Ben Greenfield Podcast 237


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Ben Greenfield Podcast 237

  1. 1. Podcast #237 from[0:00:00.0]Introduction:In this episode of the Ben Greenfield fitness podcast: Lasik eye surgery forsports performance, natural remedies for restless leg syndrome, how to getrid of side stitches, can blood sugar go up during exercise, which artificialsweeteners are good, and is bench press bad for your shoulders?Brock: Well, welcome back to North America Ben!Ben: Hey, thanks man! I’ve picked up some pretty good Vietnamese in the pastweek.Brock: Oh yeah!Ben: Well cultured, well travelled traveller. “Xin chao” …Brock: Did you just call me a goat?Ben: Actually, I just said “hello” and also exhausted my complete knowledge ofVietnamese vocabulary.Brock: You’re up on me still.Ben: I typically make a habit of trying to learn a language before I gosomewhere and this kinda cripped up on me and I arrived in Vietnamexpecting that it wouldn’t really be much of an issue, kinda like it is whenwe do our triathlon trip to Thailand how you can get by with your wholekinda pigeon English.Brock: Oh yeah, waiving your arms and using broad words was just fine.Ben: Right. I take papaya and coffee please. But there not to be had, there waspretty much confusion over just about anything that I said. Like I wouldorder (I remember) salt in the morning and they’d bring me latte becausesalt sounds a little bit like latte.Brock: I guess.Ben: Exactly, and I ordered sparkling water and I got some sliced mango. Thatwas interesting.
  2. 2. Brock: Well you know, I’d take that over sparkling water any day.Ben: Yeah, exactly. Because it’s just like perrier …. the sliced mangoes. Ingeneral, I will make a better attempt should I go back to Vietnam to work alittle bit more on the language but the triathlon went well.Brock: That’s what I’m gonna say, it didn’t hold you back at all ‘cause you came in5th over-all and 1st in each groupers. Congratulations for kicking someserious butts!Ben: It felt good for the first triathlon of the season although I do need to startrunning my bike a little bit longer I think. Not like long longer but I’vepretty much spent like going on 15 min mountain bike rides and thatdidn’t cut it for a 62k time trial so I’m gonna need….Brock: Yeah, all by yourself too aren’t you sort of a stuck between the pros and agegroupers riding in no man’s land.Ben: Yeah, I was…. to tell you what, for people listening in just went out boringall the folks who don’t really get a crap about triathlon who are listeningin, we’ll put a link in the show notes to the race report. I’ll write myself todo that but I got a race report all written up, got some pictures of all theweird foods that I ate over there and all that jazz. So….Brock: I guess so it looks you had fun, maybe not quite fun as we had in Thailandmostly because I wasn’t there. Are you gonna do that trip again? Are yougoing to Thailand?Ben: You know I’m on the fence about it, I guess like if there are bunch oflisteners who have chosen to go, I’ll put the trip together. It’s been takenover by a group called Challenge which means it’s probably gonna be evenbetter because this Challenge group puts on really, really good events. ButI guess I would need to hear from listeners and if you’re a listener andlistening in you wanna do the Thailand trip, that’s basic it comes out aboutlike November 20th something through the 1st week in December. Leave acomment on the show notes over at or fire me anemail, I guess I’ll start gauging interest and if people wanna do it, I’llprobably need 10 people or so to wanna go to make it worthwhile to putthe trip together for folks.Brock: And I can speak from personal experience that it is well worth it. It was areal once in a lifetime kinda experience although I may end up doing itagain and it will be twice in a lifetime experience. But I’ll bring my ownbike this time.
  3. 3. Ben: Yeah! So we should probably just change the title of this podcast to Asiantravel tips.Brock: So, there you go…..Ben: Let’s do it.News Flashes:[0.05:02.0]Brock: Alright! As always, Ben will now bring down the knowledge upon us.Throw out the knowledge bombs.Ben: I’m gonna go grab my steak out of the refrigerator and chew on it when wetalk about this first issue that ……Brock: No! You can’t eat meat, what are you crazy? especially not red meat.Ben: You don’t wanna know how many tweets and Facebook post I got aboutthis whole TMAO and red meat issue, you know I kinda blew a lot of whatpeople were asking me about off just because a) there’s been a lot of reallygood articles written on it by folks who I respect in the nutritionenvironment. Guys like Paul Jaminet author of “Perfect Health Diet” andMark Sisson and Dave Asprey, Chris Creaser and Chris Masterjohn, a lotof these folks whom I consider to have their head screwed on prettystraight when it comes to nutrition have kinda debunked the study thatcame out but those of you who aren’t really familiar with what’s going onhere is there was this latest media uproar over the fact that red meat isonce again being blamed as the primary cause of atherosclerosis and heartdisease and basically lighting off a nuclear bomb within your body and theidea behind this is the carnitine. The carnitine that’s found in red meatwhich ironically can also be found in dairy, in tempeh, in fish and stuff likethat too. But basically, this was a study that had a couple of differentcomponents to it and what the study was they fed people these 8 ouncesteaks and they also get the people along with steaks a side of 250 mg of acarnitine supplement and what they’ve found in the folks who they gavethese to is that the omnivores/the meat eaters showed increased blood andurine levels of these stuff called trimethylamine oxide or TMAO and that’sthe compound that is purportedly associated with cardiovascular diseaseand the vegetarians and vegans who somehow defied their nutritionalparadigms and actually ate the steak, they showed lower levels of thisTMAO in their blood and their urine. And so, the other thing that theytested is what was producing the TMAO and so what they also did with
  4. 4. folks is they administered antibiotics to them and so they totally wiped outtheir gut flora and that eliminated this steak induced increase in TMAOand so what that told the researchers was that it was the actual intestinalmicro biota (the gut bacteria in the stomach) that was metabolizing thiscartinine from the supplement and the carnitine from the steak intoTMAO and then what they did was they allowed the human subjects’ gutsto kinda repopulate with good bacteria so they gave them some time afterthose antibiotics and they gave them more steak and they found that onceagain the increase in TMAO appeared and that kinda confirmed thatwhat’s happening when you eat a steak is your gut flora is metabolizingcarnitine and that’s producing this increased in TMAO. Now, they went onto mice then and it’s important that the type of mice that they moved on towere special type of mice. These are what are called ApoE deficient miceand by giving these that ApoE deficient status, what they were doing wasthey were increasing those meece risk of heart disease. So, that’s a specialgenetic risk marker for heart disease when you knockout ApoE like that sothey were accelerating the extent to which those mice would getatherosclerosis and they did find that in that strain of ApoE deficient micethat the dietary carnitine indeed increased TMAO levels and in the micethat accelerated atherosclerosis. Now, it’s important to realize that thathappen in the mice, it didn’t happen in the humans. It didn’t observe theincreased in the atherosclerosis in the humans all they observed was theincreased in TMAO in humans but in mice when they did this geneticalteration to them and gave them the carnitine, it did indeed increasedatherosclerosis; in other words, what it did was it impaired the mouse’sability to remove cholesterol from their cell wall so it created this surplusof cholesterol in the cell wall of the heart and it sped up atherosclerosis.So, if you kinda a little issues with these and I’m just kinda totally coverthe surface and will try and link in the show notes to some articles that goin to this in greater detail but the first is that there has been zeroassociation that has been proven between TMAO and cardiovasculardisease in humans.[0:10:11.2]The only thing that we’ve seen is that if you take a rodent (an ApoEdeficient mouse) and you give it a bunch of carnitine, that is gonnaincrease it’s risk for atherosclerosis and we’ve seen nothing at all like thatin humans, atherosclerosis or build up of cholesterol in the arterial cellwall was not measured at all in humans. So, that’s the first thing. The nextthing was that the gut flora (all of these different hundreds of species thatare living in our gut) were metabolizing and creating this increase in
  5. 5. TMAO and there was no attempt made to look in to the gut health of thepeople that were in this study. And since we know that about 90% of thehuman population has gut…. what’s called dysbiosis or imbalances in thegood vs. bad bacteria in the digestive tract, pretty good chance that thesefolks just basically had some pretty serious gut issues going on anywaysbecause if you draw 10 people out of the population then 9 out of 10 ofthem has some bacterial issues in the gut then you can’t go and say, “well,you take a healthy person with a healthy gut, you give them steak and thesame thing’s gonna happen.” So, that’s another issue. As I mentionedearlier, another thing that can raise TMAO is fish and there are so manystudies that show that fish is consistently associated with bettercardiovascular health, both fish oil as well as fish that this kinda flies in theface of any suggestion that steak will increase your risk of cardiovasculardisease. Now, the other thing that you have to kinda taken to account andthis is part of the final thing I wanted to mention is that there wasabsolutely no attempt made to control for the type of meat that these folkswere eating and from everything that I can see it was a typical grain-fedfrom commercially raised cattle filled with hormones and antibiotics andinflammatory omega 6 fatty acids and everything else and this wasn’t like agrass-fed, pastured omega 3 type of beef.Brock: Not happy cows.Ben: Exactly. They were unhappy cows. So, that really is just kinda a briefoverview of what was going on, what were the problems of this study. Now,I just realized I said that I was gonna put in the show notes a bunch oflinks to some of the good articles that I’ve been written on this but youknow what, I’ve already been doing that over on the Facebook page over so just head over to there and you’ll be able to seethe discussion (we had a pretty good discussion going for all the folks whoare on the Ben Greenfield facebook page) so head over there if you wannalink to some of the other things that have been talked about when it comesto this study.Brock: Awesome. That’s good to know that I don’t have to throw away all myhappy cow meat.Ben: You don’t. You don’t. But speaking of nutrition, I also wanted to mentiona couple of other things. First is I tweet about how in our household wegenerally use coconut flour instead of almond flour and I’d link to a reallygood article about the superiority of almond flour vs. coconut flour andthere are few things that you should know if you’re trying to go gluten free
  6. 6. or trying to work wheat flour out of your diet or maybe thinking thatalmond flour is the way to go. The first is that the calorie count of almondflour is pretty damn big. So, one cup of almond flour has equivalent ofabout 90 almond in it. So, that means that you can easily easily from justlike one serving of like a baked goodie made with almond flour, get a good600-700 calories if you’re not careful. And that’s one issue is the calorieissue vs. coconut flour which is much lower in terms of the total caloriecount, it comes out to about ½ to 1 quarter as to many calories. Almondflour also tends to be pretty high in this polyunsaturated fatty acids (thisomega 6 fatty acids) and you know there’s a lot of evidence to show thathigh levels of omega 6 fatty acids (especially heated omega 6 fatty acids)encourage kind of an inflammatory response in the body and can alsodeplete your anti-oxidants and so especially for people who are alreadyexercising and kinda beating up their bodies, consumption of almondflours are good way to kinda overload your body with even moredetrimental inflammation. So, that’s something else to be careful of, thefats in almond flour aren’t heat stable and so processing and heat and lightand pressure cause all those double bonds in that polyunsaturated fat tobreak and that also can cause some damage to your cell walls becausewhen you’re creating a lot of free radicals like that just like excessiveexercise can create free radicals, excessive consumption of almond flourcan also do that.[0:15:18.2]One other issue that’s kinda listed in this article which I’ll link to somefolks can go and check out is that there are some components of almondssuch as oxalates and phytic acids. Phytic acids are kinda digestive inhibitorthat can inhibit some mineral absorption. Oxalates are something thattend to not be as much as an issue unless you have leaky gut syndrome orgut dysbiosis which I’m talking about or something like that but what itcomes down to is if you’ve got some gut issues and you’re trying to gogluten free and heal your gut or something like that and you think you’redoing yourself a favour by switching to almond flour, you’re probably not.So, that’s basically the reasons that almond flour is inferior to coconutflour.Brock: Personally I actually can’t really taste the difference either so if one’s gotthat many more benefits going forward, it’s not like you’re sacrificing tastefor it.
