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

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

Why?

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

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

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

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

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How Do You Train For SEALFit Academy and Kokoro Camp?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Day 1

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

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

Strength: Rest

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

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

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Day 2:

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

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

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

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

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

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Day 3

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

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Day 4

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

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

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

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

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

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Day 5

Rest and recovery day. Light walk or other restorative activities. No impact today. Triathlon or swimming modification: do 20 minutes of SwimSmooth swim drills, such as 5 rounds of 50m catch-up drill, 50m broken arrow drill, 50 meter corkscrew and 5x50 hypoxic swimming.

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Day 6

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

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

Strength: Rest

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

Keep a consistent pace throughout.

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

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Day 7

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

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

For time:
400m walking lunges

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

-Wigwam Dry Foot Polypropylene Liner Socks (4)

-Nike Special Forces Field Boot or equivalent (1)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

-Natural Force Pre-Workout Raw Tea (use code BEN10 to save 10%, for pre-workout Kokoro Evolutions, premixed in water bottle, along with VESPA Wasp Extract)

-Natural Force Iskiate Endurance  (use code BEN10 to save 10%, for pre-workout Kokoro Evolutions, premixed in water bottle with the Raw Tea)

-Natural Force Recovery Nectar (use code BEN10 to save 10%, for post-workout Kokoro Evolutions, premixed in water bottle)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Fairies, Unicorns and Paleo Cookies.

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I’ll keep this quick. I figured you fitness and nutrition nerds may want some extra listening and learning material to fuel your rabid thirst for knowledge.

This week, while driving, working out, cleaning my garage and doing yoga, I’ve listened to:

-Dr. Daniel Stickler show how to defy aging by optimizing the length of your telomeres via natural methods…

-Jacob Egbert talk about why your doctor actually knows very little about true health…

-Marjory Wildcraft  explaining how to grow half of your diet in your backyard in less than an hour a day… 

-Christopher Ryan present on something called “Paleosexuality” (that was interesting)…

-Steven Wright giving the shocking truth about why people really get constipated…

-Eva Twardokens tell why being a good exerciser kind of sucks, and how to pull yourself out of an exercise addiction…

-And a really interesting presentation on fairies, unicorns and Paleo cookies…

Anyways, I downloaded all these from the PaleoFX 2014 page.

You can click here to go to the PaleoFX Video On-Demand page, which allows you to pick and choose which videos you want to watch, or just rent them all for 19.99. I actually use a video-to-audio converter like this to convert the videos into audios so I can listen while I’m working out and driving. I’d recommend you start with the presentations listed above, which I thought were especially good.

So just in case you want to make yourself smarter and get some killer health, longevity, nutrition and fitness content, this is well worth it (all my presentations on workout nutrition, stress and biohacking are there too). Enjoy (and see below for a snippet of the workout nutrition panel with yours truly).

A Step-By-Step Guide To Testing Your Gut For Nasty Invaders.

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This morning, I drove through the snow and ice-covered roads of my hometown in Spokane, Washington to visit Dr. Toby Hallowitz – the same guy I introduced to you in the article “Natural Remedies for Travelers Diarrhea“.

The reason I drove to his office was to review the results of my most recent gut test.

See, I test my gut once a year. And a gut test is a really good idea if you want to know things like why you might have food cravings, insomnia, brain fog, constipation, gas, bloating, some kind of bacterial imbalance, a yeast or a fungus overgrowth, to know whether you should or should not take probiotics, or – God forbid – to know whether you have some kind of nasty invader in your gut, like a bad parasite.

Anyways, after my visit with Dr. Toby, I rushed home to make you the video below, in which I give you a step-by-step guide to testing your gut for nasty invaders, along with how to see if you have bacterial overgrowth, yeast or fungus issues, the right kind of bacteria in your colon, not enough fiber in your diet, fat malabsorption, pancreatic insufficiency and much more!

