[Transcript] – Exoskeletons For Human Performance, Will Robots Rule The World, Ketosis For Muscle Gain & Much More.

Affiliate Disclosure


Podcast from:  https://bengreenfieldfitness.com/podcast/anti-aging-podcasts/the-ken-ford-podcast/

[00:00] Introduction/Molekule.com

[02:38] Human Charger

[05:19] About Ken Ford

[09:17] IHMC/How Ken is Developing an Exoskeleton for Human Performance

[17:10] What Ken Thinks About AI Robots Killing People

[19:25] How Ken Became Involved With the Ketogenic Diet and Exogenous Ketones

[22:10] The Amazing Research Ken Ford is Currently Doing on Exogenous ketones

[36:05] How Ketones Can Lower Blood Sugar Even if You Still Consume Glucose

[37:23] ThriveMarket

[41:00] Ken’s Best Exercise Biohacks and Moves

[55:30] Why Maintaining Your Grip Strength is One of the Most Important Things You Can Do

[58:50] What Ken has Found about Maintaining and Building Muscle by Studying Muscle Loss in Space

[1:03:45] The Vibration Training Platform you Can “take on a plane”

[1:06:15] Ken’s Thoughts on Exercise “mimetic” Supplements like Acetyl-l-carnitine and SARMS

[1:11:40] Ken’s Research-Based Approach to Cardiovascular Training

[1:17:36] End of Podcast

Ben:  Hey, I hunted down a pretty dang smart cookie for today’s podcast episode: Kenneth Ford.  He runs this thing called the IHMC in Florida, and we talk about exoskeletons for human performance and whether robots are gonna rule the world, ketosis for muscle gains, some cool fringe training tactics and a lot more.  His name is Kenneth Ford, I think you’ll dig him.

Speaking of cool things I’ve got two cool things to tell you about.  One is over in the corner of my office right now, and you may have heard me talk about HEPA air filters before, but the last major innovation in air purification was actually back in the 1940s and that was with the invention of the HEPA air filter.  It was part of the Manhattan project, but that’s 50 year old antiquated technology if you know how to do your math.  And imagine if your smartphone was the same as it was in the 1940s.  Mmhmm, smartphones didn’t exist in 1940s.

Anyways, so this company has completely blown out of the water what a HEPA air filter can do.  It can destroy the full spectrum of indoor air pollutants including those a thousand times smaller than what a HEPA air filter can catch.  It’s awesome if you have asthma, if you suffer from allergies, if you’re concerned about mold, if you just want a pristine, clear, Himalayan mountaintop-esque environment which is basically what my office is now based on the fact that it’s here in my office, you gotta grab one of these.  It’s been verified by science, been tested by real people, and I personally feel like my office is on top of a mountain when I have this thing around.  Anyways it’s called a Molekule, M-O-L-E-K-U-L-E, the Molekule.  And from the materials they use in this device like its sleek, solid aluminum shell to its streamlined filter subscription that’ll allow you to automatically get replacement filters.  It makes breathing clean, healthy air seamless and easy.  And you get a $75 discount on this, you just go to molekule.com, that’s M-O-L-E-K-U-L-E, molekule.com and you use promo code BEN.  Use promo code BEN at molekule.com.  It’s pretty much the best air filter that I’ve ever used, ever, and the coolest looking, too.

This podcast is also brought to you by the Human Charger, to go along with your Molekule.  The Human Charger’s basically this revolutionary light therapy device that goes into your ears.  It targets the photoreceptors on the surface of your brain and causes you to release things like serotonin and dopamine and noradrenaline to increase your energy levels and improve your mood and increase your mental alertness and reduce the effects of jetlag.  It’s a pretty cool device and it’s a calibrated white light.  It’s not a blue light which actually doesn’t influence mental alertness or mood or jetlag when you put it in your ears.  Only white light works for this, and even Ken ensured that later on in the day if you use it in the morning, you get to sleep faster at night.  I use mine every morning even when I’m at home now.  I used to just use it when I travel, now I just use it every morning when I’m at home coz why not?  Every last little bit of sleep counts.  You got to humancharger.com/ben, just like it sounds like, humancharger.com/ben and you can enter code BEN20 to get 20% off.  That’s humancharger.com/ben and use code BEN20.

In this episode of the Ben Greenfield Fitness Show:

You know, one size doesn’t fit all.  What’s good for one isn’t good for the other, but I think in intelligence supplementation programs, especially depending on your diet, so for people that are in ketosis, carnitine, both aLcar and [0:04:04] ______ form I think are important.”

“But also you couple that with decreased anabolic hormone production as you age, we all know that.  So you typically see low levels of testosterone, IGF-1, and other anabolic elements.”

Ben:  Hey folks, it’s Ben Greenfield here, and as I always am doing, I’m constantly on a quest to kinda keep my ear to the ground so to speak about very cool new ways for you to harness information on everything from fitness tactics, to biohacking, to ketosis, and nutrition, and exercising outdoors, and optimizing the mind and body and spirit.  And so I occasionally come across individuals who I feel would be a really good fit to kinda speak to a lot of parts of the spectrum that I just described.  And my guest on today’s show is really no exception.  He actually has a really good podcast, I’ve listened to it a few times.  It’s called the Stem Talk Podcast, we’ll talk about that later.  But his name is Ken Ford, and Ken is the founder and the CEO of what’s called the Florida Institute for Human and Machine Cognition.  That’s a mouthful, it’s abbreviated IHMC and it’s actually one of the nation’s top research organizations that investigates everything from A.I. to extending human cognition to locomotion to resilience.  They describe it as a new model for interdisciplinary research that strives to be both entrepreneurial and academic.

And I would say based on the podcast that I’ve heard Ken record, he’s certainly achieving that.  He’s authored hundreds of scientific papers, he’s got six books out there.  I’ll link to his websites in the show notes for today’s show which you can access at bengreenfieldfitness.com/kenford if you wanna learn a little bit more about Ken and what he does.  And in our e-mails back and forth, and I think it was another fellow podcaster, Robb Wolf who may have introduced us if I remember correctly who it was.  But in our e-mails back and forth, I discovered that Ken has a lot of other interests too.  Everything from steel bicycles and outdoor training to anti-aging to using biohacks like power dots and vibration training to blood flow restriction training to a whole host of things that I think will turn this into a relatively fascinating discussion or something that could go off the deep end pretty quickly, I’ll warn you.  So anyways, Ken, welcome to the show, man.

Ken:  Great, good to be here.

Ben:  Yeah, well it’s fantastic to have you and I guess the first place that I’d like to start is this mouthful of a place that you work at.  This IHMC, what exactly is that, man?  Coz I’m intrigued, I don’t quite have my head wrapped around what you do.

Ken:  Yeah, it’s an unpoetic acronym.  Some people think it means “I Hate My Cubicle” or all kinds of other potential meaning but as you said, it means Institute for Human and Machine Cognition.  And what that is is not for profit research lab that focuses on developing science and technology in service of leveraging and extending human performance.  So it starts with the human, that’s why the human comes first in our name, and then by whatever means necessary or whatever means appropriate, we work to extend human performance.  And by performance I mean cognitive performance, perceptual performance and locomotion, movements, as well as resilience.  Increasing human resilience is one of our focus areas.

Ben:  What’s an example of something you guys have done?

Ken:  Well, we work from robotics to A.I. to exoskeletons for paraplegics to exoskeletons for superhuman performance to ketone work, a broad range of subjects.

