Ben & Jessa Greenfield’s “What’s Working Now” Show: A Sneak Peek Inside The BenGreenfieldFitness Inner Circle.

Screen Shot 2015-08-27 at 11.03.42 AM

I am currently hunting elk deep in the Colorado mountains, completely off-the-grid.

Hence, there is no official Q&A podcast this week.

Instead, I am bringing  you a sneak peek inside the BenGreenfieldFitness Inner Circle – specifically, the show that my wife Jessa and I release each month to our members. In each of these live, interactive shows, we talk about the latest workouts, fitness gear, nutrition, supplements, recipes, anti-aging strategies, biohacks, healthy kid tips, and more.

You can click here to listen to the audio, or you can watch the video below. Some of the things you’ll get in this episode include:

-The true size of the Greenfield wine glasses…

-Ben’s fancy new foam roller routine, and all the mobility toys he uses for it…

-How to use an incline treadmill…

-How in-ear light phototherapy works…

-How Ben uses cannabidiol for plane flights, and which smart drugs he combines CBD with…

-A peppermint oil and soda water hack…

-The #1 cause of migraines…

-The research and fitness journals Ben personally subscribes to…

-Why Jessa chose to step back from stressful workouts

-How the Greenfield’s deal with arguments and breakdowns…

-And much more…

If you want all the handy-dandy shownotes and links that accompany this particular episode, just click here to get a full trial of the BenGreenfieldFitness Inner Circle for $1, and leave your questions, comments or feedback below!

Plant-Based Medicine 101: How To Use Wild Plants For Cognitive Enhancement, Physical Performance, Immunity And More!

plant-based medicine

Wild plants growing right in your own backyard can be used to enhance digestion, increase cognitive performance and improve endurance.

You just have to know how to use them.

And in today’s podcast with Guido Masé, you’re going to learn exactly how.

Guido is author of the book “The Wild Medicine Solution: Healing With Aromatic, Bitter And Tonic Plants“, a clinical herbalist, herbal educator, and garden steward specializing in holistic Western herbalism. A described his plant-based medicine approach as “eclectic” and “drawing upon many influences”. He spent his childhood in Italy, in the central Alps and in a Renaissance town called Ferrara. Then, after traveling the United States, he settled into Vermont where he has been living since 1996.

He is a founding co-director of the Vermont Center for Integrative Herbalism, an herbal medicine clinic and school. He serves as chief herbalist for the Urban Moonshine Natural Products Company, where he oversees research for an all-organic whole-plant tincture line and participates in product education and quality control.

Guido is also a trail runner and marathoner, and in this episode, you’ll discover:

-How Guido became a “wild plant” expert…

-What is it that has changed in domesticated plants that make them so much more inferior than wild plants…

-The important differences between aromatic, bitter and tonic plants…

-How many plants you actually need to produce a tincture…

-Why alcohol is such a great medium to mix wild plant extracts into…

-How you can use “bitters” to enhance your digestive process (and how they’re far different than digestive enzymes)…

-Why you should include plants like endives, radicchio, frisee, dandelion and mustard greens on your salad or with your meals…

-How to use wild plant extracts to support long bike rides, run or feats of endurance performance…

-How to use pine, mint, lavender and lemon balm to enhance cognitive performance…

-How you can easily make your own tonics and tinctures from common wild plants growing right in your own backyard…

-And much more!

Resources from this episode:

-Guido’s book: The Wild Medicine Solution: Healing With Aromatic, Bitter And Tonic Plants

-Guido’s blog:

-The Urban Moonshine products

TianChi Chinese Adaptogenic Herb

Do you have questions, comments or feedback for Guido or me about plant-based medicine, how to find and use wild plants, “Urban Moonshine” or anything else we discuss in this episode? Leave your thoughts below!

Polyphasic Sleep, Water Fasts, Marijuana, Smart Drugs, Electrical Stimulation & More With Jesse Lawler of SmartDrugSmarts.

jesse lawler

Meet Jesse Lawler (pictured above), my guest in today’s podcast.

Jesse is a software developer, a self-experimentalist, and a health nut; he tweaks his diet, exercise habits, and medicine cabinet on an ongoing basis, always seeking the optimal balance for performance and cognition.

He has flirted with everything from paleontology and genetic engineering to screenwriting, green-tech, software engineering, photography, and neuroscience.

Jesse is also the host of Smart Drug Smarts, a podcast about “practical neuroscience,” where he speaks each week with the world’s leading minds in neurology, brain-tech, and the social issues related to cognitive enhancement.

During our discussion, you’ll discover:

-How Jesse rode his bicycle across the entire country with no training…

-Why Jesse went from 100% vegan to 100% Paleo…

-The details of Jesse’s week long water fast, what he discovered along the way, and the crazy mistake he made after…

-When a “polyphasic sleep schedule” is an appropriate strategy to manage fatigue or lack of sleep…

-Why Jessa drinks zero amounts of alcohol…

-The details of Jesse’s recent Ritalin experiment…

-Whether marijuana damages your brain and memory or makes you stupid, and the concept of micro-dosing with compounds such as THC or CBD…

-Jesse’s favorite smart drug and nootropic stacks…

-And much more!

Resources from this episode:

HammerNutrition Seat Saver (use 15% discount code 80244)

The SmartDrugSmarts podcast

Nicotine patch + Nuvigil


Axon Labs – Nexus & Mitogen

Headspace app


Do you have questions, comments or feedback about smart drugs, nootropics, cognitive performance, water fasts, ketosis, water fasts, or anything else Jesse and I discuss in this episode? Leave your thoughts below and either Jesse or I will reply.

The #1 Appliance In Your Home That Churns Out Hidden Toxins, And What You Can Do About It.


If you read my recent article about how to biohack a sauna, then you’ve already heard of my friend Brett Bauer.

Brett is a guy who I lived with in college. When I used to hang out with him, he was a hard-partying guy who drove a fancy red car and lived a fast lifestyle. But since then, he’s experienced an amazing health journey that’s taken him from alcoholism to fruitarianism to raw veganism to water detoxes to, finally, eating grass-fed beef and sweet potato fries with me and my family on our back porch.

In my conversations with Brett, I’ve been blown away by his body of knowledge on everything from sauna detoxes to water filters to removing hidden toxins like mold and fungus from your home. And in today’s podcast, Brett and I delve into the #1 appliance in your home that churns out hidden toxins: your vacuum cleaner.

During our episode, you’ll discover:

-How many pounds of chlorine you can absorb through your skin in a single shower, and an easy, portable way to ensure that you can filter your shower water to avoid absorbing water toxins through your skin…

-The shocking toxic potential of the clothing you’re wearing, and the best, most toxin-free way to clean your clothing…

-A way to have soft clothes without static, ditch your static dryer sheets and use a little-known DIY stack in your clothing washing and drying process…

-The big, big problem with using dry cleaning methods like dry washcloths or dry filter vacuums to clean your home, and how these actually spread microscopic contaminants throughout your home…

-How you can inadvertently be spreading staph infections, mold and fungi around your house every time you clean your home…

-What to look for in a HEPA filter (and why all filters aren’t created equal)…

-And much more…

Resources we discuss in this episode:

A free home cleaning and toxin removal consultation with Brett

William Wolcott’s Metabolic Typing Diet book

Aquasana Shower Filter

Molly’s Soap Suds

Sauna Detox with Niacin Protocol

My How To Detox Your Home article

Do you have questions, comments or feedback about dry vacuums vs. wet vacuums, detoxing your home and body, or anything else Brett and I talked about in this episode? Leave your thoughts below, and click here if you’d like a free home cleaning and toxin removal consultation with Brett!

329: Is The GMO Food Scare Blown Out Of Proportion, Top 5 MMA Biohacks & Much More!


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

Aug 19, 2015 Podcast: Top 5 Natural Arthritis Cures, Top 5 MMA Biohacks, J-Shape vs. S-shape Spine, Far Infrared vs. Near Infrared Saunas, and How To Gain Muscle Without Weightlifting

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, Skype “pacificfit” or use the “Ask Ben” form at the bottom of this page.


News Flashes:

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Well…when do you think biohacking has gone too far? How about turning yourself into a goat? 

Sep 23-24, 2015. Ben is speaking at the Biohackers 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.

New Greenfield Longevity Panels. Working closely with WellnessFX, America’s top laboratory for concierge blood testing and online access to all your blood testing results, Ben has developed the “Greenfield Longevity Blood Testing Package”, which is the most complete blood testing package that money can buy. There is one package specifically designed for men, and one for women. This is by far the most comprehensive blood testing package that exists, and Ben created it for the health enthusiast, biohacker and anti-aging individual who wants access to the same type of executive health panel and screening that would normally cost tens of thousands of dollars at a longevity institute. Virtually all hormones and all biomarkers are covered in this panel.

Ben Greenfield has officially launched his first work of fiction: “The Forest”. Twin brothers River and Terran discover a portal to a hidden forested world attacked by parasitic fungi, dark shamans, and serpents. Along with an assembled band of unlikely misfits that includes coyotes, whitetail deer, wood thrushes, and fox squirrels, they must unlock their unique powers to control the elements of earth, air, fire and water, and save the forest before the evil they’ve uncovered can spill back into their own world. Click here to read it now! New chapters released every 7-14 days.

The BenGreenfieldFitness Quarterly box has officially launched! When you sign-up, you’ll get a Quarterly handpicked box jam-packed with Ben’s favorite fitness gear, supplements, nutrients and research-proven biohacks.

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 Brock Skywalker Armstrong, the Podcast Sidekick and Audio Ninja.

Top 5 Natural Arthritis Cures

Summer says: She has arthritis up and down her entire spine. Her doctor thinks it is because of stress. She is 33 and is using a lot of de-stressing techniques that you have discussed on the show and she follows a mostly paleo diet. She heard that Dave Asprey had cured himself of arthritis but couldn’t find out how. What would you do if you had arthritis?

Top 5 MMA Biohacks

Troy says: He is curious about some under the radar performance enhancers. He was reading about an MMA fighter who is using urine therapy to enhance his performance. He also read that the NFL was using Viagra for performance. He’d like to know more about those and any other unconventional enhancers you know of.

J-Shape vs. S-shape Spine

Jon says (sounds like he is running while asking the q): He is interested in the new research showing that spine shapes were J-shaped in the past and are now S-shaped which has lead to back pain. What are you thoughts on this? Do think this is true? And if so, how would you go about getting a J-shaped spine?

Far Infrared vs. Near Infrared Saunas

Barbara says: She is wondering is you can make a comment on Far infrared saunas vs. Near infrared saunas. What are the benefits and differences. Also can you recommend any portable saunas?

How To Gain Muscle Without Weightlifting

Jason says: He came down with prostatitis from lifting heavy weights. How can he best recover from that? He is not allowed to lift any weights, or avoid anything that would induce high abdominal pressure, so how can he maintain muscle mass while he can’t lift weights?

In my response, I recommend:
Bodyweight Overload program


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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Episode #329 – Full Transcript

Podcast #329 from


Introduction: In this episode of the Ben Greenfield Fitness show: Is The GMO Food Scare Blown Out Of Proportion, Top 5 Biohacks For MMA, Top 5 Natural Arthritis Cures, J-Shape vs. S-Shape Spine, Far Infrared vs. Near Infrared Saunas, How To Gain Muscle Without Weightlifting, 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 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.

Brock:               If I sound really cold, it’s because I am.  I’m way up north in the Great White North visiting my mom and sister, and damn it’s cold.

Ben:                   (crosstalk) Is it what it’s called the Great White North?

Brock:               Yeah!

Ben:                   Isn’t that like out of the Hobbit or something like that?

Brock:               (laughs) I don’t – I don’t think so, maybe.

Ben:                   Like giant magical phony to the Great White North with your symitar of justice?

Brock:               Well, all of us up here do have great big furry feet, so it’s a propo.

Ben:                   That’s actually kinda funny ‘cause we didn’t talk before we started recording but I’m literally like dripping with sweat right now.  As I am occasionally prone to it ‘cause I don’t use an alarm.  I just don’t like what alarms do to your circadian rhythm and feelin’ one should wake naturally.

Brock:               Yeah.

Ben:                   The problem is that I’ve got black out curtains, I’ve got like a sleep mask and I rely upon basically like my internal circadian rhythm and a very, very cry-far –cry of rooster most mornings to wake up.  And this morning my eyes pop open like 7:45.

Brock:               Woah, nice.

Ben:                   So, right now I’ve been scrumbling ‘cause usually for me, 6 (excuse me) 6:30-ish.  So anyways, running behind and literally came straight from 30 minutes and doin’ my infrared, sauna yoga routine into here and stop along the way at the garden hose in between my office and sauna too.  Hose myself off, so literally like my pants are wet, I’m dripping with sweat.  I smell great ‘cause I’m doing a niacin detox, so, here we go.

Brock:               Oh!  Sweat and toxin.  Delicious.

News Flashes:

Brock:               For those of you who can’t smell Ben, you can catch up on everything what he’s been looking at lately over at and maybe you‘ll enlighten us on some of those new studies.

Ben:                   Actually I just – I don’t actually stink when I do this infrared-sauna detox.  As a matter of fact, unless you’re doing like a rapid fat loss type of protocol, usually you don’t as much of the stench.  You also won’t get that ammonia like smell unless you’re actually breaking down proteins, like if I were doing merf inside the sauna maybe (laughs) you’d be a little stinky but at this point I’m just doing it to increase my stress resilience, my heat shock proteins, my blood flow, my epo, all that kind of stuff, and I might get a little bit of a heavy metal detox.  We’ll see, but now…

Brock:               You see, you smell like pennies.

Ben:                   No copper has formed on my toenails or anything like that, no.  Anyways though, a few interesting news flashes.  And this one was quite relevant to me.  I actually this entire week, I’m engaged in personal meetings with a transcendental meditation instructor who is coming to my house and we’re doing like sessions like I had to have a white handkerchief, 2-3 sweet fruits, and… what else do I need, oh, 4-6 freshly cut flowers for our introductory session, and I’m developing like my own mantra and literally going through my own little personal TM course because I’ve always been curious about transcendental meditation and now I’m learning.  So, it’s kinda cool.

Brock:               That is kinda cool.

Ben:                   Yeah, my instructor is pretty cool.  His name is Phillip, he’s like this – kinda like… hippie/…

Brock:               Ashkamar!

Ben:                   No, something like I said -Phil, Bob.  No, he’s really cool.  He’s like – he’s red necks/yoggie/hippie kinda guys.  Kinda interesting, so.  Yeah, he teaches like ______[0:04:53.0] and transcendental meditation.  Anyways though, the reason I bring this up is there’s a really interesting study that came out in Science News about how gastro-intestinal disorders that we all struggle with, right, like well, I shouldn’t say we all, but so many people I talk to deal with constipation, irritable bowel, irritable bowel syndrome, gut inflammation, leaky gut, you know, all these issues even brain fog, some issues with the gut-brain access, and most of it is of course link to inflammation in the gut.


It’s not like there’s not a biological mechanism underlying things like IBS and IBD, but what this study looked into was what would happen with participants who are doing a nine week training program that cause them to consciously elicit a relaxation response, and the way that they are being taught to consciously elicit this relaxation response was through a deep physiologic state of relaxation and in particular they’re using a breath-work, meditation and prayer.  And what was happening was the actual genes responsible for altering the inflammatory markers associated with things like IBS and IBD appeared to be getting shutdown when these folks were doing their 15-20 minute relaxation practices.  Isn’t that interesting?

Brock:               That’s crazy!

Ben:                   I mean, it makes sense ‘cause like when you step up on stage, you get gut-butterflies.  We all know that if you’re nervous or stress, like your gut response but – I – this is the same thing I tell people who are like trying to manage cortisol levels with like whatever – adaptogenic herbs and you know, all these different supplements like they aren’t work unless you also fix stress, and sleep, and relationships, and stuff like that, and I would take this to heart if you’re listening in and you have gut issues, you may also want to – if you’re not already doing something like very, very like parasympathetic and that doesn’t mean to outrun.  This means like getting inside your head, doing things like meditation, prayer, some kind of deep relaxation practice, journaling, you know, you name it.  It really looks like there’s a distinct effectiveness.  If I said that correctly on the inflammatory response in the gut.  Interesting, huh!

Brock:               Yeah!  Yeah, like when you mentioned when you bring up like butterflies in your stomach before a big presentation or something like that like sure, I’ve always felt but I’ve never actually thought that it was a gut thing?  I was just sort of manifesting in that area of my body not necessarily affecting my gut per se, so that’s – that is really surprising to me.

Ben:                   Yeah, so you may no longer need to bring your explosive diarrhea screen to your big stage presentations, now Brock.

Brock:               (laughter)  Thank goodness for that.

Ben:                   Thank goodness.  A couple of interesting articles on CBD which I’m always kinda keeping on my eye and now it’s one of my supplements of choice and now that we’re – we are actually here at greenfieldfitnesssystems producing like this – this cannabidiol extract, this organic cannabidiol extract.  Really interesting article on what it does for animals, and it turns out that the animal market metabol – metabol.  I should trade mark that metabols.  Medical cannabis and CBD – there’s a growing demand for it because it’s doing everything from like treating anxiety to aggressiveness, to stress, to even things like epileptic seizures in pets.  Also, one of the things that one article I’ll link to in the show notes for this episode that CBD is being used for particularly is – the degenerative joint issues in pets.  Things like dogs, and stuff like that.

Brock:               Yeah.  That’s really interesting.  It’s all over the place.  I saw everything.

Ben:                   Yeah!  Yeah, so we’re not actually….

Brock:               It’s the miracle cure for your pet.

Ben:                 Just to clarify for those of you who have missed the previous episodes we’ve done.  We’re not talking about getting your pet high.  Even though that would be fun.

Brock:               It might be a good time.

Ben:            Jar, peanut butter.  Hi dog!  Anyways though, what we’re talking about is cannibidiol, non-psychoactive component showing some pretty cool effects when it comes to giving it to phyto, so.

Brock:               Will it make my ugly dog cuter?

Ben:                   If you take enough CBD possibly.

Brock:               They done perfect.

Ben:                   So, the other interesting article that I wanted to mention just when I’m on the topic of CBD is that there’s a new study on PubMed about its ability to increase the rate at which fracture’s heel – like stress fracture’s heel.  So you get…

Brock:               Seriously?  This is ridiculous.

Ben:                   Yeah, increase collagen cross-linking enzymes…

Brock:               Is there anything CBD can’t do?

Ben:                   …that increase the – increase osteo-blastic activities.  Very interesting.  I do think “Mark my words” – I do think that the endo-cannibanoids system is going to be one of the more studied physiological systems of the upcoming – whatever, century or in the 20 or the 23rd, 24th now?

Brock:               The 25th century!

Ben:                   Anyways though…

Brock:               So, do you think this is because of the legalization of marijuana in so many of the States now that people are actually doing all these studies?

Ben:                   Uhm, it’s all on-going discovery.  I’ll be frank, I can’t disclose too much, like I’m meeting later on today with this huge medical cannabis company up in Canada about some of the work they’re doing just because of all these research on the endo-cannabinoid system, and pain, and the whole like you know, virgining medical marijuana industry in Canada, etc.  So, really interesting stuff.


Brock:               Yeah!

Ben:                   Yup, so…

Brock:               Mind blowing.

Ben:                   If you have a fractured pet, that’s…

Brock:               (laughs)  If you have an ugly, angry, smelly, fractured pet.

Ben:                   That’s right.  I’m actually going to start a band called Fractured Pet.

Brock:               Fractured Pet.

Ben:                   I was at the open mic night last night.  Middle of the week I went to a bar all by myself to go watch open mic night because I am preparing my place at for open mic night and wanted to kinda take a look at what was available with the amps look like, the stage look like, the ambiance, the acoustics, and everything.  So, I did some – what do you call it?  Reconnaissance?

Brock:               Reconnaissance…

Ben:                   I did some open mic night reconnaissance last night.  So, I was that guy at the bar all by myself, standing in the back, taking notes on my iPhone.

Brock:                That’s – that’s okay, I must still respect you.

Ben:                   I’m a prepper.

Brock:                Are you feelin’ good?  Or is it gonna go well?

Ben:                   It’s gonna be awesome!  It’s be awesome, I will be the next Johnny Cash.  (chuckles)

Brock:                Mark my words.

Ben:                   Mark my words.  Ah okay, the – what I described the best damn article of the year when it comes to defining conventional wisdom on GMOs and this one appeared on our friend Mark’s Daily Apple website.  I think everybody should go read this article to really wrap your head around.  What do you need to be worried about when it comes to GMOs.  Like…

Brock:                Actually, I’ve a better idea.  They can go over there and listen to…

Ben:                   That’s right because Brock…

Brock:                Me, reading that post.

Ben:                   …actually reads, exactly.  Brock does this…

Brock:                In this kind of voice.

Ben:                   Brock does read, believe or not.  Uhmm, in a world.  Anyways…

Brock:                (chuckles)  In a world of GMOs.

Ben:                   A few other really interesting things, and of course you know about this, Brock because you read it.  One of the things is that this BT toxin.  The BT toxin is actually only activated in alkaline digestive systems.  And so, we talked about humans being you know, getting their guts ______[0:12:07.6] by BT toxin but the fact is human and mammalian guts are acidic.  Insect guts are alkaline, and I’m not necessarily getting on a pro-GMO soap box here, but I am pointing out a few things in the article that I think are really interesting.  So, another thing that the pro-GMO side says is that GMOs allow reduced risk of pesticides, and the anti-GMO side says that GMOs allow for increased use of pesticides.  But what it looks like is that when you look at herbicides, GMOs increase the use of herbicides but they actually reduce the use of insecticides.  And so there’s different toxins that are going to be a non-GMO vs. GMO based plants.  So, that was an interesting point that it made.  Another one was about round-up and whether or not round-up really does damage gut bacteria.  And it does turn out that there is potential for it to reduce the amount of beneficial bacteria in your gut when you’re consuming compounds that could be potentially susceptible to round-up residue on the food that you eat.  I just don’t believe there are many studies in they kinda point out some of the different things that round-up can do with the bacterial species.  Interestingly it reduces some of the species responsible for like salmonella and clostridium so.

Brock:                Yeah, another thing about that that really opened my eyes was that all of the studies are done on glyphosate which is a part of round-up but it’s only one very small part of round-up, so they haven’t done the studies on the concoction.  They’ve just found it on one…

Ben:                   For share, there’s actually evidence that several ingredients in the round-up concoction actually can decrease the toxicity of glyphosate once it enters into the gut.  So yeah, we could go on and on obviously, or you could go read the article but I think that rather than us just saying all GMO is bad, we need to look at which GMO foods we are looking at, you know, conventional vs. organic strawberries for example.  We need to look at things like beets and soy beans, and we need to consider what actually happens when something is genetically modified and what the researches behind it, but I think for us to just say BT toxins, roundup ready is gonna destroy your gut.  That’s penny with a really broad brush.

Brock:                Yeah, yeah.

Ben:                   So, check out the link to that article over on the show notes at

Special Announcements:

Brock:                 T-t-t-t-t-t-t-t-t-t-tit.  I’m doing the old school news thing.

Ben:                   I always think of like hunt for red October and like the people in the bottom of the submarine.  Do – what I hear noises like that.

Brock:                I thought of a – the Muffet Show.

Ben:                   Yeah.  The Muffet Show exactly.  Oh!  What’s it called?

Brock:                The news portion.

Ben:                   It’s that guy – is the guy Smiley?  Or is it…


Brock:                No, no.  It’s Sam the Eagle.

Ben:                   Oh yes!  Sam the Eagle.  What’s the name of the new show?  I see if I can – if I can do my Sam the Eagle impersonation.  It’s a…

Brock:                        I can’t remember what the name it is.  It’s just Muffet News isn’t it?

Ben:                   Muffet News!

Brock:                (laughs)  Is the little Grover like that?

Ben:                   Alright, so this – this is the Ben Greenfield fitness episode of – Muffet News!  And…

Brock:                D-d-d-d-d-d-d-dit

Ben:                   Oh, we had too much coffee this morning.  So, we will quit boring you guys and actually giving you some value but for us…

Brock:                Actually it wasn’t just coffee.  I had some Alpha Brain, that’s got blaming it on.

Ben:                   There you go.  New exercise, I got new exercise for folks in today’s new flash and that is the sandbag row and drop, is what I’m going to call it because I can’t think of a better name.

Brock:                Sandbag row and drop.

Ben:                   So, you get us sandbag or a sand bell or anything that is that you can fill with small rocks, sand, etc.  You put it on the ground in front of you, you grip it with one hand and you row it as high as you can like a single arm ballistic row at the very top of the row ‘cause you rip that thing off the ground so hard, you just let it fly.  It drops, you get it with your other hand, you row fast and let it fly.  So, you just row, drop, row, drop, row drop…

Brock:               Or so – you just holding it up to your shoulder or like…

Ben:                   You’re doing like a bent-over row.  So like elbow past parallel, right.  And it’s like a combination – it’s almost, it gives you very, very similar feeling to like using a battle rope, you may not have a space for battle rope but it’s very similar like this ballistic upper body activity, and the way that I was doing my session last night was I was combining 60 seconds of that with doing farmer walks around the house.  So I technically had 2 of the sand bells for this workout, and one of the – well, both of the sandbells actually are brought to you by Onnit, as is this podcast episode.  So, I highly recommend everyone have at least one or two sandbells lying around.  I have the 50 pounders from Onnit, and this unlike the kettlebells don’t have champers on beard, any other faces on them but they are pretty cool.  So, check them out – sandbells, and you get a 5% discount on all fitness gear, and a 10% discount on all supplements when you go to  That’s  Try out that workout.

Brock:               Alright.  I will, I will.  Actually it sounds really, really interesting.  I just want to clarify, just so when you’re reaching down to get the sandbell, are you mostly squatting so your body is still upright or you actually bending from the waist?

Ben:                   You’re – you’re basically in the same position you’d be in if you’re going to do a barbell bent row, right?  Like straight back, leg slightly bend, exactly.  Okay.  So, also I wanted to bring the topic of biohacking ‘cause I’m headed over to Finland at the end of September.

Brock:                Helsinki!

Ben:                   Helsinki, exactly, to do the – thank you for doing the crazy Helsinki voice for me.

Brock:                We actually got an email from somebody there that was making fun of us….

Ben:                   Anyways though, so I’m speaking at the Biohacking Seminar over there.  You can check it out, we’ll put a link to it in the show notes or you can go to,  That’s where you can check out the biohacking summit, Sept. 23 to the 24th in Finland where among the things that they say they’re gonna delve into are implanted chips, gene therapy, bionic arms, biometric shirts, robotic assistants, and virtual reality.  And I thought that folks who are interested in those type of things may also be interested in a recent article that appeared on the Daily Mail about the man who tried to live as a goat.  He transformed himself using prosthetics and we just post a bunch of photos to the Facebook page for bengreenfieldfitness of this guy.  He appears of using a triathlon aero-helmet, and then a series of actual wooden/metal jointed prosthetics to turn himself into a goat so that he could go study goat behavior, learn the way that goat’s communicate, and potentially even attempt to create an artificial goat stomach that would allow him to eat grass.  One of the photos – he doesn’t appeared to actually implant the artificial goat stomach but he is eating grass.  In another photo, he’s fallin’ on his head and he can’t get up because the prosthetic goat legs proved to be a bit challenging for him to actually navigate with.  And the prosthetic leg component appear to be somewhat high challenge because his butt is taking way up in the air like one of those female baboon National Geographic commercials.  So, I’d – you may actually be careful around male goats with this particular come heather posture.  He appears to be adopting with his prosthetic goat limbs but he actually is serious.  He’s a researcher who set himself the goal of crossing the Swiss Alps and along the way he managed to convince a goat farmer to let him live with his herd and he convince a collegiate zoologist to help him create the bizarre prosthetics.  So, anyways, it’s a very interesting article and actually the video is worth watching, uhm, preferably when you want a little bit of comedic relief in your day.


                           So, go check that one.  We’ll link to that one in the show notes, so and of course check out the, and the only  other thing I should mention is that I personally will be dropping off the map next week.  I’m heading over to Fort Louise this weekend to speak at the army base over there in what’s called American Dream University.  Google that and check it out.  American Dream University – I maybe at Fort Louise for that and then I will disappear into the Colorado wilderness for a six-day long elf hunt on horseback.  So, I…

Brock:                So, no podcast…

Ben:                   …I not be accessible.  I think we will have a podcast next week.  It will just be not live.  As a matter of fact none of them are live, Brock.  And actually, don’t release.

Brock:                Really?

Ben:                   Let’s get rid of that little part.  Yes, we’ll have a podcast.  So, anyway.  Actually no one ask me that question again.

Brock:                So, no podcast next week?

Ben:                   Ah, I don’t leave for the hunting trip until later on in the weekend.  However, I actually wasn’t going to tell people this on the podcast but I might as well open up since people pretty much know everything about my life anyways.  We aren’t gonna be able to record next week because I’m going in for what I consider to be a dangerous procedure but a procedure that I like to do anyways because few members of my family have shown things like polyps and cancer, and things of that nature.  I am actually at the rippled age of 33 going in next Wednesday for preventive colonoscopy.  Isn’t it interesting?

Brock:                Uhm, I thought you’re going to say a bad implant.

Ben:                   Yes, and I’m going to write an article about the entire experience.  No joke, I am actually going to write about like preventive medicine, young people colonoscopy, etc.

Brock:                Yeah, we better document this whole thing for sure.

Ben:                   I will document with high speed video cameras, exactly.

Brock:                Ohh!  That’s not quite what I had in mind but sure!

Listener Q and A:

Summer:          Hey Ben and Brock!  My name is Summer from Eastern Oregon.  You guys have answered my questions in the past, so a big thank you for that.  My question today is about arthritis.  I have arthritis up and down my entire spine.  My doctor thinks it’s due to stress.  I am employing a lot of these de-stressing techniques that you’ve already discussed on the show.  I’m living a low carb/paleo diet.  I’m 33 years old, and I wanted to training in and start racing in my life but I tapered back my intensity on my training considered where just trying to lower stressors in my body.  I heard Dave Asprey mentioned a while ago that he had cured himself of arthritis but I couldn’t find many resources on exactly how he did it, and I also wanna know what you have to say about it, Ben.  So, thank you guys so much.  I think you guys are both super awesome, and that’s it!

Brock:                I guess, wouldn’t it really, really depend on what type of arthritis it is?

Ben:                   Like rheumatoid arthritis vs. osteo-arthritis?

Brock:                Yeah, like she says – like the autoimmune side of things vs. the wear and tear.

Ben:                   Well, honestly like sometimes it can be – I’m gonna make up a word here – dual-fold.  Affected by dual fold variables.

Brock:                I like it.

Ben:                   Multi-variable.  Anyways though, you can have an autoimmune response to certain food components that create an inflammatory fire storm that can aggravate an already inflamed stage of rheumatoid arthritis but could also cause enough collagenous breakdown for you also develop something much more like osteo-arthritis.  So, you can kinda dig yourself into a pretty painful corner from my joint standpoint and it can be both autoimmune as well as just basic physical degradation of the joint itself, but arthritis of course means joint inflammation.  That’s what it is, so.  As far as what you can do – you know, the question about Dave Asprey, I believe that he meditated his way out of arthritis with a small video game on smart phone with some electrodes…

Brock:                Really?  Are you being fictitious.

Ben:                   …on big toe.  I believe that Dave’s arthritis relief was primary related to his switch to like his bulletproof diet or version very close to what is now his bulletproof diet.

Brock:                So, it would have been exactly what you’re talking about with the inflammation, a bad diet?

Ben:                   Well, one of the top diets that I personally recommend for joint pain in the past has been an autoimmune diet protocol.  And when you look at an autoimmune diet protocol, the idea behind it is it’s working to remove inflammation or at least reduce inflammation in things like the intestines and the joints because they’re removing foods that tends to be immune triggers and cause what are called autoimmune flare-ups, joint flare-ups, gut flare-ups, etc.


                           So, the idea is that there are a variety of foods that are basically not allowed on an autoimmune-based diet.  The biggies are nuts which is really annoying for most folks.  Seeds, beans, legumes, grains, sugar, alcohol, right?  like xylitol, and stevia, and mannitol, a lot of fruits especially like fructose-based fruits, dairy products, alcohol, chocolate, eggs.  Like at first glance, it sounds like you’re not allowed to eat anything at all.  But really, and I’ll link to the particular cookbook that I like for this is called the Autoimmune Cookbook.  You are allowed to have quite a bit of fats, olive oil, coconut oil, avocados, lard, bacon fat, ghee.  You’re allowed to have most coconut products, right, like coconut aminos, coconut milk, and shredded coconut, vegetables that are – any vegetables, I like it, except night shades are allowed.  Bone broth, grass-fed meats, poultry, seafood, for sweeteners you can use honey or maple syrup, and so there are quite a few things that are allowed, shall we say on that diet, one of the issues is it’s very, very low because of the nature of it’s very, very carbohydrate.  You kinda have to shift into a little bit more of the grass-fed meats, and the poultries, and the seafood if you are an athlete just so you get some like that gluconeogenesis and some of the carbs from the high amount of protein on that particular diet but that’s basically what it is, and yeah, it can be very, very efficacious for anything immune related including arthritis.  I should clarify that I’m not a doctor and this is not to be misconstrued as medical advice.  I do pretty good in a white lab coat though like a little pen protector.  And one of those little…

Brock:                Hmm, stethoscope instead of a tie.

Ben:                   Yeah, and a hat with a little light on it.  So I can look in the people’s mouth and stuff.

Brock:                Yes, their mouths.

Ben:                   Anyways though, when you are looking at a state of inflammation, what that does is basically doing as something very, very similar to what something like an anti-inflammatory diet or the bulletproof diet would be doing which is removing a lot of the things that will contribute to joint inflammation.  Now, if I personally – if I personally had arthritis, not only would I be shifting on to a diet very much like that but in addition to that diet, I would be – I’ll give you four other things.  That’s one thing I would do, is that diet.  Number 2 is I would do a very, very high amount of a good, clean bone broth like an organic bone broth that includes a lot of like turmeric, and garlic, and ginger, another anti-inflammatories in it.  I’m a huge fan of the stuff made by The Brothery if you don’t wanna make your bone broth yourself.  Obviously recipes abound for bone broth but I’ve had the guy – Chef Lance who runs this bone broth place, The Brothery and they ship pretty much anywhere.  They ship on ice, it comes straight to your house, it’s tasty stuff, it’s got a lot of nutrients, a lot of gelatin, a lot of fat content, and it’s tasty.  So, that’s another thing that I would do is bone broth.  Speaking of bone broth, I’m making duck confit tonight.

Brock:                Were you making that last week?

Ben:                   No, I was getting – always hunting kinda – hunting down on ducks last week.  I actually wound up ordering duck ‘cause I couldn’t find those specific variety of duck that is best for duck confit which is basically preserving a duck in fat for several weeks and then cooking it, right, like getting a nice, and crispy on a cast-iron skillet.  And so, I’ll be using like cloves, and pepper, and salt, etc. using that as a rub and then preserving duck wings and duck legs in duck fat for a few weeks basically in the refrigerator.  So…

Brock:               Yum.

Ben:                   I’m making that tonight.  So, I’ll keep you posted.  Maybe I’ll send you some up there in the Great White North.

Brock:                That’ll be awesome.  I’m so hungry right now.  I have to use that.

Ben:                   You can do like 3 or 4 cups bone broth a day.  If I have arthritis or someone that I love had it, that would be number two for sure along with the autoimmune diet.

Brock:                  Actually hey, we got a question about that that I didn’t use.  It was somebody just saying like how much bone broth can you have in a day.  So, there you go.

Ben:                   Uhm, there you go.  You can have more than – you could technically – you’re not gonna get a lot of carbohydrates from it, you’re not gonna get a ton of like whole proteins from it.  So, you got to add a few other things but you could do quite a bit of bone broth.

Brock:                You’re not gonna overdose on bone broth.

Ben:                   No.  You just may have to pee a lot.  A lot of bone broth, a gelatinous, salty pee.  So… And the next thing is from a supplement standpoint, I would personally use this – the NatureFlex stuff.  I mean, I – that is what we have at greenfieldfitnessysytems, that is the exact name of it and it is every single bone and joint healing supplement known to man even though there isn’t any of the CBD in it ‘cause that a relatively new research study about the CBD and the osteo-blastic activity but it’s like you know, it’s…


Brock:                Do I hear a future product in the works?

Ben:                   Maybe.  We’ll see because the – I take a ton of this NatureFlex stuff when I get injured.  I do like 4 capsules, 3 times a day ‘cause it’s like turmeric, and part cherry extract, glucosamine, chondroitin, ginger, garlic, like everything that you would need to heal up a bone or joint.  I swear by it when I’m injured.  I don’t take it all the time cause frankly taking 12 a day is a lot, but I would definitely be on something like that if I were arthritic or having lots of joint issues.  So, that’ll number 3 in addition to bone broth and autoimmune diet.  Next would be – I’m not sure if you’ve heard of this before but PEMF coil therapy.  So, I’ve talked about pulse electric magnetic fields, right, like the earth pulse which is a device that you can place underneath your mattress to enhance sleep very similar to like if you’re doing like earthing or grounding.  And pulse electric magnetic therapy has been shown to reduce inflammation as what can inhibit the growth and death of unwanted lymphocytes which leads to inflammation.  And it also has – because these joints can wrap or these coils that are in it like a PEMF device, they can wrap around joints.  So you can get one of these coils and there’s a few different products that are coil base like this earth pulse, one that I’ve talked about, that’s more of like a round magnet.  So it’s a little bit more difficult to wrap around a joint but there are some other systems that you can actually put around a joint.  One is called the – uhm, what’s it called – the micro-pulse, I believe it’s the name of it.  There’s another one that I think is called the – I wanna say it’s called the Soma-pulse.  I find a few that have coils in them and put a link to them in the show notes or to a review page that has some good EMF systems in it.  There’s a guy name Dr. Pollick, whose kinda expert on EMF and he’s got a lot of different PEMF systems available for both rent as well as purchase on his website.  So, anyways though, if you wanna get a PEMF, it’s like a coil that you can actually wrap around the joint, and that can add some really good pain relieving effect as well.  So…

Brock:                So, that’s just for pain relief, that’s not necessarily going to improve it long term?

Ben:                   Hmm, it’s going to decrease inflammation but it’s not going to heal the source from which the inflammation is coming, right.  So if you have like rheumatoid arthritis or an osteo-arthritic condition and you just don’t have good joints left, yeah, something you could use on a daily basis to manage pain because it will shut down inflammation and pain for a good period of time.  So, I actually experimented with that at the – last year’s Bulletproof Biohacking Conference.  So, there’s that.  I would not wrap around it up your head by the way.  (laughs)  What I understand PEMF can be somewhat damaging to the gray matter in your brain, so…

Brock:                        Yeah, don’t they use that for like treating extreme depression and PTST and stuff?  They actually do with the pulse…

Ben:                   Yeah, the other place that I believe has PEMF coils is that guy I interviewed about the infrared sauna, Alex with the, and I think he has some PEMF systems over there as well, and we and our listeners can get a discount code from him.  So, I’ll put a link over there as well.

