Introduction: In today’s episode of the Ben Greenfield fitness podcast: Natural remedies for snoring, Weight training for endurance athletes, Can D-ribose reverse heart disease? How to lose weight with a low thyroid, Train for a marathon without losing muscle, and sports nutrition for females.
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Brock: So you’re nice and cozy and warm over there in your part of the world?
Ben: It is so freaking cold here in Spokane. It’s like 20 below zero.
Ben: I burnt my feet, like cold burnt my feet.
Brock: What were you doing?
Ben: I went out in my garage yesterday morning. As I usually do on Tuesday mornings, I hung from my inversion table.
Brock: Oh, no!
Ben: You’re hanging and all the blood drains from your feet. And so this is my weird set up. I think I’ve mentioned this before in the podcast, ‘cause I get weird looks from my neighbors. I open up my garage door. So the sun shines like blasting through the glass door. And then I hang in my inversion table and stare at the sun. I’m in my boxers and my body is getting bathed in sunlight and vitamin D and I’m hanging there and getting the increased capillarization and blood flow to my head and draining my legs. It just so happened yesterday morning when I was doing this at about 7AM, it was almost -20. And so I have cold burns on my feet now.
Brock: Well, that’s what happens when you do crazy stuff. You run the risk of, well first looking like a mad man and second, doing something like that, I guess-burning your feet. Cold burning.
Ben: I need to find myself some bunny slippers to podcast in this morning,
Brock: As always, this is the part of the show where Ben highlights some of the latest, newest, coolest news flashes that he’s come across in the studies.
Ben: That’s right. We gotta get you a thesaurus. You can stop talking like a valley girl.
Brock: Like, awesome! Like cool! And really gnarly!
Ben: Foam rolling.
Brock: Foam rolling?
Ben: Foam rolling is near and dear to many of our listeners’ hearts. And I certainly have a love-hate relationship with my rumble roller foam roller. There is a study that came out in the journal Strength and Conditioning Research last month, though, that looked at whether or not foam rolling actually helps performance. And what I twitted over at twitter.com/bengreenfield was soreness, yes. But performance, no. Because….
Brock: I remember that one. That got a lot of people’s ire for some reason, people writing back – “It helps my performance”, getting really, getting their backs up about it, I’m not sure why.
Ben: A lot of people love their foam roller. They came to their foam’s defense. Anyways, what they did in the study was that they took some people and they just had them do some planking exercises. Which I thought was kinda cool because you’re kinda in a planking type position when you’re foam rolling.
Brock: I guess so.
Ben: The group that they compared them, they just did foam rolling exercises. What they found was that when they tested for performance variables like vertical jump, height and power force production, agility, there’s absolutely no difference between the folks who did foam rolling versus the folks that did planking. But what they did find, and this will hopefully allay the anger of all our foam rolling listeners, is that they did find, folks who did the foam rolling, had reduced feelings of fatigue, even though they didn’t perform any better. And they had significantly less soreness, and less perceived rating of exertion. So even though you don’t perform any better, you can at least feel like you’re working a little less hard and have a little less soreness.
Brock: You know I gotta say that does comes down to semantics at a certain point, that’s really how you define performance.
Ben: In a way, but ultimately what performance really comes down to, if you’re talking about the bronze, the silver, the gold, how fast you go, or how much force you produce, that type of thing –I do a full body foam rolling session every Tuesday and every Friday for about 10-20 minutes.
Ben: In put on my MP3 player and get down and dirty with my foam roller. So I have nothing against foam rolling. I just don’t pretend that it’s gonna make me any faster as much as it’s gonna prevent injury, decrease soreness, and potentially make me feel a little happier during the workout.
Brock: I’ve been using it for pre-workout, just getting myself ready. It’s actually part of the Dan John Mass Made Simple Program, to do some foam rolling before getting into the heavy lifts. I found it makes a huge difference in terms of just – I haven’t actually hurt myself, even though I’m throwing around ridiculous amounts of weight in terms of my history as an athlete. I’ve never done this kinda of thing. I do feel that just getting the fascia a little ready for that is a great thing.
Ben: Yeah, humping your foam roller is fantastic for mobility. So, hump away.
Brock: Yeah. I like the looks I get at the gym, too, when I’m rolling around in that thing. Moaning.
Ben: That’s right. It’s illegal in some states down here. There’s also another study that I twitted about how it’s not about how long you sit during the day when it comes to cardio metabolic risk factors as much as it is how much prolonged unbroken sitting time that you have.
Brock: So it’s, wait, so it’s not the –if you got an 8-hour day let’s say you’re at work for 8 hours and you sit for 7 and ¾ of that, it’s not the 7 and three quarters you should be worried about, it’s how often you got up and went to the bathroom?
Ben: Exactly. So you could take two people and you could have them sit six hours a day but you could have one person do that sitting six hours a day and actually give them let’s say four 30-minute breaks, so that’s an 8-hour day. And the other person just sits for the full 6 hours. Well the person who gets up and moves a few times, even though they , by the end of the day both people have sat the same amount of time, the person who has the broken sedentary time, meaning getting up with the breaks actually has lower cardio metabolic risk factors. This is based not only on studies done in adults but a recent study that came out in Plus One that was done in children as well. I’ll link to the article over in the show notes at bengreenfieldfitness.com/270. I’ll link to a really nice article over at Sweat Science where they summed up the results. But ultimately what this comes down to is- I highly recommend that you go – one term used for this is the pomodoro technique, where you work for 25 minutes and then you take 5 minutes off, then you work for 25 minutes so you take 5 minutes off. That’s one way you could do it. But my way that I do it is for every hour I do 100 jumping jacks every time I walk out of my office to go get a glass of water or whatever, I do 5 pull ups on the door of my office and I’m constantly breaking up movements like that, or breaking up sedentary time like that.
Brock: You know I love that they’re doing the study on children as well ‘cause I can’t help but think that we’re totally ruining our children by sticking them in those crappy little desks with those almost built-in cubicle type seating and we’re shortening their hip flexors or ruining their backs and we’re probably destroying their attention spans by doing that. So this is awesome they’re doing it in children as well as studying adults.
Ben: Yeah. I think they should probably replace desks with mini-trampolines.
Brock: For sure! If they were just like standing there, bouncing the whole day. Can you imagine? We’d have the smartest kids in the world.
Ben: Mini trampolines and iPads. We’ll link to that in the show notes. And then also, there’s been a lot of talk lately about vitamin D because of the recent media barrage against vitamin D and the meta analysis that came out saying that vitamin D was useless. This was a study in the length…
Brock: and vitamin D supplementation was useless…
Ben: Vitamin D supplementation, yes.
Brock: Nobody thought that vitamin D, yeah…
Ben: Yeah. And take away from the Lancet study is that it was a meta analysis where they looked at a bunch of different studies that have been done on vitamin D and they reported that vitamin D has absolutely no benefit in terms of reducing your risk of cardiovascular disease. Now I’ll link to a pretty good synopsis of some of the issues with this meta analysis in the show notes for this episode but the take away is that while you certainly could say from the meta analysis that vitamin D may not have an effect when it comes to cardiovascular disease, there’s still a ton of benefits to vitamin D that have been proven in research such as reduced risk of colorectal cancer and the meta analysis that have been done that has said that vitamin D doesn’t have an effect in cancer covered all cancer outcomes and shoved them all to one bucket.
But when you take certain forms of cancer like colorectal cancer, vitamin D does have an effect on that. Vitamin D has an effect on multiple sclerosis. It has an effect on muscular control in the elderly although meta analyses have shown no reduction in fractures in the elderly. You do get improved agility and muscular control. Mood changes…
Brock: So bone density isn’t affected but just general movement is?
Ben: Bone density isn’t affected in the studies that have given high dose, not even high dose but low dose vitamin D supplementation, and done so, they’ve never done so in the presence of the two co-factors necessary for vitamin D, vitamin A and vitamin K. But the fact is that vitamin D even by itself can improve muscular control. Mood changes that has been shown to be a positive effect of vitamin D with regard to seasonal affective disorder. If you don’t wanna hang in your garage on an inversion table while staring into the sunlight, you can also take vitamin D.
Brock: People don’t like to do that? What?
Ben: And then risk of diabetes. What I always look to, Brock, is I own this 800+ page Human Effect matrix that’s put out by examine.com. I’ll link to the actual pdf that I use in the show notes for this episode. But it’s a pretty comprehensive list that lets you look into the actual data on the specific effects of a vitamin. So when a study like this on the lancet comers out and paints with a broad brush and says” vitamin D is useless because it doesn’t keep you from dying earlier”, you can look at all sorts of human effects that go above and beyond just dying earlier like a slight increase in testosterone and an improvement in muscular control and the mood changes with regards seasonal affective disorders. So I would say for any of these studies, if you’re concerned or you want kind of like an unbiased review of human effects by companies that are not selling supplements or anything along those lines, grab that little pdf, or big pdf over at examine and that will be a helpful resource. So those are the news flashes for this week.
