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Achieve Ultimate Human Performance

Lesson 23 of 33

Stress Reduction for High Performers

Ben Greenfield

Achieve Ultimate Human Performance

Ben Greenfield

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Lesson Info

23. Stress Reduction for High Performers

Lesson Info

Stress Reduction for High Performers

we're gonna talk about lifestyle, about stress, about healthy living, about detoxing, your home and all of these little things that kind of tend to fly under the radar but that are really super duper important when it comes to achieving ultimate human performance. We can't just keep bashing our heads against the wall with hard workouts and expect our bodies to actually get to the point that they they need to be if we're really wanting the ultimate combination of help, longevity and performance. So we're going to start today off with talking about stress. And I know nobody here deals with stress, but there are. There are certain techniques that I found to work really, really well for me because of the amount of stress that I place on my own body. I exercise a lot. I've got little kids running around my house. I get exposed to a lot of environmental pollution from doing things like working on computers All day long. I'm trying to run a business. I get about 700 emails a day that I need t...

o respond to. So I've got stress flying at me from all different directions, and today I want to show you some of things that you can do to mitigate stress. We're also going to kind of kind of have a special guest later on in today's segment that will bring in And, uh, he's. He's a friend of mine who has some really cool stress reduction techniques himself and has used stress to even manage disease. You'll learn more about that later on in the segment, and that'll be kind of fun to bring him in live via Skype and talk to him about his experience of some of his tips. So, you know, we started off on Day one talking about a dream. Will exhaustion and over training and how it really does tend to be an issue. And a lot of us who are trying to achieve ultimate human performance and our bodies are are met by a variety of stressors every single day. That could be extremes of temperature, even those cold showers that I was recommending earlier. You know, that's a form of stress. I got a question. I think it was on Facebook yesterday from somebody who I believe was watching, and they asked whether they should be doing cold Thermo Genesis all day long, right? Should I just kind of leave my house at a cold temperature, you know, like maybe get it dialed into, like, 55 degrees inside the house and just stay cold all day long versus doing like intermittent cold exposure to get that stress response to cold? And I said, No, no, Do not expose yourself to cold all day long because it is a stress. It does cause 1/4 so release. And there's kind of a law of diminishing returns, just like there's a law of diminishing returns with exercise. We learned on Day one that once you exceed 90 minute today of exercise, once you exceed 60 minutes a day of intense exercise, your body reaches that point where you actually get increase risk of mortality and you get some downstream helped effects that aren't all that hot for your body. So we also get chemical stress from pollution. Rapid changes in blood sugar or rapid changes in body pH can also be a stressor ingestion of food additives. We learned a lot about that yesterday and eating foods that are really versus foods that are packaged because food additives can be a stressful on the body, molds or toxins in our environment. You're gonna learn a little bit about how to detox your house and detox your body in the second session today. Those convey stressors on the body as well. Work, relationships, spinal and structural misalignments. This is one that kind of flies under the radar a little bit, but I can tell you that one hour ago my body was very stressed. And if you would have walked in here into the Creative Life Studios an hour ago, you would have found me rolling around on the floor with my little rumble roller ball here and my stick in some of the things that we talked about with mobility. And I was simply fixing some of the structural and skeletal misalignments that I felt when I woke up this morning, probably from a day of standing on my feet. Yesterday. I'm incredibly less stressed than I was an hour ago by simply addressing those little alignments by working out that fascia and then doing a few little mobility techniques, kind of twisting and turning and popping and crunching. That's all a stressor when your body is misaligned or melo lined or your postures and correct. It's also the reason that on this day, Day three of creative life I'm wearing that that posture enhancing shirt that I talked about on day one just because I know that poor posh Ercan stress you out. And I've been feeling my posture kind of slipped over the past few days. So that's another thing that flies under the radar that you need to think about. And of course, lack of sleep is a huge stress, or we're gonna have a fantastic session on sleep for Session three of today. Well, I'm gonna teach you guys everything you need to know about how to get better sleep. And, like I just mentioned exercise and especially exercise of more than 90 minutes in duration can really be a pretty tough stressor on the body when it comes to adrenal fatigue and adrenal exhaustion. So, you know, even if you think you're not stressed, you might be experiencing many of these things that are indeed some pretty big stressors on the body. Even if you live kind of a low stress lifestyle when it comes to work or exercise, you might be experiencing some of these other things, like food additives or toxins or molds that air stressors on your body. So this is kind of an interesting chart, and it highlights the link between emotions and the state that our brain is in and what it does to our body. So, for example, when we feel the emotion of sorrow, we get a hollow, empty feeling in our stomach and the body feels sluggish, listless and weak. How many of you have gotten sad before and kind of felt that feeling like you, almost like if you went to the gym like you wouldn't be able to lift as much weight? A type of thing. There's a really, really big link between your emotions and your physicality, fear and anxiety. We, of course, get tight muscles racing heart dry mouth increased sweating, pounding head on. Bears also changes in posture that are associated with those physical sensations as well. Typically, when we're fearful or when we're anxious, we look, we look like we're very much not at ease, very tight and kind of guarded anger. You get a