Ben Greenfield Podcast 236

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  • 1. Podcast # 236 from[0:00:00.0]Introduction: In today’s episode of the Ben Greenfield Fitness Podcast: Doesthe pill make you gain weight? are earthing mats safe, how tostop leg cramps and spasms, how to breathe the right way duringexercise, are minimalist shoes okay for flat feet, how muchprotein should you eat during exercise, and natural remedies forstrokes.Brock: So, are you feeling very Paleolific?Ben: Yeah. I’ve got a bone in my nose now.Brock: Awesome!Ben: For those of you who are wondering what we’re talking about, Iactually just got back from Paleo FX. Even though I’m not Paleoand I do indeed eat (I don’t really eat milk, I drink milk)fermented milk. That was fun. There were some good folks downthere, some familiar voices in the podcasting community that Igot to spend time with like…I posted a few photos up to theFacebook page of me and Jimmy Moore, wrestling. We did anoutdoor primal play class. It was actually pretty fun. It was calledFitness Exploring. But Jimmy and I got a chance to go head tohead and do some wrestling.Brock: When I saw those photos, I was worried for Jimmy.Ben: I actually had to carry Jimmy Moore around the park, which wasinteresting and for those of you who don’t know who JimmyMoore is, he’s lost a great deal of weight by adopting a low carblifestyle and he used to be over 400 lbs and he dropped.Brock: Almost 200.Ben: Yeah. He dropped a lot of weight but he’s still significantly over200 lbs so he was a load to carry around. And I got to hang outwith Abel James, my fellow videocaster over at the Lean LifestyleInsider at, where we did MTV cribs forfat loss kind of thing. It’s fun. And yeah, just a lot of familiar
  • 2. faces. It was fun to see some listeners down there hang out andpartake a little bit and yeah, it was good.News Flashes:Brock: And as always, this is when Ben takes a moment to explain to uswhat the heck he was talking about when he was Tweeting,Facebooking and Google+ing all week with all the newest studiesand things like that.Ben: That’s right and I guess, we’ll jump right in to something that Iwas just talking about, and that was the consumption of milk. Istumbled across an interesting article over at and I’lllink to it in the show notes but it is about the most spectacularmutation in recent human history. Brock, what do you think themost spectacular mutation in recent human history is or was?Brock: The invention of…I can’t even…is this the appendix?Ben: Yes. The appendix. No. Good guess, though. It’s actually thedevelopment of something called the lactase production gene andthe fact that several thousand years ago, it appears that weexperienced a genetic mutation as humans that kinda jammedour lactase production gene permanently in the “on” position. Sousually, after a child had kind of been weaned off their mother,that child would naturally lose its ability to produce lactase,which is the enzyme that allows mammals to digest the lactosesugars in milk. And so what actually appears to have happenedafter several thousand years is that this mutation for being ableto tolerate lactose kind of began to spring up among many manyhumans and so not only does that mean that kind of theargument that maybe humans are not designed to be able todigest milk or something like that might all by the way side alittle bit, but it also means that you may actually be able to trainyour body how to tolerate lactose sugars more efficiently. That’scertainly something that I’ve done. I used to be severely lactaseor lactose intolerant and I’ve gradually began to include moreand more raw and often fermented dairy products into my dietand now, I can tolerate even just a regular glass of raw milk that’snot necessarily fermented. And fermentation is one of the waysthat you get lactose out of something.[0:05:15.8]
  • 3. But I can tolerate a glass of milk just fine now, whereas thatwould have sent me into grabbing my stomach and making a bigmess later on in the bathroom back in college. So, kindainteresting article. I’ll link to it in the show notes. And oneinteresting thing in the article is the fact that when you get to apoint where a dairy source has been fermented to where it’s beenfermented so long it’s a hard cheese like a parmigiano cheese orsomething like that. It’s literally just lactose-free. It’s prettymuch gotten the lactose left in it. Did you know that?Brock: I didn’t know that.Ben: Yeah. So you can have parmigiano cheese if you’re lactoseintolerant. There you go. The next thing that I wanted to mentionwas about how exercise simulates pot and pot smokingspecifically. This kind of delves into the whole idea behind whyexercise can be addicting. The way that I tweeted this was, I said“here’s why single speed junk mile training is addictive.” It turnsout that in this study, in which they looked at different levels ofintensity for running that very, very high, high intensity exerciseand extremely low intensity exercise like walking, these didn’thave this effect but kinda like a mid-zone threshold-ish run hadthis significant effect in altering the circulating endocannabinoidlevels and these are the endocannabinoids the same type ofcompounds that are ingested into the body or inhaled in the bodywhen we’re doing something like smoking pot. So, there’s areason why this kind of threshold training can be addictive andwhy, in addition to just being a painful trick to the pain cave highintensity interval training doesn’t have the same type ofaddictiveness as just going out and pounding the pavement foran hour.Brock: That also explains why I feel so munch-y when I finish my longslow runs.Ben: Yeah. Here, it turns out that you could indeed, perhaps replacethose endocannabinoids that you’re missing with high intensityinterval training by just smoking a joint after you finish a fewrepeats on the treadmill.Brock: Best of both worlds.
  • 4. Ben: That’s right. Speaking of running, there was another reallyfascinating study that came out on running pace and whathappens when you’re running a marathon. And the title of thestudy was Running Pace Decreases during a Marathon arePositively Related to Blood Markers of Muscle Damage. Butthere is a ton that I glean from looking over this that I thinkreally any runner or anyone interested in what goes on whenyour body is doing endurance exercise might find fascinating.What the aim of the study was, they wanted to see why peoplefatigue when they’re running and in particular, this marathon inwhich they ran the study, was performed during a race in a warmenvironment, so they also were looking at heat and hydration andhow that affects your time to fatigue as well. And there’re somereally interesting findings. One thing that they did was theymeasured the levels of muscle breakdown specifically, one thingcalled myoglobin, another thing called creatine kinase, and then,lactate dehydrogenase. And all of these are markers of musclefiber damage and they’re also markers that can go up in thebloodstream as you rapidly deplete carbohydrate stores or useglucose as a fuel source to a greater level. What they found inthis study was that there is a significant correlation betweenwhether or not someone slowed down more as the raceprogressed and the rise of these biomarkers in their bloodstream.So just in 2 things: One, that the more muscle that you breakdown while you’re out there doing a marathon, the slower you’regonna be. And two, the more carbohydrate and glucose thatyou’re dipping into and utilizing, the slower you might also be.That second observation is a little bit of an extrapolation becauseit’s tough to differentiate between biomarkers like that that areput into the bloodstream for muscle damage vs. biomarkers likethat that are put into the bloodstream from metabolic use.[0:10:03.4]But there’re 2 important take-aways from this part of the study.One would be: do everything you can, if you’re getting ready foran endurance event, to put your body into a state where it’s notgoing to be engaging in quite as much muscle damage. So Iwould encourage anybody who’s training for marathon to includestrength training and include plyometrics. Those would be the 2biggest things that you’re gonna train your body to have a littlebit more efficiency and economy and less muscle damage during
  • 5. something like a marathon. And then number 2, train your bodyto run on fatty acids more and carbohydrates and glucose less.And both of those things are gonna help you avoid some of thebuild-up of biomarkers that are significantly associated with adrop off in running pace. That was one interesting thing.Another thing that they noted was that there really was no effecton the hydration status of runners and a correlation with a dropin pace, and this is something I’ve talked about with Tim Noakesbefore in this podcast. There’s all this information out there thatif you lose more than 2% of your body weight, you’re gonna slowdown significantly and it’s gonna affect your performance. Well,it turned out that the people who were slowing the least duringthis marathon ended up being the most dehydrated by the endand there really was no significant correlation betweendehydration and the suggestion that it might slow your pace.And so, most of these folks were at least up to 3% dehydrated.Interestingly, the people who were at those greater levels ofdehydration actually slowed down less. And it could be becausethey were taking less time to stop and drink. It could be becauseof potential for fluid overload in the stomach and blood goinginto the stomach and getting diverted away from exercisingmuscles ‘cause of all that fluid you have in your gut butultimately, this whole hydrate, hydrate, hydrate duringendurance performance in hot environment and avoiddehydration at all cost, once again, has been shown in thisparticular study in addition to a bunch of others to really not besomething that anything but perhaps propaganda from sportsdrinks.Brock: Sales pitch.Ben: Right. The evil Gatorade. What else was in this study that wasinteresting? Those were some of the main take-aways. Mainthing would be lifts to plyometrics. Do some of the stuff like thatwe’ve talked about in this podcast before in terms of trainingyour body how to be metabolically efficient fat-burning machineand then, don’t get obsessed with replacing everything thatyou’re losing when it comes to hydration. Cool study. We’ll linkto it in the show notes if there are some marathoning geeks whowanna geek out even more. And of course, like anything that wego over in this podcast, you can feel free to leave your commentsover in the show notes. What episode is this, by the way?