Brock: When you talk about being -20 and me looking out the window seeing this snowstorm that’s happening in Toronto today, I am so excited to go to Mexico.
Brock: It can’t go –it can’t come soon enough.
Ben: I have been practicing my Mexico accent.
Brock: That’ll get you knifed! Hahaha! Don’t do that.
Ben: For folks who are pining away in the cold here in north America and wanna go to Mexico, there’s still time to get in to PrimalCon which is taking place in Tulum, Mexico and it’s your chance to engage in really immerse interaction with guys like Mark Sisson and Robb Wolf, world-renowned nutritionist Cate Shanahan, fitness expert…
Brock: I’m totally pumped to meet Cate. She’s kinda my current hero.
Ben: Yeah, she’s kinda smart, too. Darryl Edwards, me, Brock, Jessa, a bunch of us are gonna be basically living in Mexico for five days.
Ben: You can get in – we’re gonna put a link on the show notes over to Primal Con or you can just google Primal Con. Tell them you heard about it in bengreenfieldfitness podcast, they’ll get you in. You’ll get all-star treatment. It’s March 1st to the 6th, considering it’s early February, you gotta get in, fortunately tickets to Mexico are actually pretty cheap, so get in, get your butt down to Cancun, and they’ll come and pick you up at the airport and you just go and have fun in the sun for a few days.
Brock: And Tulum is a super cool part of the world, too with all the ruins, the Mayan ruins. So even if you’re not interested in the paleo side of things, you can take in a little bit of that and a little bit of the ruins!
Brock: Now it’s just about over. So if you’re listening to this on the day it comes out, you still have time. If you waited too long, you’re gonna have to pay a little bit extra but you get the replays forever, I think.
Ben: Yeah, and my presentation over there was on raising primal kids. Dave Asprey, Mark Sisson, a bunch of folks are presenting on some really cool things in terms of like paleo myths, how to eat paleo in a modern world, and I’m not paleo but a lot of the information on this thing is pretty good. So check that out over at bengreenfieldfitness.com/paleocon
It’s put on by John Durant who wrote a really great book called The Paleo Manifesto. My favorite part about that book is the section where he talks about how the fiercest warrior populations on the face of the planet all have a history of throwing their children into icy cold rivers when they’re babies. So, there you go, It’s kinda funny, actually, I had my kids trypsing around with me in the negative temperature conditions up here yesterday ‘cause we’re building an obstacle course out on the forest. And I’ve got little tires put in to flip and chains for them to drag, cinder blocks and stuff like that and so we just froze our butts off for about an hour just setting up obstacles around the land. My little 5-year-old boys are trypsing around behind me. Finally we all get in the truck excited to drive home after working on our obstacle course. And we’re completely out of gas.
Ben: And Jessa’s nowhere to be found. So I had to call Triple A to bring us gas and we sat in the freezing truck for 45 minutes in the negative temp condition so we actually put on Pandora on my iPhone and had to dance off to stay warm.
Brock: Awesome. You didn’t have candles and stuff in your car?
Ben: We didn’t have candles but we had Pandora and we had our dance moves.
Brock: I don’t think that’s what they recommend into your safety kit.
Ben: We’re straying from the special announcements. What else? Last thing I’ll mention here folks before we shut up and move on to the Q and A and that is my book. My brand new 540+ page beautiful hard cover manual that teaches you everything you need to know about performance, nutrition, lifestyle, and pretty much every tactic, technique, trip and trick that I’ve ever come across is going to be out here really soon. So head over to beyondtrainingbook.com and you can grab a free chapter. I have at this point over a dozen bonuses that you get when you buy the book in terms of hidden chapters I’ve been writing, video screen shots I’ve been producing on, very similar to that got screen shot I released on bengreenfieldfitness last week but just lots of other kinda…
Brock: The screen cast, you mean?
Ben: Yep. Exactly. Health tips, samples, chapters form the audio book, all sorts of stuff. So check that out over at beyondtrainingbook.com and hook yourself up.
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Listener Q and A:
Ari: Hey, Ben and Brock! It’s Ari from Less Doing. I have two sort of related questions and I’ve tried a couple other things and had different success but I really want to get your take on it ‘cause I know you have interesting information. Basically, about turbinates and snoring. So about I don’t know, 4 years ago, I had my deviated flared septum fixed and the doctor also coblated the turbinates. And he told me that they would probably swell back up again at some point and I could have them coblated again which didn’t really appeal to me but basically for that year I wasn’t snoring at all, I could smell really well and I could taste really well, and then I could actually feel them start to swell up again. Nowadays, my sense of smell is terrible and I snore a lot. So I’ve tried the xylitol spray which actually is helpful a lot and even those Breathe Right Nasal Strips which also help but kind of annoying peeling them up in the morning and putting them on at night is kind of annoying. So I want to hear what you have to suggest for torn turbinates and or snoring. Thanks, guys!
Brock: I had a couple of martinis the other night and I‘m surprised I actually survived the night. My girlfriend didn’t throttle me to death ‘cause I was snoring so much.
Ben: You snore when you drink martinis?
Brock: I think it’s not necessarily just martinis.
Ben: I just get horny. That being said…
Brock: First! And then…
Ben: Speaking of horniness, let’s talk about turbinate coblation. It’s interesting. And by the way, shout out to Ari from lessdoing.com
Brock: Yeah. lessdoing.com if you have time…
Ben: He’s been on the podcast.
Ben: So turbinate coblation is this- it’s a pretty quick office procedure that you can get that’s usually used to relieve nasal pressure, nasal congestion, reduce drainage and so, the way that it works is you have these turbinates that are inside of your nose and turbinates just as it would sound like actually are like these little turbines that cause air as it comes into your nose to flow and circulate and it’s one of the reasons why I’ve mentioned before on this podcast and elsewhere that deep nasal breathing is actually a really good thing because these turbinates have a few different functions when you breath in through your nose. What they do is first of all when it comes to your respiratory system, they filter air and they also heat air and humidify air. So by the time it reaches your lungs, the air is more conducive to oxygenation. It’s cleaner and when you engage in this deep nasal breathing, you also get less of a cortisol release so less of a stress response or a sympathetic nervous system response than you would get if you were breathing through your mouth. So that’s one important thing about these turbinates. Another thing that they provide you with is an immunological defense because they trap airborne particles that are of any significant size in terms of virus, bacteria, things of that nature. So the epithelial layer that lines these turbinates is one of the parts of your lymphatic system so that protects your body from infection. That’s another important thing about these turbinates and then also when it comes to just smelling and olfaction, the turbinates are incredibly important because what happens is the humidity that they provide in your nasal passages allows your olfactory receptors to work the right way. So if the turbinates aren’t working then that lining inside your nose can get dry or get irritated so it can’t smell quite as well and so which if you walk into an Italian restaurant, you experience it that much less pleasantly if you don’t have your turbinates working properly.
Brock: And that’s the most important thing!
Ben: That’s the most important thing. And of course one of the things that you may be familiar with, of course, Brock, is the brain freeze that you get when you stop into 7-11 and drink your…
Brock: Drink your Slurpee a little too quickly.
Ben: …your Slurpee a little too quickly.
Brock: Your squishie …
Ben: What happens when you do that is you get rapidly dilated blood flow to these turbinate bones and when that happens you get a sharp increase in pressure. And that sharp increase in pressure creates pain. And the pain from that pressure is the actual brain freeze.
Ben: So if your turbinates are messed up or not responding properly or even coblated for example, you may actually not get brain freeze so it’s possible that…
Brock: There you go, you can impress people at cocktail parties.
Ben: Ari might have been able when he first got his turbinate coblation to be able to go through slurpees….
Brock: Go through squishie…
Ben: …extremely quickly. What happens with coblation is they shrink the turbinates, basically. And it’s temporary, it can provide some relief from nasal allergy symptoms. It can provide some relief from snoring if you have a chronically swollen turbinate. But it is a temporary fix. And if you’ve gotten that type of issue, if you have like a septum fixed and the doctor coblated your turbinates, which is a great name for a band, I think.
Brock: Yeah. Sounds super bad ass!
Ben: The Coblated Turbinates! Then what happens is you- as Ari mentioned, you would need to get coblated again eventually. And once you start snoring again, or you start to experience some of the symptoms of swollen turbinates, you’d either have to go back in for coblation or do some of the things that I want to describe to you now. Whether you tend to deal with snoring, or issues with nasal swelling, or issues with sleep apnea, that type of thing….
Brock: Okay, before you get into the alternatives, is there anything wrong with actually going back in and having them coblated it again?