tense body feeling of pressure, especially in your chest, will talk about that later. Your hands tighten your nostrils widen and you get into a close, contracted or hunched position. So ah, closed, contracted and hunched position is actually a position that many of us find ourselves sitting down in working on a computer all day long. In this position, that's a closed, contracted, hunched position. It's a defensive position, and it sends a message of stress to your body. I mentioned that I test my heart rate variability, which is a corollary of how much stress, how much fight or flight your body is under. And specifically, you can measure how high your level of sympathetic nervous system activation is. Sympathetic Nervous system is your body's fight or flight nervous system, while one of the specific exercises that puts the sympathetic nervous system at its highest level of alert. Because I've tested doing a variety of activities, from sleeping toe walking to relaxing Teoh running to exercising at the gym believe you're not a squat a bar bell squat with a barbell on your back in this defensive hunched over position is one of the best ways to send a huge message of stress to your body. Doing that a few times in the gym can actually result in a really cool bounce back hormonal response, an increase in fat loss, more moons and increasing testosterone and increasing growth hormone. That's why bar bell squats or one of my favorite activities for making someone stronger or for helping someone lose fat or helping someone increase testosterone, but kind of similar to cold thermo Genesis staying in that state all day long. For example, hunched over on your computer, Working. Activating the sympathetic nervous system all day long has kind of an opposite effect. There's that law of diminishing returns, so guilt we get that feeling of being burdened by weight, feeling pushed down but joy and love. It's kind of interesting. There are certain physical sensations and postural sensations associate with joy and love. Openness to posture. Muscles relax. The body feels warm. The palm's open. The body feels energized with posture. You get the shoulders wide, the back erect and comfortable, the neck floating easily on the spine. And the cool thing is that you can kind of hack your way into this, meaning that by experiencing feelings of joy and love, you can change your posture. But by changing your posture, you can also change your mood and you out there watching online right now or you guys in the studio audience, you can try this right now, you can get into a feeling of openness, and you'll feel your emotions slightly change. So what I'd like for you to do is go ahead and just place your palms like you can put them on on your quads like this or kind of placement your sides. Open up your body, roll your shoulders back, kind of bring your neck up just a little bit. Tilt that chin just a bit. Feel it floating on your spine. If you like, you can open up your legs just slightly. If your girl and you're wearing a skirt, be careful but externally. Rotate those hips just a little bit. And now you're in kind of this open position. And you should feel that when you get into this open position, your emotions changed just slightly. There's this little switch that happens where you almost feel as though you are a little bit more joyful or perhaps a little bit less stressed. Now I want you to try something else again, whether you're watching on the Internet or whether you're sitting out there, I want you just stay where you're at right now. Close your eyes for a moment. Think about something that has been really painful for you in the past. Something very stressed before you. A relationship that went really wrong. Um, watching your house burn down car accidents, you know, something that really stress you out. You almost automatically field just by imagining that person that event that scenario just a slight uptick in breath rate, a slight uptick in blood pressure, a slight uptick in heart rate. And again, this highlights the power of emotions. If just by thinking of that experience you can experience that emotion of stress and the heart racing, then just imagine how much more powerful that is when you're actually experiencing that type of thing on a daily basis. So you know, stress and the link between emotions and your physical reactions is very, very powerful. And it's something toe to be aware of. And I'm going to teach you guys how to kind of how to kind of hack that a little bit more when I get into something called a coherence technique. So please stop thinking about that painful experience Now I don't want you guys dwelling on a horrible relationship during the rest of this session. Go ahead and shake that out, get rid of it and we'll go ahead and move on into some of my favorite stress reduction techniques. This is just an example of all of the different techniques that you see out there for stress management. It's not like you can't open the page of, you know, shape or Prevention magazine. Or you can't surf over to the Wikipedia entry for stress management and find a Thanh of material. You know, we see Auda genic training, social activity, cognitive therapy, cock conflict resolution, neural tropics, reading novels, stress balls, spending time in nature spas. I love spas listening to certain types of relaxing music, spending quality times with pets. I mean, we can weaken, get kittens and use newer tropics and get massages. And there are all these different ways we can manage stress. But I have found seven different ways that I found work really, really well for myself and for the clients that I work with as far as giving you the biggest winds. So those are the seven that we're going to go over today. Those are the seven that I want to teach you guys. Sound good. Is 77 kind imaginable versus that huge list that I just showed. Just so you can get these seven down and kind of work him into your daily life, you're going to be pretty good to go. So the 1st 1 is breathing. Somebody mentioned breathing. Was you, Peter, that mentioned breathing when it came to stress control? Yeah, and breathing is huge. Ah, lot of times people don't breathe right way during the day. And there are signs there are clues. If you're breathing incorrectly or if you're breathing in a manner that is sending your body that message that you're stressed. Um and there are some other issues, by the way, with breathing and properly as well. When we breathe improperly, we don't get full oxygenation. It could shut down metabolism a little bit. Remember that fat burning and the activity of the mitochondria is dependent upon oxygenation. We learned that a little bit during day one. So I'm not just talking about stress