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Ben Greenfield Podcast 175


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Ben Greenfield Podcast 175

  1. 1. Podcast #175 from In this podcast, an interview with Steve Born from Hammer Nutrition. Plus live bacteria, alcohol vs. sleep, Clenbuterol, how much protein is enough, inconsistent cramping, getting enough vegetarian fat, water and digestion, too much sleep, and back to back marathons.Brock: Hey, hey everybody! Welcome to the podcast. This is Brock and the birthday boy is here!Ben: Hey, I‟m 30. I‟m older, wiser. Hopefully you can hear that in my voice. This podcast is going to take a very, very serious direction now that I‟m 30 and mature.Brock: And in a brand new age category, how does that feel?Ben: That‟s right. For triathlons or marathons or anything that involves age categories, I am now competing in the 30-34-year-old age groups so there you go!Brock: That‟s awesome! You‟ve become the youngest guy in the age group instead of the oldest guy in the age group.Ben: That‟s right. So I get older but I also become a baby in my age group, so it feels good. So, yeah! Good week of celebrating and getting ready for Christmas. I hope all the listeners are ready for the holidays and if not then you better get an Amazon prime membership really quickly and start ordering stuff.Brock: Just start clicking.Ben: Yup!Special Announcements:Ben: So there‟s not a whole lot to go over for today‟s special announcements. I am going to mention once again that that weight training for triathlon book, the brand new, kind of ultimate guide to weight training is still available on the Nook, on Kindle and in the iTunes store, also in the Amazon store and in pretty much any other electronic format that you could view on your e-reader. So we will put a link to that in the show notes and speaking of e- reader, I personally just got a kindle fire, as a matter of fact, as a birthday present…
  2. 2. Brock: Nice!Ben: Yeah, and I‟m really digging it. I thought that I would really miss holding a real book in my hands but I am in love with this thing so I highly recommend that. Again, if you get any extra Amazon gift cards for Christmas that you‟d consider investing in a Kindle Fire. So that‟s a very cool toy and we have one other special announcement that we are going to actually play a special message for but it is for another triathlon-related program that I will be releasing on January 12th and for those of you who are interested, listen to this special message and be sure that you get on the VIP waitlist for this.Special Message: At first glance, triathletes appear to be a pretty fit group, at least with clothes on but it‟s pretty common for triathletes to have tiny arms, a thin and weak neck, a stick-like midsection and a body that‟s just too skinny. But just imagine if your arms were cut and defined, your chest and shoulders were ripped, your waistline was tapered like a V, your stomach looks flat and hard and your legs were sleek and curvaceous. In other words, what if you have the ultimate triathlon body? Now, you can! Learn how to swim, bike and run fast and look incredibly sexy doing it. Go to http://tri- to start today! That‟s .News Flashes:Brock: Okay! So if there‟s anybody who‟s following Ben at, you‟re probably familiar with some of these few familiar stories but what have you got for us this week?Ben: Well the fact that, and I did mention I have a Kindle Fire, means that in the morning now, I can push the little pulse button on my Kindle and kind of find out what is getting published right when it gets published and this morning at about 7 o‟clock, on the New York Times Health blog, I noticed this come across that the title of the article was “Taste for Salt is Shaped Early in Life” and basically it was a study in the American Journal of clinical nutrition that found essentially the more salt that you give your baby, the more processed foods like crackers and bread and breakfast cereals that you give your baby and your small children that are on early infancy, the more likely that they are going to crave or want higher amounts of salt-based foods later on in life and kind of the take-away message from this for me was that the more natural foods you can feed your kid, vegetables and fruits and ground-up foods that are made with those type of materials but without lots of salt or lots of
  3. 3. processing added to them, the more you‟re setting them up later on in life to not have junk food cravings. So I thought that this was a really interesting study about taste for salt being shaped early in life.Brock: Yeah! If we didn‟t need more reasons to feed our children of healthy, real food diet, this is another good reason to do so.Ben: Absolutely, I agree. Another one study came out that stairs are actually faster than the elevator and a lot of us who take the stairs are kind of aware of this fact but this actually studied a group of hospital physicians and they found that in most cases to get to any designated floor in hospitals, and I‟m going to really assume this was not a 10-plus floor hospital, that it takes about twice as long to take the elevator versus the stairs. On average is about 37 and a half seconds longer to get to a designated floor by taking the elevator versus the stairs and of course, anyone who takes the stairs also gets the exercise benefits of taking the stairs. So again, people who already take the stairs are aware of this. People who take the elevator to save time though, you should know that you‟re really not saving a ton of time and that may seem like a silly study but I like to look at information that gives you just 1 more reason to be as active as possible and this was certainly one of those because if you‟re looking at an 8-hour workday and I do know that nurses and physicians listen to this show, in most cases, taking the stairs is going to do you a favor.Brock: Any exercises you can get from real-world circumstances are fantastic, too, because that means you don‟t have to go to the gym, you could just build that into you day rather than parceling the pieces of your day out.Ben: Absolutely, and I mean , if you look at things like this from like a human evolution standpoint and I use evolution in the sense of us actually acting more like our ancestors and our grandfathers and our great grandfathers and grandmothers have acted, really the presence of modern-day gyms that we pop into after a sedentary life during the rest of the day to kick our own butts for 45 minutes or for an hour is relatively new phenomenon and it is better from an overall health perspective that to be as active as possible during the day and then have brief periods of intense exercise throughout the week and this is a perfect example of a way to do that. Stay on your feet as much as possible, take the stairs as much as possible. When you have the options to lift things, lift them as much as possible and again, I‟m going to hit on the Kindle again because I‟ve had that thing in my hands for the past 72 hours…Brock: This show is not sponsored by Kindle.
  4. 4. Ben: Yeah! Great free book on there that I actually read this week. I read a lot of books from project called “The Domino Project” which is put out by Seth Godin who‟s a really great author, whose blog I follow and one of the books that was put out that is completely free for download on the Kindle is called “Flinch” and it just talks about things like this, about kind of introducing kind of non-structured exercise into your life and so, it‟s pretty interesting stuff. Another article about caffeine and physical performance, really interesting article because this was in the journal of Caffeine Research but essentially what the basis of the article is stating is that there‟s been all these studies that have been done on caffeine and the benefits that it can give you for exercise or for doing a triathlon or running a 5k or lifting weights or whatever and each of these studies, the people that were studied, have abstained from caffeine leading into the study so that they would be sensitive to the effects of the caffeine and what the article is hypothesizing is that it may be the fact that people are not doing better on caffeine because they‟re being stimulated by the caffeine as much as they‟re doing better during the exercise session because they‟ve had some kind of favorable response from having abstained from caffeine leading into the test. Really interesting thing to think about, I think there‟s probably going to be a research study on this coming out very soon that investigates it in detail but it‟s interesting to think about in that it could be, all you have to do is abstain from using caffeine for 7-14 days prior to kind of like an important event that you‟re doing and you may not even need to take caffeine after that point because it‟s possible that just abstaining from caffeine has given you the ergogenic effects that you‟re looking for. So really interesting, kind of flies in the face of logic and what we like to think about caffeine helping performance but I thought it was a good thought-provoking article.Brock: Yeah, that‟s really cool. I actually read a fellow named Alex Hutchinson and he has a blog called “Sweat Science” so he looked at that study as well and had some interesting stuff to say about that, I don‟t know if you follow Alex.Ben: Yeah, I‟ve read his blog before. It‟s a good one. He and also another one called “Sports Science”. I believe its, really good websites. The last thing I wanted to bring up was about nitric oxide because I know there are a lot of folks who spend a lot of money on nitric oxide. Pre-workout to get a better “pump” to build muscle faster, increase muscle strength, increase muscle mass. Research on nitric oxide goes back and forth but last month in Nutrition and Metabolism Journal, there was a study that came out that found that 28 days of weight training while
  5. 5. consuming basically a commercially-available nitric oxide supplement really favorably influence muscles strength and muscle mass, and the reason I bring up this article is because it‟s another example of a case where you need to be really careful on digging to the research and look at it better because if you look at the group that was consuming the nitric oxide, the nitric oxide supplement that they were taking, it was about 20-30 grams of protein and so, these folks were increasing their strengths and there was also the research study where stating that it was due to the nitric oxide but the group that wasn‟t taking the nitric oxide didn‟t have the adjustment to get all the extra protein that the nitric oxide group was getting. And so, it‟s very likely that it was just getting a little bit of extra protein for muscle repair that was helping these folks compared to all the expensive nitric oxide that they were consuming. So, I like to bring stuff up like this just to, again, warn people whenever you see stuff like this, whether you see a snippet in men‟s health, whether you‟re actually reading the results of the journal itself in terms of like the abstract or the title, whether you‟ve seen it come across a Twitter post, always, always, always question and never accept something at face value especially when it comes to a supplement that someone is trying to sell you. So, just wanted to bring that up and make sure that people are aware of that type of stuff going on.Brock: Never believe the man.Ben: That‟s right! So that being said, what do you think? Should we jump into today‟s Q and A?Brock: We have some fantastic listener questions this week so yeah, let‟s get right into it.Ben: Awesome! Alright, one more thing before we hop in. Folks, after the Q and A, great interview coming up with Steve Born. Steve is a nutritionist; he‟s really an expert in long distance fueling like he rides his bike a thousand miles, that type of long distance. So he‟s got some really interesting thoughts and that also means that if our Q and A takes as long as it has been, which has been creeping up on an hour, we could be looking at the second week in a row where we‟ve had a really long podcast or maybe the third or fourth week in a row, probably 2 hours.Brock: Yeah, basically since I joined this show I think.Ben: It‟s all Brock‟s fault.Brock: It‟s all my fault.
