfly needle. And, when I travel somewhere like international travel and I want to feel really good afterwards if I'm jet-lagged or whatever, I'll just give myself one of these IVs. And again, proceed with caution, people, if you're listening in, I didn't want to practice medicine without a license, but it's actually not that hard to give yourself one of these push IVs. And, this company called Fast Vitamin IVs can literally send them to your house. You could travel with them on ice. And, that can be a game changer too in the cramping and in the electrolyte department.
Tyson: Cool, cool, love all that. And, I'll definitely implement some of that new stuff.
Ben: Yeah. Well, man, I know we're already running up against time a little bit. I feel we kind of scratched the surface on everything that we could do to get you fully optimized. This might be the first of many discussions that we have, but man, I don't know how to bring this thing to a close but all I have to say is if people are listening in, pickleball is amazing. You should try it and you should follow Tyson. And again, I'll link to all his stuff at BenGreenfieldLife.com/Pickleball where you can leave your own questions and comments and feedback and use that Pickle Play app that we mentioned to find a match, find a court, et cetera. But, Tyson, what else would you throw in there?
Tyson: Yeah. I would say, Ben, thanks again for having me on. Appreciate the time. You're a complete beast when it comes to health and wellness and all the above in that space. Look forward to spending some time tomorrow. Look forward to our families meeting tomorrow and building a relationship. And, look forward to kicking your ass on the pickleball court whenever that is wink, wink.
Ben: Yeah. I am too. I know I'm probably going to tear something and cramp and be super sore if I ever actually do get a chance to play it. So, you have to have a little mercy on me.
Tyson: Yeah. I would say for all the listeners out there, I mean, pickleball literally has changed my life and there's so many cool people that are coming in the sport. There's high-end celebrities that are buying teams. There's billionaires that are buying tours. It's super embracing. And so, I just can't say enough about it. If you guys are maybe a racket sport athlete or not a racket sport athlete and you're looking to get involved in something, pickle works for all ages, works for all demographics. It's a super fun sport. And, as what Ben mentioned earlier, it's a fast-growing sport in North America. So, get your ass out there. Play some pickle, go to your local courts. There's a lot of tennis clubs nationwide too that are embracing pickleball. There's a lot of tennis directors that are bringing pickleball programming into their tennis clubs. Yeah, it's just a fun time to be in the sport. And, thanks again for having me on, Ben.
Ben: Yeah. Oh, I'm super stoked to open up this sport to my audience selfishly enough hopefully. It just gives me a few extra people to hit with when I'm traveling around the country. And, if you guys get a chance to also, and this is on my bucket list or at least my to-do item list, jump into one of Tyson's clinics because I'm sure that will vastly accelerate the learning curve and get you involved in the sport even faster. So, I'll link to Tyson, his Instagram channel, his YouTube channel, his website, everything else in the shownotes along with his podcast, what's it called Tyson, The McGuffin Show?
Tyson: Yeah, the podcast is called The McGuffin Show, a camp business is called Tyson McGuffin Signature PB Camps. And, I like to say after taking one of my camps, you get McGuffined. So, if you guys are looking to get McGuffin, get over to my website, tysonmcguffin.com. Not only do I love performing, I truly enjoy working with people, teaching and seeing people's games go full circle in a matter of these two-day camps that I put on. So, thanks again, Ben.
Ben: Sweet. You got to make this shirt if you didn't yet already, “Get McGuffined.” Alright, folks. Oh, you did?
Tyson: Of course, I've made it.
Ben: Okay, I was going to say. Good. I'll have to get one. BenGreenfieldLife.com/Pickleball, it's where the shownotes are, leave your questions or comments, your feedback over there. And, until next time, I'm ben greenfield along with the great pickleball master, Tyson McGuffin signing off from BenGreenfieldLife.com, have an amazing week.
