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Ben Greenfield Podcast 108


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Ben Greenfield Podcast 108

  1. 1. Podcast 108 from In this podcast episode: muscle imbalances, varicose veins, adegenerative spine, getting stuffed up while training, baking soda,HGH supplements, a supplement called Generation UCan, how tobuild strength, using biofeedback, bikram yoga, cold water showers,protein intake for endurance athletes, power breathing devices,improving power on the bicycle, cramping and magnesium.Ben: Hey folks, it’s Ben Greenfield and this podcast today is for anybodywho has any nagging aches or pains or muscle issues that just don’tseem to be going away. It’s going to be a very interesting talk that Ihave with a fellow named Rick, who is a personal trainer andkinisieologist and he’s going to be talking to us about muscleimbalances. In addition, we’ve got a Listener Q and A today and aspecial announcement about the podcast. I promised you last weekthat I would have a special announcement and we’re going to jumpin to all that today, but I just wanted to share with you somethingreally quickly that was kind of in the front of my mind because itjust came across my desk and that is the results of the recent testingthat I did with Bioletics just got back and I did a vitamin D test,essential fatty acids, essential amino acids and hormonal test andthe results were not all that impressive. There are some definiteadjustments that are going to be needed to be made with my dietand supplementation. We’ll be talking about that in a futurepodcast. But it did get me to thinking, if I do as much as I do for mynutrition, my supplementation, my health, my recovery and takecare of my body as well as I take care of my body; what must thenutrition profile or deficiency profiles of people who don’t focus onthat quite as much look like? When I hear about so many peoplegetting injured or getting sick and especially people who want to dosports like Ironman triathlon or marathon or feats of physicalendurance; I think a lot of people are probably pretty messed upand don’t even know that and the reason that I say that is justbecause my results are not that impressive and I take very good careof my body. So what I’m beginning to realize is that in order toreally, truly have optimum ideal health and have your performanceat the very highest that you want it to be, there are some prettyextreme ends that you need to go through and I’m going to beexploring those as I go forward into this training year and of courseas many of you know I’m training for Ironman Hawaii right nowand I’m continuing to buffet my body and prepare it for that race.
  2. 2. But no matter what your goals are, I think you need to realize thatsometimes you do have to think outside the box when it comes toyour health if you want to take it to the next level. So that is my rantfor today. We’re going to move on to this week’s specialannouncements.Folks, we’re going to start right off with the special announcementthat I promised for you last week and that is that some seriousdramatic changes need to be made to this podcast, and for thereason that has nothing to do with you, but rather me and primarilythe fact that the podcast is getting longer and longer and moredifficult for me to record. I am literally getting hundreds ofquestions each week from people and I go through and basically Itry and choose questions that haven’t been addressed before on thepodcast, but I also receive requests for interivews and ultimatelythere’s a lot of things that could be included in this podcast that Iwant to deliver to you but that I can’t, becauser I’m spending all thistime basically answering your questions and giving you aninterview. So what I have decided to do in order to be able to deliverto you all this value – because I have all these research journalscoming across my desk and I see all these studies, I talk to all thesepeople – there’s all sorts of things I want to give to you that I can’tright now. Right now, I do some of that through my BodyTransformation club which is the weekly postcard and the secretpage that I give out to people who are signed up for the BodyTransformation club, but it’s a lot different than a podcast and soI’ve been talking with my wife actually who is a fantastic naturalhealthy homemaker and we’ve been shooting ideas back and forth.And what we’ve decided to do is we’re going to bring you a secondpodcast of the week. Yes, that’s right. Over at iTunes in the BenGreenfield Fitness podcast that you’re already subscribed to or onthe Web site where you already download the podcast, there’s goingto be a second one that appears towards the end of the week. Andwhat this podcast is going to give to you is the latest research infitness and nutrition. It’s going to include my wife and I basicallydiscussing and bringing that research to you in a world perspective,primarily because I’m kind of the scientific, geeky fellow who readsall the research and my wife just wants the practical takeawaymessages. So she and I are going to be discussing a lot of thesejournals and a lot of this research that comes across my desk. Andthen she is going to have a special – about a 15 to 20 minutesegment that is going to teach you the ways that she implementsthat in our home for our health, for our nutrition, for our childrenin everything from cleaning supplies to cooking to what she uses tomake our home the healthiest home possible because this podcast is
  3. 3. about health as much as it is about fitness and nutrition. And thenalso in that podcast, I’m going to be bringing you the latest inexercise research, giving you workouts of the week, giving you a lotof the things that I don’t currently give you in the Ben GreenfieldFitness podcast just because there’s not enough time on the podcastto do that. There will be a special Listener Q and A in that episodethat will begin after the first month or so of the episode, because wedo know that some questions will be generated from the contentthat we put out on that podcast. So we’re going to open up a Q andA that is specific to that podcast and specific to some of the thingsthat my wife and I talk about on the show. So look forward to thatbeing about an hour long. It’s going to be exercise and nutritionbased. It’s going to be a lot more practical takeaway implementstype of knowledge whereas the Ben Greenfield Fitness podcast ismore of a teaching and education podcast. So essentially, you’llcome away with that new podcast that’s going to be coming out nextweek with new workouts and new exercises as well as new nutritionand things you can do on the homefront to make your home ahealthier home. So, look forward to that. We’re working hard on it.We’ll bring it to you next week and we’re going to move on to someother special announcements for this podcast. Specifically that onSeptember 5th, which is a Sunday, from 6 to 7:30 p.m. there’s goingto be a live nutrition and fitness Q and A with me, and that’s a videoQ and A with me where I can demonstrate exercises. I can take youinto my kitchen and around my house and show you some of thestuff I’m using as I answer your questions. But that’s going to be alllive. It’s all free. So make sure that you go over to the Shownotesfor http://www.bengreenfieldfitness.comepisode number 108 onSeptember 5th. You’ll be able to click there and attend that livevideo, nutrition and fitness Q and A. Speaking of the Shownotes Iwill be delivering the Shownotes again this week to those of youwho subscribed via iTunes through your iTunes feed so you’ll beable to have those appear instantly on your desk right along withthe podcast download. And then finally, this is the very last weekthat you’re going to be able to get in to the Thailand trip, which isthe double triathlon or single triathlon trip if you’d like to Thailandat the end of November. The trip dates are November 24 throughDecember 7. The very last date that I can squeeze anybody in – eventhough both races are full, I can get you in with the waitlist spotsthat I have – the very last day that you can get in is August 31st ifyou want in on that super fun trip to Thailand for any of youtriathletes out there. And of course the registration for my triathloncamp in Austin, Texas is still open. You will need to contact mesoon if you want to get in on that and get the early bird discount. Somake sure that you email if you
  4. 4. want to go to a triathlon camp with me in Austin, Texas fromJanuary 31st through February 6. So we’re going to move on to thisweek’s Listener Q and A after a special message.Alright folks, if you have a question, remember you canemail You can Skype to usernamePacificfit using the Skype software from or you can calltoll free in the U.S. at least to 877-2099439. Or like the first personin today’s Q and A did, you can ask your question via Twitter bygoing to Go to and follow bengreenfieldand once you follow me, you can ask a question. This first questioncomes via Twitter.Samtsirhc asks: “I am training for a half marathon and have varicose veins in mycalves. The doctor said no running. What do you say? Can I treatthem?Ben answers: Well, varicose veins are not something that your doctor would warnyou to not run with unless you were actually at risk for somethingcalled thrombohplebitis, which is... well I’ll tell you what it is in asecond. But basically, varicose veins – it’s another word for adilated vein or a big vein. And the function of your leg veins is totake blood and bring it back up to your heart from your legs, andthe veins have valves that make it so the blood doesn’t flow backdown into your legs. When the valves malfunction, which canhappen as you age – as the blood flows away from your heart, thoseveins become more and more dilated and it’s usually kind of a slowprocess. Running typically wouldn’t be an issue. But, if the bulgingin those veins is accompanied by any type of stinging sensation oryour doctor has any reason to believe that you may be at risk for aclot developing in those veins, then you’re somebody who probablyhas to worry about something called thrombophlebitis which isbasically when you do have a clot that could break loose in thoseveins. Thrombophlebitis basically means inflation of the veins dueto blood clots. And legs are a pretty common place to get them. Youhear occasionally about marathoners who sit down right after a raceand they die or they have a stroke from a blood clot that broke free.A lot of times that is from trauma to the veins and the blood vesselsthat feed the leg. And if you have varicose veins, it’s almost likeyou’re stimulating that type of condition. So there are some thingsthat you can do. Obviously, you definitely want to listen to yourphysician’s advice. But while you are resting, you’ll want to begin todo things that can help to take care of those varicose veins andsome of the thrombophlebitis risks that you might have with them.
