345: How To Burn Calories Without Exercising, Chocolate’s Effect On Your Skin, Eliminating Muscle Imbalances & More!


February 3, 2016 Podcast: 345: How To Burn Calories Without Exercising, Chocolate’s Effect On Your Skin, Eliminating Muscle Imbalances & More!

Have a podcast question for Ben? Click the tab on the right (or go to SpeakPipe), use the Contact button on the app, call 1-877-209-9439, or use the “Ask Ben” form at the bottom of this page.


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You can receive these News Flashes (and more) every single day, if you follow Ben on,, and Google+.


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This podcast is brought to you by:

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Gorilla Coffee

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-Here’s how to join Ben’s free VIPTextClub: just text the word FITNESS + to 411247!

Did you miss the weekend podcast episode with Joanna Penn? It was a must-listen – titled “How To Banish Forearm and Elbow Pain, Burn Calories, Build Endurance& Maintain Muscle While Writing.” Click here to listen now or download for later!

New course from Ben! The 7 Day Full Body Reboot Program To Get Strong And Fit. Optimal fitness and health are closer than you think. In just one week, you can set yourself up for a strong, long, lean and healthy body.

May 27-29, 2016: Ben is speaking at PaleoFX 2016 in Austin, Texas. This is the The Who’s Who gathering of the Paleo movement, with world-class speakers including New York Times bestselling authors, leading physicians, scientists, health entrepreneurs, professional athletes, fitness professionals, activists, bloggers, biohackers, and more. And you DON’T need to be Paleo to be able to get a ton of benefit and fun out of this one! Also, one day prior, on May 26 is Health Entrepreneurs f(x) – a full day of deep discussion on marketing, business development, and entrepreneurship for health and wellness people, featuring Mark Sisson, Robb Wolf, Melissa Hartwig, Sarah Ballantyne, Mike Bledsoe, Abel James, and a bunch of other speakers in small group coaching sessions.

Nov 17-18, 2016: Ben is speaking at the Biohacker’s Summit in Helsinki, Finland. Discover the latest in wearables, internet of things, digital health, and mobile apps to increase performance, be healthier, stay fit, and get more done. Learn about taking food, preparation, cooking, and eating to the next level with the latest science and kitchen chemistry. Even delve into implanted chips, gene therapy, bionic arms, biometric shirts, robotic assistants, and virtual reality. Two days with an amazing crowd and a closing party with upgraded DJs to talk about. Click here to get in now at a 40% discount.

Grab this Official Ben Greenfield Fitness Gear package that comes with a tech shirt, a beanie and a water bottle.

And of course, this week’s top iTunes review – gets some BG Fitness swag straight from Ben – click here to leave your review for a chance to win some!



Listener Q&A:

As compiled, deciphered, edited and sometimes read by Rachel Browne, the NEW Podcast Sidekick.

How To Get Ready For A Hot Race

Sarah says: She’s a new triathlete looking to complete her first 70.3.  She’s from Adelaide is a really dry heat, but the race is in Cairns, which is known for it’s humidity and wet, tropical heat. How does she prepare herself for a humid 70.3 ironman, in a dry place like Adelaide. She currently doesn’t have access to a sauna – any other ideas?

In my response, I recommend:
A heat suit

How To Fix Muscle Imbalances

Kyle says: His question is a muscle and body imbalances. He used to road race motorcycles professionally and had a dislocated left hip, left ACL replacement and many other injuries on his left side. He’s been racing triathlon’s for the last few years and at this point he’s completed an ironman distance, but feels his imbalances on his left side are having an affect on his training and efficiency. He currently uses globus electro-stimulation, eats more fat and fewer cards, and uses cold therapy and curcumin, colostrum all based on your advice, but he’s wondering if you have any ideas on how to help his imbalance?

In my response, I recommend:
-“Becoming A Supple Leopard
-An inversion table, a giant band, and a decent traction website or book.
-Ben’s Fabulous Four: plank, clamshell, external rotation, row
Z-Health podcast

How To Burn Calories Without Exercising

Anna says: She’s in college student studying human health and performance. What might be some bio-hacks you would have for a college student, who’s sitting, has limited time for workouts etc.

In my response, I recommend:
Compex or MarcPro ($32 discount at with discount code “Ben”)

How To Lower Your Sperm Count

Randy says: Is there any substance that’s been actually proven to reduce one’s sperm count. His son is looking to have his sperm count lowered and he’s wondering if there are supplements or anything he could eat or reduce the chances of anything life-changing happening.

In my response, I recommend:

Hey, have you guys heard the latest from Dr. Drew’s podcast? He’s been working out your mind with talk about philosophy, comedy and more in the last couple weeks. Philosophy can work its way into fitness through the power of mind & body, so check it out now at or on iTunes.

Prior to asking your question, do a search in upper right hand corner of this website for the keywords associated with your question. Many of the questions we receive have already been answered here at Ben Greenfield Fitness!


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How A Manual Treadmill Can Teach You To Run, And How To Use One Properly (Even At A Desk).

jeff vernon itunes

Last year, I posted an article entitled “How To Turn Your Desk Into A Calorie Decimating Workstation“, and created the video “How Should You Stand At A Standing Desk?” 

In both those resources, and on many podcasts (including this one on “How To Burn More Fat At Work), I’ve talked about and featured a special kind of treadmill called a “TrueForm” treadmill.

See, when I set about to modify my standing workstation into a treadmill desk, I ran into a two big problems, namely…

1. Treadmills Have Motors.

Treadmills with motors – the kind you’d normally need for running, and the kind typically used at treadmill workstations – are not only big and bulky, but produce enormous amounts of electromagnetic fields (EMF) and “dirty electricity”, which has been linked to brain fog, altered cellular metabolism, cancer risk, and much more.

In addition, a treadmill belt that runs on a motor allows you to walk and run while leaning slightly backwards and engaging in a full-on heel strike, which alters your running and walking gait, destroys your biomechanics and can actually turn you into a worse runner or a sloppy walker.

2. Manual Treadmills Are Too Slow For Running.

So a non-motorized treadmill (also known as a manual treadmill) is a good solution compared to a motorized treadmill. But the problem is that most manual treadmills only reach a maximum speed of 3.5-4.0 miles per hour, and this means that you can never use a manual treadmill for running. Since I wanted to intersperse short fitness and metabolism boosting sprints into my walking workday, (e.g. stopping every hour to do a brief 2 minute sprint, or doing a bit of jogging in between consults and phone calls) this means I’d have to buy and find space for two separate treadmills – one for walking and one for running!

So over several months, I searched high and low for a treadmill that is A) a manual treadmill without a motor; B) compact enough to fit under my standing desk; and C) didn’t produce electrical pollution and D) could operate at both casual walking paces, light jogs and high running speeds.


The solution that I eventually found is something called a “TrueForm treadmill” made by Samsara Fitness. The unique looking TrueForm has several extremely unique characteristics that set it apart from any treadmill on the face of the planet, and is unlike any treadmill you’ve ever tried.

First, there is no motor and there are no buttons. The treadmill is entirely manual and is powered by you, which means that you are not only exposing yourself to zero electrical pollution and saving 100% on electrical costs, but also moving far more naturally due to the non-motorized belt design.

When you walk on a TrueForm treadmill, you burn more calories, get better balance (especially if you don’t use the rails) and build stronger leg and core muscles, since you’re doing the work instead of a treadmill motor. And the faster you move, the faster the treadmill goes, just like when you walk, jog or sprint outside.

But it gets even better, because the TrueForm treadmill is the first and only treadmill to actually teach you the skill of running. This is because the only way to really get the belt moving is to lean slightly forward, strike with your mid to front-forefoot, and maintain a high cadence, which means your body learns to run exactly like the most elite runners on the face of the planet run. This honestly took me a little bit of getting used to, because I’m used to being able to “lean back” and be lazy on a treadmill, and frankly, this treadmill instead forces you to move with pristine form.

Finally, the rails are removable. And although TrueForm is legally required to send you the treadmill with the rails attached, you can take them off for the ultimate balance-enhancing experience as you walk, jog and run.

best treadmill desk



So that’s great and all, but can this thing really teach you how to run with proper biomechanics? On today’s audio podcast, I get Jeff Vernon the owner of SamsaraFitness on the show and we address this question and much more.

You’ll discover:

-How the Trueform actually works, and why it is shaped the way it is…

-How to use a manual treadmill properly…

-Specific drills you can do on a manual treadmill to enhance your running form…

-What a standard running treadmill won’t work on a stand-up desk…

-The difference between the different Trueform models (the low-rider, the enduro and the performance)…

-Why the Trueform is different than other manual treadmills, and why it’s “built like a tank”…

-And much more!

Do you have questions, comments or feedback for Jeff or me? Leave your thoughts below and one of us will reply! And click here to use code BEN for a 10% discount on your Trueform.

How To Banish Forearm and Elbow Pain, Burn Calories, Build Endurance & Maintain Muscle While Writing.

pod cast joanna

Have you ever dealt with frustrating wrist pain or carpal tunnel or tennis elbow or golfer’s elbow or climber’s elbow – pain that is aggravated by typing and computer work?

Have you ever wished you could walk one, five or ten miles while still being able to work on a book, a project, or a paper?

Have you ever wished you could simply talk your thoughts into existence, and have them appear in your emails, documents, books and more?

Then today’s podcast episode is for you.


Before jumping into today’s episode, let’s take a look at folks who have abandoned traditional methods of simply sitting down to produce, create and be productive.

The list of historical figures who have used standing desks is veritable “who’s who”. Here is just a brief snapshot of famous folks, writers, and inventors who leveraged the standing desk’s benefits throughout history.

For example, Leonardo da Vinci painted the Mona Lisa while he stood at his standing desk. Da Vinci also stood at his desk while sketching new inventions, including parachutes, flying machines, and armored vehicles.

The standing desk also made its appearance in one of the world’s oldest colleges, the University of Cambridge, founded in 1209. Standing desks were first recorded as being used in the library in 1626, and the idea of writing while standing was placed at the epicenter of intellectual thought.

Napoléon Bonaparte also used a standing desk and found it conducive to quick thinking and strategizing for battle.

Thomas Jefferson also used the standing desk while composing documents, including the Declaration of Independence (he actually developed a six-legged adjustable standing desk, and was one of the first known people to use an adjustable standing desk).

Charles Dickens’ workspace where he penned such timeless classics as Oliver Twist, A Christmas Carol, and A Tale of Two Cities. is described as having “books all round, up to the ceiling and down to the ground; a standing-desk at which he writes; and all manner of comfortable easy chairs.”

Winston Churchill was often seen writing at his standing desk. Ernest Hemingway’s fashioned a standing desk out of a bookcase near his bed.

Honest Abe Lincoln was never too far from his trusty standing desk. He used it to deliver the Emancipation Proclamation and is famously quoted as saying ‘Verily, ’tis my standing desk that gave me the inspiration to end this wicked and iniquitous trade.’

In addition to standing while writing, both dictating while writing is also something famous authors have done. For example, in her book The Productive Author’s Guide to Dictation: Speak Your Way to Higher (and Healthier!) Word Counts, author Cindy Grigg reports:

“Leo Tolstoy received one of the earliest dictaphone prototypes. To this he replied that the “Ediphone” was impressive but “too dreadfully exciting” for his methods. Instead, he seemed to favor dictating to his daughter Alexandra or even house guests. Fyodor Dostoyevsky reportedly struck a bargain with his publisher to pay off his and/or his brother’s debts. The deal required that the author submit his manuscript for The Gambler in short order. To do so, he employed stenographer Anna Grigorievna, who gave him collaborative feedback as well. He finished the manuscript in four weeks then married Anna.

“Thomas Hardy dictated his wife Florence Hardy’s ‘biography’ about himself to her, seemingly to retain control of the account. Like many authors, Hardy also dictated once he became ill. Stricken with pleurisy, he spoke his last poem to his wife Florence.

John Milton was blind when he created Paradise Lost, dictating the epic poetical work to his several daughters. This inspired paintings of him and his daughters by artists George Romney, Delacroix, and others.

Alexander Dumas was rumored to never touch up his drafts, having served as a historian, which had given him practice in thinking about what he wanted to say before he dictated it.

Michel de Montaigne , an acclaimed 16th-century essayist, dictated his journal and possibly other writings.

Henry James referred to his hired transcriptionists as amanuenses, needing to contract such help at least partially due to rheumatism in his wrist. One of them, Theodora Bosanquet, recorded in her diary, “Indeed, at the time when I began to work for him, he had reached a stage at which the click of the Remington machine acted as a positive spur. He found it more difficult to compose to the music of any other make. During a fortnight when the Remington was out of order he dictated to an Oliver typewriter with evident discomfort, and he found it almost disconcerting to speak to something that made no responsive sound at all.”

William Wordsworth was a kindred spirit to mobile writers such as myself. He ‘wrote’ Tintern Abbey mentally on a “ramble of four or five days…Not a line of it was altered, and not any part of it written down till I reached Bristol.” Thanks to transcriptionist Isabella Fenwick, he also dictated The Fenwick Notes commentary about his poetry. Of his long poem The Excursion, Wordsworth mentions, “Something must now be said of this poem, but chiefly, as has been done through the whole of these notes, with reference to my personal friends, and especially to her who has perseveringly taken them down from my dictation.”

Charles Dickens was rumored to act his characters out in front of a mirror, giving vocal dramatizations of dialogue and text. In 1882, The Brooklyn Daily Eagle published an interview with someone who claimed to be Dickens’ amanuensis, describing him this way: “‘Yes, I did shorthand work for Mr. Dickens for eighteen months. I did not take dictation for any of his novels, only his fugitive pieces…Most people seem to think Dickens was a ready writer. This is by no means the case. He used to come into his office in St. Catherine Street about eight o’clock in the morning and begin dictating. He would walk up and down the floor several times after dictating a sentence or a paragraph and ask me to read it. I would do so, and he would, in nine cases out of ten, order me to strike out certain words and insert others. He was generally tired out by eleven o’clock, and went down to his club on the Strand. A singular thing was that he never dictated the closing paragraphs of his story. He always finished it himself. I used to look in the paper for it, and find that he had changed it very greatly from what he had dictated to me. Dickens had a very odd habit of combing his hair. He would comb it a hundred times in a day. He seemed never to tire of it. The first thing he did on coming into the office was to comb his hair. I have seen him dictate a sentence or two, and then begin combing. When he got through he dictated another sentence.”

Bram Stoker was himself a secretary and director of London’s Lyceum Theatre, as well as a manager for Henry Irving. His own experiences may have influenced how several chapters of Dracula are dedicated to asylum director Dr. Seward recording dictations on a phonograph, to the chagrin of Mina Harker, who typed them up as soon as possible, believing the veracity and emotion of the audio to be too much for other readers to bear. “I have copied the words on my typewriter, and none other need now hear your heart beat, as I did.”

Dictation is also mentioned in Stoker’s The Jewel of Seven Stars. Stendhal (the pen name for Marie-Henri Beyle) dictated The Charterhouse of Parma in seven weeks, 52 consecutive days–another kindred spirit to Marcel Proust dictated the Death of Bergotte to Celeste Albaret on his death bed, even though it was already finished, saying it needed to be written a second time. He supposedly explained, “I didn’t yet know what it’s like to die when I wrote it. I know it more now.”

James Joyce found inspiration in a random happening while dictating Finnegan’s Wake. While recording the story, Joyce was interrupted when someone came to the door and was welcomed with a phrase like, “Come in,” which Joyce thought worked well in the manuscript so he left it in his draft.

Thomas Aquinas was apparently so skilled at dictation that he gave observers the impression he could speak on several topics at once to multiple scribes and even to dictate in his sleep.”

In today’s podcast, we’re going to delve into how you too can be more productive, build endurance, maintain muscle, and burn more calories, all while writing from a standing desk and / or while dictating.


My guest, author J.F.Penn, is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of thrillers on the edge, as well as bestselling non-fiction for authors published under Joanna Penn.

Joanna’s site for writers, has been voted one of the Top 10 sites for writers three years running. She is a professional speaker on creative entrepreneurship, digital publishing and internet marketing, and was voted one of The Guardian UK Top 100 creative professionals 2013.

During our discussion, you’ll discover:

-How Joanna developed chronic repetitive motion injuries in her wrist, and why ergonomic keyboards and an ergonomic computer mouse weren’t working for her…

-Why Joanna decided to go way above and beyond simply using a standing workstation or treadmill desk…

-How Joanna is simultaneously working on multiple books while also training for an ultramarathon…

-Whether you can really, truly be creative while standing or walking, and why it’s a myth that you need to sit to write effectively…

-The exact tools, microphones and software that Joanna has found to work very well for dictation…

-A book that will teach you exactly how to dictate quickly and effectively…

-How to  “train” your computer to recognize your voice and accent…

-How to enhance productivity with ambient noise and focus apps…

-And much more!

Resources from this episode:

Joanna Penn’s Amazon book page

The Productive Author’s Guide to Dictation: Speak Your Way to Higher (and Healthier!) Word Counts

Dictate Your Book: How To Write Your Book Faster, Better, and Smarter (Growth Hacking For Storytellers)

Audio-Technica ATR2100-USB Cardioid Dynamic USB/XLR Microphone

Dragon Dictate software for dictating

-Dragon Anywhere cloud software

Scrivener software for writing/organizing books

Rode lav mic

Kevin J. Anderson (an author who dictates while walking 4+ hours per day)

Ben Greenfield’s fiction book “The Forest”



The Focal Upright Website (this is a place where you can also get the “Mogo” stool or the Locus seat we talk about)

The Kybounder balance deskmat

The Topo mat

The TrueForm treadmill

Yoga For The Upright Desk article


Do you have questions, comments or feedback for Joanna or I? Leave your thoughts below and one of us will reply!

How To Cease Endless Fad Diets (And The #1 Question You Must Ask Yourself About Food).

meghan itunes

I get diet books in the mail all the time.

No, I don’t have some kind of online shopping fetish for diet books.

People just send them to me. Unsolicited. As a matter of fact, it’s a well-known fact in the health and nutrition industry that one of the fastest ways to “make a buck” is to write and sell a diet book. It plays on the psychology that people are constantly looking for next answer to the diet that’s not currently working for them. Or they’re bored. Or have grass-is-always-greener syndrome.

Anyhow, as you can imagine, I was quite pleased when I received an undieting book in the mail last week. UnDiet: Eat Your Way To Vibrant Health, which includes a plan for an 8-week transformation and more than 35 delicious gluten-free, plant-based recipes.

Meghan Telpner, the author of UnDiet is a Toronto-based author, speaker, and nutritionist. She used to have Crohn’s disease, but after throwing up her hands in frustration at the way the modern medical system was trying to heal her, and instead embarking upon her own path of healing, she’s fixed her gut, and learned quite a bit about food, exercise, and psychology along the way.

If you find yourself constantly caught up in new diets…

….or you deal with stress constantly damaging your gut…

…or you have Crohn’s or some other kind of gut issue…

…or you look good on the outside but feel like crap on the inside…

…then this episode is a must-listen for you. In it, you’ll discover:

-The exact steps Meghan used (after nearly having her colon removed from debilitating Crohn’s disease) healed her entire gut in just 4 weeks…

-Why you should learn to cook, even if you have someone or some service who can do all the healthy cooking for you…

What to do when you see a food, or a workout, or some other activity and it just doesn’t “feel right”…

-Why Meghan thinks yoga is harder than a stairclimber or a high-intensity workout…

-Why a cute outfit doesn’t mean much if you feel like total crappola…

-How you can get around the awkwardness of questioning paradigms, and being “that person” at a dinner party who perhaps doesn’t use a microwave or drinks green smoothies…

-In the end, the most important question to ask yourself when it comes to “undieting”…

-And much more!

Resources from this episode:

-Book Ben mentions early in episode: The Hidden Half of Nature: Microbial Roots Of Life & Health

-Another book Ben mentions: Reclaiming Conversation

Do you have questions, comments or feedback about how to quit dieting? Leave your thoughts below and either Meghan or I will reply!

The Ultimate Guide To Standing vs. Sitting, Anti-Fatigue Mats, Standing Desks, Sitting Myths & More!

josh pod

A couple years ago, at the Ancestral Health Symposium, I presented a poster entitled  “Biohacking The Hazards of Sitting”. As you can see in the video below, I actually thought I was being quite witty to present a poster on the dangers of sitting while sitting with poor posture in a folding chair.

It’s actually been over five years since I’ve adopted the habit of frequently alternating positions throughout my work day, a strategy I highlight in detail my video “How Should You Stand At A Standing Desk“ and also in last week’s podcast “Standing Desks, Memory Foam & The Science Of Walking Barefoot In Shoes.” My office is actually like a tiny playground, littered with kettlebells, a pull-up bar, a boxing heavy bag, this treadmill workstation, and a variety of standing surfaces, including my latest foot acupressure therapy invention, a Bulletproof Sleep Induction mat wrapped around a Kybounder mat.

But I just can’t get enough of this stuff.

So in a few weeks, I’m interviewing a fiction author about how she writes fiction while standing and walking to train for an ultramarathon, and in today’s podcast, I’m interviewing a guy named Josh Kerst, who mans the helm of one of the most innovative standing workstation companies on the face of the planet: Focal Upright.

Josh is executive vice president of Focal Upright Furniture Inc. He holds a BSE (U of Michigan) in Industrial Engineering and is a Certified Professional Ergonomist (CPE), Certified Industrial Ergonomist (CIE) and is a Member of the ANSI/BIFMA X5.1 Office Seating committee.

During our discussion, you’ll discover:

What it means to be an “active couch potato”…

The shocking results of a study on athletes that found they can actually be more sedentary than the average office worker…

-Workplace positions that trigger a gene which restricts your ability to recover and drops your HDL…

-How long you would need to be sitting for the dangers of sitting to begin kicking in…

-How a dangerous response called the “compensation effect” can kick in if you exercise at the beginning of the day, and what you can do about it…

-Why a standing workstation can actually hurt your shoulders, elbows and wrists and how to set up proper ergonomics at a standing workstation…

-Ideas for creative positions you can work in aside from standing, walking or sitting…

-Why you should a “stool” to your standing workstation setup…

-The brand new heart rate variability research coming out soon on standing mats for everything from balance to strengthening and stretching your feet while you are working…

-And much more!

Resources from this episode:

The Focal Upright Website (this is a place where you can also get the “Mogo” stool or the Locus seat we talk about)

The Kybounder balance deskmat

The Topo mat

The TrueForm treadmill

Yoga For The Upright Desk article

-The Lighting Science “Awake & Alert” Bulbs

-The Human Charger in-ear phototherapy device

-Study: Sedentary behaviour among elite professional footballers: health and performance implications

-Study: Identification of hemostatic genes expressed in human and rat leg muscles and a novel gene (LPP1/PAP2A) suppressed during prolonged physical inactivity (sitting)

-Study: Research on “the compensation effect”

12 different apps that will remind you to take a break

Do you have questions, comments or feedback for Daniel Yellin or I? Leave your thoughts below!

344: Fish Oil & Fat Loss, Is The Wim Hof Method Dangerous, The Dietary Cure For Acne And More!

344_ Fish Oil & Fat Loss, Is The Wim Hof Method Dangerous, The Dietary Cure For Acne And More!

Click here for the full written transcript of this podcast episode.

January 21, 2016 Podcast: Fish Oil & Fat Loss, Is The Wim Hof Method Dangerous, The Dietary Cure For Acne And More!

Have a podcast question for Ben? Click the tab on the right (or go to SpeakPipe), use the Contact button on the app, call 1-877-209-9439, or use the “Ask Ben” form at the bottom of this page.


News Flashes:

You can receive these News Flashes (and more) every single day, if you follow Ben on,, and Google+.


Special Announcements:

This podcast is brought to you by:

Four Sigmatic (formerly Four Sigma Foods) – Go to to pick up some Chaga for flu season! Use coupon ‘bengreenfield’ for 15% off.

HelloFresh – HelloFresh is the meal kit delivery service that makes cooking fun, easy, and convenient! Each week HelloFresh creates new delicious recipes with step-by-step instructions designed to take around 30 minutes for everyone from novices to seasoned home-cooks short on time. HelloFresh sources the freshest ingredients, measured to the exact quantities needed so there’s no food waste. They employ a full-time registered dietician on staff who reviews each recipe to ensure it is nutritionally balanced. All delivered to your doorstep in a special insulated box for free. For $35 off your first week of deliveries, visit and enter BEN when you subscribe!

Harrys – Get $5 at with discount code “ben”. Why pay $32 for an 8-pack of blades when you can get them for ½ the price at The Harry’s starter set is an amazing deal. For just $15 dollars you get a razor, moisturizing shave cream, and 3 razor blades.

GreenfieldFitnessSystems “surprise gift box” – 50% discount on instant access to a box shipped to your front doorstep and full of the latest cutting-edge biohacking gear, nutrients, smart drugs and more, handpicked and curated by Ben.

Did you miss the weekend podcast episode with Ted Hardy? It was a must-listen – titled “Freediving, Breathholding, Iceman Wim Hof, Tom Cruise’s Mission Impossible Training, How to Use Static Apnea Tables & More” Click here to listen now or download for later!

New course from Ben! The 7 Day Full Body Reboot Program To Get Strong And Fit. Optimal fitness and health are closer than you think. In just one week, you can set yourself up for a strong, long, lean and healthy body.

March 12, 2016: Ben is speaking at WholeLife360 in New York City. It’s a private breakfast, followed by a full day of talks and Q&A’s with me (and the Nutrition Diva)! You get priority seating, a VIP tote bag featuring full of books, goodies and gifts (a $200 value), along with complimentary one-year membership to Thrive Marketplace (a $59.95 value), complimentary full breakfast, lunch and refreshments and a complimentary parking pass. Sound pretty good? Go here to get in now or to get more details:

May 27-29, 2016: Ben is speaking at PaleoFX 2016 in Austin, Texas. This is the The Who’s Who gathering of the Paleo movement, with world-class speakers including New York Times bestselling authors, leading physicians, scientists, health entrepreneurs, professional athletes, fitness professionals, activists, bloggers, biohackers, and more. And you DON’T need to be Paleo to be able to get a ton of benefit and fun out of this one! Also, one day prior, on May 26 is Health Entrepreneurs f(x) –  a full day of deep discussion on marketing, business development, and entrepreneurship for health and wellness people, featuring Mark Sisson, Robb Wolf, Melissa Hartwig, Sarah Ballantyne, Mike Bledsoe, Abel James, and a bunch of other speakers in small group coaching sessions.

Nov 17-18, 2016: Ben is speaking at the Biohacker’s Summit in Helsinki, Finland. Discover the latest in wearables, internet of things, digital health, and mobile apps to increase performance, be healthier, stay fit, and get more done. Learn about taking food, preparation, cooking, and eating to the next level with the latest science and kitchen chemistry. Even delve into implanted chips, gene therapy, bionic arms, biometric shirts, robotic assistants, and virtual reality. Two days with an amazing crowd and a closing party with upgraded DJs to talk about. Click here to get in now at a 40% discount.

Grab this Official Ben Greenfield Fitness Gear package that comes with a tech shirt, a beanie and a water bottle.

And of course, this week’s top iTunes review – gets some BG Fitness swag straight from Ben – click here to leave your review for a chance to win some!



Listener Q&A:

As compiled, deciphered, edited and sometimes read by Rachel Browne, the NEW Podcast Sidekick.

Is Wim Hof Method Dangerous?

Matt says:  Are there any dangers with the Wim Hof method? For example, lack of oxygen to the brain or forcing yourself into hyperventilation. Are there any health risks?

The Dietary Cure For Acne (And A Natural Anti-Acne Facewash)

Kyle says: What are options for a healthy cure for acne? He’s heard about different essential oils but is there a particular all natural facewash you recommend?

How To Fix The Damage From A Concussion

Jimmy says: You have talked a lot about brain health but he’s particularly interested in hearing about how to recover from concussions. He’s 25 years old and has had about 8 or 9 concussions, some have involved significant black out time, and he’s wondering if you can help provide insight into some things he should be doing to help his brain?

How To Increase Your Appetite

Michael says: He’s a hockey player trying to gain weight. He’s 5’10” and 160 pounds, he needs to be over 180 pounds to remain competitive. He’s tried drinking a gallon of whole milk every day but that doesn’t seem sustainable from a health perspective, what would you recommend to help him increase his appetite in a healthy way?


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Episode #344 – Full Transcript

Podcast #344 from


Introduction: In this episode of the Ben Greenfield Fitness show: Fish Oil And Fat Loss, Is The Wim Hof Method Dangerous, The Dietary Cure For Acne, How To Fix Damage From A Concussion, How To Increase Your Appetite, and much more!

                           He’s an expert in human performance and nutrition, voted America’s top personal trainer and one of the globe’s most influential people in health and fitness.  His show provides you with everything you need to optimize physical and mental performance.  He is Ben Greenfield.  “Power, speed, mobility, balance – whatever it is for you that for natural movement,  get out there! When you’re working all the studies done… studies that have shown the greatest efficacy…”  All the information you need in one place, right here, right now, on the Ben Greenfield Fitness podcast.

Ben:                   Rachel, this podcast is going to be absolutely epic today.

Rachel:              More epic than usual?  Why is that?

Ben:                   More epic that usual.  Although the ukulele is conspicuously absent.  I am…

Rachel:              Awww!

Ben:                   I know.  I’m sorry.  I am holding my brand-new, lucky mug that I got for Christmas, entitled… well, the mug isn’t entitled but the mug actually has the title on it – “Coffee Makes Me Poop”.  Coffee makes me poop.

Rachel:              (laughs)

Ben:                   That’s right.

Rachel:              Ahhh, where did you get that off?

Ben:                   I don’t even remember.  If they listen to this podcast, they’re obviously gonna be pissed, but it’s a brown mug with white font on it.  You could probably find this on Amazon.  Fantastic mug because, actually, coffee does indeed make me poop, but this particular cup of coffee I’m drinking, I’ve added some legal performance-enhancing supplements to it.

Rachel:              Such as…

Ben:                   So, for example, I’ve…

Rachel:              What have we got?

Ben:                   I’ve put some – I’m holding my hands this mushroom hot cocoa.  So I put a packet of this, and get to turn it over and read it to you.  It says, “Cocoa cordyceps, guarana, and cayenne pepper”, so it’s got a little bit of (sounds) to it.

Rachel:              Spice in it!

Ben:                   Yeah!  And we’ve got also – I put some chaga in here, what’s called dual extract chaga, which means the mushroom has been passed through both water, and then also through alcohol.  So what you get is both components of a mushroom like if you just boil mushrooms, you get the beta-glucans, but then if you do like an alcohol extraction, you also get what are the terpenes.  And so, I dropped the packet of that in there, put that off to the side here.  Oh but wait, there’s more.  I’m not done.

Rachel:              Oh my god!

Ben:                   I put some lion’s mane in there too.  Remember how we talked about how lion’s mane can like increase blood flow to the brain and enhance cognitive performance?

Rachel:              Yes, yup!

Ben:                   So I put some lion’s mane in there, and the lion’s mane has a little bit of minty feel as well.  So, it’s a bit of a digestive.  So…

Rachel:              And – so, how does it taste?  Is my fundamental question.

Ben:                   Oh, it tastes explosively good!

Rachel:              (laughs)

Ben:                   I will – I’ll trademark that.

Rachel:              Pun intended…

Ben:                   Yeah.  So, I put all that in there but – yeah! Coffee!  Coffee does make me poop, and as a matter of fact, speaking of things that make you poop, every month or so, I do kind of like a little private workshop for the members of the Ben Greenfield fitness inner circle.  You out there!  You know who you are walking around through mask capes.  Mask capes – masks and capes perhaps is what I meant to say.

Rachel:              Yeah!  Yup!

Ben:                   And I have a ton of stuff for going – it’s all that stuff that like doctors, and scientifically minded people, skeptics, etc. would get completely pissed about if they heard me talking on a podcast, but it’s all the stuff I want to talk about anyways.  So, coming up on this coming one, not only that I’m talking about new ways to poop (chuckles) and I’m serious, I’m doing an episode on like…

Rachel:              It’s your favorite topic, yeah.

Ben:                   Magnesium chloride enemas and butyrate enemas. Ding-ding-ding-ding-ding!  That was the sound of 8,000 listeners just unsubscribing.

Rachel:              Right! (laughs)

Ben:                   I’m also doing – I’m speaking things you can put up your butt.  I’m talking about THC enemas, talking about high, high dose fish oil.  These are all things that I experiment with and I talk to folks about them on the show, and it’s all stuff that again like people would get really angry if they heard me really going to detail about this stuff on the podcast because they wouldn’t want their kids give themselves THC enemas… What else am I talking about?  I said ah, high dose fish oil…

Rachel:              Uh-hmm, and so when is that comin’ out?

Ben:                   I think we’re doing this workshop on February 17th.


I’m talking about topical cannabinoids, and where they can best be used and we’re even going to include a little bedroom talk on that front.  I’m gonna talk about something that is legal and that came up in the recent Aljazeera documentary on anti-doping called Buckminsterfullerene C60, which is something that in studies on rats, allowed rats to live up to 3 times longer.  I’ve been experimenting with that as well as a special form of pulse-electromagnetic therapy that you put over your collar or– under your collar bone while sleeping to enhance delta-brain wave production.  So, I possibly have been stuck inside my house for much too long.

Rachel:              (chuckles) You’ve got some crazy stuff there.

Ben:                   Oh yes!  And also…

Rachel:              It sounds absolutely fascinating.

Ben:                   … adrafinil, which a legal over-the-counter alternative to modafanil.  All sorts of things that I’ll be talking about, but you can check that stuff out at the Ben Greenfield fitness inner circle, but fear not into day’s podcast; there’s also some real goodies.  So, what do you think, Rachel?  Shall we dive in?

Rachel:              Let’s get into it.

News Flashes: 

Rachel:              So startin’ out with news flashes, Ben, what have you got for us this week?

Ben:                   Well, I have the Consumer Electronic Show.  Have you heard of this?

Rachel:              Oh!  I haven’t. No.

Ben:                   Yes, so the Consumer Electronic Show is a huge show that I never go to because I’m not a fan of consumer elect – yeah, I know I just talked about putting magnets about my tit, but I’m not really not too enamored with walking around constantly connected to devices like I’ve literally hard-wired my entire home to eliminate all wifi and blue-tooth.  However, that being said, I do find some of these stuff quite interesting and I’m going to link in the show notes.  So folks, go over to, I’m going to link to this very interesting article that highlighted some of the coolest, health and wellness, and fitness devices that were showcase at this year’s consumer electronic show.  So for example, one of the things showcased in this article is something called ‘the peanut’.  Have you seen this, Rachel?

Rachel:              I haven’t. No.

Ben:                   Okay, so the peanut is this little device, it’s like the size of a quarter and you can put it in different places in your house, or supposed on your body, or on different object, and it gives you information about those things.  So, for example, for example, you could put it on like a safe or jewelry box or a money box, and it will automatically buzz or notify you if someone touches or moves that object.  Isn’t that…

Rachel:              So it’s basically if your kids tryin’ to steal some money, you can smack them on their head.

Ben:                   Oh yeah!  Or somebody’s like – if you have like a hotel room, right, and you set something valuable out, and you wanna know if the cleaners mess around, snooping around, you can do that.  Here’s something a little bit more fitness related, you can put it on like a bottle of supplements, or vitamins or pills, or capsules or medications, or whatever, and it will work with any type of regular, old pill container, and then you can set it up for customized scheduling like – ‘alert me if I forget to take this on a Tuesday, or if I forget to take this everyday’.  And it will make the pill container buzz and alert you when you miss a dose, or when you forget to take that particular thing.  I know!

Rachel:              Yeah!

Ben:                   It has a smart, wireless thermometer in it so you could put it like in a bedroom.  Let’s say like a baby’s bedroom, right?  And it alert you of the temperature goes outside of certain range, you could put it in your fridge and it will send you alert if the temperature light goes, you know, like our fridge does occasionally.  You open it, and it’s frozen like the milk or something like that which is super annoying.  I don’t understand refrigerators.  I don’t know how refrigerators work, but they freeze up sometimes.

Rachel:              Yes, they do.

Ben:                   So, it’ll do that.  You can use it as a sleep monitor and also as an alarm clock.  So it will monitor your sleep and then it’ll awake up at your best optimal sleep time when you kinda get out of your delta brain waves sleep, you know, a lot of these apps will do that.  Like it will find when you just kind of like coming out of the deep, deep sleep range in the morning, and then boom!  It will wake you up.

Rachel:              It’s gonna be a better way to wake up than mid-swayed.

Ben:                   Yeah., does all sorts of things.  You put on keys to help find your keys, so that’s one thing.  That’s one called the peanut, the peanut.  And again, I’ll link to all these if you go to, and I’m not…

Rachel:              344.

Ben:                   344 rather, 344.  I’m glad somebody’s on top of things.  I’m not financially affiliated with any if these companies by the way.  I just think some of these are cool.

Rachel:              What else you got?

Ben:                   They have the hydrate, spark, smart water bottle that ensures you’re properly hydrated throughout the day by sending messages to your phone from the water bottle, keeping track of exactly how much water that you’ve had during the day.  So if you’re one of those people who like forgets to drink water…

Rachel:              Struggles, yup!

Ben:                   Or if you’re – unfortunately I don’t think that I could drink my ‘coffee makes me poop’ coffee out of this thing.


Maybe I could.  I don’t know, but it’s called the hydrate, h-i-d-r-a-t-e, the spark, smart, water bottle.  That one is an interesting one.

                           Here’s one: they’ve got the level device.  This is another one that showcased at the consumer show.  It uses your breath to tell you when your body is burning fat.  You breathe into it and it monitors – I’m not sure if it’s acetone, or beta hydroxybutyrate, or like ketone bodies of other sorts of what, but you can literally just breathe in to it and tell you whether you’re on fat burning mode or not.

Rachel:              That’s super handy.

Ben:                   So that’s one is called the level, l-e-v-e-l.  It manages measure you know, carbon dioxide to approximate your carbohydrate and your fat burning percentages.  Whole bunch of other ones, there’s one called the smart sock, so the smart sock is literally a sock with a built-in sensor that tells you like your cadence, your foot landing, you heart rate, all sorts of things while you are running.

Rachel:              Oh wow!

Ben:                   So, yeah!  That’s probably not a sock you’d wanna wash.  I’m not sure.  Maybe you would want, I don’t know how they keep the sock from keeping just super gamey.  You can’t wash it.

Rachel:              So the information just goes to that point in your phone?

Ben:                   Yeah, yeah.

Rachel:              Wow!

Ben:                   So, all sorts of really cool things.  So check out this article, I’ll link to it.  I only scratched the surface for all you drooling there that’s out there.  You wanna check this one out –, if you wanna check out that article.

                           Another interesting news flash that come across my radar this week, so this was a supplement study.  They took this supplement and they gave it to women, in this case they were using a population of older females.  And in this case, they used this particular supplement and they compared it to olive oil.  Just plain old olive oil as a placebo, and what they found was in these exercising females that they gave this particular supplement to (and I’m being super mysterious on this).

Rachel:              So mysterious, I’m on the edge of my seat.

Ben:                   On purpose… So it increased the resting metabolic rate by 14%, it increased their energy expense during exercise by 10%, it increased their rate of fat oxidation during rest by 19%, it increased fat oxidation during exercise by 27%, it lowered triglyceride levels which are big independent risk factor for coronary heart disease by 29%, it increased lean mass by 4%, it increased functional capacity by 7% with zero changes occurring in the placebo group.

Rachel:              Woahhh!

Ben:                   Yeah, yeah.  And do you know what this was?

Rachel:              Wow!  I’m gonna take an educated guess based on the title of the show, and say maybe… fish oil?

Ben:                   (chuckles) You are indeed correct.

Rachel:              Yey!

Ben:                   So, they gave these ladies 3 grams per day of fish oil.  This was over a 12 week period of time.  It is important to know that a lot of these fat-based supplements like vitamin D and fish oil, you have to take them and allow them to build up over time, pretty impressive.  One of the more impressive studies I’ve seen on omega-3 fatty acids that you find in fatty fish, based on this you know, I hinted that I am experimenting with high dose fish oil and reporting on the results on the next inner circle episode.  I’m taking about 6 grams per day ‘cause gosh, I’m not an older female.  I’m a big-o strappin’ boy.  So I figured I double dosed with this stuff and throw some enemas and some buckminsterfullerene into the mix.

Rachel:              If one is good, then 3 is better?

Ben:                   Oh of course, that’s always true.

Rachel:              (laughs)

Ben:                   You know, that’s because science says so.  Anyways though, really, really interesting, and again I’ve mentioned that there’s only a few supplements that I’m constantly experimenting with things, but the only things I take regularly are fish oil, creatine, multivitamin, and adaptogenic herbs.  And fish oil is definitely, definitely going to stay in my protocol based on the results of the study, so.

Rachel:              Awesome!

Ben:                   Yeah!  Yeah, so if you’re not taking fish oil already or having fish as a regular part of your diet, you should be.

Rachel:              What’s the veg – vegan alternative?

Ben:                   To fish oil?

Rachel:              Is there one?  Yeah.

Ben:                   Ahh… you know, chlorella and spirulina has some decent amount of omega-3 fatty acids in it.  Walnuts as we mentioned on last week’s show over the seeds and nuts that you could eat are not too bad but the EPA in the ALA in seeds and nuts, it doesn’t get converted into the bioactive of really helpful form of DHA very well, and so…. you may have to bite the bullet and just take some fish oil.

Rachel:              Uhmm, so you just to miss out?

Ben:                   Yeah, yeah, or just become a pesco, a pesco-vegetarian or pesco-vegan.

Rachel:              A pescatarian, pesco-vegan, yes!

Ben:                   Yes.  Pesco – the ancient Indian word for fish.  You know what vegan means in ancient Indian?

Rachel:              Fun fact?  I don’t know.


Ben:                   Crappy hunter.

Rachel:              (laughs)  taran-ting!

Ben:                   (laughs) By the way, for those of you listening in, Rachel is vegetarian.  I am quite vegan-friendly and eat a high amount of plants.  Rachel is a friend of mine, I am in no way have any amount of animosity towards people who eat plants.  I just think people who eat plants may benefit from also eating pesco and ovo.

Rachel:              Uh-humm.

Ben:                   Okay, that being said.  Here is an interesting one that has nothing to do with what we were just talking about, but I thought it was really interesting.  This guy, Ryan Hall, do you know who Ryan Hall is?

Rachel:              Nope.

Ben:                   Ryan Hall is considered to be one of the fastest American distance runners in history.

Rachel:              Wow!

Ben:                   He’s run the Boston Marathon far faster than any American runner.  Two hours, 4 minutes, and 58 seconds.  He is 33 years old and he just quit.  He just dropped out because he had chronically low testosterone levels and adrenal fatigue.  Exactly what we talked about last week, so if people are listening in, you wanted like get your head wrapped around adrenal fatigue and you know, what probably happened to a guy like Ryan, go listen to  When I see a story like this though it just – you know, this kind of stuff, yeah, volume combined with intensity of exercise certainly has been shown to be quite draining on the adrenal glands, it can shift a lot of your vitamin D and your other hormone precursors from testosterone which is what Ryan turned out to be very deficient in, into cortisol, because you need cortisol as an inflammatory control, like it assist with repairing some of the damages that occurs from something like high volume intense marathon training, but at the same time it means you’re missin’ out on testosterone.  So…

Rachel:              Yeah, which is important for life.

Ben:                   It’s important for life and pleasure.  So anyways though, Ryan Hall by his chronic marathon training, you know, and this whole article on New York Times reports how it happened.  It appears that he just basically over a long period of time drained his adrenals, drained his testosterone, push through it and got to the point where he basically had to quit.  The website Slow Twitch recently had an article about like a cross-country ski guy that this happened too.  He got to the point where he couldn’t walk like 15 minutes without getting out of breath, and it just flabbergast me the amount of people who will just forge ahead through adrenal fatigue and hormonal disregulation when in fact this stuff is avoidable.  It’s less avoidable if you’re a marathoner, or ironman triathlete but it’s still avoidable with smart training, with close attention to dietary intake, to supplementation, to recovery protocols, but I mean, it’s just – it’s sad.  I couldn’t let this one go by without saying something about it just because it’s avoidable.

Rachel:              Do you think… yeah.  Do you think people aren’t fully educated on it and that’s why they sort of just see these symptoms and push through them, or do you think they’re just tryin’ to go too hard?

Ben:                   I think it’s both.  You know, I think that a lot of these guys don’t have certainly have physiology or biochemistry degrees or anything like that, or they aren’t doing like you know, constant blood monitoring so they can’t get their finger on the pulse of what’s going on with their hormones, or their adrenal glands until it’s too late. But they also don’t know about doing things like smart recovery, and perhaps using passive training protocols that we’ve talked about on the show before like sauna, and cold thermo, and some of these things that can be use to enhance blood flow on a recovery day rather than a recovery day being like a 2 hour run.  They don’t know about, for example using high dose vitamin D during tougher training protocols, using adaptogenic herbs to limit the amount of cortisol being produced.  They don’t necessarily even tap into – and I know this is gonna gross and aww, and probably make you puke, Rachel but they don’t know about using things like liver, and ancestral organ meats, and stuff like that to support proper hormone formation.  I mean you know, there’s a reason that guys who do the Tour de France horse in between stages because of mitochondria and because of a lot of the hormone precursors you find in cute little phonies.

Rachel:              (laughs)

Ben:                   Anyways though, it’s an interesting article, and I just wanted to throw it out as a word of caution to folks who are out there training with that combination of volume and intensity: be careful, keep track of your biomarkers, and don’t be afraid to really delve deeper into legal science, you know, you can’t get on testosterone supplements, or lotions, or creams, or things like that and ethically compete in sport, but there are other ways that you can support your body.


                           So, I had to bring that up.

Rachel:              There you go.

Ben:                   And oh – by the way, speaking of volume and intensity, I think I confused a lot of people this morning.

Rachel:              Oh?  Why is that?

Ben:                   Yeah.  I posted a brand new post to announcing that I have been roped into by the good folks over at the Spartan race organization to be one of the first people to complete their coveted Spartan delta which means that you go and you do a sprint, a super and a beast Spartan, you do an endurance tri-factor which is the Spartan Agoge, the –  which is like a 60-hour event in the snow back in Vermont, you do a 12-hour overnight hurricane heat which is literally just like a Spartan at night over and over and over again.  You do an ultra-beast, all these different events, and uhmm, I decided to hop into this because…

Rachel:              You did?

