Ben Greenfield Podcast 221

Podcast #221 from weights-before-cardio/ [0:00:00.0] Introduction: In this podcast, does bee pollen or pine pollen work for enhancing hormones, Cardio before weights or weights before cardio, how to stop muscular fatigue, how to tell if amino acids are working for you, how to get ready for a hilly bike ride, and a promise from me that this is not gonna be another 2 ½-hour episode. Welcome to the podcast. We provide you with free exercise, nutrition, weight loss, triathlon and wellness advice from the top fitness experts in the nation. So whether you’re an Ironman triathlete or you’re just trying to shed a few pounds, get ready for non run of the mill cutting edge content from . Ben: Well, here we go again. Jessa: Yes, I’m back. Ben: We actually just got done getting our butts kicked. Jessa: Yeah. That was a hard workout, actually. I’m actually surprised because a lot of times I go to gym and the group workouts are not really that hard. This one was hard. Ben: Yeah. It was tough. Jessa and I did a high intensity interval training workout at the gym and it was like back to back to back exercises that you do. It was like a triple super set. And then we go on to the next exercise and the chick teaching that class was kind of a beast. Jessa: Yeah. Ben: She was pretty… Jessa: She was hard core. Ben: She was both ripped and you could tell she had some long ____[0:01:50.6] or so. Jessa: Yeah.


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Transcript of Ben Greenfield Podcast 221

Page 1: Ben Greenfield Podcast 221

Podcast #221 from [0:00:00.0] Introduction: In this podcast, does bee pollen or pine pollen work for enhancing

hormones, Cardio before weights or weights before cardio, how to

stop muscular fatigue, how to tell if amino acids are working for

you, how to get ready for a hilly bike ride, and a promise from me

that this is not gonna be another 2 ½-hour episode.

Welcome to the podcast. We provide

you with free exercise, nutrition, weight loss, triathlon and

wellness advice from the top fitness experts in the nation. So

whether you’re an Ironman triathlete or you’re just trying to shed

a few pounds, get ready for non run of the mill cutting edge

content from

Ben: Well, here we go again.

Jessa: Yes, I’m back.

Ben: We actually just got done getting our butts kicked.

Jessa: Yeah. That was a hard workout, actually. I’m actually surprised

because a lot of times I go to gym and the group workouts are not

really that hard. This one was hard.

Ben: Yeah. It was tough. Jessa and I did a high intensity interval

training workout at the gym and it was like back to back to back

exercises that you do. It was like a triple super set. And then we

go on to the next exercise and the chick teaching that class was

kind of a beast.

Jessa: Yeah.

Ben: She was pretty…

Jessa: She was hard core.

Ben: She was both ripped and you could tell she had some long

____[0:01:50.6] or so.

Jessa: Yeah.

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Ben: Yeah. So we got beat up and then we came home, put the kids to

bed, we just got done down in some beef and little wine and we’re

here again for a podcast episode.

Jessa: Yes.

Ben: Number 221.

Jessa: Fun, fun.

Ben: We got some decent feedback from last week. Everybody loved

listening to my vino-filled wife.

Jessa: I was not. It’s not true.

Ben: Chatty…

Jessa: I’m chatty?

Ben: We emptied a box of wine tonight, though.

Jessa: Yeah. We’re classy over here.

Ben: We have a box of organic wine. Speaking of which folks, the

“Hangover” post went live and I don’t….

Jessa: It was not inspired by our last podcast.

Ben: No. It wasn’t inspired by our last podcast. Check out that

“Hangover” podcast over at In no way,

I condone drinking to excess. Well, sometimes every now and


Jessa: There are occasions.

Ben: But I don’t encourage anyone out there to be a lush but have some

fun this holiday season. Just make sure…All right. Let’s jump in

to this week’s news flashes.

News Flashes:

Ben: First of all, let me announce this as an interesting news flash. I

don’t know if this one should be in Special Announcements or the

News Flashes but my 31 birthday is coming up in…

Jessa: That’s a news! no, that’s a special announcement.

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Ben: I don’t know. Whatever, but either way, I always send out really

cool special deals and discounts and cool gifts to all my listeners

and followers on twitter, Facebook and the Newsletter.

Jessa: It’s very generous of you.

Ben: Make sure you pay attention on 12-20-2013.

Jessa: You can guess what I’m getting Ben for his birthday. You’re

getting another special prize but I don’t know what it is.

Ben: Jessa pulls stuff out of … .

Jessa: And come up with something good, okay, honey.

Ben: All right. Speaking of kind of a something good, here is the first

news flash that came out this week and by the way, if you want

this fresh off the presses, hit I tweeted

that if you wanna shut down inflammation, you should hit the

dark chocolate and this is the reason why. There is a study and the

study just came out and what they did was they gave rats a diet

that was enriched with coco powder. They’re actually giving the

rats quite a bit of coco powder.

Jessa: So that means, eat lots of chocolate.

Ben: They were basically getting the equivalent of about 12% of their

daily dietary intake from chocolate. Now, before you get scared

away, that you’re gonna have to eat 3 or 4 chocolate bars a day.

Jessa: Why would that scare anyone?

Ben: If you’re calorie or fat phobic. Moderate levels of cacao

consumption have been shown to do everything from improving

your HDL to LDL cholesterol ratios to improving your insulin

sensitivity to improving your antioxidants activity to improving

your mitochondrial density.


There are a lot of studies that have been done on chocolate and

many of the studies that have been done in the past on specifically

dark chocolate and cacao extract have been done with lesser levels

than were done in this study. But that being said in this particular

study, what are called the polyphenols in cacao get and they serve

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the same kind of polyphenols you’re gonna find in like vegetables

and dark skin fruits and things of that nature is they down

regulated the levels of some of the more common inflammatory

markers and they did that by inhibiting some of the genetic

markers that can cause inflammation as well as basically what’s

called phosphorylation of some of the compounds that can cause

pretty big expression of pro inflammatory enzymes specifically

pro inflammatory enzymes like cyclooxygenase 2 which is the

same type of thing you’d take or the same type of thing you’d be

trying to shut down if you take like ibuprofen. Some really good

evidence here that dark chocolate can help you out quite a bit, I

was trying to figure out how to express this in terms of like how

much we’d need to take to get a decent amount of benefit. And in

looking at the numbers if we’re to translate in the humans, it

comes out to right around 100 grams of dark chocolate and that’s

like 400 calories of dark chocolate.

Jessa: That’s a lot.

Ben: It is. You’re still gonna get some benefit if you go less than that.

Jessa: Okay.

Ben: But here’s my idea for people for Christmas present.

Jessa: What’s your idea?

Ben: Organic cacao nibs. That’s what I got my aunt for Christmas.

______[0:06:52.7] if you have these things you buy at Amazon.

Jessa: I don’t think I have.

Ben: I’ll put a link in the show notes to exactly what I got my aunt. I

don’t think it’s listed on the podcast so I’m not…

Jessa: You’re not giving away your Christmas present.

Ben: Organic cacao nibs is something that is a pretty tasty treat to

munch on if you want the anti-inflammatory effects from this.

Chocolate! So that is one thing.

