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Experience Ben Greenfield undergoing a “brain mapping” session as he imparts insights into his personal fitness, peak performance, and biohacking tips on the Head First show. Explore the examination of his Quantitative EEG, providing recommendations for specific brain performance targets.

Head First, a comprehensive conversation series, brings together thought leaders in the wellness space, encompassing entrepreneurs, fitness professionals, elite athletes, psychologists, biohackers, and unconventional thinkers. The show delves deeply into various health and well-being topics, serving as a platform for innovative ideas and perspectives in personal development and optimal living.

The podcast with Ben Greenfield covers:

-Brain health and the realm of biohacking.
-Exploring biohacking, diet, and the nuances of genetic individuality.
-Understanding the impact of high-fat diets on athletic performance.
-Unraveling the intricate connection between sleep, nutrition, and biohacking.
-Navigating sleep cycles and circadian rhythms for enhanced well-being.
-Crafting exercise and sleep habits tailored for biohackers.
-Examining fitness and biohacking, with a specific focus on supplements and exercise.
-Delving into aging, strategies against muscle loss, and anti-aging approaches.
-Unpacking the correlation between brain activity and concussions.
-Exploring brain function in the context of concussions.
-Analyzing brain wave patterns and their relation to vigilance and anxiety.
-Investigating neurofeedback training and the efficacy of cognitive training apps.
-Embracing discussions on brain health, exercise, and meditation with Ben Greenfield.

Speaker 1 0:06
Welcome to headfirst with Dr. Hill. This is our video podcast with a weekly release schedule. And one of our first guest is Ben Greenfield, fitness professional and biohacker extraordinaire. So Ben and I have been talking for weeks trying to get him down to Los Angeles to do a quantitative EEG a brain map. And here he is in studio. And so we’ll do that a little bit later on in the hour. But first, Ben, why don’t you introduce yourself and tell our listeners who don’t already know who you are? Who you are?

Speaker 2 0:33
Yeah, absolutely. I have been trying for weeks and weeks and weeks to get to LA, avoiding the traffic and finally made it down. It’s tough. Yeah. So happy to be here. And yeah, I mean, I’ve been in the fitness industry for the past couple of decades. I’m pretty pretty much started off in personal training, and then began to delve into nutrition, and biohacking performance of not just the human body, but the brain digestion, hormones, sleep fat loss. And what I do now, after being a personal trainer for about a decade, is I now speak and I write and basically do the one to many thing in the fitness realm. But I’m pretty much obsessed with with helping people get better bodies. And in this case, brains. Great.

Speaker 1 1:18
That’s wonderful. Yeah, Ben and I actually, we spoke at the same event, but we were we sort of had just seal city that we we were just offset in times. I didn’t get to see it. I

Speaker 2 1:27
think we were probably the least muscle bound guys there. We totally Well, yeah, I

Speaker 1 1:31
certainly was. For Turner. Absolutely. Yeah. Well, great. So, you know, I have lots of questions for you about all the things you do to keep yourself healthy, as well as your perspective on some of these, you know, biohacking strategies for both body and brain health. But we’re going to start off the the hour by gathering some brain data from Ben Greenfield. So we’re going to take a peek under the covers, and look at your gray matter, actually, we’re not gonna look at your brain itself, we’re gonna get the electrical activity that your brain is producing. So, as I’m sure you know, then we do something called quantitative EEG at peak brain. And that means a brain map or an assessment of resting baseline brain activity. And for any viewers who don’t know, a quantitative EEG is essentially a it’s not really a diagnostic tool that the joke I tell is, it’s a prognostic tool, we get a sense of what might be true about one person’s brain. And this is a database compared analysis, meaning that it’s not an arbitrary clinical judgment, don’t just look at your brain activity and say, Oh, you have this kind of brain. But instead, take your brain activity and compare it to a normative database of several 1000 People who all are medication free and caffeine free. And by the way, my

Speaker 2 2:41
fingers crossed all these 1000s of people aren’t extreme geniuses, or I’m gonna look really bad. They

Speaker 1 2:45
are a normal variability population. So you’ll you’ll you’ll fall somewhere in there, I assume. And thank you for abstaining from caffeine today. One of the caveats of Yeah, hey, you know, yeah, exactly. It’s for folks who don’t know, it’s about two in the afternoon, and then it’s caffeine free so he can have this quantitative EEG brain map done today. So that was a sacrifice on his part.

Speaker 2 3:03
I have a date with Starbucks within about an hour and a half, just so you know. Yeah. There you

Speaker 1 3:08
go. Great. So we’re gonna start putting a dry cap. I’ve recently switched in my clinic to using pure dry headsets when possible for quantitative EEG. So we won’t get your your gray hair messed up to too much, but I’m gonna have my technician Sean who’s in the background here, stand up and we’re going to start putting a brain map cap on cue EEG cap on this is a wearable sensing, dry cap, DSI 24. For anyone that’s curious. As you can see Sean starting to work all these little tiny electrode heads down through Ben’s hair. So normally, when you do an EEG of any sort, quantitative or clinical, you need to sort of exfoliate little spots of scalp and spend about 1020 30 minutes, sticking a couple dozen wires to people’s heads.

Speaker 2 3:53
I exfoliate like that daily. Do you shower for 20 to 30 minutes. And

Speaker 1 3:57
nice. It really soft scalp? Yeah, exactly. That’s, that’s great. That’s great. And so what Shawn is going to do, he’s putting some air clips on right now, this will pick up Ben’s, the electrical activity, believe it or not, in your ears, ears are not electrically neutral, they do have a signal. And we actually measure each spot on the head relative to either other spots or to the ears. And so after we have this data all gathered will have sort of two formats of data, one of which is looking at every spot in your head compared to the earlobe, sort of a distant reference. And the other way we look at the data is every spot on the head compared to surrounding spots. And this gives us a local emphasis on that data.

Speaker 2 4:39
It’ll take us to say quite comfortable this I use this Can I wear this home? Maybe not that particular device $25,000 headset, yeah. Then through the airport. They are a little pricey

Speaker 1 4:49
and you might get some weird looks in the airport and get sort of selected for a random search. If you walk around that thing in your head I would guess either that as you might check into a hospital works for some of the X Men There you go. Well, if you start developing strange powers, then I know I’m onto something. Yeah. So nice. Well, so as Shawn’s doing this and take us some time to adjust each individual electrode head. So he’s spitting them down his little metal pins under each electrode. And Shawn is sort of spinning them down through Ben’s hair, and working the skin a little bit to have it sort of release a little bit of sebaceous secretions or sweating oil. And that actually is what the kneecap uses to make the connection. I don’t sweat, I glow, you glow. That’s right, well, healthy young. So, we’ll take a few minutes to get all the electrodes set up and make sure we have good signals. And we may have to have you sort of relax your muscles. If there’s some muscle tension.

Speaker 2 5:41
I was gonna say, I feel as though immediately when the device is placed on my head, I adopt in an upright posture. That’s good. I think it’s the awareness that there’s a very expensive thing on my head, right? It’s

Unknown Speaker 5:50
right. It’s not that heavy that right, you know,

Unknown Speaker 5:53
it was like a baseball cap.