here. We're also talking about metabolism and oxygenation and mental clarity. So inhaling with your chest. Um, if you find that you are a work during the day, whether you're standing or seated and your chest is rising and falling quite a bit as you breathe, that's a sign that you're engaged in what's called shallow chest breathing. Your chest should not move much when you're breathing. And if it does, then you're not getting that deep diaphragmatic oxygenating breathing that you should be experiencing. That's one sign. Another sign is that your rib cage doesn't expand to the side. Now, during the mobility section of Day one, I showed you how you could kind of put your pinkies right here on the hard bone on the outside, your hips and your thumbs on your ribs and kind of open up here and make yourself about two inches taller. And this is a really good postural. Que to do this. You guys can't even do this right now when you're sitting down. If you'd like, you can kind of find that hard bone. It's a little bit tougher when you're seated, but you can kind of expand that area and feel it Open up Well, this same area should actually expand out to the side. If I put my hands on the side of my ribs, I should feel them expand out and in as I breathe. And if your rib cage is not expanding out and in as you breathe than it usually means that your chest that's expanding out and in and you're engaging in chest breathing and not diaphragmatic breathing. So if your rib cage doesn't expand to the side, that's another warning sign. Another warning sign is your breathing with your mouth. I'm not against breathing with your mouth. There are some cases during exercise. Etcetera were breathing with your mouth becomes necessary, especially when you're getting into intense exercise scenario. But if you're constantly finding yourself kind with a gaping jaw mouth open breathing with wide open mouth, that's a pretty good sign that you are stressed out there is a There's a direct link. I'm gonna teach you about this in just a second between nasal breathing and a decrease in cortisol and kind of breathing with your mouth wide open and an increasing cortisol. So by breathing through slightly pursed lips or even by doing nasal breathing, that's a better way to breathe during the day. If you find yourself working at your computer, standing on the day and breathing for a wide open mouth. That's another bad sign, unless you have something like a you know, like a upper respiratory infection or a cold your upper neck, chest and shoulder muscles air tight. Okay, if you are stressed out and engage in shallow chest breathing, these muscles up here work a lot harder than they normally need. Toe work your neck and your jaw also will work a lot harder than they normally need. Toe work. If you find yourself constantly dealing with tightness in these areas, that could be a pretty good sign that you're stressed out during the day and that you're also not using your diaphragm and your interpreter. Orien excretory muscles to breathe, but you're more using your upper neck and chest a breeze. So if these muscles get tight a lot, that's another warning sign. Okay, there are times, for example, like I just mentioned me being on my feet for the past two days, teaching up here. I've got some upper neck and back tightness, and it's not necessarily because I'm super stressed out. I'm doing shallow chest breathing up here. It's just because I've kind of been standing in a different position during the day. But this is another clue. Sighing or yawning frequently. That could be a sign that you're engaged in shallow chest breathing. If you find yourself doing this a few times during the day or at work, or you find yourself yawning a lot at work, that could be a sign that you need to train yourself how to get deep diaphragmatic breathing going on in a more consistent basis. Ah, hi, Resting breath rate. Typically arresting breath rate that's greater than 10 to 12 breaths per minute is a pretty good sign that you could do a better job with deep diaphragmatic breathing and controlling stress. I showed you a little device. This one's called the Tinky, and this is one of the devices that I have listed at Ben Greenfield fitness dot com slash creativelive. The lid of this pops off and you could see this is the IPhone five s version, so this would plug into the bottom of the IPhone. My finger goes on here and I can lie there and bad in the morning. This will take pole socks, symmetry heart rate variability, heart rate and breath rate. And it will tell me whether or not my breath rate is greater than that. 10 to 12 breaths per minute. And it's kind of a good way to check in in the morning and see how your breath rate is doing without actually having a count. Your breaths per minute. Having a device do it for you is actually a little bit better than you sitting there trying to count your breasts, which, which might make you kind of automatically breathe fewer than that 10 to 12 breast per minute, whereas this might let you know whether or not you're doing it without you focusing on it. So that's that's called a Tinky. It's made by a company called Sensory Um and then finally slouching forward. That's another sign that you might be breathing incorrectly, and I know that many of us, especially on a day like this, where you guys in the studio audience, for example, Or perhaps you watching on the Internet. You know you're constantly in that seated positions, very. He's dislodge forward. That's what I just told you about doing something as simple as externally rotating hips and opening the hands. That's a perfect way to get your body out of that slouched forward position. Just those two cues alone can help tremendously. But if you find yourself constantly slouching forward, that's a pretty pretty good sign that something is wrong with your breathing. So how do you breathe the right way? Well, I mentioned this yesterday. One way is to blow up a balloon. So you get those little, many balloons and get down on the ground into this position kind of a sit up or crunch position. You put the balloon in your mouth, you breathe in through your nose. I totally forgot to bring a balloon up here on stage or would have showed you this with the balloon. And then you breathe out through your mouth. You're slightly pursed lips into the balloon, and you blow up the balloon by breathing in through your nose out through your mouth. You can keep your low back pressed down slightly against the ground as you do this. That's one good way to train yourself how to engage in deep diaphragmatic breathing. Another way to do this is to purse your lips. Everybody try this. I want you to slightly purse your lips and take a few breaths and imagine that you're