Ben:  Okay, I have to ask, the exoskeleton for human performance, what is that?

Ken:  Well there’s a couple groups working on that, ours was for NASA and it was for providing both exercise in space but also if necessary, for example in a space suit on a planet with sufficient gravity, might need extra strength.  And the military has worked on several exoskeletons for increased performance, essentially robots that you wear.

Ben:  Really, so how do you actually design one of those?  What does a robot that you wear do?  Is it just a bunch of joints of metal pieces that move like Ironman? Describe to me how this looks.

Ken:  Essentially it’s a machine that’s fitted to the human, and this is a complicated thing to do.  It’s difficult to relatively painlessly and seamlessly fit a machine that follows human motion and then amplifies our abilities.  And again, these could be physical abilities, and they usually are, but also cognitive, for example, or perception.

Ben:  So when you’re doing an exoskeleton for human performance, does one of these actually exist or you guys kinda researching right now?

Ken:  Several exist and none of them are suitable for a prime time.  These are all research machines that have cables and wires hanging off them and intermittently break. What’s driving exoskeletons both in terms of increased human performance and also for paraplegics, is really these much improved actuators over the past few years.  So you have excellent force control actuators now that enable these kinds of devices as well as a new category of exercise device that will be a spinoff of these machines and of these actuators.

Ben:  What’s the exercise device do?

Ken:  Well it’s a control motor enabled exercise device.  Again, it’s built for NASA, the exercise device they currently use on space station weighs 2,000 lbs.  It’s called a [0:11:26] ______.  And it’s reasonably efficacious on space station but you can’t bring it anywhere, it’s too big to bring beyond lower orbit.  And without the space shuttle, you couldn’t even bring it there, so essentially in the future in space, exercise devices will be motor controlled or even rely on things like bands, but they need to weigh something like 50 lbs. or less and have very low power consumption.  And I think these sorts of devices will have a big spinoff from space, as many things have, into the normal market channel.

Ben:  So rather than going to the gym to exercise, you would just be able to put on a suit?

Ken:  Yes, or you would use one of these new exercise devices that are derivative from exoskeletons but not themselves an exoskeleton.  And with the force control motors, you can have the force or the load be a function of any input.  So it can be a function of position, it could be a function of range of motion, it can be a function of heart rate, it could be a random function.  And this would be both safer but more efficacious as well because you could do for example heavy centric squats.

Ben:  Right.

Ken:  Very heavy squats, well that’s hard to do at home, or that’s even hard to do at the gym unless you’ve got some big guys helping you with the barbell.

Ben:  Right, or unless you have one of these ARX Fit machine.

Ken:  Exactly.

Ben:  That’s pretty expensive and more of an industrial machine.

Ken:  Yeah, they are very large.  I actually like the ARX Fit machines, I work out on them sometimes.  But they are big and you wouldn’t take them on a deep space mission.

Ben:  Right.

Ken:  And so the next sort of development of that kind of idea are the sort of machines that we’re talking about.

Ben:  So what you’re saying is you could wear this machine that would, for example, force you downwards in an eccentric squat pattern and then allow you to stand up, remove the load and then force you downwards again is an example of something you could do?

Ken:  Right, so the current version of the device, you don’t need to wear.  You get in it in a position very much like, if you’re doing squats, it’s very much like a barbell squat.  And you get in the position but there’s no load on the bar, right?  And the machine, the bar, starts to load, and it’s essential.  It feels like it’s trying to pull you down through the floor, and you’re resisting being squashed like a bug.  And so every rep is pretty devastating, much like the ARX, that thing will wipe you out pretty quick.  And then you stand up with very little resistance and rinse, wash, and repeat the cycle.  The motor is directly programmable and is a force control motor so it can exquisitely control the loads.

Ben:  Wow, this is so cool.  And I think a lot of people probably hear this and think about this idea of artificial intelligence being built into an exoskeleton robot and robots running down the street killing people.  And I actually wanted to ask you about this idea behind artificial intelligence and where it fits into this equation, coz I know you guys do a lot of work on artificial intelligence as well, right?

Ken:  Right, in fact that’s my primary research area and it’s one of the largest and most important research areas here in the lab.

Ben:  So what are you studying right now when it comes to artificial intelligence?

Ken:  Well, we have a lot of areas of focus but one of the biggest areas of focus is language.  Human-computer interaction and dialogue, but that I believe means speech recognition.  I mean the actual understanding where the computer is understanding the intent and the meaning of what you said, and then responding in an appropriate way.

Ben:  Interesting, so when it comes to the A.I. that you’re developing, are you doing anything when it comes to the exercise or the fitness or the performance market?

Ken:  No, most of our A.I. work is for organizations like GARBA and for other research organizations in the government.  And it’s mostly, as I said, focused either on language and dialogue or on robotics and in sort of endowing our machines with some degree of initiative and ability to make rational choices.

Ben:  Yeah, interesting.  Well, I mean it sounds like maybe an exercise machine could for example be equipped with enough artificial intelligence to detect and change your own movements or your own strength patterns.  Almost like that ARX Fit machine does, it detects when your force curve drops off and then that’s the end of the set.

Ken:  Yeah, and that doesn’t require A.I. but you’re on to something, Ben, because the next generation of these machines could employ A.I. techniques.  The newer machines will know when you’re out of balance and when your loads are inappropriate on your feet.  It’ll provide an additional cushion or safety and increased element of safety, as well as efficacy.

Ben:  Now there’s something that I saw recently from Elon Musk, where he talks about how there needs to be some kind of artificial intelligence legislation created because A.I. could, I think the way he phrased it was there was a higher risk of A.I. going rogue at this point than at North Korea.  Like when you’re working with the A.I., what are your thoughts on a lot of talk about the risks or the potential for robots to rule the world?

Ken:  No, who knows why he says those things.  I think that he’s either trying to entertain himself or test how credulous the media is.  But A.I. is a field of intellectual inquiry, it’s an academic field of study and a commercial area of development.  It’s not a thing that runs amok.  When people refer to an A.I. in the singular as he and others do, it’s akin to me saying something like this: “toward the end of World War II, the United States dropped a physics on Japan.”  Now, we didn’t drop a physics.

Ben:  [laughs]

Ken:  Right?  We dropped a bomb.  We dropped a product of physics and there’s not an area of human inquiry that should be off limits.  In fact, Musk tries to be a leader in an automotive A.I., it’s kind of a strange thing to be saying.  It’s an old story, though.  If you look at heavier than air flight, we used to call it A.F., artificial flight.  And now no one would call it artificial flight, it really truly is flying.  But there was great outrage, and in the early days of artificial flight it would seem to be the greatest threat facing humanity.  And just like artificial flight, A.I. can be used for good or ill, and it depends on the wisdom of the society and the culture that wields that capability.

Ben:  Yeah, that’s super interesting.  By the way are there any photographs online of these exoskeletons that you’re talking about?

Ken:  Sure, I can send you some.

Ben:  Yes, send me some and I’ll put them in the show notes.  And again for those of you listening, just go to bengreenfieldfitness.com/kenford coz I’m personally curious how closely they resemble Ironman.  That’s really all I wanna know.

Ken:  [laughs]

Ben:  Just because I have a secret desire and a bucket list wish to be able to fight Captain America one day.

You talk about, a little bit earlier, the ketogenic diet, and I know that you guys have done some research on that.  And from what I understand, it’s something that you personally got into apparently even before ketosis became the sexy, latest diet trend and everybody and their dog were shoveling exogenous ketones into their gaping maw.  I’m curious how you got into being interested in something like ketosis.