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Resources mentioned in this video:

-Bacterial Overgrowth-Genova KIT from DirectLabs (breath test)

-GI Effects Gastrointestinal Function Comprehensive Profile-METAMETRIX KIT from DirectLabs (stool test)

-Oil of Oregano (for yeast/fungal overgrowth)

-Caprylic Acid (MCT Oil) (for yeast/fungal overgrowth)

-Thorne Research Berberine (for yeast/fungal overgrowth)

-Pancreatic Enzymes (for pancreatic insufficiency)

-ProbioMax Plus DF (for Saccharomyces Boulardii and immunoglobulins)

-Caprobiotics and Capracolostrum

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Do you have questions, comments or feedback about how to test your gut, or about my results? Leave your thoughts below!

A Step-By-Step Guide to Interpreting Your Bloodwork – Video Walkthrough of Ben’s WellnessFX Blood Panel

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About every 3-4 months, I test my blood with a WellnessFX Performance Panel.

Part of this is pure and simple preventive medicine. In other words, I want to know if there are things happening inside my body that might cause me to be building up arterial plaque, suffering from hormone deficits, or on the threshold of immune system breakdown.

Part of it is the fact that I’m constantly using my body in guinea-pig experiments and I need raw data (such as my back-to-back body damaging triathlons or my recent 30 pound mass gain experiment).

And finally, part of this is that I want to be able to continue in my quest to help you achieve amazing feats of physical performance without destroying your body – which means you must be healthy on the inside and healthy on the outside. That’s not a “guessing game” – the only way to truly know is to test.

So in the video below, I walk you step-by-step through my blood results and give you as much valuable information as I can along the way!

-Click here to download a .pdf of the WellnessFX results if you want “close-ups” while watching the video.

-Click here to do a WellnessFX Performance Blood Panel like the one you see in the video. Notez Bien: I had the “premium” version of the test.

Comments are turned off for this post. Click here to join the BenGreenfieldFitness Inner Circle to go ask your questions or leave your comments!

The Three Pillars of Fat Loss Video With Ben Greenfield and Paul Jaminet

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In this free video presentation by Ben Greenfield with guest Paul Jaminet (author of the Perfect Health Diet book) you’ll discover how to burn fat faster, boost your metabolism and maximize your weight loss…without destroying your health!

Three Pillars of Fat Loss Video:

This is a presentation that was recorded live for the Perfect Health Diet Retreat in Austin, Texas. You can learn more about the Perfect Health Diet Retreat – and how you can use it to accelerate your fat loss learning curve and get equipped with everything you need for a perfectly healthy lifestyle – at http://www.AlbertOaks.com. Ben Greenfield will be personally presenting at the Perfect Health Diet Retreat from March 3-6 – so that would be a perfect time to attend the retreat if you’re interested in going and want to learn face-to-face with Ben (although you can attend anytime you’d like!)

If you prefer audio, you can use the link below.

Three Pillars of Fat Loss Audio:

Three Pillars of Fat Loss Slides:

Slides for this presentation:

Questions, comments or feedback about the three pillars of fat loss? Leave your thoughts below and we promise to reply!

How To Burn More Fat With Cold (And Bump Up Your Metabolism by 301%).

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Can drinking a gallon of cold water each morning help you burn fat faster?

You bet.

So can cold-hot contrast fat burning showers, in which you shower for 5 minutes while turning the water for 20 seconds cool, 10 seconds warm…

So can keeping your house cool and sleeping without covers…

So can taking mile long walks in the cold in which you keep your whole body cold, except your face, hands and feet….

But in today’s video, you’re going to discover how to take burning fat with cold to an entirely new level.

Allow me to introduce you to Eric from CoolFatBurner.com.

Eric recently tested his entire metabolism and calorie burn at the “EPARC” lab – Exercise and Physical Activity Resource Center – at the University of California, San Diego. He video recorded the entire experience, in which he experienced acceleration of fat burning and ketosis, faster clearing of glucose from his bloodstream, and…

…a 301% increase in metabolic, calorie burning rate.

