Ben Greenfield is human performance consultant, speaker, and New York Times bestselling author of 17 books, including the widely popular titles Beyond Training, Boundless, Fit Soul, Spiritual Disciplines Journal and the Boundless Cookbook. A former collegiate tennis, water polo and volleyball player, bodybuilder, 13-time Ironman triathlete and professional obstacle course racer, Ben has been voted by the NSCA as America’s top Personal Trainer and by Greatist as one of the top 100 Most Influential People In Health And Fitness.
A frequent contributor to health and wellness publications and websites and a highly sought-after speaker, Ben’s understanding of functional exercise, nutrition, and the delicate balance between performance and health has helped thousands of people around the world achieve their goals and improve their quality of life–from high-level CEOs to soccer moms to professional athletes and beyond. Ben also seeks to teach and inspire people to fully experience and joyfully savor all of God’s creation while optimizing their physical health.
Ben is an advisor, investor, and board member of multiple corporations in the health and fitness industry, and is also the founder of KION, a nutritional supplements company that combines time-honored superfoods with modern science to allow human beings to achieve peak performance, defy aging, and live an adventurous, fulfilling, joyful and limitless life. I have personally been an affiliate for Kion for years. I don't go a day without drinking their coffee and aminos. Use code: BEGOLDEN to get 20% off all Kion products.
What is one life hack that changed your life?
I would say if we were going to talk about actual hacks, meaning small practices that one can implement on their life on a consistent daily and regular basis, it would have to be breathwork. Not only do my twin 13 year old sons and I do a 10-20 minute breathwork session every single day, but I also will often do longer, 50-70 minute deep meditative, almost holotropic like breathwork sessions on the weekends. In terms of being able to near instantaneously shift the body's state of stress to feel up or feel down, to be able to be used for sleep, for pre workouts, for sex, for deep meditation, there's really nothing like breathwork in terms of a life hack in my opinion. So, I would say breathwork is at the top of the totem pole.
What or who inspires you?
Well, many people inspire me, but I think one of the people that comes first and foremost to mind is my wife Jessa. She's able to go with the flow. She's very relaxed in the face of stress. She is able to juggle a lot of balls while still living mindful and in the present. She’s cheerful. She wakes with joy. She's connected and in deep daily union with God. She loves her family. She loves her children. She loves her parents. She loves life. She's willing to try new things. She is not dependent upon constant control and safety and acceptance. So, I would say my wife Jessa inspires me.
What is one ritual you can’t live without?
One ritual that I can't live without is my daily sauna practice. It's just amazing for its overall full body feel good neurochemical effects. The endorphin release. The increase in resilience and the production of heat shock proteins that make you more resilient to stress. It's just a wonderful way to wake up and if I had to choose any morning of the week, I'm doing 20-30 minutes of sauna followed by 2-5 minutes of cold. And that hot cold practice is just absolutely amazing and nearly addicting in a good way.
What is one non-negotiable for you?
Starting off each day with praying to God that he would want me with his holy spirit, spending time in scripture and in devotions and in prayer. Strapping on my spiritual oxygen mask so to speak, to better equip me to be able to listen to God's voice for my purpose in life and to be able to handle any stresses that the world might throw at me. It would definitely be my morning time with God and just my union with God in general.
What product (skincare, makeup, health product) are you currently obsessed with?
Well, if we want to focus on skincare particularly, for about a year I have been experimenting with the use of these topical skin peptides and treatments that seem to have a pretty profound anti-aging effect. Probably most notably amongst them, and many skincare products are not including these two compounds, GHK Copper Peptide and C60. The former of which has a really nice anti-aging, toning, firming and moisturizing effect. The latter of which is wonderful for anti-inflammation and wrinkles and signs of excessive aging in the face.
What is one thing that is trending that you just can't get on board with?
Man, there's a lot. I would say one trend that I think hasn't done people a lot of favors is this obsession with the keto diet right? But not a keto diet like our ancestors would have used, which would be like limiting intake of calories while engaged in physical activity throughout the day and not having a lot of sugars. But instead, like a trendy keto diet full of packaged, oily fatty fat bombs and avoiding carbohydrates like they're the plague and evil. The fact is that the body was meant to engage in feast famine cycling. The body was really not meant to eat a whole lot of packaged and processed foods or these huge boluses of fat all at once. And I just think that the ketogenic diet, at least the modern newfangled nearly dirty version of the keto diet is not doing many people's health many favors. I would say it's instead better to just be cognizant of your overall sugar intake, move throughout the day, fast between meals and that's a much healthier way to generate your body's own ketones or fatty acids.
What is the best advice you ever received?
I've received many good pieces of advice, but I'm a fan of ritual routine and habit. It’s something that can lend a great deal of stability and health and productivity to one's life. So, I would say how you live your days is how you live your life. The little things that you do each day stack up day after day, week after week, month after month to eventually become the life that you've lived. For better or worse.
Share your number one health hack
My number one health hack would be to walk. Not enough people walk. Everybody should be taking at least 10,000 steps a day. Some people even closer to 20,000 steps a day. Take phone calls when you walk, walk to the grocery store, walk while you're waiting for an airplane. Pace while you're waiting for a doctor or a dentist. Walk, walk, walk. It pumps lymph. It pumps blood flow. It's great for the joints. It's great for the low back. More people need to just walk more and it's pretty low barrier entry and pretty low cost. I personally take about 15-20,000 steps nearly every day of the week.
Tell us a book that changed your life
There's many books that have changed my life. But I would say one recent book from a time management perspective and a productivity perspective is called, 4000 Weeks. I believe Burkeman is the last name of the author. Wonderful, wonderful book for time management. Years and years ago I read Tim Ferriss's, 4-Hour Workweek, which I think was pretty life changing for me from a productivity standpoint. I would rank this book right up there. It's called 4000 Weeks which as the name may imply, as you may guess is the average number of weeks the average human lives.
What is your number one anti-aging secret?
I would say that because stress and inflammation are the two things that seem to really accelerate aging to the greatest extent, we can reverse engineer this and say that basically the best way to defy aging is to have a really solid distressing routine in your life. For me, that’s meditation, breathwork, sauna, yoga, prayer, and journaling. And then ruthlessly, ruthlessly eliminating all vegetable oils because those are the number one source of inflammation in most people. If I could throw a third in there, I would say form really good relationships and maintain good friendships.
What is your Golden Secret?
I choose to be happy no matter my circumstances. I choose to be content, no matter my circumstances. I don't worry about controlling that which I cannot control. And so, it allows me to live life in a state of ease and flow and happiness with that perspective.
Where is the best place to follow along your journey?
The best place to follow along my journey would just be my website, bengreenfieldlife.com where you can find a couple of podcasts every week, a whole host of articles, all my books, all my tips, all my recommendations right there. That’s also the best place for people to keep in touch with me. I would say secondarily, I put out some pretty entertaining stuff on the gram. So instagram.com/BenGreenfieldFitness might also be a good one.