  5. 5. The first would be to use a compression type or a compression sock,which can function in the same way as those valves in your leg orare supposed to. And it can prevent swelling and reduce a lot of thecomplications from deep vein thrombosis or thrombophlebitis. Andthat would be something that you could get, there’s all sorts ofcompanies that make support stockings or compression stockings.Skins is one. You can also go to your local medical supply store andusually get an over the counter stocking as well to wear. A lot oftimes you’ll get an over the counter, non-sterile, anti-inflammatorydrug. I don’t really recommend that you use those too frequently. Ilike one natural anti-inflammatory called Venocaine. It’s calledVenocaine. It’s a good alternative to ibuprofen. I would recommendthat you look into something like that.There are procedues that you can undergo such as varicose veinstripping, filtering or clot removal or a bypass as well as anangioplasty. If you really want to get into running, those are thingsthat you could discuss with your physician. And of course there aredietary measures that can help to prevent the development ofvaricose veins or thin your blood and decrease your risk of the clotformation. So, a high-fibre diet. Anything from vegetables to fruitsto grains to nuts. Any type of meat that’s good for your heart likefish is also great to take in. Increasing your intake of the dark, darkfruits like pomegranate, blackberry, cherry, blueberry. All of thosecontain components of what are called cianadins that improve yourvein function. And as far as things that can thin your blood, gingercan do that. Garlic, onions – anything like capsaicinids like a hotpepper. All those can help prevent clot formation because of theblood thinning properties. And then vein function can really beimproved with the vitamin B complex. So you have your vitamin Bs.You want to make sure you are getting those in, especially if you area vegetarian and you’re not eating meat. And folic acid can also helpout quite a bit as well. But understand that your doctor is probablynot telling you to not run just because he doesn’t want you outrunning with varicose veins, scaring people away. I’m sorry thatwasn’t a very nice thing to say. But he’s probably telling you thatbecause he doesn’t want you to die from a clot. So impact basedexercise is always going to put you at a bigger risk for trauma tothose veins than non-impact based exercises. So I would look intoswimming and cycling as alternative activities if your physician isokay with you doing those, as you explore alternatives for gettingrid of the varicose veins.Okay, we have another question here that came through fromlistener Ken. And Ken actually has a three part question.
  6. 6. Ken asks: “I read and listened to one of your podcasts about the wonders ofsodium bicarbonate. Is it safe to take baking sodium daily tomaintain good PH levels?”Ben answers: What Ken is probably referring to is the interview that I did withDr. Mark Sirkus, where he talked about baking soda. He actuallyadvocates using baking soda for a lot of different chronic diseasesincluding cancer with the claim that baking soda can induce thestate of what is called metabolic alkalosis, which can decrease theformation of cancer related tumors and also increase the body’sability to recover from things like chemotherapy. It helps to protectthe kidneys and the heart and the nervous system. So, he advocatesactually taking about six doses of a half teaspoon of baking soda in aglass of cool water at two hour intervals. So basically you’re takingin quite a bit of baking soda, and there are several other healtheffects that are purported from baking soda beyond reducing theformation of tumors from cancer. I’m not saying that I necessarilyagree that that’s going to do that. I’m saying that is what Dr. Sirkusrecommends it for and that’s what he does some of his treatmentswith cancer patients with, is bicarbonate of soda or baking soda.Now, you talk about using it to induce metabolic alkalosis or tolower the blood PH or lower the body’s PH. The basic idea behindthat and actually what I meant to say was raise – raise the body’sPH. The basic idea behind that is that the body operates at a PH –the body’s most metabollically efficient at a certain PH, and manyof the foods and pollutants that we get exposed to tends to induce amore acidic state within our body. So the baking soda is somethingthat could be consumed on a daily basis, just like a regular Arm andHammer baking soda, to actually keep the body more alkaliticbecause it’s a very non-acidic alkaline type of substance. It can alsobe used for everything for putting on itching or hives or stings toreducing bad breath. You can use it for heartburn. You can use it forhousehold cleaning, for sore throats, for sunburn. But this processof consuming it to induce a state of metabolic alkalosis is actuallygetting to be more common in alternative health and alternativemedicine. Unfortunately, I’m not familiar with any longterm studiesthat have looked at whether or not there is a reduced risk of chronicdisease from daily consumption of baking soda. But I do know thatin most cases, it’s not going to be bad for you. But there is one casein which the regular consumption of sodium bicarbonate could besomething that could be harmful. The basic idea being that sodiumbicarbonate that has been administered to people during CPR – forpeople who have had a cardiovascular event – causes essentiallywhat is called hypernatremia, which is a very, very low watercondition – low hydration condition and metabolic alkalosis, which
  7. 7. has been associated after CPR in these studies with increased deathor increased mortality rate. So, if you are at risk for a heart attack oryou have had a heart condition in the past or you think you mightbe in a condition where someone might find themselves conductingCPR on you, you may want to watch your daily intake of sodiumbicarbonate and maybe not use baking soda just because it canreduce survival rate after cardiac arrest. But that’s the onlydeleterious health effect that I know of. I’m not saying it’s going toinduce a state of metabolic alkalosis in you or that it’s going todestroy all of your health issues, but it is something you can takeand not have to worry too much about it doing a lot of damage toyour body.Now you also have another part of your question and you ask aboutthis Somnidren GH. And you say, “Can you tell me the history ofMillenium Sports who makes the product? Are they new to thesupplement game. It looks like you are endorsed by them.” Andthen he gives the name of a Web site that does a supplement reviewof this Somnidrim GH. Basically, the idea is that Somnidren GH issomething that I take and it’s made by a company called MilleniumSports and it is supposed to increase the levels of growth hormonethat you produce when you are asleep because it containssomething called GABA or gamma aminobutryic acid. And it alsocontains a derivative of butryic acid that induces a state of sleep.Some of the concerns raised by the article that this gentlemanreferred me to is that the part of Somnidren GH that helps you go tosleep can be addictive and shouldn’t be mixed with alcohol. I cantell you from personal experience that what I do with SomnidrenGH is I take it usually two to three nights a week after my moredifficult workout days to help myself sleep and recover morequickly. I always wake up feeling more refreshed and I never feel aneed to take it on the nights that I don’t normally take it, I neverhave trouble getting to sleep when I don’t take it. So, using myselfas a single case study, I can tell you that I haven’t experienced anyof the things that this gentleman talks about in his review of it. But Ialso don’t mix it with alcohol and I don’t do any of the things thatthe label clearly tells you not to do. I take it on an empty stomachabout five to ten minutes before I go to bed and I’m out like a lightafter I take it. Now, the company Millenium Sports is based out ofChwila, Washington. Basically, it’s owned by a fellow named Mattand Matt is an athlete himself and he formulated that product withhelp from a local MD who specializes in sleep disorders, anaturopathic physician and an endocronoligist. His company itselfhas been around since 2005. That company has been around since2007 and I know that Matt does a ton of research on his products.