breathing in and out through a straw. How about a three? Count in on a three count out. When you breathe in through slightly pursed lips, you're gonna feel that your belly contracts just a little bit more. That's also where a tool like this is kind of like breathing through pursed lips on steroids, where you take like, one of these power lungs. I mean, breathe in and out about a three count out and a three count in. And that's another way that you can kind of get that same breathing through pursed lips training this one the difference with this being that it provides a resistant breathing so it actually makes your lung stronger. And, uh, another thing you could do is planking exercises well, deep breathing, so planking exercises will deep breathing. What I mean by that is you actually drop down into a plank. You imagine like a zipper from that hard bone in the middle of your chest, your sternum all the way down to your belly button and try and drop your low blood towards the ground. like all your guts, air kind of falling towards the ground, and then you pull them back in as you breathe in. This works best through slightly pursed lips or through your nose. But that's another great way to teach yourself how to engage in deep diaphragmatic breathing. And that's kind of a kill two birds with one stone type exercise, because it's also really good at helping to give you a flat stomach. So I love planking exercises for teaching how to deep dive, dramatic breathe upper chest resistance. This is another one that you do when you're down in the ground. Get down on the ground. Now What you want to do is put one hand on this hard bone in the middle of your chest on your sternum. Okay, put the other hand on your belly, and what you want to do is make sure that as you're breathing, the hand that's on your belly is the hand that's moving in. The hand that's on your chest is not moving at all. Now you out there on the Internet can probably be trying this right now. Um, I think because of the cameras in the room and everything. Probably if I have people in the studio audience getting up and down and getting down on the ground and make it a little messy. But basically, this is another great exercise chest resistance to teach yourself how to deep dive, dramatically breathe. And then finally limiting shoulder movement, you're gonna need a chair that has arms to practice this movement. You can also do it by sitting down in the ground. But what this is designed to do is it teaches you how not to lift your shoulders when you breathe. So what you do is you breathe in. But as you breathe in, you press down. So I'm pressing down against the ground. If I were sitting in a chair, I'd be pressing down against the arms of that chair. And it keeps my shoulders from rising when I breathe in. And then, as I breathe out, release a little bit of that pressure against the arms of the chair against the ground. Then I breathe in, press down, breathe out, allow the arms to relax. And if you're one of those people who when you're breathing, you kind of tend to get into this position, this teaches you how not to do that. So it's basically teaching you how to keep your shoulders down as you're breathing. All of these drills are fantastic for teaching how to breathe properly and remember the way that you breathe is directly going to control that emotional stress response that we talked about earlier. So all of those are ways that you kind of hack your breathing. Now there are. There's also this technique that I really like to use, and it's really related to breathing. So what? I'm talking about breathing. I need to bring this up. It's a five step protocol that I used to make exercise relaxing. Now, as we've mentioned it a few times, exercise causes this court assault release, right? Especially, you know, people like Calvin when you're training for a marathon or the people are out doing the Spartan trifecta for folks who are racing in triathlons or running for football. Now, in many cases, when you go out for a run, you're just like panting for your chest. It's deep, shallow breathing. It's running from a lion, and your body is engaged in all of these processes that could become very stressful. Now, it's possible for running cycling kind of that chronic repetitive motion toe actually be very relaxing, but there's a certain process that you can use to make it relaxing. And here's exactly what you do. First of all, you begin by getting yourself into the correct state of mind. You begin with yoga, and I like yoga because it teaches you how to control your breathing. As you're going through certain movements, it primes the brain. They need to be careful. On day one, you learn that static stretching is something that convict crease strength and power and speed. So when I talk about beginning with yoga, I'm just talking about five minutes of something like a sun salutation as everybody know what what was what a sun salutation would be in yoga. I can show you real quick if you like, basically, an example of a sun salutation. I'd go through about five Siris of these. I reach for the sky as I breathe in. Then I breathe out, dive down. When I come forward, look forward slightly. Then I come down, breathe out, bring my legs up behind me, get down into what's called a down dog position than I inhale and come forward. Exelon. Come down, inhale up into a low back stretch and exhale back into down dog. Then I lift a lag and swing it through. Come up into what's called Warrior one and Exhale, Inhale. Exhale in the warrior to inhale. Exhale in the warrior three. Come back down into my down dog position, and then I repeat that entire movement for the opposite side and all hit each side about three times. And that's enough moving toe where it's not really long. Getting the muscles too much do static stretching. You could see I wasn't holding those positions for a very long period of time. What I'm really focusing on is breath movement coordination. Okay, so that's basically your warm up before you start your run or before you start your activity session. So you begin with yoga, and if you need to like Google or go to YouTube and do a search for like sun salutations, you could get a repeat of that. Um, as you start your workout, you continue the same type of deep nasal breathing that you were doing during that pre exercise yoga movement. So as we start exercising. Typically. What do we start doing breathing through your mouth, right. You're gonna find yourself two minutes into your warm up of your running your bike, right? Or whatever it is that you're doing breathing through your mouth. What you're gonna force yourself to do is instead breathe through your nose. Deep nasal breathing is actually very natural, and you're