Ken:  Sure, that’s a long and old story but I’ll give you a short version.  I first became aware of the ketogenic diet in the late 60s or early 70s, when I was cutting weight for wrestling.  And this diet, like any other way of eating, is not ideal for everyone but for a wrestler, it was great because I was able to effectively cut weight and maintain muscle mass.  And that’s tough, in the off-season in wrestling, you tend to gain both fat and muscle.  And then season comes and you got a significant amount of weight, and so that’s what got me into it.  I had never heard of the ketogenic diet but I had a problem with seizures and wrestling is impossible on Phenobarbital.

Ben:  Oh wow.

Ken:  And so I quit taking the Phenobarbital and didn’t seize, and it turned out, the neurologist explained to me that you must be in ketosis.  And that’s the first time I ever heard the word.  So I was in starvation ketosis.  I was a freshman and I was wrestling in 119, normally I weighed about 160, and so I was cutting to get to 119 and I was that.  So I maintained it most of my life, I went out a few times with negative consequences, but generally I, on most days, well on [0:21:24] ______ in ketosis.

Ben:  Interesting, so what would a typical day of eating look like for you right now?

Ken:  Well I usually have an early dinner and I hate eating late, so I like to have an early dinner and I usually skip breakfast and then have lunch.  So it’s about a 16 or 17 hour gap between dinner and the next meal, but I like to mix things up.  So like today I had a nice breakfast of grass-fed beef and 3 egg yolks cooked in butter, lots of espresso, that kind of thing.

Ben:  Interesting.  Now you guys do research on ketosis, too?

Ken:  Yes, in particular on the performance effects of the ketone esters and the diet.  Again, as I mentioned earlier, we like to apply technology and science in the service of the human experience.  So we’re interested in “can you perform better”.  Whether it’s A.I., we’re not trying to make a stand-alone A.I. like some goofy science fiction A.I.; we’re trying to make us all smarter.  So from our point of view, A.I. should stand for augmented intelligence or amplified intelligence.  And so this is true for nutrition as well, so when we look at something like ketones, we wanna know “does it make you more resilient? Can you operate in place a human otherwise can’t effectively operate? Can you operate at a higher physical level and can you operate in a better cognitive level?”

Ben:  Interesting.  For me, I first started getting into ketosis when I was racing Ironman triathlon and I was looking for ways to increase endurance and get a fuel source for the liver and the heart and the diaphragm that was a little bit longer lasting and stable than maltodextrin or fructose.  And so I started first of all just shifting to a lower carbohydrate-higher fat intake and then to using things like MCT oil during the race.  And then I’d combine that with exogenous ketones and amino acids and electrolytes and kind of eventually have a whole cocktail that I’d race on and have enormous amounts of endurance for something like an ultra-endurance event like an Ironman.  So I can definitely personally attest to the resilience factor there, but I’m curious what you guys have studied.  What areas of resilience have you found something like a ketone to be effective for?  And also, don’t let me forget to mention or highlight the fact that you said ketone esters, and I’m curious why you’re using those versus what you find in most supplements these days which would be a ketone salt.

Ken:  Okay, well some of it is stuff that I’m not at leisure to talk about but you can imagine that our customer base are the research agencies and organizations in support of NASA and the Department of Defense.  And so in general, we would be looking at important measures of either perceptual acuity, cognitive function or physical function.  What I actually can tell you about what we will be doing is looking at the effect of ketone esters in hypoxia.  So if you reduce the oxygen available to a human, some very predictable things happen, reduce it to zero, the most predictable thing happens.  But on the way to zero, all kinds of predictable degradations in performance happen.

Ben:  Ha!

Ken:  And we’re interested in knowing, for example, would a ketone ester mitigate some of those cognitive and visual performance decrements.

Ben:  So when you’re using a ketone ester, why did you make that choice versus a salt?

Ken:  Well, it would depend on the application but for most of our applications we would in fact, as you suggest, use the ester.  The reason is that the esters will much more greatly elevate the circulating blood ketone body level and in many cases we want to make sure that we’re getting an effect.  So the ketone salts are great for what they are, and if you’re eating the ketogenic diet and the person needs a little boost, you might get a 1 millimolar boost or half a millimolar boost.  With the esters, the person does not need to be consuming the diet and will be very quickly, around 4 millimolars or higher.

Ben:  Yeah, it’s through the roof.  I have a video somewhere of me getting ready to race a tough mutter and I swallowed a bottle of the exogenous ketone esters I got from Dr. Jeff Veech’s lab coz I interviewed him about esters.  And then I tested and I did this on camera, and so my ketones at rest were at 1 millimolar or slightly below what you would expect a fat-adapted athlete to be at.  And then I chugged this bottle and they went up to 8.0 by about the 20 minute mark.

Ken:  [laughs]

Ben:  And it was crazy, it was almost like cheating.  Now of course, I always question and I’d love to hear your take on this, how natural that is for the human body.  Even from an ancestral or evolutionary standpoint, you don’t see situations in the past where humans would’ve had access to copious amounts of ketones all at once.  And although I don’t necessarily make every decision by the rule that I’m only doing it what our ancestors have done, I’m a total fan of better living through science, but I’m wondering what you feel about the potential physiological implications of something like that.

Ken:  Well that’s an interesting question and the folks that are well-informed and sensible have different opinions on it.  I think it’s important to make the distinction between the things you do to achieve peak performance in sport, especially elites, or in elite war fighting or that you do for space travel.  Those things you might do might not necessarily be what you would do for longevity or health span.  So in the case of exogenous ketones, I think the right answer is that nobody knows what the long term effects would be.  We see so many positive effects that I would think the effects generally would be good, but it’s not a state that humans have traditionally been in.  And this is why there’s a great need for research in the area, but the diet, I’m very confident for most people, is a step in the right direction.  And a large number of people are essentially metabolically broken and/or have neural degenerative disorders or other disease states for which I think the ketone esters would be a blessing.  So in general I’m very optimistic about them.

Ben: Yeah, one thing that you mentioned when you’re talking about how you first became experienced with that diet when you were a wrestler and trying to lose fat without losing too much muscle.  Is this idea behind whether or not you really can adequately avoid whether it is muscle loss or whether you can gain muscle or perhaps could you even avoid age related loss of muscle mass or muscle function with a strategy like this?  And I know this is something that you’ve looked into a little bit and I’m curious of what you found when it comes to ketones and muscle and specifically are there gaining muscle or just not losing it.

Ken:  It’s an area of great interest to me, and it’s one that’s still taking shape.  The science is just emerging on this, and essentially everyone has seen the age-related loss of muscle.  You see it in people all around you every day, you see it in your family members, and it’s a major challenge for society and for the aging population in general, leading to frailty and the loss of independence.  Now we sometimes hear this phenomena called sarcopenia or perhaps better dynapenia.  Sarcopenia talks about, what it implies is a poverty of flesh.  It’s about the loss of muscle mass, and for the aging population that is a problem but it’s not the big problem.  The big problem is dynapenia which is the age-related loss of strength and power.

Ben:  You call that dynapenia?