  • 6. Brock: Number 236.Ben: 236. So there you go.Special Announcements:Brock: Okay. This episode and a number of other episodes is brought toyou by Audible. Make sure you go to if you are a new member, if you’re not a previous member ofAudible, you can sign up and get yourself a free book and alsoknow that you get the pen as getting a little kickback. Just a littlethank you from Audible.Ben: That’s right. I think it comes out to about a penny per download.But I get the personal satisfaction that you are making yourselfsmarter or even entertaining yourself using something other thanthe Ben Greenfield Fitness Podcast because Lord knows your lifeprobably sucks if this is all that you ever listen to. My apologies ifthis is all that you ever listen to because at Audible, you canbranch out and you can check out a bunch of other stuff. Whatdo we have there at, Brock?Brock: There’s all kinds of awesome stuff. I actually looked through thebest sellers before the show just to see what’s selling and I wasamazed to see Fifty Shades of Grey is still one of their top sellerscurrently. People love their smut.Ben: Yeah. Especially when you can be listening to it and people can’tactually see that you’re reading it.Brock: I’m afraid that they would be able to see if I was reading it.Ben: Yeah. Exactly. So that’s one of those books you’d probably wannadigest on Kindle or via audio. Anything else of note?[0:15:01.7]Brock: Speaking of smut, A Game of Thrones: A Song of Ice and FireBook I is also on there and a friend of mine described as thebook’s and also I guess the TV series as being exactly what a 15year-old boy would write ‘cause it fluctuates between battles andboobs.Ben: I am overly out of it. What is A Game of Thrones?
  • 7. Brock: It’s kind of a Lord of the Rings kind of time magical land of yorekind of setting.Ben: Interesting.Brock: Yeah.Ben: So for all those World of Warcraft folks out there…Brock: Exactly. Yeah.Ben: Nice. I used to be a real nerd with the world of warcraft as I justoffended anyone who reads A Game of Thrones but I wrote a400-page fantasy novel that I finished when I was 14 years old. Ithink I read The Lord of the Rings trilogy over 10 times. I wasbig, big time in the world of war craft medieval fantasy stuff forthe longest time.Brock: You’d like the Game of Thrones, then. So maybe you should goto and sign up.Ben: There we go. So, grab a free book, AGame of Thrones if you’re into that kind of stuff. What else forspecial announcements? First of all, ton of articles this week overat and I must say some interesting stuffthat I pushed out on smart drugs and biohacking. I would highlyrecommend you check those out as well as the next chapter in mymost recent book, which is not about dragons or princesses butit’s about the best way to build endurance as fast as possiblewithout destroying your body. I released my next chapter in thatbook. It goes into everything from how crossfit endurance mightnot be the best answer to how exactly to do high intensity intervaltraining to how to become what I call an ancestral athlete. Really,I’m putting a lot of work into these chapters and I would say thatany endurance athlete that’s following this series is going to finda great deal of benefit from some of the stuff I’m putting outthere on these articles. And you can check those out over I’m just afraid Bryan McKenzie is gonna hunt you down and beatthe crap out of you.Ben: Actually, I quote him out in that chapter and said, “if you’regonna use crossfit endurance for your triathlon training or for
  • 8. your endurance training, use his book, because…”. And actually,I was writing that chapter while I was down at Paleo FX where, atthe Victory Belt Publishing table, Bryan’s book was on displayand I spent a good 20 minutes just standing there perusing hisbook and looking at his training programs and everything thatwas in there and decided that it was something I could get behindvs. the people who are going in and doing a crossfit WOD 5 daysa week and trying to pile a bunch of triathlon training on top ofthat, that type of thing. I think Bryan’s program does a decentjob making sure that there is enough rest and recovery worked inand there is a good balance in terms of the training so if you’regonna use crossfit endurance, use his Power Speed Endurancebook. Even though my book will still be better when it comes outin terms of getting in the trenches stuff but ultimately, good stuff.A few other things: This weekend, Jessa and I are teaching theHow to Raise Superhuman Kids. That’s gonna be Saturday nightat 6:00 PM PST for any of our Inner Circle members. If you’renot part of the Inner Circle, go hop in. It’s 10 bucks a month easypeezy. Some of the biggest archives of the hidden secret stuffwe’re doing behind the scenes at you’llever gonna find along with a really cool super active forum.There is tons of stuff going on in our forum right now in terms ofdiscussions on everything from what kind of deodorants to use tohow to cook spinach and broccoli and how long is too long, andjust all these stuff.Brock: That’s what I really like about the Inner Circle. It’s really yourday-to-day kind of stuff. We tend to cover a lot more of veryspecific kind of information but the Inner Circle really…It’s toughlike you said like cooking spinach, putting on deodorant, thingsthat you do on a daily basis that everybody does so it’s reallyhelpful for pretty much everybody.Ben: Yeah. And then also, at the end of this month, we’re doing aworkshop on “Ask Me any Questions You Want about MinimalistTriathlon Training.”[0:20:07.4]Again, we do all of our workshops through spreecast, live, youcan watch me on video. Interact, ask your questions, get pulledup on video. It’s fun stuff. The Inner Circle is the place to be,
  • 9. especially considering that I’ve checked out with a lot of the otherpeople in our “industry” or charging for website like that isusually 50-100 bucks a month. I wanted to be more accessible topeople so, 10 buck a month, you can hop in, check out the InnerCircle. The risk of this becoming a monster specialannouncements, there are still a few other things. First of all,Brock and I are hosting the Jimmy Moore Living La Vida LowCarb show and this is the same Jimmy Moore I was talking aboutearlier. If you have a low carb question, go and use the tab that’s right there toleave your low carb audio question if you want it answered onJimmy Moore’s Living La Vida Low Carb show that we’re guesthosting in May and we’ll play your stuff on the show or you cancall toll-free number 1-877-2099439. A video, everything youknow about the confusing world of nutrition supplements and Ireally geeked out this video. We’re gonna put a link to it in theshow notes for number 236 over at It’sabout a good hour and a half worth of nutrition supplementadvice, information and how to dig through all the crap that’s outthere but useful video. You can always download it, convert itinto audio, listen to it while you’re out riding your bike orwhatever. It actually will clear up quite a bit in terms of theconfusing world of supplements. There is one last thing I wantedto mention.Brock: Is it the Lean Lifestyle Insider?Ben: You can go to and watch me andfellow podcaster, the fat-burning man, take you through ourhomes and show you everything that we do to keep our bodieslean and in fat-burning mode 24/7 – a lot of the undergroundstuff that we do when it comes to everything from biohacks tosupplements to daily lifestyle choices – breakfast, lunch, dinner,that kind of thing. So, you’ve got that..Brock: I know what it was. It was Essential Guide to BecomingSuperhuman.Ben: That’s right. I forgot about that. Everything you need forperformance, recovery, fat loss, digestion, brain and sleepoptimization. I put together a 213-page manual with 14 CDs andwe’ll put a link in the show notes that allow you to access that. I
  • 10. realized that this was a super long special announcement and Iwent over some stuff pretty quick but just go geek out on theshow notes and you’ll be able to link to all that stuff and wastelots and lots of time that works and get fired and there you go.So enjoy.Audio: Hey folks! It’s me, Ben Greenfield and this is Abel James. Youmay recognize me, Ben, from Ben Greenfield Fitness Podcast orme from the Fat-Burning Man Show. And today, Abel and Iwanna tell you the number one workout that we’re doing rightnow to burn fat. So Abel, I’ll let you take it away first. What is itthat you’re doing right now when it comes to exercise to get yourbody as lean as possible?Abel: All right. So the first thing that I do that a lot of people skip is awarm-up. I do about 5 minutes of shadow-boxing and lightstretching then I go straight into doing some pull-ups to failure,doing some burpees, and then I do some heavy squats and heavydeadlifts in my shed in the backyard and that’s it. It’s easy and Ilove it right now.Ben: Did you just say, a shed in the backyard?Abel: That’s right. I workout in my shed. Usually, I workout actuallyin my backyard in the sun because it’s just that nice in Austin, thesun here.Ben: I was gonna say, the shed’s about as masochistic as you can get.You see after your doing your squats and deadlifts…Abel: That’s where my punching bag is.Ben: I’ve got this thing that I’m doing. It’s called a Litvinov sprint.Abel: I love how you geek out all the time, Ben.Ben: I’ve no clue what Litvinov even means. Anyways though, what Ido is I’ve got this 50-lb dumbbell and I take it out to the hillbeyond my house and I do 15 dumbbell swings and then sprint400 meters up the hill. I drop the dumbbell and hold thedumbbells still in mid-air dropping to the ground while I’m offsprinting.[0:25:05.4]
  • 11. I do that 8 times through and man, when it comes to fat-burningworkout, that is about the most potent thing that I found yet.Abel: So you sprint back and forth before the dumbbell even hits theground, right?Ben: Exactly. It’s like a road runner from Looney Tunes.Abel: That’s a fat-burning workout right there.Ben: Exactly. I guess folks are probably wondering why Abel and I arehere geeking out about fat loss. It’s because we’ve got a newwebsite.Abel: That’s right.Ben: And it is basically, Abel and I following each other around eachother’s houses with a camera, virtually, of course, since Abel is inAustin and I live in Washington and we are basically showing youeverything that we do from the time we get out of bed in themorning all the way up through lunch through our workouts,through dinner, through bedtime to live what we call a LeanLifestyle.Abel: Yeah. And you’ll learn things that are kind of the more advancedstrategies a lot of times on our podcasts, our shows, our blogs.We’ll talk about things that are kind of generalized to the publicbut these are the things that we literally do ourselves everyday –all of the secrets of what we’re cooking, what we’re eating forbreakfast or not eating for breakfast for that matter, what we mayor may not be putting in our coffee depending on the day, prettymuch any supplement that we’re taking and tons more. Ben hasall sorts of crazy gizmos that you’ll be able to see. It’s a blast towatch.Ben: And Abel’s house is much cleaner than mine as you’ll also findout. Anyways though, here’s what you do if you want to get insidethe Lean Lifestyle Insider right now. All right. So Abel, what isthe URL that people can go to if they want to get in on the LeanLifestyle Insider right now.Abel: That would be That’s and I’ll put a link in the shownotes for URL, too. Hey, Abel, thanks for coming on the show.
