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Why Women Gain Weight When Training For Endurance

Click here for the full written transcript of this podcast episode.

In this Episode #219: Why Women Gain Weight When Training For Endurance Sports. Also: what to eat before a Crossfit workout, which meat is the most toxic, how to maintain power as you age and how to intermittent fast.

Have a podcast question for Ben? Click the tab on the right side of this page, click Ask a Podcast Question at the bottom of this page, Skype “pacificfit” or scroll down to the “Ask Ben” form.

Please don’t forget to leave the podcast a ranking in iTunes – it only takes a minute of your time and it helps grow our healthy community!

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News Flashes:

To get these and other interesting news flashes every week, follow Ben on Twitter and Google+.

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Special Announcements:

1. Ben’s brand new Low Carbohydrate Diet For Athletes package is officially released and available for download! Get it here now.

2. Want to get featured on an exclusive 15 minute feature in the next BenGreenfieldFitness podcast? That’s right – I’ll personally call you and interview you to tell YOUR story for the podcast. Here’s how:
Step 1: Create your own “MyList” list that targets your passion in health, fitness or nutrition,
Step 2: Share your MyList right here by leaving a link to it in the comments,
Step 3: I’ll choose the best list, and get you on for an interview about why you chose the items on your list – from gear to tools to supplements to anything else!
OK, get MyListing away! Here’s the link to add MyList to your page or profile (did I mention – it’s free).

3. “Become Superhuman” Live Event With Ben Greenfield Coming To Spokane, WA, March 8 & 9, 2013 – early deadline is December 1! Click here to get in now.

 

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Listener Q&A:A donate button that reads - keep the podcasts coming

As compiled, edited and sometimes read by Brock, the Ben Greenfield Fitness Podcast “sidekick”.

Erin Asks:

Normally I like to run in the late mornings, at least after I have had breakfast on board for a while. Doing so I trained for two marathons and my weight stayed where it had been for the past 5 years. Right now, my job requires me to do my training runs at 5:30 in the morning and I am on my feet all day at work. I’m not able to get in good workouts at 7pm when I’m done working. I try to eat a little bit of carbs (50-100 calories of easily digestible food) before/during my morning run. In the past 10 weeks, I have gained 10 pounds since I started running before work. I am eating about 2000 calories per day and running about 40-45 miles per week. I eat all organic foods, dairy free, rarely eat wheat/grains, and occasionally have two glasses of wine about 3 nights per week. After my run I have a green smoothie with kale/spinach/banana/almond butter/ almond milk and rice protein powder. Why am I gaining weight? What can I do to lose the weight? I am doing the things you have mentioned in previous podcasts to reduce cortisol but still the numbers on the scale still climb. I’d rather not run 26.2 miles at a heavier weight. Should I be taking in more calories? Less?

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Lisa asks:

I have a question about weight gain during marathon training. I’m a 28 year-old female training for my fourth marathon in June. I run anywhere from 50-70 miles/wk at the height of my training and I eat very clean (Paleo with an occasional cheat). I also lift weights 2-3 times per week. I’m 5’6″ and around 130 lbs. Whenever I train more intensely for marathons I end up gaining about 10 lbs (i.e., I used to be around 120 lbs). I don’t think this is all muscle and I don’t think it is due to overeating since I track my food quite assiduously and usually end up about 700 calories in the hole every day. (I eat between 1300-1500 calories, but am burning around 800 calories/day with my average of 9 mile runs each day.) I’ve become concerned about this weight gain and was tested for hypothyroidism (which was negative). When I mention my weight to physicians, they seem dismissive since I’m not overweight. Is there any way to explain this weight gain despite these steep calorie deficits? Should I be more insistent on getting this checked out? I ate a low-carb and high-fat diet for about a month in December when work prevented me from training at all, and I ended up losing 10 lbs in a month, then regaining it almost immediately once I resumed my training. I’ve been able to make massive time improvements despite this weight gain, but it leaves me feeling bloated and large in my “normal” clothes. I’ve heard of several others (mostly women) gaining weight during marathon training and I’m wondering what the explanation for this could be, especially when the person is OCD about calorie intake (as I have been).

In my response to Lisa and Erin, I mention the following for estrogen dominance:

-Consider progesterone cream WITH testing

-Detox liver with CapraCleanse

-Also for liver, take these according to recommended dosage: calcium d-glucuratemethioninefolic acidtaurineN-acetyl-cysteine

-400-600mg magnesium per day

Vitamin B complex

Finally, listen to: What Makes Women Gain Weight As They Get Older And What To Do About It.

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Ana asks:

I do quite well in Crossfit competitions. I like beating people 😀 Mind you it’s the scale division at local affiliates so I’m no pro. It’s just for fun. I like to keep it mostly paleo  (except for whey).  So sweet potatoes, apples and raw honey all smashed and cooked together with some whey is what I reach for before and during a competition. I also use creatine and b-alanine. But I don’t think whole foods will be absorbed fast enough for the WOD. Especially if you are required to so several WOD’s back to back. These workouts are short and intense, 10-12 min tops, you go “balls out”. I tried the GU gel during the crossfit open and I did not see any significant differences in my performance.  I was wondering if you could put your kick butt brains together and give me some suggestions. In particular would you say the new generation Ucan resistant starch would be a good idea during competition ( or even during  training). Here is the link for the different workouts if that helps. You have 12min to perform each, 3 minute rest and then you do the next one. There are 2 workouts. They have not released the 4th. http://beastmodebattle.com/?page_id=250 I really appreciate you wise words guys! I know your strong point is endurance training. But you have tackled non-endurance topics quite beautifully before so I trust your opinions.

In my response to Ana, I recomend:

Waxy Maize Starch (like Vitargo Genr8)

TianChi – Chinese adaptogens

-Creatine – 0.3g/kg bodyweight for 5-7 days followed by 5g/day. No need to cycle. Recommend Kreaceps capsules.

-Carnitine – 750mg-2,000mg/day – in 2 doses. Recommend Nutrarev.


-Citrulline – 6-8g, 30-60 minutes before exercise. Recommend Citruvol

-Beta-Alanine – 2-5g, 30-60 minutes before exercise. Recommend NOW Foods.

-BCAA’s – 10-20g every 60-90 minutes during exercise. Recommend Recoverease.

-Amino acids – 10-20g every 60-90 minutes during exercise. Recommend MAP.

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Gabriel asks:
I live in Puerto Rico, we have little access to quality animal based protein. Most of the beef and poultry is from industrial South American animals. What cuts of beef or chicken pieces are the least bad in terms of hormones etc? I eat frozen salmon, cod or tuna once or twice a week (I don’t eat it frozen, I cook it before 😉 and I eat quinoa a couple of times a week too but man, there’s something about a nice piece of meat, you know?

In my response I recommend activated charcoal for taking to mitigate effects of “dirty meat”.

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Matt says:
Ben, I read that power is lost 1.7x faster than strength as we age. I thought power and strength were the same thing. What is the difference and should I be working more on power exercise than strength exercises? Can you give an example of the difference between the two? Btw I’m 39 years old.

In my response to Matt, I mention my list of performance recommendations, including:

-Triglyeride based fish oil for enhanced nerve function, 2-4g/day. Recommend SuperEssentials and TwinLab Cod Liver Oil.

-Choline – 250-500mg daily – Recommend TwinLabs.

-L-Tyrosine – 0.5-2g, 20-45 minutes prior – Recommend NOW Foods.

-Green Tea Extract – 400-500mg EGCG equivalent per day. Recommend delta-E.

-Vitamin B Complex. Recommend delta-E.

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Alan asks:

“When you eat matters, not just what you eat” – any thoughts on this article?  trying to think about how you might incorporate this into an active work/family life and finding it difficult. i workout at 5am.  i would have to skip breakfast to make this work since dinner with my wife and kids is a priority. plan would have to be dinner at 5, lunch at 1, breakfast at 10.  does not sound too different from your routine, no?  little concerned about eating so long after workout, but if it is just a fat burning workout perhaps it would be fine.  i will try and let you know how it goes! Would love to hear your thoughts/concerns.

Prior to asking your question, do a search in upper right hand corner of this website for the keywords associated with your question. Many of the questions we receive have already been answered here at Ben Greenfield Fitness!

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Episode #219 – Full Transcript – Ben Greenfield Fitness

Podcast #219 from

https://bengreenfieldfitness.com/2012/11/why-women-gain-weight-when-training-for-endurance-sports/

[00:00:00]

Introduction:  In today’s episode, Brock and Ben are on the same place at the   same time. So I will be the sexy female voice that’s introducing today’s podcast. I don’t even remember what the sexy female voice says but it’s something like “Welcome to the bengreenfieldfitness.com podcast”.  Whether you wanna be an Ironman triathlete or just shed a few pounds have we got some kick butt advice for you so sit back and enjoy another episode of the bengreenfieldfitness.com podcast unedited, unplugged and live from Thailand.

Brock:  Sawasdee ka, Mr. Ben!

Ben:  Sawasdee ka, Brock!  In case, you hadn’t guessed, folks, first of all, our deepest apologies to any new listener who just discovered this podcast.

Brock:  Please go back and listen to another episode before you continue with this one.

Ben:  Has already hit the “stop” button thinking that we are a bunch of freaking hack jogs.  We’re recording this on a veranda right after monsoon and we have very limited editing equipment but we’re going to bring you a podcast anyways this week for 2 reasons.  First of all, we’re just those dedicated kind of people.  Right, Brock?

Brock:  We are dedicated.

Ben:  You would not believe how dedicated we are.  We’re actually both wearing our Ben Greenfield Fitness t-shirts and shorts, hats.  And also, we’re recording this just because we happen to be together and that rarely happens since Brock lives in a country that’s very far away from America called Canada.  Apparently, we have to go all the way to Asia to actually be in the same place.  What we have for you guys today is we do have news flashes, we do have special announcements and what else do we have, Brock?

Brock:  Love?

Ben:  Questions.

Brock:  Oh yes.  Questions.

Ben:  Might be a little bit of an abbreviated podcast today.  We may just stop the thing 10 minutes if it sucks as it already does.  But hang on tight, folks because here it comes live.  And if you hear any monkey screaming in the background, just let it all slide ‘cause we’re here doing it live.  All right. Where do we get these news flashes, Brock?

Brock:  We get them from twitter.com/bengreenfield and also from facebook.com/bgfitness and also from Google+ if you go to the website bengreenfieldfitness.com and scroll down the right hand side.  You don’t have to remember the URLs, you could just click.

Ben:  And as usual this is podcast number what? 219?

Brock:  219.

Ben:  So if you go to bengreenfieldfitness.com Episode number 219, we’ll write down everything that we talk about there.  But the first thing that I wanted to mention was a study that they did in overweight kids and this study was actually in Optimizing Sprint Interval Exercise to Maximize Energy Expenditure and Enjoyment in Overweight Boys which is very interesting.  They actually have a physical activity enjoyment scale where they pull you by how much you enjoyed your physical activity.

Brock:  That’s kinda subjective.

Ben:  They used a variety of different sprint ratios with these overweight boys and they not only tracked the enjoyment but they also tracked how much they wanted to eat after the exercise by giving them a buffet breakfast.  And the interesting thing was was they found out what length of physical activity, what length of intervals that you could do that would maximize both your enjoyment and also keep you from doing that compensatory eating though we all tend to do that after exercising.  All right.  Drum roll, please.  Here is the magic ratio of exercise.  If you are an overweight boy (although I would imagine this would work for many other people too), 30 minutes of either continuous cycling or sprint interval exercise with 4 second maximum sprints every 2 minutes, every 1 minute, or every 30 seconds, the interval ratio that actually won out (and I’ve got it written here somewhere so you don’t have to go all the way through the abstract), was 8 seconds on, 60 seconds off.

[0:05:02.8]

What that means is 8 seconds of hard hard sprinting followed by 60 seconds of recovery that is the money zone.  So let’s say you wake up in the morning before breakfast you don’t wanna make yourself super super hungry but you wanna maximize the enjoyment of your physical activity as much as possible, hop on a bike, go outside, whatever, 8-second sprints with 8 seconds on and 60 seconds off.  And that was done for a total of 30 minutes – 8 seconds on, 60 seconds off.  There you go.

Brock:  So that maximized energy expenditure so the most they could get out of them before they started …

Ben:  So basically, maximized weight loss well, not causing a ton of compensatory eating and also maximizing enjoyment.

Brock:  Awesome!

Ben:  So the next news flash to mention was called The Effects of Load Volume on EPOC after Acute Bouts of Resistance Training in Resistance Training Males.   Do you know what EPOC is?

Brock:  No.  I was just looking to see what it is.   Exercise post…

Ben:  Excess post-exercise oxygen consumption.  Basically, you hear people talking about metabolic rate like how exercise boosts your metabolism and in geek speak, that’s EPOC – excess post-exercise oxygen consumption.  You’re paying this debt after you finish exercising meaning that while you’re exercising, your body isn’t getting enough oxygen but has to burn extra calories after you finish exercising to pay off that oxygen debt and that’s why you might have a metabolism boost of 24 hours after you finish a workout.

Brock:  That’s a replenishment.

Ben:  Right. But here’s what they found.  In this weight training, the males who are doing a ton…They were doing pretty high volume. They were actually lifting the equivalent of well a range from 10,000 to 20,000 kg in a single workout but with load volumes of up to 20,000 kg. It’s a lot of weight. We’re talking about a quarter ton of weight lifted during the actual routine.  In people who are actually well-trained, there was no increase in metabolic rate even from a very very difficult workout session such as that weight training no significant increase in your metabolic rate over and above your resting metabolic rate.

Brock:  That’s a bomber.

Ben:  Well, yeah. What it goes to show you though (I think there’s something you can take out of this), what they have found is that metabolic rate will increase in untrained people or people who are being exposed to new activities.  So, if you take a bunch of people who have been in resistance training and doing a certain number of different resistance training moves like bench press squat, dead lift clean, whatever and you just have them go and do a whole bunch of those, it’s not gonna increase their metabolic rate.  But if your throw a curve ball at your body and you still do a bunch of new exercises, different exercises, you are gonna notice an increase in your metabolic rate and that has been studied.  So, the take away here is that if your goal is fat loss (we’re not talking about strength, power or anything  else), the way that you do it is by continuously throwing curve balls.

Brock:  Change depth as often as possible.

Ben:  Yeah.  And you can’t just take what you’re already doing.  Double or triple it and expect an increase in metabolic rate.  Your body doesn’t work that way.  You actually need something new that you’re exposed to.

Brock:  So, how drastically new are we talking about if you’re usually lifting weights, do you have to go to a completely different like go do a 20-minute run?

Ben:  No. You could, for example, instead of doing bench press, do suspended push-ups, instead of doing squats, do single leg squats or single leg jumps unto your box.

Brock:  So you’re not sacrificing your end product or your end goal.

Ben:  Right. You’re changing the angle of the neuro-muscular requirement.

Brock:  Gotcha.

