ben greenfield chris kresser revolution health radio

Biohacking Your Ancestral Lifestyle – Ben Greenfield on Revolution Health Radio, Hosted by Chris Kresser

Check out the Revolution Health Radio Episode Page & Show Notes

Key Takeaways

  • Engineer your work environment to allow yourself to engage in low-level physical activity throughout the day (make it so that, at the end of the day, exercise is an option, not a necessity) – here’s how:
    • Get a standing workstation
    • Put a pull-up bar and kettlebell near your desk and use them frequently throughout the day
    • Take your phone calls while walking
  • Using his Oura Ring, Ben has found that all of the following improve his deep sleep numbers:
    • A bedroom temp. of 64-66 °F 
    • Taking a hot/cold contrast shower before bed (10 seconds hot, 20 seconds cold, repeated for 5 minutes)
    • Wearing socks to bed (doing so cools your core temperature)
    • Taking a high dose of CBD (~100 mg) before bed (use the code “PODCASTVIBES” for 15% off at checkout)
  • Ben’s top biohacks:
    • Cold/hot contrast therapy
    • Photobiomodulation therapy with the Joovv
    • Sleeping on a grounding mat

Products Mentioned

  • Ben uses an Oura Ring to track his sleep
  • Ben has found taking a high dose of CBD (~100 mg) prior to bed improves his deep sleep
    • Linked is a CBD brand we at Podcast Notes recommend – use the code “PODCASTVIBES” for 15% off at checkout
  • Ben sets his chiliPAD to 55 °F every night
    • For 25% off the chiliPAD, use the code “Podcastnotes25” at checkout
  • Two of the best nootropics on the market: Alpha Brain and Qualia

Books Mentioned

Intro

Ben’s Backstory

  • Ben grew up home-schooled in Idaho, and just gave his kids the option to do the same (they’re about to enter the 6th grade)
  • At age 13, Ben started to get into tennis and fell in love with the sport
  • In college, Ben studied exercise science & nutrition for his undergrad and then received a master’s degree in physiology & biomechanics
    • He then went on to work as a personal trainer for the next 6 years
      • In 2008, Ben was nominated as the top personal trainer in the U.S
  • Nowadays, Ben primarily focuses on his podcast but also does some public speaking, freelance writing, and health coaching

Biohacking to Simulate Ancestral Living

  • “I simply view biohacking as using technology to enhance biology or simulate what ancestral living can give us”Ben Greenfield
    • For example, Ben:
      • Uses a Joovv to get near- and far-infrared light (which you can also get from the sun)
      • Sleeps on a pulsed electromagnetic field (PEMF) grounding mat to simulate contact with the Earth’s surface
      • Uses a sauna to simulate sweating outdoors
      • Fasts to mimic the long periods his ancestors might have gone without food
  • “We live in a post-industrial era. It can be difficult, in many cases, to tap into a lot of these things outdoors. We’re regulated to being indoors because of the lifestyle we’ve chosen.” – Ben Greenfield

Ben’s Top Biohacks

  • Everything that enhances mitochondrial health:
    • Cold/heat therapy
      • “I have an infrared sauna and a cold pool. Going back and forth between those two, I absolutely consider to be an essential part of my week.” – Ben Greenfield
    • Using an earthing or grounding mat
      • (This simulates walking outdoors while barefoot)
      • Grounding (AKA earthing) is the process of charging the body with negative ions
        • Why do it? – Exposure to Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and electromagnetic fields shoves the electromagnetic gradient across our cells in a positive direction
    • Photobiomodulation therapy with something like a Joovv
    • Hacking your water to mimic the minerals you’d obtain when drinking natural spring water – there are few ways to do this:

Incorporate Physical Activity Into Your Day

  • Examining the Blue Zones (where a disproportionately high number of people live to be 100+), you might not notice a lot of structured exercise
    • Instead, you’d see a lot of low-level physical activity out in nature (i.e., pushing wheelbarrows, building fences, lifting rocks, gardening, etc.) with occasional bouts of high-intensity activity (like hunting)
  • Try not to view exercise separate from daily living
    • Instead of sitting for 10+ hours a day, and working out as hard as you can 3x a week, incorporate active bouts of movement into your day – here’s how:
      • Get a standing workstation
        • Both Chris and Ben use treadmill desks
      • Put a pull-up bar and kettlebell near your desk and use them frequently throughout the day
      • Take your phone calls while walking
    • The takeaway: Engineer your work environment to allow yourself to engage in low-level physical activity throughout the day
      • Make it so that, at the end of the day, exercise is an option, not a necessity
  • “We know from research that even if you meet the government guidelines for exercise, if you’re sedentary the rest of the time, you’re still going to be at an increased risk of disease” – Chris Kresser

It Doesn’t Take as Much Exercise as You Think

  • (As long as you’re maintaining adequate levels of physical activity during the day)
  • To build muscle, you only need 2-3 weight training sessions/week
  • To keep your VO2 max elevated, you only need to complete 1 hard cardiovascular workout every 2 weeks
  • To maintain mitochondrial health, you only need 1 high-intensity interval training workout per week
  • To maintain lactic acid tolerance, end one of your weekly strength training workouts with a Tabata set on a bike (20 seconds hard, 10 seconds easy, repeated for 4 minutes)

Enhancing Deep Sleep with the Oura Ring

  • Check out Ben’s 10,000-word article on deep sleep – Deep Sleep Decoded
  • Ben uses an Oura Ring to track his sleep (purchase an Oura Ring from our link for a $50 discount applied at checkout)
    • There are other sleep trackers on the market:
      • The Dreem 2 headband measures your actual brain waves, but unless you prefer to sleep on your back, headband sleep trackers tend to move around during the night, messing up your data
      • Mattress-based sleep trackers, like that from Eight Sleep, do a good job of tracking your sleep cycles, but they’re often accompanied by high levels of EMFs (which you don’t want in your bedroom)
  • Using his Oura Ring, Ben has found the following improves his deep sleep numbers:
    • A bedroom temp. of 64-66 °F 
    • Taking a hot/cold contrast shower before bed (10 seconds hot, 20 seconds cold, repeated for 5 minutes)
    • Wearing socks to bed (doing so cools your core temperature)
    • Using his chiliPAD, set to 55 °F
      • For 25% off the chiliPAD, use the code “Podcastnotes25” at checkout
    • Taking a high dose of C
    • CBD (~100 mg) prior to bed 
      • Linked is a CBD brand we at Podcast Notes recommend – use the code “PODCASTVIBES” for 15% off at checkout
  • Also, Ben replaced all the bulbs in his house with full-spectrum incandescent bulbs 
    • Why? – Traditional LED bulbs produce quite a bit of “flicker” which can irritate the eyes and adversely affect sleep architecture
    • In his bedroom, Ben elected to use only red incandescent bulbs (red light isn’t harmful to melatonin production, and doesn’t negatively impact sleep quality)

How to Improve Cognitive Performance

  • You might supplement with nootropics like Alpha Brain and Qualia
  • Reduce brain inflammation (and thus improve performance) by limiting consumption your of sugar and vegetable oils
  • One not-so-well-known method: Using the Vielight, a wearable photobiomodulation therapy device
    • Ben has noticed that when he uses it in the morning, he experiences a boost of cognitive energy for the net 4-5 hours
  • Peptide supplementation (injections)
    • Peptides are strings of amino acids designed to elicit specific functions
    • Semax, of particular interest, is thought to enhance neurogenesis, improve the integrity of the blood-brain barrier, and act as a slight nootropic
      • “That works very well for a clean boost of cognitive energy that seems to last for 6-8 hours” – Ben Greenfield
    • Note: Be careful where you get peptides from
  • Microdosing psychedelics, such as LSD, is thought to enhance creative and analytic thinking 
    • As LSD is difficult to obtain (and illegal), you might think about trying 1PLSD, which you can order from Lysergi
      • 1P-LSD is a slight analogy of LSD, and has many of the same effects
      • Ben will sometimes order blotter tabs of 1P-LSD and dissolve them with alcohol in a dropper bottle. He’ll then microdose precisely at 10-20 ug on days he’s doing a lot of writing (usually only 1x per week).
        • You can read more about how to dissolve the blotter tabs here
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