  • 12. Abel: Anytime, Ben.Listener Q & A:Anonymous: Hey Ben and Brock! I have a question about oral contraceptivesand weight gain. I have recently switched over to a new type oforal contraceptive and I know I’ve heard a lot about saying thatthey think they’ve gained weight being on the pill and I don’tknow if it’s just psychological or what but I have gained a little bitof weight since I switched to a higher estrogen dosage. I’m justwondering if this is something that is thrown around and doesn’treally have any merit or is there really is something to it. A littlebackground is that I have been tested that I have very lowestrogen which is why I switched to a higher dosage pills. Thanksfor all the help. I love the themes of the podcast. You guys aregreat.Ben: You know what, Brock?Brock: What?Ben: It’s kind of a myth. This whether or not oral contraceptives canmake you gain weight.Brock: That’s what I would’ve guessed.Ben: Yeah.Brock: If you just ask me but I’m excited to hear why.Ben: First of all, it could indeed…much would be psychological and I’llexplain why here. When you look at weight gain, normal healthywomen gain weight during their entire years of fertility, whetheror not they’re using contraception, whether or not they’re on thepill. When the typical American female, when she is 20 yearsold, average weight is about 125-130 lbs and by the time theaverage American woman is 55 years old, she is gonna be closerto 165 lbs. This is on average depending on the Broad Brochure.That’s an average gain of 35 lbs over the years of fertility and thiscan be borne out by everything from estrogen dominance andexposure to the toxins and pollutants in the environment toeating to the metabolism naturally slowing to life, to stress, tolack of sleep to having kids and it’s really, really tough to teaseout how much of a role that contraceptives could play in that, if
  • 13. you’re just looking at the actual data from that standpoint. Butwhen we look at studies that have been done on the pill andweight gain, there is really broad analysis that was published andwas called the Cochrane Data Base of Systematic Reviews and itlooked through a bunch of randomized trials that comparedcontraceptives like the pill with placebos.[0:30:17.9]And there was zero evidence from any of these studies thatwomen who were using the contraceptives gained any moreweight than those given a placebo. There is another really bigstudy that they did at Umass Medical School as well and this wasdone in female athletes. They studied about 150 female athletes.They randomly assigned a group that took oral contraceptives,the rest were serving as controls and they found zero correlationin either weight or body fat to the use of birth control and gainingweight. The question, then, becomes is the pill something thatyou should take and could it cause some people to gain weight.First of all, this comes down to whether or not you wanna worryjust about your weight or whether or not you wanna worry aboutsome of the other issues that might go hand in hand with beingon essentially, what is synthetic hormone replacement. Andthere is certainly less estrogen in some of the current pill thanthere was in previous versions of the pill, in some cases. Butthere are also some issues, for example, with breast cancer, andthere is data from over 50 studies that suggests that the pillincreases the risk of breast cancer by anything from 10-30%.And again, the pills that have more estrogen in them are thebigger issues here but that’s certainly something that’s worthconsidering. Cervical cancer is another issue. There is someevidence that the birth control pill introduces major risks forcervical cancer and that is because the pill and especially the pillsthat are the higher in estrogen can cause full body inflammation.And much of that inflammation is going to play its role in thecervix, in the development of cervical cancer, especially the typeof contraceptives that are implanted devices like an IUD thatreleases a systemic dose of hormone. Even though it is releasingsomething like progestin locally or some kind of an estrogencompound locally and there’s a little bit less of a full body effect,you’re still getting a pretty big dose around your cervix at a locallevel that can increase your risk for cervical cancer. That’s
  • 14. another thing that women using the pill should be aware of.When you’re increasing estrogen especially from any of the pillsthat are gonna cause a bump up in estrogen that can irritate yourstomach lining, it can aggravate gastroesophageal reflux disease,it can aggravate stuff like Crohn’s disease. A lot of women whoare getting on the pill start to complain of depression, moodinessand a lot of that is due to the fact that most of yourneurotransmitters are made in your gut. So if your gut isinflamed, it’s gonna affect a lot of that and so there’s somethingto consider as well. Cardiovascular risks are another issue. Ibelieve we’re talking about blood pressure and strokes later on inthis podcast and the pill especially anything that’s got estrogenand progestin in it can raise blood pressure pretty significantlyand may even slightly raise the risk of stroke in women who havepreviously not had stroke risk factors and it actually gets fairlysignificant in terms of the risk of stroke and also with a newerkinds of progestins that they’re putting in to birth control pills,blood clots. There are some other issues there as well on a lesssignificant level but still something that has been observed instudies. You’re looking at a potential for increased risk ofprostate cancer in your partner when you’re on the pill.Brock: How does that work?Ben: I’m not quite sure of the exact mechanism of action on it but itwas a study you can find it in Pub Med. I’ll try and remember tolink to it but it was in 2011 so relatively recent. It was titled OralContraceptives Uses Associated with Prostate Cancer. I only hadthe chance to read the abstract of the study. I didn’t get a chanceto go through the full discussion to look at mechanism of actionbut it is likely due to some kind of a progesterone or estrogenexposure on the part of the partner when the woman is usingcontraceptive or an oral contraceptive like that. You get a drop inantioxidant so you get lower blood levels of vitamin B6,coenzyme Q10, magnesium, a lot of these things that are relevantto your metabolism.[0:35:08.6]You can get impaired thyroid function. Estrogen can influencethe availability of thyroid hormone because it increases the levelsof a thyroid-binding protein and then you also get, as I
  • 15. mentioned before, just over-all higher levels of inflammation andthat’s specifically via measured levels of c-reactive protein.Brock: Do you think that might be where the myth was started from,then? That people are gaining weight if you’re getting kinda puffyif you’re inflamed generally and retaining fluid, that couldcertainly convince you that you are gaining weight?Ben: What I suspect here is that just like many things, something assimple as creatine, for example, you’ve got responders and non-responders. And I think that there are probably some femalesthat despite what studies say, the females who are making noiseabout this and who do gain weight when on an oralcontraceptive, are probably women who are responders and whoare who are gonna gain weight and perhaps, they are outliersindeed but there are still probably a fair share of women who aregonna gain weight on the pill and most likely, it’s due to themexperiencing at a greater degree, many of these adverse sideeffects that I talked about. And for me, if I were having to makethis decision and fortunately, I don’t personally have to make thisdecision but I would avoid them like the plague. And part of thatis also I’ve read this book and I’ll link to it in the show notes. It’scalled the The Pill. If you read this book, The Pill, it’s gonnascare you away from wanting to use the pill. But it alsointroduces a lot of measures that you can take as alternatives tocontraception. That go above and beyond like an intra uterinedevice or an implant and get into the tiny method and some ofthe really, really natural ways that you can use contraception.Basically, just natural family planning that goes above andbeyond something as crude as abstinence or something of thatnature. It’s certainly something that I would stay away from.There’s another really good book written by someone that I’mgonna get on the podcast here in about a month or so. Her nameis Sarah Godfried. It’s called The Hormone Cure. And that alsogoes into some pretty scary details about what happens when youintroduce synthetic hormones into your body.Brock: Not to drag this question out too much longer ‘cause this is goingon a little bit but our caller did mention that she was diagnosedwith severely low estrogen that’s why they gave her a largerestrogen dose in her pill. Is that a good way to be handling thelow estrogen?
