The Tim Ferriss Show – Random Show with Kevin Rose: Fasting, Biohacking, and Tony Robbins


  • Checking Tim’s Podcast Page
  • This is another episode of The Random Show – what Tim and Kevin call their periodic podcasts together
  • Kevin is best known for creating Digg
  • Kevin and Tim have co-invested in about a dozen or so deals – Facebook, Twitter, Blue Bottle Coffee
    • Blue Bottle was acquired by Nestle for around $700 million
  • Kevin and Tim met at Tim’s launch party for his book, The 4-Hour Work Week
    • Tim held a boat party on the SS Jeremiah on the San Francisco Bay

The Fasting Mimicking Diet (FMD)

  • Kevin created the fasting app Zero – an app which allows you to track how long you’ve been fasting
  • Kevin has been experimenting with the Fasting Mimicking Diet (FMD) after becoming acquainted with the research of Dr. Valter Longo
  • What does a FMD entail?
    • 5 days of eating low protein, low sugar, vegan, lots of good fat (about 700 calories a day in total) – repeated monthly (or less) depending on the need
  • How does the FMD differ from a water only fast?
    • The compliance of doing a 5 day water only fast is pretty low
    • As mentioned, with the FMD, you are allowed to consume about 700 calories per day, for 5 days
    • Kevin estimates that he still does get into ketosis while doing a FMD, between his eating periods
  • What do you eat on the FMD?
    • You can order food premade for the diet from Dr. Longo’s nonprofit, Prolon – the money made goes back into research
      • The Prolon kit consists of a few snacks which you eat throughout the course of a day
  • The benefits of a FMD
    • Some autophagy (damaged cell death)
    • Some stem cell production 
    • It lowers LDL cholesterol, raises HDL cholesterol – both of which are an improvement
  • How often do you do a FMD?
    • When first starting – once a month for three months, and then once a quarter after that
  • Through many conversations with Dr. Dom D’Agostino, Tim has come to learn that fasting prior to chemotherapy and radiation has the potential to increase the resilience of normal (healthy) cells, while increasing the susceptibility of the cancer cells to the chemotherapy drug
    • Tim and Kevin discuss a friend who would do a water only fast for 3 days before his chemotherapy treatments – this would allow him to feel totally normal the day following the chemotherapy
    • By fasting – you’re depriving the cancer cells of sugar and glucose, which makes them more susceptible to the treatment
  • Dr. Peter Attia has created his own version of the FMD
    • In his protocol, the food you eat consists of much more dietary fat so you remain in ketosis
    • His protocol involves eating only 1 small meal a day – it’s a small salad with greens, 3-4 tbsp of olive oil, some olives, and seeds
  • Both Tim and Kevin use the Precision Xtra to measure their blood ketone levels

What has changed for Kevin since having a daughter?

  • His daughter’s name is Zelda, she’s 4 months old
    • Both Kevin and his wife love the Zelda game
  • “It changes the way I want to approach life in terms of which things are important. I try to make more time to be a good father.”


  • Kevin is trying to live more of a minimalist lifestyle
    • He recently implemented a personal rule – he has to throw away or donate something every day
    • By taking the minimalism process day by day, Kevin doesn’t find himself getting overwhelmed
    • “For the least amount of burden, and the most happiness, just have less stuff”
  • For more on minimalism, check out the book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up
    • Note from Podcast Notes – READ THIS
  • If you come across something you want to buy on Amazon, Kevin has a cool trick
    • Set the product in the ‘save for later’ section
    • Set a reminder in your calendar app. for 1-2 weeks later to remind yourself to check back on it
    • You’ll often find that after 1-2 weeks, you really don’t want the item as much