Speaker 1 5:54
Yeah, the Yeah, when we use wet caps are actually a lot more annoying. They’re sort of a swim cap, lycra based swim cap with holes in it. And we have to squirt gel through about 21 holes in the cap, which ends up with a full head of electro gel. So for adults with average or not too big or too small kinds of heads. I use thank you the system. Yeah, there you go. But as Sean’s getting set up, let’s start hearing more about your, your your perspective on some of these biohacking things. So I know you’re a health and wellness professional as you introduced earlier, you have a long history doing these things. I actually don’t know all the details in spite of having been in your show once or twice and having talked to you a bunch I don’t really know your full perspective on these things. So I’m curious first of all about diet I I’m a hardcore you know, sort of paleo primal diet guy, my my linchpin and peak brain. Derek is a hardcore plant based guy. And we get along regardless of that, actually, which is kind of nice. Yeah. But I’m curious where you fall on this sort of, you know, high fat, low carb versus low carb high plant. Yeah. That’s kind

Speaker 2 6:58
of funny. My, my podcast sidekick on my show is Australian, female, vegetarian. Okay, I am a red blooded male meat eating Hunter. So I understand the tension. That’s right. But, you know, my perspective. And the reason that I haven’t written a book that has the word diet on it is that there is no one perfect diet, there are people who, based on their genetics actually do quite well, in this case, based on on methylation with a primarily plant based diet versus a meat based diet. And there are people who do better on macros that consist of higher amounts of fat versus higher amounts of carbohydrate. So what I like to do is start off with looking at genetic individuality. Along with and this is the part that that I think some people ignore what that person is doing from a performance standpoint, because you can take someone and put them on, let’s say, we were to argue that that like a ketogenic diet, were ancestrally appropriate for that person, right, like say eating 30 to 50 grams of carbohydrate per day. And that diet may work for something like let’s say, managing epilepsy and seizures or managing, you know, MS or something of that nature, but you you know, then you take an Ironman triathlete, or a Spartan Race or, or a bodybuilder or a crossfitter. And they try that same diet. And even though in the absence of their, their, what we could probably say would be unnatural physical goals. That would be a healthy diet. In the case of what they’re actually pursuing, it becomes a diet that restricts the level of output of calorie deprivation leading to hypothyroidism because you get inhibition of T four to T three hypercortisolism. As as cortisol surges up to mobilize glycogen from the liver. Testosterone defects, as you know, as the HPA Axis gets downregulated from inadequate calories are an adequate carbohydrate. And so you can’t just look at what’s genetically appropriate, you have to look at what is appropriate from an activity standpoint,

Speaker 1 9:03
do you think you can sort of ramp up the fat burning metabolism to such an extent that very low carb diets can be maintained even with a high level of athletic output?

Speaker 2 9:12
You can I was, I was talking with a guy about this in the sauna this morning. He’s preparing for this big paddleboarding race down in Hawaii. And he said, Well, is it gonna help me to do a high fat diet leading up to this race? And I said, well, it can Yeah, like if you if you’re burning and burning a higher amount of fats as a fuel, if you’re efficiently producing and utilizing ketones, the byproduct of fat metabolism, and you have the mitochondrial density necessary to produce lots of ATP from fat, then absolutely, that is that is a really good you know, we could say like a nutritional biohack for let’s say, like a long endurance event like that. The problem and this is the in this is what the discussion led to in the sauna this morning. He said, Well, great. I’m in my races in four weeks. I’m going to start Doing the coconut oil and the MCT oil, you know, and avocados and you know fattier cuts of fish and seeds and macadamia nuts. And the problem is that it takes one to two years to get the mitochondrial density and the adaptation to a fat based diet to where it actually becomes a decent performance hack. And

Unknown Speaker 10:18
is that a diet based adaptation over two years? Or is it that’s a

Speaker 2 10:21
diet based adaptation that we there was a study at University of Connecticut. And I was one of the subjects in this study where they took one group of athletes and had them following very high 85% Plus fat based ketogenic diet for 12 months, and then they had another group follow a normal, you know, whatever the Gatorade Sports Science Institute is currently recommending, you know, 50, to 60%, carbs 20 to 30%, protein 10 to 30% fat. And what they did, and they’ve never done a study this is this is the important part, they’ve never done a study of that length, comparing a fat base to a carbohydrate based diet. Most of the studies are four to 12 weeks in length, sure, what they looked at in that study, in addition to things like gut microbiome, the muscles ability to store glycogen, which is very painful, by the way, they stick a needle into the tissue and do a biopsy and take actual chunks of muscle out and see if you’re still able to store carbs and muscle. Wow, the biggest part of the study that was a three hour run on a treadmill, the fat group and the carbohydrate group, what they found was that after 12 months of following a high fat ketogenic diet, without too many cheats, without too many errors, made walking paths and Italian restaurant, they found that the athletes following the high fat diet were burning on average 1.7 grams of fat per minute. And what the what exercise physiology textbooks will tell you is that the maximum amount of fat per minute the human body can oxidize is 1.0 grams of fat per minute. So in essence, this study rewrote the textbooks when it comes to how much fat the human body can actually oxidize, again, with what got us started down this path, the caveat that you have to be following that diet for a pretty extended period of time. And I would not necessarily argue that a diet that high in fat is socially achievable. In many situations, it’s tough to follow. And I think you can get pretty good benefits from eating a higher amount of fat. Again, if that’s something ancestrally appropriate for you. Let’s say you’re not whatever Sub Saharan African or, you know, perhaps Southeast Asian, you know, or you come from a genetic heritage that might dictate, not eating that much fat. But if you if you’re actually eating that amount of fat, you can get away with close to like 50 to 60%, rather than like the 80 to 90%. And I personally, that’s what I do now, like I eat about 50 to 60% fat, I follow what would be called cyclic ketosis, okay, right, where I stay high fat, most of the day, I do lots of intermittent fasting, I don’t snack, I don’t graze. And at the end of the day, I do a hard workout, which up regulates the glute for transporters responsible for taking sugar and shoving it into muscle tissue. So the pancreas doesn’t have to release as much insulin. So sugar doesn’t hang around in the blood for as long a period of time. And that’s when I will eat a higher amount of carbohydrate with the meal.

Speaker 1 13:10
And so you’re essentially going into a higher carb state than at night when they’re very brief.

Speaker 2 13:15
And I’ve done blood testing and postprandial blood glucose testing and also ketone testing, breath ketone monitoring and blood ketone monitoring. And I found it takes about two to three hours you know, after a post workout meal comprised of a little red wine beforehand, sweet potatoes, yams, white rice, short meanwhile, amaranth, millet, sourdough bread, you know, whatever it is that I’m eating, not cherry tarts, and pizza. I choose real foods. But it is it’s pretty amazing how quickly the blood sugar returns to normal when you use that strategy. And

Speaker 1 13:46
do you think eating your carbs at night is helping this sort of growth hormone release? That tends to happen when we sleep? Are you praying and

Speaker 2 13:52
there’s a couple of studies that show that insulin sensitivity may peak at night based on your natural circadian rhythm. But for me, the logic goes like this your your grip strength, your reaction time, your body temperature, your post workout, protein synthesis, and all sorts of other things peak between about four and 7pm. During the day, yeah, based on your natural circadian rhythm. Because of this, I choose that time of day to do my hardest workout got the type of workout that would upregulate those glute four transporters and make me more sugar sensitive. Sure, sure. If I were doing a workout like that, in the morning, I would consider flipping the scenario doing like a, you know, a high carb breakfast or a lower carb dinner. There’s a gentleman I spoke with named John Kiefer, who popularized a diet called the carb backloading diet. He argues that no matter when you do your hard workout, you’re still going to be most insulin sensitive in the evening, and that you’re gonna get the most anabolic effect and the least say, fat gain effect from eating your carbohydrates in the evening, but I’m not sure I’ve seen quite enough evidence to To say that I for sure if I were doing like a hard workout in the morning wouldn’t just shift my carbon taken in the morning.