Ben: Well, the issue is that you’re going to be messing with some of the functions that I just went over in terms of your immunological defense, your ability to humidify and clean air properly, olfaction, things of that nature. So….
Brock: So it’s not something you definitely –or you necessarily want to do every couple years.
Ben: It’s a temporary fix that would be better addressed by fixing an underlying problem. And the underlying problem in many cases is due to the actual structure of your bite and the structure of your jaw.
And I’m sure you’ve heard of TMJ disorder before, Brock?
Brock: I’ve thought….
Ben: Mandibular …I thought you mentioned TMJ.
Brock: That’s what I thought about my jaw bite. Can you hear?
Ben: Yep. You got a head piece in.
Brock: Yep. That’s why.
Ben: Do the entire podcast in a head piece.
Brock: Sounds really good.
Ben: A head piece is sexy. I got a thing for head pieces. Alright, so. Now we’ve driven away our listeners with our gross mouth noises. mouth noises?
Brock: Mouth noises?
Ben: Mouth noises. So, sleep apnea, snoring as well as tinnitus and some nasal disorders, swelling, irritation –a lot of these is due to a mal-alignment or a misalignment of the jaw. And if you look at the turbinates, if you were to pull up the turbinates, you’ll see that the jaw lies very close to a lot of these turbinate bones. So if your jaw is aligned improperly especially while you are sleeping, then it’s gonna create not only snoring issues but also sleep apnea issues, oxygenation issues while you’re asleep and it can really , it can really kinda do a number in terms of your entire nasal passage and jaw function and even your tooth function. Now if you want to check and see whether or not you’re actually properly oxygenating your body while you sleep, whether or not you snore, so you can actually have issues whether or not you wake up snoring, you can get a pulse oximeter, that has a memory function on it. And I will put a link to this in the show notes. But what this does is it will measure the oxygenation in your blood stream while you’re asleep. And when you wake up, you can see whether or not for example your oxygen content in your bloodstream dropped to say below 95 while you’re asleep which can often indicate a poor breath pattern or sleep apnea that you’re unaware of especially if you’re single or your partner is a deep sleeper or you don’t know whether or not you snore or whether or not you have this sleep apnea issues. It can be a really interesting way to see if this is something that you need to address.
Brock: And a pulse oximeter, that’s like one of those things it’s like a closed pin you put on the end of your finger. Robo closed pin.
Ben: Yep. You wear it on your finger and the only difference between one with a memory and not is the ones with the memory they’re a little bit more expensive and they’ve got kind of a little monitor coming out of them but they’re - it’s not like you’re sleeping with a desk top computer next to your bed stand. It’s pretty simple. So I would look into whether or not your TMJ or the joint that your jaw hinges on is actually aligned properly because you can have your bite fixed and that can fix an obstructed airway. It can help you to sleep better at night. It can address snoring and the whole reason that we wanna address all these issues in the first place is if you’re not getting adequate air while you’re asleep or while you’re awake, you’re oxygen deprived. And chronic oxygen deprivation is a big, big issue when it comes to mitochondrial respiration, fat oxidation, a ton of different metabolic reactions. So it’s possible to have a restricted airway like this and not snore and that pulse oximeter with the memory is a good way to check it out. So when we’re talking about a blocked airway, some of the things that you can do to open up an airway like I mentioned is number one, fix the TMJ. Now the way that you’d wanna do this, if you’re in America, which Ari is, I would look at the American Academy of Craniofacial Pain, I’ll link to their website in the show notes.
Brock: That sounds like a big place.
Ben: It does, or the North American Association of Facial Orthotropics. Either one of those sites is going to give you some references for folks who you can go in and ask about TMJ. Now you’ll specifically….
Brock: Craniofacial Pain is also a good name for a band.
Ben: Exactly. You wanna ask them specifically about TMJ and sleep apnea. So if they’re only talking to you about TMJ and they’re not talking to you about airway issues, that’s an issue. You wanna meet with someone who will fix both air ways issues and your TMJ and address both simultaneously. So that’s important. As you go to either of these websites that I’ll link you to in the show notes and you look for someone who will address TMJ and sleep apnea. And if you have like a dental savings account or a health savings account, a lot of times you can get some of these stuff paid for even if you don’t have dental insurance, you can pay for it out of that account. Now one of the major causes of snoring is when the soft palate, that’s called the soft palate at the back of your mouth blocks the entrance to your airways and this happens usually when you’re sleeping with your mouth open, which a lot of people kinda do.
Not only is there an issue when you sleep with your mouth open.
Brock: And walk back.
Ben: Yeah, that, too, blocking the entrance to the airways but one of the other risks to breathing through an open mouth all during the night is that it can actually cause you to blow off a lot of carbon dioxide. When you blow off a lot of carbon dioxide when you sleep, that causes your blood vessels to constrict. It means less oxygen gets delivered to your tissues. So not only are you missing out on a lot of the benefits of breathing through your nose that I mentioned earlier, but you’re blowing off CO2 and causing that vasoconstriction.
Brock: And contributing to global warming.
Ben: And contributing to global warming.
Brock: Oh, no wait! That’s not correct.
Ben: Especially if you have gas as well.
Brock: That’s covering them…
Ben: That’s a one-two combo, breathing through your mouth and farting. Eating re-fried beans before you hit the sack. There is a way if you want a temporary fix before you can get your TMJ looked at your jaw joint looked at. There’s this thing called the Snoring Solution and I’ll put a link to it in the show notes. But it’s a jaw supporter. So it supports your lower jaw while you’re asleep and keeps your airway open and unrestricted. It literally is this piece of this almost like soft cloth like looking piece of gear that you put on your mouth to keep your mouth closed and your jaw forward while you’re asleep. In my opinion it’s a temporary fix versus going in and doing some therapy and some retraining of the jaw to get your TMJ fixed and potentially even getting like Brock has, like a custom headpiece which by the way some of my clients who deal with snoring and sleep apnea have gotten and swear by now in terms of the improving the quality of their sleep and the way they feel when they wake up. But if you weren’t gonna get a custom jaw piece like that, meet with a TMJ/sleep apnea specialist, you could look into this snoring solution thing which actually is really sexy. You can probably get it with ruffles on it, maybe like a nice pink with black spots like a cheetah, like a cheetah pattern would be pretty cool.
Brock: I actually think it looks like a beard ‘cause it’s really just like a chin strap so you just get extra fur on there, you look like a lumberjack when you go to bed.
Ben: Ask for one for Valentine’s Day. It’s a great look.
Ben: So that’s what I’d recommend to Ari is to long term find someone who specializes in the combination of TMJ and sleep apnea. Short term reconsider getting any recoblation of your turbinates and also short term look into this snoring solution, head gear that you can wear, like soft head gear that you can sleep in. And then also, for anybody that’s listening in, if you wanna see if you yourself have any issues, get a pulse oximeter with the memory function and track your oxygen while you sleep. Cool little soft quantification bio hack for you nerds out there.
Brock: It’s also a good way to quantify whether you’re recovering from your workouts as well.
Ben: It is!
Joe: Hi Ben and Brock! It’s Joe from San Francisco. I’m a tri-athlete, pretty weak on the bike but strong on the swim and run. I’d really like to build power quickly and don’t have the time or the desire to spend a lot of time doing 3-hour zone 2 rides. So I understand the benefits of intervals and that’s already a big part of my program. I’m wondering if a tough higher up squat program like the one you’re doing with Dan John would help me build power quickly on the bike. And as a small side, I’m just wondering if you’re still taking cold showers with Dan John’s program. Sounds like he likes you to keep warm and eat as much as possible. Thanks! Your show’s awesome!
Brock: So Joe doesn’t wanna spend hours riding in zone 2?
Ben: Yeah, that’s not a great way to build power. So I guess the underlying question here is whether or not endurance athlete can build power from weight training. And it sounds like he’s asking about the high reps squat routine like you and me are doing with the Mass Made Simple program from Dan John. Brock, you’re still doing that, I’ve moved on.
Brock: I’m still doing that.
Ben: I’ve moved on to Spartan and Seal Fit training workouts. But you know as far as the first part of the question, there’s a really interesting study or, it’s not even a study, it’s a meta analysis that came out last year. And I will link to that meta analysis for you in the show notes. It’s gotta…
Brock: For those of you who don’t know what a meta analysis is, it’s basically a study of many studies.
Ben: A study of many studies, that’s right. The name of this one was Resistance Training to Momentary Muscular Failure Improves Cardiovascular Fitness in Humans.
Ben: And it was really interesting because what they do in this article is they go over all of the results of resistance training that tend to provide benefits to endurance athletes. Everything from increase in mitochondrial enzymes and mitochondrial proliferation so you increase aerobic endurance and you burn more fat as a fuel. What’s called the phenotypic conversion, all that means is your muscle fibers are changing from a type 2x towards a type 2 A muscle fiber. Meaning that…
Brock: It’s a slow twitch to a fast twitch?