  • 16. Ben: No. I would be seeing, and again, we gotta be careful aboutmedical advice here, but I would, for example, go back and listento the interview that I did with TS Wiley on the Wiley Protocol.You can go find a Wiley practitioner in your area by going to theWiley Protocol website. Just google it. We’ll try and put a link inthe show notes for you as well but you can work with acompounding hormone replacement therapy specialist, who isgoing to allow you to naturally increase your hormone levelswithout introducing synthetic hormones into your body justbecause of the variety of metabolic milieu something like that cancreate something very similar to what I already described.Whether you’re using the pill or whether you’re using synthetichormones for some other reason, it’s just something that I’d besuper careful with and I’d stay away from. You’re not gonna growa third arm or anything like that but it can create some prettysignificant issue.Brock: That would be an awesome mutation, though.Ben: That would be a mutation that goes way above and beyondlactose tolerance.Avi: Hi Ben! This is Avi. I recently listened to the podcast where youinterviewed the creator of the Earthpulse product and I waswondering if you can talk about the similarities and differencesbetween that and the Earthing Mat that Dave Asprey uses. Thereis a huge cost difference between the products but from thedescriptions, it sounds that they both can be used for similarways. Thank you.Brock: Well, there is a large cost difference and I know the one that youuse is like $600.Ben: The Earthpulse. Well, if you get an Earthing Mat or GroundingMat, I will explain why you’d wanted that in a second or why youwouldn’t wanna do it. It’s like 50-70 bucks, in that range.Whereas to get what I use, which is called Pulse ElectromagneticFrequency, it’s like $400-600 so it’s significantly spendier to usea Pulse Electromagnetic Frequency device vs. using an EarthingMat.[0:40:11.2]
  • 17. But the whole idea behind grounding or earthing is that, itnormalizes your circadian rhythm by introducing you to thenatural magnetic field of the planet earth. The earth actually putsout this frequency. It’s about 7.8 hertz. It’s called the Schumannfrequency and both animals and humans rely on it for a variety ofbenefits, in particular, normalization of circadian rhythm,meaning that people who never get in contact with the ground,who never walk around outside in their bare feet, who rarely lookat sunlight or get exposed to sun, what happens is, you lose a lotof your natural circadian rhythm, which is tied not only to sleepbut also to hormone production. And so you can really reduceinflammation and improve sleep and increase energy levels andreduce stress and even improve blood pressure and release fullbody tension by getting yourself exposed to those naturalfrequencies that are emanating from the planet Earth. The otherkind of cool thing is that you disperse a lot of the build-up ofelectricity within your body from using computers and talking onphones and all these other ways that you get exposed to what arecalled EMFs or electromagnetic fields. This Grounding Mat,which is also known as Earthing Mat, it is a mat that you pluginto the grounding wire port of a regular three-pronged outlet.So you put this next to your bed.Brock: So you could put this into the one little round, not the 2elongated…Ben: What happens is you get a flow of electrons coming up to throughthe ground if you’re doing this in a grounded home.Brock: If your house is grounded probably.Ben: Yeah. Exactly. They flow through the ground wire and on to themat if you’re on a high rise apartment or skyscraper or somethinglike that. And so you’re getting exposed to the same type of ionsand the same frequencies that the earth is releasing. And this issomething that’s been used by, for example, Tour de Francecyclists for almost a decade to enhance their recovery and sleepin the evening and it kinda flies into the radar but it’s been fairlypopular in alternative medicine for a while. Now that relativelyfamous biohackers like Dave Asprey are selling these things ontheir website, they’re kinda beginning to get more popular amongthe general population. I get asked why I don’t use an earthing
  • 18. mat or grounding mat and there’s a reason that I use somethinglike the Earthpulse, which is achieving a similar effect ratherthan an earthing mat or grounding mat. And the reason for it isbecause of the way that US Electric Utilities here in America haveset up their electrical infrastructure. What happens is, unlikeEurope, about 70% of the electrical current in the US is returnedinto the ground via face wires as it travels back to the substation,so pretty much everything that is in physical contact with theground gets bombarded with this extra energy. But especially, ifyou’re plugging yourself into a grounding mat that you’re gonnabe sleeping on and earthing mat in your grounded wire in yourhouse, what you’re doing is amplifying that effect even more.You’re exposing yourself to more electrical pollution when youuse a grounding mat or an earthing mat compared to if you didn’tuse one at all. This isn’t the case if you’re gonna use it if you’reprofessional cyclist or if you’re doing the Tour de France usingone of these in Europe. We’re wired way differently. They’rewired way differently over in Europe. And so it’s not that great ofan idea to be using an earthing mat or grounding mat and thereare some people who use these types of mats in their officesetting to mitigate a lot of the effects of electromagneticfrequencies in the office setting. A lot of people don’t realize youcan get the same effects by literally putting aluminum foilunderneath your feet or stopping work and going and standingon aluminum foil after you’ve been working on the computer foran hour or two.Brock: I thought you’re gonna say, filling your shoes with dirt.Ben: Or doing as Brock does and making a special little aluminum foiltiara and wearing that while at the office, whatever you wannado. But seriously, you can achieve many of these manyelectromagnetic reducing effects through doing something likethat and there are some other things that you can do as well. Forexample, I have Greenwave filters installed in every outletthroughout my house.[0:45:07.5]What these filters do is they eliminate a lot of what’s called dirtyelectricity or the surges that go into homes as power is travelingback to the substation. So I’ve got one of these installed in every
  • 19. single one of my outlets in my house and they are calledGreenwave filters and you basically plug them in and they can bevery, very effective at reducing dirty electricity in your home. Afew other things that we do is, we don’t have any fluorescent lightbulbs installed in the house. Preferably, you should use what arecalled low blue lights or even LED lights and they don’t emit thesame amount of radiation as a regular fluorescent light bulb andyou’re not gonna get as much EMF exposure. You wanna unplugas much as possible in your house. When we go to bed everynight, we unplug the wireless router. A wireless router in thehome is one of the biggest ways that you produce a bunch of EMFwhen you’re sleeping and we just unplug that. Anything in thebedroom especially, we unplug. The only thing that’s plugged inwhen I’m sleeping is the Earthpulse, which is plugged into one ofthese dirty electricity filters and it is not grounded in the sameway that a grounding mat is so I’m still getting all of thisgeneration of that Schumann hertz that that electrical frequencyor that natural magnetic frequency that the earth puts out butI’m getting that kind of unsteriods without the same type ofelectrical pollution as a grounding mat or an earthing matintroduces.Brock: I remember David Minkoff, at the Become Superhuman event,was talking about how he actually turns the breaker off to hisbedroom before he goes to bed every night and how he’s noticedthat makes a huge difference so that’d be even a step further thanunplugging everything, turning off the current to that room.Ben: Yeah. Another thing that we do is, we actually don’t sleep in ourhouse anymore. We get a tent and we take out to the back…no,I’m just kidding. We don’t go that far. ‘Cause I knew there aresome people listening in there laughing. You can actually reallynotice a difference when you unplug your microwave. That’sanother big one. If your house has a microwave in it, a) don’t usethe microwave; b) unplug it. Our microwave is built-in to ourhouse and if we took it out, there’d be like this big hole in thekitchen wall and since we plan on selling our house here in thenext couple of years, we’re not getting rid of the microwave butit’s unplugged.
  • 20. Brock: We even don’t have a microwave for almost 3 years now. Onceyou adjust there really there’s very few things that I think I’dreally like to have a microwave for this.Ben: Yup. Garage door openers – those create a standingelectromagnetic field that radiates literally hundreds of feet. Sodon’t keep your garage door open or sitting in your houseespecially in your kids’ rooms or anything like that. Put it out inthe car where it’s at least a little bit farther away from yourhouse. These are all little things that you can do but ultimately,the answer to the question is yeah, I’m a fan of grounding but Iachieve it by making sure that I go outside barefoot every once ina while. I actually do it everyday. I use an Earthpulse ratherusing a grounding mat or an earthing mat and then , I reallymitigate my EMF exposure by doing some of these little thingslike unplugging the wireless router at night, unplugging themicrowave, keeping the garage door opener out of the house andjust trying to reduce electrical flow especially, as much aspossible at night, when it’s not necessary for you to be using thestuff because by doing so, if you’re sleeping 7 hours a night, thatadds up over the course of the year in terms of how much EMFmitigation you’re getting when you’re sleeping. There you go.Brock: And of course, you could do like I do and fill your shoes with dirtand wear the tinfoil tiara.Ben: Fill your shoes with dirt and wear the tinfoil tiara. Yup. Thereyou go.Colin: Hi Ben and Brock! My name is Colin. I’m interested in findingout if there are any supplements which may assist in stopping orreducing muscle spasms. I’ve been having a lot of trouble overthe last 12 months running downhill and my upper leg gets asudden and painful twinge to the point where I can’t continue. Asharp twinge usually starts in the medialus near the knee andthen on the femerus near my hip. It starts in my left leg but myright leg gets a similar twinge shortly after. If I take to limpingvery slowly for a better kilometer, I can start shuffling again but Ineed to be very careful not to extend my pace much. I’m 59 yearsyoung and I’ve been shuffling over long distances for many yearsand I don’t want to stop. Thanks for your podcasts. They’re veryinformative.