Speaker 1 15:04
Sure. Well, the human body has a maximum ability to absorb carbohydrates as muscle glycogen at about what? 50 grams per hour max. Right. So anything more than that anyways, is going to be sort of defeating the equation, right? I’m guessing you aren’t doing more than 50. Yeah.

Speaker 2 15:21
And then the other thing that’s important is for people who are concerned about, you know, am I going to have enough glycogen or enough energy for the next day’s workout, if I missed that two hour post workout window after my morning workout, what they’ve shown is that glycogen, liver and muscle glycogen levels will return to normal, if you just eat according to appetite, within about eight hours, okay, and so you unless you unless you’re doing like a two day workout, let’s say you’re working out at 6am, and then again at noon, and that post 6am workout would be the workout, after which you’d really actually want to prioritize that. That magical post workout feeding window. Sure, sure. But in many cases, you actually get a little bit more of a growth hormone response by avoiding a heavy feeding post workout, and instead just basically waiting until your next meal, or at least not walking out of the gym and stop on your way out for the 20 ounce Jamba Juice. Right,

Speaker 1 16:15
right. Or the you know, In and Out Burger. Right. So okay, great. So I think we have the EEG cap on and getting some good signals. Do we show that we all good? Little drift? Okay. That’s mostly Great. All right.

Unknown Speaker 16:27
No shots. Take me to the hospital. Yeah, that’s right.

Speaker 1 16:29
That’s right. Sean. Sean, how’s it? Exactly, there’s been no shock on Sean’s face, he set you up. So alright, so we’re going to take a break on the camera for a second, we need to have been due to baseline recordings. So we’re going to do about three to five minutes of eyes closed, and three to five minutes of eyes, open recordings. And that’s the data we’ll analyze for your, your map. So we’ll take a break now for the camera. And we’ll be back in a moment. Okay, so we found some brain activity, Ben is alive and it has some evidence of cognition going on up there. That’s pretty awesome. So Sean’s gonna take this cap off, and unlike the wet camps, these things come right off and leave you without any evidence of having been assessed. Very

Speaker 2 17:05
pleased to have not been found to be a vegetable. That’s right. I was a little concerned.

Unknown Speaker 17:12
You definitely give a good imitation of somebody who’s cognitively intact, so

Unknown Speaker 17:16
yeah, yeah, no, I’m a good poser.

Speaker 1 17:18
There you go. And you can’t see yourself Ben, which have these little tiny dotted circles now. Love your skin from the Oh, really? Yeah. Nice. Yeah, those are going a few minutes have to Snapchat that. There you go. There you go. Great. So, um, Sean’s gonna process some data for us, we can talk about what we found in a few minutes. But while he’s doing that, you know, I’m still interested in your own perspective as a biohacker. What do you think about sleep? I know you’re a big fan of controlling sleep, so to speak.

Speaker 2 17:47
Yeah, I definitely have thoughts on sleep. By the way. We were talking about nutrition, before sleep. And I have to mention the fact that I don’t just think you look at genetics and macros. I’m a huge fan of blood testing, salivary testing, gut testing, urine testing, to identify specific parameters that you need to address. So I’m a huge fan of dietary customization beyond

Speaker 1 18:12
things like methylation, what sort of things come out of that kind of data, like, well, you could look at bacterial

Speaker 2 18:17
balance in the gut, presence of or absence of inflammation, something as simple as blood, vitamin D status, cortisol, testosterone, free testosterone, sex hormone binding globulin, all sorts of things that could be affected by either lifestyle or by diet. So you know that there’s a pretty extensive list of things that you can look at. But ultimately, I hate to see people, you know, more or less wasting their money on supplements that someone told them they should take, or a diet they’ve been told is perfect for their genetics, when there may be other things that actually do need to be addressed that you find out from blood, you know, just a basic blood panel or, or a dried urinary panel for hormones, or a three day gut panel for stool or anything else that in our day and age is not that hard to come by today, compared to how hard it was for the average person to get that stuff like 10 years ago.

Speaker 1 19:08
Absolutely. Absolutely. So sleep. Yeah.

Unknown Speaker 19:11
How do I like it? How

Unknown Speaker 19:13
do you sleep? I mean, what is your sleep routine? Like

Speaker 2 19:15
I’m asleep, princess, I’m gonna sleep princess. So I diffuse lavender essential oil, and I’ll typically use cannabidiol, a little bit of microdosing melatonin, a little bit of five HTP sometimes some holy basil before sleep and and the reason for the lavender and the holy basil is I have done that that dried urine test and shown that I produce lots of DHEA and good amounts of testosterone, but also good amounts of cortisol. And so I’ve found that that helps me being a high cortisol, you know, I don’t have adrenal fatigue. I have issues with cortisol deprivation. For me, it’s more cortisol excesses. So I’ll do that before bed. I typically dial down the room temperature to somewhere between 62 and six Five degrees, right? Great. I’m fortunate in that my wife likes that temperature too. Otherwise, I’d get one of these fancy chili pads that people are sleeping on now to cool their body as they sleep without bothering their partner. Blackout curtains in the bedroom, along with a sleep mask, and a sleep mask is more often than not something I rely on when I’m at a hotel. When I walk into a hotel room, I unplug the television. If the router is in the hotel room, I unplug that and plug anything that produces light the alarm clock in you know, I don’t know if you’ve talked about this on your show before but you don’t just have photoreceptors in your eyes during your skin. And so you want to make sure that the room is is as black as possible. I have roosters chickens go okay, children. So I sleep with binaural beats and white noise. So I use a phone app right now I use one called Sleep stream. And I keep my phone in airplane mode to keep it charged. I plug it into a portable battery rather than the wall just so you get a little less dirty electricity for sure from your phone as you’re laying there at night. And so I play the binaural beats where the sleep mask diffuse the lavender keep things nice and cool. And those are some of the biggies and and of course you know there are the things that everybody knows you know, I don’t have to insult people’s intelligence these days by talking about you know, avoiding screens and keeping the bedroom for just sleep and sex I’m sure basic things like that. But yeah, I highly value sleep and when I’m traveling, I start my sleep routine in the morning. Meaning that I go out of my way if there is sun to expose myself to large amounts of blue light gray morning, right to jumpstart the circadian rhythm and officially gray or if I’m indoors at a conference, I will either use in ear light therapy, a couple of buds that will produce light in your ear just looks like you’re wearing headphones, I use something called a human charger for that and it’s in the morning. Or there is there’s a set of glasses that produces a greenish blue wavelength which is actually healthier and less damaging to the retina than these light boxes that people put on their desks and that one’s called Retimer so I’ll do either lots of sun is my preference because that’s the most natural but if I’m at a conference or something like that I’ll do the in air or the I phototherapy to ensure that I am I’m I’m not getting a circadian rhythm that shifted too far backwards or too far forwards so you can bind light presents in the morning with light absence in the evening. Silence darkness cool and any relaxing relaxing supplements and that’s why sleep