Jessa: I’m kinda curious.

Ben: Yeah?

Jessa: Why do people get migraines sometimes from chocolate?

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Ben: Because they have basically like a reaction to basically the nitric

oxide in the chocolate causes a bunch of vasodilation and you get

a dilation of blood flow to the head followed by constriction. And

that’s one of the reasons that migraines can occur is rapid dilation

followed by constriction.

Jessa: So those who have migraine should not do this.

Ben: If you get migraines from chocolate, no, I would not recommend

that you do that.

Jessa: Okay. Just curious.

Ben: Although a lot of times that type of reaction can be indicative of

basically an omega 3 to omega 6 imbalance so you can get on a

good Fish Oil protocol, vegetable oils, and omega 6 fatty acids out

of the diet and you may find that you don’t get that kind of

migraine reaction to chocolate after you kinda fix that component

of your diet. So I’m gonna think about it. Then I tweeted a link to

another article that appeared in the Atlantic Magazine website

about a case for drinking more coffee. The title of the article was

The Case for Drinking as Much Coffee as You Like. And what this

article went into great detail on (and I’ll link to it in the show

notes) was a bunch of different meta analysis that have been done

on coffee and its effect on health. So it not only was looking at the

effect of coffee in terms of its effectiveness in fighting against a lot

of markers of cancer. It looked into basically the effect that coffee

can have on your potential for fatty liver disease which is

something you’re at high risk of if you have like a high fructose,

high sugar, high calorie type of diet when into the ergogenic effect

of caffeine in terms of its effect on enhancing performance. It

even looked at the effect of caffeine. They did an interesting

experiment this past February where they subjected a group of

individuals to 2 hours of simulated monotonous highway driving.

And many of us will be there over the holidays.

Jessa: Hopefully, we don’t have snow.

Ben: Anybody is on a road trip. So those given a cup of coffee during

their short break during this monotonous highway driving

simulation showed reductions in driving speed, mental effort and

subjective sleepiness. So coffee had good effect there.

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There is a link between coffee and some pretty cool anti-

inflammatory effects. But just remember folks, when you hear all

of these things that coffee and the antioxidants in coffee and some

of the _____[0:10:14.2] in coffee can do and this is why I actually

tweeted, we’re not talking about orange mocha frappuccinos here.

Jessa: What are we talking about?

Ben: We’re talking about a good coffee and if you can, a good organic

Arabica coffee would be best. Those are gonna be lowest in mold,

they’re gonna be basically more environmentally friendly, and

better for your body. If you jack in your coffee or put sugar and

cream, it’s not…

Jessa: All should know that already. I knew coffee cured everything. I

knew it.

Ben: There was a study published finally this May in the New England

Journal of Medicine that literally looked at hundreds and

thousands of people and found that bottom result that people who

drank coffee lived longer than those who didn’t. So obviously…a

lot of confounding variables there but ultimately quite a bit to be

said for coffee and I’ll link to this in the show notes. And then

another thing that you can eat and this was interesting. There was

a study that just came out that showed that eating high dose garlic

or supplementing with garlic in your diet actually boosted

testosterone and lowered your protein turnover which is basically

like how fast your body dumps out protein and goes into catabolic

state and breaks down muscle. So there’s a big time testosterone

boosting effect…

Jessa: Kind of a bomber if you have a testosterone boost and you smell

like garlic. Nobody wants to be with you.

Ben: It’s like you’d be like a horny dude who turns off every chick who’s

around you. Kind of a Catch 22 there.

Jessa: That’s too bad.

Ben: But basically a 400% increase in the testosterone to cortisol ratio

with consumption of a fairly high amount of garlic and this kinda

returns to something similar to what we said with dark chocolate.

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When you look at a study that shows high amounts of something

having a pretty decent effect, you can kind of extrapolate that even

a more moderate sane amount of that compound may at least

have some of that _____[0:12:28.4] effect. And considering that

garlic has been shown to have good effects on things like blood

pressure and cholesterol, risk of cardiovascular disease, I never

would have guessed that it would have been kind of like a

scientifically proven herb-based testosterone booster but it turns

out that for guys including garlic in your diet could actually be a

good idea. And later on in the show, we’ll get into something else.

There’s a question about bee pollen and pine pollen and effects on

testosterone. But basically, the way that garlic works is that it can

increase your output of what’s called leutenizing hormone. And

leutenizing hormone is what’s released from the pituitary glands,

acts on you testes and causes your testes to upregulate their

production of testosterone. There’s a bunch of different things

that can happen downline when you’re producing more

testosterone you might be in a metabolic state that will cause

more of it to get converted into estrogens, more of it to get

converted into another compound called the DHT, you may have

an impairment in the actual cells in your testes that’s responsible

for producing testosterone. This all assumes that you’re actually

in a metabolic state that allows you to produce your own

testosterone. But if so, garlic. So, there you go. Have your coffee,

have your garlic and have your chocolate.

Jessa: All things I love. So that’s great.

Ben: And then, have your breast milk. Last week, we talked about

colostrums and how colostrums has a pretty cool effect on your

gut permeability basically, decreasing your gut permeability. And

listen in to last week’s episode, Episode #220. But basically…

Jessa: Colostrums’ only produced on the first 3 days of life.

Ben: Yeah. Another thing to be said for colostrums and this was

another study that came out that looked at colostrums

supplementation – they showed that it did basically, blunted the

exercise-induced reduction in indigenous antioxidant production.

In a nut shell, all that means is that colostrums (when you

exercise, what happens is your body will downregulate to a certain

extent the activity of antioxidant enzymes, and also a very potent

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antioxidant called super oxide dismutase which is also

abbrebviated SOD and it’s one of the more powerful antioxidants

that is able to fight against free radical production and …

Jessa: Which are found in colostrums.

Ben: …potentially damaging cell compounds.


No, it isn’t found in colostrums but colostrum mitigates the

downregulation of this antioxidant enzymes and the

downregulation of super oxide dismutase. So basically, you give

yourself better anti-inflammatory potential when you’ve got this

colostrum in your diet. One of the interesting things about

colostrum is that most commercially available colostrum

supplements, they’re treated with very very high amounts of heat

so the effect of…

Jessa: That would lose a lot of the…everything.

Ben: Yeah. The effectiveness of any food supplement especially ones

that have been treated with high amounts of heat can be

significantly reduced.

Jessa: Is that just ‘cause of the drying?

Ben: Basically, it’s just heat damage to the actual proteins.

Jessa: Yeah. I know but that’s ‘because it’s the drying out of the

colostrum or something?

Ben: Yeah. It’s basically… So, I started looking into this and I actually

talked to Mount Capra this week ‘cause that’s the colostrum that I

take and I was curious whether or not there is actually heat

treated and if so, to what extent. They use what’s called a

refractance window dryer.

Jessa: What does that mean?

