A Book I Should Probably Hate, But Don’t, And How You Can Get The Hard Copy Free.

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Yuri Elkaim (pictured above) is a bit of an outlier and renegade in the nutrition and health community. His mission is to empower everyday men and women with proper nutrition and health wisdom so they can take better control of their own health.

He also holds High Honours degree in Physical Education and Health/Kinesiology from the University of Toronto, is a former professional soccer player, and for 7 seasons acted as the strength & conditioning/nutrition coach for the nationally ranked men’s soccer program at the University of Toronto.

Some refer to him as the “health whisperer” for being to get to the heart of what matters and produce amazing health, weight loss, and fitness results where there seemed little hope.

And he just wrote a book.

I must admit, his new book “The All Day Energy Diet” is not the kind of book I would not normally read.

After all, Yuri – despite being an ex-professional soccer player - is bigtime into juicing, cleanses, detoxing – and I guarantee the guy eats far, far less steak than me…

…so I would *almost* classify him as a Whole Foods hippie.

But his book is, frankly, brilliant.

All day energy dietIt covers dietary concepts that I haven’t ever seen discussed in a book – concepts like:

-adjusting your blood pH with the foods you eat…

-how to test your adrenals without expensive lab tests…

-which foods literally exhaust your digestive enzymes…

-a new thing called the “PRAL” load of specific meals…

-six myths about plant protein

-how to choose the best kinds of coconut oil and butter…

-and much more.

I learned a ton from this book, and Yuri is a fellow athlete, a father, and a very smart dude, so I’m happy to tell you about his new book.

You can grab your hard copy now by clicking here.

The best thing is, you get it for free.

Yeah, free (it’s normally $25.95 retail value).

Yuri is giving away a few hundred copies of the book for free, starting tonight at midnight (a few minutes ago), so you can go grab it now by clicking here (if there’s any left). Good luck.

 If you have questions, comments or feedback about the All Day Energy Diet then leave your thoughts below! By the way the free book is a hard copy shipped to your house, not an ebook. And I’ll vouch for this dude, the book is good. Enjoy.

 

 

26 Mile Night Hikes, Surf Swim Torture, 450 Pound Giant Logs And More: What To Expect at SEALFit Kokoro Camp And 9 Ways To Get More Tough.

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Welcome to Part 3 of the SEALFit series, a journey of intense physical discovery and a chance to learn how to achieve amazing feats of performance without breaking. If you missed the first two articles in this three-part series, then click here for Part 1: “What Kind Of Training, Gear And Nutrition Do You Use For SEALFit Academy And Kokoro Camp? and click here for Part 2: “Laughing Yoga, Hyperoxygenation, Navy SEAL Workouts And More – What To Expect And How To Prepare For the SEALFit Academy.

In this final article, you’re going to find out exactly what to expect at SEALFit Kokoro Camp, and pick up plenty of tips for pushing through your own physical and mental performance barriers, including my own stories of 26 mile night hikes, surf swim torture, 450 pound giant logs and more – and 9 tips to conquer your own event, whether it’s an adventure race, Ironman, marathon, cycling event, Spartan race, or anything else.

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What Is Kokoro?

So what exactly is Kokoro? If you’re not familiar with this intense crucible of physical and mental hardship, the video below will give you just a bit of the flavor…

And here is how Kokoro is described by SEALFit:

“SEALFIT Kokoro Camp is, quite simply, the world’s premier training camp for forging mental toughness, modeled after the US Navy SEAL Hell Week. Yes, it is brutal. No, it’s not for everyone. You may not qualify, or make it through the training. Yet, if you’re ready for this challenge…

You’ll find it to be an experience that changes your life forever.

Kokoro is designed to break you down, then rebuild you into a powerful leader and consummate team player—the kind that makes everyone else better. Whatever your path in life, the confidence and wisdom gained during this 3-day intensive can multiply your performance and success by a factor that’s impossible for you to even imagine right now.

Kokoro Camp is designed to help you discover the deep power of your resilient spirit over your mind, and your mind’s control over your body. The program is skillfully executed by a cadre of SEALs with over 125 cumulative years of Special Warfare experience.

You’ll be pushed to your limits, because that’s where the biggest breakthroughs happen. That’s also why this is not “something you try”. It takes absolute, 100% commitment. You must have a deep and powerful reason for attending this camp, and be ready to pay the price for the ultimate freedom you’ll gain by the end.

Our elite team will be there—not to coddle or care for you—but to push you beyond your perceived capability limits. Just when you think you can’t go any further, we’ll help you find a source of strength, of courage and power that you’ll have access to for the rest of your life.”

One Ironman triathlete I know who completed Kokoro described it as 10 Ironman triathlons in a row with no sleep.

Woo-hoo. Sign me up. 

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Kokoro Day 1

Every Kokoro has a number, and this particular one was to be Kokoro 34. As you may have already read, by the time Kokoro rolled around I’d been at SEALFit for 6 days training with the SEALFit Comprehensive Academy. So I was already physically prepared with all the gear, nutrition and equipment I discuss in this post, and felt very mentally prepared too.

So on Friday morning, I simply pulled on my stylish black pants, threw on my white t-shirt, generously covered my feet in anti-friction creme, pulled on compression pants, sock liners, wool socks, slipped into my combat boots, slammed about 1000 calories of liquid fuel (chia seeds and honey from the Natural Force Nutrition I talk about in this fuel-prep post) and walked onto the Grinder at 11am ready to rumble.

We’d already had a brief team orientation during which I was nominated as “team leader”, meaning it would be my responsibility during Kokoro to ensure everyone was on time, in the right place, wearing the right uniform, with the right attitude. Of course, this also meant that if anyone on the team messed up, I’d be having to take the punishment that comes with that responsibility.

SEALFit Academy

We all stood on the Grinder for about 10 minutes, holding our sand-filled PVC pipe “weapons”, fidgeting nervously and waiting for our orders.

Then all hell broke loose and the beatdown began. Just imagine the worst hazing experience you can think of, then throw in a bunch of mean current and ex-Navy SEALs and multiply it by twenty.

Half a dozen SEALFit coaches emerged from all directions, fully equipped with cold water hoses, loudspeakers, sirens, and plenty of attitude. Our entire team spent the next three hours getting verbally abused, thrown into ice baths while breathing through a tiny cut-off plastic water bottle, cranking out pushups with high pressure water getting sprayed into the face, doing dozens and dozens of leg levers, burpee pull-ups, team hill sprints and a chaotic assortment of other exercises – and generally getting a good old-fashioned ass-kicking as our official welcome to Kokoro.

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Three hours later, the 19 men and women in our class stood in a two line formation on The Grinder – shell-shocked, panting, trembling, crying and pretty much in complete disarray.

Finally, Coach Divine spoke up:

“Why are you here?”

Silence.

“Greenfield, why are you here?”

“I’m raising two amazing humans who can grow up to make this world a better place, Coach Divine, and to do that I need to become the strongest version of me.”

Hooyah. I had a big smile on my face during that entire initial beatdown, thanks to knowing my why and thanks to the “Big 4″ lessons I had learned in the SEALFit Academy: breathe, use positivity, visualize and create mini-goals. So if an instructor says “100 burpees”, I would take one deep breathe, smile, visualize myself nailing every burpee perfectly, then make it a goal to do 10 sets of 10. This practice helped me enormously during the entire Kokoro experience.

Resting and listening to Commander Divine explain the importance of our “Why” didn’t last long. I was jolted back into reality as an entire bucket of ice water got dumped onto my head. Then again. And again. And it was back into cold, wet burpees.

After another hour of beatup on The Grinder, Coach Lance Cummings suddenly put an end to the madness, and spread out a blanket with 26 random items for us to remember, like a bandaid, an army man, a ziptie, superglue, a tennis ball, etc.. As a team, we had 20 seconds to look at the blanket, memorize all items (this is called a KIMS exercise), then rush off with 5 minutes to prepare for a 26 mile night ruck mission that involved finding a fire tower on the top of Mt. Palomar, surveying it for size, activity, location, uniforms of those inside, timing of guard switches and equipment, and then recording and bringing that information back down the mountain.

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Equipped with a rucksack, sandbag, three canteens, two lightsticks and one MRE (mine was fancy vegetarian risotto), we all piled into two vans at about 6pm for the hour long drive to the base of the recon mission, during which the coaches kept the vans at a comfortable 100 degree temperature, which meant the majority of us were mildly dehydrated before the mission even began. Just before heading up Mt. Palomar, the coaches surprised us with a break-out battle simulation on the hard, rocky desert just outside of Temecula, during which we spent nearly an hour crawling on the dirt and thorns on our bellies and forearms with our rucksacks on our back. This meant that by the time the steep ruck up the side of Mt. Palomar began, we were already bloody, dusty, hungry, dehydrated and flat-out beat up.

Then the mission actually began, with our class of 19 split into three groups of five and one group of four, spaced by 15 minute intervals and each led by a SEALFit coach to push us along the way. Within just a few minutes, I realized we were in trouble when one guy in our group began coughing, wheezing and hacking uncontrollably. Turns out he had quit smoking just a couple months ago. Bad move. For the next 11 hours, the other members of our team took care of hauling his ruck, carrying his weapon, pushing him, pulling him and guiding him to the finish.

When we finally arrived back to the van at 5:30am, he quit. Thanks dude. Another guy dropped out to, claiming he was “tired”. Huh. Most of the rest of the team who hadn’t quit was hallucinating, hypoglycemic and covered in blisters. The next 30+ hours promised to be quite interesting, and I wondered how many others would drop out – internally promising myself to commit to the team and get as much positive energy as possible spread around so that the quitting didnt’ happen. In the van on the way back, they pumped out classical music, turned up the heater, and tried to lull the team to sleep, so I used 10 pieces of paper to create a list of all the items in the KIIMS blanket, then handed it out to everyone in the van to memorize. We still lost a few exhausted folks who dozed off. There’d be hell to pay for later.

We finally arrived back at SEALFit around 7am, where we were immediately thrust back out onto the Grinder and informed that we had not only failed the mission (a repeating theme at SEALFit is nothing is ever “good enough”), but that we also had rested for way too long in the van ride home.

This was when they broke out the 350-450 pound logs to commence Log PT, during which we spent nearly 2 hours doing every exercise imaginable with a log, including “up log” (picking the log up to the shoulders), “down log” (bringing the log back down to the ground), log overhead press, log jumping jacks, log burpees, log benchpress, log sit-ups, and finally a very long and arduous log “neighborhood tour” of Encinitas, during which we hauled the logs up and down the streets.

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By this time, people were sunburnt, had injured and cut-up shoulders from the logs, many literally had bloody nubs for heels and blister-covered toes, and hypoglycemia and dehydration were obvious. I was inwardly thankful for the lessons I’d learned from Ironman about foot care, eating and drinking, and my only complaints thus far were a nearly torn left pec muscle from the 42 minute 1000 push-up challenge just two days prior, and some very, very chapped lips (as one Coach put it during Kokoro “Greenfield, are you wearing lipstick?”)

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As we replaced the logs and returned to The Grinder, we were all wondering if we’d get to eat. It was already 1pm in the afternoon, the heat was bearing down, and we’d been heavily exercising for the past 26 hours.

If only we were so lucky. Next came “Muscle Beach”.

Muscle Beach is basically a chance for the Coaches to torture the team with more physical PT, but in a game-style format. We were told to run a half mile to the beach, jump in the ocean, cover ourselves completely in sand to make a “sugar-cookie” then run back.

We ran back to The Grinder covered in sand. Not good enough. We had to sprint back to the ocean, down the 140 stairs, back up the 140 stairs, and do it again, getting even sandier this time. Then came sandbag relay races, thruster contests, stretcher races (one person is “dead” on a medical stretcher, and the other members of the team carry them in a race), hill sprints and memory contests.

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After Muscle Beach, we were hosed down on the Grinder, then tasked with emptying every barbell, dumbbell, kettlebell, medicine ball, sandbag, weight plate and each tiny little object out of the entire US Crossfit facility, carrying it to the top of Lookout Hill a 1/4 mile away, returning everything back down the to they gym, painstakingly cleaning each object, and returning it exactly back to where we found it. I will never again complain about cleaning my home gym. By the time we completed the gym four hours later, my hands and fingers were burning and my forearm muscles felt shredded to pieces. Talk about grip training.

When we finally finished, there was (no surprise here) two vans waiting outside.

We were instructed to grab our sandbag filled rucksack, three canteens full of water or Gatorade, 1 MRE (meal replacement), 2 lightsticks, our weapon, and pile onto the vans…

…the worst was yet to come.

Lessons From Day 1

-Know your why. 

-For any long effort, including rucks, Ironman, marathon, etc. it pays to use sock liners, anti-friction creme and take excellent care of your feet

-When you get a chance to fuel, fuel hard. Stay ahead of your hunger and stay ahead of your thirst if food and water availability is an unknown.

———————————————-

Kokoro Day 2

From Encinitas, the vans drove us about 13 miles down the road to a beach with deep sand, high cliffs and big surf breakers. Ironically, it was primarily populated with nudes throwing frisbees, playing beach volleyball, and lounging on blankets – in stark contrast to 17 Kokoro team members in white shirts, black pants and combat boots. But the last thing I was thinking about were the boobs bouncing on the naked girls playing volleyball next to us. We were immediately forced into a fast jog-run ruck down the beach in a two-line formation, all while chanting the poem “Invictus”:

Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find, me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate,
I am the captain of my soul.

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As we chanted and ran, members of our team frequently stumbled and hit the sand face-first, and some could barely hobble due to open and bleeding blisters, but we’d just pick them up, carry their rucks, handle their weapons, and keep going. This was the closest I’d been to witnessing individuals at the brink of complete physical fatigue simply survive by putting one foot in front of the other to keep moving forward, and also the closest I’ve been to an entire team supporting every individual, no matter what. It was heartwarming, in only the way one’s heart could be warmed when shivering your ass off running down a cold California beach.

After an hour of fast rucking, as the sunset approached, we arrived at the base of a cliff and were instructed to ditch our rucksacks and weapons, and go lay down in the surf with our heads facing the ocean and our feet facing the coaches.

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The surf torture was about to commence.

The Making Of A Navy Seal has a pretty good description of surf torture. It goes like this:

“We soon started surf torture. We ran into the ocean until we were chest deep in water, formed a line, and linked arms as the cold waves ran through us. Soon we began to shiver. Instructors on bullhorns spoke evenly, “Gentlemen, quit now, and you can avoid the rush later. You are only at the beginning of a very long week. It just gets colder. It just gets harder.”