Speaker 1 22:31
so those sorts of things will to some extent make up for variable entrainment, you know, if you’re not sleeping enough or you’re running a crazy schedule, those things will sort of shore up the desire of your brain to slide its photoperiod treatment past the earth. They do but the habit how regularly Are you sort of a six hour of sleep night regardless or not

Speaker 2 22:51
at variable I’ll generally when I’m in a competition phase, because it’s going to vary you know, we there are professional athletes that that and they’ve done studies on this near they hit more free throws, or they’re more accurate with their tennis or with nine to 10 hours of sleep a night. But we’re talking about a professional athlete, right? We’re talking like five to six hours of training per day, a great deal of mental stress. Sure. I personally shoot for approximately 35 sleep cycles a week. Okay, so if you can get five sleep cycles for a 24 hour period Yep. And a sleep cycle is going to be 60 to 90 minutes longer. I use a ring called an aura ring to track my sleep cycles and any ring isn’t isn’t going or any quantification device isn’t going to be as accurate as a sleep lab. Sure, but I shoot for about 35 sleep cycles a week which means if I’m getting three or four sleep cycles because I’m at a conference or something like that during the week on the weekend I’ll shoot for a couple of nights have six sleep cycles and be in bed for nine hours. Yeah, by the end of the week you should try to rack up right around 35 sleep cycles

Speaker 1 23:53
now how does this work with your you have a wife how does your sleep and your partner’s sleep affect each other? Or is she letting you sleep when you need to or

Speaker 2 24:02
we that we have a good relationship which means that if we are in bed at the same time at night Good things will often happen and ensue and so we generally the kids usually go to bed you know 830 Or nine we’re usually honestly we’re in bed by like 930 or 10 and having been in LA the past few days spending time with people who go to bed at one or 2am It’s it’s always a shock to my cycle when I step outside of my tiny home in the forest and realize that not everybody acts like an old fuddy duddy like me right right but I go to bed just just based on on the natural circadian rhythm and even that you know, if you’ve been camping or hunting, you know the body starts to get tired about 830 and the complete absence of artificial light and so when I’m in those settings I’m an 8:30pm to 4:30am typing now

Speaker 1 24:45
when you’re in those sorts of settings, do you ever experience the sort of middle period where you sleep for a few hours wake up and have sort of a reverie and go back to sleep? That’s

Speaker 2 24:52
absolutely that’s on the more relaxing like if I’m hunting you know I do bow hunting spot and stalk and so I’m I’m hard all out during the day and typically sleep like a baby, yeah, at night, I don’t have that wake cycle. But if it’s more of like a, like a wild edible foraging or a little bit of hiking, something like that, and then I’m sleeping at night. Yeah, absolutely

Speaker 1 25:11
interesting. So that’s sort of potentially prehistoric, if you will, naturally of sleeping without the light cues to push your onset back. Right,

Speaker 2 25:20
exactly. And in granted, you do have some light cues from from the stars in the moon. And you know, that’s certainly something our ancestors would have experienced. But bear in mind that that light that you’re experiencing in that situation is paired with the absence of artificial light. Assuming you’re on your cell phone all day in the woods, it’s it when you’re in more of a wilderness setting. And so I would, I would hazard a guess, based on zero research that I’ve seen that in the absence of artificial light, you know, the potential of non blue light at night is probably less sleep disruptive. If you haven’t been staring at screens, it makes good sense.

Speaker 1 25:55
Absolutely. Great. So, alright, let’s see, what other questions do I have for you here? Exercise when you’re, we’re both of course biohackers I’m more in the brain side. You’re sort of in the brain and body side but certainly you’ve have a long history as a physical trainer right? So what is your own personal you know, workout routine when you’re not in competition mode, you’re not trying to reach some special goal. What is the maintenance what is the the keep unhealthy,

Speaker 2 26:19
right, and I competed as an Ironman triathlete for a decade and I was I was fast, I didn’t race Pro I raced as an amateur. And I was consistently one of the one of the top amateurs I went and raced Hawaii Ironman World Championships every year. And, and the reason I’m putting this in context is because I trained about eight to 10 hours a week. Before that, I thought when would not know my peers were training for 25 to 40 hours a week. But the kicker here is that I tweaked my environment and still do tweak my environment to allow myself to be very physically active during the day. So we’re talking pull up bar in the door of the office and heavy punching bag hanging next to the desk, walking treadmill stool that I lean against, or little, you know, special footpad that activates all my tiny foot and core muscles while I’m standing. By the time the day has ended, you know, I’ve taken 15,000 steps, I’ve done 50 Pull Ups, I do 100 Jumping jacks for every hour that I do spend inactive which is relatively rare. But you know, for example, when I’m traveling, I do 40 squats every time I use the restroom. So I have these little rules for Okay, interesting. So by the end of the day, I can do a very brief high intensity exercise session like we described when we were talking about priming those glute four transporters. And that’s like the cherry on top of the cupcake for fitness. If you’re competing, if you’re not competing, if you’re not an athlete, you can, you can almost do what I’ve just described where I like lift heavy things a few times during the day, like a few pull ups or hit the heavy bag or keep a heavy kettlebell next to your desk and pick that up a few times or do some swings with it. Walk stay mildly physically active, and just avoid a sedentary position during the day and you can you can stay very fit. And even as an athlete, if you pair that with with brief spurts of heavier training, or brief spurts of high intensity training, you would be surprised at how fast and how fit you can be without actually spending tons and tons of time in the trenches which leads to the problems that people experience injury sure training, hypo cortisol ism all that jazz. And the the final caveat to that is, of course, if you’re going to do an Ironman or you’re gonna do a marathon, there will be every once in a while those sessions that you need to do that train you how to mentally go along that train you how to use logistically whatever fuel source you’re going to use when you’re out there and your actual competition sure that those type of sessions we’re talking like once every two to four weeks, whereas there are people doing that type of stuff once or twice a week. You know, right weekend long bike weekend long run weekend long swim mid week, long run and that’s where people are screwing up when it comes to training for for ultimate endurance or ultimate fitness is

Speaker 1 28:55
a borrowing sort of a professional level of athleticism, would you is what I’m hearing that you might just need to keep yourself more active and sort of engineer out the sedentary habits we have and that would actually be enough to keep most you know non professionals healthy.

Speaker 2 29:09
It is a working man or woman’s model of what is called a polarized training approach. They’ve looked at some of the most successful athletes on the face of the planet. Some of the fittest athletes on the face of the planet cross country skiers, cyclists, you know marathoners triathletes, you name it, they found that all of them naturally adopt approximately 80% Very light aerobic training. We’re not talking about a lunchtime run where you’re where you’re huffing and puffing, you’re not working too hard. You’re, you’re not working super easy. We’re talking about nice, easy conversational runs, long bike rides, you know, walks in the forest, stuff like that. And then 20% is extremely high intense. We’re talking maximum heart rate. You know, things like Tabata protocols and 22nd Extreme all out sprints, things that activate a lot of motor neurons things that build vo two Max lactate tolerance, things like that. But there’s very little time spent training in that dead zone. That gray zone that many people are actually actually training. So when I describe a scenario like I just described in terms of me operating in a low level of physical activity as as anyone listening can can do, and then adding that 20% of high intensity in a weight training or cardio or whatever it fits the bill for you for your chosen sport that you might be participating in. That’s a scenario that actually simulates what a lot of professional athletes are doing, but just on a different level, that 80% 20% approach. Interesting.