Ben: No, it’s a fast twitch explosive to a fast twitch that’s able to still produce a lot of strength and power but have a higher resistance to fatigue. So it’s like the couch potato fast twitch muscle fiber versus the basketball player fast twitch muscle fiber. You get vascular remodeling which is the fancy term for more blood vessels or more capillarization to an area. And it’s a really interesting article just because it goes into a ton of different benefits that show that resistance training can actually keep you very, very cardiovascularly fit. The reason I start by bringing this up is a lot of endurance athletes are resistant to the idea of resistance because they think they’re gonna lose their cardiovascular fitness.
Brock: Don’t resist the resistance.
Ben: And that’s not the case. I actually did a consult recently with a gal who I had to talk to about really stepping back on the level of swimming, and biking and running she was doing because of some bone density issues. And she was concerned about losing cardiovascular fitness. And what I actually highly recommended to her was the Doug McGuff protocol which is written in the book Body by Science. And in that protocol, it goes into – the particular protocol in that book is a 12-minute protocol of super slow lifting, like 10 seconds down, 10 seconds up of four different exercises. And that particular form of lifting produces a really extreme vascular response in terms of keeping you cardiovascularly fit while you are resistance training. Now as far as power goes, now that you know that you’re not gonna –it’s not gonna be a waste of your time to be doing resistance training –it’s still going to build endurance, as far as power goes, the problem is that this super slow training does need to be combined with more explosive lifts in order to increase what’s called your motor-neuron recruitment. So you’re trying to get your nerves or your neuromuscular system to grab as many muscle fibers as possible if you really want to improve power on the bike. And the way that you do that is you need to lift heavy and lift fast. So some of the ways that you would –crap! I just messed up, Brock! You don’t lift heavy and lift fast. Can we start over from right where I was just talking about lift heavy and lift fast?
Ben: Okay! So one of the ways that you do that is you want to, in the weight room, choose a weight that isn’t super-duper heavy but is a weight that you can lift very quickly. So the best way to build power, and this confuses a lot of people, is not necessarily to lift as heavy a weight as you can, like the heavy squat with the higher reps like Brock and I were doing in the Dan John protocol, that’s great for building strength and muscle mass but what you want to do if you want to build true power, you can build a bunch of power without even building muscle bulk if you do this –is to choose a weight that’s about in the 40-60% range of your one repetition max, which for a lot of people is not that heavy. But then you want to lift that weight as quickly and as explosively as possible. I have a swim power routine, a bike power routine and I run power routine in my book Ultimate Weight Training Guide for Endurance Athletes. And I’ll put a link to that in the show notes. But what each of those power routine involves is that you go to the gym, you do a dynamic warm up, you do some foam rolling, which we talked about earlier, and then you do anywhere from 4-6 different full body exercises with a lot of recovery in between each set. So you do for example very explosive quick squats. So very fast tempo, anywhere from 4-6 squats at a relatively lighter weight than you’d use if you’re trying to build strength through mass. And then you recover fully for anywhere from 2-4 minutes then you go back and hit those squats again. But you’re trying to lift as quickly as possible. That’s a really good way to build power fast. Don’t get me wrong.
Brock: So is that kinda the difference between… sorry, is that kinda the difference between doing a shoulder press and doing a push press?
Ben: Yeah. Like a push press would be an explosive shoulder press with a lighter weight that you lift more quickly. Exactly. So you do like explosive squats, explosive clings, explosive dead lifts, and explosive shoulder press. Nothing’s gonna beat going out and doing very short powerful efforts on the bike that use your what’s called your creatine phosphogenic system which means you are sprinting for 10-30 seconds like for example I’ve got a long driveway behind my house that I’ll go out and do 10×20 second sprints on standing on my bike. And that’s like my go-to power workout, so the best way to build power if you’re a cyclist, I’m not gonna lie to you, is to do quick powerful efforts on the bike but the next best way if you’re gonna do this in the gym would be not to do heavy high rep stuff but to do mid weight low rep stuff with long rest periods. That’s kinda like the quintessential way to build power. So I will link to my book over at bengreenfieldfitness.com/270 the one that has all those power routines in it, as well as that study I mentioned Weight Training for Endurance. And then as far as doing the cold showers while you’re on a mass gain protocol, even though cold showers are going to potentially cause you to burn more calories, so that can come back to bite you if you’re trying to gain mass for example, there are a lot of other benefits to cold exposure that go way above and beyond just weight control. For example, I’m personally –as lean as I want to be, I don’t take cold showers to try and make me lose weight. I take them because they’ve been shown to do things like improve deep sleep quality, increase pain tolerance, reduce the level of inflammatory cytokines in your body, enhance immune function, even slightly decrease TSH or thyroid stimulating hormones. They have an effect on your thyroid. They improve adrenal function, they can lower blood sugar. They can improve sexual performance and even potentially increase fertility. There’s a ton of benefits to cold thermogenesis and temperature fluctuations that go way above and beyond just losing weight. I have a huge list of studies. I didn’t just pull all that stuff out of my butt. I have a huge list of studies over on the article that I wrote at bengreenfieldfitness.com called Tips for Burning More Fat with Cold Thermogenesis and it goes into way more than just burning fat. The other really good resource for this is the coolfatburner.com website. Now coolfatburner is the company that makes the vest that you wear and well as this new device they have that’s like a – it’s almost like a corset that you wear around your gut.
Brock: A cummerbund.
Ben: Like a cummerbund filled with ice which should be a great look for your next prom or cumberbund wearing affair…
Brock: A black tie event?
Ben: Yeah. I think the last time I actually wore a cumberbund was a prom. It’s been a long time. The idea though is that you not only get the fat burning effect but you get a lot of these hormone stabilization and adrenal effects of cold exposure when you wear one of these devices. Also a lot of studies over on that website. Both studies they’ve done as well as studies other folks have done on the benefits of cold thermogenesis. Check that out, but ultimately, yes you can still do cold showers and cold exposures when you’re doing something like a mass gain protocol. But you do need to understand that it may mean that you need to eat even more because it’s going to cause you to burn more calories. So that’s one thing, is that any time you have this cold exposure, you need to eat more. Which is why when my kids and I were stuck in the truck for 45 minutes the other day, we all got home and we were ravenous. We actually made ourselves some scrambled eggs and spinach and chewed down for a while before mom got home and made us dinner.
Keith: Hi, Ben and Brock! This is Keith from near Austin, Texas. I continue to enjoy your show and listen to it as often as it’s on my daily runs. I recently read in a book by Dr. Sinatra about reversing heart disease about d-r-o-b-o-s-e. They say that it’s a building block for ATP and I was just wondering what your thoughts are. They recommend at least 5,000 a day so I’m taking a powder with a glass of water once a day before I work out. I’m interested in your thoughts. Thank you!
Brock: I wish my doctor’s name was Sinatra.
Ben: Uhm. Sinatra. Maybe he sings to Keith.
Brock: I’d bring him a fedora whether he wants it or not.
Ben: I use d-ribose. It’s in that x2 performance stuff that I take. D-ribose is a pretty cool sugar. It’s got actually like a negative glycemic index.
So even though it’s a sugar, it doesn’t really act like a sugar. So the idea behind d-ribose is that it helps you to build ATP extremely quickly so what happens and why this is important when it comes to something like heart disease is that there’s a sharp drop in your levels of ATP which is your body’s energy currency that you experience when heart muscle cells get obstructed blood flow and so you get this ischemia based injury because the heart loses their ability to get expose to oxygen, they get the drop in ATP so you basically get more rapid muscle cell death in the heart.
Brock: Ischemia is a blockage.
Ben: Yeah, it’s a blockage or a lack of oxygen and so there’s some new evidence that shows that d-ribose can directly contribute to the rejuvenation of injured heart muscle by rapidly replenishing ATP and so it’s not a airy fairy stuff, they’ve actually done studies on d-ribose and shown that it can hasten the recovery of healthy heart function after you’ve had a heart attack and what they’ve done is ….
Brock: We don’t talk about airy fairy stuff on the show.
Ben: We don’t, we hate airy fairy.