“Let’s go. Out of the water!” We ran out through waist-deep water, and as we hit the beach a whistle blew: whistle drills. One blast of the whistle and we dropped to the sand. Two blasts and we began to crawl to the sound of the whistle. We crawled through the sand, still shaking from the cold, until our bodies had warmed just past the edge of hypothermia. Then, “Back in the ocean! Hit the surf!”

We fought our way through that night and through the next day. As the sunlight weakened at the beginning of the next night, the instructors ran us out to the beach. We stood there in a line, and as we watched the sun drift down, they came out on their bullhorns: “Say goodnight to the sun, gentlemen. And you men have many, many more nights to go.”

When they really wanted to torture us, they’d say, “Anybody who quits right now gets hot coffee and doughnuts. Come on, who wants a doughnut? Who wants a little coffee?”

Out of the corner of my eye, I saw men running for the bell.”

I’d read about it before, but never experienced surf torture until now.

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As we lay there in the ocean, watching the sunset and preparing for a very long night, my entire body was shaking and trembling from the icy cold water. I could barely open my eyes because they were full of burning sand, and my mouth and ears were also filled with tiny rocks, sand, and cold water. Despite over 80 triathlons in some of the most insane open water conditions imaginable, this was the closest I’d ever come to experiencing a panicked and desperate sense of cold and impending drowning.

I have no clue how long we were in the surf. I completely ditched all expectations of ever getting out, and simply pulled the other members of my team close to stay warm, tried to focus on my breath, and imagined each breath bringing warmth into my body.

Finally, after what seemed like hours, we were pulled out of the ocean – and the rucking commenced.

Until 5am that morning, the horrible pattern of rucking and surf torture continued…

…run, stumble, fall, march…

…sprint to the ocean, get completely covered in cold water, shiver, try to block the cold, try not to panic, sit-ups, push-ups, burpees, full water submersion, waves crashing into your face…

…back out of ocean, roll in sand to make yourself into a sand covered “sugar cookie”, verbal abuse from the coaches…

…run, stumble, fall, march…

Every hour or so, a coach would monitor the class and walk down the line of attendees with a flashlight, stopping in front of each of us and shining a light in our face, searching for signs of hypothermia like extreme shivering, a slurred speech, clumsiness, or a far away look. By this point we were nearly all in that hypothermic state, but kept getting thrown back into the pitch-black ocean anyways. I just kept telling myself that they probably wouldn’t let use die because of liability issues. I’m still not sure that’s true, but it helped at the time.

And then somehow, after nearly 9 hours of marching, surf torture, rucking, running, stumbling, falling, hallucinating, crying and even crawling, we made it back Encinitas and stumbled into the SEALFit facilities and back onto the Grinder. It was still pitch black on the Grinder, and several more fresh and well-slept coaches were there waiting for us as we formed back into our neat lines and awaited our next orders, swaying and shaking from extreme tiredness and cold.

We were then  instructed to line up next to our “swim buddy”, one other member of the team who was relatively comparable in size and stature. As I stood across from my swim buddy, Coach Mike told us to stare into our swim buddy’s eyes and gather strength from them, since we were about to complete a classic Crossfit workout named after a fallen Navy SEAL “Murph” – which is comprised of a mile run, 100 pull-ups, 200 pushups and 300 squats.

As I stood there and stared into my swim buddy’s eyes, he abruptly fell asleep standing up and then collapsed to the ground. So much for gathering strength from our swim buddy! I quickly picked him up and supported him on my shoulders. Then the music began and chaos ensued as we commenced Murph with bleeding hands, blistered feet and quads that felt very, very close to complete muscular failure and rhabdomyolysis, a condition in which you’ve broken down so much skeletal muscle that you begin to go into kidney failure. As my swim buddy struggled through the mile, I pushed him, pulled him talked him through every step. I could tell the dude simply need to eat some damn food, but there was none to be had.

The rest of Murph was a blur. We took it 3 pull-ups at a time, 5 push-ups at a time and 10 squats at a time. 100 pull-ups, 200 pushups and 300 squats later, I stood there as the beautiful sun came up and signaled the start of Day 3. Sleep and rest were still a very long way off and I kept my fingers crossed that I’d somehow be able to finish, but at this point, I was in completely unknown territory, having pushed my body and mind farther and harder than I’d ever thought possible, and a bit nervous about whether I had anything left in the tank for myself, much less the rest of my team. This was going to be tough.

Freaking Ironman triathlon is a catered walk-in-the-park compared to this thing.

Lessons From Day 2

-You can be cold for really long periods of time and bounce back just fine. If you are cold, move as much as possible to stay warm and hold a buddy close.

-One of the first signs of hypoglycemia is sleepiness. If you start to get sleepy during a hard event, resist the urge to slow down or sleep, and instead eat. Lots.

-If the volume of a distance or task is unknown, then release expectations from your mind, don’t anticipate “number of reps” and simply settle in for the long haul. Expect the worst and be pleasantly surprised.

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Kokoro Day 3

Still shaking and panting from Murph, our team – still 17 strong – stood on the Grinder and awaited the next orders, this time from the man in charge of the entire SEALFit operations: Commander Mark Divine (who I interviewed on this podcast)

Coach Divine informed us that we were about to head back down to the beach and break into two groups. Group 1 would be whichever group was able to keep up with a fast sprint down the beach and was to be the Assault group who would complete a special mission. Group 2 would be comprised of whoever couldn’t keep up, and would be the Support group who would stay back and complete a separate mission.

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A coach who was standing by mumbled quietly to me, “It pays to be a winner, Greenfield”.

I suddenly knew that it would be very, very important to make Group 1 Assault team.

It was time to dig deep.

One SEALFit coach, Coach James, an ex-pro Ironman triathlete took off, and I knew he’d be the rabbit to chase. Channeling as much inner strength as possible, I forgot the fact that I’d been pushing my body for the past 40+ hours and took off at a rapid pace, keeping him no more than a few feet ahead of me. I could hear the footsteps of the rest of the team falling behind, and within a few minutes of fast and painful sprinting in the deep beach sand, it was suddenly just me and the Coach.

I had no clue how long we’d be going, but I hung on for dear life, knowing that I need to make that Assault team. Breathe. Stride. Breathe. Stride. Block out the pain.

We finally stopped and I looked back, lungs burning. Six other team members were about a hundred yards back. The rest of the team was nowhere to be seen. I’d made the Assault team in first place, and it looked like there’d be a total of seven of us on the Assault mission. The Support team would stay back and, from what I gathered, have an extremely unpleasant experience.

The Assault team took off again, with Coach James, Coach Mike, Coach Divine and a handful of other coaches. We sprinted up beach stairs, down beach stairs, onto obstacles, off obstacles, through deep sand, across water, back into sand, all at the fastest pace we’d gone yet in Kokoro.

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If this was the easy part, I shuddered at what the Support team must be doing at this point (it turned out they were subjected to a few more hours of burpees, push-ups, sit-ups, cold water conditioning and surf torture). We finally reached a tall lifeguard tower, and had to work together as a team to get everyone up into the tower without using the ladder, at which point the rescue mission was complete.

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Huffing and puffing from the sprint down the beach, we were then led to a cold, dark, and horrible smelling river that ran along the inside of the beach, and Coach Divine instructed us to cross through to the other side of the river and select a large rock which represented our “will to live.”

“If you choose a rock that’s too small, then that’s how little you think of yourself and you have to live with that decision,” he said. “But if you pick one too large and you’ve made an irresponsible decision because your ego is too big, then you’ll have to suffer with that rock all the way back down the beach to where we started.” 

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I walked across the river, which went about two feet over my head in some spots, and within 5 minutes found the perfect rock. It was a big, heavy stone about the size of three large dictionaries, and perhaps around 60 lbs. But it was also nearly perfectly square, and I knew that because it wasn’t an awkward shape that I’d be able to carry it a long distance by shifting it from my chest, to my left shoulder, to my right shoulder, then back to my chest.

I picked up the rock and carried it back across the river, forced at several points to hold my breath and simply walk under the water holding my rock. Emerging from the murky river, I lined up next to the coaches and waited nearly ten minutes for the rest of the Assault team to finish the task.

One member, a strapping muscular guy covered in tattoos, came back across the river with a rock nearly half the size of mine.

Coach Divine took one look at it and smirked at him: “Switch with Greenfield.”

I was suddenly handed a rock that couldn’t have weighed more than twenty pounds. Wow. Relief.

“Well played, Greenfield.” said another Coach, and we set off down the beach to quickly ruck 2 miles back to the Support team.

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When we arrived back to the Support team, the other ten members of our team were buried completely in the sand and covered in seaweed, looking worn, shell-shocked and shivering uncontrollably. They looked like they’d been to hell and back while we were out on the Assault mission. Nobody was talking much, and I didn’t know how long they’d been buried in the sand, but everyone seemed very crestfallen. The Assault team tried to cheer them up. The coaches told us to shut up and threw us all back into the ocean for more calisthenics, then marched us back to the Grinder.

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Strangely enough, at this point, about 9am on Day 3, I had a big smile on my face. I was ready for anything. I’d caught my second wind.

Bring it on, baby.

As we stood on the Grinder once again awaiting our orders, Coach Cummings approached the team:

“Who wants breakfast?”

I had a sinking feeling that this wasn’t going to end well, but raised my hand anyways, along with the rest of the team.

Coach Cummings continued:

Follow me. I’m bringing you down to a hot pancake, eggs and bacon breakfast at the diner down the street. You will quietly enter, you will eat everything on the table, you will not leave a single scrap of food, then you will quietly file out and follow me.”

We arrived at the restaurant to sit down to pancakes that were literally the size of dinner plates, along with scrambled eggs, hashbrowns and bacon. I’d been taking good care of my nutrition up to this point, and unlike many members of our team, my stomach wasn’t shrunk or and wouldn’t be shocked by this massive intake of calories, so I stuffed my face and polished off my plate in five minutes flat. After finishing my breakfast, I moved on to my teammates’ meals. Knowing the day was far from over and we had plenty more work to do, I added ketchup, peanut butter, sugar, salt, and anything else I could grab, along with 5 enormous cups of coffee.

As my team’s eyes rolled back in their head and several began to turn pale white with sickness and bloating, I ate and ate and ate. It felt fantastic. Perhaps all those years of stuffing my face with 400 calories an hour while charging down the hot highway during the Ironman marathon was paying off.

We filed outside. Two guys puked. Someone in front of me crapped their pants. Literally. It was an unmistakable, audible and smellable diaper moment.

And then we began to run. Yes, run. We ran to the base of Lookout Hill. We did an uphill backwards bear crawl. Mmm…there’s that syrup. Then uphill burpee broad jumps. Anyone tasting egg? Then hill sprints. Gotta love hashbrowns twice-cooked. Then more bear crawls. And mountain climbers. And jumping jacks. And partner carries. By this time, the mid-morning heat was building and the sweat was beginning to pour, so there was more puking. More crapping of pants. People were re-tasting the pancake breakfast two, three and four times over.

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Perhaps it was the extreme amounts of coffee, the smile on my face, or the fact that I metabolize food extremely quickly because I’m one skinny dude, but at this point, I felt great. I kept sprinting and pushing out the burpees until the very last minute they marched our sweaty and smelly team back to the Grinder.

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Then came exactly what you want to do when you’re sleep-deprived, sore, hallucinating and surrounded by a team with crap in their pants and puke on their mouths…

…hot yoga.

That’s right –  we arrived back to the US Crossfit facility for hot yoga led by Commander Mark Divine. As the peaceful yoga music played and the room grew warmer and warmer, I struggled to keep my eyes open. Things started getting blurry.

Warrior 1…focus. Warrior 2…focus dammit. Child’s pose…keep your eyes open. Plank pose…block out that torn pec. Chair pose…c’mon quads, hang on. Warrior 3…don’t pass out.

For a full hour, we continued in yoga. Time and time again, Coach Divine dropped statements like:

“You’ve accomplished so much, and now you’re almost done…”

“Kokoro 34 is nearly secured…”

“Congratulate yourself on what you’ve finally finished…”

Bull-crap, I thought. I could see out of the corner of my eye that there were SEALFit coaches milling on the Grinder, I could see someone dragging a hose into an ice bath, I could see some of the locals gathering on the benches to witness yet another beat-down, and by the time we got into the final “corpse pose” of yoga, lying on our backs with our eyes closed, I knew the last thing I should be doing was sleeping.

So as our entire team lay on our backs on yoga mats with eyes closed, beginning to snore, I instead stared intensely at the ceiling, performing sharp, rapid warrior breathing (which you can read about here), clenching and unclenching my fist, and strongly fighting the urge to sleep. C’mon Greenfield, I thought, exercise that will to live! As the music came to a close, I looked around and could see nearly the entire team was sound asleep. This could get ugly, fast as a bunch of deep sleepers were suddenly roused into an intense firefight.

Because my eyes were open, I saw three doors to the yoga room quietly swing open and several Coaches sneak into the room holding megaphones. I smiled. I was ready. Bring it. Here it comes…

“BLEEP! BLEEP! BLEEP!”

The megaphones began blasting sirens and the Coaches began screaming profanities at us, “Get your motherf#$* asses back on The Grinder and get your shoes on you lazy fu#$%!”.

It was time to suffer. I dropped into a bear crawl position and hauled ass outside only to find complete chaos. Our shoes, which we’d been instructed to neatly place in front of the yoga room, were now thrown under benches, into bushes, and over fences, and the entire Grinder turned into an instant clusterf#$^ as everyone scrambled to find their gear.

I was immediately pulled aside by two coaches, “Get in the ice bath NOW, Greenfield”.

I quickly plunged into the ice bath and a Coach shoved a tiny black mask on my face, “Go under, Greenfield, and don’t come up until I tap you.”

It was chaos everywhere. My teammates were running, crying, crawling, rolling, scrambling and coaches were everywhere, shouting, screaming, blasting sirens through their megaphones. I couldn’t hear myself think. But I took one deep enormous breath, cleared my thoughts, smiled and went underwater.

All went silent.

By this time in Kokoro, cold water was my wheelhouse, and in my Kokoro prep, I’d spent many, many sessions in the frigid Spokane river practicing my breathholds. So time stood still as I went under. It could have been two minutes, four minutes, five minutes, I wasn’t really sure. I was in this strange, deep, meditative state. But when that tap finally came on my shoulder and I sat up and gasped for precious oxygen, I knew I was suddenly invincible.

I turned around and smiled at the ice bath Coach, “Is that it? I got more, Coach.”

He stared back at me, “Give me that mask.”

I handed it to him.

“Get outta here, Greenfield.”

