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Customizing Your Intermittent Fasting Window | Mike Mutzel on High Intensity Health

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Key Takeaways

  • Everybody is unique—customize your fasting routine based on your age, metabolic health, cholesterol levels, weight, and family history of neurodegenerative disease 
    • (Think of the above as the “fasting algorithm”)
  • In general, the higher your body fat percentage, the more often you should be fasting
  • Just as with exercise, the benefits of fasting come with consistency


Customize Your Feeding & Fasting Window to Meet Your Health Goals

  • Stop copying whatever fasting protocol your favorite Instagram influencer does
  • Just like with your finances, your fasting protocol must be customized based on your goals
    • (How much money you invest monthly depends on your current age, what age you plan to retire, your bills, etc.)

Adjust Your Feeding & Fasting Window Based on Age and Overall Metabolic Health

  • An eating/fasting window of 12 hours each would probably be sufficient if…
    • You’re relatively healthy, not overweight, not insulin resistant, have normal blood sugar levels, have a <82 fasting glucose, and your cholesterol is spot on
  • A 24-hour fast once per week (or alternate-day fasting) might be sufficient if…
    • You’re> 65-years-old and have a family history of neurodegenerative or metabolic disease
  • In general, fast more frequently the older you are (the higher someone’s age, the more likely they are to develop autophagy-related disease, cancers, and inflammatory diseases)
    • “A powerful way to reduce inflammation is eating a low-carb, ketogenic-style diet and exercising, but also fasting—compressing your feeding window” – Mike Mutzel

Woah, Woah, Woah. Hold On. We Just Mentioned “Autophagy.” What’s That?

  • (“Auto” means self and “phagy” means eating)
  • So…. autophagy is the process by which cells (or cellular components) eat themselves under conditions of nutrient deprivation (AKA fasting)
    • The dysfunctional cells (like cancer cells) or dysfunctional cell components tend to be “eaten” first

If You’re Insulin Resistant or Pre-Diabetic, Consider Fasting More Frequently

  • Or, similarly, the more body fat you have, the more often you should be fasting
    • If you’re obese, consider fasting once a month for 5-7 days (for comparison, Mike, who has a body fat of ~12%, does a 72-hour fast once per quarter)
    • Another metric: if you have 20% body fat, consider a 72-hour monthly fast
  • If you’ve had pre-diabetes/diabetes or been overweight for a long time, you might consider alternate-day fasting
    • (Don’t do this if you’re lean—you’ll lose too much muscle mass)
  • One important note: Make sure fasting doesn’t compromise your sleep or fitness routine—you don’t want to fast at the expense of being sedentary

Avoid Prolonged Fasting if You’re Prone to Eating Disorders

  • “If you have a history of an eating disorder—anorexia, bulimia, things like that—I don’t recommend prolonged fasting. It’s just going to add fuel to that fire, and you really don’t want to dip into that.” – Mike Mutzel

Just Like Exercise, the Benefits of Fasting Come with Consistency

  • Many of fasting’s positive attribute mirror those linked with exercise
    • And with exercise, consistency is what matters —it’s the same deal with exercise
    • Compare “muscle memory” to “metabolic fasting memory”
  • “I encourage you, whatever your feeding/fasting pattern is, to add some consistency and regularity to that—if you do, you’ll notice more favorable changes long-term” Mike Mutzel
    • For instance, Mike, personally, does his quarterly 72-hour fasts every time the season changes

How to Make Fasting Easier

  • Fast with your partner
    • “It makes fasting so much easier if you have a little bit of accountability, and if someone in you’re household is doing it as well. It’s going to be hard to fast if there’s all this cooking and smells of food.” – Mike Mutzel
  • Fast while traveling (you shouldn’t be eating crappy airplane food anyway)

Listen to Your Body

  • If you’re fasting routine is negatively impacting your sleep or cognitive function, ALTER IT

Wrapping Up

  • Take an individualized approach to feeding window compression & fasting
    • Everything about you is unique—the fasting routine that works for someone else may not work for you

Additional Notes

  • Mike’s wife doesn’t do much long-term fasting, but she only eats one meal per day (this is an excellent way to reduce glycemic variability & insulin and increase autophagy)
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Notes By MMiller

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