Brock: No airy fairies…
Ben: So, the patients in the studies that they’ve done received d-ribose or placebo and then had test done where they were actually able to look at the profusion to cardiac heart muscle and when the d-ribose was infused it had almost this effect where it would wake up heart muscle or increase blood flow, increase oxygen to specific areas of the heart after the d-ribose exposure. So if you’ve had a heart attack or you have heart muscle issues or you want to just enhance the activation of heart muscle as you might want to do if you’re say like an endurance athlete or someone who’s trying to get out and increase cardiac output, some pretty cool effects of d-ribose on this. And there’s d-ribose powder, there’s d-ribose capsules, that X2 Performance stuff that I talked about that’s a little bit more along the lines of something that like an athlete would take ‘cause it’s got a lot of extra stuff in there over and above d-ribose but long story short d-ribose supplementation is absolutely been shown to boost heart muscle function following a heart attack to improve blood pumping and people who’ve had congestive heart failure and basically cause a better heart muscle function. The other cool thing that it can do similar to heart muscle is it can improve delivery of blood to skeletal muscle, it can increase ATP levels in both heart muscle as well as skeletal muscle and again the cool thing is that even the ribose is technically a sugar you don’t get a glycemic response to it, you don’t actually get like a bump up in insulin production by your pancreas when you consume d-ribose because of the way that it is metabolize so it’s use to rapidly restore ATP levels but you don’t get a lot of the downstream inflammatory effects that you might get if you’re like to consume say like glucose or lactose or something like that. So, d-ribose cool stuff! You can get it in liquid form with this X2 Performance stuff, you can get it in a capsule or powder form. As far as dosage goes, it kinda varies for most studies that were done on folks for heart issues they have pretty high dosages for this. They were up around 10-15 grams per day usually at 5 gram doses given 3 times a day. That’s a lot of d-ribose. For athletes who are just looking for the basic ergogenic benefits of d-ribose without necessarily wanting to restore heart function after heart disease, you can get away with closer to just like 5 grams a day so 2-3 times less than what you’d use for cardio vascular disease or for restoring function after heart failure.
Brock: I though you said 5 grams for the other folks?
Ben: No, 5 grams 3 times a day so a total of 15 grams a day. Some of the studies went high as 30 grams a day in terms of the cardiologist studies most of the studies for sports performance though are done around 5 grams a day so I’ll put a link in the show notes to some of the forms of d-ribose powder and d-ribose capsules that you can get off of something as simple as Amazon. I’ll put a link to the X2 Performance stuff that I get. One that athlete should know or folks who are using d-ribose for something other than heart disease should know is that it works better if you load with it. So for example let’s say you have an important event for which you wanna be totally loaded with ATP and get a lot of this oxygenation benefits of d-ribose for heart muscle and heart skeletal muscle tissue what you do is actually load with d-ribose similar to loading with creatine for anywhere from 7-14 days leading up to the event.
So it’s not something you just take right before you wanna actually load with this going in. The other cool thing is, you can use it for recovery. There is one study back in 2004 that showed that after an extreme sprint training what happened was d-ribose allowed ATP levels to return to completely normal within 72 hours while in the folks who didn’t get the d-ribose supplement they actually stayed ATP depleted from this very difficult sprint workout for a long period of time for significantly longer than 3 days so that’s the other cool things it works well if you’ve loaded with it prior to workout or if you take it after workout at really rapidly replenishing ATP levels. So that’s pretty cool for people who are exercising frequently or like day after day and wanting to restore ATP as quickly as possible for the next day’s workout.
Brock: D-ribose, I can’t believe it’s not a sugar. So we’ve got questions about thyroid and here they are….
Kim: Hi Ben this is Kim. So I have 2 questions for you. One is do you have any advice for someone who has a thyroid condition that could speed up the weight loss process and what supplements are safe to take with synthroid that would also speed up the weight loss process? Thank you very much, I’ll look forward to your answers.
Sanket: Hi Ben, this is Sanket. My wife has thyroid disorders specifically Hashimoto’s and one of the alternative medicine doctor mentioned to her that he would want to do some kind of a brain map in the exercise with her which is probably gonna help reset some of the nerve connections in her brain and then help heal the Hashimoto’s. Not sure, I mean, I’m kinda not sure about how that would work or if that is even a safe thing to do because I did some research myself online looked up at some PubMed things but I couldn’t find any reference to some therapy like this being used to heal the Hashimoto’s or anything for that matter. So I just wanted to know some of your thoughts on it or is this something that you’ve heard, is this something that anybody has tried, what’s there that just associated. Okay, so thanks and have a great day. Bye.
Ben: All right! Let’s jump in to Kim’s question first. Thyroid condition, advice for someone with a thyroid condition to speed up weight loss. Well, first of all let’s start here. I’m not a huge fan of synthroid and I got to start off with my medical disclaimer…. “Ben is not a doctor and the content provided on this podcast is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as medical or health care advice”. I just want to dish out some of my thought on synthroid. So synthroid is not natural, it is not the same as what your body’s thyroid gland is going to naturally produced so what’s synthroid is is a synthetic and it is purported to be identical to what’s called T4 or thyroxine which is the hormone that your thyroid gland naturally makes but structurally it’s actually quite different than the actual molecular structure of thyroxine and so it acts a little bit differently in the body. Now if your thyroid gland is not producing enough T4 then replacing your T4 hormone with your alternative, your chemical alternative, the synthroid stuff might seem like a logical option but the problem is that because the molecular make-up of synthroid is so much different than thyroxine you get in many cases almost the worsening of the thyroid condition because the synthetic T4 can compete with your body’s natural T4 on the cell receptor sites. The other issue is that synthroid only replaces T4 so that means that your body has to actually convert the T4 to the active form of thyroid T3 that’s the biologically active form of thyroid hormone and many people that have thyroid issues can’t effectively convert the T4 in synthetic thyroid preparations like synthroid to T3 and that’s why in many cases the combination of thyroid hormones like T4 and T3 and in many cases even something called T2 is far more effective than taking T4 by itself.
The other issue is that synthroid is often a band-aid because the conversion of T4 to T3 is a lot of times due to issues stemming from nutritional deficiencies like nutritional deficiencies from low selenium or not enough omega 3 fatty acids or high amounts of inflammation or an auto-immune reaction to foods that you’re eating, chemicals from the environment, stress. I’ll get in to why that stuff needs to be taken into consideration in a little bit but as far as thyroid products, I’m a bigger fan of natural thyroid products and usually natural thyroid products are made from desiccated or dried thyroid gland from an animal. In many cases you’re looking like a poor kind or a cow base for thyroid so …..
Brock: Desiccated thyroid, hmm.
Ben: Hmm, yummy. Sweetbreads, you can actually buy sweetbreads.
Brock: Yeah, why just go over sweetbreads as it just not concentrated enough?
Ben: Well, it’s inconvenient frankly. It can be difficult to find sweetbreads many butchers will throw away that thyroid gland or simply not use it or you could order it from companies like US Wellness Meats but still you got to cook it, prepare it and this is why for example that when my thyroid gland took a hit from doing the extremely high fat low carb diet combined with extreme levels of training for Ironman, I took a whole gland thyroid powder and the stuff that I took was from Pasture Fed New Zealand Cows, it’s called thyro-gold. The contents of thyro-gold, I’ll link to thyro-gold in the show notes, are you’ve got your desiccated thyroid gland so you’ve got your T4, your T3 and also your T2 but it also has coleus forskohlii in it and coleus forskohlii is a botanical that can exhilarate metabolism and mitigate some of the issues with propensity for weight gain in folks who have low thyroid. So it has that in there, it has a what’s called the glycerol monoester in there which is just what they used in natural emulsifying agent but of course most importantly they’ve got the full thyroid in there meaning the whole gland thyroid powder not just like a synthetic T4 but something similar to what your thyroid gland is actually making itself.
Ben: You know, and it’s important to understand here about 90% of the hormone produced by your thyroid gland is in that form of T4, the inactive form and the way that it gets converted into the active form T3 is in your liver and so that means that if you are exposed to a lot of stress, a lot of environmental chemicals, a lot of toxins even a lot of things like chlorine and fluoride and toothpaste and you know, the stuff you’re gonna find in everything from household cleaning chemicals to a lot of municipal drinking water supplies in the United States to a lot of personal care products. Your liver is gonna do a very very poor job converting T4 into T3 not only that….
Brock: Stupid liver…
Ben: Yeah, the stupid liver, the stupid filtering of the body that breaks so easily. So that’s one issue that you’ve got to address if you’re trying to address thyroid issues but there’s some other issues as well so for example gluten. Gluten is a huge trigger for auto-immune responses in many people because it closely resembles the protein portion of thyroid tissues so when your body mounts an auto-immune reaction against gluten it can be responsible for contributing to low thyroid and also Hashimoto’s thyroiditis which is an auto-immune thyroid condition. So the way that it happens is gluten can cause your GI system to become inflamed specifically the wheat germ gluten portion of gluten which you’re gonna find in wheat that’s been bread for high yield crops like the average low of whole wheat bread at the grocery store or the average pasta that you might get at the restaurant. The foods that you eat are completely digested in those proteins from the wheat get absorbed into the bloodstream or your body misidentifies them as substances that shouldn’t be there also called antigens so your body produces antibodies against the antigens and the antigen are very similar to the molecules in your thyroid gland so your body attacks your own thyroid. So that’s the issue with gluten. Soy is another biggie that people with thyroid issue should be avoiding especially unfermented soy like what you’d find in tofu or in soymilk or in edamame even.