Ben:  And then the last thing I wanted to mention was a study on the effect of carbohydrate and protein supplements on resistance, exercise, performance, hormonal response, and muscle damage.  And basically, this is also what happens when you eat during your workout type of study.  They fed people on a carbohydrate-protein beverage mix kind of a typical…there’s a variety of different sports drinks that are mix of carbohydrate and protein.  And what they found was that there was not much of an improvement in performance during weight training even though they have shown performance increases during endurance exercise.  It didn’t show much their performance increase during weight training but post exercise inflammation was lower. They looked at what’s called creatine kinase. They looked at myoglobin – both markers of muscle damage and both were significantly lower along with lower soreness levels.

[0:10:04.9]

So, what that means is that if your single goal is muscle growth and bouncing back from your workout as fast as possible and not being sore after the workout, then it actually does serve you well during a weight training workout to be consuming a beverage during the actual workout itself.  And they were consuming 175 ml prior to exercise, 175 halfway through, 355 ml afterwards so they were taking in a pretty significant amount of fuel but for your muscle heads up there, for you people who wanna put on weight, it just goes to show that carbohydrate and protein supplements can really enhance your response to weight training.

Brock:  It seems like that would be more the protein that would be doing the repairing of the muscles anyway. Would it be the amino acids?

Ben:  Yes. But you’re also looking at carbohydrate actually staving off you losing much of your muscle glycogen.  In time you’re burning through your muscle glycogen, you are creating metabolic by-products in the inter-muscular space.

Brock:  So you need both.

Ben:  Basically, you’re keeping yourself from creating that type of soreness as well.  So, it’s kind of a double whammy.  So those are the news flashes for this week and twitter.com/bengreenfield is working with the rest of those and I’m cringing right now because I suspect that Brock probably has some special announcements music for us as well.

Brock:  I really wish I could remember how that music goes.

Ben:  Special announcements.  All right.  Probably, a glaring area here is that Brock and I didn’t really discuss the special announcements too much before we actually sat down to record because we’re actually eating squid.

Brock:  A lovely barbequed squid.

Ben:  A lovely barbequed squid that a Thai man grabbed off of a wooden platter and gave to us.  It’s tasty, chewy but tasty.  So, a few things in terms of special announcements:  First of all, for those of you who wanna come join us March 8th and 9th 2013 in Spokane, Washington, that is the Become Superhuman Live event.  I am bringing in a ton of awesome speakers for that event but the reason I’m mentioning it to you now is because the early bird deadline to get in and get put into the drawing for not only getting a full refund on your registration or free ticket you get to choose as well as a one-on-one consultation with me an hour-long sit-down where we’ll go through and basically over anything you want.  That’s all happening if you register before December 1st which is 5 days from now. So you’ve got a few days if you’re listening to this right when it comes out assuming the internet on this island doesn’t crash and we don’t lose internet access.  This podcast should come out relatively soon so check that out.  You can go to bengreenfieldfitness.com/superhuman. A couple of other things…

Brock:  Oh yeah.  The new version of the book.

Ben:  I’ve done a serious upgrade to my low carb triathlon book.  I’ve added a forum to it for you to ask all your questions.  I’ve also added a training plan that’s compatible for anybody who uses Training Peaks. 100% compatible with that has got a fat adaptation week, it’s got a low carb maintenance week, it’s got a race or event week, a race or event day.  I spell it all out for you so it’s all right there on Training Peaks.

Brock:  You can just drag and drop those anywhere we’ve got a race coming up…

Ben:  Exactly.  You just basically take your race where you could drag and drop that week right in there and all of a sudden you know exactly what to eat.  It’ll even spit out a grocery shopping list for you.  That is all over at lowcarbtriathlete.com/lowcarbpackage.  We’ll make it easy for you and just put a link in the show notes to that but it’s brand new.  For people who already own the book, check your e-mail because I sent you out a little discount, you don’t have to pay full price for it because it comes along with the training plan and the forum.  You can the book too.

Brock:  That’s great!

Ben:  And also some discounts on the basically some of my recommended low carb supplements like the Super starch and amino acids and stuff like that.  So, you get a pretty significant savings on those as part of the package.  And then the last thing I wanted to mention, wanna give shout out to a few people.  I mentioned that what we’re going to do is actually choose one lucky person each month to come on to the Ben Greenfield Fitness Podcast for a special episode and we are gonna open that up to anybody who starts a MyList on Facebook.

Brock:  And that’s the thing that looks like Pinterest on Facebook.

Ben:  It’s like Pinterest for Facebook, yeah.

Brock:  ….that’s a comparison but it’s true and it’s a lot cooler than Pinterest.  You can do more than just scrapbooking.

[015:09.6]  

Ben:  So you go to facebook.com/bgfitness as in Ben Greenfield Fitness at facebook.com/bgfitness, click on the MyList button and basically, you can start a list on anything you want.  A couple of people, I noticed and you gotta share the MyList with me so send it to via e-mail, post it on our Facebook page, post us a comment on the show notes, whatever.  We’ve got Daniela.  What’s up Daniela Knight?

Brock:  Hey Daniela!

Ben:  Daniela’s got a bunch of different MyLists but she’s got one for snack so it looks like she’s got yogie green tea, she’s got some strawberry whey protein isolate, blueberries, (every girl likes this one), she’s got coco nieves, navitas naturals organic rock coco nieves, almonds (Jessa made squid on there).

Brock:  It’s weird.  No curry.

Ben:  No squid, no curry.  But anyways, good job Daniela.  Liking your MyList to your churning out.  We had another MyList that I did have open but it somehow closed.   Corinne.  Shout out to Corrine.  I know you created a MyList.  I’m not sure where it is ‘cause I had it open in my computer but you had a few going as well and so Corrine and Daniela are both in the running for getting on to a podcast this month at Ben Greenfield Fitness.  Good job and if you wanna get on the bandwagon, create your MyList and share it over at facebook.com/bgfitness then get MyListing away and you could get lucky. That about wraps it up for special announcements.

Brock:  Okay.  We’ll let’s go into our questions, then.

Ben:  Wait.  Try music.  Music.

Listener Q & A:

Brock:  All right.  Our first question.

Ben:  By the way, Brock’s gonna read questions because again, our editing capabilities are not very expensive here right here in the place called Riley Bay which is this isolated bay in Thailand with no cars.  The power’s kinda been on and off all day today and yeah, but apparently, we’re still recording. However, Brock’s going to read the questions.  We’re going totally old school so see if he remembers how to do this.

Brock:  So if anybody actually sent in audio questions this week, we will get to them there in the cue, they’re on my computer, they’re just …

Ben:  He’ll do his best to abbreviate ‘cause I think our first 2 questions are kinda similar.

Brock:  They are.  Okay.  So Erin asks, “Normally I like to run in the late mornings at least after I’ve had breakfast on board for a while.  Doing so I trained for 2 marathons and my weight stayed where it had been for the last 5 years.  Right now, my job requires me to do my training runs at 5:30 in the morning and I’m on my feet all day at work.  I’m not able to get in good workouts at 7:00 PM when I’m done working.  I try to eat a little bit of carbs before and during my morning run.  In the past 10 weeks, I’ve gained 10 lbs since I started running before work.  I’m eating about 2000 calories per day and running 40-45 miles per week”.  Then she goes in to sort of getting a lot more detailed about her diet and sort of jump, “why am I gaining weight?  What can I do to lose weight?  I’m doing the things you mentioned in previous podcast to reduce cortisol but still the numbers on the scale climb”.

Ben:  Okay.  So we’ve got Lisa, who’s it Erin?

Brock:  That was Erin.

Ben:  Okay.  So Erin is training for a marathon and she’s gained 10 lbs since she started training for marathon, 10 lbs in the past 10 weeks.

Brock:  Yup.

Ben:  Okay.  And what does Lisa have to say?

Brock:  Lisa says, “I’ve a question about weight gain during marathon training.  I’m a 28 year-old female training for my 4th marathon in June.  I run anywhere from 50-70 miles per week at the height of my training and I often eat very clean Paleo with an occasional cheat.”  She lifts 2-3 times a week.  She’s 5’6’’ and around 130 lbs.  “Whenever I train more intensely for marathons, I end up gaining about 10 lbs (same as Erin).  So, again goes into a lot more detail about her diet.  “I eat low carb high fat for about a month in December when work prevented me from training and I ended up losing 10 lbs in a month then regaining it almost immediately once I resume training.”  Those are the important bits from both of those I think.

[0:20:02.1]

Ben:  Okay. Basically, we’ve got 2 women who are training for marathon and are gaining weight which seems counter intuitive.  You would expect at first glance that you would actually lose weight with marathon training but they’re not finding this to be the case and you have this happen a lot when women start training for endurance sports, they gain weight.

Brock:  Is this woman in particular?

Ben:  Women more than men tend to have this issue.  And there are a few different reasons for this. The first is something that can be glaringly obvious but a lot of people don’t really think about it and that is the fact that when you start to train for endurance training, your body enhances its ability to store carbohydrate. You can actually train your body to store up to 60% more carbohydrate.  Storage glycogen primarily in your muscles, you really can’t amplify what your liver’s able to store but your muscles are able to store up to 60% more carbohydrate once you start into an endurance training program.

Brock:  So this isn’t something you’re specifically training them to do.  This is sort of a…

Ben:  This is just what the body does. This is a natural response to endurance training because it’s a survival mechanism.  You’re telling your body that it is going to be in situations where it has to go for a long periods of time and have access to that carbohydrate to break down.

Brock:  Get ready.  This may happen again tomorrow or maybe next week.

Ben:  Exactly.  So it’s like this camel mechanism but glycogen carries up to 4 times its weight in water and so you can easily balloon up just from that carbohydrate and water gain.  You tend to get a little salt gain with it as well and unfortunately not what a lot of people want to hear but there’s not a ton that you can do about it because even if you say “okay well, I’m not gonna eat carbohydrate.  I’m gonna go low carb, I’m gonna go into ketoses.”  What happens is your body is actually able to take the ketones that deliver starch to churn out when you’re on a low carb diet and you’re not getting your body enough carbohydrates.  There’s what’s called the glycerol backbone on those ketone bodies – betahydroxybutarate, acidoacetate, or 2 primary ketone bodies you get circulating around in your bloodstream.  If your activity levels are high, and you’re in ketosis, what happens is that your liver is still able to make glucose out of those ketone bodies.  And technically, if you got some insulin in your bloodstream that glucose can still be converted into some muscle glycogen.  And you can maintain fairly high levels of storage carbohydrate while you’re in a state of ketosis.  So, yes, going low carb helps a little bit with this scenario, ballooning up when you start endurance sports but you’re still at risk of gaining weight just from this glycogen storage mechanism.

Brock:  When we’re talking about weight like just weight on scale, right?

Ben:  We’re talking about weight on the scale, not necessarily fat.

Brock:  So your pants aren’t fitting necessarily different.

Ben:  Right.

Brock:  It’s just your getting on the scale and going “oh man!”

Ben:  Exactly.  And I think it was either Erin or Lisa who’d mentioned cortisol and of course, that can be an issue even if you’re recovering properly even if you’re getting lots of sleep, what happens is cortisol can cause your body to retain sodium and when you retain sodium, that also is going to cause some fluid retention as well which can also leave you yelling bloated, gaining weight – not necessarily fat but it’s still weight.  There is no way for your body when you’re training for marathon and by the way, both Lisa and Erin are running way more miles than I would ever run if training for marathon.  I don’t see any reason to run more than 30 miles a week unless you’re trying to be professional marathoners or something of that nature.  Your body’s going to churn out cortisol.  It’s simply the catabolic nature of endurance training and that also can cause that fluid retention.  When women (and we did a full podcast about this, I’ll link to it in the show notes about Why Women Gain Weight as They Get Older and What You Can Do About It) get older, and this can be kind of enhanced a little bit by the catabolic stressful nature of endurance sports, they tend to get a little bit of estrogen dominance and when you get that estrogen dominance going on, that also can cause weight gain for the reasons that we go into great detail on on that podcast that we did.  For something like that, you can take care of your liver.  Get on a good liver detox formula basically start to clear up the estrogen pathways in the liver.  The liver has 2 different detox pathways that it relies upon.  One is very reliant upon basically antioxidants – it’s like being on a full spectrum antioxidant. The other one is basically reliant on essentially adding amino acids to the toxins that build up in the liver.  And having adequate amino acids and specific kinds of amino acids and also having antioxidants can both help with detoxification in liver and with clearing estrogen a little bit more quickly.

[0:25:12.2] 

I’ll put a link to the Ben Greenfield Fitness Recommends page in the show notes but some of the things that you’ll see there under the liver detox area would be like Silymarin which is a component of milk thistle extract. So there is one supplement called CapraCleanse that I really like for that like doing 3-6 CapraCleanse a day – good full spectrum antioxidant mix.  I’m actually writing an article for the website right now on energy drinks and one of the natural potent antioxidant cocktails that I recommend there is called Lifeshotz.  That’s something that I really use, do a pack everyday and that’s got some really good liver support stuff in it too like grape seed extracts and….

Brock:  You interviewed the guy who created those.

Ben:  Yeah. My personal physician in Coeur D’Alene my naturopathic doctor, he basically was responsible for the formulation on that one.   That’s a really good one.  You’re gonna find some other stuff on that recommendations page that we’ll link to like calcium d-glucaratemethianine.  We’re getting on a good liver detox type of formula can help quite a bit too.  And then a couple of other things we already mentioned – compensatory eating when it comes to exercise.  So many people think that they’re not engaging in compensatory eating but if you write it down, in many many cases, you simply are. You’re eating way more than what you normally would if you work doing all that marathon training and that adds up pretty quickly and you’d be surprised even if you think that you’re eating the same or fewer calories than before you started training for marathon that you actually are not.  And writing it down helps quite a bit or photographing your food also.

Brock:  Even just periodically throwing that in even when you’re not training is always a nice way just to remind yourself what you actually are eating ‘cause there’s been studies, lots of studies have shown that people have bad memories about what they actually eat.

Ben:  Very bad memories.  Yeah.  Food recalls is horrible.  Alcohol recall is even worse. We actually did have an after party after the triathlon just a few days ago and I think a few of us or so are in recovery mode including myself.  So just a couple of other things in terms of liver detox and estrogen turnover, high amounts of coffee, high amounts of tea, that can basically slow down estrogen turnover and cause some of the estrogen dominance weight gain as well so that’s something to be careful with. And then also cruciferous vegetables have a lot of phytoestrogens in them which are basically compounds that simulate a lot of the effects of estrogens and can actually help out a little bit in this case including stuff like broccoli and onions and kale and things of that nature when it comes to estrogen dominance.  And Brock is distracted…This is one of the issue with us recording live. What are you looking at?