Ben:                   Yes.  And…

Rachel:              I thought we were just going with Spartan sprints?

Ben:                   Let me explain, let me explain.

Rachel:              Okay.

Ben:                   Back off, back off.  So first of all, read the article because I go into what?  Two reasons: number 1, this new Spartan delta, Spartan Agoge, you can check it out if you go to – that’s a-g-o-g-e,  You can read about what this is, but they’re teaching life’s goals, survival skills, competition skills, social skills, all sorts of stuff over the course of like this 60-hour event in Vermont, and over the course of a lot of these other events that are part of the Spartan delta, it’s designed to make you a better, stronger, more resilient, more greedy, more educated person.  It’s not designed to just make you do loops around the race course for an ungodly number of hours as part of some masochistic pointless feat.

Rachel:              Yeah, uhmm.

Ben:                   So, there’s that.  Second of all, as I just mentioned and talked about Ryan Hall, the problem and the over-training issue and the injury issue, and the cardiovascular issue with endurance sports has been shown to be the combination of volume and intensity.  For me, the way that I’m approaching these events is I don’t plan on going out and doing them hard.  All my hard races are gonna me like the short, you know, like sprint efforts, stadium races, sprint triathlon, stuff like that, but for these events, I plan on going out there and operating at low level aerobic intensity building grit, building resilience, learning new skill sets for survival that will help to make me one of the toughest people on the place of the planet, will help to make me a stronger man and to be there for my family, for my kids, for other people.  Will help me to inspire the people, teach other people, go out do what I do, like a big part of what I do is I spend time in the trenches, freakin’ out what works and what doesn’t from a training standpoint, a nutrition standpoint, a mental standpoint, you name it.  So it goes here not for me to just go out and like crush myself for hours and hours and end on intensity, so.  And I go on to this in detail, in the post.

Rachel:              Okay.

Ben:                   Go read the post, but basically…

Rachel:              So when is it?

Ben:                   … that’s coming up.  It’s in like a month, so I’ve been doing more…

Rachel:              Woah!

Ben:                   … more barefoot walks in the snow, let’s put it that way.  And, by the way, a little bit of Wim Hof style training, which we are going to talk about in this episode.  So, stay tuned because that’s coming up shortly, but first….we bring… What do we bring to folks, Rachel?

Rachel:              What do we bring to folks, Ben?  I’m blankin’.

Ben:                   You supposed to know this.  The special announcements.

Rachel:              (laughs) Oh!  It’s time for the special announcements.

Special Announcements:

Ben:                   Rachel, this podcast is brought to you by the cutest, two little 7-year old boys on the face of the planet.

Rachel:              Stop it.  River and Terran.

Ben:                   Yeah, no, yeah!  Well, specifically it’s brought to you by – their new joy – they’re actually upstairs right now as we are podcasting.  They’re upstairs cooking a multi-course Israeli-inspired dinner.  They’re cooking Israeli cuisine upstairs.

Rachel:              Oh!  Wow!

Ben:                   They’ve been cooking almost every single night.  They get up in the morning, and they make themselves this elaborate breakfast, but their new thing now is they’re taking this meal kits that we get shipped to our house and they’re learning how to cook using this meal kits.  Like a couple of nights ago they made, get this – autumn risotto with butternut squash, sage, and pepitas.  I don’t even know what a pepita is, and my kids are making it.

Rachel:              Pumpkin seeds!

Ben:                   Okay well, there you go.  You know, so.

Rachel:              How are they, how are they – where are the packs coming from?

Ben:                   Okay.  So there’s this company called Hello Fresh, they’re the sponsor of today’s show, and they shipped this kits to our house.  They shipped this hello fresh meal kits to our house.  The kids open them, they make the meals, they show them exactly how to make them.  It’s like Lego kits for cooking.

Rachel:              Nice!

Ben:                   And it’s – I mean, they’re not designed for kids, but I mean, they’re working great for my kids.

Rachel:              Your kids are like super smart.

Ben:                   You know, I’ve talked before about how I love for people to learn how to cook.  And they deliver all these stuff to your doorstep in this special little insulated box, so you don’t get food poisoning or worms, or anything like that crawling around in your pepitas.  But basically what they’re offering – all of our listeners, is if you go to, just like it sounds –, and you enter code “Ben”, they give you 35 bucks off your first week of this meal kit delivery service.  So, super cool service.  I love this kind of stuff.  You get to pick which meals you get, like if you wanna go gluten-free, or dairy-free, or healthy, or I don’t know, Japanese, you know, kind of when you get on airplane, whatever you get to pick, so.  There you have it,  But that’s not all, Rachel, that is not all, no.

Rachel:              What else we got?

Ben:                   So this podcast is also brought to you by that same – those mushroom packets, remember I’ve been talking about how I put them in my coffee?

Rachel:              Uh-hmm.

Ben:                   They’re all made by Four Sigma Foods, and what they’re offering any of our listeners is they’ll send you a full box of all their best selling like coffees, like this hot cocoa I talked about, some of these more hardcore mushroom products like the cordyceps and the chaga, and the reishi, and the lion’s mane, they’ll send you a big sampler pack and it is (it’s actually a pretty good deal) it’s 10 bucks.  They’ll send you this full sampler pack and the special URL, they’re giving all of our listeners, and by the way, my apologies to everybody in Ukraine, and Japan, and Australia, this is USA only, unfortunately.

Rachel:              Uhhhh!

Ben:                   But it does include free shipping to the USA.  So, my apologies to everybody else that the folks at four sigma are racists, but that being said, you go to, that’s  You spell out the word four – f-o-u-r, I’ll put a link in the show notes too.  You can get this stuff.  Well worth it, this is like my new infatuation.  I have a big like a section of my pantry devoted to just shrooms, shrooms.

Rachel:              Yummy!

Ben:                   By the way, have you ever done like a psilocybin or any of these more mind altering mushroom compounds?

Rachel:              I haven’t, no.  Have you?

Ben:                   No.

Rachel:              Ah, are you going to?

Ben:                   Both that, and ayahuasca are on my list.  However, I don’t – a lot of people do this stuff ‘cause they wanna go soul-searching, or have some kind of like creative breakthrough, or you know like find themselves, and that’s my barrier to entry is I have no deep desire to go find myself.  I’m pretty happy…

Rachel:              Yeah!

Ben:                   … with myself and me, and I just don’t – I’m not convinced that it’s worth doing just for fun.

Rachel:              For the sake of it, yeah, yeah.

Ben:                   Right, for giggles.  Maybe it is.  I don’t know, maybe it’s a lot of fun.  They just go to do ayahuasca and throw up in the jungle.

Rachel:              I’ll be super interested, Ben for you to do it and see if anything kinda hit you upside the head that you didn’t expect would happen.  You know?

Ben:                   You know, I maybe I go for it.

Rachel:              Yeah!

Ben:                   Yeah, for hell, for our listeners.

Rachel:              For, for person on Youtube.  We’d love to see.

Ben:                   Yeah, yeah.  Okay, so one other thing.  There has nothing to do with throwing up in a jungle, that is our final sponsor.  So our final sponsor is harry’s.  And I wanna point out something I haven’t really talked about too much with harry’s.  If you like to own nice things, harry’s has this razor, and it costs $20 actually if you go to and use discount code “Ben”, actually you don’t need to have to go to, just go to, and use discount code “Ben”.  You can get one of these razors called the Winston.  So, I own one, I own one of these $20 razors.  You get 5 bucks off, so $15 for you.  It has – it’s basically an ergonomic razor.  If you’ve never held an ergonomic razor, you are missing out on essential part of life and shaving.  No matter what body part you are shaving, it makes it better.  It’s like holding – have you ever held like a really nice pen?

Rachel:              I have, yes.

Ben:                   Or like a – like a craftsman’s knife?  That’s just like it feels like weighted in your hands just perfectly.  That’s the way that these blades are built like I take it out of the drawer, and it just – I don’t know, compared to like the cheepo-drugstore brands, it has this feel that makes you just wanna shave.  I just wanna shave and then grow the hair back right there, and shave again.  I could stay in my bathroom all day and shave.  Some people get addicted to drugs, some people get addicted to alcohol, I get addicted to my razor.  I have a love affair with my razor.  My wife is jealous.

Rachel:              (laughs)

Ben:                   So this one – it’s made from precision-grade aluminum, it’s called the Winston, the Winston.  And so, I would just – I would challenge any of you out there, go try a Winston, you can even add engraving to it.


I think I mentioned this last week, you know, if somebody’s stealing, if your loved one is stealing your razor and shaving their crotch with it, you can add engraving to it, just so they know when they’re shaving their crotch with it, that it is yours.  Send the money, go trip.  So, check that out, and use discount code “Ben”.

A few other quick special announcements that I wanted to bring up before we jump into this week’s Q & A, of course, the early bird premier tickets for the best health conference of the year.  At least what I consider to be the best conference of the year, PaleoFX.  Those are on sale, and you can get them at, that stands for 2016,  You need to be there.  If you’re not there, you’re a loser.  There, I said it.  So…

Rachel:              Oh!  You said it out loud.

Ben:                   So, get your tickets.  Get your ticket.

Rachel:              You don’t need to be Paleo, just common down.

Ben:                   Yeah, you don’t need to be Paleo.  You can bring your baguette but check it out –  That’s May 27th through the 29th, but before that March 12th, New York City, I’m speaking in New York City a full day of talks with me, and fellow podcaster, the Nutrition Diva.  Have you ever listened to her?

Rachel:              I have, yeah!

Ben:                   Yeah, she’s good, she’s good.

Rachel:              That’s gonna be a super fun day.

Ben:                   She’s like a – yes, she’s like opera singer and she’s also a nutritionist, and a podcaster.  She’s really cool and smart.  So, that one includes like priority seating, VIP tote bag, a nice breakfast, really kind of like an intimate affair.  So you can get it on that at, that is  That’s one’s March 12th, the other one I mentioned, the PaleoFX, that’s May 27th through the 29th.  Are there other events happening?  Oh yes, there are!

Rachel:              That one is in Austin, Texas, right?

Ben:                   Yeah, yeah.  There are other events but we’re not gonna talk about them now.  However, if you wanted to see the full list of goodies, events, places you can go, if you’re bored and you wanna go buy plane tickets somewhere, just go to, and we’ll link up everything for you using hyperlinks and internets, so.  Check it out.  What do you think?  Q & A?

Rachel:              Alright!  Let’s do it!

Ben:                   Boom!

Listener Q & A:

Matt:                 Hello Ben!  So I was wondering if you could answer some questions on the Wim Hof method, and any potential dangers that there are with the lack of oxygen in the brain, and putting yourself, forcing yourself into hyperventilation?  Yeah, are there anything, any health risks with this method or what?  Thanks a lot!

Ben:                   Rachel, have you actually ever heard this Wim Hof guy talked?  Like have you heard any of my podcast with him, or podcast that other folks have done with him?

Rachel:              Yeah, absolutely!

Ben:                   Yeah, he’s like Polish.  He gets very emotional.

Rachel:              Very passionate.

Ben:                   And yeah, he talks like this, mate!  He says – “You gotta go out, and you gotta get, you gotta get your feet in the snow, no you just do it!  And you just, you just breathe (curse word) just breathe (curse word)…

Rachel:              (Laughs) Ben!  (laughs)

Ben:                   Freeze!

Rachel:              Ahhhh!  That was – that was – that was epic.  Thank you.  I have heard him, yes, and I don’t remember him sounding like that, but he is definitely very passionate.

Ben:                   That’s how he sounds, and the science is very interesting, you know, and go – if you’re not familiar with the Doody Doll, I’ll link in the show notes with this podcast ‘cause I’d had him in my show twice and we’ve delved into his stuff pretty deeply, and actually in the free diving and breath holding podcast that I just did this past Saturday with my free-diving instructor, we talked about Wim Hof’s methods as well.  And we also talked about whether or not some of them might be dangerous, but basically I’ve read all of his books and all of his methods, and the basic idea behind it is this: he has this breathing technique and I’m going to give a very, very brief overview of his breathing technique.  The way that he describe it is, quote – “by not breathing out completely, you get to a point at which a residual amount of air remains in the lungs, and you do this about 30 times”.  So it’s like (hard breathing sounds) right?  So, you’re not breathing out completely, and when you finish that full cycle, you exhale everything. (Hoooooo) You hold, hold, hold.  And when you have to breathe, you breathe in (hooooooo) and yes, over and over again.  You do it for like 5 minutes.  So then you start to get lightheaded, and you start to get tingling, and what’s going on is you’re increasing the oxygen content, but you’re reducing CO2 content.


You’re reducing CO2 content.  This is in fact hyperventilation, and what happens is when you reduce CO2, you actually increase theoretically the amount of oxygen being released.  It’s known as aerobic dissimilation, if you wanna look at it from a scientific standpoint.  And so, in Wim’s case this has been shown to result in an actual increase in the core temperature of the body, a decrease in inflammatory cytokines, an increase in blood flow to specific regions of the brain responsible for focus, and the ability to be able to for example, do what Wim is known to be able to do which is tolerate the cold.  Now, when you look at hyperventilation, you’ll see some swimmers getting shallow water blackout from hyperventilation.  This recently happened to that Dartmouth swimmer that we talked about a couple podcast episodes ago that died because he’s combining hyperventilation with exertion, with unsupervised underwater swimming.  So, hyperventilation is basically breathing off a great amount of CO2.  As you hyperventilate, you’re creating low carbon dioxide levels.  When you create low carbon dioxide levels, a few different things happen:  first of all, your brain’s blood vessels constrict, so that results in that tingling, that lightheadedness because you get reduced blood flow to the brain.  Now, yes you do super charge the body with oxygen, and theoretically you increase your ability to for example, be able to hold your breath for long periods of time, you shift your body into a state of what’s called respiratory alcolosis because when you lose a bunch of carbon dioxide, carbon dioxide is normally carried as what’s called bicarbonate in your blood, and when you aren’t carrying as much bicarbonate in your blood, you’ve get less hydrogen ions – what are called protons floating around.  Protons are acidic, and so you create this alkalinic state and it’s really that alkalization that causes blood vessels to constrict, and when you get those blood vessels constricting, that affects nerves, it affect muscles, it can affect your awareness, it can affect your ability to basically have – to know when to breathe as what it comes down to because normally it’s the presence of carbon dioxide in your bloodstream that triggers that urge to breathe.  And when you blow off all your carbon dioxide, your body’s normal urge to breathe goes away.  And when that normal urge to breathe goes away, if you are underwater, you might blackout before your body remembers to breathe.  And that is probably one of the more dangerous parts of this method.  It’s one of the reasons that doing in an unsupervised situation could cause you to die.  Now, there – I like 2 different forms of breathing.  I do like this concept of using something like this to – you know, just try this – like, let’s say you live in an area where there’s snow, you wanna go dip in a cold pool, just go through a few cycles of that (hard breathing sounds) and you gonna get tingling, you gonna get lightheaded, remember you end it with a full breath out (hooooooo) hold, hold, hold, and a full breath in, and you gonna warm the body and everything, but be careful combining it with breath holds.  It will warm your body and it will help you handle the cold, but you really have to be careful with carbon dioxide levels in the body dropping too low.  If…

Rachel:              So, does it have any other health impacts that related to blacking out and forgetting to breathe?

Ben:                   You mean like deleterious health impacts?

Rachel:              Yeah, like you know, restricting blood flow to the brain.  Is there anything…

Ben:                   Yeah, long term hyperventilation, long term vasoconstriction would theoretically cause some issues with circulation to the brain if you have like traumatic brain injury, concussion, you know, which we’re gonna talk about later on the episode.  You’d wanna be careful with this, but at the same time brief periods of hypoxia are like hormesis just like brief exposure to cold, the heat, etc.  you actually enhance your body’s ability to be able to deliver oxygen to the tissues when you are breathing normally.  You just have to be careful not to overdo it, and I am just as bigger fan of the opposite of actually retaining CO2 by taking deep breaths (hoooooooo), and short exhales, deep breath (hoooooooo) and short exhales.  When you do this, when you retain CO2, you actually cause vasodilation, and when you retain CO2, you also shift your body into the exact opposite of respiratory alcolosis, you shift into the acidosis.


When you shift to acidosis, what happens is oxygen gets release more readily from hemoglobin at the level of tissues, and this means that when you are recovering from an intense muscular effort, and you need to get oxygen back into those tissues, you don’t want to be hyperventilate, you technically wanna blow off less CO2.  So there’s 2 different breathing techniques that you can use.  And 2 different breathing that I personally use – if I’m gonna go jump into the cold pool, I’ll do the Wim Hof style breathing, but if I’m sittin’ around recovering after workout or breathing during the day, I actually breathe in (h0000000) more might breathe out.  One easy way to do this during the day is you breathe in through your mouth (sounds), and out through your nose (sounds), and when you breathe in through your mouth, and out through your nose, you retain oxygen and you don’t breathe off as quite as much CO2.

Rachel:              Hmmm!

Ben:                   Two different ways you can do it, but of course, there is another aspect of the Wim Hof method and that is cold exposure, and this is something else that can be damaging if you’re not careful, and I think everybody – by the way, I’m experimenting with this method and this is a topic near and dear to my heart ‘cause like that ogoge that I talked about in Vermont that I gonna do, that’s gonna be cold.  Like you know, their advertisements for it – you know, I saw a banner the other day put up by Spartan and it said “Nothing burns like the cold” and I’ve heard that we’re gonna be sittin’ in the river for like an hour, 2 hours, or somethin’ like that, and walkin’ through the snow, and so it’s gonna suck, but at the same time if you understand cold, it’s really interesting.

There’s 4 phases that occur when you get exposed to cold, and by understanding these 4 phases, you can really equip yourself to handle the cold a little bit better.  The first phase is called the cold shock response.  It’s very, very similar to that mammalian dive reflex that we’ve talked about before, and that I’ve spoke with the free-diving instructor about when I had him on my podcast this past Saturday.  And that sharp gasp reflex that occurs in response to rapid skin cooling and especially occurs if your head goes underwater, it’s what can drive your body very quickly into sympathetic nervous system overdrive unless you’re used to that.  How do you use to it?  Shove in your face underwater.  A lot of people if they can’t do a cold shower, if they got their body use to the cold, the best thing you can do is deactivate that response or down regulate that response by frequently shoving your head into like a sink full of ice, or getting your head cold so that cold shock response is what a lot of times will cause people for example, to go into cardiac arrest because when you get a significant cold shock response, your arteries narrow, you get vasoconstriction, that means your heart has to work harder to pump the same volume of blood through your body, and if anybody has like a mineral deficiency or an underlying heart disease or cardiac arrhythmia, this is one of the proposed reasons why people for example, die in triathlons because people have underlying heart issues go there, hits the cold water, they get the cold shock response, the get the vasoconstriction, they get the sympathetic nervous system overdrive, and they go into shock or heart attack.  So…

Rachel:              Wow.

Ben:                   One thing you can do is just get your body used to that cold shock response.  So, that’s one thing.  Another thing that happens as part of the cold shock response is that hyperventilation that I was just explaining.  The trick though once you get into the water is not to continue to hyperventilate.  You hyperventilate before you get into the water.

Rachel:              Prior…uhmm.

Ben:                   … if you’re using something like the Wim Hof technique, but once you’re in the water, you begin breathing very slowly (slow breathing sounds).  I’m also a fan of box breathing because it down regulates the sympathetic nervous system response.  That’s a four count in (sounds), four count hold (sounds), four count out (sound), four count hold (sound).  So understanding the cold shock response is very important and that will help you with the cold a little bit.  Another issue that occurs after the cold shock response is called the cold incapacitation, and that occurs after you’ve been in the water for about 5 to 15 minutes.  This is why shrinkage happens.  I was explaining shrinkage to my boys the other day when we were out in the cold pool.  So vasoconstriction decreases blood flow to the extremities, and does that to preserve heat to the core and protect your vital organs, and still allow your periphery to cool.  Now, muscles and nerve fibers as you would guess, they don’t work as well when it’s cold, so you lose movement in your hands and your feet, then you lose movement in your arms and your legs, now cold incapacitation can be staved off to a certain extent by ensuring that you contract and relax the muscles and extremities.  So you don’t want to stay in the water completely still, you wanna move your fingers slowly, move your toes slowly, but here’s the key – when water is up against your skin, and you’re underwater, your skin naturally warms some of that water, and that’s why I say slowly, right, you want to basically not let yourself sit completely still ‘cause that cold incapacitation will set in, but you also don’t wanna move too quickly.


It’s kinda like this happy medium between not like makin’ the water move around too much, but also continuing to contract and relax your fingers, your toes, your extremities.

Rachel:              So, what does incapacitation literally means that like when you are pass that 15 minute mark, that your body just doesn’t wanna move?

Ben:                   Aha!  And a lot of times that’s when hypothermia can set in.  Hypothermia is gonna vary with water temperature, and it’s gonna vary with body mass.  They actually did a really interesting study of about 700 people of which they ask them if you fall on ice water which is zero degrees Celsius, 32-ish degrees Fahrenheit while wearing regular winter clothing, how long do you think it will take to become hypothermic?  And the response of most people was 0-5 minutes.  The actual correct response, what do you think it is, Rachel?

Rachel:              Well, past 15 minutes.  20 minutes?

Ben:                   it’s actually 30 minutes or longer that it takes for hypothermia to set in.  so it’s actually – you can last pretty long in freezing cold water before you start to go unconscious, before you cool to the point of cardiac arrest, before you get to the point where you are shivering so hard that your body just kinda goes on to shock.  But it takes a while and if you use some of these techniques, these breathing techniques, moving your fingers and your toes, hyperventilating before you get into the water, you know, you look at the guy like Wim Hof, he stayed in like a bucket of ice water.  I think he was in there for like 2 hours or something, ‘cause he trained his body to get to that point.

Rachel:              Yup.  So you recommend box breathing?

Ben:                   Uhmmm.

Rachel:              While you at in that first 5 to 15 minutes?

Ben:                   Uhmm, yeah, yeah.  The whole time if you can.  Now, what happens though when a lot of people do cold water training, they know this.  The issue is not when you’re in the water, it’s when you get out because when you get out – this is called circum rescue collapse among like cold water rescue people.  And what happens is when you’re fighting to stay alive, you’re senses get heightened and stress hormones are surging through your body, and your blood pressure increases, and all these things happen to help keep you warm when you’re in the water, and then when you get out of the water, this mental relaxation occurs, you get a decrease output of those stress hormones and typically this takes about 2-5 minutes to set in.  Your blood pressure drops, your muscle starts to fail, you begin to shiver uncontrollable, and you can go on a cardiac arrest.  And that’s really what happens is when you get out of the water and you’re standing around in the ambian air and warming yourself, that is when the suckage really starts to happen, and that’s what we need we were is you have to – if you get out of a long period of time in cold water, you gotta get yourself warm quickly or make sure that you actually being supervised by someone.  So, those are some potential issues with the Wim Hof method, would be passing out because you don’t have enough CO2, the cardiac shock, and the heart attack that could occur from the initial exposure to cold water, the potential for cold incapacitation if you’re staying completely still in the water, and then finally this circum rescue collapse that can occur when you get out of the water unless you figure out a way to get your body warm pretty quickly.

Rachel:              Wow!  Those are all crazy risks. (laughs)

Ben:                   Yeah, but at the same time I mean, I think learning these techniques are pretty good, and for those of you who want to and wanna delve more deeply into these breathing techniques, I’ll link to the 2 podcasts that I’ve done with him.  If you go to, you can tune in to those, if you are listening in, I believe Rachel has volunteered to grow a beard, and lead everyone up a quest of Mt. Everest in shorts and barefeet to go practice these techniques.  Is that correct, Rachel?

Rachel:              That’s correct.  I guess.  (laughs)  I’ll do it.

Ben:                   So, alright, Rachel has just volunteered.  Hold her to it…

Rachel:              Uhmm, yup!

Ben:                   And leave a comment in the show notes over at, if you either a) have questions about the Wim Hof technique or b) have beard growing tips for Rachel.

Kyle:                  Hey Ben and Rachel, huge fan of the podcast.  Actually listen to the podcast while I’m doin’ manual labor, or when I’m working out, or walking to class, or what have you, so definitely keep it up guys.  I did have one question: what are some options for like a healthy cure for acne.  I’ve heard about some things looks like some essential oils and you know, using coconut oil but I was wondering if there’s maybe an all natural face wash to make or use or purchase, and if you can give any insight into that, much appreciated.  Thanks guys, love the podcast.  Keep it up!

Ben:                   Rachel, I have a great story about acne.

Rachel:              Oh you do that.  It’s not somethin’ you hear everyday.

Ben:                   It’s not squeezing your whiteheads at the mirror, even though I was known to do that when I was a teenager.  Who has not, right?  Did you ever squeeze your whiteheads at the mirror?

Rachel:              Right, oh I definitely did.  I definitely did.

Ben:                   Oh!  It pop on the mirror?

Rachel:              It’s so satisfying!

Ben:                   But it’s gross, and you get a lot – it’s satisfying and yah you clean the mirror, yeah.

Rachel:              Yup.

Ben:                   It’s gross and satisfying all at the same time.

Rachel:              All at once.

Ben:                   And you’re guilty but feels so good.

Rachel:              Uhmm, you loved it.  Yeah.

Ben:                   Feel so good to pop those whiteheads.  You put a warm cloth on them, and pop them.  Anyways though, my wife actually dealt with skin issues way more than I did.  It’s like she had acne, and eczema, and I remember like she’s been like a half hour in the bathroom before work in the morning just like doin’ the make-up and covering up the little like you know, the pimples and all that craps that build up from acne, and at that time we were eating a stereo-typical health and fitness healthy diet.  Meaning, we were like full on whole grains, bread, you know, like all brand and Kellogg’s cereal, and we would do sandwiches for lunch, and usually like dinner, we do pasta and stuff like that.  We are both like you know, died in the woo kinda like.  Basically endurance athlete diets, right?  Like at that time I was doin’ Ironman, she was a cross-country runner, so that was just how we had learned to eat.  Now, she got this crappy little book from the library, and I remember it looked like it had been printed from the library copy machine.  It was bound from a little like thick black coil.  You know, what I’m talking about?

Rachel:              Yeah, I know what’s up you’re talking about, yeah!

Ben:                   And it’s called “The Dietary Cure for Acne”.  It’s like 10 years ago.  That’s what she brings us home to our little condo, and she’s reading it at the kitchen table, and she tells me she’s gonna try this book.  She’s gonna try this diet.  And like I was always the diet guy, like I was the body builder, and I was like messing around with different like-sugar blends for like maltodextrin and fructose for my triathlons, like – she was never the person to even give a crap about diet at all.  But she picked up this diet book, it’s called the dietary cure for acne.  I remember this guy name Loren Cordain, and basically what this book went into was the concept of what’s called hyperinsulinemia, hyperinsulinemia.  Excess levels of insulin in the bloodstream, and what the book highlighted or suggested was that this hyperinsulinemia condition triggers this hormonal cascade, and what’s called an endocrine response that results in unregulated growth and keratinization of epithelial cells.  That means like a bunch of growth of skin cells and androgen mediated sebum secretion, sebum secretion – which is basically acne.  You know, sebum is all that stuff that we pop in front of the mirror, so.

Rachel:              Yup!

Ben:                   And the idea is that this all triggered by what’s called insulin-like growth factor.  Also known as IGF1, and IGF1 is basically promoting acne in the same way that insulin does by promoting what’s called follicular obstruction.  So, it also causes this androgen mediated sebum production, but it also causes hyperkeratosis which is the thickening on the outer layers of the skin, and also epidermal hyperplasia which is a proliferation of skin cells.  So we put all these factors together and we basically have a bunch of skin cell growth, a bunch of sebum production, and this perfect storm for acne, and breakouts to occur.  And the idea behind this book was – hey, we limit insulin formation, we limit insulin-like growth hormone formation, and a lot of these androgenic, endocrine based issues with the skin, and we could potentially get rid of things like acne, and perhaps even by eliminating a lot of potential immune system triggers like commercial dairy, and soy, and wheat, we could also get rid of some immune related issues like eczema or redness or swelling.  So, my wife starts this diet and within like a month, no problems.  Her eczema goes away, her acne goes away, and that was honestly my first…

Rachel:              Woah!

Ben:                   That was my first exposure to like, you know, like we mentioned before, I’m not Paleo but that guy Loren Cordain, he’s considered like the father of the Paleo Movement, and that was my first introduction to like eating in a more ancestral way.


Realizing that there’s a pretty significant hormonal response to food, and so when it comes to diet, I mean, the whole idea behind it was you limit insulin production by limiting dairy, which is a huge promoter of insulin-like growth factor production, and you limit wheat – another very high glycemic index food like whole wheat bread can spike your blood faster than white sugar.  You limit a lot of like fruits and carbs, and even potatoes and rice, and stuff like that.  You save it for post-workout when your body doesn’t have to produce as much insulin in response to those foods, and as a result, it clears up your skin and it – like it worked perfectly for my wife.  I’ve recommended it to a lot of people.  It works very well for them.  I don’t necessarily think that you have you completely eliminate dairy, and that you have to completely eliminate grains, but in the initial phases of it, you may wanna consider doing that – there’s this shutdown inflammation, and shutdown some kind of like hyper-active immune response, but from a dietary standpoint, that book freakin’ rocks.  I mean, if you have acne.  So, that would be my recommendation from a diet standpoint.

Rachel:              And, can acne be a manifestation of anything else other than the things that you just covered?

Ben:                   I think that’s aside from acne always seems to pop up if you happen to have a hot date planned, that’s another big, big trigger.

Rachel:              (laughs) The cure for acne?

Ben:                   Yeah, exactly…

Rachel:              Stay single forever!

Ben:                   …and then it’d go out with someone who you need to impress, acne will inevitably show up on your skin.  Usually your nose, or like somewhere else is really hard to cover up.

Rachel:              Really obvious, yeah.

Ben:                   As far as the face stuff though, so first of all, I should mention before I get in to this face wash thing, for the past about 6 months, I have been developing a hypoallergenic anti-aging skin serum.  I am not in a position yet to release into the wilds for people to try, but I’ve been using for about 2 months.  And what it is a hypoallergenic formula that I designed to get rid of things like cross-eyes, and fine lines, and wrinkles and scars, and stretch marks, skin discoloration, acne, eczema, you name it.  And it’s all organic, it’s aloe vera, jojoba oil, carrot seed oil, triphala, lavender, it’s got wild oregano oil in it, turmeric, lemon, patchouli like pretty much every organic compound known to man that has been shown to rejuvenate the skin, or to be a topical formula that will get rid of like acne, eczema, etc.  I’m probably about a month out from makin’ that available to folks, so.

Rachel:              That is super exciting!

Ben:                   I’m pretty excited about it.  And like I mentioned, I’ve been using it every single day, super cool stuff.  So I had to mention that, stay tuned because that – it’s called the Greenfield Anti-aging Serum.  And that will come out soon.  It’ very – it can be very, very cool.  But in the meantime, do we have a doozy for ya’ – this is a really, really cool recipe that you can make.  It’s got natural antibacterial properties, it’s got some enzymes and probiotics that are fantastic for the skin, and it can really help out with acne.  You still need to realize acne is an internal hormonal based problem related to insulin and insulin-like growth factor, but this can be a good topical solution until the Greenfield Anti-aging Serum is released.  Here’s how it works: you get yourself some manuka honey, manuka honey… ever use this stuff, Rachel?

Rachel:              Yeah, I actually bought some recently to have with my breakfast though.

Ben:                   oh wow, it’s awesome for smearing on your – like for wounds and burns, like MRSA or like friction based issues, like cyclists, or cuts – like it’s really, really almost like magical stuff when it comes to being antibacterial, but what you can do is you can use it as an actual face wash.  You can get manuka honey, and you can use it as a face wash.  Super-duper simple solution, I know I’ve recommended all sorts of fancy formulas before on the show, but this one is very simple.  You take a small amount of manuka honey, like a teaspoon and you rub your hands together with the honey.  You wet your face with warm water before you do that, not after you do that.  Wet your face with warm water, get the honey in your hands, and then massage the honey into your skin in a circular motion to all the areas of your face, all the skin-based areas of your face, then just leave that on for 10 minutes.  Just walk around with honey on your face, stay away from dogs, birds, bees, anything you don’t want eating your face, and then you wash it off with warm water, and you have it dry.  Makes your skin super soft, kills bacteria, it’s a really, really cool, quick, easy cleanse.


                           Tonic, for your face.

Rachel:              Very simple.  Who would have thought?  And it has to be manuka?

Ben:                   Uh-uhmm.  Well, you could use it like raw honey too.  Raw honey has some cool antibacterial properties as well, but manuka… by the way, manuka is expensive.  It’s like 30 bucks for a ton but like manuka works the best.  So that’s my recommendation, again, and try the Greenfield anti-aging serum…  is release…

Rachel:              Does the Greenfield anti-aging serum have manuka honey in it?

Ben:                   No, it doesn’t, and there’s 2 reasons: number 1, already with the 15 ingredients I’ve got in there, if we were to add manuka, it cost you like 90 bucks for a little bottle of it.  And number 2, I made it to be portable like I want people to be able to like take a true TSA, and have in like a 4 ounce container and be able to spray it, like spraying is very important and you just can’t spray manuka honey, and so it can be messy and yeah, so no, it doesn’t have manuka honey in it but you could get manuka honey and make…

Rachel:              And add it to it…

Ben:                   Make that happen for yourself.  So, check that out.  I’ll put a link to some of my favorite manuka honeys in the show notes if you wanna get yourself some but there’s one maybe a company called – it’s actually a New Zealand company called Manuka Health.  They make a pretty good one.  A lot of the manuka honey are found coming out of New Zealand here.  You’re neighbors!  Do you guys fight for folks in New Zealand or you’re besties?

Rachel:              Besties!  We love each other.

Ben:                   Okay.  I wasn’t sure if you like a ….

Rachel:              According to me, according to me. (chuckles)

Ben:                   Yeah, if you launch coconut at them, and the launch kiwi fruit at you…

Rachel:              (laughs)

Ben:                   … across the…

Rachel:              That would be a fun wall.

Ben:                   … across the bay.  Alright!

Jimmy:             Hey Ben and Rachel, how is it goin’?  My name is Jimmy, I wanted to ask you a question Ben about concussions and recovering from concussions.  I know you’ve talked a lot about recovering from degenerative brain disorders, and different types of nutrition and fitness things that can help with that, but I’ve had about either 8 or 9 concussions that I know of some of which have involved some pretty significant blackout time, and there’s probably a lot of others in there.  And then recently I watched the movie ‘Concussion’ and it just got me thinking about if there’s things I need to be doing to just plain on that since I’m 25, and I still wanna have a lot of healthy brain time ahead of me.  And so, yeah, I’d love to get your opinion on addition things other are maybe differently that some of the stuff you’ve talked about previously with brain health.  Thanks a lot.  Love the show.  Looking forward to hearing from you.

Ben:                   Rachel, I don’t know if you’re aware of this.  Jimmy is obviously not aware of it.  We have done a lot of episodes on concussions and blood flow to the brain.  A lot of ‘em.

Rachel:              Okay, yeah.

Ben:                   Maybe Jimmy is not aware of it because of his ongoing head damage.  Sorry Jimmy.  Nah, no – I should not make a fun of listeners.  Slap my hand.  I can’t make ‘F’ word, I can’t make fun of listener’s accents, can’t make fun of questions, so sorry…

Rachel:              Can’t make fun of your co-host accent.

Ben:                   That’s right, that’s right.  Sorry Jimmy, but either way Jimmy, I wanna give you a few big takeaways from the top 3 podcasts that we’ve done on brain health, and concussions, and then I wanna give you a few tips from my buddy and physician named Dr. Jack Kruse, who has some really good information out there on concussions.  So first of all, one guy that I interviewed was named Mark Tullius.  Mark Tullius is an MMA fighter and we went over some of the issues that he’s had with testosterone as well as with head damage from training and fighting.  The biggest takeaways from the podcast with Mark Tullius, and I’ll link to his podcast in the show notes for ya’, was he uses a lot of Lumosity brain games and brain training apps.  He uses a lumosity and then one called n-back training to ensure that he’s doing activities that increase blood flow to his brain, and he also uses Onnit’s alpha brain to assist with his memory and word recall.  So those were his biggies – was Lumosity, n-back training, and this Onnit alpha brain, and I’ll link to his particular episode, but that would – those were my biggest takeaways from his deal.  So, there’s that.  Now I also interviewed, had a really extensive interview with this doctor named Kelly Ryder, and the title of that was ‘Concussions, and Muscles, and Podcast’, if you were a loved one have ever had head injury.  Now, we went into everything from specs scans to scanning the brain for damage, testing the brain, etc. but some of the big takeaways from Dr, Ryder, his recommendation for brain inflammation specifically related to concussions was a supplement called glutathione – that’s one that he use quite a bit with his patients, and then also fish oil.  And he used a brain training app called the Muse app which is basically a headband that you wear in your head, and that’s a form of neurofeedback where you have a guided app on the phone like a guided meditation app with this muse headband.


So those are some of his recommendations.  So, glutathione, fish oil, and the muse headband, whereas Mark Tullius recommended N-back training, the lumosity brain app, and then also the Onnit alpha brain supplement.  Now, what I would say in terms of actual clinical-based research, probably the podcast that we did.  Podcast 341 in which we went over a very extensive treatise on Alzheimer’s and cognitive performance.  Actually, was it 341 or 340?

Rachel:              I think it might have been 340.

Ben:                   It was 340.  Go to, and we’ll link to that in the show notes as well, but in 340, what we went into was a study that they did that was literally showing reversal of some of the cognitive issues that occur with Alzheimer’s and this is also pure gold for any of you out there who want to enhance cognitive performance or reverse some of the hypoperfusion that occurs from head damage.  There is a huge, huge list of stuff that we went into in that one, but they included ketosis-based diet.  So you’re limiting the amount of glucose and advanced glycation and products that can cause inflammation and damage to the brain.  It included intranasal light therapy using something called the Vielight, we talked about using pulse electromagnetic field therapy, which is called PEMF.  The list of supplement was pretty extensive that we went through but some of the biggies were again fish oil, but also there’s vitamin D, vitamin K, curcumin which is a very potent neural anti-inflammatory, cannabidiol, using something called CBD just just a legal form of marijuana, high dose fish oil, and then we also even talked about creatine which has some really interesting neuro protective properties.  I also have a full list in the show notes of a bunch of like other like face recognition and IQ test, and central nervous system tap test like a huge list of stuff in that one.  So that’s pretty extensive but go listen to that podcast episode #340 for that.

Rachel:              Yes!

Ben:                   And then finally like I mentioned, there’s this physician who I’ve had on the podcast a few times, Dr. Jack Kruse – he’s a neurosurgeon.  So he obviously knows a little bit about the head, or at least he does, and he has a really good article on which he list some of the things that he recommends if you have had a concussion or head injury.  One of the things that recommends is that you load with medium chained triglycerides to get yourself into ketosis prior to engaging in the at-risk behavior like soccer, or football, or a fight, or something like that.  He actually likes you to get in with limited glucose consumption, and a whole bunch of medium chained triglycerides onboard or some of these ketones to enhance the actual fuel being used by your brain and limit the amount of potential for glycation damage that can go hand in hand with concussion.  So that’s one of the things that he recommends.  Another thing that he recommends is really interesting, is that you cool your posterior and your lateral neck area if you’ve been concussed or if you had a concussion, or if you’re trying to heal from a concussion like that whole putting your head in the ice water technique I talked about earlier, like a head cooling technique.  He’s a huge fan of that to limit neuronal damage, and get that bounce back blood flow to the head that occurs after you’ve removed your head from the cold water.  He’s also a huge fan of minerals.  He recommends about 25 mg of zinc, and 400 mg of magnesium as minerals to limit neuronal damage or to improve what he calls neuronal energy deficits.  So he’s got a very, very extensive article on concussion and concussion management.  He calls it the concussion prescription, and I will also link to that in the show notes as well for you, Jimmy.  But basically, I just wanted to give you some of the resources that we’ve made available on the past for concussions because it certainly something that I’ve covered pretty extensively.

Rachel:              Yeah, I mean between those 4 different things that you just said, there’s probably about a hundred different things to try.  (chuckles)

Ben:                   Yeah, and I mean, let’s put it this way.  There are some people who are like in the anti-aging sector, and I know ‘em, and they’ll pop like literally 50 pills every morning.  Like if – and we talked about this when we talked about Alzheimer’s and cognitive performance, you want to throw everything in the kitchen sink from a biohacking and a gear in a supplement standpoint, go for it.  If you wanna be like me and put you know, 18 different mushrooms in your ‘coffee makes me poop’ mug, go for it.  More power to you.  It’s better living through science, but ultimately use some of those resources.


                           I’ll put them in the show notes for you at, and best of love.

Michael:           Hi Ben, my name is Michael.  I’m a hockey player trying to gain weight.  I’m 5 foot 10, 160 pounds, and I have a really hard time getting over 165.  My goal is to be at around 180 pounds to stay competitive in this sport.  I stay pretty active, I lift weights 2-3 times a week, I train for cardio twice a week, and I play hockey probably about twice a week.  I’ve tried drinking a gallon of organic whole milk everyday but doesn’t really feel sustainable from a health perspective, and I was wondering what you would recommend to help me increase my appetite in a healthy way.  Thank you very much!

Ben:                   So this is what I call skinny guy syndrome.

Rachel:              Hmmm.

Ben:                   My brother-in-law is a very skinny guy.  My wife actually had me for Christmas one year write my brother-in-law a mass gain program, and he played college basketball, and he had worked with all these different strength conditioning coaches and nutritionists to pack of bunch of muscle on his body, and I didn’t really change that much in terms of what he was doing. I had him lifting heavy stuff, but he was already doing that.  What I did do was I up’ed him from about 3,000 calories a day which is what he was eating, and I put him on a 6-7,000 calorie a day diet.

Rachel:              Wow!

Ben:                   And he began to pack on muscle like crazy, and a big, big part for gaining muscle frankly guys, and this is coming from me, I’m 175 lbs. right now.  I used to be 210 pound body builder.  I got that way by eating copious amounts of food like every 2 hours.  I mean, it takes a lot of food if you’re a hard gainer to put on serious amounts of mass.  Listen to the podcast that I did with Dan John, I’ll link to it in the show notes but I mean basically his Mass Made Simple program, you’re lifting for about an hour to an hour and a half a few days a week, and then you’re pretty much sittin’ around, watching football.  You’re living like a toad, just like trying to move as little as possible, eat copious amounts of food, and then every now and again, lift heavy stuff.  It’s not necessarily heart healthy, it’s not necessarily the best thing for your gut in terms of the strain that you’re putting on your digestive system, but it’s how you build mass, and frankly, if you’re drinking a gallon of whole milk a day, remember what I was just talking about when it comes to insulin and insulin-like growth factor?

Rachel:              Uhmm, yup.

Ben:                   Acne!  Have you seen how many body builders and like high school athletes have like acne, eczema, and all these issues related to mass gain?  Big reason for it is because they’re using dairy, and wheat to grow mass.  There are better ways to grow mass.  You can use like really dense source like avocado, coconut milk, and like even like less insulinigenic forms of protein for example, like hemp and pea and rice protein.  If you combine those with digestive enzymes, you get just as much as an anaebolic response from them as whey protein, and steak, so that – I mean, there are a lot of ways to reduce the amount of insulin and all the other crap that you get from commercial milk and still put on mass.  But, part of this is appetite.  Like how do you increase your appetite, how do you keep yourself hungry?  That’s the tricky part and believe it or not, there are things that you can do to increase your appetite.  So, (drumroll please) here is how you get your appetite up.  Number 1, ginger.  Ginger tea, ginger extracts – ginger is not only a great digestive but it’s also an appetite stimulant.  So, ginger is one thing that you can include.  You can get ginger root, you can get ginger supplements.  Ginger – that would be number 1.  So, another one that can help to increase appetite are what are called carminative spices, carminative spices.  So what carminative spices do is they increase – they basically change your appetite or increase your appetite by increasing the production of ghrelin.  I like to think of that as some that make your stomach growl.  It makes you hungry.  So leptin is the hormone that limits your appetite.  Ghrelin increases your appetite.  Some of the things that can do that – mint, black pepper, cinnamon in high amounts is actually an appetite stimulant.  One of the reasons cinnamon is also an appetite stimulant is it can plummet your blood glucose, and make you hungry which is why cinnamon is great for like diabetics too if you can control the hunger response like if you combine cinnamon with like a meal that would normally spike your blood glucose, like oatmeal for example, it’s a pretty good 1-2 combo.  So, that’s another one.  Certain fruits are also known to stimulate hunger – grapes, apples, and blackberries, all contain a lot of the similar digestives that ginger does and help to increase your appetite.  So those would be some other things to include.  So you’ve got ginger, black pepper, cinnamon, coriander, mint, grapes, apples, and blackberries.


So you can add those to your grocery shopping list.  There’s a few others as well.  Bitter-tasting foods help to increase the secretion of digestive juices, and so you can eat this before a meal to improve digestion, but they can also increase your appetite.  So these would be amaranth, fenugreek, and bitter gourd.  You can get those in like herbal form, you can get them something that you can sprinkle over foods, you can get them in teas, but those are three other – amaranth, fenugreek, and bitter gourd, bitter gourd.  So if you don’t have any bitter gourd hanging around, now is the time to do it.  Now’s you’re excused to go ape nuts on the gourds.

Rachel:              I don’t even know what bitter gourd is.

Ben:                   It’s kinda like bitter melon.

Rachel:              Oh, I see.  Yup.

Ben:                   It’s actually a little bit similar to cinnamon actually, it plummets your blood glucose as well. And then you can delve into the body building industry where a lot of these guys are using supplements to increase their appetites.  They can eat copious amounts of food during the day, one will cause you to produce a whole bunch of ghrelin, whole bunch of this appetite stimulating supplement or appetite stimulating hormones.  If you’re tryin’ to lose weight, don’t use this stuff, but if you’re tryin’ to gain weight, and you wanna eat a crap load of food, take something called plum extract about 30 minutes before a meal to stimulate your appetite.

Rachel:              Woah!  Is just that plum?