                           So, we’ve got autoimmune diet, organic bone broth, NatureFlex, I would use like PEMF therapy, and then most of the exercise that I would do is I would get a good pair of aqua fitness shoes, I would get a good pair of these aqua like paddles that resist your hand and your arm movement as you move to the water, and believe it or not between these special fins that re built into aqua running shoes and then the resistance from these paddles, you can get your heart rate really high with water-based exercise.  So, I’ve got one guy that I’m training right now for Ironman, Louie Bell and he has some IT band issues so we’ve been using a ton of water running because it has been shown to be able to maintain VO2max in runners for a long period of time.  So, you can do sprints, you can do straight leg walks, you can do side-legs swings, you can do hops up of the water where you just turning your legs to get as high up the water as possible like a water polo player.  You can do arm swings, arm pushes, but it’s all in a deep water so you’re not touching bottom.  It’s a really, really good way whether you’re injured, whether you have an arthritic condition, whatever to maintain cardiovascular performance and get some benefits of resistance training while you’re doing it.  I wrote a pretty comprehensive article over at the Quick and Dirty Tips website about water-based exercise and the equipment that you need, and some sample workouts like that.  So go ahead and go sign up for the aerobics class where the old ladies wear hairnets and the very, very colorful swim caps with foam dumbbells and get your water exercise now.

Brock:                        I’m a huge fan of using that in tapers.  If anybody, if any like the people I coach for marathon and even for longer triathlons, that’s – I throw that stuff in for a taper period.


Ben:                   Mmm, yeah.  Yeah, you could also use it for that, so.

Brock:               It also makes them completely insane ‘cause it’s so boring.

Ben:                   Yeah, I mix it up quite a bit.  So I do like half-hour sessions in this aqua fitness pool – this above ground fitness pool that I have and I do everything from like hypoxic swim sets, to underwater swim sets, to butterflies, to running in place. to running backwards, to doing leg swings – like once you’ve got kinda of like just like a weight-training circuit, right? If you are going into whatever, 20 sets of 10 bench press you get bored pretty quickly, same thing with water running – if you’re just gonna run, you’re gonna get bored pretty fast versus if you strain together a lot of different intervals and modes of trainings.  So go read that article, I’ll link to it over in the show notes at

Troy:                 Hey Ben and Brock, this is Troy from Jacksonville, Florida.  I had a question on unconventional performance enhancers.  I was reading an article that said that Luke Cummo, an MMA fighter, would use urine therapy to help with his performance.  I also read that the – that the NFL is using Viagra as a performance enhancer.  So I just want to get your take on those performance enhancers and any other ones that are kind of under the radar?  Thanks.

Brock:               I guess if you’re drinking somebody’s pee it would make you angry and mean, maybe that’s the biohack there.

Ben:                   You know, most forms of urine therapy are what are called auto urine therapy.  So you’re not drinking other people’s urine or as they say in urine therapy often, other people’s gold.  But (chuckles)…

Brock:               (chuckles)

Ben:                   You are drinking right now.  Now if you look at urine, the truth is it’s a relatively as you may have heard before, it’s relatively sterile and there’s not a lot of waste in it.  So you’ll get about 95% water, around 2 ½% urea, and about 2 ½% like salt and minerals, and amino acids and enzymes and even hormones – so it’s not necessarily going to kill you but there’s a very interesting article and I will link to it in the show notes about this fella who is named Yoshizo Machida, I  don’t know if I’m pronouncing his name exactly correctly but he’s a UFC fighter, and he does this auto urine therapy and the article even quotes a bible verse from Proverbs 5:15 that says “Drink waters from thy own cistern, flowing water from thy own well.”  So apparently some people have taken that to mean that chugging warm pisses is biblically appropriate and may actually help you with performance enhancement.  There is zero research that even though, like I mentioned, the urine therapy is not going to kill you, there’s zero research that this is efficacious for actual performance enhancement.  So it may temporarily stave off dehydration though if you aren’t drinking super, duper dehydrated yellow urine, so there’s that.

Brock:               There’s that.

Ben:                   So basically, interesting article but zero, literally, zero evidence behind this stuff, like there’s some stuff that you can dig and find suggested evidence for this one, is pretty much zero.  But there are some other things, interesting things that UFC fighters do that we could look into as potential biohacks that do or do not work.  One that’s gotten a lot of popularity of late for UFC fighters is the idea of cryotherapy using these chambers to do everything from enhanced performance to triggering the release of endorphins, triggering the release of anti-inflammatory molecules, shutting down cytokine, etc.  There is a lot of evidence when it comes to cryotherapy that putting on you know, your socks usually some kind of mask to protect your face, some gloves, sometimes something to protect your ears may actually cause a little bit of not only a metabolic response like a metabolic fat loss response but also an anti-inflammatory response in terms of shutting down cytokines, mobilizing some fat in the brown adipose tissue, etc.  However, here’s the deal: there is not compared to jumping in the very cold water, an enormous advantage between cryotherapy chambers and cold water emersion, and the fact that there is hydrostatic pressure present when you are immersing cold water causes less what’s called lymph fluid backflow to occur and I have an article I wrote about this also at the Quick and Dirty Tips website – meaning that cold water immersion is probably a less inflammatory way or a way to shut down inflammation even more compared to cryotherapy, even though many people find cold water immersion to be less comfortable, certainly a heck of a lot cheaper than paying whatever you know, 50, 70 bucks or whatever it cost to go to cryotherapy chamber.

Brock:               So is that sort of the same thing as like compression gear?  The water is exerting some pressure on you during lymph fluid?

Ben:                   Uh-huh, yeah and you can actually get a better effect from doing cold water therapy like cold water immersion and ice baths, and some of the stuff Wim Hof and I talked about when I had him on the show – you can get a better effect from that if you wear a compression gear while you’re cold.  So you can actually go swimming in cold in compression, so there you go.


There are lots of funny looks at the pool – your local cold pool.  So another one is a hypobaric chambers and we just recently did an article about this at the Ben Greenfield Fitness show – both hypoxia and hyperoxia and again, there is evidence that it may reduce the rating of perceived exertion, in like a workout that you do after you do a hyperoxia, and then the hypobaric hypoxia may actually increase tissue oxygenation, lymph fluid, organ function and removal of some inflammatory byproducts.  So that one is again, one that is expensive but one that may actually work and one that we’ve talked about on the show before, again you can simulate into the poor man’s version of with something like hypoxic underwater sets, and we talked about when we did an issue or podcast on hypoxia how that’s been shown to do everything from increasing running efficiency to increasing the production of erythropoietin.  So just like you know, get your hands on like a free diving breath hold chart, and do some of the CO2 loading and the O2 loading that you’ll find in like most free diving charts either called static apnea tables, I believe is what they’re called so static apnea table means that you would do like an oxygen static apnea table would condition your lungs to store more oxygen, and you could do this underwater or above water but you hold your breath for a minute and then you breathe easy for 2 minutes then you hold your breath for a minute and 15 seconds and then recover for 2 minutes, then a minute and 30 seconds, then recover for 2 minutes and you go all the way up until you reach like you know, 1 to 1 breath hold to recovery ratio.  And then CO2 loading helps you to really get used to blowing off CO2 or to maintaining higher levels of CO2 in your system.  So, that would mean you like hold your breath for a minute and then you breathe for a minute, and then you hold your breath for a minute, and then you breathe for 45 seconds, then you hold your breath for a minute, and breathe for 30 seconds but CO2 static apnea and also O2 training together and especially doing an underwater can give you a lot of similar benefits like the hypobaric or the hyperbaric chambers.

Brock:               Cool!

Ben:                   Yeah, I know.

Brock:               I enjoyed that.

Ben:                   Mmm-hmm.

Brock:               Right now.

Ben:                   So…

Brock:               (gasps)

Ben:                   Yeah, go for it.  So Brock is passing out, let’s talk about another one: the training mask.  And this is another one that you tend to see used quite a bit by like MMA athletes, UFC athletes, etc. and the idea is that of course as we all know it’s not inducing a state of hypoxia or like it’s not decreasing oxygen in your blood or increasing carbon dioxide in a way that hyperoxia or hypoxia would.  Instead what this is doing is it increasing your resistance to ventilation and there’s like all these photos on the web of like you know, guys into Jiu Jitsu rolling around wearing a training masks or in doing power lifting with the mask, and it is a form of diaphragmatic stress, inspetorian and expetorian muscular stress, and it can indeed strengthen those muscles and also engage or cause you to engage your lower belly more when you breathe just because it’s so freaking hard to breathe.  And I personally use an elevation training mask almost every day right?  Like so when I did 30 minutes of infrared sauna today I was wearing an elevation training mask, and I also combine with hypoxia right? So I have an altitude generator in my garage that I’ll use to go out and do like you know, sprints on the treadmill with.  So I’m a fan of – if you’re able to, including both resistive inhalation and exhalation, and then also hypoxic inhalation and exhalation if you wanna kinda get the best of both worlds.  So the elevation training mask, those would beat out the urine therapy, cryotherapy – expensive but what also beat out the urine therapy and you could do cold water immersion as a poor man’s version of that hypobaric or hyperbaric chambers.  Those would beat out urine therapy again, poor man’s version is breathing underwater for example, this nitric oxide so is a beta alanine and some arginine – some of these other pre-cursors that can increase nitric oxide.  The problem with Viagra because I have experimented with it before for training – the problem is that if you for any reason become sexually aroused during training, Viagra has the unique ability to be able to give you a boner on the spot no matter where you’re at. So if you’re say you know, playing in a football game when you look over and you see a pretty girl, you could actually have an embarrassing on field moment.  So I don’t recommend Viagra unless you wanna be popping up a tent on your running shorts.

Jon:                   Hey Ben, it’s Jon here.  I was just calling in – thanks for the great show.  I was interested in the new research out that shows that spine shapes may have been J-shaped in the past and have become S-shaped in modern history leading to back pain…


whereas the back pain during the J-shaped spine period which was most of human history may not have existed.  So I wonder if you had thoughts on how whether this may be true and if so, how am I go about producing a J-shaped spine?  Thanks!

Ben:                   So what do you think Jon was doing when he recorded this?

Brock:               My guess is jogging on the spot.

Ben:                   Jogging, roller coaster… training mask…

Brock:               But my – I have a horrible feeling in the back of my head that he’s got a really weird shaped spine and he’s just having trouble breathing.

Ben:                   Yeah, yeah that’s possible.

Brock:               Jon, write to us and let us know if you’re okay.

Ben:                   Possible he’s a Q-shaped spine.  Yeah, this whole like J-shaped spine thing is really interesting – so there’s this author named Esther Gokhale, I don’t know if that’s exactly how you pronounce her name.  She’s got this book called “8 Steps to a Pain-Free Back”, and I met Esther years ago at this – a thing called AHS, the Ancestral Health Symposium.  And her shtick is basically that if you look at the average Westerner American spine from the side, it shaped like the letter ‘S’ right?  It curves at the top and then back again at the bottom, but what Gokhale found when she travelled around the world taking photos and videos of people who were like walking with water buckets on their head or collecting firewood or like weaving or gardening or you know, hunting, gathering stuff like that, the spine is not actually shaped like that – it’s shaped like a ‘J’.  So if you also look at drawings from Leonardo Da Vinci – the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle guy who wrote the…

Brock:               My favorite turtle…

Ben:                   Grey’s Anatomy is another example of this.  The spine is not in those drawings or in Grey’s Anatomy shape like an ‘S’.  So it’s pretty much flat all the way down to the back and then at the bottom it kinda curves to stick the butt out, so.

Brock:               Okay, so the only part that’s changed is at the top.

Ben:                   Yes, well also there’s a little bit more of a protrusion because of  gluteal enhancement at the bottom.  So it’s more of a ‘J’ shape then an ‘S’ shape.  So what this Dr. Esther, I believe she’s a doctor – she might not be a doctor, she might just be a poser.

Brock:               She’s smart doctor wanna be.

Ben:                   Yeah.  Anyways though, she developed the series of exercises in her book that are designed to teach you how to use your abdominal muscles, your core, etc. to get your spine to be more like a J-shaped than an S-shaped, and then it goes into you know a lot of things you’d think would be kind of intuitive like lengthening your hip flexors and turning on your butt with butt-strengthening exercises and stuff like that.  Some of the main things that she says though is that you wanna to do a shoulder roll.  So you pull your shoulders up, you push them back and then you let them drop, so backward shoulder roll to kind of what she describes as “park your shoulders in the correct position.”  Another thing is to lengthen the spine, so she has to like take a deep breath and grow tall every time you breathe in you imagine yourself growing even taller every time you inhale.  She recommends squeezing your glute muscles as you walk to help to train your butt like turn back on your butt muscles, so you tighten your butt when you take each step which I personally think would be extremely uncomfortable, potentially lead to constipation or at least the look of constipation…

Brock:               Oh yeah, definitely that.

Ben:                   I think heavy squats are just as good way to turn on your butt, but there’s that.  Don’t put your chin up, she recommends basically taking like a bean bag or a folded wash cloth or a tennis ball of something like that, and bouncing it on the top of your head and trying to push your head against the object, and what she says that’ll do is lengthen the back of your neck and allow your chin to angle more down than up.  So basically what she’s recommending more or less is that she wants you to look like one of those people from like Pride and Prejudice…

Brock:               Hmmm!

Ben:                   …whose like standing tall and erect with the butt slightly protruded in a not quite baboon, not quite goat man level but just a little bit of a buttocks protrusion as you stand straight up with the shoulders peeled back as though you’ve never seen a laptop in your life and that is how you get a J-shaped spine, so.

Barbara:           I’m wondering if you can make a comment on far infrared saunas versus near infrared saunas, and also if you can recommend any of the portable infrared saunas that are available?

Ben:                   So I actually asked my friend Alex Tarris about this – he’s the guy who I mentioned earlier has the Health Hacks Reviewed website we could probably go get like these you know, he’s got like PEMF coils and cryo chambers and low gravity treadmills and underwater treadmills, and exercise with oxygen therapy, and hyperbaric chambers like pretty much you name it –


he’s got it or videos like educational series videos about it on the site – so it does have some good stuff over there and he does have some reviews of like some of the portable saunas.  To my understanding, it’s very difficult for the heaters in a portable sauna to get even close to like one of these you know, like a clear light infrared sauna with the big, huge like the heaters and that – like they’re surrounding my entire body and then there’s two big red ones in the front of that sauna – that’s the one that I personally have that we did the whole article about.  So you just can’t get as hot or as powerful with a portable sauna even though I believe he reviews a few like low EMF versions over there.  So you may wanna go check out the Health Hacks Reviewed website.  I’ll link to it in the show notes as well.  Now, when you look at near infrared versus far infrared: near infrared technically do put out even less EMF than a far infrared even though some of these newer far infrared saunas like the ClearLife for example, they don’t produce as much electromagnetic pollution – so that’s an argument that it kinda depends on the sauna on the near versus the far sauna.  The other thing with the near infrared lamp is when you look at like a far infrared, it’s got a little bit different spectrum in terms of the actual light that’s emitted from it.  So an infrared lamp sauna emits mostly light that’s near what’s called the middle infrared energy range.  And that is supposedly very, very therapeutic to the body.  It is supposedly more relaxing to the body even though it’s less hot and it would vibrate at a lower frequency than like an infrared – than a far infrared sauna.  So what that means is like near infrared is a little bit more therapeutic perhaps even a little less comfortable, won’t cause you to sweat for quite as long a period of time.  So if you have something like let’s say, adrenal fatigue or something like that right? Or like maybe a near infrared type of light sauna would be better for you – they use less electricity ‘cause it’s less powerful obviously, they’re safer but they’re less hot.  Interestingly, the Biomat which is like that mat that you lie on that has the capability for both near and far infrareds.  So when you jack up really, really high like it’s gonna get hotter you’ll get the light penetrating a little bit farther into your body to kinda like heat you, to improve circulation, to improve sweating, etc.  So that’ll kinda give you a little bit of both – I suppose I hadn’t even thought of this, I could bring my Biomat into my far infrared sauna…

Brock:               (laughs)

Ben:                   …and lie on my Biomat inside the sauna and get both near and far at the same time, so.

Brock:               You’re totally some genetic mutation has gonna happen at some point in that chamber and you’re gonna come out either like the hulk…

Ben:                   (laughs)

Brock:               …or like mini-me, yes.

Ben:                   So basically near infrared saunas are still very, very therapeutic, and they’re cheaper, they’re often more portable because in many cases they’re just like lamps that you can put anywhere that you can put certain body parts under, but ultimately far infrared saunas pack a way bigger punch when it comes to like heating, detoxification – everything like that – the only issue of course with the far infrared is you do have more potential for electro- magnetic pollution and heavy use of electricity if you use like the wrong type of unit.  So anyways though, check out the Health Hacks Reviewed website for some like some video reviews and stuff like that of you know, the far versus the infrared saunas but I would personally go for like a far infrared sauna or if you’re gonna go for near infrared, get something that you could also have the option of using with the far infrared feature like a Biomat.

Jason:               Hey Ben, this is Jason from New York and I have a couple of questions about prostatitis that I came down with from lifting heavy weights.  I’m wondering if you have any tips on how to recover from that further?  I’m not supposed to lift weights and I was supposed to avoid anything that would induce a high intra-abdominal pressure, so I’m wondering if you have any tips on that, and also ways to maintain or even add muscle mass while I can’t lift weights.  Thanks again for everything, loved the podcast.

Ben:                   So here’s the deal: I don’t really wanna talk about prostatitis.  We’ve already talked about arthritis; we’ve already talked about drinking our own urine…

Brock:               Mmm.

Ben:                   We’ve ventured too far down the nerdy health pathway…

Brock:               Mmm.

Ben:                   …in today’s podcast.  I would rather go meat head on Jason and tell him how he can still maintain muscle mass without lifting weights.

Brock:               I think that is the cracks of this question.

Ben:                   I think that was…

Brock:               It was probably under control, he just doesn’t want to turn into a weakling while he’s recovering.

Ben:                   I know we’ve got lots of listeners listening right now and have prostatitis but I just gotta tell ya: go to your doc about the prostatitis thing or listen to other episodes that we’ve done on prostate information ‘cause we have.


And instead let’s talk about how you could actually gain or at least maintain muscle without lifting weights.  There is a concept and a type of program, there’s a guy named Todd Kuslikis – I think it’s how you pronounce his name – he has a program called the “Bodyweight Overload Program”, and the idea behind it is that you are fatiguing your muscles with very, very kinda like low rep isometric type of movements, and I believe he has some very, very high rep like push-ups and squats and stuff like that in there as well.  With the idea being that you don’t necessarily need to – to produce like a hypertrophic satellite cell response.  You don’t necessarily have to tear a muscle as much as you need to stress a muscle, produce an acidic state, produce a state of hypoxia and overload the muscle.  So yes, when you do a dead lift or a squat or you resist a muscle as it’s lengthening – you’re gonna get a significant amount of muscle fiber tearing and the hypertrophic response to that is going to be the greatest.  That could be a form of training called isotonic training basically where you’re moving the muscle through a range of motion both concentrically as it’s shortening and then eccentrically as it’s lengthening.  But you can also do either body weight exercises in high volume with low rest periods creating a state of hypoxia and acidity and fatigue without creating quite as much stress on the joint and still get a satellite cell response – lower satellite cell response but in many cases, if you are going to fatigue, right? Like not doing 10 push-ups but doing like you know, depending who you are 50 or 60 or 100, then you can maintain muscle mass and probably even build a little bit of muscle as well.  Now the other thing that I think is an even more intriguing component of Todd’s program are isometric exercises.  And the idea behind isometric exercises is you are pushing against something or pulling against something but the joint is not actually moving through a range of motion, and the way that you have to do this, if you really want to get a significant increase in muscle volume or maintenance of muscle mass is that you wanna go all out.  So they actually had a study that they did where they had two different groups of subjects do isometric exercises: one group did the 100% maximum voluntary contraption, the other group did the 60%, and both groups actually in that study had significant gains in muscle but the 100% group who went really, really hard with their isometric holds – they saw a much higher gains.

Brock:               That’s not a huge surprise, I guess.

Ben:                   Yeah, exactly.  But the idea is you can gain either way but you’re gonna gain a lot faster and a lot better if you go all out when you do your isometric exercises.  The other thing that’s really important to do is to make sure that you breathe through them, right? So if you’re doing an isometric squat hold or an isometric lounge – very slow controlled breaths, right? Like concentrating on a deep nasal inhalation and then exhaling through pursed lips nice and slow can really help with the efficacy and the amount of tension that you can build up.  The other cool thing and this is a tip from Pavel Tsatsouline,  he’s a really, really good speaker…

Brock:               Tsatsouline!

Ben:                   …body weight exercise coach among other things, but clenching your fist causes you to you know, like if you clench your left fist really hard and then shake someone’s hand – you’re gonna shake their hand with a lot more force, the same goes for any type of exercise if you have your fist clenched when you’re doing say like an isometric squat, you’re gonna generate more tension than if you had your fist open, just like this defensive response when you clench your fist.  As a matter of fact, I’m clenching my fist right now.  Am I talking louder?

Brock:               (laughs)

Ben:                   Do I sound more aggressive?

Brock:               (chuckles) You sound so angry.

Ben:                   Hmm.  So anyways though, there are variety of exercise so for example, some of the exercises that Todd has in his program are just the basic like bridge, right? You get up into a bridging position with a maximum contraction of your glute, your hamstrings, etc. – either full bridge or you know, half bridge depending on your fitness – you dig your heels into the ground really, really hard, and then you just basically hold that for as long as possible – a maximum force come back down, take a few breaths and then repeat until you’re completely fatigued.  Another one will just be like wall pushes where you’re pushing as hard as you can against the wall, holding the contraction in a controlled manner for like 30 seconds, and then recovering and then pushing again and doing like you know, three to four rounds of that.  You can do the classic bicep curl or the gun show exercise, right? Where you just flex your arms as hard as possible for 30 seconds, 45 seconds, 60 seconds – the cool thing about these is a lot of them you can do like in a sauna right? Or in a cryotherapy chamber…

Brock:               In a car or plane.

Ben:                   In a car or a plane.  That’ right.

Brock:               If you wanna get strange looks from the other passengers.


Ben:                   Yeah.  Field goal pushes is a cool one.  You basically put your back against the wall while standing upright and erect, and I just had to say erect.

Brock:               (chuckles) Again?

Ben:                   Yeah, again.  And you put the backs of your hands against the wall and externally rotate against the wall as hard as possible, right? You hold that for 30 seconds.  You can do turtle crunches where you get down on the ground and just curl up in a ball as hard as possible or you can do that in a plank position as well, and you hold it and you hold it and hold it and then you recover and you do that multiple times.  So isometric exercises can actually help quite a bit with the maintenance of muscle mass and that’s what I would be doing to something very, very similar to this body weight overload program, and I will link to that in the show notes for you, but that’s one thing I would do – another program that you could look into…

Brock:               I just wanna…

Ben:                   Go ahead.

Brock:               …so Jason mentioned that he needs to avoid anything that would induce high abdominal pressure.  I feel like some of those isometric exercises would introduce some high abdominal pressure.

Ben:                   Yeah, but like I mentioned, I’m not necessarily gonna talk about the management of prostatitis per se…

Brock:               Okay, okay. (crosstalk)

Ben:                   Yeah, but with Jason like – yeah, so some of those exercises like say an external rotations standing upright against the wall, that’s not going to cause a great deal of  intra-abdominal pressure.

Brock:               Yeah.

Ben:                   Whereas like the front plank whole where you’re driving the mid section of your body – you know, the upper body and the lower body up towards the core and holding that as hard as possible – yeah, that is gonna create some intra-abdominal pressure.  So…

Ben/Brock:      Jason…

Ben:                   if your prostate…

Brock:               proceed with caution…

Ben:                   …pops out, then we apologize but it means…

Brock:               Actually, might be something, that might be good if it pop…

Ben:                   Incorrect.

Brock:               That’s true.

Ben:                   We could – this could be a treatment for like appendicitis…

Brock:               Shoot that sucker out, Jason.

Ben:                   Yep, exactly, pretty much anything.  Just basically, get rid of it.

Brock:               I’m sorry I said that.  There you go.

Ben:                   It’s about an alien.

Brock:               No, it skitters across the floor (laughs).

Ben:                   Yeah.  So I’ll link to the “Bodyweight Overload Program” in the show notes if you wanna check that out and try implementing something a little bit more bodyweighty, and I’ll link to everything else we talked over there if you go to including of course the most entertaining thing of all: the biohack goat man.

Brock:               (chuckles)

Ben:                   So that being said, we have a review to read.

Brock:               Oooh.

Ben:                   And this particular review is a little long one but it’s highly entertaining – I think – alright, I take it because I thought it was really entertaining.  If you leave us a review on iTunes, and you hear your review read on the show, just email [email protected] that’s [email protected], and we’ll send you a handy-dandy gear pack of like water bottles and cool tech t-shirts and anything else we decide to throw in there, so…

Brock:               Oh, I didn’t know there were mystery prizes.

Ben:                   Mmm-hmm.  Yeah, mystery prizes occasionally, random things.

Brock:               There’ve used the stone.

Ben:                   Stone in the box that I forgot to take out of the box.

Brock:               Oh, I see.

Ben:                   Exactly.  So coffee grinds…

Brock:               Mmm.  Used?

Ben:                   Cartons.

Brock:               Simply basically you’re going through your garbage.

Ben:                   Let’s read this review.  Man, this is a long one.  Do you wanna take it or let me take it?

Brock:               Ah, we could do – why do we can tag team up?

Ben:                   Okay.  When you say ‘go’ then I’ll start reading.

Brock:               Okay.

Ben:                   I’ll say ‘go’ then you start reading.

Brock:               Alright, the title is what is – “What is Ben Greenfield?” 5 stars from Mover33.  Go.

Ben:                   “After listening to the show after almost a year, I can’t decide what Ben Greenfield is, but there are some options: is he a shark?”

Brock:               (chuckles)

Ben:                   “He’s constantly on the move and never stops.  He hunts animals in the wild and strives to be in his natural environment daily.  He also loves to do some daily hypoxic training in the ice cold water of his pool.” Go.

Brock:               “Is he a superhero? He has been experimenting on himself for decades and he has quite possibly become a superhero.  He has a quick witted sidekick named Brock Armstrong” Hey, I’m quick witted.  Nice!

Ben:                   Hey.

Brock:               Yes.  “They both saved lives and improved the health of thousands around the world.” Go.

Ben:                   “Also Ben and Jessa, Ben’s superhero wife, are both claiming to raising superhuman twin boys.  Is he an explorer? Ben goes out of his way in a weekly basis to explore new frontiers in medicine, science and fitness.  Lewis, Ben, Clark – new manly deep voice and Sacajawea, Brock…

Brock:               (laughs out loud)

Ben:                   Take each person on a journey through these topics.”  This person was high or whatever it is –

Brock:               (laughs)

Ben:                   “Lewis and Clark maybe the main focus on leaders of this expedition but Sacajawea is a pivotal person…

Brock:               (laughs)

Ben:                   …explaining this complicated overall topics.  Sacajawea leaves the entire group…

Brock:               I think that’s historically accurate.

Ben:                   …and then smoothen understanding while as Lewis start speaking scientific jargon.” Go.

Brock:               (laughs) “There are many other things that Ben could be but mainly he has a great person and his health and fitness advice is superior to all podcasts.  He may go off to deepen sometimes but Brock does – Sacajawea – “does an excellent job of keeping him on topic.  This podcast has changed my life and it will change yours, too.”

Ben:                   Uhm, that will do, Sacajawea.

Brock:               (laughs)

Ben:                   That will do.

Brock:               (laughs)  I really enjoyed that – I – thank you, Mover 33.

Ben:                   Well, I’m going to adjust my raccoon tail cap.  What do you call it?  The raccoon hats…

Brock:               Does it have a name?

Ben:                   I don’t know, raccoon hat.  Let me adjust my raccoon hat, put on my snow shoes and get my old trusty horse out and go out exploring for a little while…

Brock:               I’m gonna put my buck skin on and fix my long braid.

Ben:                   (laughs)

Brock:               I don’t know what else I have.

Ben:                   Colored mini popcorn or whatever the ancient Native American tribes used to do with…

Brock:               Hmm, I’ll do something with maze.

Ben:                   That’s right, just do something with maze and until next week.  We hope that you have a wonderful time.  We may have a special episode next week because I will be somewhere the doctor’s office getting a long six foot tube suck up my butt – but either way, we will of course, bring you content.  So thank you for listening and 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.

[1:07:25.3]     END

The Iceman Returns: Wim Hof On Climbing Frigid Mountains In Underwear, Eating Only Once A Day, Activating Hormones With Breathing & More.

wim hof

The Iceman is back.

Wim Hof is a Dutch world record holder, adventurer and daredevil, nicknamed “the Iceman” for his ability to withstand extreme cold.

He holds twenty world records – including a world record for longest ice bath, and has stayed immersed in ice for as long as 1 hour and 52 minutes and 42 seconds.

In 2007, Wim attempted, but failed (due to a foot injury), to climb Mount Everest wearing nothing but shorts.

Then, in 2009, he reached the top of Mount Kilimanjaro in his shorts within two days.

In 2009, Wim also completed a full marathon above the polar circle in Finland, in temperatures close to −20 °C (−4 °F) – dressed in nothing but shorts. He finished the marathon in 5 hours and 25 minutes.

In  2011, Hof also ran a full marathon in the Namib Desert without water. 

And in this most recent Vice video, Wim demonstrates how he can consciously alter his immune system activity using a combination of breathing and cold.

So how does the Iceman do it?

In my previous episode with Wim, “Conquer The Cold And Get Quantum Leaps In Performance In This Exclusive Interview With The Amazing Iceman Wim Hof“, you discovered many of his secrets, including:

-How Wim uses the science of breathing to control his body temperature and resistance to the cold…

-Wim’s breathing technique fully explained

-a recent study of the influence of concentration/meditation on autonomic nervous system activity and the innate immune response

-Wim’s book: “Becoming The Iceman“…

-Wim’s meditation technique…

-How Wi ran full marathon in the desert with no water…

-Whether cold thermogenesis give some kind of adaptation to perform better in heat…

-Why cold doesn’t really make you sick, and the true effects on the immune system…

-Why Wim took a group of thrombosis patients into the icy Sweden wilderness…

-How you can learn Wim’s secret techniques from the Iceman himself…

-And much more.

Now, in today’s audio episode, Wim and I delve into even more of his tips, tricks and biohacks to conquer the cold and get quantum leaps in performance, and you’ll discover even more, including:

-How Wim got started with cold exposure…

-How Wim’s breathing techniques can be used to withstand not just extremes of cold, but also extremes of heat and other forms of stress…

-Whether Wim gets cold skin burns…

-The details of Wim’s groundbreaking new study “Voluntary activation of the sympathetic nervous system and attenuation of the innate immune response in humans“…

-What Wim thinks about popular cold thermogenesis gear, like ice vests and cooling pants…

-What kind of workouts Wim does, including extreme isometrics and cold yoga…

-Why Wim only eats once per day…

Resources from this episode:

Wim’s complete training program “Wim Hof Method 10-week online course” to teach you his techniques.

-Study: Voluntary activation of the sympathetic nervous system and attenuation of the innate immune response in humans.

-Wim’s “Inner Fire” App.

Do you have questions, comments or feedback about this episode with Iceman Wim Hof? Leave your thoughts below!

328: Burn Fat & Build Muscle At The Same Time, The Best Time Of Day To Drink Coffee, Is Warming Up Overrated & More!


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

Aug 12, 2015 Podcast: Climbing Stairs vs. The Stairmaster vs. The Elliptical, Is Warming Up Overrated, How To Burn Fat and Build Muscle At The Same Time, What to Do About Gut Issues During A Triathlon, and How To Get A Girlfriend.

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, Skype “pacificfit” or use the “Ask Ben” form at the bottom of this page.


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Sep 23-24, 2015. Ben is speaking at the Biohackers 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.

New Greenfield Longevity Panels. Working closely with WellnessFX, America’s top laboratory for concierge blood testing and online access to all your blood testing results, Ben has developed the “Greenfield Longevity Blood Testing Package”, which is the most complete blood testing package that money can buy. There is one package specifically designed for men, and one for women. This is by far the most comprehensive blood testing package that exists, and Ben created it for the health enthusiast, biohacker and anti-aging individual who wants access to the same type of executive health panel and screening that would normally cost tens of thousands of dollars at a longevity institute. Virtually all hormones and all biomarkers are covered in this panel.

Ben Greenfield has officially launched his first work of fiction: “The Forest”. Twin brothers River and Terran discover a portal to a hidden forested world attacked by parasitic fungi, dark shamans, and serpents. Along with an assembled band of unlikely misfits that includes coyotes, whitetail deer, wood thrushes, and fox squirrels, they must unlock their unique powers to control the elements of earth, air, fire and water, and save the forest before the evil they’ve uncovered can spill back into their own world. Click here to read it now! New chapters released every 7-14 days.

The BenGreenfieldFitness Quarterly box has officially launched! When you sign-up, you’ll get a Quarterly handpicked box jam-packed with Ben’s favorite fitness gear, supplements, nutrients and research-proven biohacks.

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 Brock Skywalker Armstrong, the Podcast Sidekick and Audio Ninja.

Climbing Stairs vs. The Stairmaster vs. The Elliptical

Bill says: He has one of the old Stairmasters where the pedals don’t go back and forth. He has heard you say that the elliptical is bad for people, long term. Would that problem be the same for the stationary Stairmaster? He only does about a half hour per day – for the last 20 years.

Is Warming Up Overrated?

Phillip says: He is a multisport athlete who has been doing a lot of yoga lately. His instructor puts a lot of emphasis on warming-up the muscles before they start stretching them (using the old “cold rubber band” analogy to explain why) using movement and by turning up the thermostat. But he is not a rubber band, and his muscles are always at a toasty 98.6°F. Do muscle actually get warmed up? Or is there another physiological process in play? Does he actually need to warm up?

How To Burn Fat and Build Muscle At The Same Time

Bryan says: He has read that in order to gain 1lb of muscle over a week, you need to consume an additional 3400 calories and then burn those calories in resistance training. If this is true, can he avoid consuming the 3400 calories and burn a pound of fat and gain a pound of muscle – or – would he lose 2lbs of fat and gain one pound of muscle? Can you explain how this works?

What to Do About Gut Issues During A Triathlon

Rusty says: He is a very well established marathoner who just did Lake Placid Ironman. He has one 70.3 under his belt, that went very well. In Lake Placid, he had a good swim and bike but started vomiting violently half way through the run. He took on as much nutrition as he could on the bike. But during the run he got very light headed and was not able to finish the race. He is looking for an explanation and advice on how to avoid that in the future.

In my response, I recommend:
Ginger chews
Peppermint Tums

How To Get A Girlfriend

Michiel says: He is 5 foot 10 and 198lbs. He has been doing HIIT training. He quit smoking, is eating organic as much as possible and has a “pretty fair face”… but still doesn’t have a girlfriend. Can you help him out?

In my response, I recommend:
The ArtOfCharm website & podcast


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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Episode #328 – Full Transcript

Podcast #328 from


Introduction: In this episode of the Ben Greenfield Fitness show: How To Burn Fat And Build Muscle At The Same Time, What’s The Best Time Of Day To Drink Coffee, Is Warming Up Overrated, Climbing Stairs vs. The Stairmaster vs. The Elliptical, 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.

Ben:                   Brock, sorry, I’m a little bit late for recording this morning’s podcast, I was online shopping for duck fat.

Brock:               Ahhh.

Ben:                   No, I really was! I realized that…

Brock:               (laughs) It’s not you from this… “No honey, I was just shopping for duck fat!” I wasn’t looking at…

Ben:                   That’s right.  Just duck fat – nudge, nudge, wink, wink – no, actually…

Brock:               Mmm-hmm.

Ben:                   I’m making this recipe which is a lot of people may be familiar with like a duck – I don’t even know how it’s pronounced – Duck Confit?

Brock:               Yeah, Duck Confit.

Ben:                   That was the argument my wife and I had yesterday, whether it was confi, confey or confit, but it’s duck that’s been preserved in duck fat that you can cook and you get all nice and crispy – the wings and the legs and I’ve been having a heck of a time finding a nice, organically raised whole duck here locally.  For some reasons Spokane has a dearth of ducks…

Brock:               Weird.

Ben:                   So I ordered this morning from the U.S. Wellness Meats website, so I’ll be making Duck Confit as part of – it’s actually something I’m doing a.) because I like to eat tasty food and b.) for the video that we’re doing for the Inner Circle.  So all of our members are going to learn how to make tasty, tasty Duck Confit.  So, yeah!

Brock:               That’s awesome.  That’s like you’re double win there.  You’re making a video and you get a delicious meal out of it.

Ben:                   How are you feeling?

Brock:               I’m… fine.  No, I’m not gonna lie.  I’m super hang-over today.

Ben:                   Like why is that?

Brock:               I… well.

Ben:                   You briefly mentioned it to me before we started recording…

Brock:               Yeah.

Ben:                   …and I told you to wait for the episode and tell me why, so why is it that you are?

Brock:               Well we’re – my partner and I were moving from Toronto to Vancouver very soon, and last night was her Going Away Party – bunch of people she worked with threw her Going Away Party and it started off very nice with some like some espresso, chicken, sandwiches and some nice local IPAs and then it escalated really quickly (chuckles).  Well there was like 20 people there so it wasn’t so romantic but yeah, then it escalated quickly after the tequila shots.

Ben:                   Mmm.  Mmm.

Brock:               Yeah.  It’s always nothing – nothing good happens after the tequila shots.

Ben:                   Mmm.  So this podcast is brought to you by tequila IPA and duck fat.

News Flashes:

Brock:               While you’re enjoying your IPAs and duck fat, Ben has been tweeting it up like crazy over at and we’re gonna delve into those now.

Ben:                   That’s right and I’ve got a few, few little interesting things that I came across this week and the first is about the best time to consume caffeine.

Brock:               Hmmm.

Ben:                   Now of course for me the best time to consume caffeine is my piping hot cup of coffee in the morning – a.) because I’m a creature of habit…

Brock:               Me too.

Ben:                   …and I love the taste of coffee.

Brock:               Mmm-hmm.

Ben:                   And b.) because I have glorious dump…

Brock:               Mmm-hmm.

Ben:                   …about twenty minutes after.

Brock:               If you didn’t say that, I was going to say that.

Ben:                   It’s the cup of coffee.

Brock:               that exactly.

Ben:                   You know there’s nothing like a cup of coffee to get things moving.  As a matter of fact that it’s my 1-2 combo these days as a – you wake up, you do a little bit of lemon juice and water, and then you have your cup of coffee, and then you allow the dump to commence, so.  Anyways though…

Brock:               Does the lemon juice actually help or is that’s just what you like?


Ben:                   Well, I like lemon juice as an alkalinizing substance to start off the day but it does have a – what’s called the peristaltic effect on the digestive tract as well, so.

Brock:               Oh, does it?

Ben:                   Yeah, very similar to coffee, so I like that 1-2 combo.  Anyways though…

Brock:               Anyway.

Ben:                   The article that I will link to over on the show notes at is an article that appeared on SuppVersity about the best time to consume caffeine before a workout.  And it turns out that – I won’t go to the entire article but the main take away for me in going through it is that it depends on the source of your caffeine.

Brock:               Hmm.

Ben:                   So different forms of caffeine from coffee to caffeinated chewing gum which I guess is all the rage these days…

Brock:               Yeah.

Ben:                   …to cola to caffeine capsules or pills if you just decide to take the shortcut and completely forego that tasty cup of coffee – whatever your poison is, it turns out that there are specific timing scenarios that work better depending on what form of caffeine that you’ve chosen.

Brock:               Cool!

Ben:                   So take chewing gum for example and studies that they’ve done on caffeinated chewing gum, the best time to take that if you want to get the ergogenic effects of caffeine in terms of like its glycogen sparing and fatty acids and increased epinephrine and adrenaline and decrease rating of perceived exertion and all these cool things caffeine can do for you when you’re working out.  You take caffeinated chewing gum about 20 minutes before your workout – that’s the timing for the gum…

Brock:               Okay.

