Introduction: In today’s episode of the Ben Greenfield fitness podcast: Natural sunlight replacements, how to fix heel whip in runners, how to squat better, fast muscle gain tips, do calf sleeves help, what is the best workout gear, and why Africans win marathons?
Ben: Hello! Hello!
Brock: Who is this?
Ben: Ah, you know what?
Brock: How did you get this number?
Ben: It does feel weird to be back at the podcast and….
Brock: It does this feel strange to be talking to you eh … I don’t remember how to do this.
Ben: You know, I am older, I’m wiser, I’m almost older. I’m all those of Yoda-like age now.
Brock: And as we age….
Ben: As a matter of fact, yeah, next week I’ll ah…. do or do not, there is no try.
Brock: This must be good! It’s remarkable.
Ben: I’m gonna be 32 on Friday.
Brock: Yoda say to that ….. errrrrrrrr.
Ben: Yoda and Chuba, we should do the entire podcast as Yoda and Chewbacca but no….
Brock: Anyway, it’s your birthday!
Ben: Yeah, it’s my birthday on Friday. So….
Brock: And what you gonna be, did you say 32?
Ben: Ah, the rippled age of yes, 32. So yeah and as usual I always send out a gift to our listeners on my birthday and I’ve got a special one lined-up so anybody who’s listening in if you haven’t gone to a giftfromben.com yet, if you go to giftfromben.com at this point you’ll not only get a free video but I’m also gonna be sending a cool little surprise from my birthday.
Brock: Sweet, all kinds of birthday savings.
Ben: And we also, and I don’t wanna get waxed too sentimental here but we’re also very lucky to have Brock with us and here as our podcast sidekick because you have kind of like an anniversary this week as well Brock right?
Brock: Yeah, yeah I don’t wanna get too yeah like you said too nostalgic about or anything but 10 years ago on December 21stwas when I was rushed into the hospital with pericarditis, myocarditis and had an andiogram and I was in a really kinda rough shape for a little while and this is my 10 year anniversary so I plan to, I’m gonna do some sort of screw you death party I think.
Ben: Yeah, I think a lot of people don’t know your story Brock but it really is interesting how you had some really serious heart issues that percarditis and you could’ve seriously died and that was almost 10 years ago ‘til the day ha.
Brock: Yup! Yeah.
Brock: It’s a, I warn all of you, don’t get it it’s not fun. If you get an infection in your heart, it’s not a good place to get an infection.
Ben: Yeah, yeah well I think the screw you death party is a great idea and maybe we can just have a combined Ben Greenfield 32ndand Brock screw you death party and we’ll be at some bar between here and Toronto, Canada may all meet half way and invite all our listeners so….
Brock: Alright, I’ll meet you in a mustra.
Ben: Mustra that is.
Brock: Head over to bengreenfieldfitness.com/264 and you will find links to some awesome news flashes, actually a whole crap of news flashes this week. You really, you got really carried away.
Ben: That’s right well we haven’t had the podcast in so long. I have a lot of the research and the articles that I tweet about constantly over at twitter.com/bengreenfield. I’ve got them kinda piling up so I wanted to mention it to folks and because I’ve got a dark dreary gray day here in Spokane, Washington why not start with a recent article that’s fantastic, one of the better articles I’ve read on sun and the use of sun and kinda of biohacking your way into the use of sun and the best way to do it. This one was over at a…..
Brock: Hmm, I think we have a question about this later too. This is a, we’re pre-empting and pay attention.
Ben: Yes, we’re so smart. So how to engineer successful day of sunbathing, this was a really great article that appeared over at Mark’s Daily Apple and it obviously, sunbathing, when we talked about getting vitamin D and aligning our natural circadian rhythms, is really important and the fact is that there are ways that you can kinda biohack your way into making your sun exposure even more effective. So for example, when you have breakfast, if you include a specific component called astaxanthin with breakfast as well as EPA and DHA, (all of which are found in, interestingly, fish). You can actually increase the amount of UVB that you’re able to get, well decreasing your exposure to UVA. Now remember that UVA is kind of the one that does a little bit more DNA damage when you get exposed to it vs. UVB which is a little bit healthier when it comes to regulating your vitamin D. So you could include something like salmon or sardines with breakfast if you’re kinda like an eggs and bacon person maybe you could try eggs and fish. Another really good source….
Brock: Oh salmon, like smoke salmon for breakfast? That is decadent delicious right there.
Ben: Oh yeah! Locks there you go. Happy Hanukkah! So yeah you could absolutely include something like fish and maybe fish isn’t your thing in the morning but krill oil, fish oil like a really good fish oil and for those EPA/DHA omega 3 fatty acid compounds even like eggs are another really good way to get those and they’re talking in the article about how saturated fat protect you against sun damage more than like poly-unsaturated fat, so saturated fat like you’d find in butter vs. poly-unsaturated fat like you’d find say in margarine or vegetable oils. So I thought that was a cool tip, they talk a little bit in there about when you do get sun exposure again that is the UVB exposure which produces the vitamin D production and UVB exposure peaks right around the time that the mid-day sun is overheard and that’s when you get kind of this unique balance of UVA and UVB. So if you’re gonna go and try and get sun exposure if you can do it kinda between like that, 11am to 2pm kind of time frame and you’re wanting to get the most benefit out of sun exposure, that’s the time you do it. So maybe you go out, if it’s a sunny day and you have lunch out in the sun or you, I don’t know, step outside and do your nude sunbathing if you’re one of our many housewives who are listening to the podcast while nude sunbathing in the backyard of their giant mansion.
Brock: That’s right, we don’t encourage house husbands to do this, just wives.
Ben: In the Hollywood hills, but good time to get your vitamin D exposure. And a few other interesting things and again there’s a ton of really cool stuff in the article and we’ll link to it in the show notes but as far as photo protection, 2 of the things that offer some really good photo protection to help you with healthy skin when you are getting sun exposure 1 is lycopene, which you’re gonna get in fresh tomatoes and another one is the anthocyanins and what are called the flavanoids that you get in dark chocolate so you can have some dark chocolates working some fresh tomatoes and those are just a few of the ways that you can…..
Brock: And that’s along with your locks and your eggs cooked in butters so we’re making one hell of a breakfast here.
Ben: That’s right, that’s right. And interestingly, by the way, you know this is something else that I think is kinda interesting when it comes to this UVA and UVB exposure. I’ve always wondered if, when I don’t have a chance to go outside, if I just driving around with my truck if when the sun is going through the window if I’m actually getting some of that good sun exposure. Well, it turns out when we’re talking about this whole UVA/UVB thing that mostly what gets kind of through the window is UVA rays again which are the skin damaging rays that have more potential to have kind of like high carcinogenicity (big word for the day) so you should actually if you’re gonna do that like roll down your window or if you’re going to like sit in an office that’s close to the window so that you get more sun. Technically it would be better for you if you like had the window open so you’re getting both UVA and UVB. But it’s kinda interesting the difference between those 2 ray frequencies and kinda some considerations as far as those goes. So good article, we’ll link to it in the show notes……
Brock: There you go….
Ben: Speaking of sunshine, there is also another really good article that I link to about vitamin D and how there’s new research that highlights that vitamin D and specifically high dose vitamin D supplementation which I don’t know about you Brock but I think a lot of people especially in the winter time when this podcast is being recorded or doing…..
Brock: Yeah, I just started taking some in the last 3 weeks because it’s gotten so dark here.