  6. 6. Ben: Either way, I have a proposal for the listeners. If you would like us to begin isolating the Q and A episodes from the interviews and releasing about an hour-or-so long Q and A episode on Wednesdays when the podcasts has always traditionally been released, but then on either a Friday or a Saturday putting out the interview that I‟m doing each week and we do have some really special interviews planned coming up, so that you essentially have basically an hour-long Q and A or so and then another 40 to 60-minute interview later on in the week resulting in 2 podcasts a week that you can listen to both or you can listen to one, if that‟s something you‟d be interested in. I‟m not really putting into place a formal voting mechanism for this, instead if that is something that you do or do not want to see, I want you to go to the show notes for this episode, episode number 175, at and leave your thoughts in the comments. Just click “Add a comment” and let me know if you want to see the show split up into 2, kind of more bite-size pieces. Alright, so to make sure this thing doesn‟t go any longer, I‟ll stop talking now and would jump into the Q & A but again, leave your comment if you want to give feedback on this.Listener Q and A:Brock: Okay, first listener question is an audio question from Lisa.Lisa: Hi Ben, Lisa calling from Chicago. Question, how do the pharmaceutical companies make live bacteria in there probiotics pills or caplets or tablets? Stay alive in that format and oftentimes like when I read the label, they‟re actually alive for over a year according to the expiration date. Can you explain? Thank you.Brock: Alright, so what do you think about that Ben?Ben: It really depends on the probiotics that you get and how it was made in terms of whether or not it‟s going to kind of stay alive so to speak when you get it, when you get something out of your probiotic shipped to you and I think this whole question was formulated based on the interview that we did a few weeks ago with Josh Axe. Where we talked about this new organic foods company that‟s kind of shipping organic foods that contain probiotics around the nation. And the probiotics that they‟re sending out are not shipped, refrigerated or cold, they‟re shipped under-refrigerated and I looked into this too myself. I just check and see if they were sent on ice or if they weren‟t sent on ice and the important thing to realize here is the process of fermentation and I‟ll explain what I mean by that actually results in preservation of a probiotic-
  7. 7. containing compound to the point where if that bottle is probiotic-containing whatever hasn‟t been pasteurized and exposed to reallyhigh temperatures, I mean the type of temperatures that far exceedwhat it would go under in shipping, like 150 degrees then they cango for long periods of time at room temperature or un-refrigeratedwithout affecting the quality of the probiotics. So, basically whathappens is when you ferment something, it helps for those liveactive cultures to stay alive. Now if you cure something withvinegar and you pasteurize it such as you might get from like abottle of pickles that you buy from the grocery store, that is whatkills the probiotics. But doing something like fermenting foods athome, which Jessa and I actually do a lot that helps to preservefoods, that helps to protect foods from spoiling and it also allows forthe thriving of live active cultures in food. So you can take a food,you can take cucumbers or you can take cabbage, for example; socucumbers are kind of like the birthplace of pickles and cabbage isthe birthplace of sauerkraut if you‟re going to be fermenting, andyou can ferment those. If you want to ferment dairy, you can alsomake yogurt by fermenting milk. My wife ferments this raw milkthat I mentioned last week each week to make yogurt. So what youdo is you use a starter culture which is typically like whey or a brineand that starter culture is typically something that you purchase. Ibelieve that my wife gets ours from Azure standard which is acatalogue where you can order kind of health foods. And so forexample if you‟re going to make yogurt, you get a little bit of yogurtthat you buy from the store and then you add that to your milk andyour starter and essentially you ferment it and I won‟t get in to thenitty-gritty‟s of fermentation but that‟s how you would make yourown yogurt, we make our own yogurt every week. You can do verysimilar process by basically pickling cucumbers or pickling cabbageand brine and getting pickles or sauerkraut and you‟re essentiallyfermenting things out of the refrigerator and then you put it in therefrigerator when the fermentation is complete and when you cure avegetable like that, it can last 6 months almost a year sometimes inthe refrigerator. So ultimately, what I‟m getting at here is that thisfermentation process can allow you to take something, can set it upin a counter or put in a box and ship it and those probiotics are ableto stay alive for a certain period of time, often several days orhowever long it would take to ship something around the country.So, I wouldn‟t worry too much about like ordering a probiotic-containing compound like the stuff we were talking about in thatshow and getting the probiotics damaged, they‟re heat-stableprobiotics. So I‟ll put a link to the Beyond Organic stuff that I‟mtalking about in the show notes. If you don‟t have access to makingyour own yogurt or your own kefir or your own combucha or youdon‟t have the time to ferment, it‟s a good option.
  8. 8. Brock: Is it important to make sure that you get when you‟re starting your culture, when you‟re buying that stuff from the store to actually add to the stuff you‟re making at home, is it important to get the one that actually says “active bacterial cultures”?Ben: Yeah, if you get yogurt for example, that you‟re going to use as a starter to make your own yogurt, you do want to make sure that‟s the stuff that says “active cultured yogurt” and the reason that I know that is that I am not the fermenter in our home, I‟m not the soaker or the sprouter in our home, my wife does a lot of that but every time I go to the grocery stores seems like I get reminded to get the yogurt with the active cultures in it. I‟ve never messed up and not done that but I know this for a fact because it always gets added to my honey-do list.Brock: It‟s a very important factor.Ben: That‟s right!Brock: Cool! Before we move on to the next question, I just want to let everybody know a sort of a peek behind the scenes or maybe a testament to the lengths that Ben goes to, to answer these questions. This question that we just went through was actually cued up for last week‟s show and like halfway through, well, not even halfway through like a sentence in answering it, Ben decided to put it aside because there needed to be more research done so I thought that was really cool as a listener just to know that you go to those kind of lengths where you don‟t ever want to be unprepared for it. So, I appreciate that as a listener and I wanted other people to know.Ben: In that case, I had to contact Beyond Organic and find out exactly whether or not they‟re probiotics were heat stable because if they weren‟t, I wasn‟t going to recommend them anymore.Brock: Awesome! Okay, so next question. It‟s another audio question and it‟s from Mark.Mark: Hi Ben, this is Mark and I have a question for your podcast. Recently, I‟m 34 and recently when I drink alcohol, it results to a very poor sleep and a feeling that my body‟s been overheated shortly as I go to bed. This is regardless of me drinking plenty of water while falling out in my own home and getting to the point where I can‟t drink any alcohol at all and I can‟t expect to sleep and be productive. Any help would be appreciated.Brock: Okay, so overheating and booze leading to bad sleep. What can you tell us Ben?