  8. 8. He has sponsored me with some product for events that I have doneand I have found a ton of success with using it. So the SomnidrenGH – if you have a history of being addicted to substances, if youdrink alchohol before bed, if you have some issues like that, it maynot be the best supplement for you but for somebody who istraining hard and who wants a couple of nights to really get into adeep sleep state and amp up the growth hormone release, I dorecommend Somnidren GH as something that can do that. So it’scalled Somnidren GH, and I’ll tell you what, I’ll put a link to that inthe Shownotes.Finally, you ask about a supplement.Ken asks: “I have a friend who recently ran the Boston Marathon and receiveda sample of Generation and now swears by it. Thecompany claims it uses fat as the primary source of energy whichleads to greater weight loss, etc., etc. I was wondering if you had anythoughts on this product.”Ben answers: So I went over to the Generation Ucan Web site and basically, it’santi-oxidant drink along with a protein drink and super starchdrink which is like a carbohydrate-based drink. So, I looked at thenutrition facts for each of these products and essentially the superstarch has only one ingredient which is modified corn starch, sothat’s all that is. It’s modified corn starch that you eat for exercise,the same that you’d eat gels or sugar or anything else. So there’snothing magical about that. There’s nothing inherently too harmfulabout it. I don’t know if they’re using GMO corn or non-GMO cornif people are worried about that. The other two samples – one is justa basic electrolyte supplement with salt and sugars. The other is aprotein supplement, although its primary ingredient is also cornstarch with sucralose and acesulfame potassium along with someother preservatives. This does not look like a real solid product tome. Not a huge fan of corn as it is, especially with some of theconcerns about genetically modified corn. This product is nothingmagical. There is absolutely nothing in here groundbreaking. It’sbasically sugar, protein and artificial sweeteners. It looks like theyhave some really slick marketing though and their Web site doeshave some real cool flash rotating animated banners. So, I reallywouldn’t get caught up in the hype too much on that one. But it’s agood question. It really just reminds me that folks, no matter howmuch hype and marketing is behind a supplement, you always wantto go – just look at the ingredient label. That’s all I ask you to do.Look at the ingredient label and then make your decision. Don’tlook at the cartoon character on the front or the flashy type of
  9. 9. package that it might be in. What it comes down to is the ingredientlabel. Nothing else matters.Okay, going to move on now to a question from Christian.Christian asks: I am a surgeon and new triathlete in Florida. I have two questions.To increase strength instead of muscle mass, should I use highweight, low reps or high sets; or is there a better method?Ben answers: Well Christian, they actually just came out with a recent study andthe name of the study is called “Low load, high volume resistanceexercise stimulates muscle protein synthesis more than high load,low volume resistance exercise in young men.” Basically, what thatmeans is that they took two groups and they wanted to comparewhich group’s muscles got bigger. So, which group had a greateramount of what’s called muscle anabolic formation of muscle tissue.One group did 90% of their one repetition maximum to failure andone group did 30% of their one repetition maximum to failure. So,that’s a pretty big range if your 100% maximum rep on a bicep curlis 100 pounds. One group was doing 90 pound dumbell curls, theother group was doing 30 pound dumbell curls. That’s kind of theidea. So, what they found was that the group that was doing thelighter weights – the 30 pound curls – that was the group thatactually had a greater increase in the formation of new musclefibers. This is actually something that personal trainers andphysiologists have known for a while – something calledhypertrophy – or the formation of muscle tissue is always going torespond better to a slightly higher rep range. That’s why cyclistshave such huge thighs. But strength is a completely different storyand many hundreds of research studies have clearly demonstratedthat if you want superior strength gains, no matter how big youwant the muscle to be – if you want superior strength and if youwant your muscle to be able to generate a high force – you need tolift high weight, low reps. Of course the advantage of that forsomeone like a triathlete is that you can get stronger withoutputting a bunch of muscle on. So, we’re talking about reps in thefour to ten rep range in order to actually induce a strengthresponse. You would want to, if you’re going after strength, to liftthose weights nice and slow and if you’re going after power, tochoose a slightly lighter weight, still go low rep and lift it nice andfast. So these are some issues that I touch on in the new book thatI’m working on called The Ultimate Guide to Weight Training forTriathlon. But essentially, what it comes down to is you should usehigh weight, low reps Christian. So, a sample workout for you mightbe four sets of six for bench press, deadlift, clean and jerk and squat
  10. 10. if you really want to get stronger. Those multijoint exercises canhelp out quite a bit.Then you ask, “What about using biofeedback training to lowerheart rate and core body temp while training or racing to improveperformance?”So, biofeedback is kind of an interesting term because it can meantwo things. Basically, biofeedback is a way of training and coachingsomeone by giving them feedback about their body. But it’s also,and I believe this is what Christian is referring to, it’s a tool that youcan use. Basically, it’s a deal where you would hook yourself up to acomputer. That computer is going to measure with sensors yourheart rate, your blood pressure, your oxygen uptake, yourperspiration rate which is an indicator of how stressed out you areand you can also get yourself hooked up to measure your brainactivity with what’s called an electroencephalograph or an EEG, aswell as the tension in your muscles with an electromyographicmethod which is called an EMG. All of this data that is beingcollected is done simultaneous to you practicing relaxationmethods. So, it might be anything from progressive muscularrelaxation to where you tighten up a muscle and then you release it.It might be word association where you’re teaching yourself to berelaxed as you focus on certain words and feelings of relaxationassociated with those words. But essentially, you’re not justshooting in the dark. You’re actually looking at what’s happeningbiologically as you do those relaxation methods. So it’s bio orbiological feedback. The question is does it actually work insomething like athletes? Can you hook yourself up to biofeedback ordo some biofeedback sessions, find out what types of words, breathrates, feelings, relaxation strategies actually help you to reduce yourheart rate or to reduce your core temperature, to reduce youranxiety and then implement those during a marathon or triathlonor a bike ride or any athletic event. So, the studies that have beendone have shown that people can to some extent reduce theirbreathing and their cardiac output or the work done by the heartduring exercise if they use biofeedback. There’s been some reportsdone in exercise and sports science reviews on the biofeedback andself-regulation journal, in the Journal of Psychosomatic Medicine,and in all the studies subjects who were given biofeedbackinformation were able to learn how to dampen their cardiacresponse to aerobic exercise – in this case cycling and uphillwalking – relative to people who were doing exercise. There’s beensome reports done in exercise and sports science reviews on thebiofeedback and self-regulation. In the Journal of Psychosomatic
  11. 11. Medicine, and in all the studies subjects who were givenbiofeedback information were able to learn how to dampen theircardiac response to aerobic exercise – in this case cycling and uphillwalking – relative to people who were doing exercise but whoweren’t doing the biofeedback. Now, this was all at fairly lowintensities but there is a researcher named Hatfield who inMedicine and Science and Sports and Exercise tried outbiofeedback on the breathing rates to teach athletes to inhale lessair per minute running at fast speeds, heart rates of 160 and 170 onthe treadmill. The runners that were given biofeedback wereactually able to breathe less than when they ran without thebiofeedback. Then there was another study done in Medicine andScience and Sports and Exercise where the athletes were actuallyusing a technique called “centering” which means they emphasizedabdominal breathing, deep abdominal breathing like what you’dlearn in yoga and the use of words to help them to relax and in thisstudy they measured breathing, heart rate and oxygenconsumption, and again in this study, the runners were able toreduce the amount of oxygen that they used while running. So, it’sobviously got a lot of promise. A lot of us don’t really have access toa laboratory that’s full of everything that we could use forbiofeedback training. So, for example, one of the things that you cando to get some of these benefits if you don’t want to engage inbiofeedback would be to focus on deep breathing, using yoga – andwe’ll talk about yoga in just a second – focus your attention on yourcenter of gravity which is just behind your belly button and thenmake sure that all of these muscles around your center of gravityare very, very relaxed as you’re breathing and you want to teachyourself to do that while sitting and standing and eventually youwant to try it while you are running or exercising. So, I think itcould be very helpful for you and I actually do use visualization andrelaxation in my training.An interesting related question from Patty.Patty asks: What are your thoughts on doing bikram yoga occasionally whiletraining for Ironman?Ben answers: Well, for those of you who don’t know what this style of yoga is –the bikram – I don’t even know if I’m pronouncing it correctly. Itcould be bikram or bi-kram, but it’s hot yoga and basically you’redoing yoga sessions of anywhere from 45 to 90 minutes and you’redoing it in a room that’s typically above 100 degrees with a decentlevel of humidity. Humidity of at least 40%, and you’re doing a lotof the same type of moves that you’d do in a normal yoga class and
