Fast For Metabolic Flexibility with Mark Sisson

Date: October 24th, 2022
Author: Billie Bradshaw

In this video, Joe Rogan and Mark Sisson discuss the importance of having Metabolic Flexibility, or the ability of the body to be able to switch between using food for fuel or burning fat for fuel.

Metabolic flexibility could be considered the holy grail of health. If our bodies are able to switch quickly between burning fat or food for fuel, we'll be a lot more capable of strengthening our bodies and building up our endurance, not just physical, but mental and emotional.

The best ways to gain metabolic flexibility are through ketosis, intermittent fasting, or other low to no-carb diets. Watch the full video to get all the details and gain your own metabolic flexibility.

the Joe Rogan experience you know i've gone through again all these iterations of trying to um assist people with the information that i've come across in my research on how they can achieve an ideal body composition have more energy maintain or build you know muscle improve their immune systems have better sex be more productive whatever it is these are the things that these are what i'm trying to um the the hidden genetic switches that i'm trying to uncover for people and in in so doing you can choose to do it or not i'm not suggesting you have to do this to have a great life but here are some of the ways we do it and it started with a primal blueprint and then sort of morphed into well the primal blueprint works really well for a lot of people and even worked well for me but is there something else is there a new like level i could get to and that was the keto so i wrote a book called the keto reset diet since i was on here and i was i was in the keto for a while but then i i sort of said well you know ketosis is not a way to live your life it's a it's a tool a strategy that you can use to build metabolic flexibility some people do think that it's a way to live your life though like you know dom dogostino yeah he he does it all the time yeah i mean i have a lot of friends who do who do keto the whole time i'm just i'm not a person who says that's the way keto is the you know the be all and the end all of how you should live your life because i'm i'm more about achieving metabolic flexibility and and that's a term that's come up in the last couple of years i don't know if you've heard it but it basically describes your body's ability to extract energy from whatever substrate is available at the time so making it easier for your body to balance back and forth from fat to carbohydrates did not require so much of a gap bingo because usually the gap is what is like two weeks or something like that for you if you're a carbohydrate yeah and if you're and if and if you never go down the route of keto and all you do is eat carbs your whole life or have a carb-centric diet you never get to the point where you're burning fat efficiently or effectively so you're really metabolically inflexible your body is just demanding that it continuously run on carbs and never tap into your fat stores so you get typically you get incrementally fatter and fatter and then if you skip a meal or skip two meals or try to go on some sort of a fast the wheels fall off because you haven't built a metabolic machinery to burn fat to burn ketones and and all the things that go along with with metabolic flexibility so it turns out metabolic flexibility is the holy grail and how you get there whether it's uh primal paleo uh vegetarian vegan uh fasting if whatever i don't it's almost like it's it doesn't matter what route you you use if you can get to the point where you're metabolically flexible now you have this ability to to extract energy from your own stored body fat whenever you don't eat and how does one do that like what's the best strategy well the best strategy is keto so that's the best for sure for sure that's the best strategy so um because uh as long as you keep feeding your body carbohydrates every two or three hours all day long the body goes hey i got i got plenty of fuel taking the carbohydrates in raises my blood sugar blood sugar is a fuel but i don't want too much of it in my system and so the body produces insulin which tries to take excess glucose and protein and fat out of the bloodstream and sequester it in the cells and in so doing your blood sugar drops because it's it's and then you have to eat again every two or three hours and it's this cycle that people enter into that they that they're on for a lifetime sometimes and and the tendency over time because you're not burning your stored body fat is to accumulate body fat you never get really adept at burning body fat and you never because you never take time off to require that your body burns its fat you just keep accumulating it so how does someone go from being metabolically inflexible to metabolically flexible without going into keto that's difficult the way to do it is is through fasting um and it's just keto is such a better way to do it and the reason is you you're trying to prompt the body into making changes that it doesn't want to make you know when you go to the gym and you lift weights you're prompting the body to build muscle that it really doesn't want to build but now you're you know you're giving it a reason to and so when you withhold carbohydrate from the diet and sugar in particular but carbohydrate in general and the body senses that it's not going to get glucose for a while it starts to go to a plan b which is to build the metabolic machinery to start to extract energy from stored fat cells to burn that fat to combust that fat in the muscle cells it takes some of the fat sends it to the liver and to convert into ketones because the brain works really well on ketones in fact the brain works better on ketones than it does on glucose for most people so the body has this built-in plan this diagram this genetic program that you're born with to be metabolically flexible and to be able to extract energy from fat and from ketones and from glucose uh and and it would normally go that route but we we never give it the reason to now how is that plan how has it evolved well for most of human history we ate and we didn't eat it wasn't like you know breakfast was the most important meal of the day or make sure you keep you know uh little tupperware things of uh a little bit of protein and some carbohydrate to eat every two or three hours or else your muscles go into cannibal mode no humans are wired to overeat and because food was so scarce when we did come across food we tend to to eat more and certainly sweet foods like fruits was even more palatable so we probably tended to eat more of that but but so we're wired to overeat and we have this amazing design that allows us to take excess energy and convert it into fuel that we carry around with us all the time conveniently located above the center of gravity so it's on the hips on the butt on the thighs on the belly so so we tend to carry this excess body fat as a survival mechanism from a million years ago that's why you carry it here yeah that's sure that it's like like a fanny pack yeah it's exactly what it is that's exactly what it is so so but again if you look at evolution and how and how things you know work we're bipedals we have to stand up right so you know if we had uh fat accumulating on our upper back or whatever we'd be you know tipping over so it's conveniently located over the center it's an elegant elegant design the problem is it was designed so that when you didn't eat food you could take that same fuel take it out of storage combust it and and not be any of the worse for wear not think of anything other than you know i'm