Check out the 20 minute video below. During the video, Eric is demonstrates some pretty cool fat loss biohacking gear. Pun intended.

If you want more resources on cold thermogenesis, then you’re in luck. In addition to today’s podcast, I’d highly recommend you check out the following:

-The CoolFatBurner.com vest Eric wears during the video.

-What Is A Body Cooling Device, and Does It Actually Work? (podcast)

-How You Can Use Cold Thermogenesis To Perform Like Lance Armstrong And Michael Phelps (podcast)

-Tips For Burning More Fat With Cold Thermogenesis (And Why Icing Really Does Work) (article)

-The BenGreenfieldFitness Premium content, which features an absolutely mind-blowing 1 hour cold thermogenesis lecture and slides by Ray Cronise (podcast)

-The DeSoto Arm Coolers I’ll be sporting during Ironman Hawaii this year

-Tim Ferris’s 4 Hour Body book 

Questions, comments or feedback about the video or about how to burn more fat with cold? Leave your thoughts below.

How To Test Your Blood, Anytime, Anywhere In The World

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I’ll admit it.

I’m a total self-quantification nerd.

You know this if you read my article “A Crash Course On Finding Out What Is Happening Inside Your Body“, in which I tell you about a ton of different blood, saliva and urine tests that you can do.

I also spend several hours per week doing wellness and performance consulting with people who have done baseline, performance, longevity testing with Pacific Elite Fitness and WellnessFX.

So my nerdy self is super excited about this new thing I’ve found called “Talking20“, which we talk about in the video above and I give you the nitty-gritty details on below…

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Triple Video Super-Special: Ben’s New “High-End” Coaching Program, A 15 Minute Geeky Fitness Q&A, And The Top Fitness & Nutrition Books of 2012

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This past Saturday night, I revealed the new high-end Black Box coaching program I am rolling out for a select number of privileged clientele (click here to apply). The video replay about this (and other coaching options with me) is below, and you’ll want to watch this relatively soon because next Monday (February 11) at midnight, the doors completely close on all private consulting and coaching with me for 2013.

But that’s not all I have for you in today’s triple video super-special post…

In this next video, I share my tips with Health Divas on how to use your mind to change your body, mental rehearsal and athletic performance visualization, nocebo effect of the foods we believe are bad for us, fat loss and spot reduction via cold thermogenesis, why blue is my favourite colour, and more!

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How To Cut Up A Chicken, Why Buying A Whole Chicken Is A Better Deal, and Some Top Chicken Recipes.

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Frequently buying a bag of chicken breasts is not only spendy, but only gives you a fraction of the nutritional bang-for-your-buck you can get when you just buy the whole dang chicken.

However, a great big chicken sitting in your refrigerator can be a bit intimidating if you don’t know what you’re doing. So in today’s video, Jessa Greenfield shows you how to cut up a chicken, and why buying a whole chicken is actually a better deal (under this video, I tell you what we actually do with the chicken).

 

After we shot this video, Jessa and I sat down to talk about what we actually use the whole chicken pieces for after we finish cutting up the whole chicken.

And as much as we’d like to say we have oodles of chicken recipes, between the two of us we could only think of 8 ways that we actually use this chicken.

Yep, we eat that simple.

But in case you were curious, here are those 8 ways we use that whole chicken:

#1. Chicken Skewers with Almond Sauce

#2. Chicken Bone Broth for Soup

#3. Roasted Chicken With Sea Salt, Garlic & Pepper

#4. Chicken Pad Thai (probably the highest carb meal we ever have, reserved for the end of a tough workout day, long day on the ski slopes, etc.)

#5. Chicken Avocado Salad

#6. Chicken Fajitas

#7. Cashew Breaded Chicken

#8: Asian-Style Chicken Skewers with Bok Choy or Mustard Greens

This post sure would be prettier if it were a Top 10 instead of a Top 8…so now it’s YOUR turn. How do YOU use chicken? Are you curious if your chicken recipes are healthy? Leave your recipes or your questions about how to cut up a whole chicken in the comments section below and Jessa or I will reply!