Ken:  Right, and as we age, we lose strength and power much more quickly than we lose mass.  And so that’s really the heart of the problem, and the causes for this loss of muscle mass and quality, when I say quality I mean power and strength, is multi-factorial.  It’s not one of these simple things you hear, you hear somebody blogging away and they’ll say, “oh it’s because of this.”  No, it’s complicated and it has to do with most of the components of aging.  And I would say insulin-resistance and its cousin anabolic-resistance are huge players.  So anabolic-resistance is quite like insulin-resistance that you’re very familiar with.  But also, you couple that with decreased anabolic hormone production as you age, right?  We all know that.

Ben:  Right.

Ken:  So you typically see lower levels of testosterone, IGF1 and other anabolic elements.  And myostatin is really not your friend at some point, and as you age myostatin signaling goes up a lot.  And as you age you get chronic inflammation and you have decline in autophagy and all kinds of mitochondrial abnormalities and reduction in satellite cell effectiveness.  So it’s a tough road, you have decreased motor neuron units, I’m sure I’m forgetting tons and tons of it, muscle fiber denervation, but you get the point.  Interestingly, think about those things that I just said.  Most of them are affected by the ketogenic diet, and it’s not curative with respect to these things but it moves the needle in a positive direction which is one of the reasons why I’m optimistic about ketone esters as well as I mentioned earlier.

And so in my view, the benefits of the ketogenic diet are greater as we age.  As we age, most of us are, to some degree, increasingly insulin-resistant and increasingly puggy.  You see it in the general population, it’s where I think the diet will make the biggest difference.

In the last year, there must have been 10 papers dealing with ketogenic diet and longevity, and some of them have dealt directly with health span.  And to me, strength and health into old age is more important than just living a long time.  Somebody told me that there’s a podcaster out there that claims he’s gonna live to 180. Well, I really don’t wanna live to 180.  I wanna square the aging.

Ben:  I’ll live to 180 if I can still be having sex and playing tennis when I’m 175.  Otherwise, I don’t have a deep desire.

Ken:  That’s a big if [laughs].

Ben:  Yeah.

Ken:  Anyway, these new papers are really stressing all of ketones not as energy sources but as signaling agents.  And the science is somewhat complicated but it’s fascinating.  So you see tissue specific effects of the ketones, so specific to muscle tissue, a different effect than you do in the liver for example.  So in many of these things you want, for longevity, you would like reduced circulating IGF1, you would like reduced mTOR activation.  But to maintain muscle mass, you want elevated mTOR, you want elevated IGF1.  So normally these would be seen as in conflict, and what’s being teased apart now is the tissue dependent nature where you can have increased sensitivity to say IGF1 in the muscle while circulating IGF1 is reduced in ketogenic diet about 30%.  Same with mTOR activation and this is really exciting to me and this area’s going to be one of real focus in the next few years in the research literature.

Ben:  Interesting, so could you get a lot of the benefits that you’ve just described from using a ketone ester and eating perhaps a non-ketogenic diet versus eating a strict high fat diet, do you think?

Ken:  And the answer is no and no.  So you mentioned Dr. Veech earlier, he’s just a wonderful man, and his view is yes, and so in his view he’s not a fan of the diet.  And I’ll say again that I am, right?  But in his view, especially when you think about an aging population not interested in changing its lifestyle or its diet, he believes that these benefits, and many others, would accrue to those ingesting the esters.

Ben:  Yeah.

Ken:  In my case, I just don’t know.

Ben:  Yeah, and the only thing that I would suspect could be deleterious would be simultaneous high blood glucose and high ketone levels just because of the net acidic state that could create something that I would be nervous about people doing.  Eating their potatoes for breakfast and their sandwich for lunch and their bread for dinner and then also taking a bunch of ketones at the same time.  That’s where I can see people going wrong.

Ken:  Normally that wouldn’t happen, so for a non-malfunctioning human, if you did that and let’s say you ate a bunch of potatoes and your glucose level was 110.  And then you drank the ester, your glucose level would probably be 80.

Ben:  Oh really?

Ken:  Sure.

Ben:  So it’s gonna drop blood glucose simply by putting the ketone into your body?

Ken:  Right.

Ben:  How does that occur, mechanistically?

Ken:  Well you get an insulin response, is part of the story.  But it’s more complicated than meets the eye at first, it’s not clear, in my view, what the long-term safety profile of the esters are.  And we can’t know that, right?  This is a new thing, and with everything having to do with human health span, you make your choices.  If were gonna wait for a random double blind study, we’ll both be dead.

Ben:  Yeah.

Ken:  Before that’s for humans.

[Music Plays]

Ben:  Hey, I wanna interrupt today’s show to tell you about my pantry.  My pantry is a sexy place to be.  Some of my favorite things in there include liver bites, lots and lots of cans of sardines and extra virgin olive oil, toasted sushi nori.  I’ve got a bunch of amazing cacao nibs and a couple of my favorites, these coconut wraps.  They’re actual coconut wraps, almost like nori wraps except you can make these little burritos out of these little gluten-free amazingly tasty coconut wraps.  That and a whole lot more, I get from this online grocery store called Thrive.  It’s like a Costco for everything healthy.  It’s an online shopping club that gives you all these amazing brands at 50% off of retail prices shipped anywhere in the U.S.A. for free.  And you can go there and use their filters to filter stuff like paleo, gluten-free, vegan, raw, non-GMO, organic, fair trade, you name it.  And they also, for every paid membership, donate a free membership to a low income family or teacher or military family, and so I like it because you order stuff from them and you get exposed to this huge variety of healthy packaged food you normally otherwise would never have had a chance to discover or to experience.  There’s a page on there where it shows all of my own favorite eats, the things that I order from Thrive market.  And in addition to that, they’ve got pet supplies; they’ve got home fragrance, bedding, yoga and home fitness.

If you currently shop at Amazon or at Whole Foods or at Costco, I know that’s convenient, but once you kind of make that mental switch, change up your habits and start to order from Thrive instead, not only is it just as much, if not more, convenient, but the prices are the same or better.  You could just go there and click on whatever, ketogenic diet, and you’ve got like 30 different things that you could easily add to a ketogenic diet to ensure that you don’t feel like you’re eating cardboard and fake bread all day long.  So anyways it’s called Thrive market, and the way that you can get $60 of free organic groceries from them right off the bat is at thrivemarket.com/ben.  That’s thrivemarket.com/ben, I’m gonna say in full disclosure, I invested in this company.  I believe in it so much back in the day when they first started, I actually invested in them and I am amazed at what they’ve done with this company.  Just go to the website and see what I mean.  Thrivemarket.com/ben, you get access to all my favorite panty foods, well, well worth it, and again they donate a free membership to a low income family or teacher or military family anytime that you get a membership.  So thrivemarket.com/ben, check it out.

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Ben:  So I also wanted to ask you about some of these exercise protocols that you’ve looked into and that I know you’ve kind of studied yourself or implemented in your own routine.  And I’m curious when it comes to resistance training, and especially resistance training aimed at avoiding what we’re just talking about, age-related loss of muscle mass or muscle function, what kind of strategies you found to give people the most bang for their buck from an exercise standpoint?

Ken:  Yeah, so especially as we age, my first goal in the gym is to avoid injury.  You heal less quickly and first goal: don’t hurt yourself.  But going from there, I’m a big advocate in whole body resistance training with occasional tabata sessions thrown in, like a kinda rowing machine, a kind of cozy devices.  And of course, I think it’s great to spend a lot of time outdoors and in nature.  I like to spend a lot of timing hiking in Wyoming and Maine.  Like what you said, what is your preferred method in terms of exercise, I’d say its resistance training.  And in the nutshell, I incorporate methods that are intended to allow me to train intensely and safely, so the one method I use is hierarchical sets.  Another, as we mentioned earlier, is occasionally centric movements, another would be kettlebells.  Another would be blood flow restriction training and I’m a big advocate of that, another would be electrical muscle stimulation, and I quite like vibration platform as well.