Ben:                   And I really personally cannot say that I have a gum brand of choice – I guess most of my experience with caffeinated chewing gum has been seeing it on the counters at 7 eleven is something marketed to truckers, I have yet to experiment much with caffeinated chewing gum myself.

Brock:               Me, neither.  And I don’t anticipate either of us are going to rush out and try it either.

Ben:                   Not until the make it taste like a cup of really good coffee.

Brock:               Ooooh.

Ben:                   The…

Brock:               That’s a million dollar idea right there.

Ben:                   Yeah, absolutely, absolutely.  Starbucks, if you’re listening in.  Coffee, cola, energy drinks, any beverage or liquid that has caffeine in it – the magic timing window is 35 minutes – 35 minutes prior to a workout is when it’s going to do you the best good if you’re going to have coffee before workout.

Brock:               So not 36?

Ben:                   Not 36.

Brock:               Not 34.

Ben:                   Not 34.

Brock:               Is it really? Did they specify that it had to be like this is the exact moment? Or did they give a sort of range?

Ben:                   Hmm, well, whenever you’re looking at a study you obviously – what you’re looking at is an average, so…

Brock:               Yeah.

Ben:                   Yeah.  I’m sure there are outliers because as many folks who have done DNA testing for example know, some people have genetic snips associated with fast caffeine metabolizing, some were slow caffeine metabolizing – well we’re talking about the average person, not the weirdos.

Brock:               Gotcha.

Ben:                   And then finally, if you rely on capsules or pills for your caffeine – if you’re one of those people…

Brock:               I’m one of those people.

Ben:                   Capsules and pills in general you know, they bypass the stomach in many cases and have like a time release factor associated with them.  They generally do take a longer period of time unless you – as I am prone to do with some capsules, break them open and dissolve them sublingually.  If you rely in capsules or pills, you’re talking about 60 minutes prior so, there you have it: gum – 20minutes before, coffee or cola or energy drink – 35 minutes before, capsules or pills – 60 minutes before and if you want all the nitty-gritty details, then follow the link that we’ll put in the show notes if you want to delve in to the propeller hat inside of things.

Brock:               Delve away, folks.

Ben:                   Delve away.  So a very interesting PDF that I came across that doesn’t have a lot to do with coffee but has to do with something I also do quite a bit of and that is airline travel.  And the title of this particular article is called ‘A darker side of hyper mobility’.

Brock:               (chuckles)

Ben:                   The article is actually quite long.  It goes into the fact that we’ve – we almost have like this infatuation with travel now because we live in this hyper mobile age of high speed trains and airlines and the ability to travel great distances and this is a relatively new phenomenon in human you know, evolution or however you want to describe it.  In that we have the speed and power of transportation that allows us to get around the globe and potentially leave behind many of the aspects of like community and neighborhood and local interactions that we’ve been used to for so many thousands of years.


And it goes into the consequences – not just the biological and physiological consequences or hyper mobility, but also the social consequences, and the emotional consequences of being able to just leave and fly around the world and perhaps not be as rooted locally.  So some of the physiological consequences that it goes into when it comes to hyper mobility are for example frequent jet travel.  There are few things in there I wasn’t aware of.  Frequent jet travel can switch off genes that are linked to the immune system and it’s been shown in clinical research that there’s a direct correlation between frequent jet travel and the risk of having a heart attack or a stroke.

Brock:               Hmm.

Ben:                   Long term chronic jetlags such as you might find among like pilots or airline cabin crew or frequent travelers is also associated with cognitive deficits including memory impairment.

Brock:               Hmm.

Ben:                   Six days of flying, six days of travel here and there and I’m not sure exactly how they conducted this study but it deleteriously affected mood, judgment and the ability to concentrate.  And you know of course there are other health effects that we’re probably all aware everything from risk of deep vein thrombosis to exposure to germs inside the petri dish that is in airplane to dry ice and dehydrated skin and all the other issues that can occur.  But frankly, as we’ve talked about before on podcast and as I’ve written about before on blog post you know, if you breakout the blue light, and the inner light, and the glutathione, and the activated charcoal, lots of really good water and grounding and cold thermogenesis – there’s all sorts of things that you can do to combat many of these biological effects of jetlag.  Now let’s say that you do that and so you’re good to go.  You’re at least kind of like you know, combating a lot of the physiological effects, the deleterious physiological effects of jetlag.  What I thought was quite interesting was the psychological, emotional and social consequences that they go into.  For example, one of the things that they talk about is how people who frequently travel tend to volunteer less and be less charitable and potentially participate less regularly in local cultural activities and organizations, team sports and community work because they’re able to – and I’ve – the reason this article appealed to me so much is because I travel a lot, right? Like I’m on the road, on an airplane traveling 12 to 15 days out of the month and I thought, you know, it really is true – you know, since my job has progressed more from being like the local personal trainer to like you know, a guy who’s travelling around the world speaking at fitness and health event, etc. – my ties to the local community seem to have decreased a little bit.  They also go into the fact that there is a higher rate of familiar breakup and a lower amount of domestic responsibilities fulfilled in people who are engage in hyper mobility and I certainly am on board and understand that as well…

Brock:               Hmm.

Ben:                   It’s a lot harder when you’re traveling so much not only to combat again a lot of these physiological consequences and a lot of the consequences of not being connected to your community but also to your family.  I thought it was an interesting article, I think it’s one that anybody out there – I know a lot of our listeners do travel a lot – I think it’s something that you should read and that you should be aware of and if anything, for me, it’s given me even more pause about deciding when I’m invited to speak somewhere or when I have a you know, a “opportunity to go”, “travel somewhere” you know, “see some cool place” you know – is it really worth it versus staying in my local community and being present there and being present for my family? So.

Brock:               Yeah, it’s interesting.  I actually – I totally follow the – like not being disengaged with your partner and your family and stuff like that but I do – it’s probably just a matter of semantics but I see the not being engaged with your local neighborhood, it’s not so much that you’re not engaged with your local neighborhood, say that your neighborhood has expanded. 


Ben:                   Yes, exactly.

Brock:               So I don’t see that as a necessarily bad thing, it’s just that you’re neighborhood or your life is larger than it once was.

Ben:                   Yeah, it is true to a certain extent.  You could say the same thing about like Facebook, right?

Brock:               Yeah.

Ben:                   But at the same time you know, as the abstract of the article finishes with, it says “the paper concludes that whilst aspects of glamorization in regards to mobility are omnipresent in our lives.” And…

Brock:               I like that.  That was a good, good sentence.

Ben:                   There exist in ominous silence with regard to its darker side, so.

Brock:               (laughs)

Ben:                   I just thought it was interesting how a lot of the things that I’ve always kind of thought about in the back of my mind when it comes to frequent airline travel, they actually manage to put into a scientific paper.

Brock:               Cool.

Ben:                   So.

Brock:               Yeah, then definite is the glamorization about this there’s no doubt about that and I traveled a lot from my job for years and people always like “Oh, you’re lucky!”, I’m like “Actually, not really!” You don’t see a lot when you’re traveling for work, it’s not you’re like kicking back by the pool all the time you know.

Ben:                   Mmm-hmm.

Brock:               Often getting off the plane rushing to a meeting or something else and being locked in a basement somewhere with too much air-conditioning than in the back of the plane.

Ben:                   Yup.  Yeah.  Our apologies to anyone who tuned into today’s podcast to learn how to look good naked because we’re just instead made you depressed why we’re getting on an airplane.

Brock:               No, travelling sucks.

Ben:                   So we shall move on.

Brock:               Yes.

Ben:                   The last thing I wanted to mention for today’s news flashes was a great article about HRV and how a high HRV isn’t always good and a low HRV isn’t always bad.

Brock:               Wait, an HRV – that’s the new truck by Toyota, right?

Ben:                   (laughs) Exactly.

Brock:               We should probably explain if not everybody would know what that is – Heart Rate Variability

Ben:                   With all wheel drive.

Brock:               All wheel drive.

Ben:                   Heart Rate Variability obviously, in becoming an increasingly popular method of self-quantification in competitive athletes and recreational athletes you know, among people who are engaged in like biohacking and anti-aging and longevity because it allows you to see the strength of your nervous system.  And in many cases we’ve kind of been led to believe that the way that you interpret HRV is a high HRV is good and a low HRV is bad, and that is not necessarily the case in this article goes into why that is.  So for example, if your heart rate variability is constantly high and never seems to fluctuate at all that can actually be indicative of aerobic over-training…

Brock:               Mmm.

Ben:                   …and there are some for example like Iron Man triathletes and marathoners and people who constantly have an extremely high heart rate variability but it turns out that high heart rate variability is accompanied by a decrease strength of the parasympathetic nervous system.

Brock:               Mmm.

Ben:                   And unless you actually look at not just your HRV score but also that parasympathetic nervous system score, you might think your high HRV is a good thing when in fact is this article goes into much more detail on in terms of like numbers on what to look for and everything, it’s not.  Another thing that you’ll tend to see often is that lower like moderate amounts of aerobic training can increase HRV as well but when you’re not doing that type of training like the low to moderate amount of aerobic training and you’re just doing like CrossFit wods and high intensity interval training.  And in that type of training like the wods and the high intensity interval training and all that, that actually does a pretty good job at doing things like increasing your mitochondrial density and increasing your VO2 max and giving you a lot of these aerobic adaptations somewhere what like you know, going out for a long run would give you.  But when you go about trying to increase your cardiovascular fitness using more of like the high intensity interval training approach, right? Like the minimal effect of those approach, you do tend to have a lower HRV but again, that is a case where it’s not necessarily because you are over-trained.  It’s simply because you aren’t doing as much aerobic type of activity and that form of a low HRV is again not necessarily a bad thing in this article goes into the reasons of why.  Anyways, it’s a fantastic analysis of why if you’re just looking at heart rate variability but you’re not also looking at sympathetic nervous system score and parasympathetic nervous system score then you’re not getting the full picture. 


                           And then finally they go into the fact that sometimes you’ve want your HRV low and sometimes you want it low because sometimes you do want to do what’s called the over-reaching.  And when you over-reach which is a common strategy used by professional athletes for example preparing for a competition and then your taper, right? You do what’s called super compensation, you actually wind up fitter and so you wanna have some weeks of the year where your HRV is low and you follow it with a de-load week or a taper week and then you bounce back even stronger with phenomenal cosmic powers.

Brock:               (chuckles)

Ben:                   I just had to…

Brock:               I knew that was coming (chuckles).

Ben:                   I just add phrase into the podcast (mimics sound) Anyways, reference to the old Aladdin cartoon.

Brock:               Big fans of Disney around here apparently.

Ben:                   That’s right.  That’s right. Anyways though, go read the article – it’s fantastic and yes, I cannot finish talking about this article without the shameless plug.  Yes, the Greenfield Nature Beat HRV app does indeed allow you to look at your sympathetic and your parasympathetic nervous system score and not just your HRV.  So if you’re not using the Greenfield Nature Beat app either a.) you have an android not an iPhone…

Brock:               Yeah, what the hell?

Ben:                   we’re working on that, or b.) just suck.

Brock:               (laughs)

Ben:                   So, there you have it. 

Special Announcements:

Ben:                   Well Brock, one of my workouts this week consisted of taking a sandbag, hoisting the sandbag over my head and then walking for as long as possible with the sandbag held over head- generally takes about anywhere from 60 to 90 seconds for holding that sandbag over your head to become impossible.

Brock:               Hmm.

Ben:                   And then once you get to the point where you can’t hold the sandbag over your head anymore, you drop the sandbag down to your shoulders, right? So it’s sitting on the back of your shoulders like a barbell and then you just run for as long as you were able to last with the sandbag held overhead.

Brock:               (chuckles)

Ben:                   So basically let’s say you can hold it overhead for 60 seconds while you’re walking and you’re timing that and you look down and you’re like “okay, I made a 60seconds” then you put it on your back and your goal is to run for 60seconds.  It’s an interesting workout.

Brock:               Yeah, it’s sound kinda fun!

Ben:                   Yeah, you get an upper body workout as you’re walking, right? And then finally when you’re upper body is completely fatigued, you drop the sandbag to your back and then your lower body gets a workout while you’re sprinting.

Brock:               And I assume you’re doing this on even ground too like on a trail or a…

Ben:                   Right.

Brock:               grass or something.

Ben:                   Well, yeah I do it on a trail by my house.  Ten to finish things off for your rest period you can basically just walk on your sandbag on your back for you know, for again the equivalent period of time so – like 60 seconds, 60 seconds, 60 seconds – anyways, fun little workout.

Brock:               It’s really worth saying what I’ve been doing lately.  I’ve been doing a lot of kettlebell swings.

Ben:                   Mmm-hmm.

Brock:               I’m loving the kettlebell swings but it’s yeah, yours is a little more interesting.

Ben:                   That’s right.  Mine is far more sexy and if you want to do a workout like that but you don’t want to be embarrassed and have your neighbors give you funny looks ‘cause you’re carrying your already crappy sandbag that you bought for $4 at the hardware store.

Brock:               Aw, how gross.

 Ben:                  You can get an Onnit sandbag and I like the Onnit sandbags ‘cause they have handles on the top and handles on the side so you can do more than just put them on your shoulders.  You can do like dead lifts and clean and jerks and power lifting and snatches and pretty much anything with the good old Onnit sandbag.  And Onnit is a sponsor for this episode what that means, lucky you, is that you get 5% of all the Onnit fitness gear including their sandbags…

Brock:               And their kettlebells.

Ben:                   …sound like punch but once you knock 5% off something, you’re  pretty much getting free shipping…

Brock:               Mmm.  That’s good.

Ben:                   …and 10% off of supplements like nut butters and Alpha Brain and all that jazz.  And I happen to be right now, stacked up with Alpha Brain and CBD…

Brock:               Nice.

Ben:                   And I combine about three capsules of Alpha Brain with one capsule of CBD and that would be post-caffeinated large dump and you just feel like a million bucks so…

Brock:               What if that will work on my hangover?  I was afraid to take in the Alpha Brain this morning ‘cause I don’t know how it will react with my hangover state – I might just short circuit.

Ben:                   In a moment I will tell you what you can do about that hangover…

Brock:               Yeah.

Ben:                   but anyways, go to, that’s and I’ll getcha whatcha need if you want a sandbag.


Okay, hangover – the strategy that I’ve been using is one that I wanted to mention because it came up recently on the Ben Greenfield Fitness blog/podcast.  You may have noticed if you are subscribed to the podcast that Brock read to you – just like a bedtime story…

Brock:               Exactly.

Ben:                   He read to you this week’s blog post which was about how to biohack you sauna experience by utilizing high dose niacin and an infrared sauna, and this is a new addition to my house – I’ve built an infrared sauna and I have insulated that sauna and I’ve been doing a high dose niacin prior to my sauna inn.  And what that means is the high dose niacin makes you sweat like I don’t know – what’s an animal or that sweats a lot?

Brock:               I don’t think that most animals don’t sweat, they just pant…

Ben:                   Yes.

Brock:               …and drool.

Ben:                   Yes.  What’s the good metaphor analogy for sweating?

Brock:               Hmmm.

Ben:                   Apparently, I didn’t take enough Alpha Brain and CBD.  It’s a sweat like…

Brock:               Yeah, I have no creativity.

Ben:                   Makes you sweat like a leaky garden hose.

Brock:               Mmm.

Ben:                   Yeah, how you like that? So anyways though, the other thing that – that an infrared sauna with niacin pre-infrared sauna experience is good for is – if you are hangover and you wanna detox that alcohol and acetaldehyde and ammonia out of your system as quickly as possible – that followed by a called shower, is the bee’s knees when it comes to a little hangover remedy.  So, there you have it.

Brock:               If only I had a sauna… and some niacin.

Ben:                   Well I…

Brock:               I failed on both departments.

Ben:                   I highly recommend if you’re listening in and you are one of those folks who has some money to spend, go read that blog post – you go you find it on or you can go – what’s the short link, Brock? It’s like…

Brock:               Biohacksauna – biohacksaunaaudio.

Ben:                   Biohacksaunaaudio – geez, well anyways, you can go to that blog post and read it and hook yourself up with the sauna and some high dose niacin – it’s, you really do feel amazing afterwards – during, it’s kinda torturous but…

Brock:               (chuckles)

Ben:                   Anyways…

Brock:               That’s not what I want.

Ben:                   And one more thing, Brock…

Brock:               One more.

Ben:                   …for our special announcements.  That’s right!  We’ve got one more for you.  I just finished recording the very final chapter of the book “Beyond Training” so, my New York Times bestseller (clears throat) – humble break…

Brock:               Really?

Ben:                   Yes.

Brock:               Nice!

Ben:                   Has all now been recorded and it is soon, once we get it uploaded, going to be available as an Audible audio book.  But in the meantime, we’re gonna throw you a bone and give you Chapter 25 at the end of this podcast episode.  So if you stay tuned for the very end, you get to listen to the concluding Chapter 25 – kinda short but it’s gonna be there for ya’ and if you enjoy it…

Brock:               It’s very inspirational.

Ben:                   Inspirational.  Yes, it’s preachy so if you listen to it and you want to listen to the full “Beyond Training” book, you get two options: stay tuned because it will soon be available on Audible and we’ll let you know when that happens or it’s also available on our Premium channel which is where we release like special episodes and stuff like that and that’s all over at  And if you don’t know how to spell premium you need to go buy a dictionary, so there you have it.

Listener Q & A:

Bill:                   Hi Ben.  Got a question for you about this Stairmasters.  You said on your recent recording, you talked about the elliptical being bad for people long term.  I use a stationary stair Stairmaster, the old kind with the pedals don’t go back and forth through the ring like that.  And I’ve been using it for 20 years so I just wanna know how bad it is.  I only go by half-hour a day or so anyway, curious if there’s still problems with that as well? Thanks so much.  Oh and my name is Bill Montgomery.

Brock:               I remember the old Stairmasters.

Ben:                   Mmm-hmm.

Brock:               I mean all the gym was all of a sudden were just jampacked with Stairmasters and you just stand there and basically like make your feet go up and down, and up and down, and up and down, and there’s no crazy elliptical movement or arm handles or anything you just climb the stairs to nowhere.

Ben:                   Mmm, yeah.  It’s good to be reminiscing about the good old days.

Brock:               The good old days.

Ben:                   Not to be confused with the stair climber also known as the Stairway to Nowhere, also known as the “blow my brains out on the most boring cardio machine on the face of the planet”. 


Brock:               That’s one that’s like an escalator that you just sort of stand on and keep moving?

Ben:                   Exactly.  And it’s actually a very tough workout, to be honest with you.  So…

Brock:               It is yeah, boring.

Ben:                   Yeah.  So climbing stairs versus the Stairmaster versus the elliptical…

Brock:               Actually did you recall back in the day we use to call it the Buttmaster not the Stairmaster?

Ben:                   Yes, the Buttmaster’s also a term that it’s known by and there is of course the all 2 famous move that you see people doing at the gym these days which involves putting on your tighty-tight pants, getting on the stair climber, not the Stairmaster, and doing very, very slow stair climber while kicking out behind you in between each step up the stairs.

Brock:               Really?

Ben:                   You see people doing this?

Brock:               I haven’t.  No.

Ben:                   It’s like the new awesome butt move.

Brock:               Hmm.

Ben:                   Yeah.  I won’t go down that rabbit hole but I will briefly tell you that it doesn’t actually work…

Brock:               Alright.

Ben:                   …biomechanically, just there are better ways to build your butt like getting in the barbell and doing heavy squats.  Anyways though, let’s start with the Stairmaster before I get into the elliptical – they’ve actually done a comparison, a biomechanical comparison of climbing stairs a.k.a. the stair climber or just say climbing stairs of that stadium or whatever versus climbing on a Stairmaster.  And they’ve compared what happens using a – what’s called angular kinematics and linear kinematics when it comes to a comparison of these two.  Now it turns out that what happens when you use a Stairmaster not a stair climber is that the Stairmaster involves only a vertical translation of your body.  It does not include what stair climbing include which is called a horizontal and a vertical translation of the body.  Now, what this means from a muscular utilization standpoint is that the ground reaction forces are gonna be different with Stairmastering versus stair climbing.  And even though the Stairmaster turns out to be a good exercise machine, if you have a high risk of injury particularly if you have a high risk of injury for your knees, for your ankles or for your hips because there is less of what’s called the sheering horizontal translation or horizontal force.  You burn far more calories, you utilize an enormously more – that’s just…

Brock:               Enormously more.

Ben:                   that’s just grammatically crappy – an enormously more amount.

Brock:               (laughs)

Ben:                   I’m just gonna roll with it.

Brock:               Sure.

Ben:                   Using enormously more amount of your butt muscles when you’re using the stair climber versus the Stairmaster, and you get a greater range of motion in particularly the hip joints, significantly greater range of motion in the hip joint.  So it turns out that climbing stairs from a biomechanical standpoint, just basically kicks the butt of doing something like the Stairmaster in which you’re simply moving your feet up and down against resistance and the only thing that’s occurring really is a vertical translation.

Brock:               So would you call people who use those Stairmasterbators then?

Ben:                   Stairmasterbators.  So unless you are injured right? Unless you have a hip injury and knee injury or some kind of ankle injury, the Stairmaster is not for you – it’s not gonna give you the most bang for your buck plus it’s just silly, and stupid – so there’s that, too.

Brock:               (laughs) Sorry, Bill.

Ben:                   You heard it here first.  However, when we look at the elliptical trainers, those are kinda like a whole different can of worms – you find a lot of people scoffing (scoffs)…

Brock:               (scoffs)

Ben:                   …scoffing like that (scoffing continues) at the elliptical trainer – saying that it whatever – it’s dumb or it’s you know, it’s a fad or whatever.  But there are actually some very interesting studies on elliptical trainers like there’s one study at the University of Missouri and they measured oxygen utilization, lactic acid formation, heart rate and rating of perceived exertion on an elliptical trainer compared to a treadmill.  And they found that the elliptical trainer was nearly identical to the treadmill and every respect with the only exception being at the elliptical trainer created far less joint impact. 


Brock:               Hmm.

Ben:                   And what that means is that compared to running, you can stay just as fit on an elliptical trainer but you recover much faster due to lower joint impact and is also of course, something that could be used if you let’s say have an IT band injury or hip injury or an injury that is not able to handle the pounding of treadmill – the elliptical can work for that.  And not just the elliptical but if you would like and I actually rode one yesterday to go get a haircut – you can get one of these outdoor elliptical trainers – they actually make one called an Elliptigo and this is an elliptical trainer on wheels and you look like a complete exercise dork.

Brock:               (laughs)

Ben:                   It’s pretty much right up there with rollerblading…

Brock:               Mmm.

Ben:                   …these days but it’s actually quite effective as a way to get all the benefits of running without actually getting the joint impact of running.  They did another study that compared muscle activity patterns of the quadriceps and the hamstring, and what they looked at was walking on the ground, walking on a treadmill, bicycling and the elliptical trainer.  And the elliptical trainer produced significantly greater quadriceps utilization and greater what’s called quadriceps hamstring coordination than any of those other modes of exercise including bicycling.  So…

Brock:               Crazy!

Ben:                   that’s another…

Brock:               That’s weird!

Ben:                   …interesting effect when it comes to using your muscles you know, if your goal is to just incorporate as many muscles as possible with low impact, the elliptical beats up the bike if you were…

Brock:               Yeah, that’s surprising.

Ben:                   …hitting there at the gym and scratching your head trying to decide whether to get on the bike to watch a movie or get on the elliptical trainer to watch a movie so, there’s that.

Brock:               (laughs) Why are you watching movies?

Ben:                   (laughs)

Brock:               What’s going on here?

Ben:                   Just because…

Brock:               I think they read some magazines, come on!

Ben:                   I’m just – I’m totally dis-infatuated with the idea of getting on a cardio machine at the gym.

Brock:               Yeah.  I don’t have a gym membership in coming up on a year maybe even more now.

Ben:                   Yeah.  But if you had to, the elliptical trainer is looking quite promising and I’m not even done yet – the results of the study that compared to elliptical training to walking, and they found greater muscle activation during the elliptical training for the glute max and the vastus lateralis which is your external hip muscles.  So if you wanna build stronger butt or hip muscles then the elliptical trainer can do that and interestingly, it does that without straining the hamstring, so if you have a hamstring injury, you can also workout.

Brock:               I feel like that would be dependent on what kind of angle the elliptical machine will set at.

Ben:                   A very, very long stride length is going to incorporate the hamstrings more, yeah.

Brock:               Yes.

Ben:                   Exactly.  So they also found with an elliptical trainer in another study that was interestingly done at the University of Idaho – my alma mater.

Brock:               Hurrah!

Ben:                   Go Vandals!  They found that as the stride length increases on our elliptical trainer because some do allow you to increase the stride length, you burn more calories without actually increasing your rating of perceived exertion and that’s kinda cool.

Brock:               That is cool.

Ben:                   That’s like free calories I thought even feel like you’re working harder so…

Brock:               Damn.

Ben:                   there’s that, too but that would – that would be if you use one of the ones that has like the long stride length or the ability to like basically stride as long as you are striding which is which some of the machines of the gym will do too.  They – like a smart stride where you know, the longer the steps that you take, the longer will kinda move with you.

Brock:               Yeah, it’s just got a longer track so to speak.

Ben:                   Exactly.  And then finally, there’s a fact that when you’re on elliptical training you get the arm motion, the shoulder mostly on the chest, the biceps, the triceps – you get more upper body and coordination than you would when you are on a bicycle so you get a little bit more of a full body workout.

Brock:               So is there…

Ben:                   Especially if you do as I do and when you go get a haircut on your Elliptigo, you wear 20lbs. weighted vest and an elevation training mask.

Brock:               Hmm.

Ben:                   S0, yes.

Brock:               So now you’ve – it’s like rollerblading crossed with a segue way riding…

Ben:                   Mmm-hmm.

Brock:               …mixed with the Batman villain mixed with a glutton for punishment?

Ben:                   Yeah, I was that guy.  If you happen to be in Spokane yesterday and you saw someone riding on Argon wearing a weighted vest and elevation training mask on an Elliptigo on their way to get a haircut that was me.

Brock:               (laughs)  Or to join the other people through doing that at the same time.

Ben:                   (laughs)  We’ll link to everything, Bill in the show notes if you care to check a good article on elliptical trainers, that outdoor Elliptigo elliptical trainer I was talking about, the study on climbing stairs versus a Stairmaster.


And ultimately my reply to you would be if you had to choose anything – Stairmaster, the stair climber or the Elliptigo? The order that I would choose would be Elliptigo first, next the stair climber, and then finally the Stairmasterbator.

Philip:               Hey Ben and Brock, Philip here.  I’m a multisport athlete and I have been doing a lot of yoga lately.  My instructor puts a big emphasis on warming-up muscles before deep stretches and pauses to prevent injury – going as far as to put the thermostat up to boiling lava hot in the room.  I think most of us have heard the analogy of a rubber band as a muscle – take a cold rubber band and stretch it nor resist and possibly even tear or break.  Use a warm rubber band and it’s flexible and pliable but I’m not a rubber band – my muscles almost always at a total of 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit or 37 degrees Celsius for the metric listeners.  So am I really warming up my muscles or is there a chemical or physiological process going on in my skeletal muscle fibers?  Heck, do I even need to warm up my muscles? Thanks for creating the best podcast in the world.

Brock:               I like how Philip points out that his muscles are nice toasty 98.6.

Ben:                   Toasting.  Yes.

Brock:               Toasty.

Ben:                   Yes, yes.  Exactly, toasty is a good way to describe it…

Brock:               Mmm-hmm.

Ben:                   I believe.

Brock:               Mine or – I think of mine more like cozy.

Ben:                   Yes.  Well, the fact is that your muscle temperature can change and your muscle temperature changes based on the amount of blood flow to that muscle and when you are relaxed – when you’re like sitting in your chair reading Martha Stewart’s ‘Living’ or reading about perhaps how to make Duck Confit, you’re pretty seeing a relatively low 15 to 20% of blood flow to your skeletal muscles – so that means most of the small blood vessels, little capillaries within those muscles are closed.  And in most studies it takes about 10 to 15 minutes of movement for the blood flow to those same skeletal muscles to increase and for those capillaries to open and when that happens, that blood flow jumps from 15 to 20% just during the warm-up up to 70 to 75%, and when that blood flow occurs, the muscles which contrary to popular belief are not always at that set 98.6 degrees.  They increase in muscle temperature and when that happens, biochemically, the hemoglobin in your blood basically dissociates from oxygen more readily so it’s just a basic temperature chemical equation – hemoglobin releases oxygen more readily at a higher temperature so more blood going to the muscles along with more oxygen available to those muscles because the temperature of those muscles has increased – of course translates to better performance as you would expect.  You get a faster muscle contraction; you get a faster muscle relaxation after that contraction; you get an improvement in nerve transmission speed and you get an improvement in mitochondrial activity so…

Brock:               To a certain point that is.  Once you reach a certain temperature you actually get a diminishing return.

Ben:                   Well, once you reach a certain temperature, you are by definition producing higher amounts of lactic acid, you’re getting more hydrogen ions dissociated from that process and you’re increasing the acidity in the muscle which eventually causes what’s called central fatigue or you know, the central governor of your brain begins to shut down the muscle from contracting to limit the amount of acidity present.  But that’s – and that has less to do with temperature – that it has to do with pH.

Brock:               Mmm.  Really?

Ben:                   So, yeah.  And ultimately the idea here is that you do want to warm-up.

Brock:               Yeah.

Ben:                   And they’ve also found that there – in addition to increasing the speed and the contraction, the relaxation of muscles because they’re warmer – there are a lot of other things that the warm-up does.  For example, you get a lower amount of what’s called viscous resistance within warmed muscles and that essentially is very, very similar if you want to think about it to having muscles that are better oiled so you get better economy and movement.  You…

Brock:               So is that the synovial fluid?

Ben:                   Mmm-hmm.  Exactly.

Brock:               Become more squishy.

Ben:                   Exactly, the synovial fluid dumps into the joints more readily and becomes more runny at higher temperatures just like an egg.

Brock:               Mmm.

Ben:                   So, yeah.  You get better oxygen utilization again like I mentioned because hemoglobin releases oxygen more readily at a higher muscle temperatures.


You get the facilitated nerve transmission that I mentioned meaning that you get – what that means is that the warmer muscle is the greater the number of motor units that can be recruited by nerves…

Brock:               Yeah.

Ben:                   and so you’re able to just grab more muscle fibers.  And then the other thing that can happen as your total body temperature increases is the stroke volume of your heart increases and you get a faster feeling in releasing of blood by the left and the right ventricles of your heart so yeah, I mean the warm-up is definitely not overrated.  Now few other interesting things that were found in terms of the warm-up in some studies are, in one study they look at electrocardiographic activity, so the potential for things like para-ventricular contractions or abnormal or skipped heartbeats in the heart or anything that would show like an abnormal ECG tracing you know, the little – you know the “blep, blep, blep”…

Brock:               (laughs) The blep, blep…

Ben:                   Yeah, you know, the one for the movies…

Brock:               (makes ECG sound)

Ben:                   that goes flat…

Brock:               Beeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeep….

Ben:                   at a certain point, right?

Brock:               “Oh my god, grandpa’s gone!”

Ben:                   In the soap opera (laughs).  “He’s gone.  No, no, he’s here – it’s back!” Anyways, they found that the warm-up basically increase the stabilization of ECG activity in 22 men.

Brock:               Mmm.

Ben:                   So there was that.  And then a few other things that they found with warm-ups – they’re enhanced if you include dynamic stretching – arm swings, leg swings, etc. in an ideal warm-up you get the muscles warm, and then you follow that up with swings like arm swings, leg swings, squats, side to side steps to all those things that would normally be included in a dynamic warm-up and that’s been shown to enhance the efficacy of the warm-up even more.  So you should definitely do not just the warm-up but also dynamic stretching.  So, in terms of length of the warm-up like I mentioned, research shows that it is 10 to 15 minutes to get that increased temperature and viscosity and everything else.  So try to think if there’s anything else that I wanna tell you about the warm-up I mean, ultimately not, no I mean it’s absolutely not how’s this – it’s not non efficacious. (murmurs)

Brock:               It’s definitely not.

Ben:                   My grammar is on fire today.

Brock:               Yeah, maybe you’re the hangover one.

Ben:                   That’s right but yes, you do need to warm-up, I highly recommend it.  I generally when I’m warming up, I will do everything from jumping jacks to skipping, lounging, side lounging, arm swings, leg swings, and if for me it’s usually somewhere between 10, 15 minutes that I’m doing all of that before I actually start the official workout.  And theoretically you could probably speed up the process you know, speaking of things like saunas, etc.  You could do something like a sauna or you know a hot tub or something to increase the muscle temperature more quickly, but if you don’t happen to have an infrared sauna or hot tub to dip into prior to hopping in your Stairmaster for your butt exercise; you could just basically warm the freaking up.  So there you have it.

Brock:               There you go Phillip “you are not a rubber band but you should still do your warm-ups”.

Ben:                   And I avoided turning this episode explicit.  Did you notice that – by instead of using the freaking f – I did – you know…

Brock:               You didn’t dropped that bomb?  That was nice.

Ben:                   Yeah, it’s that.  Okay.

Brock:               Good work.

Ben:                   Let’s move on.

Bryan:               Hi Ben and Brock.              I have a question regarding muscle gain and fat loss.  Is it true that to gain 1lb of muscle say over a week, I have to consume an additional 3400 calories and then I have to burn that 3400 calories in resistance training say like I said, over a week? If this is true and that’s what I’ve read, can I avoid consuming the additional 3400 calories and lose a pound of fat but gain 1lb of muscle? Or what I lose of 2lbs. of fat and gain 1 lb of muscle? Thanks.  Love the podcast.

Brock:               This question makes my head hurt a little bit.

Ben:                   Mmm.  Yeah.

Brock:               Sort of like of those saying “if two trains leave Chicago travelling at the same speed” kind of questions.

Ben:                   Oh, that’s easy.  The answer is Minneapolis.

Brock:               Oh!

Ben:                   Yeah.

Brock:               Fantastic.

Ben:                   Yeah.  There you go.  You never have to close your eyes on that one again.  A lot of people do thing it’s impossible to build muscle and lose fat simultaneously and then some people will say “oh yes, you can build muscle and lose fat simultaneously just fine” – frankly, both of those camps are wrong (laughs) in a way and not to make your head hurt even more – but I’ll explain why.


So gaining muscle while losing fat the actual term for that if you wanna impress people at your next cocktail party is called body recomposition – body recomposition is like the holy grail: gain muscle, lose fat you know, burn fat, gain muscle – however you want to define it.  If you can achieve both of those seem things simultaneously then that’s what most people want.  So let us start with an understanding of the basic physiology here and there’s a reason why a lot of people think building muscle and losing fat at the same time is impossible, and it has to do with something called protein synthesis.  So what this means is that as you’re standing around everyday you’re muscles are going through maintenance work, so they’re taking damage and  degraded cells and they’re eliminating them and new cells are created to take their place, and the term given for that is protein synthesis, it’s also known as protein biosynthesis.  And in a normal circumstances, normal dietary circumstances, muscle tissue is pretty stable and that cycle of cellular degradation and cellular regeneration is pretty balanced.  So you generally are going to lose or gain muscle at any significant rate – your lean mass is just gonna remain pretty level on a day to day basis, but when you train your muscles when you’re doing weight training, you damage the cells and the muscle fibers and that increases the rate of protein synthesis to repair those damaged cells.  So when that happens, your body doesn’t want to just repair the damage it wants to somehow make you less resistant to further damage in the future and to do that…

Brock:               More resis – or more…

Ben:                   Did I say ‘less resistant’?

Brock:               Yeah.

Ben:                   Yeah, more resistant.

Brock:               That would be a terrible evolutionary trait.

Ben:                   I’m glad you’re listening carefully and not just doing your hair.

Brock:               How did you know? (laughs)

Ben:                   I just know what you’re doing.

Brock:               My hair looks fantastic.

Ben:                   So what your muscles do to make you more resistance to further damages, they add cells to the muscle fibers so that’s also known as hypertrophy it tends to make a muscle fibers bigger, it tends to make them stronger and so what you tend to think of as muscle growth is basically a rate of protein synthesis in which the protein synthesis rate exceeds the protein breakdown rate.  So if you take any given 24 hour period, if your body synthesizes more muscle proteins, then  it breaks down then you will gain muscle and if you – if you have a lower rate of protein synthesis than protein breakdown, then you lose muscle and if both are equal then t stays the same.

Brock:               That makes sense.

Ben:                   So basically if your goal is to gain muscle, you have to have a higher rate of protein synthesis than degradation, if you have a higher rate of protein synthesis than degradation you will gain muscle.  So when we look at the other side of the equation losing fat is most people realize you have to give your body less energy than it burns overtime to lose fat, and yes there are all those books out there like ‘Good Calories, Bad calories’ – there is of course you know, the whole argument that yeah, a snack pack of a hundred calories of Oreos is different than a 100 calories of like spinach and Goji Berries but ultimately you know, when you step back and you look at things from a big picture from like an 80/20 standpoint and we look at, at what is long term truly effective for fat loss and at certain point you could be a calorie deficit.  If you are not a calorie deficit you aren’t going to lose fat, period.

Brock:               Mmm.

Ben:                   It’s just not going to happen.  So yes, there are other factors that need to be present like an absence of inflammation and proper hormonal balance and all these other things that are affected by the quality and the nutrient density of the food but ultimately what it comes down to is that at some point you know, a calorie deficit needs to be present.  So there are a couple things that happen however, when you are at a calorie deficit: number one, you get reduced levels of anabolic hormones – okay? When you’re eating fewer calories than you’re burning you get reduced level of anabolic hormones…

Brock:               Okay.

Ben:                   …your growth hormones.  You also get impaired protein synthesis, right? So a calorie deficit causes changes in your hormone profile that makes you more catabolic which is a state where muscle breakdown would be higher and it lowers protein synthesis –


so that is why it is so hard to build muscle while you are in a calorie deficit because you decrease that rate of protein synthesis, so you’re fighting an uphill battle.  However, the interesting thing is that you can actually be responsive to resistance training even when you are at a calorie deficit and there’s something about resistance trainings specifically weight training that’s been shown in studies even in people who are at a calorie deficit to maintain or even increase the rate of protein synthesis even in the state of calorie restriction.  So for example, there was one study that was done in which they took folks and they split them into two different groups: one group had a daily calorie deficit of 300 calories –okay, 300 calories lower than what they were actually taking in.  And another group had a daily calorie deficit of 750 calories – incidentally both groups are getting adequate protein – it’s just that the one group had a deficit of 300 calories; one group had a deficit of 750 calories.  Now the group that had the 300 calorie deficit, they lost a little bit of fat, and they lost a little bit of muscle and the group who had the 750 calorie deficit also lost a very, very little bit of muscle but they lost a huge amount of fat and so this mild calorie deficits it turns out did not really work quite as well as like a larger calorie deficit in the presence of resistance training and adequate protein, okay?

Brock:               Hmm.

Ben:                   So let’s tie all these together – what all these comes down to is that if your goal is to burn fat and build muscle at the same time: a.) you need to be in a calorie deficit and it looks like that calorie deficit should fall somewhere between 500 and 1,000 calories more than what you’re actually eating, okay? So if you find out that your total body’s daily needs are 3,000 calories per day to sustain everything that you’re doing, you’d undercut that and you’ll eat some over between 2,000 and 2500 calories per day.  And you would combine that with the one thing that seems to somehow cause your body even in the state of calorie deficits to increase protein synthesis or to at least maintain protein synthesis – and that is resistance training, that’s weight training.