Speaker 1 30:31
That’s wonderful. So all right, let’s see how we do on the QED processing. Almost done alright, let’s see out of the question for you so we’ve done hasn’t

Unknown Speaker 30:39
shouted take me to the hospital yet.

Speaker 1 30:41
I haven’t seen looks of shocker. heartspace either, so I think you’re actually pretty intact. No, no seizures. No, no downspouts,

Unknown Speaker 30:48
no missing parts.

Speaker 1 30:49
That’s right. That’s right. As far as we can tell, well, I’m looking at functional activity not structural. So that could still be missing parts we wouldn’t know but

Unknown Speaker 30:55
we would see nothing’s fallen out during the course of my lifetime. That’s

Speaker 1 30:58
that’s pretty important thing. Yeah, that’s That’s wonderful. So aside from thinking about you know, sleep when you wake up and planning your your exercise, what is your daily routine like in terms of biohacking keeping yourself fit? Are you do you have a massive medicine cabinet full of supplements and vitamins are you, you know, sourcing, I would

Speaker 2 31:19
have a massive medicine but I live on 10 acres out in the forest. And I’m a big fan of if you’re able to relying upon what Mother Earth has right out there. So I can go pick wild nettles and I can get plenty of vitamin C, from dandelion leaf and plantain and Doc and all sorts of things that are that are growing around me. And so I have that I have a garden with a raised garden bed, you know, goat milk, so I don’t need to take colostrum and probiotics. And I’ve got chickens, so I don’t have to do much in the vitamin ad department. So I would say that, you know, if if that’s not your scenario, certainly I endorse Better Living Through science and having a medicine cabinet full of supplements that fill in the gaps that you might not be able to fill in. With nutrition. Obviously,

Speaker 1 32:00
most people aren’t, you know, living on on essentially farms. Let’s say you’re the you know, half the Americans are living in cities and don’t have a lot of access to green spaces and growing food. What would you say are among the most critical, you know, places to supplement or things to shore up?

Speaker 2 32:18
Yeah. Well, to slightly return to what I said earlier. Yeah, test if you can, I understand that testing can be expensive. If you if you simply cannot go out of your way to get a blood test or to figure out what you’re personally deficient in. My my top Go twos are number one a good fish oil, okay, and I was at a friend’s house yesterday morning, and he said I’m taking a great fish oil, check this out, I took it open, the lid smelled it smelled like fish. Bad fish oil is worse for you than not taking fish oil at all. And that’s simply because a lot of people have omega three fatty acid deficiencies that fish oil can easily address. We do not live in a post industrial area with perfect air water light. We are exposed to lots of radiation slash inflammation slash toxins slash pollutants. So yeah, your ancestors might not have taken omega three fatty acids, but you need a little help in the inflammatory department. And, and this helps. So I’m a fan of fish oil, plenty of proven research behind it. I’m a fan of creatine. I’m a fan of about five grams of creatine as a nootropic. To avoid sarcopenia, or muscle loss with age. I like it for power and strength of course, and I also like it because like visceral fish oil, it’s heavily researched. Yeah, shown to be safe shown to be efficacious.

Speaker 1 33:29
Do you know if I’m just curious, as an aside, I teach Gerontology courses in UCLA. And we often harp on this idea of sarcopenia, being a long, slow, almost irreversible decline starts at age 30. And it’s certainly a loss in muscle mass, but it’s an increase of lipid mass. So it’s loss of bone mass intramuscular fat or just general body wide, you lose muscle mass, you lose skeleton mass and water mass and you have an increase of lipid mass and it does over many, many years become more and more abdominal adipose gathers row intrahepatic Yeah, but I’m wondering if creatine affects skeletal lipid and water mass as well as your muscle mass I

Speaker 2 34:13
do not know about that. You know, the only thing I can comment to regarding that that muscle structure as you age is a study that was done in Guinea pigs and there’s a there’s a great post on Polish m&a of the perfect health diet blog about this, how they found that the, the type of muscle fiber that is best when it comes to anti aging or decreasing the rate of which telomere shortening is hard, wiry muscles such as a powerlifter might possess Okay, and so, you know, what I what I tell folks who are aging who want to maintain muscle or maintain function or get the best anti aging type of exercise protocol is to include some type of explosive activity. Okay? Whereas if you if you read a book like body by science by Doug macguff, a cardiologist or believe he’s, he’s, he’s not a heart surgeon. He’s a he’s a cardiologist, he has a super slow training protocol for controlling peripheral and central blood pressure. And so in a perfect scenario, I’m a huge fan of doing super slow, heavy lifting, right like very, very slow controlled sets short one to two times a week. And then very explosive bodyweight or water based type of activities for the others in water in water. So I was doing this morning was holding dumbbells at the bottom of the pool, you know, you hold the breath, you jump out of the pool. But but basically the idea here is that you want a combination of heavy stuff and explosive stuff if you are going to try to maintain muscle as you age.

Speaker 1 35:38
Great advice. I think it’s really a wonderful way to think about you know, tapping into your sort of body

Speaker 2 35:42
potential and then you know, not not to stick my foot in my mouth. But again, if you if you don’t test, the last one be a multivitamin. So multivitamin fish oil, creatine. Gotcha.

Speaker 1 35:53
All right. So that’s a good advice, but the body I think we’re gonna switch to talking about your brain.

Speaker 2 35:59
And if people do want to know my daily routine that you asked about, I have copious blog posts on it at Ben Greenfield, So, I have written about it in gory detail,

Speaker 1 36:11
where we able to get this laptop on the one of the screens. It is okay, there it is beautiful. All right. I don’t if you can see this, Ben, probably not here. I can see now see now. Yeah, great. So what we’re looking at our heads, essentially, these are your my head, your head, your brain activity. And if you look at these round circles, we’re looking down from above, so your nose is up top, and then your ears on the sides. Actually, this is a tongue

Unknown Speaker 36:37
sticking out. There you go.

Speaker 1 36:38
So as you go through these columns there delta through high beta, very slow brainwaves and the left very fast brainwaves in the right, we make all brainwaves all frequencies all the time. So that’s not really a problem to have more or less of different ones. But we expect to see your brain do different things eyes open and eyes closed, we expect to see different ratios of frequencies relative to sort of healthy or distractible states. And when we see different patterns in these maps, we find them interesting but not definitive. This is a statistical analysis. This is you compared to several 1000 people. And somewhat arbitrarily we draw a line and say, okay, more than one and a half standard deviations out of range above or below is probably clinically interesting, probably doing something that’s causing some trouble or has some has some interest. These maps, these colored maps go through light through dark blue through dark red, the Reds are hot or excess, if you will, activity, excess power higher than average, and the blue is colder, or the last activity than average, most of your maps are really pretty typical, really healthy, so to speak.

Speaker 2 37:43
And when you say that, you would mean that most of them have a lot of green with with little bits Exactly.