Ben:                   Plum extract, it’s like concentrated plum, and it causes a big release in its ghrelin.

Rachel:              So why doesn’t plum – why do plums make the list of foods that increase your appetite, but then we take plum extract?

Ben:                   Because plum extract – it’s like eating 20 grams.

Rachel:              More concentrated, yeah.

Ben:                   Yes, extremely concentrated.  So…

Rachel:              Interesting!

Ben:                   So, we got plum extract, another one that you can use believe it or not is, something we’ve talked about before – fish oil.  By using a lot of fish oil, that can increase your appetite if you use a whole bunch of it prior to a meal.  High dose of fish oil, you take like 6-10 grams of fish oil. So like 3 times more than their using in that study that we talked about, that can increase your appetite.  So you like take fish oil before breakfast, like in the morning to get your appetite going and you can get a giant smoothie or giant breakfast to your ‘Man in a can protein shake’.  So that would be another, and then of course, there is – weed.  However, I’m not going to recommend that you smoke weed to stimulate your appetite because that may not legal where you’re at, may not be something that you want to do, but a very, very interesting thing is that cannabinoids can stimulate the appetite and there is a plant that has cannabinoid-like substances in it, and this specific cannabinoid-like substances that increase your appetite called alkylamides, alkylamides.  And the extract that has alkylamides in it, you can actually get what’s called alkylamide extract (can see that 10 times fast) is Echinacea.  You can get what’s called an Echinacea alkylamide supplement, and that will stimulate your appetite very much in the same way that weed will without you having to spend your money on weed, or without you having to break the law or get all paranoid or psychoactive.  So Echinacea alkylamides.

Rachel:              Who would have thought?  I had no idea.

Ben:                   Who would have thought?  There you go.  I just saved you from having to smoke copious amounts of weed.  I will put a link to the fish oil, to the plum extract, the Echinacea alkylamides, and this Dan John ‘Mass Made Simple’, and the program for you Michael, those would be the best resources for ya’ in addition to like I mentioned,  grabbing yourselves some grapes and cinnamon, and all that other jazz.  So go to for that, and if you are listening in, you don’t wanna increase your appetite and get all swole like Michael wants to do, you also find everything else I talked about, the dietary cure for acne, Wim Hof stuff, pretty much everything, that new fish oil study, the consumer electronic show, all of that, if you go to, but wait… we are not done yet.  Are we, Rachel?

Rachel:              It’s favorite part of the show.

Ben:                   Favorite part of the show.  This is the time of the show when we leave a review.  And – oh! By the way, I should mention.  Speaking of reviews,  if any of you listening in, you must go to because at, you can witness me doing a fire side unboxing video where I’m revealing boxes of goodies that were sent to my house, and it’s quite an entertaining video, I’m must admit.  So go to if you wanna see me unboxing crappin’ and being a weird in front of my fire, almost catching my cardigan on fire.  Anyways though, if you hear your review read on the show, if you go to iTunes, you leave us a few stars, you leave us a nice review, and you hear your review read, just email [email protected], let us know your t-shirt size, and we’ll send you a sweet gear pack.


                           Water bottle, beanie/tuque…

Rachel:              Tuque…

Ben:                   Ah tuque, and what else?  A shirt, a tech t-shirt.  Makes your muscles look good.  So, we’ve got a review.  A 5 star review called Wicked Good Stuff left by Levycb.  Rachel, you wanna take this one away?

Rachel:              Yes!  “After listening to the podcast for only 1 month, I am hooked”.

Ben:                   Wow!  That didn’t take long.

Rachel:              “Ben’s enthusiasm for a healthy mind and body is beyond inspiring.  Already I have implemented much of his advice and I feel better than I have in years.  My wife thinks I’m insane since I started taking ice cold showers everyday.” Good on ya’ mate!  “Love the show!  Truly transformational!”

Ben:                   My wife doesn’t take cold showers if that makes you feel any  better Levy.  She doesn’t take cold showers, she didn’t do the sauna, she doesn’t take any supplements, she rarely exercises, so that’s okay though.  We’re like the Yin and Yang, so as long as (quick tip for you) don’t try to boogie with your wife if you know what I mean after you’ve taken an ice cold shower.  I have discovered that after cold thermogenesis, no matter how horny you are, you cannot get it up.  Just a tip.

Rachel:              Really?

Ben:                   What’s related to the science – it’s because of science.  Everything in the science shrinkage episode, it just can’t happen.  There’s too much vasoconstriction going on.

Rachel:              Oh, poor Jessa.

Ben:                   Yeah, just sayin’.

Rachel:              She’ll have to wait ‘till tomorrow.

Ben:                   She’ll have to wait until tomorrow.  Anyways though, Levycb, thank you for the great review.  We love it.  We’ll send you a gear pack if you email [email protected].  That being said, I have drink my entire mug of ‘coffee makes me poop’ coffee during this episode which means that it is time for me to poop.  And so, that is a great way to sign off for today’s episode.  So again if you’re listening in, hit, Rachel, you can go poop.

Rachel:              Ahh, I already poop but well, have another go.

Ben:                   Okay, yeah.  Have another go!  And folks, thanks for listening in.  Have a healthy week.  Stay tuned this weekend for a fantastic episode.  We always have great weekend interviews, and this weekend – I’m gonna keep them mystery, but you gotta lot of listening in.  Trust me.  So, check it out, make sure you subscribe in iTunes.  Rachel, I’ll catch you later!

Rachel:              Bye, Ben!

Ben:                   Bu-bye!

                           You’ve been listening to the Ben Greenfield fitness podcast.  Go to for even more cutting edge fitness and performance advice.

END                  [1:2342.8]

Freediving, Breathholding, Iceman Wim Hof, Tom Cruise’s Mission Impossible Training, How To Use Static Apnea Tables & More!

itunes free dive

A few weeks ago, I published an extremely popular article entitled “How Breath-Holding, Blood-Doping, Shark-Chasing, Free-Diving & Ketosis Can Activate Your Body’s Most Primal Reflex.” In that article, I mentioned a guy named Ted Harty, from Immersion Freediving in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida.

At over six feet tall and 230 solid pounds, Ted is a big, bold, loud, extroverted character. He looks like a boxer, and not like a guy who you’d expect to be diving at incredibly efficient oxygen capacity to depths deeper than most human beings have ever ventured.

But it was Ted who was about to open my eyes to a whole new world of freediving, and who I spent nearly every waking hour of ninety-six hours of my life learning every possible closely-guarded breath-holding and deep-diving tactic.

Ted began his underwater career in 2005, as a scuba instructor in the Florida Keys.  Over the years, Ted became a Scuba Schools International Instructor and a Professional Association of Diving Instructors Staff Instructor.

But whenever Ted was on the boat and did not have students to take care of, he’d jump in with mask, fins and snorkel and play around on the reef, sans scuba equipment. As Ted highlights in this fascinating, quick video about his life:

“Sometimes I’d have just five minutes to swim around without all of my scuba gear. I loved it. I could swim down to the sand at Sombrero Reef and hang out for a bit at 20 feet. I wanted more. I wanted to learn how to stay down longer and how to dive deeper.”

So, in January of 2008, Ted took his first Performance Freediving International (PFI) course.

“I couldn’t believe how little I knew about freediving at the time. As a scuba instructor I knew more about diving physiology than the average Joe, but quickly realized I knew nothing about freediving. At the start of the course I had a 2:15 breath-hold, but after just four days of training I did a five-minute hold! I couldn’t believe it was possible.”

So next, Ted signed up for instructor-level courses at Performance Freediving. He was soon offered a job teaching with Performance Freediving, when he moved to Fort Lauderdale.

Then, in 2009 Ted went to PFI’s annual competition. At the time, he was about a 80- to 90-foot freediver and weighed 230 pounds. He wasn’t in good shape at all, but after three weeks of training under the tutelage of world-reknowned freedivers Kirk Krack and Mandy-Rae Cruickshank, he did a 54 meter (177 -feet) freedive.

“I was blown away by what I was capable of.”

Ted spent a year working with Kirk and Mandy, while traveling around the country teaching the Intermediate Freediver program. Then, in 2010, a much more fit Ted went back to PFI’s annual competition. That year his new personal best was 213 feet, and currently he’s managed to up that to an impressive 279 feet.

In June 2012, Ted was selected as the Team Captain for the US Freediving Team at the Freediving World Championships, and in 2013 he attained PFI Advanced Instructor and PFI Instructor Trainer, becoming the first and only PFI independent instructor to receive this rating.

Oh yeah, and Ted also holds the record for hypoxic underwater swimming in the pool, having done 7 full lengths (175 meters) without a single breath. 

But most impressive?

Ted has anemia.

This means his blood can’t deliver oxgyen as efficiently to his muscles and brain as most of the world’s population. Thes means he has a blood hematocrit level of 34, easily 1/3 less than most athletes. This is a condition that would leave most folks huffing and puffing for air after climbing a flight of stairs.

Obviously, anemia hasn’t stopped Ted. And in today’s podcast, he shares his secrets with us, including:

-How Ted went from an overweight scuba diver to becoming a fit free diving instructor…

-Why being cold and cold water can actually inhibit your ability to hold your breath…

Ted’s thoughts about Tom Cruise’s freediving scene in the recent Mission Impossible, and how Tom Cruise got up to a six minute static apnea hold…

-How to use static apnea tables to enhance your ability to tolerate high levels of CO2 and low levels of O2…

-Why training your mammalian dive reflex so useful, even if you have zero desire to do long breathholds or freediving competition…

-How shallow water blackouts occur and how you can avoid them…

-The cool things that happen to your body when you hold our breath during exercise like jogging… 

-The specific forms of dry land training that freedivers do to get their bodies necessary to excel underwater and to enhance oxygen carrying capacity and oxygen delivery…

-Ted’s controversial thoughts on resisted breath training tools like the Powerlung and the Elevation Training Masks…

-Why you should avoid hyperventilation and “blowing off CO2” prior to a breath hold…

-The difference between Ted’s breathing techniques and Wim Hof’s breathing techniques…

-And much more!

Resources from this episode:

-book – Deep: Freediving, Renegade Science, and What the Ocean Tells Us about Ourselves

-podcast – my previous podcast with Wim Hof

Static apnea tables

The static apnea table app that I personally use


Immersion Freediving in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida

Do you have questions, comments or feedback for Ted or I about freediving, breathholding, the mammalian dive reflex or more? Leave your thoughts below!

343: How To Burn More Fat At Work, Fixing Adrenal Fatigue, How Your Genes Affect Your Diet & More!

343- How To Burn More Fat At Work, Fixing Adrenal Fatigue, How Your Genes Affect Your Diet & More! (1)

Click here for the full written transcript of this podcast episode.

January 14, 2016 Podcast: How To Burn More Fat At Work, Fixing Adrenal Fatigue, How Your Genes Affect Your Diet & More!

Have a podcast question for Ben? Click the tab on the right (or go to SpeakPipe), use the Contact button on the app, call 1-877-209-9439, or use the “Ask Ben” form at the bottom of this page.


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Special Announcements:

This podcast is brought to you by:

NASM – The National Academy of Sports Medicine is looking for people who want an exciting career in the fitness industry, where you wake up every day doing something you love. Plus N-A-S-M guarantees you’ll land a job as a personal trainer within 60 days of earning your CPT certification or your money back – guaranteed. Go to for a FREE 14 day free trial of their fast and fun online program!

Kimera Koffee – Get 10% discount with code “BEN”.

No time for breakfast? Try this loaded smoothie for a quick on the go breakfast that will keep you running all morning long.

  • 1 1/2 cups of brewed Kimera Koffee
  • 3/4 cup of organic milk or substitute
  • 1 scoop of raw organic protein powder
  • 1 tablespoon of organic almond butter
  • 1 teaspoon of organic coconut oil
  • 1 small piece of raw organic cocoa butter
  • 1 dash of cinnamon

Blend all ingredients in a blender until smooth; pour over ice or take in a thermos for a filling morning pick me up.

Harrys – Get $5 at with discount code “ben”. Why pay $32 for an 8-pack of blades when you can get them for ½ the price at The Harry’s starter set is an amazing deal. For just $15 dollars you get a razor, moisturizing shave cream, and 3 razor blades. (recently taught my kids how to shave!)

GreenfieldFitnessSystems “surprise gift box” – 50% discount on instant access to a box shipped to your front doorstep and full of the latest cutting-edge biohacking gear, nutrients, smart drugs and more, handpicked and curated by Ben.

Did you miss the weekend podcast episode with Devin Burke? It was a must-listen – titled “How To Quit Obsessing About Health, Eating & Exercise: Dodging The Silver Bullet Of Orthorexia And Body Dysmorphic Disorder.” Click here to listen now or download for later! We also released a premium episode “The Training & Nutrition Secrets Of Tenacious, Tough, Aggressive Professional Cyclist Svein Tuft“.

New course from Ben! The 7 Day Full Body Reboot Program To Get Strong And Fit. Optimal fitness and health are closer than you think. In just one week, you can set yourself up for a strong, long, lean and healthy body.

March 12, 2016: Ben is speaking at Wholelife360 in New York City. It’s a private breakfast, followed by a full day of talks and Q&A’s with me (and the Nutrition Diva)! You get priority seating, a VIP tote bag featuring full of books, goodies and gifts (a $200 value), along with complimentary one-year membership to Thrive Marketplace (a $59.95 value), complimentary full breakfast, lunch and refreshments and a complimentary parking pass. Sound pretty good? Go here to get in now or to get more details:

May 27-29, 2016: Ben is speaking at PaleoFX 2016 in Austin, Texas. This is the The Who’s Who gathering of the Paleo movement, with world-class speakers including New York Times bestselling authors, leading physicians, scientists, health entrepreneurs, professional athletes, fitness professionals, activists, bloggers, biohackers, and more. And you DON’T need to be Paleo to be able to get a ton of benefit and fun out of this one! Also, one day prior, on May 26 is Health Entrepreneurs f(x) –  a full day of deep discussion on marketing, business development, and entrepreneurship for health and wellness people, featuring Mark Sisson, Robb Wolf, Melissa Hartwig, Sarah Ballantyne, Mike Bledsoe, Abel James, and a bunch of other speakers in small group coaching sessions.

Nov 17-18, 2016: Ben is speaking at the Biohacker’s Summit in Helsinki, Finland. Discover the latest in wearables, internet of things, digital health, and mobile apps to increase performance, be healthier, stay fit, and get more done. Learn about taking food, preparation, cooking, and eating to the next level with the latest science and kitchen chemistry. Even delve into implanted chips, gene therapy, bionic arms, biometric shirts, robotic assistants, and virtual reality. Two days with an amazing crowd and a closing party with upgraded DJs to talk about. Click here to get in now at a 40% discount.

Grab this Official Ben Greenfield Fitness Gear package that comes with a tech shirt, a beanie and a water bottle.

And of course, this week’s top iTunes review – gets some BG Fitness swag straight from Ben – click here to leave your review for a chance to win some!



Listener Q&A:

As compiled, deciphered, edited and sometimes read by Rachel Browne, the NEW Podcast Sidekick.

How To Burn More Fat At Work

Katie says: She has a question on CT, HRV and standing desks. She has a standing desk on the days her HRV says she needs to recover she uses ice packs at her desk. On days where she has good HRV and a strong nervous system, she wears 30 pound weighted vest for an hour. Can she do both at the same time? Can she use ice packs for CT, and wear the weight vest while at her standing desk?

How To Fix Adrenal Fatigue

James says: He was recently diagnosed with Adrenal Fatigue and he’s wondering if you can do a comprehensive guide for exactly what your protocol would be for how to mitigate and eliminate adrenal fatigue?

How To Naturally Repel Insects

Robyn says: She’s from Canada but currently training in Thailand. Her question is why are some people more susceptible to mosquito bites than others,  and why do some have worse reaction? Also,  is deet dangerous? And is there anything that can be done or any natural remedies that can reduce mosquito bites?

In my response, I recommend:
These natural insect repellants
These essential oils

What To Do About Exercise Induced Headaches

Sharon says: Her daughter, who’s 17, has exercise induced headaches, and has had them since 8 or 9 years old. She gets them after working up a sweat, running mile, playing soccer etc.  They were hoping she’d just grow out of them but she’s had them for 10 years, and  no doctor has a good answer for them. What are your thoughts?


Prior to asking your question, do a search in upper right hand corner of this website for the keywords associated with your question. Many of the questions we receive have already been answered here at Ben Greenfield Fitness!


Ask Your Question

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Episode #343 – Full Transcript

Podcast #343 from


Introduction: (song “My Bonnie Lies Over the Ocean” playing)

In this episode of the Ben Greenfield Fitness show: How To Burn More Fat At Work, How To Fix Adrenal Fatigue, How To Naturally Repel Insects, What To Do About Exercise-Induced Headaches, and much more!

                           He’s an expert in human performance and nutrition, voted America’s top personal trainer and one of the globe’s most influential people in health and fitness.  His show provides you with everything you need to optimize physical and mental performance.  He is Ben Greenfield.  “Power, speed, mobility, balance – whatever it is for you that for natural movement, get out there! When you’re working all the studies done… studies that have shown the greatest effort to see…”  All the information you need in one place right here, right now, on the Ben Greenfield Fitness podcast.

Rachel:              Ben.

Ben:                   Yo.

Rachel:              I think I heard the voice of an angel.

Ben:                   You know, I really can’t play that song without thinking about ‘Bad Grandpa’, the movie with Johnny Knoxville…

Rachel:              (laughs)

Ben:                   … with little kids sing that.

Rachel:              Oh my gosh, you were so good!

Ben:                   Have you seen that movie?

Rachel:              Um, yes, I have.

Ben:                   I hope I could sing it and breaks into a stripper routine.

Rachel:              (laughs)

Ben:                   For those of you who actually made it through the intro, which it could have been quite painful for you, you may recall that a few weeks ago, Rachel and I announced that we both got ukuleles or as they say, u-kelele for our Christmas.  And I finally took mine out last night, and began strumming and that was the song, the beginner song in my little Hal Leonard ‘How to play the Baritone Ukulele’ book. So…

Rachel:              That sounds incredible, and now I’m worried about being in the same band as you.

Ben:                   Hmm, but that’s alright.  At some point for our listeners, we’ll get a little duet going on and obviously, it has nothing to do with fitness but it has a whole lot to do with health as we’ve talked about.  You know music is good for like autonomic nervous system and for your dopamine, intelligence, all sorts of stuffs, so folks, go out and get yourself a ukulele.  Oh by the way, Rachel, speaking of autonomic nervous system, do you remember 2 weeks ago in the podcast, when we talked about how something called jaw realignment can help with your parasympathetic nervous system activation? Like your vagus nerve town and all these cool stuff when it comes to heart rate variability?

Rachel:              I do remember, yup!

Ben:                   I just got a jaw realignment.

Rachel:              Oh, you did?

Ben:                   Like an hour ago, yeah.

Rachel:              And how did it go?  How are you feeling?

Ben:                   I feel great. My jaw is moving okay, it popped a few times.  If my voice fades into the distance during this podcast, it means that I’ve got like a locked jaw or something going on.

Rachel:              Is it kind of confronting the way that they do it?

Ben:                   It’s a little bit – there’s like this trust relationship you have to have with the practitioner, ‘cause they’re literally like pulling on your neck and your jaw and it hurts.  And you’ve got like, like they’ll put pressure on your jaw and you slowly open it like a deep tissue release for the jaw, so it’s painful but stuff popped in there hasn’t popped in a lot, like I haven’t done twice, so this morning and then also last week.  And for those of you who measure your heart rate variability, who measure like the strength of your nervous system, you’ll be very interested to know that after I got my jaw realignment – I did it on an evening.  The next morning, I measured my heart rate variability, and the number – we’re just gonna jump straight into the propeller hot stuff.

Rachel:              (laughs)

Ben:                   But the low frequency, which is a measurement – I’m sorry, the high frequency, which is a measurement of your parasympathetic nervous system strength, that measurement was at 13,500 for power which is higher than it is ever been like sex, cold water, you know, wax in the sunshine – all that stuff, you know, we’ll talk about it more in this podcast about how to increase the strength through your nervous system but nothing compared to the jaw realignment – isn’t that interesting?

Rachel:              That’s fascinating.

Ben:                   So for those of you out there who wanna go out and get your jaws popped, just go do it. 


News Flashes:

Ben:                   Rachel, I know it’s super duper early over there for ya.

Rachel:              Yeah.  It’s 6:07a.m.  Super flattered about it.

Ben:                   So…

Rachel:              (laughs)

Ben:                   When you roll out of bed in Australia and I would imagine slightly earlier than 6:07 a.m. to actually be…

Rachel:              5:50, 5:58 a.m.?

Ben:                   5:58, there you go.  Do you have like a tea or coffee, or some kind of like a heavily caffeinated pill that you swallow or do you just like wander your way over to the microphone and flip on the computer?

Rachel:              This morning I had a cold shower and there’s no caffeine, I’m staying with my brother and there’s no caffeine in his house so I had a tea!

Ben:                   There’s no caffeine in your brother’s house.

Rachel:              There’s no coffee… in his house.

Ben:                   Is that intentional?  Is that like a health choice for him… or?

Rachel:              It is.  His wife is pregnant right now…

Ben:                   Uh-huh.

Rachel:              … and so they’re… yeah, they rid off coffee.

Ben:                   So he’s like supporting her.

Rachel:              He is.  Isn’t that lovely?

Ben:                   He’s a better man than I because my attitude was more coffee for me…

Rachel:              (laughs)

Ben:                   She’s not drinking any so I gave more.  Anyways, so yeah, so when my wife was pregnant it wound up turning into a caffeine addiction for me because I had a giant pot of coffee to drink every morning all by myself.  Anyways though, it’s very interesting because one of our news flashes this week or actually the first couple of news flashes that I wanted to talk about have to do with sleep and sleep deprivation.  So I think we can jump right in.

Rachel:              We’re gonna do it.  Yeah.

Ben:                   Alright.  This was at the study that came out in the American Journal of Physiology and Endocrinology, and it’s a mouthful: it’s called ‘Short-term sleep deprivation with nocturnal light exposure alters time-dependent glucagon-like peptide-1 and insulin secretion in male volunteers.’

Rachel:              That is a mouthful.

Ben:                   If you don’t read it slowly enough, it sounds like they were just doing something horrible to a group of male volunteers.

Rachel:              (laughs) On what?

Ben:                   To their secretion.

Rachel:              (chuckles)

Ben:                   But basically, what it comes down to is they took these folks and they sleep deprived them, and they looked at what happens to the bad stuff that can occur when you eat a big meal, right? Like this, in this case, an 850 calorie-meal which is a decent size meal that’s enough to fill the average person up I’d say.

Rachel:              Mmm-hmm.

Ben:                   And what they found was a very deleterious response in terms of like the blood glucose spike, the insulin release, what’s called the glucagon-like peptide release.  All of these things that would make a meal a little bit more metabolically damaging, all the things like over-eating, snacking, etc. more metabolically damaging, everything that would influence for example, your ability to regulate your appetite.  They found that in sleep deprived people – no surprises here, all of those hormones were disregulated.  But in this particular study, they looked at people who were sleep deprived under light conditions versus people who were sleep deprived under dark conditions, right? Like people who maybe weren’t sleeping enough but were lying in bed during the night, you know, unable to sleep.  Or who may be were giving it a good going to sleep a lot and then the people who were just like bathed in the light as you might get a fewer clubbing or working in the night shift or engage in some other form of sleep deprivation that involved exposure to light.

Rachel:              Yup.

Ben:                   What they found was that the people who were sleep deprived and who were sleep deprived because of light exposure, having much bigger deleterious effect of that meal.

Rachel:              Hmm.

Ben:                   And so it turns out that one of the worse things you can do if you’re sleep deprived is to like lay in bed, looking at your iPhone, having the light on, you know, having that Kindle on, etc.  And this is – it’s really interesting, it’s something that I actually – a while ago I interviewed a guy who wrote a book about like this ninety plus year old track star named Olga.  It was called “Why Does Olga Run?”, and he went into how she would wake up in the middle of the night, which is normal.  Honestly, it’s normal to wake up in the night – we talked about this a little bit last week.  She would do like deep tissue work, she actually kept a wine bottle her bed stand… an empty wine bottle, don’t get any miss there.

Rachel:              (chuckles)

Ben:                   She kept an empty wine and she would do deep tissue work, right? Like foam rolling stuff and then eventually, after breathing and a little bit of tissue work, she would slowly fall back to sleep, so.

Rachel:              Interesting.

Ben:                   Yeah.  The take away message is if you’re having trouble sleeping or if you’re sleep deprived or if you’re working a night shift, it behooves you to really limit light and especially to limit the blue…

Rachel:              Light, yeah.

Ben:                   … light wave spectrum – the blue light wave spectrum.

Rachel:              Yeah.

Ben:                   And this actually kinda segue ways into the other study that I wanted to bring up that was kinda related to this, and this was this whole idea behind wearing colored lenses ‘cause you’ve seen no doubt like these blue light blockers before?

Rachel:              Yes.  Yup.  Swannies?

Ben:                   Like these amber colored lenses.  Yeah, the ones that – yeah, Swannies has one, you know I wear one called Irlen, others one called Gunnar.  There’s a whole bunch of glasses that you can wear that block blue light, and also make you look like a creepy stalker.


Rachel:              (chuckles) They are kinda creepy.

Ben:                   They are creepy.  I haven’t yet found a brand that just doesn’t make you look like yeah, a creepy stalker or psychotic author or maybe just somebody who lives in the mom’s basement.

Rachel:              Mmm-hmm.

Ben:                   But they did a study in a Journal Sports Medicine in Physical Fitness in which they looked in the effect of this colored lenses on muscular performance.

Rachel:              Huh? And what did they find?

Ben:                   Well they looked into and I actually have a full article I wrote about this a couple of years ago, but this study is new, so this is new research on the matter.  They took a bunch of guys and they had them do 25 rep maxes weight training.  In this case they had them doing leg presses and  they compared blue, they compared red and then like a clear – you know, like a control group – those wearing clear, colored lens.  What they found was that the ‘which lens performed best?’  I believe it was the blue lens, the blue improved the performance of a muscular endurance based task which would make sense ‘cause blue light kinda like wakes you up and concentrates light.  Red light also improved the muscular endurance so both of them had an effect, but compared to the control group, it turns out that colored lenses can increase muscular performance.  And I’ve always wondered this you know, ‘cause I spent an ungodly amount of time like 5 hours getting fitted from my lenses doing like reading charts and speed reading and visual perception and equity and all these things to allow me to get like my own custom set of lenses created for my eyes.

Rachel:              (chuckles)

Ben:                   It was really interesting, it’s called an Irlen Lens, and I’ll link to this in the show notes by the way, for those of you listening in and want like this studies of the show notes or anything, they’re over at  But the final product is like this purple stocker-ish set of glasses that I’ve got in like a Ray Ban frame, and I only typically wear them at night but it turns out that based on the results of the study, maybe I should be wearing it during workouts too.

Rachel:              Yeah, ‘cause you can increase your muscular endurance and look like a creep.

Ben:                   Exactly.

Rachel:              Yey!

Ben:                   A creepy leg presser.

Rachel:              (laughs)

Ben:                   So a couple of other things I wanted to bring up, in terms of studies, there was a study that came out about carb timing– about a carb timing, and specifically a form of carbohydrate timing that would increase your performance.  In this case, it was with the group of triathletes.  They took 21 highly trained male triathletes and they started to mess around with their carbohydrate intake and specifically, what they did was they restricted their carbohydrates at the end of the day following like an intense training session.  So they were like carbohydrate depleting them, right? Almost the opposite of what we talked about on the show before, how you should kinda eat most of your carbohydrates at night after a really difficult training session but no, they didn’t do that.  They didn’t give them any carbohydrates, these poor male triathletes, after that hard training session, and then to put fuel on the fire or no fuel on the fire, really.  They have them get up in the morning and do like a fasted exercise session, again with no carbohydrates, they’re just like draining their carbohydrate storage.  Now in the morning, they were doing like a low intensity session, and in the evening they were doing the high intensity session.  And then what they did was they monitored the ability of these folks after they went through this whole phase.  They monitored their ability to be able to store glycogen.  They monitored some of these things that are responsible for improved endurance pathways, right? Like an increases in mitochondrial density and increases in – you know, the ability to be able to utilize fuel to create energy.  And what they found was that in this group of triathletes who went through like this carbohydrate depletion phase and especially even training in what’s called the glycogen depleted state, they found that they had a significantly improved response, and specifically what they found and they described it as game changing performance games in the article that I linked to…

Rachel:              Wow.

Ben:                   … in the notes.  But they found an increase in their time to exhaustion as specifically their race pace like their lactate threshold pace, so it’s really interesting that when you restrict carbohydrates, this happens.  Now in this study I don’t think they used a protocol that would be sustainable for most folks, right? Like do a hard training session at night, don’t eat any carbs, sleep all night, get up in the morning, train again without any carbs you know, and have a hard session night and easy session in the morning.  But I have another method in doing it, and I’ll talk about in a second, but there’s a way that this works and I’ve spoken about it quite a bit in my book “Beyond Training”.  But the idea here is that when you deliberately restrict your carbohydrate intake during certain phases of your training, it changes your preferred fuel utilization from carb to fat, and it also causes the transcription of a few different genes and enzymes as responsible for fat oxidation and for glycogen storage, and for the creation of new mitochondria to increase.


Specifically, there’s this master regulator of mitochondrial adaptation – it’s called PGC-1Alpha, and PGC-1Alpha which is a great name for a robot or a child in the 23rd century, PGC-1Alpha actually enhances endurance performance, and so it turns out that by having certain periods of time when you train in a state of low glycogen availability, you can really boost your endurance performance and this was a cool study to show that happens.

Rachel:              Fascinating.

Ben:                   Now like I mentioned, I’m not gonna quit eating carbohydrates after my hard training session because I think that a better scenario, more sustainable scenario, scenarios that’s less likely to produce like adrenal fatigue, and all these issues that’s just being like starved and glycogen depleted post-workout, I think a better scenario is what I personally do.  So you go all day restricting your carbohydrates, right? Like not eating a lot of carbs, at the very end of the day, preferably after an intense training session, then you eat some carbs, and then you go into intermittent fasting where after you’ve eating dinner and you’ve had like sweet potatoes or yams or rice or fruit or red wine or dark chocolate or all of the above…

Rachel:              All the good stuff.

Ben:                   Oh why not? Why not do all of it, right?

Rachel:              Yup.

Ben:                   Sweet potato mashed or some yams in there, dip some dark chocolate in your glass of red wine, polish it off with some sushi.  Basically, you fast after that, and I fast for 12 to 16 hours and I fast almost every day of the year for 12 t0 16 hours.  It’s just – it’s easy once you start to do it – to sleep after you eat dinner and to not snack a whole bunch after dinner and to wake up and to not eat breakfast right away.  It’s pretty easy once you start to do it.

Rachel:              Yup.

Ben:                   And at some point during that window, I do like an easy morning exercise session, exactly as they did in the study, really, like a low intensity 15 to 30 minute session.  And by doing that, I really am simulating kinda like what they’re doing in study, but I’m doing it without necessarily making my body else stress out ‘cause it’s not getting fuel after a hard evening workout.

Rachel:              So the difference is you’re just eating carbs in the evening.

Ben:                   Exactly.  You eat your carbs in the evening, that’s called like a carb-timing approach, it’s also known as carb back loading.  There’s a guy named John Kiefer who’s written a book about this, we’ve interviewed him on show called “Carb Nite”, but basically that’s the idea because my concern would be like long term if you take like a hard charging triathlete, just like you never gave them carbs like constantly had them training in glycogen depleted state.  That could be difficult versus you know, the approached I’ve just described really have that brief window of time where you give yourself a bunch of carbs, and then you’re like fasting your low carb the rest of the time.  It’s very simple and believe it or not, it doesn’t require you to be – to a – no with your diet, right? It’s just like “Hey, I’m done eating dinner.  I’m not gonna eat again until breakfast and most of my meals up until dinner the next night are not gonna have like a lot of carbs in them’.

Rachel:              Yeah.

Ben:                   That’s pretty easy to do.

Rachel:              It is, yeah.

Ben:                   So there you have it.

Rachel:              Exciting!

Ben:                   Yeah, really interesting.  It’s called the sleep low strategy – sleep low.  So the one other thing that I wanted to mention was a really good article that came out on our buddy Mark Sisson’s website, the Mark’s Daily Apple website.  Now this went into how different things that go on in your genes, right? Like you have all these little triggers in your genes.  It’s called the field of epigenetics where everybody’s born with the propensity to like you know, produce insulin in different ways and oxidize fats in different ways.  He went into some of the major genetic issues that would make you respond to a diet differently, and it’s really a great illustration on why some diets work for some people and some diets don’t work for others.  Like you know, why some people do great on a plant-based vegan or vegetarian diet, another people fail like crap and just like go nuts for bacon after 2 days on a diet like that.

Rachel:              Yeah.  And what are some of the things you look into?

Ben:                   So one was called the MTHFR mutation, also known affectionately by many people as the (curse word) mutation.

Rachel:              (laughs)

Ben:                   So the MTHFR mutation affects your ability to be able to methylate and especially when your folate intake is low; remember you get folate from like plants and vegetables and stuff like that.  You really are unable to produce this methylation pathway that affects a whole bunch of different energy producing pathways in your body.  And so if you have this MTHFR mutation which is very easy a test for, you got 23 amine you do a salivary test for example.

Rachel:              Yup.

Ben:                   If you have this MTHFR mutation, there could be a really good reason that you feel like crap eating it like a vegan or vegetarian diet whereas your neighbor who doesn’t have the MTHFR mutation and who is able to methylate even when you know, there are folic acid intake is low, they may actually do just fine unlike a vegan or vegetarian-based diet.


So, basically it turns out that let’s say your ancestors ate a very folate rich diet, high in plants, high in vegetables, it’s unlikely that you carry the mutation that would allow you to not make energy on a diet like that.

Rachel:              Yeah.

Ben:                   And I’m really giving – I know there’s a bunch of like genetic people listening who wanna leap through the microphone and rip my head off because I’m explaining this in kinda basic terms, but the idea here is you can test for this mutation, and if you have the MTHFR mutation, you may need to prioritize you know, eating.  You know, meats and things like that – whereas if you don’t have it, you may do just fine with a lot of dietary folate from like plants and stuff so that’s one interesting one.

Rachel:              Fascinating.

Ben:                   Another one was salivary amylase.  So I’ve talked before about how like can new marathoners for example, can do really well with like bananas and white rice, they have a lower insulin on genetic response to that, they digest those carbs more easily and a lot of other people have this gene that’s responsible for producing a lot of salivary amylase as well.  Salivary amylase is what starts to breakdown carbohydrate even as early as in your mouth, and you’ll find in some people like for example, there’s a group of populations called the Yakut, there’s this foraging society called the Mbuti pygmies, there’s another one called the Biaka which are foragers in the Congo, etc., etc.

Rachel:              Mmm-hmm.

Ben:                   They found that some of these folks have higher numbers of starch digesting enzymes than others.  One example of a group of foragers is the Hadza tribe and they have a high amount of salivary amylase – they’re able to do well on a high carb diet…

Rachel:              Yeah.

Ben:                   Whereas if from like a Northern European population is not able to, so it’s really interesting.

Rachel:              It’s a good place to start when thinking about what you should eat.  Not salivary amylase, but the diet.

Ben:                   Exactly.  It’ll influence your decision about whether or not you’re gonna slam that Coke.

Rachel:              Or, be a vegetarian.

Ben:                   Or be a vegetarian.  There’s another final that I wanna wanted to mention real quick and that’s lactase persistence, that there’s another gene for lactase persistence and some people when they finished breast-feeding, their ability to digest lactose disappears really quickly.  And then some people, the ability to digest lactose, it goes on for a long period of time, like you can do it into adulthood, and that’s based on the gene – it’s called the lactase persistence gene as the name we imply.  And what that means is that like if you’re Northern European, like Scandinavian or British or from France or Germany or something like that where your ancestors were, you’re probably lactose tolerant and there are a lot of people where the lactose, lactase persistent gene does not appear.  For example like, Eastern Asian or Native American like almost none of them have the lactase persistence gene.  So again, it’s really interesting, and it’s why when you walk in the Barnes and Noble and there’s this super popular diet book with all the testimonials in the front of it – so this is the end or the new miracle diet – well guess what? It may have worked for the author of that diet who is say like you know, from a whatever – a French Jewish (chuckles)…

Rachel:              (laughs)

Ben:                   … Western-Asian population or whatever, and they’ve got the lactase persistence gene and they’ve maybe knocked out the MTHFR gene, and they’ve got the salivary amylase gene, and great.  It helped them strip a bunch of fat off their bodies and go from morbidly obese to rip in no time flat.

Rachel:              Mmm-hmm.

Ben:                   And that same diet may make you go from rips to more than the obese.

Rachel:              Yup.

Ben:                   There you have it!  Really good article, and I’ll link to that along with the bunch of other goodies in the show notes if you go to  Again, my apologies to all of you nerdy folks who know that I really did not do a complete treats of genes and diet, but this was just – it was to whet your appetite.

Rachel:              And if you would like to receive these news flashes and more, every single day, make sure that you’re following Ben on,, and all of the good stuff happens at

Special Announcements:

Ben:                   Rachel, put down that cup of tea because I have a new recipe for you.

Rachel:              Ooh, good, tell me.

Ben:                   Yeah.  It’s called the ‘High Altitude Smoothie’.  So I found this one on the website of today’s sponsor, Kimera Koffee.  They say, “Try this loaded smoothie for a quick on the go breakfast that will keep you running all morning long”.


I check out the ingredients and actually is – it’s pretty good – it’s not like you know, 18 bananas in a cup of beet juice.  It’s actually quite friendly to your blood sugar levels and here’s how it goes: you start off with 1 ½ cups of brewed Kimera Koffee.  By the way, for those of you who are listening in, let me know if you try this in the comment section, 1 ½ cups of brewed Kimera Koffee, ¾ cups of some kind of a milk, right? It could be coconut milk, almond milk, rice milk, you know, organic raw milk – whatever, like some form of like healthy milk, right? So basically about twice as much coffee as milk; 1 scoop of raw, organic protein powder – super important that that protein be raw as long as it’s not chicken.

Rachel:              (chuckles)

Ben:                   1 tablespoon of organic almond butter…

Rachel:              This is something good.

Ben:                   I know.  1 teaspoon of organic coconut oil, 1 small piece of raw, organic cocoa butter and 1 dash of cinnamon, then you blend all of that in the blender until smoothie; pour over ice for a filling morning pick me up.

Rachel:              That sounds delicious.  I wouldn’t have thought of making a smoothie with coffee but it makes sort of sense!

Ben:                   But actually I’m going to try this, and I will put on my results but folks, if you wanna try and get your Kimera Koffee, that’s coffee with a smart drugs added to it at k-i-m-e-r-a k-o-f-f-e-e if I can spell coffee this morning.  Go to, my jaw realignment is affecting my ability to speak apparently.

Rachel:              It’s not gonna feel really good.

Ben:                   You use 10% discount code ‘BEN’, so there you have it, try that recipe the ‘High Altitude Smoothie’.  This podcast is also brought to you by something very intriguing, a new sponsor.  So, if you go to, what you gonna find there is the National Academy of Sports Medicine.  Now I know we have a lot of people listening in, who may want to look into a career in the fitness industry and this is one way to do it: I’ve talked before about how stupid it is that you can get a weekend certification to become a personal trainer, and rep count for people will potentially damaging their bodies with faddy exercises.  Faddy? Is that even a word? F-a-d? Faddy?

Rachel:              It is now.  Yes.

Ben:                   Let’s do it.  With fad exercises and it’s a big issue.  There are a lot of like fly by night personal training certifications out there that really produce some dangerous people walking around saying they have a personal training cert. but we had a podcast on this about 2 years back, and we have a big discussion like which personal training certifications are best? And I came up with a list of them, the NSCA which is the one I have, an ACE certification is good, ACSM especially if you’re working in a clinical setting is good, and if you’re working in more of like a sports medicine or an orthopedic setting, or you really wanna work with like athletes or folks who need to fix their bodies from like biomechanical standpoint, the NASM – the National Academy of Sports Medicine was another that I recommended.

Rachel:              Ha! Good.

Ben:                   And so, they’re a sponsor of today’s show.  So if you’re looking being a personal trainer, you can actually save money, they’ll give you a 14-day free trial of their program and to get in on that, you go to and the cool guarantee that they have is that you land a job as a personal trainer within 60 days of earning their certification or they give you your money back, guaranteed.

Rachel:              That is awesome.  That is a great money back guarantee.

Ben:                   And that is what we call bulletproof offer.  So there you go, NASM –, you don’t need a discount code or anything.  Finally, this podcast is brought to you by Harry’s at  Now get this: they have a new set they call the ‘Winter Winston’ set.

Rachel:              Hmm, sounds fancy.

Ben:                   And you can get the ergonomically designed Harry’s razor – that means you’re not gonna get carpal tunnel syndrome from shaving, but you can get this razor with your letters engraved on it – so it’s, and it’s really beautiful.  It’s like, “this is my freaking razor”, so if you’re loved one tends to take your razor into the shower to save their crotch the same razor you use to shave your face, I know it happens.

Rachel:              Oooh.

Ben:                   I know that happens.  I even gone to get my razor from the shower and when I’m shaving 5 minutes later, I wondered if like how much she used it on her pubes…

Rachel:              On how much pubic hair is in there?

Ben:                   Yeah, yeah.  But it…

Rachel:              Get your own razor, moral of the story, get those letters engraved in there.

Ben:                   Let’s face it.  It goes both ways when I was doing a lot of cycling and triathlon, there were times when I would shave my legs, I would use her razor, so I’m sure that she’s just paying me back.  But you can now make it personal, you can engrave your Harry’s razor and even if you don’t want an engraved razor, they’ve got a lot of really cool razors, but I do like this Winter Winston set.  It’s a limited edition, copper handle and coppers are anti-bacterial by the way, so there is that too that you can get engraved so you can check them out at


When you go to, you can use discount code ‘BEN’ at, so check them out.  Now few other special announcements before we delve into today’s glees on the Q & A, first of all, we still have a few surprise gift boxes available.  This is where I handpicked and curate biohacking gear, nutrient, smart drugs, books, etc. – I put them in a box and I ship them to you.  I pick $300 plus worth of gear, we knock 50% off that so we send it to you for $150 anywhere and that’s it just arrives, it’s like Christmas when it comes.

Rachel:              It is like Christmas, definitely.

Ben:                   So I’m gonna put a link in the show notes for you to get that Greenfield Fitness Systems gift box, or you can go to and pick one up, I believe that the time of this recording, we have 4 available if you want a surprise gift box.  Now, a few other things: first of all, we had a podcast released over the weekend with this guy who is one of the oldest cyclists in the Tour de France, he’s known for being tenacious, tough, aggressive for having these very interesting methods like barefoot running to following a ketogenic diet, and as we occasionally do with some of our more like enchanting and mysterious episodes, we release this on the Ben Greenfield Fitness premium channel.

Rachel:              Ahh!

Ben:                   So if you’re a podcast junkie and you’re running out of content to listen to, go to, and you can get access to that like 300 other hidden episodes that don’t get released on iTunes, so.

Rachel:              And how many – so how many episodes do we do before premium happens? Is it 10?

Ben:                   We release… well we release a premium episode with a special guest about once a month…

Rachel:              Okay.

Ben:                   … and then, any episode that’s older than 10 episodes, that’s older than the most recent 10 episodes of the Ben Greenfield Fitness podcast, the one you’re listening to right now, those also you get full access to.  So literally, you can fill your podcast bucket to the hilt if you so choose, you could probably walk across the entire country just listening to Rachel and I chat.

Rachel:              Is it $10 a month? Or $10 a year?

Ben:                   $9… $9.99 per year, so there you go.

Rachel:              Wow!

Ben:                   Yeah.  Wow.  And thank you for making your ‘wow’ sounds so much better than mine.

Rachel:              (chuckles)

Ben:                   So few other things for those of you who live in New York City, I am going to be speaking at an event out in New York City, and this is a private breakfast with me and my fellow podcaster the Nutrition Diva, you may recognize as one of the top diet podcast on iTunes.  You get to come hang out with us, and it’s a private breakfast followed by a full day of talks and Q & A’s with me and the nutrition Diva.  You get VIP tote bag for books and goodies and gifts, complimentary breakfast, lunch, refreshments, parking pass, everything is all done for you.  So you can check that out, I think it’s only open like 200 folks but you get it on that at – that’s for those of you who are gonna be in New York city on March 12th – whole day, March 12th.  Jam-packed with you listening to the Nutrition Diva, and having to put up with me and get to watch me eat breakfast which is a very, very messy process as my wife will tell you when I finish my morning green smoothie. My face is usually caked with like spirulina literally; I get it on my forehead.

Rachel:              Hmm.

Ben:                   I don’t know how I did that.

Rachel:              Good role modeling for the kids.

Ben:                   I do it.  It goes all over the place.  I think it’s ‘cause my mug is so big, my forehead kinda dips into the mug when I sit down to…

Rachel:              It just tastes so good, just wanna rub your face on it.

Ben:                   So good.  I just wanna lick my own forehead.

Rachel:              (laughs)

Ben:                   So in addition to that, for those of you around Austin, Texas.  May 27th to the 29th, we’ve talked in the past couple episodes, how one of the best conferences of the year, PaleoFX is on that weekend.  You go to to get in, to get your early bird ticket for that.  But they’ve just announced that for those of you out there who are like health entrepreneurs, personal trainers, doctors, chiropractic docs, nutritionists or anybody who’s interested in getting involved in like the health world as an entrepreneur.  They’ve added an extra day, the day before it starts and guys like Mark Sisson, Rob Wolfe, Sarah Ballantyne, Melissa Hartwig, Mike Bledsoe, Abel James – I’m just gonna start to make up names that sounds impressive now.

Rachel:              (chuckles)

Ben:                   Bob Steel – Steely, John – John Ferondas, now I quit throwing names out there.  Anyways, they’re all gonna be there and this is like a special health entrepreneurship you can tack on.  So anyways, I’m gonna put all the information for this over on the show notes.  If you wanna get it on that or on any of these other events that I’ve talked about.  And you just go to to check that out, check Kimera Koffee out.