Brock:               Yeah.

Ben:                   Okay, so the other very, very important things that you’re not be at a protein deficiency, and if you want to not be at a protein deficiency, anyone easily do this without risking not being a calorie deficit you would include things like amino acid capsules or amino acid powders which are a low or no calorie sources of protein that can enhance or maintain the rate of protein synthesis without dumping extra calories into your body.  Now, I know that this seems to defy the laws of thermodynamics that you would somehow be able to have a maintain rate of protein synthesis in the absence of adequate calories or in what would seem to be a catabolic state but the fact is that there are multiple studies out there that show that the combination of adequate protein resistance training and a calorie deficit allows you to indeed burn fat and build muscle simultaneously.  So the last thing, the last recommendation that I would have for you so that you don’t risk thyroid issues or like the starvation mode, long term of potential down regulation of your metabolism while doing something like resistance training with the calorie deficit, I would have at least one week – a one day per week or potentially depending on your level of physical activity, one meal per day that’s more of a refeed either carbohydrate refeed or a calorie refeed.  So let’s say, let’s choose the calorie refeed – that’s gonna be the simplest example of how to do this from Monday thru Saturday, you would eat let’s say, 2500 calories if you know that you actually need 300 calories.  You’d get adequate protein meaning you would never want if you want a number, you would never wanna undercut protein by more than 0. – you need to get at least 0.55 g of protein per lb. of body weight, okay? That’s the minimum amount of protein that you need to maintain muscles 0.55g of protein per lb. of body weight.  And then on a Sunday, you would eat 3500 calories, right? An ad libitum calorie day to ensure that you don’t down regulate your metabolism because within about 4 weeks of consistent calorie deficits combined with physical activity, you’ll tend to see a down regulation of thyroid hormones.


So that’s why you wanna ensure that you work in those refeeds so, does that makes sense?

Brock:               It does, it was a – I think I may need to go back and listen to that twice but I believe I got it.

Ben:                   Mmm.  Fantastic.

Brock:               I hope Bryan got it as well.

Ben:                   Fantastic.  Alright Bryan well send in a photo of you completely ripped, standing on stage in a speedo covered in gold flakes flexing with the giant bodybuilding trophy that you just won and we’ll post it on Facebook page or something.  Okay, moving on.

Rusty:               Hey Ben, my name is Rusty.  I’m from Lewisburg, Virginia – I have a question: I recently did Ironman Lake Placid and I met a pretty established marathon runner just got into triathlon in the last few years – I finished at 70.3 and that was pretty successful but the Lake Placid full Ironman I had a little trouble.  Halfway through the run I had a really good swim, really good bike and the – I took on as much nutrition as I possibly could on a bike and halfway through the run I started violently vomiting uncontrollably and became very light-headed and it continue to do so, weren’t enabled me to finish the race which is a first for me and I’ve been trying to analyze why this happened.  And if you have any insight on or in this situation or any advice for the next one, I would really appreciate anything you would offer.  Thank you for listening.

Ben:                   ‘Puking during Placid’ that’s what we should call the name of this episode.

Brock:               Yeah.

Ben:                   ‘The great placid puke’.

Brock:               (laughs)

Ben:                   Yeah, I mean – have you ever vomited during your race?

Brock:               I know you had some serious hard pooping issues but…

Ben:                   I’ve crapped in my pants a few times during the race – like during the race in Thailand where I had poisoning or food poison or that was yeah, I had some pretty serious crapage going on.  I have – I’ve thrown up a little but during races before like during some Ironman races where specifically in Hawaii during the open waters time – the salty churning open waters when I’m in Hawaii – not because of nutrition mistakes but just because you’re freaking battling in the water for an hour and you come and you got a bunch of salt water that you swallowed and your body just kinda gets rid of it.  And there’s like “Hey, puking up the ocean”, so.

Brock:               (chuckles) Puking up the ocean.

Ben:                   Puking up the ocean.  There are a few recommendations that I can give anybody out there who is doing something like a long endurance event and outruns it – runs into a point where it’s you know, it’s kind like that “oh, craps, sounds messed up with my stomach” moment.  I would give – let me give you five recommendations – the first is a little bit sciency since we just talked about burning fat and building muscle, we might as well stay on that bandwagon and that cerebral process of number and of oxidation rates…

Brock:               Thinking.

Ben:                   Thinking, that’s right. So, let’s keep thinking.

Brock:               Alright, so number one.

Ben:                   Number one is understanding oxidation rates, okay? So when you look at oxidation and gastric emptying rates of exogenous calories taking in during exercise – what research has shown is that when you look at carbohydrate oxidation rates of exogenous carbohydrates meaning how many you can actually absorb and utilize.  The values are about 1g per minute when you’re taking in just one form of carbohydrate like glucose or malt extract or fructose, or something like that.  The jump up to about 1.75g per minute when you are combining carbohydrates which is why many of these sports drinks since sports gels and things that out there – they’re combined like maltodextrin and fructose or some kind of lactose source with a maltodextrin source or you know, some kind of double carbohydrates because once you start to utilize multiple carbohydrate transporters in your gut, you’re able to absorb more fuel without the risk of gastric distress.


Now what this comes out to for you on a practical level is that when you are exercising in a prolonged endurance event and by prolonged what research usually considers prolonged is 2 plus hours, and so when you’re competing in an endurance events of 2 plus hours, it looks like you can actually take on about 90g of carbohydrates per hour from multiple sources, right?  Like it needs to be in most cases like a blend of like maltodextrin and fructose that is considering that there are four calories per gram of carbohydrates about 360 calories per hour max.  Okay, so if you are stuffing your face on say like a bike during an Ironman triathlon, you simply cannot take from a carbohydrate standpoint, more than 360 calories per hour, period.

Brock:               Wow.

Ben:                   Okay, now that is not expressed relative to body mass and there is a reason for that: body mass or body size being a small women or large man or whatever – that appears to play no major role and your ability to oxidize external sources of calories.

Brock:               Hmm.

Ben:                   So there is no excuse that says that “Oh I’m Clydesdale Ironman triathlete at 200 you know, plus pounds therefore I need to eat twice as much as that dainty little girl riding the bike beside me.”

Brock:               Yeah. Well you may need to eat more but you can’t, you can’t.

Ben:                   Yes, exactly.  And it turns out that contrary of what seems logical, it’s actually pretty much the same from body size to body size.  So I realize that there are probably some people screaming through the radio waves and say “Huh? What about those of us who are fat adapted? What about those of us you know, who are doing like the low carb thing?” Well the idea behind being fat adapted or following a low carb diet so that you can somehow spare glycogen, right? And not have to tap in to or not have to rely on these many sources of exogenous carbohydrates is that you’re mostly tapping into your body’s own fat source, right?

Brock:               Yeah.

Ben:                   Your own fatty acids and so that’s one thing is that you’re relying upon that as an extra source of calories and so that’s going to allow you to go for longer periods of time without bonking.  But the other consideration here is that you can biohack these recommendations that you not exceed 360 calories per hour and you can put things into your body that bypass that digestive process.  The two main ones are: a.) something that I talked about just a little bit ago when I was responding to the question about burning fat and building muscle and that is amino acids that are predigested.

Brock:               Mmm-hmm.

Ben:                   So either branched chain amino acids or essential amino acids, so you could take the 360 calories of carbohydrates per hour and you can add in another 10g of amino acids per hour and have that be another source of energy that is not going to disrupt gut function and not going to overload your gut because it doesn’t really put much strain on your digestive system.  It’s just absorbed and it’s already ready to be burnt or utilize as a fuel.  The other is a form of fat called medium chain triglycerides – medium chain triglycerides also bypass for the most part that digestive process and allow you to in same amounts, you don’t want to exceed about 80 calories per hour of a medium chain triglyceride course but theoretically you could bump up your total intake from 360 calories per hour to 440 calories per hour by adding a medium chain triglycerides.  And that’s about where you’d top off is 440 calories per hour, 360 that from carbs, 80 of that from medium chain triglycerides plus an extra 10g of protein and that would be the maximum that you want to take on.  You exceed that, you will probably gonna get digestive distress and so you know, you want to take in to account numbers when you are as Rusty said taking on as much nutrition as you can on the bike.  You can’t just take on as much nutrition as you can like if you are eating two energy bars per hour – if those energy bars like the bonk breakers that they hand out on an Ironman triathlon course – those bar are 250 calories, right? So all of a sudden you’re at 500 calories and yeah, gastric distress within a couple of hours is gonna set in if you’re doing that.

Brock:               Yeah.

Ben:                   So understand the number of calories that you take on.  Okay, few other things, a recent study came out and showed that ginger, no surprises here, can decrease gastric distress during exercise in the heat, okay? So how can you actually implement this effectively? Well, a lot of sports compound you know, like on Hammer Nutrition I think is one company that’s now utilizing like ginger extracts and some of their gels and things like that.


You can also use like these little ginger chews that you can get at the like you know, CVS or Walgreens or you know, wherever they’ll sell like these ginger chews.  You can even just boil ginger root and that very easily goes into a Ziplock or wraps up in aluminum foil and once you boil it, it’s pretty soft, pretty easy to chew on and that’s something that I’ll do quite often if I get any type of gastric distress just here in my house – I’ll always have ginger root on my counter, and not only because it’s a fantastic anti-inflammatory but also because if anything happens with your gut it settles you down pretty quickly.

Brock:               Mmm.

Ben:                   And they’ve shown that to be the case even during exercise so, ginger is one.  Another one that works very, very well is peppermint, and I’ve found that even though of course there’s peppermint chewing gum and peppermint essential oils and all sorts of ways to get peppermint into your stomach to reduce the effects of gastric distress during exercise, peppermint TUMS work quite well.  They actually have – the company TUMS they make a peppermint flavored TUMS and that has a peppermint oil extract in it and that is a very, very good job at shutting down gastric distress during exercise in a pinch so…

Brock:               Hmm.  They also have chockfull of calcium so that would be helpful for muscle cramping.

Ben:                   Right, exactly.  So you can carry those in like a Ziplock bag or you can put them in like a film canister…

Brock:               Mmm.  Fancy!

Ben:                   …and put those like in a – like a jersey pocket and that’s an easy way to carry TUMS and also ruin some film, so…

Brock:               Yes.  Where are you getting these film canisters from these days?

Ben:                   Yeah, exactly.

Brock:               Do you have a film…

Ben:                   You can also use the like a lot of like effervescent electrolyte tablets will come in like these tubes and you can empty those out and put them in a bag and fill that up with peppermint TUMS instead.  So another thing that can help out quite a bit especially if you’re in a race that happens to have something like and again, I don’t endorse the consumption of soda and high fructose syrup containing beverages often but if there’s anything carbonated on a course, carbonation helps you to burp up a lot of the stomach bubbles – the gas, the bloating, etc. and having access to a carbonated source of water.  You know water would be preferable so you’re not dumping unnecessarily all the fructose and everything into your body.  But during an Ironman like you know, when I go race Ironman Hawaii for example, you get to a certain point during that race where you’re so freaking hot and so freaking beat up – usually it happens about mile 13th of the marathon, where about all you can handle is the Coke that they’re handing out in the 8 stations.  And I – for me, it’s not just the fact that it’s like caffeine and sugar all at once – it’s the carbonation, right? Like it kinda helps you burp up and reduce some of the bloating and the gas that builds up over a long day so, something carbonated can help out quite a bit as well.  And then finally, if you are – if you vomited, if you have pukes during the race and normally in a situation like that, you would want to get on an IV, you would want to actually replenish food as quickly as possible because otherwise like that dehydration is gonna catch up to you really fast and you may be a DNFer.  But there is something I’ve been experimenting with recently – I’m trying to get these folks on a podcast to talk with them more about it and the way that it works but it’s basically it’s water, it’s a shot of structured water with electrolytes in it that it is a very, very fast way to rehydrate your body.  We interviewed the guy named Dr. Gerald Pollack on the show couple of years ago who is a researcher at University of Washington and he researches water.  And he specifically found that there is a form of water called structured water, and it’s not H2O, it’s H – I believe it’s H3O2 and this exclusions on water actually finds its way into a cell far more readily than non-structured water and I actually you know, at my house I have a structured water unit.  So all the water in my house comes out of the well, passes through an iron filter and a manganese filter and then it structured that goes around in my water structure of unit and then the water that I drink is structured in that H3O2 format.  But when I’m out running in Ironman I don’t have my nice little water tap and my fancy water filter carrying you know, toying on a trailer on my bicycle.

Brock:               Actually I shuddered to think where the water came from in when you’re doing Ironman in Thailand (laughs). 


Ben:                   Yeah. (laughs)

Brock:               You just had big buckets of water dipping these cups into and you’re like, “Oh god, should I be drinking this?”

Ben:                   Sponsored by your local sewage municipality.  Anyways, this stuff – they’ve taken the same water that Dr. Pollack researched at the University of Washington they put in this little shot – it’s called Oral IV, and you would like these tiny little shots so you can take it with you.  And again, I’m still researching this stuff, I’ve been experimenting with it a little bit, I’m hoping to get the one of the physicians who designed this stuff on the show, but that would be another option if you have puked and you have vomited and you’re like, “oh crap, now I gotta get rehydrated or else I won’t finish” that would be a potential remedy for you – so that’s what’s called Oral IV.  Those are my top 5 though: so understand the total amount of oxidation and gastric emptying, right? So you know the fact that they got that 360 calorie per hour or 440 tops.  Care some ginger or peppermint or both? Experiment if it works for you, get your hands on a carbonated beverage and then look into this Oral IV stuff.  I will put a links to some of these stuff in the show notes if you just need a list at – that’s and hopefully that helps you out, Rusty and in the meantime – oh, last thing: bring in napkin to wipe the – wipe the puke off the corners of your mouth…

Brock:               Mmm-hmm.

Ben:                   …so you look nice when you cross the finish line for the photos.

Michiel:            Hi Ben and Brock this is Michiel from the Netherlands.  I’m 5’10, I’m 198lbs., I’ve been doing a lot of interval training lately, I quit smoking, I eat organic as much as possible, pretty fair face but I still don’t have a girlfriend.  Can you guys help me out here?

Ben:                   Well, I mean I’m – I’m not a good guy to go to for advice on how to get a girlfriend because I’ve kinds forgotten how.

Brock:               How long have you been married now?

Ben:                   I’ve been married for 13 years.

Brock:               Oh, so you beat me.  I’ve – my partner and I’ve been together for 12 years.

Ben:                   Yeah.  No, I don’t know how to get a girlfriend.

Brock:               No.

Ben:                   I would say maybe…

Brock:               Back in my day we used to take the Box Social.

Ben:                   I would get rollerblades and tight pants and take your shirt off and go rollerblading through the city and just see what kind of women chase you.  That’s just my go to and I’m only saying that because I don’t know if you have an Elliptigo…

Brock:               Hmm.

Ben:                   but yeah, that’s the direction that I would go.  You know I have a friend who is kind of a ninja at this type of thing – he’s name is Jordan Harbinger and he has a podcast called ‘Art of Charm’ and it’s at  I decided to – because I am – I’m so out of the ability to get a girlfriend, it’s just you know, it’s not something I do a lot being married – getting a girlfriend.  So I turn to him for advice and this is what Jordan had to say:

Jordan:             Hey Michiel! Ben Greenfield doesn’t know anything about women; he’s married so he came to me.  I’m supposed to be an expert on this but you know, we’ll see.  Here’s what actually happen according to what I’m hearing – I’m reading between the lines of what you said.  So you’ve done a lot of good stuff: props to you, you quit smoking, you’re into the fitness thing, you said you have a fair face – I think it’s really funny and it’s totally fine but here’s where the mistake gets me thinking.  First of all, wanna give you adequate props for working on yourself, doing a lot to move forward and doing a lot to clean up your physicality – that’s supremely important but there’s one fatal flaw on the rationale here: you’re making a mistake of being human – I know, it’s really tough.  We humans we think that other people think like us and we can’t really identify with people that don’t so the way that men think we look at things like youth and fertility when we’re selecting a mate – so you’re looking at looks, body type, health, indicators of nurturing habits and things like that.  So the problem arises when you think that women think those same things and look at those same channels and those same factors when it comes to mate selection for men – they do but they are with so much less.  So you could become a super model or just a model maybe with a six pack and a great tan and great hair and a perfect face – Brad Pitt-like-face but you will still lose out the girls that you’re looking for the women, the girlfriends that you’re looking for to a guy who has confidence, has other areas of his life together.  So I wanna say this: you’re doing the right thing, you’re on the right track but don’t turn the physicality, attractiveness, healthing up to eleven and ignore the other aspects of personality, charisma and magnetism that are really gonna be a bigger indicator and a bigger help to you in finding a girlfriend – you know, working on your personality and all those things – those are much more important not the physicality and the health stuff – isn’t, but it’s one channel that weighs significantly less in mate selection than us men weigh it when it comes to women.


If a girl works on her body and becomes really pretty, she can have rocks in her head, and guys will be trippin’ over each other to get to her.  With women and men it’s usually 99% of the time, just not the same case, so you’re doing everything right, you just need to focus on other areas to succeed as well.  I hope that makes sense.  Obviously this is what we teach at the Art of Charm, I’m not asking you to buy anything but since you’re listening to Ben Greenfield’s podcast already, check out the Art of Charm – start at the – with the toolbox, that would give you a lot of tools to work with when it comes to charisma and personal magnetism.  Again it’s free, so enjoy and keep us all posted on your progress.  

Ben:                   Wow, that’s – that’s quite comprehensive.

Brock:               (laughs) That was crazy.

Ben:                   I – you know, I don’t really know if I have anything else to add to that.  I guess the last thing is if you take this advice to heart and you wind up with two or three or six girlfriends, write us a quick thank you note or leave us or Jordan’s podcast a review in iTunes…

Brock:               Mmm.

Ben:                   …and preferably upload photos of your many girlfriends.

Brock:               Mmm.

Ben:                   I don’t know if you can do that on iTunes review, but you can try either way, yeah, either way.  And I really don’t think the accent is gonna hurt you either, Michiel, right?

Brock:               No.

Ben:                   The accent…

Brock:               Pretty hot.

Ben:                   …the good training, you’re not smoking, you’re eating organic and you have a pretty fair face – so there you go.  Hopefully you will now have a girlfriend.  We can now say that the Ben Greenfield Fitness podcast will get you a girlfriend – you will burn fat, you will build muscle and you will get girlfriends.

Brock:               (laughs)

Ben:                   And that being said, we had someone leave us a very, very long review this week.

Brock:               Oh, goodness.

Ben:                   And Brock, I will volunteer to read this one if you would like – I can take this.

Brock:               I think that might be best given my current mental state (laughs).  It might take me an hour to read this paragraph.

Ben:                   I can do it.

Brock:               Okay.

Ben:                   I took my CBD, I took my Alpha Brain, I went for a swim this morning…

Brock:               Nice.

Ben:                   I researched duck fat – I can handle this.  So here’s the deal, I’m gonna read this review that was left by Illumiloti – it was a good review, it’s entertaining, I encourage you to stick around for it.  And if you leave a review and you hear your review read on the show by me or usually by Brock when he’s not drunk.

Brock:               (makes drunk sound)

Ben:                   You can write to [email protected] and when you write to [email protected] just include your t-shirt size, and we’ll send you a t-shirt, and Ben Greenfield Fitness water bottle, and a Ben Greenfield Fitness beanie.  So that being said, we have 5-star review over on iTunes and the 5-star review is titled “Can’t Help But Love Him”.

Brock:               Aaaaw.

Ben:                   Can’t Help But Love Him.

Brock:               Nyaaaah.

Ben:                   Here is what they have to say: “Oh I know for years, every time the podcast female announcer came on we thought we had actually been pass through to the world’s cheesiest phone sex line.”

Brock:               (chuckles)

Ben:                   “And now finally, after enough harassment, the guys at last made the change but alas, it only got worse as Tifanny’s replacement has to be the worst James Earl…”

Brock:               Her name was Kelly.

Ben:                   Yeah, her name was Kelly not Tifanny.  But I like Tifanny, it’s a good trailer trash name.  “But alas, it got only worse as Tifanny’s replacement has to be the worst James Earl Jones impressionist…”

Brock:               (laughs)

Ben:                   …to ever grace a power room Nevada Casino Lounge…”

Brock:               (laughs out loud)

Ben:                   (laughs) “And sure, we’re turning over our bodies and our brain’s health to a man who doesn’t know how to pronounce segue way or nootrophics – _________ [1:24:04.7] Ben has pronounced ‘neutrophics’ not nootrophics.  Hey sure, it stings when I leave a recorded question after playing it on the air, they make fun of my name for two minutes before answering my simple query…”

Brock:               (laughs)

Ben:                   “(my name is Randy which means horny in Britain and apparently certain parts of the backwoods of Canada – I’m looking at you, Brock.)”

Brock:               (laughs)

Ben:                   “But you know what, when it comes to health and fitness, nowhere where you hear more comprehensive, clear, powerful and life-changing advice anywhere on the planet.”

Ben/Brock:      Aaaawww.

Ben:                   Just redeemed himself.  Randy. “If you listen to him, Ben Greenfield transformed the way you exercise, takes supplements, eat, sleep and yes even poop.”

Brock:               That’s true!

Ben:                   Yeah, we did that, yeah.  “This podcast is one stop-shopping for everything you need to living more vibrant, healthy and self- actualized life…”

Brock:               Hmm?

Ben:                   I don’t know what self-actualize means.

Brock:               I get some woo-woo crap.

Ben:                   Yeah.  “So Ben and Brock make fun of my name all you want higher ex-strippers and ventriloquist to do your linens and wrap arounds…”

Brock:               (laughs)

Ben:                   “let U.S. figure what segue way’s supposed to mean ‘cause as they say, “if it works, don’t fix it” and boys, it works.”


Brock:               It goes let us figure what segue way means.

Ben:                   Whatever.  I think it’s a great review.

Brock:               It was! That was – I laughed out loud several times.

Ben:                   Honestly, we’ve covered girlfriends, dumps, James Earl Jones, trailer trash names, being Randy, and of course, burning fat and building muscle at the same time as well as puking.

Brock:               Yeah.

Ben:                   I think we should call it a day.

Brock:               I think well, I think we should call it a day after we play the chapter of “Beyond Training” audio book.

Ben:                   Oh, yeah.  That’ll come soon but in the meantime, we done good – check out for the show notes for today’s show, stay tuned for this weekend’s show with the great Wim Hof the Iceman – it’s epic, stay tuned for that.  Have a healthy week.

Brock:               I might go and take some Tylenol.

Ben:                   You’re out.

                           Welcome to Beyond Training Chapter 25: Closing Thoughts and Additional Resources.

Whether due to our innate pursuit of perfection, our constant quest to achieve the next milestone or our lofty aspirations to ascend our own personal Mount Everest, it is incredibly easy to develop a passion for extreme exercise and sports that keeps drawing us into training session after training session, WOD after WOD, race after race, month after month, year after year and that’s part of the thrill of competition.  The chance to satisfy our thirst for battle, for conquest, for adventure, and for the thrill of the chase but at some point, every athlete and exercise enthusiast has a “come to Jesus” moment, when we realize that the sport we love can be capable of harming our bodies.  When that moment  happens, you have two choices – you can keep doing what you’re doing until you completely explode in a burst of inflammatory flame and injury or you can move on to the next chapter in your life.  Some very good endurance athletes like Mark Sisson, author of and a respected wealth of knowledge on health and fitness and nutrition, simply moved on to the next chapter and went from a life as a pro-triathlete to foregoing endurance sports altogether.  Other countless individuals – many named in the opening chapter of this book – have continued to push and punish forward until forced to quit at the mercy of heart attacks, hip replacements or pure biological burnout, but what if there was another choice – a third choice?  The choice to actually defy the status quo, commonly accepted, orthodox methods of training; the choice to stop throwing ourselves like an egg at a wall until we finally crack; the choice to pursue the ultimate combination of health and performance and longevity while continuing to participate in the sport and the exercise that we love.  All the existence of that third choice was my goal in writing and recording this entire book – to show you how to intelligently make the right choice.  To show you that you don’t have to throw up your hands in despair at the newspaper headlines that tell you that extreme exercise and endurance sports and marathoning are bad for your heart, or the blog posts that tell you that CrossFit and triathlon will destroy your body.  To show you that if you do things the right way, you can keep competing in the sport that you love without completely destroying your body.  Now, take a deep breath before you keep listening.  Notice that I said without ‘completely’ destroying your body.  Deep down inside, I don’t think that any of us would argue that a daily battle with the hot pavement, the muggy gym, a joint-crushing barbell or thrashing waves is truly healthy or ancestral.  I don’t think any of us would argue that puking into a garbage can bleary-eyed at 5a.m. at the CrossFit box is really the way that our ancestors might live or running from a bear for 12 hours during an Ironman triathlon is truly healthy.  But discomfort, aging, illness, injury and death are part of who we are.  Life includes significant doses of sickness, sore joints, injury, suffering and pain – our short existence on this planet is a package deal that includes both good times and bad times and we must embrace that reality in its entirety.  You must accept the fact that you’re not always going to feel good, and you’re not going to ever be perfectly healthy if you toss your hat into the ring of something like say an Ironman triathlon.  However, while your goal should not be to fool yourself into thinking you can somehow neuorotically biohack and pill-pop your way to immortality, you can at least take small steps to mitigate the damage you’re doing to your body.  You can start by using this book – you can review the 10 Rules For Becoming An Ancestral Athlete in the previous chapter and implement those rules to find a sane balance between achieving lofty physical performance goals, being healthy, enjoying life, and accepting the reality that you’ll never completely insulate yourself from the damage.  After all, life is short – you can play hard, you can use your body but you need to play smart too – your heart, muscles, joints, skin, mind and grandkids will thank you.  So, I also want to thank you for joining me on this journey of discovery in this book and for taking the deep dive into finding out what your body is truly capable of when you care for it properly – all while pursuing goals that the average individual might consider to be insane and slightly masochistic.  Remember, you and I share a secret – it’s not the insanity or the masochism that draws us into this act of buffeting our bodies daily – it’s the adventure, the escape, the chance to be a superhero even if just for a fleeting day.  And that’s what keeps us coming back, workout after workout, race after race, month after month and year after year – let’s just do it the right way, shall we? Let’s think beyond training.  Now finally, in closing I do have even more resources for you.  For this short chapter over at and when you go there you’ll be able to access triathlon and marathon training plans that are based on both the high intensity interval style training as well as the polarized training that you’ve discovered in the chapters of this book – you’ll find detox and adrenal reboot plans, you’ll find the beyond training meal plan and many more little bonuses and insider tips.  Now I’ll also put a link to a day in a lifestyle video that I shot of myself as well as many other bonuses, scientific resources, etc. for this book.  And finally if you want to learn how to coach others, and train others using the type of concepts that you learn about in the past 450 plus pages – you go to and at you will find my mentorship and mastermind program for personal trainers, nutritionists, physicians and other health care professionals and exercise professionals who want to learn my method.  And links to all of that are available over at  Thanks for listening and now, go beyond training.

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

[1:33:48.0]    END

Three Ways To Biohack A Sauna For More Heat, A Better Detox & Enhanced Fitness.


New feature! Push the play button above or click here to subscribe for free in iTunes to get the audio version of this post. Let me know in the comments section if you find this feature oh-so-handy-dandy. 

I will be the first to admit that I spent most of my life not really understanding the difference between a “regular” sauna and an infrared sauna.

While I’ve certainly covered wet saunas vs. dry saunas on a heat acclimation webinar for USA Triathlon, and I’ve thoroughly discussed the myriad of benefits from heat exposure (from dry saunas to steam rooms to those dorky sauna suits) in a very popular interview with Dr. Rhonda Patrick

…until the recent show “Shattering The Myths Of Detox Therapy, Infrared Saunas, Health Scams & More” I’d never really delved into the concept of infrared saunas on the podcast either.

But now that I’m spending at least two and, based on the results of this Finnish longevity study, as many as five days per week in an infrared sauna, I figured it was high time I filled you in on what I’m doing with infrared, why, and three ways to biohack your sauna for more heat, more sweat, and bigger benefits.


Why You Should Use A Far Infrared Sauna

First, you should know that this article isn’t really going to delve into the nitty-gritty of why heat therapy and saunas are beneficial, because I’ve covered that in great detail before.

But before learning how to biohack your sauna experience, it is important for you to have a basic idea of what an infrared sauna is, and how it differs from dry saunas or steam rooms, especially if you haven’t jumped on the sauna bandwagon yet.

Basically, an infrared sauna is a type of sauna that uses light to create heat. These saunas are sometimes also called far-infrared saunas, and the “far” simply describes where the infrared waves fall on the light spectrum.

A traditional “dry sauna” uses heat from rocks or other heating elements to warm the air, which in turn warms your body. So a dry sauna must rely only on indirect means of heat: first, convection (air currents) and then, conduction (direct contact of hot air with the skin) to produce its heating effect.

But because an infrared sauna instead relies upon light, it can heat your body directly without significantly warming the air around you, and the light waves from the infrared sauna penetrate deep (2-6 inches) into your body for a heating effect that allows more activation of your sweat glands compared to dry sauna. So an infrared sauna doesn’t feel as hot as a dry sauna, but you sweat as much or more.

In the book Beyond Antibiotics, Dr. Michael A. Schmidt explains the benefits of the slightly lower temperature of an infrared sauna like this:

“Saunas are being used by some doctors to stimulate the release of toxins from the bodies of their patients. They have found that a lower temperature (105º-130ºF) sauna taken for a longer duration is most beneficial. These low temperatures stimulate a fat sweat, which eliminates toxins stored in fat, as opposed to the high temperature sauna, which encourages a water sweat.”

Interestingly, the far infrared rays you get in an infrared sauna consist of similar wavelengths that are emitted naturally by the human body (yes, your body emits it’s own light radiation). This is one potential explanation of why many people feel so energetically rejuvenated and balanced from contact with far infrared waves in an infrared sauna compared to feeling “drained and dehydrated” after a dry sauna experience. Tests have shown that the energy output in an infrared sauna is tuned so closely to your body’s own infrared radiation that you absorb as much as 93% of the far infrared waves that reach your skin.


So how does a far infrared sauna actually generate heat and invisible light?

Far infrared saunas typically use either a carbon or ceramic heater, which do not turn red hot like the heating elements inside a conventional dry sauna, but instead produce invisible, far infrared heat. This is the same type of heat as produced by the sun, but without any of the effects of solar radiation. For years, many folks in the alternative health community have sworn by using infrared heat lamps as a source of far infrared heat, but these lamps can be cumbersome, they can get extremely hot to the touch and they  can be difficult to maintain at a constant temperature compared to an infrared sauna.

So basically, an infrared sauna is like having a tiny little temperature-controlled sunshine inside an enclosed room, without the UV radiation.

In an infrared sauna, only 20 percent of the energy from the light is used to heat the air, leaving the rest of the energy to heat the body. The temperature inside a typical infrared sauna is adjustable and averages about 100°F to 140°F, depending on how long you warm the sauna up before getting in, and what you put the temperature setting at. Many people actually find the lower levels of heat in an infrared to be more comfortable than a dry sauna. But although the temperature is slightly lower, you still sweat a ton in an infrared sauna, which is why they’re so popular for detoxification. However, a typical infrared sauna is still not quite hot enough for me, because I’m not just in there to detoxify, but also to produce a crap-ton of heat shock proteins, stress resilience and cardiovascular blood flow, so you’ll find out what I do about the need for more heat shortly.

So do the things actually work?

As the Mayo Clinic has reported here, several studies have looked at using infrared saunas in the treatment of chronic health problems, such as high blood pressure, congestive heart failure and rheumatoid arthritis, and these studies have indeed found some evidence of benefit. For athletes using a sauna post-exercise, those benefits can extend to being as powerful as illegal performance enhancing drugs.

No adverse effects have ever been reported with infrared saunas, and until I recently began using an infrared sauna, I’d already been using infrared therapy with a heating mat called a “Biomat” for the past two years. But even though a Biomat offers you a relaxing, warm surface to curl-up on for something like a soothing afternoon nap, it doesn’t hold a candle to the biohacked sauna experience you’re about to discover.


The Problem With Infrared Saunas

Unfortunately, for most people, it’s not the slightly lower levels of heat that tend to be the problem with an infrared sauna. Instead, it’s the fact that most infrared saunas are concentrated hothouses chock full of Electromagnetic Fields (EMF), basically turning what is supposed to be a detoxification and longevity-enhancing experience into the equivalent of hanging out in a a microwave or perched inside a giant WiFi router, leaving you with cell damage, brain fog and inflammation after your sauna session.

You’ve probably heard of EMF before, but here’s a quick reminder: EMF are energy waves with frequencies below 300 hertz or cycles per second. Unless you live on a pristine Himalayan mountaintop, the electromagnetic fields you probably encounter daily are from things such as power lines, radar and microwave towers, television and computer screens, motors, fluorescent lights, microwave ovens, cell phones, electric blankets, house wiring and hundreds of other common electrical devices. For more detail on common environmental EMF’s lurking in your home and office, and also practical instructions on how to mitigate them, I’d recommend you check out my book “How To Biohack The Ultimate Healthy Home”.

Anyways, deleterious health effects associated with EMF include:

  • Memory Loss
  • Depression
  • Loss of Energy
  • Irritability
  • Inability To Concentrate
  • Weakened Immune System
  • Chronic Fatigue
  • Headaches

In case you want to investigate this more for yourself, the following are links to more information about the effects of EMF:

1) US Center for Disease Control Fact Sheet about EMF
2) World Health Organization – International EMF Project
3) Waveguide
4) Good Mercola article on EMF
5) General EMF Info
6) EMF Journal Action Alert regarding EMF levels and Cell Phone use

Also, here’s an excerpt from Peter Asmus’s book “Introduction to Energy in California”:

“Remember when people who spoke of cigarettes causing cancer were derided as being alarmist nuts? (If you do remember that, you are at least 55 years old!) Today people who assert that there could be, let alone that there is, a risk associated with cell phone use are viewed as a bit wacky. Well, the Marlboro man died of lung cancer and it appears there is a growing body of information to suggest that the Nokia man might be saddled with dementia or Alzheimers (among others) for the privilege!

Consider the following findings:
• 3% of the population may have severe reactions to electromagnetic fields (EMFs) thought by some to shorten life expectancy.
• Young people who start using cell phones before the age of 20 have a five-fold increase in brain cancer risk.
• Up to one-third of the population may suffer from electrical hypersensitivity from EMF exposure.”

And finally, for the ultimate guide to EMF, I’d recommend the book “Zapped: Why Your Cell Phone Shouldn’t Be Your Alarm Clock and 1,268 Ways to Outsmart the Hazards of Electronic Pollution“.

Anyways, it can be touch to generate infrared light without also generating EMF. As I’ve mentioned before on a podcast, this is the reason the infrared Biomat that I use comes with a built-in EMF blocker between the wall outlet and the controller device. And I’d settle for nothing less on an infrared sauna.

So for my own personal infrared sauna, I chose a model that has a type of heater called a “True Wave II”, which contains a carbon based infrared heater with virtually no EMF. It’s made by a company called “Clearlight”, using a manufacturing process that allows them to cancel out EMF to levels that are nearly undetectable.

Using ultra-sensitive EMF testing equipment, all of the True Wave heaters inside a Clearlight sauna are tested to ensure low and safe levels of EMF. EMF is measured in milligauss (mG), and when measuring with a gauss meter (a simple technique I describe here), your exposure to EMF should not exceed 3 milligauss. This level is based on recommendations from both the EPA (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency) and also the Swedish standards for EMF.

Now I’m not really comfortable even getting very close to 3mG, so I was pretty pleased to find out that the EMF levels measured inside my Clearlight Infrared Sauna all around my seated position are at nearly 0mG. If I use a Tri-Field EMF meter and measure directly on top of the heaters (and I’m definitely not sitting on top of the heaters!), the heaters have an average EMF output of about 2.5mG. That’s compared to over 100mg for other carbon based heaters in standard infrared saunas.

You can see the testing below performed by EMF testing lab “VitaTech Electromagnetics”. It’s pretty shocking how high the levels of EMF are in some saunas. You can download the full test report .pdf fromVitaTech by clicking here. The EMF readings below are measured directly on the heater, and again, it’s important to understand that where you are seated in the sauna, the levels are virtually zero, since you do not sit on top of the heater.

emf reading

Since I like to move around, exercise, do Bikram yoga, and even occasionally drag an exercise bike or a kettlebell into my sauna, the Clearlight model I chose is the “Sanctuary Y model” which is is the only combination personal hot yoga room and infrared sauna available on the market. You can leave in the two 35″ benches and you have a state-of-the-art full spectrum infrared sauna for lounging and reading, or you can remove the benches and have your own private hot yoga room with built-in heated yoga mat floor. Even though the EMF levels are rock bottom, the True Wave Full Spectrum heater system in the Clearlight delivers over 20 times the power of any other infrared sauna, but that’s still not enough for me, so I’ll fill you in on my hacks in just a moment.

Anyways, before we move on, here’s how to get a fat discount at the same place I bought my Clearlight sauna:

1. Go to This is the same site my guest Alex Tarris and I discussed in the recent podcast “Shattering The Myths Of Detox Therapy, Infrared Saunas, Health Scams & More”. Good deals on health equipment.

2. Once you’re there or in contact with them, mention my name, or when you order, use code “bengreen15”. 

3. That code, which you can use anytime, as much as you want will actually give you 15% off anything on the site (like portable saunas, lay-down saunas, home detox equipment, etc.), but in terms of EMF, yoga capabilities, heat, etc. I can’t personally vouch for any sauna except the Clearlight. A few exclusions apply.

If that seems like too much trouble to go through, or you want to get your sauna direct from the manufacturer, you can also click here to get a sauna directly from Clearlight.

OK, let’s summarize what we know so far.

1) Infrared saunas are a great way to heat your body “from the inside out”, which gives you not just heat and sweat benefits, but also detox benefits.

2) Most infrared saunas are concentrated sources of EMF, so I use the low-EMF “Clearlight” brand.

3) My sauna still isn’t hot enough for my personal preferences.

Now it’s time to move on to the fun stuff: three ways to biohack your sauna experience. This is where things get really interesting.


Sauna Biohack #1. Hack Your Sauna Hotter

Even though far infared saunas do a dang good job heating you “from the inside out” and producing the subsequent detoxification effect, there is one problem: even you sweat more quickly in an infrared sauna than you will in a dry sauna, and you will keep on sweating for a longer period of time, infrared saunas simply don’t get as hot inside as a traditional dry sauna.

Most of the heat escapes the sauna by rising and escaping out the ceiling. And I don’t know about you, but I certainly don’t want to miss out on many of the positive physiological responses to uncomfortable heat, such as the production of heat shock proteins and stress resilience, the production of nitric oxide and enhanced blood flow, the increase in cardiovascular performance, the increase in brain derived neurotrophic factor and all the other cool (or hot?) things I discuss in my podcast episode with Dr. Rhonda Patrick “Everything You Need To Know About How To Use Heat Exposure To Enhance Performance, Burn Fat, Gain Muscle And Think Better.”

So you’re about to learn how you can get an extra 10 degrees out of your sauna, and save a lot of electricity as a bonus.