Speaker 1 37:48
So the green is this little color bar here at the bottom, this is a bell curve, the green is essentially one within half a standard deviation of average. So typical brains, I hate using the word normal, because it really is not such a thing when it comes to brains. But typical or average. So most of these frequencies fall into the typical range in terms of the amount of electricity in a band, we’re finding at different spots on your scalp, there are a few things that are red here. And some of those red ones are actually some noise, a little bit muscle tension in the back of your head behind the ear. So some of that’s a little bit noisy. And I’m going to switch to a different set of maps that often cleans up the noise a little bit. See laplacian is open right or is it not? See,

Speaker 2 38:36
and that type of muscle tension can be created from something as simple as the the head just being slightly forward. Exactly. Yeah. And I know that that as we were recording it, it seemed like when I changed neck positions a couple of times, some of that noise significantly did.

Speaker 1 38:52
So this is an eyes closed map that we’re looking at right here. And you see a lot of red actually on this one. And so what this means is your brain is making three standard deviations above average and delta and theta. And this is not the muscle tension. This is something specific to your brain. Also, there’s something that shows up back delta and theta brainwaves, delta and theta brainwaves is broadly in the back a little bit of beta in the back here, as well as high and low of alpha. That’s a little tiny bit. So there’s a few interesting patterns that could mean something. And I’m saying could because again, QE G is not a diagnostic process, it gives you a statistical arrow pointing in one direction saying, you know, it’s likely that things are unusual in this

Speaker 2 39:31
way. And the Delta and the theta seem seem to me just looking at it. Like they’re taking up most of the head.

Speaker 1 39:38
They you know, they tend to slow brainwaves or big brainwaves and tend to sort of distribute pretty broadly and also your eyes are closed. Without visual input, the brain tends to go into a slow mode and that’s actually not an unusual thing just while you were asleep mask when you say exactly and in fact, we like to see differences between eyes open and eyes closed. So this is the eyes open equivalent. Still a lot of rights. A lot of Read. And so I often see delta and theta going down when you open your eyes, and yours didn’t really go down. This would suggest that, especially with the Delta being persistent with eyes open, that you may have had some concussions at some point in your life. Yeah. So that’s probably what

Speaker 2 40:15
we’re seeing. These are why is that? Why would a concussion produce Delta? Great

Speaker 1 40:19
question. So delta again, the slowest frequency, it’s running between about half hertz, or one cycle every two seconds up through about four cycles per second, that’s really Delta range. And delta is not a cognitive frequency. So you aren’t thinking with delta. Delta, to some extent isn’t, is an autonomic frequency. So the brainstem runs in Delta, if you will, and keeps your heart beating your lungs moving. So it’s somewhat of an automatic frequency. When you damage the cortex, you can sort of crush it or tear it away from surrounding areas of cortex. In both cases, it doesn’t receive input from surrounding cortex, and you have a bit of cortex that’s intact, but not receiving input from friends. It does one of two things, it free runs with no inhibition, and it’s a beta access that the shearing damage, so the tortoise was torn away from neighboring areas, or a crushed damage, there’s the input signals, if you will, aren’t being heard. And the cortex itself isn’t sure what to do because it’s been damaged. And it sort of defaults back to the brainstem frequencies kind of goes back to the really core frequency the body uses to run the body, and there’s a Delta frequency. So delta is not pathological per se. In fact, you want to make a lot of Delta when you’re deeply asleep and not dreaming. So we’re about

Speaker 2 41:27
that a lot. How you know, like delta would be or delta and theta would be very relaxing brainwaves? Absolutely.

Speaker 1 41:32
If you don’t make delta when you’re asleep, you aren’t washing your brain, you aren’t doing restorative stuff. Sleep consolidation or memory consolidation requires slow wave sleep or delta. So it’s a really healthy phenomena when you’re deeply asleep. It’s okay to have when your eyes are closed. When you open your eyes. We expect sensory information to suppress a lot of the slow brainwaves. It’s not totally happening for you This would suggest there’s some scar tissue some wear and tear in your brain probably from all the athleticism you’ve been doing for the past you know 2030 years

Speaker 2 41:59
that’s interesting. Now in a situation like that when you see well actually let me ask you this first Do you see this a lot in like fighters people who have been knocked out and can cause like it as a common it’s common in

Speaker 1 42:11
people like that it’s also common in just the average person some high school kid is a little bit football here and there or headed the ball and soccer too many times and you see concussions you see evidence of some wear and tear damage. Again, not diagnostic, but it’s a hint in that direction. And so what do you do? Well, I mean, we can break up these patterns with neurofeedback. I mean Neurofeedback or biofeedback on brainwaves is one of the primary biohacking tools I use, both clinically and personally. And we would measure this delta moment to moment and it’s not stuck is that some flat amount, it’s always fluctuating in response to other brain signals. And so every so often, it’ll happen to go down. And in a biofeedback environment, you’d be sitting there watching or having wires in the back of your head. And whenever the Delta happened to trend in the right direction, something would happen on a screen a spaceship flies faster music swells and volume. And then delta goes back up, and the game stops. And the next moment delta goes down and the game resumes and

Speaker 2 43:02
teachers, are you thinking, Okay, what did I just do to make that spaceship appear?

Speaker 1 43:05
You’re not actually, it’s not a voluntary process, your brain is changing so rapidly, that the software the feedback is simply capturing the fluctuations your brain is already doing, and giving you applause for fluctuations in the proper direction,

Speaker 2 43:18
you probably have no voluntary control passive, you just sit there and watch the screen

Speaker 1 43:21
it is in fact, the process of Neurofeedback was discovered on cats, right, and they’re notoriously bad instruction followers don’t really try to do very much. And it works on people who are nonverbal people in coma, it’s really a core low level way the brain learns parsing signals from the environment and trying to control or get information from those signals. So if you only give it a signal, when it does certain things the right way, it does more of those things, trying to get more signal trying to get more stimulus from the environment. It doesn’t know that the computer is not a real object, it thinks it’s a tool it’s trying to learn to use, for instance. So that’s a little interesting, you’ll probably get some some wear and tear damage. When I see this sort of thing. I also do what’s called a traumatic brain injury analysis. So up until now, all of these analyses have been compared to a normative population. But when I see some damage like this or some question of damage, I look at what’s called a TBI, traumatic brain injury databases is a different population. So this is the this thing here you see there’s a green curve. That’s the typical population. The red curve is the TBI population, you are the dotted line. So even though there is some evidence of concussion, there’s really no evidence of traumatic brain injury on the ground. You’re dead center in the middle of typical population. So is

Speaker 2 44:32
it So are you saying that a concussion is different than a TBI? Mild

Speaker 1 44:36
concussions might not show up as traumatic brain injury? Okay, yeah. And so I’m guessing you had some wear and tear some scar tissue, you know, probably from concussion. If you weren’t such a good sleeper, I might suggest sleep deprivation is influencing that data as well. It looks to me like there’s some wear and tear but the concussion the actual traumatic brain injury looking for closed head injuries, structural track differences. Those show no evidence of you having a TBI traumatic brain injury. So I’m guessing you aren’t gonna experience much in the way of symptoms. And you probably don’t have any sense of real, you know, cognitive fatigue or concussive fog that is sort of persistent. So that’s good. All right. So just a couple more interesting things about your brain here, Ben that pop out. And again, just a caveat, before I tell you all the things that are wrong with you that this is just a suggestion about how your brain may work. So can

Speaker 2 45:21
you throw in Katie throw something positive in there like this is this is something really good? Well,

Speaker 1 45:25
let me give you something, but it could be good or bad, depending on how you use it. So this is on the left and eyes closed map. And if you notice, in the back of the head, there’s a lot of beta. Now beta is an active processing frequency. When your eyes are closed, we don’t usually see a lot of bait in the back of the head. Because that’s the visual cortex when your eyes are closed, it’s usually shut down. Your sustain pretty lit up with your eyes closed, just in case. So we’ve considered this a marker for vigilance interests. And if it’s getting in the way, it’s

Speaker 2 45:53
hyper vigilance, it related to like the warrior versus warrior type of gene.