able to get enough air. But it also has this cool effect in meaning that it decreases cortisol compared to breathing for your mouth. Now, some people find that they need to put those breathe right strips on their nose to really open up their nasal cavities as they train themselves initially to be able to engage in this deep nasal breathing when they're exercising. Okay, we continue deep nasal breathing, and then you also want to use what's called rhythmic breathing. Okay, now, if your weight training rhythmic breathing is really easy, it's one deep rhythmic breath out as you're exerting yourself and then one deep rhythmic breath in as you are basically coming back into your initial starting phase. If you are running, things get a little bit more advanced. There's a really good book called Running on air written by Budd Coates and in running on air. It teaches you how to do rhythmic breathing when you are running. Now what rhythmic breathing means is that you're engaging in a breathing pattern that has you exhaling. I'm sorry, inhaling mawr than you're exhaling. Now when you exhale while you're running, what happens is that places a lot of stress on your liver as your foot strikes the ground, and it places a lot of stress on your internal organs and can increase cortisol. So the way that you do rhythmic breathing when you're running is that you would, for example, take one breath in for three strides and then one breath out for two strides. So it be so. It's 1231212312 Inhale, inhale, inhale, exhale, exhale, inhale, inhale, inhale, exhale, exhale. Great way to teach yourself how to properly keep that relaxed nasal breathing during exercise. The cool thing is that once you start running faster, all you do is you speed up that cycle to a 21 cycle. So it's so it's inhale, inhale, exhale, inhale, inhale. Exhale. That first pattern that I showed you is called a three to pattern. That second pattern is a 21 pattern, but both of those patterns of rhythmic breathing work really, really well for controlling cortisol. Go to a track or kind of like a controlled environment. If you're a runner, the first time that you try something like this so that you can kind of your head will spin in your eyes. Across you get a little bit dizzy trying to focus on the breathing in the foot movement, and then it becomes natural and you start to get into you into basically what's called your runner's high, almost like immediately right when you start your run. And it's a really, really cool way to combine this drop in court us all with with the way Teoh to bring more rhythm and you're running Number four is to unplug. I mentioned this earlier in a question of Heavy asked me about kind of how many devices do you take out there with you when you're out running? I recommend that you limit the amount of electromagnetic stress that's placed on your body by not taking a lot of phones and MP three players, you know, like big, chunky devices out there with you on your run. If anything, I take one small IPod shuffle out with me and I stay away from too much E m f. I'm working out in my office. I'll unplug the wireless router. But I'm really, really careful with exposing my body to another way that increases cortisol Electra minute magnetic field exposure when I'm out there training. So I avoid too much in terms of like phones, WiFi signals, things of that nature. Okay, and then Number five is You finish up the work out, and this sounds really woo and airy fairy, and it's easy to forget, but you finish up your work out the same way as you would finish up like a yoga workout. Have any of you ever taken yoga and you finish with dedication? OK, basically, you finish by thanking the instructor or imagining what it was that you wanted to dedicate that practice to and acknowledging its presence. Same thing after work out. It might be that you dedicate that work out to the event that you're training for, like right now I'm training for what supposed to be the hardest half Ironman triathlon in the world in Israel in three weeks. And so I can tell you that that a few the workouts that I do over the next few weeks, I'll finish up that work out and I'll be thinking Israel really hard workout in Israel, And that will be what will be kind of dedicating that workout to. But it's something that kind of finishes the workout that makes you think about the meaning of the workout itself. You put these five steps together, and what you're gonna find is that exercise, especially if you're an endurance athlete engaging in chronic, repetitive motion exercise exercise becomes far more relaxing. So that's the first thing is breathing. Now, before we move forward into meditation, any questions from you guys about breathing or any questions from the Internet audience specific to some of the things I've covered as far as breathing and the emotional physical link between stress and the body? Yes, Cheryl, what's the downside to mouth breathing? The downside to mouth breathing is that it causes a larger cortisol release, and it also makes you more likely to engage in shallow chest breathing. You will get to a point during exercise where you just need so much oxygen that you have to start breathing through your mouth. But most of us start breathing toe our mouth way too early in the exercise process. And if you go to the gym, just try this. Just try to do your next weight training session at the gym and see if you go through the whole thing doing deep nasal breathing and just just try that one breath in one breath out per rep. So, Jackie, what are some techniques when you find yourself in the middle of a workout and you find yourself a losing like your breath, like the temple of your one of the rhythm of your breath? How do you get it back? Yeah, 11 Really, really good way. And this is going to sound like a stupid answer, but is to just slow down so that you couldn't bring her breath back under control. That's one thing that I had to do quite a bit of when I was first. Learning how to do rhythmic breathing or deep nasal breathing is I really used to just like going out too fast, so I want to make every minute of that workout count. And so I had to slow myself down until I figured out how to actually get enough air in through the nostrils and through deep nasal breathing to allow myself to achieve those higher intensity. So usually it's just slow down. So what about from the Internet? Yeah, I have a question here about changing breathing patterns based on the temperature outside or the humidity. I know sometimes if you go out for a run and it's really cold out, you have a little bit more trouble getting your breath. Or if the humidity is different, are there any tactics that you used to vary your breathing? Depending on