Ben Greenfield: Achieve Superhuman Feats Of Physical Performance Without Destroying Your Body | 180 Nutrition

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Ben Greenfield: Achieve Superhuman Feats Of Physical Performance Without Destroying Your Body

Ben Greenfield

Watch the full interview below or listen to the full episode on your iPhone HERE.

Guy:  This week we welcome to the show Ben Greenfield. This interview was a lot of fun, whilst packed full of nuggets of wisdom. Ben is one seriously knowledgeable and passionate guy when it comes to hacking the human body for optimum performance.

He is a New York Times Bestselling author, coach, speaker, ex-bodybuilder and Ironman triathlete. His science-based approach to discovering a potent balance between health and performance has revolutionized the way thousands of athletes and exercise enthusiasts around the world live, train and eat. Enjoy…

Use Snapchat? Follow me at: GuyL180 or Click Here. 

 

Audio Version

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downloaditunesListen to StitcherQuestions we ask in this episode:

  • It’s morning right now in Australia, what’s your morning routine look like?
  • If you had to give me an elevator pitch on ‘bad information’ regarding health what would it be?
  • Can you share any unconventional techniques to get better sleep?
  • What are the key factors we need to consider to be able to train at an elite level, when longevity is our main priority?
  • What does your daily diet look like these days?
  • What are your non-negotiables to be the best version of yourself?

Get More Of Ben Greenfield

  • https://bengreenfieldfitness.com/

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Full Transcript

Guy:

Hey, this is Guy Lawrence of 180 Nutrition and welcome to this week’s episodes of the health sessions where, of course, we capture the confusion by connecting with leading global health and wellness experts to share the best and latest science thinking on empowering everyone to turn their health lives around.

[00:01:00] This week we are doing it with the awesome Mr. Ben Greenfield. Now, Ben, if you are not sure of who he is, the pitch is basically he’s an ex-body builder, an iron man triathlete. He is a Spartan racer, coach, a speaker, and an author of the New York Times best seller book, Beyond Training – Mastering Endurance, Health and Life. He’s also been voted one of the top 100 most influential people in health and fitness. It was a pleasure to have him on the show today. When we logged on, Ben was on a walking treadmill with his top off so that kind of sums up Ben and his passion for health and fitness, and everything that he does and shares his information very generously.

We covered so many topics today. He’s an absolutely great guy, great sense of humor. We in from topics from sleep to hacking his morning routines to even ayahuasca. We touch on also how he has reduced his exercise routines as well and his training methods, even though he is still competing at a very high-end level. It was all fascinating stuff. Just sit back and enjoy, and you might have to listen to this twice because he has a wealth of information, no doubt.

Of course, you’re always enjoying these episodes, and you’re listening to them on a regular basis, all we ask in return is if you could leave a review on iTunes and, of course, hit the subscribe button and 5-star, and that just helps us continue to get these great podcasts out to people that might not have heard, or [inaudible 00:01:51] come across our information before, so all that’s greatly appreciated.

Anyway, let’s go over to Ben Greenfield. Enjoy.

[00:02:00] Hi, this is Guy Lawrence. I’m joined with Stuart Cook, as always. Hey Stu.

Stu:

Hello Mate.

Guy:

Our awesome guest today is Mr. Ben Greenfield. Ben, welcome to the show.

Ben:

Hey, do I need to say Mate, too? Do I need to say Hello Mate?

Guy:

You can say-

Stu:

I say you try, try … Slip some words in there.

Ben:

Whatcha do that [inaudible 00:02:20]/ No, dude mate, you do not want me … I’ll like digress into Chinese and Germany, a mash-up of, like, eight different languages. That’s my problem. If I try to imitate one language, it just kind of makes a slow bleed downhill from there in complete chaos. So-

Guy:

But it’s good. We’ve all got foreign accents. I’m from Wales, Stu is from England. We’ve been living in Australia, so there’s a good blend, I think, that could happen today. I’ve got to say this because obviously most people will be listening to this in audio. So, can you explain what you are doing right now, just in case-?

Ben:

[00:03:00] I’m giving myself an enema. No, I’m just kidding. Well, I’m doing what I actually usually do when I’m being interviewed. When I’m interviewing someone, I tend to be focusing on, like, them, their bio, the questions what I ask them, etc, cause I do a podcast myself. But, when I’m being interviewed, I have this giant window in my office that looks out into the forest because when you look at a computer, and if you’re watching the video version of this, you may have noticed that I’m not even looking at the screen, I’m actually looking past the screen out into the forest.

Guy:

Yeah.

Ben:

[00:04:00] When you look at something like 3 or 6 inches, or a foot, from your face, the muscles in your eye are actually contracting. A lot of people think that when you look out into space at far away objects, that that’s what strains your eye, that’s what causes the muscles around your eye to contract, but that actually causes, based on the way that eye works, it causes the eye muscles to relax when you look way out into space. So, I’ve got, like, trees that are 50 feet away, I’ve got mountains that are miles away, and I will look at different objects out the window but then I’ve got this manual treadmill set up and I’m walking on that treadmill right now, shirtless because, you can ask my wife this, I don’t not wear a shirt, that’s enough double negatives … I don’t not wear a shirt to show-off, I just … Even my mom will tell you this, I just never have been a guy who gets dressed. I go the entire day in my underwear often. Right now, I will let you guess whether or not I’m wearing pants. I will leave that to your imagination, as we can only see me from the waist up.

Basically, so I walk on the treadmill and I look out the window and kind of adjust my eyes to and fro. It’s a manual treadmill. The one that I use is called a TrueForm-

Guy:

Yeah.