Speaker 1 45:57
Absolutely. So this is this, this is could be actually both, but it’s this sort of have your feelers up staying really on staying checked in. And if you notice, there’s also a spot in the front middle, it looks also a little bit red in the beta. And that’s a part of the brain involved was switching your attention called the anterior cingulate. And sometimes, and that is hot like this, it means you get stuck on things and your mind tends to cycle and spin a little bit. The two things together can be a problem, they can sort of be almost a ruminative worry state, or they can be somebody who’s incredibly checked in. So like, you know, like an OCD pattern can be pathological if it’s getting in your way, or it can make you like the most powerful CEO on the planet, right? If you’re really detail oriented and know exactly what you want to do. Yeah, so these things aren’t necessarily good or bad. But it does suggest that there’s a vigilance marker your brain is up and on, right? Even when it might not need to be even with your eyes closed, right? So this might be why you even need like darker rooms to fall asleep, because a little bit of stimulus will grab your attention in a way it might not for the average person who is an extra chapter in I would have made a great Scout baton back in the old days. That is essentially what this is saying. Yeah. All right, let me close this amplitude maps for a second. And two more things. One is a marker of how fast your brain is. And one has a marker of the ratios of these frequencies. So the ratios, if you look on this page, here, these are different frequencies that show us that screen is not changing. This is a ratio showing us slow burliest over fastframe is theta over beta. And the fate over Beta essentially is a very well validated marker for executive function. Okay? The theta beta ratio is among the most tightly applied sort of features for ADHD. If they database ratio is high, you have ADHD, the FDA recently approved a diagnostic headset that mostly uses the theta beta ratio to look at if you have ADHD

Speaker 2 47:48
or not a whole bunch of data and not enough beta exact high ratio, that’d be 80. And if you’re a young person,

Speaker 1 47:53
you have high theta beta, it’s an ADHD brain. If you’re an old person with memory issues, and you have theta beta, the chance of progressing to Alzheimer’s is dramatically higher than if you don’t got it. So you can use the debate as a sign of executive function slipping or being a little bit sort of wide in general, if you’re ADHD when you’re going. So your theta beta ratios are fine. It’s a little bit of you know, yellow and red here, but it’s for the most part, we’re looking at a Greenhead overall, I

Speaker 2 48:16
wouldn’t be diagnosed as ADHD not at all, not not

Speaker 1 48:19
at all. And the alpha over Beta might show up if you’re inattentive or spacey and look at that head, it’s actually blue. In the middle, it’s the part of your brain that’s tend to stay focused on things. If you’re what we used to call a DD, you know, inattentive, that head would be orange or red and yours is actually blue. So the opposite of inattentive.

Speaker 2 48:36
So it’s kind of like a combination of hyper vigilance and attentiveness. Exactly.

Speaker 1 48:40
It’s sort of we’re seeing for you. And with that, I start thinking about my wonder if there’s an anxiety markers. And so one of the more robust anxiety markers is looking at the actual number of your alpha, how fast your brain is. So across the table, not sure you can see this, but your alpha is running at about nine and a half to 10 cycles per second. That is totally typical for the average adult human. Okay, 10 hertz, that’s a totally typical alpha. If your alpha was much slower than that, you know, nine and a half, nine, eight and a half, you’d be very sluggish cognitively. Right. And if you’re a bit older, we might think that was a function of normal cognitive aging. But it’s not slow, nor is it fast with those vigilance markers we saw, if we also saw a very fast idle speed essentially, in your brain, we would start to think those vigilance markers or hyper vigilance or anxiety, rumination, but since you rate your brains just below 10 hertz on average and speed, I wouldn’t necessarily consider those beta markers as hyper vigilance, just being sincerely sort of checked in your feelers are off again, a warrior who tends to pay attention to the world, a good scout, or Hunter, if you want

Speaker 2 49:43
it to be interesting to see what this did with a cup of coffee. Well, what

Speaker 1 49:47
it would do all those delta and theta accesses the slow brainwaves, those would be completely obscured. So would not know I would not be able to say you had likely had some concussions. If you come in with caffeine in your system, it would completely hurt I’d suppress all of the delta and theta. And so this is among the reasons why it’s so critical that I have you off of caffeine, right? I mean, we might be having exacerbation of those features a delta and theta excess, because it is, you know, 230 in the afternoon or something, you might be in caffeine withdrawal a little bit,

Speaker 2 50:16
I usually went and also I usually nap at about 130 in the afternoon until 230.

Speaker 1 50:21
Some of these markers might be enhanced by as to being asleep sleep DAP or a little bit caffeine withdrawal. This is why we have to be really cautious interpreting data in the context of the individual. Right, not just the database.

Speaker 2 50:31
Yeah. And activity, I would imagine can affect it, too. You know, I’d like to workout this morning in the pool. Yeah,

Speaker 1 50:36
potentially, not as dramatically, not as dramatically. Even even stressors and mood, those things don’t dramatically affect it. We’re really looking at your traits versus your states, except extreme traits, sleep deprivation, anxiety attacks, massive caffeine, no caffeine, those things do distort the data. But for the most part, this is a 10,000 foot view. And it’s a suggestion of your traits, not how you are today, right? So it looks like you’ve had some concussions and distractible and your little hyper vigilant and so those are little incongruent to happen at the same time. So we should assume that the delta and theta is more concussive and or some sleep depth

Speaker 2 51:14
you have your peak brain here in Atlanta naturally or you’re doing some some clinics around. I believe you’re opening new clinic we are Yep. What if I wanted to to hack this? What if I wanted to fix this, but I did not want to come spend time in LA treasure. So

Speaker 1 51:31
the closest clinic to you we’re opening up is in Portland, Oregon, not that far away, but still not super far for coming three times a week, right? So for folks that want to work with the peak brain way of training your brain that is our cue EEG and Neurofeedback approach, but can’t you know, spend three times a week in our offices, what I do is offer a supervised remote bootcamp. And that requires somebody to come to one of my larger offices, which are currently in St. Louis and Los Angeles, to come to one of those offices for three to six days, and have sort of an educational and assessment bootcamp where we spend a few days teaching about neurofeedback, running the software and hardware sticking wires to your head, charting your sessions, getting a sense of what to expect throughout the neurofeedback process, how it unfolds, what a bad signal looks like what a good signal looks like. And we actually prepare some a training plan like a personal coach might. And we send you home with a pretty high end laptop and EEG system, all sort of self contained the nice Pelican case. And we encourage you to train yourself three to five times a week. And I check in with you about once a week. And whenever you have tech problems or other difficulty you check in even new protocols to try during those

Speaker 2 52:42
three to six days that you spend in LA how many hours are you actually training because

Speaker 1 52:46
you’re in the office about three hours a week or three hours a day because you come in early in the morning.

Speaker 2 52:51
So I could come here on a business trip, knock out three hours a day in your office work on fixing this hit home with a case Absolutely.