Brock:  (There’s a salamander over …)

Ben:  (It’s a frog.)  So those are the main things. You’ll see a lot of websites, shape magazine and prevention women’s health.  They all say “well of course, it’s muscle weight that you’re gaining.”  Most women don’t gain muscle when they’re marathon training unless you’re starting from complete novice and you’re doing a ton of hill climbing or something like that, may put on some muscle on your thighs but it’s usually not muscle gain.  Typically, you’re talking about fluid retention and cortisol, glycogen retention, some sodium retention, that type of thing.

Brock:  Before I got distracted by the frog, I was going get you to clarify cruciferous vegetables.  Which ones are we talking about here?

Ben:  Broccoli, kale, spinach, cauliflowers, stuff like that.

Brock:  Really?  So these are like what we have normally considered to be like super foods are actually causing some problems.

Ben:  No no no.  They have phytoestrogens in them which can help.  They basically occupy the receptor sites that estrogen would normally occupy so they actually help out a little bit too.  So those are some of the things that I recommend to both Erin and Lisa and that’s why women tend to gain weight when they start training for endurance sports and some of the things you can do about it.  We’ll not only put links to some of these stuff in the show notes for Episode 219 but as usual, we’ll create MyList for it over at facebook.com/bgfitness if you wanna access the MyList.  So, there we go.

Brock:  Let’s move on to Ana’s question.  And Ana says, “I do quite well in Crossfit competitions.  I like beating people.  Mind you, it’s the scale division at my local affiliates so I’m no pro.  It’s just for fun.  I like to keep it mostly paleo (except for whey).  So sweet potatoes, apples, raw honey all smashed and cooked together with some whey is what I reach for during a competition.

[0:30:09.1]

I also use creatine and beta alanine but I don’t think whole foods will be absorbed fast enough for the WOD (workout of the day) especially if you’re required to do several workouts of the day back to back.  These workouts are short and intense 10-12 minutes tops you go “balls out”.  I tried GU gels during the Crossfit open and I did not see any significant differences in my performance.  I was wondering if you could put your kick butt brains together and give me some suggestions.  In particular, would you say the new generation Ucan would be a good idea during competition or during training?”

Ben:  Bad idea. Basically, Ana’s looking for a fast-release carbohydrates.  I’m just gonna bump up her energy levels super duper quickly when she’s getting ready for her WOD.  Ucan superstarch is designed to enhance your fatty acids utilization and be a very slow release fuel that doesn’t cause an insulin spike, that doesn’t cause a blood glucose spike.  I used that in the triathlon that we had the other day and I’ll use it again in this next triathlon that we’re doing in the weekend because I want a slow-release energy source because I’m trying to tap into my body’s own fat stores as a fuel and I’m trying to avoid those quick spikes in blood sugar.  Pre-workout, if you really wanted to maximize the glucose that you have available in your blood stream and have the fastest possible energy source available to your body, basically, you’d wanna go for an engineered starch that is not Superstarch.  There’s one that’s called Vitargo.  I’ll link to it in the show notes for you but it’s basically, it could be a waxy maize starch, it could be a barley starch.  It’s basically that the process by which they make it more than this starchy material that affects the rate at which it is released.  But Vitargo has patented this fast-release carbohydrate system that causes a massive insulin spike.  A bunch of carbohydrate getting absorbed super quickly into the blood stream and it’s a very very large long molecular weight carbohydrate similar to Ucan Superstarch so, it’s all these branch chains of carbohydrates.  It has what’s called the very very low osmolality similar to Ucan Superstarch meaning that it’s going to be emptying from the stomach a little bit more quickly and into the small intestine a little bit more quickly to be absorbed but the chemical make-up of the starch itself is such that it gets a huge insulin spike.  It gets released really quickly and if you stuck me into let’s just say a crossfit box and told me ahead that and put my carb load as quickly as possible to be ready for workout, that is what I would personally use, would be something like that.

Brock:  It sounds like it’s similar to like a maltodextrin in its make-up.

Ben:  They’ve done studies on it and it’s like twice the insulin release of a maltodextrin – even a higher blood sugar spike than maltodextrin, higher than glucose, definitely higher than fructose.  So, that’s what I would use. Again, I mentioned that we have a Ben Greenfield Fitness recommends page but there’s a bunch of other stuff on that page that you can use to amplify pre strength your power workouts, your performance or even your sugar uptake.  Tianchi is one of the things I recommend.  That’s a Chinese herbal adaptogen complex that I use.  That’s a really really good one.  And then just choose your basics.  It’s creatine, carnitine, citrulline and beta-alanine.  Those are the four main ones.  I’ve got dosage recommendations and everything that I’ll put in the show notes for you.  Let’s say you just wanna go geeky scientists and do all that stuff together, if you were to stack something like that waxy maize starch like Vitargo generate with the citrulline and the beta-alanine and the creatine and the carnitine, put all that together, you’re looking at a massive glucose spike, you’re looking at a massive amount of energy in a short period of time, you’re also looking at diabetes and the shaker cup if you’re not…

Brock:  If you’re just sitting on the couch.

Ben:  Yeah. If you just sit on the couch. Quick quick way to give yourself diabetes just because the amount of insulin and blood glucose really sure that you’re gonna get.  But that’s what I would do, that’s the way I would go about doing this if you really want that fast release.

[0:35:07.7]

Brock:  All right.  Next question is from Gabriel.  Gabriel says, “I live in Puerto Rico. We have little access to quality animal-based protein.  Most of the beef and poultry are from industrial South American animals.  What cuts of beef or chicken pieces are the least bad in terms of hormones, etc.  I eat frozen salmon, cod or tuna once or twice a week (I don’t eat it frozen, I cook it before) and I eat kinwa a couple of times a week too but there’s something about a nice piece of meat, you know.  Also, what do you think of xenogenics?  They’ve been pushing their stuff their protocol to high levels…It seems like a waste of time and money.

Ben:  Okay.  So, first of all, the last little bit of that question about xenogenics, that’s the one what I see in the back of the airplane magazines, the 70 year-old man looks like he’s 40 and he’s got…he’s flexing with his jeans on or whatever.  You know what?  I don’t remember if it’s been since Brock’s been on but I went into an extensive podcast revealing what I thought about xenogenics so just go to bengreenfieldfitness.com and do a search for “xenogenics”.

Brock:  Basically, your hunch is right, Gabriel.

Ben:  Yeah.  Let’s focus on the meat part of this.  Meat is gonna tend to if it’s got lots of toxins, if it’s got lots of hormones, it’s gonna store that in the fat in the skin so whereas I usually recommend that you not choose leaner cuts of meat that you go after the fat because of the things like the conjugated linoleic acids and the omega 3 fatty acids, you technically wanna avoid the skin, trim the fat and go for the lower fat cuts of meat if you wanted to eat meat that hasn’t been organically raised (grass raised) you want to do as little damage as possible.  So that’s the first thing you’d wanna do is basically you go low fat on your cuts of meat.  There are certain cuts of meat or certain animals that are known to be dirtier than others so USD Aid has studies on this, there’s a lot of universities that have done independent studies on everything from the stearate to salmonella to…

Brock:  I guess you mean dirty by having bacterias..

Ben:  Dirty like stuff you’d wanna avoid in that case.  Ground turkey and chicken are biggies.  If you’re not getting free range organic on those, your chance of getting sick goes way up.  Something like 25% of chicken has some form of bacteria in it that could potentially make you sick if you’re not careful.  A lot of times, you think pigs are the dirty animals, poultry is way way higher than pigs when it comes to that stuff.  So I’d be super careful with chicken and turkey especially if it’s not free range type of stuff if you’re just looking at cage fed, that’s gonna be an issue.  Cold cuts are really really high in listeria.  That can also be an issue so I’d be really careful with cold cuts and…

Brock:  Any processed meats…

Ben:  Yeah.  Interestingly, listeria which you’re gonna tend to find in higher amounts in something like a cold cut.  You know what tends to kill listeria?  Mustard.  So, you could just lather mustard all over your bologna.

Brock:  Like just regular old French’s mustard?

Ben:  Yeah.  So dip (if you bologna has been sitting out in the counter a few days) dip it in some mustard.  Yeah.  You’re gonna have some active listeria-fighting compounds in mustard.  But it’s interesting how those foods that tend to go hand in hand anyways – the mustard has some sort of a cleaning effect so to speak.  Be really careful with predatory fish.  Here in Riley Bay, it’s kinda cool.  You walk along the beach and there’s  a stall and these vendors and they’ve got like pieces or slabs of fish on ice and you just point at what you want, they throw in on a barbeque grill for and toss some corn and some vegetables and stuff in there but you do see a lot…like last night that place you went to like Sword Fish and they had shark and they had tuna and I’m personally for mackerel ‘cause that tends to be not one of the larger predatory fish.  And there’s a reason for that.  That fish that eat other fish tend to be higher in heavy metals.  So you’d wanna be careful for doing fish (with those fish) and tuna is included in that list that tends to be higher in heavy metals.  There are heavy metal detox formulas out there.  Next Wednesday, this is probably a good time to mention this, I’m on a plane next Wednesday coming back from Thailand and everything so I am releasing an interview on that day with Dr. David Minkoff about heavy metals.  So next week, our usual podcast will be released Friday with a surprise stand-in guest that is not Brock.

Brock:  Yeah.  I don’t even know who it is, it’s gonna be such a surprise.

Ben:  Anyways, heavy metals tend to be an issue with predatory fish – that’s what you wanna be careful  with.

[0:40:00.8]

Oysters, raw oysters, definitely an issue, salmonella is a biggie with those.  Try to be super careful with those.  And ground beef, if it’s typical commercial ground beef, that tends to be pretty big issue as well.  So honestly, if you wanna go as clean as possible, if I were you, I’d go for the smaller fish, I would do pork, I would do any of the large animals that are not cattle like deer, lamb, goats, stuff like that.  Stay away from turkey and chicken, stay away from oysters.  That would be some of the main ways to kinda keep clean.  The other interesting thing is there is a supplement that you can take that kinda leeches a lot of these toxins and offensive compounds from meat.  If you happen to not have a chance to eat the good grass-fed hormone-free free range type of stuff and that’s activated charcoal.  You can literally just eat a couple of capsules of activated charcoal before you eat whatever that meat is and it can help mitigate some of the damaging effects.  That’d be one thing that you can do as well.

Brock:  Like those of the long term damaging effect’s not necessarily the food poisoning.

Ben:  It can help with that.  Both activated charcoal as well as probiotics _____[0:41:20.4] food poisoning.  The other interesting thing is if you have ground beef and you’re concerned about salmonella or other offensive compounds of that, oregano has a lot of components in it that tend to be active against the bacteria and that you could oil of oregano, you could even use fresh oregano and grind that up along with your ground beef to make it like a burger.  It does have some of that what’s called carvacrol in it which has some of those potent anti bacterial properties.  So there are ways to mitigate the effects but hopefully that kinda points you in the right direction when it comes to some of the meats that are gonna be better vs. worse.

Brock:  I was hoping you’re gonna say chocolate ice cream as the perfect…

Ben:  Yes.  Chocolate ice cream.  Make sure there’s no predatory fish in your chocolate ice cream and that’d be good to go.

Brock:  No predatory ice cream.  All right.  Matt says, “Ben, I read that power is lost 1.7 times faster than strength as we age.  I thought power and strength were the same thing.  What is the difference and should I be working more on power exercise than strength exercises?  Can you give an example of the difference between the two?  By the way, I’m 39 years old”.

Ben:  Yeah.  They have done studies on this and as you age, you lose power more quickly than strength.  I don’t know if it’s 1.7 times.  I’ve seen figures like the loss in power exceeds the loss in strength by about 10% per year.  That’s not 10% loss of power per year.  That means like if you lost 2% of your strength per year, you’d be losing 10% more of that.  So 10% for whatever 2% is in terms of power.  So you’re losing (Brock and I are both excellent at Math as you can tell).  Anyways, yes, the loss in power is gonna exceed the loss in strength.  Power is just the ability to apply a large amount of force over a period of time.  An example of power would be like how quickly can you shove this weight overhead vs. strength which is how much weight can you push over your head without any consideration of how fast you can do it.

Brock:  And how long.

Ben:  And fast twitch muscle is what you use to create a powerful effort along with a large recruitment of motor neurons.  Those are 2 things that you tend to lose quite quickly as you age is the ability to recruit motor neurons or the neuron units in the muscle that would be responsible for producing high amounts of power and you also lose fast twitch muscle more quickly as you age.  So this is why the deficits in power that you experience as you age tend to be more significant than what you lose when it comes to strength.  As far as mitigating those effects, you would want to make sure that you’re including resistance training sessions as you age that require you to lift weights fast.  You could do plyometrics, single leg/ double legs jumps onto a box/off of the box, that kind of stuff, skips, hops, bounds, anything that causes you to create a large amount of force in a short period of time as well as lifting, changing of the tempo as you lift.  I’m actually writing an article for Lava Magazine on this right now of about how you can literally just kind of depending on what time of year that you’re in, change the tempo at which you lift.  So if you lift something fast and lower it quickly, you’re gonna do less muscle damage but develop more power.  Then if you say lift something slowly and lower it slowly.  But changing of the tempo not doing all you workouts at the same tempo is one really good way that you can ensure that you maintain power including some explosive efforts.  Again, I know I’m kinda kicking this horse to death, but I do have recommendation section at bengreenfieldfitness.com where basically, there are recommendations on like supplements that can help with power.

[0:45:14.1]

Fish Oil is the biggest one just because it contains a lot of the fats that tend to line myelin sheaths of your nerves and help out with basically your nerve conduction velocity.  So essentially, you’re sending messages to your muscles more quickly.   So Fish Oil is a big one.  There’s another supplement called Choline that if you take along with Fish Oil is really really good one to throw in there for power.  Just have pieces of equipment around your house that you can use for more than just power like agility ladders.  There’s one you can get from website like performbetter.com.  They’ve got lots of power development tools, medicine balls that you could throw or slam into the ground, weighted vests that you can jump with, boxes or some kind of a step platform you can jump onto or jump off.  Just kind of including those type of things as you age, super important if you wanna maintain power vs. strength.  So hopefully it kinda gives you a basic idea of the difference between power and strength and I’ll put a bunch of links in the show notes to some of the supplements that I recommend and some of the tools that I like to keep around for developing power rather than just pure strength.

Brock:  Awesome!  All right.  Well, our last question comes from Alan.  Alan says, “When you eat matters, not just what you eat” (now, he’s got a link to Science Daily, I guess an article), any thoughts on this article?  Trying to think about how you might incorporate this info into an active work and family life.  I’m finding it difficult.  I work up at 5:00 AM.  I would have to skip breakfast to make this work since dinner with my wife and kids is a priority.  Plan would have to be dinner at 5, lunch at 1, breakfast at 10.  Does not sound too different from your routine, no?”