Ben:

I’ve cut the dashboard, and the TrueForm website now actually has this same treadmill featured cause I work with them to actually create a manual treadmill that you could use in front of a stand-up desk.

Guy:

Perfect.

Ben:

The reason it’s a manual is two-fold. First of all, a lot of people don’t realize this. Treadmills are one of the biggest contributors to electric pollution. Right, non-native EMF, that we get exposed to. It’s why a lot of people feel like crap when they go to the gym and they leave and they have like brain fog and they feel kind of disruptive, or they get a little headachy. Those treadmills turn out a ton of electrical pollution. So, I like the fact that this is, like, a little bit more natural for the body. The other thing is that manual treadmills … They just did a really interesting study in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research on this. They force you to engage in more of a mid to front foot strike. A lot of times you can’t move them unless-

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Guy:

Yes.

Ben:

Your center of gravity is a little bit of forward, so you learn how to walk with proper body mechanics, run with proper body mechanics. Occasionally, I’ll do a workout on this where I’ll just do a series of short sprints on the treadmill and it’s almost impossible to run with bad form on a manual treadmill.

Guy:

If that on a flat or an incline right now, Ben?

Ben:

So right now, the manual treadmill doesn’t have the ability to adjust for an incline, but by running closer to the front of the treadmill, it will simulate a hill. Being slightly further back on the treadmill will simulate a flat. That’s the thing with a manual treadmill. Now, up in the garage, I do indeed have one of the electrical treadmills. I’m not a huge fan again for the reasons that I just started, but it’s a Nordic Incline Trainer that goes up to a 40% incline. The reason that I do that, is I do these hunting competitions where you’re like out packing for miles with 100 pounds on your back, and I’ll do these Spartan races where you got to practice like carrying sandbags up a hill, like, a 50-pound sandbag on either shoulder, and the only way to train for that, without destroying your knees, because what goes up must come down, right? So, if I’m going to go out and do a heavy training session and I’m doing a bunch of hill repeats, I gotta go back down the hill, which is really hard on your knees. So, I’ve got-

Stu:

Yeah.

Ben:

[00:07:00] That treadmill out in the garage, set at an incline, and I can go out there a couple of times a week and just put something heavy on my back, or hold a sandbag, and just walk uphill for 30 minutes, and then, bless their hearts, I have a love/hate relationship with them, but this company called Hypoxico … It’s basically a HEPA air filter that sucks all the oxygen out of the air, so it simulates 8000, 10000, 15000 feet-

Guy:

Wow.

Stu:

Yeah.

Ben:

[00:08:00] I put that next to this treadmill. So, I put on a backpack, put a 100 pounds in the backpack, put this mask on, and just walk uphill for 30 minutes. They make these fingertip pulse oximeters, right? These things will measure, like, your oxygen levels, whatever, while you’re sleeping, while you’re walking, while you’re exercising, and I watch my pulse ox go from, like, 98%-99%, which is really good for recovery and everything, and it will drop down to like 60%-70% while I’m walking up this treadmill with this ungodly mask on. So, yeah, that’s a long answer to your question about working out.

Stu:

That is definitely unconventional, unconventional, but I like it and I like the fact that your dialed into a different perspective on tips, tricks, techniques, hacks, call it what you will. There are a whole plethora of things and tools available to us right now, to dial into to get unconventional results. Now, I’m going to steal your questions right now, Guy. For our audience out there as well, and Guy normally says, “If you’re on an aeroplane and somebody sits next to you and says hi, I’m so-and-so”, what do you do? Given the fact that you’ve given us quite an unconventional account of what you’re doing right now. What would you say?

Ben:

First of all, did you say an aeroplane?

Stu:

I did. Yes sir, I did.

Ben:

[00:09:00] You guys have funny names for things. Well, if I’m on an airplane and someone asks me that … It kind of depends on how much I want to eff with the person and, you know, just like have fun. Like, sometimes, if I’m just, like, coming back from a race and I’m feeling like a badass cause I just did great, I’ll just tell people that I race professionally or I’m obstacle course racer. Just cause that generates interesting conversations. But usually, more often than not, I tell people I’m an author because …

Stu:

Okay.

Ben:

[00:10:00] This is what I tell folks. Like, you want to have a little bit of a passion for what you do in life and that doesn’t mean that life doesn’t involve hard work because, trust me, writing and being an author is frickin’ hard work when you wake up and you got a blank page on a 3000 word article that you know you need to publish on your website on Monday. But, I tell people I’m an author and I love to write, ever since I was a little kid. I would sit in my room and read fiction books and I would write for magazine essay contests and I would write little books and tiny short stories growing up. Writing has always flowed for me. It’s always come easily. I’m working on a fantasy fiction book right now and that’s actually …

I don’t talk about this a lot on my own podcasts or other podcasts but one of my dreams to become a very successful fantasy fiction author and so I’m author in that respect and, of course, I freelance for fitness magazines and write books. Probably my most famous is the New York Times best seller, Beyond Training, which is just like a 500 page anthology of biohacking and digestion and fat loss and cognitive performance and hormone optimization and sleep tips, just, you know, everything that I’ve discovered. I just updated that book a couple of months ago actually. But, yeah, that’s what I tell people is I’m an author cause I think you need to do what you love to do and for me what I tell people is think back to what you loved to do when you were 8 years old and that will give you a clue.