  7. 7. Ben: Right, exactly. So, those are 5 reasons to avoid almond flour and we’ll linkto that one in the show notes as well. And then I also wanted to get in tosomething interesting that came up when it comes to sleep and this was anarticle in BBC (on and they talked about the myth of an 8 hrsleep night and this is something I mentioned in a couple of recent podcastbut basically it is the idea that we’re supposed to sleep 8 hours through thenight and in fact there are hundreds and hundreds of references to historyfrom Homer’s Odyssey to anthropological accounts of tribes in Africa to amore segmented sleeping pattern which basically is this first sleep thatbegins about 2 hours after dusk and then this waking period of 1 or 2 hoursduring the night and then the second sleep and during that waking periodpeople are socializing and using the restroom, having sex, doing religiousactivities like praying and basically just engaging in social activities andthings of that nature during the night and then going back to sleep and it isa relatively new phenomenon this whole concept of the 8 hr sleep night orgoing in to this panic or being all stressed out if you wake up during thenight and you can’t go back to sleep and you think this lack of an 8 hr sleepcycle is gonna somehow do some damage to your body and I think it iseven being mitigated by a lot of this devices like xmotion, jawbone, fitbitand the zwave. Anyways, these devices (there’s tons of them, dozens ofthem) and you wake up and they tell you like how many hours in a row youslept and it makes it look bad if you actually woke up during the nightmultiple types or your sleep was interrupted but the fact is you don’tactually have to worry about it that much and this is something I’ve beengetting more and more in to the habit of this. Like when I wake up duringthe night, if I’m awake, awake and I awake up during the night, then I willget up and I’ll just you know, I’ll mall around sometimes I’ll eat something,I’ll put on my blue light blocking glasses and kinda dim my computer alittle bit so it’s got more of kind of that torch type of light rather than amodern artificial light type of background light to it and I work on thecomputer, read a little bit and then when I’m tired, go back to sleep.There’s also this idea behind sleep velocity and that is the fact that onceyou started sleeping it’s easier to get back to sleep. So, I also pay attentionto that. So, if I wake up during the middle of the night and I got to use thebathroom and I can tell right away, I’m like “Wow, I’m really tired” I justflop back in the bed and go back to sleep. But if I listen to my body andthere’s not much of a kinda sleep velocity component there and I’m justawake and alert, I stay awake for a little while before I go back to sleep. I’lllink to this article in the show notes to this episode so that people can goread it but I just wanted to get out there that I no way condone the ideathat 8 hrs of solid sleep (uninterrupted sleep) is necessary something that
  8. 8. go for, I’m a bigger fan of just making sure that for any 24 hr cycle, you tryand get something close to about 8 hrs of sleep.Brock: And I don’t know if they addressed in that same article but I know thequality of sleep has a lot to do with how much you actually need as welllike getting 3 hrs of good deep sleep is better than getting sort of weirdlylose light sleep for an entire 8 hrs so you wake up and you look at the clockand you go “Oh no, it’s only 4 o’clock in the morning. I better go back tosleep” or it may actually equal out if you had a deeper sleep in that 4 hrs orwhatever it was.[0:20:07.2]Ben: Right, exactly.Brock: I think it was Nora Gedgaudas that was talking about that.Ben: I think she did bring that up and this article actually goes in to the sleepcycles and how long you should stay in each sleep cycle and that type ofthing kinda spells up the differences in terms of your stage 1, your stage 2,your stage 3 and your deep sleep cycle and about how long you’resupposed to be in each so what it comes down to is about every 60 mins,every 100 mins you go through these 4 different stages of sleep as long asyou’ve got a few of those 60-100 minute sleep cycles that you go through,you’re pretty good. What’s the number for this episode by the way?Brock: It’s episode 237.Ben: Okay. So, if you want links to any of these stuff go to the show notes forepisode #237. We’ll have links to any of the studies, any of the resourcesthat we talk about and we also will have what’s called MyList for thisepisode, which is this helpful handy dandy list that we put together thatyou can access on Facebook, you can share with your friends, you can belike, hey, here’s some interesting things that….. like later on we’re gonnatalk about restless leg syndrome and things of that nature and you’ll beable to share with your friends. If your friend has restless leg syndrome,you can say, “why you go and check out this MyList that Ben and Brockhad on the Ben Greenfield fitness show” and just kind of a handy weddy,you can share stuff around. That’s one of the reasons that we createdMyList for this show is to make it easier for you to share the wealth so tospeak.Brock: That’s be like that it’s got pictures instead of just words.