It’s important to understand that most of the heat escapes an infrared sauna by rising and escaping out of the ceiling. The most important first step you can take when biohacking your infrared sauna is to insulate the ceiling. My friend Brett, a fellow biohacker who first put this idea in my head, charted his infrared sauna temperature and his sweat volume during a typical sauna session and found that after insulating it with the technique you’re about to learn, he got ten extra fahrenheit degrees of heat and nearly 30% more sweat volume!

Instructions for insulating your sauna ceiling:

Step 1: Remove plywood from the top of your sauna. Measure distance from the top of sauna to bottom of where the plywood was. This will determine the maximum amount of insulation board you can use to replace the plywood. Some people insulate it even thicker and leave the plywood completely off, but this can detract from the aesthetic pleasantness of a nice plywood ceiling, so it’s completely our call how thick you want to go with the insulation.

Step 2: Once you determine your desired insulation depth, go to your local hardware or building supply store and get a sheet of the highest R value foam board that you can find for that thickness. If you do one layer, a 4 by 8 sheet will easily have enough volume to insulate any sauna. You might find that two layers of thin board fits better or gives you better R value. Also get a good roll of quality duct type tape. You will need a sharp long and stiff kitchen knife and a straight edge with which to cut and mark the foam board. Some small metal staples can also be handy for holding wires in place, but are not necessary. A roll of tape and screws or nails might prove helpful as well.

Step 3: Measure the largest exposed sections of the sauna roof and cut the foam boards to fit the largest spaces. To cut foam board, simply mark it with a straight edge and a pen and then cut the marked area with your kitchen knife. Of course, it’s better to make your foam board a little bit too big than too small, since you can always cut off a little more later if you need to. Be sure to note where the vents are on the sauna roof and make sure that you plan to keep these clear when you put your foam board up, or drill or cut holes in the foam board to match the location of the vents. Also move any and all wires to the edges of the sauna top, and then staple or tape the wires in place if necessary.

Step 4: Make holes in your foam board for thermostat, vents, speakers and lights (if your infrared sauna has these). Here’s an easy way to do this: make a loop of tape, adhesive side out, and place the tape on the spots of the ceiling you need have uncovered, such as over a vent. Then place the foam board in position on the ceiling, and the tape will stick on the board. Then remove the board, and you now know the location on the board to cut out! If you have a sounds system in your sauna, the tape won’t stick too well to the speakers, so for the speakers you can place screws on the perimeter of the magnet facing up. Then press the board down over those areas and the screws will stick in foam board. You then simply cut a circle in the foam board and chisel out the approximate amount of depth. I wouldn’t cut all the way through as this could allow air flow and heat loss. You just want it thin enough to where the speaker sound can come through. For the lights, you will want to check to see if they are LED or incandescent. If they are LED, then you can cut out a small cavity and it will work fine. If the lights are incandescent or fluorescent you will want to allow an adequate hole for cooling of the lights. Make sure not to insulate on top of the control mechanism, which is usually a stainless steel box on the top of the sauna.

Step 5: After placing the large pieces of foam board, follow the same process and fill in the smaller areas on the ceiling with small pieces of foam board. Duct tape all of the seams, replace the plywood top, verify that all vent holes are vacant, then duct tape the perimeter and seams of the plywood top.

Boom. Now you have a super efficient sauna that heats up quickly and allows you to create lots more heat and sweat. Here are a few photos of my heat biohacked sauna:

The roof…using some basic 10lb weight plates to hold insulation down…


Another view of the roof…



A close up of the roof and how the insulation is slightly cut to fit siding…


The cork placed in the inside hole next to the speaker to hold heat in…


How the sauna sits in my home gym…



Sauna Biohack #2. Add Extra Heaters

OK, so now you’ve got your sauna ceiling insulated. This is going to significantly jack up the heat levels. I must emphasize that the Clearlight saunas have excellent low-EMF heaters and get pretty hot, but I also realize that some of my readers are really masochistic heat-hacking ninjas, and may want to get a really, really intense sweat on.

But I found that I wanted my sauna to get even warmer. Perhaps I’m a glutton for punishment, perhaps I’ve grown too accustomed to heat because to all my racing in the extreme heat of places like Hawaii and Thailand, or perhaps my body just has a lot of heat shock proteins and good cardiovascular cooling mechanisms, but I like my sauna really, really hot.

Again, I could just use an extremely hot dry sauna, but I’d still be missing out on all the benefits of infrared, and I want the best of both worlds.

So here’s the next step I took to get my sauna even hotter: I added two 2000 watt heaters to my sauna.

Now, before you rush out to Google the best price on space heaters, you should now that just like most infrared saunas, most space heaters are notoriously annoying sources of EMF. My friend Brett, the guy I mentioned earlier who first put the idea in my head of insulating my sauna, actually purchased several different space heaters and tested them all for EMF. He found the Delonghi HVY1030 space heater to be both affordable and have very low EMF. But the problem is that a space heater shuts off at around 120 degrees, so it is only useful for pre-heating your sauna (helping it to heat up faster if you want to accelerate the pre-heating process).

There is no space heater that Brett or I have found that doesn’t have this annoying high temperature shut off feature. It’s probably some stupid fire code regulation or something.

But you can think outside the box…

…and this is where a portable stove burner comes in. Yes, a stove burner is normally used for cooking food, but portable stove burners also don’t have high temp shut offs, and they put out plenty of heat. Before choosing a portable stove burner, I’d recommend you first check your breaker to see how strong a stove burner you can get. If you have a 15 amp breaker, then your stove burner can be 1500 watts, and if you have a 20 amp breaker, then you can go step up 2000 watts. To check your breaker amps (if your breaker isn’t labeled), you can simply call your local neighborhood electrician, or you can overload the circuit with a couple of space heaters or hair dryers and see which breaker trips. Or you can use this slightly more precise technique to measure the amps of your circuit breakers.

So, what did I find to be the best portable stove burner heaters?

For a nice, cast-iron 1500 watt, I recommend the Broil King PCR-1B. The fact that this burner is cast-iron means that it is very heavy, which gives you a bit of built in safety, since it won’t easily tip over. And if you want to step up to 2000 watts, then you will need two of the MaxiMatic ESB-301F Elite Cuisine Single Cast Burner 1000-Watt Hot Plate.

For added safety and to avoid the heaters moving or tipping, you should create a sturdy base for your stove burner. To do this, you can mount the burner(s) to a thick, heavy piece of wood such as a short 2×12 or a piece of plywood. I’d recommend you also create a protective barrier over the top of your stove burners. You can do this by surrounding the burner with some thick wire like chicken-wire over the top of the burner and a couple inches around the sides. You can then attach the wire screen to the wood base. And for Pete’s sake: if you have young children running around, know where those stove burners and kids are at all times unless you want some free hot branding tattoos for your young ones.

Will these stove burners put out a little EMF?

Ultimately, yes. But the important thing to know about EMF’s is that they follow the inverse square law, which, simply put, means the amount of EMF reduces very quickly as distance from the EMF increases. This is why overhead high voltage power lines will give you far less EMF exposure than a very low voltage electric blanket, since the blanket is very close, but the power lines are far away.

For example, when I tested my portable stove burner, I had to be 12 inches away to get below 2 milligauss, a completely safe acceptable level of EMF. So if you put portable stove burners or space heaters in your sauna, just make sure you hang out about a foot or more away from them, which is easy enough to do.


Sauna Biohack #3. Detox With Niacin

Detoxification is a topic I’ve covered many times before in other articles, and probably the best resources for you in this regard for you are the Get-Fit Guy episodes “Is Detoxing A Myth?” and “How To Detox Your Liver & Kidneys”. My friend Brett (the same guy I’ve mentioned twice already who figured out how to hack his sauna and introducted me to the strategies above) has also spent the past 20 years experimenting with detox strategies from herbal tea, to colonics, to enemas, and runs a sauna detox with niacin group on Facebook.

I’d never heard of this particular niacin+sauna strategy, but a few weeks ago, Brett sent me this very interesting anecdote:

“About 8 years ago I discovered a book called Clear Body, Clear Mind by L. Ron Hubbard. The book was written many decades ago and the purpose of the book was to teach the reader how to clear toxins from drug use by using a sauna for long periods of time, combined with niacin and other special supplements. What was different about this book is that it had the actual research and data to prove its claims, along with numerous accounts of high levels of toxins in the blood being dramatically reduced by this protocol, and continuing to reduce for weeks after the protocol was completed.

Then I learned that most detox experts, from Dr. Yu to David Root, say that Hubbard’s protocol is the most effective detoxification protocol there is. Period. It is so effective that the government recently funded a study for vets doing this protocol.

The basic idea behind the protocol is this: high dose niacin causes lipolysis, or rupturing, of the fat cells (the same thing happens with extreme, rapid weight loss). This rupturing is what releases the toxins from fat cells (you can read exactly about how that whole process works in my article “Does Fat Loss Cause A Toxin Release?”). The running/exercise part of the protocol (which you’ll learn about in a second) increases circulation, especially in the lymphatic system where fat cells are carried. Then the sweating in the sauna releases these toxins through your body’s primary and largest detoxification organ: your skin. Later, even more of the toxins are eliminated through the stool. Supplements that you take during the protocol are primarily designed to replace lost minerals, electrolytes and fats, and to help to absorb the mobilized toxins in the gastrointestinal tract.

I will give a summarized version of the protocol in the subsequent paragraphs, but first, a big warning: do not do this protocol without a full and comprehensive understanding of it. If you mobilize high amounts of toxins and do not completely include all the other aspects of the protocol you will suffer from hypertoxemia. So to get a full understanding of the protocol, you need to read the book Clear Body, Clear Mind by L. Ron Hubbard. You must get the 2002 or 1990 copyright date of the book, and will help you get a used copy very affordably (the new editions of the book have been oversimplified and lack crucial valuable information).

The protocol lasts about 30 days, but can be customized to fit your schedule. The sauna duration is directly correlated to your toxicity. If you’ve been living healthy for a long time (e.g. a decade or more), then reduced sauna time is needed. If you have been exposed to chemicals and eaten a standard American diet and taken drugs of any kind legal or illegal then you will need to increase the sauna duration.”

Brett then went on to explain this basic protocol:

“First, heat up your sauna long before you go for your run. You want it roasting hot. I have the best far infared sauna made (Clearlight) and I still have insulated the ceiling and I put a space heater in it to keep it even hotter. In addition, I blocked the hole where the thermostats is with a cork so that the heaters stay on the entire time. Because of this, I purchased a separate thermometer to monitor temperatures. These steps increased my sweat volume dramatically.

Next, take high dose niacin right before your run. A dosing chart is in the book. Follow it. Then, go for a run for 20-30 minutes. If you can’t run, ride a bike, use an elliptical trainer, jump on a mini-trampoline, etc. The primary goal is to raise body heat and to increase lymph and blood flow. I also turn the sauna timer back on to make sure it is still warming up when I run. For the exercise, I recommend dressing as warm as you can tolerate to raise your core temperature. When I did this, I sweated much more while I was in the sauna.

Next, get in the sauna and stay in the sauna for as long as you can tolerate. Around an hour works for most people depending on toxicity – the more toxic, the more time, the less toxic, the less time.

Finally, cool yourself with a lukewarm or cold shower, then take appropriate doses of mineral, electrolytes and fats and oils as described in the book.

Repeat daily for 30 days.

When you finish, you will have eliminated years of toxins and you will benefit tremendously in numerous ways from this protocol. This protocol is usually administered by professionals. If you decide to do this without supervision, then you need to have complete knowledge of the protocol and access to others for support and questions and answers. I have a support group for this at Facebook called “sauna detox with niacin”.”

It turns out that Dr. Joseph Mercola recently learned about this protocol. This guy has heard about every detox method there is, and he was shocked and amazed. Check out his reaction in the video below. It is only 3 minutes long but it will give you an idea of the validity of the program from one of the most trusted natural health experts on the internet.

The idea behind combining the niacin, the exercise and the heat is that the niacin and the heat causes a “Rebound Lipolysis“, meaning that the niacin first tries to prevent lipolysis and then after one to two hours, it rebounds and leads to massive fat cell release of triglycerides and at the same time release of toxic chemicals such as BPA, PCB’s, pharmaceutical byproducts, etc. Clearlight has a very helpful .pdf that you can download here which outlines more of the science behind detoxification and their own Clearlight Sauna Session Protocol.

Now here’s the deal: I don’t live a very toxic lifestyle. And I haven’t for over a decade. So I didn’t do the exact protocol above per se, but instead simplified into the following steps:

1. I modified my sauna using both the insulation and stove burner hacks you learned earlier in the article. I must emphasize that the stove burners aren’t completely necessary because the sauna does get pretty hot by itself, and you may want to forego the stove burners altogether if you have kids around.

2. I read the book Clear Body, Clear Mind and for 30 days, I followed the niacin dosing chart prior to my pre-sauna exercise. I used this form of niacin and for me it came out to 500mg week 1, 1000mg week 2, 2000mg week 3, 3000mg week 4. I chose the Thorne Niasafe because it’s in a safer form of niacin called “Inositol Hexaniacinate”. This is important because the side effects of high amounts of niacin range from flushing and itching to liver toxicity and impaired glucose tolerance. I didn’t take any of other supplements in the book, because I already get plenty of healthy fats and oils and take a chelated mineral/multivitamin complex.

3. During the entire protocol, I used the following simple sauna + exercise strategy: after my hardest workout of each day, I sat, read, stretched, did yoga, and foam rolled in the sauna for 30-45 minutes, depending on my available amount of time. This may seem like a big chunk of time, but to maximize productivity I simply saved all my reading and stretching and foam rolling and yoga for my sauna time. 

Although I did not measure sweat volume, the amount of sweat pouring from my skin dwarfed any “normal” dry sauna session I’ve ever done. I already eat plenty of fats and oils, but I included plenty of electrolyte powder in the water I consumed after each session, along with hefty amounts of water and generous portions of sea salt with dinner.

Although my eyeballs literally feel as though they’re going to pop out of my head during these sessions, once I get my post-session cold shower in, I feel absolutely amazing. Again, I’m not sure how many toxins I dumped during my initial 30 day niacin phase, since I’m not very “toxic” in the first place, but for the rest of the day after my sauna session, I noticed marked improvements in skin tone, clarity of thought, calm and focus.

And even though now that I’m done with the 30 day protocol and I’m no longer doing the daily niacin sauna protocol, I’m still using my sauna nearly every day. You could probably say that I am now officially addicted to heat therapy. And yes, I am aware of L. Ron Hubbard’s affiliations and I am not a member of the Church of Scientology. I just like to get high on niacin and do kettlebell swings in my sauna.




So that’s it! What do you think?

Do you plan on using any of these sauna biohacks? Leave your comments, thoughts and feedback below.

If you want a Clearlight sauna – the same I am using and same Alex Tarris and I discussed in the episode “Shattering The Myths Of Detox Therapy, Infrared Saunas, Health Scams & More”, you can simply go to and when you call or write them, mention my name, or use code bengreen15, and you’ll get 15% off anything on the site (a few exclusions apply). You can use that code anytime, as much as you want. Or you can click here to get a sauna directly from Clearlight.

Oh, and below are some fancy exterior and interior photos, along with exact specs and features, for the Clearlight Sanctuary Y model that I personally use. You’ll notice that the specs show that the ceiling includes something called “color therapy”, also known as “chromotherapy”. I didn’t even tap into that concept in this article but am working on an article about that chromotherapy feature for you too. It’s a very slick and helpful feature for fixing and aligning your sleep cycles, biohacking circadian rhythms, etc..

Enjoy, and leave any questions or thoughts in the comments section.

Clearlight Sanctuary 2 FS Spec Sheet

Clearlight Sanctuary C FS Spec Sheet Clearlight Sanctuary One Sheet Spec Sheet Clearlight Sanctuary Y FS Spec Sheet


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How A Steady Diet Of Standard Education Is Choking The Creativity, Health & Fitness Out Of Our Kids And What You Can Do About It.


I was homeschooled my entire life, K-12. So I was intrigued by a recent article in Outside Online that begins like this:

“In early September, in a clapboard house situated on 43 acres just outside a small town in northern Vermont, two boys awaken. They are brothers; the older is 12, the younger 9, and they rise to a day that has barely emerged from the clutches of dark. It is not yet autumn, but already the air has begun to change, the soft nights of late summer lengthening and chilling into the season to come. Outside the boys’ bedroom window, the leaves on the maples are just starting to turn.

School is back in session and has been for two weeks or more, but the boys are unhurried. They dress slowly, quietly. Faded and frayed thrift-store camo pants. Flannel shirts. Rubber barn boots. Around their waists, leather belts with knife sheaths. In each sheath, a fixed-blade knife.

By 6:30, with the first rays of sun burning through the ground-level fog, the boys are outside. At some point in the next hour, a yellow school bus will rumble past the end of the driveway that connects the farm to the town road. The bus will be full of children the boys’ age, their foreheads pressed against the glass, gazing at the unfurling landscape, the fields and hills and forests of the small working-class community they call home.

The boys will pay the bus no heed. This could be because they will be seated at the kitchen table, eating breakfast with their parents. Or it might be because they are already deep in the woods below the house, where a prolific brook trout stream sluices through a stand of balsam fir; there is an old stone bridge abutment at the stream’s edge, and the boys enjoy standing atop it, dangling fresh-dug worms into the water. Perhaps they won’t notice the bus because they are already immersed in some other project: tillering a longbow of black locust, or starting a fire over which to cook the quartet of brookies they’ve caught. They heat a flat rock at the fire’s edge, and the hot stone turns the fishes’ flesh milky white and flaky.

Or maybe the boys will pay the bus no heed because its passing is meaningless to them. Maybe they have never ridden in a school bus, and maybe this is because they’ve never been to school. Perhaps they have not passed even a single day of their short childhoods inside the four walls of a classroom, their gazes shifting between window and clock, window and clock, counting the restless hours and interminable minutes until release.

Maybe the boys are actually my sons, and maybe their names are Fin and Rye, and maybe, if my wife, Penny, and I get our way, they will never go to school.

Hey, a father can dream, can’t he?”

Today, I have that dreaming father on the podcast, and you’re going to learn everything you need to know about unschooling, alternative education models, sustainable homestead living, and much more. Even if you don’t live “in the sticks”, you’re going to pick up plenty of advice about how to raise your own children or help those around you raise their children to become independent, free-thinking resilient kids who know how to thrive in unpredictable situations.

My guest is Ben Hewitt, author of Home Grown: Adventures in Parenting Off the Beaten Path, Unschooling, and Reconnecting with the Natural World, and in this interview, you’ll discover:

-How Ben and his family live like royalty on a thrifty budget, and how you can too…

-How to find mentors and internships for your children…

-How Ben’s children learned how to read with no “formal” education…

-The difference between unschooling and homeschooling…

-How to unschool even if you don’t live on a farm or a homestead, especially if you’re in an urban environment…

-How to ensure that your children don’t become isolated loners or socially awkward…

-Potential alternatives to unschooling for people who aren’t confident doing it or don’t have the time…

-And much more!

Resources from this episode:

-Book: Home Grown: Adventures in Parenting Off the Beaten Path, Unschooling, and Reconnecting with the Natural World

-Book: The Nourishing Homestead: One Back-to-the-Land Family’s Plan for Cultivating Soil, Skills, and Spirit

-Book: Deschooling Society

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

327: Nutrition Tips For Burning Man, The Science Of Human Touch, Blood Donation Biohacks & More!


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

Aug 5, 2015 Podcast: Tips And Tricks For Donating Blood, The Benefits Of Human Touch, Best Natural Remedy For Toenail Fungus, and Nutrition Tips For Burning Man.

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, Skype “pacificfit” or use the “Ask Ben” form at the bottom of this page.


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Sep 23-24, 2015. Ben is speaking at the Biohackers 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.

New Greenfield Longevity Panels. Working closely with WellnessFX, America’s top laboratory for concierge blood testing and online access to all your blood testing results, Ben has developed the “Greenfield Longevity Blood Testing Package”, which is the most complete blood testing package that money can buy. There is one package specifically designed for men, and one for women. This is by far the most comprehensive blood testing package that exists, and Ben created it for the health enthusiast, biohacker and anti-aging individual who wants access to the same type of executive health panel and screening that would normally cost tens of thousands of dollars at a longevity institute. Virtually all hormones and all biomarkers are covered in this panel.

Ben Greenfield has officially launched his first work of fiction: “The Forest”. Twin brothers River and Terran discover a portal to a hidden forested world attacked by parasitic fungi, dark shamans, and serpents. Along with an assembled band of unlikely misfits that includes coyotes, whitetail deer, wood thrushes, and fox squirrels, they must unlock their unique powers to control the elements of earth, air, fire and water, and save the forest before the evil they’ve uncovered can spill back into their own world. Click here to read it now! New chapters released every 7-14 days.

The BenGreenfieldFitness Quarterly box has officially launched! When you sign-up, you’ll get a Quarterly handpicked box jam-packed with Ben’s favorite fitness gear, supplements, nutrients and research-proven biohacks.

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 Brock Skywalker Armstrong, the Podcast Sidekick and Audio Ninja.

Tips And Tricks For Donating Blood

Preston says: He donates blood often (he is O- and CMV- so his blood can be used for infants and children) and is wondering if there is something he can do while donating blood to get an added benefit. How to “hack” giving blood. Can he keep some to take it over to Labcore for testing or anything he can do to get an added benefit?

In my response, I recommend:
Iron bisyglycinate
Ferritin pyrophosphate (Floradix)

The Benefits Of Human Touch

Julian says: He heard Jack Kruse talk about how getting a massage can create an exchange of electrons. Jack said that it was a positive thing. Can you explain how that works (how we exchange electrons) and why it could be a good thing?

Best Natural Remedy For Toenail Fungus

Jimmy says: He has tried every kind of conventional remedy under the sun to cure his toenail fungus but none seem to work. Do you have any suggestions for something that will work and preferably be natural/healthy?

In my response, I recommend:
Oil of Oregano

Nutrition Tips For Burning Man

Gina says: She is heading to Burning Man soon and is looking for some tips on how to stay healthy during the week in the hot hot desert. She is packing some bars, nuts and coconut oil but is looking for some suggestions that wouldn’t involve needing a lot of water or electricity.

In my response, I recommend:
-Pemmican or jerky (USWellnessMeats and/or Onnit and/or EpicBar)
-Meal replacement powder (LivingFuel)
Healthy dark chocolate
Chia seeds
-Spirulina/chlorella (use 10% discount code GREENFIELD at
FourSigmaFoods Mushroom Coffee


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Episode #327 – Full Transcript

Podcast #327 from


Introduction: In this episode of the Ben Greenfield Fitness show: Nutrition Tips For Burning Man, Blood Donation Biohacks, The Benefits Of Human Touch, The Best Natural Remedies For Toenail Fungus 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 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.

Ben:                   Brock, I’m feeling like an old, old man right now.

Brock:               You’ve kinda sound like an old man, I wasn’t – it wasn’t me to say anything but…

Ben:                   No, actually… yeah, it’s because I’m wearing my old man’s socks, and the reason why I’m wearing my old man compression socks – not that I don’t just wear compression socks everywhere all the time because I like to look like a Cross Fitter.

Brock:               You need to look like a dork.

Ben:                   (laughs)

Brock:               A fit dork.

Ben:                   I wear neon socks everywhere along with what else is a stereotypical fitness faux pas not really…

Brock:               I think…

Ben:                   …fashion faux pas much as a fashion must.

Brock:               (chuckles) Fashion must.

Ben:                   Your compression socks, your knee high compression socks if you want to look fit – you gotta have like about, I don’t know, if you’re a dude some kind of board shorts – you gotta have these days like a v-neck t-shirt.  You have to have some kind of tattoo showing somewhere preferably tribal like a shoulder pattern and yeah, I don’t know I have to go back to…

Ben:                   Or the Mdot on your cap, I think it’s…

Ben:                   (chuckles) Yeah, the Mdot, it’s like triathletes and Cross Fitters around the world wear the compression socks.  The reason I’m wearing compression socks is I just got back from Colorado last night.

Brock:               Oh, cool.

Ben:                   And I was competing in the Train to Hunt Competition out there which was narrowly – oh that thing was hard.

Brock:               And how did it go?

Ben:                   Well, it started off with a 3D shoot and they make the shooting very, very much like you might experience while hunting.  You’re not able to use a range finder, so you must kinda know your distance everything from point blank shots, bears all the way out to a hundred yard shots at elk targets, and you know, they threw some weird stuff at us like you’d shoot two shots in 10 seconds – one at the you know, a dough 20 yards off, one of the buck 40 yards off or a goal from like a lying down position in the long grass to sitting up quickly and taking a shot from that seated position to all sorts of really narrowly scenarios.

Brock:               Did they make you chug a beer?

Ben:                   (laughs) Chug a beer, sit in a tree for 5 hours.

Brock:               Chug a beer and shoot a bear.  Actually, what I really want to know is do they have a 3D rendering of Cecil the Lion?

Ben:                   Mmm-hmm, no.  Although I’ve…

Brock:               Is that too soon?

Ben:                   You know, they didn’t have a 3D rendering of Cecil the Lion and I’m gonna be totally honest with you, like I have not been watching the news, reading the news, I’ve been either out in the forest at this Train to Hunt thing or else I’ve been – I finished up at Fort Carson military base where I spoke to the army there.

Brock:               Oh, cool!

Ben:                   Anyways though, the Train to Hunt thing, after you do that 3D shoot then they have what’s the meat pack and then you put a 100 lbs. in your pack and just race.  And this was – and this one we raced about 2 ½ miles or so, and then you recover and then you come back the next day and you do what they call the challenge course which is basically like an obstacle course that’s a mix of like barbwire crawl and we have like 80 lbs. sandbag get-ups and 100 lbs. sandbag shuttle runs up to side of the mountain and you combine all that with shooting while you’re tired – so it’s a tough event.  It’s fun, fun as heck but tough.  And then…

Brock:               Cool.

Ben:                   The next morning, I woke up and with an army ranger and Special Forces guy did this inclined steps at what they call Garden of the Gods in Colorado so…

Brock:               Hmmm, sounds delightful.

Ben:                   Suck an air up and nosebleed country and that’s why I’m wearing the old man socks is those…

Brock:               Oh yeah, that’s where we started this whole conversation.

Ben:                   Yes.  Those damn stairs.

Brock:               The old man socks.

Ben:                   And then spent the rest of the day over at Fort Carson military base so I didn’t know this but a bunch of the battalions over there are actually using my book Beyond Training as part of the training manual so…


Brock:               Very cool.

Ben:                   If we get butt kicked by any other military, it’s my fault…

Brock:               It’s your fault.

Ben:                   …because we got unfixed soldiers.

Brock:               You let down the country.

Ben:                   We got soldiers wearing training masks and doing ice baths.  So yeah, anyways though, that’s what I’ve been up to.

Brock:               And you know why I am wearing old man socks?

Ben:                   ‘Cause you’re an old man?

Brock:               ‘Cause I’m an old man.  I turned 44 two days ago so… ouch.

News Flashes:

Brock:               Aside from feeling super old, I’m also feeling super tired but I hear that over at you actually released some interesting stuff.

Ben:                   Use your words.

Brock:               About insomnia – I can’t!

Ben:                   Use your words, Brock, use your words.

Brock:               I’m sleepy.

Ben:                   You’re sleepy and old.

Brock:               I’m sleepy and old.

Ben:                   Well yes, as usual I’ve been releasing news flashes all week over at, we’ll link to all of these different studies I’m about to throw you in on over at  We’re gonna give you three as we usually do – three of the faves – so this first one just to I guess continue on last week’s infatuation with sleep is about sleep and I thought this was a…

Brock:               We do last week.

Ben:                   really, really cool article at the Washington post.  The article goes into the fact that we’ve talked about this before on the podcast, how it is highly unlikely that our ancestors would’ve slept in convenient 8-hour blocks and instead there’s a great deal of evidence out there to show that in most cases, in an ancestral environment, void of artificial light that folks slept in two different sleep phases right? Like two different 4-hour-ish sleep phases with a wake period at some point during the night.  And they actually did a study where they looked into this – they had folks in a sleep research study get cut-off from artificial light, and I believe this was for about a three – I don’t wanna say 3 month-ish period of time? And anyways, they weren’t using everything from laptop screens to bright lights in their homes, to e-readers to anything else, and what began to happen is very interesting because they track their brain waves and they track their sleep cycles.  They would naturally wake at some point in the middle of the night and when they woke, they showed brain wave production very, very similar to what like a – you know, meditating yogi might show…

Brock:               Really!

Ben:                   …and they would wake up in the dark…

Brock:               Crazy.

Ben:                   ..and they’d eventually fall back asleep, and have this completely natural sleep cycles.  And in the era where we are exposed to artificial light especially at night, what happens is we dig ourselves into this hole where we require our biologist to need and you know, like a consistent 8 hours or so when in fact if you are, say like camping or if you begin to turn off the lights in your home and limit yourself to say like red light only which is doable via either a.) you know, you could do everything from like used infrared you know, like heat lamps like you would buy off Amazon or you could get like there’s a company called Lighting Science that’s makes these night bulbs that are void of blue light.  Anyways, you figure out the way to hack your environment so you cut-off from artificial light at night and that inconveniently includes not using iPhones and e-readers, and stuff like that too much at night.  What happens is you may find that after sleeping from say you know, whatever – 10 p.m. until 2 a.m. you wake up some time between 2 a.m. to 3 a.m. and you can do anything as long as it doesn’t involve artificial light.  So you’d do yoga, meditation, sex, reading but reading using something like candle light or some other form of non-blue light or non- artificial light and then you fall back to sleep and it turns out that this is completely natural, that insomnia – the way that we sometimes define insomnia like “I woke up and I couldn’t get back to sleep” may not in fact be insomnia but may just be us doing or naturally tuned to do with the problem being that a lot of times when people do wake up, what they do, they put open the computer, right? They grab Facebook or email, when they’re on their phones and surf on their phone for a little while but the fact is, if you just lay there and use that as a time to do whatever – deep tissue work or foam rolling or meditation or yoga or you know, love making or anything else – it turns out that this is entirely natural.  It’s a really interesting article.

Brock:               Yeah, now it’s really cool.  I actually, when I wake up – while I woke up in the middle of the night like three nights in the row now which is why I’m having trouble using my words but I’ve been reading on my iPad but I actually have the Kobo app turned to have a black background – 


So it’s a black background with the gray texts, brightness turned all the way down and then I put my blue blocker glasses on ‘cause I just sit on like basically right on top of the iPad and I feel like I’m not destroying my sleep more that way.

Ben:                   Hmm.  Aren’t you…

Brock:               What do you think?

Ben:                   …cute little old man biohacker?  Yeah, I mean that – what I would like to do and we talked about this on the podcast that we do with Jack Kruse at some point last year is he has a wine bottles that you can somehow drop like a wick into and light and uses like torch-light in your home.  Now, I think that’s kinda like the ultimate cool way to light things up at night and I’d like to start doing more of that – more natural firelight in the home.

Brock:               That would be cool.

Ben:                   Just because it’s cool.

Brock:               And very old tiny.

Ben:                   Old tiny.

Brock:               You just like some kinda pioneer.

Ben:                   Put on the records and read by candlelight.

Brock:               (chuckles)

Ben:                   Anyways though, another thing related to sleep and fatigue I guess a little bit was an article over at Chris Kresser’s website that I thought was quite compelling – it was called “5 Causes of Fatigue Your Doctor May Not Be Looking For” and while it admitted the fact that things like poor diet and lack of sleep and chronic stress are the most common causes of fatigue.  There are 5 lesser known causes of fatigue that you may wanna rule out if you’re doing everything right, you know, like sleep and exercise on right weight, etc. but you’re still feeling tired.  So some of the things listed and I’ll link to the article if you really wanna delve into the nitty-gritty details – one was chronic infections.  A lot of people have things like underlying Epstein-Barr virus or human herpes virus or lyme disease or what’s called mycoplasma and it turns out you know, as I think most people know, these things can cause chronic fatigue but a lot more people than we think actually are walking around with these issues, you know such as lyme for example or such as like a mycoplasma infection.  And you can get you know, you can get a variety of different blood test rule this out but that’s one thing that it mentions as a possible cause of fatigue.  Another is what’s called biotoxin illness – now biotoxin is a poisonous substance that’s produced by a living organism, and that could be like fungus like a mycotoxin, like could be a plant biotoxin, it could be an animal biotoxin, and you know this would be something like a mold in a home or something like a biotoxin in the water that you’re consuming because you don’t have a good water filter in your home.  But ultimately, that’s another reason that you can be walking around fatigue as it can be something as simple as a biologically produced toxin that you’re exposed to.  So the next one…

Brock:               That’s kinda scary.

Ben:                   Kinda scary – next one is methylation.  This one’s interesting because some people have what’s called impaired methylation, methylation being a biochemical process in which you are able to use what are called methyl groups to produce energy.  And if you have what’s called the impaired methylation which is just basically a genetic – not really a genetic defect but just a genetic trait that a lot of people are born with, you can have low levels of the active forms of folate and vitamin B12.  And it’s a case where if you actually get tested and you find out that you are a poor methylator, or you have some kind of impaired methylation, you can supplement with things like methyltetrahydrofolate or B12 in a vitamin and banish some of these chronic fatigue issues so that’s one is impaired methylation.  Another one…

Brock:               I’ve heard that from a lot of like not older women but sort of like aging women get a – actually get a B12 injections…

Ben:                   Mmm-hmm.

Brock:               …in their… like in their hip.

Ben:                   Yeah.

Brock:               Because they can’t actually ingest even after taking the vitamins it doesn’t actually get ingested.

Ben:                   Right, exactly, so that can be a methylation issue.  Another one is mitochondrial dysfunction – so mitochondria of course are the powerhouses of the cell that take in nutrients and break them down to produce ATP.  And mitochondrial dysfunction or mitochondrial disease was once taught to be pretty rare but it turns out a lot of people do have mitochondrial dysfunction related to everything from like inflammation to a poor diet for many years to you know, environmental factors you know, toxins again for example and that can cause mutations in what’s called your  mitochondrial DNA.  And this is another thing that he goes into in the article that you can have tested and looked at and in many cases use as mitochondrial support compounds things like a PQQ or oxitol acetate or any of these supplements that can help to support your mitochondria, and that’s the only one that kinda play around with if you have chronic fatigue and you just don’t know why.  And then the last one is gut dysfunction – everything from small intestine bacterial overgrowth, to parasites, to a lot of these things that I think people would probably hazard I guess you know, if you got a bunch of nice little parasite eggs in your intestine…

Brock:               Yeee.

Ben:                   …that could cause some fatigue.


                           But ultimately, that’s the last one that they go into with this you know, for example one study found that patients with chronic fatigue had abnormally elevated levels of candida albicans or slight gluten intolerances or even you know, more common that you might think infection with parasite giardia which can persist with five years after you’ve actually treated the infections.  If you ever gone on vacation in Mexico or gone on the nice cruise down there along the border and you’ve come back with I might assume as revenge and it was many, many years ago that could still be affecting you even if you got rid of the explosive diarrhea part of it.  So…

Brock:               Larg.

Ben:                   Interesting article over at Chris Kresser’s website, we’ll link to that one.

Brock:               I like Chris Kresser, he’s a clever fella.

Ben:                   Clever fella.  And then the last one is about a bitter melon extract and the fact that bitter melon extract I’ve talked about before on the show how this stuff is just about as powerful as the diabetic drug Metformin in terms of ingesting what’s called your postprandial blood glucose levels, like your blood glucose response to a carbohydrate intensive meal.  Now I take personally two capsules of bitter melon extract almost every day before I do like my evening carbohydrate loading, and the reason for that is because it basically enhances your ability to shove glucose into muscle tissue to partition nutrients into muscle tissues so that glucose doesn’t remain floating around in your bloodstream for long periods of time either getting converted in the fat or causing the inflammation that high levels of blood glucose can cause.  So bitter melon extract – I’ll link to this article but it goes into how bitter melon extract works and how very, very similar to exercise it activates AMPK in muscle which mediates the movement of glucose transporters in muscle to the cell surface and allows the muscle to actually uptake glucose and carbohydrates in the muscle tissue – bitter melon enhances this effect.  The thing is, one thing you do need to be careful with is a supplement like this is not necessarily a supplement that you just take at any given time.  For example, I don’t take bitter melon extract and I would stay very, very far away from it before exercise because what can happen is if you take a bunch before exercise then you go exercise, you could actually a hypoglycemic response or abnormally low blood glucose during an exercise session.  So as with anything, you need to time, the supplement properly but the article is quite interesting in terms of how powerful this stuff is for controlling a lot of the things that can cause everything from Type 2 diabetes to just gaining weight from carbohydrates, and it is one of the supplements that I take anytime that I load with carbs especially in the evening just because it’s basically a way to biohack your weight, to better glucose partitioning without getting your blood glucose frequently elevated.  So bitter melon extract, the stuff I use is called the MPX100 – I take two capsules, you can do it like 30 minutes before carbohydrates intensive meal and up to 30 minutes after so that the effect – but handy-dandy little supplement and we’ll link to that article in the show notes as well.  I suppose you could probably figure a way to grow bitter melon on your back porch, not quite sure…

Brock:               Hmmm.

Ben:                   …how that works, but I just…

Brock:               I have a feeling you’d have to grow a lot of them.

Ben:                   I just take the capsule.  Yeah.

Special Announcements:

Ben:                   Well Brock, its summertime and you know what summertime means?

Brock:               Ahhh, bikinis?

Ben:                   Mmm.  Close, close.

Brock:               Sunburns.

Ben:                   Yes.  Summertime also means that you wanna get rid of these much hair as possible so that you stay cool…

Brock:               Mmm.

Ben:                   …right?

Brock:               Mmm-hmm.  Yeah, I never have a beard in the summer…

Ben:                   That’s right.

Brock:               but I do every winter.

Ben:                   That’s right or you’ve more of maybe you want to make some of that bikini hair disappear.

Brock:               Mmm-hmm.  Always.

Ben:                   Or maybe you just want a nice, smooth shaved legs for your summertime bike rides or just so your sheets feel satiny smooth.

Brock:               Just to show off your calf muscles.

Ben:                   Yeah.  Either way, no matter what your motivation is for getting rid of your hair you should know that today’s podcast is actually sponsored by one of the top methods for getting rid of hair, unless you’re going smear nair all over your body which would be…

Brock:               That’s not a good idea (chuckles).

Ben:                   Yeah, maybe not…

Brock:               Don’t do that.

Brock:               …gonna get burn it off chemically.  Harry’s however, Harry’s over at, that’s just like it sounds really, –  They have like this German factories where they make this really, really sexy looking blades that are incredibly sharp – they install the safety on them so you can’t cut open a jugular with you know…

Brock:               Whew!

Ben:                   Unfortunately, I think the straight edge razors introduce a great deal of excitement in the shaving process so…

Brock:               Have you ever had a shave with a straight razor, though?


Ben:                   I have, it’s pretty cool.

Brock:               I’ve had and they’re quite painful.

Ben:                   Yeah, it’s painful but you still use it for macho.

Brock:               I need a damn good shave, too.

Ben:                   Yeah, yeah.  But the next best thing to nair or cutting up on a jugular is Harry’s (chuckles). So anyways, super-duper cool looking blades, nice and like heavy in your hand and they feel like you know, just old school shaver and they’ve got like foam that doesn’t have parabens and phthalates that hasn’t been tested on animals that smells nice – my wife likes it.  They’ve got the blades, they’ve got everything but they cut out the middle man, they get it straight to you so it’s about that same cost as the cheap drugstore blades.  So anyways, check them out and we have a discount code for you – wait, with baby breath – the discount code is, shocker, ‘Ben’ b-e-n…

Brock:               (gasp)

Ben:                   Yeah, use code ‘Ben’ over at, save 5 bucks – there you go.  Enjoy your shave and enjoy your new bikini look along with the coolness that all the shaving of the hair imparts.  So there’s that.  And then there’s also the Biohacking Summit over in Finland – I would not shave before this because I hear Finland is cold, but I will be there.