your environment, you're gonna find that by going in your living room and starting things off with, for example, like that sun salutation practice that I just demonstrated that that helps you a lot. When you go outside, you already kind of primed and warmed up a little bit in some cases, especially in cold air. Somehow warming the air that's going into your mouth has 10 can really help. That would be a scarf that would be one of those poll over facemasks. I suppose you could even use our dear friend the elevation training mask for something like that as well. If you want to make things really tough and by the way the elevation training mass takes everything that I just explained and throws into pot. Okay, if you're gonna go out and do work out with the elevation training mask, accept the fact that you're gonna have pretty high cortisol levels because your body is like, What the hell is going on? I have no air, Okay, but the short answer, especially for cold, would be to somehow warm the air that you're breathing and then also do something like that. Yoga practice before you head out. So, great question. So let's talk a little bit about the second technique that I like. Meditation. Now, meditation may seem kind of again woo airy fairy, you know, imagining a candle flame for 60 minutes or, you know, sitting motionless on a pristine Himalayan mountain top for hours on end. I have a friend who just did a 10 day meditation retreat where all they did for eight hours a day was sit there and think about like the air coming in and out of their nostrils for 10 days. And I am not that person, OK, I am. I'm not the guy who even has the time or really probably the patients to sit there and meditate for 30 minutes or 60 minutes. But brief periods of what are called mindfulness based meditation throughout the day can be really, really effective. Um, and there's been a lot of studies that have shown a direct link between a drop in cortisol and this mindfulness based meditation, and we can try this really quickly right now because it's very, very simple to teach yourself how to do. And you can do this right in the middle of a work day or in the middle of a creative life presentation. Uh, what I want you guys to do is just close your eyes for a moment. Close your eyes, open up the hips, open up the hands and get into that posture. Your neck is kind of balanced over your ah, over your your spine so we don't want our arms folded in front of the body. We want everything in a very open, non defensive position. Now I want you to stay in the present, try not to think about this morning or yesterday trying not to think about what you need to do tonight. But just think about the present. The best way that I find to think about the present is to just imagine your breath coming in and out of your nostrils. Focus on that. Every time your mind starts to wander, return to your breath about a three count in and a three count out works really well. Really, really good at this. You might even be able to do a five count in five out or a in 10 out. But just focus on that breath, trying not to let your mind wander. Try to just focus on how your body feels right now. And don't get worried about if you feel tight, tense, full of anger, sorrow, any of those emotions. All you want to do is simply observe how your body feels. Observe what you're feeling. Don't judge yourself and just breathe. Three town in and three town out. Watch those thoughts come and go. Okay. It's okay if your mind is wandering. If thoughts are coming and going, all you want to do is just observe how your body feels Keep your eyes closed. Not tightly shot, but just kind of lightly close. Continue trying. Breathe your mouth. Feel your belly, rise and fall. Not your chest, but your belly. Rise and fall. Fill the air coming in and out of your nostrils every time you get distracted and you start thinking about whether or not you've got a stain on your shirt or where the camera in the room might be looking at you right now. Just think back to your breathing. Think back to your breathing. If you're working, you're doing this every time you start to think about that email that you need to send again. Think back to your breathing. Now. This is called mindfulness based meditation. Contain to sit there, just focused on your breathing. Keep your hands open. Keep your body open Now. Normally, you do this for about 3 to 5 minutes. You could technically do it for 10 20 minutes. Most of us don't have that time. What I want you to do is slowly open your eyes. Become aware of you are where you are. Continue to kind of breathe nice and slow and relaxed. Open your eyes and you should feel just a slight decrease in stress. Nobody fell asleep. That's good means everybody's other had their coffee or their doing a really good job with stress control today. But slowly open your eyes, Return back to the present, become aware of where you are. And in many cases, if you're somebody who's using a standing workstation or if you're standing for your job and you sat down on the ground to do something like this, then you slowly get up when you're ready to get up. Did you go back to what you were doing? Now there are really cool MP threes on the Internet free MP three downloads that will walk you through mindfulness based meditation, and you don't have to do anything at all. These things just walk you right through it. For example, there is a phone app called um Vonna, made by a company called Mind Valley Om Z a N A. I interviewed the creator of that phone app over a Ben Greenfield fitness dot com, and we talked a little bit about it, but that has some mindfulness based meditation practices on it. At Ben Greenfield, fitness dot com slash creativelive. I have a link to a free MP three. It's called a body scan MP three, and it's a little bit longer. It's about 20 minutes or so of mindfulness based meditation, but it walks you through this process. And, man, if you just had a busy day, maybe you you just like, rushed to the airport and hopped in the airplane. And you're whole world is going nuts. You just put on your headphones and put on this body Scan MP three, and it just settles you down. That's well, well worth it again. You could use something like that before you go to bed at night to kind of start to shut you down a little bit and decrease cortisol. But it's called Body Scan. You could just also do a Google Skirts for Google Search for Body Scan MP three. There's a few different methods out there, but body scan is kind of the semantics that are used to describe that form of mindfulness based meditation where someone's helping you kind of scan your body and engage in that meditative process. So, meditation, another really cool technique. Now we'll talk