  9. 9. Ben: We’re big on pictures. Yes.Brock: Who wants to read when you can look at pretty pictures?Ben: Speaking of reading audible, audible sponsored this episode.Brock: That’s right. Because if you go to you are freaking screwed‘cause all you gonna get….Brock: They’ll just take all your money.Ben: They can take your money, they’re not gonna give you any free books, andthey’re gonna run away laughing. They’re gonna kick you in the knees andrun away laughing but if you go to, all of asudden audible becomes your very good friend because they will give you afree book and that also means that they sponsor the show when you go And we always like to kinda pick a book for youguys. I’m going to tell you the next book that I have queued up in mykindle ‘cause I’ve been reading a lot on education, on kids, and educationso I recently read, radical unschooling, and I read….. (what else did I read,I should have read a book on short term memory loss) I read a book onone called radical unschooling, one called the 100 good questions to askyour children (as like conversation starters) and ah…..gosh, I’m blankingon the last book….Brock: What is that on your ear? What have you shoved up your nose?Ben: Exactly, what is in your nose? I’m gonna start in to doing some morestudying up on the whole…. I was kinda burnt up on whole superhumanthing for a little while after the superhuman conference but I’m gettingback into that and this next book that I’ve got queued up is called“Enhancing Human Capacities” and you can find it and it covers all the major forms of humanenhancement like cognitive, mood, physical, moral, anti-aging, lifeextension, and it not only gets in to some of the ways that you can enhanceyour biology and your neural state but also kinda goes into some of thegeneral like conceptual and moral questions about you know enhancingour bodies and how far is too far in terms of everything from kinda like thewhole Oscar Pistorius deal on him enhancing his body with the limbs thathe added and he was using in the Olympic track and field to you know thewhole idea about hormone replacement with testosterone and thyroid andwhether or not that’s illegal or ethical and it comes as an interesting thing,
  10. 10. it’s written by some medical ethicist and a….. anyways, I’d recommend youcheck it out it’s called “Enhancing Human Capacities”.Brock: Sounds awesome.Ben: Over So, what do you think? Shall we jump in tosome special announcements?Brock: I thought we already had.Special Announcements:Brock: Okay, so I have called you Mr. Webinar in the past and it’s still valid, it’sstill true when you’ve got one coming up on April 27th. You’ve got awebinar about “ask Ben” anything about minimalist triathlon training.That’s for the inner circle members, right?Ben: Yes, and I have been called worst than Mr. Webinar so you’re doing alrightthere.Brock: Yeah, I’ll stop calling you that after you stop doing so many webinars.Ben: April 27th. I’ll like to call them spreecast. It’s kinda sexier, spreecast. So,I’ve got a spreecast which is a live video spreecast and that’s for all of myinner circle members and it’s called “Ask me Anything about MinimalistTriathlon Training” and that’s basically this whole triathlon trainingprotocol where I’m training anywhere from 6-9 hrs a week in preparationfor Ironman Canada.[0:25:23.0]So, I’m gonna answer your questions, nutrition training, etc. It’s 10 bucksa month to be member of the Ben Greenfield Fitness Inner Circle. Wellworth every penny if you ask me based on the amount of bonuses andwebinars and pdf’s and everything else that we have in there. So, checkthat out. That’s gonna be April 27th, which is a Saturday evening (I believe)at 6pm and of course replays of that would be available and then also thisweekend April 20th for any personal trainers, physicians (chiropracticphysicians), anybody who’s kinda into the whole fitness medical workingwith clients type of thing. I’m teaching another cast on adrenal exhaustion,everything that you need to know about adrenal exhaustion andovertraining and not only identifying it but also digging someone out of ahole when they are in that state of adrenal exhaustion. The differentphases of adrenal exhaustion, how long it takes to recover from it, thattype of thing. So, you can access that by applying to become a member of
  11. 11. the superhuman coach network and you can do that over So, that’s the small group of personal trainers andpractitioners globally who I mentor and kinda put through basicallymodules each month and in terms of educating them to also become Mr.and Mrs. Webinars.Brock: Don’t forget Mrs. Webinar, she’s my favourite. While we’re talking aboutsuperhuman stuff I know you’ve got the superhuman live event down in hdformat in downloadable format for a small price.Ben: Yeah, we’ve put together the entire Become Superhuman Live eventheadlined by folks like Nora Gedgaudas and Dave Asprey, MonicaReinagel and Ray Cronise, myself.Brock: Phil Maffetone.Ben: Phil Maffetone, put it all together with mp3 audio downloads, hd videos,(these are different than the spreecast) slides, take away notes, justbasically all access pass that never expires. Will put a link on the shownotes but you can get access to all that, you can download it. I’m not a bigfan of this type of conferences where you buy access to the conference andyou just get to watch the streaming and you can’t download. You candownload these, I already put them in the audio form too so you can listento them while you’re biking or running or working out or whatever. Andwe’ll put a link in the show notes for this episode, you can go buy thatentire thing, it’s under a hundred bucks so, it’s actually $97 which trulyisn’t under $100, it’s basically $100 but 97 just sound way cooler.Brock: Thanks very much! What I’m wondering is, do you include some of thesuperhuman cocktails?Ben: You know what, if you buy it and you send me your receipt I’ll see if I canfigure out how to toss some vodkan pomegranate juice yourr way.Brock: A tiny little, to another bottle of vodka.Ben: I gotta find some more styrofoam cartons, I can send those out too withfolks. That would be fun actually, send somebody a superhuman cocktail.Just mix it, mix it and send it out.Brock: I don’t know if it’s legal.Ben: Well, you know what, I used to shipped out kombucha when I was adistributor for Beyond Organic and so I’ve got a bunch of packagingmaterials. Maybe we should do that. How about this? If you are a podcast
  12. 12. listener and you go grab that superhuman live event and you send me yourreceipt, I will choose 3 people, I will go in my kitchenand I will mix you a superhuman cocktail, I will put it in a nice pcb freewater bottle for you, I will get in to a thermo container and I will send asuperhuman cocktail to your house. How do you like that? I’ve no clue ifwhat I’d just said was legal, I’m probably gonna be arrested but I’ll do it.Brock: Don’t tell the USPS.Ben: Will figure out a way to put it on Silk Road and have people pay in bitcoinor something like that. So the last thing… the way, have you heardabout that? Silk road.Brock: No.Ben: Basically, what you can do is…. and I’ve done all this just to see if you cando it. I’ve done everything except actually ordering illegal drugs. What youcan do is, you can install a cloaked browser called Tor on your computerand you can enter a secret url which you have to dig into some variouswebsites. So, just go google silk road url. You type in the url the silk roadand then you go to website like coinbase or any of these other websiteswhere you can buy bitcoin which is digital currency and you buy digitalcurrency, it’s really expensive right now.[0:30:11.9]I think it’s about $90 right now for 1 bitcoin and what you do is you cantake this bitcoins and using this cloaked browser you can buy any numberof illicit drugs, guns, weapons, anything through the silk road and get itshipped to your house you know, whatever shrooms, weed,pharmaceuticals, anything, it’s pretty nuts. So, I should’ve went on this silkroad, I was surfing around looking in all these stuff that’s available ontheir site, dang! It’s this entire virtual, black market that’s completelyuntraceable by federal authorities because of the way that this Tor browseris installed on your computer so, you know and I’m not a wiz bang geek oranything like that. It took me about an hour to set my computer up justbecause I’m curious if I can do it to get to the point where I would be ableto just like with 1 click be able to order pretty much anything off with thatsilk road website, just pretty nuts.Brock: And now, Ben’s computer is completely controlled by the Russian mafia.Ben: Yes. Anyways, though so if we decide to sell superhuman cocktails we’ll doit through the silk road. Then the last thing I wanted to mention was that
  13. 13. for people who are in New York, Connecticut area, kinda that NorthEast….I’m teaching a workshop, a triathlon workshop there in Stanford,Connecticut on Saturday, May 18th. It will be a 2 hr workshop called “TheEssentials of Triathlon” I’m gonna do an hour on triathlon fuelling, anhour on triathlon training, add in a bunch of Q & A, it’s basically 50 bucksto go to the whole workshop and the reason I’m doin over at Stanford isI’m there for a conference that weekend, I’ve decided to tack on an extraday, stick around and we’re gonna put a link in the show notes. That’s aSaturday, May 18th for anybody up in Stanford, Connecticut. Head on overand reserve your spot. Stanford is close to Fairfield and New York andNew Jersey and all these cities up there so, if you know of people in thatarea or you yourself wanna attend, check it out, we’ll put a link in the shownotes and come hang out in Stanford.Listener Q & A:Craig: Hey Ben, after listening to your podcast with Dr. Eric Cobb, I waswondering if you thought that lasik eye surgery might positively effectperformance. Thanks Ben. Love the show, bye.Ben: Lasers.Brock: Don’t point lasers at your eyes.Ben: Lasers.Brock: I listened to the interview of Dr. Cobb and I’m not entirely sure what Craigis referring to. Did Dr. Cobb say something about it being….. like the visionwas really important?Ben: Well, this is actually something I talked about. We do (I was talking aboutthe superhuman coach network) and one of the modules that I teach inthere is the performance module and during the performance module, oneof the things that I go into is that there is certain parameters ofperformance that are ideal for you to optimize if you really want your bodyto be “superhuman”. It’s a performance module but what I get into areendurance, strength, power, speed, range of motion, and balance. Thoseare kind of the biggies and in the balance component of that workshop I doget into like 3 components of balance that really allow you to perform athigh capacity or to have really good control of your body and your nervoussystem. And it’s part of that balance module I go in to your vestibularsystem which are the sense organs in your ears that give you awareness ofwhere your head is at in space and that kinda help you with movement.