Soy is very high in what are called isoflavones or goitrogens and those can be extremely damaging to your thyroid gland so that’s another kinda food base component of this. Another food base component is simply the fact that most Americans are not eating sea vegetables and are not eating rich sources of iodine anymore and iodine is a key component of thyroid hormone. T4 which I mentioned earlier that has 4 iodine molecules attached to it, T3 has 3 iodine molecules attached to it. Iodine is extremely important in the bio-chemistry of your thyroid and if you’re not getting enough iodine in your diet it doesn’t matter how healthy your thyroid gland is even you’ve eliminated things like soy and gluten and you fix your liver, you just won’t have enough raw materials to make enough thyroid hormone. And then the last thing that you should take into consideration is stress and this returns to your hypothalamic pituitary adrenal axis or your hpa axis and if you’re under chronic stress you’re gonna increase adrenaline levels and you’re gonna increase cortisol levels and what elevated cortisol levels can do or hypercortisolism can do is it can decrease your cell receptor surfaces sensitivity to thyroid hormone and have a negative impact on thyroid functions so if you’re taking something like thyro-gold and you’re getting T4 and T3 but it’s not able to talk to your cell receptors because you’re stressed out then you can dump all the natural thyroid hormone replacement that your body that you want to but it’s not gonna really do you any good if you have a constant flood of stress chemicals produced by your adrenal glands so you have to destress, you know, you have to look into things like mindfulness based meditation and yoga and journaling and sleeping more and eliminating sources of stress in your life if you wanna naturally restore the function of your thyroid. So those are some of the biggies, cut out gluten, cut out soy, be really careful with chemicals and one of the first things you can do is, fluoride is a real biggie just in terms of competing with iodine so getting rid of fluoride in your water, you know, installing a reverse osmosis water filter and a carbon water filter are extremely important. Getting toothpaste that doesn’t have thyroid in it and I’ve got a bunch of toothpaste recommendations and other natural personal care product recommendations over at bengreenfieldfitness.com if you go to….
Brock: A toothpaste that doesn’t have fluoride in it.
Ben: that doesn’t have fluoride in it, exactly, bengreenfieldfitness.com/benrecommends is where I keep a running list of a lot of that stuff. Addressing stress is a biggie and then you know, including things in the diet like eating plenty of sea vegetables that are gonna be rich in not just huge variety of minerals but also iodine. The other missing component here in many cases is selenium and so if you’re taking lots of iodine you can also just grab some selenium. I personally eat 3 Brazil nuts a day, I buy them in the shell and I keep them in the freezer. So when you buy them in the shell and you keep them in the freezer they’re not moldy. If you just get the average Brazil nut from the bulk foods section of your grocery store, they’re moldy, they’re not gonna be great for you. If you overdo on Brazil nuts that can be an issue because they can really high in omega 6 fatty acids but just a small handful of Brazil nuts and you wanna, I’ve got a nutcracker on my counter and I personally toss them into my smoothie in the morning just 3 Brazil nuts but those can be really good because they’re rich in selenium. So that’s a really good one as well but ultimately if you do all that stuff and then you combine it with a natural thyroid replacement like a Thyro-gold rather than a synthroid, it’s gonna have a really great effect when it comes to your thyroid. If you wanna educate yourself on these stuff a little bit more deeply really good book and I’ll link to this over in the show notes at bengreenfieldfitness.com/270 really good book for this is Why Do I Still Have Thyroid Symptoms and technically the full name of the book is Why Do I Still Have Thyroid Symptoms When My Lab Test are Normal – a revolutionary breakthrough in understanding Hashimoto’s disease and Hypothyroidism.
Brock: That’s a mouthful.
Ben: It is a mouthful, it’s a long title for a book. Now as far as Hashimoto’s everything that I just went over is gonna help out Hashimoto’s quite a bit but understand that Hashimoto’s even more so than just like low thyroid is extremely auto-immune related. So if you can regulate your immune system that’s the number one thing you can do when it comes to Hashimoto’s and I’ve already mentioned a lot of the common auto-immune triggers like soy and wheat and those are enormously important in ensuring that your body isn’t attacking itself and isn’t specifically attacking its own thyroid tissue.
The best resource that I could point you towards for Hashimoto’s when it comes to the auto-immune component which is gonna be the most important component is the Paleo Autoimmune Diet. I’m a huge fan of that as being an easy diet to follow for eliminating a lot of common triggers like soy, like wheat. You’re gonna wanna be careful even with dairy and eggs if you really want to just walk a fine line and eliminate any potential thing that’s going to mess around with Hashimoto’s. I’m a big fan of that Paleo autoimmune diet, so I’ll link to that in the show notes. But to answer the question more directly, brain mapping exercises to reset…
Brock: So we’re on to Sanket’s question…
Ben: Yes, Sanket’s question on Hashimoto’s. Here’s the deal, this kinda flies under the radar but there is a condition called Hashimoto’s encephalopathy and what this is, it’s similar to Hashimoto’s but it’s an autoimmune condition that affects your nervous system. It’s what called the neuro-immunological syndrome. Very similar to Hashimoto’s, develops in a similar way in terms of your immune system attacking itself whether it’s due to genetic issues or frequent exposure to a lot of those antigens that are created from wheat and soy and dairy consumption. Essentially what happens is you get a high amount of this anti-thyroid antibodies but it winds up attacking your nervous system tissue. It’s really interesting because a lot of people will (and I’ve talked about this in the previous podcast when we geeked out on gluten for a good half hour) a lot of people will be fine in their gut when it comes to like a reaction of gluten but there can be a different type of immune reaction that occurs not in the gut but in the nervous system and in the neuronal tissue of the brain and it’s literally a different form of autoimmunity or autoimmune reaction. Then the autoimmune reaction against thyroid tissue but it’s the mechanism of action is relatively similar and that it’s aggravated by consuming things that you would have an autoimmune reaction towards. And what typically happens is you get low thyroid but you also get things like confusion and disorientation, concentration problems, in some cases you can get like spasm, some seizure like symptoms, headaches, stroke like symptoms so this encephalopathy is something that can often go hand in hand with Hashimoto’s. Now interestingly anything that is going to improve blood flow to the brain like a lot of these exercises that you’ll see from companies like Lumosity or brain training exercises and anything that improves blood flow to the brain can help a little bit with preventing the type of brain atrophy that occurs when you have an autoimmune reaction going on and that’s causing cell death or wearing away of neuronal tissue. But it’s like dumping gasoline on the fire on one end and water on the end if you’re not addressing the underlying issue which would be eliminating autoimmune triggers in the same way that you would eliminate autoimmune triggers if you are for example, you know, trying to control Hashimoto’s. Now, if you want more information on this issue called Hashimoto’s encephalopathy and kind of a list of published case studies that have shown how the same type of autoimmune issues that caused Hashimoto’s can affect your brain. I’ll put a link to the complete list of published case studies on the issue but ultimately I’m not too familiar with brain mapping, I would say come at this from an autoimmune standpoint and that’s kinda what I know as far as this is concerned but I’ll put a link for more resources for those of you who wanna look into Hashimoto’s and the brain and this encephalopathy issue in the show notes.
Mary: Hi Ben, my name is Mary and I have a quick question for you. I recently transitioned from endurance sports to being a physique competitor. My background has been an endurance sports like marathon, 2 ironman and 2 ultramarathon. I recently qualified for the 2014 Boston marathon as well as qualifying for Nationals in Physique competing. My question for you: what is the best place to minimized muscle loss during muscle marathon training. I am not planning on PR in that Boston that’s primarily just to go the dream of my run so I wanna go complete the Boston marathon where my real goal is competing at the junior national show in June.
So, what is the minimum mileage that I need per week? My current long run has been 10 miles. Also then what would be the best nutrition strategy to make sure I’m recovering from those longer runs so like making it to the ______ [1:10:32.2] and continue to have muscle gain? So I hope you can help with these questions and I look forward to hearing the answer on your podcast. Thank you.
Brock: First of all, congratulations Mary. That’s awesome! Qualifying for Boston is a big deal.