Ben:  What are the hierarchical sets?

Ken:  Well, essentially these are typically done, you can do as many sets as you like but they’re typically done three, and another advocate in fact is Art De Vany for this.  He’s a fascinating fellow and…

Ben:  Oh yeah, he’s a super cool dude.

Ken:  He is.

Ben:  I got to hang out with him at this last year’s Paleo FX, one of the fittest, most ripped, how old is he know, 80-something?

Ken:  He’s old.

Ben:  Yeah.

Ken:  But he’s super cool, right?

Ben:  Yeah.

Ken:  And so he visited IHMC to do a stem talk interview and we were talking about weightlifting.  And it turns out we both are advocates for these hierarchical sets.  Essentially what they are is, the first set you select the weight that you can knock out about 15 really perfect reps, right?  And the next set you pick a weight that you can achieve about 8, and the next set maybe 4-5.  And in my case, I don’t go to failure on these, I don’t wanna train failure.  It’s always when I’m near failure that I get hurt anyway, it’s when your form goes out the window.

Ben:  Right.

Ken:  So I don’t do that, and I like it because the first set is almost a very intense warm up.  I feel well within the safety zone when you’re doing 15, but doing those 15 and then the 8 and the 4, by the time I’m to the 4, the last set, I’ve typically fatigued out most of the slow twitch muscle fiber and I’ve been able to hit some of the fast twitch which are hard to hit safely.  So a lot of my exercise methods that I just rattled off to in a boring lift, they’re really mostly all about how you get that fast twitch, because as we age, what we lose mostly is fast twitch.  And this is why you have the increased falls.  It’s not that old people are spectacularly uncoordinated; we’re all out of shape all the time.  When we’re walking, we’re in a compromised spot that young people corrected with their fast twitch muscles so quickly and so well that they’re hardly even aware of it.  And you see an older person as they start to fall, they’re almost running to catch themselves, and they’re in a bad position, and so preservation of fast twitch is very, very important.

Ben:  You know, this is something that I really like the idea of.  So you would start off with a relatively light weight 15 reps, you rest just a very short period of time, as long as it takes just to add more weight.

Ken:  Right, short rest.

Ben:  Or if you’re on a machine, just to change the pin.  Then you do 8 with a heavier weight and then your do like 4-5 with another heavier weight.  And the rest period, it sounds to me like that’s just barely along enough to reload creatine phosphate or ATP stores and you go on to the next set.

Ken:  Yep, you’ve got it.  That’s exactly how you do it.

Ben:  Very cool.  That’s the hierarchical set and you said you also use blood flow restriction training?

Ken:  Yes, I use it quite a bit and I’ve turned a lot of my friends on to it, both in sport and older people.  For folks engaged in sort of casual sport and people involved in elite sport, they are often performing relatively injured and they don’t have the option of not performing.  This is either their job or it’s an important part of their life and they wanna maintain muscle mass, so what I like about blood flow restriction training, and again we’re talking about restriction not occlusion.

Ben:  Right.

Ken:  So we’re restricting the venous outflow.

Ben:  With a strap that you would wrap around an arm or a leg?

Ken:  Cuff that looks kind of like a blood pressure cuff.  It’s not one, and you shouldn’t use one for this purpose, but there’s a cuff that you put it on a limb as high as you can, and you pressurize it either with a motorized pump system like KAATSU uses, or with a hand pump like Go B Strong uses.  And again, I said you’re occluding the venous outflow of blood distal to the occlusion site.

Now, the benefit of this is profound in that you can do your workout with maybe 20% of your normal weight.  So for each exercise, and each person that will vary, the amount of weight that you can lift is a function partly of how tightly restricted the band is and how much the weight is, of course.  And the proper protocol for this would be high rep sets, so I typically try to do three sets of 30, but if I can do 30 the first set, I probably maybe don’t get to 30 on the second set.

Ben:  Right.

Ken:  And the third set maybe I get to 20 but by then, the hydrogen ions are causing a great burning sensation, right?  Using the lightweight is a wonderful advantage.  Also when you’re on the road, I travel a lot, so I go to a hotel and I see they have little blue weights.  This is gonna be great.

Ben:  Like your little pink concrete dumbbells with the lycra lining on them?

Ken:  Yeah, that’s always so much fun, and the leg press machine goes to 300 or something.  So with BFR, blood flow restriction, light weights are all you need, so even a strong man is doing curls with 15 or 20 lbs. because that would imply that you would curl 80 or 100, right?  So I like this, it preserves your joints and as you get older your joints are the limiting factor for an aging athlete to stay in the game and to keep exercising.  It tends to be orthopedic problems that take us out.  And I think you mentioned how does it work, right?  And there’s a lot of theorizing about this, there’s certainly mechanical tension, but I would say metabolic stress signals a large number of mechanisms.  And essentially when you’re doing this, you’re sending a huge stress signal, and so when you test this you find reduced protein breakdown compared to traditional weightlifting.  So you’re not tearing the muscle down and then waiting for a few days for it to build up.

You’re trying to have the build phase without having the teardown.  You find accumulations of metabolites, you see decreased myostatin and I mentioned that earlier.  The myostatin pops its head up all over the place, and when you use BFR, your myostatin is diminished, the expression of the myostatin.  You see suppression of oxotranscription and you see a great proliferation of satellite cells.  And truly one thing I’m interested in, you see fast twitch fiber recruitment because your body thinks you’re an extremist, like “what are you doing here”, right?  And so there’s nothing left in the tank and tremendous nitrous oxide production eats up proteins and just is fun, right?  You get this huge pump that lasts for a while, like an hour or two, so I enjoy it.  Nobody really knows the relative contribution of each of the things I just named.

Ben:  Yeah.

Ken:  We all know they’re in the mix.  There’s also a big increase in IGF1.  We know they’re all in the mix but we don’t know what the blend is.  One of the research things we’re gonna do here in the next couple of months, we got a project that’s lead by Dr. Adam Anz at the Andrews Institute which is located nearby.  And so Adam, myself, and Jim Stray-Gundersen, and expert on using blood flow restriction in athletes, is gonna look at whether BFR is increasing the mobilization of stem cells from marrow, because we see healing effects and we’re wondering, is some of the effect caused by increased stem cell activity directly.  So that should be interesting.

Ben:  That’s super fascinating.

Ken:  And again, I like both the Go B Strong system and the KAATSU.  They’re both just excellent.  I think Go B Strong is still giving the 15% discount with the discount code IHMC.  We don’t gain money from them or anything, of course, but they’re both good.

Ben:  Cool.

Ken:  And they’re both primo, KAATSU and Go B Strong, both really good.

Ben:  And those are the ones that you can actually adjust the millimeters of mercury of pressure on, so rather than just wrapping something around your arm like a tourniquet like I used to do back in the days when I was a bodybuilder, there things you can actually micro-adjust the exact the amount of pressure on each limb.

Ken:  Yes, and that’s more important than some [0:51:58] ________ let on, right?  So it allows you to be consistent and consistency and repeatability I think is pretty important.