  12. 12. some ibkram yoga classes that you do in a gym are just regular yogawith the heat turned on high. Can it teach your body to heatacclimatize? Absolutely. The first time I did Ironman Hawaii, I didfour months of it leading up to the race and I felt fine as far as theheat was concerned. Can it help your body to heat acclimatizewithout putting the same stresses on it as far as going out andrunning outside in the hot afternoon? Again, absolutely. I’m a bigfan of it. I would just caution you that just like any form of staticstretching, yoga decreases the force production capabilities of amuscle. So, you wouldn’t want to precede a workout with any typeof yoga. You’d want to save the yoga for a time when you’re notgoing to be engaging in a swim session or a bike session or a runsession or a lifting session. In that case, it could definitely help youout. So, good question.Anonymous asks:Are there any advantages or disadvantages to ending a shower aftera workout with cold water? Would this have a negative effect onmetabolism?Ben answers: Well, as I mentioned many times on this podcast about hot, coldcontrast where you turn the water hot and then cold as well as justshowering in cold water can help to flush the inflammation from amuscle if you exercise. So, yeah it can be helpful from a recoverystandpoint. From a metabolic standpoint, what research tells us isthat something as simple as air conditioning can bump up themetabolism. Any time you put yourself in a situation where yourbody needs to be creating heat in order to maintain normal bodytemperature, your metabolism is going to increase. So, you couldgive your metabolism – I talk about this in my book 100 Ways toBoost Your Metabolism at –you can actually give your body a little bit of a metabolic boost inthe morning by taking a cold shower. So, it’s not just after aworkout that it would actually not have a negative effect on yourmetabolism, but actually a positive effect on your metabolism.A question comes in via Twitter officialdilo.Officialdilo asks: What are your best tips for my first open water swim? How to dealwith the wetsuit and other competitors?Ben answers: In an open water swim, you’re going to simply need to be preparedfor the fact that you’re going to be bumping shoulders with a lot ofpeople and getting bumped around quite a bit. So, you need to putyourself in a situation in your practice sessions leading up to thatopen water swim where you can for example, join a master’s swim
  13. 13. class and do it with a lot of other people in your lane so you’rehaving to fight other people and get used to swimming relaxedwhile having other people invading your space. Know that that’sgoing to happen and don’t freak out when it happens in the race.Make sure that you get used to swimming in your wetsuit as yourlungs begin to expand and adrenaline takes over, a lot of times thatwetsuit can begin to feel very tight. Your breathing can begin to feelvery restricted and if you panic, that’s going to happen to an evengreater extent so practice, practice, practice in your wetsuit. Thenfinally, make sure that you get out in the open water preferably witha partner and get some open water swims in. I spend a good deal ofthe hour long audios that I put out in my Triathllon Dominatorpackage talking about the mental approach and the open waterswimming and I’d definitely go back and listen to some of thoseaudios or get your hands on the Triathlon Dominator package if you haven’t yet. So good question.Mike asks: I was wondering how much protein I should be trying to eat eachday if I’m training for an endurance event such as a half-marathonor a century bike ride. Everytime I walk into a GNC, someweightlifter tells me that it should be one gram of protein for everypound of body weight. That seems like too much to me. I weigh 165pounds and I eat 2300 to 3300 calories per day.”It really depends. I’m a big fan and I did this with Bioletics ofgetting your body type tested and getting your metabolism testedand figuring out whether you’re a protein type or a carb type. Sothat’s going to have a great degree of influence on my response tothis question. But ultimately what it comes down to is that yourprotein intake is probably going to come out to 25 to 30% of yourdaily calorie intake. That’s just a general healthy number to shootfor, for a lot of endurance athletes. But if you’re a protein type itmay be higher than that. It may be closer to 40 to 45% as far as thewhole protein intake goes. So, it might be a good idea for you to gettested. One gram of protein for every pound of body weight issomething that is reasonable for an athlete that’s working out on adaily basis, tearing up their muscles and that 0.8 to 1.0 gram perpound of body weight – I believe it comes out to about 1.2 to 1.6grams per kilogram of body weight, somewhere up around there.But, basically the problem is that if you’re trying to get your proteinfrom a place like the GNC that you’re walking into, you’re gettingprotein that’s adulterated with all sorts of chemicals andpreservatives and artificial sweeteners and you want to choose asmuch as possible your proteins from more adulterated, whole,animal sources and in some cases dairy sources to a limited extent if
  14. 14. you’re vegan or vegetarian. The hemp and the pea and the proteinand the rice protein sources and also make sure that you know thatregardless of how much protein that you’re getting in, you also needto remember that a lot of the amino acids in that protein may not begetting absorbed ideally. So, it is ideal, no matter how much proteinthat you’re taking in to make sure that you’re getting some type ofamino acid supplement along with those. Like a powder or acapsule based amino acid supplement that you can add in to yourdaily protein and protein powder intake.Gabe asks: I was just diagnosed with hypothyroidism. It has helped to answermany health questions that had baffled me for a few years. Ireviewed podcasts at with RobyMitchell on this podcast. I’ve gone to his Web site but he isn’taccepting new patients. My local doctor is just prescribing thetopical synthroids, synthetic T4. Any thoughts on what you woulddo from here?Ben answers: I don’t know how large the area is that you’re in Gabe, but yeah wehave talked about hypothyroidism and goto, do a search for “thyroid” andthere’s ton of material I’ve covered on this subject. But if you’rehaving trouble in your local area, you’ve got a couple options. One,you can find a new doctor. I mentioned this in a podcast a couple ofweeks ago, one source you can go to is a Web site that gives you alist of a lot of doctors who will employ natural methods and that So I’d check out that Web site to look for a physician inyour area and of course screen that physician by talking to people,this may sound silly but it actually is getting more cred when itcomes to screening healthcare professionals, let’s go and go to and see what people are sayingabout that doctor that you’ve chosen. If you really wanted to takeissues into your own hands, you could from a Canadian or aninternational pharmacy, try and get your hands on an armorthyroid type of supplement. Try and get your hands on a thyropack.Get some iodine and begin to do some self-treatment, but if it’s notgoing in with testing, you’re totally shooting in the dark. If it wereme, I would – I live in Spokane, I’m five hours from Seattle, if Icouldn’t find someone in Spokane who was willing to work with meon my hypothyroid condition, I’d be driving five hours to Seattlebefore I start to order supplements form international pharmaciesand try to take things into my own hands. Because that can be verydifficult to do. Unless you really know what you’re doing, you’redoing a lot of testing hand in hand with it. So I would really go theroute of looking for a doctor as much as possible, in your local area
  15. 15. or within driving distance of your local area. Remember that a lot oftests might be able to be done via mail and you might not have to bedoing weekly visits to your doctor’s clinic for example.MikeOneshot asks:What’s your take on the Powerbreathe Ironman Plus? I don’t haveasthma but someone that does says it might help them.Well believe it or not this Powerbreathe Plus which is a device – it’san inspiratory muscle training device that you breathe in and out of– it essentially has a flow valve in it that makes your breathing takeplace against resistance both when you inspire and when youexpire, and so it basically trains your muscles to become morestrong. It’s like weight lifting for your lung muscles. In the trials, it’sactually improved swimming performance, it’s improved cyclingperformance, it’s improved sprint and running performance, it’sreduced lactic acid formation, reduced the rating of perceivedexertion or pain during exercise sessions after somoene has trainedwith one of these things. I personally don’t use one. Probably justbecause I haven’t added that to my protocol. But it’s something thatyou could use for example, if you have a commute and you’re stuckin traffic. You could do inspiratory muscle breathing and beworking your lung muscles out while you’re sitting in your car,making sure you follow all the laws of your local state and don’thyperventilate and pass out in your car. But it’s something thatwould be quite convenient for lung muscle training and breathingtraining. Especially if you have issues with breathing. If you haveasthma, from a clinical perspective, I don’t know if it’s actuallyindicated to assist with asthma. I haven’t seen any studies that havebeen done for it to control a disease or condition, but just in anormal healthy population, it actually has some decent researchbehind it that shows it could help out a little bit. It’s called aPowerbreathe. I’m not sponsored by them or anything, but it doeshave some decent research behind it. It’s called a Power Breather.There’s a few different versions of it, and I will put a link in theShownotes to this Powerbreathe inspiratory muscle trainer thatbasically looks almost like a breathalyzer device. Not that I wouldknow what a breathalyzer looks like.Ben asks: What advice can you give someone turning to running after alumbar disc bulge or herniation? Have you come across anyinformation whether or not running increases your risk of disc orlow back related issues? How about running and long term issuessuch as arthritis?