In the BenGreenfieldFitness Inner Circle, Jessa will show you much more, including how to make bone broth from your chicken carcass, tasty chicken  recipes for the meals above, and much more. Click here to check it out now for just one buck.

10 Steps To Swimming Faster Freestyle

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During my recent stay in Hawaii, I had the opportunity to take a clinic on swimming faster freestyle.

The clinic was taught by Karlyn Pipes-Nielsen, who was recently voted one of the top ten master’s swimmers of all time by Swimming World Magazine. She has set over 200 Masters World records, she’s in the International Masters Swimming Hall of Fame, and she holds numerous course records in California and the all over the Island of Hawaii.

She also mentioned to me that her 77 year old mother who she lives with also swims, and can do a Half Ironman swim in around 30 minutes.

So this lady knows what she’s talking about!

Her information on swimming faster freestyle included some stuff I’ve personally never heard before, and after the clinic, I went down to Dig Me Beach and swam the entire Ironman Hawaii swim course more comfortably than I ever have (of course, I’m sure that part of that was also due to the work I’ve been doing with the guys over at SwimSmooth.com)

So what exactly did I learn during Karlyn’s clinic?

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14 Core Exercises For When You’re Pregnant (A Cheat Sheet For Getting Your Abs Back After You Have A Baby)

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In Episode #141 with Cassandra Forsythe (What Is A Good Pregnancy Exercise Routine?), we discussed why most recommended exercise and nutrition routines for pregnant women during or after pregnancy leaves you way more fat and out-of-shape than you need to be after you’ve had a baby. In reality, exercise should be considered an acceptable and regular part of pregnancy, and in most cases, you can do more than you think you can.

So while I definitely recommend you go back and listen to that podcast (or read the transcript), in today’s article I’m going to give you 15 core exercises for when you’re pregnant. Consider this a cheat sheet for getting your abs back after you have a baby.

But first, it’s important to understand why it’s crucial that you be doing core exercises when you’re pregnant.

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6 Exercises For Better Shoulders (And 2 Exercises To Avoid)

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In this video, you’ll learn 6 exercises for better shoulders, and 2 exercises to avoid.

Exercises recommend in this video:

Arm Circles
Cuban Press
Pull-Aparts
Russian Twists
Shoulder Blade Push-Ups
Door Frame Rows

Exercises to avoid:

Ballistic Reverse Shoulder Flies
“Leaning Into Doorframe” Stretch

In this video, I’m wearing compression gear. To learn why, read this article.

Questions, comments or feedback? Leave them below.

Healthy Travel Tips – Food & Water Safety, Open Water Swimming, Travel Insurance and more!

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In this video, filmed with early-morning bed-hair and sleep wake-up voice in Florida on my way to Jamaica, I respond to the following Facebook question from Troy:

“When travelling, especially for an endurance event – do you partake of the ethnic or regional food choices? If so, pre-race or or post race? Do you bring bottled water if the water supply is suspect? What about anti-malarial meds or travel related immunizations? Do you carry travel health insurance? Is there need for concern regarding water quality (of the lake or ocean) on the swim leg of the triathlon?”

I am traveling this week to compete in the Jamaica Triathlon, and will answer your burning questions (using my video camera) on the topic of how to stay fit or eat right when you’re traveling. To ask your question simply call 1-877-209-9439, Skype to username “pacificfit”, or ask a question on the BenGreenfieldFitness Facebook page.

Questions, comments or feedback? Simply leave them below.

5 Powerful Calorie Control Tricks To Help You Eat Less Food

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Appetite control, weight loss, and healthy eating can all be influenced by your subconscious mind.

So why not play a few tricks on your subconscious? Not only can you use these five powerful calorie control tricks to trick your brain into eating less food, but you can make yourself feel fuller, faster – and resist the urge to eat more.