  14. 14. Your somatosensory system which is the prop reception and was called thekinesthesia within your joints. Your actual like, believe it or not your kneejoint, your elbow joint, etc. Those are forms of your almost like organs thatcan send movements and give you awareness to joint position. And in thelast system that I get in to when I teach that particular workshop is thevisual system which is your eyesight and knowing with your eyes whereyour body is in relation to space and in relation to the ground. Andtechnically if you have a screwed up vision system, one third of thatbalance component is off so you can influence your ability to maintainkind of a good line of gravity (a vertical line of gravity) with a minimumbase of support with minimal body collapse. So, like this single leg standsface of running or like doing a single leg squat, step in up a curve, dancing,whatever. So, there are definite advantages to strengthening your visualsystem.[0:35:04.0]Brock: Okay. I see, so what he is getting at is the fact that even if you’re wearingglasses you don’t necessarily have that whole (may not) 360 degree butlike the fuller range of peripheral vision and maybe like lower down visionand stuff. So, you’re missing parts of it.Ben: Yeah, there’s not a huge advantage of lasik over glasses in terms of theactual change in visual perception. It’s more like a logistical thing, like it’shard to wear glasses sometimes when you’re playing sports like you haveto worry about the breaking or falling off when you strap them on with oneof those dorky rubber band things. They fog up when its humid, like youmentioned your peripheral vision is kinda reduced a little bit when you’rewearing glasses and sports like baseball and basketball, football andhockey, lacrosse, any of these type of sports. They can prevent you fromplaying and obviously they’re completely not suited to sports likeswimming or say like boxing or cage fighting or something like that. I don’tknow how many of our listeners are doing cage fighting. But still….Brock: I’ve broken so many pairs of glasses ‘cause of cage fighting.Ben: Yeah. I know it’s a big issue especially if they’re in Canada.Brock: Ridiculous. Such a bummer.Ben: Yeah. You know, you take Tiger Woods for example. He was good beforehe had lasik surgery but he actually improved his average score after hegot lasik and he averaged like 4 under par before lasik and if you look at
  15. 15. his scores after he got lasik surgery, it changed to close 10 under par. Andthere’s a bunch of other pro-golfers who’ve gotten lasik to the point wherethere has been a debate on some kinda like sport performance kindacircles you know, ESPN had an article about this, I believe the Wall StreetJournal even did something about whether or not like FTA or not FTA orwhether or not what’s its called, the WEDA should consider lasik to bekinda afterwards put being like a performance enhancing drug ‘cause it is,it’s body enhancement. It really is you know, we talked about this a littlebit earlier in the audible book that I recommended but if it’s illegal to takesteroids because they give you an illegal performance enhancingadvantage, you’d risk surgery for the same kinda small comment inperformance.You know, there is kinda an argument out there that maybe lasik is unfairbecause it allows someone who can get lasik is in a financial position to getlasik or is willing to kinda go out there and get surgery for lasik the abilityto be a better athlete. And you look at Lebron James, he got lasik and hesays he can see the rim of the net a lot more clearly. He’s done an interviewon lasik and his vision went from 24-2015 which is pretty significant and ifyou look at his field goal percentage, he went from 46 to 49% which is alsofairly significant. There’s a bunch of baseball players that have gotten lasikand improved their batting average post surgery. So, you can also look atpro-athletes like Troy Aikman and Tiki Barber and a lot of these folks formvisual acuity is pretty important, they’ve gotten lasik. So……Brock: I actually had….. I haven’t had lasik but I had radial keratotomy which issort of the pre-cursor which was done with the diamond knife rather thanwith a laser back in 1991 and my vision is considerably better. I wasn’t ableto see the clock from the bed before I had the surgery and it’s now 20 someyears later and I still see not 20/20 but pretty darn close. I think it reallyhelped me.Ben: Yeah.Brock: That is not quite as much as of a measurable way as Tiger Woods but……Ben: You’re not 10 under par yet?Brock: Not quite.Ben: There’s relatively low risk to, I mean. Some people say that the side effectslike halos and glare double vision and night blindness, I’ve seen
  16. 16. complaints about dry eyes and stuff like that but I believe that thoseare……Brock: I have pretty much every one of those symptoms. I have the dry eyes, Idon’t have halos but I do have 6 points that come out of light especially atnight if I’m driving down a highway and the headlights coming towards meand 6 points coming out of them but I just completely gotten used to it, itdoesn’t faze me anymore. The night blindness is a little bit annoying butit’s another thing that you just adjust to.Ben: What about the unicorns and the rainbows? The fly crusher vision as youpodcast….Brock: Oh, I always had those. That didn’t….Ben: Anyways though, I’m personally at the standpoint that you try some otherstuff before you resort to surgery. Some of the methods that I kinda go into in that performance workshop that I teach in the superhuman coachnetwork is to use blue light glare blocking glasses like a pair of gamingglasses like gunnars when you’re working on your computer. You know,you eat a lot of these anti-oxidant rich food specifically like lutein richfoods like spinach and broccoli, eggs (especially eggs with the yolk), evenpeas and zucchinis and stuff like that have pretty decent amount of luteinin them.[0:40:13.2]Fish and fish oil can really help out as well, avoiding small fonts, avoidingeye strain can help out, getting enough sleep can help. There’s also thismethod out there called the Bates Method. The Bates Method is analternative therapy, it kinda flies under the radar but it’s aimed atimproving your eyesight and it actually trains your ocular muscles to learnhow to more accurately change lens shape and it’s a series of visualizationand movement protocols that you go through and some people swear bythis Bates protocol in terms of being basically well, the title of the manual(it’s published about it) is called “Yoga for the Eyes”. There’s another bookcalled “The Bates Method, a complete guide to improving eyesightnaturally” that something I would consider doing will be like eye trainingbefore I’d get in to full on surgery (just because I generally train just toavoid surgery in general, knives and lasers and stuff like that when I can).Brock: There’s actually a fantastic book by Aldous Huxley called “The Art ofSeeing” where he actually (I don’t know if it’s the Bates protocol that he
  17. 17. was going through) but he did a similar thing, he went from not being ableto actually read anything smaller than like a billboard to being able to reada normal book just by training his ocular nerves and muscles and stuff, it’sa pretty awesome book.Ben: Yeah. I mean it’s certainly something that I look in to and we’ll put a linkin the show notes to the Bates Method if you wanna go read up on it. Ithink there’s even like a pretty comprehensive Wikipedia entry on theBates Method. But I’ll look into that and then some of these other waysthat you can improve your eyesight prior to necessarily going for lasik buteither way, yeah, improving your eyesight can definitely improve yourperformance so you know, I guess, all the stuff I just recommended goesway above and beyond just eating a carrot but certainly things to try (inaddition to eating your carrots).Brock: Who doesn’t love carrots?Ian: This is a question for my father. He’s got restless legs for almost quite afew years. Every time he goes to sleep at night he has twitches as soon ashe shuts his eyes and twitch his shoulders. He doesn’t do anysupplementation and he’s just got his test back of a sort of a lowish thyroidand I’m interested to see sort of what his next startup supplementationeverything he’s been lacking and anything and what sort of diet he shouldbe going and all what we see. I think it’s inflammatories. Glad to hear backfrom you.Ben: Alright, restless legs syndrome and this is different by the way. I’m surethis happened to you Brock where you just like lying there and going tosleep at night and your legs is kinda twitch. Off and on every….Brock: Yeah, when you step off a curve or something in your half dream state.Ben: My wife does that and the whole bed shakes, it’s horrible, it’s scarring.Brock: My girlfriend actually punched me in the nose in the middle of the nightlast night doing that.Ben: Yeah. It’s borderline partner views. Restless leg syndrome is totallydifferent than that. It’s an actual neurological disorder where your legs likethrob and pull and creep and you get all these really unpleasant sensationand these irresistible urge to move your legs. It’s kinda weird the way thatpeople have described……Brock: I think people described it as being like their bones are itchy.