  9. 9. Ben: As an alcohol-consuming consumer, I understand Mark‟s conundrum and it especially can be frustrating when something like this pops up when you‟ve been able to consume alcohol just fine in the past. Ultimately, a lot of things could be leading up to Mark‟s suddenly not being able to tolerate alcohol and I‟ll talk about that in a second but you kind of got to understand what‟s going on here. Alcohol is broken down in your body by an enzyme. The enzyme is called “aldehyde dehydrogenase”. You look at for example, folks of Asian descent, they have a lot lower level or sometimes an absence of aldehyde dehydrogenase and they are prone to alcohol poisoning or alcohol sensitivities quite a bit and Mark is experiencing something kind of similar. Alcohol is probably not being broken down in his body because there‟s something going on that is deactivating or reducing his ability to make enough enzymes, enough of this aldehyde dehydrogenase to actually metabolize alcohol into what it gets metabolized into in your body which is basically acidic acid and so what this can cause is basically kind of an overproduction of histamine because histamine shares the same type of enzyme for its metabolism so you‟re not getting alcohol broken down, that also because that alcohol dehydrogenase enzyme is impaired can lead to a bunch of excess histamine in your system and so you get a lot of allergy-like symptoms that you might get if you were stung by a bee. Skin flushing and a little bit of heating and often some congestion and maybe some heart palpitations and a lot of issues that are very similar to what Mark is experiencing. You can also get kind of flushing red face. You see this in a lot of Chinese and Japanese and Koreans and people of Asian descent again because they‟re deficient in that same enzyme, that aldehyde dehydrogenase. So, one of the things that you may want to look into is there are certain, and we just got done talking about this, but there are certain probiotics that naturally contain higher levels of aldehyde dehydrogenase and if you‟ve recently gone through like an antibiotic regimen or if you have not been eating healthy or if you have some kind of like yeast or Candida or opportunistic kind of bad bacteria or bad fungus infection in your GI tract, you could be really low on your levels of aldehyde dehydrogenase or not allowing them to operate properly. So the first thing that I would do is I would stop drinking alcohol first of all until you get this sorted but I would be looking into your gut health. I would start into a really good like, probiotics supplementation protocol. I would really drop like the amount of sugars and carbs in your diet to make sure that you‟re not feeding yeast or fungus in your digestive tract and would do like a natural anti-fungal like an oil of oregano and basically kind of fix your gut in the hopes that you would be able to produce more of this alcohol dehydrogenase digestive enzyme and allow it to actually function properly. Because histamine is released when you
  10. 10. drink alcohol and because a lot of this type of reaction that you‟re describing is kind of a histamine-based reaction, it could be tempting to take an anti-histamine and it could be something I guess to try if you just got to “have your cake and eat it too” and you want to drink alcohol. The only issue is that it can be tough on your liver to be processing both pharmaceutical compounds as well as alcohol at the same time and anti-histamines also have some other kind of unpleasant side effects that may cause the same issues. You can get a little bit of like an increased temperature and a fast heartbeat and headaches and it kind of makes you congested, it makes your mucus a little bit thicker, you can get flushing and redness of the face so I mean anti-histamines can cause a lot of the same issues here so I wouldn‟t necessarily just try to shut down histamine production by taking that approach even though it may seem like a tempting or logical thing to do. The last thing I would mention to you in addition to taking care of your gut health would be there‟s another kind of natural food base compound that has alcohol dehydrogenase in it and that‟s Brewer‟s Yeast. Brewer‟s Yeast is used in the making of beer and stuff like that and you can get Brewer‟s Yeast and consume it was like a supplement. I believe you can get it in just like a powder form and I personally haven‟t done this but you could probably try sprinkling that in a salad or putting that in a smoothie or something of that nature and I‟m not sure quite how good it would taste but it does have alcohol dehydrogenase in it so I don‟t think that‟s as good a solution as just kind of stopping alcohol, taking care of your gut and then starting back into alcohol after you‟ve given your gut about 4-6 weeks to rebuild good bacteria, kill off some bad bacteria and kind of reboot.Brock: Would the Brewer‟s Yeast and the oil of oregano, would that sort of be at odds with each other, that wouldn‟t be something you would do at the same time.Ben: Oil of oregano is interesting, it seems that it is selective in its ability to break down cell walls of like bacteria and yeast and fungus and the reason for that is that somebody I know did an experiment which they made yogurt and added a bunch of oil in oregano to the yogurt and the yogurt still fermented and cultured just fine, but then the carvacrol in oil in oregano has been shown to break down bacterial cell walls in laboratory studies. So, it‟s possible that the oil of oregano is simply selective and that would just be one of those things where nature has things in it that can work as medicinal compounds. Oil of oregano is one of those things and it seems that it is “smart” in its medicinal abilities.
  11. 11. Brock: I hope that answers your question Mark. I think I learned a lot right there. Okay, so we‟ve got one more audio question budding this audio questions and this one comes from McKee.McKee: Hello Ben, this is McKee from Utah. I have a quick question regarding Clenbuterol. I‟m actually an amateur body builder so I am interested in getting muscle and losing fat. That being said, clenbuterol is a legal drug that‟s probably protein in the gym. So, don‟t you have any suggestions or more importantly alternatives and just general thoughts on clenbuterol and other substances like that like T3 and T4? Thank you very much. My contact information is 8014723887, my email address is Thank you Ben.Ben: I talked about clenbuterol because I received a similar question, not about muscle strength but about cardiovascular stimulation. I talked about this in podcast number 145 and anytime I mention a podcast where I‟ve talked about something before, you don‟t have to go back and listen to the whole podcast because all the podcast are transcribed so I‟ll make sure and put a transcription over to podcast number 145 underneath my response to McKee in these show notes and you can go kind of read a little bit about what I talked about in terms of clenbuterol and endurance exercise or its ability to kind of boost your cardiovascular fitness because it has been shown to be able to do that. But the issue is that clenbuterol can cause a lot of kind of issues. For example, it can cause heart enlargement and this has been observed when they‟ve given clenbuterol to exercising rats. I don‟t think they directly studied heart enlargement in humans but clenbuterol supplementation can really quickly and dramatically increase the size of the heart of a rat and that heart expansion can cause some serious cardiovascular issues because it‟s not due to an increase in the number of cells in your heart muscle but it‟s actually due to a change in the collagen fiber integrity in your heart walls, so basically collagen is a really tough connective tissue that can, if it‟s kind of infiltrating your heart, stiffening your heart and potentially to decrease in cardiac output. So you‟re really setting yourself up for kind of short-term cardiovascular benefit but long-term irreversible damage to your heart and those same increases in collagen can also produce cardiac arrhythmias which are basically like an inability of the nerve function of your heart to work properly. You can also see some studies where they‟ve looked again at clenbuterol specifically in exercising rats and found a lot of cardiac cell degeneration. So, clenbuterol is basically something that you‟ll see athletes taking as a way to kind of pick you up because it mimics nor adrenaline and adrenaline which are the sympathetic nervous system kind of fight-or-flight reaction type of hormones that your body makes so you get an increase in body
  12. 12. temperature and an increase in calorie burn so that‟s why some people take it to burn fat and after you get that stimulatory effect kind of kicking in, again, McKee kind of asked me about T3 or T4. Well, what can happen is long-term, your thyroid gland backs off its own natural production of its heat-regulating hormones because clenbuterol is there kind of doing the job. So then once you stop clenbuterol, you‟ve got the potential for almost like a hypothyroid type of condition. So, I know I haven‟t yet answered McKee‟s question about whether or not it‟s useful for muscle building, but at first glance you think that it would be able to do that and the reason for that is its basically kind of stimulating the same receptors or similar receptors in the human body that are stimulated with intense exercise and they‟re called “beta-2 receptors” that clenbuterol is supposedly acting on. But, initially when folks started taking clenbuterol and they started taking clenbuterol for exercise, it was thought that clenbuterol was acting on these exact same kind of muscle-building receptors, these are what are called “beta-2 adrenal receptors” and after a while, researchers found that clenbuterol was actually working on a completely different muscle cell receptor but not one that was associated with the ability to make a muscle bigger or cause what‟s called an “anabolic effect” and that was even with really big doses of clenbuterol. So whereas eating good healthy food and taking in a lot of protein and doing some creatine and probably another really good proven supplement beta-alanine and then simply giving yourself proper recovery is all going to help with increasing your muscle size. Clenbuterol is not only going to help but is also going to set you up for some very serious potential side effects down the road.Brock: Wow! That‟s pretty much busted as far as I can tell.Ben: There you go, stay away from it and that includes like the asthmatic clenbuterol, steroidal stuff like Spiro pent and stuff like that. Just don‟t take it unless you have an asthmatic condition and you absolutely need it.Brock: Alright! Next question, we‟ve got a sort of a twofer about protein here. First one comes from Dylan and Dylan wants to know. He says…..Dylan: How much protein should you ingest in one sitting for optimal uptake? I‟ve heard that 30 grams is all the body can process at one time but my protein shakes are in the realm of 50-60 gram range. I can‟t imagine the body just holds on to 30 and then pees out the other 30 but if I‟m wasting my money in drinking 60 grams of shakes, I‟d like to know.