Ben: It takes a lot lot longer time to dry it but it’s a very gentle low heat

way of drying your colostrum to get into powder form so it’s

actually powderable for supplementation. That was pretty cool to

hear that that particular brand of colostrum actually not only is

gonna have that antioxidant activity but is also going to actually

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retain its potency. So, that’s something to be said for that. And

apparently, the way that the entire dairy industry post-processes

their colostrum before they actually feed it to calves reduces the

effectiveness of the colostrum to the extent where it’s rendered

almost completely inadequate. And there is a study that was done

on this that showed that a huge number of calves are at risk of

basically bacterial infection because of the way that they process

the colostrum in most commercial…

Jessa: Well, a lot of them milk from the mother early on just so they can

get the milk from the cows so they aren’t getting colostrums


Ben: Exactly. So they’re still trying to get these cows their colostrums

but the way that they’re processing is the same way they process…

Jessa: My dad’s in the farming industry.

Ben: Colostrums supplements. All right. Cool! One other thing I

wanted to mention was this recent study on aspartame and

basically, whether or not the consumption of artificial sweeteners

and sugar-containing sodas could increase risk of lymphoma or

leukemia in men and women. And this study specifically looked

at aspartame which is gonna be the active component in like

Nutrasweet. And it was fairly big study was done by Harvard

Medical School and it actually did find that when you compare

diet soda with regular soda consumption, that consumption of

diet sodas specifically in men actually increased the risk of cancer.

And there was this basically a chemical reason behind this.

Essentially, the consumption of aspartame produces huge huge

amounts of a component called formaldehyde. And formaldehyde

tends to leak directly into circulation at the level of the gut and for

some reason in men it tends to do so to a higher extent than in

women and so researchers hypothesized that the reaction of

formaldehyde with blood cells after consumption of aspartame

was likely the reason that you saw the increased risk for cancer in

males due to their high consumption of diet soda or in males who

consumed high amounts of diet soda.

Jessa: Can I ask kind of a girl question here?

Ben: No.

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Jessa: Do you think that perhaps maybe because women bleed every


Ben: You had to bring this up last week.

Jessa: I’m just saying…

Ben: I just don’t like to talk about girls’ periods.

Jessa: Yeah. You know what? We build new blood every month. So you

guys store it so that would kinda make sense if it leads just

directly into your blood.

Ben: You know what? That is a great question and I don’t know the

answer to it. I don’t know the reason that women have a more

stable gut barrier in terms of….

Jessa: No. I’m talking about like you guys, you store your blood.

Ben: Oh you mean, you’re getting rid of blood cells that…

Jessa: We get rid of our blood.

Ben: Yeah. I see what you’re saying. Yeah. That’s a reasonable


Jessa: Thank you. I’m very sexy. I’m very scientific.

Ben: And very smart. And you haven’t let 100% as sure as we’ve done

together go by without talking about periods…

Jessa: Hey, I’m a girl, you know.

Ben: Kudos on that.

Jessa: We talk about it like anything.

Ben: Let’s jump in to this week’s special announcements.

Special Announcements:


Ben: There’s not a huge number of special announcements that are

gonna be much different than last week’s special announcements

especially considering that I already talked about my birthday but

we should mention at this podcast episode like last week’s podcast

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episode is brought to you by Last week,

we told you that you should go and check out the book The Hobbit

which is based on the popular upcoming movie The Hobbit. Or

maybe it’s the other way around.

Jessa: I’m sure the book is better. I’m sure the audio book is way better

than I can come up with my imagination.

Ben: There are, believe it or not, other books on You can go get a free one. Let’s see

what the audible best seller is. Can you guess what the audible

best seller is? Top 2 audible best sellers.

Jessa: Top 2?

Ben: Hunger Games Part 1 and Hunger Games Part 2.

Jessa: I heard Hunger Games Part 2 was not as good as the first one.

Ben: It’s called catching fire.

Jessa: I’ve heard it’s kinda slow but I loved the first one. Hated the


Ben: If you are a hunger games geek and you’re going on a road to that.

Jessa: So that’s why you should listen to it on

Ben: Going on a road trip, get a bunch of

coffee in your system and listen to Hunger Games Part 1 and Part

2. You have 11 hours for 7 books, $7.50. That’s not bad. Some

cheap entertainment.

Jessa: That is good. If you’re on a road trip, sounds a great

entertainment. We’ve done that before with the (what’s that


Ben: Frank Brady. We had the Frank Brady book – Monster. I

remember that. That was good. We drove to Portland with that


Jessa: Yeah. That was good.

Ben: All right. Cool. So Check that out. I

still got links to all of the triathlon winter camps that are coming

out and I just…

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Jessa: People just don’t stop.

Ben: Just talked to Tri California today. Anybody out there who is

signed up for the Wildflower Triathlon which Jessa and I always

go to (which is awesome, you’re camped down like San Antonio).

Jessa: That’s a hard one. You better be ready for it.

Ben: They gave the green light today. We’re gonna camp down there,

March 22nd to March 24th down at Lake San Antonio. Train on

the course and we’re gonna camp down on the lake and


Jessa: We? Are you saying me and you? Or “we” as in you, the athletes

and you?

Ben: You could go if you want.

Jessa: Okay. I didn’t know. I was just…

Ben: If you’re triathlete, these are the show notes for this episode,

Episode #221. I’ll put a link to that as well as all the other camps

that we’re running and the Vietnam Triathlon which is gonna

rock. I’ll put all that in the show notes. The other thing that I

wanted to mention is that MyList is up and running hardcore over

at and I wanted to mention that…

Jessa: This is so convenient to have it right here on Facebook.

Ben: Jessa is now using MyList and so she’s got her Top 10 Kitchen

Tools out there at MyList.

Jessa: ‘Cause I love to cook.

Ben: So you can check out Jessa’s Top 10 Kitchen Tools and (I don’t

know if we published those over at or not


Jessa: You should have, you didn’t.

Ben: I think we did link to them over there but either way, go over to

create you own MyList and share them with us and you can get

featured on this podcast and we’re gonna be bringing our first

MyList user on very very same first special podcast episode. You

can make a list of anything you want like your favorite fitness

tools, your favorite diet things like things that you eat, your

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favorite wines, your favorite clothes, anything. It’s pretty cool

stuff. One more special announcement that we’re gonna play for

you here and then we’ll move on to the Swiss Q & A.

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

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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

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 and we’ll see you live and

in person March 8th and 9th, 2013.

Listener Q & A:

Mike: Hey Ben! This is Mike in New York. I was just wondering what

your thoughts are on pine pollen powder for making sure

testosterone levels stay up and also its effect on endurance

training and health in general and I’ve got same questions about

bee pollen. How does it work with general health and how to

affect my endurance training? Thank you very much. I hope to

hear this on the podcast sometime soon. Thank you.

Ben: All right. Cool! So bee pollen and pine pollen.

Jessa: I’ll have no help on this question.

Ben: I suspect that the reason that you’re going to see pine pollen asked

about more and more over the next few months is because Tim

Ferriss talks about it in his book The 4-Hour Chef and all it is is

the seeds of testosterone that’s derived from basically the male

sperm of pine trees and in traditional herbal medicine, it’s used to

increase low testosterone in men and women. So basically, the

way that it works is it is a direct androgen in and of itself whereas

something that we talked about before like the garlic acting on the

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pituitary gland to increase production of leutenizing hormone to

then cause the testes to churn out more testosterone. Compared

to that something like pine pollen, the idea behind that is you’re

literally consuming the testosterone of the plant itself.