Ben: Yeah, especially she’s an ex-physique competitor, you could look like the super bowl go daddy commercial or the bodybuilders running down the street that one maybe this one that chick jump say and here’s like “Woah” yeah, go google go daddy super bowl commercial, the body building one, it’s were they all running to get a spray tan and this chick jumps in. She’s just huge, she’s just like this ball, it’s a little disturbing. Anyways, I’m not saying you look like that Mary because physique competitors and fitness competitors actually are usually a lot sexier than their female body building counterparts who look in my opinion like very large bulldogs wearing make-up. Anyways though, the best way to train for a marathon without sacrificing muscle. You know, one of the first things that you need to understand is that when you’re marathoning and you’re running you’re gonna rapidly deplete your amino acid pool and once you deplete your amino acid pool you’re going to start to dip in to muscle tissue and muscle fibers to replenish and replace those amino acids. When that happens you begin to lose the significant amount of muscle and this is why not just bodybuilders and weightlifters but also endurance athletes now are beginning to tap into the use of keeping blood levels of amino acids high through the use of branched chain amino acids or essential amino acids during competition. So for example, we’ve talked about the Master Amino Pattern on the show before and how you can pre-load before a run about 30 minutes before a run with about 5-10 grams of this essential amino acids and then reload about every hour or so with another 5 grams. That’s a really good way to make sure that you’re not sending that signal of cannibalization to muscle tissues so it’s one of the recommendations for example in my tri-ripped program at tri-ripped.com, you know, where I’m kinda helping triathletes to maintain muscle. One of the recommendations I make there is to load with amino acids before your workout especially like your long runs, long bike rides, long swims, so you’re not cannibalizing lean muscle. That was actually how I personally lost almost 30 lbs of muscle was by just going out and working out in a completely fasted state. You know, I did it on purpose ‘cause I want to get rid of muscle but if I didn’t want that to happen I would have actually try to jack up protein and amino acid levels prior to the workout. The reason that amino acids work better than protein is similar to what we talked about last week how protein has calories. So you got digest and breakdown protein that takes 4-6 hours, it diverts blood flow away from muscle, puts it in the stomach, potentially causes GI distress, the best way to get protein into your body before workout is to either do like I do before an ironman triathlon and you like make like your bulletproof coffee but you put collagen in it like a nice organic collagen like Great Lakes Collagen or Bernard Jensen’s Collagen are 2 brands of good collagen. Bone broth also digest pretty well pretty quickly gives you a bunch of amino acids and those would be 2 ways to do it if you didn’t wanna do like an amino acid capsule or an amino acid powder and you’re getting a nice full spectrum of amino acids with any of these solutions. If you just go out and buy like the cheap branched chain amino acids, branched chain amino acids get burnt very similar to calories by your body but they don’t do a good job at keeping you from muscle cannibalization compared to essential amino acids, collagen or bone broth. So those are some of the things I would do from an amino acid standpoint, from weight training standpoint, I would do something very similar to that program that I already mentioned, the Doug McGuff’s Body By Science protocol because it allows you to maintain muscle while at the same time increasing cardiovascular fitness which is going to be helpful for you for the marathon. So you’re killing 2 birds of 1 stone.
So an example of that would be 3x per week you’re lifting protocol would be, you know, doing anywhere from 4-6 different full body exercises with a 10 second down 10 second up type of lifting routine or if you want to take it to the next level you could even do like an asymmetric type of hold where you’re doing like a 5 min squat hold, 5 min lunge hold, 5 min push up hold, 5 min doorframe push up hold, 5 min pull up hold, that’s the type of stuff that I talk about in my book at beyondtrainingbook.com and it’s also the kind of stuff we were doing at Dave Asprey’s biohacking conference combined with electrostimulation which was kind of an nth level of biohacking. But if you just wanting to get to train for marathon and train your heart for marathon while at the same time training your muscle what you do is you do the marathon training program but then you do super slow training along with it when you’re doing your resistance training so that’s a nice one two combo and I’ll put a link to Doug McGuff’s book Body by Science in the show notes if you wanna check out his exact protocol or you can go to bengreenfieldfitness.com and do a search for Doug McGuff and listen to the podcast I did with him. Now as far as your mileage should be I recommend that you go with minimum mileage so this mean for example that 2-3 times a week you’re an interval or a hill or a tempo based running session where it’s all about speed, there’s not a lot of long slow distance. It’s get in get out get over it quickly, you know, using things like, I like if you’re doing it indoors like Troy Jacobson’s runervals are really good. An example of runervals program is, you put it in a video and it’s like 20 minutes long and what you’ll get for those 20 minutes are 1 thirty second effort, 2 mins break, 1 sixty second effort, 2 mins break, 1 thirty second effort, 2 mins break and the 30 and the 60 second efforts are done at a high speed or very high incline. Another example is just to do 10 by steep heel repeats after a good warm up and a good cool down or half mile or mile repeats on a flat road at a tempo pace but it’s all super duper high quality stuff and then once per week you go out and you do like a mid distance run that’s more longer lines of your marathon base intensity with the idea that just one time leading up to your marathon you are going to do that kinda like 18-20 mile marathon prep run but you’re not gonna do that like 5-10 times like a lot of folks will do leading up to a marathon is just once preferably 3-4 weeks prior to your marathon. And all your other runs, your long runs are just anywhere from 60 mins to a maximum of 2 hrs in duration and that allows you to again not have to cannibalize muscle but also not have to deal with a lot of the overtraining and hormonal issues that result from excessive running and marathon training. Probably the best resource I could point out to you like a minimalist approach to marathon training would be the Marathon Dominator at marathondominator.com. The only issue with that program at marathondominator.com is it wasn’t written necessarily to maintain muscle so what you’d wanna do is potentially replace some of the weight training sessions in that program with like the super slow training and that way you’re kinda getting some of the muscle benefit as well. So those are some of my recommendations, keep blood levels of amino acids high, do like a super slow weight training protocol and then use something like the marathon dominator program which is 2-3 higher intensity workouts during the week and then like a mid distance run at marathon pace at the end of the week and a minimal amount of kinda like those 18-20 mile pleasant death marches.
Brock: I hope some of the athletes that I coached were listening to this ‘cause I’ve been throwing in some of those super slow workouts lately for them too ‘cause it just seems like that kinda time of year.
Ben: Yeah, exactly.
McAuley: Hi Ben and Brock, I’m just wondering if there’s something that I should be eating differently before, during or after workout compared to what man eat during those times. Thanks, bye.
Brock: Interesting question! Is there a gender difference?
Ben: No. Women are the same as men.
Brock: They’re exactly the same.
Ben: We all know this especially those of us who are married, we know they’re identical.
Brock: Just with boobs.
Ben: Yes, women are men with boobs.
Ben: Some men are men with boobs. You know, I love this question because I think that it flies under the radar and it’s not addressed very well in terms of the nutritional needs for women vs. men based off of women’s fluctuating hormone levels and their cycle. And….
Brock: Yeah, I think the only product out there that is actually specifically marketed for woman is the, what is the osmo?
Ben: Yeah, Dr. Stacy Sims has her Osmo Nutrition which is kinda design, you know, I don’t know much about her. I think it’s a couple different forms of nutrition that you get based off of what part of cycle that you’re in, I’m not completely sure. I should get Stacy back on the show to talk about it but you need to understand first (just real quick) the major phases of the menstrual cycle. So let’s just review that super quick and then will jump in to nutrition. So, your typical cycle is 28 days long and so your first day of mens is would be considered day 1 and then you typically complete that, no giggling Brock I went through this.
Brock: Who calls it menses other than your great grandmother?
Ben: Physiologist? You typically complete that by about day 5-7 and then your mucosal lining of your uterus begins to rebuild and proliferate in preparation for the potential of an egg implantation. So that phase from day 1 all the way up to ovulation which is usually about day 14-15 is called your follicular phase and then you move in to what’s called your luteal phase…. and Brock will …. Brock will give us the sound effects as we go of the phase. The luteal phase comes after the follicular phase and the luteal phase is basically from your ovulation until about the day before your menses which is normally about day 2 or so. So, you’ve got your follicular phase, you’ve got your luteal phase and you’re gonna have different levels of hormones during each based off of the need or the lack thereof to repair the endometrial lining in your uterus. So as a lot of women know, there are different symptoms that can accompany this menstrual cycles and some women don’t get any of those symptoms some women get lots of these comforts some women get some pretty significant discomfort but the thing is that it’s just not changes in your mood or the way that you feel. There are also some pretty significant changes in exercise performance and also the way that you respond to fats and proteins and carbohydrates based off of where you’re at in your menstrual cycle. So basically what we’ve got is we’ve got our low hormone phase which is gonna occur early in the cycle, we’ve got our high hormone phase which is gonna occur later on. When you’re in that high hormone phase you’ll produce a lot of estrogen and estrogen will decrease how much you rely on your liver’s storage carbohydrate and your muscle storage carbohydrate and increase your use of fat. So what this means from a practical standpoint is that when you’re producing a lot of estrogen, you have a bigger capacity for burning fat and for sparing your muscle and your liver’s carbohydrate or what’s called your storage glycogen. So when you want to go up to a very very high intensity during exercise when you’re in that high hormone phase in producing a lot of estrogen you might need a little bit more carbohydrate but during the low hormone phase when you are producing less estrogen you can ingest less carbohydrate because you’re gonna tap into your liver and into your muscle carbohydrate a little bit more efficiently so it kinda changes up the way you’re going to fuel based on or not really the way you’re gonna fuel but let’s say you’re go up for a run and you know you’ve got a lot of estrogen circulating in your bloodstream ‘cause you’re like in the last part of your cycle, you know, you’re let’s say somewhere between like day 14 and day 28. So you know you’re producing a lot of estrogen, you know that that means that your body is not gonna be able to tap into liver glycogen or muscle glycogen quite as efficiently, well you might find that when you amped up to high intensity is you might have to slam a gel whereas you know, normally if you’re in your low estrogen phase you might not need to do that. The other interesting thing that happens is that women especially during that high estrogen phase where you’re using more fatty acids, you actually return to your pre-exercise metabolic rate much more quickly and so during that latter phase of your cycle what that means is that if you wanna take advantage of your post exercise feeding window, you might actually want to consider prioritizing your post workout meal to get it in right after you finish your workout when you’re in that latter phase of your cycle if you wanna optimize restoration of things like your storage glycogen or restoration of your amino acids for example.