  • 21. Brock: I know Colin said muscle spasm but it kinda sounds like cramps.Ben: Yeah. And it’s tough to differentiate between the 2 really.[0:50:03.2]What we’re talking about is, the muscle is shortening. Whetherit’s shortening because it wants to protect itself or it’s shorteningbecause it is being overused or it’s shortening due to an injuryrecall type of scenario. Fascial adhesions can be another issue.Very, very occasionally, dehydration but way, way less than whatsports drinks companies will have us to believe. And same goeswith electrolytes. It’s pretty rare that it’s a salt deficiency. Mostof us get enough minerals and electrolytes in our diets to at leastensure that we’re not going into spasms or cramps. I’ll touch onthat in a second. There are a few kind of a caveats there.Ultimately, if I were Colin, I would just stop running, probably.Take up swimming. What I would say is one biggie that I justmentioned is fascial adhesions and that’s when you get a lot ofcross links in this sheath that surrounds the muscles. It reducesmobility in the muscle and the muscle tends to go into spasm orcramp when that happens. That’s very, very simple to work onand eliminate through a combination of trying to meet a fewtimes if you can initially, as you’re just getting rid of this problemwith a massage therapist to get some really good deep tissuemassage and teeth grittingly pleasant massage that’s reallyfreeing up a lot of adhessed areas in the muscle. If you reallywanna do this and take it to the next level, you find what’s calledan MAT practitioner or an IMAT practitioner. These are the folkswho can actually find areas that are going into this protectivespasm or cramp due to you, having a pre-existing injury in thatarea or in the muscle that opposes that section and doing a lot ofreally tough trigger point therapy to get rid of that. ActiveRelease Therapy or ART would be another example of atechnique that can be effective for that type of thing. Once you’vegot those issues cleared up, you would go into maintenance modeby using a foam roller, a really good foam roller. I use one calledthe Rumble Roller. It’s got a bunch of ridges that stick up out ofit. Every Tuesday and every Friday, I do the Rumble Roller – fullbody rumble rolling session without fail and that really helps memove pretty freely. The other thing that I do is I’m, usually acouple of times a week, doing some mobility drills – side to side
  • 22. mobility drills, dynamic stretching drills, leg swings, arm swings,stuff like that. Interestingly, these extreme isometric exercisesI’ve been doing recently based off of the Minimalist TriathlonTraining Protocol that I’m doing and my work with Evo AthletesJay Schroeder, a lot of these extreme isometric drills I’m doingare actually improving my range of motion as well. And they’reexposing my body to having to kinda move through a full rangeof motion very, very slowly and hold that range of motion. AndI’ve noticed quite a bit of enhanced mobility just from doingisometric holds as well – deep squats, deep lunges and thenholding those moving very, very slowly can be effective for thistype of thing also. When it comes to the whole electrolyte issue,which I mentioned ahead on, biggest thing here would bemagnesium deficiency. I would experiment, if I were Colin, withdirect delivery of magnesium to the area that’s spasming by usinga Transdermal magnesium like a spry-on magnesium, rubbing itin. I’ve talked about it on the show before. We’ll link to it in theshow notes to this episode, but basically, rubbing something likethat in would work out quite well. The other thing that you canuse to make sure that you’ve got really, really good mineralbalance would be something like a Trace minerals supplement.The one that I use is called Natural Life Minerals. It’s over 70different trace minerals and if any of these minerals are kind ofimbalanced or deficient in your diet, they can all contribute to theefficiency of the muscle contraction or the propensity of themuscle to spasm or cramp. So those are 2 things that I use and Ialso really increase my use of as I’m going into a really hot race.I’m racing in Vietnam in about exactly 14 days (exactly 2 weeksor so) and I’ll kinda step up (it won’t be super hot there) my useof magnesium oil and minerals for sure when I’m over thereracing. Those are some of the things that I’d work on if I wereColin. Colin, if you’ll implement this stuff, I’d encourage you tocome back to the show notes and let us know if any of that worksso we know if, for the sake of others, any of this stuff actuallypanned out for you.[0:55:21.4]Brock: I actually get a cramp especially on my right side in about thesame area that Colin’s describing and I’ve noticed when he saysthat he limps for about half a kilometer and then is able to startrunning again. I’ve noticed that if I just change my gait a little bit
  • 23. if I feel it coming and I actually change my stride purposely likeshorten my stride, maybe pick up my cadence a little bit, I canactually make it go away. I’ve did that a few times during the 30krun I did a few weeks ago, I felt it coming, purposely changed mygait a little bit, it went away, another 10 kilometers went by, itstarted to come back, did the same thing, made it go away. Sosometimes, it’s just a matter of changing what you’re doing alittle bit.Ben: Yeah. And if this is only happening in one side, it could be similarto what you’ve experienced in the past, too, Brock, which issacroiliac joint hypo mobility anything that your SI joint just isn’tmoving well and you can go and get that adjusted by a sportschiropractic. If you go to and do asearch for “SI joint”, you’ll find a bunch of stuff we talked aboutin the past about that as well as even like a video that weembedded in one of the show notes on doing a self-adjustment ofyour SI joint and that’s another thing to consider doing. Brockmakes a good point. You could just start changing up your gait.Start galloping like a horse, neighing a little bit…Brock: Do the Gangnam style?Ben: Bunny hop, little Gangnam Style…Fred: Hey Ben and Brock! It’s Fred from Long Island. I’m currentlydoing the Beach Body Insanity workouts and in every workout,he is encouraging us to use your core and engage those abs and inone of the workout in particular, I see the ladies pulling in theirbelly buttons as they’re doing these exercises and at first, myquestion to you was am I just supposed to go through the normalrange of motion and engage my abs that way or am I supposed toreally pull it in like that for every exercise. I’m wondering howthis would affect deep breathing where you’re supposed to pullair into your stomach and bulljack your stomach a little bit whileyou’re engaging your abs. It seems like they’re kind of inopposition there. Thanks for your help.Brock: This is a great question when Fred asked…I saw this on Twitter,he put this out and it made me really think ‘cause yeah, do yousuck your stomach in? Do you just tighten it? Do you sort ofbear down like you would on the toilet or what do you do?
  • 24. Ben: If you’re a model on the Beach Body Insanity video, you suckyour stomach in so that you really enhance that six-pack becauseyou know you’re gonna be getting a break in 2 minutes as thevideo cuts and you just look good and increase your chances ofbetter modeling gigs in the future. Other than that though, ifyou’re not a Beach Body Insanity video model, you do not wannasuck your abs in if you wanna engage your abdominals andengage your inspiratory and expiratory muscles properly whileyou’re exercising. There are a few different problems when itcomes to breathing. There are things that you can look at in yourown body when it comes to seeing whether or not you’reengaging in a dysfunctional breathing pattern. One would bechest breathing and if you just look down as you’re breathing,your chest is the first thing to move, then that’s a sign that you’reengaging in shallow breathing or what’s called upper chestbreathing, which a really poor way to deliver oxygen to yourmuscles. Another thing that you can look at is if you put yourhands on either side of your rib cage when you breathe, your ribsshould move your hands out about 1 ½ to 2 inches and youshould feel your trunk widen as you breathe and if that doesn’thappen as you’re breathing, that’s another sign that you’re doingshallow chest breathing. You should be able to breathe nasallylike suck air in and out from deep within your nasal cavity and inmost situations other than really, really hard threshold effortslike when you’re lifting weights, for example, you should be ableto not only not breathe from within your chest but also avoidmouth breathing. And if you can avoid mouth breathing, that’s apretty good sign that you’re doing a decent job being able toengage your inspiratory and expiratory muscles. A lot of times,you try and compensate for that by breathing more air into ourmouths. A big reason for that is because of shallow chestbreathing.Brock: I’ve suddenly become very aware of my breathing. I don’t knowif everybody that’s listening at home right now is doing the samething.[1:00:03.5]Ben: If you can hear a loud thump, that’s Brock hyperventilating andpasses out there a little bit. You can take your resting breathrate. Some of these biohacking devices or self-quantification
  • 25. devices that I’ve talked about on the show before like the tinky,for example, that will…it’s this little blue dungle that plugs intothe bottom of your iPhone and among other things, one of thethings that it does is it tracks your breath rate. There’s a watchout there called the My Bases watch that you can also wear andthat’ll measure breath rate as well. A normal relaxed restingbreath rate should be about 10-12 breaths per minute.Obviously, that’s gonna go up during exercise. But if at rest,you’re exceeding 12 breaths per minute, that’s a pretty good signthat you’re either doing really quick and shallow breathing ormaybe, you’re a tinny tiny person, a really small person like asquirrel or a mouse. We’ve got a lot of rodent listeners right now.The other thing is, if you tend to slouch a lot and your upper neckand your chest and your shoulder muscles are tight, all of that isgonna inhibit your ability to engage in deep breathing. And so ifyou do carry a lot of tension in those areas and you’ll know. A lotof times, if you just do a body check, you’ll know. I find that a lotof times during the day, when I get really carried away orwhatever, e-mails or writing an article, or something like that, I’llfind that a lot of those upper body muscles tend to tighten up andI gotta do a breath check and remind myself to breathe deeplyand relax and do some of the deep abdominal breathing. If Istart my day off by doing that, (I do. I start every day with 5minutes of deep breathing while I measure my heart ratevariability.) I find that I tend to continue to breathe deeplythroughout the day. Let’s say you wanna train yourself to do thiswhile you’re exercising, a few things you can do: One is toactually practice blowing up a balloon. This encourages you tocontract your diaphragm and your core muscles. And if you reallywanna teach yourself how to do this effectively, you get into acrunch position or sit-up position, you press your low back ashard as you can into the ground to see you really engaging thesediaphragmatic muscles and your blow up a balloon by inhalingthrough your nose and exhaling through your mouth and all thetime, you try to maintain pressure against the ground with yourlow back. That’s a really good way to train yourself how to dodeep breathing. It’s also a good way to get funny looks at theoffice if you’re doing it there. The next thing would be to doplanking exercises, in which you’re also practicing deepbreathing. Get into a front plank position or get into a side plankposition and rather than just focusing on how long you can