  16. 16. Ben answers: Well there have been some studies that have looked at discdegeneration and it actually is significantly more common in eliteathletes compared with non athletes. About 75% of elite athleteswho are exercising a lot get problems with disc degenerationcompared with the non athlete population who is usually at about30 to 35%. It’s also more common in adults than in younger folks.Now, what happens is each of your vertebrae have these discs, thesecushioning discs in between them that are full of this gel-likesubstance. Then that gel is surrounded by these outer fibers that arecross linked. They’re like these collagen fibers that are cross linkedand so this entire complex is your disc and it reduces or resistsspinal compression. When you’re rotating, a lot of those fibers areat what’s called a mechanical disadvantage and what can happen isthat the pressure inside that can increase, especially when you’re ina combination of flexion which means your spine is bent orrotation, which means your twisting and then compression. So a lotof times, impact-based activities like football or wrestling can causethis. Anything where you’re striking an object while you’re bentover twisting, like tennis or golf can cause this as well. In running,technically you’re striking the ground and your waist does twist,your back does twist as you strike the ground. You are slightly bentover and so the lumbar disc issue is something that can be relatedto running as well. Actually, believe it or not –cycling – if your seatposition isn’t set up properly, that can also lead to disc herniation, ifyour seat is really putting you into a lot of flexion while you’re onthe bike. Obviously softer running surfaces, and make sure thatyou’re using the correct shoe can help out a little bit with that. Butultimately to answer your question, yes, running will increase yourrisk.You also ask about arthritis. Whether running is going to increaseyour risk of arthritis, and the answer to that is no. For a long timepeople thought that running would increase your risk of arthritis,but there’s a very recent long term study that they did over atStanford with about 1,000 runners and of course they had a controlgroup – non runners – and nobody had arthritis when it began butthey studided them over the next two decades and they found thatrunners knees were more or less healthy than nonrunners’ knees.These are runners who average – some would average 200 miles ayear, some would average 2,000 miles a year. Basically, there wasno difference in terms of arthritic symptoms and the runnersactually had a 39% more death rate and less physical disability thanthe nonrunners, so it actually gave them a step up in life. There wasanother study done on over 1,000 elderly individuals who wereexercising vigorously and the elderly individuals actually had
  17. 17. thicker and healthier knee cartilage than the people who were notexercising. That’s probably because of increased blood flow. So, no.There’s no evidence that running is actually going to increase yourrisk of osteoarthritis. In an autoimmune disease like rheumatoryarthritis, it might be a different issue if you’re already at risk forarthritis, but ultimately the answer is no on arthritis, but yes on discand low back pain when it comes to running. So hopefully thathelps you make your decision about getting back to running. If Iwere you, I’d think about getting back into it, but I’d be doingalmost all my running on soft surfaces and I really wouldn’t go aftermarathoning. I’d stick to the shorter distances like 5ks and 10ks ifyou really wanted to protected your lower back.Now listener Mike has a long question but essentially what it comesdown to is he’s lost a lot of weight and he says that his leg strengthseems to be (learning) him in his triathlon training.Mike asks: I have great cardio fitness with a VO2 max of 66 and a resting heartrate of 35, but my bike functional threshold power (which isbasically like the threshold maximum power that Mike could holdfor around an hour – he says it’s about 235 which gives him a powerto weight ratio of 2.9 watts per kilogram.)Ben answers: I agree Mike, that’s a little bit low. To put that in perspective for youguys... guys in the Tour de France, the largest power that they’reputting out is 6 to 6.2 watts per kilogram and Mike is at less thanhalf that for his functional threshold power. So he says he’s beentrying to address this by doing intervals at 90 to 100% of functionalthreshold power for 10 to 20 minutes one to two times a week. Ithelps but I’m wondering if there’s more I could be doing as theimprovement is very slowgoing.Well, here are my thoughts for you Mike. The first is that if you justwant to improve your ability to ride for a long time, you’re doing theright thing. You’re riding it close to your threshold power andyou’re doing it in long intervals. That’s the way to improve yourtolerance to lactic acid and improve your ability to bike for a longtime and improve that functional threshold power. But if you wantto improve your maximum power and be able to recruit moremuscle fibers and get a little bit more power even at those lowerpower intensities, you need to be including some VO2 max type ofintervals in your training as well. These would be anywhere from 15second to 2 minute long intervals that are very short, very powerful,have full recovery periods like a three to one or four to one rest towork ratio and are done at a very high intensity. What happens is
  18. 18. that when you do these, your power at your lower speeds canactually improve. The same goes for running. If you’re a slowrunner and you want to get faster, including some turnover andsome sprint and some steep hill short sprint repeats can help youeven when it comes to running the longer distances. It looks likethat’s a hole in your program if you’re not doing it yet – would bethose short explosive sprints on the bike of anywhere from 15seconds to two minutes. So an eight week program might start youoff at 20 by 15 second sprints and move you up in time, down inreps that by the end of it you might be doing six 2 minute sprints atyour max all out pace.Folks, I know that some of you know this but I’m a coach. This iswhat I do. I write out programs for athletes to address weaknesses,and a lot of people ask me, “How can I be coached by you?” Goto That’s Pacific like the ocean. Fit The athletes that I coach right now haveunlimited email access to me. They’ve got phone access to me. Iwrite out their programs on a daily basis. We talk back and forthabout their training program, so if you want to pick me up as acoach – I try to keep the price for coaching very competitive basedon what other people are charging for coaching. I’ll tell you rightnow, it costs $250 a month to have me as a running coach or as atriathlon coach or as a cycling coach. Again, you can do that overat I’ll put a link to that and everything else that Italked about so far today in the Shownotes.Kim asks: I’ve been taking a magensium supplement called Peter Gillham’sNatural Vitality. It is in powder form that dissolves in water and Ireally do feel calm and sleep much better when I take it. Theproblem is I have an ulcer and it really aggravates my ulcer. It evencauses cramping and pain in my stomach right under my sternum.Can you recommmend any other types of calcium that won’t upsetan ulcer?Ben answers: Well Kim, first of all, the Peter Gillham’s Natural Vitality product ishelping you to sleep not because of the calcium, but because of themagnesium. So what I would want to be recommending you is atype of magnesium that wouldn’t upset an ulcer, where a lot of thetimes the calcium ratio is a bit too high. So it’s really a magnesiumsupplement that you’d be looking for and my recommendation toyou would be first of all, you have an ulcer and it’s probably thecitric acid that’s in that natural powder that could be aggravatingyour ulcer. I do like that product. I use it myself. But if you have anulcer, yeah the extra acid, the citric acid could affect that and
  19. 19. aggravate that ulcer. I would look at a topical magnesiumsupplement. My wife and I use one almost every night before bed.Spray it on the legs after a workout. I use it on the traps and theneck and the stress areas before bed. There’s one that I use that’scalled Ancient Minerals Topical Magnesium. I will put a link to thatin the Shownotes for you, but it’s called Ancient Minerals TopicalMagnesium, and that would be the one that actually is absorbed inthe skin and you don’t take it orally.Then Kim also has a follow up question.Kim asks: What can I do for calf cramps when I’m swimming? I’ve beenswimming 300 meters three time a week and just recently startedgetting cramps. I used to alternate run and swim days and justrecently combined them so I run first, then swim on the same daytwice a week, and I know that anybody out there who runs and thenswims is chuckling right now because the same thing has happenedto you. Your calves just go berserk.Ben answers: Yes, you can stretch your calves. I would do so liberally. You want tomake sure that you rehydrate, but rehydrating isn’t enough. Thattopical magnesium that I just talked about, if you rub that on yourcalves, that can actually help quite a bit as well as electrolytecapsules or an electrolyte tablet that you dissolve in water like(Noon), popping a couple of those but making sure that you getyour electrolytes back in as quickly as possible. You stretch a tonbefore you get into the water and then you make sure that you’renot in kicking mode. A lot of times, runners hop into the water andthey keep on running while they’re swimming. Their knees bendand their feet are all over the place. Make sure that you’re kind ofshutting off the lower body a little bit and focusing on the hiprotation and you’re stroking the water, not kicking quite as much.That will help out quite a bit as well. But that is always going to be abane when you run and then swim after. You always risk crampingespecially when you’re doing it for any more than about 1,000yards.We’ve got a call in question from listener Jeff.Jeff asks: Hey Ben, this is Jeff in Tampa. I just started taking an indoorcycling or a spin class and I’m curious as a former spinninginstructor, what are some realistic goals for improvement in a spinclass? Thank you very much. I enjoy the show and all the best toyou. Bye.