Ben: Yeah well, there’s a specific genes responsible for allowing your cells to regrow specifically your skeletal muscles cells to regrow in response to damage and it turns out that high dose vitamin D supplementation can actually inhibit the activity of those cells. I’ll link to the research in the show notes, it was indeed done I believe on like a rodent model but still it’s really interesting. The data that shows vitamin D actually alters gene expression in the cells that are responsible for causing a muscle to grow and I don’t think that this means that we should avoid vitamin D or quit taking vitamin D supplements because there are a lot of vitamin benefits that come with vitamin D supplementation but one of the things that you run into over and over again in the literature is how the intake of retinoic acid or getting beta carotene or vitamin A from food base sources especially like our oranges and our yellows and even more so when we’ve actually cooked those oranges and yellows like squash and carrots and sweet potatoes and yam and things of that nature. What happens is it balances out the vitamin D and actually takes up some of the receptors like high dose vitamin D would actually take up and so what I suspect is that it’s not vitamin D shots down muscle growth or shots down the ability of the muscle cell to repair or recover. What I think is dangerous and this is something that I hit on a lot during the recent Creative Live that I did down in San Francisco is that if you’re going to take a fat soluble vitamin like vitamin D or like vitamin A or like vitamin K, it’s very very interesting that all of them have some weird toxicity issues unless you are taking them all at once. So that’s why it’s important you know if you’re gonna get fat soluble vitamins in to try as much as possible to get them from natural sources and when I say natural sources I’m talking about things like eggs with the yolk, cod liver oil is another perfect example, raw seeds and nuts are another example but making sure that you’re not just doing like high dose unopposed vitamin D is really really important and you know you can get your vitamin D levels tested, I like for most people to kinda stay between about 40 and 70 kinda below 40 is where you tend to see some of the effects of like a loss of steroidal and hormonal precursors and above 70 is where you start to see some potential for toxicity but more important thing is to make sure that you’re also getting a lot of really rich sources of vitamin A and vitamin K. You know, that’s why I’m a fan of things like using organ meats like liver, or using like a cod liver oil supplement, that’s why I’m a fan of eating eggs with the yoke but it was really interesting study and I think it just highlights that any high intake of any specific vitamin unopposed might be playing with fire.
Brock: And there’s actually a study that people have been asking us about a lot in a lot of couple of days that’s been, I guess it was not so much a study it was an article in New York Times I think that said that all these doctors have stepped forward and said basically supplements are a waste of time usually taking them….
Ben: Yeah, multivitamins specifically.
Brock: Yeah, I think then that was sort of the main hole that I saw and it was that they’re weren’t talking about one anything was being combined with how it was being taken, what time of the day it was being taken, what the diet was like to begin with all of that kind of stuff. So this really just sort of goes hand in hand with making sure you’ve got the right ratios.
Ben: Yup exactly that’s why most multivitamin formulas out there are kinda just crap with the bunch of fillers and stuff we put on we don’t have time to get on today but yeah it’s really interesting. And then since we’re talking about sun and sleep, this was something that I tweeted out and something that we demonstrated again at the recent Creative Live that we did and I should mentioned that like Jess and I just got back from San Francisco, we spent 3 days there on stage for like 8 hrs a day just teaching people all of these healthy living and healthy exercise and healthy eating concepts and if you go to creativelive.com and just do a search for my name you should be able to find that I think it cost like a 100 bucks or something like to download but a lot of fun.
And one of the things that Jessa demonstrated was that if you do need sunblock whether you’re skiing in the winter time, if you’re one of our Northern Hemisphere listeners or whether you live in Florida or California, Jessa showed something really cool which is that you can take zinc oxide which you can get from like soapgoods.com, you can get it at amazon. You wanna be careful not to breathe it in because it is like kind of a volatile powder that can do a little bit of damage if you breathe it in but….
Brock: So no snorting eh.
Ben: It’s got a natural spf (yeah, don’t snort it) of about 30 and you can take any safe lotion out there. So, let’s say you’re a fan of using like whatever, coconut oil, emu oil, any natural moisturizer you know, maybe you’ve got something from like a company that makes good oils but don’t have a lot of fillers on them like badger balm for example and you can add just a couple of teaspoons of zinc oxide and that gives you a natural 20-30 spf sunscreen. Just by doing that all you do is combine zinc oxide with lotion. You don’t have to go through all these steps of like making your own sunscreen. Sounds weird to be talking about it in the winter but I can’t talk about vitamin D and sun and circadian rhythm without mentioning that cool little trick that you can do.
Brock: I think that was a good point to make when you’re skiing like that’s so often sometime you don’t even think of putting on sunscreen on your nose or your cheeks or your forehead or something when you’re out on the slopes for the day and then all of a sudden you get back to the chalet and you look like a racoon or reverse racoon.
Ben: Yup, exactly. So if you don’t wanna be that old wrinkly skier (there you go). Caffeine, so speaking of sleep and circadian rhythms, this was another study.
Brock: I think it ties so neatly together today.
Ben: My segways are just brilliant today. The Journal of Sleep Medicine did a study where they administer the caffeine dose at zero hours, 3 hrs and 6 hrs prior to bedtime. And even as far as 6 hrs from bedtime, the equivalent of about a cup and a half to 2 of coffee taken 6 hrs before bedtime, yeah, about 400 mgs or so of coffee (it’s kinda depends on the size of your cup) but that actually cause significant sleep disturbances even when taken as far as 6 hrs prior to bedtime. And so this kinda highlights the importance of maybe doing a morning cup of coffee and then considering some other source of wakefulness if you need it in the afternoon, like one of my favourite for that is L-theanine which you get from green tea and that doesn’t cause those sleep disturbances that caffeine can cause, but know that based on this recent research if you’re doing caffeine or you’re having a big cup of coffee in the afternoon, that can stay with you for up to 6 hrs so really interesting and I thought that was kind of a cool little test just to see how long it took for caffeine to stay in your system and actually still disrupt sleep. So who knows….
Brock: That’s why if I need to pick up in the afternoon, I just stand on my head and put some ice on my shorts.
Ben: That’s right, that’s right. Well, I do a cold shower but, in Canada you guys like to make everything hard.
Brock: We just grab some snow and shove them in shorts and no big deal….
Ben: That’s right, that’s right. Grab your local neighborhood snow and get into a hand stand and shove it down in your shorts. I like it! Alright, cool. Speaking of shoving things down in your shorts, a brand new toilet! We’ll link to this article in the show notes that appeared in the NBC technology news and there’s this brand new toilet that they’re making that can only analyse your poo for things like bacteria or health defects or provide information about nutritional deficiencies but we’ve talked about the squatty potty before. This is a brand new toilet that actually pushes you up into that 90 degree upright sitting position that allows that what’s called the puborectalis angle to actually be unkinked and unlike the squatty potty which is like this thing that you purchased that you can place in the bathroom of your house, this is actually built into the toilet itself. You can see a picture of the toilet if you go to the article, we’ll link to it in the show notes over at bengreenfiedfitness.com/264.
But as I tweeted I consider this to potentially be the Cadillac of squatty potties and I certainly think it be very cool to have a toilet that can actually analyse your poop.
Brock: Yeah, I can help but picture, did you see the Simpson’s when they went to Japan? And they checked into their hotel room and they have this little, the toilet actually did like this little water ballet show and…. “I am pleased to accept your waste.”
Ben: Yeah, you know it’s funny, the toilets in Japan have all these buttons on them that like literally have like a remote control, it’s like 12 different buttons on it for everything from like the spray and the rinse to the hot vs. the cold to the, you know, those like sit warmers on there. It’s not but now we can add in actual poo analysis. So, check out that article if you’re interested in that and then finally since we’ve talked about sleeping, about nude sunbathing, about pooping, we might as well talk about the use of recreational drugs too just to….
Ben: Kinda come full circle and make sure that any children listening in are now scarred for life. So this….
Brock: Pleased to accept your waste.
Ben: I love it! So this was a study on pot and the use of marijuana and of course we know that marijuana has been used for thousands of years as a treatment for medical conditions and we, in no way, condone its use as a recreational drug but what they looked in to was the cognitive impairments and the potential damage to your brain when you use something like marijuana long term. There has been some research that has shown potential for an increase in what are called neurofibrillary tangles where the formation of what are called beta amyloid plaques and neurodegeneration in your brain in the presence of pot intake. What this study showed was that if you can somehow inhibit cox 2 which is an enzyme that converts arachidonic acid which is kinda like a, it’s associated with inflammation but it converts arachidonic acid to prostanoids in the brain and so potentially causes inflammation in the brain so to speak. If we can somehow shut down cox 2 while we are taking in marijuana base substances then we can shut down the potential neurodegenerative effect of marijuana. And so an example of a cox 2 inhibitor would be like ibuprofen or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug. The unfortunate thing about those though is they also shut down what’s called cox 1 which is really really important for the lining of your stomach and your digestive tract in your blood vessels and that’s why something like ibuprofen can cause a lot of damage to your gut or damage to your liver or damage to your stomach. There are cox 2 inhibitors out there like for example curcumin is a perfect example so you know the active component of the herb turmeric which we find in things like curries, it’s in that phenocane anti-inflammatory supplement that I personally use pretty regularly if we can use something like that like a high dose curcumin in the presence of marijuana exposure so to speak from all that second hand marijuana smoke from your neighbors sipping in as you listen to the podcast. What we can do is, all our pot smoking neighbors here in Washington by the way, it’s now legal I think it’s about an ounce and a half that you can get so now we’ve got all these pot shops opening up but basically I wouldn’t really be going near pot unless you’re also doing a little bit of cox 2 inhibition and getting in your curry and your curcumin at the same time.