  • 26. maintain that position, see if you can take, for example, 10 deepbreaths from deep within your belly button as you’re holding thatplank position or side plank position. It’s actually pretty hard todo but it teaches you, once you get into the more complexexercises like a deadlift or a squat or something like that, to beable to actually engage your deep abdominal muscles whileyou’re also working some of your other muscles. So that’sanother really, really good thing that you can do. One of theother things (and I’ll do the schedule in just a while) I am sittingon an airplane or in a car or standing and waiting in linesomewhere, is you just put your muscles, like I mentioned,around your core like wrap your hands around your waistline asmuch as you can and then just, as you’re breathing, try and feelyour hands move like your abs are moving your hands out andaway from your waist and back. That’s a really good way to trainyour body how to breathe from deep within the abdominals.Those are some of the things that I do. If you do hyperventilateand pass out, my apologies but don’t suck the abs in. If anything,the abdominals should be relaxed and moving in and out quite abit when you’re breathing the right way.Gabriel: Hi! Hello! Love the show. This is Gabriel. Two quick comments:First, after you apply topical magnesium after a run, you applytopical magnesium all over your legs or whatever, make sure,very, very important, make sure you wash your hands very wellbefore you rub your sore nipples. Just trust me on this one. Donot try that at home. The other thing I wanted to comment is Ihave flat feet. When I go to a running store, they usually try torecommend to me very heavy shoes or shoes with a lot of supportbut those shoes just hurt my knees. I have found that eventhough I have flat feet, I seem to run better on vibram shoes andvery light shoes. I was wondering about your comments on that.Maybe the flat feet or high arches consideration is not asimportant as form or whatever. Anyway, I love the show. Bye.[1:05:14.5]Ben: Wow! I guess the whole magnesium issue comes out to howoften you’re touching your nipples.Brock: Yeah. I have never done my nipples. I have rubbed it on tosome chaffing between my legs before like putting on my calves
  • 27. and my thighs and I actually got it on the chafe flexor in the chubthere.Ben: Yeah. Gabriel, you may want to consider taking up a differentactivity than the whole nipple-touching and self nipple fondlingtype of thing unless that’s what make you happy. In which case,by all means, we don’t wanna impede your personal happiness orpleasure. But as far as the magnesium goes, yeah, it’s gonna itchno matter what. There are a very few cases where some peoplehave super hypersensitivity to magnesium and they actually get arelease of antibodies and histamine in response to topicalmagnesium. And that’s a full on rash you’ll notice right away.It’s like a red, red rash. Big difference between that type ofsensitivity that causes hives or rashes and this normal itchingsting that can happen when you’re using magnesium on yourskin. By the way, that sting typically goes away after about amonth or 2 or frequent use of a topical magnesium.Brock: Unless you put it on broken skin. No matter how long you’vebeen using it, if you put it on broken like I’m assuming Gabriel’snipples were chafed from running or something like that, that’swhy it’s stung so much.Ben: Gabriel’s nipples would be a great name for a band. Anywaysthough, on to the meat of Gabriel’s question about flat feet andwhether or not you should wear built-up shoes for flat feet.There are varying opinions on this. My opinion is that if you havedifficulty running in minimalist shoes or bare feet and you haveto wear overpronation orthotics or built-up running shoes, thenyou have hip and core or biomechanical movement patterns thatneed some serious addressing. I think that anyone should beable to run in their bare feet or any pair of minimalist shoeswhether or not they’ve got flat feet or valgus knees or any of theseother issues. And I’ve seen time and time and time again folkswho gradually transition out of these motion control and heavyoverpronating shoes into a minimalist shoe or a vibram or abarefoot approach begin experience less and less and less hip andknee and back pain. The issue is that many folks and especiallyfolks who have flat feet or foot issues, they try and make thatchange from a big shoe to a minimalist shoe too quickly, tooimpatiently and that causes a foot injury or it causes somethinglike Achilles tendonitis especially in folks who have flat feet
  • 28. ‘cause they tend to have really, really tight Achilles tendons.There are some things that you can do to make that gradualtransition into barefoot running. I wrote an article about how todo this and I’ll link to that article in the show notes for thisepisode over at But some of the mainthings that you wanna do to strengthen your feet is, first of all,for about the first month or so, usually takes about 4 weeks oraround there for biomechanical adaptations to a change intraining such as barefoot running to take place, you just want tostay unclod. (Big difference between that and unclad, by theway).Brock: You may unshod.Ben: Unshod. Take your shoes off, keep your clothes on. That’s whatI’m trying to say. But you go unshod as much as possiblethroughout the day – barefoot, especially when you’re standing atwork or at home. And you just do that for a month. You don’trun barefoot or run in minimalist shoes but you pretty much doeverything else that you can barefoot or in minimalist gear. Andthen once you’ve got a month on your belt, for about the next 2weeks, you start to run barefoot but for very small distances onsoft surfaces like you run on your shoes to a park, take off yourshoes and run back and forth a few times, do some repeats, putback in your shoes and you run home. And you graduallyincrease over the course of generally about 6-8 weeks, theamount of barefoot or minimalist running that you do. And thenyou start to experiment with harder surfaces like cement andpavement and stuff like that. Remember, we’re talking about… inmany cases, folks trying to strengthen feet that have been madeweak after 20+ years of wearing shoes and you don’t eliminate allof that over a month-long transition into vibram, something likethat. This takes a little while and you gotta be patient with it.[1:10:17.0]You can do things like bouncing on one leg, doing someplyometrics on one leg, you can stand on one leg for any exercisesthat you do at the gym like overhead presses. If you got access toa mini trampoline or a vibration platform, doing single legexercises on either of those can be effective. But basically, asmuch as you can do is strengthen those tiny foot muscles. That’s
  • 29. all gonna accelerate your results a little bit when it comes togetting your body more and more used to being in your bare feetor wearing minimalist shoes. Like I mentioned, if you got flatfeet, your Achilles are gonna get super tight, your calves aregonna get super tight. Do lots of foam rolling and lots ofstretching for your calves and the back of your legs and lower calfand your Achilles region and that will help out a bunch with thisas well. I personally used to be convinced because of the way thatmy knees collapsed and tend to go bow-legged a little bit whenI’m running because of what I’ve seen on high speed videocameras and fancy biomechanics labs that I gotta…I’m anoverpronator and I should be on overpronation orthotics blah,blah, blah… I used to wear overpronation shoes all the time whenI was convinced that was the way for me and I would get kneeinjuries and hip injuries and SI joint mobility issues. I made thattransition over the course of a good year into minimalist shoesand then barefoot and it has made a huge difference in terms ofmy biomechanics, my comfort. Now, I use 3 things: I use theshoes from Skora Running down in Portland.Brock: I’m actually waiting for a delivery today from them. I’ve got 2pairs of shoes coming, I’m so excited.Ben: Yeah. They actually look good. You can wear them with streetgear and stuff and they’re just a cool looking shoe so you don’tlook like a chimp quite as much as when you’re wearing a vibram5-finger.Brock: Which is fun, too.Ben: Yeah. I wear the vibram 5-fingers a lot as well. I like to use thosefor some trail runs. I like to use them when I’m just like…I’vebeen starting to get into more parkour mov nat type of stuff. AndI like them for that as well and give you a little bit better feel forthe ground.Brock: I’ve seen your wearing those with a suit.Ben: When I’m at conferences, where this type of thing is consideredacceptable like the Superhuman Conference or like recently,Paleo FX, I’ll wear them with just my jeans and stuff, too. Andthen I’ll do Skora Running shoes and then other than that, I justgo barefoot. And a lot of times, I will just go for a run. I can run
  • 30. down the middle of the street now barefoot and be just finealthough I’d rather run on the side of the street without any cars.I don’t why I just said middle of the street but you know what Imean. Anyways though, that’s the deal with the minimalistfootwear and that’s the way that I would go about doing things.Just make that slow and gradual transition but I think that if youcan’t run in minimalist shoes, then, your body is broken and youneed to fix it.Brock: So basically, it doesn’t matter flat feet or not, that’s not really theshoe like if a shoe store is trying to tell you have to wear this oryou won’t be able to function, it’s not a hard core case like that.Use what works for you and try to work towards strengtheningthose parts.Ben: Yup.Brock: Is that a good summary?Ben: Yeah. Strengthen your feet, strengthen your nipples, you’d begood to go.Matt: Hi Ben and Brock! This is Matt from Wisconsin. I’ve a follow upquestion to response I heard you during this podcast or one onEndurance Planet regarding the use of soy protein and HammerNutrition Perpetum. First, they claim they purposely avoid usingwhey, specifically glutamine to avoid the overproduction ofammonia. What are your thoughts on this? Secondly, I’ve alsoheard you recommend the necessity of fueling with proteinduring longer endurance events. So if not soy, what productswould you recommend that contain a good carb source with agood protein source or would you recommend a combination ofsomething similar to the UCAN Superstarch next with asecondary protein source. Also, how much protein per hourwould you recommend for a longer race such an Ironman?Ben: Wow! A lot of protein questions.Brock: Yeah. So Protein 101.Ben: It’s very nitrogenlicious question. Let’s tackle these one by one.First of all, soy protein during exercise. You look at somethinglike Hammer Nutrition that uses soy protein in their perpetum,which I actually used to use quite a bit.