I stood up, and as soon as I did, Coach Will grabbed me, handed me a blindfold, and shouted over the chaos: “Put this on, Greenfield!”

I put on the blindfold and the world went dark again.

“Greenfield, you think you’re such a good leader, you think you know how to lead a team, well guess what – now we’re going to take away your senses and see how you do then! It’s time to learn how to quit leading and start following, Greenfield.”

Interesting approach. I smiled again. I was now in a strange zone where I felt like I could literally perform forever. Kokoro wasn’t over yet, but I knew inside that I’d suddenly reached my 20x potential. Nothing could bother me now.

For the next two hours, each of my teammates took turns walking me through every element of the beatdown – log balancing and falling, handstands, wall-sits, burpees, push-ups, bear crawls, tire flips and the list goes on – I did it all with zero eyesight, relying upon and trusting the instructions of my team.

DSC02885

Finally, after two hours, my blindfold was removed and I squinted into the blazing afternoon sun. Within ten seconds, a high pressure, icy-cold water stream was sprayed into my face, “Get a rope, Greenfield!”

I grabbed a giant battle rope and our team was divided into two, then thrown into a giant tug-of-war in the back ally behind SEALFit. My pants were already ripped to shreds, so more dragging and scraping on the textured concrete didn’t seem like a big deal. Losers got ice baths, so my team pulled hard and won six tug-of-wars in a row before the coaches finally got bored and brought us back onto the Grinder.

Out came the KIMS blanket.

“Drop!” shouted Coach Cummings.

We all dropped into a push-up position.

“One by one, I want you to tell me every item that was in this blanket!” 

I knew all 26 items by heart. I’d spent every last minute of the 3 hours we’d had in a van simply reciting the items over and over again. Unfortunately, we could only recite one at a time. So for nearly 30 minutes, our team stayed in that push-up position recalling the items. I kept collapsing to the ground as my left pec muscle would no longer work. I wanted it to, but at this point, it simply wouldn’t cooperate.

After what seemed like an eternity, we finished the last item in the blanket –  a tiny screw – and stood up, shoulders, core, chest and necks completely shot.

Coach Kim stood waiting for us…

“You failed the recon mission, and that’s 250 burpees”…

…”you fell asleep on the vans and that’s another 100 burpees”…

…”you failed to clean the gym properly, and that’s another 150 burpees”…

…”but we’re not going to do just any old burpee…”

…”split into teams and grab a log”…

KOKORO 34 - 173

Woo, boy. Here we go. The enormous 350-450 pound logs came back out and we piled them onto our backs and shoulders. Up log. Down log. Burpee. One. Up log. Down log. Burpee. Two. Up log. Down log. Burpee. You lazy f*^@s, that one didn’t count you didn’t do it together, start over. Up log. Down log. Burpee. One.

Things were going downhill fast. We had team members with eyes barely open, team members who literally could not raise their arms above their head, team members who could no longer take one step forward due to enormous bleeding blisters across the bottom of the entire feet. This was going to get dangerous very soon.

But Coach Kim kept going.

“You expected 50 hours? Are you kidding me? We’ll stay here all night. I hope nobody has a plane flight tonight because this thing is far from over.”

Looks of desperation. I could see the morale quickly dropping. I was in this for the long haul, but was getting really concerned about someone cracking their head open with a log at this point.

We’re going to take these logs down to Swamis beach and get in the ocean. It’s time for you to truly start suffering.”

Damn. I tightened my grip on the log. Here we go.

Suddenly a booming voice sounded. It was Commander Mark Divine.

“KOKORO 34 SECURED.”

Silence. Did he just really say that?

“CONGRATULATIONS, KOKORO 34 SECURED.”

Holy crap.

We made it.

What commenced afterwards was the most tear-filled, heartfelt, exhausted, relieved and emotional group hug I’ve ever had. Our entire team doggy piled in on one another and smothered each other in tears, laughter, shouts of victory, hoots, hollers and celebration. We did it. We fu&^#% did it. We’re done. We made it. Kokoro 34 secured.

Kokoro 34 secured.

Hooyah Kokoro 34.

Mission accomplished.

KOKORO 34 - 195

Lessons From Day 3

-Your facial expression heavily dictates your emotions. Smile when the going gets tough. This also makes a tormenter less likely to enjoy tormenting you.

-The human body is versatile. You can train your gut to exercise with lots of food inside. Practice eating “on the go” occasionally during workouts if you’re training for any event during which you’ll need to eat.

-Before any tough task, from lifting a heavy weight to jumping into cold water, take one deep breath. You will always have time for one breath.

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kokoro34So that’s it!

The past 8 days have been some of the most memorable of my life, and I now know that I am capable physically and mentally of 20x more than I thought before. Hopefully you now have a glimpse of how you can handle tough events that get thrown your way.

Finally, even if you don’t plan on doing a Kokoro event, it’s important that you also choose at least one event each year that takes you far outside your comfort zone and scares you. This will keep you constantly growing physically, mentally and emotionally, it will keep you young, and it will allow you to live a life without fear and regret. So what will your next big event be? Think about it and if you want some serious social accountability, tell us about it in the comments section below.

In the meantime, if you have signed up for a SEALFit Kokoro or Academy event and want to hop on the phone with me for a personalized one-on-one consult to get you ready physically and mentally, just click here and grab a 20 or 60 minute consult, whichever you’d prefer.

Leave your questions, comments or feedback below, and best of luck in your next crucible, whatever it may be!

 

 

 

Laughing Yoga, Hyperoxygenation, Navy SEAL Workouts And More – What To Expect And How To Prepare For the SEALFit Academy.

SEALFit Academy

Welcome to Part 2 of my experience with SEALFit Comprehensive Academy and SEALFit Kokoro Camp, in which you’re going to get as many tips and tricks as possible for the SEALFit Academy. Part 1 is here. Even if you don’t plan on attending any SEALFit events, there are plenty of takeaway gems here for anyone who wants to achieve challenging feats of physical or mental performance.

In the next article – Part 3 of this three-part series -you’ll learn exactly what happens at SEALFit Kokoro, and some my own takeaways, tips and tricks – but in the meantime, let’s jump right into what you need to know for the six days of the SEALFit Academy.

Even if you don’t plan on ever going to a SEALFit event, you’re going to learn a ton of useful information about how to get physically and mentally stronger!

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SEALFit Academy Day 1

Day 1 abruptly began at 4pm with a very brief orientation from Coach Dave (most of the coaches here go by “Coach”, followed by their first name – so don’t call them Sir or Mr. or anything like that), during which we introduced ourselves and selected a team leader. We then went straight into the coach barking orders at us as he led us through the initial PT test on “The Grinder”, which a hard, textured concrete surface at the US Crossfit facility in Encinitas, California.

The Grinder looks like this (fun, eh?):

sealfit grinder

During the PT test, which is performed in highly stylish black pants, white t-shirt and combat boots, myself and the 10 other Academy attendees were tested for the SEALFit Academy physical standards, which are:

-50 pushups in 2 minutes
-50 situps in 2 minutes
-50 squats in 2 minutes
-10 dead hang pull-ups (6 for women)
-1 mile run in 9:30 or less

Here’s a photo of the PT test from Academy.

day1pt

As you can see, based on my physical training for the Academy (read about it in Part 1 of this series), I did just fine. But come prepared, because the candidates that failed (red circles) were pretty severely reprimanded for it. Take the standards seriously.

Other quick tips for the Academy PT test include:

1. Pay attention and be mindful, especially if you have a creative mind that wanders (like I do). Reign it in! Focus. Every tiny little detail matters at the Academy, especially when a coach is giving instructions for a WOD (Workout Of The Day) or any other activity. For example, I incurred a 50 burpee penalty for our whole team by simply running on the sidewalk rather than the road during the run portion of the PT test. I thought this would be safer, but it turns out that at SEALFit Academy and Kokoro, they pretty much avoid the sidewalks and almost always run on the road, even at night.

2. Suffer in silence. No grunting or weird workout noises. Be careful with grimacing too. Practice keeping a stone face, or better yet, smiling even when the going gets tough. Deep breathing helps with this.

3. Don’t show off or be a Rambo. Be a team player. As soon as I finished my run well ahead of most of the others, I was instructed to sprint back out and bring the rest of the team in. Unless instructed otherwise, always prioritize helping your team vs. just showing off your fitness.

4. If you can lay down a strip of duct tape or kinesiotape vertically down your spine, it will help you not get back blisters from situps on the hard Grinder surface. This helps because if you start the week with a chafed back, it’s going to hurt a bunch during the rucks, leg levers, flutter kicks, and pretty much any other time something is rubbing against your back. I learned that lesson the hard way.

5. Practice strict pull-ups to an above the bar chin position and full extension at the bottom, along with a hook grip in which your fingers wrap around your thumbs. Avoid“suicide” gripping on the pull-ups (a thumbs off position).

After the PT test, we sat in on a lecture with Coach Mark Divine – the owner of SEALFit, in which he introduced the core principles of The Unbeatable Mind, adapted from concepts in his book by the same name. I’d highly recommend you read both Unbeatable Mind and 8 Weeks To SEALFit well in advance of showing up for any of the SEALFit events. You will be way ahead of the game if you read them and do both the mental and physical activities in the book.

Following Coach Divine’s talk, we were cut free for a team dinner on our own. As the team leader, I was given $100 to divvy up among the team, so we went out for some team bonding at a restaurant across the street from the SEALFit headquarters, then an early bedtime. When you get a chance to sleep at the Academy, plan to do it – as you don’t get many chances for a solid night of sleep and you never know when you may get ripped out of bed and thrown into the ocean or shoved into a midnight workout (seriously – keep reading for more details on that).

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SEALFit Academy Day 2

We awoke to a glorious breakfast on Day 2. Unlike Kokoro, you don’t get crappy MRE’s (stands for “Meals Ready To Eat”). Instead, the Academy is catered by a trained chef named Kathryn, who is also a nutritionist, yoga teacher and meditation expert. For breakfast on Day 2, Kathryn served us scrambled eggs with vegetable, gluten-free raisin nut muffins, and an assortment of fruits and yogurts.

Of course, the only downside is that as soon as your glorious breakfast ends, you can expect to be rushing to a hard workout – during which you’ll often get the unique experience of tasting breakfast a second time, especially if you overeat on proteins and fats. As a matter of fact, at the SEALFit Academy you can pretty much expect to be rushing from the moment you awake – to breakfast, to a workout, a lecture, another workout, lunch, another workout, a lecture, a skills clinic, etc. Sometimes the rushing seems intentionally programmed to keep you slightly outside your comfort zone. For example, for lunch on Day 2, we had a fantastic but extremely filling chicken sausage and squash casserole – which was immediately followed by a 1 mile fast run in the heat.

This takes me to an important lesson: the use of digestive enzymes to help digest meals more quickly. I used this trick many times during Academy week and even during Kokoro – popping just a couple digestive enzymes with or immediately before meals to help things get through my digestive system more quickly and to help me absorb extra nutrients.

After breakfast, the first workout of Day 2 was “Grinder PT” with Mark Divine. You can get an idea of what it looks like in the video below. We did movements like this for a solid 2 hours, and finished with a sandbag run to the top of Lookout Hill, which sits about a quarter mile from the Academy.

At the top of Lookout Hill, Mark finished by bringing us through a Warrior Breathing session, which involves hyperoxygenating the body with sharp intakes of oxygen through the nose, then very quick exhales. During our Warrior Breathing, we practiced visualizing our “internal warrior” (Coach Divine’s is King Leonidas of the Spartans). But I was baffled and slightly frustrated during this exercise, as I simply couldn’t find or visualize my internal warrior. Images that floated through my head included a wolf, an archer (like Robin Hood), and even a shark, but none of these seemed quite right. I know this sounds cheesy and woo-woo, but being able to picture your warrior before a hard workout or intense physical challenge can give you a huge advantage. On Day 4, which you’ll read about below, I had my first intense emotional breakthrough of the Academy, in which I finally did discover my internal warrior.

After the workout, Coach Divine gave a lecture on the principles of SEALFit, adapted from the book 8 Weeks To SEALFit. Then we moved on to a 2 hour clinic that covered sandbag skills, kettlebell skills and barbell skills, in which we learned 8-10 different exercises and movements for each of these tools. This doesn’t sound like much of a workout, but 2 solid hours of practicing with sandbags, kettlbebells and barbells adds up pretty quickly.

After lunch, we had another lifting clinic, this time with Coach Adam, who taught us proper form for deadlifts, cleans, overhead press, push press and bench press. As you are probably noticing, you can expect to spend a lot of time with a barbell in your hands at SEALFit events.

Next, we settled in for another lecture with Coach Dave, during which Dave discussed training principles and the SEALFit components of Endurance, Strength, Stamina, Work Capacity and Durability. At the end of the lecture, he abruptly announced that we’d go do “Cindy” – a relatively famous Crossfit workout consisting of an AMRAP (as many rounds as possible) in 20 minutes of 5 pull-ups, 10 pushups and 15 air squats. After 26 rounds, my hands – already a bit rubbed raw from the amount of barbell holds – were ripped open and bleeding. So I’d recommend you bring tincture of benzoin and Second Skin to clean and cover bar blisters on your hands and rucking blisters on your feet, and also bring Duct Tape or Rock Tape to cover your hands during any workouts that involve sweat and lots of time on the bar. Or get very, very calloused hands before Academy.

As soon as we finished Cindy, we were rushed into another lecture with Coach Lance Cummings. Despite his stern demeanor and constant sneer, Coach Cummings is an extremely impressive dude. He recently retired from Active Duty Navy Service with 30 years of combined Active and Reserve service. After graduating BUD/s Class 124 he deployed overseas in support of US Foreign Policy with six different SEAL teams on both the east and west coast. He served at the Naval Special Warfare Center as a Basic Underwater/SEAL (BUD/s) instructor where he earned his Master Training Specialist classification. He also worked several State Department Security Team contracts with private employers during his time in the Naval Reserves

An accomplished athlete, he has represented the United States at the international level in Military Pentathlon and won several Marksmanship awards in inter-service competition in both handgun and carbine categories. From 1990 to 1995, he competed in 200 triathlons, from sprint to Ironman distances. He was on the USA Dragon Boat Team in 2011, winning Gold, Silver and Bronze medals in World Cup competition. His current hobbies include Outrigger Canoe racing, mtn. biking, running, and CrossFit training. A licensed Chiropractor, Lance also is certified in Cold Laser Therapy, Functional Mobility, Thermal Imaging, and is a registered Emergency Medical Technician.

Dang.