Brock: The next time you’ve got some of the cancer munchies…..
Ben: Ahmm, we just save the brain of all of our high listeners.
Brock: audiblepodcast/ben is the place to head over and sign up for your free trial of the pretty sweet collection of, what do they have like 50,000 maybe it’s a 150,000 I can’t remember it’s like a ridiculous number of audio books and download for free.
Ben: Millions, billions. Just make up a number.
Brock: Billions, just make a 150 billion.
Ben: Billion and sharks with lasers, audiblepodcast.com/ben and we’re in a stressful time, the holidays and….
Brock: Speak for yourself, I’m totally relaxed.
Ben: That’s right because Brock doesn’t celebrate Christmas. He is stuck in his mountain top with his pants stuff with snow and chills.
Brock: Stuff with snow doing a headstand.
Ben: Anyways though….
Brock: Anyway, stressful for some people.
Ben: You wanna decrease stress, there’s this book on audible that I found called Mindfulness for Dummies and mindfulness is something again not to kick a horse to death but I, this is something I demonstrated at the Creative Live presentation. We did about 2 mins of mindfulness based breathing to kinda get ourselves back into a relaxed way of being and mindfulness can help you clear your mind of negative and distracting thoughts and live a little bit more positively and make cool habitual lifestyle changes and this book teaches you, if you’re one of the dummies walking around out there, (not that any of our podcast listeners are) but this is called Mindfulness for Dummies, it’s only a 2 hr long audio book but over the course of the audio book which you get for free when you go to audiblepodcast.com/ben. You can learn everything you need to know about how to be more mindful so there you go.
Brock: Yeah, you don’t have to get that book though.
Ben: You know, you have to get that book.
Brock: For suggestion, you can get the Hunger Games if you want.
Ben: You can get the Hunger Games, you get Fifty Shades of Gray…
Brock: It’s hunger or hungry?
Ben: Hunger, the Hunger Games is probably….
Brock: That sounds way better.
Ben: I like the Hungry Games actually, that sounds good. Let’s write a book called the Hungry Games.
Brock: That sounds spending my…. exactly.
Ben: Mindfulness for Dummies, check it out and then also while you’re on the internet surf over to the brand new Ben Greenfield gear page over at bengreenfieldfitness.com/gear. Now, as you may know if you go and leave this podcast to review on iTunes then you’ve got a pretty good chance if we read your review on the show which we’ll be doing at the end of today’s show. So listen in ‘cause you may have won a pack, we’ve got a brand new pcb-free, guilt-free healthy Ben Greenfield fitness water bottle.
Ben: We’ve got the brand new bengreenfieldfitness.com beanie.
Brock: Wait, did you say pcb or pca?
Ben: Sorry, bpa. The other alphabets….
Brock: It’s called pcb-free as well.
Ben: Probably pcb-free let’s keep our fingers cross but definitely bpa-free. The Ben Greenfield fitness text shirt, we spared no expense on the shirt that’s actually a cool looking shirt that you can workout in vs. being one of those cheapo cotton tent shirts.
Brock: Yeah, I actually wear it around like not working out, it’s that nice.
Ben: Yeah, it’s actually a cool shirt. So check it all out, it’s over at bengreenfieldfitness.com/gear but you get all that stuff we’ll ship it anywhere in the world. It’s an awesome way to support the show, you get the beanie again super duper high quality head sweats beanie and if anybody has worn head sweat gear, it’s some pretty sweet stuff.
Brock: We call it tuque here in Canada.
Ben: You could wear this during an entire day of skiing or if you’re up in Canada crawling or anything else, the Ben Greenfield fitness tuck t-shirt for the gym and then of course your bpa-free water bottle so that you don’t have children with birth defects and you can get that all over at bengreenfieldfitness.com/gear. It’s 47 bucks for the shirt, the hat, the bottle, check it out.
Brock: Steal of a deal.
Ben: Steal of a deal and then of course don’t forget to get your free gift by going to giftfromben.com because I’m gonna be giving out some cool giftage in about 2 days, on my birthday.
Brock: Yup, do it soon.
Ben: So, there you go.
Voice-over: Did you know that Ben Greenfield personally mentors trainers, coaches, physicians, and nutritionist from around the globe. From business building tips to advance team and performance and health concepts, It’s all part of a private mastermind called The Superhuman Coach Network. When you join you get instant access to monthly workshops with Ben, a Q & A forum, over 40 hrs of cutting edge audio and video education and much more. Check it out today and become one of the world’s leading health and fitness experts at superhumancoach.com/podcast.
Listener Q & A:
Anne: Hi Ben, it’s Anne from Boston. I was calling because I recently moved into a new office space that doesn’t get any outside natural light during the day. I was wondering if you had any suggestions for a type of sunlamp I should get or any supplements I should take or anything else I should be doing to minimize the negative impacts of sitting in an office where I see very little sunshine during the day. Thank you, love the podcast, bye bye.
Brock: You don’t even have to move into a crappy dark office, you just have to live in the Northern Hemisphere and you’re experiencing the same problem as Anne is having.
Ben: Yeah and the issue of course is sad not to be confused with the standard American diet. The seasonal effective disorder and we also know this as the winter blues but it’s this problem where whether you’re stuck in the dark office all day and it’s summer or spring or fall or winter or whether the sun just not out where you’re at, what happens is it lowers your serotonin levels specifically because when we get an upregulation of melatonin and kind of a natural circadian rhythm, we get really nice stabilized serotonin levels and when that gets disrupted we can get depression, fatigue, sleepiness, irritability, difficulty concentrating, a lot of different issues. So the trick is that you can biohack the sun and you can actually kinda introduce features into your office space or your home space that simulate some light or that help you get some of the chemicals into your body that somewhat we’re normally producing, so one thing probably the biggest thing on your radar should be one of this fancy light boxes or lamps that produced typically blue lights. So I’ll put some links in the show notes under your question Anne and the show notes are gonna be at bengreenfieldfitness.com/264 but 2 brands that I really like that put out that 10,000 lux of light that you would just set on your desk or set like on your table when you’re eating breakfast and it only take about 15-30 mins of exposure or so. There’s one called the Nature Bright Sun Touch, there’s also another one called The Omega Light Therapy Device. Those would be a couple that you would just be able to pick up off Amazon. Usually I mean, they’re not super cheap you’re gonna spend a 100-150 bucks on a good like 10,000+ lux blue light box.
Brock: So that’s the key right there is to get the 10,000 or more lux, lux being the measurement of light output.
Ben: Yup, and for it to really cause that bumped up that slight bumped up in cortisol that you’d normally be getting and for it to stabilize your serotonin levels in the morning. It should include a little of the blue light wave spectrum. So most of them do, most of these what are called photo therapy devices actually do. So they do have some risk if you look at them for a long time. You can get eye strain, you can get headache, some people who used them quite a bit have complain of side effects like nausea and difficulty sleeping so you don’t wanna overuse a photo therapy device but literally just 15-30 mins in the morning or at a dark office could help out quite a bit. So that’s one thing to look into is light therapy. Another thing to look into….
Brock: I actually just googled what the differences between lumens and lux ‘cause I was curious what 10,000+ lux would be ‘cause I remember you’ve got that killer light you’d put on your bike that had like I think has 10,000 lumens or so. So lux is more the spread of the light and lumen is just the luminosity like the actually brightness of it so I guess they wanna spread out the light for this particular usage.
Ben: Yeah, yeah and you don’t necessarily like stare directly into it. You can just set it 1 or 2 feet from you while you’re working on your computer or while you’re again like eating breakfast or whatever it is that you do in the morning and yeah just set up there and that can help out a little bit. Vitamin D supplementation which we’re already hit on, you can of course supplement with vitamin D, again with vitamin D though it’s always one of those things were we need to be really careful and the more and more research I see on just straight up supplementation of what’s called vitamin D3 which is the popular form of vitamin D that you see a lot of people popping these days. There are some definite issues with high dose vitamin D and the absence of our other natural fat soluble vitamins, now believe it or not, one of the best ways to increase blood levels of what’s called 25 hydroxy vitamin D which is the more natural type of vitamin D that you get circulating in your bloodstream if you had say good afternoon sun exposure like that ultimate combination of UVA and UVB light that we’d talked about.
Brock: One of the steps your body actually manufactures in response to sunlight.