Jessa: So is it like taking testosterone?

Ben: It is similar to taking free testosterone and there is some concern

out there.

Jessa: Yeah. It’s because there are some ill effect.

Ben: The same concern is that of taking like a synthetic hormone

replacement such as free testosterone and that is that do you

actually shut down testicular production of testosterone. Do you

actually shut down your body’s own endocrine production when

you use pine pollen, something like that. The thing with pine

pollen is when you compare it to something like basic testosterone

that you’d say like inject that the endocrinologist might give you if

you’re using like compounded hormone replacement therapy, is

that the molecular structure of pine pollen, because it’s coming

from a plant, it’s different enough from the actual testosterone

that is produced by your own testes. You wouldn’t necessarily

shut down your body’s own endocrine production of testosterone.

However, no long term studies have been done on the stuff.

Jessa: C’mon, Chinese medicines like ancient…they don’t document?

Ben: You get pine pollen in powder form, you can get it in tincture form

and basically, if you use it in powder form, you’d use the

equivalent of right around like a level teaspoon a day. I actually


Jessa: So do you think it’s risky to take it?

Ben: I don’t know…

Jessa: Has there not much research on it or…?

Ben: Yeah. I have been trying it a little bit. I’ve been trying like a

teaspoon of it, mixing with my Chinese herbs. I guess since this is

one of those too much information style of podcast where you

share everything, pretty much all I’ve experienced in terms of

changes is I have noticed that I basically…if I wake up during the

night at all, that I have an erection, basically. That is what I have

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noticed. That does not necessarily mean that you’re going to learn

in the article that I’ll be producing soon at, that does not necessarily mean that my

testosterone has increased per se.


However, I have notice that it has that effect. There you go.

Jessa: I already knew that.

Ben: Okay. So that’s the deal with pine pollen powder so you can try

that out. I’m using this stuff made by Raw Forest Foods and I’ll

link to this stuff I’m using in the show notes. It’s basically an

organic pine pollen extract. The stuff is super cheap but I mean,


Jessa: And if you come to Northwest, it’s free, you’re going to sweep it

off the floor. It’s everywhere.

Ben: You could just get pine cones and get ______[0:30:54.0].

Beware too that there may be a little bit of aromatization that goes

on here, meaning that you tend that you put testosterone in your

body and you may get some conversion into estrogens so you may

have to be on aromatase inhibitor like chrysin or myomin or nettle

root. The active compound in nettle root can stop the

aromatization process as well. And then also know that anytime

you’re messing around with any of this stuff, you always increase

your risk of potentially ingesting compounds that could cause you

to test positive on doping test or something like that.

Jessa: Yeah. I was just going to say, didn’t somebody just get busted for

increasing their testosterone?

Ben: Yes, by taking a synthetic testosterone replacement.

Jessa: So, is it different if you’re taking a bee pollen extract?

Ben: Anything that bumps your testosterone to epitestosterone ratio up

above a 4:1 ratio is going to flag you on like a World Anti Doping

Association doping test. All this stuff is kinda push your own risk

and if it wasn’t, literally, this pine pollen extract, I really wouldn’t

try it if it were like in the middle of a triathlon season or

something like that just because I never play around with

anything like that.

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Jessa: Can you just stop it cold turkey? and you’re fine?

Ben: Yeah.

Jessa: And you’re fine.

Ben: Because it’s cold turkey and you’re okay.

Jessa: Okay.

Ben: Yeah. You wanna give yourself a good couple of months to make

sure that that’s out of your system. Okay. As far as the bee pollen

extract goes, bee pollen is something that you wanna be a little bit

more careful with. Now, pollen whether we’re talking about bee

pollen or pine pollen, it’s the male seed of the flower and it is

required for the fertilization of the plant and bee pollen itself has a

ton of protein in it. It’s got a lot of free form amino acids in it and

it’s again, one of those things that’s used in alternative medicine

and has been used as what’s called the tonic – energy tonic…

Jessa: Yeah. I see it often in the store.

Ben: …in Chinese medicine for a long period of time. And lots of

cultures throughout the world rely on bee pollen as a tonic for

improving like endurance vitality, extending longevity, helping

with recovery. Some people say it helps you to build new blood

and kinda similar to spirulina or algae extract that’s really high

not only in your free amino acids but also in most of the vitamin B


Jessa: So it sounds like it’s a good thing.

Ben: Well, the issue is that a lot of people who have tried bee pollen

have had an allergic reaction to it and a pretty significant allergic


Jessa: Likewise if you’re allergic to bees.

Ben: You don’t see a lot of the same reports from something like pine

pollen as you do from bee pollen products and there are certainly

some studies that have shown that bee pollen can have for

example, pretty potent anti-inflammatory effect or that it may

help to boost immunity to a certain extent. But you wanna be

careful with this because there have been several reports of people

who begin to use bee pollen as like a super food extract or start to

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use it in high enough amount that they can have anaphylactic

reactions or allergic reactions the same way as you would if you

got stung by a bee.

Jessa: Where is bee pollen _____[0:34:14.7] I’ve always been curious.

Ben: You grab a male bee and you just shake it.

Jessa: Whatever.

Ben: Just threaten it and make it give up its pollen.

Jessa: I am curious. What part of the bee culture does it come from?

Ben: I’m assuming that you would actually extract it from male bees

like you’d actually keep male bees in captivity somehow and

extract the bee pollen from them. But I’m not exactly sure because

the bees carry around pollen in their legs.

Jessa: Yeah. I know.

Ben: So they have like pollen baskets.

Jessa: Have you ever seen it? It’s like granules that looks like…

Ben: Well, I know that there are honeycombs. Actually, they’re filled

with pollen. Maybe they’re getting it from the honeycomb itself.

Jessa: I think it’s a by-product of honey.


Ben: Yeah. It could be something they’re gathering from the

honeycomb or maybe from captured bees. I’m actually not sure.

Jessa: I have always been curious ‘cause I just better Google it.

Ben: Yeah. Go catch yourself some male bees and shake shake those

little dudes. Shake them till they give up their precious pollen.

Chris: Hi Ben and Brock and/or Jessa! My name is Chris and I have 2

questions for you. First would be about, when to combine weight

lifting with cycle training? I cycle 4 hard days a week, Tuesday

and Thursday being interval days, Saturday being longer even

steady pace and Sunday being a group ride. I’d like to do 3 days

weight lifting though to optimize some testosterone benefit from

that but I’m not sure what days to do that on – the heavy workout

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days or the easier days. Any insight you have would be greatly

appreciated. My second question is about optimizing my sleep. I

sleep in a very dark room, I have the weight noise apps and the

things that you have recommended, of course being comfortable

will go, going on, and that’s awesome, by the way. But my problem

is that if I have to get up in the middle of the night to go pee, I

tend to stay up for a little bit just having a hard time going back to

bed. That might happen a few times at night so I try not to drink

fluids on the later part of the day but I found when I do that I have

a lot more hunger at night which I think is just thirst. So I find

myself much more tempted to over eat which I also don’t wanna

do. I’m not really sure what to do how I can get good night of

sleep without having that thirst that I think is being confused as

hunger at night. Thank you very much. I appreciate all you do.