  13. 13. Ben: Yeah! We kind of sort hit on this last week when I said “you sit down, you eat a huge holiday meal, a huge holiday feast. You don‟t have to be worried that you‟re going to absorb all of it and every single ounce of fat that you consume is going to get converted into fat by your body” you don‟t have to worry that when you eat a 6000-calorie Christmas dinner that you‟re going to gain two pounds of fat because a pound of fat is a little over 3000 calories and that‟s because your body simply has a limit to how much it can absorb. I mean, your gut can only absorb so much carbohydrate and protein and fat before it quits absorbing it and it passes through the small intestine and into your large intestine and into your colon and you end up peeing a lot and pooping a lot basically. So, when you look at something like protein, in most cases the maximum absorption rate that‟s been observed in terms of how fast your body can absorb amino acids from protein is about 8-10 grams per hour, okay. So, if the maximum rate that you can absorb is about 8-10 grams per hour and that‟s assuming that you‟ve got a good digestive health, you‟ve got good levels of proteolytic enzymes, you don‟t have a lot of the issues that I was kind of discussing earlier like yeast or fungus or like an imbalance of the good bacteria in your stomach, you‟re looking at about 8-10 grams per hour. Now, the amount of time that it‟s going to take protein to pass through your stomach and then your small intestine is going to vary. It can be from anywhere from two up to about five hours, okay. So, if we look at the very maximum amount of protein that you could absorb, let‟s say your max amount, you‟re a 10-grams-an-hour absorption because your digestive system is just working like a charm and you‟re taken a fairly slow trans at time because whether genetically or because of sitting around a lot, being sedentary which can slow that digestive or that rate of time that to the digestive tract you‟re taking maybe, that maximum amount of time, 5 hours to have it moved to your digestive system. You‟re going to max out at 50 grams, five hours at 10 grams per hour, okay. So it‟s very likely that most folks are not going to be in that situation where you‟ve got optimum digestive health, you‟re eating 50 grams of protein and then you‟re lying down for five hours so it all kind of slows down and you absorb it all. For those reasons, I think that it‟s more prudent to kind of take in a little less protein because you‟re not wasting your money and protein and having a bunch of it being not absorbed. I think that 20-30 gram portions of protein, that‟s more realistic. It‟s a smarter way to dose and that‟s the way that I would be doing it along with taking digestive enzymes or eating a protein that already has digestive enzymes in it, some of them do and basically getting your protein that way, like the amount of capro protein that stuff has digestive enzymes in it. That‟s a whey protein that I take and I know that that‟s helping me break down those proteins more quickly, absorb them a little bit more quickly but
  14. 14. hopefully that kind of gives you some direction in terms of how much protein to eat in any given time.Brock: Alright, and yeah that leads really nicely into our second question about protein from Brad.Brad: After a recent visit to a sporting store to purchase protein powder, I was told by a staff member that I‟m a hard gainer and should consume a 70:30 ratio of carbs to protein. While this has allowed me to gain four kilograms of weight in the last two weeks, I‟m unsure whether this is the best option for a hard gainer to get muscle fast. My ultimate goal is to have a big chest, arms and abs. Could you please advise me on a good nutrition plan and gym routine for this standard hard gainer?Ben: Yeah well, I can‟t layout a full-on nutrition plan and gym routine Brad.Brock: That‟s right!Ben: You can hire me for that if you want but I will answer your question. Your staff that you talked to at the sporting store was kind of barking up the right tree because if you are a skinny guy, meaning that you‟re probably somewhat of a hard gainer, you have a hard time putting on muscle. You need to understand, that the type of muscle that you want is big, fast switch muscle. It‟s primarily utilizing what‟s called your glycolytic energy system, utilizing a lot of carbohydrates as a fuel, storing a lot of carbohydrates as a fuel as storage glycogen which can make a muscle seem bigger f because you‟re not like going to get the storage carbohydrate chains but those also draw a bunch of water into them and ultimately you‟re setup in a scenario where if you‟re eating more carbohydrate, it‟s not only going to make your muscles look bigger but it‟s going to give those fast switch muscles more fuel to contract, to give you more bang for your buck in the gym and then to kind of grow your muscle fiber in cells so that you get an increase in the actual muscle on your body. So compared to a fast gainer, somebody who‟s naturally bigger, a higher carbohydrate diet can often result in a little bit more fat gain and a little bit more high fluctuation of blood sugar levels, insulin sensitivity and a lot of the issues that go along with that high carb diet whereas skinny guys with high metabolisms who naturally burn a high amount of carbs for fuel, they sometimes need to step up the carbohydrate intake in order to put on muscle and get big. So, if you‟re skinny and you want to put on muscle, I do recommend that you step up your car intake a little bit and that you try and time that as closely as possible to your workout so that you do still take into consideration the health effects of eating higher
  15. 15. amounts of carbs but that can be something simple as having a meal that‟s higher in carbohydrates like 400 to 600-calorie based carbohydrate-containing meals like a potato or an oat or kimwa or an amaranth or millet or any other kind of healthy carb source, a couple hours before your big weight lifting workout where you‟re going to try to put on muscle and then afterwards, you don‟t just have a protein shake, you make sure you do something like your 30 grams of whey protein in a blender but you‟re also dropping a couple of bananas and a handful of omens in there and so you‟re again, adding protein in on that side too. And then apart from those two fueling scenarios, you can mostly focus on good healthy proteins and good healthy fats with little doses of carbs here and there but that‟s kind of a good way to present your muscles with the carbs that they need and also take into consideration the health effects of potentially eating too many carbs.Brock: Alright, our next question comes from Charles.Charles: Hey Ben and Brock, I have a history of cramping in various types of races and distances, off-road, triathlon, trail running, sentry ride marathon. Almost always cramping in my hamstrings. I usually drink roughly 500 milliliters of noon per hour during the events as well as my nutrition, just hammer gel and perpetuum. I carry Enduro lights as a back-up. I don‟t cramp in every instance but I‟m curious that there‟s anything or something I was missing nutritionally or training-wise that might help remedy this problem.Ben: Well, there are multiple things that could cause cramping so it really depends. I actually talked about this in a Get Fit Guy episode. If you don‟t know what Get Fit Guy is, I release about a 5 to 10- minute podcast every week on kind of basic fitness things and emerging trends on fitness. It‟s over at In the episode that I did on cramping, I talked about the type of things that can cause cramping and certainly, if you‟re really low on minerals and electrolytes because things like calcium and potassium are so crucial to muscle contraction, a really big and balance of calcium or sodium or potassium can cause issues when it comes to cramping but the fact is most folks on a typical diet who are not only doing things like drinking noon electrolyte capsules like Charles is and probably are not eating a super duper low sodium diet, you really don‟t have mineral and electrolyte issues and you can go back and listen to the podcast that I did with Tim Noakes about electrolytes to understand why. Ultimately, it‟s gone blown out of proportion the importance of electrolytes, you don‟t need as many as you think you need but the other reasons for cramping, one can be a lack of fitness. So you‟re essentially asking your muscles to do something that it hasn‟t
  16. 16. been able to be exposed to in training. This is probably I think the most common cause of fitness and what happens is your muscles protect themselves, you have what‟s called “golgi tendon reflex” in your muscles and it can cause your muscle to go in a spasm to protect itself from getting torn because it‟s having to contract harder or more repetitively to a greater amount of fatigue than you‟ve exposed to doing training. And so, the answer to that issue with fatigue is simply to expose your body more to the type of things that it‟s going to be experiencing when you don‟t want it to cramp. So, if you‟re planning on running a marathon on pavement, don‟t do all your running on trails and make sure you get in a couple of long runs that are close to what your muscles are going to experience during the marathon. If you‟re doing like Brock here is doing and you‟re running a half marathon on one day and a marathon on the next day like he‟s going to be doing in the goofy marathon, you want to make sure that you get some runs in where you‟re running on consecutive days for decently long periods of time so your muscles are used to that kind of doubling up. So lack of fitness can certainly cause cramping. We talked about sodium and calcium and potassium being an issue with one end of the hydration but of course, water is the issue with the other end of the hydration and make sure that you are not only getting adequate water but also being careful with your caffeine, your soda, your intake of anything that‟s potentially a diuretic or dehydrating or can produce any type of hydration imbalance within your body, so make sure that you‟re basically tending to the hydration. I know that that‟s a suggestion that is probably pretty common and there is a reason for it, it does help. Lack of flexibility is another issue. Very tight muscles are going to be more likely to cramp so I mean, that‟s something as simple as if you sit on a desk all day without standing up or without walking around and stretching, your hip flexors, the muscles in the front of your hips are in a shortened position for a long time. So after a few months of sitting at a desk, that produces inflexible hip flexors that are in this kind of chronically shortened position and then when you play a game of tennis or golf or go for a run, your quad starts to cramp because those are your hip flexors and you can‟t figure out why because you‟re hydrated and taking electrolytes and it‟s because you sat on your desk for 6 hours in a row without standing up and getting into a lunge and stretching out your hip flexors, so that‟s another issue is lack of flexibility. So those are some of the things I would look into, into potentially being able to take care of this cramping issue. I hope that helps but electrolyte and the hydration issue.Brock: Yeah, I think it‟s really easy. A lot of us go immediately to electrolyte imbalance anytime we cramp up just because that‟s sort