Alright, this is cool, but you want to pay attention because it's coming up right around the corner on Friday, December 2nd. You're going to get a chance to join me and some really powerful healing physicians down in Sarasota, Florida. This is a live event. It goes from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. I'll be there, my friend, and a brilliant former podcast guest, The Doctor Strange of Medicine, Dr. John Lieurance is going to be there, HBOT USA, Dr. Jason and Melissa Sonners are going to be there with their Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy, Brian Richards of SaunaSpace, Harry Paul, one of John's friends who I recently met who's also an amazing healer for an event that's super unique. It's all based around the elements: earth, fire, air, and water, with a ton of treatments and technologies and modalities, and very unique biohacks that you're going to get exposed to during the entire event.
Basically, what I mean by that is when it comes to air, you're going to learn about hyperbaric oxygen, and ozone, and air filtration, everything you need to know to upgrade your air. When it comes to earth, pulsed electromagnetic field therapy, earthing, grounding, a host of other ways that you can use the power of the planet to enhance your health, your sleep, your recovery, your muscle gain, your fat loss, a lot more water. You'll learn about proper water filtration, how to upgrade your water, hydrogenated water, structured water, basically soup to nuts, everything you need to know about water and how to apply it in your home and your office and your life. And then, finally fire, is a fun one. Lots of cryotherapy, a little bit of ice too, breathwork, inner fire practices, a ton of stuff when it comes to introducing the element of fire into your life.
So, this event is super unique. John and I have been working on it behind the scenes and it has come together amazingly. There's even a VIP experience. If you sign up for the VIP experience, you could come two days early or stay a few days after the event, and basically, you will get all the medical protocols customized by Dr. John and his staff if you claim one of those 10 VIP spots. That'll include IV methylene blue, laser treatments, John's really unique bliss release, which is basically an endonasal adjustment, which is essentially a chiropractic adjustment through your nose for your entire skull, which if you've had TBI or concussion or allergies or things like that in the past, it totally reboots that entire system. There's going to also be ozone treatments, Myers' IV cocktails, exosome treatments, IV laser, access to a CVAC machine. And, John's entire facility is going to be at your beck and call if you got one of the VIP tickets.
And then, we're also probably going to have a little bit of a party later on in the evening after this event. The whole thing is going to be a pinch-me-I'm-dreaming full-on cutting-edge of biohacking experience. And, I'm just now letting the world know about it so spots are going to fill up pretty fast. Space is limited, but if you want to get in now, here's how. You go to BenGreenfieldLife.com/Elements-Event. That's BenGreenfieldLife.com/Elements-Event. It's in Sarasota, Florida. Again, it's all-day Friday, December 2nd. I would come in early and stay after. If you just want to try out all the crazy modalities there. I don't know how fast those VIP tickets are going to sell out, but either way, this thing is going to be absolutely amazing. I just can't wait, like I'm pinching myself, can't wait to be on the plane to head down there and do this. So, check it out, BenGreenfieldLife/Elements-Event. And, I'll see you there, I hope.
More than ever these days, people like you and me need a fresh entertaining, well-informed, and often outside-the-box approach to discovering the health, and happiness, and hope that we all crave. So, I hope I've been able to do that for you on this episode today. And, if you liked it or if you love what I'm up to, then please leave me a review on your preferred podcast listening channel wherever that might be, and just find the Ben Greenfield Life episode. Say something nice. Thanks so much. It means a lot.