Brock:               September shouldn’t be too bad.

Ben:                   I just like to think that Finland is being a place where people walk around with parkas and frozen nostrils and beards covered with ice and snow.

Brock:               Well the folks would bring us the human charger from Finland, right?

Ben:                   Yes, they are from Finland and also the…

Brock:               Yeah, I think the reason they invented that was because of the dark and the cold.

Ben:                   Yeah, the Four Sigma mushroom blend that’s also a Finnish supplement.  There’s a variety of cool things coming out of Finland – those darn fins.

Brock:               (chuckles)  They’ve got this long winter evenings to just think up biohacking kind of stuff.

Ben:                   That’s right, that’s right – the twiddle-doo thinkers and think of crazy biohacks.  Anyways, so they got a biohacking summit and I will be there in Finland – in Helsinki, Finland so check it out…

Brock:               I don’t think that’s how you say it.

Ben:                   That’s how I say it.

Brock:               Oh, okay (chuckles).

Ben:          over in Helsinki.

Brock:               Helsinki!

Ben:                   Check it out.  September 23rd thru the 24th and if you happen to be thru Finland or in Finland or visiting Finland, come say ‘hello’ at the Biohackers Summit and they’ll have everything from implanted chips to gene therapy to bionic arms to simply learning how to stay healthier and stay fitter with you know, cool food preparation and molecular gastronomy tricks.  So…

Brock:               If you don’t come back with at least one bionic limb, I’m gonna be so disappointed.

Ben:                   I know, I know.  The question is which limb do I want to be bionic?

Brock:               Oh, it’s a hard choice.

Ben:                   I can tell you want there would be pretty fun to have as the bionic arm…

Brock:               Nehehey!

Ben:                   Hehey.

Brock:               Yee – talking about your nose, right?

Ben:                   Yes, my bionic nose, exactly.  Anyways, another thing that I wanted to mention in this week’s special announcements is we are now up to Chapter 6 as a matter of fact, well as of this night, I’ll be releasing Chapter 6 in my new book or actually, no, Chapter 7 – I’m sorry, Chapter 7 in my new book in which the two heroes in the book discovered  their superpowers and the title of this new chapter’s called “The Powers” and it’s a pretty fun chapter – it’s one of the…

Brock:               I’ve been waiting for that moment.

Ben:                   Anyways, if you want to read my new book for free and figure out all kinds of cool little wilderness survival hip tips, biohacks, and just a good book to sit down and read by the fire.  You can check it out over at and it’s free –

                           Get the inside edge from Ben Greenfield Fitness delivered straight to your phone.  Just text the word ‘fitness’ to 411-247 and you’ll instantly get exclusive VIP discounts and insider tips that no one else will ever see except you.  Do it now.  Text the word ‘fitness’ to 411-247 and you’ll be in Ben’s VIP text club for FREE!

Listener Q & A:

Preston:            Hey Ben, this is Preston.  So I just went to the blood bank to donate some blood because I’m O- and I’m CMV- which means adolescents and babies can take my blood ‘cause I have a specific antibody inside my blood.  I like to go frequently and donate blood.  Is there any way for me to hack my next visit to donate blood? Can I get some blood and take it to Labcore since I’m already again some blood taken out? Is there any creative ways I can get more use out of donating blood next time I go?  Thanks for your thought.  Brock, hi and keep up the awesome content.  Thank you.


Ben:                   Who sits around on things of this crap?

Brock:               (chuckles) Well…

Ben:                   Well?

Brock:               …a fellow named Preston!

Ben:                   (laughs)  Our listeners either they’re bored or just so on the cutting edge of things that they think of things like this.  Well first of all Preston, good on you for donating your blood, man.  Good on you.

Brock:               Yeah, yeah.  It’s almost – if you got O- and CMV- then you really – it’s your duty…

Ben:                   Mmm-hmm.

Brock:               …to donate as often as possible I’d say.

Ben:                   That’s right and there are some…

Brock:               I’ve got like stupid blood that nobody wants.

Ben:                   Yeah, me too.

Brock:               Oh.

Ben:                   Me too, yeah.  Anyways though, the deal with donating blood first of all – you should know that if you’re doing this big blood donation because and we talked about this on the podcast at some point last year – it does significantly decrease your VO2 max and it can do so for up to 3 to 4 weeks.  So the first thing is make sure you’re not signed up for some super-duper important competition especially not a super-duper important competition that altitude where you want as much EPO and red blood cell as you can get your hands on because even when you’re say like giving blood for like a blood test like a Wellness FX blood test, you wanna give yourself a good week or 2 weeks of recovery from something as simple as that because even though it’s just about a quarter of what you might give when donating blood.  What you see when donating blood is you can get a loss of about to 6% of your VO2 max for a short period of time until you recover using that techniques that I’ll about to give you.  But you can see a decrease of anywhere from 1 to 2% when you give something like 15 to 20 of those little vials of blood when you’re doing you know, one of these little biohacking panels, so just know that you wanna make sure that you time your blood donations properly.  Now as far as why you may want to donate blood, why you wanna give blood – there are some reasons to do it that I think some people aren’t aware of.  So most of us are aware of the fact that there can be in many people, issues with high iron levels – of course more common in men than in women – it’s called hemochromatosis or iron overload and it can actually be a longevity enhancing technique when you give blood.  There are some biohackers out there, there’s one named – one guy named Jolly, another guy named Josh White – two guys have spoken with a different events and they both give blood regularly just to as a means of increasing longevity and lowering the risk for hemochromatosis and iron overload but also increasing their you know, the effectiveness of an anti-aging protocol, so there’s…

Brock:               But the question is do they actually go to the blood bank or do they just use leeches?

Ben:                   I believe they use leeches and then drop the leeches off of the blood bank in the jar for the blood.

Brock:               Nice!

Ben:                   Yes, of course.  So another advantage though, in addition to reducing your risk for hemochromatosis is you get better blood flow.  So what happens is everything from radio frequencies to electro-magnetic fields, to stress, to anxiety, to a high cholesterol, to high uric acid levels – all of these make your blood what’s called hypercoagulable – I mean it’s thick and slow moving and you get increase risk of having like a blood clot or stroke or something like that.

Brock:               Hmmm.  That’s where they’re really about when you’re taking a – what’s in the hormone? Ah, testosterone.

Ben:                   Yeah, exactly.

Brock:               It gets all dupey and you have heart problems.

Ben:                   So especially if you’re you know getting testosterone shot into your right butt cheek – another reason to give blood.  Anyways though, repeated blood donations can help blood to flow better which can help to limit damage to the lining of your blood vessels which can result in lower risk for arterial blockages.  So interestingly, did you know another way that you can make blood less hypercoagulable? Or less likely to clog is grounding or earthing, using like these grounding mats or earthing mats or a biomat or something like that, that actually increases blood flow as well.

Brock:               Cool.

Ben:                   So, kinda interesting little way to go about things if you don’t want to give blood.  So one other quick thing on the iron issue is that there are – there are ways if you didn’t get a blood test for iron to know if you’re high in iron, if you are at risk for hemochromatosis – one is if you do a lot of cooking in a pots and pans like cast iron – that’s healthy but you also should know that you will have increase risk for blood iron levels and that it may behoove you to give blood if you are like a cast iron cooking person, especially if you cook acidic foods in those types of top pots and pans, you know, and that could include something as simple as lemon juice and alcohol and things along those lines.  If you eat processed foods like cereals or breads that are fortified with iron, that also can increase your risk for hemochromatosis, or increase the amount of blood iron that you have or excess iron.  Another one and this is actually why this Friday I’m going in the Quest Labs and doing a Wellness FX panel that includes iron is because well water can be high in iron. 


                           And even though I have a really good iron precipitator, iron water filter, I recently turned on my sprinklers and the sprinklers overloaded the iron filter and so for a good couple of weeks I was drinking some really, really sulphurus, irony water – so I wanna go test and see how high my blood actually is in iron.  And then the last reason would be if you take a lot of supplements, a lot of supplements do have trace levels of iron in them and even a lot of multi-vitamins and it’s a good idea to check every now and again – even if it’s just twice a year, check your iron levels because again, it’s hemochromatosis is one of those things that is a – it’s one of those things that flies in the phase of longevity and anti-aging.  So if you’re one of those people who’s joined a bunch of stuff to stay healthy, make sure that you pay attention.  So every time you donate a unit of blood by the way, you lose about a quarter of a gram of iron which is a pretty significant amount of iron.

Brock:               Oh, is it? It doesn’t sound like very much.

Ben:                   Ah, 250 mg of iron so it’s actually pretty significant.  And because of that if you don’t have hemochromatosis and I know this can be confusing because it’s like – well if you do have hemochromatosis, you donate blood to get rid of the excess iron and you’re good to go.  But if you don’t have hemochromatosis and you donate blood, one of the ways that you can recover more quickly from donating blood is to actually take an iron supplement and preferably what’s called a ferritin supplement post blood donation.  So the top three things that you can do to recover as quickly as possible especially if you’re an athlete after donating blood or after doing one of these big blood panels: number one, would be to take an iron supplement.  I am a fan of a non-constipating form of iron –

Brock:               (laughs)

Ben:                   there’s a one form of iron – no seriously, most iron cause…

Brock:               I know, I know.  I’m just laughing ‘cause I’m being a fan of not getting constipated I think is…

Ben:                   Yeah.

Brock:               …universal.

Ben:                   Yeah.  And oh and by the way, when my well’s iron filter pooped out (laughs) pun intended…

Brock:               Hehehehe.

Ben:                   I was seriously constipated for like a week and you know when I poo it was kinda reddish, orange – I know that I consume the great deal of iron which is again why I’m testing.  Anyways though…

Brock:               Time to give blood, Ben.

Ben:                   Iron Bisglycinate – Iron Bisglycinate, I’ll link to this in the show notes – there’s a company called EXOS that makes a form of Iron Bisglycinate which is an extremely well absorbed form of iron that does not include what’s called ferrous sulfate which is the form of iron that is not only poly absorbed but also can cause constipation, so that’s number one.

Brock:               Alright.

Ben:                   The second thing that I would take is a very important iron storage protein.  It’s in the form of ferritin pyrophosphate – your body use a ferritin protein to help to store iron and there is a supplement – yeah, you can get it off Amazon, I’ll link to this one in the show notes as well for you – it’s called Floradix and it’s again like a healthy non-constipating way to increase your ability to store iron and that one to combo of Iron Bisglycinate and then ferritin pyrophosphate from this Floradix supplement is a very, very good way to recover from something like donating blood.  And you could simply use these two supplements for about 10 to 14 days after your blood donation – that’s about as long as you need to do it.  And then the last one would be really, really good electrolyte intake and as a matter of fact just because it’s so closely – it matches the electrolyte concentration of human plasma, I love to use that word by the way.

Brock:               Plasma.

Ben:                   Plasma – say like Dr. Evil.

Brock:               (laughs)

Ben:                   “Mmm.  Liquid, magma, plasma” Coconut water – coconut water is actually a great little electrolyte replacement supplement and typically like after a big race or something like that or often times the day before a big race just to top off my electrolyte levels I do a coconut water – actually a crapload of coconut water.  I’ll typically take about 16 to 32 ounces, so coconut water is another one – yes, it does have sugar in it you know, like juice so you get some more concentrated sugars anytime you drink the juice  but it’s not too bad and it’s chock full of electrolytes – so I would do a 1-2-3 combo of Iron Bisglycinate, ferritin pyrophosphate and coconut water after you give blood to help you to bounce back faster and to help you to mitigate some of the VO2 decreasing effects of giving blood.  And the last thing that you can do, and this is a little bit spendier, it’s a little bit more of a – more of an inconvenience, but you can do like this Myers’ cocktails, right? Where you get IVs full of vitamins – if you’ve never – if you’re listening and you’ve never gotten like Myers’ cocktail and you can hunt down like a Wellness facility in your area that would give you a Myers’ cocktail IV with like some extra vitamin C and some extra glutathione – but if you wanna feel like Superman that or Superwoman, those IVs are magical.  So…


Brock:               Especially if you’re hang-over.

Ben:                   Yes, exactly.  The amount of food that they give you in those IVs actually do exceed World Anti-Doping Association regulations, so if you’re competing in like an, you know, an Ironman triathlon or anything else that is sanctioned by the World Anti-Doping Association, I would not do that.  But if you just wanna feel good and get an IV, they’re quite, quite useful in making you feel like a million bucks.  Anyways though, I know I haven’t really answered Preston’s question which is – if he can do anything while donating blood to get an added benefit, and Preston – while I hope the information that I’ve just given you is helpful and allowing you to recover more quickly from donating blood.  I do not think that they will give you your blood or extra blood that you could for example, put in a little Nalgene water bottle and trapes over to your local quester labcore and give it to them to run a thyroid panel on, or something like that.  I also don’t know of any way or any substance you could take that would perhaps like detox you while you’re giving blood or something like that.  I really am not aware of any blood donation biohacks so to speak aside from the ones that I’ve just given you which are primarily folks done either recovering more quickly from a blood donation or else – are reasons to give blood if you consider yourself to be a risk for hemochromatosis.  So, ultimately though I think everybody should give a little blood every now and again.  And the only exception to that would be if you’re one of those people that frequently test your blood using these fancy blood panels, you’re probably losing enough blood through those that really the only reason for you to donate blood would just to be out of the goodness of your heart to give your fellowmen, women, and children a little bit of extra blood.  So ultimately, there you have it.  Those are my tips and tricks for donating blood.

Julian:              Hello Ben, Jack Kruse mentioned something about the exchange of electrons during a massage and he included it as positive.  My question is what happen during a massage and what kind of positive effect to have this exchange of electrons.  Thanks Ben.

Brock:               Next time I book a massage, I’m going to just book an exchange of electrons.

Ben:                   Hmm, yeah.

Brock:               Oh!  I’d like to book an exchange of electrons please.

Ben:                   Yes!  Hello!  Do you do that service along with a deep tissue exchange of electrons, or maybe the next time that you’re making sweet love to your loved one, you could whisper in his or her ear, “really feeling your electrons”.

Brock:               “I love your electrons, baby”.

Ben:                   Electrons.

Brock:               Exchange.

Ben:                   “Exchanging all over me”.  And of course, it is true that humans are electric.  Most of us know that we are full of electrons and we can conduct electrons if you’ve ever grab an electric fans, you know that you can definitely conduct electrons and they can jump from the surface to your skin in any number of amounts, and sometimes they can jump right quickly and electrify you.  And electrons can also be transferred from one person to another, and this electrification can occur not just from a small amount of electron flow but charged ions can also flow like a sodium and potassium, and hydrogen and chloride, and all of these are charged ions and those can flow from human to human in the same way that electrons can flow from human to human.  And it’s one of the reasons that if you were to go get one of these forms of massage in which the person doesn’t actually touch you, like Reiki is an example of that.

Brock:               Oh, I have had that – it’s so, it’s so teasy.

Ben:                   Yeah, it’s very teasy, like you can feel the person’s – you feel like your hair stand up a little bit, and you could feel the warmth of their hands getting oh so close to your skin but they’re not actually touching you.  However, it’s very interesting because some will hover their hands above various parts of your body and you’ll feel like warmth than blood flow going to that area of the body and part of that is because of that electron exchange effect or that electron transfer.  And it’s, you know, it’s the same way it happens when you’re touching for example the planet earth.  If one person has a more negative charge or more electrons, they can transfer that excess negative charge to another body that they’re touching.  It’s just you know, simple flow of currents.  So, ultimately in an ideal scenario we know despite the tile at negative electrons, the newly charge electrons such as we might get when grounding or doing barefoot yoga in the backyard.


                           Those are the good type of electrons that tend to result in the health effects that have been shown from something like grounding or earthing whereas positive ions such as you might get from holding a cellphone up to your ear or typing on your computer all day long, or being around a bunch of electrical equipment, those would be the type of ions that actually would be potentially deleterious or inflammatory to your health, or they would be the type of ions that would lower the electrochemical gradients.  The electrochemical gradient in your membrane supposed to be about 70-80 millivolts and by constant exposure to positive ions, you can walk around with a somewhat lowered electrochemical gradient and that can lower metabolic activity, and basically hamper the ability of your cells to function as well as they should.  You know, the very, very worse way to do that would be the frequent airline travel.  I actually have a few notes on that.  I’m gonna be talking about next week a very, very interesting article that was just released about airline travel and physiological effects of it.  I was reading it ironically on the airplane last night.  I was reading it which made me feel very guilty and I really wanted to get off the airplane while I was reading it but I couldn’t because we were, well, above the ground.  So…

Brock:               That ironic ‘cause it was coincidentally.

Ben:                   Uhm, I was pounding.  I was pounding on the window.  Trying to get out.

Brock:               Let me out!

Ben:                   Let me out!  Anyways though, the electron transfer thing – there is this concept in medicine called therapeutic touch or energy therapy, and what they say is that a practitioner therapeutic touch can put their hands on or near their client or their patient to make them detect, or potentially even manipulate the energy field.  And some people do similar to Reike, I swear by this in terms of it being like an ancient healing practice that you walk out of feeling better potentially because you have had your electrons adjusted and I supposed that if the person who was doing the touching of you is like barefoot, grounded, touching you helping to transfer electrons, helping to move those around the body, combine with massage and the fact that massage in itself can cause some pretty cool effects.  You could get an electron transfer, but I personally think that there are benefits to massage that go far and above beyond the electron transfer.  For example, when another human being touches you and you feel the skin of another human being, your central nervous system detects that in response with the surge of hormones, and one of those hormones is oxytocin – which is the same hormone that gets release in very high amounts after sexual intercourse, and oxytocin makes you feel fantastic.  It’s not only an anti-aging hormone but it’s a potent anti-inflammatory.  So, that’s one hormone that gets release simply through touch.  It doesn’t have a whole lot to do with electron flow and perhaps isn’t as woo woo as Reiki or Reike, however you pronounce it, but that happens.  There is – or there are some other benefits to touch that – or the human touch specifically that scientists have looked into.  For example, neuroscientists have discovered that when human beings touch each other, there’s activation of what’s called the orbital frontal cortex in the brain, and that is link to feelings of reward and compassion, and specifically activates the vagus nerve.  And the vagus nerve which we talked about on the show before when activated in a therapeutic way can increase your heart rate variability or the interplay between your sympathetic and your para-sympathetic nervous system.  So, not only do you get the release of oxytocin but you also can increase your heart rate variability which is a way to reduce stress and a way to enhance what’s called your alpha brain wave production.  So, there’s that as well.

                           There’s also some research that shows that infants who are touched a lot has stronger immune systems, like infants who get a lot of time with their mothers and – or touched by their fathers and their mothers have stronger immune systems, although they haven’t done some more studies in adults but it’s possible that the hormonal or the electron exchange or the vagus nerve activation that’s happening via that human touch is affecting not only the immune system of babies but may also be helping the immune system of adults as well.  And then the last interesting study that they found on touches that people with Alzheimer’s disease who get massage and consistent human interaction skin to skin can relax more, make better emotional connections with others, and have reduce symptoms of depression.


So, there are things that go above and beyond just like making your IT band feel better or you know, getting a few knots out of the shoulders when it comes to human touch, and those are some of them.  So, even if you think the electron flow thing is woo woo, there are other proven scientific benefits to human touch that I think make it important for you to go out of your way to touch some people.  So, next time you’re on the subway or on a train or on an airplane, just walk around touching people, and see what happens.  It’ll be great.  I promise.

Brock:               It’ll be fine.

Ben:                   (Laughs)  Now stick with your friends, and actually your friends or someone you pay, like a massage therapist.

Jimmy:             Hi Ben, this is Jimmy from Manchester, United Kingdom.  Following you for a while, love your podcast, and got a question about toenail fungus.  Have you got any suggestions, cures, and experience with people who have had any success with cure in it?  I’ve tried every natural or conventional medicine and under the sun haven’t had any success with all of those.  Thank you.

Brock:               Toenail fungus can be one of those things that just does not want to go away.

Ben:                   Uhmm, I like little toenail fungus every now and again.  It’s a great conversation piece.  It gives you something to do when you’re bored and you’re barefoot.

Brock:               It’s really nice, you take a little grater, you can put like a little bit on your salad.

Ben:                   Hmm, that’s right!

Brock:               (Cheese grating sound)

Ben:                   Yeah, you save a ton of money on blue cheese.  So, yeah.  A lot of reasons to let that toenail fungus hang around.  But let say you wanna get rid of it, you’ve got a hot date, or you’re a foot model perhaps, there are reasons to clear up toenail fungus.  And really, I’m not going to beat around the bush here.  There is one remedy that I have never found to fail when it comes to athlete’s foot or toenail fungus.  And…

Brock:               Is it apple cider vinegar?

Ben:                   It is not apple cider vinegar, even though apple cider vinegar is oh so tasty.  It is actually something…

Brock:               That also goes well on your salad with your toenail fungus.

Ben:                   Even tastier than apple cider vinegar.  It’s oregano.

Brock:               Ah, of course.

Ben:                   So, oregano has multiple, not just carvacrol which we’ve talked about on the show but also thymol, terpines, something called naringin, it’s got rosmarinic acid, ton of different tocopherols, and it is a natural fungicide.  You simply apply it two or three times daily and it can knock out fungal infection within a couple of days.  Fingernails or toenails, and it’s an antibiotic, it’s an antifungal.  I personally always have oregano around both in my medicine cabinet upstairs, I also have it in my refrigerator, because I will use it when I get sick, because of its antibacterial and antiviral activity, and I mean, really, I could go on and on here about natural remedies for toenail fungus but really it’s pretty simple, I haven’t found anything to work as well as just a basic oregano essential oil.  So, a few things to know about oregano oil is what’s called the dermal irritant – meaning, it can cause skin burning, skin swelling, skin inflammation.  Usually that’s because it hasn’t been deluded enough.  So the oil of oregano that I use, that I recommend, it’s deluded with almond oil and or olive oil.  It has a very, very high what’s called carvacrol content, so, I get stuff that’s harvested from Turkey – it is what’s called Wild Mediterranean Oil of Oregano.  A lot of times this stuff that you buy from the grocery store is not oregano, it is thyme oil which is far less potent and contains far fewer carvacrols, and – you know, full disclosure like I actually have oil of oregano bottled up, mixed with almond oil, harvested as well Mediterranean Oil of Oregano and we sell it at greenfieldfitnesssystems and the reason we sell it is because I personally use it for so many things.  When there’s something I personally use a bunch, I have it over there as well because I know other people will probably wanna get the same benefits.  So, that’s what I would use – it’s just Oil of Oregano.  We’ll put a link to in the show notes but get yourself some Ben Greenfield Fitness Oil of Oregano.  It’s mixed in a 7:1 ratio with almond oil.  You can use it orally, you can use it topically, you can put it in a water balloon, and throw at your friends for a fun summer time party.  You can put it on…

Brock:               It’s just mean.

Ben:                   …pizza, you can put it with your toenail fungus and some apple cider vinegar on a salad.  But oil of oregano, check, check, check it out!

Brock:               So what would you do though?  Would you like just put a few drops on like a cotton ball and then spread it around on your toenails or how would you apply it?


Ben:                   Uhmm, yes.  That is exactly what you would do.

Brock:               Ohh!

Ben:                   And if you wanna skip the cotton ball or the Q-tip, you can literally just like take out the drop – it comes in a little dropper bottle and you squeeze a few drops onto the toenail and you just kinda like with your fingers, like massaging kinda rub it in.  So, yeah, different ways to skin that cat, but ultimately I would just throw yourself a little oil of oregano, toenail fungus funeral party.

Gina:                 Hey Ben, Brock, this is Gina.  Question for you.  I’m headed to Burning Man this year.  You probably heard about this week long event in the hot, hot desert where there is no electricity, or fridge, and cooking and eating healthily is gonna be challenged.  So I’m curious what you would recommend I bring during that time.  So far my idea is a quest bars, and drinking coconut oil like it’s going out of business since it’s gonna be hard enough on the player.  Even making protein shakes is not an option because I don’t think I will have enough water to wash out the gunk out of the cup every time.  So, I’m just curious what’s you would recommend for s semi-balance menu for a week.  So far, I was also thinking nuts, canned fish, anything else?  Thank you so much.  Bye.

Ben:                   Have you ever been to Burning Man, Brock?

Brock:               No.

Ben:                   Do you know what Burning Man is?

Brock:               I do.

Ben:                   Yes.

Brock:               I know people who go to Burning Man all of the time and they seemed to have a really good time but they always come back just a little noddier than when before they left.

Ben:                   A little noddier.  Well, Burning Man started as just a bonfire ritual in San Francisco.  The place called Baker Beach in San Francisco where a few dudes burned a 9-foot tall wooden man and I believe they also burned a small wooden dog, and they burnt it as what they called a spontaneous act of self-expression, and basically it’s a way to kinda – kinda stick it to the man to burn the man so to speak.  And now they have this Burning Man festival out in the desert in Nevada’s Black Rock Desert, and basically they define it as a temporary metropolis like a small city that they build out there in the desert dedicated to community, art, self-expression, and self-reliance.  And if you ask the insiders, also drugs and orgies.  (chuckles)  You basically stay there for a week and then you depart leaving no trace whatsoever, and it’s a very, very popular event especially among like progressive young folks, all those young folks out there.  I get invited every year and have yet to go.  It is on my list of things to go to just because I would love to check it out.  You know, a lot of art, a lot of performance, a lot philosophizing, a lot of use of recreational drugs to enhance creativity, and it’s a very, very interesting festival near the desert, so… Anyways though, what would I take?  If you held a gun to my head right now and said, “Ben, get in your hippie van and go to Burning Man”, what would I take with me?

Brock:               That’s extreme.

Ben:                   That’s extreme, yes.  Well, obviously there’s a lot of different things you could take to something like Burning Man and Gina’s got her bars, and her nuts, and her coconut oil.  But let’s say you’re not gonna bring out a lot of camp stoving and electricity, and water equipment, but what I take, well, I’m gonna give you a five – five things that I personally would take to Burning Man or any other event in which I really didn’t want to make myself scrambled eggs, hotdogs, and smores and just wanted like some good packaged food that I could rely on to fuel my – my drug taking in wild, sex orgies.  I would take, first of all assuming that you are omnivorous or carnivorous.  Take a good, natural, organic form of either pemmican or jerky.  One thing that I travelled quite a bit with when I’m camping or when I’m hunting or when I’m airplaning or whenever.  I always have a little bit of pemmican or jerky.  My favorite form of pemmican right now, I get from US Wellness Meats.  And pemmican is just rendered fat, one tube of that stuff will keep you full like 6 hours, get the stuff that’s like preserved with a little bit of salt, you can even get it with honey or berries if you like just a little bit of extra carbohydrates or flavor in it, but pemmican would be one, and if you get jerky, they’re variety of different jerky’s out there but the one I’m the biggest fan right now is the bison bar.  It’s called the…

Brock:               Oh, the Warrior Bar.

Ben:                   The Warrior Bar, yes, the Warrior Bar from Onnit.


Brock:               Delicious!

Ben:                   So, I would get yourself some pemmican from US Wellness Meats, and some of those bison bars from Onnit.  Another company that does like a bacon bars, and like pork and bison, and buffalo is Epic Bar.  Epic Bar does some pretty good bars too, but if you’re gonna make jerky yourself, I’d say US Wellness Meats for their pemmican, Onnit for their bison bars which are kinda like a mix between pemmican and jerky ‘cause they have a lot of rendered fat in them.  And then any of the Epic jerky bars.  I’d recommend those and we’ll put links in the show notes to these so that you can go and check them out if you would like.  That’s what I recommend from a meat standpoint.  For meals, pretty much – you know, like for example, I was on airplanes most of the day yesterday.  I pretty much survived on a little ziplock bag full of Super Greens and Super Greens are a meal replacement blend – meal replacement blend of a bunch of different things that got, like barley, spinach, kale, carrots, spirulina, probiotics, digestive enzymes, just kinda like this big mash-up of a big bunch of different nutrients, all shoved into like a greens powder.  So what I typically do is I travel and I’ll stop like Starbucks in the airport, I’ll ask them for like a 16 Oz cup of water, I’m typically really, really nice, so I get it for free and like no ice, no lead, no straw, just give me some water.  And as they’re getting the water, when they’ve got their back turned, I grab a plastic spoon, and like a huge handful of napkins and then take the water for free, and walk away.

Brock:               You’re badass.

Ben:                   I know, I stick it to the man.  Starbucks man.  I’m such a badass and then I take that Super Greens and I just store it into the water, and I make myself a little slurry and I eat it with my free plastic spoon from Starbucks.  And it really is like it’s a – I’m serious, if you check out the label on this stuff, it is a blend of super foods, antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, enzymes, probiotics, amino acids, herbs, you know, you hear guys like Tim Ferriss talk about like athletic greens, and you hear other people talk about greens capsules and greens powders.  This stuff kicks the butt of anything I’ve ever tried in terms of like appetite satiations, taste, and hypo-allergenic potential.  So…

Brock:               That’s been my go-to-fuel for race morning.  Anytime I’m doing a race, that’s what I have for breakfast just like a quippy mess of that with some coconut water.

Ben:                   Yeah.  Do you think that I should actually tell people what’s in it?

Brock:               Ah, sure.

Ben:                   It might take a little while but let me…

Brock:               Yeah, it’s a very long list.

Ben:                   Let me go through this for a super duper quick.  I promise I make this quick.  A non-GMO brown rice and non-GMO yellow pea protein, barley grass leaf, whole raw chia seeds, organic spinach, organic kale, organic broccoli, organic ker, organic beet root, organic oat soluble beta-glucan fiber, spirulina, organic sea vegetable blend of bunch of different sea vegetables like dolci and kelp, and stuff like that.  A stabilized micro-encapsulated probiotic compound, every digestive enzyme that you need from cellulase to all your amylases, your peptodases, your papsyses, your lypases, etc. from an herbal standpoint – organic marshmallow root, turmeric, ginger root, stragulus, dandelion root, milk thistle extract, gingko biloba, full spectrum of antioxidants, glutathione, Co-enzyme Q10, alpha lipoic acid, grapeseed, green tea, quercetin, acetylcysteine, vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin B, vitamin A, vitamin D, vitamin K, all of your vitamins basically, and all the minerals: potassium, calcium, magnesium, trace mineral complex like 77 different minerals, zinc, silica, magnesium, boron, chromium, selenium, vanadium.  So, it is everything.  Granted you will get bored with it if you were to rely on this for every single meal that you eat, but I would definitely take this with you.  So, there’s that.  Next thing that I would take just because it mixes so well with pemmican and jerky with meal replacement powder, and even with just a banana like – a lot of times, all I have is this and a banana, I will just eat the banana on top of this.  And that is a good gluten-free, dairy-free, organic dark chocolate.  So look for this stuff.  There’s no soy in it either.  So, gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free, dark chocolate preferably so it doesn’t spike your blood sugar at least 75% cacao is my recommendation.  My number one top dark chocolate if I have to choose one on the face of the planet is the Eating Evolved Dark Chocolate.

Brock:               Oh, that’s so good!

Ben:                   They have one called Midnight Coconut that is 100% cacao.  So, like almost zero sugar – I’ll put a link to ‘em in the show notes but they call themselves Primal Chocolate and it’s just fair trade certified cacao, source from an organic farming cooperative in the Dominican Republic, it is gluten-free, soy-free, dairy-free, and the small amounts of sugar that they have in it is from a really, really nutrient dense, unrefined maple sugar, stoned –ground crafted in small batches in New York.


Good stuff.  So, I take some of that.

Brock:               One thing though, everybody like me who does not live in the US, they do not ship outside of the US.

Ben:                   But Burning Man is in Nevada.

Brock:               There you go.

Ben:                   So you could just get…

Brock:               So Gina is okay but the rest of us are screwed.

Ben:                   That’s right.  Next thing would be chia seeds.  I am a huge fan of chia seeds just because of their versatility, just because similar to bone broth, L-glutamine, colostrum, etc.  They’re very, very therapeutic to the gut.  Not that you will be consuming alcohol or doing anything else that may harm your gut (crosstalk)  however, chia seeds are just like – they’re like the next best thing, like vegan bone broths, so you just take chia seeds and you can mix them like the Living Fuel Super Greens that I was talking about.  Or you can just put them in water with a little bit of lemon juice and stevia, and sea salt.  You can just crunch on them and chew them like they’re incredibly versatile.  They’re incredibly filling about 60 calories in a tablespoon.  They’ve got amino acids, they’ve got fatty acids, they do have good amounts of omega 3-fatty acids like EPA and ALA in them.  Yes, unfortunately to all you vegans and vegetarians out there, only about 2% of that is actually converted into brain beneficial DHA but…

Brock:               Bummer!

Ben:                   … that doesn’t matter because it does have a lot of other really, really incredible properties to it.  So chia seeds…

Brock:               And it looks like weird fish eggs when you let it soak up the water.

Ben:                   That’s right.  So, that’s another one that I almost always travel with in addition to pemmican jerky, add some from powder and some healthy dark chocolate.  And then the last thing I would take even though the Super Greens already has spirulina in it is I would take like spirulina or chlorella just because it is the most nutrient-dense thing that you can eat on the face of the planet other than bacon and liver actually, spirulina/chlorella.  Since the Super Greens already has spirulina in it, if I were you I’ll do chlorella but there’s this company called Energy Bits, they make this stuff called Energy Bits which is spirulina but then they also make this stuff called Recovery Bits which is…

Brock:               Did you say Energy Bitch?

Ben:                   Energy Bitch, no.  I said Energy…

Brock:               It’s a name for a company though…

Ben:                   I tend to slur, I tend to slur as we get farther and farther into the podcast.  I said it’s chlorella.  The recovery bits that they make is 100% organic crack-cell wall chlorella.  I talked on the couple of episodes ago in detail in terms of all the different properties of chlorella, but as far as something very, very satiating, very nutrient-dense, and something that has a liver detoxification effects in terms of its ability to bind some of the things that have detoxify by your liver and pass them out through your stool, there in the desert.  That’s another one is chlorella, so, if you banish me to a desert island, or to an airplane for a long period of time, or the Burning Man, those are the five things that I would take.  I will put a discount codes or discount code links in all those goodies for those of you who access the show notes and just wanna handy-dandy list to get these stuff, go to and I’ll put it there but camping, hunting, burning man, etc. that’s the direction I’d go if you limited me to five things, just had me take those things, and if I had – well, how about this, Brock, if you’ve thrown a six, not to put you on the spot, what would you throw in?

Brock:               Oh man, that’s a good question.  I think I’ll throw in some sort of dehydrated coffee, just because I can’t go without my morning cup of Joe.

Ben:                   How about this – dual extracted mushroom coffee…

Brock:               That would do.

Ben:                   This stuff from Four Sigma Foods.  They make a mushroom coffee that will make your eyeballs pop out your head, and it’s got like detoxifying mushrooms, and adaptogens and all sorts of stuff in it.  So, the Four Sigma mushroom coffee, that’s a really, really good dehydrated coffee.  So, we’ll throw that one into.  So, there you have it.  Enjoy.  I’ll put all that stuff in the show notes as with everything else we talked about on today’s show.  So, speaking of talking about stuff on today’s show, let’s talk about the…

Brock:               Actually if anybody was wondering – is not taken.

Ben:                   Oh! Really?

Brock:               It’s still available if anybody wants to register. (chuckles)

Ben:                   Not anymore.  So anyways, yeah, and tell us what you wind up putting up there if you do.  Uh, we have a review!  If you hear your review read on the show, and by the way, one of the best ways to support the show is you just go to iTunes, (not hard) here’s how to do it: go to iTunes, do a search for Ben Greenfield.

Brock:               Step two…

Ben:                   Ignore anything that comes up except the one of me half naked jumping over wall looking like I just stole something from the convenience store.

Brock:               Rob the liquor stores with the stick.

Ben:                   That’s right, and click on that one, and then what you want to do is basically leave a star, actually five of them, and write your review.


And if you hear us read your review on the show, we will send you a handy-dandy gear pack with a Ben Greenfield fitness tech-shirt, water bottle, and a beanie or a tuque as Brock might say, and all you gotta do is email [email protected] and when you email [email protected], we will basically send all that straight to your front door whether you live in Colorado or Dubai, it doesn’t matter or Finland, or Helsinki, we’ll send it to you.

Brock:               Helsinki.

Ben:                   Helsinki.  So, we have a review from Tunnelrattt and Tunnelrattt, the title of the review – that which is a five-star review is “Want to feel stupid?” and as usual so that I don’t sound like I’m praising my own lips, ah, praising myself.  How’d you say that?  Praising myself with my own lips. (laughs)  Brock, will ah…

Brock:               That’s… don’t you have to have a rib remove to do that?

Ben:                   I also do like to praise my lips but Brock… Brock will go ahead and take this one away, Brock…

Brock:               I will.  Do you think anybody keeps listening at this point?

Ben:                   Yes they do because they always know that we end with something highly entertaining and stupid after we read the review.

Brock:               Oh okay.

Ben:                   So stick around.

Brock:               That’s the promise of stupidity.  Alright, this – the review goes like this: “This podcast has opened my eyes to a whole new world.  As a former minion…”  like those little animated guys?

Ben:                   Should we play the Disney song “A Whole New World”? at this point?

(Music Playing)

Brock:               Definitely not.  I don’t wanna do that to people.

Ben:                   (singing)  Go ahead, sorry to interrupt.

Brock:               Stuck in my head for the rest of the week now.  Damn it!  “As a former minion, I was going a long buying all that my parents had before me, whether it be food, cookware or vitamins.”

Ben:                   Sounds biblical, “my parents before me…”

Brock:               My parents before me.

Ben:                   And my parents before them.

Brock:               And my parents before them.  Hoopy cat, Joe, by hoopy hat begot always campy cat, Job.  Anyways, “Since listening to this I discovered a better way of living that will benefit my family moving forward.”

Ben:                   And generations to come.

Brock:               When I begot Job.  Uhm, where the hell was I.  Oh, I think this word is whether but it’s not spelled either the way that you spelled whether.  “I am cooking for my family or preparing for my next obstacle course race, there are beneficial tips for everyone in every episode.  Caution, Nerdville is visited often.”

Ben:                   Uhm, I have two thoughts on that.  First of all, way to work in words like minion and Nerdville.

Brock:               Uhmm.

Ben:                   Just because those are epic words that we should all use more often.  And second, learn how to freakin’ spell Gee, beneficial, whether.  I guess those the only two that he kinda…

Brock:               Actually Tunnelrattt has an excessive amounts of Ts.

Ben:                   Three Ts.  Got a little carried – Ts there.  Anyways though, that’s a great review kind of.  If you wanna feel stupid, listen to our show because Nerdville is visited often.

Brock:               I’m actually going to Nerville next week.

Ben:                   Really?

Brock:               Yeah.  Be there for like 3 or 4 days.

Ben:                   Nice, nice.  Will you take some minions along with you?

Brock:               Yup.  Absolutely.

Ben:                   Cool.  Awesome.  Well…

Brock:               My goal is to make everybody there feel stu… stu…stu…pid  bird…

Ben:                   Uh, visit if you are still listening and have not fallen off the bandwagon yet, and there are all sorts of handy-dandy links there.  So, if you like to clicky, visit and click away.  We will be back this weekend with a podcast episode… Brock, do you happen to recall what this weekend’s podcast episode is?