Anyways, Coach Cummings lectured on heart rate zones and endurance training principles, then we were cut loose for dinner – sweet potato casserole with beef tacos and guacamole. I collapsed exhausted at the end of this day. If you were doing the math, you’d see that we exercised relatively hard for a solid 5 hours, and I found that as camp progressed, about 4-6 workout hours per day was pretty standard for physical workload during the Academy.

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SEALFit Academy Day 3

We were ripped out of bed early on Day 3 for one of SEALFit’s famous “Operator WOD’s“, which consisted of some endurance training with a Grinder PT warm up led by Coach Divine, followed by:

-Stamina: 21-15-9 Deadlift to Box Jumps with 400m run after each
-Strength: 3×5 Heavy Front Squat
-Workout Capacity: 50 meters burpee broad jumps, 50 barbell step-ups, and a 400m farmers walk with 50lb kettle bells

This is exactly the type of WOD you’ll find in the 8 Weeks To SEALFit book, so do lots of these workouts before the Academy. After the WOD, we moved straight into the durability part of the workout, which was led by Coach Cummings and consisted of a 3 hour ruck with sandbags in our ruckpag, and a quick stop for an MRE lunch (pinto bean veggie chili – yum) during the ruck.

I learned a few tips about rucking that I’d highly recommend you use at the Academy, including:

1. Completely smear your toes, heels, and crotch in some kind of friction-proofing cream. For the longer rucks I used a product called Ex-Goo that we were supplied with by the Academy, and for shorter workouts I used Hammer Balm (use 15% discount code 80244). Also use a lube such as BodyGlide liberally on neck, shoulders, and armpits – all places that a backpack will rub during a ruck.

2. If a blister begins to form, stay ahead of it with moleskin by simply cutting a hole in the middle of the moleskin and covering/protecting the blister with this doughnut shape.

3. You can bring your own rucksack to the Academy, and the one that Coach Lance recommends is an internal frame “Kelty” brand rucksack. This is the same brand the Seals use, and although it’s pretty expensive, your back and shoulders will thank you and you’ll be far more comfortable during the Academy if you bring one.  

We came back from the ruck and went straight into a 2 hour Olympic lifting class with Coach Rick, during which we practiced all elements of the Power Clean and initial instructions for the Snatch. Day 4 finished with a lecture by Coach Divine on breathing and positivity, along with the importance of using the Observe, Orient, Act, Decide (OODA) loop to respond to stressful situations. Later in the week, during Kokoro, I relied heavily on this loop to respond to the extreme physical and mental stress we were thrown into.

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SEALFit Academy Day 4

I cried three times during the Academy – not from physical stress, but from mental and emotional breakthroughs. The morning of Day 4 was the first such experience. We began the morning with a 30 minute “box breathing”  - set to a background music of a special 436 hertz frequency designed to enhance alpha brain wave production.

Box breathing, a big component of the Academy that Coach Divine often uses as part of a WOD warm-up or at the beginning or end of the day, involves a 4-20 count in, a 4-20 count hold, a 4-20 count exhale, and a 4-20 count hold. During this time, you practice positivity and visualization. I’d recommend you start with a 4 count if you don’t want to hyperventilate, and use the Pranayama app to help you stay on count for your box breathing. You’d only use a 20 count if you were extremely skilled at box breathing, and the highest we got during the Academy was an 8 count.

kingarthurAnyways, during the box breathing, I experienced an extremely intense vision of my internal warrior that immediately got me shaking, trembling and weeping. My vision was of me not as a lone wolf or a quiet archer but rather as a noble king – very much like the famous King Arthur of the round table – placed here on earth to lead and teach with love, to help people achieve amazing feats of physical performance and also to built a great legacy with my two young boys. Again, I realize this all sounds a bit airy-fairy, but the vision was extremely powerful, and returned to me again during many of the other visualization and box breathing sessions during the week.

The box breathing progressed straight into a skills clinic and workout with Coach Lance, who led through a 3 round circuit of sledgehammers, tire flips, log PT (carrying, lifting and moving a heavy log as a team), rope climbs and wall ball throws.

During lunch, Kathryn lectured to us on meditation, and then we moved straight into a 2 hour yoga and meditation class. As our entire team finished the class in an extremely relaxed state, we slowly stood up, wandered outside to the Grinder, and were instantly snapped back into reality by Coach Divine.

“Get down on your hands and knees and crawl!”

We all dropped and began crawling on the hot Grinder, which immediately formed heat blisters on many of the team members’ already bloody and beat-up hands.

“Who spit a luge on my Grinder?”

Silence.

“I said who spit a luge on my Grinder?”

One of our team members finally piped up, “Me Coach.”

We were immediately forced into a 50 burpee penalty (during which we were sprayed down with hoses and had coaches screaming in our faces with megaphones, a common experience on the Grinder), followed by an incredibly difficult two and a half hour WOD that we had to complete in “Battle Mode” – meaning no talking and only cooperating with hand signals. The WOD consisted of:

-500m row
-3×5 heavy power clean
-5 rounds of dumbell hang clean with thruster to 10 350lb tire flips to 3 second handstand hold
-3 rounds of 50 wall balls throws, 100m prowler push, and 1000m row

When the WOD finally ended and the smoke cleared, we had a quick shower, then went straight into a goal setting and visualization with Coach Divine, which was an extremely powerful session. After several minutes of Box Breathing, we were tasked with forming a visual mental image of our “mind gym” – a special place where we could go inside our head to escape, to train and to prepare for stressful situations.

rocky_4_1985_685x385My mind gym was an old log hut in the forest besides a cold pond in the deep snow- very similar to Rocky’s winter training center from the Rocky IV movie. As I explored my mind gym, still as the warrior king from the warrior breathing visualization, I felt another strong presence in the mind gym, and suddenly found my old dog Bruno by my side. Bruno was a muscular boxer dog with a spiked collar and intense personality, and was one of the most important parts of my childhood. But he was tragically struck by a van when I was 16, and I hadn’t realized until this visualization how much I had suppressed the emotions from his death – or how much it had formed my aversion to having any pet or animal “companion” since then. When I realized his spirit was still there with me and I began to run and explore my mind gym with him, just like we used to play in the fields outside my childhood home, I began to tremble and cry uncontrollably with joy and relief. This was a very intense moment for me, and one of my most powerful memories from the Academy.

Later in the week, we returned to our mind gyms and I experienced yet another emotional breakthrough in the mind gym, but for now, this visual of Bruno was enough to have my head spinning for the rest of the night. I fell asleep with a smile on my face, knowing that my old dog was back with me and that I could now fight through anything and experience life with him by my side.

That night – excited for a good night of sleep – I was instead abruptly ripped out of by bed by the team of SEALFit coaches, thrown into the grinder and thrust into a battle-like simulation of a brutal workout session on the Grinder that culminated in a night run with 50lb packs and group sit-ups and push-ups in the ocean with my team at almost midnight. I’ll let your imagination wander, but suffice it to say: be prepared for little surprises like that.

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SEALFit Academy Day 5

Academy Day 5 began with a little bit of box breathing, then a 1000 pushup WOD (yes, 1000 pushups) led by Mark Divine. Here’s the video:

Of course, after you do 1000 push-ups, the first thing on your mind is gymnastics, so we went from the pushups directly into a gymnastic lecture and a gymnastics clinic with Coach Dave, in which we covered hollowing your core, rolls, kipping pull-ups, rope climbs, handstands and a variety of other body weight moves. Dave also gave us a good progression for getting stronger at new moves. Here’s an example (perfect if you want to work your up way up to, say, 5 sets of 5 pull-ups):

Day 1: 11111 (that’s one pull-up, rest, another pull-up, rest, etc.)
Day 2: 21111
Day 3: 32111
-43211
-54321
-55432
-55543
-55554
-55555

If you wanted to work your way up to 10 pull-ups, you could just keep going, like this:

-65555
-76555
-87655
-etc.

This is actually a really good technique, and one you should tuck away for getting stronger at any body weight move.

Next, we moved on to a 2 hour Snatch Clinic with Coach Rick, followed up by a laughing yoga session with Coach Divine. Laughing yoga? That’s right. Check it out:

After working up a good sweat with laughter, we moved on to a team and leadership workshop with Coach Cummings, and also covered periodizing for an event and planning out your year based around “crucibles” or tests of your fitnes. For example, in 2015 my major events are:

-September 2014: Spartan World Championships  (goal: top 10)

-Summer 2015 Crucible 1: Turning Steel

-Fall 2015 Crucible 2: 6 day bow hunting trip at elevation

-September 2015 Crucible 3: Spartan World Championships (goal: top 3)

We finished Day 5 with another mind-gym exercise. This turned out to be the 3rd time I cried at the Academy. In this exercise, we were encouraged to invite someone into our mind-gym and ask them one question.

My question to my special visitor (going to keep that secret for now) was:

“What’s my purpose?”

The reply was:

“It’s not about you. It’s about building your legacy and raising two amazing human beings who will grow up to make this world a better place.”

Sheesh. Talk about clarity. My whole body was shaking, trembling and crying again after this intense mind gym exercise.

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SEALFit Academy Day 6

Day 6 – the final day – began with yet another morning WOD, this time starting with sandbag Turkish Getups to 200m run, then sandbag ground to overhead to 200m run and finally sandbag thrusters to 200m run.

This was followed by a big mash-up of exercises that for some reason I don’t have recorded. Anyways, we moved on from the morning WOD to 2 hours of pool work led by Coach Lance, in which we learned combat side stroke, did some hypoxic breath practice and simply worked on water skills.

We then headed out on a 5 hour sandy beach ruck that included a run-swim workout, during which we practiced combat side stroke with a partner. This stroke is perfect for “keeping track” of someone swimming in the water next to you, and also moving quickly through the water without making much of a splash – a good way (as Coach Lance noted) to avoid getting a grenade tossed at you if you’re sneaking through water.

After the ruck, we moved on to mobility and stretching work on the foam roller and the TRX with Coach Lance, and then headed into the yoga room for the final session of the Academy: warrior breathing.

During this warrior breathing exercise, led by an intense bearded martial artist and yogi that Mark Divine brought in for the special purpose of blowing our minds, we laid on the ground while booming music played and hyperventilated/hyperoxygenated our bodies with about 50 rounds of warrior breathing, which is a fast and deep nasal inhale followed by a quick exhale. We then relaxed and did deep breathing in between each set as our bodies tingled and trembled from the hyperoxygenation phase. This was an incredible exercise that left my crying once again as I completely floated outside myself and went into a trance in which I was hovering above my physical body and simply observing the entire experience. Crazy stuff, I know – but you have to experience it to understand.

Here’s a video that may help you understand:

And that was it! Shaking, crying, emotionally charged and physically spent, we finished with a few invigorating rounds of laughing yoga and then the Academy graduation ceremony. This left me with just 12 hours to check into the Days Inn down the road from US Crossfit, get a few hours of sleep, and prepare to show up the next morning for Kokoro – an intense 50-60 crucible of pushing through extreme physical tests on zero sleep. Coming next, I’ll be telling you everything you need to know about Kokor, and sharing some absolutely amazing stories from the life-changing experience.

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In the meantime, if you have signed up for a SEALFit Kokoro or Academy event and want to hop on the phone with me for a personalized one-on-one consult to get you ready physically and mentally, just click here and grab a 20 or 60 minute consult, whichever you’d prefer.

Leave your questions, comments or feedback below, and stay tuned for Part 3, in which I’m going to fill you in on the nitty-gritty details of exactly what to expect at SEALFit Kokoro Camp and how to get the most of our experience, complete with plenty of “in-the-trenches” tips and tricks!

What Kind Of Training, Gear And Nutrition Do You Use For SEALFit Academy And Kokoro Camp?

greenfield kokoro camp

For the past 8 days, I’ve been doing things like a 1000 push-up workout, midnight exercise sessions in the ocean surf, hyperoxygenation training and even a 52 hour stint that included a 26 mile night hike up a mountain with a 50 pound weighted backpack, 2am battle rope tug-of-war competitions on the beach, and an all-you-can-eat pancake, eggs and bacon breakfast followed immediately by an hour of uphill burpees and hill sprints.

Why?

Last year, in the article “Look, Feel and Perform Like An Ancient Spartan Warrior – How To Become An Absolute Physical Beast“, you learned how to embark on a quest to get yourself as physically and mentally strong as possible.

In that article, I told you about my own personal journey to get tough for something called “SEALFit Comprehensive Academy” and “SEALFit Kokoro Camp” – and I also told you why it’s important (if you want to live life to the fullest), that you too choose a difficult quest, a journey, an obstacle, a rite of passage or some other amazing feat of physical and mental performance that you makes you a little bit scared to do.

As of 4 hours ago at the time of this writing, I’ve graduated from the Academy and Kokoro Camp- both of which have changed my life, health and fitness forever, and I plan to tell you all the nitty-gritty details of that experience in Part 2 and 3 of this three-part article series.

But meanwhile, in this article, you’re going to learn exactly what kind of training, gear and nutrition I used for SEALFit Academy and Kokoro Camp – complete with a video walkthrough of the proper gear and nutrition. If you have any questions, just leave them under the post and I promise to reply, and keep your eyes open for Part 2 and 3 of this series, coming soon!

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How Do You Train For SEALFit Academy and Kokoro Camp?

Check out this article for a really comprehensive overview of the best training plans and books that are out there to get you ready for this kind of thing. For the majority of my training, I personally used the daily Operator WOD’s from Mark Divine’s 8 Weeks To SEALFit.

But because I’m still racing triathlons and doing Spartan events, I modified my SEALFit workouts to include triathlon and obstacle racing preparation, mostly by using three simple rules:

1) Include extra swimming. Since swimming is primarily all about efficiency in the water, you don’t need much extra swimming and it certainly doesn’t need to be hard and fast. One to two extra days of swim drills, preferably on the programmedrecovery days in the plan, are adequate, and will help to enhance blood flow for recovery. I rely on the SwimSmooth website and book for swim drills. Bonus if you do these in cold water to get a cold thermogenesis effect.

2) Commute on your bike, and substitute cycling for the warm-up and cool-down. Most of these plans recommend running, pushups, squats, sit-ups, swings, light lifting, etc. for your warm-up and walking, foam rolling, etc. for the cool-down. But I’ll personally be warming up and cooling down with an easy mountain bike ride or a ride to and from the gym instead. In addition, whenever I do errands, such as the grocery store, returning a movie, etc. I ride my bike. For any workouts that take place at the gym (as mentioned above) I’ll ride to the gym (for me, that’s a total of 7 miles of bike commuting there and back). So – extra cycling is basically sprinkled throughout the week in a “Grease the Groove” style. With all the squats, lunges, and leg work you’re doing in these plans, that’s all the extra cycling you’ll need.