  17. 17. of what we‟ve been taught for so long as if you‟re getting cramps, you need to pound the salts.Ben: Yeah!Brock: Next question is from Tony.Tony: Hi Ben. Help! I just watched the Fat Head movie and as you mentioned on the podcast and I thought it was excellent, however, as a lacto-ovo pescotarian, how can I implement these ideas that were raised in the movie? Avoiding starch and sugar is easy by limiting potatoes and rice but how do I get the extra fat? Can I do that with fish, eggs, and dairy and not expose myself to other issues such as heavy metal poisoning from the fish or to many antibiotics from the dairy? Regards, Tony.Ben: Okay, yeah! It‟s certainly doable to eat a higher fat diet especially if you‟re not just a vegetarian but you‟re an ov-pesco-lacto vegetarian which means you can do yogurts, you can do fish and you can do eggs because those are all good sources of healthy fats. So yes, I would certainly be liberally including some good, like cage-free omega 3-einriched eggs in your diet if you can get it from a local farm all the better. I would be doing a lot of whole fat dairy sources, whole fat yogurt, if you can get your hands on whole fat raw milk, great. Kefir, stuff like that, I would be including that in your diet. I would be including fish in your diet that is full of oils and omega 3 fatty acids, cans or sardines that are canned in oil. By the way, sardines, You don‟t have to worry about heavy metals in those, it‟s the bigger, kind of carnivorous fish like the sea bass and stuff like that, that you need to be careful of when it comes to heavy metals and if you were to do like a Google search for, I believe it‟s called like the “Safe Sea Food Chart” or something like that, it‟s basically a chart that lists all of the fish that are more prone to having heavy metal as in toxins than the ones that are safe and ultimately that will help you out if you want it but I can tell you right now that sardines are on the safe list and those are fine and that‟s something that I use a lot because canned and some olive oil, that‟s another great fat source and then you‟ve got all your healthy fat sources that are vegetable-based. Avocadoes, olives and guacamole from the avocadoes and olive oil from the tapenades from the olives and basically a lot of other, kind of healthier seed-based oils like flax seed oil or in some cases grape seed oil, the pay and how it‟s been processed and then all of your seeds and nuts and nut butters. Omen butter and macadamia nuts and Brazil nuts and omens and wall nuts. You could absolutely eat a high fat diet as recommended in the movie Fat Head which is a great movie by the way, and not have to worry too much about heavy metal poisoning and if you‟re
  18. 18. choosing dairy sources that are raw or organic, not having to worry too much about the antibiotics, so not an issue at all Tony.Brock: That‟s great! Alright, next question comes from Kyle.Kyle: What is your opinion about avoiding water or other fluid intake while eating? I recently read a theory that doing so dilutes your stomach acid which was claimed to inhibit digestion.Ben: That is false. It‟s okay to drink water with a meal and there‟s this theory out there that when you drink water with a meal, that water can dilute your stomach acid and when your stomach acid becomes too diluted or insufficiently acidic, then you can‟t really break down the foods in your stomach the way that you‟re supposed to be and that‟s just bunk. Your stomach acid is at a very acidic level that would take way more water than you could comfortably drink in order to dilute it. If you sit down and do the chemistry and it just doesn‟t work out and there‟s a pretty good amount of scientific research in this area too, most of it coming from like hospital settings where their researchers measured stomach acid levels in patients who were drinking water along with a meal either before or after their surgery and then people who were drinking water fasted and in any situation, the stomach PH was not significantly altered by water drinking at all even when the water was consumed after an overnight fast. So, it doesn‟t upset your natural stomach acid levels if anything, drinking water causes you to gulp down some air along with the water so that‟s something that you may want to be careful of because that can cause some indigestion, some burping, some air in your stomach. I would not be worrying at all about moderate consumption of water that you‟re not gulping down like a baby at the table as you‟re eating, it‟s not an issue at all and it just drives me nuts that the folks say that but don‟t really look at the chemistry behind it. You have to drink so much water that it‟d be stupid in order to dilute your stomach acid. The issue I‟d be focusing on more, speaking of heavy metals, heavy metals and nitrates and methanes and ethylenes and pesticide residues and all the other stuff that could be in this water that you‟re drinking. I personally installed a big carbon block water filter in my home so all the water I drink gets filtered to that carbon filter and fortunately my Spokane water here is non-fluoridated because I‟m not a big fan of fluoride either and those are bigger issues when it comes to water, not drinking too much water with a meal.Brock: Excellent! Our next question here comes from Dylan and I have to say Dylan, I am very envious of you. And you‟ll find out why when I read the question here….
  19. 19. Dylan: Hi Ben! Is there such a thing as too much sleep? I‟m a very fit and healthy 40-year old male, a competitive age grouper and I‟ve always thought my body would wake me up when it‟s had enough sleep but I typically sleep 10 hours a night and that is coupled with a 20- minute power nap in the afternoon following my workout…Ben: Oh geez!Dylan: I‟ve read that pro-athletes swear by sleep and napping, some schedule a nap and call them business meetings as they‟re much a part of the athletes training as cardio workouts are. Still I‟m wondering if I‟m getting too much sleep. 10 hours a night, typically 10 pm to 8 am plus a 20-minute nap, is that why I‟m stuck at 15% body fat? Thanks, Dylan.Ben: This guy‟s going to put Maleon out of business.Brock: Yeah!Ben: Yeah, that‟s a lot of sleep. Unless you‟re a growing baby or a teenager or you‟re healing up from some serious injury or surgery or something like that, that‟s a lot of sleep and don‟t get me wrong, sleep is great. We‟ve talked about sleep in this show but I mean there are research studies that show that when you‟re sleeping too much, there are issues. Like they did a huge study of about 9,000 people and this was in America and they found that people who slept more than nine hours a night had a 50% greater risk of diabetes and that‟s probably because you‟re missing out on two extra hours where you could be normalizing your blood sugar levels, exercising, making yourself more sensitive to insulin and instead you are sleeping. Another study and this was a pretty recent study found that people who slept for about nine or ten hours every night were 20% more likely to become obese than people who slept about seven to eight hours and once again, we‟re looking at your metabolic rate being significantly down regulated when you‟re asleep so you‟re missing out on a bunch of calories that you‟re burning when you‟re awake. They found that oversleeping has an effect on certain neurotransmitters in your brain including serotonin and because of that, people who slept too much during the evenings could actually have issues with being overly tired or getting headaches during the day which might be why you are prone to wanting to take a nap during the day simply because your serotonin imbalance is caused by your oversleeping during the night. There‟s a link between heart disease and oversleeping, there was the nurses‟ health study that had 72,000 women in it so it was a big study and they found that women who slept 9-11 hours a night, 38% more likely to have coronary heart disease than the women