Ben: Right, right. To get closer to the stuff like the bioactive stuff that your body actually manufactures itself, one of the best combinations of the compounds responsible for allowing you to make that yourself as eggs just like a whole natural, like a, not a farm raised egg preferably or not a, you know, like a typical store bought egg, like an egg that’s omega 3 and rich through like a cage-free hen that type of thing, not one of the chickens that raised in 1 foot by 1 foot space inside a barn but literally like really good egg from like your local CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) where you can meet up with a farmer or take turns with other people meeting up with a farmer to get eggs or like paying the extra 1 or 2 dollars to the grocery store to get like the good omega 3 enriched egg. That’s a really really good source of vitamin D as well, so that’s something else that I do is focus on the vitamin D, get the light therapy, you know, again like I mentioned be careful just accepting that say like moving closer to an office space that has say, a window in it that has exposure to the sun just be careful ‘cause you get mostly uva rays when you do that. But those are 2 of the things that I would do is good vitamin D supplementation including eggs and fish in your diet as well and then also consider the use of something like one of these blue light boxes.
Brock: Now I don’t wanna go too far from Anne’s question but you said something that I’d thought was kinda interesting when we ‘re talking about eggs. You said that the omega 3 enriched-eggs, now I’ve always heard that you shouldn’t go for the omega 3 ones because they’re actually like feeding the chicken something that they naturally wouldn’t necessarily eat in order to boost the omega 3 so you’re actually losing some of the other good parts of the eggs. Is that, do you not follow or subscribe to that idea?
Ben: I’ve never actually seen any evidence that omega 3 enriched eggs are getting omega 3 enriched by feeding them bad diet. You know, that something that we should look into though. Maybe something we can research and one of our listeners can put up on the facebook page, maybe over at facebook.com/BGfitness.
Brock: Yeah, if anybody is actually interested in this.
Ben: I mean, I guess if you’re supplementing chicken feed with something like flax seeds that have a good omega 3 content, I don’t see huge issue with doing something like that, I suppose, if a chicken is getting a lot of soy and other omega 6 fatty acids or something like that along with something like flax, it could be an issue, but I don’t see an issue with feeding a chicken like extra flax seed or some sort of other omega 3 fatty acid to increase the omega 3 content of the actual egg unless I’m missing something and that certainly could be the case.
Brock: Yeah, I try and find the article that I’m, I’m thinking of it, it’s either Josh Acts or Dave Asprey I think that wrote about that. I’ll see if I can find it.
Ben: Yeah, sweet.
Celia: Hi Ben, my name is Celia and I’ve been running for about a year and a half now. I’m 53 yrs old. I was wondering if you could describe what a medial heel whip is and what are some of the mechanics behind this and what can I do without spending so much money to go and get my gait analyzed? What can I do to remedy it? Thank you.
Brock: So heel whip, that’s a, I know somebody who’d has a quite a serious case of heel whip, I’m having trouble thinking if it’s you?
Ben: Guilty as charged, guilty as charged and it really annoys me like when I see pictures of myself running triathlons and my right foot is just enormously externally rotated like whipping out to the side as I run. I have a pretty serious case of heel “whippage” and in my case I went to like physical therapist, chiropractics, sports medicine docs, you know, over and over again I was like, “Why is my leg turning out like this?” and for me it took having kids and watching my kids and seeing my little boys as young as 3 yrs old running up and down the driveway and they both do the same thing externally rotate their right foot and my son who’s left handed externally rotates his left foot. And in the case of you know, like a child doing it from the time that they’re young all the way up until they’re an adult, sometimes it’s simply is the angle of the femur. You can have what’s called femoral anteversion where the way that your femur attaches to the hip socket simply causes your hip to be in a position that causes a little bit of external rotation of the foot as your foot leaves the ground when you push off during the run stride.
But in many many people that’s not the case especially if it’s accompanied by things like IT band friction syndrome or a lot of injury in the hip or the knee or the ankle or the foot. And the reason for that is because heel whip initiates with an external rotation of your femur so at some point between mid-stance when your foot kinda hits the ground and in you’re standing on your foot and then the tow off as you forcefully unload that foot and push forward unto the next phase of your gait what happens is there are excessive rotational forces that cause your femur to rotate in a position that throws that foot out or causes that foot to slightly rotate out. The muscular imbalance that would cause the leg to want to rotate like that would be the gluteus medius and the gluteus minimus not actually firing properly, not actually doing what’s called abducting the femur or moving the femur to the side. So kind of a more simplistic terms this would mean that you have a weak butt and you would want to actually strengthen your hip abductors like the gluteus medius and the gluteus minimus and you would actually also wanna strengthen your femurs’ external rotators. This would be things like the piriformis, the quadratus femoris, muscles that tend to get notoriously weak and de-activated by doing things like spending a long period of time sitting. So what you can do are serious and different exercises to fix something like this if it’s not just due to like a natural genetic femoral anteversion. So one example would be something like a hip hike and this would be where you stand on elevated platform and you simply kinda drop one hip to the side and then stand up again and drop one hip to the side and stand up again and what you’ll feel is that for the hip that’s not dropping to the side the other hip you’re actually working as you pull that hip up that sort to get tired inside of your leg if you’re doing this right. Fire hydrants where you’re going to the ground in a crawl position and you hike your leg like you’re a dog peeing on a fire hydrant, that’s another really good one.
Brock: Yeah, it’s exactly what it sounds like.
Ben: Yup exactly. A monster walk where you’re using like one of these elastic mini-bands to attach both legs together and kinda do like side shuffles from side to side where you’re down almost like a quarter squat position. That’s a really good one, pretty much anything that involves external rotation of the hips. I’m gonna put a really good video link in the show notes and the video link that I’ll put in the show notes is basically chockfull of really good exercises about 5 exercises or so that you can go through to correct heel whip and then the other thing that I should mention is that if you do want to kinda get your run gait analyzed or you wanna get your swim stroke analyzed or you wanna get your bike fit analyzed or anything like that, there are places online that you can actually send a video of yourself running into for example, if you’re running on a treadmill you can get someone to video record you from back, from the front and from the side and you can send your video and we actually do this over at pacificelitefitness or coaches will do video analysis of your swimming, of your bike fit, of your run gait, and you can actually kinda get analyse to see how much of something might be just natural and anatomical gait vs. how much of something might be due to muscle abnormalities. For example, if I’m looking at someone from the back and they’re running and I’m seeing that the hip is excessively tilting from side to side meaning at mid-stance your hip just kinda collapses and drops toward one side when you’re running and that’s accompanied by something like a heel whip, that’s a pretty good sign that it’s an external rotator or that it’s an abductor weakness issue vs. it being genetic because it actually shows that you have weak hips whereas if I see that foot kinda rotating out a little bit but the hips are staying relatively level while you’re running, then usually it’s just the case where you have that genetic kinda femoral anteversion and it’s not really an issue. So kinda depends and if it’s accompanied by pain and issues like I mentioned like IT band friction syndrome or pain deep within your hips or the inside or the outside of your knee that’s where this is definitely something you’d wanna look at addressing through a really good strength type of program for the rotators and the abductors.
Eric: Hey Ben, this is Eric. I wanted to ask your opinion about improving my squat, I recently saw a youtube video of you and some swimming goggles and some speedo trunks there doing some squats. I was very impressed on the level how far you can go down, I was wondering what tips you have to improve flexibility? Is it the goggles?
Ben: It’s the goggles.
Brock: It is the…. no, I thought it made you in the speedo.
Ben: Yeah, no it’s the goggles. It’s the little bit of the swim cap, the swim cap helps a quite a bit as well.
Brock: There you go Eric, that’s it.
Ben: Now, you know, it’s just, it’s mobility. I mean, for example I tackle the foam roller, I tackle my rumble roller a couple of times a week. I just did it yesterday morning and literally make love to my foam roller for about 10-15 mins to make sure that….
Brock: Wait, wait no. Not literally.