I know I just covered a ton of stuff, but we’re gonna put it all right there for you along with a bunch of other goodies at, so check it out.

Listener Q & A:

Katie:                Hey Ben, my name is Katie Joe.  I’m calling from Austin, Texas, I love you and Rachel and all the good things that you’re doing.  I have a question about standing desk, and cold thermogenesis, and heart rate variability altogether.  So, I have a standing desk and based on my heart rate variability, it shows that I need to recover and I will use some ice packs on my standing desk, but on the days that my heart rate variability shows that I’m strong, my nervous system’s doing fine, I will wear 30 lbs. weighted vest while I’m at my standing desk, and have over that for at least an hour sometimes 2, depending on how long I can tolerate it.  My question is, is if I could do both at the same time?  If it work, ice packs can do the cold thermogenesis and wear the 30 lb. weighted vest at the same time?  I believe that would cost too much inputting information to my nervous system at the same time, or if it would be like a 3 for 1 what do you say, double punch and get two benefits at the same time?  I’d appreciate and thanks a lot, bye.

Ben:                   So Rachel, in addition to perhaps like wearing some giant springy Tiger boots, perhaps like an overcoat that she could put rolled up quarters in the pockets of.

Rachel:              (laughs)

Ben:                   Can’t think of anything else Katie could do to geek out her work station even more.

Rachel:              She can throw on a training mask, but I think she’s doing pretty well.

Ben:                   It’s true, it’s true.  She can put on elevation training mask, it’s a good idea.       So Katie, this is actually really good question you know, when you wake up in the morning and you’re testing your heart rate variability, and it says you’re beat up and should you recover like can you still do this whole concept of like you know, greasing and groove and having like a standing work station and staying active all day long.  And the short answer is: yes, most of the like the light activity that you do during the day, it mostly activate your parasympathetic nervous system.  But we could also – we could look at this right? I’ve got a few ideas Katie for you to burn more fat at work without like stressing you body out with too much sympathetic nervous system activity.  So I won’t recommend 100 burpees for the hour… some other masochistic pas de deux technique.  But I also want to address your question about like you know, cold for example, I’ve gotten this question from a lot of people like if my nervous system is beat up, can I do cold showers? Can I wear cold vest? Can I do these kind of stuff? So it turns out that they’ve actually looked into this.  So there was one study that was done in Aviation Journal of Environmental Medicine and they looked at your autonomic nervous system function during the whole body cold exposure.  So we’re talking about the kind of cold exposure you get from being underwater or like from cryotherapy, or something like that.  So even more hardcore than say like wearing some kind of like a cooling vest or something like that while you’re working.

Rachel:              Mmm-hmm.

Ben:                   And what they found was pretty interesting: they found that there was actually a drop in what are called catecholamines, and a drop in cytokines which should be responsible for like inflammation and adrenal stress, and things like that.  And they found a significant increase in what’s called your high frequency power or the strength of your parasympathetic nervous system activity, and so basically what happened was that the nervous system was enhanced after a cold acclamation.  Now I should mention that in the first few minutes of cold exposure in this study, they did find increased sympathetic nervous system activation and so what that means is whereas like cold water or cold shower like putting on a cold vest might feel like it stresses you out for the first couple of minutes, and you may if you like if you’re measuring your heart rate variability, you might notice that your sympathetic nervous system goes up.  It turns out that after a little while, you’ve taken a few deep breaths, your body starts to get used to it, you actually see the complete opposite response and shift towards increased parasympathetic nervous system activity, so.

Rachel:              It’s fascinating.  I actually remember doing a cold plunge in a Russian spa for the first time, and it was a freezing cold pool and you know, you jump in and at first it’s like that (gasping sound) and you can’t breathe, but then when you breathe through it and all of the sudden it’s like you get out and you’ve had a massive massage and you feel like a million dollars, so makes sense.

Ben:                   (mimics Russian accent) Those Russians, they know what this up, you need to be in a cold water like a polar bear.

Rachel:              (laughs)

Ben:                   Yeah, I’m a fan.  I’m a fan.  I like the whole Russian approach to thermal stress, but they’ve also tested heat versus cold.  There’s another study that they did called radio pressure pulse, and heart rate variability, and heat and cold stressed humans.


   And what they found in this study was similar to what they found in the other study.  The exposure to cold primarily activates the parasympathetic nervous system but interestingly, they found that heat stress and thermal stress – perhaps not what you would experience in like you know, a nice, relaxing sauna session.  But you know when your heart rate’s really going up, so you’re  exercising in the sauna hard you know, like doing – like dragging an exercise bike into a sauna like someone might do while preparing for Ironman Hawaii or something like that.  They found that there’s actually a pretty significant increase in sympathetic nervous system in response to heat stress, and I should emphasize not heat but heat stress like some pretty significant amounts of heat.  I would say you know, there’s a fine line between for example, like the sauna session that I recently described in my blog or I’m doing like Bikram style yoga and you know like sun salutations and stuff like that.  I’m not doing burpees in my sauna…

Rachel:              Mmm-hmm, yeah.

Ben:                   But it turns out that enough heat stress can cause a pretty significant sympathetic nervous system activation.

Rachel:              Could enough cold stress get the same thing?

Ben:                   Well, if you get to the point where you get into what’s called intense cold thermogenesis where you’re shivering quite heavily, it’s likely.  And most of us know when cold is starting to stress us out versus when we’re just like passively cold.  So to try next time you kinda get to trust your body too.  But yes, you can do something like for example, the vest that I personally use in a summer, not in the winter ‘cause my house is nice and cool in the winter.  I use this vest called the Fat Burner Vest.  You can check it out at, they sell both the vest as well as the waist pack, and you can put this on to burn more fat while you’re at work and then shift your body from white adipose tissue to convert that into brown adipose tissues.  That’s one option and yes, you could do that even if your heart rate variability is low.  The same could be said for a weighted vest as long as it is not excessively heavy, the reason I say that is because I’ve measured my heart rate variability and my nervous system response while weight training.  Most every exercise you do in the weight room especially if heavy, suppresses your heart rate variability and puts a great deal of stress on your body.  That’s a good thing, that’s where you get like a growth hormone and a testosterone like a hormetic response to hard and heavy weight lifting.  And by the way, the exercise that most decreases your heart rate variability is the back squat – there’s something about having a barbell on your back that just stresses your body out.  It’s probably why the squat is so effective to those as something to build strength and resilience, but you can’t certainly overdo it.  I’d be curious to see the nervous systems of these people who follow like this squat every day protocol which some people do.

Rachel:              Mmm-hmm.

Ben:                   But as far as wearing your weighted vest, yes.  I would say if the weight is distributed evenly and is not something where you’re like buckling under the load of the vest you know, like a half squat as you’re working because of things so freaking heavy and it feels like getting pressed into the ground while you’re on a conference call.  But if it’s something a little bit more passive you know, like a 20 or a 30lbs. vest or you know, even like a 10lbs. vest is gonna increase the amount of calories that you burn.  Yes, there’s a brand that I like that does a good job evenly distributing the weight and doesn’t put a lot of stress in your body.  I like the brand called the HyperWear for that – you could Google them or I’ll put a link in the show notes but HyperWear makes a good way to vest that kinda evenly distributes weight on your body so that’s one to look into.  I have some other ideas though, too.  And they’re not as stupid as Rachel’s training mask idea, just saying.

Rachel:              Whatever!

Ben:                   You can’t podcast or make phone calls when you’re wearing your training mask but…

Rachel:              Well you can just take it off.

Ben:                   For those of you who are listening it, have a photo of yourself using a training mask at work, please do send it in, we’ll post them in the show notes.

Rachel:              Please do.

Ben:                   Anyways though…

Rachel:              We’ll post it on Facebook ‘cause we’d be so proud of you.

Ben:                   Yeah and so right now, you know, I am standing while we’re recording but I’m not walking on my treadmill.  I do have a manual treadmill that I walk on, it’s quite quiet but it also forces you to use proper biomechanics when you both walk and run.  Now the treadmill that I use for this is called a TrueForm treadmill – a TrueForm treadmill that’s T-r-u-e-F-o-r-m.  And I’ve got a video that I’ve shot that shows my whole work station set-up but I use this TrueForm treadmill, and I put it in front of one of these hand cranking desk that goes up and down as you need it to.  And then beside the treadmill, I have this mat called the kyBounder and the kyBounder is a mat that’s like springy foam that kinda makes you make micro adjustments in your tiny feet and hip, and core muscles as you’re standing, and I’ll alternate between the treadmill and that, and I’ll use a seat sometimes, lunging, kneeling, etc., but I’ll put a video of my own work station set-up. But I use primarily you know, I would say, 70% of my work day is spent either on the treadmill or on this mat.


So, that’s of course one pretty obvious way to burn more calories.

Rachel:              Right.  Yup, definitely.

Ben:                   A few other things though, there are these new devices that are like balance devices, I know one called the FluidStance.  You may be familiar with this idea of like wobbly boards and balance boards, and those of who who’ve been on them like – say like a physical therapist or something like that on the gym, they can be really hard to balance on.  I mean, they a great deal of cognitive focus to be able to balance on and most people wouldn’t use one at work for that reason, it’s just like almost too hard.  But some of these and again, the one I use is the FluidStance, I’ll link to a few other good ones on Amazon, but it’s like kinda more passive balance, right? You’re not working too hard to stay balanced on the thing, but you’re having to make like these little micro shifts so I’ve got one of those shoved up underneath the couch in the living room, and when I’m working from the kitchen table, I will use that combined with this more portable stand up desk called the Varidesk which you put the laptop on it just like automatically goes up and down so I could kinda tuck a FluidStance in my little Varidesk under my arm and wander anywhere in the house and work while balancing and put my laptop upon that platform.  So that’s another idea for you.

Rachel:              Was it an awesome set-up for you?

Ben:                   I like it.

Rachel:              Mmm.

Ben:                   There’s also this concept and I’ve written a few articles about this.  It’s not bunk, it’s not some made for TV scam, but this idea of using electrostimulation to keep muscles activated while you’re in a sedentary position like watching a movie, talking on the phone, typing, etc.  You can have your quad muscles or your thigh muscles literally simulating a 100 plus lbs. squat or dead lift or whatever you want while you are sitting.  And every time that the muscle stimulation occurs, it can affect your voice a little bit you know…

Rachel:              (laughs)

Ben:                   … when you’re talking to somebody and they’re taking the crap, you always know ‘cause they start (grunts) like this?

Rachel:              Yeah.

Ben:                   I’ve done that.  I’ve made conference calls from the bathroom before and you like put the phone on mute just to (chuckles)…

Rachel:              That is terrible.

Ben:                   Sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do, sometimes somebody calls you while on…

Rachel:              Do you pee in the sink?

Ben:                   I… not regularly.

Rachel:              Have you peed on the sink before?

Ben:                   But I have done that when sharing.

Rachel:              (laughs)

Ben:                   So I’ve shared suites with people on hotels before, when they’re in the bathroom you just like, “Dude, I gotta pee.” Or they’re in the master bedroom of the suite which has the bathroom in it, you don’t wanna wake up them up, but your side of the suite has like the same, so you pee in the sink, yeah.

Rachel:              Ooh, god.

Ben:                   Been there, done that.  I cleaned the sink and pee as hell.  Anyways though, we digress…

Rachel:              (laughs)

Ben:                   So this electrostimulation, you might make you voice sound (grunts) a little funny if you’re making a phone call when the stim goes off.  But if you’re just working, typing, whatever, you can actually keep muscles and blood flow pretty dang active by using electrostim, so that’s another idea for you.  There’s a really good device – one device is more for recovery, one is more for muscle training – the device is more for muscle training is called the Compex, C-o-m-p-e-x – that would be one that I’d recommend for something like electrostim.  Those are the few other ways that you could burn more calories or burn more fat while at work, and then a couple other things I might throw in there for you, for those of you who wants to kinda start into some of the benefits of cold stress without necessarily putting on like a fat Burner Vest or jumping into a cold pool, read the article that I just published this Monday, and I’ll link to that in the show notes about how to use cold and specifically this new wearable called the Quantlet.  You wear this device on your wrist, and it cools your blood as your blood passes – pass your wrist and when that happens, the blood returns to your body cold as you get this mild effect that’s both – it activates we’re talking about earlier, your vagus nerve, but you also get a lot of these benefits of like cold thermogenesis without shivering.  So that would be one kinda interesting thing and what I like about it is a lot of these things are designed to like cool blood going into your hands that are designed for athletes to like hold while they’re running, right?

Rachel:              Mmm-hmm, yup.

Ben: But you can’t type and work and be productive at work when you’re holding something frozen, when your hand is shoved into like this cooling glove, so this is like a wrist wearable.  So that’s one to check out if you want to kinda stay cold at work without wearing the freaking vest.  So there’s that and then the other thing that I wanted to mention for folks who are interested is that there are few other ways to increase your heart rate variability if your heart rate variability is low, and not to kick this horse to death too much ‘cause I know I already mentioned his website earlier but again, my friend Mark Sisson has a really good article with 16 different ways to increase your heart rate variability.


And we’ve talked about it a lot of them before in the show, right? Like be grateful and you know, don’t drink too much coffee, blah, blah, blah – but a few other tips he has in here, and I’ll link to this article on the show notes as well that if I find were interesting that we haven’t talked about too too much on the show, one is that alternate nostril breathing can increase your heart rate variability.  Have you done this before, Rachel?

Rachel:              I have, it’s pretty ______[0:50:32.8].  It’s a year ago.  Yup!

Ben:                   Yeah, yeah, and so it’s very easy, you could even do this while listening to the show unless you’re driving – keep both hands in the steering wheel or at least one hand, but you put a finger on your left nostril, the plug of the leg nostril and you breathe in through right nostril, and then after you breathe in, you place a finger on your right nostril and you breathe out through your left nostril.

Rachel:              Mmm-hmm, yeah.

Ben:                   Does not work if you’re congested by the way, you may need to blow a snot rocket before you do this.

Rachel:              (laughs) It actually uncongest you pretty quickly as well.

Ben:                   Yeah and then of course, you block the right nostril and breathe into the left nostril, and then exhale through the right nostril and yeah.  So alternate nostril breathing, they need to make some of like some piece of like head gear that will automatically like plug one nostril for you, and then plug the other and alternate.  There’s my idea for those of you out there who wanted to do the next big kick starter, come up with an alternate nostril breathing helmet. Another one is to eat seafood – it turns out that Omega 3 supplementation, high intake of Omega 3 about 3 to 4g. per day can increase your heart rate variability.  Three to 4 grams per day like a fish oil.  So Omega 3 is gonna increase your heart rate variability as well.  That’s another one that we haven’t talked about too much on the podcast.  One other from this article that I wanted to mention was that if you can go back in time, you can actually tell your pregnant mother to begin taking DHA supplements or eating foods that are high in DHA like fish or I suppose if you have a fetus hanging around…

Rachel:              Mmm-hmm.

Ben:                   that’s uncool… if you’re with child as they would say in the scriptures…

Rachel:              (laughs)

Ben:                   Basically, if you take DHA or if you eat foods high in DHA, you can improve the heart rate variability of a child that is growing in the womb.  So you can actually give your child a step up on life.  And I remember even my kids were born, and when little River and Terrain were born, Jessa and I would rub Omega 3 fatty acids into their feet and open up Omega 3 fatty acid capsules and rub them into the boys feet so they could absorb DHA and Omega 3’s to their feet, so.

Rachel:              What would be some good foods – DHA’s foods?

Ben:                   Oh, walnuts are decent, chlorella, spirulina, you know a lot of these seeds and nuts that you don’t get conversion of the ALA and the EPA and the DHA very well, but algae based sources are really good, fish of course is good – fish and fish oil.  Fish is the biggie but you know, I’m a big fan of fish with seaweed and with some form of algae you know, like some chlorella or spirulina ‘cause you get a double whammy of DHA.  But interestingly, DHA is kinda hard to come by, there’s not a huge number of foods in the plant to have DHA but chlorella, spirulina, fish, fish oil – those are the biggies.

Rachel:              Good.  Thank you.

James:              Hey Ben and Rachel, this is James here in Newport Beach, California.  I love the show, thanks for what you do.  So recently, I’ve been diagnosed with adrenal fatigue, and I know you’ve covered the very aspects that how to mitigate adrenal fatigue on your show and also on your book.  But I was hoping you could do sort of more comprehensive overview of what your exact protocol would be to mitigate and completely eliminate adrenal fatigue if you happen to be diagnosed with it, so yeah, that’s pretty much it.  Thanks again and love the show.

Ben:                   This is a pretty big issue for a lot of people, Rachel.

Rachel:              It is and it’s good I think about time that we do some sort of comprehensive adrenal fatigue plan.

Ben:                   Yeah, well I didn’t really know like what adrenal fatigue was, I didn’t know what can happen until I had this body builder friend, and this was when I was in high school and he dropped off the face the map for like 6 months – just disappeared, quit showing up at parties and social functions and like dinners we would have in my house, he just like dropped off the face of the map.  And eventually he re-emerged, he looked different, he was smaller, his hair was cut differently which has nothing to do with adrenal fatigue…

Rachel:              (laughs)

Ben:                   I just remembered his hair was cut differently, and he was bed ridden for 6 months just like – that’s how deep of a hole he dug himself into.  And some people will you know, some people deal that with training, sometimes it can happen if you have Epstein- Barr or Lyme disease or you know, there’s a lot of other things that can happen from both of the immune standpoint as well as the training standpoint that can put large amounts of stress on your adrenals, and eventually get you to the point where you get into a state of adrenal fatigue, right?  Where you’ve jacked up your cortisol levels and your immune system, and you know, your adrenal glands, adrenal epinephrine, etc. for so long that you adrenal glands become exhausted.


                           They become depleted of minerals, they become depleted of Vitamin C, your negative feedback loop that would normally shut down cortisol in what’s called your HPA access – your hypothalamic pituitary adrenal axis that quits operating properly, and so what happen is your body just turns out massive amounts of cortisol.  And then eventually just like poops out on cortisol production because you need like more and more cortisol receptors to interact with this cortisol eventually cortisol just quits doing its job – it’s a really, really nasty cluster of factors.  I go into it hardcore, there’s this guy who wrote a book called the “Cortisol Connection”, his name is Shawn Talbott, and I have a series of interviews that I did that I kind of packaged up, and one of them was with Shawn, and we go into the how adrenal fatigue happens thoroughly in that.  But ultimately you know, I wanna focus more on what to do about it than the mechanism on how it happens, and some of my basic recommendations.  I am currently working with over a dozen of people on adrenal fatigue.

Rachel:              Wow.

Ben:                   So I d0 consultations and got clients who have it, and it’s amazing how many of these folks come from like training hotspots, right? Like Boulder, Colorado, and San Diego, and places where you’ve got like groups of triathletes and marathoners and cyclists and people who were like exercising a lot…

Rachel:              Yup.

Ben:                   They get adrenal fatigue ‘cause it’s like you roll out of bed, you’re supposed to go easy, your friend calls you up on the phone, there’s a group bike ride going on, somebody at the group bike ride start to hammer at the front, you start hammering to keep up with them.  Before you know it, you easy day becomes a hard day and this happens over and over again…

Rachel:              Yup.

Ben:                   … and a lot of people get fatigue from that.  A couple of these people are – they’re basically running companies and their adrenal fatigue is more from kind of a combination of work stress, relationships stress, travel on airlines stress, like we talked about last week, and then also just electrical pollution, right? Like tons of Wi-Fi and cellphones and computers just like up to wazzu which can also put stress on your body.

Rachel:              So you have people that you work with on adrenal fatigue that aren’t athletes?

Ben:                   Most of my clients and this kind of a myth, a Ben Greenfield Fitness myth – most of my clients are not athletes.  They are people running companies, they are people going for anti-aging, longevity, and they are trying to optimize their health.

Rachel:              Yeah.

Ben:                   I’ve got some people who have just hired me to help them biohack, right? Like organize all these supplements and gear and tools into an actual program, so yeah, most of people I coach used to be mostly Ironman triathletes, and now it’s kind of changed quite a bit.  It’s mostly CEOs, executives, people who are into like biohacking in health and anti-aging, and then a small handful of obstacle racers, triathletes, marathoners, cyclists, and a couple of team sport athletes – so right now, a tennis player and a soccer player. (chuckles)  So, yeah.  So, anyways, as far as the type of things that I do with some of these folks, there are some specific things that you should look at: first of all, you want to shift your diet, you want to shift your diet and you wanna preferably shift your diet towards a high amount of nutrient-dense foods, a problem that I see a lot of people making when or an error whenever adrenal fatigue is like, “I’m gonna clean up my diet and I’m just gonna detox.  I’m gonna drink like whatever, you know cayenne, pepper and beet juice for 12 weeks to give my body a break.”

Rachel:              Yup.

Ben:                   When you are in the state of adrenal fatigue, wanna tell people you know, in a nutshell is you almost have to to a certain extent, unless your adrenal fatigue is completely related to gut stress and you would know this, right? Like if you’ve got, if you done a gut panel and you’ve got high levels of what’s called calmodulin and lactoferrin: 2 inflammatory gut compounds.  And you’ve got like bacterial imbalances and whatever, you know, you have fungus and it’s like all due to the gut.  Yeah, sometimes you do have to go on like kind of a more of like a fasting liquid based diet to give your gut a break, because just imagine like if you’re a Achilles’ tendon was injured, right? And you kept running out over and over again, right?

Rachel:              Yup.

Ben:                   Like, eventually, it is not gonna heal – the same can be said for the gut.

Rachel:              Yeah. Totally, yeah.

Ben:                   However, in most cases, adrenal fatigue is not caused by gut issues, other things are caused by gut issues like constipation, digestive issues and nutrient malabsorption issues. With adrenal fatigue, I tell people, “You need to get fat.”

Rachel:              (chuckles)

Ben:                   “You need to like eat a lot of calories from really nutrient dense foods and so if open your refrigerator, you know if have adrenal fatigue and you’re walking in your pantry, you should be seeing things like eggs like whole eggs with the yolk, and sea vegetables – high in iodine and selenium and organ meats, right? Like liver and head cheese and kidney and heart.”


                           My kids are eating in the car the other day…

Rachel:              Yummy.

Ben:                   I was driving them back from tennis, and they’re like eating these sausages that I gave them and my one of my boys like, “Is this liver?” And I told him it’s not – it’s liver, it’s brain, it’s heart, it’s kidney, it’s liver so…

Rachel:              (laughs)

Ben:                   I ordered these sausages from the US Wellness Meats that a lot of this stuff in them, so those are good bone broth, shellfish is really good, natto is another really, really good – more of like you know, a plant-based source or a bean-based source of a lot of nutrients, dark fruits, dark vegetables, right? Like pomegranates and blueberries and dark, leafy greens.  Kale, bokchoy, fermented foods like kimchi and sauerkraut, turmeric and currys, cold water fish, grass fed beef – all of these really nutrient dense compounds you need to add to your diets.  That’s the first thing, some people make the mistake of just like going on a diet and not eating enough, in fact, if you are recovering from adrenal fatigue, I would like for your body fat to go up a few percentage points as with the high amounts of these really nutrient dense like ancestral foods, so that’s one thing, that’s one thing.  So get these some head cheese.  The next thing that you want to do is you get – we wanna get rid of foods that tend to aggravate the adrenal glands and make fatigue worse, and this is really like a kind of pretty easy to wrap your head around.  Heated oils and fats like especially vegetables oils, you know, adrenal stimulants like coffee and tea, and colas and chocolates, refined flour products like pasta and white rice, spread, pastry, baked-goods, fruit juice and pretty much anything sugary.  You really have to lower those, because basically, you want to train your body how to release cortisol again because cortisol can help you to mobilize your liver’s glycogen levels to naturally raise your blood glucose.  And if you continue to pour exogenous sources of glucose and starchy carbohydrates, and sugary carbohydrates and refined carbohydrates down the hatch, that’s not gonna happen, and so that’s another thing that you need to do.  You know, that’s a little bit easier if people wrap heads around just like you know, don’t drink a lot of coffee and eat a lot of candy.

Rachel:              Yup.

Ben:                   So the next thing that you wanna do, is you wanna avoid anything that would put stress on your body from a dietary standpoint.  And this would mean extremely long periods of times spent fasting, you could still do intermittent fasting, but like doing things like 24 hours fast or like long fasted workouts or long periods of time with choleric depletion, etc. for the reasons that I just outlined.  You know, again, unless that you’ve got some really serious gut issues; you actually want to like feed your body frequently with good amounts of nutrient dense foods when you have adrenal fatigue.  So again, you just basically have to let yourself get fat, give you’re a little bit of tummy, so give yourself a muffin top.

Rachel:              Yeah.  Suppose that’s every athlete’s was not mirrored as well having to do that after working so hard to get it down.

Ben:                   That’s the issue, though, is unfortunately not to sound too harsh, but if you have adrenal fatigue, you made some mistake and sometimes you do have to – silly as it sounds, you gotta eat your way out of all that choleric depletion and over training.

Rachel:              Mmm-hmm.

Ben:                   There you go.  And that’s why a lot of these methods work to for a menorrhagia and like female athlete triathlon and all that stuff.  It just comes down to train less and eating more, so.

Rachel:              Yup.

Ben:                   You do about 2 to 4 weeks typically unless it’s really, really serious adrenal fatigue. You wound about 2 to 4 weeks of mostly easy aerobic workouts, it’s not lot a of hard weight training, not a lot of high intensity interval training, but like yoga, meditation, tai-chi, Ki Gong – a lot of this easy, easy movements.  I’ve had a few people who I have worked with for 6 to 12 months full year to really get the cortisol back in order, get the DHA backup, so we’ll do monthly adrenal, salivary in disease, where you test your  salivary hormone levels, and you wanna see a return to normal cortisol levels and normal DHA levels.  And some people, and this is happens most with triathletes, there’s this one CrossFitter, but it seems to happen more with people with who have dug themselves into an overtraining hole via or into an adrenal fatigue hole via overtraining rather than with that like you know, some other forms of stress, like relationship stress or work – these folks can sometimes take much longer time to bounce back.  And so, you know sometimes we’ll have a good half of a year or it’s just like we’re doing Bikram yoga and easy walks in the sunshine and you know, a little bit of super-duper slow, relax, deep nasal breathing, weight training or body weight training, a little bit of isometric work, meditation, yoga, tai-chi, that kind of stuff.  So basically become a hippie for a while, as far as the world’s gets a go.


Rachel:              … or as in monk.

Ben:                   That’s right, as in monk.  And then finally, in this I say for last because this is thing most people do first ‘cause I’m like I think I can pop, I can poopop my way out adrenal fatigue, not true.  This would be the icing on the cake, okay?  Everything I just talked about is the important stuff.  This is the icing on the cake but this stuff can help.  Number one would be some kind of adaptogenic herb complex, which can help you to begin producing cortisol again.  That would be tian­­chi is really good one, there’s another one called Inner Peace, these just help you to fine tune your adrenals and begin producing cortisol and adrenalin again.  So that would be one daily supplement to add into the mix.  Another one because like I mentioned the adrenals are the store house of minerals, you would want to start into like a daily shot or a couple daily shot of trace liquid minerals and liberal use like a really good salt, right? Like an Aztec salt or Himalayan salt or something that helps to restore the minerals that your body tends to lose when you’re low on cortisol.  So there’d be another one, another supplement that I’m a big fan of again because your adrenal glands are a huge store house of Vitamin C is about 4 to 5 grams of Vitamin C per day, like a really good absorbable,  like vitamin C powder.  And there are few that I recommend, I’ll link to a little article that I have on adrenal fatigue that has a list of some of these  strategies that I’m talking about to that should be helpful for you.  So go to for that.

Rachel:              And so Ben, have you put this into some sort of plan?

Ben:                   I do have a like a – I don’t really have a diet and supplement plan because I recommend testing you know, before just like throwing a bunch of different foods and supplements at the bay, but this is an overview.  You know I have an article, and I have a plan that I sell but I have an article that I let people in too.  I do have an exercise plan however, I do have an exercise plan…

Rachel:              Okay!

Ben:                   … about 12 weeks plan and all – I’ll link to that in the show notes.  So I have a 12 week plan, it’s called the ‘Over-training and adrenal fatigue recovery plan’, not as customized as like you know, you’re working with me to customize something to do with the testing. but it lays out at least all the different exercises and workouts to do each day if wanna stay fit while you have adrenal fatigue.  But you can’t go to your cross and wads, and you know, your runs and stuff like that.  So I do have that planned out.

Rachel:              So is it possible when you’re recovering from adrenal fatigue to still exercise, to stay fit?

Ben:                   Mmm-hmm.  Using some of the strategies that I’ve just outlined, you can stay fit from more of like a longevity standpoint.

Rachel:              Yup.

Ben:                   You aren’t going to be able to go to like an Ironman or you know, get the top numbers on your wad…

Rachel:              Yeah.

Ben:                   You know, I have to do more just to describe, but you can at least to keep your blood flow going, just satisfy that itch that a lot of people get when they’re lying around, you know, do something, so.

Rachel:              Yup.

Ben:                   Yeah, you can absolutely keep your body fit from like a blood flow and a limp standpoint, etc. for sure and maintain some amounts of strength as well.  So I mentioned minerals, I mentioned adaptogenic herbs, I mentioned Vitamin C, a couple of other things that I should mention: number 1 would be a really good Omega 3 fatty acid source, again, because it will improve heart rate variability which I talked about earlier but it can really help with restoring the health of the nervous system and reducing the inflammation that tends to go hand in hand with adrenal fatigue.  So like 4 to 6 grams per day of a good fish oil – that’s 2 to 3 times the amount most people would take, but you know, a little bit of a step up in terms of the fish oil.  Another one that I really recommend for very similar reasons for the necessary building blocks to restore hormones is a good complex of Vitamin D and Vitamin K – 2 very important fat soluble compounds and for people who have adrenal fatigue, I have a pretty high recommendations, I typically recommend about 35 international units per pound of body weight of Vitamin D, and so that means that some people are gonna take you know, up around 8,000 to 10,000 units of Vitamin D and so as long as that’s accompanied with Vitamin K, you don’t get a lot of calcification with that but that’s the recommendation that I make.

Rachel:              Yup.

Ben:                   And then finally, there are two compounds, one that can stimulate your body to begin producing cortisol again, and one that can reduce the rate that which cortisol breaks down, so it hangs around a little bit longer.  Obviously, if you’re producing a bunch of cortisol and you’re like stressed out all the time, you wouldn’t want to take these, that’s why you gotta be careful, that’s why any of these stuff requires testing as you go, right? To make sure to – so you know when you can stop using certain things, to start introducing certain things.  But the one that helps your body to begin producing cortisol again and these dosages is based off the studies that have been done on it.  Probably red ginseng, red ginseng – she can find an organic red ginseng powder or capsule and you want a pretty high amount – about 5 to 6 grams per day of red ginseng.

Rachel:              Wow.

Ben:                   Most people – most capsules contain like 600 mg, and so a lot of people don’t get close to the dosage they need to start producing cortisol again, but there are some decent forms of ginseng, and I’ll link to a few other of them in the article that have a pretty high amount of ginseng.


                           And then licorice root extract in about 200 to 400 mg a day, licorice reduces the half-life of cortisol and allows it to be broken down in the slower rate by your body, so that would be another one to look into, would be licorice root extract.

Rachel:              Alright.  So there you have it James.  There’s your comprehensive guide for how to fix adrenal fatigue.

Ben:                   There you go.  You make me sound so smart when you say words like comprehensive guide.

Rachel:              (chuckles) You are smart, Ben.  We love you.

Ben:                   That’s – it all has to do with my job realignment and my ukulele playing.

Rachel:              (chuckles)

Ben:                   We do have a couple more important questions.  So, shall we jump in?

Rachel:              Let’s do it.

Robyn:              Hi Ben.  My name is Robyn and I’m from Canada and currently training in Phuket, Thailand.  My question is, why do some people seem to be more susceptible to mosquito bites than others, and have larger reactions than others? Also, is deet dangerous for you and is there anything that can be done and are there any natural remedies of changing of the diet that can reduce mosquito bites frequency? Thanks!

Ben:                   Believe it or not, Rachel, some people actually are more susceptible to mosquito bites.

Rachel:              I am not surprised, ‘cause I was born in tropical far North Queensland, and I took my husband up there whose born in Ohio, and he just got eaten alive by mosquitoes and they don’t even care about me.

Ben:                   Take away message here for folks who’s in, if you’re from Ohio, be very careful gallivanting about the wilderness of Australia.

Rachel:              Yes, do so.

Ben:                   You don’t want to get eaten alive.

Rachel:              You won’t.

Ben:                   They actually – they’ve shown that larger people who produce more carbon dioxides, so just like people who have a high BMI, people who are overweight, obese and even athletes who produce more carbon dioxide, mosquitoes have a higher preference for that population.

Rachel:              That is fascinating.  That answers so many questions.

Ben:                   Also, beer drinkers…

Rachel:              But wait, there’s more?

Ben:                   Again, due to the type of gasses produced, but wait, there’s more.

Rachel:              (chuckles)

Ben:                   Pregnant women, which is really interesting, and also in the most recent study, your genes can influence your propensity to be bitten or not bitten by insects.  There was this new study in which they found that certain genes can like the salivary amylases and the empty MTHFR and the lactase genes we’re talking about earlier, certain genes will either attract or repel mosquitoes.  And this was a study done with twins, this is really interesting, I’ll link to it in the show notes.  What they found was that certain genes will produce certain body odors that either attract or repel insects, and a big part of this is because our genes influence the type of gut bacteria and the type of skin bacteria that we express, and it turns out that your microbiome can affect whether or not an insect will actually bite you.  And there’s specific bacterial species that are found on your skin, in your arm pits, etc. that will attract the mosquito or repel a mosquito.

Rachel:              What interest me about that is I understand the repelling of mosquitoes ‘cause that makes sense if you look from an evolutionary standpoint, you don’t wanna be bitten by mosquitoes for the rest of your lives so your skin starts to do this you know, but why would your skin ever want to attract mosquitoes?

Ben:                   Well, it’s a really good question.  You know, it’s probably a matter of some people having genes that come from a more like a warm environment or moist environment or a humid environment where mosquitoes might breed more.

Rachel:              Mmm-hmm.

Ben:                   And so those people have developed specific gut microbiome or skin microbiome to protect them…

Rachel:              Yes.

Ben:                   Whereas people whose ancestors didn’t come from mosquito heavy areas, but might be unlucky be enough to have moved or visited to that area, those people are kinda screwed.

Rachel:              Yeah.  That make sense, makes perfect sense.

Ben:                   Yeah, so it’s really interesting.  The question is: what do you do when you’re screwed?

Rachel:              Totally.  Yup.

Ben:                   So this whole idea behind d-e-e-t, d-e-e-t is bad news bears.

Rachel:              Damn.  So good though.

Ben:                   So they’ve done a pretty significant study, so between 1961 and 2-002 the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry reported 8 deaths related to d-e-e-t exposure…

Rachel:              Oh no.

Ben:                   which is not huge but they did another study of a bunch of park service employees – National Park Service employees and 25% had some pretty serious health effects in response to d-e-e-t.  Like mucus membrane irritation, nausea, numb and burning lips, rashes, etc. and…

Rachel:              Is this in…  is this in the context of being insect repellant…

Ben:                   Mmm-hmm.

Rachel:              Or something different?

Ben:                   Yeah, this is in…

Rachel:              An insect repellant killed 8 people?

Ben:                   Or pesticide. Duke University Medical Center actually spent 30 years researching the effects of pesticides and they found that prolonged exposure to d-e-e-t actually impairs cell function in parts of the brain that can lead to neuronal cell death.


Rachel:              Wow.

Ben:                   And so not only is it damaging to your skin and to your lungs but it’s actually damaging to your nerves and to your brain health.  So I’m personally not a big fan of d-e-e-t, and I run from it like the plague when I see people squirting it around my kids or spraying it around me at a campsite.

Rachel:              Mmm-hmm.

Ben:                   The question is, what can you take as an alternative to deet?  So one thing that can work out quite well, and these are things that have been studied in terms of their ability to protect you from mosquitoes: one thing is cinnamon leaf oil which is like an essential oil that you can purchase from any essential oil site that has been shown to be more effective like killing mosquitoes than d-e-e-t.

Rachel:              Fascinating!

Ben:                   One natural insect repellant.  Another is to take some vanilla extract which once people have in their kitchen, and you simply take olive oil and you can put that it a little cup, you stir the vanilla extract in it and this vanilla compound is actually natural insect repellant as well, and it stays on your skin a little bit better when you mix it with olive oil, so that’s another one that you can use.  There are a variety of different natural insect repellant that you can find on Amazon and many of them use citronella essential oil.

Rachel:              Yup.

Ben:                   And citronella is considered to be a very good insect repellant as well, and many of these will combine in the citronella with other really, really good forms of insect repellant like lemon grass oil, peppermint oil and vanilla.  Now the interesting thing, and this is something that a lot of naturalists will like, and that is that many areas like around me there is a plant called yarrow – it grows quite readily in areas in the northwest where there are lots of insects and mosquitoes like in damp areas of the forests.  You can take yarrow, rub it between your fingertips and smear it on your skin, and it keeps mosquitoes away and also helps reduce the itch from mosquito bites.  It’s very interesting that nature has given us specific plants and specific areas where mosquitoes tend to be high, they can do these lemon grasses and another one when I’m in Thailand, if I’ve got lemon grass, I’ll just and I don’t have an good insect repellant, I will literally just rob the lemon grass on my body or rub it between my fingertips, and then roll my fingertips around of my body to get some of that natural plant based compound that grows in specific areas.  So you’ll find that in many cases, something that will keep mosquitoes away are already growing or is present in your area.

Rachel:              Mmm.  Wow.

Ben:                   It is true, by the way, this whole vampire myth or vampire legend that consuming garlic can actually help with protecting against mosquito bite.  So if you eat garlic, lots of garlic like when you’re in a mosquito-rich area that can help as well.

Rachel:              What would you consider a lot of garlic?

Ben:                   A lot of garlic would be either using a cup of capsules of a really, really good garlic extract like Allimax for example – it’s really, really potent.  A lot of people use that for like yeast and fungus infections in their digestive tract ‘cause it will do a really good job at that.

Rachel:              Mmm-hmm.

Ben:                   But then, for example, like taking an entire what would you call – the head of garlic?  Not a glove but the whole head, and you can like take a head, you chop one end off, you chop the other end off, you dump bunch of olive oil and sea salt on that and you boil that in the oven for like 20 minutes and then just heat it all, so.

Rachel:              That actually sounds so good.

Ben:                   It actually is really, really good.  Have you gotten that in the restaurants before?

Rachel:              I love rose garlic.  Yeah.

Ben:                   Yeah, rose garlic, so good.  I love it, you smell like just horrible afterwards unless you have to make sure that if you’re gonna have a meal like that, everybody else in the table is eating it too.

Rachel:              I feel like it naturally repels the world just like it naturally repels mosquitoes.

Ben:                   Mmm-hmm.  Yeah.  It actually repels, it repels mosquitoes and everything else.

Rachel:              People and animals and bats (laughs).

Ben:                   That’s right.  Oh and by the way, if you get bitten and you itch, there are few things I found to just be like almost instantly get rid of the itch.  And again, this is stuff that tends to fly into the radar, but if you take a lavender essential oil which can help you to your – to sleep and relax and you just take a dab of straight up lavender essential oil, it works wonders on itching.

Rachel:              It does.

Ben:                   And if got like a bunch of bites like you get after a hike, you can just make yourself a bath and put some drops of lavender essential oil under a bath to get a full body effect – that is an awesome anti-age remedy.

Rachel:              We had this really bizarre old wives tales as kids ‘cause I grew up with mosquitoes, and it would be the – as soon as you got a bite, you would grab your thumbnail and you would put a cross in the bite with your thumbnail, and then you would put spit on the bite…

Ben:                   Hmmm.

Rachel:              … and that would stop the itching.

Ben:                   That sounds like a very affordable and budget friendly way to fix a mosquito bite.

Rachel:              I don’t think it worked but…

Ben:                   Not as relaxing as lavender essential oil though, spitting on oneself.

Rachel:              (laughs)

Ben:                   But it’s a good idea, Rachel.

Rachel:              Thanks, Ben.

Ben:                   So I’ll throw in that one in their spit.


It’s kinda like peeing on yourself after you’ve been bitten by or if you’ve been stung by a jellyfish.

Rachel:              Oooh.  We do get tell that too which I’m not sure on how true that is, but…

Ben:                   And I’ve got a few others that can help out quite a bit: peppermint, essential oil works not quite as well but it can work similarly to lavender essential oil and because baking soda can help draw some of the itch-inducing compounds out of the bite if you have like peppermint toothpaste, you just use like a dab of peppermint toothpaste which you can find in a lot of places, right? That works pretty well also, obviously, there are big variety of other compounds that you can find, I’m a big fan of lavender and peppermint and then one other is tea tree oil…

Rachel:              Yes.

Ben:                   Can help but quite a bit as well.  I use a form of oil made by a company called Young Living Essential Oils are really, really good like potent quality oils.  I’ve had the folks with me on leading a podcast before, like they really make good stuff so I will link to that in the show notes if you wanna get yourself some lavender, some peppermint, and then lemon grass oil is really good.  And then like I mentioned the cinnamon oil is super-duper effective – that one flies into the radar but it’s really effective.  So go to, and I’ll link to this for you in the notes.

Sharon:             Hey Ben, thanks for listening to my question.  My daughter who is 17 years old has exercised induced headaches, and she’s had this since she was 8 or 9 years old.  She gets them after she works out and works up a sweat, maybe runs a mile or play soccer, something like that.  So we were hoping she would grow out of them but she’s 17 now and she’s had them for 10 years or so, and the doctor seem to have no really good answer for us.  So we’re hoping you could help us out a little bit?  And thanks for doing what you do, keep it up!

Ben:                   Well you know, some people get a headache just thinking about exercise.

Rachel:              That’s kinda me.  No, just kidding.

Ben:                   Yeah.  That is not qualified as an exercised induced headache if that thought of working out makes your head hurt.

Rachel:              (laughs)

Ben:                   That’s a different problem.

Rachel:              Uh-huh.

Ben:                   It’s a motivation problem, but exercise induced headaches are also called exertion headaches.  I’ve actually talked about this on the show before, and I’ve brought up how you can have things like sinus infections, and you can have obstruction of fluid and blood to the brain because of like the type of hypoperfusion issues that we talked about in a couple of podcast episodes ago, right, the one on cognitive performance and Alzheimer’s.  There’s all sorts of different theories as to what can cause this exercise induced headaches, but one tends to be most prevalent and tends to be the biggest issue, and that is exertion headaches caused by biomechanical issues.  Quite an issue that’s near and dear to my heart right now after my jaw realignment…

Rachel:              Yup.

Ben:                   … because that can be a one issue here but there’s – there is this theory, it’s really not a theory, something that they’ve tested and they found to be a significant cause of exertion based headaches.  But it’s this idea that cervical spine alignment and specifically once you start hyper extending your cervical spine, such as you might do while reading or working on the computer or sitting with poor posture doing anything that kinda hunches your head and your neck forward.  If you do that, and especially if you do it under a load, right? Like what you might experience when doing a back squat or an overhead press, what happens is that puts a bunch of pressure on your cervical vertebrae, and that can cause nerve irritation. When that occurs, you get a sympathetic nervous system response…

Rachel:              Mmm-hmm.

Ben:                   That sympathetic nervous system response triggers a vasodilation of the blood vessels in your head and can make you feel while you’re working out like someone’s beating you over the head with the kettle bell.

Rachel:              Okay.

Ben:                   So that’s kinda how it works, now obviously, you would’ve guessed there are bunch of other things that are causing sympathetic nervous system activation at play like say, you’re eating foods that you’re allergic to, you being stressed out, the music being too loud, blah, blah, blah – like all these stuff can be a cluster of factors.  But the biggest one is poor cervical spine alignment and even kids can have poor cervical spine alignment, even kids can get stuff like this.  It’s adjusted and do specific mobility protocols to help to mobilize and strengthen those areas that tend to play a significant role in this process.  So there’s 3 different areas that would tend to cause this issue, one is called your scalenes, one is your upper trapezius and one is, I love this one, your sternocleidomastoid.

Rachel:              Mmm.

Ben:                   Yes, have you heard that one before? 


Rachel:              I haven’t, no.

Ben:                   Okay.  I just like to say that sounds like a dinosaur.

Rachel:              (laughs)

Ben:                   Sternocleidomastoid.  Anyways though, so what you want to do is mobilize these muscle groups, and there are varieties of different protocols that you can do.  I’m gonna link to some videos for you in the show notes, but one would be a Trap Smash with like a lacrosse ball where you reach back behind you, you have somebody to do this and it just roll the ball all up and down and through your traps – that can be a really, really good one deep tissue work on your trapezius.  Another really, really good one is what’s called thoracic spine mobility where you’ll duct tape a couple of lacrosse balls together, and then roll your thoracic spine like your mid-spine up and down over those balls to help to mobilize some of the areas of the scalene and where you get some of the sternocleidomastoid attaching sets under area that you’d wanna work.  There are some exercises too that can really help to bring the cervical spine back into alignment like really, really good dead lifts with perfect posture, focusing on squeezing your shoulders back at the top of the dead lift.  Seated rows can help out quite a bit as well as like a single arm rose where you’re really pulling the shoulders back.  Like a lot of the things you’d use to fix poor posture, and kinda like a bent over upper spine are the same things that can help with this type of exertional headache and the fact that sometimes the upper spine is just jotting too far forward causing that sympathetic activation as the nerves get compressed and the subsequent vasodilation.  So I would really, really recommend that you watch some of the videos that I’ll link to in the show notes.  I’m not saying 100% that that’s the issue with Sharon’s daughter, but it’s most likely playing a role.  I’d be curious to see her like from the side, like a photo of her from the side to see if she has this type of cervical malalignment.

Rachel:              And would that be something that she’d go and see her chiropractor first instead of get some scanned stone to see if that is the issue?