  20. 20. who slept 8 hours. And finally, if that‟s not all enough for you, there‟s been multiple studies on mortality rates that have found the people who sleep nine or more hours a night have higher death rates than people who sleeps seven or eight hours a night. So ultimately, you‟re going to be doing yourself a favor from the chronic disease and longevity standpoint by starting to set your alarm and focus more on about anywhere between like seven to a maximum of nine hours of sleep at night but you‟re also going to really be able to be on a more regular circadian rhythm. You get a lot of excess melatonin when you‟re in the dark for a long period of time and you have your eyes closed and so the more melatonin you produce, the longer it‟s going to take to dissipate the more drowsy and drained of energy you‟re going to feel when you wake up, the lower your metabolism is going to be because the lower your cortisol levels are going to be. When you wake up in the morning and light hits your eyes so ultimately, you hit yourself up when you sleep too much to be fat, have diabetes, have heart disease and die early. So, I think that there‟s definitely a point of diminishing returns when it comes to sleep.Brock: That sounds like those are some really scary studies you were just talking about like you make sound like sleep is really dangerous but are those, would you say are more of a correlation rather than a causation sort of study like just because you are just so much more time in bed, you‟re missing out on things rather than the sleep actually being the villain?Ben: Absolutely! Maybe you‟re spending more time in bed also because you are more prone to depression or you‟re somebody who is reporting during the study that you‟re spending that much time in bed but, really you‟re spending three hours of that watching TV or eating junk food. I mean there‟s certainly confounding variables here but ultimately, there‟s enough signs pointing to sleep potentially or too much sleep potentially being an issue where I really do not see a need again unless you‟re growing or recovering from a serious event to be sleeping more than 8 hours a night.Brock: Gotcha! Well, I take it back. I don‟t envy Dylan as what I said before he asked the question.Ben: Yeah! So yeah, I guess those are all the questions aren‟t they?Brock: That‟s all of the questions except being that I‟m here right now and I‟m actually about to embark, as you mentioned earlier in the show, I‟m doing back-to-back marathons in just over two weeks like on Saturday I‟m running a half marathon, on Sunday I‟m running a full marathon. I wanted to sort of take this moment just to pick your
  21. 21. brain about the best approach to trying to run those races without sacrificing one or the other like throwing one of them completely out the window in favor of actually like racing the full and throwing out the half or vice versa.Ben: Yeah!Brock: How you would approach that like just mentally and I guess also nutritionally or we cover our lies?Ben: Yeah! I actually think that, I‟m glad you brought that up actually; I think it‟s a good question. It‟s kind of related to what we go over with Steve Born here, the second about long distance sealing and multiple stages and stuff like that but from a pacing perspective, you got to look at it this way. Let‟s say you want like the fastest two combined times for half marathons in the first day and a marathon on the next day. You know, that in order to run faster in your half marathon, you‟re going to have to go outside of your aerobic levels and you‟re going to have to go fairly anaerobic. You‟re going to be kind of above your lactate threshold heart rate and you‟re going to be burning a lot of carbohydrates as a fuel and you‟re going to be using a little bit greater percentage of fast switch muscle fibers and ultimately doing a little bit more damage to your body, whereas if you want to go as fast as possible during a marathon, you‟re still staying aerobic for much of the time of that marathon. Really, it‟s towards the end of the marathon that you‟re kind of turning up the heat so to speak and up to that point, it‟s more like nutrition and hydration management. If I were going to run a half marathon and a marathon on consecutive days, I would be running the half marathon hard. So I would be going after a more intense pace during the half marathon and bringing myself into the pain table a little bit more during the half marathon knowing that I‟m going to be using a different energy system on the next day. So that being said, I would make sure that you‟re really fueled up with carbohydrates. Listen to the interview with Steve Born that we‟re about to do but make sure that you‟re getting in a good carbohydrate-containing meal with enough time for it to empty from your digestive system. Steve Born says “three hours, I tend to think closer to about two to three hours prior to the start of the half marathon” so I think the perfect scenario for this would be like a really clean burning carb like a couple of sweet potatoes like a couple of big sweet potatoes, put a little salt, a little honey on them and then go out and run your half marathon and make sure that you are keeping yourself from dipping too much into your carbohydrate or your protein reserves during the half marathon by taking in about every half hour or so a gel that has amino acids in it, like a Gu Roctane would be one example of that. and if you want to take that
  22. 22. to an even greater level of not tearing down muscle too much, kindof sparing your protein reserves for the next day‟s race and notbeing too sore after the half marathon, I would even consider takingin a good dose of amino acids like an amino acid powder likeBioletics makes or an amino acid capsule like the master aminopattern amino acid capsule about 30 minutes prior to the start ofthe half marathon, so now you‟ve got amino acids onboard as well.And then as soon as you finish that half marathon, you‟re going toprioritize your refueling and your muscle repair and recovery bygetting in a good carbohydrate-containing meal. I would be doingabout, again, 400-600 calories of carbohydrates kind of in multipledoses every hour and a half or two up until you‟re kind of totallyrefueled after that half marathon and including protein doses witheach of those meals so you know you‟re doing a lot of brown rice orkimwa or amaranth or millet or more sweet potatoes along withsome protein-containing foods like seeds, nuts, chicken, beef, fish,things of that nature, knowing that most of that is going to bedigested by the next morning so you don‟t have to worry abouteating meat on the day after or the day of the half marathon. Beforebed, your kind of half marathon dinner, you have some safecarbohydrates like again, a big sweet potato, little side portion ofprotein like some fish or something like that, a little bit of dark leafygreens, not too much fiber like some spinach or some batchoy orSwiss chard or some broccoli or something like that, and then forthe marathon, you get up the next morning and you have theconfidence that you‟re going to be using a different energy systemfor the marathon. So you fuel very similarly as you did before thehalf marathon but then for the marathon, and we‟ve done heart ratezone testing Brock, so we kind of know your zones but for themarathons, you‟re keeping yourself in about like a high zone two,low zone three, very steady pace all the way up to the 20-mile markand up to that point, you‟re just focusing on nutrition and hydrationneeds. You‟re trying to get in about 200 to 250 calories an hourfrom gels again are fine, the same type of gels you‟re using duringthat half marathon is fine and just sipping water when you‟re thirsty.And then, when you get to about the 20-mile mark at the marathon,you again start to kind of go into the pain caves similar to whatyou‟re doing the day before but the nice part is that you‟ve now gotadrenaline, you know you‟re almost done, you‟ve got lots of crowdsupport and so you‟re really relying as much on the emotionalcomponent to kind of keep you going in those last 10k or so asmuch as you are the physical component. And if I were in yourshoes, that‟s exactly what I would be doing for kind of the ultimatecombined time is pushing harder in the half marathon the first day,trusting you‟re going to be using a different energy system all theway up to the point where emotions are almost ready to take over
  23. 23. during the actual marathon and then finishing with a hard, final kick in the marathon.Brock: That‟s awesome! That‟s actually a lot more aggressive than I thought I would, like the advice that I get from you or that I didn‟t even been able to approach.Ben: Yeah! So that‟s the way that I‟d take it and I think you‟re crazy either way to do both of them but I‟m sure we‟ll be talking a little bit more between them as well but that‟s what I‟d do.Brock: Yeah! So anybody who‟s considering hiring Ben as a coach, this is the kind of stuff you can get from him. It‟s pretty awesome!Ben: Hey, thanks Brock! Alright, what do you think? Should we go into the Steve Born interview?Brock: Let‟s bring on Steve.Featured Topic:Ben: Hey folks, Ben Greenfield here and I have a guy on the line who is a fueling expert and he actually works with Hammer Nutrition out of Montana, actually not too far from where I‟m at up here in Washington State. His name is Steve Born, and Steve has a lot of experience specifically with ultra cycling. He has a very impressive ultra cycling racing career. For those of you who are not familiar with what that are, that‟s the really long bike rides like the race across America. Another kind of well-known one is the Furnace Creek. He‟s ridden in a lot of different, very well-known cycling tours and he really is kind of the expert when it comes to supporting yourself during endurance events but specifically during some of the other stuff that we‟re going to talk about today, really long workouts, multi-day tours, the type of fueling logistics that can get really kind of messy and set you up for failure if you don‟t know what you‟re doing. So Steve, thanks for coming on the call today.Steve: Ben, thanks for having me man! It‟s great to talk with you.Ben: Yeah and, I guess kind of a perfect place to start would be to basically, you‟ve done all of these long cycling events and if you want to pick one that you‟ve done that you kind of think is the best one to use as an example, when you fill yourself for these events, what are you doing? What are you doing before? What are doing after and what are you doing during and perhaps most importantly, and kind of what is the reasoning, and this is a really loaded
