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Cold Showers, Chia Seed Slurries, Hacked Saunas, and DUTCH Urine Tests - Joovv AMA with Ben Greenfield of Ben Greenfield Fitness

Joovv AMA with Ben Greenfield

When someone says "beast mode", Marshawn Lynch is probably the first person that comes to mind.  And rightfully so.  The guy was a beast on the football field.

But here at Joovv, there's someone else that we think is deserving of "beast mode" classification.  And his name is Ben Greenfield.  He is the author of the New York Times bestseller Beyond Training and is one of the world's most influential individuals in health and fitness.  He's done just about everything.  From Spartan death races in negative 38 degree weather to Ironman triathlons, Ben has proven that he is an absolute beast!  

Although he's a busy guy, Ben was gracious enough to participate in a Joovv AMA.  So without further ado, here are Ben's answers to your questions:

What is the one fitness activity that you hate doing the most, but yields the best results?

Many people might think it’s the cold shower (or the cold soak) or the long sauna sessions because so many people seem to want to shoot themselves in the head before doing these types of activities. But honestly, the one fitness activity that I hate doing the most, but yields the best results is silent meditation. The physiological benefits, the biological benefits, the mental and spiritual benefits all directly impact fitness.  But it’s so freaking hard for a hard-charging guy like me to go find a quiet place in the forest and to simply sit.  To feel the air against my skin, to smell the air, to see the tiny intricate details of nature, and to hear the sounds around me. That is freaking hard. And although hate is a strong word, it’s certainly very difficult for me to do.  But you know what?  I do it.

What is your favorite hack to maximize your sleep?

I use a cold air diffuser and I add several drops of essential oil of lavender, essential oil of rose, and essential oil of bergamot into it.  I then diffuse the air next to me as I sleep. It’s been shown to reduce salivary cortisol, increase activation of the parasympathetic nervous system, and initiates the production of Alpha brain waves.

Who can win in an arm-wrestling contest, you or Zach? (insert Scott: Zach is Ben's brother.)

Me, hands down. Zack is big and he is strong.  But I am stubborn and my lactic acid tolerance is through the roof. I know if I can hang on for the first minute, he is going down. :)

If I opened up your fridge right now, what would I see?

You’d see a lot!  But there are two staples that I swear by. Number one is bone broth. I drink one to two cups of bone broth every day. It is chock-full of minerals, amino acids I don’t get enough of (from things like steak or chicken), and plenty of other gut- and body-nourishing compounds.

The second staple is a chia seed slurry. I take one part chia seeds to ten parts water and I soak it in the refrigerator overnight. I then mix that with anything I want – lemon juice, dark chocolate, stevia, sea salt, you name it. So, bone broth, a chia seed slurry, and then just crap loads and crap loads of fresh vegetables.

Have you used red light therapy?  Did it work?

Yes. I built an infrared sauna in my basement. You can read about it at bengreenfieldfitness.com/hackedsauna. It works amazingly well for everything from detoxification of metals to faster healing of injuries, to the adjustment of circadian rhythm (if I use blue light in conjunction with infrared light). I use near infrared lamps in that same sauna as well as in my office. Also, I use in-ear phototherapy, which is not technically red light therapy, but works similar in terms of optimizing circadian rhythm. And finally, I use the Vie light 810 device for nasal infrared therapy, which assists with sleep and shutting down any inflammation in the brain.

I used to be an avid fitness geek in my early 20’s, but have gotten way out of shape over the past 10 years.  What tests (blood, urine, etc.) should I consider having done since I’m sort of starting from scratch?

There are many, many tests you could consider.  But, there are four that I recommend everyone do. First, a complete blood panel. Not the incomplete, crappy blood panel the average doctor might order.  But a really good comprehensive blood panel. For  example, check out the longevity panel at Greenfield Fitness Systems.

Second, a 3-day stool panel. Your gut changes from day to day, so any stool panel must last at least 3 days. It will tell you about parasites, yeast, fungus, bacterial imbalances and much more.  Things going on inside your gut that a blood test won’t tell you.

Third, a urinary hormone test, which is a new test. I used to recommend a salivary test, called an Adrenal Stress Index. Now, I recommend a much more comprehensive test for things like cortisol, adrenal fatigue, DHEA, testosterone, ets. This is called a Dutch test. And yes, it’s a urine test. You can also see an example of that at Greenfield Fitness Systems.

And then finally, once in your lifetime, you should have your DNA tested from a website such as 23andMe.  And you should export that data to a website like Promethease.  That way, you can really dive into not only the history of your ancestors, but also the specific genetic markers you have.  And eventually, you can tweak your diet and fitness program accordingly.

I know you’re a big proponent of high-fat diets.  But I’m getting bored with mine.  What’s your favorite healthy, high-fat meal?

You may not consider this a meal, but I do. I take an entire avocado and I put it in a blender along with two scoops of alkali-free dark chocolate, two teaspoons of cinnamon, a giant pinch of sea salt, a touch of vanilla extract or vanilla powder, and 1 scoop of hemp, pea or rice protein (since those agree with me better than whey). Finally, I add full-fat coconut milk. Then I blend it all up.  Once that’s blended, I top it with a handful of spirulina or chlorella bits, unsweetened coconut flakes, and cacao nibs. You will be in heaven.

What person of influence are you closely following right now?

That is a good question. I’ve never really had a person of influence that I follow and I’ve never really had someone who I would consider to be a mentor. I’ve always been a lone wolf. Perhaps it was because I was homeschooled K-12. I don’t closely follow anybody. I know that may sound like a cop-out answer, but I have to be truthful. It’s just not something that I’ve ever really done.

What is the one book that you’ve recommended the most?

Beside for my own (ha ha!), Beyond Training, the Bible is the book I recommend the most.  Other than that, I would say Poor Charlie’s Almanac, by Charlie Munger. It’s full of important financial and life advice. Seeking Wisdom, which also features Charlie Munger, is a close second.

What 3 supplements can you not afford to live without?

The supplements with the most research and are the safest to use are as follows:

  • Fish oil, 2-4 g per day.

  • Creatine, 5 g per day.

  • A full spectrum multivitamin. I use the EXOS multi-vitamin, 3 in the morning and 3 in the evening.

If I had to spend my money on any supplementation protocol, it would be those three.

I want to level-up my all-around game.  Can you recommend 2-3 things I should do right now?

First, take a cold shower in the morning and a cold shower in the evening. Two to five minutes. Closer to five minutes is better. Second, practice intermittent fasting every day. That means that every single day, you have an 8 to 12 hour compressed feeding window. Don’t snack, no cheating! And last (it’s tough because there are so many choices), but I would say, journal every morning.  More specifically, journal what you are grateful for as well as ways that you can help, pray for, or serve that day.  In other words, journal unselfishly and focus on love and gratitude.

(insert Scott)

Thanks so much for submitting your questions for Ben!  And thanks again to Ben "beast mode" Greenfield for being a part of the Joovv AMA family!  Don't forget to check out Ben's site as well as his highly-rated podcast.  If you're a fan of podcasts, we'll think you'll love it.

If you missed the chance to submit your question for this AMA, stay tuned for the next one.  We'll let you know in advance on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.