Ben:  Cool, I’ll put a link to those in the show notes if you guys want those with Ken’s discount code.  Just go to bengreenfieldfitness.com/kenford.  Now Ken, one other thing you briefly mentioned was kettlebells.  Do you have like a favorite kettlebell exercise that you feel gives you the most bang for your buck?  The one that I swear by when I walk in, this is like my warm up a lot of times at the gym, for hip mobility and for bone density and for shoulder range of motion, I’ll go into the gym and the very first thing I do is 5-10 Turkish get-ups on each side with the kettlebell, coz it’s just moving me through full range of motion on both sides.  I’m curious if you have a favorite for the kettlebells.

Ken:  Well, first of all, let me say I think your choice and the way you use the Turkish get-up is wonderful.  And it would be in my top three if I had the shoulder integrity and enough shoulder to do that, but I completely appreciate the Turkish get-up.  In my case, I do mostly carries and swings and I advocate for the Hardstyle kettlebell or the Russian style kettlebell workouts.  And what I like about the swing is it’s less boring than sort of aerobic workouts and it gives each of us the rare opportunity to express physical power without negative societal ramifications.  And I just like the explosion coming up out of the hip hinge, but if you said what’s my very favorite, and I like it’s kinda like sprinting, I like about it too, I like to sprint.

But I guess if you say what’s my very favorite, I’d say carries.  I like heavy farmer’s walks and my number one kettlebell exercise is the bottom’s up carry, where you carry the bell by the horn and the bell is upside down, not relaxed on your forearm, but directly above the horn.  And so it’s all kinds of activation all over your body.  I think it was Stuart Stuart McGill who told me in his testing, it activated more different muscle than anything he’d ever seen.  And it requires some physical ability, not just strength, but some degree of athleticism.  If the weight is heavy, you have to deal with the center of mass, so if you walk around the gym, besides looking peculiar, you’re getting quite a challenge.  The thing wants to flop.  I like that so much that I overdid it and tweaked my elbow, so I’ve been dealing with elbow trauma, which I’m sure is a direct result of my love of that particular exercise.

Ben:  Yeah, it’s freakin’ hard, the bottom’s up movements but they’re incredible for stability.  I’ll do a bottom’s up walking lunge with a lighter kettlebell, you can use a tiny, tiny kettlebell with that and feel all that muscle in your body twitching.  So I love it, I love that you’re into these different forms of exercise because you’re definitely a man who is studying up quite a bit on anti-aging protocols and I like to hear that I’m at least doing a few things right on my end.  Now, speaking of anti-aging, you sent me a grip strength article yesterday that I thought was fascinating.  Can you talk about that one, coz that kinda had to do with aging as well.

Ken:  Yeah, that article is a sort of depressing.  It’s sort of part of a bigger issue, you noted that it was a about grip strength in millennials.  And it noted that much, not just a little but much, weaker than their fathers, and this is not a good state of affairs, and not substantially stronger than their wives.

Ben:  Wow.

Ken:  And it said in 1985, the average 30-34 year old could squeeze on the diameter at least 31 lbs. more than a woman of the same age, but today, as I said it’s about the same.  There’s a slight edge for the guys but very little, and they’re not even close to their fathers, right?  Their fathers would just crush them, and the societal response to this in the academia that published that journal wasn’t shock and dismay and it wasn’t wonder.  If they tested thumb strength, I bet you the millennials would have strong thumbs from all their texting.

Ben:  yeah, exactly.

Ken:  But the response wasn’t what I would expect.  Their response was “oh, oh well, we need to change the standard now.”  So now they’re rewriting the standards of what’s considered normal.  For a 30 year old, they’re gonna lower it a lot.  So normal is a dangerous word, I guess I’ll mention it.  I don’t usually wanna talk about it, but you don’t wanna be normal.  Homer Simpson’s normal, normal is the average of society and if you walk around in an airport as I unfortunately do, my eye falls in a lot of normal people.  And you don’t wanna be normal.

Ben:  Yeah, I agree.  We only take people from good to great on this show.  Now, when you’re talking about grip strength, that’s one of the reasons I always, even when I travel I throw a suspension strap in my bag and I have rings hanging outside my patio, I got a pull up bar in the door of my office, I’ve got a yoga trapeze swing, to my wife’s chagrin, hanging above the dining room table.

Ken:  [laughs]

Ben:  I pretty much hang, and my kids see me do this too which is great coz my kids see me doing it and so they stop to hang during the day.  And they just consider it a form of play, right?  You stop, you hang, you toy around, you swing like a monkey, and I don’t know what came first, the chicken or the egg when it comes to grip strength, accelerated aging, but in my opinion it’s one of the best things you can do for your body is to maintain good grip strength.  And for those of you listening in, I’ll put a link to that grip strength article that was on NPR, I believe, in the show notes.  But I just wanted to touch on the importance of grip strength before I ask you one other question about muscle loss or maintaining muscle mass, and that would be the fact that, I know we touched a little bit about how you’ve looked into the loss of muscle mass in space.  And I’m curious if, other than us rushing off to buy an exoskeleton to hang in our closet, if you found anything else from the space research that you think would be really palatable or applicable for people who aren’t necessarily astronauts.

Ken:  Well I think in your term, the most applicable outcome, are the technologies.  The exercise devices like I mentioned and also electrical muscle stimulation devices which I’m a big advocate of.

Ben:  I’m actually hooked up to electrical muscle stimulation right now while we’re talking, actually.

Ken:  Ah, good man.

Ben:  I’m sitting in a chair while we’re podcasting, which, I usually have a standing workstation at home, but I’m at an NAD injection clinic getting an 8-hour long I.V. so I’ve got EMS hooked up to both my legs and my calves.  So literally, as we’re talking right now, I’m stimulating primarily slow twitch muscle fiber but still getting a big blood flow effect.

Ken:  And they’re adjustable, you know?  I’m officially a fan of the Power Dot unit, it’s just so much sleeker.  I used to use the compact unit and it was fine, but it’s this big, clunky 1980s looking thing with cables all over the place.  And the software is built into the machine.  You’re not updating that software and there’s not a way to interface for it or to write code for it, whereas the Power Dot runs on your phone.  So the world is your oyster, you can change the protocols, they can constantly update the software, and it’s a much more powerful computer than came with these other devices.

Ben:  Probably far more portable too, right?

Ken:  Oh it’s hugely portable.  You got your phone, and it looks like something Apple would make, the packaging.  And so you have your phone, you’ve got the Power Dot, it’s partly wireless through Bluetooth.  You’ve got a few wires but you’re talking about your using EMS now, I recently used my Power Dot on a very long flight to Dubai.  And those flights are just flat out unhealthy, so I was using it on my legs and I hadn’t realized that it was causing distress for the person… I was in business class, so she wasn’t too close to me but I think she was concerned about this man with cables and wires and limbs twitching, you know?  [laughs] So she pushed the button for the flight attendant and I got the opportunity to explain it all to this lovely flight attendant who seemed really interested.

Ben:  Yeah, I’ve been there brother.  I’ve had all manner of things strapped to my body and coming out multiple orifices on airplanes and yeah.  You just have to pretend, you have to dance like nobody’s watching, basically.

Ken:  Yeah, you got it.  You know one of the things I like so much about EMS and what sort of drives my interest in it is that it, in general, induces a preferential recruitment of the fast motor units.  And that’s because the axons are physically larger in size, so thereby all things being equal to have lower electrical resistance than the smaller axons that you see on the type 1 fibers, and so you can focus it on the fast twitch pretty easily.  And that’s interesting, and again as one gets older or if you’re in a recovery or injured state.