  20. 20. Ben answers: Well, I thought this was an interesting question because it’s veryvague. Improvement in a spin class. What are you doing it for? Tolose weight? To get faster on the bike? To become stronger in yourlegs? So it’s tough to answer but here are some ways if I startedtaking a spin class that I would measure whether or not it wasworking well for me and how my improvement was. The first thing Iwould do is I would pay clsoe attention to the resistance on the spinbike. So, you’ve usually got a resistance knob or resistancemeasurement. If it’s digital, you have quite an advantage here, butyou need to be able to quantify the resistance and as you’re doingthe class each week, your ability to push a slightly higher wattageshould go up. Ideally, at your maximum pace and all out pace, youshould be able to add anywhere from five to ten watts. So you’reactually pushing more watts as you go and eventually that will taperoff but you should be able to add about 15 to 20% in terms of themaximum wattage that you can actually push out. So, if you can dothat say 100 watts going at an all out pace, you should be able to getthat up to 120. If you’re doing 200, you should be able to get that upto 240. The other thing that I would focus on from a cardiovascularperspective is measure your resting morning heart rate and yourresting heart rate should be dropping showing that you’re getting acardiovascular response to that cardiovascular exercise that you’vebeen doing. I would pay attention to of course your soreness afterclass as an indication that your muscles are not getting as torn up asthey used to be and are getting used to the motion of spinning. Butultimately, it’s a really tough question. Whenever you’re taking up aclass or a new sport, you always have to ask yourself why am I doingit? What are the goals I’m going after? If you can write those goalsdown and then you can quantify those goals as something that youcan achieve, whether it be weight loss in pounds, improvement inpower on the bicycle, drop in resting heart rate, anything, thenyou’re going to be able to motivate yourself a lot better and knowmore about what’s happening in your body rather than exercisingblindly.Then we have one final question from listener Doug.Doug asks: Hello Ben, my name is Doug and I’m from Oxbridge, Ontario,Canada. My wife and I started listening to your Get Fit Guy Quickand Dirty Tips at the Ben Greenfield podcast a couple of monthsago and we really enjoy it. They’re most informative. I have twoquestions. I have been competing for many years in various sportsfrom equestrian events to marathons and triathlons. In fact for my60th birthday present, I was at a triathlon in the (wine) capital ofCanada, British Columbia and the whole family competed. Me, my
  21. 21. wife, our kids, my sister, her husband, nephews, girlfriends. Howcool is that? It was just the best present ever. Question one, I havebeen dealing with lower back problems for some time and havebeen diagnosed with spinalstinosis. Old age. Wear and tear in C1,C2 and L3,4 and 5. My options for relief are physical activity,medication and surgery. And in my opinion two and three are out. Istarted a very disciplined stretching and bending, flexion routine.But I would like to know if you have any other suggestions orrecommendations. As well, your episode 107 is interesting because Iam working on race walking since now running is out.Question number two, I am a mucus generator during races to theannoyance of the other competitors. I have tried to eliminate mucusgenerating foods such as dairy products and I have tried usingexpectorants with minimal results. For the benefits of others, what Iwould suggest as opposed to sniffing, harking and snorting? Thanksin advance for your response and keep up the great work.Ben answers: Alright Doug, let’s tackle the first part of your question first. Youask about the spinalstinosis. Basically spinalstinosis is a little bitdifferent than the disc bulging that I talked about earlier. Basicallyspinalstinosis is like a nerve root irritation. It’s a compression inyour spine and it’s caused by a constriction or a narrowing of thepassages that the nerves go through. Essentially what actually helpsout and what a lot of spine specialists and physical therapists willhave people with spinalstinosis do is to use a forward bendingmotion – what’s called a flexion motion of the spine to actuallyincrease the amount of room in the spinal canal and thatdecompresses some of those irritated nerves and resolves some ofthe pain. Now, in most cases I tell people that crunches aren’t reallygoing to get you anywhere when it comes to abdominal strengthand that back flexion can actually in the long term – and here’s kindof a paradox – result in some disc issues. But in your case, you dowant to include at least a little bit of flexion to allow your spinalnerves to get some extra room. So one thing that you could do is acurl up or a reverse crunch or a V-up. One of those things that youcould do is a superman or basically a trunk raise where you’re lyingdown on the ground lifting all four limbs off the ground where youlie down on the ground on your stomach. Another way to do it is toalternate limbs in a swimming type of motion. But flexing yourspine and extending your spine is going to help a little bit to openup some of the areas in the spine that will allow that nerve todecompress. Flexibility exercises are also going to be important toallow your pelvis and your spine to move through the normalmovement. That will include everything from doing hamstring
  22. 22. stretches to doing something standing backward bends. Makingsure that you do some quadricep stretches, some hip flexorstretches. But make sure that everyday, you’re including acombination of stretching and then flexion at the spine and makesure that the exercises that you’re doing are also pain free, and thatwill help out quite a bit.Now as far as your question as far as generating excessive mucuswhen you’re exercising – that’s really interesting. It was interestingtoo that you mentioned that you’re avoiding dairy. First of all let mesay that any food that you’re very sensitive too from an allergystandpoint or an intolerance standpoint can cause that excessivemucus production, because mucus is your body’s natural defensemechanism so your body creates a bunch of mucus to get rid ofgerms, bacteria or any other foreign particles. Part of that can be aresponse to food allergies or food intolerances. So in addition todairy, I would take a look at grains, gluten containing products. Iwould take a look at soy containing products. Take a look at somered meat which can also cause that and begin to eliminate somefoods and see what happens as you do that. Now, there are alsosome natural things that you can do. You can try a saline solution toactually clear up your sinuses and clean your sinuses out. I havesomething that I use occasionally called a Netty Pot which isbasically a pot that allows you to snort a saline solution into yournasal passages to clear them out and get some of the mucus out ofthem. Steaming can help quite a bit where you make yourself a cupof tea, add some lemon juice to it, add a bit of honey to it becausehoney is also a bacteria or an anti-bacterial and steaming – theactual process of sipping and allowing that steam to open up yourclogged packages can be quite effective as well. I recommend thatyou use a peppermint or a eucalyptus or a lemon tea for somethinglike that. You can do that before an exercise session or after anexercise session to thin up the mucus. There’s an over the countermucus that you can use called Mucusnax that can also thin themucus quite a bit as well. If you’re in a really dry area, you can endup getting a nose bleed and dry throat as you take something likethat, but you definitely wouldn’t be dealing with the mucus quite asmuch. So using the steaming and opening up the sinuses withsomething like a Netty. Avoiding some of the red meats and thegluten and the soy and potential food allergy triggers in addition tothe dairy can help out quite a bit and then there are some vitaminsthat are supposedly supposed to help with mucus build up. I’m notsure that I would anticipate you seeing any great degree of successfrom them but vitamin E and vitamin C along with zinc and codliver oil are four of the things that are traditionally used in
  23. 23. alternative health for excessive mucus build up. So hope that helpsyou out a little bit and that actually wraps up our questions for thisweek.So we have got an interview coming up on muscle imbalances. Andyou need to know that after we did this interview, Rick wrote to meand he wants to give anybody who listens to this show a hugediscount on this pretty impressive set of muscle imbalance booksand CDs that he has. So I’m going to put a link in the Shownotesand if you’re a personal trainer or fitness professional, a physician,anyone who has clients who has muscle imbalances; Rick hasworked with some of the leading guys in the country to produce thisproduct on muscle imbalances. So after you hear him talk aboutmuscle imbalances, what they are, give you some tips; make sureyou visit the Shownotes for episode 108 and check out the specialdeal. Rick is only really offering the deal for the next three days. So72 hours after you hear this podcast if you hear it on Wednesdaywhen it comes out. Essentially, all of it shuts down on Saturday interms of the deal that he’s going to be giving to listeners. So makesure you check out his program Muscle Imbalances Revealed. I’llput a link to that in the Shownotes.Ben: Hey podcast listeners. This is Ben Greenfield and I’m here with RickKaselj. Rick is a fitness professional. He’s been a fitnessprofessional for a long time. Well over a decade, and he actuallyspecializes in exercise rehabilitation. He’s actually known as anexpert – not just by the clients that he works with but also by fitnessprofessionals worldwide as somebody who really knows a lot aboutsome topics that we don’t think about enough that he’s going toremind us about today, and this is going to be an interview that ifyou’re a fitness professional, a professional trainer, a physician, amassage therapise, a chiropractic physician, you’re not going towant to miss what Rick is about to say. Even if you want to self-treatyourself or you yourself struggle with injuries with some of theimbalances that Rick will address today, you’ll also want to listen in.Rick’s given over 200 presentations to 4,000 fitness professionalsand consumers across Canada and he’s worked in rehabilitationcenters, physiotherapy clinics, fitness clubs. He’s got a Masters ofScience degree that specifically focuses on corrective exercise andtherapeutic exercise and you’re going to learn all about Rick and theunique healing methods that he uses and teaches today. Rick, thankyou for coming on the call.Rick Kaselj: No problem, you’re welcome.