Brock:               Ahhh…

Ben:                   Although I spent an hour and a half with the guest, I’ve – for some reason I can never remember what the weekend podcast is to bring because usually I record them a week in advance, then forget whose up to bat so to speak.  Is it Tai Lopez?

Brock:               Yeah, I headed to the list so you know, I think Tai is on the 15th.

Ben:                   Ah wait…. It’s Ben Hewitt.  It’s called “How a steady diet of standard education is choking the creativity, health and fitness out of our kids and what you can do about it”.

Brock:               Holy crap.

Ben:                   Yeah, that’s right.  So, how can you not listen?  Anyways though, stay tuned this weekend and for that in the meantime, have a healthy week and we’ll talk to you later.


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

[1:11:02.0]     END


Shattering The Myths Of Detox Therapy, Infrared Saunas, Health Scams & More.

oxygen therapy

In today’s podcast, you get to meet my friend Alex Tarris. 

Alex’s job is to test and review health technology – stuff like saunas, biohacking gear, cold lasers, hyperbaric oxygen therapy and oxygen concentrators, steam generators, whole body vibration, rebounders, infrared mats –  you get the idea. He has a masters degrees in nutrition, and over a decade of experience working as a consultant for the sports, health and spa industries.
Sounds like an interesting job, especially in an industry fraught with cheap Chinese knock-offs, product scams, overpriced equipment and a severe lack of proven, credible research findings.
In this jam-packed podcast episode, I interview Alex about detoxing, saunas, popular wellness-enhancing gear, health scams and much more. Alex’s website is, where you can use code bengreen15 for a 15% discount on anything there (a few exclusions apply). Alex also has specifically mentioned you can also leave any comments or questions you have about our conversation below, and he’ll personally answer.
During our discussion, you’ll discover:
-The biggest benefits and the biggest risks of infrared saunas, and what you must be cautious with when you’re sitting in one…
-Why the woods from most companies that produce saunas are extremely unhealthy…
-What an oxygen concentrator is and how you can use it for something called “Exercise With Oxygen Therapy” (EWOT)…
-Why certain versions of hyperbaric oxygen therapy are actually illegal to buy in the USA…
-How the average steam room at a gym can fill your lungs with chlorine and fluoride, and how to easily make your own steam room in your own shower… 
-What Alex thinks about mini-trampolines, rebounders, and whole body vibration, and whether it is silly “fake” exercise…
-Why cheap, knock-off products such as elliptical trainers or whole body vibration can mess you up biomechanically…
-The difference between patented truly innovative functional features backed by engineering and research vs. features that are simply trademarked terms that a company is using for the marketing appeal of their content to entice you into an increased perceived value of their brand…
-What Alex would put in the “ultimate man cave” if he were going to build some kind of chamber that contained all the best personal health, detox, exercise equipment he could have in it.
-Why your elliptical machine could be destroying your hips and knees…
-And much more!
Again, for a 15% sitewide discount on anything Alex and I discuss in this episode, just visit, and use promo code bengreen15. Just put that promo code in the section that says Promocode in the Contact/Support page response form. That’ll give you 15% off anything on his site and you can use that code anytime, as much as you want (the specific sauna I use that Alex and I discuss in this episode is the “Clearlight Series Y Infrared Sauna – the code works on that sauna, but a few exclusions apply for other things on Alex’s site).
Resources we discuss during this episode:
Leave your questions, comments and feedback below and either Alex or I will respond!

Episode #326 – Full Transcript

Podcast #326 from


Introduction: In this episode of the Ben Greenfield Fitness show: Sleep Biohacks, Is Baby Powder Healthy, The Best Workout To Look Good Naked, Can You Reverse Tooth Cavities, How To Get A Stronger Neck 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.

Brock:               Good day to you, Ben. I hope your work space’s smells better than mine at the moment.  Our – my downstairs neighbors are super hippies…

Ben:                   Hmmm!

Brock:               they like burn incense all the time.  And…

Ben:                   Right.

Brock:               It’s been really hot and incense and then they’re smokers, so that delightful loft is coming in through my window right now.  They’re super nice people, really good friends, I bear them no ill will – it’s just the smell.

Ben:                   Like cigarette smokers.

Brock:               Yeah, cigarette smoke.  Cheap like patchouli or jasmine or something…

Ben:                   I was gonna ask if it was patchouli.

Brock:               Yeah.  And then it’s like 30 some degrees Celsius so – like a 100 or close to a 100 degrees.

Ben:                   I don’t have a – I don’t have a big issue with smaller amounts of patchouli.  Patchoulis actually got some pretty cool like therapeutic properties to it and it’s actually…

Brock:               The smell does? Or ingesting it?

Ben:                   Specifically for your skin.

Brock:               Oh!

Ben:                   It’s actually really good as like an anti-wrinkle type of lotion for the skin, but the problem of course is the scent and I do agree that hippies take it far too far when it comes to the patchouli application – that’s unfortunate, man.

Brock:               Yeah.

Ben:                   I’m sorry about that.

Brock:               It’s a bummer, it’s a bummer.

Ben:                   My office smells like a forest, it smells amazing.

Brock:               (laughs)  Because you live in a forest!

Ben:                   Mmm, yeah.  No, actually I defused evergreen essential oil into my office – it reduces cortisol.

Brock:               Oh yeah!  I remember that study – they were putting little drops on like even if you are in a hotel room and downtown Tokyo or something, you could take some evergreen oil and you would have the same reaction as doing like forest bathing?

Ben:                   Probably would work in places other than Tokyo, too.

Brock:               (laughs) I just probably…

Ben:                   But yeah, the…

Brock:               Limited to central Japan.

Ben:                   I put it on Instagram.  I posted – I don’t know if people follow me on Instagram but over on whatever my Instagram name is bengreenfieldfitness.

Brock:               I think its bengreenfieldfitness – very inventive.

Ben:                   Yeah, inventive.   Then – I posted you know, you only allowed to do 15 second videos on Instagram but I showed like this little – I used a water-based vacuum and defused essential oils into my office, and I used this Evergreen essential oil which contains the same compounds that they used in like this concept of a shinrin yoku or forest bathing or cortisol reduction so, yeah.

Brock:               You used a water based vacuum like the vacuum of your floors?

Ben:                   Mmm-hmm.  Yeah.

Brock:               What is water here?

Ben:                   Jessa and I just talked about it in a recent Inner Circle podcast.

Brock:               Ah, yeah.

Ben:                   And I also got a guy on about a one hour long show that I’m gonna release hopefully in the next three to four weeks on this podcast about like water-based versus dry based vacuums and the difference in terms of like controlling things like fungi and mold and dust mites and stuff like that, so.

Brock:               So you’re telling me I’ll just have to wait to find out?

Ben:                   You just gotta wait, man.

Brock:               Alright.  Alright.

Ben:                   Be patient.  Sniff some patchouli.

Brock:               Fine.  Fine. (laughs) I am, oddly enough.

Ben:                   If you can’t beat them, join them.

News Flashes:

Brock:               And if you can’t beat them, you may as well join them over at where you can get all of these news flashes and then have us hammer them home on a weekly basis right now.

Ben:                   Every single news flash that I wanna talk about in today’s show is about sleep.

Brock:               Hmmm, nice!

Ben:                   It’s pretty cool.

Brock:               I need to get in the fetal position while you read them.

Ben:                   Yeah, I’ve been getting really, really good sleep lately – like I’ve been sleeping like eight to nine hours a night, and just like glorious sleep where you wake up feeling incredibly well rested.  And you know I’ve doing a variety of things to accomplish that probably I would say that my top two sleep hacks of late – if you want to call them hacks:


number one is the CBD stuff that we’ve talked about on a few shows before just taking the CBD that’s…

Brock:               I believe we could say that we’ve talked about it ad nauseam.

Ben:                   …mixed with ashwaganda and lemon balm and then blush, really good sex – there’s nothing like really good sex…

Brock:               Hmmm.  True.  Very true.

Ben:                   …to sleep like a baby so.

Brock:               The best naps I’ve ever had in my life right after a good afternoon delight.

Ben:                   Fat-firing and all cylinders when it comes to that, so but…

Brock:               What’s firing on all cylinders?

Ben:                   Ah, just like sleep and sex, and all that stuff – CBD (chuckles).  Anyways though, some people don’t need much sleep and that was the first thing that I tweeted out about this week was that some people really truly can genetically get by on less sleep.  This is really interesting because a lot of times we say, oh when you hear folks like whatever, Bill Clinton, or Oprah say that they get by in four hours of sleep.  Some people will indeed scoff and say that simply not true and that everybody needs.

Brock:               (cough sounds) I’m scoffing.

Ben:                   (laughs) Are you scoffing or you’re coughing up the hairball?

Brock:               A little bit of both (laughs).

Ben:                   So there is this tiny mutation in a gene called DEC2 that they’ve discovered in people who are reported short-sleepers, and what they found is that when they breed mice to express this same mutation, the mice sleep less but they perform just as well as regular mice on physical tasks and on cognitive tasks.  And the article that I linked to in the show notes goes into the life of some of these people who have DEC2 mutations and for example, one of the people that they profile in the article has this short-sleeping patterns that allow them to sleep – I believe they’re like a midnight to 4 AM-ish sleeper.  And this one lady – you know, she’s running ultra marathons now just ‘cause she has so much time on her hands that she gets up at 3 a.m., and she runs, and she has a full time job, and she’s like an over-achiever, and she’s getting a great deal out of life based on the fact that she has this DEC2 mutation, and so some people actually do have this.  I question and I would be interested to see if it actually makes you die earlier…

Brock:               Mmm.

Ben:                   …because you know when you think about living life at a fast forward pace, right? There would be advantages and that you would accomplish a lot more than the time that you do have, but I would be interested to see like a long term study on this mice or perhaps they can do it in fruit flies or whatever because those are very easy to study when it comes to life span because they have such a high turnover.  But you know, study this DEC2 mutation and see if there’s got to be a trade off somewhere, right?

Brock:               And so they didn’t looked at the telomere length or anything like that?

Ben:                   They didn’t, and you know as I’ve heard many folks say before, there’s no such thing as a biological free pass, right? So…

Brock:               Yeah.  Or free lunch.

Ben:                   But it is interesting that some people really truly genetically can get by on less sleep so…

Brock:               I can’t say that I’m jealous on that mutation.

Ben:                   (chuckles)

Brock:               But if I was an X-Men I’d would not want that to be my mutation.

Ben:                   I know, I know.  I wanna shoot lasers out my eyes.

Brock:               Yeah.

Ben:                   I don’t want to get by on less sleep.

Brock:               Hey, I can sleep for two hours, check me out!

Ben:                   But here’s another interesting thing.  A study that they did – this was published in the Journal Sleep – it was a study at the University of Washington School of Medicine in which they followed this women for a year, and they studied what type of exercise and movement protocols at which times of day resulted in the best impact on sleep quality.  And what they found was that no matter when you exercise, the exercising at least 30 minutes a day causes improvements in the ability to fall asleep.  Now that’s actually referred to if you wanna use the propeller hot term as your ‘sleep latency’.  So when your sleep latency is high that means you’re taking a longer time to fall asleep, but if you exercise for at least a half-hour per day, your sleep latency decreases and interestingly, if you exercise but you don’t exercise for at least a half-hour, there is no effect on sleep latency.  So, that was one thing that they found.  Another thing that they found was that you can exercise in the evening but if your exercise session ends within three hours of the time that you are going to go to bed – it actually has a deleterious effect on sleep latency.


And you have trouble falling asleep – so for example, bed time is 10 p.m., and you finish exercising at any time after 7 p.m., it has a deleterious effect on sleep.  So ultimately you know, for this – you know, I’ve recommended before that you do an afternoon/early evening exercise session if you’re going to do a hard exercise session because that’s the best time of the day to do it.  Your core temperature peaks and your reaction time peaks, and your post-workout protein synthesis peaks, but you need to be careful of that if you are doing that and you want to enhance your sleep quality to the greatest extent possible, you finish up within three hours of bedtime.  So it was very interesting.  And another thing that they found was that stretching you know, like yoga instead of say, exercise actually have the same effect on sleep as exercise did, right? So returning back to that concept of exercising at least 30 minutes a day to enhance sleep, it doesn’t have to be say like high intensity interval training or weight training – stretching did just as well or had just as great an impact as exercise did on sleep quality.  And so you could do instead of you know, 30 minutes of weight training, if it’s up your alley and it sounds like maybe it’s up your hippie neighbor’s alley, Brock – they can do 30 minutes of yoga and instead of 30 minutes of say, dead lifts and squats – so.

Brock:               Yeah.

Ben:                   Yeah, interesting study and I’ll link to that in the show notes and all of the show notes by the way for today’s podcast are at  That’s

Brock:               My interest is always peak to a new start of as by saying the study was based on following women around for a year.

Ben:                   Mmm.  Yeah.

Brock:               It just sounds so creepy.

Ben:                   Yeah, it is kinda creepy.

Brock:               I was – I started dialing 911 when you started like that.

Ben:                   Yeah, yeah.  And granted you always have to look at the subjects, right?  In this study, these were overweight women who started off at the beginning of the study sedentary, right?  So maybe this wouldn’t apply as much to the population that whereabouts talk about professional athletes.

Brock:               Alright.

Ben:                   So this was a cool article.  This appeared in The Guardian and it is about all of the extremely nerdy practices that they’re implementing with professional athletes to enhance their sleep. And it’s particularly focused on this gentlemen named Nick Littlehales who is a former golf pro, and then worked in the bedding industry, and now works with elite sporting organizations and teams to help them enhance sleep and recovery – sounds like it can be a fascinating podcast guest by the way, so I may need to work on that.

Brock:               Alright.

Ben:                   But a few of the very interesting things that the study gets into that peak my interest, first of all, one of the things that they hook these professional athletes up with are mattress toppers.  So they travel with these what they call bedding toppers which are thin layers of foam that have actually been customized to the body shape and the requirements of each athletes – you can take them, you can put them on top of an existing hotel mattress or if that mattress isn’t suitable, the floor and the person who’s using that bedding topper can – like wraps around them, they can sleep on it without even feeling the floor or without even feeling the effects of say like a crappy mattress in a hotel room, and they travel with these.  So this is something that’s used currently by Team Sky’s Tour de France cyclists – so they’re these sleep kits that include a bedding topper.  A few other things that they do particularly with these professional cyclists is they put filters over the air-conditioning vents to remove allergens from the room.  You know, both of these are theoretically things that anyone listening in could do, right? Like you could probably find a bedding topper and I believe that the company Essentia – the same company who I purchase my master bedroom mattress from, I think they make bedding toppers.  I know they do customized mattresses from any professional athletes and I pretty sure they make toppers as well but they – you could theoretically also get a filter like a Hepa filter, or portable filter and put that near the air-conditioning vent in a hotel room – this is what they’re doing with this Tour de France cyclists.  They’re also having them wear nasal strips while sleeping to open their airways and to help them avoid mouth breathing or waking up with like obstructive sleep apnea.  So these are all – you know, this may sound extreme but they’ve actually found this to enhance their sleep and enhance their recovery.  So we’ve got filters, we’ve got nasal strips, we’ve got bedding toppers as three things that they travel with. 


                           Now you know, some of the study or some of the articles goes into things that we all know about when it comes to proper sleep hygiene, right? Like adjusting the room temperature to 65 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit or you know, losing blackout curtains or black out masks to keep things completely dark using binaural beats or inner plugs to not ingest the sound while you’re sleeping.  But then they also go into a few other interesting things, for example, they found that right handed athletes sleep best on the right side of the bed but on their left side.  So right handed athletes…

Brock:               Yeah.

Ben:                   is the right side of the bed…

Brock:               So facing towards…

Ben:                   a little bit on the left side – you would face out towards the – no, if you’re sleeping in the left side and you’re on the right side of the bed…

Brock:               Oh yeah, yeah.

Ben:                   you’d be facing out to the wall or the window or whatever, and vice-versa which I thought was interesting because I am a right handed athlete but I actually sleep on the left side of the bed on my right side and so I – you know, after reading this article I thought, “Huh, it’d be interesting to experiment with if it does influence my sleep quality to sleep on the right side of the bed on my left side.”  So…

Brock:               Will that be an issue for Jessa? Like do you guys have you side of the bed that you sleep on all the time?

Ben:                   Hmmm, we kinda do.  We weren’t that picky like sometimes when we were travelling, it’s just like whoever happens to hop into whichever side of the bed – you know, that’s the side of the bed we get – so no, we’re not incredibly picky when it comes to that it wouldn’t be a big deal to kinda experiment with that.  But the article is very interesting.  I’d love to get this guy on the show to go on into some of these things.  I personally have made a note to myself to look into specifically three things that peak my interest in the article in addition to which side of the bed that I sleep on and that would be: “Do they make some kind of like a filter that I can place over the vent of a hotel room when I’m traveling to assist with air quality?” Or like a portable Hepa filter?

Brock:               Yeah.

Ben:                   And so I’m going to research that, and by the way, if you’re listening in and you’ve got leads or your own ideas, leave them in the comments section.  I’m going to try-out this concept using a nasal strip during sleep to assist with breathing and to reduce any issues with obstructed sleep apnea and then the last thing is this idea of a custom bedding topper.  I’m gonna be speaking with Essentia this week and researching a few other resources for potentially custom fit bedding toppers so, there we go – the things we do when we’re bored and we want better sleep.

Special Announcements:

Ben:                   So, Brock have been swinging around the staple head.

Brock:               I – you’ve been swinging around the what? (laughs)

Ben:                   Staple head.  I have this kettle bell, it’s the Zombie with who’s got like staples all over their head.

Brock:               Ohhh, okay.

Ben:                   It’s the new Onnit Zombiebell and I posted – here again, I’ll reference to Instagram – I posted this to Instagram.  Actually, I – my head got big, I got a lot of comments from people about how ripped they thought I looked in this photo.

Brock:               Actually you looked like you’re made of plastic.

Ben:                   Yes, I’m…

Brock:               So delighting.

Ben:                   My boys took this photo of me when I was swinging around this kettlebell downstairs, and it’s posted to Instagram but it’s a Zombiebell and Onnit, the company Onnit makes these – they make incredibly unique fitness equipment.  And in this case they have these new Zombiebells and in the past I’ve posted photos of their Chimp Bells, right? Like their monkey-faced…

Brock:               Yeah, those are awesome.

Ben:                   kettlebells – I’m a big fan of these type of kettlebells just ‘cause they’re like works of art, right?  Like you leave them lying around and actually looked kinda cool.  So, anyways, Onnit is a sponsor of today’s show and all that means is that Onnit puts a few nickels in the hat to go towards everything from our bandwidth cost to the time and cost associated with producing this show and they also hook you guys up with the discounts.  So if you go to, that’s, you can get a 5% on any of the fitness gear like the kettlebells or the staple heads or the zombies (laughs) which by the way, my children when I first got the Zombiebell asked if we could put it outside because they weren’t sure if they wanted it inside ‘cause they thought they might have bad dreams.

Brock:               Yeah, I don’t blame them.  They’re only seven.

Ben:                   I explain to them it was just a kettlebell, and they wound up doing just fine.  And you can also get a 10% discount on supplements from Onnit.  People ask me what kind of supplements from Onnit that I use – I’m a big fan of their foods, right? Their functional foods like they have like the Himalayan sea salt and the walnut butter and the bison bars and a lot of things that are just tasty and good for you all the same time.  So you get 10% discount on their supplements and their foods, 5% discount on dead kettlebells  –


– so all that’s at and I’ll even over at the show notes, I’ll put this Instagram photo of me swinging around the Zombiebell, looking all plasticky.

Brock:               Cool.

Ben:                   So there is that.  Another thing that I wanted to mention was that I have recorded the audio version of every single chapter of my new work of fiction, ‘The Forest’ and we are now up to chapter six in that book.  You can…

Brock:               (curse word)! I’m way behind!

Ben:                   Yeah.

Brock:               I’m still on chapter four and now you’re at six!

Ben:                   You can listen to the audio version or you can read it for free over at, and you can read it on Wattpad which is the world’s largest platform for finding really cool, free books: both works of fiction and non-fiction – it’s one of my favorite apps now on my phone because when I’m bored and I wanna read a chapter of a – I follow a few authors there and I simply can pull it open and read a chapter serially.  Typically a chapter is 2,000 to 5,000 words, so you can get through pretty quickly and on my book, I’m actually recording each chapter and it was kinda interesting – my kids were listening to my book the other day as they sat on the couch beside me, so I was reading to them, well, actually not reading to them because they were just listening to the audio book version I was off doing my own thing.  It was kind of surreal.

Brock:               Hmmph.

Ben:                   I felt like a celebrity, so check that out at  And then for any of you in the Colorado area, just a quick shout out, I’ll be flying down into Denver this weekend and then coming in towards the Colorado Springs/Castlerock area and I will be there competing in the Train to Hunt Competition – the Train to Hunt National Championships.  And then afterwards, I’ll be headed over to Fort Carson to speak there at the Army Base and so if you happen to be at Fort Carson Army Base or you happen to be out in the wilderness hunting, come say ‘hello’!

                           Get the inside edge from Ben Greenfield Fitness delivered straight to your phone.  Just text the word ‘fitness’ to 411-247 and you’ll instantly get exclusive VIP discounts and insider tips that no one else will ever see except you.  Do it now.  Text the word ‘fitness’ to 411-247 and you’ll be in Ben’s VIP text club for FREE!

Listener Q & A:

Preston:            Hey Ben.  So I’m fresh out the shower and you’re the first one I wanna talk to.  What’s the deal with Baby Powders specifically talc and cancer?  I see stuff online, is it true?  Can you get down to the bottom of it? Thanks.

Brock:               There’s nothing quite like just talcing yourself up especially on a hot day…

Ben:                   Hmmm.

Brock:               when you know you’re gonna get sticky, it does…

Ben:                   Yeah.

Brock:               it does keep you a little more fresh, but…

Ben:                   I like to get into the Happy Baby pose – the yoga Happy Baby pose and then I have…

Brock:               especially in the middle of the YMCA change room (chuckles)…

Ben:                   Yes!

Brock:               Ben’s on his back and his legs in the air, talcing himself up.

Ben:                   I typically have an assistant or a loved one do the talcing.

Brock:               Hmmm.

Ben:                   And I just lay in the Happy Baby pose with a big toothy smile on my face. So…

Brock:               (laughs)

Brock:               … just neat.  Now the American Academy of Pediatrics actually now recommends against using baby powders and a lot of pediatricians are saying that too and the issue is the talc.  So, many manufacturers of Baby Powder have removed the talc, you can look at the ingredient label and it will either say talc or it will say hydrated magnesium silicate.

Brock:               Ah, well!

Ben:                   Yes.

Brock:               That’s a great idea!

Ben:                   And the reason for that, is that – that’s a very fining ground particle made of stone and because of that, that talc can be contaminated with other substances and in its raw state, talc actually contains asbestos.  So, industrial exposure to asbestos is of course linked to lung disease and lung cancer and probably isn’t the best thing for your baby to be accidentally inhaling or for you to be inhaling if you happen to be talcing yourself.  So yes, I do not encourage the use of Baby Powder or the use of talcum powder – whatever you’d like to call it.  And it has been shown actually that it doesn’t just increase the risk of lung cancer but particularly in women who are using talcum powder to their genitals or using one of these female deodorant sprays that has talc in it. It was found that they had 50 to 90% higher risk of ovarian cancer.

Brock:               Woah!

Ben:                   Yeah.  And then of course, there’s a lung damage and the lung cancer issues, so I’d be very careful with it.  Now one thing to be aware of is that even if you aren’t a Baby Powder fanatic, talc is actually a common ingredient that you’ll find in many cosmetics like eye shadow, deodorants as I mentioned, soaps, lipsticks especially in many women’s products.


So the Environmental Working Group EWG has a great website which they list many, many different products that contain talc including a number of body powders, we’ll link in the show notes to that environmental working group’s website and their analysis of many of these personal care products that may have talc in them but my recommendation will be of course to avoid those.  So what can you use especially if…

Brock:               That’s exactly what I was just going to ask.

Ben:                   Are we old baby? Or you wanna put a little talcum on your little genitals?

Brock:               (laughs)

Ben:                   That didn’t sound like a baby as much as like a – there’s more like a cockney accent.  Put a talcum on your genitals?

Brock:               That was just creepy.

Ben:                   Uhmm.

Brock:               Don’t talk about my genitals with that voice, ever. (laughs)

Ben:                   Anyways, like I mentioned, you could go to an environmental working group’s website that we’ll link to in the show notes and you could just find it a good version that’s talc-free but it’s very, very easy using a base and simply essential oil to create your own little sore bottom soothing substance.  So the best thing – and this is actually something good to have around for any type of Baby Powder/deodorant, get yourself some arrowroot powder or organic cornstarch – either of the two work quite well on their good ingredients to have around for personal care product creation, anything that involves powder.  So arrowroot powder…

Brock:               That’s what they use in like gold bond, right?

Ben:                   Yes, yes.  And by the way, I am – my wife makes a powder, like a deodorant powder, excuse me, that uses arrowroot as a base.  I’m a little bit lazy, I can’t tell you right now – I use the Hammer Nutrition Cool Feet powder and when I’m travelling and wearing like compression pants for example, I’ll pour a bunch of that in the crotchal  regions or I’ll – like when I’m wearing compression socks which also tend to get a little bit stinky or if I’ve got like an international flight, I will just dump a bunch of that into the socks but that’s called the Cool Feet and that uses arrowroot as a base as well.  And it’s got stuff like clove and all sorts of…

Brock:               Yeah, sort of minty…

Ben:                   Tasty…

Brock:               smelly…

Ben:                   minty, smelling stuff…

Brock:               menthol kind of thing.

Ben:                   Yeah.  So anyways though, but if you wanna make your own homemade baby powder – incredibly easy – just get about a half cup to a full cup of arrowroot powder or organic cornstarch and then get the some essential oil.  I like chamomile for this…

Brock:               Do you say “get these”? – “Get these some essential oil, Mave.”

Ben:                   (laughs) That’s a very good prophet voice.

Brock:               Yes.

Ben:                   So you want about a few drops – you don’t need much if you’re using essential oil and now if you’re – you can make something very much like an essential oil, you can get like chamomile flowers and you can powder them in a blender or food processor but frankly, I just think the oil is easier.  So you get a little essential oil and you’ll put about five to ten drops of that in with the half cup to full cup of arrowroot powder or organic cornstarch and that’s it. (laughs)

Brock:               Next.

Ben:                   Just stir that together 5 minutes then…

Brock:               That’s my kind of recipe.

Ben:                   boom! Done! So there’s the only two ingredients that you need and now you too can not get lung cancer or ovarian cancer.

Brock:               Or a stinky crotch.

Anonymous:    Hi Ben Greenfield.  Well basically, I think I’m really fat and I’m sort of insecure.  I just wanna know how to get a slim body, a slim butt and a slim thighs and I would love if – I would just love if you’d help me – I don’t like to do exercise or dieting, I just wanna eat normally.  Like can you just give me a trick and like how to get my metabolism high?  Been like to live in so much research and come to anything like I don’t like a real, real thigh gap or anything, I just want thin, just a thin line of a gap.  I just want – that’s how I feel comfortable ‘cause a lot of my clothes I feel like I’m just too big.  I’m not huge but I’m like a size 8 to 12, I’m not sure that’s around with my age, so please help me.  Thank you.

Ben:                   It’s a beautiful accent.

Brock:               It is, it is!  Especially when she says, ‘thigh gap’. 


Ben:                   You know, I try and avoid making too many comments on our listener callings when it comes to a voice tone or quality, accents and etc.  just because the few times that I’ve done that, we’ve received some really nasty emails and comments about everything from racism to rudeness, to my complete lack of skill when it comes to replicating accents or even identifying the region of the world that those accents came from.  So I’m pretty careful, so I’m just gonna say beautiful accent and leave it there.  So anyways…

Brock:               Good call.

Ben:                   Anyways though, yeah – the thing is, that you will see recommendations made often to women who wants to fill their clothes out or perhaps become more curvaceous or even say look good naked you know, whether you’re a man or a woman to lift weights.  And the fact is that in some cases even though weight lifting can come in quite handy when it comes to a good workout to look good naked or to get good curves and good tone and good lean muscle, it’s not necessarily the only thing that you need to do.  And I get this – I get questions kind of like this a lot and so I’m – the way that I wanna answer this is in a manner that will equip you if you’re listening to put together a workout that will allow you to look good naked, that will allow you to kinda have a fitness program that enhances longevity and enhances every aspect of particularly your cardiovascular and your muscular fitness because it’s not that hard.  It’s not rocket science based off of the research that we have to put together a program that achieves all of these, right? Like the ultimate combination of fat loss, cardio-vascular fitness and muscular fitness because if you have those things in place you will look good naked.  So get out your notepad, get out your pad, take that pen out of your ear and here is what you need to do…

Brock:               (laughs) Out of your ear?

Ben:                   (laughs) Or your back.

Brock:               Or from behind you?

Ben:                   Behind your – that’s right. (laughs)  Why don’t just gem a pen in my ear be it gently kinda put it behind my ear.  Okay, so the first thing that you wanna make sure that you do is you want to maintain cardiovascular fitness.  This is not necessarily the look good naked part of things, this is more the longevity part of things and what I want to give you are the things that are going to give you the most of bang for your buck when it comes to doing things like maintaining cardiovascular fitness.  So write this down: step number one…

Brock:               Alright.

Ben:                   …every once every week to once every two weeks, what you should do is five 4-minute high intensity efforts – five 4-minute high intensity efforts and those are separated by about 4 minutes of  recovery, okay? And the study…

Brock:               A good, good long recovery…

Ben:                   Yep, so this particularly hits what’s called your VO2 max – maximal oxygen consumption – many people do this type of training too much.  I am not at this point talking about professional athletes, triathletes, marathoners, people who are working towards the specific goals such as you know, as a Spartan race sort of – we’re just talking about fitness for life, okay? Write this down, no, number one: once every week to once every two weeks – you wanna do approximately five 4-minute high intensity interval sessions in which you’re going at your maximum sustainable pace for those 4 minutes and you’re recovering for 4 minutes in between each, okay?  So that’s…

Brock:               So you should be gassed by the end of this.

Ben:                   That’s…

Brock:               It should be giving you a running; you should be like hands-on, knees, gasping for air kinda thing.

Ben:                   Ah, no.

Brock:               No?

Ben:                   No, because it is impossible to achieve that amount of exhaustion from a 4-minute effort.  That amount of exhaustion will be something you’d achieve with more like a 30 or 60 second all out bout, so this 4-minute efforts are your maximum sustainable pace, okay?  So generally…

Brock:               It’s more of like a threshold kinda effort?

Ben:                   It’s very, very close to maximum heart rate but not to the point where you’re giving yourself a heart attack, okay?

Brock:               (laughs)

Ben:                   (chuckles) So…

Brock:               Good advice.

Ben:                   So basically, that step one and that’s going to address the VO2 max, okay? The VO2 max component of your cardio-vascular fitness.  Step number two is that you’ll also want to increase what’s called your muscular endurance and your aerobic capacity.  And when we look at studies that have looked into the best way to improve a combination of muscular endurance anaerobic capacity, you cannot beat the Tabata exercise protocol.  And the Tabata exercise protocol is 4 minutes of 20 seconds very hard, 10 seconds very easy – 


Now in ideal scenario, based off of the research out there in exercise science, you would want to be doing this three times per week.  So three times per week, you choose the exercise – you could do burpees, you could do mountain climber, you could do jumping jacks, you could do squats, you could hop on a bicycle, elliptical trainer, you could use a pool – whatever, but a Tabata set in which you warm up, and it can be a 2-minute to a 10-minute warm-up, you know whatever time you have available and then 4 minutes: 20 seconds on, 10 seconds off and then a cool down, that’s it.  Okay, you don’t have to do that 4 minutes two times or three times or five times or ten times to make yourself feel good about yourself that you had a full hour of Tabata training, ultimately it’s just eight 20 seconds set, right? 4 minutes, 20 seconds on, 10 seconds off but, you’re consistent doing that three times a week, okay?

Brock:               Mmm.  Cool.

Ben:                   So that is for your muscle endurance and your aerobic capacity – what’s called your…

Brock:               Now should you mix that up like one day you did it on the bike, should the next time you do it…

Ben:                   Yeah.

Brock:               – you should do burpees or swim…

Ben:                   Yep, ideally mixed modes, okay?

Brock:               Yeah.

Ben:                   So now, you check out a few things…  Yep, you’ve got your once every one to two weeks, you’re doing your five 4-minute high intensity rounds, and then three times a week, you’re doing a Tabata set, you choose the effort, okay? And then the next thing is you want to work on what is called your mitochondrial biogenesis.  So while the Tabata sets are indeed going to help you with your muscle endurance and your aerobic capacity, for your mitochondrial biogenesis – the creation of new mitochondrial which are like the power plants of your cells, which are going to assist with everything from fat oxidation to longevity.  The research that’s been shown to work the best when it comes to activating mitochondrial biogenesis are four 30-second all out sprints.  The best mode to do this all out sprints in an ideal scenario would be a bicycle which is very, very easy especially on a stationary bicycle to do four 30-second all out sprints.  These 30-second all out sprints should be separated by full recovery – we’re talking about four good minutes of rest at least, okay? So these are more like the all out like you’re just like exhausted hanging over the handle bars like you were kinda talking about, Brock – like that’s where these come in, okay?  And similar to what I recommended for you to do when it comes to your VO2 max, right? Five 4-minute efforts followed by 4-minute recovery periods, once every one to two weeks – same thing with these all out 30-second sprints, okay? You only need four of them and you can do this once every week to once every two weeks, think about this like taking a fire hose to your arteries, okay? And again, it’s four full recovery after these, and remember that when we talk about an exercise program that allows you to like you know, look good naked for life and maintain longevity, it’s suppose to be doable, right? So I could tell you to do four 30-seconds sprint four times a week but your (chuckles) I can’t guarantee you’re gonna do that ‘till you’re 80, right? But doing four 30-seconds sprints followed by full recovery once every one to two weeks, you could wrap your head around doing that ‘till your 80, right? Like it’s not that big of a deal – you could do it running, it’s just that you know, there’s this exercise science protocol called the Wingate test – it’s a horribly difficult test but it’s an all out 30-second test of your power production.  Try doing four of those with full recovery and you’ll understand why it really only takes once every one to two weeks to actually get a response by doing this, okay? So that’s kinda like step number three or part number three you’re going to include in your protocol are these 30-seconds sprints.  Okay, but we are not done yet – there are two other things that I’d recommend that you include as part of your protocol.

Brock:               The next one is 5 hours worth of very slow run…

Ben:                   (laughs)

Brock:               every second day.

Ben:                   No, the next one is you wanna control your blood sugar, particularly your postprandial insulin levels.  And there is a great deal of evidence out there that movement in either a.) a fasted state in the morning at a low level intensity or b.) after dinner or if you’d like, if you had the time, both is very, very effective when it comes to blood sugar control and insulin insensitivity.  So the next thing that you wanna do is every single day, make it a goal to either a.) walk or swim or move or do yoga or do something for 15 to 20 minutes in the morning, and or 15 to 20 minutes after dinner and this could literally be you walking the dog for 15 minutes in the morning and for 15 minutes after dinner.


                           I know this sounds stupid and silly, etc., but these are the little things that if you put them all together are going to give you a really, really good program for life, okay? So, 15 to 20 minutes in the morning and or 15 to 20 minutes in the evening, okay? And this is to control postprandial blood glucose, and to just control your or to improve your insulin sensitivity.  And if you do this in the morning in fasted state is better, okay?

Brock:               Cool.

Ben:                   So, makes sense? And then the last part, the glaring part that everyone’s gonna be you know, jumping through the airwaves pointing out is that we haven’t talked much about muscular strength right about the lifting heavy stuff component.  Here is what I think is the ultimate scenario when it comes to doability and longevity and the ability to stay consistent with the program – once per week do a body weight exercise program.  I am actually a big fan of this whole like 7-minute workout that they reported on like the New York Times which was just basically 30-seconds on, 10-seconds off of in this case they did jumping jacks, wall sits, push-ups, crunches, step-ups, squats, steeps, planks, running in place, lunges, push-ups with rotation and inside planks – that was it.

Brock:               Cool.

Ben:                   That was it.  And…

Brock:               It was like fifty things. (chuckles)

Ben:                   You could do that, it’s 12 movements and you could just – you know, well we can – we’ll link in the show notes to the 7-minute workout protocol that this is based on and it actually is a study that they did on this.  They later reported on it in the New York Times but it’s just a very, very basic 7-minute body weight exercise routine, okay? That you could technically do you know, more than one time through, okay? I wouldn’t do it more than three times through if you’re really just focused on sticking with things, you know, for life.  But basically it’s a high intensity body weight circuit training: 30-seconds on, 10-seconds off – so that’s once per week and on the other day of the week, you’re doing heavy lifting and if I could choose one style of heavy lifting – okay, at the risk of having all the U.S.A. weight lifting coaches and CrossFitters and power lifters jumping down my throat here, it would be very basic 12 to 15-minute super slow strength protocol outlined in Doug McGuff’s book ‘Body by Science’, okay?

Brock:               Mmm.  Yeah.

Ben:                   That’s it.  That’s it and I had an interview with Doug McGuff and I can link to it in the show notes that goes into why I recommend that – the science behind that protocol when it comes to increasing for a blood pressure, lowering central blood pressure, increasing strength, increasing joint help all at the same time, okay? So, once you put all these together – okay, 5 by 4-minute efforts with 4-minute recoveries, three Tabata sets per week, the four all out 30-second bouts of exercise once every one to two weeks, the walking for 15 to 20 minutes or light low of movement 15 to 20 minutes morning, 15 to 20 minutes after dinner and then one body weight protocol and one like super slow strength protocol per week.  If you will walk up to me right now and say, “Ben, you wanna live ‘till you’re 120 years old, you want an exercise program that you can wrap your head around that will make you look good naked, make you be able to handle plenty of sports that you jump into like tennis or golf or whatever, and allow you to just kinda stick with for life, that is exactly what I would do.  I would drop all the triathlon training, and the Spartan training, and everything else ‘cause I’ve never argue that’s good for you or good for longevity, or even necessarily makes you look good naked more than the program I’ve just outlined.  That’s more like notch in the belt, climb your own personal Mount Everest type of stuff.  And I would simply do the protocol that I’ve just outlined for you.  So, there you go.  I hope you took out your flashcard and pull the pen off from your ear, and wrote that down, and that is what I, would do.  I can guarantee, if you’re to do that program, your thighs will not touch but you’ll still look pretty good.  So, there you go.

Chad:                 Hey Ben, this is Chad from Raleigh, North Carolina.  I recently went to the dentist and they’re saying that I have an abscess on a tooth and need a root canal.  I’ve done some research and there’s definitely some mix research out there in terms of the long term deleterious effects of root canals.  Just wanna see what your opinion is and if there’s a way to naturally reverse early stages of an abscess.  Thank you.

Ben:                   Oh, the root canal – have you ever had a root canal, Brock?

Brock:               Thank goodness, no.

Ben:                   Uhmm, neither have I.  I’ve actually – I’ve never had a cavity or root canal, or a filling, I’ve actually been to the dentist, I think, maybe, eight times in my entire life.


I never had braces, just didn’t merely doing that stuff.  Now granted I also only have three teeth and… (chuckles)

Brock:               There’s that.  (chuckles)  Old jumper.