Ben:                   You could.  You could almost tell by looking you know, from the side if you got like hunched over her shoulders and a forward neck, sometimes it’s not a rocket science.  There’s a really, really good book too that will teach you a lot of this self-deep tissue work, and it holds a special place in my living room, ‘cause I’ve got like my little box full of medieval torture tools like the lacrosse balls and the spikey balls, and the rollers and I’ve got something called the ‘Battlestar’ which is like a really, really hard like coiled device to do deep tissue work.  I’ve got all these stuff up in the living room, but I have this book that shows you how to use it all – it’s called “Becoming a Supple Leopard” written by Kelly Starrett, and he’s been on the show before.  Really, really good deep tissue work guy and that would be – that would give you some ideas for how to work on your scalene and your upper traps and of course our favorite dinosaur, the sternocleidomastoid.  So check all that stuff out, and that being said, yet another marathon podcast for y’all, but I should mention that after last week’s announcement that we were getting a little bit short on iTunes reviews, boy, did we have a doozy come through.

Rachel:              Yey!

Ben:                   We had a great, great iTunes review that TheCJThomas left, he left this one called ‘The Nitty Gritty in Health and Fitness.’  So a couple things, CJ and those of you listening in, before Rachel reads this one: it’s first of all, thank you so much, many of you lept in and left some great iTunes reviews and 5 stars that helps our show so much.  It helps to spread the word, it helps with our iTunes ranking, it helps iTunes, the mysterious folks sitting in their thrones at Apple to know that we really are the real deal – people do really listen to us.  So if you haven’t yet left an iTunes review to spread the good karma, then I’ve got a link in the show notes over at, or you can just go find the show on iTunes, leave a review.  If we read your review on the show, cool things happen, don’t they, Rachel?

Rachel:              Very cool things happen.

Ben:                   Yes.

Rachel:              You get an awesome gear pack with an awesome water bottle, and a beanie, and a shirt and it arrives in a mail, it’s a present, it’s super exciting, then you take a photo and send it to us, we can post it on Facebook.

Ben:                   Cluster of awesomeness.

Rachel:              Mmm-hmm.

Ben:                   So all you gotta do is if you hear your review read, email [email protected] and when you email [email protected], be sure to let us know your t-shirt size, 0r else we will probably send you an XXL because that’s what we have the most of.  Anyways though, so that being said, Rachel, you wanna take this lovely review away?

Rachel:              Yes.  So, ‘The Nitty Gritty in Health and Fitness’ is the title, 5 stars by TheCJThomas.  “Ben!” – that was an exclamation mark, “Sorry I haven’t gotten to this sooner.  I kinda gotta blame you though for putting out so much amazing flipping content.


Seriously!  It seem like I never have enough time to consume all.  As a personal trainer in St. Louis, and an avid athlete myself, this podcast is one of my secret weapons by helping me to uplift my game, and add value to the lives I directly influence every day.  I’m not sure how does you seem to know everything about everything…” – me either – “but I’ll keep studying your learnings so that I can someday be half the expert you are.”

Ben:                   Mmm.

Rachel:              “I’ve heard many success gurus saying that you should never write reviews, saying that it’s a waste of time, but I’m breaking that rule here because I think you deserve it.  Anybody who delivers as much value as you do deserves all the prosperity, abundance and 5 star reviews that this world has to offer.  I give you 20 stars if I could.  To be honest, the first time I tuned in, the contents seemed too far off my head, but I’m glad I came back and I’d certainly encourage any serious health practitioners, trainers and dedicated athletes to do the same.  You are the bench mark that everybody else should be aspiring, too. I got my training mask for Christmas on your recommendation and I look forward to try olive oregano to fix my splotchy skin, had been looking for a remedy for that for years.  Seriously, do you know everything? Anyway, love the show my friend, you inspired me and I look forward to meeting you someday.  Prayers and best wishes, CJ.”

Ben:                   (curse word)

Rachel:              That was incredible.

Ben:                   Wow. First of all, CJ has a lot of time on his hands.  CJ that was an incredible review, I almost feel bad that you spent so much time writing that and it’s great.  I also apologize by the way that Rachel, did you say, St. Louie?

Rachel:              I don’t know how to say it. (laughs)

Ben:                   Like the song? Like the Louie, Louie?

Rachel:              How do you say it? I don’t know.

Ben:                   I think it’s at St. Louis, Missouri.

Rachel:              Ooooh.

Ben:                   I could be wrong.  Maybe it’s St. Louie.  I just never, I think I’ve always heard the St. ‘Louis’.  So our apologies to everyone in good old St. Louie, and a big ‘thank you’ to CJ – CJ, that was an awesome review.

Rachel:              That was.

Ben:                   Awesome review.

Rachel:              Yeah.

Ben:                   So yes, gave me a big head, made my day – that and the jaw realignment put together and my chance to show off my ukulele skills.

Rachel:              Incredible.

Ben:                   I promised my ukulele will get better but for those of you listening in, you need to now rib Rachel to get on top of her ukulele game and play us a little song at some point in the future.

Rachel:              Yeah.  I’ll play but we should get a request for a song we should learn.

Ben:                   And we’ll hold her to it.  So that being said, let’s go ahead and end this thing, and let the song request roll in.  So you can leave your song requests, access the show notes, and oh so, so much more.  Just go to, check it all out, thanks everyone for listening in.  Rachel, have a lovely day over there in Australia.

Rachel:              Thanks Ben, you too.

Ben:                   And for everybody listening in, is where you can access all the goodies, have a healthy week.

You’ve been listening to the Ben Greenfield Fitness Podcast.  Go to for even more cutting edge fitness and performance advice.

[1:34:01.5]     END



The Training & Nutrition Secrets Of Tenacious, Tough, Aggressive Professional Cyclist Svein Tuft.

tuft itunes

39-year-old cyclist Svein Tuft, pictured above, is known as one of the most tenacious, tough and aggressive professional cyclists in the Tour De France.

His name has become synonymous with a spirit of against-all-odds tenacity, and perhaps most amazingly, he began entry into the world of professional cycling many years later than most riders have their first race. It was an unorthodox start to his professional career.

His name has become synonymous with a spirit of against-all-odds tenacity, and perhaps most amazingly, he began entry into the world of professional cycling many years later than most professional cyclists have their first race.

So Svein is one unorthodox guy.

He’s also a friend of Barry Murray, the ketosis expert, fat-burning efficiency coach, and endurance athlete who joined me as a podcast guest for the episode Five Simple Steps To Turning Yourself Into A Fat Burning Machine.

And perhaps because of that connection, Svein has some other interesting techniques that you’ll discover in this episode, including:

-Why Svein began his entry into the world of professional cycling many years later than most riders have their first race…

-The unconventional diet Svein follows…

-As an “older” competitor, Svein’s most effective recovery tools and techniques…

-How Svein handles the mental pain of cycling…

-Svein’s special routines and habits…

-And much more!

Do you have questions, comments or feedback for Svein or me about this episode? Leave your thoughts below and one of us will reply!

How To Hold Your Breath For Four Minutes, Training Mask Myths, Performance Breathing & More With Brian Mackenzie

brian mackenzie itunes

From power breathing to underwater workouts to Wim Hof-style cold water immersion to sexy Training Masks to freediving, spearfishing and beyond, it seems that performance breathwork is taking the world by storm.

In today’s podcast, I take a deep dive with performance breathing expert Brian Mackenzie.

Brian is a strength and conditioning and movement expert, and creator of CrossFit Endurance (which I interviewed him about way back in podcast episode #47) He co-authored the book “Power, Speed, Endurance: A Skill Based approach to Endurance Training“, recently co-authored “Unbreakable Runner” and works with professional and elite level athletes in running, cycling, rowing, MMA, MIL/SOF, LEO, Fire/EMT, surfing, paddling, swimming, CrossFit, including Olympic Gold Medalists and World Champions.

Brian and his programs have been featured in Competitor Magazine, Runners World, Triathlete Magazine, Men’s Journal, ESPN Rise, The Economist, Tim Ferriss’ New York Times bestseller The 4-Hour Body, Men’s Running UK, LA Sport & Fitness, Muscle & Performance Magazine, and Rivera Magazine.

During our discussion, you’ll discover:

-The true science behind the Training Mask, and whether it actually works…

-How to use oxygen and carbon dioxide static apnea tables…

-Why so many freedivers and spearfishers are dying from shallow water blackouts…

-The uncommon restricted breath training devices Brian uses in his clinics…

-How to use hyperoxia…

-Where to start if you want to hold your breath for four minutes…

-And much more!

Resources from this episode:

This TrainingMask workout

The TrainingMask (use code GREEN1 for 20% discount)

The PowerLung

FINIS Swim Snorkel

TheTurbine nasal dilator

Power, Speed, Endurance book

Unbreakable Runner book

Deep Survival: Who Lives, Who Dies, and Why book

Do you have questions, comments or feedback about performance breathing? Leave your thoughts below and either Brian or I will reply!

342: The Dark Side Of Travel, How To Rebuild Fitness Fast, How To Stop Receding Hairline & More!

The Dark Side Of Travel, How To Rebuild Fitness Fast, How To Stop Receding Hairline & More!

Click here for the full written transcript of this podcast episode.

January 7, 2016 Podcast:The Dark Side Of Travel, How To Rebuild Fitness Fast, How To Stop Receding Hairline & More!

Have a podcast question for Ben? Click the tab on the right (or go to SpeakPipe), use the Contact button on the app, call 1-877-209-9439, or use the “Ask Ben” form at the bottom of this page.


News Flashes:

You can receive these News Flashes (and more) every single day, if you follow Ben on,, and Google+.


Special Announcements:

This podcast is brought to you by: – Get 4 free samples (choose from over 50 options – that’s a $15 value!) with code “FITNESS” at

-Casper Matresses – Get $50 off at with discount code “ben”.

GreenfieldFitnessSystems “surprise gift box” – 50% discount on instant access to a box shipped to your front doorstep and full of the latest cutting-edge biohacking gear, nutrients, smart drugs and more, handpicked and curated by Ben.

Did you miss the weekend podcast episode with Devin Burke? It was a must-listen – titled “How To Quit Obsessing About Health, Eating & Exercise: Dodging The Silver Bullet Of Orthorexia And Body Dysmorphic Disorder.”  Click here to listen now or download for later!

New course from Ben! The 7 Day Full Body Reboot Program To Get Strong And Fit is 30% off until this Saturday. Optimal fitness and health are closer than you think. In just one week, you can set yourself up for a strong, long, lean and healthy body.

Jan 9, 11am: Ben is speaking at the Spokane Health and Fitness Expo. For all the Spokane and Coeur D’ Alene locals, find more info here:

May 27-29, 2016: Ben is speaking at PaleoFX 2016 in Austin, Texas. This is the The Who’s Who gathering of the Paleo movement, with world-class speakers including New York Times bestselling authors, leading physicians, scientists, health entrepreneurs, professional athletes, fitness professionals, activists, bloggers, biohackers, and more. And you DON’T need to be Paleo to be able to get a ton of benefit and fun out of this one!

Nov 17-18, 2016: Ben is speaking at the Biohacker’s Summit in Helsinki, Finland. Discover the latest in wearables, internet of things, digital health, and mobile apps to increase performance, be healthier, stay fit, and get more done. Learn about taking food, preparation, cooking, and eating to the next level with the latest science and kitchen chemistry. Even delve into implanted chips, gene therapy, bionic arms, biometric shirts, robotic assistants, and virtual reality. Two days with an amazing crowd and a closing party with upgraded DJs to talk about. Click here to get in now at a 40% discount.

Grab this Official Ben Greenfield Fitness Gear package that comes with a tech shirt, a beanie and a water bottle.

And of course, this week’s top iTunes review – gets some BG Fitness swag straight from Ben – click here to leave your review for a chance to win some!

Waaa….no new reviews? Get on it peeps. It’s good karma and here’s how.


Listener Q&A:

As compiled, deciphered, edited and sometimes read by Rachel Browne, the NEW Podcast Sidekick.

How To Rebuild Fitness Fast

Sean says: He was recently diagnosed with Lyme disease and he’s wondering what the best way to rebuild your fitness and strength after an injury or health issue and how to track your recovery?

Is Underwater Breath Holding Dangerous? (And How To Avoid Shallow Water Blackouts)

Dundee says: He’s been seeing a lot of articles condemning the practice of doing laps while holding your breath. He’s concerned by all the ‘bad press’ about the practice and the articles that are highlighting the risk of black outs. He knows you’re a proponent of that kind of training, what’s your take on this?

In my response, I recommend:
The Dartmouth swimmer who died
My article on freediving

How To Stop Receding Hairline

Darrell says:  He loves the show and always has.  He’s been training for 10 years + at a high intensity and in the past three years he’s noticed as his training intensity and load has increased his hair has slowly diminished and where he used to have a massive afro, he now has a receding hair line. He thinks it might have something to do with the amount of stress he’s putting his body under, what are your thoughts?

In my response, I recommend:
Lab testing for hair loss
Vitamin B Complex
TianChi Adaptogenic herbs
Episode #249 on hair loss, in which I recommend:
Vitamin D3 and the latest research on Vitamin D 
Fish oil – 2-5g/day + cod liver oil, 1-2T/day
Magnesium (500-1000mg/day)
-Brazil nuts (selenium) – 5-6/day (get raw, not roasted and keep frozen)
Grass fed beef – several 6-8oz servings/week
-If you do not eat shellfish or use zinc regularly, also include 2-4 Prostelan capsules per day (5 Alpha Reductase inhibitor + Zinc)
And then use either:
D-Aspartic Acid – 3g/day (approx 1 teaspoon) combined with Myomin (aromatase inhibitor) – 1000-1500mg/day
-5 day on/2 day off of herbal blend of tribulis, maca, nettle, fenugreek (recommend RenewMale, Aggressive Strength, or Onnit T+)


Prior to asking your question, do a search in upper right hand corner of this website for the keywords associated with your question. Many of the questions we receive have already been answered here at Ben Greenfield Fitness!


Ask Your Question

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Episode #342 – Full Transcript

Podcast #342 from 


Introduction:  In this episode of the Ben Greenfield Fitness Show:  The Dark Side of Travel, How to Rebuild Fitness Fast, Is Underwater Breath Holding Dangerous, and How to Avoid Shallow Water Blackouts, How to Stop a Receding Hairline, and much more.

He’s an expert in human performance and nutrition, voted America’s top personal trainer and one of the globe’s most influential people in health and fitness.  His show provides you with everything you need to optimize physical and mental performance.  He is Ben Greenfield.  “Power, speed, mobility, balance – whatever it is for you that’s for the natural movement, get out there!  When you’re looking at all the studies done…studies that have shown the greatest efficacy…”  All the information you need in one place, right here, right now, on the Ben Greenfield Fitness Podcast.

Ben:                 Mo Rachel, I gonna admit to you.  I am a bit sore this morning.

Rachel:            You got sore?  Why is that?

Ben:                 I’m sore.  NBC, the great wonderful TV network, NBC.  I don’t even know what NBC stands for?  Do you?

Rachel:            I don’t know either actually, but I’m not American, so.

Ben:                 National Broadcasting Corp.  They showed up in a giant van in my house yesterday to shoot video, and I’m under confidentiality so I can say a lot about why.  I can tell you how to do with that TV show, I was on that reality TV show, but they had me doing things that, let’s just say, I would not normally do.  For example, I spent a good deal of time after lunch carrying a keg through the forest.  A keg…

Rachel:            A keg…

Ben:                 Yes, and a keg would be normally something as useful like keg throws, and keg deadlifts, and short keg carries, but they literally had me hiking through the forest holding a keg.

Rachel:            Not had been a site to see.

Ben:                 So, for any of you who wanna workout challenge this week, you get a keg from a brewery.  My mom actually owns a brewery in – oh, not a brewery, it’s a pub really, but it’s down in Moscow, Idaho.  So I got an old keg from her, and you rip the top off the keg, you fill it with water, right, like about half to 3 quarter full of water.  So, slash is around, it’s really hard to carry, and then you put the lid back on, and it’s a great way training device.  But carrying it through the forest, I can guarantee will throw a curve ball at your body.

Rachel:            Yeah, it sounds intense, and I’ve noticed Ben that since there’s been a lot of camera crews in your house recently, was that been fun?

Ben:                 (Chuckles)  It has been.  We’ll talk about the other reason the camera crew is at my house here in a little bit perhaps in the special announcements.  However, speaking of throwing your curve ball at your body, I know you are across the world for me right now, Rachel, and you just travelled to Australia.

Rachel:            Oh yeah!

Ben:                 So, how that go?

Rachel:            Yeah!  It was actually not so bad this time around ‘cause I flew via Hawaii, and so stayed overnight there, so it’s a little bit luxurious.  And…yeah!  And I actually…

Ben:                 Hmm, at the airport…

Rachel:            No, I didn’t experience any jetlag which was nice.  So, I fell straight back into my normal pants.

Ben:                 Nice!  And what time is it for you there, in Australia?

Rachel:            It’s six.  Six in the morning but it’s bright outside.

Ben:                 6 AM.

Rachel:            It’s actually not a big deal.  It’s you know…

Ben:                 Congratulations!

Rachel:            Life is happening at 6 AM in this country.

Ben:                 Yeah.  You’re remarkably cognizant…

Rachel:            Happy?

Ben:                 … and upbeat instead – it’s 6 AM.  So I actually wanted to talk a little bit about travel and jetlag, and completely random thought by the way as we are podcasting, 5 giant wild turkeys are standing about 5 feet away from me.  They’re literally outside the window of my office.  They just walked up as we started.  So if you hear turkey gobbling… (laughs)

Rachel:            Do you hunt turkeys then?

Ben:                 I actually – I don’t hunt turkeys.  Believe it or not wild turkeys don’t taste that great, and I would never find in my heart to just kill turkeys for the heck of it.  They’ll actually quite beautiful.  If you’ve never seen a wild turkey up close, they’re very beautiful birds.  So, I will be in a couple of weeks, I will be heading down to San Diego to compete in Battle Frogs, San Diego, and then I’ll spend the next day spearfishing down in San Diego, so I will get some fish down there and then I’m heading over to Texas to do some hog hunting and white tail deer hunting.  So, I’d go – I’d been getting white tail, hog and fish this month but no wild turkey.


News Flashes:

Ben:                 So as I promised, Rachel, I did want to bring up the dark side of travel.

Rachel:            I’m interested to hear, and I’m glad you’re doing it.

Ben:                 Yes.  As this article notes the dark side of hypermobility, hypermobility.  There was actually this new study.  And I mentioned it a few podcasts episodes ago about how researchers at the University of Surrey in Britain, and Linnaeus University in Sweden – they published a new study, it’s called a Darker Side of Hypermobility, and it goes into how we tend to glamourize the ability to rack up frequent flyer miles and jet set around the globe, but that there are a variety of physiological and psychological and emotional, and even social deleterious things that happened… (I just said “deleterious” just ‘cause it made me sound smart.  I have no clue if that chromatically fit in to that sense).

Rachel:            (laughs)

Ben:                 But anyways, speeding up aging, increasing the risk of heart attack, increasing the risk of stroke, increase risk of deep vein thrombosis, exposure to germs and radiation at a much higher level than what would be considered like a hormetic effect, right, like not just getting exposed to bacteria here and there, not just getting exposed to sunlight here and there, but significant amounts that create a significant amount of inflammation.  I think that this is an article that anybody who travels much should read, and I’ll link to it over at, which is where you can get the show notes, but what the article gets into is that not only our people found to be more isolated and lonely when they travel more often.  And I know that’s not the case with you ‘cause you’re traveling with your husband to go see family, but that this new type of issue called travel disorientation from changing places, and time zones quite often is creating almost like this new form of metabolic syndrome.  It’s really interesting, and they found that specifically – so if you wanna sit down, if you’re listening in and you wanna sit down and see if you fall into the category of people at high risk…

Rachel:            Yup.

Ben:                 People who fly more than 85,000 miles a year.  And that’s a pretty decent amount, but I do know we have a lot of frequent travelers that listening in, and so I would recommend you go read this article.  I’m not – it’s a very long article, it’s probably gonna take you out say an hour or so to get through, but it goes in to not only some of the darker sides of hypermobility but also what you can do about it.  So…

Rachel:            Right.

Ben:                 I’d recommend that you read that, but speaking what you can do about it, I did wants to bring out one very cool thing.  And that is a brand new airbus – carbon fibre plane that has been designed to beat jetlag.  Have you heard about this?

Rachel:            I haven’t!  No, but it sounds very fancy and very practical.

Ben:                 Okay, so this isn’t available on all our airlines right now.  Right now it is Qatar Airways, Qatar Airways.  And what they’ve done is first of all, they have a system of LED lights inside the cabin that are designed to change color to mimic the sun’s natural glow.  So they program to fit in with body’s natural circadian rhythm no matter what the actual time is.  So basically what happens is you don’t arrive at your final destination feeling that your circadian rhythm is just thrown way out of whack.  So…

Rachel:            Yeah, I never… This is a good question for you.  I never know when I’m on – I was flown a ton of international long haul flights, and I never know when I’m on the plane whether I should be getting myself into the time zone of the country that I’m going to, or just going with my normal circadian rhythm prior?

Ben:                 Yeah.  There are 2 schools of thought: so one school of thought is the whole biohacking school of thought which if all the stars are aligned works quite well.  So that means that you use like any of the methods that I’ve written about over at, like you use like a human charger for in-ear photo therapy or you even use one of these intranasal LED devices, or there’s another device like this glasses called the retimers that you put on that exposed you to enormous amounts of blue light.  And essentially you exposed yourself to these intense sources of light in the ears or in the eyes whenever it is morning in the place that you’re going to.  Okay, when there’s morning in the place that you’re going to.  And you do that for 2 or 3 days prior to flying, and at the same time when it’s evening in the place that you’re going to, you try and limit your exposure to this blue light, and even increase your exposure to for example, red light or infrared light.


                          And by doing that you’re using light to mildly adjust or gently adjust your circadian rhythm to be more used to the time zone that you are going to.

Rachel:            I see.

Ben:                 Now, that is the big biohacker propeller hat version.  And then you get in to real life, and real life kinda goes like this – I’m going to fly to Thailand, or Australia, or wherever, I’ve got a layover in Seoul, and I’ve got a layover in Bangkok, and I’m exhausted, and frankly, I really don’t give a crap whether it’s morning or evening where I’m going.  My single soul purpose is to sleep as much as humanly possible on that plane because otherwise I’m just gonna feel crap anyways, and I often resort to that.  You know, some people say, – I’m gonna stay awake on the plane as long as I can because it’s daytime where I’m going.  I tend to be that person who not only just tries to get as much good quality sleep as possible going into travel, but then I just sleep as much as I can on the plane itself and I’ve found that to work quite well.  So, if this new airbus actually does indeed mimic the sun’s natural glow when I wanna sleep, and I don’t care what time it is where I’m going, I’d still continue to travel with my sleep mask and my earplugs.  There are other things on this plane.  They’ve got a filtering system.  It refreshes the air inside the cabin every 2 or 3 minutes, and it keeps it pressurized at an altitude of about 6,000 feet.  That’s far different than what most other planes will do, but that not only improves comfort but it also minimizes the effects of jet lags.  So basically, less pressure and more refreshing air.  Now, over 50% of the frame of this plane is made from carbon fibre reinforced plastic which reduces the weight of the plane, and reduces the amount of fuel required for long haul flights.  So not only do you feel better when you get to where you’re going, but you can rub yourself on the back for saving the planet just a little bit by choosing the airbus.

Now speaking of planes and exhilarated aging, and all that fun stuff that happens to you when you’re flying, there is a really interesting article that appeared on the website,  And this article was about which part of the human body wears out first, and it’s a very, very fascinating article about how our bodies fall apart as we aged.  And I don’t think that this is necessarily something that you go read to make you depressed, I think it’s rather something that could quite realistically inform you about things you can do to keep your body from falling apart.

Rachel:              Okay.

Ben:                   So, here’s a little bit about what this article gets into it.  It literally goes into the basic order in which organs fail based off of clinical experience.  So, the first organ to typically fail is the joint, and this usually happens around the 50-60 year old age range, and the reason for that is that cartilage has no blood vessels and so because cartilage gets more dehydrated as you aged, joint are the first to fail, and so joint pain is one of the first things that you feel as you get into your 50s and 60s or if you’re like me and you did 10 years of Ironman triathlon and travel around the globe during masochistic feats of endurance, I would say it’s about 34.  Anyways though, and carrying kegs in the forest doesn’t help by the way.

Rachel:              Yeah, I’m sure.

Ben:                   So since we know that one of the primarily reasons that joints start to fail is dehydration, one of the things that you can look into is of course not only real focusing on good quality water and hydration, duh as you aged, but there are also – there are different types of injections and capsules that use things like MSM and hyaluronic acid, and glucosamine chondroitin.  Some of these things that can really help you as you age in terms of your joints access to synovial fluid and water, and a lot of these cartilaginous precursors that help you to maintain the integrity of your cartilage.  So that’s one way that you can combat going after the joint issue, and the other thing is as dumb as this may sound, and as irrelevant as it maybe for people who perhaps eating a plant-based diet, eating joints can help with your joints because when you eat joints you’re getting a lot of this hyaluronic acid, and synovial fluid, and cartilage.  This is the reason like when my wife makes chicken bone both, she leaves – she knows I love to eat the bones so she leaves all the bones for me ‘cause they’re soft and I literally saute them in olive, in sea salt and pepper, and a put a bunch of anti-inflammatories in there like curry and turmeric and…

Rachel:              Yup.  You actually eat bone.

Ben:                   Every week, I kid you not.

Rachel:              What?

Ben:                   I eat a pile of bones, they’re soft, they melts in your mouth, they’re tasty, you suck the marrow out of them.

Rachel:              Is it just chicken bone?


Ben:                   It’s just chicken bone.  Yeah!

Rachel:              They’re the only ones that get soft enough to kind of chew?

Ben:                   Well, you can have bone marrow, right?  You can get like bigger bone like a cattle bone also and have the bone marrow, but as far as the other components aside from marrow, yeah, it works fantastically.  So that’s my little anti-aging tip.

Rachel:              That’s fascinating.

Ben:                   So, the second organ to fail is one that you’ll tend to see the abdominal ultrasound exams according to this article as being something that fails, and that’s the liver.  The liver becomes fatty.  It’s called liver steatosis, and that’s a common medical diagnosis that sets in because after the joints begun to age, and so the liver is the next thing.  And of course there are ways that you can take care of your liver as well. A few very simple examples that I could give you would be, things that support like phase 1 and phase 2 detox pathways in the liver.  So antioxidants are huge for that like your daily cup of coffee or your tea, and a daily glass of a good tonic, you know, red wine, you know, or finer wine, you could do tart cherry juice, you can do cranberry juice, like that.  But then also there are supplements as well.  You could “biohack” this, right?  There’s like glutathione, and acetylcysteine.  Two very, very good components for phase 1 liver detox.  Phase 2 liver detox would be things that wind and remove toxins from the liver.  So this would mean including things like chlorella in your diet.  Chlorella is one thing that can help out quite a bit.  If you do have times of your life when you have to take pharmaceuticals or drink a lot of alcohol, charcoal is another one that can help out with that phase 2 liver detox, that binding and removing of toxicans.  So antioxidants along with binders, two very, very good ways to ensure your liver stays healthy.  And then of course, don’t have too many benders that would probably help, so.

Rachel:              What’s next?

Ben:                   Then we move in to the 60s and the 70s, so this is when the lens gets clouded and the hearing declines.

Rachel:              Uh-hmm.

Ben:                   So, this is really interesting.  I actually have an article at about how to take care of what’s called your vestibular and your visual systems, and vestibular systems would just be your ears and of course the visual would be your eyes.  And a couple of things that I get into: one for the eyes would be zeaxanthin and lutein are 2 very important components for the eyes.  You would find for example high levels of those in kale, and dark leafy greens, as well as eggs, in the same way that we have like I mentioned like joints are good for your joints, eggs…

Rachel:              (laughing)

Ben:                   Don’t laugh because this is actually true.  Like walnuts look like little brains and they’re good for your brain, and avocados (believe it or not) are good for the ovaries and the testicles because they actually do look like a pair of gonads.  Another thing that is good for your eyes is egg, and if you think about it, an egg when you crack it open, looks a little bit like an eye.

Rachel:              Looks like an eye, it does!

Ben:                   Yeah, it’s very interesting.  Nature gives us clues.  Celery by the way is decent for erections.

Rachel:              Oh!  They… (laughs) there you go.

Ben:                   True facts, true facts.

Rachel:              And so, my mom actually has macular degeneration and I just learned about this, and tell some things that would be good for that.

Ben:                   Exactly what I just said.  You know, like…

Rachel:              Right.

Ben:                   And then also omega 3 fatty acids from fish – excellent for the eyes as well.  And there are actually a lot of cultures have myths and legends about how fish or like rubbing fish scales against the eyes can help with blindness and cataract degeneration, and all these type of things.  It’s really more likely the omega 3 fatty acids from fish consumption or from using like a fish oil capsule, but that can help out quite a bit with the vision system.  And then as far as the ears are concerned, people think a lot about taking care of the ears, you know, not going to loud concerts, listening to loud music, and stuff like that, but you can also train these little semi-circular canals in your ears that are full of fluid that respond to how your head moves in space by doing simple balance exercises.  You know, using like balance desks, balance pillows, standing on balance boards, just basically ensuring that you force the balance section of your ears to have to work and that can help quite a bit with your vestibular health as you age.

Rachel:              Interesting!

Ben:                   So there’s that.  Oh we got 2 more things that tend to fail.  As we get up to our 70s, atherosclerosis is one of the primary things that tend to set in.  Now, your heart gets bigger especially your left ventricle as you age, and as that happens the valves become calcified and the collagen within that left ventricle gets cross- linked.  You would think that exercise would keep this from happening, but in fact athletes are at a higher risk of this because they have what’s called athletes heart.  That’s like a bigger left ventricle or bigger wall of tissue next to that left ventricle.  I have this, I’ve gone in for what’s called an ultrasound echocardiogram.


                           You could waltz into just by any heart clinic and either pay them or if you happen to have a really good insurance, you could get this covered by insurance, but you can find out if you have this mild amount of scarring in the heart tissue and this what’s called left ventricular hypertrophy if you’re an athlete especially an endurance athlete.  And it’s not – it’s not necessarily bad thing, it’s kinda like muscle, right, like anybody who uses their muscle – a bodybuilder or weight lifter, athlete, they’re gonna have more muscle damage and little bit more scar tissue than the average person.  It’s just the sign of use.

Rachel:              Right.  Make sense.

Ben:                   And I personally think the pros outweigh the cons when it comes to using your muscle as long as you’re not abusing your muscles.  But atherosclerosis is something that is going to increase – it’s very, very simple test that you can get a blood test although there are variety tests for atherosclerosis, one is just a rise in the levels of blood creatinine.  Creatinine can show that atherosclerosis is an issue.  There’s also calcium score, you can check out the website, is a great website to go to to get a test that will look for the potential onset of atherosclerosis, but one of the main things that you can do about this is to limit the amount of oxidation that occurs to compounds in your bloodstream, and one of the best ways to do that is to keep your blood sugar level.  So, if you’re tracking your blood sugar, you wanna keep your fasted blood sugar below 90, you wanna keep what’s called your hemoglobin A1C which is a three-month snapshot of your blood sugar levels.  You wanna keep that below about 5.5, and if you can really control blood sugar fluctuations, and again I’m not necessarily saying, oh you know, going to ketosis or eat a high fat diet, that’s not necessarily the answer for everyone, and probably next week’s show I’m going to talk quite a bit about how your genes and things like salivary amylase and methylation status, and all these nerdy things can actually affect your blood sugar status based on whether you’d a high carb or high fat diet.  Ultimately, what it comes down to is no matter what diet you eat, you need to be careful with how frequently that diet spikes your blood sugar, and you can use yourself as N=1, go get a little $20 blood glucose monitor from Walgreens or CVS or whatever freakin’ pharmacy they have done there in Australia, and test your blood glucose, so, atherosclerosis.  Then the final thing that fails is the brain, and degenerative brain diseases typically will set in like late 70s, early 80s.  I probably don’t need to kick that horse anymore than I did.  If you wanna know pretty much – I would say, that was probably the most comprehensive episode we’ve ever done on improving cognitive performance and decreasing the rate which the brain degrade was podcast episode 340.

Rachel:              Uhmm, so go check it out.

Ben:                   Yeah, ‘cause we really dove into the brain there.  But yeah, that’s how the human body wears down starting from the joints, to the liver, to the eyes and the ears, and then the heart, and finally the brain.  So now that you know that, you can kinda pull out the stops and preferably do it before those things set in.

Rachel:              Right, yup.  Try not to get depressed by this whole thing.  (laughs)

Ben:                   Get inspired, get inspired to go eat kale and eggs, and you chew on your chicken bones.

The last thing and this is something – I won’t dwell on this one too long but somebody had sent me over a link to a brand new study.  And the headlines go like this – Carbs fuel long runs.  Researcher show fat isn’t necessary for marathons.  Now, this was actually interesting study that just got published in The Journal of Applied Physiology.  I thought it was pretty interesting.  What they did was they took a bunch of folks – this is actually research from Australia, Rachel…

Rachel:              Uhm, you’re welcome!

Ben:                   And they took competitive half-marathoners, and they ran this competitive half-marathoners at a pretty decent phase during their best half-marathon time on the treadmill.  And what they did though was they give them a compound called nicotinic acid, nicotinic acid before they run.  Now, what the researchers proposed nicotinic acid would do was that it would block the body’s ability to be able to access fat, to be able to oxidize fat during exercise.  Apparently nicotinic acid can to a certain extent shutdown fat production or fat utilization, right, fat oxidation.  And what they found was that in these runners, even when they weren’t able to access their fat, it didn’t affect their body’s use of carbohydrates.  Carbohydrates contributed over 90% of the total energy used by these runners whether they blocked access to fat or whether they didn’t blocked access to fat.

Rachel:              Interesting…


Ben:                   And so the proposal was that, and the final statement by the researchers was basically this – blunting the exercise induced increase in free fatty acids via nicotinic acid ingestion did not impair intense running capacity lasting approximately 85 minutes nor alter patterns of substrate oxidation in competitive athletes while there was a small use of fat, the oxidation of carbohydrate-based fuels predominates during half-marathon running.  Now… go ahead.

Rachel:              Tell me what you think about that.

Ben:                   Okay.  I have two quick thoughts on this: the first is – as we spoke about a few weeks ago, they recently did another study in which they took a group of athletes who ate a high carbohydrate diet for 12 months, and compared them with a group of athletes who ate a high fat diet for 12 months.  And what they found was that the substrate oxidation, your choice of what kind of fuel you are going to use during exercise is highly determined by what kind of diet you’ve been following.  And in this study, these runners were just eating a traditional diet, they were not what we would call fat-adapted or metabolically efficient.  I’ve never argued that being fat-adapted or metabolically efficient is going to make you perform better, but I have said that it can help you to perform just as well with better health.  And so, that’s one thing to bear in mind is that these folks had not been trained to utilize fat as fuel.  I would suspect that if you took a fat-adapted athlete, and you gave them something like nicotinic acid to shutdown fat utilization, that they actually would see a slight decrement in their performance because they weren’t able to access their fat stores.

Rachel:              Right.

Ben:                   So that’s one thing.  You’ve always have to look at the subjects use in the studies and what kind of diet they’re eating.  And then the other thing that we should note is that the American Journal of Endocrinology did a study on nicotinic acid a few years ago, and what they found was that – what does indeed shut down the ability to be able to access fat?  There’s what called a rebound overshoot after that happens.  What happens is whole body fat oxidation falls initially when you take in nicotinic acid.  But then it goes right back up and often goes farther back up than it would normally.  So it turns out that their choice in this study to use nicotinic acid to shut down fat oxidation was probably slightly flawed, and in the first place, I think that the body is a little bit too smart to simply completely shut off fat burning pathways using something like nicotinic acid, and my eyebrow is highly raised.  It’s about below my hairline right now – so this particular research article.  But if you are listening in, and you go check it out, I’ll link to it in the show notes over at, if you wanna leave your own comments about that article or maybe this other research articles, you can, and Rachel, where can people get even more goodies every single day or twice a day from the latest research I’ve been delving into?

Rachel:              You can get all that good, fascinating stuff at, or if you wanna follow Ben and see him more of a behind the scenes, go to, and then if you want all that and more, crazy giveaways, lots of fun stuff, go to and follow Ben there.

Special Announcements:

Ben:                 This podcast is brought to you by nuts!

Rachel:            (laughs)

Ben:                 I’ve been wanting to say that for a very long time.


Ben:                 And I finally can.  Yes, more specifically,  Have ever ordered from, Rachel?

Rachel:            I haven’t but it sounds awesome.  I can’t wait to do it.

Ben:                 I personally order from, and before became a sponsor of the Ben Greenfield fitness show, I was already ordering from, and here’s why; I’m a big fan of the selenium and other testosterone supporting compounds that you find in Brazil nuts, and the thing with Brazil nuts is they get moldy very easily, and so they also become rancidized, oxidized very easily, so not only do you want to order Brazil nuts in the shell but when you get them, you want to keep them in the freezer.  So what I do is I order a bag of Brazil nuts from about every month and a half or so, I keep them in the freezer and I put three of those into my smoothie.  I wait until I’ve made my whole smoothie and then for a little bit of extra crunch, I crack open my Brazil nuts and there’s nothing to keep you from eating too many nuts like having to crack them each open lovingly and individually.


Have you had to do this?

Rachel:            I did.  Yeah, I actually spent last night shelling pistachio nuts for salad and it’s not really how I wanna be spending my time. (chuckles)

Ben:                 Yeah, it keeps you from eating, it’s a build-in mechanism to keep you from eating too many of the inflammatory omega 6 fatty acid you can get from eating too many nuts.  However, I am a big fan of nuts in general, and when you get your nuts, you can now get your nuts from  Let’s see if I can break the record for how many times I say the word nuts in a podcast.  So, has not just nuts, they’ve got chia seeds, they’ve got almond flour, they’ve got pretty much any powder you’d ever want to throw into a smoothie, and like I mentioned, I’m a fan of the Brazil nuts in the shell.  So here’s how you can get a bigger discount, a $15 value basically for free when you go to  What you do is you get 4 free samples, and you get to choose from over 50 options when you go to and when you go to, there’s a little picture of a mic, just click on that mic and enter the code “fitness”.  So, you click on the mic, you enter the code “fitness” and Boom!  You get all those samples added into your order.  So my recommendation?  Is just go order some Brazil nuts, add those free 4 samples in, and you not only get your Brazil nuts but you also get plenty of other nuts too.

Rachel:            Win-win.

Ben:                 So, there’s that.  Win-win, and this podcast is also brought to you by Casper, Casper Mattresses.  So if you look at Casper mattresses, if you were to take a Casper mattress and use the scalpel and break your entire mattress apart with your scalpel, you would find multiple layers.  So what they’ve got is the first layer is what’s called open-cell latex foam – that’s a hypoallergenic latex that keeps you cool, so it’s got this cooling feature which is great for helping you get into your deep sleep phases, but also adds a little bit of bouts.  And then below that layer, they’ve got something called hi-density memory foam which is a responsive foaming, kinda molds around your body.  Below that they have what’s called a base-support foam which adds durability and in that entire thing is surrounded by a woven cover that’s made by textiles from both the USA and Belgium, and that woven cover allows the mattress to be breathable, and flexible, and also keeps nasty things like mites from building up inside your mattress.  So it’s really cool.  I love this mattress company, they’re innovative.

Rachel:            That sounds like a beautiful mattress.

Ben:                 Uhm, it is beautiful.  Actually no, it’s not beautiful.  It’s just a white mattress.  It’s no more beautiful than any other mattress but it feels good.

Rachel:            Right.

Ben:                 So you can check it out if you go to and you use this code “Ben”.  And when you go to and use discount code “Ben” you get 50 bucks off the mattress, $50 off a mattress.

Rachel:            Fifty dollars.

Ben:                 That’s a pretty slammin’ deal.  And, I’ve got one other quick thing for ya’ before I jump in to a few of the places where you can go this year.  The last thing I wanted to mention to you is that we have a bunch of these surprise gift boxes that were…

Rachel:            I love this!

Ben:                 Yeah, they’re pretty cool.  You got for…

Rachel:            Yeah, I got one for Christmas!  I did and it was incredible.  Oh my gosh, he was so happy!

Ben:                 Yeah, so the way this works is – I go pick out the latest, greatest cutting-edge, biohacking gear, and nutrients, and smart drugs, and goodies, I hand-pick them, I curate them, I put them in a box and I ship them to your front doorstep, and what it is, it’s about 300 bucks worth of stuff, 300 bucks worth of swag, and you get it for a 150.  So it’s a 50% discount, right now we have 7 of these available.  So they’re very limited quantities but there are 7 available, the way you get them, and I’ll put a link in the show notes – you can just go to, or you can have it over at the show notes at  I’ll put a link to those handy-dandy gift boxes for you right there in the special announcements.

Rachel:            Do it!  Yeah, you won’t regret it.  It’s like surprise after surprise after surprise.  It’s just not one surprise.

Ben:                 Yeah.

Rachel:            It should be triple surprise gift box.

Ben:                 what was Jake’s favorite in his box?

Rachel:            Probably the Tianchi, hmm.

Ben:                 Tianchi.  Yeah, you had a box of Tianchi smart drugs.  Right there is a –  that’s a hundred ______[0:34:33.9]

Rachel:            Yeah exactly.

Ben:                 Yeah, it’s pretty potent stuff.  Okay, so a few other things for those of you who are local in the Spokane and Coeur d’Alene area, you can go to the Spokane Health and Fitness Expo on January 9th.  If you’re listening to this podcast on the week that it comes out because that’s this Saturday, and at 11 AM, I will be speaking about all of the reasons why you don’t lose fat even if your exercise and your nutrition plan is just perfect.


So, that is, come on over and throw a rotten tomatoes at me ‘cause I will be up there.  Another thing is that I’d mentioned a film crew came to my house from NBC, but the month before, a film crew came to my house for 2 whole days and follow me into my kitchen, my living room, not my bathroom unfortunately, my gym which have a bunch of videos and we packaged it all into a 7-day course.  So what it is is it’s a 7-day course that is kind of my brain dump in terms of everything that you can do to balance your hormones, to fix your gut, to enhance cognitive performance, but it’s all videos and there are also PDF to go along with it.  It’s a really cool course and I partnered up with the good folks at Mind Body Green for this course.  Mind – Body – Green.  So you can either go to, and check it out or I’ll put a link in the show notes, but it is – the title is – are you ready for this Rachel? It’s a big one.  The 7-Day Full Body Reboot Program to Get Strong and Fit.

Rachel:              (laughs) You’re a man of many words.

Ben:                   I did not choose that, they did.  It’s a good course and if you just want to kinda like feed through the fire hose and get everything that you need to do for fitness, fat loss, and way beyond that, we go into everything from like enhancing cognitive performance to fixing your gut.  Check that one out, it is again if you’re listening to this podcast on week that it comes out, it’s 30% off until this Saturday, 30% off which means it’s like 45 bucks, something like that, so.

Rachel:              And we’re also posting little teases on facebook everyday this week, so you can check it out there as well.

Ben:                   Yeah, if you wanna go to, you can watch a few of the videos that are coming from that course.  You can see what it’s like.  The last thing that I wanted to mention is this whole PaleoFX thing.  If you wanna go to a conference this year, and you’re trying to figure out which health and fitness conference you wanna prioritize, I’d say this would be the one for you, and they just announced a few new speakers, Dr. Art Devany.  Speaking of being of getting old, Art Devany is the guy who I had on the podcast the couple of years ago.  He’s 70+ years old, he’s a freakin’ Adonis.  He’s actually an economist but he has also written a book called The New Evolution Diet, he’s a nutrition and a fitness guru, and he’s a specimen, an old guy but you would not guess that he’s one of those 70 year old guys who looks like he’s 35.

Rachel:              Wow!

Ben:                   So, he will be speaking there and he’s one of those guys whose words I listen to when he speaks, when he says stuff because I would love to look like him and perform like him when I’m his age.  And I will!

Rachel:              Definitely.  You will!

Ben:                   Mark my words.  I will be toned both with my teeth when I’m his age.  At least that’s my goal.  Few other people who just got announced that Jill Coleman whose a TV fitness personality and entrepreneur, who mostly works with women on achieving healthy lifestyles, she’s gonna be there, Kris Gunnars is another guy they just announced as speaker, he really focuses on like evidence-based nutrition, he’s kind of a nutrition geek, and then there’s a guy named Jonny Bowden who is kind of an expert on healthy foods and healthy pregnancy.  So all those folks along with a ton of different like biohackers, and chefs, and physicians, scientists, entrepreneurs, you name it, they all go to Austin, Texas, May 27th to the 29th and I’ll be part of it, a freakin’, amazing conference that you do not need to be paleo to attend.  So you can check that one at

Rachel:              And then, do you know what you’ll gonna be speaking on yet?

Ben:                   I’ve got a few different topics that I’ll be speaking on.  One will be on natural ways to enhance cognition, and enhance mental performance, I’ll be on a few panels, one panel on stress, one panel on biohacking, so, I will be all over the place there, so.

Rachel:              Awesome!

Ben:                   Definitely be there, come hang out.  It’s a ton of fun, lot of good parties.  So check it out – paleo – actually, so that you get like the early bird discount, and all that good stuff.

Listener Q & A:

Sean:                 Hey Ben, big fan, Sean Gallagher here.  I listen to all your podcast, read all your stuff, got your book, buy your products, recently ran into some health issues, came down with Lyme disease.  And my question is: for anybody out there who’s coming back from a significant injury whether that would be sports related or a health issue like Lyme.


                           What’s the best way to rebuild your fitness and strength, and how to go back tracking that like should I be using heart rate meter, should I be tracking my heart rate variability, should I be jogging, should I be – I’m not really sure what, how should I approach starting to build up that stamina again, and how to track my progress to see if I’m improving.  Thank you very much, Ben.  Talk soon.

Ben:                   Alright, well Sean is one of my buddies.  So Sean, if you’re listening – what’s up man?

Rachel:              Alright.  How can we help him out?

Ben:                   Okay, so first of all Lyme disease.  I am not going to focus on that too much.  I have a pretty comprehensive podcast that I did on that.  Actually with – are you familiar with Dr. Mercola, Rachel?

Rachel:              Yes!  Very, yup!