Guy:

[00:11:00] Yeah, right. What amazes me, just coming in here, is like why do you do what you do, Ben? Cause from the outside looking in, we are involved in the industry and I’ve been diving into everything Ben Greenfield this week and I got to say, Mate, congrats, you’re doing an amazing job, getting some information out there. It’s just fascinating. Like, what’s your driver behind that? Is that just in your DNA and you’ve always been like that? How does it work for Ben?

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Ben:

[00:12:00] I’m a wounded healer. I used to be a 400-pound, obese, 55-year-old man, and just decided I wanted to lose weight and do some anti-aging. No, I’m kidding. You know what? I actually grew up as kind of a nerd, right? Like nowadays I love to write, like I just told you guys, but, you know, I was like in an online world of war craft and played the violin for 13 years. I was president of the chess club. I was home schooled. I was not the type of guy who got laid a lot, shall we say. Sorry if people find that offensive. Anyways, the impetus for me came when I discovered the sport of tennis. I really got into tennis and wanted to figure out ways to like get my body and brain, cause tennis almost like a physical game of chess, right? So, I happened to pick a sport in which I not only needed to biohack my body but also really work on my cognitive performance, on mobility, on a host of things that tennis requires to be successful at.

[00:13:00] So, I wound up playing college tennis after really beginning to geek out on exercise science and biomechanics, and biochemistry. I got to a point where I decided what I really wanted to do was be a doctor. I studied Sports Medicine, potentially be a surgeon, you know who hacks up joints, stuff like that. After working a stent post college in hip and knee surgical sales and talking to a lot of doctors, I decided I didn’t want to go into modern medicine but I still had a very, very keen interest … You guys are wearing off on me now, using words like keen. Very keen interest in Exercise Science, and in Nutrition Science, so I returned to what I kind of did all through college, which was work as a personal trainer and work in wellness. I just started opening up gyms and personal training studios around a couple of states that I was near, Idaho and Washington, here in the U.S.

[00:14:00] Just all through my entire career I’ve been very into, I guess like the bleeding edge of the science, the unconventional, the thinking outside the box. I think that honestly because I was home schooled. Like I grew up swimming upstream , like just not a normal kid. I still try and seek out those things that potentially defy normality, or defy the status quo, but still get really good results. So, yeah, I never went through that time in my life where I had a real struggle or a huge failure. I love this stuff, right? I love science, I love the human body, I love studying the brain and I love writing and reading and teaching. That’s what gets me wired. I wish there was a better story but there isn’t. I’ve always like this stuff.

Guy:

It’s great. It is clear to see, and yes, fantastic.

Stu:

We are going to dive into a whole heap of little micro topics a little later on in terms of nutrition, exercise, sleep, a big one for me, I love talking about that. I wanted to bring it back because it’s early morning for us, well, it’s 11 o’clock a.m., and most people got up early around this area, some people are still lazing around.

Ben:

Did you just say that 11 o’clock a.m. is early?

Stu:

It is for some people in this area.

Ben:

You guys are lazy asses, geez.

Guy:

This is Stu speaking, not me, though, right?

Ben:

My days half over by 11 a.m.

Stu:

I’ve got 3 children, I’ve got twins that are 8 years old, I’ve an 11 year-old, so my morning is quite different to Guy’s morning, let me tell you this.

Ben:

I have 8-year-old twins too. That’s awesome.

Stu:

[00:16:00] I thought that we had a connection when you got on that treadmill and started looking at me with your shirt off. I just thought that we got a lot to talk about. This is going to be great. So picture the scene, so this morning, we get up very early because we wanted to talk about the podcast so I meet Guy in town and we go for a surf at 7 o’clock in the morning. So we come out, a glistening day, a beautiful morning, great waves, and we’re surrounded by all this magical bush in Byron Bay in Australia and we get talking, oh, Ben Greenfield, and another couple of our mates come around, well, who’s Ben Greenfield. Guy goes, oh okay, no problems. Let’s check out Snapchat. So he gets out Snapchat and there are 4 guys like dripping wet with the wetsuits on the boot of the jeep is up, and we are kind of trying to sink in under the cover of the jeep so we can see this iPhone with Snapchat and there is a picture of you on there and you’re chatting about your coffee and you’ve added all these crazy things to your coffee and all of the-

Guy:

I think mushrooms are in there as well.

Stu:

Mushrooms came in there and these guys saying who the hell is this guy, and this is all part of his morning routine. So, I want to know, given the fact-

Ben:

You hit me on a weird morning cause I actually was out collecting magic mushrooms.

Stu:

They said who on earth are you interviewing today. So, I want to know, given your family ties and your interests in everything that you do, what does your morning routine look like?

Ben:

[00:17:00] Sure, yeah. The first thing I do when I wake up is I kind of roll over and I take out my headphones and I take off my giant-ass sleep mask, cause I use one of these beautiful luxurious wrap around sleep masks that keeps all light from blocking your eyes. It’s not because, like, our caveman ancestors didn’t get exposed to like the stars and the moon while they were asleep. The problem is they didn’t get exposed to as much artificial light as we get exposed to as late into the night as we get it.

[00:18:00] So when I do sleep, I want to block light, again not because I think that our ancestors [inaudible 00:17:26] in light but because I know I am, to use this term again, swimming upstream when it comes to living a modern lifestyle. So, I wear this big-ass sleep mask, and my room is very dark, right? My room is extremely dark, but next to my bed stand, I have a red light bulb. No blue light, it’s just red light. So, I flip that on. Now, if I did want to get exposure to more blue light, to simulate sunlight that morning. If I wanted to really, like, blast my circadian rhythm right off the bat, I keep next to my bedside both glasses that emit like a greenish-blue light. Those are called the Retimer glasses. Something called a Human Charger, which emits in ear light therapy because you actually have photo receptors in your ear, and I’ve even got an intranasal laser-like therapy device.

