The Ultimate First World Problem

I have spent months trying to solve a problem presented in Dave Asprey’s book about fasting. He tells a story about being invited to attend a dinner at Kensington Palace (current home to Prince William and Kate Middleton). At this once-in-a-lifetime event, sitting next to Dave was another executive, who was on day three of his five-day fast. This executive, surrounded by waiters in tuxedos and the finest food in the world, sat stoically with an empty plate. Was this the right call?

When I think about anorexia versus intermittent fasting, the difference to me is that the former harms health, while the latter optimizes. An anorexic lives malnourished and catabolic, while someone committed to intermittent fasting cycles in and out of ketosis.

In a similar way, we sense that extreme endurance athletes—marathoners and triathletes—have taken things too far, but why? Again, more bad than good:

Long-distance runners suffer from the same joint problems as professional football players. They sometimes find blood in their urine. And triathletes occasionally show scarring on their hearts—exactly what you’d expect from any severely overtrained muscle.

What about us gym bros, that choose eight hours of sleep versus a fun-filled night at the club? For me personally, I’m willing to trade a shot at a girl draped off each arm in exchange for feeling great every day. My priority is to live the experience nature designed, with high energy, no prescription drugs, and a youthful feeling indefinitely.

Still, I think I would have taken the meal at the castle.

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