Ben:                   Okay.  Dr. Mercola’s girlfriend came on the show, Erin Elizabeth, and we had a pretty comprehensive interview on Lyme testing, Lyme protocols, and a lot of really good information on Lyme.  So, I will put a link to that in the show notes because if you really wanna learn about what I would consider to be a global epidemic of Lyme disease that’s kinda fly under the radar, you can go check that out.  So I’ll link to that.  We’re really not gonna focus on Lyme as much as you know, when you’ve had a debilitating chronic disease like this – chronic fatigue, Lyme, things along those lines, what do you do?  Like how do you rebuild your fitness without overstressing your adrenal system without creating some of the autonomic nervous system imbalances that we talked about for example, on last week’s podcast?  What are some of the things that you can do?  So, what I’m gonna go over are some of what I consider to be the biggest wins when it comes to increasing your fitness significantly without actually putting your body under inordinate amounts of stress, or inflammation?

Rachel:              Okay, sounds good.  Sounds fun. Do it!

Ben:                   Alright.  It involves hopping on an airbus flying 2,000 of miles, will exposed to the natural circadian rhythms and gently filtered air coming from the airbus, but there’s more… wait, there’s more.  So first of all, let’s start with strength training, so in folks who’ve had adrenal fatigue or who are perhaps on an off season bouncing back from like a tough season of say like marathoning or triathlons or obstacle racing, or people who are coming back from something like a chronic disease, the best form of strength training that would both build cardio and strength at the same time is super slow strength training.  There is a book that I would recommend that you purchase, or you can kinda sorta do the ‘done for you approach’ if you just Google this guy, or listen to my podcast with him which I’ll link to in the show notes, but it’s called super slow training and the book is called Body By Science.  The author is Doug McGuff, and the training protocol outlined in that book – and Doug is a physician who actually works with quite a few people using this protocol is a lot of very slow time under tension for the muscles hitting a few different muscle group.  So an example of this would be – you’re going to do 4-6 repetitions of one exercise.  Let’s say the chest press, you’re gonna go about 30 seconds up, 30 seconds down.

Rachel:              Wow!  That is super slow.

Ben:                   You’re gonna be in freakin’ zen mode.  The problem with most people is that they don’t feel physically, they feel mentally on this one, right, they just like – they wanna go fast and get it done.

Rachel:              Yeah.

Ben:                   Just listen to an audio book or podcast, or focus on deep knees or breathing and turn it into meditation.  You know, whatever works for you.  There are even this binaural beat apps you know, like sleep stream is one that I use that doesn’t just play apps for sleep or beats for sleep, but it all play beats for like motivation and focus.  Another one would be like the website, which I’ve been using quite a bit for writing.  But the idea is there are specific sounds that you can listen to to improve your focus and your alpha brainwave production if you have difficulty staying focus during a run, or during a workout like this.  I personally when I’m doing a super slow strength training routine, I just put on like a good podcast or a good audio book that makes me not mind that long, long amount of time spend doing one single freakin’ rep.

Rachel:              Right!

Ben:                   Choose one exercise, do 4-6 reps of that exercise, so a lot of time under tension and then that’s it.  You’re done with that exercise just doing one set.  And then you move on to another exercise like let’s say, the seated row and then you repeat with that.  And then you do 2 or 3 more exercises, let’s say the squat, let’s say the overhead press, and let’s say some sort of very slow core movement, right, like a V-up again moving extremely slow and controlled, a lot of tension, a lot fascial tension, muscle tension, you don’t hold your breath, you breathe through the movement preferably with something like deep nasal breathing, and that’s the work – it takes 12-20 minutes, and it’s incredibly effective but it’s also low intensity – Doug McGuff himself, the doctor has been doing this for many years and he stays fit without getting injured at all.


If you’re gonna do it like a triathlon, or a marathon or something like that, this is not going to do it all for you, right?  Like you’ll still gonna have to get out and do some power lifting, and throw some sandbags around, you know, like pound the pavement, but for just basic strength and the thing that also happens is you get an increase in what is called your peripheral blood pressure which is actually the type of blood pressure that you want to increase during a workout without a simultaneous increase in what’s called your central blood pressure which would be the blood pressure during a workout that you wouldn’t want to rise.  So there’s some very cool cardiovascular training effects as well with this form of training, but you would do that 2-3 times per week, 2-3 times per week.  Super slow strength.

Rachel:              Yeah.  It’s nothing crazy.  So, 4-6 different exercises, 4-6 reps, 2-3 times a week.

Ben:                   Uh-hmm.  Yup exactly.  Just one set per exercise but the actual reps for that set are very slow and controlled.  The next thing would be increasing your nitric oxide production, your inspiratory and expiratory muscle strength, and your oxygen capacity by using hypoxic methods which you could do at the same time as some of these other things that I’m talking about.  This would be, yes, the use of something that many people considered to be a scam, but that I think works quite well, and that’s one of these like elevation training mask, and it just makes it harder to breathe and in addition to carbon that you exhale, builds up in the space around that mask and so you’re actually breathing in slightly more carbon dioxide than you would normally which allows your body to have better cardiovascular adaptations during a workout.  It makes your body have to buffer acids a little bit more during the workout, and so something – let’s say you’re doing a super slow strength training routine, or in my case, for example, yesterday, I did a workout that was comprised of – primarily kettlebell swing.  I did kettlebell swings, also had kettlebell deadlifts, is exactly like the youtube video I just posted to youtube if folks wanna go check it out and go to, I’m not wearing the mask in that video because you wouldn’t be able to freakin’ hear me if I was, supposed to be all muffled and band-like, but it’s basically kettlebell swings, kettlebell deadlifts, kettlebell squats, and kettlebell clean and press.

Rachel:              Can you try it without the mask and achieve hypoxic breathing in a different way?

Ben:                   Yeah you could do nasal breathing, that’ll do a little bit but the mask is what really… and by the way this Saturday’s podcast for those of you listening in, I’ve a very good discussion with Brian Mackenzie about this whole idea and how the training mask actually works.

Rachel:              Awesome!

Ben:                   It’s not a complete scammer, some people do blow out of proportions, it’s not gonna simulate altitude, it’s not gonna get you ready for some you know, climb up Mt. Everest, but it is good at making you work a little bit harder without creating a huge amount of additional stress on the body, right?  So, if I can do a series of kettlebell swings, and get my heart rate just as high as say if I were to just sprint up a hill, it’s gonna be a little less impact than sprint to keep that hill, and you could use a training mask while you’re doing – and I do recommend this something like the super slow strength protocol that I just talked about.  In addition, a couple other ways that you can train with hypoxia or hyperoxia which is increase in lots of oxygen, one will be keep a powerlung in your car, I’ve talked about this before recently on a podcast, and this is just a little device that restrict oxygen or doesn’t restrict oxygen, it makes out harder to breathe out and harder to breathe in.  And it’s basically a resisted form of breath work.  You could keep this in your car whenever you’re driving around, or if you’re sitting around, watching a movie or whatever, you can train your muscles using that.  And then the other – and by the way, the way you do that is for example, 10 breaths of 3 seconds in, 3 seconds out, and then you pause for a little while, you know, you take a 1 minute breather and then you do it again.  And you would treat that just like a strength training workout for your lungs.  The final thing that I would mention to you is recently a physician published an article at bengreenfieldfitness about how to biohack with hyperoxia, how to use what’s called exercise with oxygen therapy.  This involves spending a little bit more money.  You’d need a device that will cost anywhere from about $1,000 to 1,500 and it’s literally a machine that concentrates the amount of oxygen that you breathe so you get hyperoxia, and there’s some very interesting study that show when you do bouts of hyperoxia followed by hypoxia, meaning low amounts of oxygen, you can actually get a significant improvement in cardiovascular fitness very quickly for working under a lower workload.


                           I realized that’s a little bit more of an extreme biohack, this would be perhaps the professional athlete who has a competition coming up, who has been injured, who needs to bounce back as quickly as possible, but not only as that a very good method of training it’s called EWOT.  If you wanna look into it, or if you wanna go read the article that the physician wrote.  I’ll link to it in the show notes, but I also have a follow-up article being published on bengreenfieldfitness by him in a couple of weeks which goes into how to like make your own hyperoxia device that you can, for example, put next to your desk while you’re working, and you can just while you’re working do 5 minutes of concentrated oxygen, take the mask off, breathe normally for 5 minutes, put it back on, do 5 minutes of concentrated oxygen or you could do this while riding a bike, so very interesting.

Rachel:              Wow, it sounds fascinating.  DIY masks?  Wow!

Ben:                   It’s a little more techy but I know some of our listeners like to kinda take a deep dive.  So, few other things I’d recommend: one would be hyperthermia, hyerpthermia.  Just this Monday I published a post that I’d recommend anyone who’s into hyperthermia which would be sauna exercise and heat exercise, go read.  And it goes into the exact sauna workout that I sweat through every single morning.  Did you see this one, Rachel?

Rachel:              I did, yeah.   Juicy.

Ben:                   Yeah, it’s juicy.  I’m not gonna give it all away, gotta go read it.  But when you look at sauna, there are a lot of interesting things that it can do.  So not only does it increase the growth of new brain cells, but it also causes your body to release erythropoietin which vastly improves your ability to create new red blood cells.  It causes the induction of heat shock proteins which not only improves longevity but also increases your stress resilience.  You get a significant increase in growth hormone along with the small increase in testosterone, you get a maintenance of lean muscle mass not necessarily growth on muscle mass, but a maintenance of lean muscle mass due to the production of these heat shock proteins, you get a release of prolactin hormone which makes your brain function faster by enhancing myelination and repairing damaged neurons which is important because a lot of neural tissue can becomes damaged during something like Lyme disease for example.  You get an improvement in fat oxidation, of course you get a little bit of detoxification of heavy metals and environmental chemicals through the skin.  There’s a lot of really cool things that happen but what I like most about it is it’s very passive exercise, right, it’s – you don’t finish up a sauna session feeling as though your muscles are all inflamed and swollen, and beat up and torn.

Rachel:              Yes.

Ben:                   And so I would recommend – and you could do this you know, I do sauna now, almost 7 days a week unless I’m traveling.  I’m in my sauna everyday, every morning.  So you can get in there along with these other protocols I recommended as much as everyday.  And if you finish up with a cold shower to improve the production of nitric oxide, all the better, so.

Rachel:              Uhm, you can’t really OD on heat, is that what you’re saying?

Ben:                   You can, but if you’re doing a sauna session everyday for 20-30 minutes, you’re not staying there for 60 minutes, you’re not like wheeling your stationary bike in there to exercise while you’re in there.  You can actually get quite a good improvement in fitness, again without stressing out your body or your nervous system.  So I’m a big fan of sauna, and again like each of these things by themselves is not incredibly significant but once we string all these stuff together, and I’ll talk about a way that you can do that in a second.  Once you string all these stuff together becomes pretty significant.  Cold which I just hint today is another way to increase nitric oxide, increase production of adiponectin which helps your body tap in to fat stores and adipose tissue, increase the production once again of brain derived neurotropic factor, increase the production proteins very much like this heat shock proteins that increase stress resilience.  So we’re talking about for example, cold shower in the morning, cold shower in the evening, and a couple of times a week some kind of a cold soak where you’re getting into like a cold bath or a cool river for 15-30 minutes, and basically breathing through that kinda like the guy interviewed Wim Hof, and learning to improve your fitness and your cardiovascular efficiency via the use of cold.  And the benefit is a lot of people when they’re trying to become fit again, or also trying to lose a little of fat they may have gotten while sitting around, and so this will help with the mobilization of fats out of adipose tissue and also the conversion of adipose tissue in the more metabolically active brown fat, so.


Rachel:              Interesting.

Ben:                   One of the thing would be electrostim, electroslim would be the use of for example, there’s one unit called the Compex – c-o-m-p-e-x, and that is a form of electrostimulation that unlike – there’s another popular device called the marcpro, the marcpro is very good for recovery, but this one called the compex is very good for causing your muscles to contract in a much more difficult manner.  Like it will simulate a several hundred pound squat if you were to attach the electro to your quads, and your hamstrings for example, without actually creating the same amount of potential joint wear and tear or strain that your body might not be prepared for if you’d actually hop under a barbell, if you would just trying to rebuild your fitness.  And they come pre-program, right, they’ve got like strength session, power session, and endurance session, and you simply attach the electrodes to the muscles for which you want to do that session, and so for example, you could do once a week an electrostim session on the quads and the hamstrings.  This sessions last 20-30 minutes, and then once per week you could do a session on say another lagging body part like let’s say the biceps and the triceps, and again you don’t finish the session kinda like the sauna, you don’t finish the session feeling as though you’ve lifted weights or done like a body-building type of routine, but you still do get those muscular-skeletal adaptations, so…

Rachel:              Very cool!

Ben:                   That is another option.  Now, as far as putting these all together, you know, if you step back and look at it, you’re cold shower morning and evening along with the cold soak, let say, once a week.  Sauna session; 4-5 days a week, super slow strength training session; twice a week along with the use of training mask during that session, and then the use of a powerlung if you’re driving around in your car and stuff like that.  And then the only thing that’s missing would be – you eventually gonna want to start to include some of the things that might be a little bit more stressful to your nervous system initially, but that you’re eventually going to want to include, and that would be like higher intensity interval training, right?  Like bicycle intervals or elliptical intervals or you know, kettlebell swing intervals and I have a lot of instructions for that and exactly how to do it in an article that I wrote over at called How to Look Good Naked and Live A long Time.  And in that article which – I’m actually quite proud of it, it’s a little bit long article, but it delves into all of the researches out there that tell you exactly how you can maintain the density of your mitochondria, your muscular endurance, your VO2 max, and then also your metabolic efficiency, and your blood control.  And it’s just a simple series of cardiovascular workouts that you do each week; some long, some short.  If you want to… oh, go ahead.

Rachel:              I actually do this one, and one thing I noticed that’s in the plan that’s not something that we’ve covered is fasted exercise in zones 1 and 2, is that something you would…

Ben:                   Yeah, it is.  And I don’t consider fasted morning exercise which I’m a big fan of to necessarily be a good way to improve fitness as much as to activate the parasympathetic nervous system like in the morning.  In a way that I talk about, I get into the science of that recent article that I wrote about saunas, so go read that.  We’ll put a link to that and this look good naked, live a long time article if you go to, I’ll link to all these in a show notes but one thing, Rachel, is that you were to do like a morning sauna session, it would count for that morning fat burning session.

Rachel:              I see.  Yup!

Ben:                   So, I would after about 4 weeks or so begin to implement some of the intervals that I have in that particular program and article  – the look good naked, longevity program.  I love that title by the way, I put that myself.  Anyways though, the last thing I would mention is how to track recovery.  Best way to tract, probably you’d expect me to say this would be, what I talked about when we talked about the nervous system last week, and that would be a very simple morning measurement for about 5 minutes of your heart rate variability, and that will show you how well your nervous system is coming along because frankly, yes, you can take front and side photos, and you can do body fat measurements, and you can even for example do a weekly test where you’re gonna ride a bicycle for 20 minutes and see if your power is going up or see if your heart rate is lower for the same RPM and the same power for that bike ride.


                           But most of that stuff is pretty intuitive, most of us know or can find out pretty easily for losing body fat or for getting more fit.  That’s not rocket science, the hard part that a lot of people don’t pay attention to is if their nervous system is becoming more robust, and I would say that that’s more relevant to bouncing back from something like Lyme disease, then how hard you can ride a bike.  And so I would say, that the main thing you’re gonna want to look at specifically is when you do a morning heart rate variability test, look at the numbers that are your power numbers, power numbers.  So there will be a power for your low frequency, which is your sympathetic nervous system, and a power for your high frequency which is your parasympathetic nervous system, and ideally both of those power frequencies are above 1,000 and steadily climbing.  Like I know I’m very fit, very recovered, and in a really good place both mentally and physically, if my numbers are 8,000 or higher, and I know for me personally I’m pretty beat up if they fall below 2,000.  That’s a sign for me to look into taking a rest day or go back and see what I did the day before that might stress me out so much.  So that’s my recommendation for tracking, you know, the app that I use for that is called NatureBeat.  We’ll put a link to that in the show notes along with all these other stuff.  But those would be some of my primary recommendations.  That make sense?

Rachel:              Yes!  So we’ve got cold thermogenesis, electrostimulation, all brought together in the Look Good Naked and Live a Long Time blog post, correct?

Ben:                   Ah more than that; hypoxia, hyperthermia like sauna stuff, and then the heart rate variability tracking but yeah, there’s one other thing that I wanted to mention, one of the podcast that might be worth looking into, and it’s called Why Strong People are Harder to Kill.  It is a podcast episode that I did with Keith Norris in which we talked about this machine called the ARXFit machines.  If you do a search for the name of your town and the word ARXFit, that’s ARXFit or just go listen to that podcast.  These machines are expensive to purchase for home use, they’re a few thousand dollars but a lot of times some cities will have this machines available for use and it’s highly efficient exercise.  It’s a simple like 10 minute protocol that you go through with this ARXFit machine, and again for those of you who really wanna get into the techie side of things and hack as much efficiency into your workout as possible.  That’s worth looking into and listening to as well is that podcast hat I did with Keith Norris on getting strong – Why Strong People are Harder to Kill and these ARXFit machines.

Dundee:            Hi Ben, huge fan of the podcast, been a fan for years, I’m a member of the Inner Circle, great information – keep doin’ a great job that you guys doin’.  I’m calling from Trinidad and Tobago, the twin island Republic in the Caribbean, and recently I’ve been seeing all the articles last of which was an article on slow twitch that is condemning the practice of doin’ laps in the swimming pool while holding your breath.  I mean, this is something I’ve heard you mentioned on numerous occasions and something that I know you practice usually at the end of your swim sets, and it’s something that I’ve recently introduced.  So I’m a bit concern by all of these ‘bad press’ I would say about that particular practice and this article that highlighted dangers of shallow water blackouts.  So, really appreciate if you could shed some light on this.  And thanks again, keep doin’ the fantastic job that you’re doin’.

Ben:                   So just for you the listeners now, we’re gonna open the kimono here.  Since our last question, Rachel went and poured herself which sounded like a copious amount of coffee.  Are you doin’ okay over there, Rachel?

Rachel:              Ahh, it’s slight struggle street in the Southern Hemisphere, but I’m doin’ alright.

Ben:                   You know, one of my favorite Christmas gifts that I got was a mug, and it says ‘coffee makes me poop’.  Giant brown mug.

Rachel:              (laughs)  Oh my god!  Coffee makes me poop too!

Ben:                   Yeah!  That’s the one of the best ways really.  Any hot beverage in the morning will help out a little bit, or if you’re not a fan of coffee, not a fan of hot beverages, or not a fan of tea, you had there a little thing that will make you poo in the morning, is you just drink a glass of water with a little bit of lemon juice and about a teaspoon of baking soda.  And holy cow!  Wait about a half hour and if you have trouble pooing in the morning, that will get things going.

Rachel:              Wow, thanks!

Ben:                   Sometimes too much.  Yeah, you may wanna go in the bathroom with some baby wipes if you try that technique.  Just saying.

Rachel:              Weird just getting’ gross by the second.


Ben:                   We digress because we’re actually talking about here of course, is Dundee’s question on underwater breath holding.  And this actually was pretty sad.  It was something that happened this past week to a Dartmouth College swimmer, and this guy had been trying to complete four laps underwater without surfacing to breathe.  So that would be – he is swimming at 25 pools, so 100 meters underwater, 100 yards underwater.  And apparently in this particular case, he actually was somewhat fatigue.  He’d swam about 4,000 yards which is not an ungodly amount for collegiate swimmer, but it’s enough to fatigue you a little bit, and then he tried to complete his hundred, his four laps across the pool without surfacing for air, and he had – he had what is called shallow water blackout.  He died from this, and there’s been a lot of kinda controversy around the internet because this reflects quite a bit on a lot of these techniques that folks are using these days.  There’s everyone from Wim Hof who has his book, Becoming The Iceman, in which he describes turning yourself into a beast by going underneath the ice and swimming back and forth underneath the ice.  I’ve personally have done the whole freediving thing and experimented with breath holding, and apnea quite a bit, and so, this is certainly relevant.  And just like I mentioned, I am of a proponent of some of the benefits of hypoxia.  The big dump in nitric oxide, the activation of your mammalian dive reflex when you hold breath under water, the improvement in focus and the activation of your parasympathetic nervous system when you do the stuff right, but there are some definite issues with it, so.

Rachel:              That sounds very high risk.

Ben:                   It is.  And there are few ways that that this actually happens.  So I wanna tell how you can avoid this if you happen to be one of these people who wants to tap into hypoxia, underwater breath holding, Wim Hof style training without necessarily risking this type of issue.  So, first of all, the way that this happens is actually 4 different ways that you can get blackout from oxygen deprivation even if you’re swimming in shallow water.  Like, even if you’re not going deep, deep down in spearfishing or something like that.  One would be low CO2 before you begin your breath hold.  So this happens with hyperventilation, you know, just basically what you see a lot of people doing before they hold their breath, they (hard breathing sounds) so, when they do that, they’re blowing off a bunch of CO2.  Anytime you’re exhaling more than you inhale ‘cause when you exhale, you breath off carbon dioxide, anytime you’re exhaling more than you inhale, you breathing off CO2.  Now, CO2 is the gas that if in your blood triggers your desire to breathe.  So as we we’d make logical sense, if you blow off a whole bunch of CO2 before you go under, yes, you may increase the amount the amount of oxygen, but you also decrease the one gas that’s going to tell you to breathe when you’re supposed to breathe.  The gas is like your warning signs like your canary in the mind, you get rid of all that, and that can become dangerous because all of a sudden you may blackout before you realize that you should have taken a breath.  So, that’s one thing that can causes hyperventation.

Rachel:              So do you think that’s what happened to the swimmer, is that we was low in CO2?

Ben:                   No, I think he was probably low on O2 because you can actually lower your oxygen levels as well.  And this happens more though repetitive breath holding, or by doing breath holding after exertion and exhaustion.  So you’ll see swimmers do this sometimes like hypoxic sets where you hold your breath, you swim like a 25 underwater, and then turn around and sprint to 25 back.  And when you’re doing repetitive efforts like that, you’re oxygen levels tend to drop lower and lower.  You’re not necessarily blowing off a lot of CO2 but you simply are experiencing low levels of CO2 and you eventually get to the point where you blackout because you’re combining hypoxia with intense exercise.  So the combination with hypoxia with exercise is another way that shallow water blackout can occur.

Rachel:              So how can we mitigate against this?

Ben:                   Well, I’m not done yet.

Rachel:              Oh, god!

Ben:                   There are couple of other things that can cause.  I’m not done yet.  Wait, there’s more.  So another thing that can cause this is maybe you’re not hyperventilating, and you’re not exhausted but – and this is something I even had when I took the freediving course before that.  Some of it can be simply competition and peer pressure, and having a certain number or a certain goal that you’re going for your breath hold.


                           And you get blackout that occurs when that critical level of hypoxia is reached simply because you are ignoring the urge to breathe not because you necessarily have low levels of CO2, but because you are competing with someone else or competing with the clock for certain breath hold time.  So that’s another thing that can happen.  And then the last thing is simply a combination of many of the elements of – which often happens.  Someone will be doing repetitive breath holds while tire, hyperventilating, and then also competing with someone else or competing with the clock.  And so, what happens is you eventually get to the point where you ran out of oxygen and you get what’s called shallow water blackout which is a result of severe lack of oxygen to the brain because when oxygen falls to critical levels blackout happens instantaneously, frequently without warning, and the issue is not necessarily that is the lack of oxygen that kills you, it’s that you have this brief blackout, and what happens is you blackout and for a little bit your larynx kinda goes into spasm and keeps you from like taking in water into your lungs, and that spasm goes away while your head is still submerge in water, you breathe in a bunch of water, and then you have that that fatality occur.  Know how it happens is really basically advising you on how you can avoid it.  So, one thing is that you’d never want to practice prolonged breath holding unless you were in an extremely controlled environment.  For example, when I took the freediving course a few weeks, most of the static apnea training that we did and again, we’re static, we weren’t swimming back and forth, we’re just holding our breath statically.  Each of us had a partner.  Each of us were giving a signal every 15 seconds to show that we were still cognizant.  We had an instructor right there with us, and we were right on the pool edge.  Even if someone had blackout, if would have been known easily, you know, within 15 seconds.  So that’s one thing.  Another thing in addition to being supervised in that type of environment is if you’re going into a swimming pool and you’re doing like breath hold in the swimming pool, I have 2 recommendations for that because I do breath holds in the swimming pool.  I’m not gonna say that I never go alone by myself and do breath holds but a) I always stop when I’m at about 80% of what I think is my longest breath hold time.  So I never push myself to the point where I’m sucking oxygen because believe it not just by swimming at 25 hypoxic which is simple for a lot of people, you get a lot of the benefits of hypoxia without actually subjecting yourself to the risk of shallow water blackout.  And you know, so for example, I’ll go out and I’ll do 10 repeats while I’m swimming 25 meters, hypoxic but I’m always in control.  I’m never going anywhere close to, you know, so we were talking just like 30 seconds of holding your breath.

Rachel:              Right, yup.

Ben:                   But you still get a lot of those benefits, and interesting here’s some funny – one of the ways that you know that you’re getting some of the benefits from hypoxia, and that nitric oxide release?  Is if as you’re doing those repeats you have to pee.  That’s a good sign.  If you feel that urge to pee, that’s actually a dump of nitric oxide.  FYI.

Rachel:              Hah!  Good to know.

Ben:                   And I also assumed that there is no lifeguard.  Even if there is a lifeguard, I go into the pool swimming that that lifeguard is completely incompetent and is not gonna notice it if I have some kind of a blackout, or if I do something stupid in the pool.  I just don’t trust a lifeguard ever.  As dumb as it sounds, I assumed that – okay, let’s pretend I’m completely by myself and no one is here to save me.  I need to swim like that, so.

Rachel:              Yup.

Ben:                   That’s another thing that I’ll do.  Another one that you wanna be careful with is repetitive breath holding, repetitive breath holding were you’re doing like long underwater repeats over and over and over again to exhaustion.  Again, if they’re short breath holds it’s probably not a big of an issue, but long breath holds to exhaustion is a big issue.  So, one breath hold, one time, one lap and then you recover, and you never want to combine your heart racing with this hypoxia.  And then the other thing is whenever possible, and if you are going to do any type of hypoxic training, you do it with a buddy.  Now, you should also know that I have – the next 2 podcasts – so, the next podcast you’re gonna hear is with Brian Mackenzie, that’s coming out this Saturday in which we talk about performance breath work, and all his little breathing hacks to improve oxygen capacity and activate your nervous system with breath work.  And then the podcast the following week is with Ted Hardy, who taught the free-diving course that I took and we take a deep, deep dive into…(pun intended)

Rachel:              Pun intended…

Ben:                   … into this whole shallow water blackout and what causes it and how to prevent it.


                           But the very last thing that I wanted to mention was I know that in my response to Sean, I talked about the training mask, the powerlung, and all these things that can build up your inspiratory and expiratory muscles.  Well, if you are one of those people whose folks hold breath time, please know that it is a little bit of a catch 22 because as you increase the muscle around your ribcage, you can actually inhibit the ability of – you can inhibit your ability to hold your breath for a long period of time because you can build up too much muscle around your lungs and your diaphragm.  So, you should know that – you know, you can’t have your cake and eat it too, and that’s why a lot of free divers that you see are like, you know, kinda skinny, thin people, they’re not doin’ it.  A ton of core muscle training because they don’t wanna build up those muscles too big.  I’m a fan of, you know, I’m happy to be like for me, I’m almost up to a 5 minute breath hold.

Rachel:              Wow… solid active fan!

Ben:                   I’m totally happy with the 5 – you know, I take a 5 minute breath hold, yeah, and then I also wanna have those inspiratory and expiratory muscles to help me with things like you know, my obstacle course racing and stuff like that.  So….

Rachel:              Yup.  Question…

Ben:                   Anyways, we have a lot more podcast coming out on this stuff, and it’s relevant even if you’re not into like diving and spearfishing and pulling your breath, for those of you listening in.

Rachel:              Ben, so what is the upside to actually doing this breath holds underwater?  And is that more important?  Does that kinda make up for the risks?

Ben:                   When you do hypoxia there’s a few things that happen.  For example, one study that I’ve talked about on the podcast before was the use of restricted breathing in swimmers, and the significant 8% improvement in running efficiency and economy for hypoxic work in the pool.  So if you are a runner or a cyclist, it can help out with that activation of the mammalian dive reflex, more efficient use of oxygen, and an increase in capillary density, delivery of oxygen via the formation of new blood vessels to all these different regions.  I like the fact that it helps me quite a bit with relaxation and with focus.  There’s nothing like you focus like just kinda swimming by yourself, underwater back and forth…

Rachel:              On one breath…uhmm.

Ben:                   Yeah.  But again, I don’t do it to the point where I’m gasping for breath when I come up.  Everything I do easily, I would say no one near the 80% the breath hold mark, and again, like I can hold my breath just sitting there for almost 5 minutes, any of these like static breath hold are not static, moving breath holds that I do underwater, we’re talking like 30 seconds, alright, it’s not long periods of time.

Rachel:              Okay.  So you think it is worth the risk if you’re doing it in a controlled environment and you’re doing it smart?

Ben:                   I think smart, hypoxic training is a cool little skill to throw into your fitness protocol.  Yeah, I just think you need to take into account everything that I just said, and if you’re serious about it, you need to listen in to the next 2 podcasts that we have.

Darrell:             Hi Ben!  Hi Rachel!  It’s Darrell here from Dublin, Australia.  I’ve got a pretty stunning question for you today.  First of all I like to give you some feedback on the show.  I absolutely love it, me and my bestmate listen to you all the time, and while I’m driving in the car or whether driving to work, to training, sitting in traffic, I think it’s fantastic and the information you share is very, very beneficial for my training and nutritional are of help, which brings me to my question:  Ben, I’ve been training myself for a long time, talking 10 years plus at a very, very high intensity, playing sports such as swimming, soccer, cross- country running, and even body building, some of these extent as well for the past 3 years.  I have noticed in the past 3 years that – growing up I have – I grew up with a massive, massive afro.  Like I have huge amount of hair on my head, and the past 3 years I have found that as my training intensity and load has increased, my hair has slowly diminished, and I’m finding myself with a little bit of receding hairline.  I have a personal thoughts on it from a health perspective and maybe perhaps it’s got to do with the amount of stress that I’m putting my body under and maybe the lack of recovery, maybe due to some sort of nutrient deficiency, and therefore the areas in my body that coping it, structure areas such as skin, fingernails, or even hair.  What I wanted to see are what your thoughts on these matter and I think it’s quite a stunning question, so I want to hear what you have to share.  Really love the show, keep doing what you’re doing, and I keeping it here for your response.

Ben:                   We have a very comprehensive episode on hair loss.  If you go back and you listen to episode #249, we did quite a bit on hair loss on that episode.  I’m going to link to that episode because it basically covers a few things.


                           There have been some new developments since then, which I’m going to get into here in just a moment, but just to briefly go over some of the recommendations from that episode to give you the cliff notes.  One of the first things that is associated with hair loss is a loss of fat-soluble vitamins.  So I’m a big fan of vitamin D supplementation to help out when you have something like a receding hairline.  Now, the latest research on vitamin D that came out this month shows that it’s not gonna be the same for everyone.  What’s specifically they found was that for people who are of a normal weight, what you typically need is ride around 3,000 IU of vitamin D per day, it’s 3,000.  However, if you are overweight, vitamin D needs to go up to about 4500 IU per day.  Some of the inflammation, and some of the increased metabolic requirements of being overweight increases your need for vitamin D.  And then finally if you are obese, and this is very interesting, you need to go up to about 7,000 IU of vitamin D.  Vitamin D deficiencies are quite common in the case of obesity, and so there’s kinda sliding scale for vitamin D intake, and I will link to this research in the show notes, but basically it’s going to change and especially base on your body weight.  So, 3,000 if you’re a normal weight, 4,500 if you’re overweight, and then 7,000+ if you are obese.  So, very interesting in terms of vitamin D intake, and then the other thing that’s very important is I never recommend using vitamin D in the absence of vitamin K, so that you avoid some of the potential risk for calcification if you take too much vitamin D, so.  Vitamin D would be one.  The other things that we’re gonna run in that podcast were fish oil – about 2-5 grams of fish oil per day.  That’s another one – an omega 3 fatty acid deficiency can also contribute to hair loss.  And don’t worry, this isn’t gonna be all about supplements, but I’m just gonna name off a few of the supplements that we went over in that particular episode.  Magnesium is another one – deficiency of magnesium has been associated with hair loss.  And about 500 up to basically – however much it’ll give you lose stool, uses gonna top out on a thousand milligrams of magnesium per day before you start to get a diaper moment, but magnesium is another one.  Brazil nuts – hooray for!  Brazil nuts excellent because selenium deficiency can also be associated with hair loss.  You can go to using your discount code, and I’ve already forgotten, I believe it was “fitness”, am I correct?

Rachel:              It was “fitness” yeah.

Ben:                   Fitness!  You go to, use code “fitness”, get yourself some Brazil nuts.  Another one would be zinc, and when you take zinc a lot of times it’s best combined with something that will reduce the formation of what’s called DHT.  Testosterone can get converted into a very, very active form of testosterone called – I believe, DHT is dihydrotestosterone.  Don’t quote me on that because I’m havin’ a total brain fog right now, but I believe it’s dihydrotestosterone.  Anyways, DHT is the abbreviation, but what is called an alpha reductase inhibitor can inhibit some of the conversion of testosterone into that form of DHT because high levels of DHT can cause hair loss.  That is the reason that we have that cultural icon of someone who is like bald, and full of like libido and is a complete badass because of their huge amounts DHT.  You got like ‘the rock’ right?

Rachel:              Interesting!

Ben:                   So there’s certainly something to be said for baldness, and high levels of testosterone ‘cause a lot of that testosterone can get converted into DHT.  Now, in some cases it can be things other than – unhealthy lifestyle, toxins, too much stress, which will talk about in a second.  There’s a few different reasons that you can have a receding hairline, but ultimately if you tend to be like a big mesomorphic guy who produces a lot of testosterone, you’re losing your hair, in many cases that just goes with the territory and I would – you know, if I had that issue, I’d be more than happy to just be bald and have good libido… so banging a lot… so the others that.  And then finally in that episode we went into some herbal compounds that may help, and I have a whole list in the show notes – but it’s like tribulus, and maca, and nettle and fenugreek.  For those of you who wanna like swallow the 10 pills every morning to stop the hair loss, we’ve got it all there for ya’.  I know it’s a lot of stuff, but I’ll put that in the show notes along with the link to episode 249, where I’m going to more the logic behind each of those.  But today, I wanna just cover a little bit of extra research that I didn’t talk about in that particular podcast episode.  So for example, when we look at the pattern of hair loss, the pattern of hair loss can give us clues.


So when they’ve looked at hair loss, what they’ve found is for example, if your hair loss is patchy, right, you’re losing hair in patches, in different sections.  Typically that is because of the following: a cortisol imbalance, a deficiency in B vitamins, or deficiency in zinc, or finally a build-up of heavy metals.  So if you look at your hair and it’s patchy, the hair loss is patchy, it can be  a cortisol imbalance, a deficiency in B vitamins, or deficiency in zinc, or heavy metal exposure.  So, that’s one issue.  If your hair is simply thinning, very thin hair and a lot of times it’s a little bit dry as well, in most cases that comes down to thyroid.  So you can get a thyroid panel and you can look at whether you’ve got enough thyroid precursors like selenium and iodine, whether you’re eating things that might cause damage to the thyroid, like gluten, stress can aggravate the thyroid, inadequate intake of carbohydrates can aggravate thyroid but thinning hair and dry hair would be thyroid.  Now, if it’s just the top of your head, it’s just the top of your head only, and a lot of times that’s what you’ll see with receding hairline, typically it’s hormonal imbalance.  It’s testosterone, or cortisol in men, typically progesterone or estrogen in women, and I’ll talk to you in a little bit about how we can test for this, but top of the head only is typically hormonal issue.  And if it’s total body hair loss, right, like you’re full of hair like falling up of your arms and your legs, and also your head, that’s typically related to two things: either DHEA deficiencies – DHEA deficiencies which is another kinda hormones/hormonal precursor ,and then blood sugar disregulation like rapidly fluctuating blood sugar levels.  So, that’s what you would get if you had total body hair loss.  And then finally just balding all over the place, like full head balding.  In many cases, that actually can be either poor circulation to the head, or can be a deficiency in some of these things that are associated with connective tissue.  Things like silicon and essential fatty acids, and zinc is actually up there to.  So obviously, you may want to actually test for some of these stuff, and find out.  But basically there are labs that can test for these stuff.  So for example when we talk about iron deficiency, when iron deps, hair loss can occur.  So you can get an iron test and a ferritin test, and that would be one test to look at.  There’s a thyroid test that I talked about and if you were to test your thyroid, you don’t just want to test TSH which is what most docs will test for, but you also wanna look into free T3, free T4, what’s called antithyroglobulin and reverse T3.  I will put a link to all these different tests in the show notes because you can run any of these by themselves or as a full panel.  Another one that you can look at would be just a basic hormonal panel to look at testosterone, free testosterone, the other one I talked about dihydrotestosterone, I remember the name it’s not dihydroxy, dihydrotestosterone.  And that’s the most associated with male pattern baldness like I mentioned.  That can also be associated with women’s hair loss but like a hormonal panel in which you’re looking at those specific hormones.  Another one would be a cortisol panel.  You can get what’s called an adrenal stress index to see if your hair loss is related to stress.  And then one other that I’ve mentioned would be heavy metals, and you can get heavy metal testing and that would be just a hair heavy metal test.  I’ve got a podcast that I’ve done on that, and I’ll link to that in the show notes as well.  So, the solution of course is to figure out what your pattern is, figure out which lab you want to get and double check and see if that is indeed the issue, and I realize it’s kind of a process, but you know, it’s better than just throwing random things at your body, and wasting your money.

Rachel:              Right.

Ben:                   And then you supplement, and you change your lifestyle accordingly.  Now, there are huge variety of things that we can get into. Like – and again, I’ve got a full list in the show notes of all like the solutions but again, I would always test before just like wasting your money on a bunch of supplements.  But some things that you can eat do cover a lot of the basis all at once if you just don’t have the money to be able to test, or you just wanna start to try things right away.  For example, if we look at like pumpkin seeds, pumpkin seeds not only give you zinc but they also prevent testosterone form getting converted into DHT, and so you could use pumpkin seeds.  Another one would be for example, essential fatty acids like salmon or sardines, or cold water fish or fish oil, that will help a lot of timed with the inflammation, with the cortisol, and with some of the nutrient deficiencies associated with hair loss.  That’s why a lot of times like if you start giving your dog fish, and fish skins and stuff, if their hair becomes shiny and healthy and new, and that’s because a lot of dog food, traditional dry dog food doesn’t have a lot of stuff in it.


                           Another one would be Chinese adaptogenic herbs which help again to balance hormones, to regulate cortisol, to regulate stress, that would be another example of something that’s kinda like a shot kinda approach to hair loss.  So, have some pumpkin seeds, have some fish oil, have some adaptogens, and…you know, obviously goes way beyond that.  But then the other thing that I mentioned was the fact that in some cases this can be related to just basic blood flow to the scalp.  I mean, just like the rest of your body, when you exercise, when you get massages, when you foam roll, like it improves health in these specific body parts that you’ve worked.  And the same can be said for head and specifically head massage.  You’re gotten like a scalp massage, or hair massage, Rachel?

Rachel:              Yes, it’s delicious!

Ben:                   Yeah, it is – well, I wasn’t gonna use the word delicious.

Rachel:              It’s delicious!

Ben:                   It’s relaxing, it’s delish.  Increase blood flow – that stimulates follicles and helps hair to grow, and you can not only get a massage or you can use one of these like hair brushes or like these thick rubber brushes that you can use.  It’s not gonna brush, it’s more like a hair massage tool.  But you can combine that with specific oils that can help with hair growth.  For example, if you look at peppermint oil.  Peppermint oil is a natural way to improve circulation, and you can get a hair massage by using peppermint.  Yes, you smell like a giant mint until you shower afterwards, but peppermint helps to improve circulation.  Another one is almond oil and castor oil – both almond oil and castor oil have been shown to help promote hair growth.  So you could get a scalp massage and use almond oil or castor oil or even almond oil, castor oil, and peppermint oil, so.

Rachel:              And peppermint oil, yup. Three birds in one stone.  So Ben, is our receding hairlines ever genetic?

Ben:                   Oh absolutely, yeah.  You actually inherit your mom’s hairline, you know, you inherit your hair from your mom, just to let you know.  So, if you look your mom side of the family, you know, the uncles, and the grandfathers, and the cousins on your mom side of the family, you can pretty much expect the hair growth similar to what they have.  Fortunately in my case, most people on mom side of the family have nice, beagled full head’s hair just like me.  So…

Rachel:              You got great hair.

Ben:                   There you go.  On the other hand on my dad’s side, not so much.  He’s got hair on his face, not so much on the top of his head.  But ultimately, those are some of things I’d look into. Honestly, I have a huge list in the show notes for ya’ at, linking to somebody’s lab test so you can go.  Check them out and you know, basically my recommendation is you test, you look at patterns like the patterns I just described here, rewind, and listen to them again if you want to, and then you treat accordingly rather than just throwing a boatload of random things you found on some website and your hair, and wasting your money on supplements that may not address your need, right?  Like if you’re not zinc deficient, why take zinc?  If you’re not iron deficient, why take iron?  If you’re hormones are balanced, maybe you don’t need adaptogenic herbs, you know, maybe for you, you just need some… whatever, some magnesium and some selenium, so.  I’m a big fan at coming at this a little bit precisely than just like throwing everything in the kitchen sink at your hair, so.

Rachel:              Yeah, and saves you a lot of money as well.

Ben:                   Saves you some money.  All about savin’ you some money, oh!  And by the way, I have sad news.

Rachel:              Huh!

Ben:                   Sad news is that, when we went in to get the way that we wrap up every show, the reviews, I wanna get reviews.  There were no new iTunes reviews this week.

Rachel:              What?

Ben:                   There’s no love.  No good Karma.  So, I’m just sayin’, I’m just sayin’ that we aren’t giving away any swag this week.  We’re holding back.

Rachel:              You guys are missin’ out!

Ben:                   You guys are missing out.  So, spread the love, spread the good karma.  You’ll not only feel good about yourself, but you even may grow some hair in your head, and be able to hold your breath for a longer period of time if you go spread this good karma.  Go to iTunes, just go to iTunes, do a search for the Ben Greenfield fitness show or Ben Greenfield or whatev, and when you go there, leave 5 stars.  Leave a review, it helps the show, it helps us spread the word, and you win cool stuff.  You win cool swag from us but in the meantime, Rachel, you don’t get to read a review this week.

Rachel:              That makes me feel sad.

Ben:                   That’s alright.  You’re in Australia at 6 AM in the morning.  You’ll not feel sad.

Rachel:              Yes.  Thank you.

Ben:                   Keep second that coffee though, and in the meantime, we’ll link to everything that we talked about over at, the article that I’d recommend you read if you travel a lot about the dark side of hypermobility, those cool gift boxes that we’ve got for 50% off, all the resources on how to rebuild your fitness fast, my full list of things that you can put into your body that help with your hair, and oh, so much more.  So check it out and also stay tuned this Saturday for really cool podcast on breath work, and next Saturday for a very cool podcast again on hypoxia, breath work.  You guys are gonna be breath work ninjas if you keep on listening this couple of weeks.  And in the meantime, Rachel, I hope you enjoy the rest of the day.

Rachel:              Thank you.  You too.

Ben:                   And get enough coffee into your system to survive your bright and early morning with the Ben Greenfield fitness show, and for you all listening in, have a healthy week, and we catch up with you this weekend.

                           You’ve been listening to the Ben Greenfield fitness podcast.   Go to for even more cutting-edge fitness and performance advice.

END                  [1:36:42.1]

How To Quit Obsessing About Health, Eating & Exercise: Dodging The Silver Bullet Of Orthorexia and Body Dysmorphic Disorder.

pod cast devin burke itunes

Ever heard of “orthorexia”?

It’s is an eating disorder characterized by an extreme or excessive preoccupation with avoiding foods perceived to be unhealthy. 

In other words, it’s being absolutely obsessed with eating all things paleo, gluten-free, vegan, raw, non-GMO, organic, and fair-trade, and counting every friggin’ calorie of it.

Or how about “body dysmorphic disorder?”

This one is characterized by an obsessive preoccupation that some aspect of one’s own appearance is severely flawed and warrants exceptional measures to hide or fix it.

In other words, you must maintain a nice body, at all costs.

Unfortunately, it’s all-too-common to see eating-obsessed, exercise-obsessed people destroying their bodies and their minds with worrying and an obsessive-compulsive approach to nutrition and fitness.

My guest in today’s podcast, Devin Burke, takes a completely opposite approach to health: a minimalist approach. He preaches that people are often obsessively looking for that “silver bullet” and unfortunately often miss tapping into the potential that is right in front of them – if they are only inspired, educated and disciplined enough to implement these necessary changes they could take them to the “next level”, without an unhealthy obsession.

Devin is a wellness educator, and passionate health coach. He is a Certified Holistic Health Coach and a Certified Personal Trainer by the American College of Sports Medicine. He is the founder of Empowerment Wellness Solutions, a healthy lifestyle coaching business based in South Florida and author of “Healthy Eating in the 21st Century”. And he is also a graduate of the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, the world’s top online school for becoming a health, lifestyle and nutrition coach (get a huge savings on an IIN certification if you contact them and mention this show).

During our discussion, you’ll discover:

-How to completely reset your brain to eliminate an obsession with eating gluten-free, or getting X number of calories, or eating the perfect carb:fat:protein ratios…

-How something called neurolinguistic programming can help you overcome an obsession with food…

Why you need to branch-out and eat a variety of different foods, even if that includes components such as dairy and gluten…

-What to eat when you’re traveling or at a party, and you want to “enjoy” food, but you still want to avoid making yourself sick or unhealthy…

-Why what pop culture tells you is the perfect body completely flies in the face of your natural human ancestry and genetic hardwiring…

-How to create exercise goals that go above and beyond just “getting a better body”…

-How to quit obsessing over WiFi signals, mold, drinking water, personal care products and household cleaning chemicals…

-Why true happiness is not tied to perfect health and how to truly achieve happiness…

-And much more!