3) Occasionally substitute the long, hard weekend workouts with a Spartan race, outdoor obstacle training circuit, or hard Sprint or Olympic distance triathlon race or race simulation. For example, the Day 7 “Devil’s Mile” workout in the sample week below could instead be a hard 1500 meter open water swim followed by a 20-25 mile hard bike ride and a 5-6 mile hard tempo run, or something like this video of my backyard obstacle training course.

Using these three basic rules, here’s how a sample week of SEALFIT training from “8 Weeks To SEALFit” by Mark Divine could be modified for obstacle course racing or triathlon:

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Day 1

Warm-up: Light run for 15: minutes before stretching. Focus on hamstrings, adductors, quads and hips. 5 sets of 5 pull-ups, 10 push-ups and 15 squats in before measuring out the 100 meters for the strength workout. Triathlon or cycling modification: instead, just ride your bike for 15-20 minutes to the gym, or do a trail ride on your mountain bike with lots of alternating from standing to seated position.

WOD: 100 meters of overhead weighted lunges with 45 lbs. Arms locked out and knees to the deck for each movement to count. If you must stop there is a 15 push-up penalty for each infraction that goes up by 5 each time. 15 the first time, 20 the second and 30…. The more you stop, the harder it gets.

Strength: Rest

Endurance: 45 minute ruck march with 35 lbs. If available, get 10 minutes of hill time on a modest slope (5 – 10% at most). Consistently move, set a pace and stick to it.

Coach’s comments: Equipment needed- Ruck, sand bag and 45 lbs. Post workout hydrate, stretch, roll out and ice if necessary.

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Day 2:

Warm-up: Start off with a light KB or DB snatch, approximately 20% of body weight- 2 sets of 20 reps. Move onto dive bomber push-ups and pause when you’re all the way back with your arms extended. Really push those hands into the ground and extend as far as possible to stretch those shoulder joints. Start light with the front squats and move up in 5 – 10 lb increments to find that working weight.  Triathlon or cycling modification: instead, just ride your bike for 15-20 minutes to the gym, or do a trail ride on your mountain bike with lots of alternating from standing to seated position.

WOD: How many rounds can you accomplish in 10 minutes of 5 pull-ups, 10 push-ups and 15 sit-ups?

Strength: Front Squat 5 sets of 3 reps, go heavy

Endurance: Pace run: 7:30 – 8:30 per mile for 30 minutes. Find that pace and hold it as long as possible. Mark down the total time you’re at that pace. We’ll work on increasing that threshold for work capacity at that level.

Coach’s comments: Equipment needed- Olympic bar, weight and somewhere to run. Wait at least 3 + hours after the strength and WOD before starting the endurance. Post workout hydrate, stretch, roll out and ice if necessary.

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Day 3

Benchmark: Isabel – 30 snatches at 135 lbs for time.  Triathlon swimming modification: finish with 20 minutes of SwimSmooth swim drills, such as 3 rounds of 100m single arm swimming, 100m side swimming drills, 100 meter front balance drills and 10×25 hypoxic swimming.

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Day 4

Warm-up: Start off with a light 5 minutes swim or jog and really warm up the shoulders, hamstrings, adductors and groin. The sprint work is going to be a fast and hard interval workout for a set distance. Once you’re ready get on it and push hard. For the WOD and strength, start light with the shoulder presses and move up in 5 – 10 lb increments to find that working weight. Both workouts are shoulder intensive, so take your time and really focus on getting a decent stretch and warm-up.

WOD: Backwards Fran 9 – 15 – 21 reps with 90 lb thrusters and pull-ups. Same weight, different scheme, totally different workout!

Strength: Shoulder press 3 sets of 3 reps then drop weight by 20% and 1 max set.

Endurance: Swim 800 meters with intervals of 20 seconds on and 10 seconds off. If no pool is available, run 2 miles with the same 20 seconds on and 10 seconds off interval.

Coach’s comments: Equipment needed- Olympic bar and weight. Endurance will come first today. Split the WOD and Strength away and do them 3 + hours later if possible. Post workout hydrate, stretch, roll out and ice if necessary.

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Day 5

Rest and recovery day. Light walk or other restorative activities. No impact today. Triathlon or swimming modification: do 20 minutes of SwimSmooth swim drills, such as 5 rounds of 50m catch-up drill, 50m broken arrow drill, 50 meter corkscrew and 5×50 hypoxic swimming.

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Day 6

Warm-up: Begin with a 15 minute jog and start light by practicing 2 sets of 5 – 10 reps of each exercise before stretching out the lower back and shoulders. Make sure they’re warmed up prior to beginning the WOD. Triathlon or cycling modification: instead, just ride your bike for 15-20 minutes to the gym, or do a trail ride on your mountain bike with lots of alternating from standing to seated position.

WOD: 75 of each exercise for time: 20” box jumps, cleans (from the deck) with 90 lbs, 55 lb dumbbell or kettle bell swings, pull-ups and knees to elbows. Kettle bell or Dumbbell swings need to clear at least above the eyes and for each box jump or clean the hips need to open up all the way. No need to complete a single set at a time. Break them into

Strength: Rest

Endurance: Ruck march with 35 lbs between 30 and 45 minutes.

Keep a consistent pace throughout.

Coach’s comments: Equipment needed- Olympic bar and weight. Wait at least 3 + hours after the strength and WOD before starting the endurance. Post workout hydrate, stretch, roll out and ice if necessary.

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Day 7

Warm-up: 400 meter light jog then side plank left 20 seconds, side plank right 20 seconds and
20 seconds of push-ups, repeating for as many rounds as you can without letting your knees touch the ground. Get a good stretch in today everyone, it’s a nasty one on the shoulders and lower body!

WOD: “The Devil’s Mile” (Minus the B.A.T. flips…)

For time:
400m walking lunges

30 push ups
400m broad jumps
30 squats
400m Overhead carry #45/#35 plate 30 burpees
400m bear crawl

Strength: 3 sets of max push-ups, 3 minute rest between each. Endurance: Rest

Triathlon modification: Do the warm-up recommended above, but instead of Devil’s Mile, do a hard Sprint or Olympic distance simulation or an obstacle course race. Bonus points if you finish the race with a 50m bear crawl to the finish line. 

Coach’s comments: Equipment needed- 35# / 45# plate and 400 meters measured off. Get that warm-up in and make sure you’re stretched out prior to the WOD. Get the WOD lined up and knocked out first before the strength workout. Post workout- hydrate, stretch, roll out and ice if necessary.

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So that’s it! This is very similar to how I trained for the Academy and Kokoro, and although I probably should have included just a bit more experience with Crossfit style training such as Kipping Pull-ups and Olympic lifts, it worked out relatively well. If you want a “done-for-you” approach, then check out my Inner Circle, where I actually log details for each workout I do every day (including all my workouts leading up to SEALFit), so if you’re not yet a member there, go join for one dollar and you can simply follow what I do (and get a bunch of bonus meal plans, recipes, insider training videos with me, etc.)

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What Gear Do You Bring To SEALFit Academy and Kokoro Camp?

Check out the video below. Helpful links for everything I talk about in the video are below the video (full disclosure: some of the links are affiliate links that help me pay for this website!).

-Nike DryFit White Tee - (8) – you can expect to completely trash these. And you’ll want your name neatly stenciled on front and back before you show up.

-Navy SEAL Sumbersible WOD Short (2) – shorts like these that hold up during hard workouts but that also dry extremely fast are crucial.

-Navy SEAL Taclite TDU Pants (3) – put your name on a label inside your pants, because they will inevitably wind up in a giant pile with other participants’ clothing during the Kokoro portion of SEALFit.

-Nike Combat Compression Tights (3) – keep these on whenever you are wearing pants, period. They’ll keep your knees safe on the Grinder especially.

-Nike Combat Compression Underwear (6) – dries fast and holds up well in the training conditions for SEALFit.

-Navy SEAL Adjustable Nylon BDU Belt (1) – make sure it fits right. Extra pushups and burpees are often incurred if your uniform is not “sorted” and looking sharp.

-Navy SEAL Black Boonie Hat (1) – you’ll wear this during long rucks.

-Wigwam Wool Socks (6) – crucial. I got zero blisters or foot issues during this camp (some participants got extreme bleeding and blistering of nearly their entire foot!), by simply covering my feet in Hammer Seat Saver and then wearing liners and wool socks.

-Wigwam Dry Foot Polypropylene Liner Socks (4)

-Nike Special Forces Field Boot or equivalent (1)

-VivoBarefoot Breatho Running Shoes (2) – bring two pairs of a shoe that dries fast and holds up well on road, sandy beach, trail, etc. You’ll have very quick changes between “evolutions” (the name for the workouts at SEALFit), and a dry pair of shoes is extremely nice.

-Voodoo Tactical Pack or Kelty Backpack (spendier but the cadillac of rucksacks)- do lots of “rucks” in this pack before you show up since you’ll use it quite a bit during SEALFit Academy, and also consider getting the very cheap and uncomfortable rucksack at NavySeals.com website, filling it with a 20-30lb sandbag and doing rucks that include water crossings, steep hills and beach running, as that’s the type of rucksack you’ll get at Kokoro.

-Hammer CoolFeet for Shoes/Underwear (use 15% discount 80244). Keeps your stuff dry and smelling ‘perty. Just sprinkle it over your shoes, socks, in your underwear, etc. between workouts.

-Hammer Seat Saver for Toes/Crotch/Armpits  (use 15% discount 80244)

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What Nutrition Do You Bring To SEALFit Academy and Kokoro Camp?

Just check out the video above, because it covers nutrition too. Helpful links for every nutrition product I talk about in that video are below. I went pretty minimalist with food, supplementation, etc. at the Academy since it is “catered” with pretty clean Paleo-friendly style fare – and our team’s little apartment is well stocked with…organic peanut butter and fruit (see photo below of our living area table). You don’t get much better than a banana dipped in peanut butter, right?

IMG_3681

In the meantime, having water bottles pre-packed with the fuels I talk about in the video is crucial during Kokoro camp. If you don’t do this, you may find yourself exercising for 20-24 hour periods with simply diluted sports drink, water and the very untasty “MRE” meal replacements handed out during the workouts at Kokoro.

-Insulated Water Bottles for Pre/During/Post Workout Fuel Mix (6) – at Kokoro, whenever the instructors gave us an extremely hectic 5 minute break, I’d make sure my teammates were set with their gear, then dash into the tent and refill these with powders then suck them down in the fastest 30-60 second chugfest I could manage.

-Hammer Bars (use 15% discount 80244) or Cocochia Bars (12) – I’d often grab one of these bars extremely quickly and shove it into my underwear or pockets for a quick bite during long rucks. The solid food will give you a tasty alternative to MRE’s.

-Natural Force Pre-Workout Raw Tea (for pre-workout Kokoro Evolutions, premixed in water bottle, along with VESPA Wasp Extract)

-Natural Force Iskiate Endurance  (for pre-workout Kokoro Evolutions, premixed in water bottle with the Raw Tea)

-Natural Force Recovery Nectar (for post-workout Kokoro Evolutions, premixed in water bottle)

-ThorneFX Digestive Enyzmes - 1 before every meal at both Academy, since the stomach will be stressed and needs extra digestive help.

-X2Performance - 1 shot at beginning of each day to top off ATP levels.

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Of course, this article has only scratches the surface of the life-changing SEALFit experience, so stay tuned to Parts 2 and 3 for the nitty-gritty details of exactly what to expect during the Academy and Kokoro. So that’s it! Be sure to check out the other podcasts and articles I published leading up to this post, specifically:

-Look, Feel and Perform Like An Ancient Spartan Warrior – How To Become An Absolute Physical Beast

-Train Like The Lone Survivor – 3 Books That Will Turn You Into A Beast: Spartan, SEALFIT and Obstacle Racing Book Reviews

-Secrets Of The Navy Seals: How To Train, Eat & Think Like The World’s Toughest Fighters

Finally, if you have signed up for a SEALFit Kokoro or Academy event and want to hop on the phone with me for a personalized one-on-one consult to get you ready physically and mentally, just click here and grab a 20 or 60 minute consult, whichever you’d prefer.

Leave your questions, comments or feedback below, and stay tuned for Part 2 and Part 3, in which I’m going to fill you in on the nitty-gritty details of exactly what to expect at SEALFit Academy and Kokoro Camp and how to get the most of our experience, complete with plenty of “in-the-trenches” tips and tricks!

The 10 Best Fitness Articles of The Past Year.

get fit guy

I’m often asked why I don’t “write more articles” here at BenGreenfieldFitness.com.

Frankly, in my efforts to be the single best source for you to find the most cutting-edge fitness advice, I currently produce:

-two free podcasts a week (one Q&A and one interview)…

-an enormous protected Premium vault of bonus content

-a pretty dang robust YouTube video channel…

-entertaining and educational Instagram photos…

-weekly “mini-blog” posts on Google+

-daily Twitter health research highlights…

-and lots of fitness, nutrition and biohacking tips on Facebook

…so this doesn’t leave a huge amount of time left for me to write BenGreenfieldFitness articles, unless I want to trade in my trail-running shoes to be a fat keyboard slob, or turn myself into a smart-drug and energy-drink chugging freak of nature who stays up until 1am hunched over a laptop.

On the other hand, my alter-ego the Get-Fit Guy (pictured above) spends plenty of time in his stretchy red pants and black tanktop churning out the latest and greatest fitness tips via one easy-to-read weekly article, one weekly 5-10 minute podcast and one weekly e-mail newsletter jam-packed with cutting-edge fitness advice.

And since we’re right around the corner from the 200th episode of the Get-Fit Guy (which will be about whether you’ll live longer if you just quit exercising so much), I figured I’d give you a quick list of the 10 most popular Get-Fit Guy episodes from the past year, so that you can see the flavor of what you may have been missing all this time. If you begin delving into these weekly Get-Fit Guy articles and newsletters, and combine them with the podcasts and other resources I listed above, you really won’t need any other sources to get a better body, build muscle or burn fat – I do all the hard work and pour through all the research for you, then bring you the nitty-gritty, practical stuff you can apply right away.

So without further ado, straight from the Get-Fit Guy website at QuickAndDirtyTips.com, here are the ten best, most popular fitness articles of the past year – a really good place to start if you want to stay on the pointy edge of fitness.

#1: The 5 Best Full Body Exercises

 

#2: How to Get Rid of Muscle Soreness Fast

 

#3: The Hidden Ab Muscle That Will Get You a Six-Pack

 

#4: 5 New Fat Burning Exercises

 

#5: 30 Days to Melt Your Winter Waistline

 

#6: What’s the Best Butt Exercise?