Supplements and Diet

  • Kevin recently tried taking 200mg of l-theanine with coffee
  • Tim first experimented with taking NAC (N-Acetyl Cysteine) as a means to accelerate recovery between workouts
    • NAC is a precursor to glutathione which is a “master antioxidant” – he thought this would aid in the recovery
    • Tim noticed that after 7-8 days, he was more “even-keeled”
    • After examining PubMed – he discovered there were a number of search results that seemed to indicate there was some promise in using NAC to mitigate the amplitude of the ups and down associated with bipolar disorder
  • Tim has been taking 5mg of Lithium Orotate daily
  • “Use supplements as supplements. Do not use them to absorb you of the responsibility of eating proper food.”
  • Tim judges his baseline state in two ways
    • How he feels when he wakes up
      • Does he want to stay in bed because he doesn’t want to face the day? Is he anxious? Are these his first thoughts coming out of bed?
    • How much trouble he has sleeping
      • In addition, how much deep+REM sleep he gets
      • To monitor how well you sleep check out the Oura Ring
        • Purchase a ring using our link for a $50 discount applied at checkout
      • Tim has noticed that while in deep ketosis, he needs much less sleep (6 vs. 8 hours), and feels much better upon waking
  • What does Kevin track?
    • His waking glucose, bedtime glucose, how many hours he’s fasted the night prior, whether he meditated or not that day, how many drinks he’s had that day, if he worked out, whether he had tea/coffee, and what he ate (not a calorie count, but more so just the type of food he’s eaten)
    • “Just the act of writing it down, makes me behave a little better”


  • What has helped Kevin to lessen the amount of alcohol he consumes?
    • There’s been a few studies published recently linking dementia and alcohol abuse
    • He wants to live longer now that he has a daughter
    • Getting older – “Hangovers happen after 2.5 drinks these days”
    • Also the sauna
      • Using the sauna has helped Kevin replace the need to drink
  • How does Kevin reduce the temptation to drink in social settings?
    • As we all know, alcohol is a good social lubricant
    • “You’ll never become more comfortable in new interactions and breaking the ice, if you always go to the booze”
    • Think of the social setting as a workout for your introvert muscle
    • Another tip – show up late, so you skip a drink
  • What does Tim do?
    • If you don’t want to drink, and people are pressuring you, just say – “I’m on a bunch of weird drugs, I can’t mix them with alcohol”
      • You aren’t even supposed to mix Tylenol and alcohol
    • Just drink club soda with a splash of cranberry juice 
      • This looks like an alcoholic drink, so it fools people
  • Tim sometimes does drunk dial podcasts
    • He’ll drink and call his listeners to answer their questions
    • Check out our Podcast Notes from his latest


  • Kevin is in the middle of the course Learning How To Learn on Coursera
    • It’s pretty popular
    • Check out our Podcast Notes from this cool episode of The Art of Manliness – Learning How to Learn
  • Tim has noticed the following improves his learning:
    • Studying the material right before bed
    • When you wake up, before doing anything else, do a recall exercise (Tim uses flash cards)
    • Check out the book Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain, which discusses the role of exercise in education and learning
      • Tim has noticed that exercise, mainly resistance training, does have a positive impact on learning
      • Also check out the book Body by Science
  • When you see scientific claims in the news, a good question to ask – “What else might explain this?”

Tony Robbins

  • Tim has done both the  Unleash the Power Within (UTPW) and Date with Destiny events with Tony Robbins
    • The I Am Not Your Guru documentary on Netflix showcases much of what the Date with Destiny event looks like
  • Kevin did the UTPW event recently and loved it
    • “Everyone, if they’re honest with themselves, has something they’re trying to work on”
    • As a part of the event, you walk over hot coals
  • Tim’s take:
    • The exercises that have an impact on you, may be completely different from the exercises that have a large impact on someone else
    • “When you go to an event like this, be skeptical, not cynical, and open to trying all these exercises that Tony suggests”
    • Most likely
      • You’ll find 20% of the exercises uncomfortable and you’ll strongly dislike them
      • You’ll discard 60% of them
      • For 10-25% of the exercises, you’ll go “Holy shit, I can’t believe how powerful that just was”
    • “Tony knows his shit”
  • Kevin – “He knows how to set up these traps, that trick you into re-framing things in your mind, and it really does change your long term perspective on things”
  • “It’s not easy, it’s not comfortable, but I benefited from attending” – Tim
    • “With particular types of self imposed narratives and handicaps that you’ve built yourself, or walls around certain types of thinking or emotions, that perhaps served you very well in the past, but no longer serve you, he is exceptionally good at helping you work through all of that”
  • The self-help industry is booming, and becoming much more accepted
    • “Everyone now has access to expertise that even 10 years ago would have cost hundreds of thousands of dollars to access”

Some of the most recommended books from all of Tim’s podcast guests

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