This episode is brought to you by:

Kimera Koffee – Visit and use code ‘ben’ for 10% off!

Resources from this episode:

The Institute for Integrative Nutrition (get a huge savings when you mention this show)…

The gut/DNA/blood testing Ben Greenfield uses to customize his diet…

My previous podcast on how to rewire your body and brain with neurolinguistic programming…

Do you have questions, comments or feedback for Devin or I? Do you agree or disagree with what we say in this show? Leave your thoughts below and one of us will reply!

341: Why You Wake Up At The Same Time Every Night, How To Hack Your Nervous System, Is Your Fish Oil Bad & More!

341_ Why You Wake Up At The Same Time Every Night, How To Hack Your Nervous System, Is Your Fish Oil Bad & More!

Click here for the full written transcript of this podcast episode.

December 30, 2015 Podcast (Ben mentions AlignMed shirt in intro): Why You Wake Up At The Same Time Every Night, How To Hack Your Nervous System, Is Your Fish Oil Bad & More!

Have a podcast question for Ben? Click the tab on the right (or go to SpeakPipe), use the Contact button on the app, call 1-877-209-9439, or use the “Ask Ben” form at the bottom of this page.


News Flashes:

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Special Announcements:

This podcast is brought to you by: FitLife’s “Organifi” Green Juice Powder.Easier than eating vegetables or juicing. No shopping, no juicing, no blending, no clean-up. Organic, Vegan, Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Soy Free. Special Ingredient includes Ayurvedic Herb Ashwagandha – shown to lower cortisol, increase strength, and improve mental focus! Go to Coupon Code ‘BEN’ will get you 25% off through January 1!

Did you miss the weekend podcast episode with Brian Rose? It was a must-listen – titled “Ayahuasca, Smart Drugs, Anti-Aging & More With Brian Rose of London Real”. Click here to listen now or download for later!

Jan 9, 11am: Ben is speaking at the Spokane Health and Fitness Expo. For all the Spokane and Coeur D’ Alene locals, find more info here:

May 27-29, 2016: Ben is speaking at PaleoFX 2016 in Austin, Texas. This is the The Who’s Who gathering of the Paleo movement, with world-class speakers including New York Times bestselling authors, leading physicians, scientists, health entrepreneurs, professional athletes, fitness professionals, activists, bloggers, biohackers, and more. And you DON’T need to be Paleo to be able to get a ton of benefit and fun out of this one!

Nov 17-18, 2016: Ben is speaking at the Biohacker’s Summit in Helsinki, Finland. Discover the latest in wearables, internet of things, digital health, and mobile apps to increase performance, be healthier, stay fit, and get more done. Learn about taking food, preparation, cooking, and eating to the next level with the latest science and kitchen chemistry. Even delve into implanted chips, gene therapy, bionic arms, biometric shirts, robotic assistants, and virtual reality. Two days with an amazing crowd and a closing party with upgraded DJs to talk about. Click here to get in now at a 40% discount.

Grab this Official Ben Greenfield Fitness Gear package that comes with a tech shirt, a beanie and a water bottle.

And of course, this week’s top iTunes review – gets some BG Fitness swag straight from Ben – click here to leave your review for a chance to win some!



Listener Q&A:

As compiled, deciphered, edited and sometimes read by Rachel Browne, the NEW Podcast Sidekick.

How To Hack Your Nervous System

Josh says: How should he go about balancing his sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system? What should he eat, how often should he exercise and does weed help?

How To Know If Fish Oil Is Bad

Anthony says: How do you go about testing rancidity of oils around the home? He has a bottle of cod liver oil that he’s had in the fridge for about two years, and he’s not so sure if it’s a healthy oil to be putting into your body.

In my response, I recommend:
SuperEssentials Fish Oil
This Olive Oil Hoax

5 Ways To Increase Grip Strength (& Become A Better Rock Climber)

Anne says: She recently started rock climbing and she’s wondering what you think of rock climbing and what would you do to get really good and as fast as possible?

How To Get Motivated To Exercise

Erick says: He’s the host of a podcast “How to be a Grown Up” that he does for his high school students, when he tries to put forward that despite their economically depressed home lives they should still care about their health, wellness find a purposeful direction in their lives. He has a few students that struggle to be motivated to get active and he’d love to know what is something you might suggest to get them off the couch and making positive decisions to be healthy?

In my response, I recommend:
How To Get Motivated To Exercise


Prior to asking your question, do a search in upper right hand corner of this website for the keywords associated with your question. Many of the questions we receive have already been answered here at Ben Greenfield Fitness!


Ask Your Question

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Episode #341 – Full Transcript

Podcast #341 from 


Introduction:  In this episode of the Ben Greenfield Fitness Show:  Why You Wake Up At The Same Time Every Night, How to Hack Your Nervous System, How To Know A Fish Oil IS Bad, Ways To Increase Grip Strength, How To Get Motivated To Exercise, and much more.

He’s an expert in human performance and nutrition, voted America’s top personal trainer and one of the globe’s most influential people in health and fitness.  His show provides you with everything you need to optimize physical and mental performance.  He is Ben Greenfield.  “Power, speed, mobility, balance – whatever it is for you that’s for the natural movement, get out there!  When you’re looking at all the studies done…studies that have shown the greatest efficacy…”  All the information you need in one place right here, right now, on the Ben Greenfield Fitness Podcast.

Ben:                   So Rachel, does my voice sound funny this morning?

Rachel:              A little bit.  Why?  Are you wearing something really tight?

Ben:                   I’m been squeezed.  I’m wearing like a corset.

Rachel:              Oh, you are?

Ben:                   Yeah.  I’m wearing one of the shirts.  So, the shirt that I’m wearing is called AlignMed, AlignMed.  So, I’ve gotten a snowboard accident.

Rachel:              Oh no!

Ben:                   Meaning I went off one of my teeny-tiny, little jumps while snowboarding with my kids over the weekend and crashed and crunched into my shoulder but…

Rachel:              Awww!

Ben:                   … you know, I’m doin’ all the usuals on it, running, electro strength stim, and ice, magnesium.  Last night I actually put some topical THC on it, but apparently it’s an anti-inflammatory.  I slept wonderfully.  Thank you very much.

Rachel:              That sounds lovely!

Ben:                   It actually was quite lovely.  But now I’m wearing this shirt, it’s called AlignMed and they say that it increases proprioception and that is has something called neuro bands in it which are panels of variable elasticity that mirror the contractive properties of muscle along with a bunch of other little geeky terms they used in the marketing materials for this particular shirt.  All I know is that it’s extremely, extremely tight and I’m keeping my fingers cross that it somehow pulls my shoulder back and keeps it in proper alignment to help it to heal.  So anyways, yeah!  That’s my fashion choice for this morning.

Rachel:              … really, really high voice for the rest of the podcast.

Ben:                   Really high voice.  Phenomenal cosmic power!  Itty-bitty live in space!

Rachel:              (laughs)

News Flashes:

Ben:                   By the way, before we jump in to news flashes, Rachel, that was an Aladdin reference.

Rachel:              (loud laughter)  Good to know!  Thank you, Ben!

Ben:                   From the Disney cartoon, Aladdin.

Rachel:              Yeah.  I wonder what was going on there.

Ben:                   The Genie, he has phenomenal cosmic power but in itty-bitty living space which is how I feel right now.  My entire upper body has an itty-bitty living space.

                           Anyways though, we digress.  So, this is the part of the Ben Greenfield fitness show where we tell you all about the latest, greatest, news flashes and articles I discovered across the internet this week and we pick a few of them.  And if you want one everyday, 2 everyday sometimes, where can they go, Rachel?

Rachel:              They can go to, you can also get some really cool stuff on instragram which is more of like the behind the scenes, what’s going on in Ben’s life, what’s really like to live with Ben and his family, and then you can also go to…

Ben:                   Not that anyone actually lives with me and my family…

Rachel:              Well, you know live to get…

Ben:                   But they could see what it’s like, yes.

Rachel:              Yes exactly.

Ben:                   If that’s what you’re saying.

Rachel:              Or you can go to

Ben:                   Boom! There you go.  So this week, one of the interesting articles that I tweeted about was a protein in the gut that explains why some people can’t stomach gluten.  So, you may be one of those people who breaks out in embarrassing farts when you visit the bakery, whereas your neighbor across the street can eat scones like they’re going out of style.  And the reason for that is that some people are sensitive to gluten and some people aren’t, but what they found now is the actual protein that could be responsible for that.  So, what they found is that what are called gluten-sensitive individuals which are people who don’t have like celiac disease or something like that, but just kinda don’t do so well when they have, you know, whatever – bread, cous, and stuff like that.  They may harbor high levels of a molecule called …. (drumroll please)  zonulin.  Have you heard of zonulin?

Rachel:              I haven’t.  No!

Ben:                   Be a great name for a child,  Zonulin.  In science fiction novel.

Rachel:              But this is big news.

Ben:                   Yes!  So zonulin…

Rachel:              This gonna put something’s in place.  Yup!


Ben:                   Yes.  Zonulin is a molecule that’s link to inflammation, and it’s already been shown to be high in people who have celiac disease but they’ve also found about 6% of people all the around the world, the global population has gluten sensitivity specifically related to this zonulin protein.  So, zonulin is an inflammatory protein that regulates leakiness in the gut.  It opens and closes this junctions between the cells in the lining of your digestive tract.  And when you have something like – let’s say if you’ve ever had food poisoning, or you’ve had some kind of bacterial imbalance in your gut, what happens is you produce or you express more of this zonulin protein which creates leakiness in the gut.  If you’ve ever heard of leaky gut, zonulin is the protein that’s responsible for that.  Once you get that, not only can you have increased sensitivity to gluten but you can also experience things like irritable bowel syndrome, constipation, and all those type of things.  So it turns out that zonulin is the villain.

Rachel:              Is there something that we can use to kinda help that?

Ben:                   Yeah.  One of the things and this is interestingly, one of the reasons why children who are breast fed ted to have fewer GI issues later in life is because colostrum, which is the part of mammals in milk – colostrum is a molecule that can assist with the closing of those gaps in the lining of the digestive tract when zonulin is present, almost like colostrum.  This would be a great science fiction novel – Colostrum Fight Zonulin.

Rachel:              (laughs)

Ben:                   Great names!

Rachel:              Oh!  Love it!  Can’t wait.

Ben:                   So anyways, colostrum would be one of those things that you can use.  So if you’ve ever had food poisoning or you have some kind of a bacterial imbalance or maybe you’re just – you never got to take part in the joys of breastfeeding when you were a child, you should take colostrum.  So colostrum, you could get it in like goat’s milk, you can get it in supplemental form, powder form, capsule form.  I’ve got a whole article – I’ve written about colostrum there.  I’ll link to in the show notes if people wanna dig in to that more.  And today’s show notes are at

                           Another interesting – I’ve got a couple of things I wanted to talk about regarding sleeps.  So there was this new study that just came out a couple of weeks ago called Sleep Intensity and The Evolution of Human Cognition.  Now, this is something I’ve always puzzled about, why my dog will like lie around on the living room floor and just sleep for what seems like half the day.

Rachel:              Right.  All day sometimes.

Ben:                   But then it’s not like his runnin’ around at night catching squirrels, like he’s sleeping at night too.

Rachel:              Yeah, he’s just sleeping.  That’s like all he does.

Ben:                   Yeah, and you’ll see this a lot of times like if you go to the zoo, and it’s not the kind of zoo where they tranquilize the animals.  You’ll see like the primary activity of choice from most animals seem to be just like sleeping.

Rachel:              Hangin’ out and sleeping, yeah!

Ben:                   I wonder why my animal sleeps so much, and sometimes I wondered, I’m like should we as humans be like sleeping more?

Rachel:              No, uhmm.

Ben:                   Like, is this something that we’re missing out on because of our busy lifestyles?  Oh, it turns out the answer is no!  What this study found was that when you take humans and you compare our sleep patterns with everything from like baboons to lemurs to orangutans to chimpanzees, to hundreds of different other mammals that they looked at in this study that took place at Duke University, what they found was that humans are exceptionally short sleepers that we get by on this average of 7-9 hours of sleep at night because we experienced much, much more of this rapid eye movement sleep.  This deep rapid eye movement sleep were more you know, like neuronal repair and recovery occurs…

Rachel:              Takes place, yup…

Ben:                   Yeah, when we sleep – about 25% of our sleep is REM sleep, and in most other animals on the face of the planet, REM sleep barely even goes off a 5%.

Rachel:              Wow!

Ben:                   In terms of the amount of sleep.  So it turns out that humans have this mechanism where we are able to have shorter amounts of sleep but the sleep that we do get is higher quality than any other animals, and the proposed reason for this by the researchers was that shorter sleep could potentially free up time for humans to do things like learn new skills, or for just social bonds, sharpening memory, boost brain power, you know all the things that kinda make us – Oh! So much better than any other animal on the face of the planet that allows us to do things like invent cars, and nuclear weapons.

Rachel:              Right.  Big build buildings and bridges, and go to space, and moon, movement, and all that crazy stuff.

Ben:                   Exactly.  Facebook, twitter, snapchat.

Rachel:              (laughs)  Facebook!  Most of us spend our free time doing.


Ben:                   Yeah.  So humans sleep more efficiently.  Isn’t that cool?

Rachel:              That’s fascinating!  Really.

Ben:                   Yeah, I thought that was really interesting and so I don’t feel guilty anymore when I see animals sleeping a lot because my sleep is a hell of a lot better than there sleep when I actually do sleep, and science… that’s science.  That’s right.  And – but there is this one thing that I’ve always puzzled about, and this relates to the last little news flash that I wanted to bring up today.  And that is that I will sometimes have periods of time, I don’t know if it happens to you, Rachel, but I’ve talk to other people this happens to – where you wake up at like the same time every night.

Rachel:              Umm. yeah.  No, it doesn’t happen for me but it happens to my partner actually.

Ben:                   Okay, yeah.  So, it’ll happen for certain amount of time where like last week,  there were 3 nights in a row where I woke up at 3 AM, and I’ll have some periods of time where I wake up like 1 or 2 AM, and I’ve been able to identify specific patterns.  Like sometimes when I wake up around midnight or 1, it’s because I just didn’t eat enough that day and I know it’s a dip in blood sugar, it’s hypoglycemia.

Rachel:              Yeah.

Ben:                   But then sometimes like when I wake up at 3 or 4 AM, it’s after I’ve had like more than I glass of alcohol or something with alcohol, sometimes I wake up at like 4 or 5 AM and I’ll be like really sweaty and hot, but sometimes this will happen multiple times in a row.  Well, there’s this very interesting article and this one I’ll totally admit, this is not clinical research.  This is more of an article that talks a little bit about Chinese medicine.  Traditional Chinese medicine has something called a meridian clock, and what a meridian clock is is it’s all the 24-hours of the day, and this specific organs that tend to dominate in terms of activity during those different parts of the day.  So you’ve got like your small intestine, and your bladder, and your kidney, and so for example, if you – and I’ll put a link to this clock ‘cause it’s really interesting.  So if you look at like 2 AM for example, 2 AM would be when the liver meridian would be most active…

Rachel:              Wow!

Ben:                   … and that is when issues with the liver such as liver toxicity, or perhaps the use of pharmaceuticals, things of that nature would wake you around 2 AM.  And it actually, this particular chart goes even one step further and links specific organs and this is something again related to Chinese medicine.  Specific organ dysfunctions are related to specific emotions.  So when you look up the liver for example, the emotion associated with the liver is if you have struggles with your overall vision for life, or your internal plans, like if something is unclear in terms of what your vision is for life at that point in your life, then that 2 AM wake time or liver issues would be two reasons that you might be waking up frequently at 2AM.

Rachel:              So, let me ask you, Ben.  It’s your liver that’s waking you up at this time, isn’t it?

Ben:                   Well, if it was at 2 AM, yeah.  I mean, but for me if fluctuation – I mean, just like everybody, for me lately like I mentioned, last week it was about 3 AM, kinda 4 AM-ish, like in that range, when I looked at the Chinese meridian clock, and again, I know there are some of you scientists out there snickering, but at the same time I don’t completely…

Rachel:              Calm down.

Ben:                   I don’t completely a shoo Eastern medicine.

Rachel:              Partly.

Ben:                   So, 3 and 4 AM would be the lung – lung paradigm.

Rachel:              Uhmm, and what the emotion associated with the lung?

Ben:                   So, the emotion associated with the lungs is understanding what is true value, and also communication and relationships with the outside world.

Rachel:              Wooow!  That’s deep!

Ben:                   So, it’s really interesting.

Rachel:              Yeah, that’s a great kinda framework to like really assess your life on a lot of different levels which I… uhmm.

Ben:                   It is, it is.  And me just the way I think, I tend to go more towards the physical, the biological, the…

Rachel:              And I’m all emotional… (laughs)  alright, Ben, let’s talk about emotions. (laughs)

Ben:                   So for me, the more interesting part is – okay, what did I do to my lungs.  Did I inhale something?  Well, here’s the interesting thing: last week I was – and I don’t want to completely sound like a pothead or something like that on the show, but I was experimenting with this new – it’s like vape pen but it’s a specific kind of vaporizing pen that you use to like vaporize substances like a – there are these substances in the whole like marijuana market.  There’s one called wax, and another called crumble, and I was basically messing around with these and seeing what was like ‘cause I’m constantly using my body as a guinea pig for everything.

Rachel:              Everybody else, yeah.

Ben:                   Cold thermogenesis to supplements, to – not allowed with pharmaceuticals.  I’m pretty careful with those, but yeah!  So last week I was doing a lot of vaping and like combusting, and I’m wondering if that particularly affected my lung meridian, and that is why I was waking up frequently between 3 and 4 AM.


Rachel:              Yeah, so there you go.

Ben:                   So, interesting stuff and I’ll link to this home meridian in the show notes for those of you who wanna go off the deepened of the woo-woo.  But now that we’ve got the woo-woo out of the way, let’s go ahead and jump in to this week’s special announcements, shall we?

Special Announcements:

Ben:                   Rachel, this podcast is brought to you by Green Juice Powder.

Rachel:              Green juice powder!

Ben:                   Have you ever had green juice powder?

Rachel:              Yum.

Ben:                   It almost seems like a – ill-fitting title to mix the words juice with powder.

Rachel:              Powder… exactly! (laughs)

Ben:                   But it makes sense, it’s like green juice but it’s a powder.  So there is this stuff.  I actually put it in my smoothie this morning.  It’s called gently dried super food powder.  There’s this company called FitLife and they make this stuff called organifi coconut and ashwagandha infused green juice powder.  And we’ve talked about ashwagandha quite a bit before, and so I thought it was quite intriguing that this stuff has ashwagandha in it, but also got a few other things we’ve talked about in the show before.  It’s got turmeric on it, so you’ve got all of your antioxidants, has lemon – they use a dried coconut powder, so you get some of the electrolytes you’ll get from coconut water.  The sweetener that they use is a very low glycemic index sweetener.  It’s called monk fruit.  Monk fruit is the sweetener.

Rachel:              What is monk fruit?

Ben:                   Monk fruit is – what is monk fruit?  It’s harvested by a one-armed monk.

Rachel:              (laughs aloud)

Ben:                   No, monk fruit is like this green kinda like lime-sized fruit and it’s – even though it’s sweet, kinda like stevia is, it’s gotta very, very low glycemic index so it doesn’t spike your blood sugar.  It’s got some matcha green tea in it, so you get all the benefits of green tea – the epigallocatechins, or however it’s pronounced – the EGCG…

Rachel:              That’s a long word.

Ben:                   wheatgrass, beats, mints, a little bit of a digestive – those from spirulina in there.  There’s some chlorella in there, so kind of a cool little powder.  And you put about one scoop into like your daily smoothie, your glass of water, or something like that, and you don’t have to drag out your juicer or necessarily your blender, and you could just get your own juice.

Rachel:              Uhmm, nice and easy.

Ben:                   So, cool stuff and again, like there are so – many people are like –“Dude, how many other freakin’ green juices can there be on the planet.”  I would say that the main reason to check out this stuff in my opinion is the amount of ayurvetic herbs and adaptogens that it has in it.  We’ll talk a little bit more about adaptogens in today’s show.  But ashwagandha in particular – ashwagandha – do you know what ashwagandha means?

Rachel:              No!  I don’t.  Please tell me.

Ben:                   It’s got – and interesting, it’s like odor of the horse.

Rachel:              Ohhh!  That was not what I thought it was gonna be.

Ben:                   Yeah, yeah.  Don’t quote me on that.  It’s something very, very close to that.  As a matter of fact, we could probably figure it out, but it’s something, something horse.  It is… ashwagandha, the smell of a horse, the smell of a horse is the literal meaning, toward that, so I was close.  The odor – smell, either way, so.  Now, you really wanna drink this stuff so that you too have the smell of a horse.  So you can get this stuff if you go to, that’s  You get 25% off when you use coupon code “Ben”, so you can just order like palettes of green juice powder to your doorstep to last you during the entire year of 2016.  Coupon code “Ben”… go ahead…

Rachel:              You’ll never have to juice again!

Ben:                   Ever, ever!  You can get rid of your juicer.  Throw it out or give it away. with code “Ben”.

                           Okay, so what else?  For those of you who wanna lame excuse to come to the Spokane, Washington or Coeur d’Alene, Idaho area, coming soon!  January 9th and 10th, 2016 is the Spokane Health and Fitness Expo.

Rachel:              Cool!

Ben:                   From all over the globe, of course, all about Spokane Health and Fitness Expo.  You can check it out – or I’ll put a link in the show notes for ya’, but I’ll be speaking there.

Rachel:              Nice!  And what do you gonna speak on?

Ben:                   I’m gonna talk about reasons why people don’t lose weight.  Like all of the under the radar reasons why if you’ve got your exercise and your diet just like perfect, why you still don’t lose weight.  So I’ll be talking about everything from your endocrine system to the liver, to estrogen dominance, to all the different reasons that fly under the radar but that keep people from losing weight.  So, that will be at Spokane Health and Fitness Expo, January 9th, I’m actually talking at 11 AM.  I believe that’s a Saturday morning.  So, be skipping my normal Saturday foray up to the slopes to strap on my snowboard and will instead be at the Spokane Health and Fitness Expo speaking to people in Spandex.


Rachel:              Very good!  Do give him around a favor.  Thanks Ben!

Ben:                   There you go.  Also, one another – one to keep your eye on that I’d recommend that I mentioned last week is the PaleoFX Conference which you can check out at, that’s the link you can use to kinda get the discounted early bird tickets.  Not only is it in Austin, Texas, so if the event just completely sucks you, at least have good barbeque, but it is kinda like everybody who’s anybody in the whole like health and fitness, and healthy living sector.  So, they’ve got like authors and physicians, and scientists, and health entrepreneurs, and professional athletes, and bloggers, and biohackers, and everybody, one big party.

Rachel:              Is it set-up kind of like booth rack or you know, or it’s just kind of people speaking?

Ben:                   Well, it’s both, both.  So, there’s like a huge booth area, they have like fitness competitions, they have like outdoor workouts, they’ve got like talks going all day long usually 3 different talks at the same time, so…

Rachel:              And lots of fun… is that lots of fun gear that you can play around with?

Ben:                   Uhmmm, yeah!

Rachel:              Yay!  That sounds fun.

Ben:                   Yeah, they’ve got like gear and they’ve got like you know, the newest, greatest bars, like that’s where they launch like the Cricket, like the insect-protein bars they launch there, so.

Rachel;              Ohhh, delicious!

Ben:                   Yeah, yeah!  Cool place to be.  I’m gonna be speaking there and my wife will probably doing – she usually goes down there and does cooking classes.

Rachel:              Nice!

Ben:                   So, I wish they also have there – cooking classes.  So check it out,  You do not need to be a paleo, you don’t have to wear the loin cloth and the – and carry around the big wooden clog to be able to get by at paleoFX.

Rachel:              They accept vegetarians and vegans?

Ben:                   Oh!  Very – well…

Rachel:              Will you guys accept us?

Ben:                   Tell you what, I’ll bring my baguette.  Rachel, you bring your cucumber and will walk around and pissin’ off all the paleo.  Delicious!  Done.

Rachel:              Let’s do it!

Listener Q & A:

Josh:                 Hey Ben, how should I go about balancing out my parasympathetic and sympathetic nervous system?  What should I eat and how often should I exercise?  And does weed help?  Thanks!

Ben:                   Wo Rachel, this is a topic that is near and dear to my heart, the nervous system.

Rachel:              Yeah!  I’m fascinated to hear what you have to say about this.

Ben:                   Well, the nervous system in particular – so, let’s start here.  The sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system are technically referred to as your autonomic nervous system.  Your autonomic nervous system.  And it’s very, very interesting because your nervous system is something that a lot of people don’t pay attention to because you can’t feel it quite as well compared to say like your muscular skeletal system, but the recovery of your nervous system and the balance of your nervous system are in my opinion just as if not more important than what’s going on with your muscular skeletal system or your fascia or your connective tissue.  And that’s why every morning the one thing that I measure before I get out of bed is my nervous system.  I use a heart rate variability measurement and that looks at my sympathetic nervous system – the fight and flight branch, it looks at the parasympathetic nervous system, it tells me the balance of my nervous system before I even get out of bed in the morning because that’s something I wanna track.  I wanna track how food, supplements, exercise, sleep, everything, affects my nervous system so that I could make good choices in life.  ‘Cause if my nervous system is strong, frankly, if you look at something like the zone or like the area that was originally discovered in athletic but that now extends to all different areas of life, it is the specific state of mind that you can be in when you’re creating a huge amount of alpha brain waves and when you have easy focus throughout the day whether it be during a workout, whether it be playing sports, whether it be writing, consulting, talking on the phone, doing emails, whatever, being in the zone is a low stress high productivity state, and you can’t do it unless you’re nervous system is balance.

Rachel:              Okay, question.  Can you actually feel your nervous system at all?  Like is that something like anxiety or fear, or something like that?  Is that actually feeling your parasympathetic or sympathetic nervous system?

Ben:                   Yes, it is.  So, that’s a great question and that’s a good jumping off to talk about the difference between the two nervous systems.  Don’t hit fast forward by the way if you think I’m just gonna say your sympathetic is your fight and flight, and your parasympathetic is rest and digest because I’m gonna fill you guys in on a little bit more than that.  A lot of things that fly under the radar when it comes to your nervous system.

Rachel:              Yay!

Ben:                   And I’m also gonna give you some pretty cool information about how to hack your nervous system.  I wanna give you guys the best information.  You know, last week we had a pretty extensive discussion about Alzheimer’s and hacking cognitive performance.


                           This week we’re gonna talk about your nervous system.

Rachel:              So we’re about to get real nerdy, right?

Ben:                   We’re about to get nerdy.

Rachel:              Yeah!  Let’s do!

Ben:                   Strap on your propeller hats.  So, the sympathetic nervous system is one branch of your autonomic nervous system.  The sympathetic nervous system is the one that basically, like I’ve mentioned is referred to as your fight and flight nervous system but it’s specifically is involved to the release of catecholamines.  So, you’ve this catecholamines that are excitatory like epinephrine and norepinephrine, and dopamine, and those get released by your adrenal glands and/or by your nerve tissue and they act as what are called sympathomimetic hormones or neurotransmitters.  So, this sympathetic nervous system is involved in the production of both hormones and neurotransmitters, and they are excitatory, they keep you awake, they prepare you to basically go.  Now, the interesting thing is that the sympathetic nervous system is heavily involved in inflammation and the immune response.  Meaning, in the case of over-reactive sympathetic nervous system or sympathetic nervous system that is over stimulated, you tend to have a high amount of immune response to for example, foods.  That same inflammation can cause the over expression of the zonulin protein that we referred to earlier, which is why too exercise or stress can cause you to be allergic to things that you would normally not be allergic to, or can cause you to have adverse reactions to specific foods that you would normally be allergic to.  It’s also why if you’re going through a period of heavy stress in your life, it is advised to simplify things like the diet because your gut is going to be more leaky, you’re gonna be more susceptible to reacting to both inflammation as well as immune system as a (cross talk).  So, the sympathetic nervous system can definitely get over expressed if you have too much stress, too much exercise, you’re going too fast, you can create that inflammation.

Rachel:              Is it important to stress the sympathetic nervous system at all?

Ben:                   It is important to stress the sympathetic nervous system.  It is important to (I should say) to train the sympathetic nervous system to activate the glands and the organs that defends your body against attack.  That is actually what’s called the hormetic response.  So when you expose your body to sane amounts of exercise, cold, heat, even radiation interestingly like small doses of radiation such as you would get from rocks, from sunlight, things like that.  You’re activating your sympathetic nervous system and you’re allowing sane production of some of these excitatory neurotransmitters that allow your body to have a trained, robust, stress response.

Rachel:              Okay.

Ben:                   But over activation of the sympathetic nervous system is when we get for example, over activation of an autoimmune response or activation of inflammation, too much of that adrenalin rush, etc.  So we don’t want over activation of the sympathetic nervous system.   When we look at the parasympathetic nervous system, it acts quite differently than the sympathetic nervous system.  So, the parasympathetic nervous system consists mainly of just one nerve – your vagus nerve.  It’s one of your cranial nerves.  It’s the largest nerve and it owes it name, this vagus nerve refers to the wondering course that nerve has throughout your body – kind of along your body.  So it originates in your brain stem and then it passes through your neck and your thorax, to your abdomen and it has a bunch of branching off fibers to a ton of different organs like your heart, and your lungs, and your GI tract, and your pancreas.  And unlike the sympathetic nervous system which produces a huge variety of excitatory neurotransmitters, there’s really one primary neurotransmitter released by the parasympathetic nervous system, and that’s choline – acetylcholine.  So all the branches of this vagus nervous release acetylcholine and it has different effects on all these different tissues but generally it will act to shutdown inflammation, to decrease the immune response, to cause everything from like peristalsis or movement of foods to the digestive tract to occur, to assist with sleep occurring, etc.  So basically, enervation of this vagus nerve kinda like settles you down.  And you can certainly have over stimulation of the vagus nerve.  You can have over stimulation of the parasympathetic nervous system pathways, and that can actually lead you to just basically you know, be lazy, be too rested and digested.  So, in the same way that you can over stimulate the sympathetic nervous system, you can also over stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system.


Rachel:              Does over stimulation of the parasympathetic nervous system have any biological – like you said, it could cause you to be lazy but does it have anything like biological, like the sympathetic nervous system causes inflammation, what does the parasympathetic nervous system do?

Ben:                   Primarily, you’d experience lethargy and fatigue…

Rachel:              Okay.

Ben:                   … if you had an overstimulated and unbalanced parasympathetic nervous system.  So case in point, let’s talk about like quantification of this.  If you were to measure your heart rate variability everyday, and the app that I use is the one that I helped to design.  It’s called the NatureBeat app.  You can check it out at  You know, full disclosure – that’s like my app but it’s also what I use.  You know, anytime I design something it usually cost something I wanna use or access myself, and this heart rate variability app, what it will do is for example, it’s got two different scores that will give: your low frequency score, which is the measurement of your sympathetic nervous system, and your high score which is a measurement of your parasympathetic nervous system.  And if you’ve got for example an overstimulated sympathetic nervous system, sometimes what’s your going to find is that that low frequency score which is indicative of your sympathetic nervous system.  It’s very low, it’s almost like your sympathetic nervous system is overworked, and so you’d have an imbalance and you could see when you wake up in the morning – oh hey, I’ve been really beating up my fight and flight nervous system too much.  I am potentiality going to get sick.  I’m probably inflamed, I need to simplify my diet, I need to not do like heavy weight training and high intensity intervals today, and today I might do yoga or sauna, or something like that.  And you know, vice-versa; the same could be said for the parasympathetic nervous system.  If you have a low parasympathetic nervous system score a lot of times it’s because you’ve been overtraining with like too much aerobic activity, too much endurance activity, and you need to lay off going out for 1 hour long lunch time run, or something like that, so.

Rachel:              Uhmm, and what about high scores on both of them?

Ben:                   High scores on both of them would be good.  That’s generally what you want is ideally and in the ideal state of rise, you got a 1:1 ratio between low frequency and high frequency, and you’ve got an equal ratio between sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems.

Rachel:              Okay.

Ben:                   So, how can we actually get into that balance?  That’s a question.  Well, there are a variety of different tactics that you can use.  So let’s start – and I know I get called out sometimes for recommending a huge variety of supplements, and kind of like our discussion on Alzheimer’s last week.  It’s like – what – everything that I discussed there in terms of increasing blood flow to the brain, or improving cognitive performance, those would be things that you would pull out if you know that you’d had like traumatic brain injury, if you’ve been concussed, if you know you have hypoperfusion to the brain, if you know you have a high risk for Alzheimer’s, etc.  I’m not saying everyone on the face of the planet needs to take like vinpocetine, and gingko-biloba everyday.  In the same way, if you find that your nervous system is imbalanced, you’re under state of stress or both your sympathetic or parasympathetic nervous system or both, you may wanna use some of these strategies that I’m talking about.  So, the first and probably the most standout strategy from a supplementation standpoint to balance the nervous system would be the use of adaptogens.  And the idea that a pill or that an herbal compound could somehow improve mental and physical performance was actually first experimented with via the use of an adaptogen.  And this was in World War II when they were given various stimulants to pilots, certain members of submarine crews, and in some of the Russian military journals, you’ll find the use of one of the first adaptogens that’s mentioned in literature and that is Schisandra.  I think it has a great, it can be a comic book character.

Rachel:              Schisam!

Ben:                   Kinda like our friend zonulin and colostrum.  Yeah, schisandra.  So schisandra is an adaptogen, and basically what it can do is it can help the body to deal with stress and generally allow the body to adapt to stress a little bit better, and what they found was that with schisandra particularly – this originated from the use or it’s use by Russian hunters, this is why the Russian military began to use was they would use it to reduce thirst, to reduce hunger, to reduce exhaustion, and to improve night vision while hunting.  And so this is why they started to use it in the Russian military during World War II.  That is one example of an adaptogen and the power of something like an adaptogen.  There are other things that schisandra has been shown to do for example is to regulate the production of heat shock proteins which should be like why you would go into a sauna to improve your stress resilience to heat, or your stress resilience to fluctuations and environment.  So if you’re gonna go and try to withstand extremes of cold or extremes of heat, or you find yourself very sensitive to cold or sensitive to heat, that would be a case where something like schisandra as an adaptogen would help you out quite a bit.


                           There are other adaptogens as well, and all of them act primarily via the release of what are called finalex or triterpenoids or steroidal precursors.  So they all assist with your stress response by producing specific compounds or molecules in your body that help with that.  So some of the well-known adaptogens would be for example, rhodiola.  Rhodiola is one that you’ll see quite a bit.  Eleuthero is another, ashwagandha which we talked about earlier, that would be considered an adaptogen.  The schisandra that I talked about, that’s an adaptogen, but what you’re seeing in addition to the heat shock protein regulation is they for example, will modify the cortisol and glucocorticoid receptors in what’s called your hypothalamic pituitary adrenal axis.

Rachel:              So this is the part that like I love this concept of adaptogens but I sometimes feel like how can they – they’re like magical.  You know? Like they do – it’s weird!

Ben:                   Yeah, that’s actually – yeah, you read my mind ‘cause that’s why I was actually just gonna talk about was cortisol and glucocorticoid receptors and your HPA axis, those are the receptors that interact with cortisol, and what adaptogens have been shown to do is they would upregulate the density of those receptors if you need to have more interaction with cortisol.  So for example, if you’ve produced a lot of cortisol and you need receptors to interact with those cortisol molecules, the adaptogens will increase the density of receptors responsible for interacting with cortisol, or conversely if you’d creating less cortisol, they’ll downregulate the expression of those receptors.  And so, what’s happening is you are if you are in a state of low stimulus, low cortisol production, etc. adaptogens can slightly upregulate cortisol production, or if you are in a state of high cortisol, excess of cortisol production, it can actually downregulate your sensitivity to or the production of cortisol.

Rachel:              That actually blows my mind a little bit.  Like (laughs) you know, I am not the most scientific person but it just seems like a little fairy.

Ben:                   It’s the same reason that when if you eat a plant that has been exposed to a high amount of environmental stress, a wild plant, you will produce more endogenous antioxidants in response to the consumption of that plant that’s been bit up, that’s a little bit more of a hardy plant compared to say like a plant that is domesticated.  It’s why eating a wide variety of foods can be so helpful especially when it comes to the plant kingdom because you actually equip your body to better be able to withstand stress, and this adaptogens act very similarly.

Rachel:              That’s fascinating!

Ben:                   Yeah, it’s cool stuff.  So I mean essentially what you eat can allow you to adapt the stress and can allow the balance in your nervous system.  We see a lot of other things with adaptogens, for example, they help with the production of nitric oxide, they assist with the synthesis of ATP.  There’s actually a very, very interesting study or not really a study – more of a meta-study that’s been done on adaptogens and all of the different proven clinical effects of adaptogens, and I will link to that particular study in the show notes.  If you go to  If you really wanna look at the clinical studies that backup the usefulness of adaptogens.  So if you look up for example, here’s another very, very cool thing about adaptogens; you look up like eleuthero, eleuthero is another one that you’ll find in adaptogenic compounds.  They did one study on 6,000 different subjects aged 19-72 and what they did was they looked at their cognitive performance in normal conditions and in stressful conditions.  And so, for example, they would looked at these folks mental work capacities in high temperature environments under periods of forced work, under loud noise conditions, under motion sickness, under heavy physical burden, under like deep sea conditions or underwater conditions, and what they found was that the use of eleuthero in all cases increased mental work capacity when under periods of heavy stress, and that’s particularly done via modulation of the nervous system.  So they found very similar results in terms of stress adaptation and cognitive function under stress with rhodiola.  That’s another big one.  Schisandra like I mentioned, wakefulness, even night vision, it’s really, really interesting what a lot of these adaptogens can do.

Rachel:              Did they compare at all the people who are under stress who are using adaptogens, cognitive ability vs. the people who went under stress all using adaptogens at all?

Ben:                   Right, exactly.  They used normal and stressful work conditions.


Rachel:              Uhmm, wow!

Ben:                   Yeah.  So really the two main areas that adaptogens are going to work upon are going to increase attention or endurance in situations where performance would normally be decreased by a lot of stress, and then they can also help to increase like relaxation and the ability to be able to withstand excessive sympathetic nervous system activation in  response to stress.

Rachel:              When you talked about excessive sympathetic nervous system activation, I think about monks.  Like they…

Ben:                   Uhmm.  Not, not monk fruit but actual monks.

Rachel:              Not monk fruit but this  is a theme in today’s podcast – this monks.  Like they sit and they meditate all day.  Like – does that – is that kinda have any kind of bad ramifications biologically?

Ben:                   What do you mean?  Meditation?

Rachel:              Well, yeah!  I mean, if you just – like it’s that over activation of the parasympathetic nervous system?

Ben:                   It technically would involve – so a monk would have an under trained sympathetic nervous system.

Rachel:              Right.

Ben:                   You would not want to bring a monk into battle with you.

Rachel:              Right!

Ben:                   But most of us intuitively know that.

Rachel:              Well, you wouldn’t want them anyway ‘cause they don’t gonna be very helpful!

Ben:                   Right, right, exactly.  So yes, you can excessively meditated, you can excessively yoga, you can excessively use your gratitude journal to the point where you are abandoning and ignoring your sympathetic nervous system, but if you have for example, a very, very low frequency score when you measure your heart rate variability, were you’ve got a very kinda beat up, underactive sympathetic nervous system or not a beat up, but underactive sympathetic nervous system, you’d actually want to train your sympathetic nervous system, or you’d conversely want to do a lot of yoga, meditation, etc. if you had a very beat up sympathetic nervous system.

Rachel:              Okay.

Ben:                   So ultimately, adaptogens – we talked a little bit about ashwagandha, that green juice powder we’re talking about before, what I’ll personally do is one packet of Tianchi which has schisandra, rhodiola, eleuthero, ashwagandha – pretty much every adaptogen on the face of the planet.  I have a really comprehensive podcast with the formulator of that adaptogenic herb complex.  That is one that I use about 5 days of the week.  So, I don’t do like the adaptogens everyday but I do live what I consider to be (everybody think this about themselves) like guess, what I consider to be like a slightly higher stress lifestyle.

Rachel:              I don’t think that about myself. (laughs)

Ben:                   I’m just like, I’m hard-wired to just go, go, go from the minute I get up, and I find that these adaptogens help me.  So in the mid-morning or the mid-afternoon, I will use a packet of this adaptogenic herb complex.  And so, that’s one way that I keep my nervous system balanced, so.

Rachel:              And for someone like me who’s wired to be mindful, mindful, mindful, and go slow, slow, slow – it would also help me?

Ben:                   Hmm, not as much as it would help.  I found it it’s better for cases of sympathetic dominance than parasympathetic dominance frankly, yeah.

Rachel:              Okay, alright.  Basically, does it need to go and run a marathon?  So, what it’s like?

Ben:                   Right, right.  Now when we look at the parasympathetic nervous system, in many cases if you’re parasympathetic dominance – sometimes it doesn’t just mean that you’re living a very relaxed lifestyle, that you’re doing plenty of yoga, and meditation and gratitude journaling, you’ll also see that in a situation of parasympathetic dominance that can be related to chronic fatigue syndrome, or like low levels of energy due to nutrient deficiencies.  Now, in a case like that I actually recommend folks who feel like they just lethargic, unmotivated, etc. they’ll look for the potential for micronutrient deficiencies.  You’ll also tend to see higher levels of toxic metals when you do like a hair mineral analysis.  There’s a very interesting article by a gentleman named Dr. Wilson that talks about using a hair analysis to look at both sympathetic dominance as well as parasympathetic dominance particularly looking at sodium to potassium ratios.  And this is really interesting, but what they’ve found with hair mineral analysis is that if you have an elevated sodium to potassium ratio which is just basically be an electrolyte imbalance brought about by mineral depletion of the adrenal glands, that that would be indicative of sympathetic dominance.  It’s basically one way by looking at the minerals that are in your hair to figure at if you’re exhausting the minerals in your adrenal glands from too much sympathetic nervous system activation.

Rachel:              Hmm, that make sense.

Ben:                   And then conversely what you tend to see in a hair mineral analysis with parasympathetic nervous system dominance that would be not a good thing like lethargy and fatigue, and stuff like that, you see a higher level of toxic metals and a lower level of micronutrients.


Rachel:              So it’s basically a way of figuring out whether your parasympathetic dominance is a positive or a negative thing.

Ben:                   Right, exactly.  And I’ve done a whole podcast on hair mineral analysis, you know, I’ve personally done a few different hair mineral analysis myself with Dr. Wendy Myers, the gal who I did that podcast with.  I will admit that the amount of clinical research done on hair mineral analysis is a little bit weak, but I wanted to bring it up because it is something that used especially in alternative medicine to diagnose either sympathetic or parasympathetic dominance.  Now, there’s more clinical research behind heart rate variability measurement than there is behind hair mineral analysis.  And considering that heart rate variability measurement is instant and more easily accessible than going in and getting your haircut, putting in an envelope million off to someone and paying them to do a hair mineral analysis.  I’d err towards heart rate variability but at the same time I wanna lay some of the options down on the table for our listeners and for people who want to explore hair mineral analysis or who can’t figure out why they have for example, sympathetic dominance or parasympathetic dominance.  It’s one of the options out there, so.

Rachel:              Okay.

Ben:                   Make sense?

Rachel:              Yes!  Thank you!

Ben:                   Okay, cool!  So, what are some other things that we can do to balance our nervous system.  I talked about adaptogens, there’s also been quite a bit of research done on the interplay between the endocannabinoid system and the autonomic nervous system.  Meaning that, for example they did one study, really interesting study on rabbits and the interaction between the vagus nerve and transmission in the heart or heart signal cause by parasympathetic activation of the vagus nerve.  And what they found was that when rats were administered cannabinoids, there was an effect particularly on parasympathetic feedback to the cardiovascular system, and it actually cause an increased in heart rate variability due to better vague nerve tone through the use of cannabinoids.  And that that’s not mean that you have to use for example, THC or vape weed or something like that to get the activation of these cannabinoid receptors.  You can even use something like CBD for example which we’ve talked about before, but essentially what we’re talking about is specific activation of the vagus nerve.  They’ve also got another study called cannabinoid inhibition of electrical potentials results in a reduction of noradrenaline release from sympathetic nervous system nurse.  I know that’s a mouthful but what it means basically is that cannabinoids can decrease activation of the sympathetic nervous system if you tend to have an overactive sympathetic nervous system.  And they’ve also found endocannabinoids to be able to regulate intestinal motility and the innervaton of smooth muscle associated with your digestive system, you urinary system, and your reproductive system which is why the use of weed or marijuana or CBD gives you better digestion, better poop, and better sex.

Rachel:              Wow!

Ben:                   Yeah!  There’s all that.

Rachel:              What doesn’t it do?  We’re getting to that point…

 Ben:                  What doesn’t it do… so, CBD and or marijuana, the use of adaptogenic herbs – that would be two things from a supplementation standpoint.  One other thing from a supplementation standpoint that you could look into and this is kind of interesting one, is the use of nicotine, and nicotine can actually affect your cholinergic signaling.  Remember that acetylcholine is the primary neurotransmitter that is produced by your vagus nerve or produced in response to electrical stimulation of your vagus nerve.  And what they found is that nicotine can assist with activation of the parasympathetic nervous system, and even modulation of inflammation, modulation of immune response, and modulation of excessive stress with the use of like nicotine gum or nicotine patches for example.

Rachel:              So this would be if you had an overactive sympathetic nervous system, you would want to trigger a reaction from your parasympathetic nervous system to balance it out…okay.

Ben:                   Right!  Basically what it comes down to is if you – let’s say you’re extremely stressed, you know you’ve got an overactive nervous system, you know that maybe you have leaky gut syndrome, irritable bowel, a lot of other issues related to having an over activated sympathetic nervous system, probably the holy grail for you to choose if  you’re just gonna do a few things is you would take either CBD or THC, and nicotine – so, we didn’t say cigarettes, kids – and then adaptogenic herbs like those would be the top three that you would use.  Now, kinda similar to our discussion on Alzheimer’s last week, you know, life goes way beyond just like the use of supplements or oil, or tinctures or herbs, and they’re also biohacking tools or pieces of gear, or lifestyle adjustments that can be made that will affect the autonomic nervous system.  So for example, there are three different things that are in particular will increase the tone of your vagus nerve, and that will remember assist with not only the increase in your parasympathetic nervous activation, but also help to balance out excessive sympathetic nervous system activation.  So, we’re talking about increasing vagal tone, increasing the ability of the vagus nerve to be able to produce acetylcholine.  There are few things that can do that – one is the activation of your mammalian dive reflex.

