Should You Do Intermittent Fasting or Not?


Get the Japanese Superfood List

It is Friday today, which means the last day of my intermittent fasting for this week. In the post below, I said that many people were quitting intermittent fasting,

The Reason Why Many People Are Quitting Intermittent Fasting

then,  I watched this video recently.

Mike Mutzel, the host of a YouTube channel called High Intensity Health that I sometimes watch, had been promoting intermittent fasting along with other biohacking methods. But in this video, he says that he had decided to stop doing intermittent fasting, at least not to the same degree as before.

For details, please watch the video, but he now thinks it may not be so beneficial to fast if you are working out daily and trying to increase muscle mass. If you lead a sedentary lifestyle, intermittent fasting is still effective, so it depends on your lifestyle and your physical condition, of course.

I agree with him on that point. You don’t need to do too many things. Some people are doing intermittent fasting, and exercises, along with sauna and cold plunge, but I think many of the benefits overlap, and you don’t need to do all of them.

There are benefits that are unique to each activity, too, therefore not everything is replaceable. Both fasting and exercises activate autophagy, yet, fasting also gives your gut a break, by not constantly feeding yourself. So, to support my gut, I still want to continue fasting even though I am exercising regularly, too.

There is a saying called Hara Hachibunme in Japan, and it means stop eating when you are 80% full. It is also recommended not to eat between meals. Both are for giving your digestive system a break. We had only two meals a day in Japan until around 1700 A.C. We didn’t have breakfast and had lunch around noon and had dinner around 4 pm. It was very much like today’s intermittent fasting.

Prolonged fasting such as 2 day fast or 3-day fast has been practiced as a spiritual discipline in the Japanese natural health just like in many other spiritual practices around the world.

There must be some unique benefits in fasting if it is done all over the world throughout our history. Therefore, I don’t think you should stop fasting entirely.

However, for prolonged fasting, you don’t need to do that often. If you do 2 day fast every week, maybe it is too much, and according to Mike Mutzel, many people are doing prolonged fasting frequently. In the Japanese natural health tradition, it is done only once every few months or a few times a year.

Listening to him in the video, it seems to be the trend to overdo everything in the United States. Once people are hooked on fasting, you become a fasting freak, and do 24 hour fast, 48 hour fast, 72 hour fast, and water fast. Once you are hooked on workouts, you become a fitness freak and you go running, cycling, do HIIT, and weight training.

I see similar situations in other people’s videos, too. When people do a cold plunge, for example,  some of them do it for 20 minutes.

As I discussed in these posts,

Are Endurance Sports or Strenuous Exercises Good for Longevity?

Cold Plunge vs. Totonou, the Japanese Style Sauna Bathing

too strenuous activity can be harmful to your longevity.

So, if you are doing rather too much, you can slow down and cut down the amount or the types of activities. Maybe you can stop intermittent fasting for a while.

Nevertheless, I don’t think the issue is to stop one activity or to decide which activity is better.

You want to look at the way you approach things. Balance and moderation are the keys.

As I discussed in the following video,

the balance between pain and recovery is critical.

No wonder you want to stop intermittent fasting. If you are doing 18 hours fast or OMAD, one meal a day, every single day, or 16 hours every day and 36 hours once a week, you want to quit after some years.

Again, Hare and Ke intermittent fasting doesn’t have this problem. You take a break mentally, plus you take a break physically to catch up with your protein intake.

Exercises, too, you want to slow down. In the video, The French Paradox: How rich food and wine could help you stay healthy, they said that French people don’t jog, they go walking instead because it is more fun.

Me, too. The reason why I go Nordic walking and not jogging is the same. It is more enjoyable and easier to do, therefore I can continue doing it for a long time. By the way, I stopped my new morning routine, it was too hard.

My New Morning Routine

I returned to my previous workout routine.

For the detail on my routine, please read Ikigai Bio-Hacking: Bio-Hacking Based on Japanese Natural Health. In the book, I am sharing the hours and frequency of my fasting, what I eat during my eating window, what exercises I do, when I do them, how much I do them, and how often I do them.

After trying out many approaches, I finally settled on this protocol. Of course, it is different for each person and that is just my best way, yet, you can apply my thinking behind it to discover what is suitable for you.

My protocol is more for people over 50, who are biohacking to stay young and healthy into old age, rather than younger people who want to optimize your physical performances. So, depending on your purpose, you can find your protocol.

For sauna and cold plunge, I don’t think you need to do them every day, if you are already practicing intermittent fasting and exercising. You can have a sauna for relaxation if it is relaxing for you, but not to further activate autophagy or sirtuin. I have a bath every night, but this is to relax. It is a recovery time for me.

The bottom line is balance, harmony, and wholeness. You want to include a wide variety of activities, just like absorbing diverse fiber, but each one for a moderate amount.