Ben: Well, I’m down there on the floor usually when you’re working at abdaptors and your abductors if you have, you know, a house or neighbors can see him through the living room whether you don’t wanna close the curtains ‘cause it does look like you’re kinda doing something perverted to a foam roller but that’s same company that makes the rumble roller which is the foam roller that has the ridges on it, they also make one called the beasty ball which is basically like this little, it’s like a crossball that has ridges kinda sticking out of it and that one is also really good but I’ll take like my beasty ball and my foam roller and go and do slightly illegal things with them on a living room floor. Literally just like you know, humping all over my hips, my adductors, my abductors, all these areas that tend to get tightened up that keep you from doing everything from like a deep squat to being able to run for long periods of time without your hips collapsing. That’s one way to do it as you come with these from like a fascial standpoint and you make sure that you get some tissue work on a regular basis that has a pretty profound effect on range of motion. Now another thing that you can do is make sure that you really taking care of your joints from like a nutrition standpoint like this stuff kinda flies under the radar when it comes to mobility but I think that lack of the proper nutrients in the diet can really lead to a lot of kinda cell elasticity issues that fly under the radar. So for example, when we talked about cell elasticity, vitamin B, vitamin C, both of those increase cell wall elasticity, they increase joint mobility. They’ve found in pretty much any like dark colored fruit or dark vegetable but working things like kale, and purple cabbage and promegranates and things like that into the diet super important like a really good full spectrum of the antioxidant from food. There’s been some really interesting studies on omega 3 fatty acids from fish and how specifically deficiencies of epa and dha which are the active omega 3 fatty acids that we’re gonna find from some of these sources. When you have a deficiency that can cause destruction or inflammation in a lot of your cartilage cells and that also can decrease mobility so, getting in a good fish oil like doing about 4-6 grams of a fish oil or working in omega 3’s from things like cold water fish and eggs, things of that nature, really important. We also do a ton of bone broth like we get a whole chicken and we make bone broth once a week and I think that really making sure that you’re getting in a lot of the collagen, the gelatine, the minerals, the amino acids, all the things that help with normal joint function by doing things like getting bone marrow and bone broth and you know, if you’re too lazy to make it yourself, you can even go to a website like thebrothery.com and get it made and send to your house like all that stuff is just as important as making sure that you go after fascial adhesion just like a foam roller or some kind of like a stick or a ball or something along those lines.
Brock: All those dietary things really, it reminds me of an article I’ve read about the LA Lakers, how they’re actually working with Dr. Cate Shanahan right now and she introduced like bone broth and antioxidants and stuff into their diet so getting them away from the real inflammatory Gatorade and all that kind of stuff and most of the people on the team, most of the guys on the team were talking about how they hardly ever get recovery pains anymore like they just don’t get doms, they feel that they’re recovering faster, they don’t get a sore, sort of interesting.
Ben: Yeah, yeah. The LA Lakers are way up the cutting edge of this stuff and that’s some really cool stuff that Cate Shanahan is doing with them and if you just go google like Lakers diet or Lakers Cate Shanahan, you’ll see some of the things they’re doing I mean like, you know, I was having this discussion with one of my buddies who’s scout for major league soccer, I told him that if he ever had a team that actually wanted to kind of incorporate a lot of these ancestral living concepts and healthy eating concepts and you know, kinda introduce these stuff in the professional sports that I would be more than happy to help just because like this stuff flies under the radar so much and when we’re talking about everything from NFL athletes finishing up their career and having a ton of brain inflammation that can be controlled with stuff like you know, curcumin and huperzine and a lot of these elements that can for example decrease hypoperfusion to the brain or increase your ability to repair your nervous system. You know, resveratrol, alpha lipoic acid, there’s a bunch of compounds out there that can help with athletes who have suffered from concussions to a lot of these other nutrients that can help with joints and mobility. I mean, a lot of this stuff is as important as the massage works, the deep tissue work or the functional strength work. And then the other thing that I wanted to mention is if you really wanna work on your squat, one of the best exercises that you can do in my opinion to really help you with that, mobility, this is something that I do about every other morning. I do about 10 of these just to kinda wake up my glutes and it’s part of that whole series of core foundation exercises that I go through from the book “Foundation” written by Eric Goodman. We’ve mentioned this before on the show, I’ll just stand facing a wall with my toes up against the wall and try and drop into a deep squat facing the wall and it’s really really hard to do without falling over backwards but if you can train yourself to do that, you’re going to learn how to activate a lot of the glute muscles and kinda tilt your hips back and get into that position that’s necessary to achieve a deep squat ‘cause if you’re not turn on your glutes, once again kinda returns what we’re talking about like the heel whip you’re really not gonna be able to achieve that deep squat position without some things really kinda fall into pieces from like a hip or a knee standpoint. So yeah, those are some of the things that I would think about.
Brock: You know, I used to have a really terrible squat and actually those of you who’ve gone to giftfromben.com, you’ll see me do a really terrible squat in that video and it was pretty much right after that that I decided I had to get better at them and you know, what the best thing was for me was just to do it more. I just so rarely did squat so I just never really got good at them and I basically I sort of hanging out in a squat position just more often as well getting my body used to it, getting all those muscles sort of just that’s more normal to them now and that made a huge difference for me.
Ben: Yup, squatty potty baby.
Joe: Hi Ben, this is Joe calling. I wonder if you can help me out with my difficulty in gaining mass aside from weight. I’m a classic ectomorph so I’ve been training since I’m 17 yrs old and I’m 25 right now and I’ve always been on the skinny side and I’ve been trying to really really bulk up and to put on some good, good mass and you know, I’ve been some results to some degree but I’m still only at 5 foot 10 away 155 and I wanted to know if you can help me out when I’m packing on some size and gaining weight. Thank you very much, bye.
Brock: And this one….
Todd: Hello Ben, this is Todd calling from San Diego, 46 yrs old, pretty active and work all day. Do hot yoga about 5 days a week and I want to put on about 8 lbs of muscle. The problem is I rarely have time to eat enough to support any and the workouts that I’m doing. So kind of a 2 part question, wanted to know if I’m doing 2 days a week to hit the gym in addition to what I’m doing yoga wise, what kind of exercise should I be doing to put on as much mass as possible, I don’t want to spend more 40 mins at the gym and also I’m having bulletproof coffee pretty much every morning but at this point I’m kinda scared to eat lean ‘cause I’m trying to put on weight. So, I need some advice here, thanks.
Brock: Okay, I thought this will be a good opportunity to stick these 2 questions together ‘cause they’re similar, not exactly the same. Good way to stick them together.
Ben: Yeah, we’ve got a lot of listeners who wanna get swoll, get big.
Brock: Hmm, I don’t blame them.
Ben: Speaking of squatting by the way, I don’t know about you but this whole mass gain program that you and I are doing from Dan John. I did my 50, you know, a lot of the finishers for this workouts are squats because the growth hormone in testosterone response you get from squats and kinda like the mass that you get from doing squats is enormous, it’s this defensive position that puts your sympathetic nervous system into this whole fight and flight mode but it’s a great way, you know, in moderation to build muscle and get yourself bigger and these workouts that Brock and I have been doing is part of this mass gain program, they end many of them with 50 squats like heavy squats. It took me about 20 mins to get through my 50 reps and this was 3 days ago. Worth it, put a weight.
Brock: Really? I did mine the day before yesterday. The first time I actually made it to 50 without having to take a real break. I don’t think it took me that long, I think it’s maybe like 10 mins. I’m doing it with the prescribed weight so it’s a, a guy my size Dan John has to do with 135 now in 2 days from now, I’m supposed to do it again with 185.
Ben: I was gonna say yeah, because I’m at the point now where I’ll do 2 reps, walk away come back to 2 or 3 reps walk away come back and that’s literally….
Brock: Wow, how much weight did you get?
Ben: I’m a 225 right now, so yeah, it’s destroying me but really good way to gain weight, gain size, the mass gain program that Brock and me and a lot of other endurance athletes who have kinda want to put on muscle on the off season, we’ll put a link to that one in the show notes. It’s based off on the book Mass Made Simple by Dan John and it just involves a lot of multi joint moves and what are called barbell complexes where you’ll do a complex where you’ll do like a front row with the barbell, then going to a cling with the barbell and then a series of front squats, overhead presses, back squats, deadlifts and you’ll do all this without ever releasing the bar and you feel like you’re hit by a mack truck by the time you actually put that bar down. Anyways though….
Brock: I’m out of breath I get by the end of the complex seems like I’ve sprinted for like 500 meters or something.