 

#7: Do You Have a Body Image Disorder?

 

#8: Can You Eat Too Much Protein After a Workout?

 

#9: 8-Minute Fat Loss

 

#10: How to Get Fit While Watching TV

 

There you have it!

So just bookmark this article and simplify your quest to hunt down the best fitness, nutrition and health advice and just use the resources I’ve given you in this article as your go-to sources. As the New York Times says, “All The News That’s Fit To Print” (pun intended) is already right here for you.

Do you have questions, comments or feedback about the 10 best fitness articles of the past year? Leave your thoughts below!

How An Internet Entrepreneur Went From A Fat Keyboard Slob To Conquering SEALFit Workouts.

chris brogan

chris brogan fitness book

Chris Brogan (pictured above after going from a fat keyboard slob to conquering SEALFit workouts) is author of the book “Just Start Here: Lose Weight, Get Stronger and FINALLY Succeed at Your Goals.“.

As an internet entrepreneur, Chris is a self-professed complete non-expert in the field of fitness.

But nonetheless, I read his book.

And it is actually quite good.

So in today’s podcast episode, Chris joins us, and you learn:

-Why you need a story that defines you if you want to truly master fitness and diet…

-Why willpower is stupid…

-Why Chris puts so many pictures of himself on Instagram…

-How losing weight should be an “hourly” experience…

-Chris’s potent “time quilting” strategy for enhancing fat loss…

-And much more!

Resources we discuss in this episode:

-Chris’s Instagram account

-Just Start Here: Lose Weight, Get Stronger and FINALLY Succeed at Your Goals.

-BossFitMag.com

Do you have questions, comments or feedback about this episode, or thoughts about Chris Brogan in general? Leave your feedback below!

Part 1: 67 Steps to Getting Anything You Want Out of Life Health, Wealth, Love, & Happiness with Tai Lopez

Meet Tai

Welcome to Part 1 of this special podcast series, in which you get to sit in and listen to Tai Lopez coach Ben Greenfield (and you!) using the strategies from Tai’s online video series “67 Steps to Getting Anything You Want Out of Life Health, Wealth, Love, & Happiness“.

In this episode, Ben and Tai talk about multi-tasking, reprogramming your genetics and checking your e-mail less.

Resources Tai and Ben discuss in this podcast:

-Book: The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains

-Book: Inheritance: How Our Genes Change Our Lives–and Our Lives Change Our Genes

-Book: The ONE Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results

-Tai’s online video series: 67 Steps to Getting Anything You Want Out of Life Health, Wealth, Love, & Happiness

Do you have question, comments or feedback? Do you want Ben to keep publishing audio content like this with Tai Lopez? Leave your thoughts below.

How You Can Use Lasers To Heal Injuries, Enhance Recovery and Increase Performance.

k-laser

Until today’s podcast episode, I didn’t realize lasers were so darn cool, and effective for so many issues.

The laser was invented in 1960 and the biological stimulation properties of laser light were discovered shortly after than, in 1967. Even though therapy lasers have been used in Europe much longer than in the United States, in 2002, the FDA cleared therapy lasers for treating injuries and enhancing recovery.

Now, multiple researchers throughout the world are finding enormous therapeutic application of different laser infrared wavelengths like red, green, and blue wavelengths and their effects on tissues. New high-power laser therapy systems penetrate deep into tissue and deliver physiological benefits that no other modality like electrical muscle stimulation or ultrasound can deliver. By stimulating adenosine triphosphate (ATP) production and enhancing cell membrane permeability, lasers can actually helps injuries heal and speed up recovery from workouts, rather than just masking pain.

Today’s podcast guest, Dr. Phil Harrington, has over 10 years of clinical experience using lasers for healing, and is a national and international author and lecturer on laser therapy. During our discussion you’ll discover:

-How laser treatments work…

-What conditions can benefit from laser treatments…

-Whether those little handheld laser units you can buy online work…

-Which elite athletes are currently using laster treatments….

-What other modalities or treatments can be used with laster…

-Why your body won’t just heal itself from injury…

-The difference between laser and other things like ultrasound or electrical muscle stimulation…

-How to find a K-Laser provider in your area

Do you have questions about how you can use lasers to heal injuries, enhance recovery and increase performance, or questions about the K-Laser? Leave your comments below.

How To Build Primal Fitness And Endurance By Hunting: An Interview With A Bowhunting Triathlete

Fitness For Hunting

I grew up in North Idaho surrounded by hunters. I’ve personally been hunting whitetail deer in my backyard for 4 years, fishing since I was a kid, and I’ve even podcasted about whether deer meat is healthy.

And in the recent post “The 3 P’s Of Being A Man, Getting Tough and Doing Hard Things“, you learned that one way to accomplish the “P” of providing is to hunt.

My guest on today’s podcast is Shad Wheeler (pictured above) from GotHunts.com. Shad is an entrepreneur, a bowhunter, and an triathlete, and in this episode, he teaches you how to build primal fitness and endurance by hunting.

-How Shad’s father helped found and invent the Bowflex exercise device

-What type of bows are best for bow hunting, whether you’re a seasoned hunter or just getting started…

-The similarities between triathlon and bowhunting…

-TrainToHunt.com and the Train To Hunt Challenges

-Workouts for getting ready for bowhunting…

After listening in, I think you’ll agree that when it comes to ancestral fitness, bowhunting really takes the cake. Do you have questions or comments about this show? Leave your thoughts below!

Biohacking The Hazards of Sitting.

I’m a big fan of tweaking the environment in your home and your office to make you healthier and live longer (just watch this dirty electricity video to see what I mean).

So this week, I’m headed to UC Berkeley to present a poster on “Biohacking The Hazards of Sitting” at the Ancestral Health Symposium. I don’t know if there’s still time to get in, but if you happen to be in the Bay Area, swing by and say hi. I’ll be presenting the poster from 3:45PM-4:45PM at Wheeler Hall on UC Berkeley Campus on Friday, August 8, and I’ll also be signing copies of my book “Beyond Training” at Bancroft Hotel’s Great Hall on Friday from 4:45PM-5:25PM.

But let’s just say you can’t make it, and you’re still curious about this whole biohacking the hazards of sitting thing.

Fear not. My poster is below – simply click it for a closer view, or you can click here to download it in .pdf form. Feel free to share on your own website, provided you simply do me a favor and give credit to BenGreenfieldFitness.com.

Finally, if you do happen to be in the Bay area, I’ll also be racing the elite men’s heat at 8am on Saturday, August 9 in the AT&T Park Spartan Sprint. So you want a good stair running workout with some burpees, box jumps and spear throws thrown in, there may still be time to register for the race.

If you have questions, comments or feedback about biohacking the hazards of sitting, then leave your comments below (and if you have a standing workstation or you’re interested in making one for yourself, you’ll dig this thread over on the Ben Greenfield Fitness Facebook page).

Finally, I was just contacted by the good folks at “RebelDesk” – the exact standing workstation I am currently installing in my home office. They’re hooking us all up with a deal. You can use code “BEN” to get $40 off their Rebel Crank-Up desk and you can use code “GREENFIELD” to get  $20 off the Rebel Chair that comes with their desk. Now you have no excuse. ;)

 

Biohacking Hazards of Sitting

Everything You’ve Always Wanted To Know About Ketosis But Were Afraid To Ask.

keto clarity

Do you know what the similarities are between epilepsy, Type 2 diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular disease, metabolic syndrome, polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), heartburn (GERD), nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). Alzheimer’s Disease (AD), Parkinson’s Disease, dementia, mental illness, schizophrenia, bipolar, depression, narcolepsy, and sleep disorders, treating cancer, autism, migraines, chronic pain, brain injury, stroke, and kidney disease?

They can all be positively effected by a low-carb, high-fat, ketosis diet…

…and my guest today, Jimmy Moore, is going to tell you all about it.

Jimmy is world’s leading low-carb diet blogger and podcaster.

Last year, he wrote the book Cholesterol Clarity with coauthor Dr. Eric C. Westman, a practicing internist and low-carb diet researcher, and I interviewed him about that book in the podcast episode “The Shocking Truth About Cholesterol & Why You Probably Don’t Even Need To Test For It.

Well now, Jimmy’s back with a new book that pretty much answers everything you’ve always wanted to know about ketosis but were afraid to ask.

The new book is called Keto Clarity: Your Definitive Guide to the Benefits of a Low-Carb, High-Fat Diet and in the book, Jimmy shows you how a low-carb diet can be much more than simply as a means to lose weight, and how ketosis produces not only a powerful therapeutic effect on a wide variety of health conditions (that most people think requires medication to control) but can also be a pretty incredible biohack for both physical and mental performance.

The book includes interviews from twenty of the world’s authorities on low carb and ketosis diets, along with a step-by-step guide to help you produce more ketones and track your progress, real life success stories of people using a ketogenic diet, and more.

During my discussion with Jimmy, you’ll find out:

-Why not all low-carb diets are created equal…

-How to find your carbohydrate tolerance level…

-How to determine your personal protein threshold…

-How much saturated fat is too much…

-The biggest low carb mistakes that you can make…

-Why you may not be producing adequate ketones…

-And much more!

If you enjoyed this episode, you might also like:

-Ketosis Dangers: How To Maximize the Nutrient Density of a Low Carb Diet with Terry Wahls

-A Deep Dive Into Ketosis: How Navy Seals, Extreme Athletes & Busy Executives Can Enhance Physical and Mental Performance With The Secret Weapon of Ketone Fuel with Dr. Dominic D’ Agostino

-The Ultimate Guide To Combining Fasting and Exercise: Everything You Need To Know with Dr. Peter Attia

Do you have questions about ketosis, Keto Clarity or the high-fat, low-carb approach we discuss in this episode? Leave your thoughts below!

The 3 P’s Of Being A Man, Getting Tough and Doing Hard Things

theodore roosevelt

Already twice this month, I’ve read a handy little free book for guys called Semper Virilis: A Roadmap to Manhood in the 21st Century (ladies, just forward it to the dude in your life).

It was written by Brett McKay, a guest on today’s podcast and founder of the Art of Manliness, a website which I religiously read. In one section of Semper Virilis, Brett introduces Theodore Roosevelt. This struck close to my heart, since Roosevelt was one of my favorite Presidents (and from a physical virility and workout standpoint, in pretty stark contrast to this guy).

But before getting to what Brett has to say about president Roosevelt, here’s a quick flavor of my favorite workout this week. This will get you inspired, and show you how to exercise outdoors while still tapping into some of the big “P’s” Brett and I talk about in today’s podcast

-Easy warm-up bike ride 3 miles to park with Jessa and my six year old twin boys…

-Bear crawl 100 yards forward and 100 yards backwards, 25 yards left, 25 yards right for dynamic warm-up..

-Handstand pushups against tree (kids just try to hold a handstand)…

-Sprint 25 yards to fence, balance on fence for 60 seconds of fence walking (kids stand on one foot with eyes closed while Jessa and I do this)…

-Sprint to monkey bars at park, go across monkey bars and finish with 5 pullups (kids just do the monkey bars, no pullups)…

-Sprint to park bench for 10 spiderman pushups (kids just do regular pushups in grass)…

-Put kids on back, sprint 100 yards, turn around and bear crawl back 25 yards, then stand and sprint final 75 yards…

-Recovery jog to picnic table for 10 box jumps (kids just do jumping jacks)…

-Repeat for total of 3 rounds…

Fun, eh? By the way, I log each and every workout that I do every day for members of my Inner Circle. You can click here to get instant access to all that for a buck.

And now, let’s see what Brett has to say about good ol’ Teddy….

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“…Theodore Roosevelt was born to a wealthy family in New York City. The Roosevelts enjoyed comforts and conveniences in their 19th century brownstone that most Americans wouldn’t see until several decades later. When the Civil War tore America apart, Teddy’s father had more than enough money to pay for a substitute and thus avoid a draft into the Union Army.

If you were to judge the trajectory of TR’s life based on the first ten years of it, you’d probably guess that he’d end up as a smart and capable, but physically weak, natural history professor at some Ivy League university. Roosevelt could have easily settled into a life of cosmopolitan comfort.

But after a stern talk from his father, young Teddy chose a different path for himself.

He chose the hard way. What he called “the strenuous life.”

In Teddy’s time, the standards of male honor largely revolved around virtues like integrity and industry – being a good man. And Roosevelt kept this code to a T. But he didn’t want to just be a good man, he wanted to be good at being a man, too.

It was a goal he actively pursued.

His adolescence was spent exercising and building up his once frail body. He took up boxing in college and became a competitive fighter. During winter breaks in school, he’d go up to Maine and hunt with the famous guide and timberman Bill Sewell. After his wife and mother died on the same night, instead of wallowing in grief and despair, Roosevelt headed out to the badlands of the Dakotas to take up cattle ranching. Despite being a four-eyed “dude” from back east, Roosevelt quickly earned the respect of rough and hard cowboys by showing he could pull his own weight and wasn’t afraid to jump into the fray: he cleared out stables himself without complaint; he captured a posse of horse thieves after tailing them for 3 days in subzero weather; he knocked out a gun-wielding loudmouth with 3 dynamite punches.

By striving to live the hard way in his younger years, Roosevelt armed himself with the fire and fight he needed to succeed in the political, social, and intellectual challenges of his later life. Even as a middle-aged U.S. president, Roosevelt didn’t let up on his dedication to testing himself and living the strenuous life; he took part in judo and boxing matches in the White House and punctuated his schedule with hunting, skinny dips in the Potomac, and brisk hikes. He stayed ever ready for whatever adventures and exploits might await him.

And what exploits they were. Roosevelt served as police commissioner, governor, assistant secretary of the navy, and president (the youngest ever to assume the office). When war broke out with Spain in Cuba, Roosevelt put together his own volunteer unit and led them in a charge up San Juan Hill. He was a devoted husband and father of six children. He read tens of thousands of books and penned 35 of his own. After his days as President were over, he set out on an expedition to explore an uncharted part of the Amazon River and nearly died in the process.

All throughout his life, Roosevelt had the choice to reject the masculine code, but he never did. He sought to ever challenge himself “in the arena” and to always “carry his own pack.”

Some historical commentators chalk up Roosevelt’s obsession with the strenuous life to a symptom of the “male anxiety” that many 19th century urban men faced in America. It was the age of machines and steam and a man’s place in society was being questioned: What was the use of masculine strength when new machines could do the work of twenty men? With the frontier closed, what use was there for the old pioneer qualities of ruggedness and self-reliance?

Sound familiar?

Roosevelt and other men of his time ignored the hand-wringing and deliberately chose to live by the code of men even though it wasn’t demanded of them.