During our discussion, you'll discover:
–How would Tyson describe pickleball to people?…09:29
- Best racquet sport out there
- It is the better version of tennis and ping-pong
- It caters to everybody, all demographics
- Learning curve is very quick
- It's easy to play, it's fun
- There is this whole new community that people feel like they're a part of, it's super embracing
- Tyson met his wife because of pickleball
- How pickleball started
- Ben’s experiences playing the game
-How did Tyson get into pickleball?…13:57
- Grew up in a family of wrestlers, the youngest of 7; dad was a wrestling coach for 40 years
- Had a wrestling and tennis scholarship; took the tennis scholarship
- In 2005, a guy at his tennis club who cannot play tennis anymore because of an injury invited him to the game
- Got his butt kicked by guys in their 50s and 60s at the local YMCA
- Watched a lot of videos and a week later went back to that YMCA and beat up on some old timers
- Within about eight months, Tyson played a guy that was ranked in the world's top 10
- Started playing professionally
- Resigned as a director of tennis, went on the road, started teaching camps
- Tyson McGuffin
- TM Signature PB Camps
- The McGuffin Show
-Can you win money in pickleball?…16:06
- In tennis, if you make the first round of a Grand Slam, if you lose, French Open, US Open, or the Australian Open, you are guaranteed 40K
- Pickleball has three different tours
- Tom Dundon, the owner of NHL's Carolina Hurricanes acquired the PPA
- Next year Tyson is going full-time pickle
- Brand endorsements, appearance fees, and prize money
- Last 7 years have been spent doing 20 to 40 camps every year and on content
- 90% of pickleball players now work an 8 to 5
- Winning the US Open guarantees $5,000, plus sponsorships
- Building your brand and making yourself marketable
-What does a typical day look like for Tyson, like an optimized training day?…20:10
- Play 25 to 30 tournaments a year, on the road 30 to 35 weeks out of the year
- Tournaments are a total grind:
- Practice session Tuesday morning
- Tuesday afternoon, fly in, then get a good night's rest Tuesday night
- Practice Wednesday morning and maybe afternoon
- Rock and roll Thursday through Sunday
- Thursday singles
- Friday mixed doubles
- Saturday gender doubles
- Championship Sunday
- Play anywhere from four to eight matches a day
- Tournament days start at around 8 am and end around 2 to 6 pm, depending on how the day goes
- There is a 4- to 6-week break during the summer
- Strength training and functional training
- Mixture of boxing and cardio
- An average day
- Wake up at 5 am, then hot tub
- 6 am, check emails and get all social media stuff done
- Do some hot and cold in the morning
- 7 to 10 am practice
- Train with Craig Feistner at CDA FITNESS 1ON1
- 2 hours at the gym with Craig
- Interval training
- Functional training
- Band work
- Cardio boxing
- Core, hand speed, foot speed
- 2nd practice 1-3 pm
- The Zone for recovery – cryo, IV, NAD every 5 to 6 weeks
- Bemer morning and night
- Compression boots morning and night
- Mixture of everything high reps, low weight
- Off-season – try to build some muscle
-Is there any special diet Tyson recommends?…24:06
- Stay away from sugar, bread, fried food
- Stick to smoothies in the morning, supplements, protein shakes morning and night, protein and veggies
- Try to do everything to the best of his ability
-What's the best way to get started in pickleball?…25:43
- Go to usapickleball.org to get signed up as a member and check where those courts are
- Pickle Play app, owned by Blake and Alex Renaud from Indianapolis
-What kind of things could you do if you can't get to the court that help your pickleball game?…27:50
- Grab your paddle and do some shadow swinging
- Work on your paddle skills
- Do some flip flops
- Pickleball Kitchen YouTube channel
-Why does the paddle matter?…30:34
- Ben’s paddle is a Selkirk – one of the top pickleball equipment manufacturers
- Tyson McGuffin uses a Selkirk Invicta
- Paddle technology, in general, is starting to get a lot more advanced
- Starting to play with different materials like honeycomb and carbon
-What sort of training program would you put together for a top pickleball athlete?…39:29
- Ben recommends a combination of very super slow training
- Single set to exhaustion exercises like:
- With pickleball, you want a high amount of power and fast twitch muscle fiber capacity without necessarily excess, slow twitch muscle fiber
- Avoid the advice to take 15,000 steps a day
- Kettlebell (use code GREENFIELD to save 15%)
- Pavel Tsatsouline
- BGL articles on kettlebells:
- Plyometrics like box jumps, lunge jumps, clap push-ups, kipping pull-ups with weighted vest
- Podcast with Ben Patrick:
- ATG for Life by Ben Patrick
- Athletic training group for life
- Bulletproofing the body and addressing a lot of the weak links
- Mobility component (young muscle component)
- Becoming A Supple Leopard by Kelly Starrett
- Foam rollers
- Lacrosse balls
- Peanut rollers
- Vibrating Platform
- X3 bar
- Infrared sauna
- Podcast with Dr. Eric Goodman
- Episode #172: Why Your Back Is The Most Important Part Of Your Core Workout, And What You Can Do About It.