Ben: Yeah, so check out that program ‘cause it works really well and you know, the main thing is the biggest 2 mistakes that I see people make who come to me and they’re skinny and they wanna put on size and I’ve worked with high school athletes, I’ve worked with 40-50 year olds they’ve think they’re too skinny. Two biggest mistakes that folks make is number 1, they don’t lift heavy stuff so they’re just trying to do home workouts with elastic bands or they’re just using the machines at the gym or they’re just using dumbbells and they’re just not using, you know, really a barbell is in my opinion, the barbell loaded with weights is one of the best ways to put on mass, to get stronger, to put on muscle and then there also simultaneous to not lifting enough heavy stuff, just doing lots of light stuff, lots of yoga and cycling and running and walking and there like a rat on a wheel when they’re not doing any type of weight training and it’s just basically burning too many calories and putting the body in this constant state of catabolism. So you know, like Dan John and my interview with him and you could go to bengreenfieldfitness.com and do a search for Dan John or Mass Made Simple, he’s like you lift heavy stuff and then you go like sit around the couch and watch the college football game. And you know, that’s how you put on muscle. So the other thing, the other mistake that folks make is that they don’t eat enough. And you really do need to be eating a lot of food to put on significant amount of muscle and in many cases you got to be eating a thousand or more calories over and above what’s called your basal metabolic rate. I’ll put a link in the show notes to some specific free metabolic rate calculators like I have calculators for everything from your ideal body weight and ideal body fat to how to calculate your basal metabolic rate. I have all that stuff over at special page at getfitguy.com because a big part of the book that I wrote over there at getfitguy.com is based around kinda starting off by finding out your daily calorie burn. I’ll link to the page that has the metabolic rate calculators in the show notes for that because that’s another big thing is knowing, like for me, it’s pretty shocking when a guy like me who’s burning at rest without doing anything at all about 2800 calories a day for me to need put on muscle you know, I got to be eating more sometimes a 4 and 5,000 calories a day and a lot of people just don’t eat enough food and they don’t lift enough heavy stuff and those are 2 of the big mistakes.
Brock: Actually that’s interesting ‘cause I’ve been like I feel like I’m lifting heavy I’m definitely lifting more than ever I’ve lifted in my life and I’ve put on a lot of strength, like I can’t believe how much I’m bench pressing compared to 5 weeks ago when I started this program but I haven’t actually put on any, well I’ve put on some muscle, not like a real noticeable amount and not really noticeable on the scale either but I have put on some squishiness around my gut, so I guess it sounds like I’m not lifting heavy enough yet but I have increased my caloric intake by like 500 or 1000 calories.
Ben: Yeah, I’m a bigger fan of not eating so much that you start to put on a gut, and this is kinda like finding that balance because if you eat a lot of food you’re gonna put on muscle even more quickly, you’re gonna stay in that anabolic state more readily but you also risks some of it getting turn into fat so I’m a bigger fan of sacrificing your rate of muscle gain if you can stay lean while at the same time that you’re putting on muscle. So for me it’s typically about that 4000 to 5000 calorie a day window that allows me to, if I’m lifting heavy, still somewhat lean and I actually periodize meaning that on the days where I’m not lifting where I don’t have a lot of activity, I’m going back down to like eating just as many calories as there in my metabolic rate so I’m not eating a high number of calories on my non-lifting days and that really helps as well. The other thing that you can consider….
Brock: I was just gonna say, Todd brought up in his question that he has been doing Bulletproof Coffee every morning as that, I mean that’s a good way to get some extra calories but he’s not definitely getting protein and that’s something that well we’ve all heard we need a certain amount of when we’re trying to put on muscle.
Ben: Yeah, you need about, to actually maintain muscle, you need about 0.5 to 0.6 grams of protein per pound of body weight. To build muscle you need closer to 0.8 grams of protein per pound of body weight, that’s still a lot less than many of these muscle magazines would have you to believe. The other really, really important thing is that you should never step into a gym to say lift weights. If your goal is strength and muscle size without having elevated levels of blood amino acids which ensure that you are staying in a very anabolic state and that you’re not dipping into your muscle for tissue. So you can do that by consuming, like you can mix collagen or amino acids in with something like a bulletproof coffee, you can ensure that you’re eating like a 20-25 gram portion of protein from eggs or fish or something like that about an hour to an hour and a half or so before you go to the gym. You know, we’re doing like a protein shake but keeping blood amino acid levels high is really important and along with that muscle gain program, again I will link to in the show notes at bengreenfieldfitness.com/264, There are supplements that you can take that help with muscle gain I mean like 2 that I highly recommend that kinda fly under the radar, one is colostrum and colostrum, again it’s derive from like mother’s milk, it’s what helps babies grow into big animals you know like goats and cows and stuff like that or humans and it can help you grow when you’re on the weight room. So, I do about 4 capsules of capracolostrum in the morning and 4 in the evening and that’s one thing that can help if recovery with repair with the lining of your stomach and with strength building. So that’s one that I would consider, another one that I’ve been using quite a bit that I just keep in my gym bag and I ensure that I’m never ever going near a weight session or finishing weight session without elevating my blood levels of amino acids and that’s master amino pattern stuff that just a capsule I don’t even use water, I just pop them in my mouth and chew about 5-10 before workout or after workout to make sure that I’m never really in that catabolic state. So that’s really important to make sure that you keep yourself in that kind of anabolic state as much as possible so that allows you to do it without creating a lot of nitrogenous by-product or ammonia by-product because those amino acids are literally converted extremely efficiency into the usable amino acids that you’re gonna use for repair and recovery.
Brock: Because they’re pretty much just like a protein that’s been pre-digested for you.
Ben: Yup, exactly exactly. So those are some things that I would consider as well. You know, I also have an article that I’ve written on strength training with kinda like every little thing that you’d wanna consider when it comes to putting on strength from like how to periodize, how to time your workouts to all the different foods that help support testosterone and help to keep blood amino acid levels high and I’ll link to that in the show notes for the show as well so that you can go and read that if you wanna geek out on this a little bit more.
Nicki: Hi Ben and Brock, I’ve seen a lot of people wearing calf sleeves lately for endurance running and I was just wondering if you found any research articles that approve any benefits for them or if you personally know of any benefits of them. Thanks for all your help and all your information. I really enjoy your podcast and congrats on Kona.
Brock: Personally I’ve started using well not necessarily the calf sleeves but I started using compression socks and I found that they’ve worked really well for me.
Ben: Yeah, I used them quite a bit and it’s a, who’s the guy Mev Covleski? I always pronounce his last name wrong. Covleski, whatever it is. The guy who run a New York marathon, he run them in compression socks and he wears those quite a bit and swears by them and I of course used compression sleeves when I fly all the time and I actually just put them in my bag and just went on like a complete tool walking around the airport, you know, I wait ‘till I get on the plane and then throw in my compression sleeves but yeah there’s a lot of claims out there that they do everything from increasing oxygen delivery to decreasing lactic acid to preventing cramps and the thing is that the research goes back and forth on this. There’s a few studies like a few small studies that have found that compression garments increase performance when you wear them during exercise but they’re typically with not a lot of subjects and they’re really not the best studies on the face of the planet when it comes to for example the fact that none of the studies used the placebo group or a control group so it was hard to tell if the increases were really from sale like compression gear or from the athletes say like perception of the compression gear like the fact the athlete knew that they were wearing the gear vs. a control group that wasn’t wearing the gear at all. So it’s really tough in terms of putting your finger on the research vs. using yourself as like n=1 experiment to see if they say work for you. So most of the research either doesn’t show performance benefits like acute performance benefit helping you in the moment to run fast or go longer and have an increase time to exhaustion or the ones that do show performance benefit don’t really have a control group or they’re done with very, very small amount of subjects. Now there was recently a really interesting like real world study were they followed a bunch of athletes who were doing an ultra race in South Africa and they found that the athletes who had compression socks even compared to the athletes who wore like regular knee high socks or athletes that wore no socks, the athletes that have the compression socks on has significantly less muscle damage and recovered more quickly and also ran on average for the ultra race 12 mins faster and I believe this was close to the hundred mile distance for this ultra race. So, that was kind of an interesting real world study and the reason that they’ve kinda propose that happens is because you get better support of the muscle so perhaps a little bit of increased basic stiffness you know, if you look at really fast runners sometimes they do a slightly stiffer tendons, slightly stiffer hamstrings that help them to pop up the ground a little bit more quickly so that compression gear might possibly be offering that type of benefit but then when it comes to bouncing back again for the next day session. When you’re running and your foot strikes the ground and your muscle is jiggling so to speak what happens is there can be a little bit more fiber damage than if that muscle were kinda held in place by something like compression gear. So, it’s possible that the decreased soreness or the decreased perception of soreness or the decreased delayed onset muscle soreness or doms might actually be caused by wearing these compression socks.