  24. 24. question, what‟s the reason behind why you‟re doing what you‟re doing as you go through a big, long event like this?Steve: Great question! My preparation, aside from training but fueling wise, actually starts weeks and weeks and weeks before the actual event. Probably, well the last big hoorah that I did in the world of ultra cycling sports was the devil Furnace Creek I do later is commonly known the Furnace Creek thousand 16. What I did was, I started at the finish line the first day afternoon before the race started. I did the course backwards with race officials and crew…Ben: Alright, and what do doing the course backwards involve? I take it as probably more than like a 40k bike ride.Steve: That was 508 miles. This Furnace Creek 5-layer out so I did the 508 miles backwards, got to the starting line hotel and enough time to get a few hours sleep and like anything, the clock is still going, it never stops. So in ultra distance events, one of the key things that you have to figure out is, I know I need some sleep but I don‟t want to sleep too much so as to give up time on my opponents but I want to sleep as much as necessary to regain some semblance of my form and have sometime to recuperate so I did the route backwards, slept for I think, it was about three and a half, four hours and then did the regular Furnace Creek 508. Again, told the other 60, 70, and 80 competitors whatever it was as the second half of the record and that took a lot of pressure off of me because I wasn‟t compelled to win it. It was just like finish this thing and I actually do it pretty good when all of a sudden I don‟t remember my placing but I think it was in the Top 15 or 20 so, I actually did pretty good and throughout the entire thousand 16 miles, I didn‟t even have so much as a flat tire but fueling the spot on, I mean, it was the best experience I had. Sure there were moments of great despair, really incredible peaks but after I was done there, there‟s a little voice that whispered in my ear that said “if you really want to know what going out on top feels like, you will never get a better opportunity” so that was my last big thing in ultra cycling sports but as they started to say, to me, one of the most important things that athletes can do and this applies to anybody, when I am so zealous about this is after all of your workouts, even its fairly short workouts, put some fuel back in your body as soon as possible. That allows your body as it adapts to the stresses that you‟re putting on and in training, it‟s as though your body is saying “you know what, if Steve is going to do this kind of workout to me tomorrow, I got to learn how to be better prepared” so the muscle tissue rebuilds stronger and your body‟s ability to store glycogen in the muscles increases so it‟s super easy to do. All you have to do is train and put some fuel with high quality food back into your system as soon as possible after all your
  25. 25. workouts leading up to a race. That in my opinion is what true carb loading is. It‟s not what you do the week before the race, it‟s not what you do the night before the race, and it‟s what you do in the first 60 minutes after all of your workouts leading up to the race. The more consistent you are with your training and the more consistent you are with ASAP post-workout refueling, you can build up a nice 90-minute reservoir of glycogen which is the first fuel your body‟s going to use and that‟s a distinct advantage over, having 90 minutes of this premium fuel is a distinct advantage over someone who either blew it off completely or waited too long so that‟s one thing that I‟m always get really zealous about and I over talk about it because it‟s just really important.Ben: So that folks kind of understand here, you‟re not saying that like the carbohydrates that you ate say after dinner or after a workout 30 days prior are the same carbohydrates you‟re going to be burning as a fuel 30 days down the road, you‟re just saying that kind of trains your body how to replace and absorb fuels more quickly?Steve: Right and in to store more of them in the muscle cells.Ben: Okay, so you‟re talking about actually increasing your storage capacity by making sure that you pay attention to taking care of your body after a workout.Steve: Right! Yeah, there‟s an enzyme called glycogen synthase which I know you‟ve heard about, it‟s super active in the first 30, 60, 90 minutes after a workout, that enzyme is responsible for taking your carbohydrate intake and it works with protein as well which is why we recommend a carb plus protein recovery drink or if you‟re using solid food, have some protein with your carbs but take advantage while this glycogen synthase is really active which is in the first 90 minutes. You do that and your body learns how to store more and more carbohydrates in the muscles and when you come to race day, you can have a nice reservoir fuel, a real premium high-quality fuel ready to serve you once the race begins so that‟s something that I think all athletes would really benefit from all those, when you‟re tapering for an event and you start slamming down triple the amount of food, your body is going “what do you want me to do with all these extra fuel?” the glycogen synthase enzyme is only active in the short window of time after a hard workout. So when you‟re tapering and certainly the night before a race, it‟s on sleep mode so all that extra food that you‟re eating, one of 2 things that are going to happen, it‟s going to come out the other end or it‟s going to be stored as dead weight, body fat. So my general rule leading up to a race is while they may change the ratio of how many carbs to protein the fat that I‟m eating, I don‟t really deviate too
  26. 26. much from what I‟ve been doing in training and that in other words, I don‟t just follow the sudden jack up my water intake or my food intake in the hopes of carb loading. So, that‟s really important and that‟s something I learned the hard way. I mean, I‟m guilty of going back to those pasta feeds for third, fourths and fifths, mistakenly thinking I am carb loading when in fact the enzyme that controls glycogen storage is on sleep mode and the body is going well and really don‟t know what to do with all this extra food except store it as fat.Ben: Yeah, and I think it‟s a really fine line for folks that they understand that that doesn‟t mean that you need to be eating a high carbohydrate diet day round but it does mean that you need to make sure that you‟re actual workouts are supported…Steve: Exactly!Ben: including your post-workout will tend to take that to the extreme and start to fuel with a 70%-80% carbohydrate diet when I don‟t think that‟s what you‟re saying that you necessarily do but you set yourself a post-workout.Steve: Right, exactly! In the week prior to a big race, I really don‟t have a big issue if someone wants to lightly tweak their ratio of carbs to protein to fat. Just don‟t go crazy, don‟t deviate from what got you there in the first place.Ben: Right!Steve: Your body‟s going to go “we‟ve been doing great all along in training and now you‟re just throwing a monkey wrench in this whole thing and what are you doing to me? why are you drinking three times as much water as you normally do?” and so, I think we tend to overcompensate and I learned the hard way that that‟s not how the body responds. So prior to a big race like any race but especially a big race like Furnace Creek, I want to make sure I have the maximum amount of glycogen available even if it is a finite amount, I„d rather have that there to serve me rather than to have very little onboard because it is the first few spill and if you enhance the first part of your race by tapping into your glycogen stores and using them efficiently, it can only benefit the latter part of your race.Ben: Gotcha! So let‟s say, I don‟t know when you actually kind of start looking at things differently from a total carb-protein-fat ratio or like a supplement standpoint or what but whether it‟s seven or 10 or 14 days out of the day before, aside from that morning when you wake up, is there anything special that you‟re doing in those days
  27. 27. leading up to a big, long workout or event like this aside from what you‟ve just described?Steve: No, not really, in fact, most of the time I‟m resting. The hays in the barn so to speak and it‟s true with training if you‟re not fit the week before the race, there‟s not a whole lot you can do during that time to get fitter and the same is true, I believe, with your food fuel intake. I don‟t increase it dramatically, I don‟t change the ratios dramatically, I just stay on the same path that got me through my training smoothly and successfully and I don‟t deviate too much from that so my body doesn‟t go “what are you doing to me?” so I really don‟t change a whole lot. I don‟t deviate from what got me there in the first place. And especially the night before the race, I‟ve seen a lot of people and again, I‟m guilty of this too. While this starts shoveling down food like there‟s no tomorrow and the body‟s going “where do you expect me to store all this?” it‟s not going in the muscles because again, the enzyme that controls glycogen storage is only active during a very short period of time after a workout and after that, it‟s basically on sleep mode so my rule with eating the night before the race is eat clean, eat quality carbohydrates sources, avoid the refined sugar, eat some good quality protein sources, whether it‟s fish or high quality cuts of beef or chicken. Drink water, save the alcohol in the desserts for after the race is over because they‟ll all taster better, even until you‟re satisfied and call it a night. You‟re done, there‟s not much more you can do. In fact, there‟s nothing more you can do so that‟s been my montri. Normally, I don‟t deviate a whole lot.Ben: Gotcha! And I think that‟s important for people to realize you touched on this, you‟re kind of reducing your levels of physical activity that week anyway so it‟s not like you have to eat a whole lot more just because your body is already getting some extra calories due to the fact that you are, as you say, resting.Steve: Yeah, the hays in the barn and anything you do at that point is probably not going to positively affect your race but it can certainly negatively influence your race so, I think that a lot of athletes tend to overcompensate, we worry an awful lot so we tend to overcompensate and I see this whether it‟s training or the night before the race, whether it‟s training or calorie consumption.Ben: Yeah! So the morning of the event, let‟s assume that we got a morning start going on. Pre-workout! What if you found it to be kind of the most important principles that have helped you before a really long workout like this or a really long event like this as far as what you‟re doing in the immediate for those last few hours before the actual event starts?