  24. 24. Ben: The best place to start is to talk about this particular problem thatyou find, that you’ve told me about in the athletes and the peoplethat you work with and that you treat with, and it has to do with themuscles. What exactly is the problem here? The underlying problemthat you’re seeing in most of the injuries that you treat?Rick Kaselj: I’ve seen that people that I end up training and come to see me,they end up having muscle imbalances. So it could be the generalperson that I’m training or fitness goals for weight loss goals – a lotof times what I’ll see is muscle imbalances within them that areholding them back from reaching their fitness goals. A lot of timeswhen I have clients that I’m rehabing – I’m also doing post-injurytraining. A lot of times what the injury will end up causing is muscleimbalances around the injury and then lastly, let’s say for the olderclient whose goal is to stay active and enjoy life - a lot of times Ineed to address muscle imbalance in order to prevent them fromhaving an injury. A lot of times with the older adult, they’ll end upgetting nagging aches and pains and that ends up impeding them indoing the things they enjoy.Ben: Now, can you explain exactly what a muscle imbalance is?Rick Kaselj: So a muscle imbalance is the muscles around the joint or an area ofthe body are not working together to help the joint functionproperly. Now, that’s the little definition I have but expanding on itmore, if we look at a joint – we can look at say the hip. So basicallyyou have muscles in the front of the hip and the back of the hip. Alot of times what will happen is the muscles in the front will end upgetting too strong. They’ll end up getting shorter, they’ll end upgetting tighter. They’ll end up dominating when it comes toactivation compared to the muscles in the back. So the muscles inthe back won’t activate properly. They’ll end up losing theirendurance. They’ll end up losing their strength. So there ends upbeing a muscle imbalance. One is doing too much work – themuscles in the front compared to the muscles in the back and thatends up increasing – it slows down recovery from injury. Itincreases your risk of injury and it can impede your performance inhelping you reach your fitness goals.Ben: So we’re not just talking about like a nagging ache and pain. Whensomeone’s muscle is imbalanced it goes beyond just pain? There’s afunctional issue?Rick Kaselj: Yes. Yes. It’s not necessarily pain or an injury. A lot of times prior tothat, they could have a muscle imbalance which ends up affecting
  25. 25. them getting maximal results – let’s say they’re playing a specificsport or helping them reach their fitness goals.Ben: So you could have a muscle imbalance and not even know about it.Rick Kaselj: Yes.Ben: So in terms of the type of muscle imbalances that you see in yourpractice – you mentioned this issue with the hips – but what aresome common other imbalances that you see in your practice thatpeople frequently come to you with?Rick Kaselj: Yeah, probably a big one that I see that’s not often addressed byhealth care professionals or fitness professionals is ankle mobility.What I’m talking about there is the ankle joint moving properly. Soa lot of times due to ankle sprains when you were younger playingsoccer or in your high school sports, that ends up affecting howyour ankle joint ends up working and what ends up happening isthe joints above end up picking up more of the movement since youdon’t have as good movement in the ankle joint. So ankle mobility, Ifind ends up, being a big problem.Ben: What else?Rick Kaselj: Other ones are like knee stability, I often see. You’ve got the largemuscle groups around the knee that help it flex and extend, butthen also you’ve got muscles around the knee that help stabilize theknee when it comes to side to side and twisting movements. If wekeep moving up and we go into the hip, it starts getting morecomplicated what I end up seeing in the hip. A lot of times, it endsup being mobility issues. So having ideal movement in that hipjoint. You end up having poor stability in the hip. So really a bigthing with the hip is it’s working in all different planes of movementand a lot of times there ends up being poor stability in one or moreof those planes of movement which ends up putting greater stresson the muscle, greater stress on the joint, increases your risk ofinjury. Then the third thing that often happens in the hip is you endup having poor activation. So the muscle that ends up reallystabilizing that hip joint aren’t activating properly or turning on atthe right time.Ben: Interesting.Rick Kaselj: We’re getting to the shoulder. Now the shoulder ends up beinginteresting. Usually you end up having good mobility in the
  26. 26. shoulder, but a lot of times you end up having poor range of motionin specific planes of movement. A lot of times that ends up beingbecause of a specific muscle imbalance. So the common one ismuscles in the front of the shoulder might end up being overactive.They might end up being short compared to the muscles in theback, the shoulder blade muscles, the scapular muscles, the rotatorcuff muscles. So a lot of times what that ends up doing is changingthe position of the shoulder, which ends up putting greater strainon the rotator cuff. It ends up putting greater strain on the scapularmuscles, and since those rotator cuff and scapular muscles are a lotsmaller, they can only handle so much load and eventually they’llgive way and lead to an injury in the shoulder.Ben: So let’s say that somebody’s listening in and they’ve either got aclient who they think might have some of these problems or theythink they themselves might have some of these problems; can youwalk us through the process of identifying and then diagnosing amuscle imbalance?Rick Kaselj: The first step is definitely identification. I kind of stay away fromthe word assessment because I’m not really quantifying things. IfI’m measuring things to specific degrees or inches, okay, I can call itan assessment. But a lot of times I’m just looking at people. Howthey are statically, how the joint ends up moving, how they arewhen it comes to them doing specific movements or exercises andgoing a little deeper – identification would be I’m going to look atwhat their posture is, how they are standing up or how they are insitting and looking at the different joints of the body from the side,to the front to get an idea if I can see a muscle imbalance.Sometimes I can observe that and identify it. Other things I’m goingto look at is if something pops up from looking at their posture, I’mgoing to end up taking that joint through a range of motion. Gettingthem to move that joint and seeing if there is any change in therange of motion. Is there too much range of motion? Or is there notenough range of motion? That’s going to provide me moreinformation if there’s a muscle imbalance at that joint. What I lookat when it comes to activation, we talked about when it comes to thehip. A common problem is say with runners – runners are a realgood example when it comes to activation. Say you’re running inthe (saginal) plane or forward plane, forward and back plane. Youneed stability in the side to side plane. So the frontal plane. A lot oftimes with runners, if they’ve had an injury, they might end uphaving poor activation and stability in that frontal side to side planewhich ends up putting greater stress on the joint, increases the riskof injury and other muscles are working really hard to pick up the
  27. 27. slack for that improper movement and promoting more of a muscleimbalance. Then I’m going to end up looking at strength to see ifthey have proper strength around the joint from what I’ve identifiedand then the last component is looking at things functionally. Whatthat probably more means is I’m going to get them moving and seehow they are, let’s say bilateral, so doing movements with both legsand then getting them to move towards one leg. So a lot of timeswhen we’re moving around or definitely walking, it’s one leggedmovements that we’re doing. It’s almost lunge after lunge afterlunge. It’s not always necessarily two feet beside each other. That’sthe stepping process that I end up taking people through.Sometimes you might see something that doesn’t look normal orright and then you take them through those steps and it actuallywasn’t there that was the issue, it’s somewhere else.Ben: Now once you’ve actually diagnosed through assessing the postureand looking at someone and doing some of the things you justfinished talking about, if you find that muscle imbalance – youmentioned some parts being strong and some parts being tight orsome parts being weak and some parts being tight – can you juststretch a tight muscle and strengthen a weak muscle? For example,stretch the hamstrings and strengthen quadriceps to correct animbalance or does the actualy treatment of the imbalance go deeperthan that?Rick Kaselj: Yes and no. You’re going to get some benefit when it comes tostretching and strengthening. But in order to get better results,faster results you need to do more than just that. You need to lookat the mobility. Is there proper movement within the joint. So doingexercises that help improve that mobility of the ankle or the hip.Not just necessarily stretching the muscles around the hip or theankle joint. You want to look at the activation. Are those musclesthat are really tight up against the joint, are they turning on andstabilising that joint while you’re moving, and the example onceagain is the running or the walking, having the core stability of thehip muscles turning on and stabilizing that hip in that side to sidemovement while you’re walking in the forward and back. Then thebig thing that I find is the endurance side of things. Ben, youprobably know about this in training your athletes, and it’s someonemight be great in doing a 10k or 5k, but when they start doing morelike a half marathon and you’re really pushing the limits of theendurance side and especially the endurance side of the muscle,things might end up breaking down. A lot of times with people, itmight not be at 10 kilometers that they’re at, but after they end updoing the movement for let’s say 30 seconds or a minute then that