And it’s important to realize that a lot of these are a little bit different than what you’ll get if you are to say like go to your local medical supply store and get the old band socks like a lot of the compression socks and especially the ones that have shown or hinted at any benefit in raising or in a lab were at over 25 what’s called millimetres or mmhg of pressure and in many cases were this graded compression socks, they get like tighter at your ankle and then decreases as they move toward your hip. So it is a special kind of compression socks that’s thicker, that’s grade a graded so if you’re gonna do a compression sock or compression sleeve, you know, I’d go with the company like 2XU, skins, the company that I work with is a 110% meaning that I wear their stuff and I wear that just because it allows you to put ice into the compression gear as well so you can use it for recovery. Ultimately though if it works for you, I do it and the cool thing is it’s never been shown to have any harm like it’s never ever been shown to make you slower so that’s kind of the important thing that you realize too is that there’s no risk, it’s not actually gonna like you know make you slower or decrease your ability to recover.
Brock: And you’ll look kinda cool if you have them too.
Ben: Someone argue that you look like a complete tool and a triathlon geek or running nerd.
Brock: Well, you do look like a geek or a nerd but a cool one. Actually if you go over to the Ben Greenfield fitness app for the iPhone and the android I did a video if you’re wondering what the heck compression sleeve or compression sock looks like. I did a gear review of the pro-compression stuff over there, see if you can pick that up and take a look at it.
Ben: There you go you can see Brock modelling his compression gear.
Brock: Looking like a nerd and a geek.
Robert: Yes, Mr. Greenfield, I just wanted to know, my name is Robert Odale. We were kinda of figuring out the best way to approach some getting into shape and better things and with all the stuff out there today and I know you use the Medex machine or like other things too but we wondered about the machines, and the kettle bells and the free weights but there is anyway give us a call or get something to as we greatly appreciate it. Thank you.
Ben: So the Medex that Robert mentions, I actually have, I don’t use that. That’s the one that’s recommended by Doug Mcguff, who’s the guy who wrote the book Body by Science whom we have interviewed on the show before. He’s the one who does the super slow training protocol and he uses, that’s the protocol where you go like 10-30 seconds up 10-30 seconds down and he uses that machine called the Medex, weight machine to do something like this. I’m personally not a huge fan of machines and rarely if ever go near machines at a gym I don’t have a machine at my home. I have a bit like if you open up my closet just like a bunch of random workout gears spills out and I can tell you exactly what I have in my home. Although like I mentioned earlier when I go to the gym at this point it’s pretty much just like a barbell with weights on it because we’re doing that mass made simple program which really actually is pretty simple. It’s a barbell with weight and you’re doing squats and presses and everything.
Brock: Same workout, same order, same everything.
Ben: Yup exactly every single time. So what I do have at my house though if you were to open my closet and just kinda go through all the workout gear, the random workout gear that I’ve tried that I can swear by is I have a kettle bell and it’s just one of those monkey faced kettle bells from Onnit, I have also a maze from Onnit which is this heavy kinda deal that you swing around and what else do I have? I’ve got the gym stick and I’ll put a link to all these stuff, I’ll just list off everything in my home gym and link to it if you want. I’ve got the gym stick which is this tube that has like elastic bands on either side of it and I like that one, it can’t get to the pool to do kinda like a swimming type of workout. You know, with overhead presses and kneeling presses and upright rows and that one kinda simulate swimming a little bit. I’ve got a Fit10 which is the device I can attach to my door and it allows me to do sprints in place. So if I wanna do like series of 10 by 30 seconds sprints and don’t want to hop on a treadmill or go outside, I can do those like right in my office.
Brock: So you just tater yourself to the wall.
Ben: You tater yourself to a door and you just run and you wanna make sure that there’s nobody on the other end who’s gonna open the door or you gonna run through the wall. I’ve got a suspension strap which is kinda like a trx. The one I have is called the most fit suspension strap, I used that a lot more often in the summer or grab that strap head out to the backyard and just do single lane lunges and push ups and stuff like that using a suspension strap. I’ve got the little mini band, I mentioned this earlier it allows you to kinda tie your ankles together and do like monster walks, side walks like basically it’s a really good way to strengthen your hips. I’ve got a weighted vest which allows me to just like, for example I worked out yesterday and my workout was, I put on my weighted vest and I put on everything that I have in my little home gym so that my elevation training mask, so that allows you to kinda simulate being up around 18,000 feet. Put on my weighted and my elevation training mask and just went for a hike. That was my workout yesterday. So it takes a normal restful nature hike where you’ve been enjoying the birds singing and the wind whispering to the trees and instead turns in to just like this, suffer fest where your, you know, covered in sweat and hoisting this 40 lbs vest up the hill and breathing through them that Batman like mask.
Brock: Terrifying for all the children you come across.
Ben: You look like the terrorist on the trail exactly but I’ve got bad stuff toss into my workout closet just so I can go out and just kinda rock around and hike and make it really hard hike. I’ve got a stability ball so I can just basically do some balancing base exercises on that, I do a lot of hip hikes and the abdominal work using the stability ball.
Brock: Is that one of those half balls or is that one of the full balls?
Ben: No, a full ball, a full ball and then I also have the half ball, the bosu ball that I can jump on and do balance exercises and that’s about it. I mean, to put all that stuff together that I just talked about you’d be looking at like around 250 bucks or so but again if you’re trying to build muscle or build strength none of that stuff is heavy. It’s not like with the gym stick and the elevation training mask you’re gonna be able to put on strength. So I still drive to the gym to get the heavy stuff.
Brock: I think the power block dumbbells go up to 50 lbs so even with both of them still on me 100 lbs is not quite enough to really do some hypertrophy.
Ben: Yeah, but I mean if you just wanna get lean and stay fit, I mean that’s the kind of stuff that I have around in my house. Probably if you had to have me, like if I have to buy 1 machine and I am thinking about like putting maybe in this, a new home gym that I wanna build potentially like 1 kinda like full body exercise machine. I would look into the one called the arxFit. I got a chance to workout on this, it’s called a-r-x fit, well I‘ll link to it in the show notes so that you can check out arxfit.com. I worked out on one at Paleofx, and it’s one that I think Keith Norris uses, he’s kinda big in the paleo community for what’s called his efficient exercise program and what it does is it just show resistance as you’re going a motion and can provide like really really high resistance. So you know how like you’re swimming Brock, if you’re to move your hand to the water like the faster or the harder you push your hand through the water, the harder the water is gonna push back against you. Right, it’s called like isokenetic resistance that’s what we call that in biomechanics. This is very very similar in that as you get stronger or weaker as you progress through your movement, the machine automatically kinda adjust to resistance as you move through so not only could it be use for like that super slow protocol that we’ve talked about but it could also be used for you to like try really explosive powerful movements and experience increased resistance no matter how hard you work against the machines. The one is called an arxfit, they have a home unit, they also have real cool like professional unit that has like this nomadic adjustments, and like a computer that allows you to program in an actual exercise program it’s got like a touch screen and I think it was the professional unit that I was able to get a chance to hop on and use a paleo facts. Maybe we even got like mocji can put it to where like it will resist you so much that you’re pretty much just doing like a max effort isometric contraction and you can program it to only have resistance when you’re going to the negative portion of the lift or only have resistance when you’re going to the positive effort of the lift and there’s no eccentric contraction involve.
So, it’s really cool, it’s called an arxfit and I guess if I had to choose 1 machine, if you’re gonna force me to use 1 machine like a home gym, that’s the one that I would look into using.
Brock: Sound’s like exercising in quick sand.
Ben: Yeah kinda but kinda cool and I have no clue how much they cost, I have to look into it but I’ll put a link in the show notes. I would imagine that professional unit is like a few thousand dollars but a home one might me a little bit more affordable. So, arxfit.
Brock: I’m gonna say it’s a hundred bucks.
Ben: There you go.
Sol: Hey Ben and Brock, this is Sol here from sunny Santa Fe. I love your podcast and I just joined your Inner Circle because I can’t get enough of your stuff. So here’s my question: The Kenyans just sweep the New York City marathon, they won both the men’s and women’s divisions so I got curious ‘cause I keep hearing that the Kenyans win all the time so I’d looked in Wikipedia and I see that between 1997 and 2013, Africans mostly from Kenya but also from Morocco and Ethiopia have won 13 out of 16 New York City marathons and particularly this was in the men’s open division. Everybody of course has their own opinion about what makes the Africans marathon winning machines and of course I’m very curious Ben and Brock, would you guys think is their secret sauce? Thanks.