Ben:  So when you’re looking at some of the other things that you do, in addition to the Power Dot that you might be considering as almost like a biohack, right?  Are there any more advanced exercise protocols, supplements, devices, things that you’ve discovered, coz you’re a pretty scientific fellow so I was like, to pick the brains of a guy like you who’s steeped in the research on stuff like this, what else have you found to be very big wins when it comes to emerging tech?

Ken:  Well, you know, I’m big on supplements in general but very focused.  I don’t take a shotgun approach and I do a lot of testing, as you can imagine.  So one size doesn’t fit all and what’s good for one isn’t good for the other, but I think in intelligence supplementation programs, especially depending on your diet, so for people that are in ketosis, carnitine, both aLcar and [1:03:07] ______ form, I think are important.  I also use vibration training, it seems kinda tedious or people look at it and say “what is that guy doing?”  But there’s a big literature that would lead one to believe the could-be benefit.  I have the Powerplate brand in my office, and use it quite a bit.

Ben:  That’s what I have in my basement, Powerplate.

Ken:  Yeah, I have the small one.  They just came out with a portable one, packed simply in a bag.  You can take it easily on a plane.

Ben:  Oh really?

Ken:  It’d be great for a road trip, so I can throw it in my car.  It just came out a couple of months ago, it’s really cool.  It works just the same but it doesn’t have the vertical section that you can hang on to it.

Ben:  Right.

Ken:  You don’t really need the vertical, it’s more like a safety feature.  And it works just like the regular one.  I like it because it hits muscles that are otherwise super hard to hit, and it hits them in different ways, and there’s a big literature showing the benefit, especially in older men and women.  And in young, resistance-trained, athletic young men and women, the advantage really diminishes in the upper body but you still see a strong advantage in legs.  And of course that’s because you’re typically closer to the vibration source and younger.

Ben:  Yeah, give me an example of something you do on a vibration platform.

Ken:  I like to do distals, if you know what those are.  And I like to do squats and I like to do sort of explosive push-ups on it.  And when I’m doing push-ups on it, I have the pad on me, the little pad.

Ben:  Yeah.

Ken:  But when you’re standing on it with any kind of foot, you really shouldn’t use the pad.  And I think in a relatively strong person, where it makes the biggest difference is in the legs.  When you look at the literature for athletes, you don’t see a big difference in upper body benefit, but also there’s probably lymph system benefits apart from muscle, and there are probably cardiovascular benefits.  I think it’s interesting and it’s low impact, it’s something you can do during the day without much trouble if one wants to.

Ben:  Yeah, that’s pretty cool.  I didn’t know about the portable one.  I’ll hunt it down and link to it in the show notes for those of you listening in.  And what I do often is I’ve got it next to my office, so I’ll just go in there and do some Hindu squats and push-ups with my hands up on the platform, and a few little moves that kinda get blood flowing.  But it’s a great device.

Now another thing that you had mentioned was L-carnitine, and that one’s relatively well known when it comes to doing things like improving mitochondrial function or fatty acid metabolism as what you called an exercise mimetic.  But what do you think about other things that are called SARMS that are now used.  They term these as exercise in a pill, there’s one that I wrote an article on called GW5015 and they say that that massively improves endurance in mice.  I’m curious what your thoughts are about safety and efficacy with things like that.

Ken:  Sure, this is a fascinating subject, and back to L-carnitine just for a moment, the aLcar version of that can be seen as a kind of an exercise mimetic, primarily by function of it strongly induces muscle-glucose uptake and fatty acid oxidization and that’s why it couple nicely with the ketogenic.  I just wanted to give you that as a side.

Ben:  interesting, when you say aLcar, that’s acetyl L-carnitine?

Ken:  Yes, exactly.  And then you mentioned SARMS and those are selective androgen reuptake modulators, and SARMS are very interesting.  They’re again mostly developed for the older population who are suffering loss of muscle and for people with various diseases, wasting diseases, as well as people with cancer.  They’re very interesting, there are several in phase 2 and I think one in phase 3 trials.  What to say about SARMS?  Well, they’re less selective than one would hope, so one of the things that slowed their advance into widespread use is in reasonable doses, you do get some degree of shutdown.  In other words, they reduce the endogenous production of testosterone and the thought was they wouldn’t.  And so they’re less selective than they had hoped.  The new ones are getting better and better and better, and it’s important to note these are currently research items, not for human consumption.  You also mentioned GW5015-16.  So GW is not a SARM, it’s typically marketed as a SARM but it’s not a SARM.  And it’s very, very different.  Technically, the mechanism of action is completely unrelated.  So that’s a fascinating substance, it’s in a category of exercise mimetics that are PPAR-Delta agonists.

And essentially, these improve endurance, and the one way to think of it is they push the wall back.  We know the saying “he hit the wall”, right?  So what this does is essentially pushes the wall back, and in people in general, ingesting a PPR-Delta agonist, which again they shouldn’t be doing because it’s a research drug.  If you test them, you will see signs of exercise, so it looks like exercise and this is why they call them exercise mimetics.  You see improved mitochondrial function and increased fatty acid metabolism, in fact ketogenic diets do both of those things, as well.  Increased endurance, reduced inflammation, lower blood glucose level, interestingly, right?  And of course they’re banned in sport.  The interesting thing to me is that 5015-16 is not the end of the line.  So that substance is never gonna find its way to the market, and study on it has been discontinued for a wide range of reasons.  But that category of drug is under active development, and one can expect much more focus to PPAR-Delta agonists to come to the floor.

Ben:  Do you use both of those yourself?

Ken:  No, the GW5015-16 is the exercise mimetic that we mentioned.  I’m not really interested in endurance activities that much and I try to get whatever benefit I would get from that ketogenic diet.  It’s important to note that in most models, GW gives a tremendous benefit in endurance and by anecdotal report, also is beneficial in endurance for humans.  And then the SARMS are still early days, they’re also gonna get better quickly.

Ben:  So when it comes to endurance, that’s actually another question I wanted to ask you, do you do any cardio at all or do you have any research based approach to cardiovascular training for things like VO2Max or lactate threshold or anything along those lines?

Ken:  I don’t care about VO2Max but the kind of cardio I like to do is sprinting, kettlebell swings, tabata sessions or short sessions on the rowing machine, like the 500 meter, it’s almost a sprint.  I really like that.  What I really don’t like are the chronic cardio.  You see people in the gym and you see them… it’s not even a gym anymore, it’s a fitness center now.  There’s no gymnastics equipment in there but they call it a gym.  But you see the dude on the elliptical machine and he’s watching TV, he’s got his back scratcher, he probably has a snack with him on the machine, and he’s sort of going at about 20% VO2Max or something for 2 hours.  And then the machine tells him “congratulations, you burned 600 calories.”  There’s so much wrong with that whole story so that’s sort of opposite of my [1:12:52] ______.  If I wanna do that kind of long duration stuff, I like to hike in the mountains and that kind of thing.  Otherwise I’m into short, efficient exercise.