Rachel:              Wooooooh!

Ben:                   And that’s why free divers are so zen.

Rachel:              That is awesome!

Ben:                   There’s actually a direct correlation between being underwater and being relax under water, and in particular the use of cold water or cold thermogenesis, right?  Like cold water immersion and particularly training yourself to be able to withstand the rigors of cold water immersion that results in a significant improvement in vagal tone, and this can even be something as simple as a daily cold shower.

Rachel:              Mmm-hmm, that is fascinating.  So mammalian dive reflex.

Ben:                   Yeah, the mammalian dive reflex…  I’ve got two podcasts coming up on it, so stay tuned…

Rachel:              Okay.

Ben:                   January 9th and January 16th, we have back to back podcast with Brian MacKenzie who runs the Performance Breathing Workshops, and then also Ted Harty who teaches the Immersion Free diving clinics, and we take a deep dive (pun intended), into the…

Rachel:              (chuckles)

Ben:                   … mammalian dive reflex in those upcoming podcasts.  So stay tuned for that but know for now that cold thermogenesis is one very good way to improve vagal tone.  Another way to improve vagal tone is via neurofeedback, and in particular, what that means is that you can for example, attach a very easy to use cable to your ear – to the end of your ear to measure the amount of time spent between each heartbeat, your heart rate variability and then the other end to that cable can plug in to a computer like a piece of software.  And there’s one particular form of neurofeedback called the emWave produced by the HeartMath Institute.  There are other forms of neurofeedback that can be done in the clinical study which I talked about in my podcast with Dr. Andrew Hill and you can go listen to that.  It’s called QEEG analysis and EEG neurofeedback, and that’s something you do more like a neurofeedback practitioners office, but you can also do like your own self-neurofeedback using something like heart rate variability training and like this emWave for example.  It’s made by company called the HeartMath Institute which has a lot of interesting information on neurofeedback and self-neurofeedback.  And that’s another way that’s been shown into improve a vagus nerve tone would be the use of EEG neurofeedback, and it’s literally like you are connecting yourself to this cable that goes into your computer and then you’re like looking at screen and trying to make flowers grow or trying to change like the landscape by consciously altering your breath pattern and your thoughts.

Rachel:              Okay, wow!

Ben:                   Yeah, that would be quite useful for people who have sympathetic dominance.  And then finally, really interesting…

Rachel:              Is it just like literally just thinking happy thoughts?

Ben:                   It kinda is that easy, yeah. Thinking thoughts of gratitude, place them in your heart, etc. but it’s one thing to grasp the concept of doing that and actually do it, right?

Rachel:              Right.

Ben:                   A lot of people go, “I had an idea” but they don’t do it…

Rachel:              Yup.

Ben:                   … like you actually have to time to do and go freaking do it.

Rachel:              Mmm-hmm.

Ben:                   So there’s also the concept that the vagus nerve travels through your jaw, and a lot of people they have jaws that have aligned the same the way that people have spines are aligned.  So you can have a jaw realignment done to improve the tone of vagus nerve, this is something that chiropractic physician can do, and you wanna find someone who is well-versed in like upper cranial craniosacral like alignment of your atlas, your axis vertebral sections, and also your jaw to be able to analyze whether or not your jaw is out of alignment and to be able to realign the jaw.  And by aligning your jaw, you can directly increase your parasympathetic nervous system activation, a lower inflammation, lower highly sensitive immune system, and improve the vagus nerve tone.

Rachel:              Do you… I mean just really quickly, a little personal experience.  I went to see a chiro probably two years ago for the first time in like ten years and he realigned my sacroiliac joint?

Ben:                   Mmm-hmm.  Yeah.

Rachel:              And I…

Ben:                   Which is not up by your jaw that’s down…

Rachel:              No, it’s not.  But I bawled my eyes out…


I cried for solid hour afterwards, and I had no idea why.

Ben:                   Yeah, the SI joint especially in people who do chronic repetitive motion activity like cycling or running, it almost tends to be stuck.  You’ve got like a greasily surface and then a smooth surface, and those surfaces in the SI joint can tend to stick against each other, and reduce mobility in the pelvis, and that can also affect your vagus nerves.

Rachel:              Yeah.

Ben:                   That’s very interesting.

Rachel:              Yup.  Would crying with that have anything to do with my vagus nerve?

Ben:                   Exactly, yeah.  So you would have activated your parasympathetic nervous system.  I know for some of you who are like, “Ah, sounds like woo-woo”, that is simply a acetylcholine related – what probably happen was you gotta dump of acetylcholine by your vagus nerve after realignment…

Rachel:              Uhm, yeah.  It was the weirdest experience.

Ben:                   Yeah, yeah.  Okay, so we’ve got jaw realignment, we’ve got cold thermogenesis, we’ve got use something like emWave, breathing – that’s kind of a no-brainer…like deep breathing, setting the stage for breathing.  Every morning I start off my day while I am lying there doing my five minutes of heart rate variability measurement, I simply do deep breathing.  And during the time that I do that, I’m actually gratitude journaling so I’ve got a little journal…

Rachel:              That’s three things at once! (laughs)

Ben:                   I know.  So a lot of stuff to think about, you gotta breathe, you gotta write, you have to allow your heart rate to be measured.

Rachel:              (laughs)

Ben:                   It’s tough.  Smoke will come out of your ears.  No, it’s really quite simple.  No, literally I just roll over, I put on my heart rate strap, it takes 3 seconds…and I opened up…

Rachel:              No, it makes sense, it allows you to sit in there for 5 minutes…

Ben:                   … my eyes, and started journaling, and I just make sure as I journal, yeah, you’ll find such shallow chest breathing activates vary receptors in the chest responsible for producing cortisol.

Rachel:              Yeah.

Ben:                   So.  (panting sound) Or even just like the normal absence of like deep belly breathing that a lot of us engage in through the day, that will activate cortisol release and activate the sympathetic nervous system.  When I am lying in bed, what I find is that if I can set a standard for the rest of the day by before even I get out of bed breathing more slowly, having a lower respiratory rate anywhere from 8 to 12 breaths per minute which you can measure and you can measure it throughout the day if you’d like to, using like this app that I talked about – the NatureBeat app.  It’s where your heart rate monitored during the day to kinda see what your respiration rates doing.  You can measure respiration rate and ensure that your respiration is slow and deep throughout the day, and that really helps to keep your nervous system balanced but I’m a big fan of setting the stage early in the day by starting off your day with 5-minutes of deep breathing.  And the cool thing is that the other thing’s been shown to activate both vagal nerve tone as well as parasympathetic nerve activation is and I know you like this, Rachel, ‘cause it’s a woo.

Rachel:              (laughs)

Ben:                   It’s gratitude.

Rachel:              Yeah.

Ben:                   Gratitude practice.

Rachel:              Mmm-hmm.

Ben:                   So when I will post my heart rate variability scores and this is why I get up on my soap box, and I sound like a braggadocios (curse word) but it’s simply the fact.  I’ll post my scores and people will say “How do you get your scores so freaking high?” like “Why is your nervous system so robust? Why your score’s balanced? Why is your heart rate variability so high?” Well, if you looked at what I just talked about Rachel, I take adaptogenic herbs, I use CBD, I don’t use nicotine, I’ll be interested to see what happen if I did, but I don’t probably do that.  I do deep breathing, I do gratitude, I do cold thermogenesis, and I don’t – I’ve never done a jaw realignment but I do deep mobility work twice a week using a foam roller and a variety of different like the lacrosse balls and tortuous devices.  So everything that I just talked about, the only two that I don’t personally use myself are a daily EEG neurofeedback, so I used to use the emWave quite a bit, and I don’t do that anymore.  I think I’ve kinda figured out how to consciously get myself to relax after using it for a period of time, so I don’t do that and I don’t do nicotine.  But everything else I just talked about I do every day, I think it helps out quite a bit with my – with the balance of my autonomic nervous system.

Rachel:              So you are case study, basically?

Ben:                   Yeah.

Rachel:              This stuff works?

Ben:                   Yeah, this stuff works.  Exactly.

Rachel:              Yup.

Ben:                   Exactly.  So I will put links to most everything that I just discussed from the emWave unit, to Hair Mineral Analysis, to adaptogens, etc. in the show notes over at, if you wanna check it out.  The one thing that I would ask you as a listener to do for us is because I actually have not yet done too much guinea pigging or experimentation with nicotine, if you have a good resource, a good clean source of nicotine – I believe another source of that is nicotinamide.  If you have some resources that you like to add in the comment sections to help myself and other listeners out, feel free to surf over there and then add in with some of your own feedback on nicotine would be if any of you have used nicotine to improve the health of your autonomic nervous system.  So that being said, Josh, I’m sure your ears are smoking right now…

Rachel:              (chuckles)

Ben:                   … but you know and you’re probably rushing out to find weed and cigarettes…

Rachel:              (laughs)

Ben:                   So well, go ahead and move on to the next question, but I hope that that was helpful for you and anybody else who wants to balance your sympathetic and parasympathetic mojo.

Anthony:          Hi Ben, I have a question about rancidity of oils around the home and how would you go about testing this? I’m talking about oils that you use for cooking, putting on your salads even fish oils.  I have – I got a bottle of fermented cod liver oil that I had in the fridge for about two years, and I’m not so sure if it’s a healthy oil anymore to put it in my body.  Yeah, would like your insights on this.  Thank you.

Ben:                   Rachel, have you ever had the fish oil burps?

Rachel:              Uh, no.

Ben:                   (chuckles)

Rachel:              Sounds gross, though. (laughs)

Ben:                   The fish oil burps are what keep many people from using fish oil or taking the fish oil.  They buy fish oil, they’ll take fish oil, they get the fish oil burp which are just literally what they sound like and smells like a… yeah, it smells like a fish.  What do you call it – they cut up all the fish, you know, like a fish market basically inside of your mouth.

Rachel:              Mmm-hmm.  Gross.

Ben:                   Pikes peak when you belch.

Rachel:              (chuckles)

Ben:                   And so that’s actually one sign that a fish oil can be bad.  So…

Rachel:              Oh?

Ben:                   You get fish oil in kinda two different forms: you can get in liquids and you get in capsules and actually, I wanna talk about a little bit about two different forms of oil that I use in particular that I find are the most damaging to folks.  A lot of people use them and a lot of people would do more harm than good one when they use, and that’s fish oil and olive oil – fish oil and olive oil.  So there’s this idea of oxidation, and the fact that a lot of oils can be susceptible to oxidation.  Oxidation is just you know, it’s like a rush… rust you know, that stuff – that reddish, orange stuff rust.

Rachel:              Yup.

Ben:                   And so oil can react with oxygen and when oil reacts with oxygen, oxidation can occur, and one of the reasons that that occurs is simply the reaction of the bonds in like the fish oil or in olive oil with oxygen.

Rachel:              So is this non-capsule form only? Or does it also…

Ben:                   Yeah, this can actually happen to both liquid forms of fish oil as well as capsule form of fish oil.

Rachel:              Oh, wow.

Ben:                   And fish oils are particularly fragile or particularly susceptible to oxidation.  EPA and DHA are polyunsaturated fatty acids that means they have multiple double bonds between their carbon atoms, so this big layers of carbon atoms and this multiple double bonds, but this also makes them very unstable because double bonds can readily react with oxygen.  And when that happens you get unpleasant fishy flavors, you get odors but more concerningly, you actually get damaged, you get a bunch of free radicals when you consume that fish oil.  I mean, normally you consume a fish oil to decrease inflammation, to improve the availability of things like EPA and DHA form in neuronal tissue, to improve the integrity of like the myelin sheaths in your cell membranes, but if you’re taking in an oxidized fish oil, you are in fact achieving the opposite effect.  So when you know that oxidation occurs when oil comes in the contact with oxygen from the environment, that should give you a pretty good clue about fish oil, and some of the things that you need to consider when it comes to fish oil ‘cause there’s several different factors that can be controlled to reduce the amount of oxidation.

Rachel:              And then like how long does it kinda take? Is there like a general throw out your olive oil or fish oil after some amount of time?

Ben:                   Hmm.  Yeah, so most fish oil products for example will stay a shelf life of 24 months from the date that they’re made.

Rachel:              Okay.

Ben:                   But that is assumingly aren’t opened and they aren’t exposed to light, and aren’t exposed to heat.  And independent laboratory testing you know, we did a podcast for example at the folks from lab door, it’s found that many brands don’t meet that stated shelf life claim and once something’s been opened or exposed to light, typically, oxidation for a fish oil for example, you’re looking at 90 to a 100 days.  Even if it’s got antioxidants in its package along with it, you don’t want to like stock up on fish oil for more than about 90 to 100 days, so.

Rachel:              Mmm-hmm.

Ben:                   So, around that 3 months range.

Rachel:              Okay, all of my olive oils… (laughs)

Ben:                   We’ll talk about olive oil in a little bit because if it’s got enough antioxidants in it, it might be able to increase that shelf life a little bit longer with olive oil.


Fish oil is actually a little bit more fragile than olive oil based on the amount of those double bonds.  So, temperature is one big contributing factor for oxidation in oil.  So when you get fish oil, that’s best to store it in the refrigerator after you opened it and to avoid allowing it to become exposed to heat, so that’s one biggie.  If you have fish oil, keep it in a fridge, or you can also keep it in a freezer interestingly and it will still get metabolized just fine by your body.  Light can also cause oxidation that’s why you’ll find most high quality fish oils are packaged in like those dark, brown glass bottles or in something that’s not translucent that protects them against damage by light, you’d never wanna buy fish oil that’s in clear packaging.  I’d never buy fish oil unless you can actually see through the bottle and see the fish oil, that’s a bad news bears, so you don’t want a fish oil that’s in like a clear container.  So oxygen exposure can also be a catalyst for oxidation, and that’s why you’ll find some of the better fish oils or actually package of fish oils, and cover them with an inert gas like nitrogen at all possible points during the production of that fish oil.  It’s called nitrogen purging in the supplementation industry, and is a method of reducing the oxidation of the fish oil.  That’s unfortunately something that you don’t find a lot of fish oil and manufacturers doing because it’s expensive and it increases the price of the fish oil, and that’s one reason that you get what you pay for when it comes to fish oil.  Now another thing, that I think is quite handy and this is something I mentioned while talking about Alzheimer’s.  In my last week’s discussion on Alzheimer’s I talked about EPA and DHA are two very good strategies for reducing the risk or slowing the progression of Alzheimer’s but that you must, must, must choose a fish oil or an EPA or DHA source that has antioxidants added into it so that those polyunsaturated oils aren’t becoming oxidized.  So the most common antioxidant that you’ll find added to fish oil that is quite efficacious is called tocopherols.  Vitamin…

Rachel:              About literally be in the ingredient’s list?

Ben:                   Mmm-hmm. Yup, it would be.

Rachel:              Oh, really? Wow!

Ben:                   Vitamin E would be another one, and another very good antioxidant that’s actually one that you can also use as a standard supplement if you got like a sunburn or something like that is astaxanthin.  Astaxanthin is a very, very potent antioxidant.  The fish oil that I use is actually dark black like when you look at the capsule, it’s a dark black capsule.  The fish oil itself is like a beige clear-ish color but an astaxanthin is what makes it black…

Rachel:              Mmm.  I see.

Ben:                   … because the stuff that I use, the stuff that I use is called SuperEssentials Fish Oil.

Rachel:              Yup.

Ben:                   I take two every morning, and it’s like a black capsule because of they actually have Vitamin E, tocopherols and the astaxanthin in that fish oil.  So you want fish oil, again, that’s not been exposed to a lot of temperature, that’s not in a clear container, that has preferably been mixed using nitrogen purging in the manufacturing process, and then has antioxidants added to it, and if you’ve done all that stuff, you’ve got a pretty good chance that your fish oil’s gonna last at least that 90 to 100 days that it should.  If you taste it and it smells fishy, the fishy smell is created via oxidation of those double bonds so that’s one thing.  Also if it taste fishy, same thing, if you get fishy burps, same thing.  So that’s the main way that you can know if the fish oil is bad, if it smells or taste fishy or you know it’s been exposed to high temperatures or a lot of light or a lot of oxygen.

Rachel:              Okay.  Awesome! And what about olive oil?

Ben:                   So olive oil is very, very similar in terms of knowing if it’s bad.  You can look at the way that it smells, and the way that it taste.  So what you’ll find is that an olive oil like it’s a rancid and it’s gonna be the exact same mechanism of action as what will happen with something like a fish oil.  But the – an olive oil that is rancid is gonna smell like crans or potty, if you smelled either of those.

Rachel:              I have never smelled either of those.  (laughs)

Ben:                   You need to get yourself some crans or potty to get on the job.

Rachel:              Alright.

Ben:                   So if it smells like cranss or potty, if it tastes like a rancid nut, like that awkward taste of a rancid nut, it has like a greasy-nut feel…that would be the flavor of a rancid olive oil.  And every single time your olive oil gets exposed to air or light just like fish oil, it undergoes oxidation and will get rancid much more quickly which is why again olive oil should be in dark glass bottles, not like the clear bottles that you’ll see a lot of them at the grocery store and definitely not plastic.  And then also it should be stored in the dark, cool place like the bottom of the pantry for example.

Rachel:              So you wouldn’t put olive oil in the fridge?

Ben:                   You can put it in the fridge because your refrigerator light turns off when you close your fridge, believe it or not.

Rachel:              (laughs)

Ben:                   Magic – light is not on all the time.

Rachel:              I was actually wondering if it would be too cold.

Ben:                   Now sometimes, yeah, depending on the temperature of your fridge it can make your olive oil hard, so.

Rachel:              Yes.

Ben:                   Yeah, so that’s just gonna depend.  Now the other thing is that there are factors that can influence the capability of an olive oil to go rancid particularly the level of antioxidants similar to fish oil, and also what’s called the chlorophyll content of an olive oil.


The higher the quality of an olive oil, the higher the amount of chlorophyll that it will have, the lower propensity it will have for oxidation.

Rachel:              Okay.

Ben:                   Now there’s also this concept of fusty oil – f-u-s-t-y, fusty oil, that will happen if the olive sit for too long before they’re milled which can lead to fermentation of those actual olives and when that happens, your olive oil is going to have like a fermentation smell to it.  So they’ll smell a little bit like vinegary or it’ll taste a little but vinegary – that’ll be a fusty olive oil, a fusty olive oil.

Rachel:              Wait, is that bad?

Ben:                   That would also be bad, that would be an olive oil that is it’s not gonna have a flavor that you want, and it’s also indicative that some oxidation has occurred.  There’s some other issues with olive oil for example, mold – if it tastes dusty or moldy that’s another indication that the olives have sat around for too long prior to the making of the olive oil and you’ll find that done a lot of times – it’s like a cheap inexpensive olive oil.  But those defects, like a fusty olive oil, a moldy olive oil or a rancid olive oil are pretty common, it’s pretty common to have adulterated olive oils in the U.S.  And I’ve actually got an article that I’ve written about this over at, and I’ll link to it in the show notes.  But they’ll often times takes something that they’ve marketed as extra-virgin olive oil and then dilute it with things like hazelnut or soy bean or corn or sunflower or palm oil or one of these other oils that is cheaper, that’s less expensive, but that also increases the propensity of the olive oil to become oxidized decreases the healthfulness of the olive oil and influences its taste.  So…

Rachel:              And again, would that be on the ingredient’s list?

Ben:                   That would not be, that just comes down to the…

Rachel:              That’s crazy!

Ben:                   … choosing a good source.  I am actually, don’t laugh, I am part of… so my… I’ve completed…

Rachel:              I’m already laughing. (laughs)

Ben:                   I’ve completely outsourced my wine and my olive oil, so I get 6 bottles of wine shipped to my house each month.  It is the low mold wine with grapes that are grown at high altitude, and it is the stuff that has higher concentration of polyphenols, of flavonoids.  They ferment it for a longer period of time so there’s less sugar and hooray for us, more alcohol.

Rachel:              (chuckles)

Ben:                   And that’s also called FitVine wine.

Rachel:              Uh-huh.

Ben:                   Wrote an article on it…

Rachel:              Yup.

Ben:                   But extra virgin olive oil, I’m also part of an extra virgin olive oil club.

Rachel:              (chuckles)

Ben:                   So each quarter, I get 3 bottles of olive oil completely pure, it’s from around the world like this last shipment was from Australia, sometimes it will come from…

Rachel:              You’re welcome.

Ben:                   Chile, Spain, Italy.  It comes with like tasting notes, it comes in this dark glass bottles, it’s extremely flavorful, if you like every olive oil taste like crap compare to this stuff…

Rachel:              Right.

Ben:                   And it’s not rancid, so that’s and I haven’t outsourced my fish oil, I just don’t have to order more fish oil.  But yeah, my olive oil comes once a quarter, 3 bottles and my wine comes once a month, 6 bottles and yes, that means I drink more wine than I do olive oil.

Rachel:              (laughs) Thank God.

Ben:                   But my wife drinks lots of wine, actually a lot of faster than I do.  She probably does – she does like a giant fish bowl-sized glass of wine a night.

Rachel:              Every night.

Ben:                   I do like a small…

Rachel:              Good on her.  I love Jessa!

Ben:                   … glass, small glass once every 1 to 2 nights, but ultimately that’s kinda what you need to know when it comes to fish oil and when it comes to olive oil.  I’ll put a link in the show notes to the SuperEssentials Fish Oil that I use as well as the article I wrote on olive oil, but hopefully that gives you some good info on fish oil and olive oil and how to know if this stuff is bad.

Anne:                Hi Ben, it’s Anne from Boston again.  I’m calling because I recently started rock climbing in the gym and I wondered about it.  I’ve been listening to your podcast for a couple of years at this point, I never heard you talk about it as a sport.  Wondered what you’ve thought of rock climbing and what you would do in order to get really good as fast as possible.  Thanks for the advice, love the podcast.

Ben:                   Have you ever gone rock climbing, Rachel?

Rachel:              I haven’t.  I’m scared of heights.

Ben:                   Never?

Rachel:              I’m scared of heights!

Ben:                   What about like the itty-bitty like a cruise ship, like the itty-bitty rolls?

Rachel:              No, no.  I haven’t.

Ben:                   Alright.  Well, rock climbing is actually – it’s a great sport and I like to think that even though I haven’t done a terribly large amount of rock climbing, I’ve done you know, indoor rock climbing.  I’ll go about once a month, my gym has a rock climbing wall that I take the kids to the boulder back and forth.  I did a lot more rock climbing when I was a kid when the gymnastics facility, my parents put me in gymnastics which was great even though I still can’t do the full splits, so it was potentially huge.

Rachel:              I can.  I was a gymnast I can do the full splits.

Ben:                   Huge waste of time but they had a rock climbing wall…

Rachel:              (laughs)

Ben:                   … and actually loves the rock climbing wall more than I did taking the gymnastics classes.  But rock climbing has an interesting, interesting requirement when it comes to physiology, the physiology of climbing.


                           There’s actually a great research article in the Journal of Sports Medicine that was done in which they investigated the physiological response to rock climbing, and it kind of really like a unique set of fitness parameters to be a good rock climber.  And I’ll go into some of the ways that I personally increase my own grip strength for like Spartan and obstacle racing which is quite handy to have increase grip strength.  It has from everything from testosterone and growth hormone, to your ability to able to like navigate like a monkey through obstacles, but also of course if you’re gonna be a rock climber, as you would’ve guessed, you want better grip strength.

Rachel:              Yes.

Ben:                   Or if you wanna be like one of those little, short Japanese guys on American Ninja Warrior that kinda like jump from 1 horizontal like 2 by 4 to another, like through the air and land stick it and hold on, it’s crazy.

Rachel:              (chuckles)

Ben:                   Anyways, if those are your aspirations in life.  So physiological responses to rock climbing.  First of all, oxygen consumption, they’ve worked at VO2 max, like your maximum oxygen consumption during climbing, and they found that you only reach about 40 to 50% of your VO2 max, your maximum oxygen consumption while climbing.  So it looks like your lung capacity is not a factor at all when it comes to climbing, it’s not a limiting factor if you’re training to be a climber that should be pretty low on the totem pole, like increasing your overall maximum oxygen capacity.

Rachel:              Okay.

Ben:                   Now, what’s interesting is there’s two different types of VO2 max.  You can look at overall VO2 max, you can also look at what’s called specific VO2 max, and when you looked at what’s called arm specific VO2 max – that actually gets close to a 100% in rock climbers due to…

Rachel:              That kinda makes sense.

Ben:                   Yeah, so to increase what’s called anaerobic glycolysis in the hands due to like this repeated isometric contractions that rock climbers have to do.  So what this comes down to…

Rachel:              And that – like holding on for dear life literally.

Ben:                   Right. Exactly.  So it behooves you to more train your ability to hold on to something for a long period of time for maximal contraction, and also to train your ability to buffer lactic acid in the fingers and the hands, and I’ll talk about how to do that in a second.  Then it’ll just like do repeated like bike sprints or run sprints for example, so even like hard climbing, your oxygen consumption does not go up very much.  Now, what does go up is your heart rate and your blood pressure, they found that heart rate will go up to a 180 beats per minute during rock climbing, and this is a unique sport in that there’s typically not such as stark differentiation between VO2 max and heart rate.  Meaning, the heart rate rises out of proportion relative to VO2 max or oxygen consumption while rock climbing and that’s because of those repetitive isometric contractions of the forearm and the hand musculature so your blood pressure and your heart rate rise steeply out of proportion compared to your oxygen consumption. And so again, when you look at how you’d want to train to be able to handle this, you would want to do isometric contractions, hangs, climbing where your arms are often held above the level of your heart in order to be able to withstand that disproportion increase in heart rate.  So rather than increasing your heart rate by again, doing like bike repeats or run repeats, you’d want to increase your heart rate by doing isometric contractions, so yeah.  And again, this would be relevant to not just rock climbers, this would be also relevant to like obstacle racers, and it’s possible that part of that heart rate increase could also be explained by the physiological or not the physiological, the psychological stress or the anxiety associated with like you know altitude…

Rachel:              Falling to your death.

Ben:                   Yeah, falling to your death and being shadowed on the rocks below.

Rachel:              (laughs)

Ben:                   Exactly.  So another thing that they have found to be quite high in terms of its millimolar concentration in climbers is blood lactate.  So blood lactate will range from 3 to 6 millimolars and even though that’s not as high as like a marathoner or a cyclist, it’s significantly high.  And considering that in localized areas it can climb higher than 6 like in the fingers in the hands, training yourself to be able to buffer lactic acid would be another very smart strategy if you were wanting to become as good a rock climber or as good a gripper or as good in obstacle racer, as good an American ninja warrior as possible.

Rachel:              (chuckles) And how do you buffer a lactic acid?

Ben:                   Well, one way to buffer lactic acid is simply to train with those kind of isometric contractions, and I’ve got a few good training tools or training aids that I’ll give to folks in just a second.  But interestingly, they’ve even found a particular dietary components that can help buffer lactic acid, and while this would not be as important as some of the actual training methods I’ll talk about in a second, the two things that can help with buffering lactic acid, one would be…


ensuring that your diet is not too acidic, it’s like an Alkaline diet that’s comprised of not too much commercial red meat, dairy, alcohol, caffeine – all of those notoriously acidic foods, and instead more focused on like dark, leafy greens, lemons, and some of the citrusy fruits.  You can download like a whole acid alkaline food chart and see which foods err towards alkalinic, and leading up an event for which you’ve got a high amount of lactic acid boating, it can behoove you to a definitely choose a more alkalinic diet.  The other thing interestingly that we’ve talked about in the show before is baking soda, loading with baking soda…

Rachel:              Huh!

Ben:                   … which can give you the screaming cheznuts and explosive diarrhea if you eat too much of it.

Rachel:              That’s what I had, yup.

Ben:                   But the way you do baking sodas, you just use like a very like small like half a teaspoon amount every 20 minutes for about 2 hours prior to an event for which you’d know you’re gonna produce a bunch of lactic acid, and that can actually significantly have to buffer lactic acid without producing GI distress.  So you kinda like taper your doses over the course of about 2 hours every 20 minutes and about a little less than a teaspoon.

Rachel:              And you probably wanna try that before the big day, right?

Ben:                   Probably because nobody wants to poop while they’re hanging from a rock…

Rachel:              (laughs) Right.

Ben:                   … like 30 feet above the ground on their friends where be laying for them so, you not wanna lose your friends.

Rachel:              (chuckles)

Ben:                   Be that particular method.  And then finally, there’s muscular fatigue that they looked at in the study of rock climbing physiology, and we found that muscle fatigue was as you would have expected one of the physiological mechanism that causes failure during rock climbing in both the legs and the arms.  So when we talk about muscle fatigue, we’re talking about the ability to do repetitive contractions for anywhere from 5 to 20 minutes.  Repetitive contractions of the legs and of the arms because you’re often doing that when you’re climbing a specific route, so…and as you would have expected they also found that in rock climbers, they have particularly low body fat percentages because of the need to have a really good power to weight ratio to pull yourself up a rock climbing or to propel yourself up a rock climbing wall, so they would tend to find about 4 to 14% body fat average for men and 10 to 20% for women.  So, paying attention to how many calories you stuff in your face could behoove you if you plan on climbing up a wall.

Rachel:              And slightly on related question, but how good of an overall workout for health and longevity is rock climbing?

Ben:                   It’s pretty good.

Rachel:              Yeah?

Ben:                   It’s pretty good.  So the area that you would be neglecting as we’ve just learned about would be your VO2 max, so if you’re rock climbing like a full like you know, of a wide spectrum of physiological scales and like good overall of fitness.  Two things don’t get trained on rock climbing actually VO2 max and also surprisingly, flexibility.  And what they found in that study was that flexibility was not significantly different between the lead climbers, recreational climbers and non-climbers including range of motion at the hip and range of motion at the shoulder.

Rachel:              That seems really kinda intuitive.

Ben:                   It does, but it turns out that rock climbers don’t have much greater flexibility than general population, and so that’ll be another thing.  Like if you are rock climber and you’re using rock climbing as one of your sole means of fitness training, you would also want to include some VO2 max sets right? Like 2 to 4 minute intervals in running or cycling and you may also want to include you know, maybe a couple of yoga sessions a week type of thing.  So yeah!

Rachel:              Good stuff!

Ben:                   So as far as some training tools, a few training tools I can give you that I particularly do: first of all, we have an entire podcast on training grip strength, and I’ll link to that in the show notes like we did a – we did like a full like half-hour treaties on grip strength, so listen to that one, I’ll link to it at  But I’ll also recommend two things I keep in my car: so I keep in my car a Captains of Crush hand gripper, so when I’m like sitting at stop lights or driving around in my car, I can do repetitive isometric contractions, I use that particular brand, because it’s well-made, its durable, and they sell them in resistances from like 50 lbs. all the way up to something just crazy like 400 lbs.  So you can literally as you get better and better at one hand gripper you can eventually like go to Amazon and go to the next level up, it’s like 20 or 40 lbs. heavier.  In addition, because what you don’t want is to create and imbalance in your ability to close your hands, you also wanna be able to open your hands, and rock climbers, climbers, obstacle racers and American ninja warrior competitors, etc. who get elbow pain, will want to know this, but you want to train your hand’s ability to open as well.  And so the same company that produces this Captains of Crush hand grippers also produces these bands that are called Expand Your Hand Bands, and literally just like these little lastic bands that you open your hands against.  So I keep both of those in my car, and I’ll go back and forth between the Captains of Crush, and the Expand Your Hand Bands.


In addition, when we talk about elbow pain, there is a condition called the golfer’s elbow or climbers elbow.

Rachel:              Hmm-hmm.

Ben:                   And its pain in the medial elbow and the inside of the arm, and the way that you get rid of this is by doing what’s called active release therapy on the inside of the elbow where you’re pinning the tendons on the inside of the elbow with your arm bent and then slowly extending the arm.  Now when you combine this with deep tissue massage up and down your forearm, you can keep at bay a lot of the forearm injuries and elbow injuries in chronic competitive motion injuries that rock climbers get and there is… go ahead.

Rachel:              Do they get in their wrists as well?

Ben:                   More the elbow, more of the inside of the elbow, particularly.  There’s one device called the ArmAid and it’s like the… it looks like a giant claw and I own one, I use it almost every day ‘cause I do like you know, tons of pull-ups and swings and stuff like that for obstacle training, and it allows you to do that deep tissue work, and you’re own after release therapy, so you don’t have to like spend a bunch of money and go drive through massage therapist and get your form to worked on frequently, and I really swear by, it’s called the ArmAid.  A couple of other things that I’d recommend, one is there is a company called TreeBallClimbing and they sell training devices, climbing holds and things that you can even like take the hotel rooms or to other gyms like the sell, like a ball with a carry bean around the end of it that you could hang from a pull-up bar at the gym, and rather than holding onto a bar, it’s like holding onto a ball.  You can also get like these pinchers or what they call crimps so you can hold on to along with horizontal blocks like cliffhangers and you can literally just like build a little rock climbing gym at your house, or have portable rock climbing gear that you can take with you when you’re on the go…

Rachel:              That’s awesome.

Ben:                   … and when you just wanna bring some to the gym.  Yeah, just check them out at

Rachel:              And they stick anywhere?

Ben:                   Yeah.  You can just hang them from anywhere, so you can create your own you know, rigs, hanging materials.  I learned about this from KC, the American Ninja Warrior girl, we interviewed her for the Obstacle Dominator podcast that I do, and she talked about how she used this Tree Ball Climbing tools to train for American Ninja Warrior.

Rachel:              Very cool.

Ben:                   So, those can also be useful, and thee the final thing that I recommend is just a lot of dead hank where you just like hang in front of a pull-up bar.  And this is something that I’ll do: I’ll put on a podcast or an audio book and just hang for as long as I can.

Rachel:              And what’s a good hang time?

Ben:                   If you don’t get up to about like 8 to 10 minutes, that’s pretty good…

Rachel:              Yup.

Ben:                   Just being able to hang from a bar for long and that’s training that isometric contraction, that lactic acid build up a lot of those things that kinda tend to fatigue of rock climbing.  I’ve got one other rock climbing tip for you, and this would be 20 tips from top professional rock climbers, it’s an excellent article, and appeared on a climbing magazine.  I’m gonna link to that in the show notes for you, but there are few real pieces of  gold from that particular article, so for example, one is they’ll recommend that you try like some of your easier rock climbing roots, once you’ve got them down wearing a weighted belt or a weighted vest to increase your grip strength.  Another tip in there is to rather than just practice statically holding the wall to train a lot for jumping for and latching on to walls, by for example, training yourself to jump, hold under pull-up bar and then drop from the pull-up bar then run it again, jump and hold onto it.  You’re basically training yourself how to dynamically grip in addition to be being able to statically grip, so learning how to like grab things, see them, explode up to them and hold onto them, that’s the technique that climbers will use quite a bit.  And then, another thing that they recommend on this particular article is the use of taping, so in many cases they’ll tape fingers.  They’ll tape specific fingers to prevent tendon damage, you can take like kinesio tape and wrap the insides of the fingers especially if you’re a new climber, and you don’t wanna get like chronic competitive motion injuries in your fingers, you can use like kinesio tape like a rock tape on the fingers to keep them from getting injured as you train your grip.  And this would be especially useful for a new climbers who wanna climb but don’t wanna get like an overused injury in your fingers or the hands.  So I’ll link to that entire article in the notes for today’s podcast, but…

Rachel:              Awesome.

Ben:                   That would be a good one to go through.  So there you go, now you can be a monkey and Rachel, now you have no excuse aside from fear of heights, to head out and hit the rocks.

Rachel:              Love it.  I’ll do it.

Eric:                   Hey Ben, my name is Eric Gandras.  I am a big fan of the podcast.


I love listening to it while I workout, and I constantly employ your helpful tips.  I’m a host of a podcast that I call “How to Be a Grown-up” that I do for my high school students that teaches them despite their economically depressed home lives they should still care about their health, their wellness and their purposeful direction in their lives.  So my question to you would be this: I’ve quite a few students that struggle with the motivation to be active in their day to day lives for a myriad reasons and I’d love to know, what is something that you might suggest to my students to get them off the couch, set down the video game controls, and make a positive decision to be healthy? Thank you so much for what you do and for being such a powerful force for good and health in this world.  You are a constant, daily inspiration to me, not just as a person that likes to be fit and does obstacle racing, but also as your work in the parenting sphere as well.  You’re awesome, my man and I’d really love to know your opinion on this.  So again, thanks so much.

Ben:                   Well Eric sounds like a pretty nice guy.

Rachel:              Yes, he does.  He sounds lovely.

Ben:                   Thank you for the kind words, Eric.

Rachel:              Sounds like you doing some great work as well.

Ben:                   Mmm-hmm.  We’ll check out your podcast “How to be a Grown-up”.

Rachel:              Love it! (chuckles)

Ben:                   Here we go.  At least…

Rachel:              I need to know how to be a grown up.

Ben:                   Tell all the high school student to find out and seriously, I’m not a high school student but I can definitely use some advice on how to be a grown up…

Rachel:              (chuckles)

Ben:                   So, leap out of bed every morning feeling like a little boy.

Rachel:              (chuckles)

Ben:                   So anyways, ‘How to Get Motivated to Exercise’? I have an article about this and Eric, I will link to that article for you, it’s on my – I do a little 5-minute podcast or we call the Get Fit Guy podcast, and I did a particular episode on exercise motivation, and I give ten exercise motivation tips.  I’ll give you the quick countdown now and then if you want to delve even more deeply into these tips, you can go over to, and check out the notes that I have there.  But in no particular order of importance, here are the 10 exercise motivation tips that I give in that particular episode: the first is caffeine.  They found that about a 100 milligrams of caffeine can stimulate the central nervous system to release adrenaline without over-stimulating the nervous system, and can actually improve motivation.  It’s not just a feeling; it’s actually been proven that caffeine can increase your motivation to exercise.  Not that I endorse a bunch of high school students running around thread balls but…

Rachel:              Those in caffeine.

Ben:                   … a cup of coffee from Starbucks can be helpful.  The next, and these are all things that have been proven to help with motivation, next is to clip photos.  So if there’s a body or a look that you’re trying to achieve like a better butt or a flat stomach or more shapely calves, then you look for photos of that look in fitness magazines or in books, and then you can clip them and you can post them to your refrigerator or your bathroom mirror, or wherever you tend to spend a lot of time looking at photographs – your car, your rear-view mirror and hang-up your Brad Pitt from your rear-view mirror.

Rachel:              There you go, yup.

Ben:                   Social accountability – Facebook, your own blog, Twitter account, whatever. Telling others about your exercise goals will create extrinsic  motivation and the fear of embarrassment that you may be held through to those goals whether or not, whether you did or did not achieved them – so that’s another one.  Get a workout buddy, and to keep you from sleeping through a workout, there’s nothing like knowing that you’ve got a friend tapping your feet, waiting for you at the gym at 6 a.m.   And that kind of accountability can be both annoying but also incredibly motivating.

Rachel:              Right, yup.

Ben:                   So, you know, and that could be like a fitness group or an exercise club like a Master’s you know, swim class or triathlon training group or something like that or could also just be a fitness specific friend.  So my next up would be if you can’t find a specific friend, you can hire one, and I found that some people, to push them over the edge, simply have to take out their wallet and hire a personal trainer.  And even if were just a few sessions, a personal trainer can be an incredibly motivating way to have someone just go Jillian Michaels on your ass…

Rachel:              (chuckles)

Ben:                   … and get you motivated to exercise, so that’d be another one to do – personal trainer.  Make a plan! So even if you can’t afford a personal trainer, avoiding decision making fatigue by having something written out and this is a big one from me.  When I roll up off bed every morning, I know what I’m going to do for that day.  The only thing that would keep me from doing what I plan on doing for that day from an exercise standpoint would be of my heart rate variability score, which we mentioned earlier, is really, really low in which case I would consider skipping that day’s workout or substituting.  But most of the time, on a Sunday night, I have planned out Monday thru Sunday and know what I’m going to be doing for my workouts, my exercises, my recovery, etc.  So having a plan can be incredibly motivating and help you to avoid the decision making fatigue that keeps you from exercising.


Next would be the keep a log, so that would be writing down using a phone app or a diary or a log, keeping track of what it is that you’ve done.  A lot people are just like getting a little slim journal and take it with them to the gym or to their workout, write down what they did for that day, and it can be motivating to be able to look back and see the momentum that you’ve gained thus far.

Rachel:              Yup, yup.

Ben:                   Yup.  Next thing is to take pictures not of other people like Brad Pitt or Kim Kardashian but instead, you would take pictures of yourself.  So I would have some or my clients do this: my clients who have aesthetic goals, they will take a front pictures of themselves and a side pictures of themselves in their underwear or their skivvies and they will send that to me every couple of weeks.  So that they are being held accountable not just to themselves for that aesthetic appearance they’re trying to achieve, but also to myself.  And knowing that someone’s gonna be whipping at the camera, taking photo of you once every couple of weeks can be incredibly motivating if your goals are aesthetic…

Rachel:              Right.

Ben:                   … when it comes to exercise.  Next would be the scale and even though I don’t particularly like scales, sometimes I think that they can make people too self-critical, get too caught up in numbers, etc., sometimes you just have to know where the dial is moving especially if weight loss is a deal for you.  So I’m a big fan of like this Withings scales for that purpose that will tell you, like your body fat percentage which is important to make sure that even if you’re the scale isn’t budging from a weight standpoint, you might see that your body fat is decreasing.  But also because those will like sync to an app that will you know, when we talked about logging, keep track of your weight, your body fat percentage allow you to have some quantitative measurements.  So photos can show you the quality of your progress, but a scale can show you kinda like the quantity of your progress and progress can be motivating.

Rachel:              Definitely, yup.

Ben:                   And then finally, a self-talk.  Really interestingly, they’ve shown that just going into a workout and having specific phrases that you say to yourself like “I can do this”, “I got this”, you know that Mark Divine, the Navy Seal commander, he’s got one that he does call where he say, “Easy Day” or “looking good” or “feeling good”, “I ought to be in Hollywood”,you know.

Rachel:              (laughs)

Ben:                   Those types of phrases, believe it or not, those can help.  And I’ve done that many a time when getting out of bed in the morning or prior to starting a workout. I will simply use this simple 3 word phrase “I got this” before starting and even something as simple as that can be really motivating.

Rachel:              Yeah!

Ben:                   So you can try that if nothing else, “I got this”, would be a good one, so.

Rachel:              Yup.

Ben:                   So try out some of those tips and I’ll put a link Eric, to that entire article in the show notes if you want to share that with some of the students that you work with, and hopefully that’s helpful to you.  So, that… that was quite a bit that we went over just now…

Rachel:              That was huge.

Ben:                   In all of those questions but head over to, if you wanna access the show notes for any and all of that.  But we’re not done yet, no we’re not.

Rachel:              We’re not done yet, my favoritepart.

Ben:                   Because we have that final favorite part where we read this week’s top review to you, and if you leave a review, if you go to iTunes, leave a review – not only does it vastly helps spread the message of the show, but it also puts you into the drawing to where if we read your review on the show and you email [email protected], that’s [email protected], we’ll send you a Ben Greenfield Fitness tech t-shirt, we’ll send you a fancy BPA-free water bottle and we will send you a beanie – a Ben Greenfield Fitness beanie which I’ve been wearing quite a bit when hitting the slopes.  And if you just can’t wait for your review to be read, you can actually buy any of that stuff.  You go to bengreenfield fitness .com/gear – you can buy any of that stuff for yourself.  It’s like $40 or something like that, so just get the whole package: the shirt, the bottle, the hat.

Rachel:              Yup.

Ben:                   Something else, you can support the show that way, you can also support it by leaving a review and this week’s review is a 5-star review from Ann from Germany in ‘Which has great mix of information, useful tips, worth listening’.  She left this on Christmas Eve, December 24th, so she even went out of her way on a very important holiday to leave us a review.

Rachel:              That’s very sweet.  Thank you, Ann.

Ben:                   Wanna take this one away?

Rachel:              I’d love to. Alright. Ann says, “I find the 340 podcast on fat burning efficiency, brain efficiency and thermo genesis highly informative all combined the topics made out for pool of very useful information and must-know for anyone who wants to look deeper into the possibilities.  A marathon podcasting indeed – you’re right and it was – which will invigorate anyone who…

Ben:                   But still shorter than this one.

Rachel:              Right. “I thank Ben Greenfield for his dedication to his show, his passion for the sports and for the knowledge that he shares with all listeners.  Loved the show.”

Ben:                   Mmm.  Thank you, Ann…

Rachel:              Very sweet.

Ben:                   … from Germany.  So hopefully, you will forgive us for producing yet another marathon podcast this week, but ultimately, glad we could help with that pool… that pool of very useful information.  Perhaps we should start call it the ‘pool’ rather than the ‘podcast’.

Rachel:              Yeah. (laughs)

Ben:                   Ben Greenfield Fitness Pool.  So if you’re listening in and you liked that, you can go leave a review in iTunes.  We’ll put an easy link for you to do so with links and resources for everything that we talked about today.  If you visit, stay tuned for this weekend’s show, fantastic weekend podcast coming up on why some people who chase the silver bullet of health do more harm in themselves than good, and some really practical ways that you can avoid kinda getting dug into the hole of orthorexia or like a…

Rachel:              Hmm?

Ben:                   … preoccupation with health than nutrition and fitness – really interesting stuff.  So that’s coming in Saturday?

Rachel:              The next time you hear from me, I’m gonna be in Australia! Yey!

Ben:                   Aus, in Australia.  So Rachel’s off to hang out with the kiwi fruits…

Rachel:              Kangaroos.

Ben:                   the mock fruits, kangaroos, the koala bears.

Rachel:              Yup.

Ben:                   I’m off to go trips through the snow just because I can and you are off with the heedful of knowledge in the latest Ben Greenfield Fitness show.  Check out the show notes,, have a healthy week!

You’ve been listening to the Ben Greenfield Fitness Podcast.  Go to for even more cutting edge fitness and performance advice.

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