Ben: This has actually happened to me before. Waking up in the night

and having…I have to wake up in the night, you start to think

about stuff and you kinda have a hard time getting back to sleep.

Jessa: Honestly for me, I know it happens when my creative juices are

flowing big time.

Ben: Yeah. it happens to me too when I’ve had a hard day of work.

Let’s talk about that real quick and then we’ll get to this whole like

which when you do weights in conjunction with cardio. Do you do

your weights on your easier cardio days or on your hard cardio

days and how do you kinda…

Jessa: My gut says your easier cardio days but I don’t really know.

Ben: Yeah. Sometimes you can’t listen to your gut.

Jessa: I know but I really like to listen to my gut a lot.

Ben: In reference to Chris’ question though about waking up in the

night, I found that keeping one of the well, three different things

can, I’ve honestly found that all three of these things can help. I

don’t take them all at once but if I have nothing of these three

things around, these are three things that I do. One would be this

Natural Calm magnesium. I’ve got a bunch of little sample packs

of that that I’ve thrown into my night stand. It’s like about 250 mg

worth of just basic Natural Calm Magnesium Citrate and I just

grab that and down it because sometimes I do wake up at

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midnight or 1 or 2 to pee. Sometimes getting up in the middle of

the night to pee can mean that you’re hypercortisolic, meaning

that your body’s producing a lot of cortisol and overtraining. A lot

of times when you’re overtrained, you get up in the middle of the

night to pee. We talked about this a little bit when we talked about

adrenal fatigue last week.

Jessa: Yeah. We did.

Ben: But sometimes, you just get up in the night to pee and it doesn’t

mean anything other than that your bladder’s full.

Jessa: Yeah.

Ben: And I had been in a state where I had been completely relaxed and

restored and recovered from training and just get up in the night

to pee. You know, ‘cause maybe it’s not like this where it’s almost

10:00 PM now and we’re recording this podcast, we’re drinking

wine and it’s like, I guarantee, at midnight or one tonight, I’ll be

getting up to pee.

Jessa: The magnesium is great.

Ben: Getting back to sleep, magnesium works really well. That’s kind of

the most…

Jessa: Magnesium puts me to a very deep, like I’m in a very deep sleep.

Ben: Yeah. Somnidren GH from Millenium Sports is basically like el

dopa mixed with gamma aminobutyric acid kinda spins the brain

dials a little bit more but the basic idea behind this stuff is that the

gamma aminobutyric acid in the Somnidren GH is kind of a mild

sedative. It’s also got what’s called the somatostatin inhibiting

compound in there. So, you inhibit somatostatin which is one of

the things that competes with gamma aminobutyric acid in your

brain. And then there’s some other stuff thrown in there like there

are some muscle relaxants in there and there are some el dopa in

there. If you take the stuff and it’s on empty stomach like you

haven’t eaten a couple of hours which is why it actually, it tends to

be a little more effective if you take it when you’ve woken up in the

night ‘cause your stomach is empty and you need to have a lot of

insulin circulating in your bloodstream. The stuff is super effective

and it knocks you out. I’ve even found if I take it at like 1:00 or

2:00 AM vs. when I take it at 10:00 PM, I’m a bit groggy in the

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morning ‘cause I’m still in the sleep mode. So that stuff not quite

as inexpensive as magnesium but that stuff works pretty well too.

And the last thing would be…

Jessa: Isn’t that something you’ll get horrible vitamin breath?

Ben: Yeah. You don’t like to kiss me.

Jessa: No. It’s disgusting.

Ben: It tastes good.

Jessa: Oh it smells so bad.

Ben: You just dissolve it sublingually. The same is this other thing I’m

about to mention REM caps.

Jessa: But I’m sure it’s effective.

Ben: Hammer Nutrition’s REM caps that are mix of natural relaxants

like valerian root combined with melatonin. The issue with this is

that their time release, you’re supposed to take them 30 to 60

minutes before you go to bed. What I will do is open up the

capsule and dissolves it underneath my tongue and then it has a

lot faster acting properties and you’d have to wait for the

melatonin to get released. Any of those three, you can try.

Magnesium is probably gonna do for you. It works for 99% of the

folks out there. If you wanna experiment with the Somnidren GH

or the Hammer REM caps, go for it. And I’ll also put a link to that

recent podcast that I wrote about Natural Remedies for Insomnia

‘cause I wrote a monster podcast on insomnia and getting deep

sleep and you can go geek out on that if you really want to. As far

as when you do your weight training, on your easy biking days or

on your hard biking days, there was actually a fairly recent study

that looked into what happened when you actually did about 30

minutes or so of easy cardio before you lift weights. What this

study found was that when participants completed 30 minutes of

stationary bicycling at about 65% intensity prior to going through

the weight training protocol, what they saw was an increased

expression of some of the components that basically have an effect

on potent muscle growth factor called myostatin. And what

happened was there was an increase in the expression of

specifically the factor for you geeks out there was called PGC1

Alpha 4. PGC1 Alpha 4 is a specific protein that can actually

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enhance the production of what’s called myostatin which is

basically a muscle growth regulator and in people who have

myostatin knock out, they tend to get huge. But basically, you get

this big big effect in the PGC1 Alpha 4 and what happens then is

you get a better effect from the weight training session that occurs

subsequent to the easy cardio or after the easy cardio compared to

if you didn’t do any cardio at all before you lifted weights. And you

can actually get a similar effect if you lift weights in a relatively

glycogen-depleted or carbohydrate-depleted state. But the

difference between the two is that when you work out in a

glycogen-depleted state, you can also suppress your immune

system function that limits your ability to reach high intensities.

Whereas if you lift weights after you’ve done just 30 minutes of

moderate cycling,

Jessa: So my gut was kind of right.

Ben: Your gut was kinda right. So what I would do, best case scenario,

is you do an easy bike ride and right after easy bike ride on those

easy cycling days, you lift weights. And there was another study

that they did that looked at cardio before weights and they

actually found that even when you do cardio before weights and

you do the easy cardio session like earlier in the day, you still get a

more beneficial effect on the weight training vs. if you hadn’t done

that cardio at all earlier in the day. So you can even split up the 2

workouts if you wanted to. And I would definitely be doing hard

cycling workouts just from a neuro recovery standpoint and

overall energy intake standpoint, meaning that the hard cycling

training sessions are gonna deplete your body’s carbohydrate

storage, I’ll be doing all that on different day than when you lift



Jessa: So just listen to me.

Ben: So cardio before weights. Listen to Jessa. She knows what she’s

talking about.

Jessa: Listen to the body.