Speaker 1 52:57
And then you’re training yourself and it doesn’t work for everyone. You have to be somewhat computer savvy, not not terrified of wires. But for most people even you know parents working with their kids, this is a pretty effective way to do it. It’s

Speaker 2 53:09
one of the more fascinating brain brain hacks that I’ve that I’ve seen. Yeah, and

Speaker 1 53:14
we’re currently working on some sort of apps to help manage all of the data from clients are self training and keep them keeping a good dashboard about what they’re actually doing day to day. A lot of the success of neurofeedback is predicated on what

Speaker 2 53:25
to do next. So I can fix this by playing Lumosity or Brainscape.

Speaker 1 53:29
Unfortunately, not all the cognitive training, quote unquote, Lumosity and you know, those sorts of things, the research is roundly not supporting that they do anything there is within game change. But you don’t have what’s called skill transfer. So learning to get good at a specific game on one of those platforms, even though your score is changed the exact same resource in a different context. No, no game.

Unknown Speaker 53:50
That’s I’ve heard. I’ve heard one one. Good one is the end back.

Speaker 1 53:53
Yeah, the Doolan back about half the research suggests there’s a positive effect, but half suggests has no effect. So it’s still a very weak endorsement in the literature. But it’s the strongest endorsement there is for cognitive training. Right? So and again, it’s it’s very low cost or free, you know, getting into Glenn Beck, there’s several free downloads out there, it’s not going to hurt you might be fun to do, you might as well try it, it’s not gonna do anything negative, but it’s not really a big gun, so to speak, right? I would encourage folks to look for like the real serious levers for adjusting performance. Of course neurofeedback is very technical and hard to do and little bit expensive. And so that’s, you know, a goal to get to maybe, but the immediate thing is sleep hacking, getting your fat under control, and meditation doing a meditation practice for even 1520 minutes a day appears to be enough to develop significant trajectory changes and executive function over even weeks. So that’s a one because that’s one

Speaker 2 54:46
last question What about because it because I’ve messed around with Transcendental Meditation? Sure, and I work with but with with music and learning and Sudoku and then back and things like that. What about Kundalini yoga? That’s something that I just started doing and From what I understand it can somehow assists with cerebral blood flow. Do you know much about that? Well, I

Speaker 1 55:04
mean, all yoga, to some extent can assist with can assist with blood flow. And most yoga has inversions. You certainly told body exercise, lots of

Speaker 2 55:13
intense breathing and movement and closing your eyes. Like on the third, I

Speaker 1 55:16
think Kundalini has also an ecstatic component. So you’re getting into the place of altered consciousness and pushing yourself to the point where your mind shifts, there’s other benefits there. But I’m a big fan like you are moving slowly, often to sort of quote, Marxism. The idea is to get sedentary behavior out of your life, right? And whatever you need to do. I think it’s wonderful. I do a form of yoga called Ashtanga. So every morning we actually have a studio right next to my office. That’s kind of why I put my office there. And so you know, 630 in the morning to eight doing Ashtanga getting my blood flow going and then next door doing neurofeedback? Yeah.

Speaker 2 55:49
You asked about my morning routine, and it is infrared sauna, Kundalini yoga for 20 to 30 minutes, followed by a cold plunge. So

Speaker 1 55:56
I think it’s wonderful, you know, broadly for your body as well as for your brain. I’m not sure that I that I have any strong feelings about Kundalini versus a stronger versus some form of Hatha versus any other form, you know, Vinny or vinyasa yoga. I think if you’re doing it, that’s what matters. People always ask me, Hey, what’s the best kind of exercise for brain health? And my response is always the kind that you do, right? Because people have a hard enough time committing to routines and daily exercise. That’s the most important thing. So. Okay, so we’ve covered your brain a little bit, and we talked about your routines. Ben, thanks so much for coming on to headfirst with Dr. Hill. We’ve had a great time talking to you

Speaker 2 56:33
here. This has been fascinating. I am incredibly intrigued by this whole process. And I think I’m going to take a deeper dive and then we’ll

Speaker 1 56:43
come on down when you have a check and read. Absolutely. Well, we’ll get your kit all set up and we’ll get you some trainings. People use experience subjective effects within about a couple of weeks of training, and usually got to train for a few months to make it permanent or long lasting. All that being said, let’s leave our viewers and listeners with opportunity to get to know you more, where can they find you? Where can they look you up, ask your questions and follow you on the great interwebs

Speaker 2 57:08
honestly, just Google Ben Greenfield, you will find me or you will find possibly a highly offensive website put up by some poser Ben Greenfield. Oh, no, no, honestly, just just google me. And you’ll come up with my website and my books and all that jazz.

Speaker 1 57:22
Great. So anything else you want to give us any plugs, any books, you’re working on projects that you have in the near future that you’d love to people to know about? Well,

Speaker 2 57:29
I just republished the updated version of my book Beyond training, which is about 500 pages worth of bio hacks. Oh, wonderful. And lifestyle tactics, training tactics for gut brain. asleep, you name it. So I just republish that with updated stuff because it’s fast and how quickly that stuff becomes updated. Sure. So that’s at beyond training.

Speaker 1 57:54
Wonderful. Great. So let’s thanks to Ben Greenfield and for all our listeners and viewers. Keep your brains healthy and safe and come back next week for headfirst with Dr. Hill.


Ben Greenfield

Ben Greenfield is a prominent health consultant, speaker, and accomplished author, known for his New York Times bestselling books. Among his widely popular titles are “Beyond Training,” “Boundless,” “Fit Soul,” “Spiritual Disciplines Journal,” “the Boundless Cookbook,” and “Endure.” With expertise in various aspects of health, fitness, and well-being, Greenfield has established himself as a leading figure in the field, offering valuable insights and guidance to individuals seeking to optimize their physical and mental performance.

Ben Greenfield is a multifaceted individual with a diverse background in sports and fitness. As a former collegiate athlete in tennis, water polo, and volleyball, he has experienced success in various physical disciplines. His athletic journey extends to bodybuilding, where he has showcased his dedication to strength and physique development. Notably, he is a 13-time Ironman triathlete, demonstrating exceptional endurance in the realm of long-distance triathlons. Additionally, Greenfield has engaged in professional obstacle course racing, highlighting his versatility as an athlete.

His achievements have not gone unnoticed, as he has received recognition from the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA), earning the title of America’s top Personal Trainer. Furthermore, he has been acknowledged by Greatist as one of the top 100 Most Influential People in Health and Fitness, underscoring his impact on the wellness industry.

Ben Greenfield’s influence extends beyond his athletic pursuits. He is a sought-after speaker, frequently contributing to health and wellness publications and websites. His expertise lies in understanding the intersection of functional exercise, nutrition, and the delicate balance between performance and health. Through his insights, he has positively impacted individuals worldwide, ranging from high-level CEOs to everyday individuals and professional athletes, helping them achieve their goals and enhance their overall quality of life.

In addition to his advisory and speaking roles, Ben is deeply involved in the health and fitness industry as an advisor, investor, and board member for multiple corporations. He is also the co-founder of KION, a nutritional supplements company. KION combines traditional superfoods with modern science, aiming to empower individuals to achieve peak performance, defy aging, and lead adventurous, fulfilling, joyful, and limitless lives. Beyond physical health, Ben is committed to teaching and inspiring people to fully experience and appreciate the wonders of God’s creation while optimizing their overall well-being.

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