  18. 18. Ben: Yeah exactly. So, you can get really bad insomnia obviously there’s kindathis psychological burden that goes along with that as well. Unfortunatelybecause it can happen a lot of times due to some dopamine deficits.There’s a ton of docs out there who basically just prescribed what arecalled dopaminergic medicines where there are just subscribing orprescribing people who have restless legs syndrome with the same stuffyou’d prescribed to somebody who has depression or schizophrenia orsomething like that. The idea is that there are couple different types ofrestless legs syndrome and really it kinda depends on what you come afterlike there’s 2 different types: there’s primary and secondary. Now, primaryrestless leg syndrome is more peripheral nervous system related so it isakin to usually an issue with the neuro-transmitter dopamine which helpsto facilitate uniform and control movements and low dopamine oralterations on dopamine signalling can be an issue when it comes toprimary restless leg syndrome.[0:45:08.9]And of course, there are a bunch of different dopamine enhancing drugs.You know, they’re called dopamine agonist that can be use for somethinglike that. Unfortunately most are rift with side effects that really have somepretty serious addictive potential and some other side effects as well. So,you gotta be kinda careful with some of these pharmacological treatmentsfor dopamine. For something like a peripheral nervous system issue ordopamine issue and that is a cause for restless leg syndrome, I would firstlook in to massage and acupuncture and there have been some studies thathave shown those to be fairly efficacious for restless leg syndrome and toprovide some benefit and exercise can help as well. Just because engagingin physical activity helps to eliminate some of that restlessness that occursin the legs but also strengthens the peripheral nervous system. It has beenfound that exercise shortly before going to bed actually exacerbate restlessleg syndrome but if you exercise earlier in the day and you have like thisprimary form of restless leg syndrome it can help. There is one form ofdopamine called L-dopa that you can look into and you can get that, Ibelieve over the counter (or protect your computer and go to the silk roadand get it). L-dopa is something that gets converted into dopamine withthe aid of vitamin b6 so you use it like an L-dopa supplement combinewith vitamin b6 can technically help with restless legs and if there’s adopamine issue, but you need to be careful with that because anytimeyou’re putting higher levels of neuro-transmitter in your body you riskcreating an imbalance between serotonin and dopamine. So, I would notreally recommend that you do anything like that without working with a
  19. 19. practitioner who is well-versed in measuring your urinary levels of neuro-transmitters. I’d look in to the Kalish system, there’s a guy who lives inCalifornia named Dr. Dan Kalish and there are people out who arecertified Kalish practitioners who are really good at addressing neuro-transmitter deficits and ensuring that testing is done in conjunction withsupplementation. You also get secondary restless leg syndrome and thereare literally a couple of dozen medical conditions that can cause secondaryrestless leg syndrome. A lot of times it can be an issue with diabetes orimpaired glucose tolerance, it can be an issue with low levels ofantioxidants, low levels of magnesium, low levels of iron and there are alot more kinda new nutritional guns that you can pull out againstsomething like secondary restless leg syndrome if that’s the issue. Some ofthe things that have been shown to help with secondary restless legssyndrome if it is an issue one would be making sure that you get adequateferritin in your diet and ferritin is an iron storage protein probably the topsupplement that I like for increasing your levels of iron or ferritin is onecalled Floradix and I’ll link to that in the show notes but it’s basically aferritin pyrophosphate type of supplement. Another thing that is reallybeen shown to help out is vitamin C and vitamin E. Now, the issue withthat is I’m not a big fan of high doses of synthetic vitamin C and vitamin Ebecause those have also been shown to increase risk of stroke. So, I’m abigger fan of using just like a good full spectrum antioxidant somethinglike the Lifeshotz which I’ve recommended before in the show. Mypersonal naturopathic physician Dr. Todd, he invented the stuff whichwould I take on a daily basis to mitigate a lot of the effects of me gettingexposed to everything from chlorine to solar radiation from flying, etc.That’s a really really strong antioxidant that’s one that I’d look into. Froma blood sugar standpoint, since this restless leg syndrome can definitely bean issue with glucose tolerance I would ensure that your eveningcarbohydrate intake is controlled (that you watched it), that you alsoconsider getting on one of these supplements that can help with insulinsensitivity and glucose stabilization. My favourite one for that is bittermelon extract and there’s a supplement called MPX 100, it’s the samething I take when I stuffed my face and I ate too much food and you know,it’s kinda like my “oh crap” fall back supplement when I over-eat but it’scalled MPX 100,and it lowers your blood glucose so you don’t get as muchof an insulin response and spike in blood glucose. Few other things when itcomes to restless leg syndrome, valerian root which is a great herbanyways to help you sleep.[0:50:04.8]
  20. 20. Valerian root in studies has been shown to result an improvement inrestless leg syndrome symptoms. More in women than in men but that’sanother one you could into is valerian root extract and that’s somethingthat you can get pretty much anywhere. You can grab that off at amazon orwhatever, it’s pretty easy to find. Another thing that I would look into andagain I’m just listing off the natural supplement that have shown to havean effect on restless leg syndrome, folic acid would be another one. Folicacid or folate deficiencies may play a role in the development of restless legsyndrome and folic acid supplementation can help to treat a lot of differentdisorders in your peripheral nervous system but restless leg syndrome inparticular is one that’s been shown to be effective. And then the last onewould be magnesium and in this case I’d be a big fan of actually using atransdermal magnesium delivery like putting it on your legs and I’mnot….. have you used the magnesium oil before Brock before you go to bedat night?Brock: Oh yeah. I’ve used it like crazy. I loved that stuff.Ben: Do you get like the issue with the sheets sticking to your legs after you putit on?Brock: At first yeah but then you get sort of the scaly feeling like almost like fishscales on your legs.Ben: Yeah. Yeah. Anyways….Brock: I can wash it off before I go to bed.Ben: I think it’s annoying. So, what I do now is there’s this magnesium lotion,it’s the same company that makes the magnesium spray that I used to usemore. Now, I use the magnesium lotion before I go to bed and I’ll put it onmy legs after like a hard workout day and it gets absorbed super quicklyand it doesn’t gather on the skin, it just rubs right in, it’s combined withmsm which means it absorbs really quickly into your skin but it’s basicallymade by ancient minerals it’s called ancient minerals magnesium lotionand it doesn’t result in the same type of issues you don’t get like, stinging,you don’t get the flaking, it doesn’t make the sheet feel weird against yourskin. So, that’s the one that I’d recommend. I know it’s a lot of stuff butthose are all the things that I’d recommend you look into. When it comesto the thyroid issue and you know, whether or not there’s kind of a linkbetween thyroid and restless leg syndrome, there’s some evidence thathigh amounts of estrogen in both men and women can be associated withlow thyroid and high amounts of estrogen because your liver is essentially
  21. 21. turning over or metabolizing estrogen at a faster phase can result in adeficiency in vitamin B and a deficiency in magnesium from that increasein estrogen turnover. And so by adding magnesium into the diet, bygetting some folic acid into your diet, by using for example thatantioxidant Lifeshotz that I recommended that also has a full spectrum ofvitamin B in it, you’d be addressing some of those issues as well. So, that’sthe skinny on restless leg syndrome and what I do about it.Sidestitch: Hey Ben and Brock! So, my stomach doesn’t seem to like anything in itbefore I run. If I eat or drink very much within about 2 hours or going outfor a high intensity effort, I get a left sided stitch towards the end of myworkout and on my longer slow runs which are 90-120 minutes I’mdrinking 4 ounces of water or less ‘cause if I take big sips of water duringthat kind of a run, I get a sloshing feeling in my stomach which is reallyannoying and can often lead to a left sided stitch. Just wondering what’sup with that? What I can do about it? I’m sure you’ve answered thosequestions about stitches before so is there anyway we can listen to a backcatalogue and find out the answer to that question? Thanks very much.Brock: Well, side stitch and a sloshing feeling. That’s sounds kind of annoying.Ben: Gotta love the slosh! So, we talked about side stitching pretty recently.Brock: Yeah, not that long ago.Ben: Yeah and I wanna mention something about that in just a second but letme address this sloshing feeling first and that’s…. it’s pretty straightforward, it’s usually an issue that when your foot strikes the ground yourdiaphragm moves upward as you exhale and your organs drop down whenyour foot strike and that tension not only creates these forces that causeyour diaphragm to go into a spasm and cause that side stitch but that kindof a downward jolt of the organs also causes anything that’s in therewhether it’s water whatever, it’s just slosh around quite a bit and sofocusing on more of a rhythmic breathing pattern and try not to turn bluein the face and go into hypoxia when you do this but trying basically not toexhale when you strike your feet on the ground can really really help outwith this. Best book I can recommend to you is called “Running on Air”and the subtitle is the revolutionary way to run better by breathingsmarter.[0:55:00.6]
  22. 22. It’s a book that I read recently and I really really like it. I’ve been actuallyusing the breathing patterns in that book for both running and forbicycling and it’s helps out quite a bit in terms of training your body hownot to exhale and put that jolt on your organs when your foot strikes theground. Like I mentioned, we’ve talked about side stitches pretty recentlyand……Brock: And I have to admit I actually did save this question for…. since we have itfor a few weeks now and I’ve been waiting until we had the bigannouncement to make just so we could play this and give us a niceopportunity to talk about a new project that we have started.Ben: That’s right.Brock: So, basically we keep not only we’d get people asking the same questionquite often but we also get people asking for an easy way to…. or exactlythe way that this question are asked, an easy way to find past episodes orpast topics. So, we came up with this idea that actually create “albums”(and I’m making quotation marks in the air when I say that) and put themup on Itunes.Ben: Yeah. That will gonna build a national libraryup in Canada outside Brock’s house. She can just go there and check outprevious episodes.Brock: Everything go be in a file folder, card catalogue.Ben: Bring your passport and your hockey stick. But, yeah basically we realizedthat we get a lot of these questions that have been addressed already andby just to give you kind of an idea of these, will play my answer here on asecond to the question that we got just a few weeks ago about side stitchesbecause what happens is I end up kinda rehashing some decentinformation that I’ve covered before. So, Brock and I figured since youguys are kinda asking for an easy way to be able to go and access someprevious audios that we’ve recorded on specific topics, you haven’t to digthrough a whole freakin 90 min podcast. We just put a bunch from onItunes so these are basically many tracks, things that we’ve discussedlike…. The stuff we’ve got up there so far are in audio episodes on like thebenefits of fish vs. fish oil, top ten ways to boost libido, how to get rid ofheadaches…..Brock: How to be a vegan endurance athletes.