Ben:  Yeah.  The study that is linked into, basically, they took one group of mice and just let them eat ad libitum round the clock whenever they wanted to, and then they took another group of mice.  Those mice were given the same calorie allotment but they were restricted to an 8-hour feeding window.  And the mice that were restricted to the 8-hour feeding window did not experience the same blood sugar fluctuations, increase in obesity and overweight as the mice that were allowed to eat at any time of day.  And so the take away message from this was basically, you have a certain period of time during the day when you have a restricted feeding window and then the rest of the day you’re not eating and really, this is something that we’ve talked about before.  It’s just intermittent fasting.  It would be like throwing in a 16-hour fast everyday is what will come out to be equivalent of.  You could quit eating at 8 PM at night after dinner and not eat again until noon if you’re doing a full 16-hour intermittent fast.  This thing though is about the spirit of the law not the letter of the law, meaning that your body is designed to operate on a natural circadian rhythm that has period of time when it is dark and when you are not eating very much encourage a time when it is light, when you’re awake, when you’re alert, when your body is able to metabolize fuel and when you are eating.  And this does not mean that you have to be annal about squeezing everything into an 8-hour window and then having a 16-hour window where you’re not eating.  But what it does mean is that you should consider adapting a scenario where you do something like after you’ve had dinner, not snacking and not eating anymore.  And then when you get up in the morning, trying to go for a little bit of time if it fits in your schedule and your personal schedule to not eat breakfast until 9:00 AM or 10:00 AM.  This is something I do everyday.  I try to quit eating after I’ve had dinner and then in the morning, I work for a couple of hours.  Sometimes I’ll do some exercise, some cold thermogenesis where I’ll do a cold shower and wear my cool fat burner vest or something like that and then I have breakfast.  Typically, for me breakfast is around 10:00 AM and since we eat dinner usually sometime between 7:00 and 8:00 PM, that gives me a good anywhere from a 13 to a 15-hour fasted window every single day.  So it doesn’t have to be exactly what they did in the study with the mice where it’s a 16-hour window.  What it comes down to is your body has this internal clock (internal circadian rhythm) that’d hard wired to respond to light-dark cycles and the feeding cycles and if you just go haywire and eat when you want and sleep when you want and (this is why people who work night shifts have such a hard time losing weight a lot of the time) then you end up throwing both your hormones and your blood sugar into a little bit of an imbalanced cycle.

[0:50:13.2]

Brock:  Something that really comes hand in hand with this too is most of any real diet program that you go on will have you eliminate evening snacking ‘cause that really does always take you over and above your caloric needs for the day.  It’s all just extra calories so really you’ve got to sort of bang for your buck here.

Ben:  Yeah.  Go and watch the recent How to Hack Your Sleep article that I wrote at bengreenfieldfitness.com if you really want to learn how eating at night also affects the quality of your sleep, the amount of leptin that you’re able to release which is kind of an appetite satiating hormone, the amount of melatonin your produce, the amount of leptin that gets taken up into the hypothalamus.  I mean there’s a ton of things that happen when you snack late at night.  All those would be some of the reasons that this study that you mentioned and linked to, that we’ll also link to in the show notes, found that basically mice who were on intermittent fasting were more successful.  I don’t know if mice would be a success.  I bet a mouse would be getting fat as a success.

Brock:  Yeah.  I think that be happy about that.

Ben:  Yes.  Caloric Nirvana. Speaking of caloric nirvana, Brock and I have been eating like kings here in Thailand, I would say.

Brock:  Yes.  Getting a little ridiculous.  The food is just too good here.

Ben:  Yeah.  And it’s fantastic.  So we’re gonna arrive at 70.3.  For those of you who don’t know, we’re here doing a double triathlon.  We did a triathlon on Sunday and then we’ll do another one this coming Sunday at a half Ironman.

Brock:  I’m sorry, we didn’t just do a triathlon on Sunday.  Ben won the overall age groupers – the triathlon on Sunday?

Ben:  I did. I was more proud though of making top 10.  I was happy with that.

Brock:  Like a minute and 7 seconds behind back up?

Ben:  Something like that. I don’t think he was having a good day though.

Brock:  It looked though he was having a good day at the party.

Ben:  Yeah. Anyways though, folks, hopefully you appreciate the fact that despite the crappiness of what this final product is going to be, Brock and I still are committed enough to skip whatever it is we’d normally be doing right now, probably walking up and down the beach and bring you this podcast.  So hopefully, you enjoyed it and you’ll get something different next week too.  As I mentioned, I’ll probably ask some hot female sidekick rather than hairy Brock sitting here next to me.

Brock:  I am extra hairy in Thailand.  It’s true.

Ben:  Yes.  Anyways though, folks, thanks for listening and we’ll put link to everything over at bengreenfieldfitness.com for Episode 219 and also in the MyList for this episode over at facebook.com/bgfitness.  Don’t forget to create your MyList by clicking on that MyList button over at facebook.com/bgfitness and sharing your MyList with us.  And until next time, (like I just said MyList 20 times) this is Ben and Brock signing out from bengreenfieldfitness.com.

        For personal nutrition, fitness or triathlon consulting, supplements, books or DVD’s from Ben Greenfield, please visit Pacific Elite Fitness at http://www.pacificfit.net

 

In this Episode #219: Why Women Gain Weight When Training For Endurance Sports. Also: what to eat before a Crossfit workout, which meat is the most toxic, how to maintain power as you age and how to intermittent fast.

Have a podcast question for Ben? Click the tab on the right side of this page, click Ask a Podcast Question at the bottom of this page, Skype “pacificfit” or scroll down to the “Ask Ben” form.

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Listener Q&A:

As compiled, edited and sometimes read by Brock, the Ben Greenfield Fitness Podcast “sidekick”.

Erin Asks:

Normally I like to run in the late mornings, at least after I have had breakfast on board for a while. Doing so I trained for two marathons and my weight stayed where it had been for the past 5 years. Right now, my job requires me to do my training runs at 5:30 in the morning and I am on my feet all day at work. I’m not able to get in good workouts at 7pm when I’m done working. I try to eat a little bit of carbs (50-100 calories of easily digestible food) before/during my morning run. In the past 10 weeks, I have gained 10 pounds since I started running before work. I am eating about 2000 calories per day and running about 40-45 miles per week. I eat all organic foods, dairy free, rarely eat wheat/grains, and occasionally have two glasses of wine about 3 nights per week. After my run I have a green smoothie with kale/spinach/banana/almond butter/ almond milk and rice protein powder. Why am I gaining weight? What can I do to lose the weight? I am doing the things you have mentioned in previous podcasts to reduce cortisol but still the numbers on the scale still climb. I’d rather not run 26.2 miles at a heavier weight. Should I be taking in more calories? Less?

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Lisa asks:

I have a question about weight gain during marathon training. I’m a 28 year-old female training for my fourth marathon in June. I run anywhere from 50-70 miles/wk at the height of my training and I eat very clean (Paleo with an occasional cheat). I also lift weights 2-3 times per week. I’m 5’6″ and around 130 lbs. Whenever I train more intensely for marathons I end up gaining about 10 lbs (i.e., I used to be around 120 lbs). I don’t think this is all muscle and I don’t think it is due to overeating since I track my food quite assiduously and usually end up about 700 calories in the hole every day. (I eat between 1300-1500 calories, but am burning around 800 calories/day with my average of 9 mile runs each day.) I’ve become concerned about this weight gain and was tested for hypothyroidism (which was negative). When I mention my weight to physicians, they seem dismissive since I’m not overweight. Is there any way to explain this weight gain despite these steep calorie deficits? Should I be more insistent on getting this checked out? I ate a low-carb and high-fat diet for about a month in December when work prevented me from training at all, and I ended up losing 10 lbs in a month, then regaining it almost immediately once I resumed my training. I’ve been able to make massive time improvements despite this weight gain, but it leaves me feeling bloated and large in my “normal” clothes. I’ve heard of several others (mostly women) gaining weight during marathon training and I’m wondering what the explanation for this could be, especially when the person is OCD about calorie intake (as I have been).

In my response to Lisa and Erin, I mention the following for estrogen dominance:

-Consider progesterone cream WITH testing

-Detox liver with CapraCleanse

-Also for liver, take these according to recommended dosage: calcium d-glucuratemethioninefolic acidtaurineN-acetyl-cysteine

-400-600mg magnesium per day

Vitamin B complex

Finally, listen to: What Makes Women Gain Weight As They Get Older And What To Do About It.

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Ana asks:

I do quite well in Crossfit competitions. I like beating people 😀 Mind you it’s the scale division at local affiliates so I’m no pro. It’s just for fun. I like to keep it mostly paleo  (except for whey).  So sweet potatoes, apples and raw honey all smashed and cooked together with some whey is what I reach for before and during a competition. I also use creatine and b-alanine. But I don’t think whole foods will be absorbed fast enough for the WOD. Especially if you are required to so several WOD’s back to back. These workouts are short and intense, 10-12 min tops, you go “balls out”. I tried the GU gel during the crossfit open and I did not see any significant differences in my performance.  I was wondering if you could put your kick butt brains together and give me some suggestions. In particular would you say the new generation Ucan resistant starch would be a good idea during competition ( or even during  training). Here is the link for the different workouts if that helps. You have 12min to perform each, 3 minute rest and then you do the next one. There are 2 workouts. They have not released the 4th. http://beastmodebattle.com/?page_id=250 I really appreciate you wise words guys! I know your strong point is endurance training. But you have tackled non-endurance topics quite beautifully before so I trust your opinions.

In my response to Ana, I recomend:

Waxy Maize Starch (like Vitargo Genr8)

TianChi – Chinese adaptogens

-Creatine – 0.3g/kg bodyweight for 5-7 days followed by 5g/day. No need to cycle. Recommend Kreaceps capsules.

-Carnitine – 750mg-2,000mg/day – in 2 doses. Recommend Nutrarev.


-Citrulline – 6-8g, 30-60 minutes before exercise. Recommend Citruvol

-Beta-Alanine – 2-5g, 30-60 minutes before exercise. Recommend NOW Foods.

-BCAA’s – 10-20g every 60-90 minutes during exercise. Recommend Recoverease.

-Amino acids – 10-20g every 60-90 minutes during exercise. Recommend MAP.

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Gabriel asks:
I live in Puerto Rico, we have little access to quality animal based protein. Most of the beef and poultry is from industrial South American animals. What cuts of beef or chicken pieces are the least bad in terms of hormones etc? I eat frozen salmon, cod or tuna once or twice a week (I don’t eat it frozen, I cook it before 😉 and I eat quinoa a couple of times a week too but man, there’s something about a nice piece of meat, you know?

In my response I recommend activated charcoal for taking to mitigate effects of “dirty meat”.

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Matt says:
Ben, I read that power is lost 1.7x faster than strength as we age. I thought power and strength were the same thing. What is the difference and should I be working more on power exercise than strength exercises? Can you give an example of the difference between the two? Btw I’m 39 years old.

In my response to Matt, I mention my list of performance recommendations, including:

-Triglyeride based fish oil for enhanced nerve function, 2-4g/day. Recommend SuperEssentials and TwinLab Cod Liver Oil.

-Choline – 250-500mg daily – Recommend TwinLabs.

-L-Tyrosine – 0.5-2g, 20-45 minutes prior – Recommend NOW Foods.

-Green Tea Extract – 400-500mg EGCG equivalent per day. Recommend delta-E.

-Vitamin B Complex. Recommend delta-E.

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Alan asks:

“When you eat matters, not just what you eat” – any thoughts on this article?  trying to think about how you might incorporate this into an active work/family life and finding it difficult. i workout at 5am.  i would have to skip breakfast to make this work since dinner with my wife and kids is a priority. plan would have to be dinner at 5, lunch at 1, breakfast at 10.  does not sound too different from your routine, no?  little concerned about eating so long after workout, but if it is just a fat burning workout perhaps it would be fine.  i will try and let you know how it goes! Would love to hear your thoughts/concerns.

 

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6 Hidden Ways That You May Be Lowering Your Metabolism & Gaining Fat

Click here for the full written transcript of this podcast episode.

Nov 7, 2012 free podcast: 6 Hidden Ways That You May Be Lowering Your Metabolism & Gaining Fat Also: do body wraps work for weight loss, getting rid of diastasis recti, ways to increase your VO2 Max, how to work your upper body without using your arms, and will hyperbaric therapy work for recovery?

Have a podcast question for Ben? Click the tab on the right side of this page, click Ask a Podcast Question at the bottom of this page, Skype “pacificfit” or scroll down to the “Ask Ben” form.

Please don’t forget to leave the podcast a ranking in iTunes – it only takes a minute of your time and it helps grow our healthy community!

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News Flashes:

To get these and other interesting news flashes every week, follow Ben on Twitter and Google+.

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Special Announcements:

“Become Superhuman” Live Event With Ben Greenfield Coming To Spokane, WA, March 8 & 9, 2013 – Anyone who purchases a ticket by Dec 1 is automatically entered in a contest to win one of two grand prizes: (Prize A) Private one on one consult with Ben (Prize B) One free ticket (choice of ticket refund or extra ticket). We will pick two early bird ticket buyers at random and award the prizes to them (these two prizes will be awarded to separate ticket buyers). If you’ve already purchased a ticket, you’re already automatically entered. Register now!

If you like podcasts, you’ll love Audio Books! – Go to www.audiblepodcast.com/ben and sign up to claim your very own free audio book from Audible.

This podcast is brought to you by Pacific Elite Fitness – Where you can get one-on-one nutrition consulting now with Ben Greenfield.

Twelve of the most lethal and EFFECTIVE triathlon training sessions of ALL TIME! – Head over to http://www.maccax.com/ to get access to Chris “Macca” McCormack’s X12 workouts.

MyList “Save all the things that rock, in one place” – the complete list of recommendations from this podcast episode are available at the BGFitness Facebook page.

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Listener Q&A:A donate button that reads - keep the podcasts coming

As compiled and read by Brock, the Ben Greenfield Fitness Podcast “sidekick”.

Audio Question from Fred @ 00:14:24
Heard a lot about wraps for weight loss and is wondering what your take is? He thinks hard work and exercise are the way to go but wants to know what you think.

Audio Question from Jolene @ 00:18:06
She has a torn abdominus rectus from two consecutive pregnancies and quite a large diastasis recti (4 fingers wide) and is wondering if she can train it back into position so it can heal or if it needs surgery. She is having trouble training her core properly and is having back, hip and knee problems as a result.

~ In my response I mention these ab exercises for pregnancy. I also mention the Cassandra Forsythe interview and the Tupler Technique.

Audio Question from Rick @ 00:26:25
His girlfriend would like to drop 15lbs but has hypothyroidism and take 88mg of synthroid per day. She is into Crossfit 3 times a week. Beside managing her caloric intake, is there something else she could do, despite her thyroid issue?

~ In my response, I talk about my personal thyroid measurement with WellnessFX. I also mention this episode with Roby Mitchell (AKA Dr. Fitt). I recommend this book: “Why Do I Still Have Thyroid Symptoms?  When My Lab Tests Are Normal: A Revolutionary Breakthrough In Understanding Hashimoto’s Disease and Hypothyroidism” and I mention my gut healing recommendations.