Ben:  Yeah, I am too.  I think dipping into stamina every now and again, like doing that hike in the mountains is a good idea.  But I completely agree, most people overdo it.  Although before sitting here in this chair for 8 hours, I decided to opt for the metabolic boost rather than the weight training.  And so I’ll typically do like a high intensity interval training session when I know I wanna increase my post exercise oxygen consumption for a long period of time after.  So if I’m gonna be sedentary for a long time, that’s when I’ll choose the high intensity interval training kind of approach.  But yeah, for the most part, you actually get a lot more out of some of the other strategies that you talked about.  So this is all super fascinating and I know you take a lot of deep dives with people on your own show from scientists to engineers to people  in exercise technology and beyond.  You say you select your guests with, I think what you call it,  double secret selection committee to be among the most interesting people on the planet, especially working in science and technology and medicine.  And I’m curious, if people wanna go, and I’ll put a link to your shows over at bengreenfieldfitness.com/kenford.  But if people wanna take a listen to an episode, do you have, and this is always tough it’s like choosing a favorite child, but a favorite episode that you think would be really mind-blowingly compelling for the listeners of my show.

Ken:  Well for your show I think the most beneficial episodes will be those about health, nutrition, exercise.  So we had a deep dive on blood flow restriction training with Jim Stray-Gundersen, we had all kinds of shows touching on intermittent fasting, ketogenic diets and exogenous ketones.  One of the shows that I like best even though it’s hard to pick, as you said a kid you like best, and I don’t have a favorite except about two weeks ago.  Our guest from episode number 10, Barry Barish was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics, and the prize was for his work on detection of gravitational waves.  So right now you gotta go with Barry, but for your audience I think the health and performance shows.  And it’s cool, STEM-Talk won first place in the Annual People’s Choice Podcast Awards a couple weeks ago in the category of science and medicine and I think was the runner up in the overall category.

Ben:  Oh wow, that’s cool.  You guys must be doing something right.  And obviously you study up on this stuff quite a bit yourself, and I think people are gonna go nuts over the show notes I’ve created for this one coz I’ve got plenty of resources for those of you listening in.  So you find out more about Ken and also everything from the vibration plates that you can take on airplanes to acetyl L-carnitine to ketones and ARX Fit machines, much, much more.

So I’ll put a link to all that over at bengreenfieldfitness.com/kenford, and in the meantime Ken, thank you for coming on the show and sharing all this stuff with us.  You are one fascinating dude.

Ken:  Well thanks, Ben.  I had a good time.

Ben:  Alright folks, well until next time I’m Ben Greenfield along with Ken Ford, the IHMC, signing out from bengreenfieldfitness.com.  Have an amazing week.



Meet Kenneth Ford, an incredibly well-read, highly accomplished and fascinating man with such an enormous amount of knowledge and impact in the cognitive sciences space. Kenneth Ford is Founder and Chief Executive Officer of the Florida Institute for Human & Machine Cognition (IHMC) — a not-for-profit research institute located in Pensacola, Florida. IHMC has grown into one of the nation’s premier research organizations with world-class scientists and engineers investigating a broad range of topics related to building technological systems aimed at amplifying and extending human cognition, perception, locomotion and resilience. Richard Florida has described IHMC as “a new model for interdisciplinary research institutes that strive to be both entrepreneurial and academic, firmly grounded and inspiringly ambitious.” IHMC headquarters are in Pensacola with a branch research facility in Ocala, Florida. In 2004 Florida Trend Magazine named Dr. Ford one of Florida’s four most influential citizens working in academia. Dr. Ford is the author of hundreds of scientific papers and six books. Dr. Ford’s research interests include: artificial intelligence, cognitive science, human-centered computing, and entrepreneurship in government and academia. Dr. Ford received his Ph.D. in Computer Science from Tulane University. He is Emeritus Editor-in-Chief of AAAI/MIT Press and has been involved in the editing of several journals. Ford is a Fellow of the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence (AAAI), a charter Fellow of the National Academy of Inventors, a member of the Association for Computing Machinery, a member of the IEEE Computer Society, and a member of the National Association of Scholars. Ford has received many awards and honors including the Doctor Honoris Causas from the University of Bordeaux in 2005 and the 2008 Robert S. Englemore Memorial Award for his work in artificial intelligence (AI). In 2012 Tulane University named Ford its Outstanding Alumnus in the School of Science and Engineering. In 2015, the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence named Dr. Ford the recipient of the 2015 Distinguished Service Award. Also in 2015, Dr. Ford was elected as Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). In January 1997, Dr. Ford was asked by NASA to develop and direct its new Center of Excellence in Information Technology at the Ames Research Center in Silicon Valley. He served as Associate Center Director and Director of NASA’s Center of Excellence in Information Technology. In July 1999, Dr. Ford was awarded the NASA Outstanding Leadership Medal. That same year, Ford returned to private life and to the IHMC. In October of 2002, President George W. Bush nominated Dr. Ford to serve on the National Science Board (NSB) and the United States Senate confirmed his nomination in March of 2003. The NSB is the governing board of the National Science Foundation (NSF) and plays an important role in advising the President and Congress on science policy issues. In 2005, Dr. Ford was appointed and sworn in as a member of the Air Force Science Advisory Board. In 2007, he became a member of the NASA Advisory Council and on October 16, 2008, Dr. Ford was named as Chairman – a capacity in which he served until October 2011. In August 2010, Dr. Ford was awarded NASA’s Distinguished Public Service Medal – the highest honor the agency confers. In February of 2012, Dr. Ford was named to a two-year term on the Defense Science Board (DSB) and in 2013, he became a member of the Advanced Technology Board (ATB) which supports the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI).

Eliminate fatigue and unlock the secrets of low-carb success. Find out how in The Low Carb Athlete – 100% Free. Sign up now for instant access to the book! Email* I'm interested in…* YES, HOOK ME UP! Also, on November 6th he will be inducted into the Florida Inventor’s Hall of Fame bringing the total to 28 members including the likes of Thomas Edison, Henry Ford and other luminaries.  Interestingly, 4 of the 28 members are associated with IHMC. During our discussion, you’ll discover: -How Ken is developing an exoskeleton for human performance…[9:17] -What Ken thinks about the idea that artificial intelligence robots could start going down the street and killing people…[14:30 & 17:10] -How Ken became involved with the ketogenic diet and exogenous ketones, even before ketosis became the latest sexy diet trend…[19:25] -The amazing research he is currently doing on exogenous ketones, including avoidance of age-related loss of muscle mass and function and anabolic resistance…[22:10] -How ketones can lower blood sugar even if you still consume glucose…[36:05] -Ken’s best exercise biohacks and moves including, hierarchical sets, blood flow restriction training, and kettlebell bottoms-up training…[41:00 & 52:20] -Why maintaining your grip strength is one of the most important things you can do…[55:30] -What Ken has found about maintaining and building muscle by studying muscle loss in space…[58:50] -The vibration training platform you can “take on a plane”…[63:45] -Ken’s thoughts on exercise “mimetic” supplements like acetyl-l-carnitine and SARMS…[66:15] -Ken’s research-based approach to cardiovascular training…[71:40] -And much more! Resources from this episode: –The IHMC website –ARXFit machine –Blood flow restriction training bands –GoBStrong (IHMC is 15% discount code) –“Millennials Losing Their Grip” –PowerDot Electrical Muscle Stimulation –Powerplate Vibration Training Platform –My article on SARMS –Thorne Acetyl L Carnitine –Cognitive Orthoses:  Toward Human-Centered AI (pdf download) –Toward the Enhanced Warfighter (pdf download) Show Sponsors: -Human Charger – Go to HumanCharger.com/ben and use the code BEN20 for 20% off. -Molekule – Go to Molekule.com and enter promo code BEN for $75 off your order! -Thrive Market – Go to thrivemarket.com/ben to get $60 of free organic groceries now!

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