Here’s how:

Calorie Control Trick #1: Use Smaller Utensils & Dishes

In the video above, I show you how the size of the bowl, plate, or spoon that you use can significantly influence how much food and how many calories you consume. In the study “Ice cream illusions bowls, spoons, and self-served portion sizes.”, 85 nutrition experts who were attending an ice cream social were randomly given either a smaller (17 oz) or a larger (34 oz) bowl and either a smaller (2 oz) or larger (3 oz) ice cream scoop. After serving themselves, they completed a brief survey as their ice cream was weighed.

Even when nutrition experts were given a larger bowl, they served themselves 31% more without being aware of it. In addition, their servings increased by over 14% when they were given a larger serving spoon.

In this study from University of Pennsylvania,psychologists conducted an experiment in an upscale apartment building in which they left out a bowl of the chocolate candies with a small scoop.

The next day they refilled the bowl with M&M’s, but used a much larger scoop – and when the scoop size was increased, people took 66 percent more M&M’s!

So use smaller plates, bowls and utensils, even if somebody laughs at you for eating your soup with a teaspoon.

Calorie Control Trick #2: “Out Of Sight, Out Of Mind”

Whether you’re eating dinner at home, at a party with snack tables or out at a buffet, there is a simple rule that multiple studies have confirmed: the less exposure your eyes, ears and nose have to food, the less likely you are to eat too many calories.

For example, unless we are eating outdoors, for dinner my wife or I will plate the food and bring it to the table, but leave any larger dishes, pots, pans or bowls full of food on the countertop or on the stove, where we are less likely to reach for them and grab a second serving.

You can use this same trick in many other ways, such as:

-At parties, don’t park next to the snack table, but instead socialize farther away from the grub…

-At buffet restaurants or regular restaurants, seat yourself farther away from the kitchen, the bar, or other food displays…

-Keep any snacks or tempting sweets in opaque (non-transparent) containers or places where they’re not readily accessible in your home…

-Shove any tasty, tempting food to the back of the refrigerator or pantry, and bring the healthy food to the front…

Any of my energy bars, sweet exercise drinks, or other sugary, tempting treats are kept in two inconvenient places: the garage, and a door in the bottom of my bedroom closet. This ensures I’m much less likely to eat empty calories. I talk about more tricks similar to this in my book “100 Ways To Boost Your Metabolism”.

Another good book for learning about how easily our minds are tricked is 59 Seconds, in which the author describes a series of experiments that compared putting chocolates on office worker’s desks to putting the chocolates six feet away. When the chocolates were placed on the desk instead of 6 feet away, each person ate on average 6 more chocolates per day.   In another similar experiment, the chocolates were placed inside either transparent or opaque jars. The chocolates in the transparent jars were eaten 46% more quickly than the opaque jars!

Calorie Control Trick #3: “Limit Your Options”

In a recent British study, research revealed that when kids were presented with snacks that were familiar and not much different than the snacks they usually had, they ate fewer calories.

Not only does this mean that you might be able to get your kids to plow through slightly less Halloween candy this year by ensuring that they get many of the same types of candy, but you can also assume that we probably don’t change much as we age.

So instead of heading to the supermarket and stocking up on three different types of cookies, several varieties of cereal, five different types of fruits, and several choice selections of deli meats and cheeses, you’d be better off simply choosing one option. In doing so, you’ll reduce selection in your pantry and refrigerator, and leave yourself less likely to overeat simply because you want to try a variety of new flavors.

Interestingly, this study reminds me of Stephen Guyenet’s “Food Reward Hypothesis”, in which he suggest that by eating simple foods and reducing our reward response to food, we can probably do a better job controlling overeating and obesity.

Calorie Control Trick #4: “Slow Down”

Eating more slowly can help you to eat less. When you take your time with each bite, and fully chew and swallow (in many cases this means chewing a bite 20-25 times) you allow the fullness signal from gastric hormones to reach your brain and shut down your appetite before you eat too much.