Audio Question from Bill @ 00:44:06
Needs some help getting his endurance back. He had a bike crash and hurt his shoulder. He spent 4 months on the sofa after surgery. He just started training again but his endurance is poor. Interestingly his heart rate is staying down between the LT and AT for an entire run. How can he get his mojo back? Also what % of Body Fat do you like to have during taper week before an IM or 70.3?

~ In my response to Bill, I mention: Cordyceps, Fish Oil, and Floradix.

Kayla asks @ 00:57:19
I’m a 5’3 116lb female who has been going to the gym for the past 6 months attempting to gain muscle. I’ve made good progress so far, however I recently started experiencing pain in both of my forearms. I saw my doctor who diagnosed me with “forearm shin splints” and have been taking naproxen and resting my arms. I’ve been instructed to not lift weights for a minimum of 2 weeks, probably more (depending on how the arms heal). I’m worried about losing all the muscle I’ve worked so hard for. Without the use of my forearms, I can’t seem to work my bi’s, tri’s, shoulders, or back. Do you have any suggestions for keep my upper body in shape and healing faster?

~ In my answer I reference the FIT10.

Richard asks @ 01:04:43
I have been looking into trying out a Hyperbaric Treatment for no other reason than just my well-being and recovery! I like the idea of getting higher oxygen levels to help cell repair and general healing. I’m 25yr old male was has been known to over-train just due to fact I feel like I can keep going. Can the Hyperbaric chamber sessions allow me to train harder and more often?

~ In my response I talk about: the book “The Oxygen Revolution: Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy: The Groundbreaking New Treatment for Stroke, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, Arthritis, Autism, Learning Disabilities and More”, the study Acute and Chronic Effects of Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy on Blood Circulation of Human Muscle and Tendon in Vivo and the Directory of Hyperbaric Oxygen Providers in the USA. I also mentioned the studies at www.netnet.net/mums and 1800woundcenter.org.

Prior to asking your question, do a search in upper right hand corner of this website for the keywords associated with your question. Many of the questions we receive have already been answered here at Ben Greenfield Fitness!

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Episode #216 – Full Transcript – Ben Greenfield Fitness

Podcast #216 from

https://bengreenfieldfitness.com/2012/11/episode-216-6-hidden-ways-that-you-may-be-lowering-your-metabolism-gaining-fat

[0:00:00.0]

Introduction:  In today’s podcast, 6 hidden ways that you may be lowering your metabolism and gaining fat.  Also:  do body wraps work for weight loss, getting rid of diastasis recti, ways to increase your VO2max, how to work your upper body without using your arms, and will hyperbaric therapy work for recovery?

Brock:  Hey Ben!  What’s happening?

Ben:  I’m sitting here in my office with my guitar in my lap. Can you hear me?  Can you hear my guitar?

Brock:  I can. It sounds glorious.

Ben:  Glorious! I finally get launched back into guitar lessons this week.  I’ve got this guy who’s like a MMA fighter and a heavy metal guitar guy and he also does a lot of acoustic rock.  Anyways, he’s teaching teenagers guitar lessons at our YMCA so I approached him about maybe letting me take guitar lessons and he said yes.  As a matter of fact, we’re gonna cancel the podcast and we’re going to just start a band, Brock and I.

News Flashes:

Brock:  All right.  To get these and other interesting news flashes every week, make sure you follow Ben on Twitter and at Google + and you can find the links to Twitter and Google+ if you go to bengreenfieldfitness.com and scroll along the right hand side.  Ben, what are you gonna highlight for us today?

Ben:  Well, there were a couple of studies that are going to basically give you a heart attack if you run next to busy roads just because you’d be worrying so much about your health.   I twitted why you shouldn’t run next to busy roads and it’s not because you’ll get hit by a car.  And I also had another follow up twit after that that talked about how we’re toxifying ourselves.  Don’t get me wrong, I do not believe that people should live inside a bubble but the inspiration for this started with the study in the Medicine Science Sports and Exercise Journal.  With the study they have in there entitled The Sub-Clinical Effects of Aerobic Training in an Urban Environment and they looked at inflammation, neural inflammation and cognitive performance.

Brock:  Wait…neural inflammation? Is that the inflammation in the brain itself?

Ben:  Yeah.  Exactly.   You can look at your brain derive the neuropathic factor – that’s the factor that increases from aerobic exercise and helps out with your IQ.  You can also look at how much nitric oxide you’re exhaling.  There’s a bunch of different psychomotor and memory tests that you can do for cognitive performance.  And then of course, for inflammation, you can look at leukocyte counts in the blood stream and other inflammatory markers as well.

Brock:  So, does that require them actually like peeking at your brain, you can look for markers in the blood and other places?

Ben:  No hacks are required to lift the lid of your head or something like that.  What they found was that aerobic training in an urban environment with high traffic-related air pollution increased inflammatory biomarkers and also didn’t increase cognitive performance the same way that you would normally experience an increase in cognitive performance from aerobic training.  The take-away message here is if you are in a busy high trafficked area, you’d actually be better off exercising indoors with the filtered room or else literally get in your car and drive somewhere where you could exercise without being exposed to that high traffic.  And of course, whenever you have the option, stay away from the highway trafficked roads.

Brock:  So, how far away would you need to be from the highway trafficked roads like if you’re in a city like Toronto – it’s a city of 5 million people, so I can go to a park but that park is also surrounded by some pretty high traffic streets.

Ben:  Yeah.  You’re obviously gonna get some bio remediation of pollutants just from the trees and the plants and things like that in the park but I will just say the farther the better but I don’t have a specific rule.  I’ll just tell you just for your peace of mind, let’s just say 50 paces, Brock – 50 paces away from the road.

[0:05:19.2]

There is a related study that says adult human exposure in an urban center (in this case, they did the study in France in Paris) and they were looking at exposure to what are called phthalates, which are kinda nasty chemicals that you can literally get exposed to through your digestive tract, your respiratory tract and they looked at how much of this stuff people are getting from drinking water, from food, and from ambient air.  And it was found that you could actually get quite a bit of exposure just through ambient air from this stuff.  Again, it’s another good reason to really really be careful if you’re exercising in urban environments to try and stay away from the streets as much as you possibly can because I know we got a lot of runners and cyclists and folks like that who listen in.  Just a warning folks:  be careful.

Brock:  The air will kill you.  Don’t breathe this.

Ben:  Living will kill you.  Got a bunch of people turning blue in the face.  Actually, you know what?  It’s kinda funny. I don’t even know for elps but I do this sometimes if I am running next to busy road like a big semi or a truck or something goes by or a bus, I’ll hold my breath as long as I can until the thing is off in the distance.

Brock:  I do the same thing when I pass a smoker.

Ben:  Yeah.  You mean a cigarette smoker?

Brock:  Yeah.  I do it very pointedly too like take this huge inhale and look at them.

Ben:  That’s funny!  And then the other thing is that there was a cool study that looked into the effect that putting a ton of cinnamon in cereal has on your blood sugar levels and (this was in the Journal of Nutrition and Diet) found the effect of ground cinnamon on what’s called post prandial or after a meal.  Your blood glucose concentration found a significant enhancement in insulin sensitivity, a significant reduction in blood glucose concentration. The injection of cinnamon was about 6 grams and that was done along with 50 grams of cereal – just plain cereal.  I’m a huge fan of whenever I have a meal with which cinnamon would actually taste good.   I’m not putting on a pad thai or anything like that but any meal that’s got carbohydrate in it, on which cinnamon would taste good which is typically gonna be like if you gotta have some breakfast cereal or you an oatmeal or something like that or morning kinwa or something of that nature, cinnamon is really gonna mitigate the effects of blood sugar.  This was a cool study that reinforced that concept.

Brock:  Very cool.  So you said, how many grams or 5 grams?

Ben:  6 grams.

Brock:  6 grams.  That’s a lot!

Ben:  I think that comes about a couple of teaspoons.

Brock:  Oh really? Okay.

Ben:  Yeah.  It’s not a ton.  Now, you don’t have to put a cinnamon shaker in your mouth or anything like that.

Brock:  Oh…don’t even try that.  That’s the worst.

Ben:  Yeah.  I think that’s a party game, isn’t it?

Brock:  Yeah.  The cinnamon challenge.

Ben:  See how much cinnamon you can ingest.

Special Announcements:

Brock:  All right. I guess let’s start off with talking about The Become Superhuman Live event that you’re hosting in Spokane in March.

Ben:  Coming together fantastically. By the way, if I get excited and spit, you’re not even gonna be able to hear it because I’ve got one of these spit filters on my microphone.

Brock:  That’s so good ‘cause I spend most of the time just editing out your spitting.

Ben:  I know. Sometimes I get excited and I spit. Anyways, The Become Superhuman Live Conference in Spokane, Washington, this thing is gonna be epic.  The speakers that I’ve got on board so far, I’m super excited about, I’ll be revealing all them here in the next month.  But in the meantime, this is not just for the people who live in Spokane Coeur D’Alene area.  There are people coming in from all over the globe for this thing.  It’s filling up fast and it literally is a 2-day conference that really geeks out on health, fitness, nutrition, we’re doing private parties for podcast listeners, bunch of stuff and I think we even played commercial during the podcast so I’m going for too long.  But one quick thing:  if you register by December 1, there’s a couple of things that you get thrown in to the half for.  One is a private one on one hour-long consult with me here during the conference when you show up.  And then, the other thing that we are gonna entry into the prize for is a free ticket to either refund your ticket or you can use that free ticket to bring somebody else along with you.  But you gotta register by December 1st, 2012, if you wanna get entered into the prize drawn for either of those.  We’ll be sure to put a link in the show notes.

[0:10:16.3]

Brock:  Yeah.  You’ve got 3 weeks people.

Ben:  There we go.

Brock:  All right and I guess we should also mention that if you love podcast, you’ll probably love audio books and the best way to get an audio book and especially for free, is to go to audiblepodcast.com/ben and when you sign up, you’ll get one free audio book if you’re a new member.  It’s pretty good deal.

Ben:  I love audio books.  I’ve been listening to something called The Philosopher’s Note.  I’m not sure if you can get that on Audible but it’s a synopsis of a bunch of different philosophy books.  It’s fantastic.  I think I don’t even know the aural philosophy notes or something like that.  Brock, any books of  audiblepodcast.com/ben that you’d recommend?

Brock:  Absolutely!  One book that is on there by a guy named Michael Pollan.  He’s written a bunch of books…

Ben:  And we say Pollan here in the United States of America.

Brock:  Okay.  I will try to adopt your crazy accent.  The book is called In Defense of Food (or Fod for you Americans).  It’s an awesome book.  It actually has the 7 words that you need to remember when choosing your food which is “eat food not too much mostly plants”.  If you follow those 7 words, apparently, you will eat correctly ‘cause as Michael Pollan says in the book that we’ve completely forgotten how to eat over the last well, close to century, I guess.  It’s really an interesting book so I suggest getting that one.

Ben:  I love it! Except that I would actually modify that.  I would say “eat food not too much, mostly animals that have eaten plants.” I guess that’s more like 12 words.  That’s more my style.  Anyways, though, check it out at audiblepodcast.com/ben and then also, finally, getmaccax12.com.  If you listened to last week’s podcast at Ben Greenfield Fitness, I interviewed Chris McCormack.  He has some awesome workouts.  I’ve got them all downloaded.  It’s PDFs to my computer.  I’ve been doing one a week.  They’re funky workouts like the accordion and the lung buster…

Brock:  I like the rolly polly.

Ben:  The rolly polly workout…ton of sweet workouts that are pretty easily implemented into a pretty existing training program, so if you’re triathlete, endurance athlete or you just want some new workouts that are gonna burn a lot of fat, a lot of calories, boost your metabolism, give you a good injection of fitness, check out getmaccax12.com and we’ll put a link to that in the show notes.

Brock:  Absolutely mate!

Wanna get personal access to all of Ben Greenfield’s secrets life? This March in Spokane, Washington. Ben is bringing the world’s best speakers straight to you. You’re gonna get step by step blueprints for performance, fat loss, recovery, digestion, brain, sleep, and hormone optimization and get inside or access to private parties special sessions for podcast listeners only. And of course, delicious locally grown organic meals. The conference is called Become Super Human and it’s already filling up fast. But you can get in now at bengreenfieldfitness.com/superhuman. You’ll come away from this live 2 day event completely set for life  to achieve everything you want for your body, mind and performance. Whether you want to maximize fat loss, achieve an ironman triathlon, or push your body and mind to the absolutely limits of human performance. So visit bengreenfieldfitness.com/superhuman and we’ll see live you live and in person March 8th and 9th, 2013.

Listener Q & A:

Fred:   Hey Ben!  This is Fred.  I have a question for you guys.  They’ve  said a lot about wraps, so probably people selling these things are promoting them in regards to helping you lose weight.  Just wanna know what your take is on this.  I’m not a believer in it.  I think hard work and exercise is the way and the key is in that it’s too good to be true than it usually is.  Just wanna know what your thoughts are on it.  Thanks Ben.

Ben:  Well, Fred (for those of you who may not have understood what Fred said, he said “wrap”) yes, indeed body wraps are something that are promoted as a way to help you detox and slim down or even get rid of cellulites.

[0:15:18.7]

Brock:  Wait.  You’re not talking about burrito wraps.

Ben:  I’m not talking about eating burritos or stopping by your local taco truck, unfortunately. You’re using cayenne and pepper though, you might lose little weight with those two.  I’ve done body wrap.  I did a fall on like couple’s body wrap with my wife over in Jamaica one time.

Brock:  Did they wrap you to each other?

Ben:  No.  It wasn’t kinky like that.  We just happened to be in the same room getting wrapped.  Your skin really feels super smooth and they’ll use all sorts of different herbal treatments and mud and stuff like that when they do these wraps.  But another thing that these wraps actually promise is that they are going to (in addition to give you smooth skin) detox you by using seaweed or mud that pulls toxins from your skin and also somehow slim you because you’re getting a lot of these strips of material wraps tightly around you and finally, reduce cellulites by using herbal remedies on your skin. What’s probably going to happen or really what will happen for a few days after you get one of these wraps is your skin is going to appear more firm, it’s gonna be more toned, it’s gonna be more hydrated.  There are certainly a wide range of vitamins and herbs that can help to improve the quality of your skin and even a little bit of the elasticity and the collagen-like structure of your skin because your skin is a connective tissue.  However, as far as direct removal of adipose tissue or direct removal of, for example, cellulite, body wraps are not necessarily going to cause significant weight loss. The best way to use these would be for example, if you’ve got like lose skin that you wanna get rid of after a lot of weight that you’ve gained or you’ve got some cellulite issues, you are exercising, you’re perhaps even doing some of the things that I recommended over on the 2-part cellulite series I wrote at quickanddirtytips.com such as lifting weights and avoiding wearing super super tight garments like tight panty hose and stuff like that during the day.  These may help a little bit with removal of some of the appearance of the cellulite as well but this isn’t a quick fix for fat loss.  It’s just one of those things where you improve the tone of your skin, yeah, you may affect the way that you look a little bit.