Cathy: Hi Ben! My name is Cathy from Oregon and I have a question

about tendonitis. I’m guessing you’ve probably had a question like

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this before but I could not find it on your website. My issue is that

in the last couple of weeks, I’ve been having pretty bad tennis

elbow, I guess you would say. Both of my elbows are kind of on

fire when I work. I do construction work, though it’s not heavy

construction. I’m mostly sweeping and cleaning up. I dig a ditch

every once in a while and maybe swinging here and there but it’s

not anything that the average person couldn’t handle. feel like

there’s really no reason this should be happening. Although I am

on the GAPS diet as I’ve been on the GAPS diet for 2 months and

I’m experiencing pretty good fatigue with that and muscle

weakness as I’ve had muscle weakness for a couple of years,

actually. So I’m wondering if this I’m just compensating them

some way, I’m just too exhausted. I know I shouldn’t be doing

this work but it is what it is and I don’t really have much of a

choice. So, do you have any advice for what I can do in the

meantime I’m gonna continue with my job? Is there anything I

can do to minimize the pain or the risk or doing further damage?

I guess that’s my question. Thanks.

Ben: All right. To answer this question from Cathy, it’s important to

understand about how neuromuscular fatigue actually works

because it can get kinda confusing to understand the various

reasons that your muscles might be getting tired and you might be

getting hurt more or getting this tennis elbow or this tendonitis

that you’re getting due to being tired. Is it because of dietary

factors? Is there something else going on? And we can look at

people who are exercising in extreme conditions to see what

happens when you get fatigued if you wanna amplify the effects of

fatigue. But it is true that when you have what’s called

neuromuscular fatigue going on that there is a significant effect on

things like coordination on literally motor impulses to motor

nerves in skeletal muscles. And when that happens, your

coordination is affected and you increase your risk of injury

because your movement patterns change. So the question is how

this fatigue actually occurs. Now there are 2 different mechanisms

via which your muscles can get fatigue. One is called central

fatigue and one is called peripheral fatigue. Basically, central

fatigue would be when your muscles get fatigued because of

something that’s going on next to the actual motor unit at the

muscle level. Peripheral fatigue would be something that happens

when there’s something occurring within the actual muscle unit

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cell. An example of central fatigue would be literally your brain

and your spinal cord are the source of you becoming fatigued.

Peripheral fatigue would mean that there’s something going on in

terms of the actual action potential at the muscle level itself and

this is just the stuff for you geeks out there who are interested in

the 2 different types of fatigue. But there are 2 kinds of

hypotheses as to why central fatigue or peripheral fatigue could

actually occur. One is called the accumulation hypothesis and one

is called the depletion hypothesis. The accumulation hypothesis

of fatigue is basically the reason that you get fatigued is because

there’s a build-up of metabolic by-products in your muscle fiber.

So when you exercise at high intensity or for long periods of time,

you produce a lot of lactic acid, that lactic acid produces or results

in the production of hydrogen ions, you get a lot of ammonia

produced from protein breakdown and you also get a lot of what

are called phosphate bodies produced when you engage in a lot of

work. So all of this stuff accumulates which is why this called the

accumulation hypothesis. And when we look at what happens

when it accumulates for example, hydrogen ions produced when

lactic acid is made in your muscles, those interfere with the ability

of the muscles to bind to one another and also with the ability of

the muscles to release from one another.


So you get basically a slower muscle contraction. The other thing

that hydrogen ions can interfere with is your actual ATP

production, ATP, being the actual chemical component that

allows you to produce a muscle contraction. So that’s one of the

issues with the accumulation hypothesis and lactic acid actually

causing that effect.

Jessa: So is that basically not recovering well?

Ben: No. That’s essentially having acid build-up. I mean, really diet

can affect this and this is something I wanted to get at in just a

second with GI and alkaline vs. an acid diet. If you are doing

exercise sessions that result in a large amount of metabolic by-

product, in most cases, lactic acid is kinda buffered from your

body within 30-60 minutes after you finished exercising. But

having a net acidic state within your body from for example,

eating a high sugar, high starch type of diet, which it doesn’t

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sound like Cathy’s on if she’s on a GAPS diet which is relatively

low in carbohydrate.

Jessa: What is the GAPS diet?

Ben: It’s called gut and psychology syndrome.

Jessa: Okay.

Ben: It’s a really clean diet. But basically, if you are exercising too much

too hard, not recovering properly and combined with kind of an

acidic diet, there could be some of this accumulation that’s

actually occurring in the part from your exercise session that

could be affecting your muscular fatigue. The other part of the

accumulation hypothesis is I alluded to as ammonia which we

talked about last week. How ammonia builds up from protein

breakdown can cause your brain to eventually become too

fatigued. So that’s the accumulation hypothesis. The depletion

hypothesis, this is something that I think is probably a little bit

more likely in Cathy’s case. And the depletion hypothesis of

muscular fatigue is basically that there are 2 things that can get

depleted – phosphogen and glycogen. And phosphogen depletion

is something that occurs when you get a reduction in ATP which

again is what provides your muscles with the ability to be able to

contract along with a depletion in what’s called phosphocreatine

and which we also know in the supplement world as creatine

which also provides you with the ability to contract your muscles.

Now, states of phosphogen depletion can result from something

as simple as not eating enough meat, not getting enough creatine

in your diet, not getting enough phosphates in your diet and this

certainly could be caused by dietary factors. We’re not gonna go in

and break down the entire GAPS diet and whether or not it has

adequate creatine or phosphate in it. But what Cathy could

consider doing for example, is supplementing with creatine

phosphate and seeing if neuromuscular fatigue is affected by that

literally doing anywhere from 2-4 grams of creatine monohydrate

on a daily basis, something of that nature.

Jessa: Okay. You can just get that at any store.

Ben: Yeah. Just basic creatine monohydrate. No special man that kind

type of stuff. The other thing is glycogen depletion. And this is

really simple but basically, you store about 2000 calories of

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chained up carbohydrate in your muscle tissue and if that is

depleted to a certain extent, that is also a situation in which

muscular fatigue can occur. This is something that happens more

often in people who are exercising for long periods of time with

the advent of the low carbohydrate diet, it’s something that a lot of

folks especially who are making transition to a low carbohydrate

diet experience – the neuromuscular fatiguing effects of glycogen

depletion. That’s something as simple as just adjusting the ratio

of carbohydrates in your diet, trying to eat a little bit more

carbohydrate. You can still eat from healthy sources.

Jessa: Yeah. You don’t have to go eat bread.

Ben: Yeah. You don’t have to like punish a baguette or something like

that. But I mean, just toss a sweet potato or yam or some carrots

or parsnip or some healthy carbohydrates here and there. Those

would be a couple of things to look at when it comes to muscular

fatigue. So that’s how muscular fatigue happens from an

accumulation standpoint or depletion standpoint and a few

different things for you to think about, Cathy, when it comes to

looking at your diet or some of the reasons that you might be

experiencing neuromuscular fatigue which can then lead to a loss

in your muscular coordination which can then increase risk of

injury. I know we kinda scratched the surface…

Jessa: That’s mean that basically, your mind is not connecting to your


Ben: Anybody who’s going in and try to do a hard workout that

involved any type of coordination like single leg squats or Turkish

get-ups or…

Jessa: That was me yesterday. My lunges were ridiculous.