Stu:

Wow.

Ben:

[00:19:00] Now because I travel so much around the world, what that means is if I wake up let’s say at 6 a.m. and I just need to send my body a huge message that it is time to wake up, or if I’ve been waking up at 5 a.m. and I want to sleep in til 7 a.m., I’ll wait until 7 a.m. to blast my body with like ear phototherapy or nasal phototherapy, or eye phototherapy. But most mornings when I wake up, I simply flip on the light next to my bed, and the reason that light is red is because it’s the same light I use at night. You know, night is the time when you want to limit your exposure to blue light. It’s made by a company called Lighting Science and it’s called a Sleepy Time bulb and it just eliminates all blue light from the wave spectrum because your body shuts down its melatonin production when you get exposed to a lot of blue light at night.

Stu:

Yep.

Guy:

Why do you switch that on in the morning then?

Ben:

So the reason I switch that on in the morning is mostly because that’s the one that’s next to my bedstand and also because the room is completely dark when I wake up in the morning because not only do I have that sleep mask but I have black out curtains. So, it’s dark. So, I need to turn on the light because there are a few things I do in my bed before I get out of bed. The first is that I put on a Bluetooth heart rate monitor and I hook it up to an app on my phone. My phone at this point is in airplane mode. The reason that I had headphones in when I wake up is because I play an app called SleepStream during the night. It plays what are called binaural beats that gently lull you into a deep sleep phase. It also produces white noise.

[00:20:00] We have a little farm. We’ve got a rooster. We’ve got a puppy. I’ve got the children. So, a lot of times, I want to block out noise that might wake me up earlier than I want to get up, you know, cause roosters wake up at like ungodly hours. I’m not a Navy Seal. I don’t get up at 4:30 a.m. So, I’ve got the headphones. I take those out and turn the SleepStream app off, which is the app that I use for producing those binaural beats. I take the mask off and I put this heart rate monitor on and then on my phone I open up an app called NatureBeat. What this app does is it measures my nervous system. It measures my sympathetic, my fight and flight nervous system, and also my parasympathetic, the breed and feed, or the rest and digest nervous system, whatever you want to call it.

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Stu:

How does it get those measurements?

Ben:

[00:21:00] So, it measures the amount of time spent between each heart beat. That’s called your heart rate variability, your HRV. Then it spits out a score that is basically kind of like your readiness score. It allows you to see how beat up your nervousness system is, so to speak, from the previous day’s activity and that allows me to know whether I should push hard that day or go easy that day, whether I should choose, like, say my parasympathetic nervous system has a very strong score, it’s a good day to do something aerobic, like a long paddle.

If my sympathetic nervous system score is really strong, that’s like a high-intensity interval training or a weight training day or a day I know I can handle more like fight and flight base stress. So I do that measurement when I wake up in the morning. It takes about 5-6 minutes for that measurement to kind of stabilize, for you to get good data, so during that time, I journal.

[00:22:00] I wake up and the way that I do things is I do a Bible reading and then I write down what it is that I kind of learned that day. Then I also write down what it is I’m grateful for and who it is that I can help or serve or pray for that day. I kind of try to start the day in a little bit of an unselfish way in that I like to think to think of someone else that I can help that day, as well as something that I’m grateful for, and also something I discovered from the reading because otherwise if I wake up and I’ve got eye boogers, I’m sleepy and groggy and I open up something to read it, and I don’t know that afterwards I’m going to be writing down what I discovered, I just don’t read with as much

[00:23:00] I do the reading, I do the heart rate variability measurement. I also look at my sleep, so I wear a ring called an Oura. It looks like this, Oura ring. This collects sleep data but it’s way more accurate than a Fitbit or a Jawbone. It’s at upper 80 percentile in terms of comparison to sleep lab data. This will tell me how long a period of time it took me to fall sleep, the amount of deep sleep, the amount of rapid eye movement and non-rapid eye movement sleep. It will tell me the point during the night at which my lowest heart rate occurred which if shifted forward or if that heart rate is very high, is also an indicator that you might not be as recovered. It can also mean that just the frickin’ temperature in your room is too high, little things like that as well. But I will look at that data cause I like to see how that affects my nervous system. I don’t spend a lot of time, I will just do a quick glance. My nervous system says this, my sleep looks like this. All right, now I’m ready, or maybe I should take a nap this afternoon, maybe I should do an epic workout this afternoon because everything looks amazing.

[00:24:00] Generally, I know it took a long time to explain, but all that is wrapped up within 5 or 6 minutes, just roll over, put on the heart rate monitor, boom, do the journaling, take it off, get out of bed. Then I go downstairs and I will put on some water to make coffee. You guys were talking about my Snapchat this morning. Right now I use a pour over, like a stainless steel pour over rather than a coffee system that has a paper filter. The reason for that is there is some interesting research that show that there are psychoactive, not psychoactive, I should say more like cognitive stimulants in caffeine that get filtered out when you use a paper filter. We all know about caffeine but there are other components like cafestol, and kahweol in coffee that need to be filtered through a stainless steel filter so that they get into your coffee cup rather than a paper filter. So I use this stainless steel pour over so obviously I’ve got to boil water beforehand for that.