Ben:                   Play the banjo quite well, but no ultimately, the reason that I’m glad for that is because of the issue with root canals that, you know, and… gosh when we did our flouride episode I think we had like 18 different members of the American Dental Association leaving very concerned comments on that particular post when we recommended that you actually defloridate your water, and talk about all the issues with flouride, but we make it the same thing when we talk about root canals. We’ll see. So…

Brock:               I hope so.

Ben:                   Here’s the deal.  What I’m gonna tell you is why you don’t want a root canal, what you can do instead, and how to ensure that you don’t really need root canals in the first place, also how to keep your teeth more white.

Brock:               (curse word)  So…

Ben:                   So there you go.

Brock:               So, is this gonna be like an hour?

Ben:                   No, no.  I’ll keep it quick.  I will, I will not get in to nitty-gritty details but I will give you the basics.  So, root canals are basically – a root canalled teeth are basically dead teeth that if you allow them to stay dead become little incubators for anaerobic bacteria and this anaerobic bacteria can make its way into the blood stream and cause a lot of serious medical conditions later on.  So, I will talk about why that is the issue, but the fact is the American Dental Association claims root canals are safe but they have zero published at it or actual research to substantial that claim, and I would argue that root canals are not safe and we can trace this back to initial research done by Doctor Weston A. Price of the Weston A. Price Foundation.  Hi Weston!  I don’t know.

Brock:               (chuckles) His…

Ben:                   I don’t think so…

Brock:               I think he’s been dead for quite a while.  Has he?

Ben:                   I don’t think he’s alive.  (whispering)

Brock:               No.

Ben:                   Uhm…  Rest in peace.

Brock:               He might still be listening though.

Ben:                   Yeah.  He was a dentist.

Brock:               Depending on your beliefs.

Ben:                   Do they have podcasting in heaven?  Uhm, or if you’re a vegan talking about Dr. Weston A. Price, hell.  Anyways, Dr. Price…

Brock:               Anyways…

Ben:                   …was a – he was a dentist and a researcher, and he traveled the world to study teeth and bones and diets of native populations who were living without modern food.  And it was around nineteen hundred that he had been treating persistent root canal infections, and he kind of got this idea that root canal teeth seem to be causing some issues and seem to always remain infected in spite of treatments.  And so, one that he actually extracted a root canal from a woman and then implanted it under the skin of a rabbit.  I have no clue why he chose to do this to poor little bunny wabbit, but the rabbit developed the same crippling arthritis as the woman who had the root canal had and died from the infection 10 days later.  Meanwhile the woman whom he removed the toxic tooth from recovered from her arthritis and was able to walk without the assistance of a cane after that.  And so…

Brock:               So the cure is to put your tooth into a rabbit.

Ben:                   That’s right.  Unless every dentist on the face of the planet begin snickering about this and equals one study.  The fact is that uhm… Dr. Price then went on to show that many chronic degenerative diseases originate from root filled teeth, and he did quite a bit of research on this. He identified 16 different bacterial agents found in root filled teeth that cause diseases of the joints, and the brain, and the nervous system. And he – he’s got two different books out that detail this research between dental pathology and chronic illness.  And uhm, you can actually find many of these books, including one that highlights all these research called the Root Canal Cover Up.  The Root Canal Cover Up.  I will be sure that I link to that book in the show note for you – in the show notes for you if you like – over at, but it’s a very good synopsis of this research that Dr. Price did.  So the idea here is that your teeth are, as many of us know, the hardest substances in our body. If you find like a – whatever, a dear skeleton out in the wilderness, it’s always, you know, even if the whole thing is falling apart, those teeth are still in tacked.  Now in the middle of each tooth is what’s called the pulp chamber, that’s that soft living inner structure that has of a blood vessels and nerves in it, and surrounding that pulp chamber is dentin and dentin is just a bunch of living cells that secrete a hard mineral substance, and then you’ve got the outer most layer which is the white enamel that incases the dentin.  Now, this roots actually go down into your jaw bone and they’re held in place by what’s called the peridontal ligament and there are literally miles, and miles of excessory canals and blood vessels and very small capillaries that basically feed into this peridontal ligament area.


So, in every single tooth has this maze that extends about three miles for each of your teeth, and there are microscopic organisms and bacteria that regularly move in and around this different tubules and vessels.  So when you get a root canal, you hollow up the tooth and then you fill that hollow chamber with a substance that cuts off the tooth from its blood supply.  So, you cut off the tooth from its blood supply but all this tiny tubules three miles per tooth remains.  And any bacteria in those tubules basically, they’re now cut off from their food supply but they remain in these tunnels and remain very, very safe from any type of antibiotic or natural antibiotic or your body’s own immune defenses and when that happens they can become relatively violent anaerobic bacteria that produce a lot of toxins, and these toxins can basically spread throughout your body and cause a lot of – of disease issues, you know, inside that roots.  That’s basically how many these issues happen and what Dr. Price was able to identify in root canal teeth was a link with nearly every chronic degenerative disease we know about, heart disease, and kidney disease, and arthritis and joint rheumatic diseases, and like  ALS and MS and autoimmune diseases like lupus and even connections with breast cancer and root canals and a big, big part of this are these – these isolated anaerobic toxic bacteria just hanging around and miles of tubules completely cut off from being able to be metabolized or being able to have your body’s own natural immune system essentially have access to these bacteria. So uhm, they’ve actually identified 42 different species of anaerobic bacteria in 43 different root canals samples.  They actually have this foundation called the Toxic Element Research Foundation that uses DNA analysis to examine root canal teeth.  And they’ve found some very, very non-benign, non-ordinary melt bugs hanging around in this tubules underneath root canal teeth.  So, basically, you’re leaving a dead body part in your body that’s causing this bacteria to collect around the dead tissue and produce toxins as they metabolize. So…

Brock:               Yuck.

Ben:                   So you – you are probably getting the idea that root canal is not the best thing t0 have hanging around with your mouth, or to get.  Now if you do have a tooth removed, and we’ve talked about this on previous podcast so you’ll – and you could go listen to that podcast if you like to be, ’cause I get in to alternatives to root canals and much more detail, but the three options really are: partial denture, which is a removable denture.  It’s often just called a partial and that’s the simplest and least expensive option.  And there’s a bridge which is a more permanent fixture that resembles a real tooth but it’s a little bit more involve and a little bit more expensive for a dentist to build for you.  And then there’s an implant and that’s a permanent artificial tooth, usually it’s titanium, usually it’s implanted in your gums of the jaw, there can be some reactions to the metals you use if you tend to be sensitive to them, zirconium is probably the implant material used in implant that shows promise for the fewest complications when it comes to artificial replacements.  But just pulling the tooth and inserting, like an artificial replacement is not everything that you need to do, you have to actually remove that peridontal ligament that I talked about to reduce the risk of developing an infection from bacterial infected tissues that can be left behind.  So, what I would recommend that you do – is I’ll put a link in the show notes to this book “Root Canal Cover Up”, if you wanna learn more about this and dig into the research for yourself.  I would also recommend that you visit the website  The reason I recommend you to visit that website is it has a good list of biological dentist also known as holistic dentist that could be in your area.  And you know, my dentist or the dentist that I’ve been to once, since I went to Spokane is a holistic dentist and a biological dentist, who I found through this site and it’s – it will ensure or vouch for you being able for you to get a dentist who is not necessarily can do root canal, and who has access to a lot of other more holistic methods.  Last couple of things I wanted to mention though when it comes to teeth absences and natural ways to care for your teeth and root canal.  Uhm, there was a very, very interesting article written by Denise Minger, Denise Minger, we’ve  mentioned a few times before on the show and uhm, Denise had two interesting points in this article that she made about her teeth.


                           First of all, she claims that fermented foods wrecked her teeth, which is really interesting ’cause we talked all about like sauerkraut, and keifer, and yogurt, and all these things that are really, really good when it comes to fermented foods.  But the fact is that fermented foods can be acidic and if you do have problems with your tooth enamel or you’re trying to kind of like wean yourself off a high sugar diet or you’re getting a lot of tooth pain issues with your teeth, you may actually wanna be careful with fermented foods.  And that’s one of the things that she actually began limiting, after she’d been eating a lot of them, and she found that her teeth began to grow more white when she was careful with the volume of her fermented food consumption.  So that’s number one. And then number two, was really going out of her way, and I’ll link to this article that she wrote.  It actually appeared on Mark’s Daily Apple, it’s called Nutritional Curious for Damaged Teeth.  The other thing that she did where she went out of her way, and this probably isn’t any news to most of our listeners to ensure that she was getting plenty of kinda like the Holy Trinity for all things teeth, and that’s vitamin A, vitamin D, and vitamin K2 – all three of them, which you can pretty easily find in supplement form.  For example the multivitamin that I take everyday, the Exos Multi that has vitamin D, vitamin A, and vitamin K2 in it.  All in there, they’re properly balanced amounts, so I’m getting each absorbed in proper ratios.  If you wanted to go for the more natural a.k.a. less biohack route, you could do something like you know, include plenty of nato, and liver, and egg yolks for your vitamin k2.  You could include, you know, of course plenty of sunshine and other fat soluble vitamin sources for your vitamin D.  And then include plenty of carotene-rich food, try it like orange and yellow type of vegetables like sweet potatoes and yams, and things of that nature for your vitamin A. You know, and – or you could do both for like, you could get good food sources in – include a multivitamin, but I thought that was interesting.  Limit fermented foods more as it not necessarily better and then make sure you go out of your way to get vitamin A, vitamin D, and vitamin K2. And I’ll link to that article as well in the show notes.

Brock:               Nice!  Now the next question, I ah -it actually comes from me.  I’m being super sneaky and sneaking in my own taking advantage of my position here at the podcast to get my own question answered.

Ben:                   Do you wanna use Naxa?

Brock:               I think I – I put some kinda crazy effect to my voice. It sounds like I’m using some crappy microphone instead of my $300 set up here.

Ben:                   No, that’s okay.  We get our own listeners doing that enough of the time to I think it’s fine for you to just ask your question.  (chuckles)

Brock:               Hey, Ben and Brock!  This is Brockerly from Toronto Interior.

Ben:                   (Chuckles)  You’re calling in from my styrofoam cup and my wire.  Uhh yeah, you know, the fact is sometimes I forget.  And by the way, we’ll post this to our facebook page but our audio question well is beginning to get a little bit dry.  If you happen to be listening in and you have a good question to ask, go ahead and ask it but, for Pete’s sake at least don’t use your cell phone on the subway when you ask your question.  We’ve got a handy dandy speak pipe app on the website.  You can go straight to and it appears right there.  You can even call, toll free 877-209-9439 and you can leave your question using a real old fashion phone, but either way now pay attention to audio call and we guarantee that the better your audio call quality the more likely it is that your question will get answered.

Brock:               We’ve definitely throw notes some probably pretty good questions just because I was like “What are you saying? I can’t hear you over the children’s screaming in the background”.

Ben:                   Right. Exactly, exactly.  The rabbit is dying from their abscess teeth implants… (Chuckles) in the background screaming.  Uhh, if you ever heard a rabbit scream, it’s actually quite disturbing.

Brock:               Yeah, it’s terrifying.

Ben:                   Yes, yes.  My wife will get your question in a moment just to complete a rabbit hole.

Brock:               He, he.

Ben:                   My – there’s a bunny that’s been eating ferociously.  My wife’s garden – it’s tunneled in underneath the dear fencing.  And she has been on me to somehow end this rabbit, and I’ve – I go out early in the morning in the porch and I do yoga like very relaxing, causifistic, non-animal-killing yoga.  And a couple of times, I’ve seen him out there and I thought about fetching my bow, and attempting to kill said rabbit but I haven’t yet found it in my heart.  For some reasons it just feels wrong that early in the morning to be out doing my yoga on the porch, and to somehow like pick out a bow and kill a tiny rabbit, but what I was thinking was maybe now I can implant a tooth in it.  And just let it die slowly of arthritis.


So perhaps that…

Brock:               Well I guess the important question is, is it big enough that you could eat it?

Ben:                   I could… I could eat it.  I could make rabbits to out of it.

Brock:               It’s really – that’s a defining moment there.

Ben:                   Yes! Yes.

Brock:               ‘Cause you don’t just kill it because it’s an inconvenience, but if you’re be able to have a nice dinner or two or three.

Ben:                   Yes, and put inner muffs on your children if they love rabbits, but the only weapon I have that would actually allow me to end the rabbit without actually blowing it to its middle range, is my bow because I have a 12 and a 16 cage shot gun, a nine millimeter clock, and also very large hunting rifle, and any…

Brock:               (Chuckles)  Overkill.

Ben:                   …any of those would make the rabbit…

Brock:               Go walk.

Ben:                   They would be just like chunks…

Brock:               With armor piercing rounds.

Ben:                   There’d be chunks of hair left on the kale on our garden, and I don’t think that be nice.  But I think a bow could be appropriate once I find it in my heart to do that.  For some reason I can go up early in the morning and hunt the white tail dear but killing a little rabbit in the garden is just something I – a hard time getting at.  So anyways though, a rabbit hole.  Go ahead Brock, what’s your question?

Brock:               Okay, so I actually got a few comments late.  I see the last week of the week before, we were – you were making fun of me because we had to record early because I was off to see the physiotherapist about my neck, and I’m still having trouble.  I actually went to the physiotherapist again this morning and had some more acupunctures, some more ART, and I’ve got some kinesio tape running down the back of my neck right now, and it’s coming along but you know, I let it go for way too long.  It was like May last year, when – I’d remember I take three weeks off and I went to – after I went to Germany, Croatia, and Czech Republic, and just tutored around for a few weeks and you were fend for yourself on the podcast for a while there.

Ben:                   Yeah.  I do remember that.  It was very – I was very pissed that you’re actually off having fun and not working.

Brock:               Yeah.

Ben:                   I kind of expect you to be at my back and call at all time when it comes to this podcast.

Brock:               But anyways, on the flight, the very first flight that I took straight to Berlin, I fell asleep in a strange position, put a crack in my neck and my – oh crap! that sucks, but it never really went away, and now it’s like a year and some months later and I finally have decided to do something about it ‘cause it got to the point where I was having trouble riding my road bike ‘cause like getting into that position, I’m being able to shoulder check was almost impossible, so I’m relegated to riding in my commuter bike everywhere and waking up in the middle of the night with pain and stuff like that.  So, what I’m looking for – I worry about all the little tiny muscles and ligaments and stuff in my neck, so I’m really reluctant to get in there with like a foam roller or tennis ball, or a golf ball or something like that to try to loosen up any adhesions or any tightness and stuff.  So, I – guess what I’ve been looking for is like, can I – what can I do to strengthen my neck so this doesn’t happen again and what else – what can I do to sort of loosen it up and get in there to break out some of those adhesions that I’m sure are in there.

Ben:                   Your neck doesn’t have that main important thing is going through it. (Chuckles)

Brock:               (Chuckles) Oh, so not-the-most-important blood supply.

Ben:                   It’s essentially as kind of like the PVC pipe with the little two where the spinal cord goes through and everything else that you can just reem on. No, it is a good point.  You can definitely do damage everything from your vocal chords to some pretty important nerve flexes that are around and then of course the nerves that branch off from those that pass up through your neck.  If you pull up Grey’s Anatomy for example, you’ll see that the neck because it must feed a relatively important organ.  Yes, the Grey’s Anatomy book, now the T. V. show for any of you who are born after 1990.  The idea is that the neck does have a lot of really kinda small fragile vessels going through it, and it also has, you know, I used to dissect cadaver back in the anatomy class at University of Idaho and the neck was always one of the more difficult once to tackle in terms of neck muscle separation because it’s got all sorts of muscles in it that are responsible for a variety of movements.  The very complex joint, you know, because it’s involve in flexion, in extension, in rotation and then also in lateral flexion, right? like side-to-side movements.  So we’ve got sagittal plane, we’ve got a frontal plane, we’ve got you know, pretty much you name it on the X Y Z axis for the neck when… you know, even if you look at it at another complex joint you know, somewhat complex joint like the knee for example, right? Like the knee we’ve got a flexion extension, we’ve got a slight amount of rotation, but not too much, and then we’ve got very little movements basically if you’ve imagine the knee, you know, you’ve got very little movement of the actual patella in knee joint kind of forward and back, it’s more like up and down, and a little bit side to side.


                           The shoulder joint is probably a more appropriately similar to the neck, right, like we can rotate the shoulder joint in many different directions, in up and down, side to side, back forward flexion extension rotation, right.  So uhm, so yes, the neck is a complex joint and let’s start with rather than how to strengthen the neck, how to prepare the neck to be strengthened.  This is always something I’m cognizant of, before and even when I wake up in the morning and I do my morning stretching and you know, calisthenics routine.  One of the first things that I do is I engage in rotation and mobility before I actually put a joint under stress. It’s this concept that you never wanna you know, pull on a rope that has a knot on it ’cause you just make the knot tighter.  So for example, I’ll do inversion poses, or I’ll hang from an inversion table or do like pull ups in the morning which put my back under traction but before I do any of that, I foam roll my back and then I do the rotation exercise for my back on the ground that kinds pops it and snaps it so that everything is kind of aligned before I move on into strengthening and traction.  And so, that’s one of the first things that you wanna focus on when it comes to the neck.  Let’s assume that all of your cervical vertebrae are aligned properly and that your jaw is aligned properly.  And the reason we’re going to assume that is because that’s not something you can do on your own. Okay, I’m gonna make the assumption that you’ve been to a good sports chiropractic doc who’s using manual manipulation, not the little tiny like trigger gun that goes (sounds) and doesn’t feel that it does anything like actually putting their hands on you and manipulating your tissues and ensuring that the cervical vertebrae is in alignment and ensuring that the neck is in alignment, okay, that’s something that you actually need to have professionally done before moving in to more of like the at home stuff that I’m about to talk about.  So, the next thing that you wanna focus on is, first of all mobility for the neck.  There’s a few different ways to do this.  You have what’s called your first rib, and your first rib is kinda up around those neck muscles.  It feels like a neck muscle than a first rib, but basically a couple of ways that you could work that, and Kelly Starett over on his mobility wod website has some of these ideas and also presents them in his book “Becoming a Supple Leopard”.  But number one: this is one way that works really well, if you have a barbell or squat racket home, as you can tape a lacrosse ball to a barbell.  And once you’ve got the lacrosse ball, tapes to a barbell, you can just basically get underneath that barbell and use that lacrosse ball to work its way all up and down, those muscles coming off of your neck and all up and down that first rib area.  You can also, if you don’t have an actual rack to place a barbell on, to do the deep tissue that way, is you can lay on the ground and you can take a broomstick or a barbell or something kind of other stick, and you basically lay down on your back and you use that stick that is up against the wall for leverage to dig in to all those tissues around that first rib area and all up around your neck.  So that’s another way to kinda hit your neck ’cause it can be hard to connect your neck properly and typically a stick or lacrosse ball tape to a barbell are really good way just to do it.  If you really want to get a huge amount of turk on those neck muscles and a big amount of mobility that the last thing that you can do, and this is – it’s painful but it will work.  What you can do is you can get a lacroses ball, and you can place it kind of like right up next to your neck on either side of your head, you just pick a side.  You work one side, then you work the other side.  And then you want something that you can hang from with your arms over head like a pull up bar and what you do is you place a strap.  It doesn’t have to be a rubber elastic strap, and a rubber and elastic strap actually doesn’t work as well just like a type of strap that you’d use for say, like strapping something to the back of the pick-up truck or like one of these ratcher straps, and you put a lacrosse ball underneath that strap and then one end of the strap is holding another lacrosse ball and is looped around your body and then the other hand is attached to a kettle bell or some kind of a weight on the ground, and then you just hang from the bar, arms over head and kind of like rotate side to side as your hanging and there’s a great video of this over on the mobility wod website at all.  It’s called the overhead position, first rib mobilization. A painful but very, very effective mobilization for the neck, and so that’s one that you could…

Brock:               Where is the pain coming in?

Ben:                   Where is the pain coming in?  The pain is coming in because you are hanging and putting a great deal, you know, it’s kind of – it would be like foam rolling with someone sitting – like foam rolling your I.T. band with someone like sitting on your butt, right?


                           It’s just like – is that combination of traction and rolling all at once.  So watch the video to see what I mean.  But basically you’re…

Brock:               Yeah, yeah.  I’m having trouble picturing it to be honest.

Ben:                   Yeah, it’s a little bit tricky to picture, but I know, I mean you get in to seconds if you saw the video.  So I’ll link to it in the show notes.  But basically mobility using a lacrosse ball tape to barbell or a stick like, kind of like coming out of the wall that you can kinda roll against, can be really, really effective.  And you know, that would be assuming you don’t have somebody to stand there and massage your shoulders and kind of work them.  I like to put a little bit of magnesium lotion or magnesium oil on the neck muscles, and any work kinda like upper back-ish part mobility because it helps to relax those muscles that tend to stay very tense.  And so your mobility is kind of be more effective.  Once you’ve got your mobility down, and you – you’ve kinda ensured that you actually have gotten rid of any soft tissue adhesions in the area, the next thing that you can work on is traction.  There’s a couple different ways that you can do traction which is going to create more space and alleviate pressure by improving the blood supply to the neck muscles and the tendons and the ligaments around that affected area.  One way that you can actually have a friend, put like a – hold on to like a hand towel that’s placed underneath the bone in the back of your head, and you lie on your back and your friend lies behind you, and they just kind of pull on your neck using that towel.  The other option is to – when I have one of these hanging in my home, they’re very easy to find just these neck traction devices that you hang from an area in your home.  It’s very important that you do your mobility that you ensure that you cervical alignment is good, but once that’s done, you can use this traction on your head.  And version table, kinda sort of work ’cause you’ll use the weight of your head to provide traction but it’s even better to use one of these neck traction devices.  So I’ll link to what I’m talking about in the show notes but mine is just the cheaper one off of Amazon and it works!  I can literally hang by my head.  I’m just very careful that I don’t – you don’t wanna hang from your head when you have a cervical vertebrae out of place because in that it just put pressure on any tendons or ligaments or blood vessels that happen to be pinched by a vertebrae that’s out of place.  So, just wanna be careful when you’re doing that kind of traction but that’s the next thing – is traction.  And then before I go into a few strength exercises, there’s also an acupuncture on an acupressure point that you can use for a stiff neck that will help the neck to relax and the point is very, very simple to find.  If you hold out your hand, and you look at the area between your index finger and your middle finger, and you look at those two knuckles between your index finger and your middle finger…

Brock:               Am I looking at the back of the front of my hand?

Ben:                   Oh, the back of your hand, and then you just go a little bit down just before you get to the webbing between the index finger and the middle finger, and so you’ve got your index finger and your middle finger kinda apart you know, letter V and then you can see the webbing and you see the two knuckles right in between that webbing and the two knuckles is an acupressure point that you can use you index finger to put pressure against in a way that you can vest to this is you use your thumb on your opposite hand and kind of like stabilize and hold that hand still and you use that index finger to put pressure right down into that area.  And when you stimulate that acupressure point by making very small circles with that pressing finger, while simultaneously rotating your head side to side.  It is kinda like patting your tummy and rubbing your head or rubbing your tummy and patting your head, what you get is an improvement in range of motion in the neck and it’s a Chinese acupressure points specifically for the neck and that’s another area that you can work on to improve mobility or to decrease pain in the neck is that acupressure point.  So, quick review, you wanna do mobility and deep tissue work particularly for all those muscles coming off you neck and what is called your first rib, and I really, really like the book “Becoming a Supple Leopard” for its entire chapter on the neck.  Number two: you wanna do traction, either by hanging or by having a friend like kinda pull your head with a little bit of towel, and then last thing we wanna do is we want to of course ensure that we fortify and  strengthen the neck so that these issues are less likely to occur later on. And the neck can be difficult to strengthen.  They have sets some machines, what’s called the four way neck machine, as like you do neck flection and extension, and lateral side to side flexion.  Those are okay, but they can be tough to hunt down in many gyms and…

Brock:               I’ve never seen one.

Ben:                   Kinda hard to use.  Yeah, they’re not that common – you don’t see a lot of them, but you can do your own manual resisted towel exercises and this is really the easiest way to do, I mean, you sit in a chair or you stand and you simply use a towel and you hold on to a towel, and you do for example ten neck forward flexion using the towel for resistance by placing to towel against the front of your forehead and then you place the towel against the back of your head, and you do ten resisted extension exercises and then you place the towel on one side of your head and do ten resisted flexion to the right side, and then place the towel on the left side of your head and do ten resisted flexion on the left side, and just use your own muscles for resistance with the benefit of being that you can arm workout too when you do this.


                           So, the go old school towel exercise is actually quite useful for strengthening in the neck.  So, that’s one of the top ways to do it.  Another way to do it is you can take an exercise band you can literally wrap the exercise band around your head and wrap the other side of the exercise band around a pole or any other removable object, and rather using a towel, rather than fatiguing your arms, you can simply use the exercise band, and the nice part about that is when you use the exercise band, you get the e-centric component, right, you get the exercise band kind of pulling you back and the only annoying part is that it kinda pulls off the hair a little bit.  You can just shave your head Brock.  That would be a good luck.

Brock:               Yeah!  That is well.

Ben:                   Yeah, should an exercise video like a Jane Fonda-esque exercise video of you bald doing exercise bend head neck rotation exercises. Yeah.  So, that’s another way that you can strengthen your neck, is just with that exercise bend, and you can also do isometric type of strengthening for your neck and – shocker, I know a lot of people don’t really like this idea but it does work and that would be doing things like the yoga elbow supported head stand, right, where you’re getting on to your head and literally kind of using your arms to support yourself in a head stand and what I like to do when I’m in head stand, because I’ll typically a few times a week just get into a head stand for about five minutes or so just to increase cardio vascular blood flow to the head but also to strengthen my neck.  I will do a leg mobility exercises while on ahead stand meaning I’ll move my legs for like, I’m walking upside down like Frankenstein walking with straight legs to stretch the hip flexors and the hamstrings or let my legs fall apart to the side to stretch the adaptors and come back up together, so you can get a little bit of the core exercise but just basically getting into a head stand and doing exercises with your legs while you’re in a head stand is a great way to kinda kill three birds with one stone.  You get leg mobility, and you strengthen your neck, and you also improve blood flow to your head.  So, those are a few ways that you can do it as well.  Very, very last thing, and I swear by this for you know, occasionally doing just to relax the neck would be just a basic epson salt or magnesium bath if you don’t have magnesium oil or magnesium lotion that you can regularly apply to your neck, or if you wanna use that as an additional relaxation protocol for the neck prior to mobility or prior to traction.  There’s something about having the entire body relaxed.  Like you know, that you would get after doing a salt bath that allows the neck to get even greater mobility so…

Brock:               I was reminded by some lines.  Would you apply ice to the neck?

Ben:                   No, no, I wouldn’t.  Not unless it’s an acute strain or sprain that wouldn’t be a lot of benefit to applying ice.  So, heat for back and neck works much, much better than ice because your goal is to improve blood flow and improve mobility.  Again, less than acute injury rather than a sprain or strain, heat is going to serve you better than cold.  So now, don’t go plunging your head into an ice cold bath anytime soon.  At least not, if your goal is to heal and repair your neck.  If your goal is to wake up and you don’t have access to a shot of espresso, then that would be viable strategy.  So, Brock, next week, if you’re not around, I’m going to assume that you either broke your neck, or had some kind of like a blood vessel stricture or perhaps like a collapse of vessel or nerve to your head while doing any of the exercises that I just mentioned, or perhaps you just got stuck hanging from a barbell with a lacrosse ball and an exercise band wrapped around your body and you’re just kind of like hanging in your basement somewhere.  So, if it’s me solo next week folks, that’s what happened to Brock.

Brock:               If I die trying any of these things, you can bet I will hunt you.

Ben:                   Insert disclaimer here.

“Ben is not a doctor and the content provided on this podcast is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as medical or health care advice.”


                           Okay, so we always of course towards the end of our show, we read a review from iTunes.  Now one of the best things you can do, if you get anything out of the show and you wanna spread the good karma around, well, golly gosh what are you waiting for?  Go leave us a review on iTunes and preferably five stars, four perhaps, if you’re feeling less than generous.  But we have a review left by JrMidge and because we’re reading JrMidge’s review on the show, JrMidge, if you hear this you can email [email protected], that’s [email protected] and we will send you a gift pack just because you are kind enough to leave a review on iTunes.  Be sure when you email [email protected] to let us know of your t-shirt size.  So, that being said, Brock what do you think?  You wanna take this one away?

Brock:               That – do you wanna read the title?  It’s a good title.

Ben:                   The title is “Entertaining and Informative Health and Fitness Information that You Just Can’t Find Anywhere Else”.  Oh, I like that!

Brock:               Oh really!  That’s what the podcast should just be called from now on.

Ben:                   We should hire JrMidge to write headlines for us.

Brock:               Forget about bengreenfieldfitness podcast. It’s the entertaining and informative health and fitness information that you just can’t find anywhere else podcast.

Ben:                   Uhm, I like it!

Brock:               Yeah.  All right, it goes like this.  “I have been listening to the Get Fit Guy’s quick and dirty tips for a little while now, and finally decided to check out Ben’s other podcast and boy am I glad I did.”  That’s we should explain Get Fit Guy at the quick and dirty tips network is another podcast that Ben does.  If you haven’t check there, you should.

Ben:                   I actually, yeah, I released a very short five to ten minute podcast on…

Brock:               Bite size.

Ben:                   All things fitness, yes. Bite size – every week, and that’s over at, and it actually doesn’t overlap much with the stuff that we talked about in this podcast which is just more pseudoscience and woo woo, and ways to eff up your neck.  Anyways Brock.  All right…

Brock:               So this continues – “I love the broad range of unique health and fitness topics that Ben and Brock break down and make easily understandable, as well as their sarcastic sense of humor that is just ohh! so entertaining.”

Ben:                   Uhm, are we that sarcastic?

Brock:               I think JrMidge, I think he was – or he or she was being sarcastic about our sarcasticness.

Ben:                   Yeah, sneaky.

Brock:               Sneaky.  “I really look forward to the new podcast.”  Maybe this is sarcastic as well.  “I really look forward to the new podcast every week.”

Ben:                   Yeah, every freakin’ week.

Brock:               “Keep up the good work.”

Ben:                   Yeah, we sure to do that every seven days.  Well cool!  That’s a great review and I actually glad he mentioned the Get Fit Guy’s quick and dirty tips podcast because as if you didn’t have enough to digest going to this podcast for an hour to an hour and a half a couple of times a week.  There’s another one for you.  And actually all of those podcasts are articles that are actually read in podcast form so you can always just go read the article too.  I actually spend a great deal of time.  I recently just wrote an article on cold water emersion and ice bath over there that you can go and read.  So, anyways though, great review JrMidge.  We’ll keep up our sarcastic sense of humor … or will we?

Brock:               Yeah, we should.

Ben:                   And yeah, we really.  We really think about doing that.  You can access the show notes over at, that’s, if you don’t have anything better to do with your life.  And you happen to be sitting on a subway and you wanna access next cervical traction device or the research on sleep or anything else we talked about.  You can do that and this weekends, stay tune, great podcast coming out on health scams, everything from infrared saunas to hyperbaric oxygen therapy chambers.  Find out if they work, find out if they down, find out the truth.  It’s our version of 60 minutes without the production quality.  So enjoy.

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

[1:25:22.5]     END



326: The Best Workout To Look Good Naked, Sleep Biohacks, How To Get A Strong Neck & Much More!


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

July 29, 2015 Podcast: Is Baby Powder Healthy, The Best Workout To Look Good Naked, Can You Reverse Tooth Cavities, and How To Get A Stronger Neck.

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, Skype “pacificfit” or use the “Ask Ben” form at the bottom of this page.


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Sep 23-24, 2015. Ben is speaking at the Biohackers 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.

New Greenfield Longevity Panels. Working closely with WellnessFX, America’s top laboratory for concierge blood testing and online access to all your blood testing results, Ben has developed the “Greenfield Longevity Blood Testing Package”, which is the most complete blood testing package that money can buy. There is one package specifically designed for men, and one for women. This is by far the most comprehensive blood testing package that exists, and Ben created it for the health enthusiast, biohacker and anti-aging individual who wants access to the same type of executive health panel and screening that would normally cost tens of thousands of dollars at a longevity institute. Virtually all hormones and all biomarkers are covered in this panel.

Ben Greenfield has officially launched his first work of fiction: “The Forest”. Twin brothers River and Terran discover a portal to a hidden forested world attacked by parasitic fungi, dark shamans, and serpents. Along with an assembled band of unlikely misfits that includes coyotes, whitetail deer, wood thrushes, and fox squirrels, they must unlock their unique powers to control the elements of earth, air, fire and water, and save the forest before the evil they’ve uncovered can spill back into their own world. Click here to read it now! New chapters released every 7-14 days.

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Listener Q&A:

As compiled, deciphered, edited and sometimes read by Brock Skywalker Armstrong, the Podcast Sidekick and Audio Ninja.

Is Baby Powder Healthy?

Preston says: He is fresh out of the shower and wants to know your opinion about Baby Powder (specifically talc). Is there a link to cancer? He sees stuff online but is it true?

In my response, I recommend:
EWG’s list of talc containing podcasts Cool Feet (use 15% 80244)

The Best Workout To Look Good Naked

Anonymous says: She feels too big in her clothes. She doesn’t want to be super skinny (with a big thigh gap or anything) but she would like to be thin. The catch: she doesn’t want to exercise or go on a diet, she just wants to eat normally. Is this even possible?

Can You Reverse Tooth Cavities?

Chad says: Recently he went to the dentist and they say he needs a root canal. He did some research and has seen that there can be some deleterious effects, long term, from root canals. He would like your opinion and would also like to know if you know of a way to reverse the early stages of an abscess.

How To Get A Stronger Neck

Brock says: I have a serious crick in my neck. The stiffness has been getting worse and worse over the last year (since falling asleep on a plane) to the point where I actually avoid doing long rides on my road bike and primarily ride my commuter. Is there anything I can do myself to strengthen my neck and loosen up adhesions/tightness in there? I am reluctant to go too hard on those little neck muscles and ligaments because they seem very delicate.


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 Blenders Can Destroy Food, Why I Eat 20-25 Servings Of Vegetables Each Day, The Vegan-Paleo Debate & Much More.

Dr. Richard Aiken

Every morning I start my day with what I call my “big-ass smoothie”. In a moment, you’re going to find out what this has to do with my guest in today’s podcast, Richard Aiken, who is pictured above on his horse Teeko, which he used to race in Western “Ride & Tie” races, an endurance race up and down mountains for two people and a horse.

Anyways, back to my smoothie.

The smoothie begins with a huge bunch of greens. I prefer kale, but spinach, bok choy, mustard greens, etc. also do the trick, and lately I’ve been making a concerted effort to go out into the forest near my house and pick at least one or two “wild” plants to throw in too (such as plantain, nettle, wild mint, etc.)

Next, I add some kind of herb. Cleansing herbs like parsley, cilantro or thyme are nice. Rather than opting for the old, dried, powdered versions you buy from the grocery store, I buy them fresh or pick them fresh from my garden.

Next is half an avocado (or occasionally a whole avocado if it’s a high calorie day) along 2 teaspoons organic cacao powder, 2 teaspoons cinnamon, a teaspoon of sea salt (I use this fancy Aztecan stuff), and 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil or coconut oil.

Then, before blending, I add just enough full fat coconut milk to make all my plants blend. I prefer an extremely thick smoothie that I have to eat with a spoon (so that the digestive enzymes in my mouth can work on pre-digesting before the food even makes it to my gut). Like my mom always said, “Chew your liquids and drink your solids.”

Then, I blend everything above for about 60 seconds-ish. I’ve always had a hunch that it may not be that great to pulverize things like protein powder, collagen, etc., and I also don’t want to pulverize the chunky chunks of goodness I’m about to toss in. So after blending, to my green goodness, I add 20-30g of a “clean” protein powder, 1 large handful of unroasted, non-vegetable-oil coated walnuts or almonds, 1 small handful organic dark cacao nibs and 1 large handful organic unsweetened coconut flakes.

I then use a spatula to ensure the entire contents of this relatively expensive smoothie make it into my giant morning breakfast mug, although I have been known to simply eat it straight out of the blender container when in a hurry. Depending on how exact my measurements are, my big-ass smoothie weighs in in at anywhere from 700-1000 calories.

Throughout the remainder of the day after the smoothie, I consume a giant salad at lunch, and heaps of vegetables for dinner. So I’d estimate that I probably consume 20-25 “servings” of vegetables each day, typically accompanied by boatloads of oils and fats such as olives, olive oil, coconut milk, coconut oil, avocados, fatty fish, bone broth, and organ meats.

OK, so why am I telling you all this?

Here’s why: I just read a book called The New Ancestral Diet, and it’s reinvented the way I think about all these plants I’ve been eating.

The New Ancestral DietPrint is described like this:

“We as primates have struggled mightily during the past 85 million years to find and eat enough food for survival. Fortunately, every one of your ancestors was successful so that you might succeed in that same endeavor. However, today that survival is in jeopardy. Recently and suddenly, from an evolutionary standpoint, the problem of subsistence in “civilized” countries has inverted: we have plenty of food but are not making selections that lead to long-term survival.

Our plant-based ancestral diets for which we have become genetically adapted have become animal-based. For thousands of millennia, primate nutrition happened while seeking a wide variety fruits and vegetables sufficiently energy-dense to supply our needed daily calories. Today we still seek energy-dense foods, but in the form of high fat animal products or sweet processed foods. Nutrient-dense foods, formerly our staples, are tolerated as side-dishes.

Taste, the most primitive of our senses, over the eons existed for our survival (as all the other senses), that is, to deselect plants sufficiently bitter as likely toxic or non-digestible. With the expansion of our brain capacity, taste was joined by higher brain regions’ appreciation of flavor. The result is a demand for flavorful energy-dense foods. Every meal experience must “taste good”. Dietary patterns based on such flavorful energy-dense foods has lead to chronic inflammatory states with high morbidly and mortality in the Western world.

This book suggests a return to our true ancestral dietary patterns, supplemented by what is known from the latest scientific research concerning nutritional health. It is clear that we have evolved to be quite versatile eaters and while we can eat a variety of foods, a whole-food varied plant-based diet is best for our long-term health and happiness.”

In the book, author Richard Aiken, a medical doctor and PhD in chemical engineering, describes how plants wage a chemical warfare against our body, why we should be careful with pulverizing and blending the hell out of our vegetables, why epidemiological data is very strong for a whole-food, primarily plant-based diet, and much more.

He holds a PhD in chemical engineering from Princeton University and an MD from the University of Utah. He has lectured throughout the United States and Europe, is the author of numerous peer reviewed scientific articles on nutrition and chemistry, and is a board certified psychiatrist with a clinical practice in Springfield, Missouri.

During today’s podcast interview with Richard, you’ll discover:

-How endurance runners can keep up with horses during races in the mountains…

-Richard’s journey from getting a PhD in chemical engineering from Princeton, to starting a space exploration company to singing opera to attending medical school…

-How human beings progressed from insectivore to fruitarian to herbivore…

-Why the advent of cooking tubers may have been more important than the advent of cooking meat…

-The amazing recent research on chlorophyll, sunlight and the potential ability for humans to photosynthesize…

-Why you should go out of your way to eat things that don’t taste good…

-Whether blenders can damage plant matter and if so, what the alternatives are…

-And much more!

Resources from this episode:

Denise Minger’s refutation of The China Study

The Hillbilly Vegan Facebook page

Richard’s website MoodForLife

The New Ancestral Diet book

-The recent research on chlorophyll, sunlight and the potential ability for humans to photosynthesize

Do you have questions, comments or feedback for Dr. Aiken or me about this episode? Leave your thoughts below!