about yoga, our third technique and we'll take another break for questions. I love yoga. There's a lot of different forms of yoga Bikram, yoga flow, yoga, power yoga, hatha yoga, meditation based yoga. Um, I think I mentioned that, for example, like Bob Harper, who's a great personal trainer, you know, the personal trainer on the biggest loser gets really good results with people. He has a yoga DVD, and I'm sorry, but that thing is designed to be really hard and to completely destroy you when you finish that yoga session, there's another guy who I'm actually interviewing for my podcast. I think on Monday his name is Diamond Dallas Page, and he has. He's a wrestler and he has Diamond Dallas page yoga. And it's how he trained in the WWF to be wrestler by using this kick butt style of yoga. And, um, he sent me one of his DVDs and I tried it, and it's really, really hard yoga like it will get you fit, no doubt, but it's not what you use for stress control for sure. So be careful of the type of yoga that you use a Bic room because of the heat exposure and the changes in blood pressure and the rise and heart rate. Even though it's a form of half the yoga, the amount of heat that you're exposed to during big room can be stressful. Same thing for power. Yoga. The amount of stress that your body needs to be under during power Yoga can be stressful. Half A is really the best form of yoga. Okay, if you were looking for a yoga class and you haven't done yoga before or you want to make sure that you do the right kind of yoga and your specific goals to use yoga for stress control, hatha yoga is a really, really good form of yoga, and that be be, the best way to go about doing things would be to find 1/2 a yoga course. So that's that's my recommendation. If you're going to use yoga for stress control, I personally kind of have different times of year that will doom or or less yoga. And what's my off season? Which is usually kind of my winter. I'll usually do yoga two or three times a week every single day, no matter what. I mentioned this on day one. I start with about 10 minutes of yoga. So, like I did attendance of yoga this morning and mine is just very similar to those sun salutations that I showed you. So before we jump into method for Have we had any questions come up on the Internet? Or do you guys have questions about meditation or about yoga? Cheryl. Is it important to maintain your focus during yoga or meditation or is just more important to spend the time? I think that it's really important to get the best bang for your buck and the most benefit out of yoga by using it at by doubling it up as a meditation session, I get super distracted during yoga. I start to think about e mails. I start to think about work, and I've found that if I forced myself to return to my breath the same ways I was telling you guys to return to your breath during mindfulness based meditation that it really helps me make yoga almost like a doubling up. And so I'm getting meditation yoga at the same time. Super important not to let your mind water during yoga. You can use that same technique, though, even like weight training. For example, I told you guys, take one breath out. One breath in deep nasal breathing during weight training. Try to use your weight. Training session is a meditative session as well. There's lots of times that you can meditate and you know you need to be careful when you're driving. You won't be aware of the road not necessarily focusing on the breath coming in and out of your nostrils. But, um, there there are a lot of situations in life where you can kind of kind of meditate, and a lot of them are situations in which we're exercising Jeff Question and more of an observation and doubling down on the importance of breath and yoga in yoga. I think they go so far at least a brief be gram of breath, his life. And obviously we're talking a lot about stress reduction today. But in the case of training for strength and power, when I've reached a plateau after having done yoga and in that way making it kind of inevitable, that will be using my breath better. The immediate subsequent workout I added £30 on my bench press. It really has a lot of relevance in all pursuits, whether stress reduction, health or physical performance for one of those Mawr sports that would generally less be associated with yoga. Yeah, great observation. Great observation from the Internet. I was just as we're talking about this. I was thinking about how I really struggle in yoga, remembering Teoh, remembering the breath, and I'll catch myself repeatedly. It happened so many times during yoga, and I wonder, I always leave the class wondering. Was this good for me? Because I really didn't do the breathing the way I should, And I just forget, kind of similarly to what Jackie was saying with her runs, I forget to breathe the way we should be. Are there any techniques for maybe, like clicking your mind into that really focused? But, you know, Yeah, um, learning how to do it kind of during the day and just using your day as a way to train yourself to breathe can be a really useful way to do this. Now, I don't have it up here on stage with me right now, but I was talking about this phone app called the Sweet Beat Phone app, which tests your heart rate variability. Now you can get a wireless heart rate monitor called a polar H seven monitor and where that and then have your sweet beat turned on during the day. As soon as your heart rate variability starts to fall and you begin to get stressed out, you can make the sweet beat being a position where a lot of vibrate you could have it in your pocket if you didn't want it to make noise like even well you're hosting, you could have the sweet beat up in your pocket in your heart rate monitor on No one even know it, and you feel it vibrate. And that vibration if you actually look at this screen of your phone when it does, that begins to show a breath. Pacer. That pace is your breath and brings you back into that non stressful state. Um, I mentioned the other day when I demonstrated those wearable patches that you can actually attached to your body. That sweet beats coming out with this patch that you just wear all day long that keeps you from even having toe wear, Ah, heart rate monitor, but that'd be really good way to do it because then you've got that reminder that says, OK, Evie, all of a sudden I can tell your stress is falling or your stress is rising. Here's your breath, Pacer. Boom, go and you just do the breath pacing and it will stop and transition out of the breath, pacing as soon as your heart rate variability goes back to where it's supposed to be. So that's one technique that I do's and it's just a great little technology tool, so thank you.