  23. 23. Ben: How much water you really need to drink each day, how to get lean as afemale athlete without destroying your health.Brock: How to boost your immune system.Ben: Yeah, so I mean you can go on there and you can just basically downloadthe full album of stuff but we also made it so you can just…. What are theylike 99 cents, a dollar 99, something like that?Brock: It’s 99 cents each at the moment and you’ll notice and I take fullresponsibility for this. They’ve made a bit of a mistake, all of them weresupposed to be, you’re supposed to be able to download each oneindividually, I made a mistake, Itunes has some policies in place and Iwon’t bore you with all the details but be, just know that the next volumeand the volumes afterwards you will be able to download every single trackindividually. This one, there’s only 4 that you can actually do individuallyin the rest are album only but we will definitely fix that in the future buthopefully it’s not a big deal for this first one.Ben: Yeah. Brock was drinking when he put this album together.Brock: Nah.Ben: Basically, it’s my fault because when you have an episode that’s longerthan 10 minutes, Itunes won’t let you have it available as a stand-alonetracks. So, we’ve got a few different episodes on there like I think are oneabout females and getting lean is longer than 10 minutes so you kinda likeget the whole album to get access to that track. But in the future……Brock: It’s only 9.99 though, not terrible.Ben: Yeah, it’s $9.99 but 99 cents you can go and just like…..if you just wannahear the quick 10 min you know, how to get rid of a side stitch, we just playa second to give you a sample of the kind of stuff we’ve got isolated for you.You can just go grab at Itunes, so we put a link in the show notes but we’dreally appreciate is…… we’ll create a MyList for this as well, you can sharethat on Facebook. Any other way you wanna share but I mean like if youspread the good news to your friends and you tell them, “Hey, look(whatever) we heard how to get rid of headache naturally and it’s 10minutes of decent advice from Ben and Brock about how to do this, just goand download the episode for 99 cents off Itunes”. It’s pretty convenientway I mean, you could go dig to the podcast, spend an hour of your timedigging to the podcast getting there will just grab it off there. So anyways, I
  24. 24. think that since…. I don’t know which listener initially brought this up butI’ve got a few e-mails about it you know,[1:00:00.6]Sidestitch listener asked about this in the audio so I’ve figured it’s just timethat we put something together for you guys. So, hopefully you’ll enjoy itand if not just crucify us in the comments and call us charlotte andwhatever else but I’m hoping that you guys find this kinda useful so, willput a link in the show notes toward the Ben Greenfield Fitness SpecialEpisodes Vol. 1. Go check out all the cool stuff we’ve got available for youto download and listen to at your pleasure, throw in your mp3 player, get iton Itunes, yeah, go have fun with it. So, that being said here’s theresponse: the side stitches. (clapping)Ben: Alright! Side stitches. So, you know what the geeky thing term for sidestitches is…. Brock.Brock: I’m afraid I don’t.Ben: The acronym is Etap which stands for exercise related transcientabdominal pains.Brock: Yeah, nice.Ben: So, there’s actually really big study that was done in the Journal ofMedicine and Science and Sports and Exercise several years ago on sidestitches and why they happen. So, they took almost a thousand differentathletes who participated in 6 different sports. They look at running,swimming, cycling, aerobics (which is like the headbands and the puffysocks and the leotards), basketball and horse riding. I would imagine theywere looking at the people not the horses but it could be not. So, what theyfound was that of all those athletes, swimmers were actually at the top interms of the population that had the most trouble with side stitches andrunners were close behind. Horseback riders were actually up there toobut the folks least effected were cyclists. Now, the interesting part of thesewas that pretty significant number of those athletes also said that they hadshoulder tip pain which is discomfort at the bottom tip of one of theshoulder blades and that’s kind of an important clue for understandingwhere sides to just come from because the tip of that shoulder blade downthere is basically a referred side of pain for the diaphragm which is kindayour main breathing muscle. So, what that means is that the pain thatkinda emanate from the tip of the back of your shoulder blade could
  25. 25. actually have its source in the diaphragm which is that muscle thatseparating your thoracic and your abdominal cavities and many sidestitches actually originates with an issue going on with the diaphragmbecause if you look at all of these different organs that are inside of ourabdominal cavity, they bounce up and down and this is one reason that arunner for example will get more of a side stitch than a cyclist. And all ofyour internal organ that are bouncing up and down especially with animpact base movement like horseback riding or runner. Your liver, yourstomach, your spleen – these are supported by these little ligaments thathang down from your diaphragm. So, everytime these organs are bouncingup and down they’re pulling down on the diaphragm. Now, when thatbouncing happens as you’re breathing out during exercise that creates a lotof stress on the diaphragm and that results in pain, result in discomfort,results in what we’ve described more often than not as side stitch and Idon’t know if you’ve experienced this Brock but have you found that sidestitches tend to appear more on your right side than your left side?Brock: You know when I think about it, I think I’ll get up more on middle left butI can’t say that I’ve actually taken notes.Ben: Interesting. Well, I’ll get to why. You might be in the minority, you mightbe a freak. I’ll talk about why you may feel on the left a little bit more.That’s to do with your colon, actually but stitches on the right side of theabdomen are much much more common and that’s because your liver ison the right side of your body and the your liver is the heaviest organ inyour abdominal cavity so that’s what create the greatest downward forceon your diaphragm and it a lot more than what the stomach or the spleenwhich are on the left side of your body might create (and perhaps you justhave a really heavy stomach Brock).[1:05:02.9]Brock: Probably.Ben: Anyways though, there’s a lot of friction that can occur between thediaphragm and the liver as well because the liver tends to kinda ride upinto the upper right side of your abdominal cavity especially duringexercise. So, that results in that side stitch and it especially happens moreoften on that right side. Now, one really easy remedy for side stitches is tochange your breathing pattern. If you look at it like a runner a lot of timesbreathing and side stitches are linked together because breathing andstepping patterns are coordinated. So, most athletes breathe out on thesame leg. So, if you happen to want to make yourself cross-eyed, go out
  26. 26. and go for a run and try and figure out when you’re breathing out. And inmany cases you might find that you’re only exhaling when your right foothits the ground. And it’s actually very common, they’ve done a study.There was one study in the Journal of Science that looked at runners andfound that most runners breathed out when their right foot hits theground and unfortunately what that means is that as you’re breathing outyour diaphragm basically springs upward when you breathed out, thatincreases the tension on those ligaments and so you’re breathing out yourright foot hits the ground, the jolting action of that foot lifts your liverupward and then that falls back suddenly where your diaphragm is still onits up position so that creates a bunch of pressure on the diaphragm whichgoes into this painful spasm that we deem as a stitch. Now, of course oneeasy fix for this is you change your breathing pattern. You try and focus onbreathing out as your left foot hits the ground rather than as your rightfoot hits the ground. That’s a simple fix but something that can help a lotof folks. Now, a few other things that you can do is you can actually try andgrunt just a little bit as you breath out and that action of grunting oralmost like groaning like a Monica Seles type of “Ahh” as your foot hits theground.Brock: She’s a tennis player for those of you there who don’t know. A very noisytennis player.Ben: She’s about 2 octaves higher than that. That can help out, that somehowrelieves some pressure on the diaphragm when you actually make thataudible as your foot hits the ground. That’s one thing that you can do andI’ve actually found myself naturally doing that sometimes when I get a sidestitches, I grunt or groan as that foot strikes the ground that can help alittle bit. But there are some other things that you can do too. First of all,most runners breathe incorrectly when they’re running and this issomething that I’m gonna talk about at become superhuman event just tofolks who are attending there about how their posture and how theirbreathing is during the event itself but I’ve really been focusing lately ondeep diaphragmatic breathing when I’m standing in line, when I’m sittingin the car, when I’m sitting on an airplane, when I’m sitting in aconference, deep diaphragmatic breathing through the nose and out thenose where as you breathed in, that breath originates from deep withinyour belly and as you breathed out, it also originates from within yourbelly or deep within your ribcage. So, shallow chest breathing is one of theways that you can really over stress your diaphragm and that’s one thingthat you can focus on both when you are and when you aren’t training isgood belly breathing. Another thing is your abdominal muscles and
  27. 27. focusing on strengthening your abdominal muscles. I’m a big fan of sideplanking and front planking for this but basically weak abdominals aregoing to not be able to support your internal organs and they’re gonnajostle up and down more if you’ve got weak abs. That’s another thing youwanna consider.Brock: That’s interesting. Both of those things like the deep abdominal breathingand also the strengthening of the abdomen, I think a lot of people don’tactually think of breathing that low, like everybody thinks that breathreally happens from kinda like the middle of the chest to the shoulders butthat should be the last part when you’re inhaling. The last thing to movereally is your upper chest, should all be going into your stomach at firstand interesting those both together really well.Ben: Yeah, and it’s something you simply have to train yourself to do. I’ve evenfound for you know, like once a week I’m still doing my 10 by 30 seconds(10% grade, 10 mile an hour sprint on the treadmill) and I’ve even foundfocusing on deep diaphragmatic breathing for that (deep belly breathingfor that) has helped tremendously. You’d be surprised at how hard you canbe going and still focus on proper breathing.Brock: I doubled the length of my duration of plank like just front plank by doingdiaphragmatic breathing during that. I went from being able to hold it forlike 3 mins to over 7 mins just by changing my breathing.Ben: That’s really a good point. You can combine abdominal exercising likeplanking with deep breathing.[1:10:01.2]I mentioned that of course in addition to the liver, the spleen and thestomach tend to pull down on the diaphragm so the more full yourstomach is, and this is just kinda logical, most of us know this, the more ofa downward tug on the diaphragm is gonna create and a more likely we areto get a side stitch. So, just not drinking or eating too much before you goout. That’s something that I think a lot of people already are kinda awareof is not taking in too much fuel especially if you’re running or doing asport like swimming for example.Brock: And so, is that the left side then if you have eaten or drink too much?Ben: You’re gonna notice it more on your left side if it’s more of an eating ordrinking too much issue but the other thing you’ll notice is that if you tendto have any type of bowel inflammation or if your large intestine just based