  • 31. [1:15:01.6]They use that instead of whey to avoid the overproduction ofammonia and it certainly is true that soy, partially because it’snot even absorbed and digested quite as well, results in lessammonia build up during exercise compared to using somethinglike a whey protein. However, and this probably isn’t gonnasurprise anybody to hear me say this: I’m not a fan of soy andespecially of soy protein isolate because that isn’t unfermentedform of soy and not only does it have lots of isoflavones in itwhich mimmick your body’s own estrogens and I’ve seen guys getmen boobs and bigger bellies from soy and I’ve seen them get ridof that by cutting tofu and soy milk and soy protein out of theirdiet but you’ve also got anti nutrients in soy that block a lot of theenzymes that you need for digestion. You’ve got phytates in soythat block the absorption of a lot of essential minerals especiallyfor vegans or vegetarians who eat soy as their main source ofprotein or like for women who are in menopause, who, a lot oftimes, are using these supplements that have lots of soy in them.This is very, very worrisome. Whether or not it’s a GMO soy,which, by the way, most soy is, or it’s non-GMO or an organicsoy, like Hammer Nutrition uses, for example, there are issuesabout soy that go way above and beyond a whole GMO type ofthing. A lot of people also, incidentally, have an allergic reactionto soy, an immunoglobulin reaction to soy where their bodymounts an inflammatory reaction against it. You’ll find a lot ofpeople have a lot of difficulties with this perpetum stuff formHammer Nutrition and that’s one big reason why. Now, before Igo about completely crucifying Hammer, I use a lot of theirproducts. I use Hammer’s REM caps when I’m traveling toenhance my sleep because they’ve got some melatonin and somevalerian root in them. I use their Hammer Balm and their SeatSaver as like these good natural topicals for doing things likeeliminating seat sores and stuff when you’re cycling. I use theirRecovery Bar. They’ve got …[1:17:22.4]They’ve got really good recovery bars that got a vegan one. Theygot a grass fed whey one and they do have a lot of really goodproducts. But I’m not a fan of soy unless it’s fermented soy likeMiso or Natto or Tempeh or something like that. So as far as soy
  • 32. goes, I would really stay away from it. Let’s put it this way.There are some evidence that most of these studies have beendone in Israel, that soy is not that big issue unless it’s the staplein your diet like it must be something you’re consuming everydayof the week once a day at least, like we’re talking aboutunfermented soy and the extent to which it can cause digestiveinhibition. For me, I’m trying to get every advantage possible inmy diet and I’m not about taking in just enough soy to where I’mtearing a line. I’m really super careful about it and I encouragefolks to be careful with soy and unfermented soy whether or notit’s GMO. So what do I recommend in terms of protein duringexercise? Well, it may not come as a surprise to many folks but Idon’t recommend a whey protein isolate such as what you aregoing to find in a paleo supplement like Tree Fuel. I don’trecommend a soy protein isolate such as you are going to find insomething like Hammer Nutrition. I recommend pre-digestedamino acids and using an essential amino acid supplementcompared to anywhere from 3 to 6 hours before digestion of soyor whey protein. You’re looking at literally about 20 minutes toactually get full absorption in the small intestine and using aminoacids rather than whey or soy protein. We’re looking at whey-less metabolic toxic waste. We talked about the ammonium buildup being more in whey than in soy. When you look at both ofthose, you get significant ammonia build up because of thenitrogen, the catabolites that are formed when you break downany dietary protein or any protein supplement. And you justrather not have that type of acid poured into your body whenyou’re already beating at your body during exercise. So you lookat what’s called the net nitrogen utilization of a dietary protein orprotein supplement and you compare it to something like aminoacid supplement and you literally get close to a 100% netnitrogen utilization when you’re looking at an amino acidsupplement versus anywhere from 15-30% for dietary protein orprotein supplement which again is not that big of an issue whenyou’re at rest when you’re looking at an all mudder steak forprotein.[1:20:15.4]
  • 33. But when you’re exercising and you’re trying to deliver as manyhigh-quality amino acids in your blood stream as possible, you’regoing to be better served by using an amino acid supplement.Now, in terms of dosage, you can choose to use a branched-chainamino acid supplement which is not going to give you all of theamino acids you need but it’s still going to give you a decent doseof them. You’d be looking at about 15-20 grams of branched-chain amino acid per hour and I think it’s silly that a lot of thesegels in sports terms include branched-chain amino acid and it’slike 2-3 grams like you got to use a good dose of branched-chainamino acid to notice a significant difference during exercise. Soyou don’t want t0 play around with little gels that have thesemicro doses of BCAAs in them just they can sell them for $1.50more than regular gel. If you’re using essential amino acidsupplement which is going to deliver to your body pretty muchevery amino acid that it needs during exercise, you’re looking atabout 5-10 grams an hour. And so when I’m using somethinglike the Master Amino Pattern capsules that map protein that Iuse, that’s an essential amino acid. I do ten of those before a bigwork-out or a big race and then I maintain my blood levels ofessential amino acids by doing 5 an hour after that. And in mypreparations for Ironman Canada, I’m going to experiment with10 capsules which should come out to be equivalent of 10 gramsan hour when I’m getting into that scenario. Granted this stuff isexpensive, you’re looking at around 50 bucks for a bottle of it, butif you’re wanting to get every advantage possible during exercise,this stuff is like steroids. I mean it, not that I frequently usesteroids or know what it feels like, but you know what I mean. Idid use one of those supplements where you literally noticeinstant difference while you’re out there exercising and I justcame in a zip black bag in my jersey cotton bag and do it that wayduring the race or during a long work-out.Brock: Okay, so our last question comes from Stew and it’s actually awritten question. Stew says, “I have a good mate who’srecovering from a mild stroke. Now, I was wondering if you havecovered this topic in a previous blog or podcast. What advisewould you give in relation to nutrition and is there anything inparticular that can improve his health?