Class Description

Professional athletes and elite exercisers may be able to train full-time, but what about those of us who want a better body or to achieve amazing feats of physical performance but have busy lives and jam-packed schedules? Athlete and author Ben Greenfield will arm you with the tools, strategies, and systems you need to look, feel, and perform at your peak physical and mental capacity, without spending your entire day exercising or dieting.

In this course, Ben covers topics such as how to avoid injury, imbalances, or overtraining, how to address crucial elements that most exercise enthusiasts overlook, and how to quickly develop natural, ancestral strength, balance, mobility and physical function. You’ll learn how to customize your daily nutrition and workout fueling protocols so that you can get adequate calories without destroying your metabolism or expanding your waistline. From your gut-brain connection to mind-hacking tactics to sensory system enhancement, Ben will show you the crucial role the nervous system plays in fitness, and will reveal strategies for being mentally and physically prepared for any challenge life may throw at you.

Whether you want to run a marathon, do an Ironman triathlon, complete an adventure race, launch into Crossfit, are a dedicated gym junkie, or just want to shed fat fast and get rid of fatigue, this course will equip you to feel your best and perform at your peak capacity.

Class Materials

Bonus Materials with Purchase

10 Human Performance Meals

7 Day Done

creativeLIVE Home Detox

Health vs Performance Slides

Become Superhuman Resource Guide

Body Products and House Cleaners

Enrollment Page

Ultimate Human Performance Exercise.mp4

Ratings and Reviews

Student Work

Related Classes



Ben delivered an exceptional three-day seminar at creativeLIVE that I was lucky enough to attend. His expertise in all facets of health & wellness was on full-display -- and his presentation was clearly articulated & engaging He was friendly and responsive to feedback and gave actionable recommendations which are already paying dividends in my life -- especially in the areas of energy, mental clarity & sleep quality I strongly recommend Ben -- he walks the walk & talks the talk -- genuinely cares about helping other people and possesses a real gift to teach & inspire

a Creativelive Student

This is one of the best courses I have ever seen! So much value for money and so many amazing bits of information jam packed in. What a brilliant guy! Geeky information presented in a down to earth way. I can not recommend this course enough. I don't think I have ever been bothered to write a review for anything (EVER) but this was SO good I had to share. Well done Ben and thank you Creative Live!


Ben Greenfield has a lot of information, best course I have taken in regards to Nutrition and Fitness. There is a lot of knowledge and their a great couple and both have a lot of information to offer, I even like the lame jokes that he makes. Very nice and knowledgable couple.