- Foundation by Dr. Eric Goodman
- Breathwork and isometrics and elongation of the spine and what's called decompressive breathing
- Core Foundation trainer Kate Murphy
- Crossover symmetry bands with 8 to 10 different shoulder-based exercises
- Heat and cold component
- Cold plunge
- BGL article with Brad Kearns
- Othership app
- Episode #130: Tim Ferriss and Ray Cronise Explain How To Manipulate Your Body’s Temperature To Burn More Fat.
-What to do about cramping?…58:57
- It is rare that cramping is due to a loss of electrolytes and dehydration during actual competition
- The number 1 reason people get cramps is alpha motor neuron reflex
- Alpha motor neuron reflex is a protective mechanism
- Magnesium deficiency is the number one reason for cramping
- Fast Vitamin IV
-And much more…
- Elements Of Vitality with Dr. John Lieurance, Ben Greenfield & Friends: December 2, 2022, 8:00 AM – 5:00 PM EST.
Dr. John Lieurance & Ben Greenfield offer a rare experience to explore the elements of Earth, Fire, Air, and Water with unique treatments, technologies, modalities, and biohacks to represent the healing powers of each element individually. Learn more here.
- Keep up on Ben's LIVE appearances by following bengreenfieldfitness.com/calendar!
Resources mentioned in this episode:
– Podcasts And articles:
- How To Get Rid Of Knee Pain Forever, The Best Knee Rehab Exercises, The Ancient Chinese Technique To Keep Your Knees Young & More With Ben Patrick, The “Knees Over Toes Guy.”
- My Favorite Dirt-Cheap, Portable Workout Modality For Building Muscle, Increasing Endurance, Burning Fat, Enhancing Recovery & Much More.
- The Resurgence Of The Kettlebell: How An Old-School Tool For Strongmen Became A Must-Have Piece Of Equipment For Athletes And The Average Person.
- How I “Turned On” My Butt: Why My Posture Completely Sucked And How I Fixed It Fast.
- How To Turn On Your Butt, Activate Deep Breathing & Decompress Your Spine (And Why I’ve Completely Changed My Morning Routine).
- The Unfrozen Caveman Runner: How To Get A “Free” Endurance Workout & Blast Sprints On A Norepinephrine High From Cold Water Exposure.
- Episode #130: Tim Ferriss and Ray Cronise Explain How To Manipulate Your Body’s Temperature To Burn More Fat.
- ATG for Life by Ben Patrick
- Becoming A Supple Leopard by Kelly Starrett
- Foundation by Dr. Eric Goodman
– Other Resources:
- Craig Feistner
- Kate Murphy
- Pavel Tsatsouline
- CDA FITNESS 1ON1
- The Zone
- Kettlebell (use code GREENFIELD to save 15%)
- Crossover Symmetry Bands
- Compression Boots
- Morozko Forge
- Foam Rollers
- Lacrosse Balls
- Peanut Rollers
- Vibrating Platform
- X3 Bar
- Infrared sauna
- Pickle Play
- Cymbiotika Topical Magnesium
- Ancient Minerals Topical Magnesium Lotion
- BiOptimizers Magnesium Breakthrough (use code BEN10 to save 10%)
- Trace minerals (use code GREENFIELD to save 10%)
- Hydrogen (use code GREENFIELD to save 10%)
- Salt sticks
- Jigsaw Health Adrenal Cocktail (use code BEN10 to save 10%)
- Pickle juice
- Fast Vitamin IV
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