Brock:  So Fred’s right when he says hard work exercise and good diet are the way to go.

Ben:  That’s right but throwing in body wrap if you also wanna smell like eucalyptus and chocolate or seaweed or whatever else.

Brock:  Yum.

Jolene:   Hi Ben!  I have a question about abdominus rectus muscles.  I have a torn one from two pregnancies and I have quite a large diastasis still – it’s about four fingers wide and I’m just wondering whether something like that can be healed on ______[0:18:25.4] whether you can train it back into the position so that gap, heals up or whether it has to be treated surgically. My main concern is that I’m having trouble training my core properly and as a result I’m having occurrences of back problems and hip and knee and on and on.  Issues with it, so I’m just wondering if there are some exercises that might help to heal that problem.  Thank you.

Ben:  So, diastasis recti – that’s basically this condition where your abdominal walls start to separate and when they do that, everybody’s got this little ridge that runs along the length of the abdomen from the top to the bottom along that muscle in the middle of the abs called your rectus abdominus.

Brock:  So when you rub your fingers down the middle of your like from your sternum down to your belly button, you can sort of feel it in there.  Is that what we’re talking about?

Ben:  Yup! Everybody grab your 6 pack or your 8 pack, feel that… Anyways, everybody’s got that – that ridge but what happens is it can get stretched quite a bit during the prolonged period of pregnancy and also during birth, depending on the degree of the stretching and also the relative trained state of the abdominal muscles during pregnancy, you can get to the point where that stretching of that connective tissue gets the point where really creates an actual structural abnormality and you can risk, for example, like an abdominal wall herniation if it gets stretched too far.

[0:20:02.3]

Now, whether or not you actually need surgery for something like that is something that you would need to talk to your physician about because it really really depends. There are certainly therapies that you can do.  Probably the most popular is one called the Tupler Technique that you can do to attempt to try and strengthen the abdominal muscles to where the separation is eliminated a little bit by strengthening of the connective tissue.  But there is no hard and fast recommendation for example, for the amount of centimeters or the number of fingers that you can put in between the ridge to measure its length that would indicate whether or not surgery was required.  In most cases, however, surgery is not necessary for diastasis recti and it’s very very common in women who have gone through childbirth.  Now, there are things that you can do after pregnancy and also while you’re pregnant leading up to birth to eliminate the chances of diastasis recti being pretty significant or at least to help, again, with that strengthening of connective tissue to help it to give a closure together after you’ve given birth. One really important thing to remember is that a lot of times, diastasis recti is blamed on a low tone of abdominal musculature.  And while that’s true, there are two other components that you really need to focus on if you want to really take care of this issue. One is the strength of your diaphragm and one is the strength of your muscles on your pelvic floor.  In many many women, they’ll do things like work their core and do abdominal exercises but not train the lower pelvic floor and not train the diaphragm properly.  The idea behind straining those lateral two type of muscles is deep breathing exercises and also a lot of the Kegel type of exercises, sitting on the floor, pressing your low back into the ground, squeezing the muscles – the same muscles you’d squeeze if you wanna stop urine flow, that type of thing.

Brock:  Somewhere like a contracting hold sort of thing rather than lifting weights or doing crunches or something?

Ben:  Yeah.  And that’s why I mentioned this Tupler Technique because what it does is it kinda trains you how to use the muscles around your midsection like a corsette.  It focuses on abdominal exercises that train the entire corsette and it’s designed for moms who’ve just had a child and they wanna tighten that say in the stomach area or women who are just preparing for childbirth and want to make sure that their abdominals are strong.  For example, one exercise would be kind a like a planking type of exercise where you put your forearms on the floor with your elbows underneath your shoulders.  You interlock your fingers together, you put your toes on the floor with your feet about shoulder-width apart and then you just straighten your back and you pull your stomach inward the same as you would do during like a front plank exercise and it would just be like a hold for 30-60 seconds while also training your diaphragm and doing deep breathing from the stomach while you’re in a front plank position.  And then right after you do that, you can turn over, you can lie flat on your back with your knees bent at about a 45-degree angle, same as that’d be if you’re gonna do a crunch, you can lay your hands on top of each other over your lower stomach so that you’re basically kinda like holding on to your navel.  And then you flex your ab muscles to try and get your hands to move towards the floor so you’re pressing you low back down into the ground and then you’re holding that for as long as possible – for 30 seconds to 1 minute.  And then you can literally get back over going to the plank position and do that again.  That method, going back and forth from the front plank to the low back pushing down into the ground can actually help with strengthening the connective tissue and in pulling the stomach muscles a little bit closer together.  That’s another one you can do as well.  There is an article that I wrote at bengreenfieldfitness.com that has…I think it’s like 15 different exercises that you can do.  We’ll put it in the show notes to this episode.  What episode number is this, Brock?

Brock:  216.

Ben:  Yeah.  So Episode 216.  I’ll put a link to this article but it’s basically ab exercises that you can do while you’re pregnant that don’t put you into like a recumbent position that would clot blood flow to the baby and also would be considered exercises that actually do really strength from the abs compared to crunches or sit-ups.  I’ll put a link to that in the show notes.

[0:25:08.4]

I also had a really good interview with Cassandra Forsythe and we talked a lot about strength training during pregnancy.  We’ll put a link to that in the show notes as well.  But those would be two other good resources for you in addition to these two exercises you can do for diastasis recti.

Brock:  Is there anything that she should be avoiding in the meantime while she has this separation?  Would running be contra-indicated or swimming or lifting weights or anything like that?

Ben:  Any impact-based exercise that basically has you breathing hard and doing impact at the same time, I would be really careful with so yeah, that will include running and then the other thing I’ll be careful with would be weight lifting that causes you to do what’s called this valsalva maneuver or holding your breath as you’re pushing against the force like a squat or a dead lift or something of that nature.  The same type of exercises you’d wanna be really careful with if you, for example, had a hernia.   So I would really focus on, for example, that Tupler Technique that I mentioned prior to starting into some of those other type of movements.

Brock:  Also get that taken care of first and then move to the traditional stuff.  Cool!

Ben:  Get your tummy strong like bull.

Rick:   Hello Ben!  This is Rick from Ohio.  I enjoyed your podcast.  You and Brock do a great job.  My question today is from my girlfriend.  She likes to drop about 15 lbs but she has hypothyroidism and takes synthroid about 88 mg per dose.  She’s in her early 50’s and a Crossfit girl.  She’s at the box at least 3x a week.  She really struggles to drop the weight.  So my question is this:  Besides managing her caloric intake, is there anything else she could be doing to increase her metabolism?  Do you think she has a larger challenge because of her thyroid problem?  Looking forward to your thoughts.  Thanks a lot.

Ben:  Well, this is an interesting issue because hypothyroidism, it can be so complicated and of course we should put in our traditional disclaimer.  We may wanna just play that in fast motion right here, Brock.

Brock:  Got it.

Ben:  All right.  Cool.  Brock’s on it.

Brock:  Ben is not a doctor and the content provided on this podcast is for informational purpose only and should not be construed as medical or health care advice.

Ben:  We’ve interviewed Dr. Fit – Dr. Roby Mitchell on this podcast before about how to manage a low thyroid and that would be a good episode for you to listen to.  There’s also a really really good book out there called Why Do I Still Have Thyroid Symptoms When My Lab Tests are Normal?   That book was out of print for a while but it’s back in print now and I’ll be sure and put a link to it in the show notes.  But the thing to understand about thyroid is that there are many environmental triggers that can act on your thyroid gland and affect your thyroid activity that your girlfriend should know about because all of these, by affecting thyroid activity can of course, affect metabolism because your thyroid is one of the master regulators of your metabolic rate or your calorie burn.

Brock:  Actually Ben, it’s been a good time to clarify or I wanna ask so she’s got hypothyroid?  Now that’s not having enough thyroid or your thyroid’s not producing enough of the…

Ben:  Your thyroid isn’t either producing enough of the T3 or the T3 isn’t getting converted into T4 properly in the liver or in the gut or perhaps the thyroid stimulating hormone is not being produced in adequate quantities or you may have thyroid antibodies circulating in your blood stream. There are variety of reasons that hypothyroidism may occur and that’s something I’ll get into here because I would say that there are basically 6 main things that you should be aware of that are gonna affect your thyroid, that I think everybody should be aware of.  The first would be the hypothyroidism in most cases is what would be called an auto immune disease.  What that means is that there are certain components in your diet, in your blood stream, etc. that can cause your body to mount an inflammatory attack against your thyroid tissue.   And one of the main components that can cause this auto immune attack is gliadin.  Gliadin is the protein portion of gluten which you find in wheat and gliadin really closely resembles thyroid gland tissue so if you are eating a lot of wheat and this gliadin breeches the protective barrier  of your gut and enters your blood stream which is very easy for that to happen, your immune system will tag gliadin for destruction and it will create this antibodies that bind to gliadin but these same antibodies can also cause your body to attack thyroid tissue.

[0:30:25.3]

That means that if you have any type of propensity for this type of auto immune reaction, a lot of people do, and you eat foods that contain gluten, your immune system can attack your thyroid and this is not one of those cases where you’re just like “oh I try to avoid bread, never once in a while I have it.”  The immune response to gluten in this case in this attacking your own thyroid tissue case can last up to 6 months each time that you eat gluten.  That’s why for anybody who has hypothyroidism or anybody who even has done lots of tests that suggest that that may be the case, you gotta be 100% gluten-free.  You need to eliminate it completely from your diet.  Probably really the best test I would say to find out whether or not you’re gluten-intolerant or whether or not you tend to produce this type of auto immune antibodies would be a test from Cyrex Laboratories.  They do a really good one and so I would speak with your physician about using that method to test for gluten intolerance.  That would be one thing is get gluten out of the diet because that can have an effect on your metabolism by attacking thyroid tissue basically.  That would be the first thing to take care of.

I would also consider vitamin D because vitamin D is specifically associated with the same type of auto immunity and hypothyroidism and intake of vitamin D or higher levels of vitamin D has been shown to benefit the same kind of thyroid dysfunction.  Vitamin D does a lot of cool stuff – it can regulate your insulin secretion, it can balance your blood sugar, but it can also help out in people who have low thyroid function.  The problem is that in many cases, people who have low thyroid function also have a leaky and inflamed gastrointestinal tract.  So, a lot of times, absorption of vitamin D can be reduced because of that.  The other issue is a lot of times, people who have hypothyroidism also have issue with the levels of vitamin A and the levels of vitamin K2 in their bodies and both of those need to be present in adequate quantities in order for you to properly use vitamin D.  So, a vitamin D deficiency is another thing that can really precipitate or worsen the hypothyroidism. And getting just vitamin D from a supplement source like going out and getting vitamin D capsules, isn’t enough.  You need to make sure that you get vitamin A and vitamin K2 as well.  And that’s why I’m a big fan of something like cod liver oil in this case because that’s gonna give you a really really good source of vitamin A.  And then also working something like grass-fed butter, for example, that’s a good source of vitamin K2 like a good organic grass-fed butter.  Nato which is the Japanese fermented food – that’s a really good source as well but it’s harder to get.

Brock:   It’s kinda hard to eat too.

Ben:  Yeah.  I actually really like it.  I had a ton of it when I was off in   Japan.  Lot of people think it’s like tastes like beans covered in snot.

Brock:  I was gonna say slime but snot works.

Ben:  I like beans and I like snots so there you go.  Kiefer is also a pretty decent source of vitamin K2 if you can get your hands on some kiefer.  And even egg yolks (whole egg yolks) are pretty good source as well.  So, get cod liver oil, egg yolks, grass-fed butter, nato (if you can get your hands on it) and then try and include for that vitamin A, some cod liver oil in your diet in addition to supplementing with vitamin D.  That would be another thing to really focus on in this case.

The third thing that I would take into consideration,  I mentioned your gut and how there’s a real real link between your gut and your thyroid and one of the issues here is that in many cases when you’ve got increased inflammation in your gut, issues with infection in your gut, a lot of times, that’s precipitated by low stomach acid and many many people do have low stomach acid and that’s something also that you can look into if you’re dealing with hypothyroid or you wanna make sure that you’re healing this gut thyroid access is to look into utilizing some type of like an axia with pepsin type of supplement or at least if you’re getting heart burn, consider doing that.  So, if you have a lot of gut issues, a lot of digestive issues and you also have hypothyroidism, I’ll really take care of the gut.

[0:35:24.3]

Hypochloridia or low stomach acid is not the only thing that you can do.  We’ve really geeked out on the show before about ways that you can heal your gut.  I’ve got an entire recommendations page over at bengreenfieldfitness.com that goes into a bunch of other supplements that I recommend for healing your gut.  But understand that a lot of T3 to T4 conversion takes place in the liver.  You get a ton of thyroid activity that occurs in your gut and so you really wanna take care of your intestinal bacteria, you wanna take care of your intestinal lining.  And inflammation in your gut can really reduce specifically T3 levels by raising cortisol and about 20% of T4 is converted to T3 in the gastrointestinal tract so that’s another area or another thing that can be decreased when you’ve got inflammation in your gut so taking care of your gut, making sure that you have adequate stomach acid and also looking into some of the other gut healing protocols that we’ll make sure to link to in the show notes would also be something you can do.

Another thing to think about is your blood sugar and there’s a real real link between thyroid and blood sugar because if your blood sugar is constantly high, what happens is your pancreas is always secreting all these insulin to move the excess glucose from your blood into your cells where the glucose can be used to produce energy.  But studies have shown that when you get repeated insulin surges, that increases the destruction of the thyroid gland especially in people who have auto immune thyroid disease.  So you gotta be careful with high blood sugar levels and higher amounts of carbohydrates not physical activity (that type of thing) but on the same type of level, you also have to be careful with chronically low blood sugar levels.   And this is especially the case for people who are going on low carbohydrate or ketogenic diet.  You need to be careful because when your blood sugar levels are constantly dropping below normal, your adrenal glands will respond to that by secreting cortisol and as I mentioned earlier, high high amounts of cortisol can affect the proper activity of thyroid hormones.  The reason I’ve to get back it’s produced when you have blood sugars, it tells your liver to produce more glucose that causes what’s called glycogenolysis in your liver to bring your blood sugar levels back to normal.  But too much cortisol gives your body that fights or flight response, it causes a lot of stress and that can suppress pituitary function so your thyroid can’t function properly and it can also affect inflammation in your gut.  So, that’s another thing to take care of – making sure that you’re regulating your blood sugar levels properly.