  28. 28. off your anatomy tends to rub a little bit more on the inside of yourabdominal wall when you’re running, that can also cause stitch like pain inboth your right and your left side ‘cause large intestine tends to span yourabdominal wall and in folks for whom that occurs, focusing on going backand forth between exhaling on the right side and exhaling on the left sidecan help out almost like switching every few minutes in terms of yourbreathing pattern and not sticking to one specific breathing pattern or notgetting locked in to one specific breathing pattern that can help. The otherthing that can help a lot of folks is just paying attention to clean eatingbefore you go out for your run meaning that you’re gonna avoid things thatmight tend to cause a little bit more inflammation like gluten, caffeine,alcohol (cause I know that you up there in Canada you tend to throw backa few loaded Kokanee before you head out Brock?Brock: Yes, it’s Kokanee or Molson Canadian, both of those companies make ussports drink that we consume while we run.Ben: Nice! Then soy and dairy tends to be a big trigger too. So, you may want toconsider like a food elimination type of diet as well to focus on those sidestitches and that I know for a lot of folks that I’ve worked with has made asignificant difference. I’ve cleaned up the diet of athletes who I workedwith and had them report all of a sudden “I like my side stitches wentaway” and because all of the programs that I write out also includesstrength training for the abs and also include a lot of running economy andefficiency work. Who’s to say how much the food elimination work vs. thestrengthening vs. the work on the breathing patterns but ultimate there’ssomething to be said for cleaning up the diet especially before you run aswell.Brock: Great! But everything is gotta work in correlation with everything else.Ben: Right, exactly. So you know, those are the main thing as far as side stitchesconcerned and some of the things I would definitely go after.Jim: Hi Ben, this is Jim. I’m 46 years old and have been performing fastedworkouts for the past 25 years. I’ve recently started keeping an eye on myblood glucose levels due to a fasted glucose test at 129 and an A1C of 4.8.I’ve noticed that during my hard fasted workouts my blood glucose willincrease up to 35 points. This will help explain my I fasted test but itdoesn’t explain my high A1C. I’ve taken steps to lower the A1C byincreasing my cinnamon intake, eating carbs only after my workouts andsupporting my liver with bitter melon. I was curious though if there’s a
  29. 29. way of quantifying that 35 point rise in terms of calories released by theliver. Thanks for your help.Ben: Yeah. It seems kinda counter intuitive that blood glucose would go upduring exercise right?Brock: Yeah.Ben: You would expect it to go down and this is very……Brock: You’re supposed to be using it all up and depleting it all and should be rockbottom by the time you’re down.Ben: Exactly and this is a really confusing phenomenon for people. So, exerciseburns energy and eventually exercise will lower your blood glucose butexercise is only going to lower blood glucose if your liver actually isn’tproducing and releasing glucose into your blood stream to help you meetthis increase demand for fuel when you’re exercising. So some people dothis really hard workout and you know complete strenuous activity andthen they’re test their blood glucose levels (as all of us nerds do when wefinish our workout, you go straight to the blood glucose monitor) and thenfind that blood glucose is the same or even higher after you finishedexercising. And the reason for that is because your liver actually releasesextra glucose while you’re exercising.[1:15:05.8]Basically, it’s through this process called glycogenolysis and when yourbody releases epinephrine or adrenalin (this hormone in response toexercise or getting excited or stressed or drinking a cup of coffee orwhatever else) the liver releases blood glucose or releases glucose (storedglucose in liver) to supply your body with needed energy. So, eventhoughexercise helps you to lower your blood sugar long term and improved yoursensitivity to the hormone insulin long term, what can happen short termduring exercise is this bump up in blood glucose from the liver. Now,interestingly if you track not just the blood glucose but also insulin levels,what you’ll notice during an exercise bout is that eventhough your bloodglucose is increasing your insulin levels are going down. Your insulinsensitivity is improving. So, your muscle is increasing its uptake of fattyacids and ketones to spare glucose for your brain as consuming a little bitof glucose but your muscles don’t need high levels of insulin circulating inthe blood stream in order to do that and your liver doesn’t need a bunch ofinsulin circulating in the blood stream to signal the liver to release storage
  30. 30. glucose. As a matter of fact, low insulin levels lead to an increase in glucoseoutput by the liver. What this means is that eventhough your blood glucoselevels might appear to be going up in response to an exercise session orduring an exercise session long term, you are actually slowing down theprogression of insulin resistance and improving your sensitivity to insulindespite your liver kinda having a mind of its own and churning out bloodglucose while you’re actually exercising.Brock: It makes sense if you think about like insulin is known as the storagehormone and when you’re in that sort of situation the last thing you wannabe doing is storing it, you’re using it, your body needs to be using it rightaway. The muscles are gobbling it up and churning out some energy fromthat.Ben: Right, exactly. Now, I noticed that Jim said that he has been performingfasted workouts for the last 25 years. He’s only eating carbs after hisworkouts. People who are on a low carbohydrate diet do tend to be moresensitive to carbohydrate intake and so you know….. Paul Jaminet talksabout this in his perfect health diet book, how when you’re on a very lowcarbohydrate diet, you often see an even larger spike in blood glucosebecause your body is fairly insulin sensitive. When you first consumed thatcarbohydrate source but ultimately the benefits of a low carbohydrateintake combine with exercise out way any type of short term blood glucoseelevation you might get during exercise or from that little bit ofcarbohydrate that you eat. Now, if you really concerned about this, Jim isdoing cinnamon which lowers blood glucose. That bitter melon extractthat he talked about, that’s some pretty cool stuff. I’ve already mentionedit once but there’s kinda 3 different groups of compounds in bitter melonextract that are responsible for this blood sugar lowering action that hasone thing called charantin which is a type of steroid that actually moreeffective than diabetic drugs in terms of lowering blood glucose. It’s gotsomething called polypeptide p in it which is an alkaloid, has a blood sugarlowering effect. It’s also got what are called glycosides in it and thisimproved glucose tolerance by preventing how quickly sugar is absorbedin your intestines. Interestingly, most of these activities of these 3compounds are still gonna act on glucose that you’re getting from your dietnot glucose that you’re getting from the liver churning out glucose. Butultimately those are the 2 main things that I used to control my own bloodglucose levels you know, I’ve done genetic testing, I knowI’ve got the genetic risk factor for type 2 diabetes so I do go out of my wayto take care of my blood sugar levels but bitter melon extract andcinnamon are both really good for this kind of thing and I’d stick with
  31. 31. those and I would not let blood glucose levels being elevated duringexercise worry you. There is no way that I know of to test whether that 35point rise that he’s getting is from liver glucose release vs. like dietaryforms of glucose but because of the type of diet that he is eating, I’llsuspect that most of it is just from liver glucose.Katie: I have a question about artificial sweeteners and I know that lots of lowcarb products have them and I was wondering if you could talk about thepros and cons of them especially how they can impact fasting like sucrose,saccharin, xylitol or about other stuff. Also, I like to drink tea and chewgum during my morning fasts and I’d like to know if artificial sweetenerscan affect how my body reacts from my fast. Thanks guys!Brock: Yeah. Artificial sweeteners, they’re kind of the devil.Ben: Yeah. The sinister sugar substitutes as they say. First of all, as far as thegum goes, I actually used a gum called B-fresh gum and it is a little bithealthier than most of the gums out there in terms of the artificialsweeteners that it uses (it’s gluten free, lactose free, yadiyadi yada),sweeten with xylitol, I think it’s got a little bit of stevia in there and somevitamin B12 but ultimately I stay away from any of the gums that havesucralose acesulfame potassium and all of these other kinda fakesweeteners in them. The main ones you wanna look out for…… I’ll tell youthe artificial sweeteners that are okay to eat but first of all, the one’s you’dwanna look out for, one would be sucralose and that’s also known assplenda. It goes by some other names as well but you’ll gonna find it in likepepsi one and diavita, to propel water, sugar free syrup has in there likethe kind of sugar free syrup you’d get at coffee shop. The issues withsucralose is that it can decrease your good gut bacteria by about 50% andcompared to all the other different sugar substitutes that are out there, itgot the least number of basically what are called neuro toxic effects butconsidering your gut is the home of your immune system, I woulddefinitely….basically what I do is I don’t take any chances. I don’t want totake a bunch of probiotics, eat fermented foods and take care of my gutand then kill that off with sucralose? So I have avoid that one. Acesulfamepotassium, the issue with that…..Brock: Is that aspartame?Ben: No, it’s different than aspartame. Acesulfame potassium you’ll gonna seeat least as acesulfame k it’s in stuff like coca-cola, you’ll gonna find that ina lot of gum like sobe beverages stuff like that. What it does is it canactually cause ironically an increase in insulin levels so it’s sparks an