But there may be more to eating less than simply slowing down.

At Pennington BioMedical Research Centre, 48 participants were studied in a lab as they ate three meals at lunchtime on different days.

Each participant was asked to avoid eating or exercise for 12 hours before lunch, and ate a meal of fried chicken, cut up into bite sizes at their own rate, at half their normal rate (paced by a beeping noise), or at a mix of their own rate and then the slower rate.

The finding was that the combination of beginning the meal eating at one’s own eating rate, and then dropping to a slower eating rate, had the biggest reduction on appetite for both men and women – more than eating slowly all the way through.

So to reduce the appetite, it may make sense to eat at whatever pace seems natural at first, but about halfway through your meal, to consciously slow down and begin to savor every bite.

Of course, I always look at studies like this with a wary eye, because how often do you eat lunch after a 12 hour fast with no exercise?

Calorie Control Trick #5: “Remove Distractions”

Multiple studies have found that you eat more when you are distracted by TV, movies, phones or games. In that same book 59 Seconds, people who were paying close attention to a movie ate significantly larger amounts of popcorn compared to those that were paying less attention to the movie.

In another experiment in that book, people who actively listened to an engaging detective story being told to them during lunch ate 15% more than those who had no story to listen to.

In another interesting study, researchers at University of Southern California gave moviegoers either fresh popped or stale popcorn and monitored how much they ate. They found that taste of the popcorn was not the primary motivator for how much people ate. People ate the same amount of popcorn whether it was stale or fresh. But when people watched the movie in a meeting room instead of a theater, they ate ate more of the fresh popcorn than stale.

This study suggests that when you are engaged in an environment that is primarily geared toward entertainment, or absorbed in a movie on your iPad, you’re likely to eat more food, whether or not you even like the food! It seems that distractions not only make you eat more, but can even make you eat more food you wouldn’t normally eat anyways.

What do you think?

If you liked this, be sure to check out these other articles from BenGreenfieldFitness:

 5 Ways To Suppress Your Appetite Without Taking Any Special Pills or Capsules

12 Dietary Supplements That Can Massively Control Your Most Intense Carbohydrate Cravings

A Simple Six-Step System for Eliminating Food Cravings

Are there other tricks that you personally use to help you eat less food? If you have more feedback, questions or comments, simply leave them below!

“The Kona Diaries” Day 2 – Seven Essential Healthy Airplane Travel Items & Last 4 Weeks of Quality-Over-Quantity Training Before An Ironman Triathlon

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Welcome to Day 2 of the Kona Diaries, in which you’re going to get a stark, honest and open look into the life of one of America’s top fitness experts – and find out what I personally do to design my daily routine for optimum health, get my body into the best shape ever, and prepare my mind to enter the pain cave.

It’s been quite some time since my “Healthy Traveler Series”, which I wrote three years ago when traveling to Poland for my brother’s wedding.

So here is an update featuring a few of the small, simple travel companions that made my recent flight to Kona for Ironman Hawaii a bit more pleasant and healthy.

1. Envi Natural Wood stereo headset.

Envi Airtube

 This is an affordable airtube headset. It allows far lower levels of electromagnetic frequencies from electronic devices to hit your ears and brain compared to regular headphones (and has a speaker to work with your phone).

2. Harapad.

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I wrote about the Harapad in a post about how to reduce heat and electromagnetic radiation body damage from computers, and I use it on the airplane under my laptop to keep, pardon the expression, my nuts from getting nuked.

3. iPhone White Noise app

 

white noise app

When combined with the headphones above and the eyemask below, this app easily drowns out the noise of crying babies and airplane announcements. I use “Extreme Rain Pouring” on this White Noise app by TMSoft.

4. Eyemask

eye mask

There is no denying that keeping your room or environment as dark as possible enhances the quality of your sleep, so like a spoiled beauty queen, I sleep with an eyemask I bought off Amazon, although I’m sure there are fancier ones out there.