And very very similarly or down the same line is that the fifth thing to bear in mind is your stress and your sleep levels because not only can a lot of stress and really stress at your adrenal glands causing them to produce a lot of, for example, cortisol, that can cause depression of your pituitary function as I just mentioned which directly affects your thyroid hormone production.  The other thing that can happen though is that can reduce conversion of T4 to its active form of T3, it can promote auto immunity by weakening your immune barriers, meaning that you’re gonna be more likely to produce a lot of this auto immune destruction of thyroid tissue, it can cause resistance to thyroid hormone because when you’re stressed out, your body produces a lot of inflammation and these inflammatory called cytokins have been shown in studies to suppress the actual receptor site on your cells to thyroid hormone.  So, that’s another issue.  The last issue with adrenal stress or being constantly stressed out or not getting enough sleep or having these high levels of inflammatory cytokins from being stressed out or not getting enough sleep is that that can cause hormonal imbalances.  And specifically, when you have a lot of cortisol circulating in your blood stream, that decreases your liver’s ability to properly clear estrogens from your blood and when you have a lot of estrogen rolling around, that increases levels of something called thyroid binding globulin and those are the proteins that attach to thyroid and cause it to be in its inactive form in the blood stream.  So, if you’re constantly stressed out, if you’re not getting enough sleep, that’s another issue that can really really aggravate the low metabolism that can be caused by low thyroid activity or aggravate auto immune attack of thyroid tissue.

[0:40:15.1]

And I know I’m going on and on here on this question but there’s one other thing I wanted to mention and that would be inflammation.  Excess exercise, not recovering properly like I mentioned earlier – stress and lack of sleep – all of that can increase inflammation.  And there are a few different things that inflammation can do.  There’s one study that showed that one injection of inflammatory molecules, basically inflammatory cytokins, was able to reduce your blood levels of thyroid stimulating hormone, your T3 your free T4, your free T3 for five days and inflammation completely disrupted the production and regulatory mechanism of thyroid hormone.  The other thing is that inflammation, as I just mentioned, can decrease the number and the sensitivity of your thyroid hormone receptors and then the last thing that it can do is it can decrease the conversion of T4 to T3.  In most synthetic hormone medications are T4 like synthroid that she is on.  If you give synthroid to somebody who’s got a bunch of inflammation, it’s not gonna work because the body just can’t even convert T4 to T3 when it’s in an inflamed state and the patients who don’t really do a good job converting T4 to T3 actually do a lot better on bio identical thyroid hormone anyways like armor thyroid, for example.  I’m not a huge fan of synthroid anyways just because it’s got cornstarch in it, it’s got lactose as a filler. Cytomel which is another kind of popular synthetic T3 hormone has modified food starch in it which has gluten, ironically as a filler.  I’m a bigger fan of bio identical hormone replacements using a compounding pharmacist or else using something similar to like an armor thyroid.  A lot of stuff to bear in mind but the main things to wrap this up would be get gluten out of the diet, get on vitamin D and make sure you get vitamin A and vitamin K2 along with it, take care of your gut, look into stomach acid and also look into some of the other recommendations that we’ll put on the link in the show notes to healing your gut.  Monitor your blood sugar, make sure it’s not too high or too low, eliminate stress and get adequate sleep and then just make sure you’re not overworking your body, creating too much inflammation, not recovering properly.

Brock:  And I guess she should be able to…Rick doesn’t say how long she’s been on the synthroid but if she hasn’t noticed any improvement since she started taking it, then maybe that would be a good indication whether to continue to take it or maybe switch to one of the different sources like you were saying.

Ben:  Yeah.  That’s something she’d wanna talk to her doctor about but there are definitely some cases where synthroid really isn’t gonna work.  Again, if you’re not properly converting the T4 to T3 since synthroid is just synthetic T4, it’s not gonna do anything for you.  There are other things that can interfere with the actions of T3 too, for example, if you’ve got estrogen dominance which is really common when you’re hypothyroid, high levels of estrogen like I mentioned those increase the levels of thyroid-binding globulin and that would make it so that synthroid doesn’t really work.  And then of course, you could be sensitive to the fillers in synthroid so you’d be aggravating an auto immune condition in that case.  We’re getting into stuff that you’d really have to talk to your doctor about.  I’d recommend you look into armor thyroid.  Dr. Roby Mitchell and I geeked out on this a little bit in my discussion with him so I’ll link to that in the show notes.  I’m definitely not convinced that synthroid is the best solution for people with hypothyroid.

Bill: Hi Ben!  This is Bill from Nevada.  I need some help on getting my endurance back.  Last spring, I was in my best Ironman shape when I had a bike crash and did some serious damage to my shoulder.  After surgery, I spent 4 months on the sofa watching TV.  Then, it hurts so much I could not even lean on a standby or tolerate a jog.  Now, I’ve been back to training for a month and half but my endurance is gone.  After 45 minutes to an hour on my 6-mile bread-and-butter run, I am gassed, completely out of breath, and about 5 minutes slower than before.  Interestingly, my heart rate is staying down between LT and AT for the entire run.  Before the crash, I had a respirator treadmill test I was told I was in the 99 percentile of VO2 max for my age group.  I’ve finished 6 long course tries with the help of your excellent Dominator Program, each one a little faster than the last.  Sleep, temperature and nutrition are all the same.  And as you remember from the 2 Phuket races we’ve done together, I’m not lacking in heart and desire.  Any suggestions on how I can get my mojo back?  Also, what body fat percentage do you like to have during taper week before an Ironman or half Ironman?  Thanks for the help and the podcast.

[0:45:39.3]

Brock:  So, I guess if anybody has any questions about any TV shows over the last 4 months, I guess Bill is the one to talk to if that’s what he’s been doing.

Ben:  Hi Bill!  By the way, if you’re listening in, Bill has gone to the Thailand trip the past couple of years.  I’m assuming he’s not going this year ‘cause he hasn’t let me know if he is.  But yeah, Bill and I had fun going out on the beaches in Thailand quite a bit.  Anyways and by the way, big shout out to Bill because he actually…and I don’t wanna scare you, Brock or anybody else who’s doing that race in Thailand but Bill broke his neck when we were in Thailand in the first race that we did and stuck around and did the second race and didn’t even realize that he broke his neck until he got all the way back to the states.  But he’s one tough cookie and apparently, accident prone.  First of all, Bill used a couple of phrases though that if you’re not familiar with them, he mentioned his LT and his AT and how he’s going out on his runs and he’s at his LT and his AT.  Your LT is your lactate threshold and your AT is your aerobic threshold.  Lactate threshold is the point at which you start to produce more lactic acid during exercise than your body can actually get rid of.  And your aerobic threshold is your peak fat burning zone.  It’s the point at which your body is using maximum fat for energy.  It’s a very very efficient intensity for exercise at which you could go for a long long period of time.  You can measure LT and AT with a laboratory test or just like a self test to way that you should go as you exercise your maximum sustainable pace and that maximum sustainable pace, whatever heart rate you’re at during that maximum sustainable pace that your LT and then your AT is typically about 20 beats below that.  Now, when you’re de-trained or you have a loss in fitness, a lot of times, you can still buffer lactic acid pretty well and a lot of times, your lactic threshold may not change too much.  They’d actually done studies (there’s an interesting study where they looked at the effects of de-training) on responses to sub-maximal exercise.    Mr. Zeus’ study that was actually done way back in the 80’s, what they found was that your mitochondrial enzyme activity levels and also what’s called your lactate dehydrogenase which are 2 of the ways that your body buffers lactic acid, those can actually stay fairly high for as long as 4 months after you stopped training.  The thing that does decrease though pretty significantly and fairly quickly after even just 72 hours of de-training is your VO2 max.  So, what Bill is experiencing here is more than likely, a fairly significant drop in his VO2 max and he mentioned that he began at the 99th  percentile VO2 max for his age group.  One thing to remember is that that percentile (if you’re to go get a VO2 max test and they tell you, “hey, you’re doing great, you’re an 80th or 90th or whatever) most fairly active individuals (the type of people who listen to this show or triathletes or marathoners or whatever), they’re all in the 90 – 100 percentile.  It’s just like we are so far and above the average population.  No offense to Bill.  It doesn’t take a lot to be in the 99th percentile but understand that if your doctor tells you that or if you go and test that you’re in that percentile, that doesn’t necessarily mean you’ve got what it takes to be a super athlete.  It just means that you’re kinda kicking the butt of the general population.  Anyways though, now that I’ve completely insulted Bill, there are ways that you can increase your VO2 max.  And that’s what I would be focusing on hard core if I were Bill would be increasing VO2 max.  So, let’s talk about some of my favorite ways to increase VO2 max, shall we?

Brock:  Yes, please.

Ben:  All right. Cool.  First of all, studies have shown that aerobic high intensity intervals improve your VO2 max more than moderate training.

[0:50:02.2]

Studies state training going at long slow distance for 30 minutes or 60 minutes at 60% or 70% does not hold a candle to intervals.  And one study that they did compared long slow distance at 70% vs. doing 15 seconds on 15 seconds off with the 15 seconds being really really hard and the 15 seconds off being really easy and then also 4 minutes hard and 4 minutes easy found that the best type of effort of all those different efforts I just mentioned for increasing VO2 max, number one was 4 minutes on, 4 minutes off, such 4 minutes really really hard followed by 4 minutes of active rest like jogging or whatever.  Second best was a shorter effort like 15 seconds on 15 seconds off.  And the least effective method (no surprise here) to increase your VO2 max would be just like steady   stay training.  So, use intervals and preferably use longer intervals.  I’d like to see the intervals be longer than 2 minutes to increase VO2 max.  Nothing is gonna hold the candle to training like that but there are other things that you can do, for example, deep diaphragmatic breathing  – big big part of your VO2max is how much oxygen you can actually get into your lungs.  That’s a significant component of your VO2 max.  So, I would be doing some breathing technique and some breathing exercises – I love yoga for that.  That’s really, in my opinion, one of the best ways to teach yourself to breathe properly is to just do a weekly yoga class.   You can also use (and we’ve talked about these in the show before) those power lung trainers like if you’re driving in your car and you tend to be in traffic a lot, you just keep one of those in your car.  And those trainers that literally provide resistance when you breathe in and out and strengthen your inspiratory and expiratory muscles.  So, focus on your breathing – deep diaphragmatic breathing and the strength of your inspiratory and expiratory muscles.  A few supplements that you could look into – one would be Cordyceps.  There is one cool double blind placebo-controlled study where they took a Cordyceps herbal extract and it significantly improved the maximum amount of oxygen that folks were able to assimilate.  Now, the caveat to this is that this study was done in older individuals (I believe they were 70+ year-old men) but other studies have shown that Cordyceps also increases your cellular oxygen absorption by up to 40% and can improve your heart functioning.  It’s something that’s been used in Chinese herbal medicine for thousands of years. There’s a lot of endurance supplements on the market right now that include Cordyceps in their formula.  A lot of them throw rhodiola in there as well because it falls into that same family of herbs that are purported to improve your VO2 max.  One supplement that I personally really like made by Millenium Sports (we’ll link to it in the show notes and also in the MyList for this episode over at the facebook page) is Cordygen VO2 by Millenium Sports.  That’s a really good one.  It’s one that I’ve used in the past prior to sprint and Olympic distance triathlons where you’re working really hard.  A couple of other supplements that can really help with stroke volume or cardiac output which can also have a nice effect on VO2 max would be Fish Oil.  That’s another one that you’d wanna look into if you’re vegan, a little bit of that with flax oil (not quite as good) but I would definitely include fish oil in the diet.  And then you also may wanna look into a supplement for helping your red blood cells to carry oxygen.  You’d wanna be careful with just a straight up iron supplement because toxicity with those can be kinda significant if you’re not careful but ferritin which is a crucial iron-storing protein – that tends to be deficient in a lot of folks and there’s a good supplement called Floradix out there that I really like for increasing levels of ferritin for getting your iron-storing protein.  A couple other things to think about that would be altitude training or altitude tents.  If you got access to those, those actually can increase your number of red blood cells.  It also makes the red blood cells more efficient at unloading oxygen to your tissues so, that would be another thing to look into would be, if you got access to altitude tents or even just going every once in a while and training in a high area, that can help out with your VO2 max.  And then, last thing would just be blood doping.  You could call up your friendly neighborhood illegal performance enhancing pharmacy and get your hands on some erythropoietin or some epo to get yourselves some new red blood cells growing or you could just like donate your blood and freeze it and then concentrate the red blood cells with the centrifuge and inject them back into your body.

Brock:  That’s a great idea.  Why don’t people do that?  That’s fantastic!

Ben:  I have no clue why people don’t do that more.  Anyways, that would be an idea as well though. Be careful there. Probably people are gonna shout at us.  I’m kidding.

[0:55:13.1]

Brock:  Yeah.  We’re joking.

Ben:  Yeah.  The only thing I’m joking about was that last thing.  All the other stuff actually works pretty good.

Brock:  Well then, the last thing works pretty well too. Just google Lance Armstrong and you’ll know why we’re joking.

Ben:  Yeah.  There was a cool study that showed use of an echinacea supplement at about (if you get your hands on echinacea tincture which is like the oil extract of echinacea) 1.5 ml of that per day can actually boost your erythropoietin pretty significantly too.

Brock:  You’re gonna try that out, weren’t you?

Ben:  I did.  I went through a whole bunch of it and I didn’t notice anything at all but I wasn’t measuring my EPO levels.  I wasn’t actually going to the lab measuring them.  I did notice though, I really like the way it made me feel.  It’s just kinda interesting.  It almost gave me a little bit of almost like a brain buzz after I’d used the stuff.  I ran out a couple of weeks ago but I haven’t noticed a drop in my performance so, there you go.  But the studies show …maybe my EPO’s already tapped out, who knows-from all that blood doping I do).

Brock:  Now, Bill, did you have that final little sort of afterthought question about the percentage of the body fat that you would look for during taper week? Do you have any thoughts for that?

Ben:  I’ve no clue.  I’m so bad at measuring my body fat.  I’ll tell you what I do.  I pinch a little bit of fat that’s right above your hipbone kind of in between your belly button and your hipbone.  If I pinch that and I can only get a little bit, I know I’m doing a good job and I’m ready to race.  And if I can pinch and I get a whole bunch of fat, then I know that I’m quite doing a good job.  That sounds silly but that’s literally all I do.

Brock:  I’m pinching like crazy right now.

Ben:  I can tell you when I was body building, I was at 2.5-3% body fat and felt like crap for anything aerobic or anything high intensity and from the few times that I’ve measured myself during the year,  I think I’m around 7-8% body fat now and I feel way way better so, there you go.  Less is not better.

Brock:  There you go.  Okay, let’s move on to a question from Kayla and I actually have to do some reading.  How exciting!  Kayla says, “I am 5’3” and 116 lb female who has been going to the gym for the past 6 months attempting to gain muscle.  I’ve made good progress so far.  However, I recently started experiencing pain in both of my forearms.  I saw my doctor who diagnosed me with forearm shin splints (How does like that sink in – forearm shin splints?) and have been taking …

Ben:  When you say forearm, you mean f-o-r-e arm.

Brock:  Yes.  She has that forearms coming out of her shins so,

Ben:  That’d be more of like a churn elbow radiation issue.

Brock:  Yeah.

Ben:  Okay.  All right.