  28. 28. muscle lacks the endurance to go any further so it slacks off andtheir muscles have to end up working harder to pick up the slack.Ben: Interesting. So could it be suggested that during chronic repetitivemotions that maybe a muscle imbalance starts off for somethinglike a marathon, 13 miles in, it’s not an issue. Eighteen miles in, it’sbecoming more of an issue and by the 20 mile mark it could beliterally making or breaking you?Rick Kaselj: Definitely. Definitely. It definitely can end up affecting you becausethe muscle imbalances that you presently have might not play ahuge role in the start but then as you start going farther on andworking hard and really pushing that endurance side of things, themuscle imbalances you have are going to be a greater and greaterissue as the race goes on or as the farther you go on.Ben: Now, you have a Web site in which you actually talk to fitnessprofessionals and tell them about the different types or the sectionsof muscle imbalances, and I counted seven on that Web site and Iwill put a link to that Web site in the Shownotes for people but youtalk about those sections of muscle imbalances such as lower bodyassessment, lower body exercises. Basically it’s almost like you havea different section for each type of muscular imbalance problemthat a fitness professional or rehabilitation professional or someonetreating their own body might run into. Can you walk us through abasic overview of each of those sections?Rick Kaselj: Yeah, definitely. I kind of set them up in order of what I see beingthe greatest issues when it comes to muscle imbalances likecomponent one or module one looks at the hip and the pelvis. A lotof times the hip and the pelvis are overlooked. People might haveknee or ankle pain or irritation or it doesn’t feel right. A lot of timesthey need to go up and look at the hip and see if there is a mobilityproblem or an activation problem or endurance problem in thathip. If we go into component two or module two, we start looking atmobility and I find that this is something that is overlookeddrastically when it comes to designing exercise programs. At theend of one’s workout we focus on stretching but we need to focus ona lot more and mobility is one. Making sure that the joints withinour body are moving properly so joints above and below don’t endup picking up that slack for the range of motion or movement that’slost. So I talked about it. A lot of times when it comes to the knee,the knee ends up lacking stability. It’s moving fine forward and backbut it will end up lacking stability side to side and in twistingmovements. So in module three, we end up addressing that and
  29. 29. going through a bit of an assessment and exercises when it relatesto that. Then, looking at more assessment side of things andexercise side of things, we go through in component four, we gothrough identifying muscle imbalance in the body. In the nextcomponent we talk about specific exercises that overall end upaddressing muscle imbalances in the body. Then in component six,we end up talking about the shoulder because the shoulder ends uphaving a number of muscle imbalances occuring. So we end uptalking about how to identify muscle imbalances in the shoulder,exercises to do when it relates to muscle imbalances in theshoulder. Then in component seven, just like the mobility side Ifind in component seven it’s another thing that’s really not talkedabout in the fitness industry, is (fascha) and how (fascha) ends upplaying a role when it comes to muscle imbalances and it’ssomething that you need to consider and be aware of when you’redesigning your exercising program or when you see a muscleimbalance, you need to consider it when it comes to the exercise,prescription side of things. Those are the seven components.Ben: Absolutely. I’m actually at your Web site right now and again I willput a link for that for people in the Shownotes and I see eachsection. So it’s lower body assessment, lower body exercise, lowerbody hip, lower body knee, upper body shoulder, upper body fashaand upper body mobility are each of those sections. Interesting. Soas far as how people can actually take each of these sections –fitness professionals or someone wanting to know more about theirown body can take each of these sections and learn to diagnose andcorrect muscle imbalances. For you yourself, did you pick this stuffup just through time in the trenches or are there clinics,conferences that people can go to? What’s the best way to actuallylearn more about muscle imbalances?Rick Kaselj: The reason why I ended up creating this was I didn’t see anythingout there where it related to it. I’d done my bachelor’s degree and Iwas getting some results when it came to my clients. I wanted to getmore answers so I ended up doing my master’s degree and got acouple more answers from the master’s degree but what I ended uphaving to do was look for more information to get better resultswith my clients because I wasn’t getting the best results I wantedwith my clients from textbook learning and the school learning andthe conferences and the courses that I ended up attending. So I hadto look outside of my industry and look in physical therapy andmedicine and massage therapy and yoga and bring in principlesfrom those different areas when it related to the muscle imbalanceor prescription side of things. So it was a lot of taking courses
  30. 30. outside of my industry, reading a variety of research articles inorder to find what’s new and what’s cutting edge when it comes tomuscle imbalances and then testing it out on my clients and onmyself to see if I ended up getting better results and when I finallydid, it ended up being a big thing – me addressing muscleimbalances. Because when I was just addressing cardiovascular,strength, flexibility – I was getting some results but there was moreto it and I found that muscle imbalance was that missing piece tohelp my clients overcome their injury, bust through their fitnessplateau or prevent them from gettin injured.Ben: Gotcha. I’m looking at some of these programs, it’s kind of coolbecause for each of your components you’ve actually got a Webinarand a download for people to learn more about lower body hip,lower body knee, upper body fasha. But it looks like you’ve actuallygot pretty well known names giving these Webinars. I know thatthose people listening in might know some of these names. MikeRobertson, Bill Hartman, Eric Beard, You, Kevin Yates, DeanSomerset. These are some big hitters in terms of rehabilitation.People who are on the cutting edge. You actually got these guys tocome on and create these Webinars for each of the differentcomponents of muscle imbalance?Rick Kaselj: Definitely, and as I was searching and putting things together andchallenging my beliefs and discovering new things – as I saw wherethis information was coming from, I found that there was really noone person that knew everything when it came to muscleimbalances. So what I did was I went out there and sought outpeople that know a lot about muscle imbalance and got them to talkabout muscle imbalances – their perspective on a specific area andhence it ended up being six people that we got together that woulddo a video Webinar and the audio with it, then there’s alsopresentation modes that you can follow along. They all end upproviding their perspective. So it’s six people. The other thing that Ireally like is they’re all from a wide variety of different professions.So like I said, when i had to go out search out for these answers Ihad to go outside of my career or what I do in order to get more andmore answers so it’s great to get different people from differentprofessions. Mike Robertson is a strength coach, he focuses onperformance. Bill Hartman is a physical therapist. He focuses onperformance. Myself, I’m a personal trainer kinisieologist and Ifocus on the postinjury personal training. Kevin Yates who is apersonal trainer that works in a physical therapy center helpingpeople overcome their injury. Eric Beard does a lot of work when itcomes to corrective exercise. He’s also a massage therapist. Then
  31. 31. Dean Somerset is an exercise physiologist and he runs this programwhen it comes to helping people overcome their injuries withexercise. So it’s great to have the wide variety of people providingtheir perspective. But it all ends up fitting together well when itcomes to muscle imbalances and having their perspective from alltheir different professions.Ben: Gotcha. So in the Shownotes for those of you listening, I’ll put a linkto Rick’s Web site which is a great place to go for the information onmuscle imbalances and some of these resources that he’s puttogether. Now you also have a free report Rick. And I know thatyou’ve offered to give that to me to distribute to the listeners. Butwhat exactly is in that free report that people are going to haveaccess to as part of these Shownotes?Rick Kaselj: It’s kind of me putting my philosophy on paper. So what it basicallyis kind of me explaining to you the key components of muscleimbalances and the acronym that I end up using is – takingyourself or your client from being imbalanced to balanced – so Ilook at the ten components that are involved in someone beingimbalanced and what those ten components or the key one that youneed to address when it comes to moving yourself or moving yourclient to being balanced when it relates to muscle imbalances. So, Igo through each of those ten components. I talk about them and Iknow a number of the components aren’t talked about very much. Idon’t see them when I go to conferences or present at conferences. Idon’t hear many of the fitness representatives talking about that oreven when I end up reading magazines or books, I don’t see themtalking about it either. So there are some new concepts in there thathave worked for me and have worked for my clients.Ben: Yeah, I actually had a chance to thumb through it a little bit andthere was some new stuff in there that I wasn’t familiar with interms of things that I’ll start to implement in my training and withthe clients that I work with. What I’ll do – I think it’s just a littleover 40 pages, I will put that in the Shownotes. If you’re listening tothis via iTunes, i’ll make sure it goes out automatically to you onyour iTunes feed, so it should automatically get delivered to you.But if you want to grab it from the Shownotes just go to theShownotes for this episode and you’ll be able to get that free reportfrom Rick and also I’ll put a link to Rick’s Web site with theinformation on the muscle imbalances, the Webinars and basicallywhat it boils down is that if your performance is not what you wantit to be or your fitness is not waht you want it to be and you feel likesomething in your body is holding your back, something is just not
  32. 32. quite right when it comes to the way your body is moving or feeling,muscle imbalances are most likely the culprit and Rick’s actually gota very comprehensive program for identifying, diagnosing andtreating them. So thanks for the information that you shared withus today, Rick.Rick Kaselj: Thank you very much. It’s excellent to be sharing. I think it’s greatinformation and definitely check out the report. It’s 40 pages of mejust sharing all my thoughts and ideas to kind of challenge some ofthe common ideas that are out there.Ben: Yeah, and this is stuff – I know some of it gets complicated butthat’s where this report would come in handy for you to reviewsome of the information and also where Rick’s Web site where heexplains it a little more will come in handy. So until next time, thisis Rick and Ben from signingout.Alright folks, remember Rick is offering a special deal on thatMuscles Imbalances Revealed program and I will put a link to thatin the Shownotes for episode 108 along with a link to everythingthat I talked about in this episode. Now, if you like this podcast,please go to iTunes, leave a ranking, leave a review, please be niceand be ready for an addition to the podcast starting next week,assuming we can get everything hashed out before then but it’sgoing to be a brand new podcast full of some things that are goingto be super useful to you because the goal of this show is to bring asmuch value as possible to you whether you are a complete beginnerwhen it comes to exercise or you’ve been doing this awhile and justwant to get as many advantages as possible. So until next time, thisis Ben Greenfield. I’ll be coming to you next week. I’m headingdown to Portland to do the Portland triathlon. I’m going to be downat the Portland Triathalon. Look for me there. I’ll see you nextweek. To your health. Signing out.For personal nutrition, fitness or triathlon consulting, supplements, books or DVD’sfrom Ben Greenfield, please visit Pacific Elite Fitness at