  28. 28. Steve: I do not eat anything for three hours prior to the start of any workout or race that lasts in excess of two, maybe two and a half hours. The reason for that is because the glycogen that I have stored in my muscles, if I eat too close to the start of the race say an hour or two that will influence insulin, it will elevate insulin levels that will create high activity of insulin which will cause the body to, I hate the word burn through but what‟s a fairly appropriate way of putting it but it will accelerate great at which your body utilizes those finite stores of glycogen that took you weeks and weeks and weeks to occur and the maximum typically is about 90 minutes or so of muscle glycogen but if you eat too soon prior to the start of the race say one to two hours, you will accelerate the rate at which your body is burning through those glycogen stores but I don‟t want to do that because I want them to work for me as long as they possibly can and so in order for insulin and all of its hormonal influences to go back down the baseline which is exactly where you want them prior to the start of the race, you need to finish any pre-race food consumption about three hours prior. Now, if it‟s an early morning race, I did this with triathletes a lot. I did not want anyone to sacrifice sleep-eat because it‟s not necessary. Now this just sounds really counter-intuitive but in 12 years of working at Hammer Nutrition and sharing this advice with others, 100% of the people who have applied this in their training, I mean, I‟m batting a thousand, 100% of the people who have applied this principle in training say it works like a charm even after a full night sleep and you wake up and your stomach‟s growling and your brain‟s going “I‟m hungry, feed me” your muscles are actually going “we‟re good to go, so let‟s do this thing” and here‟s the deal, during the night, what has been keeping your metabolism going is the glycogen stored in the liver, not the muscle glycogen and if you go to bed with 90 minutes of glycogen stored in the muscles, that‟s exactly what you‟re going to wake up with in the morning. You haven‟t drained 1 calorie of that so in essence, even though your stomach maybe growling and your brain maybe going “hey, I‟m on empty, feed me” you‟re not on empty, your muscles have the full load of glycogen that you went to bed with. So you can literally start an early morning race on an empty stomach. What has been keeping your metabolism going throughout the night is the glycogen stored in the liver and yes, when you wake up in the morning, its levels will be a little low so it‟s a good idea to top off liver glycogen stores and it only takes a couple two to 500 calories to do that, you don‟t need this 1000-calorie mega meal. The goal of the pre-race, pre-exercise meal is to top off liver glycogen storage. You only need two to 500 storage calories to do that and it‟s a good idea to do that but if only it‟ll put you in a better mood than a better frame of mind but you don‟t want to do that at a time that‟s going to negatively affect how
  29. 29. your body‟s going to use its muscle glycogen stores. So when it comes to a pre-workout pre-race meal, there are three options that athletes have and this applies for anything over two, two and a half hours. Anything under that, you don‟t have to worry about that but to allow your body to utilize its muscle glycogen stores as efficiently as possible, you need to complete a small meal three hours prior to the start. That will allow the food to digest and for insulin and all of its hormonal influences to go back down the baseline. If that is not logistically feasible and in my opinion, losing sleep is never logistically feasible. Have a little something prior to the start, about five or ten minutes. This is what I tell people who are doing half or full iron distance races. Have a shot of Hammer gel or a sip of your bottle of perpetuum about five, eight minutes prior to the start. By the time those calories are ingested, blood sugar levels are elevated, you‟re well into the swim and you won‟t have to worry about how your body negatively burns it‟s glycogen stores or if you‟re like me and I don‟t do triathlons, I just ride a bike, I will just simply get on my bike first thing in the morning and after I feel warmed up which for me takes about 15, 20 minutes or so depending on the weather and my stomach is like “okay, we‟re ready to take on some fuel” then I‟ll begin the refueling process and as long as I don‟t wait too long and as long as I don‟t wait two hours to start refueling, my body will work perfectly. So all three of those scenarios, finishing a pre-race pre-workout meal three hours prior, if you‟re just jointing for something prior to the start, have a little something that‟s super easy to digest, a serving or two of Hammer gel, a slate pre-mixed bottle of perpetuum, even a banana. If you know your stomach is going to handle that, have that about five to eight minutes prior to the start of the race or just begin the race on an empty stomach and start refueling shortly after you begin. I promise you, if you do that, you will see really noticeable results in the quality of your endurance and again, if it was just me saying this, I would just say “this is just coincidental” but in 12 years of working with literally thousands of athletes, every single one of them says it works. So even though it seems completely counter-intuitive, I would encourage all athletes especially long distance athletes, practice that in your workout. If you got an early morning workout, just get out of bed, get on a bike and just start refueling after you‟d begin your workout. If you got an early morning workout that involves swimming or whatever and fueling during that exercise, have a little something five to eight minutes prior but the real key no calories for three hours prior to the start and watch how your body performs, it will blow your doors off.Ben: Yeah, and I think that especially, and you touched on this during those really long events where you‟re fueling, the type of fuel you use is a little bit different that this becomes even more important.
  30. 30. Essentially, you don‟t want to be a carbohydrate-burning animal during a 508-mile bike ride right?Steve: No! You want your body fats to be your fuel source which they will be once you hit hour number two, number three and beyond as long as you don‟t overstep yourself with too many calories. When people oversupply their bodies with too many calories, in essence the body, at least to me, makes sense. The body says “you know, I had literally tens of thousands of calories that I was going to donate to your fueling needs but if you‟re going to try and do it all on your own, I can‟t help you. You‟re shutting me down, you‟re turning the fat-burning switch off” so to me, proper fueling is not how many calories can I stuff down my goal without getting sick and it‟s not trying to replace what I‟ve burned with x-out, with x or near x back in. To me, proper fueling is one of the least amount of calories I need to consume to keep my body doing what I want it to do hour after hour after hour, not what‟s the most calories I can shovel down my throat but what‟s the least amount because if anything, if I air on the not-enough side, that‟s a super easy problem to fix, you just consume more calories. However, if you overdo it on the calories at the very least, your stomach‟s going to rebuild. It might even start cramping as the body is pulling fluids and electrolytes away from the working muscles to aid in the digestive process so I really encourage athletes to forget about how many calories they‟re burning. That‟s an interesting figure to know that a place very little in terms of what can my body comfortably accept in return from me. Keep in mind all of you athletes, once you hit hour number two and beyond, the tens of thousands of calories from body fat stores become your body‟s fuel of choice and they will satisfy about two- thirds of your energy requirement and that‟s why you don‟t need to replace calories out with calorie in or even close to that, maybe about a third of what you‟re losing. Maybe, is about the most that your body can comfortably accept from you.Ben: So once we get in to you actually out there on the roads Steve, during 500 miles, 1000 miles on a bike, what kind of stuff are you eating?Steve: Well, when I did the double 508, that was the final testing ground for perpetuum. I‟ve been using it in my training. Interestingly, the developer of the product was making hand batches of that for me and it‟s a carbohydrate-protein-healthy fat food in a liquid form that‟s basically a meal in a bottle and the ratio of carbohydrates to protein, it‟s about seven or 8:1 and the reason we recommend that or we suggest that is because only about 5-15% of your energy requirements are going to be fulfilled from protein. So yes, in order to prevent your muscle tissue from breaking down completely, to
  31. 31. satisfy the body‟s 5-15% of its energy requirements coming fromprotein, you do need to add a little protein to your fuel mix but youdon‟t need a whole lot so the ratio, we believe, should be skewedmuch more in favor of carbohydrates. So perpetuum was designedto about an 8:1 ratio of complex carbohydrates to soy protein with alittle small amount of healthy fat called “Lysolecithin”. When yougive your body a little donation of fat, it rewards you by saying“thank you for not starving me of fat” and it tends to give your bodya cue to let go of the calories from its fat stores a little bit moreefficiently. We extrapolated that from dieters, way back when thebig dieting craze was eliminate all the fat from your diet. So whenpeople did that, they never lost any fat. Why? because the body‟slike “Hey! No fat coming in, no fat coming out.” It holds on to itsstores as a life-preserving mechanism so when you give your body asmall donation of fat during prolonged exercise, it not only helpsyour body feel satisfied on less calories. You don‟t feel all thesehunger pains but I believe it also sends a cue to the body to helpallow the body fat stores or the calories from body fat stores to be asmore efficiently as fuel so that‟s my primary fuel. I used that atleast two thirds to three quarters of the time. I was on my bike 75and a half hours during that time and I could‟ve certainly used thatfuel from beginning to end what I think I would‟ve put a gun to myhead if I had done that, but I needed the carbs, I needed the protein,the fat was helpful so I used that as my primary fuel, I would saytwo thirds to three quarters of the time. There were times duringthe middle of the night where it‟s just like “you know what, it‟sreally super concentrated carbs-protein-fat feel. I really don‟t feellike it especially because I‟m going up this 21-mile climb, it‟s only 3%that it‟s working me over pretty well. I need something easy todigest so I‟d switch over to Hammer gel. Back then, Heed was notavailable or I might have used that, a carbohydrate-only feel. So Iwould switch back and forth. I did use some solid food, the productthat is now the Hammer Bar, was the solid food that I used onoccasions just to satisfy the need to chew because again, drinkingyour fuel gets your food old after a while and I just wanted to havesomething solid to chew on so on occasions, I would have aHammer Bar. We add a few other things, the bananas and melonsand things like that that I would eat but I try to limit the solid foodbecause even if its super high quality, it always takes the body moretime, fluid and energy to get it through the digestive tract and Ilearned 1 year when I was just wolfing down the solid food hourafter hour after hour the middle of the night, I mean I felt lethargicand even sleepy. It was really hard especially during those earlymorning hours to stay awake. Why? Because my body was pullingfluid and blood and electrolytes away from the working muscles,diverting them to the digestive tract just to aid in the digestion andbreak down of that solid foods so my rule with solid food is in a long