Brock:  So, she says she’s been taking the naproxen and resting her arms.  “I’ve been instructed to not lift weights for a minimum of 2 weeks, probably more, depending on how my arms heal.”  She says, “I’m worried about losing all the muscle I’ve worked so hard for.  Without the use of my forearms, I can’t seem to work my bi’s tri’s, shoulders and back.  Do you have any suggestions for keeping my upper body in shape and of course, healing faster?”

Ben:  Bomber.  Yeah, forearm shin splints are actually…if you look at a typical skeleton, you’ve got your shin splints that you can get down in your tibia and fibula which is basically inflammation of that.  That’s syndesmosis – it’s called between your tibia and your fibula but I mean you’ve got your own and your radius up in your upper arm and those 2 bones  similarly have some connective tissue in between them that can get inflamed when you’re overusing your forearm muscles.  And it can feel like shin splints the same way as you get shin splints in your legs.  It’s pretty common if you’re using your wrist a lot doing a lot of curls, a lot of extensions, a lot of weight lifting.  It’s just like micro trauma to the muscular attachments that attach the connective tissue to the bone.  You’ve got what’s called this periosteum that covers the bone and that stuff gets inflamed from micro trauma.  First of all, make sure that you’re doing the right stuff to get rid of this.  Don’t just rest, also do the same type of stuff you do the shin splints – free some dixie cups in the freezer and roll some ice up and down the arms 5-10 minutes few times a day.  You can use a compression bandage to reduce the swelling or even use some of this kinesio tape.  That kind lifts some of the skin away from the surface of the body and can assist with reducing swelling as well.  Make sure you get some good natural anti inflammatories like a high dose curcumin extract or phenocane is another good one as my recommended alternative to ibuprofen to help with pain, with inflammation.

[1:00:07.1]

Sports massage helps a ton with this stuff in terms of relaxing all of those tight muscles and breaking down adhesions, breaking out scar tissue.  I’m a big big fan of that too for shin splints or for these forearm splints.  But as far as stuff you could do, like how you could literally work your upper body without using your forearms, first thing that you gotta realize is that in the same way that if you work your right side of your body, you can strengthen your left side or vice versa.  It’s called the lateral training effect.  So, if you broke your right arm, you could still strengthen the right side of your body by doing weights with your left arm.  Same thing happens between upper body and lower body so you can still do squats, you can still do leg press, you can do leg extension, leg curl, you can do lunges but instead of holding weights when you do the lunges, you could have like a barbell on your back or dumbbells up on your shoulders and you’re still gonna get a really really good core and upper body training effect by working your legs.  So, I would do that.  A lot of gyms, it’s mostly like Crossfit gyms or sports performance studios that have sleds but sled pushing, actually you don’t use your arms that much.  You’re more using your shoulders, your chest, your torso and your legs if you’re doing sled pushing so that’s another option – to do sled pushes.  As far as direct upper body work, you could do things like any planking activity.  It really isn’t gonna put a ton of repetitive motion stress on your forearms so you could do front planks, side planks, you could even do like the yoga forearm stance.  They’re called the forearm stance.  It’s sounds like you pull out the stress in your forearms but really most of the stress is on your neck, your head, in your core.  You could do the machine at the gym where you’re doing lat extension with your shoulders except you’re literally moving the weight with your humerus – with your upper arm bone, not with your lower arms that shoulder lat extension exercise at work, you could use ab curl machines at the gym.  Again, I’m not a huge fan of machines but when you’re injured, sometimes, that can come in handy to isolate the joint where you’re literally like sitting in a chair and contracting your abs and like almost going through a bowing motion or an abdominal flexion motion and never turning back to the starting position.  I’ve got this contraption at my house.  It’s called the FIT10.  I think I’ve mentioned it before in the show. You can attach that to a door and do really really kick butt standing ab curls and that’s pretty cool for core work as well.  So just use the FIT10 for something like that.   Any of that stuff – planking, ab curl machine, shoulder lat extension machine, doing planks to forearm stance, then working your legs, you could easily keep yourself in kick butt shape for a couple of weeks doing that kind of stuff.  Granted your guns may decrease in size just slightly but just don’t worry, you’re welcome to the gun show T-shirt.  It should be okay as far as that goes.  As far as cardio, a lot of times, swimming, in cases like this, zero stress in the forearms, you can still get yourself looking like Michael Phelps or Ryan Lochte  or I guess since you’re female, Kayla, maybe Amanda Byrd  and just use swimming which can actually be easy on the forearms.  If your forearms and it really hurt,  you’re using them too much, close your hands into fists and that tends to make use a little bit more of your upper arm and your lats and your shoulders wherein you open your hands, a lot of times, you can tend to use your forearms a little bit more when you’re swimming.  That’s a good swim drill actually, just swim with fists.  It’s also a good way to look like you’re drowning.

Brock:  Yeah.  Good way to have your upper body sink.

Ben:  And then, when you start back into things maybe use yourself anew.  Grab some of those weight lifting gloves that have the wrist wrap-arounds that kinda do some of the grip work for you and that’ll help you get back into things that help overworking your arms right when you get back in.  And those are just basically weight lifting gloves with wrist wrap-arounds.  Those work well also.   Hopefully that stuff helps you and best of luck getting your guns back.

Brock:  Yeah.  Definitely, it’ll steer you clear of the kettle bells.

Ben:  Yeah.  I wouldn’t be doing many kettle bells or dumbbell curls.

Brock:  All right.  Well, let’s move on to our final question that comes from Richard and Richard says, “I have been looking into trying out a hyperbaric treatment for no other reason than just my well-being and recovery.  I like the idea of getting higher oxygen levels to help cell repair and general healing.  I’m a 25-year-old male who’s been known to over train just due to the fact that I feel like I can I keep going.  Can hyperbaric chamber sessions allow me to train harder and more often?”  Richard, are you looking for a reason to over train?

[1:05:19.7]

Ben:  I wanna buy one of these for my house.  You can get them for 10-15 thousand dollars if you got a lot of good nice tax return but these huge chambers and this is way different than the exercise with the oxygen therapy we talked about a few weeks ago where you’ve got this pretty little oxygen mask that you’re wearing with oxygen container and you’re breathing in and out while you’re standing on a vibration platform or running on a treadmill.  The hyperbaric oxygen therapy (this is the hardcore stuff) – these are like fall on chambers that can put multiple pounds of pressure per square inch of your skin of just saturated oxygen.  And the idea…

Brock:  Is this what Michael Jackson slept in?

Ben:  I have no clue.  Anyways, the idea is this is supposed to push  oxygen deep below your skin surface and super saturate your muscles or whatever without you actually having to breathe hard and exercise.  You can find hyperbaric oxygen therapy chambers in different recovery units in hospitals and stuff like that and there is some evidence that they may help people who are healing from injuries, have a little bit more speedy resumption of activity.  Try one.  I’ll put a link in the show notes.  You can find the directory of hyperbaric oxygen providers in the US and just go pay the lying chamber for a little while.  So, I’ll put a link in the show notes if you wanna do that.  But it is different than pressurized air.  So, the idea is that its pressurization inside this vessel and it can increase both the content of the oxygen as well as, unfortunately, the content of nitrogen that is around you as you’re lying in this chamber.  So, increasing the content of oxygen is the area that most people focus on in terms of its potential effects for improving the respiration of your mitochondria or the speed with which your muscles can heal.  The unfortunate part is that when you increase the partial pressure of air inside the chamber, you’re increasing the partial pressure of all gasses in that chamber and since none of them are really gonna push out 100% oxygen, if you’re increasing the partial pressure of nitrogen, that can actually aggravate inflammation especially in the lungs and increased nitrogen can affect your brain tissue.  It’s something you wanna be careful with.  I would make sure that you’re being easy on the pressurized air if you’re using one of these hyperbaric oxygen therapy chambers and that’s something you’d wanna be careful with just the effect of nitrogen balance on your brain especially if you ever had a headache and you’re something like that.  So be careful with these things.  They do have their risks but there is a lot of primarily anecdotal evidence that they may really really help with injury repair and they may help with muscle repair.  However, a lot of it is anecdotal or experimental and there was a recent study in the Journal on Strength and Conditioning Research.  Literally, just this past month, they looked at the acute and chronic effects of hyperbaric oxygen therapy on blood circulation of human muscle and tendon tissue and interestingly, they found out that oxygen saturation of the muscle didn’t increase at all during or after 6 weeks of hyperbaric oxygen therapy.  However, there actually was an effect on the tendon and the oxygen concentration at the tendon level did increase which suggests that while this may not be all that hot for increasing your recovery after you’ve done a hard weight lifting session or something like that, if you strained or sprained the tendon or you’ve got a lot of connective tissue issues with your tendons, it may actually help with that in terms of increasing blood flow and increasing oxygen delivery to actual tendons.  But as far as actual experimental evidence that it helps with muscle recovery or that even helps with sport performance, all that is pretty anecdotal and you do wanna be careful with the amount of pressure that you use on these things just because of the nitrogen component.

Brock:  I’ve never heard of using it for anything athletic before.

Ben:  Yeah.  And you could go to the PubMed website and look at some of the studies.  I’ll put a link to that recent study on the acute and chronic effects of hyperbaric oxygen therapy.  It’s one of those things wherein this is just fringe stuff.  If I had the chance to use the chamber, I’d probably try it out and see how I feel but I’d be really really careful in terms of the amount of pressure that’s used.  I believe they measure pressure called ATA units and what I was looking at online was once you exceed what’s called 1.5 ATA units, that’s when the level of nitrogen comes fairly significant as far as the partial pressure.

[1:10:40.2]

So, I would be careful with the amount of ATA units.  Again, I’m not an expert on hyperbaric oxygen therapy.  Maybe a listener is and they can leave a comment on the show notes but it’s one of those things where you just wanna be careful on something like this and understand that there may be risks as well.

Brock:  Cool!  Well, that does it for today’s list of questions and I just wanna let everybody know if you do have a question for the podcast, you can go to bengreenfieldfitness.com and you just click on the little tab on the right hand side of the page and you can record an audio message right there.  It’s really simple or you can call 1-877-2099439 or you can skype to PacifiFfit or you can scroll down to the bottom of the page again at bengreenfieldfitness.com and fill out the Ask Ben form. Whew!

Ben:  Yeah and we do get some weird questions that we don’t _____[1:11:32.5] show.  We get some people calling in who I think don’t realize that speakers are on or something but yeah, there are some funky stuff out there.

Brock:  We’ve heard some weird conversations in what sounds like somebody’s kitchen.  So, yeah, be deliberate when you’re recording your question.

Ben:  Don’t take your laptop in the bathroom.   You don’t wanna subject Brock and I to that.  We’ll put links to everything we talked about in the show notes to Episode #216 at bengreenfieldfitness.com and also we’ll put links to any of the resources that we mentioned during this call from supplements for VO2 max  enhancements to books that I recommended about thyroid, etc. at the MyList for this episode which you can access over at facebook.com/bgfitness and those are pretty fun in terms of being able to check out some of the stuff that we talked about as well.  So, until next time and check out audiblepodcast.com/ben for Brock’s Michael Paulin book.

Brock:  In Defense of Food.

Ben:  In Defense of Food and eating plants and animals that are real, not fake.  All right, what’s in this thing?  Thanks for listening.

        For personal nutrition, fitness  or triathlon consulting, supplements, books or DVD’s from Ben Greenfield, please visit Pacific Elite Fitness at http://www.pacificfit.net

 

 

Nov 7, 2012 free podcast: 6 Hidden Ways That You May Be Lowering Your Metabolism & Gaining Fat Also: do body wraps work for weight loss, getting rid of diastasis recti, ways to increase your VO2 Max, how to work your upper body without using your arms, and will hyperbaric therapy work for recovery?

Have a podcast question for Ben? Click the tab on the right side of this page, click Ask a Podcast Question at the bottom of this page, Skype “pacificfit” or scroll down to the “Ask Ben” form.

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Listener Q&A:

As compiled and read by Brock, the Ben Greenfield Fitness Podcast “sidekick”.

Audio Question from Fred @ 00:14:24
Heard a lot about wraps for weight loss and is wondering what your take is? He thinks hard work and exercise are the way to go but wants to know what you think.

Audio Question from Jolene @ 00:18:06
She has a torn abdominus rectus from two consecutive pregnancies and quite a large diastasis recti (4 fingers wide) and is wondering if she can train it back into position so it can heal or if it needs surgery. She is having trouble training her core properly and is having back, hip and knee problems as a result.

~ In my response I mention these ab exercises for pregnancy. I also mention the Cassandra Forsythe interview and the Tupler Technique.

Audio Question from Rick @ 00:26:25
His girlfriend would like to drop 15lbs but has hypothyroidism and take 88mg of synthroid per day. She is into Crossfit 3 times a week. Beside managing her caloric intake, is there something else she could do, despite her thyroid issue?

~ In my response, I talk about my personal thyroid measurement with WellnessFX. I also mention this episode with Roby Mitchell (AKA Dr. Fitt). I recommend this book: “Why Do I Still Have Thyroid Symptoms?  When My Lab Tests Are Normal: A Revolutionary Breakthrough In Understanding Hashimoto’s Disease and Hypothyroidism” and I mention my gut healing recommendations.

Audio Question from Bill @ 00:44:06
Needs some help getting his endurance back. He had a bike crash and hurt his shoulder. He spent 4 months on the sofa after surgery. He just started training again but his endurance is poor. Interestingly his heart rate is staying down between the LT and AT for an entire run. How can he get his mojo back? Also what % of Body Fat do you like to have during taper week before an IM or 70.3?

~ In my response to Bill, I mention: CordycepsFish Oil, and Floradix.

Kayla asks @ 00:57:19
I’m a 5’3 116lb female who has been going to the gym for the past 6 months attempting to gain muscle. I’ve made good progress so far, however I recently started experiencing pain in both of my forearms. I saw my doctor who diagnosed me with “forearm shin splints” and have been taking naproxen and resting my arms. I’ve been instructed to not lift weights for a minimum of 2 weeks, probably more (depending on how the arms heal). I’m worried about losing all the muscle I’ve worked so hard for. Without the use of my forearms, I can’t seem to work my bi’s, tri’s, shoulders, or back. Do you have any suggestions for keep my upper body in shape and healing faster?

~ In my answer I reference the FIT10.

Richard asks @ 01:04:43
I have been looking into trying out a Hyperbaric Treatment for no other reason than just my well-being and recovery! I like the idea of getting higher oxygen levels to help cell repair and general healing. I’m 25yr old male was has been known to over-train just due to fact I feel like I can keep going. Can the Hyperbaric chamber sessions allow me to train harder and more often?

~ In my response I talk about: the book “The Oxygen Revolution: Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy: The Groundbreaking New Treatment for Stroke, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, Arthritis, Autism, Learning Disabilities and More”, the study Acute and Chronic Effects of Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy on Blood Circulation of Human Muscle and Tendon in Vivo and the Directory of Hyperbaric Oxygen Providers in the USA. I also mentioned the studies at www.netnet.net/mums and 1800woundcenter.org.

 

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