While the water is boiling, I do some movement, some morning movement. What I do is I use a book called True To Form. This is a book written by a really good chiropractic doc named Eric Goodman. I used to just do yoga while the water was on, for like 10 minutes. Now I do this True To Form because it decompresses the spine, teaches you how to do deep diaphragmatic breathing, turns on the glutes and the external rotators in the hips, and basically does a lot of things that reverse sitting in a car, hunched over a computer, you know laying in bed curled up all night, just all the ailments that tend to attack our body biomechanically from from a moderate lifestyle.

[00:25:00] This particular book has a Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday, and a Monday, Wednesday, Friday program. I will just alternate each day between whichever one that I want to do and then Sunday is kind of a free day for me to just do a little bit of yoga whatever. I will do that while the coffee is on. At that point, once the coffee is ready to make, and it will sometimes be decaf, sometimes regular coffee.
[00:26:00] About every month or so I will switch to decaf for a week to reset my tolerance to caffeine, so that I don’t because too dependent on caffeine. Because what happens is when you drink coffee it connects to the adenosine receptors in your brain. Adenosine would normally be neutral but if it attached to those receptors would cause you to become sleepy. Caffeine blocks the action of adenosine. What happens is the more and more coffee that you drink, the more frequently the more caffeine you get exposed to, the more of those adenosine receptors that you make, and so eventually, your body can becomes desensitized to the effects of caffeine but after 7-10 days of not having caffeine in your system, all those adenosine receptors become down regulated and you become sensitized to caffeine again, so that’s why I wean myself off caffeine about every month or so and just switch to decaf which still gives you all the heart health and the antioxidant benefits of coffee, just not the actual caffeine. It still gives you the taste, it still gives you the stimulation of the morning poo and all that stuff.

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[00:27:00] I finished up those foundation exercises and I have my coffee. I will sometimes put things in the coffee like this morning I had some chaga mushroom, which is good for the immune system. I also put some pine pollen in there, which is good for the endocrine system. Sometimes I’ll put a little bit of lion’s mane mushroom in there, which is good for increasing blood flow to the brain. Sometimes I’ll put like a little bit of dark chocolate Stevia and cinnamon in there if I’m feeling all fooey and girly and want to a cappuccino style day. So, you know, I don’t have any hard and fast rules but I’ll sometimes throw things in the coffee. I’ll put like Tongkat Ali and [inaudible 00:27:01], some other like sexual libido-based supplements if I know that my wife and I are planning on getting it on that night. So, I really will kind of vary it up based on the day’s plans.

I will have the coffee and generally while I’m drinking my coffee I’ll go through some research studies, I’ll go through some reading. I use Feedly on my computer, that allows me to subscribe to a whole bunch of different websites feeds, and I’ll just go through research studies. I’ll spend about a half hour just kind of making myself smarter as I pour through those studies and just get some reading done while I sip on my coffee.
[00:28:00] Then I’ll go and have my morning bowel movement. One thing that I found interestingly is that can be vastly accelerated that morning bowel movement because let’s face it, time is tight and you can’t spend 35 minutes with a morning dump. I found a couple things help. At night before I go to bed, I use a little bit of magnesium, so I do about a teaspoon or so of magnesium citrate in water. I use this stuff called Natural Calm and then I also use this stuff called Nature Cleanse. Nature Cleanse is something my company makes. It’s like a colon cleanse. It’s got like slippery elm bark and marshmallow root, and all these little like colonic moisturizers in it and it just kind of helps stuff slip out.

[00:29:00] The other thing that I’ll do in the morning is I use this thing called a MyoBuddy. It’s almost like a car buffer, and I do abdominal massage. What I do is I follow the patch of my large intestine and I will just do this literally for 60 seconds, it doesn’t take long, but I will usually finish up my core foundation exercises I was telling you about with this. I will do like 5-10 times, just a circle, left to right, following the path of my large intestine and it literally just makes stuff fall out of your butt when you go to take your morning dump. So I will go and do that and get my business done with.

The final thing that I’ll do in the morning before jumping into the day’s tasks and the day’s activities and work and everything, I always do something that stimulates the parasympathetic rest and digest nervous system. I don’t push hard in the morning because your grip strength and your body temperature and your reaction time and all these things that help you do a hard work out really well, those don’t peak until about 4-6 p.m. in the afternoon. The best thing to do in the morning is something more rest and digest, parasympathetic based, like an easy walk, basked in the sunshine, or a nice easy swim or an easy surf, or something like that, or paddle. A bike ride would fall into that. Anything like aerobic or conversational. But for me, what I like to do is I do an infrared sauna.
[00:30:00] I have this sauna in my basement. It’s made by a company called Clear Light and they make these saunas that produce infrared waves that kind of like heat the body from the inside out. They have a little bit of a detoxification effect. I’m not saying that just to be like the woo-woo yoga hippy guy who throws around the word detox. They have actually done clinical research showing that sweating causes you to lose heavy metals and sweating heavily causes you to lipolyze fat cells, literally cause fat cell atrophy or death via the vibration of light frequency and how deep these infrared waves go.
[00:31:00] I do yoga and I will do like Alkalinity, is my favorite form of yoga cause it involves a lot of breath work and a lot of arm swings and a lot of kind of like vigorous stuff that wakes up the body. So I will do that for 20-30 minutes and then I’ve got a cold pool out by my house. I will go jump in the cold pool right after I finish that sauna and that 1 – 2 combo of like heat plus cold, that’s like the cherry on top of the morning routine cake where you get out of that pool and I’ve had my coffee and I’ve done my journaling and my meditation and my foundation exercises, and I have had my dump and I’ve had my yoga and you just feel ready to just like crush the day.