  • 34. Ben: Oh yeah. I mean, yeah. It’s kinda interesting; the same stuff thatcan help you to reduce your risk of stroke or to bounce back fromstroke more quickly. Hello to Stew by the way. Stew’s one of ourlisteners down in Aus where I’m hopefully going to be doing alittle tour and race vacation here in 2014. But more on that later.So as far as stroke prevention and stroke recovery, a lot of thingsyou do for this can help you out with all sorts of differentneurological conditions or blood pressure conditions likeParkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, and Dementia and mood disorders likedepression and blood sugar issues like diabetes because whatyou’re looking at is wanting to take care of the type of energy thatyou’re giving your neurons to burn as a fuel and you’re alsotaking care of a lot of your predispositions to blood clotting andblood pressure and just your cardiovascular efficiency. So strokehappens when a blood clot blocks artery or a blood vessel breaksand any of these can interrupt the blood flow to an area of thebrain. When that happens, your brain cells begin to die andbrain damage starts to occur and that’s why you want to come atthis from two different angles. One, to improve cardio-vascularefficiency and blood flow and two, to heal a lot of brain cells andto help out your neurons in your brain. So one of the very, veryfirst things that I’d steer your friend towards, Stew, would be aketogenic diet and ketones are a form of fatty acid but they aremetabolized like fats. Most fats actually need an amino acid totransport those fats into mitochondria so that fat can get burnedfor energy. Now with ketones, they don’t work that same way.They can be used without having to get shuttled by that aminoacid into the body. They provide readily available and very usefulenergy.[1:25:01.4]And they’re very important to your neurons because yourneurons can burn glucose for carbohydrates or they can burnketones. But when you give your neurons ketones to burn, theyhave to go through a lot less energy doing so and so can reallyreally be a good energy source. A ketogenic diet, in terms ofgiving your neurons the fuel that they need, prepare for recoveryand for optimum efficiency. So there are several studies outthere that show that you actually get a protection of neuronswhen you get the extra energy that you have circulating in yourbody when you use something like the ketogenic diet. You don’t
  • 35. have to do the whole low-carb thing to be in a ketogenic diet.This is something a lot of people don’t realize. You can take in,for example, and this is reasonably low for a lot of people, butyou can take in, for example, 50 grams of carbohydrates a day.And if you are taking 50 grams of carbohydrates per day,sometimes that is enough to throw your body out of ketosis. Thisis something I may have to deal with because I’m using a full onketogenic diet in my build up to Ironman Canada in August but Ineed more, at least 50 grams and often more than 50 grams ofcarbohydrates during the day. So what you do is you add a bunchof coconut oil or medium chain triglyceride oil and what this doesis overpower some of the glucose that is getting introduced inyour body from the carbs, keep your body in ketogenic state andgive you a bunch of extra fuel. So ….Brock: Just so before you get too far away, how would 50 mg or 50grams be of carbohydrate in the equivalent of real food?Ben: That would be about the equivalent of two pieces of fruit.Brock: So…Ben: Yeah, so you’re going to add in like close to 10 tablespoons ofmedium chain of triglyceride oil or coconut oil per day if youwant to keep your body in pure ketosis especially if you’re doingit for clinically relevant reasons like this like you’re really wantingto make sure that you’re not straying out of ketosis. You want tomake sure like I talked about, there’s essential amino acids. Iwould add some of those into the mix just to allow your body tobe able to utilize the ketones more efficiently. Those will helpyou out a little bit and help you out from cannibalizing muscletissue and and stuff from not getting enough of carbs. So that’sone thing that I’d do is ketogenic diet. The only thing that Iwould do is really go after your blood pressure and keeping yourblood pressure down. The biggest thing and most simple forblood pressure is potassium deficiency. Even though you can getpotassium in stuff like bananas and tubers and things of thatnature, obviously that flies in the face of keeping your body inketosis. So you can just use like a potassium supplement; andgenerally potassium supplement, you’re looking at, it depends,but it’s going to be in the range of 200-400 mg of potassium perday that you want to add into your diet to help control blood
  • 36. pressure. The other that can really really help with bloodpressure is Hibiscus tea. There’s actually a bunch of studies outthere that show that Hibiscus tea is really effective at loweringblood pressure. So you can do that.And then the last thing I consider that comes like a lifestyledecision in addition to ketogenesis, getting enough potassium,and drinking some of this Hibiscus tea on a daily basis, would beacupuncture; and just doing a few acupunture with anacupuncturist who is doing it specifically to lower your bloodpressure can be really really helpful especially during somethinglike dealing with the after-effects of stroke or going after strokeprevention. So control your blood pressure and give yourneurons the right type of fuel to use. You can also usesupplements. There are a variety of supplements that can helpyou reduce the risk of stroke and also improve your ability torecover more quickly from a stroke. For example, a lot of strokevictims have really depleted body source of what is called theATP which is the primary source of energy for your cells. Andwhen you deplete your ATP, one of the things that can help youto restore your natural balance of ATP is ironicallycarbohydrates. But there’s a specific carbohydrate molecule thatyou can supplement without actually dumping a bunch of glucosein your body which take care of ketosis and that’s called D-Ribose. So 5-10 grams or so of D-Ribose per day can help torestore something of that ATP-based energy. Another thingwould be co-enzyme Q10 and this can really really help your bodymanufacture its own ATP and if you take this hand in hand withsomething like D-Ribose, you’re looking at about 200 mg or so ofco-enzyme Q10 on a daily basis. You can get either of these veryeasily from a health food store or from the health food section ofthe grocery store.[1:30:21:8]You want to get a full spectrum of Vitamin B complex. Vit Bhelps you synthesize hemoglobin which can be really helpfulespecially if you’re a stroke victim trying to bounce back gettingenough hemoglobin back into your body in building your body’shemoglobin levels. Vit B12, that’s really important because of therole that Omega-3 fatty acids play in the health of your brain andyour nerve tissue and Vit B12 helps you to absorb these fatty
  • 37. acids a little bit more efficiently. Of course, hand in hand withthat would be the use of fish oil, like a good really high qualitytriglyceride-based fish oil. That 1-2 combo of a fish oil with theVit B complex is something that if you listen to my Smart Drugspodcast that I just did with Steven Fowkes is one of the best waysto improve your brain health and decrease brain information andit can also help quite a bit with kind of stroke bounce back. Fewof the things that can increase blood flow to the brain, one wouldbe ginkgo biloba and that’s an herb that you can use generallylooking about a hundred to 200 mg per day of ginkgo biloba.The other thing that can really help out are any of these differenttypes of compounds that you’ll find a lot of times, again, in smartdrugs, so these are the things to increase mental agility in yourmemory and your stamina and your awareness but they can alsoincrease or replenish neuro-transmitters which tended to getdamaged by stroke or by head injuries so using something likethe tianchi which has something called huperzine in it which is aderivative of club moss and that is one of the things that canreally help to not only improve blood flow to the brain but alsoincrease the levels of these neuro-transmitters. There’s anotherlike kind of derivator, something called periwinkle, and it’s calledtempostatin; and that will be another one that you can use--tempostatin; and that also will have similar effect to somethinglike tianchi even though tianchi has a bigger anti-inflammatorybrain-boosting effect on a more natural level than using like astrait of smart drug. Those are the pretty the last thing I’dmention. One thing would be taurine. Taurine is another anti-oxidant that especially acts as a potentiator for the hypothalamusregion of your brain which can tend to get injured or weakenedby a stroke and it helps to increase oxygen intake in your brain.And taurine is another thing you can find in the form of a tabletor pill. I don’t recommend you going out sucking about your RedBull which would be included in Taurine but that would help outas well. So I just want heard a ton of stuff as we do witheverything you guys listening in because everything I just wentover is really great for anybody from a blood pressure or strokeperspective. We embed what’s called “My List” in every episode.So for episode 236 from, you’ll be ableto find the “My List” for this episode. We’ll kind of give you ahelpful link to all these stuff, but we also just generally put as
  • 38. many resources as we can in the short notes for you. Justbecause we’ve nothing better to do with our time….Brock: Not so.Ben: We spend the after news sitting around creating incrediblycomplex short notes. So hopefully that helps you out still. Andspeaking of “My List,” as soon as we finish this podcast, I actuallygot a My Lister interview coming up and I’m going to be talkingto a fellow named Tim who has created the “My List” aboutcoming back from an eating disorder. Some of the tools andtechniques that he’s used to bounce back from an eatingdisorder, we’re going to play that after the next Ben GreenfieldFitness podcast episode next week. But for anybody interested inkind of dealing with anorexia and stuff like that, we’re actuallygoing to do a special “My List” episode based on that. If you everpersonally got involved with paleo list on Facebook, you can dothat over at or just go over the BenGreenfield Fitness Facebook page at andclick on My List symbol there. You’ll be able to create your ownMy List symbol for anything you like from supplements andwork-out gear to your favorite fancy novel, like Game of Thrones,the podcast brought by the last thing I want us do today for you guys as we get themusic cranked out here and play out this, I want to give you thisshout out to a few of our folks who have left reviews over iniTunes. I really appreciate your reviews so if you could shout outhere. Here’s one from a fellow named Arthurian Legend: Heauthors “This is a teasome day in health and fitness. Awesomepodcast, always ‘Brockful’ latest info and delivered in Ben’ssoothing subsonic tones.” Oh, am I subsonic? Here’s one byTeapot Boy. He says, “Actually, we’re now in better shape on theinside and out. Major kudos to these guys who have researchedand put on the broadcast listener Q&A. Keep it up guys andpraise the Lord! Hmm, digging digging the fact apparently. Sohere’s one I like. Here’s a five-story review by Salty Traitor. Hecalls this …Brock: Salty Traitor!Ben: …this afternoon podcast. “Ben and Brock are very helpful givingsound advice, helping my whole family eat better and get
  • 39. stronger, leaner, and faster. I advise listening at 1 ½ speedbecause Ben tends to be long-winded and speaks like he justsmoked the fatty.” Love it. So there’s a review. If you want toleave a review maybe you could get a thread on the show. Becreative. Get a review over on i-teach page for Ben GreenfieldFitness, go to, check out the show notesand when you check out the show notes, you can always leave aquick little donation over there. Put a few coins and that willhelp keep this thing going. So that being said, what do you thinkBrock? Should we call it a day?Brock: Absolutely!Ben: Alright folks. This is Ben and Brock signing out