Ben: Yeah. Even for me, my movement patterns were very poor in that

high intensity interval class that we did today. That was because I

didn’t really know we’re gonna be doing that class and I did kinda

like planked that workout yesterday.


That’s muscular fatigue and hopefully that gives you a better idea,

Cathy and I hope that you recover quickly from the tendonitis.

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Jessa: Yeah. Tennis is a great game. Just picked it up.

Ben: She actually got tennis elbow from construction.

Jessa: Oh I thought you said, tennis.

Ben: Well, tennis elbow. You can get that from swinging ….You should

not try tennis. If you have tennis elbow, you should wait until…

Jessa: Sorry.

Ben: All right. Let’s move on.

Jim: Hi Ben! This is Jim. I’m hoping you can help me find some

independent research on Master Amino Acid Pattern. I’m 46 years

old and run 3 times a week with a weekly mileage of anywhere

between 20 and 25 miles. I strength train on my non-run days 3

times a week and cross train on the elliptical as well. I typically

take a branch chain amino acid as supplement before runs of 8-15

miles. I’m picking up trying MAP but I can’t seem to find any

independent research on it. What I found on Google Scholar all

seemed to come from the same group of scientists that seem to be

affiliated with the product. I know it’s popular in the endurance

community but that all seems to be based on the claims of Dr.

Minkoff. Frankly, his claims about protein absorption and

utilization don’t seem to gel with what I’ve read. I currently

supplement post workout with the whey protein or whey casein

mix. But the FAQs on the MAP website suggest not supplementing

with protein while using MAP. I’d like to see some independent

data before I make such a change to my current regimen. Love

the podcast. Thanks.

Ben: This is a great question.

Jessa: Good question. Something you should question almost everything


Ben: Yeah. The guy that discoverer or the formulator of this Master

Amino Pattern supplement (those are white capsules, they’re not

capsules, they’re tablets. They’re basically what I chomp on or

swallow during a workout and they basically keep your blood

levels amino acids really high.). The basic idea is, this guy where

about a 21-year period of time did a bunch of studies with amino

acids until he found a formulation or a balance that maximize

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what’s called net nitrogen utilization. And basically, the way that

you measure net nitrogen utilization is you do what’s called the

nitrogen balance study where you measure the number of grams

of nitrogen that you take in from a supplement or from a protein

powder or anything like that vs. the grams of nitrogen that you

actually excrete in the urine or in the sweat. When amino acids

come into your body whether they’re in the supplement, whether

they’re in meat or eggs or powder or capsules or whatever, the

amino acids are either utilized, meaning that they’re made into

body proteins or they’re de-emanated, meaning that a nitrogen is

kinda locked off of them. And what you have left over is a carbon

and hydrogen and an oxygen that is burned or is stored as a

carbohydrate. There’s a term out there in physiology called

gluconeogenesis, meaning that you could technically take an

amino acid and turn it into glucose if you didn’t use it. The

nitrogen gets locked off or the nitrogen gets removed as a waste

product and for the most part, comes out in the urine as ureas.

That’s the nitrogen out part of the net nitrogen utilization

equation. So if an amino acid is utilized in some type of protein

synthesis in your body such as muscle repair or recovery, it

doesn’t come out in the urine because it becomes part of the body

structure basically. So the net nitrogen utilization is the ratio of

amino acids that come out to the amino acids that come in and it’s

expressed as a percentage. So to do a nitrogen balance study on

say like whey protein, you could eat like 60 grams of whey protein

and you basically collect urine for 24 hours and see how much

nitrogen actually comes out, assuming that you weren’t eating any

other proteins, that you were just eating fruits and vegetables with

very very negligible amounts of protein coming in anywhere else

in your diet. And if you have the ability to actually measure your

urinary nitrogen output, you could do a case study like a single

case study on yourself in a situation like this. There was a double

blind triple crossover study done on MAP and they compared eggs

and dairy to this MAP, this Master Amino Pattern and they found

out that egg has a net nitrogen utilization of 48%, dairy had a net

nitrogen utilization of 16% and the Master Amino Pattern had a

net nitrogen utilization of 99%.


Now, of course, the issue with this is that the formulators of

Master Amino Pattern were part of the study. Dr. Minkoff is

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involved in a lot of the research and a lot of the studies that’s done

on Master Amino Pattern and my basic answer to Jim is that that

is simply the way that it is right now. There’s not that I know of

many independent research studies that have been done on the

stuff. What I do know is that Dr. Minkoff owns a big wellness

center/wellness facility down in Florida and they give it to

patients with pretty severe renal disease and liver disease who

literally can’t handle nitrogen at all like any meshed meat or fish

or eggs because they become nitrogen-toxic but they can take

literally 30 of these Master Amino Pattern tablets everyday

without any nitrogen build up. And they had one published study

that came out of that clinic where dialysis patients took MAP and

avoided proteins and they were able to significantly reduce the

number of dialysis treatments that they needed. They also treat a

lot of cancer patients down there who are in pretty bad shape

nutritionally and they put them on 30 MAP a day and they

maintained significant amounts of lean body mass which is a

pretty big issue in cancer patients is their loss of lean body mass,

their catabolic state and there’s not really other protein or amino

acid supplement that’s able to accomplish this in that case. You

can check out the physician’s desk reference which is abbreviated

the PDR. That includes all FDA-approved drugs and Master

Amino Pattern is not a drug but it does appear in the physician’s

desk reference with all of those details and that gives it a lot of

credibility in and of itself for a lot of physicians and health

professionals. So that’s basically what I would say. I use the stuff.

I know what’s the difference. I haven’t ever talked to anybody

who hasn’t noticed the significant difference when they take this

stuff. And I realized that this could really sound like kind of a fox

guarding the hen house type of offer to Jim. But I’m sure that if

you were to call Lifeworks Wellness Center or you’re to e-mail Dr.

Minkoff and expressed to him your concerns and what not, that

he would be willing to talk to you and he would be willing to

correspond with you on your concern about MAP not having

independent research studies behind it.

Jessa: Interesting. So if you’re not working out hard core, is this stuff

not anchored for you ‘cause you will be using it?

Ben: Well, like I mentioned that there are couple unique situations like

in these renal failure patients or in the cancer patients where they

benefited from the stuff from the medical standpoint.

Page 29: Ben Greenfield Podcast 221

Jessa: Yeah. But what about the average, I mean I workout pretty hard

but I know I don’t workout like insane intensity but I don’t know

that I would benefit from something like that.

Ben: It depends. For example, if you’re neurotransmitter depleted, then

amino acids can help out because they are the basis if

neurotransmitter formation. If you, generally, beaten your body

up that much, if you’re pretty stable from a neurotransmitter

standpoint, the stuff is expensive – it’s like 60 bucks a bottle. I

mean, you guard your way to buy it unless you’re actually beating

your body up, your neurotransmitter depleted or you have some

kind of medical condition like I was talking about, where might

come in handy for you. So that’s the deal with MAP and it’s a

great question, Jim.

Jessa: Yeah. It is.