Then I go inside and I generally time things so that I’ll finish up, I’ll be getting out of the cold pool about the time my kids are kind of getting ready to go to the bus stop or go to summer camp, whatever. I will catch up with the kids, hear how their gratitude journaling went, give them hugs, get them all set up for the day and then they’re off and I’m ready to start work. So that’s the morning routine.

Guy:

Wow. What time is all this done by, sort of like 8 o’clock kind of thing.

Ben:

[00:32:00] Generally I sent up little rules in my life in terms of like things that I need. I don’t schedule calls during my lunch hour, for example. I, in most cases, don’t schedule work until, in terms of work being other people depending on my time, until about 9:50 a.m. So, that means if I get up around 6 a.m. I can have that morning routine done with around 7:15, 7:30, and I’ll still have a good hour and a half or two to attempt the big things I need to do like work on an article for that day, go through emails, stuff like that, before I even have to jump on calls and be dependent on other people’s time. Generally, 60-90 minutes, around in that range depending on how sluggish I am that morning or how inspired I get to do Alkalinity yoga or anything like that.

Stu:

That’s fantastic.

Guy:

How long have you been doing the Alkalinity for, Ben? Cause I’ve been bringing that in over the last year and I found it pretty amazing.

Ben:

Yeah, about six months.

Guy:

Yeah, right. What benefits are you finding from it just since you’ve been doing it daily?

Ben:

[00:33:00] The same that have been shown in research studies for Alkalinity in particular, increased blood flow to the brain, some particular enhanced cognitive performance, better breathing, right deeper breathing, better oxygenation during the day. You actually have your pineal gland, which is located generally like right between your eyes, above the bridge of your nose, in that area, it’s referred to as the third eye chakra in yoga and in eastern medicine. That particular gland gets stimulated by Alkalinity cause you’re focusing on that third eye chakra and your breathing and that releases dimethyltryptamine, or DMT, it’s better known in the world of ayahuasca as a very potent psychoactive stimulant but in lower doses released endogenously, it increases creativity and focus and thought patterns and so it helps quite a bit with thought and creativity as well. There are other ways you can stimulate DMT for example tapping is another way, like tapping on specific areas of your body. I don’t know if you guys have ever talked to a talking expert-

Guy:

Not yet.

Ben:

Or read any of the books. There’s a couple of guys, I forget their names, speaking of cognitive performance, but they wrote a book on tapping. I know their first name. One of guys who wrote it is Nick, but it you just look up tapping, that’s another way that you can stimulate DMT release without taking, say, ayahuasca. Nutmeg, interestingly, putting a bunch of nutmeg in your coffee is another way that you can stimulate DMT release.

Guy:

If that right?

Ben:

Yeah. You don’t have to go have a shaman and an ayahuasca ceremony to tap into some of the powers [inaudible 00:34:27]

Guy:

Yeah, I’ve done both. I’ve done an ayahuasca ceremony and I’ve had a dimethyltryptamine release just through Alkalinity as well, so they’ve both been quite interesting.

Ben:

Yeah.

Guy:

Results.

Ben:

[00:35:00] Long Alkalinity, if folks are listening and they get into Alkalinity at some point, try like a 90-minute Alkalinity session with either CBD or THC or some form of cannabis or plant medicine. That’s another really, really good way to tap into creativity and to have just an amazing breakthrough if you’re trying to solve a problem [inaudible 00:34:58]. For me, it might be writer’s block or a business issue. A lot of times you come off the other end of something like that without having to spend all the money and the hard time on something like ayahuasca but you still really tap into creativity and that DMT release and some of the other benefits.

Finally, with Alkalinity, in many cases different movements in Alkalinity are designed to target different energy systems, like the one where you rotate and kind of slap up and down your torso, that really stimulates liver and gallbladder. There is another one where you kind of swoop down with your arms and that one stimulates digestive flow. There are other ones that open up the heart like the one where you punch out in front of you. That opens up your heart center. You can target different organ systems. I generally felt, as a result of that, just more alert and awake during the day, so all sorts of cool benefits from Alkalinity even though I’m self-admitting that I’m a Alkalinity newbie, having only done it for several months now.

Guy:

Yeah. Fantastic.

 

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Stu:

That is brilliant. You mentioned in your morning routine about how you get up and you will do different exercises depending on your data. I wanted to talk about the big workout myth. It’s a phrase that I’ve seen that you’ve used on your website and I know that a lot of people are confused about working out for fast fixes, working out for longevity, working out for body composition. I just would like just a little bit of an explanation on the big workout myth, what actually is that from your perspective?

Ben:

[00:37:00] I’m not completely sure of the workout myth that you are referring to but the one that I know if most common is that you need to workout to do things like increase mitochondrial density for example. I used to do ironman triathlon. I know there’s a lot of ironman triathletes over there in Australia who swim and bike and run for copious amounts of time. It is true that the long amounts of time spent exercising aerobically stimulate things like mitochondrial density as well as the number of the mitochondria which is probably one of the most important variables in terms of like anti-aging health and fitness. But that pathway, that mitochondrial density can be triggered via two different pathways really. There’s one pathway called the cyclic AMP Pathway and that responds well to long periods of time spent exercising aerobically, that hour-long lunch time or the 4-hour weekend bike ride, the very long workouts.