Brock: If we knew the actual definitive answer to that question I think we would have quit our jobs a long time ago.
Ben: That’s right. Well you certainly don’t see Moroccans and Ethiopians winning power lifting competitions and so there’s a reason for that. Really good book that goes into this is, the new book by David Epstein “The Sports Gene” have you read that one Brock?
Brock: No, I haven’t. No, I got to check on that.
Ben: Awesome, awesome book. I don’t know if that’s one over on audible but either way that’s a really good book to pick up. The Sports Gene just goes into what makes people, who are good at specific sports, good. And for example when we look at the role of genetics and something like a Kenyan population, they’ve got really thin ankles and they’ve got thin calves and that’s important because when you’re running, your leg is like a pendulum so the more weight you have, the farther away from your center of gravity, the more difficult it is to swing that weight. So if we’re talking about like running, you know, put on a couple of like 2 or 3 or 4 lb weights on your ankle and go out and go for a run and that’s kind of a difference between say like the average person walking around in the size of their ankle and the size of their calf and like one of these Kenyan runners or the Ethiopian or the Moroccan runners in the size of their ankles and calves. If you look at them from a genetic standpoint, the way that they’re actually built that’s one thing that you can look into. Now the other thing and I’m gonna link to this excellent podcast that was done by a Radio Lab and it’s called “Cut and Run” and what that podcast gets into is it’s start off by talking about the runner Kip Keino, remember Kip Keino Brock?
Brock: Ehmm, yeah.
Ben: He was the guy who had that 15 hundred meter upset in the Mexico Olympics like back in the 60’s. And the amazing thing was that he have like a gallbladder infection before the race which is incredibly painful and I heard it’s the most when you’re actually breathing hard and he not only won the race but he set an Olympic record kinda pushing through the pain of that gallbladder infection and when you go and look at the pain tolerance of a lot of these like Kenyan runners and you know these Ethiopians and Moroccans, one of the things that is traditional like in this tribe that Kip Keano came from is you get circumcised when you’re like 14 or 15 yrs old and the circumcision literally is this brutal ceremony where they actually like wipe stinging nettle on your genitals and they like have this process where they’re like literally tie a string around your foreskin to circumcise you and it’s this horrible painful ceremony and then though like they get into this podcast in really good detail, they cake mud on your face and so if your cheek twitches or your forehead wrinkles or you do anything that would show like your ability to crack under pressure then you’re labelled a coward and you’re stigmatized by the whole community and you even lose out on your dowry, meaning your ability to basically get money as you marry and make children in the tribe so they’ve almost like genetically kinda bread out the people who are more weak with this circumcision process.
The other thing that happens is when you’re circumcised, they take you to this hut on the outskirt of the village to heal after your circumcision and when you leave the hut you’re not allowed to walk, so anywhere you go you have to run. So not only do you have to run (you know whatever, run to school, run to the grocery store whatever) but you have to run with this enormous amount of pain from the circumcision. And this has been the tradition for hundreds of years and so what the philosophy here is, is that they’ve literally bread mental toughness into some of these tribes that are showing huge amount of dominance in this running competitions that really rely on you having a great deal of ability to stand pain and have mental toughness in kind of keep going when the going gets hard. So you know, I would say it’s kind of combination of that and genetics. I don’t know, do you have any thoughts on this one Brock?
Brock: Not really, there’s definitely a lot of genetics like we talked about just the size of the individuals and the length of the hamstrings and Achilles tendon and stuff like that are just more built for that sort of a, for a running activity and in certain populations but yeah, I mean you hear people talk about how in Africa they run everywhere like they just have to do that to get to school or to do whatever so they’re just sort of born running but I have heard, I think it was Haile Gebrselassie that was interviewed and he was talking about how that’s kind of a myth that they don’t really run everywhere, they take busses and stuff just like everybody else unless needed.
Ben: Well, they certainly run out of the hut when they’re circumcised and we don’t do that here in America at least not. Anyone that I know of, maybe out in sticks out in Arkansas somewhere.
Brock: Maybe, we don’t do that in Canada.
Ben: You know, the other thing is the diet. You hear a lot of people talked about the diet and how they eat like a high carb diet and lots of bananas and rice and stuff like that, I get ask a lot about my take on that and the fact that these people are succeeding in endurance sports on a high carb diet and why do I recommend ketosis, why do I recommend getting in like a high amount of healthy fats, when it comes to that stuff I would argue that the Kenyans are fast because of their genetics and because of their culture but I personally suspect that the long term effects of a high carbohydrate diet is still something that could potentially cause deleterious effects down the road, that’s number 1 and number 2, you’ll gonna find that in a lot of these populations that have traditionally eaten a higher amount of kinda like good starchy carbohydrates like bananas and white rice and stuff like that. They’re doing some very interesting things like producing more salivary amylase to initiate breakdown of those carbohydrates that the pancreas doesn’t have to churn out as much insulin. They have a specific gut flora or bacterial profile that allows for a lower blood sugar response and better stabilization of blood sugar levels upon consumption of that carbohydrate. Like there’s some stuff that kinda bred in to some of these higher carbohydrate consuming populations to that make them a little bit more bullet proof to high carb intake so to speak so that’s something also to take into account to is that it’s different strokes for different folks and that’s why I think stuff like this 23andme.com genetic testing where you can go and see whether you came from like a high fat fish and egg eating like northern European population vs. like a higher white rice consuming like Asian or Highlander type of population, it’s kind of important when it comes to dictating the kind of diet that might work best for you.
Brock: Unless of course the FDA shuts down 23andme and then it’s not gonna help you at all.
Ben: That’s right, that’s right. They’re shutting down things right and left silkroad, 23andme, not only can I knock at my jeans tested but I can’t buy AK47s and cracked cocaine anymore so. It’s horrible! Speaking of Ak47s and cracked cocaine….
Brock: What’s anything about cracked cocaine? What?
Ben: We did have a review that was left by a man who listens to our podcast with his young son.
Brock: Oh, iTunes review, yes, I almost forgot.
Ben: Since we’ve talked about pot and silkroad and buying illegal drugs online, we might as well bring up the iTunes review for this week.
Brock: Oh oh, he listens to it with his son?
Ben: Hmm, he says “Awesome info, mad entertainment for all ages.” And this is a review that’s left by MattGorski. We’re gonna read Matt’s review here but if you leave an iTunes review, first of all Matt if you hear us read your review, send an email to Ben at bengreenfieldfitness.com ‘cause we’re gonna send you the brand new bpa-free water bottle, tech shirts and beanie that you can split between you and your son if you like or fight over who gets what. But also I’m going to assume that Matt probably left this review before our episode that was marked explicit on sex but here we go…. “I listen to Ben and Brock with my 11 yr old son when we drive to his Parkour class each weekend day….
Brock: That’s awesome!
Ben: By the way, I think that’s awesome!
Brock: I wish I could take that Parkour class.
Ben: Yeah…. “he pays attention and asks questions about the topics.” Matt, if he ask what the silkroad is just tell him it’s a, this old Chinese road.
Brock: Just say it’s a restaurant.
Ben: “Once in a while I can even answer him. Keep up the good work educating and shedding light on health, fitness, food, and achieving. P.S. if you guys see this, do a segment on how bad bagels are to have each morning! My son doesn’t seem to think he can live without them!
Brock: I can’t live without them either, I mean, what do you use for a hockey puck if you don’t have a hockey puck around?
Ben: That’s right. Matt and Matt’s son, yo! What’s up? And the Matt son, we didn’t get his name but bagels, bagels will slowly kill you and destroy your life so there you go.
Brock: But first they make you dumb and fat and then they’ll kill you.
Ben: Yes, there you go. So now you know how bad bagels are and we’ve done our podcast on how bad bagels are. They are good though for hockey puck, let’s pull it through.
Brock: Perfect for hockey puck.
Ben: There you go.
Brock: Street hockey or indoor. Perfect!
Ben: So leave your review over on iTunes, remember to visit giftfromben.com if you want to not only get free video from Brock and I but also if you head over to giftformben.com sometime in the 2 days after this podcast comes out, I’m gonna be sending you out some other love on my birthday as well.
Ben: So, there’s that and then remember to visit audiblepodcast.com/ben and of course the links to everything that we talked about are over at the show notes at bengreenfieldfitness.com/264 and what do you think man?
Brock: Don’t forget to raise a glass to Ben for his birthday and me for surviving 10 yrs ago so I can bring you some quality jack ass read during the podcast.