I think that’s why I and so many modern men admire Teddy Roosevelt. He showed that it’s possible to live in our modern world of luxury and comfort, but not be softened by it. He showed us that you could proactively choose to be good at being a man even when your surroundings or culture aren’t conducive to exercising your innate masculinity.

In short, TR showed us that it’s possible to live in civilization but not be of it…”

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Good stuff.

You know, this is the kind of writing that inspires me to go do more sandbag carries, car pushes, tire flips and sledgehammer swings on a giant tire - which new research shows gets you just as much results as sitting around pushing heavy weights on the fancy Nautilus machines at the health club (and let’s face it – working out Teddy Roosevelt style is way more fun).

So go read Semper Virilis to get more. And if you have questions, comments or feedback about today’s podcast, the 3P’s of becoming a man, exercising outdoors, or anything else, leave your thoughts below!

The Crazy, True And Scary Facts About The Supplement Industry.

fishoil-capsules

In every drugstore aisle in America, shoppers cast the classic pose: two products in hand, confusion on their faces as they attempt to decipher the advertising claims and safety labels. It’s an important decision, but it is so hard to be certain you’re making the right call.

A new company called LabDoor buys dietary supplements and energy drinks off retail shelves and sites. Then, they send each product to an FDA-registered laboratory for a detailed chemical analysis. Their technical team then collects the laboratory results and builds algorithms to translate this data into simple grades and rankings.

The result is that you get to find out what’s good, what’s bad, and whether your protein powder, fish oil, vitamin D, energy drink or multivitamin actually contains what it says it contains, and whether it has any nasty contaminants.

In this episode with Neil Thanedar from Labdoor, you’ll find out:

-How supplement companies “cheat” when it comes to getting their products analyzed…

-Why your protein powder may not actually have in it what it says it has in it…

-The shocking truth about fish oil quality…

-The one energy drink that is the biggest chemical cocktail in the supplement industry…

-And much more!

If you have questions, comments or feedback about Labdoor and the supplements industry, leave your thoughts below (and also take heart – I thoroughly vet and research every supplement at GreenfieldFitnessSystems.com!)

8 Life-Changing Lessons Exercise Enthusiasts Can Learn From the Book “Thrive”

Thrive Huffington

Two months ago, on a road trip to the Oregon coast, I read a life-changing book: “Thrive: The Third Metric to Redefining Success and Creating a Life of Well Being, Wisdom, and Wonder”, by Arianna Huffington.

I’m a true believer in serendipity, and thus believe I was meant to read this book at a very opportune time – a time when I was immersed in a combination of pursuing physical greatness with very difficult workouts, juggling half a dozen simultaneous writing assignments, and attempting to map out a hectic summer of kid and family schedules.

Just like many other high achievers, exercise enthusiasts, weekend warriors, gym junkies, biohackers, and health nuts, I was trying to squeeze every last drop out of life in an attempt to attain personal fulfillment by achieving amazing feats of physical, mental, and career performance.

Arianna wrote “Thrive” while immersed in a very similar hectic pursuit of greatness, and was specifically inspired to begin writing after a personal wake-up call for her came in the form of a broken cheekbone and a nasty gash over her eye – the result of a fall brought on by physical exhaustion and lack of sleep. As the president and editor-in-chief of the Huffington Post, Arianna is celebrated as one of the world’s most influential women and she is, by any traditional measure, extraordinarily successful.

Yet as she found herself going from brain MRI to CAT scan to echocardiogram, to find out if there was any underlying medical problem beyond pure exhaustion, she asked herself: is this really what success feels like?

Within the pages of Thrive, Arianna reveals how there is far more to living a truly successful life than just earning a bigger salary or capturing a corner office. She details how our relentless pursuit of the two traditional metrics of success – money and power – has led to an epidemic of physical and mental burnout, stress-related illnesses, and an erosion in the quality of our relationships, family life, and (ironically) our careers.

So why was this book such a life-changer for me? You’re about to find out the 8 reasons why, and in this article I’m going to do something new. You see, I read many books on my Kindle Fire, and while reading, I use the highlight function on my Kindle so that I can re-visit especially meaningful sections. In order for you to visualize my highlights from Thrive in their raw format, I’ve included screenshots for you below, along with why I found that specific section particularly meaningful. Enjoy.


Lesson 1: Life Is Obstacles

Dr. Alfred D'Souza
You will find several quotes strategically scattered throughout Thrive. As an obstacle course racer, this quote by Souza was especially meaningful to me. An obstacle race like a Spartan does not begin when you have conquered every mud pit, barbwire crawl, cold water immersion, traverse wall climb and boulder carry. The obstacles are the race. If you spend your entire race frowning and complaining as you wait for the real stuff to begin, you’ll be pretty disappointed at the finish line that you didn’t instead welcome, relish, and appreciate conquering the challenges of the event.

And life is no different. It’s supposed to be full of obstacles, setbacks, sweat, stress, and times of need. Those are not only what keep life interesting, but also make the easier parts of life all the more enjoyable and appreciable. If you dig this concept, you may also enjoy Ryan Holliday’s book “The Obstacle Is The Way”.

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Lesson 2: Learn To Center

Learn to Center
Back in high school – especially before an important match – my tennis coach would bring us all into the classroom and have us lay on the ground with our eyes close. He’d play some light music, and then walk us through the process of sequentially flexing and releasing every muscle in our body, starting with each individual toe and progressing all the way up the legs to the hips, back, shoulders, arms and even our cheek and forehead muscles. Flex and release. Flex and release. When we’d finally released and relaxed that final forehead muscle, we’d be in a deep state of relaxation, and then we’d visualize one single word that we associated with that feeling. For me, that word was “Blue” – as in the deep blue hue of a river, lake or ocean.

And then, when the set was tied at 6-6 and I faced the ultimate stress of a formidable opponent about to crack a break point serve down my throat, I’d visualize that color “Blue” and softly whisper it to myself. It would suddenly create an overwhelming sense of focused calm and peace.

Later, in my exercise psychology course at university, I learned that this technique is called “Progressive Muscular Relaxation”, and it’s based on the concept of centering that Arianna describes in the book.

Now, when I find myself shallow chest breathing during a workout, holding my breath while writing an e-mail, or sweating bullets before I step on stage to speak, I’ll use that same centering technique. You’d benefit from learning it, too. I’d recommend learning the technique described in the highlight above, or Progressive Muscular Relaxation or the Quick Coherence Techniques from the HeartMath Institute, or even experimenting with all three to see what works for you.

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Lesson 3: Your Heart Matters

Iain Thomas
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn 1Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn 2
These next two quotes from Iain Thomas and Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn are both highlighting a similar concept.

For some, it’s easy to get so caught in up career and schedules and personal accomplishments and every other shiny penny that appears in the path of life that heart and soul are neglected. Arianna admits that was certainly her state of affairs when she wrote the book – and in her case, it was her health and fitness that was a big part of that heart and soul neglect.

But perhaps this isn’t the case with you. Perhaps you’re a workout fiend. Your health is top-notch. Your body fat is dialed in. Your physique is the envy of your neighbors.

However, that doesn’t mean that you’re prioritizing your heart and soul. See, having a healthy heart and soul is about much more than simply having good cardiovascular fitness. Heart and soul health is about happiness, quality of relationships, meaning, purpose and direction, and the amount of love in your life. I know many, many people who can outrun me on a treadmill, and who also have much larger paychecks, but who spend lonely lives full of interpersonal conflict, poor sleep, 24-7 rushed stress, and internal sadness.

Of course, the self-quantified biohacker in me has to point you in this direction: do the one thing that I do every morning and begin tracking something called your “heart rate variability” (HRV). You can learn more about it here. If your HRV is consistently low, then it’s a pretty darn good sign that you need to place more importance on your heart.

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Lesson 4: Rest

Rest
Just two years ago, my day was not complete unless I had exercised, and exercised hard. Perhaps it was carry-over from my days as a competitive bodybuilder, but no day felt quite complete or fulfilled unless I knew I’d done something that would make me wake up with sore muscles the next morning.

Then I had my cortisol levels tested by a lab. Despite me being a very fit and healthy guy “on the outside”, my body was being ravaged by levels of internal stress hormones that you’d expect to see in an overweight and unhealthy truck driver sucking down slurpees and cheese fries.

In my pursuit of extreme levels of fitness, I’d forgotten the sage and ancient wisdom of that day of rest. Our muscles thrive on contraction, then relaxation. Our brains thrive on wake, then sleep. Our bodies thrive on work, then recover. Trees thrive on blooming, then shedding. Animals thrive on hunting, then hibernating. And although it can sometimes take years, you can only go so long without that rest from labor before something breaks, often irreparably.

Now, I have two days of rest. Every Wednesday is a day in which I can do things like magnesium salt baths, cold soaks, foam roller, massage or a trip to the sauna, but no actual exercise. Every Sunday is a day to try a new sport or simply hike with the family or go on an easy walk with the kids – but no “structured exercise” is required.

It took some time for me to become accustomed to so much rest, but my brain and body are the better for it, and I now have the peace of mind that I’m operating in accordance with the work and rest cycles we see all around us in nature.

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Lesson 5: Walk

Walk
Since I read this section of the book, I’ve been going on more walks.

I love that phrase “Solvitur Ambulando”. Solve it by ambulating. Figure stuff out by going on walks.

So when I’m puzzled by a business problem, stuck with writer’s block, need a break from the hustle and bustle of life, or simply want to immerse myself in what the Japanese call “Shin-Yen” or “forest bathing”, I’ve been going for a stroll.

Sometimes I just walk to the mailbox at the end of the cul-de-sac and back. Sometimes I pedal my bicycle to the park, lock the bike, and go for a walk on the trails. Sometimes I walk an entire airport. I don’t “count” this as an exercise session or workout (although you theoretically could if you used Ray Cronise’s shiver-walking approach), but just a way to tap into creativity and solve problems.

Try going for an easy walk the next time you find yourself staring blankly at an e-mail response, empty piece of paper, or task. By the way, if you’re an athlete, running is much different. When you begin running, huffing, and puffing with a furrowed brow, creativity is often shoved to the side in favor of focusing on fitness. The only exception I can think to this is if you learn how to turn running into a nasal-breathing based meditation practice, which you can do using the techniques I describe in this podcast.

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Lesson 6: Live Boldly

Live Boldly
This year, I started living by a new rule that helps me do live boldly in the way that Hughes outlines above.

“Every day, do something uncomfortable. Every week, do something scary. Every year, do something that scares the hell out of you.”

That’s not trademarked. But feel free to quote and attribute me.

To do something uncomfortable, I learn a new song on my guitar, teach my kids chess, try to read a chapter of an old work of fiction like Charles Dickens or Arthur Conan Doyle, flip open the pages of a book about finance, do 30 burpees, or even use a brain-training phone app like N-Back Training or Lumosity. These are small injections of discomfort that ultimately make the body and brain bounce back just a bit stronger, without creating too much stress. Music, new hobbies or short hard bursts of exercise all count.

To do something scary, I do a hard workout that makes me quake in my boots for a couple hours before the workout begins (I call this “going to battle”), or I try to slam dunk a basketball off a trampoline, or I jump off a cliff into really icy, cold water and stay in the water as long as I can, I call a friend I haven’t spoken to in more than 2 years, or I get on stage and speak to a large audience. I basically send a message to my body that yes, it’s still alive, and it better be ready for anything. Extremes of heat or cold, very hard workouts, or very mentally demanding activities all count.

To do something that scares the hell out of me, I do as I talk about in my article “Look, Feel and Perform Like An Ancient Spartan Warrior – How To Become An Absolute Physical Beast” and sign up an amazing feat of physical performance like an Ironman triathlon, or marathon or Spartan race, commit to writing a very big book like Beyond Training, or fly to a different part of the world to immerse myself in culture and the discomforts of being gone from home for a long time. Having a new child, getting married, doing a very hard physical event, or starting a new job all count.

Live boldy. Hopefully this gets your creative wheels churning.

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Lesson 7: Be Present

Be Present

 

Be Present 2
Above are two separate quotes from the book.

Regarding the first – in the symphony of your life, are you simply waiting for some grand finale as you engage in the daily routine of rolling out of bed, checking your e-mail and Facebook, and trudging to work, or are you enjoying every note, beat and moment of silence along the way? For me, since I finished Thrive, my moments of symphony enjoyment have included being more present during sex and orgasms, listening intently to my breath, my heart and the rhythms of my body during each exercise session, and savoring every bite of lunch outside in the sunshine rather than inside hunched over a computer.

Regarding the second, in all your journeys, adventures, discoveries and workouts, are you present, or you simply holding your iPhone camera up to your face and seeing life through the lens of a 2 inch x 5 inch device? Are you actually listening to your conversations with your children or your loved one, or are you simply thinking ahead to dinner, to your evening meeting, or to your upcoming workout?

Are you living every day as if it were potentially your final day on the face of the planet?

That’s a powerful way to think.

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Lesson 8: Embrace Death

Embrace Death
I was recently criticized on a popular online forum for seeming to be engaged in crazy, pill-popping techniques that would somehow allow me to “live as long as possible”. I have websites like “BiohacksBlog.com” that features edgy and controversial anti-aging and longevity techniques like smart drugs and electrical stimulation. I’ve had guests on my podcast like Nick Delgado, who wants to set a Guinness record for world’s longest living man, and Aubrey De Grey, who has devoted his life’s work to longevity science.

But I don’t dwell on these types of topics because I fear death. I simply desire to use better living through science to live the years that I’ve been blessed with as a fully functional human being with a body as unbroken as possible from the unnatural stressors of our modern post-industrial era (and yes, you may need to go back and read that sentence again). This is why I do things like exercise, take multi-vitamins and “biohack”.

But when I read the description of Lou Reed, it really makes me think about the way I think about death, or as Arianna says in her book “mindfulness about death”. The purpose of life – and especially the purpose of healthy living and exercise – should not be to avoid or hide from death in a desperate attempt to extend our lives as long as possible, but to instead prepare ourselves for death by spreading as much love as possible in the world around us while we are alive, and learning how to deeply appreciate each and every breath we take.

The entire final section of the book Thrive is about death. And it is heavy stuff. But no matter what you believe happens when we die, whether, as Arianna writes “our souls live on, whether we go to heaven or hell, whether we’re reincarnated or folded back into the energy of the universe or simply cease to exist altogether” – it is probably the best perspective on death that I have ever read.

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Summary

So, those are the eight lessons learned from Thrive: life is obstacles, learn to center, your heart matters, rest, walk, live boldly, be present and embrace death. This new way of living has made an enormous difference in my happiness and direction, and I owe Arianna a world of thanks for being brave enough to defy social expectations of success and pen this book.