5. Spry gum 

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It’s been proven that artificial sweeteners can give you appetite cravings, and may be mildly neurotoxic. So I chew this stuff, which is sweetened naturally and still tastes great. I order Spry gum bulk from Amazon.

6. Club Soda

airplane club soda

Soda water, especially when combined with gum, can keep boredom eating and appetite cravings at bay, and doesn’t pack the nutrient-void sugar load of Ginger Ale. Yes, it’s in a can, and yes, I pour it over “germ-ridden airplane ice”, but I’m not dead yet (yet another good reason to use Oil of Oregano).

7. Cocochia Snack Mix 

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A mix of coconut flakes and chia seeds that was a fitting travel food companion, considering my book of choice on the flight was “Born To Run”, in which the Tamahumara tribe munch on Chia seeds during their superhuman  ultra-running performances.

If you have questions about any of these items, or your own airplane healthy travel items to add, just leave them in the comments section below!

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One important question I received on the BenGreenfieldFitness Facebook page was what type of swimming, biking and running sessions I’ve been doing in the last few weeks leading up to this race.

So below, you will find my full schedule of Ironman training for the last 4 weeks. As you will see, my training is somewhat atypical, since the average athlete spends 20-25 hours per week preparing for this competition, and I spend 10-12, but here it is:

Week of Monday, September 5-Sunday, September 11

Monday:

Workout 1: 15 minute ElliptGo to gym, 30 minutes upper body weights workout, 15 minute Elliptigo home.

Workout 2: 90 minute tennis match

Tuesday:

Workout 1: 15 minute bike to gym, 20 minute fast 25’s and 50’s in pool, 10x 1 minute sprints on treadmill, 30 minute sauna, 15 minute bike home.

Wednesday:

Workout 1: 15 minute ElliptGo to gym, 20 minute drills in pool, 10x 1 minute sprints on treadmill , 30 minute sauna, 15 minute ElliptGo home.

Thursday:

Off.

Friday:

Workout 1: Easy swim

Workout 2: 20 minute easy bike ride

Saturday:

Workout 1: 20 minute easy bike with a few race pace efforts

Workout 2: 20 minute easy run with a few race pace efforts

Workout 3: 10 minute easy swim with drills

Sunday: Half-Ironman Race. Ironman 70.3 World Championships in Las Vegas.

Week of Monday, September 12-Sunday, September 18

Monday:

Workout 1: 60 minutes swim drills.

Tuesday:

Workout 1: 30 minutes upper body weights, 30 minutes easy bike.

Wednesday:

Workout 1: 30 minutes recovery swim, 30 minutes recovery run.

Thursday:

Off.

Friday:

Workout 1: 20 minute bike to massage, 20 minute bike home, half of a Sufferfest video.

Workout 2: 15 minute swim drills, 15 minutes run.

Saturday: Half-Ironman Race. Grand Columbian in Grand Coulee, Washington.

Sunday: 4000 meter steady swim at Ironman race pace.

Week of Monday, September 19-Sunday, September 25

Monday:

Workout 1: 30 minutes ElliptGo running errands, 30 minutes full body Fit10 Workout

Workout 2: 90 minute tennis match

Tuesday:

Workout 1: 15 minute bike to gym, 20 minute fast 25’s and 50’s in pool, 10x 1 minute sprints on treadmill, 30 minute sauna, 15 minute bike home.

Wednesday:

Workout 1: 15 minute bike to gym, 20 minute drills in pool, 10x 1 minute hill sprints on gravel road , 30 minute sauna, 15 minute bike home.

Thursday:

Workout 1: 15 minute ElliptGo to gym, 30 minute lower body weights workout, 15 minute ElliptGo home.

Workout 2: 90 minute tennis match

Friday:

Workout 1: 20 minute bike to massage, 20 minute bike home.

Workout 2: 5×4 mile loops at Ironman race pace

Saturday:

Off.