So that’s another thing to take into consideration whereas men might be able to wait a good 2 or 3 hours because their metabolic rate is still elevated and they’re still be able to restore a lot of those metabolites. Women especially during their latter phase when in their high hormone phase is not quite so much.
Brock: Hmm, that’s really interesting. Wow.
Ben: The other thing that happens during your high hormone phase is you you don’t have only the high amounts of estrogen but you can get a high amount of progesterone as well. Now progesterone is gonna increase how much protein that you use during exercise and so what that means is that if you’re gonna use amino acids, amino acids are something that you’re going to have the best response to when you have high levels of circulating progesterone meaning that if you’re gonna do something like I mentioned earlier like pop amino acids during a run or during a bike ride, you’re gonna feel those and be most sensitive to them during the latter phases of your cycle during days 14-28 when you’ve got higher levels of estrogen and higher levels of progesterone. And this might also influence the intensity of your workouts meaning that during days 1-14 you might do better with higher intensity workouts because you are in your low hormone phase better able to tap into storage glycogen and lesser relying upon amino acids and less efficient at bringing fat as a fuel and then once you shift into days 14-28 you might do better during longer workouts where you’re actually you’ve got more estrogen to be able to tap more efficiently, you’ve got more progesterone you’re able to utilize amino acids more efficiently and that might be a better time to do like your longer slower workouts. So it’s really interesting the change up in fuel. Hydration is also important here because what happens is when you get that elevated level of progesterone you’re baseline body temperature is gonna go up pretty significantly and when your baseline body temperature goes up not only you’re going to sweat more but you’re also going to need more fluid typically to maintain body temperature. Now when you get high estrogen and high progesterone you get a reduction in your plasma volume and that’s why you get a lot of swelling a lot of times during the latter phases of your cycle is you reduce your plasma volume and a lot of the volume that only be on your blood goes between your cells instead and causes that bloating that you typically tend to see but because of this blood volume drops so you might need a little bit more water and a little bit more electrolytes when you are in that phase of elevated progesterone and elevated estrogen. You might find that you tolerate hot exercise a little bit less easier that when you go for a run or a bike ride or something like that you need a little bit of extra fuel, you might do better with a little bit more electrolyte intake like salting a little bit more of your food during that part of your cycle and so that’s another thing to take into consideration. And then finally, and this isn’t really part of the listener’s question because it doesn’t have to do with nutrition but it just have to do with the actual intensity of your workouts and the type of workouts that you do. When you’re producing more progesterone and more estrogen, you are also going to get increase production of specific hormone called relaxin and relaxin is something that pregnant women are gonna produce in high amounts but also that you’re gonna produce towards the latter phase of your cycle in higher amounts and this is responsible for softening and relaxation of ligaments. You know, in the case of pregnancy this would be so that you’re better able to push a small human being through your pelvic bones. But it’s also responsible for relaxing ligaments and because of this when you have a high amount of relaxin circulating in your bloodstream, it can do things like weaken your spine a little bit so you’re unable to withstand impact and twisting forces quite as much. You might get increase propensity for knee injuries or hip injuries or ankle injuries so once again it returns to you maybe not wanting to do quite as much intensity or quick change of direction or like high amounts of weight lifting that puts a big stress on the joints during that latter phase of your cycle when you’re producing more of the progesterone and estrogen and again intensity might be a better choice for you from days 1-14 or 15 it’s kinda vary you, I know you’re on cycle if you’re listening in but you know, this really influences not just the way that you eat but the way that you exercise during your cycle. So big picture here is in most cases if we look at this from a physiological standpoint and biomechanical standpoint, days 1 to about 14 or 15 are gonna be days were you might benefit better from high intensity exercise and days where you might need a little bit less carbohydrate….
…..during your actual exercise sessions and less amino acids during your exercise sessions and then during days 14 until towards the end of the cycle you might benefit more from the longer slower aerobic stuff from increased amino acid intake, from a little bit less intensity less weight training and kinda like your more aerobic endurance building sessions. So I definitely should get an expert like Stacy Sims back on the show to talk about this stuff but….
Brock: Yeah, that would be cool.
Ben: ….that’s kinda the brief overview of what’s to take into consideration. So ….
Brock: I think you just gave all the personal trainers and coaches in the world license to delve even further into their clients’ lives.
Ben: Yes, exactly. Gave you, yeah, another excuse now that we’ve turned the light bulb on and help you to realize that women are not indeed men neither are men women …..
Brock: That’s good enough.
Ben: ….. unless you’re on a go daddy commercial, that’s all you gotta watch that commercial. We should embed that commercial on the show notes or put a screen shot of the lady running along. Uhm, it’s interesting stuff. Maybe, I wonder if we get sued if we use that as the image for this podcast.
Brock: I doubt it.
Ben: We should try it. So for resources on everything we talked about head over to bengreenfieldfitness.com/270 and of course we always appreciate your reviews on iTunes and speaking of reviews on iTunes we’re gonna give away some sweet Ben Greenfield fitness gear. So you can check out the gear packs over at bengreenfieldfitness.com/gear bpa-free water bottle, sweet beanie that I’ve been sporting all week to keep my ears from freezing off and then a Ben Greenfield fitness tech t-shirt in a nice dark 4 screen colors. So ….
Brock: If you will win the latest gear review video that I put in the Ben Greenfield fitness app for the smart phone, you can see me. I’m wearing that shirt for the whole thing.
Ben: Boom! So who won?
Brock: All right, looks like jtc left a review for today. And the title is “It is like a tempo workout for the brain” Nice! Okay.
Ben: By the way jtc if you hear us read your review, email email@example.com and we will send you a sweet gear package so what’s he have to say Brock? He or she?
Brock: He says, yeah, actually we’re assuming it’s a he. This is an excellent podcast and is packed full of research based information on health and fitness. The hosts, Ben and Brock have great chemistry and are able to present some pretty technical information in a way that is easy to understand and is enjoyable. The links to the show notes and the website are excellent resources. In the same way that running with someone faster forces you to keep up and get faster, listening to the Ben Greenfield podcast forces you to learn fast!
Ben: I like the part where it talks about you and I having great chemistry. Uhmm, yeah.
Brock: Especially ‘cause it’s getting close to Valentine’s Day so….
Ben: That’s right. We never have any awkward moments.
Brock: No, no we never have started anything out.
Ben: I like it! You know what? If you wanna turn it into even bigger tempo workout for your brain, you could get one of those podcast apps that allow you to listen to podcast and like double time. Yeah, you seen those?
Brock: Yeah! Like going, the default some app for the iPhone does that.
Ben: There’s one called the enounce my speed, it’s pretty sweet. When I actually don’t listen to podcast in double time because I like to get to know like the voice of the podcasters and feel like it kinda ruin some of the, it’s like watching a movie in fast forward you kinda lose some of it but the enounce my speed the weird thing, I’ve no clue how to do this but the voice is don’t speed up like chipmunks when you use that one. It’s like a, you still get kinda the feel of the podcaster but it’s somehow speeds it up, it’s kinda cool!
Brock: That’s the great thing about digital audio, it doesn’t have to, in the old days with analogue audio going faster met pitch have to go up now we don’t have to do that.
Ben: Yeah, what he said. Anyways though, so that about wraps up the podcast. Be sure to go over to bengreenfieldfitness.com/love if you wanna share the wealth and let other people know about the podcast in really cool way, be sure to visit giftfromben.com if you wanna see Brock and I goofing around and teaching you how you can get fit with something as simple as a tennis ball….
…..and of course visit bengreenfieldfitness.com/270 if you wanna get links to everything that we’d talked about including the Ben Greenfield recommended head gear apparatus thing that they sleep with. Can you put your head gear back in?
Brock: Shhhh, I haven’t taken it out. The whole talk was grounded.
Ben: Shucking and chucking on your head gear. Thanks for listening.
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