  32. 32. appetite craving and a little after you’ve eaten it (anybody here who drinksa coca-cola zero and then they’re craving food like an hour later, that’swhy) and there’s some evidence and this is in a rodent studies which Iunderstand you can’t take like a grain of salt but it has been linked tothyroid tumors in rodents. That’s one that I’ve be careful with, now,aspartame which you just asked about Brock, that’s the one that’s knownas like nutra-sweet, equal. I think over in Europe, it’s known as E951 butthat’s in a ton of stuff like yogurts and diet cokes, ocean spray and tons ofdifferent gum. I mean thousands of grocery store products have aspartamein them and aspartame has been well reported in many studies to belinked to the same type of neurological issues you disassociate withsomething like msg. So, you’re looking at dizziness, seizure, brain fog andsome studies even linked to the stuff like alzheimer’s and nervous systemissues like multiple sclerosis. Aspartame actually has methanol on it whichconverts to formaldehyde when you metabolize it and that’s the same stuffused to embalm a corpse so, something else to be careful of and that alsosimilarly to acesulfame potassium can spike your insulin levels and alsospike levels of something called leptin and overstimulation of leptin is oneway to throw off your body’s ability to be able to listen to messages thatyou’re full and so it can affect your appetite as well. Those are some of themain ones, there are few other ones out there that kinda flounder theradar. One is called, neotame, that’s a newer one and it’s basically justaspartame but it has been renamed and they deemed a slight slightchemical change to up and you can throw that one into the same boat asaspartame. There’s another one called saccharin, that’s what you’re gonnafind in sweet and low and that one is kinda similar to acesulfamepotassium in terms of it having some neuro toxic effects and there is somedoubt right now about the safety of saccharin when it comes to itspotential for being a carcinogenic. So, that’s another one that I would becareful with would be saccharin. Now, as far as the sweeteners that I wouldconsider to be okay, (stuff that’s not gonna be as bad) one would be stevia.That’s kind of a natural, a root base sweetener, it’s not…. there’s no studythat show that it’s bad for you. It contains this compounds called steviolglycoside so it makes it literally like 30-50 times more sweet than sugar(you don’t have to use too much of it) but it’s been used in South Americafor thousands of years, all over the world it’s consider the safe and naturalsweetener, there’s no government set to found it to be carcinogenic orneuro toxic or anything like that and it’s relatively calorie free. So, that’smy top recommendation. If you’re gonna use gums and stuff like that,xylitol is probably the least problematic artificial sweetener you can go for.It is still processed, it’s derived from wood or derived from corn, you
  33. 33. know, along with like a erythritol, sorbitol, mannitol and these other sugaralcohols but it’s not absorbed by the body the same way that sugar is, so ithas a lower effect on your blood sugar. It can cause a little bit of stomachupset by eating too much of it but doesn’t have this carcinogenic orneurotoxic effects because it technically is more natural. Aside from that,in the other sweeteners that we used around here, we’d just be like organiccoconut sugar and or organic raw honey.Brock: Coconut sugar.Ben: Yeah. Coconut sugar has a ton of micro nutrients in it. It’s still got caloriesin it but it has a lower glycemic index so like the glycemic index of honey,is about 50, sugar is about 50, agave nectar is fairly low but agave nectarthe way that it’s processed, it actually has way more fructose than evenhigh fructose corn syrup. So, if you’re looking at this from a weight lossperspective, you’ve gotta be careful with the agave syrup. I’m a bigger fanof just like organic coconut sugar for that. And then raw honey, is justreally great because it’s got a lot of micronutrients in it even though it ishigh rep on the glycemic index so it has some fructose in it. If you had tochoose 2 different sweeteners, you’ll gonna have around for a little bit ofsweetening here and there, the 2 that we have are organic raw honey andwe get from a local source so we get some of the immunity enhancingbenefits and then organic coconut sugar. Those are kinda the things that Igo after when it comes to artificial sweeteners to avoid sweeteners thatwould be okay even the kind of gum to chew like I mentioned I used thestuff called B-fresh for my gum.Brock: So, that wouldn’t screw up your morning fast then.Ben: No, not really. I mean you know, the sugar alcohols have a very very slightamount of calories in them but it’s pretty slight so….Brock: Okay, cool! You know, I know we’re going a little bit long and I was goingto actually cut this last question up but let’s go ahead and just do it.Ben: Okay.Matthew: Hey guys, how are you? In previous podcast you stated that you weren’t abig fan of the bench press. So, I was wondering if you can expound on thata little bit and maybe could meet some of your alternatives. Appreciate it.Thanks, take care guys.Brock: One of the reasons why I wanted to actually do this question is becausewhen you said this a few weeks ago, I believe you actually said bench press
  34. 34. is silly and I really wanted to know why and the conversation went on andI never really got to come back to it, that’s why I’m glad Matthew askedthis, “Why are bench presses silly?”.Ben: Okay, from a functional standpoint of bench press are silly, don’t get mewrong, when you load up a heavy barbell and you give yourself a nice solidbase of support underneath your back, you can lift a crap ton of weight andthat’s really good at building up fibers in your chest muscles. So if yourgoal is to just get muscles and get a big chest, bench pressing is prettydecent in terms of being able to do that but it…….Brock: It also makes you feel really manly. That’s why I like it.Ben: Depending on how much you bench press, yes. There are some people whofeel less manly when they attempt to bench press at the gym. Anywaysthough, because you have less freedom of rotation when you’re holding abarbell vs. holding like a dumbbell or say like a, doing a push up or holdinga set of cables or elastic bands, bench pressing can put more strain on yourshoulders and it can create some pretty serious shoulder issues and I’veseen a lot of people who get what’s called anterior shoulder pain fromshoulder overuse from doing the bench press granted sometimes that’sbecause all their doing is that gym rat habit of just doing bench presswithout balancing bench press out with scapular retraction exercises likeseated rows and pull ups and stuff like that. But ultimately well, benchpress is a good exercise for building muscle mass. I’m not a huge fan foranybody who just is trying to get that general benefit of a horizontalpushing type of motion. So, first of all don’t do bench press period if ithurts. Same thing with dips, dips and bench press are two exercises thatcan put a lot of strain on the shoulder. If you are gonna do it then warm upwell, do dynamic stretching, do arm swings, do that like arm argometer atthe gym (if your gym has that), do some elastic band movements like sideraises and horizontal extensions and warm-up well before you go in and dosome bench pressing or dips (I kinda throw both those in new similarcategory). When you’re bench pressing I don’t recommend you use a widerthan shoulder width grip when you bench press because going wider thanshoulder width does work your chest muscles more but it puts yourshoulders at a higher risk of injury so you generally want to go about rightaround like where your shoulder starts, don’t go any wider than aboutathumbs length out from that when you’re holding the bar, when you’regripping the bar. Make sure that you balance your step up, do your pullingexercises like pull ups, chin up, seated rows things of that nature to makesure that you’re not creating a muscular imbalance which can also damage
  35. 35. your shoulders when you’re bench pressing. Work your rotator cuff, thoseare 4 tiny muscles that surround your scapular or shoulder blades and youcan easily do that with elastic band exercises, again with pull ups, seatedrows, internal rotation exercise, external rotation exercises things of thatnature. If you insist on bench pressing, try and mix it up between the flatbench, the inclined bench, and the declined bench so you’re working yourchest muscles at different angles and also giving your shoulder a little bitof break at different angles and then, for me personally I rarely do benchpress. I usually do my top chest exercises are I do a lot of push ups andvariations of push up. I’ll do like spiderman push ups where I do a push upbut drive a knee to my opposite elbow as I do the push up and then pushthat leg back out as I push back up into a starting position. I do standingcable presses, I did some of these yesterday where you’re standing andyou’re pressing the cable out in a standing position so you gain a lot of coreactivity as well. I’ll do stability ball: chest presses with a dumbbell so youtreat the dumbbell like a bench and bench press dumbbells with thestability balls so my core and my gluts and my hips are having to stabilizeme a little bit. If you really really wanna great chest workout that alsochallenges balance and builds over-all strength, just do heavy single armdumbbell chest press on a bench and you just have to use your other armfor support and for balance. I’ve mentioned Dan John (who we’ve got toget on this podcast at some point) great guy, who really have a great bookcalled “Interventions” really good strength coach but one of his exercisethat he talks about in that book that he really likes is a single armdumbbell bench press: where you’re just using your other arm (likefuelling it up trying to balance your body) as you doing the dumbbellbench press with one hand and I mean there’s nothing like building yourcore strength and your side to side balance like doing a bench press with adecently challenging way using a dumbbell with one hand rather thanusing a barbell. So yeah, I mean there’s enough alternatives to a benchpress out there that I would stick with those alternatives unless you’regoing for pure mass and if you’re going for pure mass, by all means benchpress, bench press heavy but take care of your rotator cuff, include somescapular retraction exercises and get some dynamic stretching in beforeyou bench press.Brock: Awesome. Alright, we’ve gone really long now so I’m gonna do this in onebreath. Make sure to go to Itunes and go find ben greenfield fitness.Ben: This is why Brock is never been hired to do like the legal announcementsafter like a pharmaceutical ad on tv that type of thing….
  36. 36. Brock: That’s the only reason I haven’t been asked….Ben: Yeah, that need doesn’t have a sexy female vibe but…. Go to Itunes, leave areview or a ranking in Itunes. You can go to the podcast and leave adonation at The show notes for this episode orepisode #237, head on over there, get links to everything we talked aboutas well as the handy dandy MyList and the link to you can grab your cool book about enhancing your body and finallythe big big announcement is head over to the link that we’re gonna put inthe show notes to the brand new Ben Greenfield Fitness Vol. 1 album onItunes where you can grab little snips and clippets (if that’s a word) oneverything from how female athletes can get lean to the side stitchingepisode to pretty much anything you desire for 99 cents. That’s a betterdeal than you’re gotta get in Tijuana on just about anything and it’s righton iTunes from the comfort of your own computer; no need to go toMexico for a good deal. So, believe that about wraps it up. We’ll check out,we’ll come to you guys next week and thanks for listening.Brock: Show off!