Sunday:

Workout 1: 3 hour indoor bike at Ironman pace

Workout 2: 4000 meter steady swim at Ironman race pace.

Week of Monday, September 26-Sunday, Oct 2nd

Monday:

Workout 1: 60 minutes upper body weightlifting circuit.

Workout 2: 90 minute tennis match

Tuesday:

Workout 1: 15 minute bike to gym, 20 minute fast 25’s and 50’s in pool, 10x 1 minute sprints on treadmill, 30 minute sauna, 15 minute bike home.

Wednesday:

Workout 1: 15 minute bike to gym, 20 minute drills in pool, 4×5 minute hill efforts on treadmill, 30 minute sauna, 15 minute bike home.

Thursday:

Workout 1: 15 minute bike to gym, 30 minute lower body weights workout, 30 minute sauna, 15 minute bike home.

Workout 2: 60 minutes tennis drills with team

Friday:

Workout 1: 10 minute bike to pool, 8×400 meter swim at Ironman Race Pace, 30 minute sauna session, 10 minute bike home.

Saturday:

Workout 1: 20 minute bike ride to 90 minute tennis match, 20 minute bike ride home.

Workout 2: 60 minute steady state run at Ironman race pace.

Sunday:

Off.

And that’s about it (BTW, if you like these type of posts about training and nutrition protocols, check out the post “How I Went From A 210 Pound 3% Body Fat Bodybuilder To A 175 Pound Ironman Triathlete – And How YOU Can Lose Weight For Triathlon Or Endurance Sports.“)

As you can see, the style of my Ironman training is short, fast, high quality, and included lots of cross-training, tennis, and weightlifting. This next week going into the race really doesn’t involve much training at all, and will simply have a few very light workouts, some massage therapy, and a lot of time off my feet until the big race on Saturday, October 8.

If you have questions about any of this stuff, or certain topics you’d like to see covered in videos or posts over the next week, simply leave your comments below.

Coming tomorrow: “Kona Diaries” Day 3 – Answering Your Questions & A Look Around Kona during Ironman Race Week.

Sports Massage: Everything You’ve Always Wanted To Know But Were Afraid To Ask.

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I occasionally go do a triathlon in Thailand, and when I go there, I tend to get a massage nearly every day. Some of these massages are good, but some hurt like hell and continue to hurt for a long time afterwards. I’ll be the first to admit that I’m probably playing with fire by popping into random massage parlours in Thailand and asking for deep muscle tissue massage at places like this.

But when done properly, sports massage works wonders for increasing sports performance and decreasing rate and risk of injury – and in my opinion, it works just as well as the right diet and proper training.

So in this video, I interview Tim Gilreath of Therapproach, and ask him how to find a sports massage therapist, what a sports massage should feel like, which muscles to target in a sports massage, and other questions you’ve always wanted to know but were afraid to ask about sports massage.

If you want to know more about sports massage therapy, listen to podcast episode #8, which also features Tim.

Do you have a good sports massage story? A scary one? Leave your feedback, advice, and comments for others below!

Six Essential Swim Gear Tools To Make You A Stronger Swimmer

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In this video, I show you the essential tools that will help you become stronger in the water – whether you’re just getting started in swimming, you wan an alternative to a weight training workout, or you want to get faster for swim competition, triathlon, or open water swimming.

Some of the stronger swimming resources I mention in the video include:

Finis Freestyle Paddles

Zoomers Fins

Swim Parachute or a Drag Suit

Pull Buoy

Kickboard

Underwater Mp3 Player

The stronger swimmer workout that I do with these tools goes like this:

-200-500 meter warm-up

-200m paddles + pull buoy

-200m freestyle

-200m kickboard + fins

-200m freestyle

-8x25m sprints with drag suit or parachute

-200m freestyle

-Recover 10-30 seconds between sets. One circuit=1000m. Repeat 0, 1, 2 or 3x depending on desired distance.

Questions, comments or feedback? Swimming tools I forgot to mention? Leave your comments below!

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