Stephanie: Hey Ben and Brock! I’m a 42 year-old avid cyclist who wanted

some advice on training for a bike race next April. It’s called the

Tour of the Battenkill. It’s a 62-mile rolling course of 13

pavements and from what I understand, it’s quite hilly. Currently,

I weight train into Tabatha sets at the gym 3 days a week and I

also take spin classes 2 days a week. Right now, it’s pretty cold. I

live in New England so that world biking is minimal if any. I plan

to do some cross country skiing when and if we get some snow

this winter as well. Can you give me some ideas on the best way to

train for an event like this? My world racing experience consists

of a hill climb event and a time trail last year. I more or less put

this one on the calendar to challenge myself and get into better

shape. Thanks for any help you can give. Love your podcast and

all of your help online. I started listening to you almost a year

ago, became inspired and I’ve never felt better. Thanks.

Ben: All right. I looked into this Tour of the Battenkill thing that

Stephanie is asking about…

Jessa: Sounds intense. Holy cow!

Ben: It is billed as one of the toughest 62-mile bike racer, just one of

the toughest bike races that you can do period.

Jessa: Is it over a road or is it…

Page 30: Ben Greenfield Podcast 221

Ben: Well, the way they describe it is that it has climbing of nearly

4,000 feet with a maximum gradient of 18%. And anybody who

rides bikes knows that 18% is a pretty tough climb.

Jessa: Yeah.

Ben: So 62 miles of that, you know, going out on 10 miles of some 18%

grade is one kane but 62 miles is tough especially when it has, I

think there’s 10 different sections where there’s like dirt parts in


Jessa: Okay. So what kind of bike should we ride? I’m just curious. This

is not in the question but…

Ben: I’d definitely have the 39-tooth chain ring on your front or like a

compact crank. I’d have a 25 available on the rig cogset so I’d

basically have a gearing that’s favorable for climbing that 18% so

make sure that your bike is set up properly. Gearing standpoints,

with the amount of climbing you’re gonna be doing ‘cause 4,000

feet climbing over 62 miles is…

Jessa: I’m sure lower back is gonna be screaming at you.

Ben: Yes. Or you’re gonna be walking your bike a lot. I’ve got 3 things

that I’d recommend for getting better on the hills that go above

and beyond just doing like spin classes. One would be what I call

hill to temple intervals and this is something that I prescribe to

my athletes a lot of time. Basically, you choose about a 2-4

minute hill and you attack that hill like you climb it hard and you

kind of attack the hills like an always-be-pushing type of approach

uphill. But then when you get to the top of the hill you don’t back

off. You continue to time trial for about 1-2 minutes.

Jessa: That sounds mentally horrible.

Ben: ‘Cause we build up a bunch of lactic acid and muscle fatigue on

the hill and then you get your body used to pedaling in a fatigued

state at the top of the hill so it’s a hill to temple repeat menu.

Climb the hill, you do a temple effort for 60 seconds to 2 minutes

once you’ve reached the top of the hill. And then you turn around

and you descend and do it again.

Jessa: See, I like the real word system where you get to the top of the hill

and then you just talk.

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Ben: Yeah, that’s traditional low climbing. This is better. This will get

you way fast results…

Jessa: I believe you. I’m just saying that sounds mentally horrible.

Ben: Next, you mentioned that you’re doing weight training and you’re

doing tabatha sets. Do you know what a tabatha set is, Jessa?

Jessa: I have no idea.

Ben: That’s where you basically do a 4-minute set in the weight room.

That’s 20 seconds on, 10 seconds off. So you do a…

Jessa: How many seconds on?

Ben: 20 seconds on. Like in our circuit class that we do tonight, we’re

doing three 40 second sets and then 30 seconds off. So tabatha

set is 4 minutes like 20 seconds as many push-ups as you can do

and ten 10 seconds off.

Jessa: Okay.

Ben: But it’s a fairly muscular endurance-based style of working out

and I would encourage you if you wanna maximize what’s called

motor unit recruitment and actually get a lot of the benefits that

strength training has been tuned to have on cycling power and

wattage production. I’d be basically spending your time in the

weight room just focusing on power and focusing on strength,

doing lower rep higher weights type of exercises like squats, some

lunges and step-ups and save any metabolic work or

cardiovascular work for riding your bike, for doing this set of

repeats that I’m talking about or your doing some of your spin

classes and your cardiovascular endurance work on the bike. But

don’t use the gym for muscular endurance. Use your bike for

muscular endurance and then go high weight low rep lift for

power and lift for strength that focus on that with your gym

sessions. And then the last thing I would mention is something

that I talked with Chris McCormack about when I interviewed him

a few weeks ago and those were his Macca workouts over at ‘cause you get 12 of these workouts and 3 of

them are really cycling-intensive. He’s got one workout on that.

It’s called the power up where basically, you go and you climb a

hill and you start at the bottom of the hill in basically fairly easy

gear. But then as you climb the hill, every 2 minutes, you shift to

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a harder gear so by the time you get to the top of the hill, you’re

literally mashing gear. And then you go down to the bottom and

you do it again. So it’s like a hill climb except you’re literally

making the hill come super as you go enough. For a hill climb like

this, you wanna use not super duper steep hill climb. If you’re able

to look about 3-5 %.

Jessa: I know when I’m getting ready for a like ______[1:09:47.5] and

go hit our ______[1:09:48.6] which is just like a switch back in

sane grid…..

Ben: Yeah. We have right behind our house. And at the top of it is a

winery. So you’re kinda getting teas that you climb…

Jessa: Don’t do that Macca’s mash whatever he said…something like


Ben: It’s called the power up work and basically every 2 minutes, you

climb a 10-12 minute hill, every 2 minutes, you gear down and

make your gearing more difficult.

Jessa: I don’t think I can do that on a hill. I’d fall over.

Ben: So those are some of my recommendations for you, Stephanie and

hopefully that helps you a little bit. Yeah, that actually wraps up

our questions for today. It’s like a third as long as last week’s


Jessa: Yeah. Seriously.

Ben: We’ll put links to everything we talked about over at MyList.

Check that out at We’ll put a MyList for

this episode, Episode #221. It’s like gonna be 11:00 PM soon so

we should wrap this…

Jessa: Yeah. I’m getting a little sleepy. I’m in my cozy jammy’s…

Ben: Listen to our own advice and go to bed but we wanna get a

podcast out to you guys and again remember, my birthday’s

coming up so stay tuned to my e-mail newsletter list. If you’re not

on that, you can subscribe over at ‘cause

I always send out some nice little gifts to my e-mail newsletter list

and if you haven’t yet signed up for the Super Human event that’s

coming to Spokane, Washington got to get in. Seats are filling up

Page 33: Ben Greenfield Podcast 221

quickly and you do not wanna miss out on this. So, say goodbye

to Jessa.

Jessa: Goodbye!

Ben: It’s gonna be Brock next week.

Jessa: My last time. Miss you.

Ben: She’s fired. She’s officially fired. You gotta join the inner circle if

you want more of Jessa.

Jessa: You want me talk as much.

Ben: All right. Cool. We’ll catch you later, folks.

Jessa: Later.

For personal nutrition, fitness or triathlon consulting, supplements, books or

DVD’s from Ben Greenfield, please visit Pacific Elite Fitness at