[00:38:00] The other way that you can stimulate an increase in mitochondrial density and number is via the PGC-1alpha pathway, and that responds best to things like high-intensity interval training and weight training. The idea here is that if you do brief spurts of high-intensity exercise for your workout, such as doing the afternoon or evening time frame that I proposed. You can very efficiently and quickly increase mitochondrial density and this is how I wound up training for and competing in ironman world championships many, many years in a row. Training literally 8-10 hours a week. I would just do high-intensity intervals. A typical swim for me, when my peers were swimming 4K continuously, I’d do 1K, split into ten 100 meter efforts. Very, very hard efforts. Or, when my peers were doing 5-hour bike rides, I would get on my bike indoors, skip all the ally-outdoor mumbo-jumbo, and just do one like suffer-fast routine, which is like a downloadable cycling video that that puts you through the wringer and then spits you out in like 45 minutes.

[00:39:00] I found, and still find, because I still do like 40-, 60-hour adventure races and Spartan races, and all these super-doper long events. What I find is that when I’m doing the type of things I’m doing right now, which is walking on a treadmill, engaged in low level physical intensity throughout the day, doing 40 air squats whenever I go to the bathroom and doing 5 pull-ups whenever I walk under the pull-up bar. For any time that I’m sitting, whether its an airplane or anywhere else, I gotta get up in the back and do 2 minutes of exercise like jumping jacks or whatever. When I spread all that throughout the day, and then I get to the very end of the day, this plus morning routine, it’s the very end of the day and do a very brief spurt of high-intensity exercise, high-intensity cardio or weight training or circ or something like that.

I can keep myself in very, very good shape without ever doing these big, long, time-consuming workouts. Because, frankly, if you kind of trick your body into thinking that during the day its in that hunter, gatherer, farmer-esque mode, you know by keeping yourself physically active, you put the icing on the cake at the end of the day with something high-intensity, you really … Even the ironman triathletes who I coach, they’re not spending a lot of time exercising. Granted, about once a month, I will send them out and they will do something long. Once a month I’ll send them out and have them do like a 4-hour bike ride and an hour and half long run. Even that is considered a short break by a lot of ironman triathlete training programs.

Stu:

How do you factor in, or are you mindful of, cortisol release during however you want to exercise during the periods of the day? We’re always wary of not wanting to go too hard-ass towards the end of the day because you’re going to get that cortisol spike that could mess with your sleep. Obviously, we want to try and keep those levels reasonably low [inaudible 00:40:22].

Ben:

You want a little bit of that cortisolic response so that you get the proper anabolic response to exercise. Cortisol in high amounts can be catabolic but in lower amounts because it can mobilize, in many cases, some of the things that you need to replenish what exercise depletes. You need some amount of it but you’re right. You do have to be careful. You want to finish up that exercise session preferably about 3 hours before bedtime. That is what a lot of the research has shown in terms of it affecting things like sleep latency, any amount of time that you get in deep sleep.

[00:41:00] I will use things that lower salivary cortisol. Some of my favorites are I keep essential oil of lavender next to my bed that I’ll put on my upper lip or my chest. That’s been shown to reduce salivary cortisol. I will use holy basil, which is like an herb. That’s another one that’s actually been shown to lower cortisol. Cannabidiol is another. That’s another one that I actually produce myself in addition to that colon cleansing supplement I talked about. It’s called Nature CBD. It’s like a legal form of cannabis that lower cortisol, that doesn’t have any of the psychoactive THC in it. There’s one other-

Stu:

Have you experimented with phosphorylated serine?

Ben:

[00:42:00] Phosphatidylserine. That’s another one. I’ve used the Throne makes one called phospha-something. Any of those could be stacked together or taken independently to lower cortisol after a hard evening workout. More often than not, just because I get it for relatively inexpensively because I make it, I’ll use the CBD and then I’ll combine that with the lavender and that’s kind of my 1-2 combo.

Stu:

Excellent.

Guy:

It’s interesting what you say because I think of most people, they sit down all day, there’s no movement of any sort and then they’ll hit the gym hard or exercise, where you’re actually creating this 7-days a week where you constantly low stressing the body at some level, I’m guessing to keep-

Ben:

[00:43:00] Yeah. Really, consistency. Even a recovery day for me might involve a good hour of foam rolling, which actually can be somewhat physically difficult. It’s like making love to the ground when you’re rolling body all over a foam roller, you know, you get some strange looks from the neighbors when you’re humping a roller in the backyard. I will do like a good hour of foam rolling and sometimes I’ll wear like an elevation training mask while I’m doing that so I’m getting some deep diaphragmatic and inspiratory and expiratory work. It might be an easy paddle down on the river or a little bit of a cold water swim or doing yoga sauna. Even a recovery day I’ll spend like a good hour and a half just making my body better or going on a hike with my kids, stuff like that.

[00:44:00] For me, I find consistency is key but the caveat to that is that I’ve done genetic testing. My body produces endogenously a lot of antioxidants. It makes me a quick recoverer but somebody who doesn’t do as well with brutal long hard workouts. There are some people that don’t produce a lot of endogenous antioxidants and if they decide that they want to go this route of day after day consistency without taking on full rest days, a lot of time you need to include supplements like glutathione, full spectrum antioxidants, you know like berry and vegetable powders and things like that which you can make yourself or you can purchase. The idea is sometimes you may want to peer into your genetic data to see what kind of routine you would respond best to.

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Stu:

It’s very interesting as well. We always like to say that we’re all very, very unique in our genetic makeup. Guy and myself have gone through physiognomic genetic sequencing. Guy’s has slow recovery, low levels of glutathione, and I’m complete opposite and it really does show, so we have to tailor the way that we workout.