Finally, you may be curious what the “Third Metric” refers to in the full title of Arianna’s book “Thrive: The Third Metric to Redefining Success and Creating a Life of Well Being, Wisdom, and Wonder”. You’ll just have to read the book to find out.

Enjoy the journey and leave your questions, comments and feedback below.

 

Is Weed Healthy? The Controversial Truth About The Science Of Marijuana.

science of weed

The video below tells the story of Sadie, an 11-month-old baby who suffered from 300 seizures per day. She was given Cannabidiol, an oil-based extract of marijuana.

What happens next blew my mind.

Grab a Kleenex and watch.

The truth is, marijuana – although an extremely controversial drug – has been proven to be effective for medical issues like:

-Pain
-Epilepsy (seizures)
-Muscle Tension
-Anxiety
-Depression
-Nausea
-Cancer
-Anorexia
-Insomnia
-PTSD
-Crohn’s & Colitis
-And much, much more…

My guest in today’s podcast, Dr. James Schmachtenberger, has made it his goal – as the executive producer a new documentary called “The Science of Weed” – to put the truth and real facts in the hands of those who need marijuana-based medicine, so they can make informed decisions about utilizing cannabis not as a recreational drug per se, but instead as an effective treatment method for health issues.

In today’s podcast, James and I discuss:

-Hemp oil drops/hemp oil spray

-The difference between medicinal cannabis and weed…

-The best medicinal uses of marijuana…

-How you can use marijuana without side effects of endocannibanoids…

-Why the WADA has marijuana listed as a banned substance for athletes…

-How you can use marijuana to sleep better or beat insomnia…

-Whether marijuana is effective as an anti-inflammatory…

-Do you have to be careful with mold and fungi in marijuana, and how do you know your sources are “good”…

-Is weed addictive?

Do you have more questions about weed, and how it can be used as medicine? Leave your thoughts and comments below, and check out The Science of Weed documentary here.

The Superhuman Kids Contest Announcement!

Superhuman Kids

It’s time for a Superhuman giveaway!

It’s easy.

Below, simply enter your name, email and attach your Amazon receipt or proof of purchase from my new book “10 Ways To Grow Tiny Superhumans” to get entered to win 1 of 5 signed copies of my New York Times Bestselling book “Beyond Training“.

If you haven’t purchased my “10 Ways To Grow Tiny Superhumans” and would like to enter this contest, simply click here to get the Tiny Superhumans book at the Amazon Kindle store for just $2.99. That’s 50% off the regular Kindle price – and you’ll get everything you need to know to raise amazingly healthy kids.

Act fast because the contest starts today and will end on July 12, 2014 and the price will go back up to $5.99.

Good luck!

Ben Greenfield

P.S. All winners will be announced via email on July 14! So be sure to add “[email protected]” to your contacts list so your email doesn’t get filtered as junk or spam!

Your Burning Multivitamin Questions: The Ultimate Vitamin And Supplement FAQ

Thorne Fx Multi Am Pm Complex

You’re about to read a post written by Tom Nikkola, CSCS, CISSN, Pn1.

Tom is the Vice President and General Manager at ThorneFX. He has more than 13 years of experience in nutrition, metabolism, lab testing, nutritional supplements, and other aspects of health and fitness.  He has experience working with thousands of fitness-minded individuals and has written over 400 articles on health, fitness, and performance. Tom helped create the ThorneFX brand and now manages it, and was interviewed in the recent podcast episode “How To Know If Your Supplement Is Safe, Legal And Contains What It Says It Contains.

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Since Ben Greenfield first posted his article “A Quest to Find the Best Multi-Vitamin on the Face of the Planet” both Ben and ThorneFX have received a number of excellent questions and some great feedback from all the people who have been using the Multi AM/PM Complex Ben talks about in that post.

What you’re about to read will address most of your burning questions (and of course, you can leave your comments below the article if you have more questions!).

Before we jump in, I should mention that it’s a huge privilege to have Ben on the ThorneFX Advisory Board.  Ben joins Dr. John Berardi, Joel Jamieson, Bob Seebohar, Dr. Rachelle Viinberg, and Jaime Martinez as a group of educated experts in our industry who will help shape the direction of new and existing ThorneFX products and services.

Now, let’s jump right into your questions…

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General Questions

Are ThorneFX products available to be shipped for internationally?

Yes. We have warehouses in the United States and Canada, so shipping rates are more reasonable in these two countries, but we have just negotiated significantly better shipping rates for other international shipments.

We heard from a lot of Ben’s followers in the United Kingdom and Australia.  You will see much better international shipping rates in the next couple weeks.

Are your manufacturing practices third-party certified?

Yes. In addition to flawlessly completing two FDA inspections in the last three years, Thorne Research is the only U.S. manufacturer that has completed all three levels of certification issued by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) of the Government of Australia.

The TGA certification affirms that Thorne Research’s manufacturing practices are sufficient to export pharmaceutical products to Australia if that were our business.

We chose to use the TGA certification process over NSF because the TGA certification process is more rigorous and is accepted in more countries. You can view the TGA certification here.

Who is the ThorneFX line of products intended for?

The ThorneFX product line has been created for high-calibre fitness professionals and their clients, as well as top-flight athletes. Customers include personal trainers, sports nutritionists, sports dietitians, and others – and the clients they work with and advise.

Individuals who use ThorneFX products are generally healthy, on a path toward even better health, and are aspiring to optimize their health through nutrition, exercise, and good lifestyle habits.

On the other hand, anyone who has a significant, pre-existing health condition, or a woman who is pregnant should always consult with his or her health-care practitioner before beginning any nutrition supplementation program.

In any event, nutritional supplements like those in the ThorneFX product line are not intended to treat or mitigate a disease condition, so this is advice consistent with FDA guidance to the industry.

Thorne Research has more than 20,000 active health-care practitioner accounts, so the Thorne Reearch name is well-known in the health-care practitioner space.  These practitioners mainly recommend the Thorne Research product line to their patients.

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Multi AM/PM Complex Questions

What is unique about Multi AM/PM Complex?

The Multi AM/PM Complex formula contains a number of vitamins and minerals that have excellent bioactivity profiles; for example, active B vitamins like methylcobalamin (rather than cyancobalamin) and 5-methyltetrahydrofolate (also known as 5MTHF or L-methyl folate) rather than folic acid.

This premier formula also includes mineral bisglycinates. These are mineral chelates, they are only available through Albion®, and they demonstrate superior absorption properties compared to other chelates or mineral salts.

Three other ingredients are included to support energy levels and recovery from exercise and everyday stress:  green tea phytosome, curcumin phytosome, and Relora®, a patented blend of phellodendron and magnoliaextracts.

You can read a more thorough overview of the formula in our blog post How to Build a Better Multi or listen to Ben’s podcast at  Quest to Find the Best Multi-Vitamin on the Face of the Planet.

Are capsules absorbed as well as liquids or powders?

There is no research showing that powdered or liquid supplemental nutrients are any more effective than capsules are.

Trying to draw a distinction between capsules, on the one hand, and liquids and powders, on the other hand, is no more than a marketing angle. The idea being suggested is that liquids and powders are somehow being absorbed better or quicker because there is no “barrier” between these forms and the environment of the stomach.

However, this is marketing hype rather than science. The vegetarian capsules used in Multi AM/PM Complex – made by Capsugel® – are designed to break down in the stomach in the first 10 minutes following ingestion.

The stomach normally maintains a very acidic environment (a pH close to 1.0), although it can be higher in individuals who have a compromised digestive system. Capsugel’s vegetarian capsules have been tested at pH levels as high as 6.8, which is the approximate pH of the intestines and of drinking water, and have been shown to break down in about 10 minutes in those environments as well.

The difference in how well a capsule, or a powder or a liquid-based nutritional supplement is absorbed has much more to do with the forms of nutrients used and whether or not unnecessary ingredients, such as magnesium stearate, are added during the manufacturing process.

What if someone doesn’t swallow pills well?

When necessary, the capsules in Multi AM/PM Complex can certainly – and easily – be pulled apart and mixed into a beverage.

We understand that some individuals simply don’t like swallowing capsules. We get that.

But based on the 30 years we have been making products for health-care practitioners who work with patients who have a number of physical and medical challenges, this has not been a significant issue.

Is Multi AM/PM Complex safe for a woman who is pregnant?

We recommend that any woman who is pregnant or trying to become pregnant should always consult with her health-care practitioner before starting any supplementation program.

Pregnancy creates specific nutritional needs, and Multi AM/PM Complex was not designed to be a prenatal supplement. In these cases, we recommend any woman to use a good prenatal nutritional supplement, such as Thorne Research’s Basic Prenatal, both before and during pregnancy.

The Basic Prenatal multi-vitamin will actually be available through ThorneFX.com in the near future.

Was there a reason behind not including more magnesium in the product?

There are a couple of reasons we did not include more magnesium.

First, in order to add more magnesium, we would have to take something else out of the formula. Because magnesium bisglycinate is a bulky ingredient, adding an incremental amount of magnesium would mean we would need to remove a fairly significant amount of something else.

We believe the formula is more powerful as-is, than were we to remove something instead, such as the awesome extras like green tea phytosome, curcumin phytosome, or Relora.

We believe these extra nutrients are very important for active, fitness-minded individuals and athletes.

Second, many of the nutritionists and fitness professionals who advise us recommend that a larger amount of magnesium be used just before bedtime. This higher intake of magnesium supports better sleep, reduces restless leg syndrome, and helps individuals relax more in general.

It’s unlikely you would experience these same benefits if you were to take all of your supplemental magnesium in your multi-vitamin product.

Is copper harmful in a multi-vitamin?

In an excessive amount, like most other nutrients, copper can become toxic. Copper toxicity is rare and very rarely the result of supplementing with a normal amount of copper. Copper toxicity usually arises from being exposed to very high levels from excessive supplementation or from an environmental condition.

Multi AM/PM Complex includes 1,500 mcg (1.5 mg), which is a very safe and appropriate daily amount of this essential nutrient. This amount is well below the upper limit level 10,000 mcg set by the Institutes of Medicine.

Do you have more than two forms of vitamin E in the formula?

Yes. Vitamin E occurs in many forms in nature, but the only form that appropriately can be measured in International Units (IUs) is d-alpha tocopherol. In Multi AM/PM Complex, D-gamma tocopherol is also listed further down the Supplement Fact label as part of a mixed tocopherol complex.

The formula includes 48 mg of d-gamma topherol, which is an appreciable level without going overboard.

Multi AM/PM Complex does include other forms of tocopherols, but the available current research shows d-alpha and d-gamma are the most important for health.

What is curcumin and is it safe?  Also, what is unique about the curcumin you use?

Yes, curcumin is safe. It’s one of the most-studied botanicals in the world, with more than 5,000 years of use and over 3,000 published papers and studies on this one botanical!

Curcumin is a key constituent of turmeric, the yellow spice used in Indian and Thai foods.

Curcumin’s effects on the body’s metabolism are widespread, and include supporting normal levels of inflammation, promoting muscle tissue recovery after damage, stimulating fat oxidation, and modulating serotonin levels. Click here to read more about why Curcumin may be the Most Amazing Botanical in the World.

Interestingly, just today, as I’m writing this post, another technical study was published on Indena’s curcumin phytosome complex ― the one used in Multi AM/PM Complex.

This study, published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition shows that, in addition to all of the other amazing things curcumin can do, it can help relieve or reduce delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) following exercise. Awesome! For those who are interested in higher doses of curcumin phytosome, we offer Rebound, which includes 500 mg of curcumin phytosome per capsule.

Some individuals do claim that curcumin can interfere with medications; however, this is only theoretical and has not yet been proven in any research.

What is Relora, and is it safe?

Relora is a proprietary combination of phellodendron and magnolia extracts that is an ingredient in Multi AM/PM Complex. Like many prescription products and natural products, it has not been studied on women who are pregnant, so we do not recommend it for women who are pregnant or trying to become pregnant.

Acute toxicity studies on Relora have been done in animals and there is no evidence of toxicity at levels well above those that are used in products for humans.

Relora does act as a mild sedative, which is the reason it is put in the evening formula. It is intended to support relaxation and restful sleep.

Although Relora is not known to interact with any drugs, because of this action it should not be used with medications that cause drowsiness or sedation.

And there is no credible scientific evidence to suggest that Relora is a problem if one also drinks alcoholic beverages.

As with all other nutritional supplements, Relora should be discontinued prior to surgery.

Do nutrients in the formula compete for absorption with one another?

The idea of nutrient absorption competition is not new.

I remember when Life Time Fitness first introduced their multi-vitamin formulas, they were formulated with certain nutrients to be taken at different times to avoid possible competition. That was in 2002.

During the time I was responsible for LTF’s supplements, a number of enhancements were made to their formulas, including the multi-vitamins.

One change was to move away from the nutrient competition concept because it didn’t seem as well-supported as once believed.

Competition for absorption has not been proved to be an issue for optimal health. If we did think it was an issue, it would be easy to separate nutrients into the two different formulas that make up Multi AM/PM Complex, but our Medical Affairs team is not convinced this is appropriate.

Following this train of thought, it would require that individuals would need to modify the timing of eating the foods in their diet in general, because their diet is still the major source of nutrients. Combining certain foods would mean that nutrients would not be absorbed. Nobody has ever suggested that.

In addition, it is recommended that a multi-vitamin be taken with a meal for maximal absorption, so specific diets would be required when taking various formulas to eliminate the chance of nutrient competition. This is neither necessary nor practical.

In the opinion of our Medical Affairs team, based on all of the research they have reviewed, we do not see nutrient competition interfering with the effectiveness of any ThorneFX product, including Multi AM/PM Complex.

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Wrapping it Up

We are excited about the huge response and positive feedback we have received on Multi AM/PM Complex from those who have been using it the past few months.

We know there is a lot of misinformation floating around online about the use of multi-vitamin products in specific and nutritional supplements in general. So if you have a question about any ThorneFX product, please contact us at [email protected]. Depending on what your question might be, either our customer service team, or a member of our Medical Affairs team, or I will answer it for you.

If you haven’t already started using ThorneFX products, you can order Multi AM/PM Complex or other ThorneFX products by clicking here. You’ll receive 10 percent off when you order through Ben Greenfield as a ThorneFX Affiliate and Advisory Team member. If you yourself are a personal trainer, nutritionist, physician, etc. and your credentials qualify you to become a ThorneFX affiliate, you can register as a ThorneFX Affiliate here.

Thanks for reading, and leave your questions and comments below!