Guy:

Just curious, Ben, as well. How many ironmans have you done in your career so far?

Ben: Technically, 11-1/2 because there was one that I made it to about the 3-mile run in the marathon and decided I was going to destroy my knees if I kept going, but yeah, 11-1/2.

Guy:

[00:45:00] Wow, amazing. How much has that changed the preparation because things that I’m talking about is like the nutrition and the recovery and like the traditional ways and I will do this, you know big carb loading, go full out.

Stu:

So we’ve got heaps to talk about and we’ve only really got a couple of minutes to do it.

Guy:

Yeah, we’ve got a small window.

Ben:

All right, you’ve got the most burning question then.

Stu:

My burning question is if I got into an elevator with you and I said, Buddy, you know, we’re on the fifth floor, we’re going to the tenth, we’ve got 15 seconds, give me the pitch on bad information regarding health. What is the worse information out there that most of us might be doing?

Guy:

Good question, Stu.

Ben:

It would be different if you were a hot girl and you got in the elevator with me. Hopefully my wife doesn’t watch this. No, I’m just kidding. I love my wife and would never do anything with a hot woman on an elevator for 15 seconds. I digress. The 15-second mistake that most people make … Anything like fitness, nutrition, anything?

Stu:

Anything.

Guy:

Anything.

Ben:

Oh gosh, you had to give me too many options, I suck at options. I would say that the number 1 mistake that I see people making is they eat too frequently. I am incredibly active. I eat 3 times a day. That’s it. That is it. I spend a long period of time between meals. I fast for 12-16 hours. 8 p.m. to 10 a.m. type of thing, everyday. I eat breakfast sometimes, lunch and dinner usually. I don’t have a prework meal or a postworkout, I rarely eat doing my workout, and because of that I train my body how to be ketotic, how to tap into its own fat-burning stores quite efficiently. So, I would say, the main thing is just try to … And I’m talking the athletes out there. I realize that your audience seems to be a pretty active population from what I’ve gathered, and that does not mean that you need to eat 6 times a day, it doesn’t mean you need to suck down a postworkout smoothie while your still burping up your preworkout energy bar. Teach your body how to burn its own fat as a fuel. You can even get muscular with this approach. There is a website like Ketogains, for example, that shows that you can be ketosis, you can be eating 3 meals a day, not stacking tons of meals and frequent snacking, grazing throughout the day, and still stay anabolic.

I don’t want to say eat fewer damn calories because that’s not a good idea, especially for a lot of women, but at least eat less frequently. Does that make sense?

Stu:

It does make sense. Excellent. There we go.

Guy:

A couple of questions left.

Stu:

You’ve got one ref lab question?

Ben:

I’ve gotta leave in 4 minutes for my kid’s school play so let’s do this.

Guy:

All right. I’m going to hit you up with 2 questions and they can be quick answers, Ben. What are your non-negotiables to be the best version of yourself? What would [inaudible 00:47:55], that’s it.

Ben:

There are sort of 3 non-negotiables. Number 1 would be that 12-16 hour fast everyday, 365 days a year. Number 2 would be I never take a hot shower. It’s always a cold shower. I just always take an icy cold shower. Number 3 would be, I’ll keep this one practical and not woo-woo, I rarely, if ever, eat carbohydrates until my evening workout is done. The entire rest of the day it’s all vegetables, fats, and moderate amounts of protein. I save all my carbohydrates for the end of the day and because of that I’m able to keep myself as a fat-burning machine.

Guy:

Fantastic. It’s good that you mentioned the cold showers cause I’m actually catch up with Wim Hof Wednesday, doing his retreat. It will be interesting. Last question, what’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?

Ben:

[00:50:00]
A good plan today is better than a perfect plan tomorrow. I sometimes will walk into say like a workout and I’m tried and it’s the end of the day and I don’t want to make my body better but I’ll just start doing something. I’ll do 100 jumping jacks or I’ll drop and do 10 push-ups and I’ll just start with something like that or if I don’t have any idea about what I want to write for an article I will just start a brain dump. I’ll just write a few words and put something on paper or if I don’t know what I’m going to eat for the day, what I’m going to prepare for a meal, I’ll just like take out a cast iron skillet and put olive oil in the pan. Like you just start something, ship something, do something, like take action, and when you take action, even if you know it’s not going to be perfect, you’ll create and you’ll get things done and you’ll move the dial and you’ll feel better than if you’d simply sat down and let yourself feel crushed because you didn’t know what action to take because you wanted things to be perfect. So, a good plan today is better than a perfect plan tomorrow.

Stu:

Thank you very much. How can we, our audience, everybody, get more of Ben Greenfield? Where do we go?

Ben:

Go to an aeroplane and flight to [inaudible 00:50:13]. Go to bengreenfieldfitness.com. Bengreenfieldfitness.com is where you can tap into all my articles, my podcasts, books, all that jazz. That’s the best place to go. Bengreenfieldfitness.com

Guy:

Perfect. We’re going to link to all the show notes anyway mate. Are we going to see you in Australia on any stage, Ben?

Stu:

If you wanted to get on an aeroplane then you could.

Ben:

I want to, I’ve got to find the time and frankly, you know, I get paid to speak now and that’s a long ways to travel so if the price is right, I guess, or if I have some massive competition to do. I’ll be there, mark my words within the next 3 years I’ll be in Australia.

Stu:

Thank you very much for your time. Really appreciate it.

Guy:

Thanks Ben.

Ben:

All right, later guys.

Stu:

Take care. Thank you.

 

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