still gonna hunt i'm still gonna do all these things i haven't eaten for five days i'm not hangry i'm not pissed off at my mate i'm just gonna keep going with a great attitude that i'm gonna find something to eat now what is the standard amount of time is there a standard amount of time between if a person eats a normal american diet and they just decide to fast how long does it take before their body to converts to burning fat if they're not going keto right yeah um they're probably gonna burn they're gonna probably use a little bit of muscle in the process because the body if it isn't used to to uh deriving most of its energy from fat because of a process that you've engaged in to to use keto to you know to burn fat um it'll it'll still seek glucose and if you don't give it glucose and you haven't done this work for the first couple of days it's it's miserable and so people talk about the low carb flu or the um or you know if they go on a fasting thing at an ashram you know i saw i saw elvis you know two days ago pelvis whatever yeah yeah whatever i was in my in my dreams oh you're saying because you're going crazy because you're going crazy right so you're you know your your your brain is kind of frazzled because you haven't given it the opportunity to to really thrive on ketones yet your body's making ketones but you haven't again you haven't built that metabolic machinery to use them efficiently and effectively and so the brain's still looking for glucose and as a result what happens is the brain will send a signal to the adrenals to secrete cortisol cortisol then you know goes throughout the body and strips amino acids from muscle tissue to send them to the liver to become glucose so you can feed the brain so it's it's counterproductive over time and it's also you know one of the reasons why back in the old bodybuilding days in the old in the old training days in any gym this this mantra about don't go more than three or three or four hours without eating or you'll cannibalize your muscle tissue if you haven't become fat adapted and keto adapted that does happen you do cannibalize muscle tissue when you go long periods of time without eating like say when i say standard american diet i don't mean junk food but if you're a person who eats normal you eat a little bit of pasta a little bit of bread but you eat mostly healthy if you decide that you're going too fast your body's going to cannibalize some muscle not so much yeah how much a few pounds not even you know a few pounds maybe a few pounds and you get it back you'll get it back but the idea is that if you can weather that storm how much time are you looking for before your body starts burning fast some people a week some people two weeks a week some people three weeks you'll be dead you can't fast for two weeks oh no you're talking about fasting fasting oh jesus no i'm talking about uh no i'm not talking about no no i'm talking no no i'm talking about intermittent no that gets us to two meals a day right so but what if someone just fasts but so what so give me a term like okay so if you decide yeah i'm gonna go on a 36 hour fast that's probably the high end of what i would do and then anything beyond that i'd be a little bit concerned that i hadn't prepped myself with with fat adaptation yet so when people go on these crazy three to five day fasts they report all this energy they feel great they feel amazing what's going on there well they're they've got their brains are using ketones right so that's definitely where the energy the feeling of amazing comes from um typically if you're fasting that long you're not working out like like any of these like my wife does a seven day water fast oh geez twice a year oh jesus that's what i said do you go on vacation when that's happening no i eat more i eat for her why does she do that she has this you know she feels that like it's uh good for her she's into the autophagy and the and and some of the um explain anti-aging it burns cells that are yeah so this when you're one of the things one of the many things that happens when you when you fast is that your body goes into a different mode and it starts to realize there's not going to be a lot of fuel around for a while and so in addition to burning stored body fat in addition to making ketones by the way ketones come from fat so some of the fat that you combust is also just converted into ketones that your brain can use um it also the body also says like if you were to be a if you had a brain if you were a cell and you had a brain he thought well generally there's a lot of fuel around so my job is to pass the genetic material along to the next generation so there's plenty for two of us so i'll just divide there'll be two of us that'll be great that same cell when in the absence of of this sort of bathing in in nutrition goes well this is not even enough for one of me let alone two of me so i'm not going to divide i'm going to repair what i have and so the cell goes into a repair process where it starts to consume damaged proteins and damaged fats within itself uh it it and it actually gets energy from that um starts to repair uh broken strands of dna or whatever little things are going on it actually kills off senescent cells at that time so it's a it's an anti-aging strategy that a lot of people use um it's also a god i hate the term reset i gotta why do you hate the term because it's overused no but and i used it in a book but all of a sudden in the context of what's going on in the world and the great reset like i never want to hear that term again oh the great reset isn't that that's the conspiracy theory that the government is using this to change the financial structure of the country and everything else yeah do you hear that a lot in florida is that what's going on no no no no no no no no no no we don't know but i read a lot joe i read the new york times to see what the other side's doing yeah but um so so she she will do these fast but she's metabolically flexible so it's easy for her to do but if you're not metabolically flexible and you try you you you take on a fast of three days um you can get through it and and it's probably good for you my whole thing is i want this to be if you chose to do something like that i wanted to be pleasurable pleasurable and easy and graceful and you know something you look forward to doing not something you dread doing now is there um amount can you intermittent fast and get your body to be more metabolically flexible in that way yeah that's and that's what i'm talking about so so i'm not even into the multi-day fasting i'm into um two meals a day so the premise of the book is um once you've developed metabolic flexibility to engage in as much time as you can of not eating throughout the day to maximize all of these benefits that we just described that come from not eating and one of the things we say is most of the good things happen to us when we're not eating you know most repair most recovery most of rebuilding happen when we're not eating when we're eating which we have to do um it comes with inflammation and and you know it's a it's a necessary thing but the good stuff all happens when we're not eating so to the extent that we can we can expand that window of not eating and with with the two meals a day program and which pretty much anybody who's keto now does you just have an evening meal and then you don't eat until one o'clock 1 30 2 o'clock the next day so you have two meals a day and you have that 18-hour window that's your that's what you use an 18-hour window yeah why did you choose 18 um it works for me i mean you can do 16 you can do i mean anything less than you know 14 is back to sort of you know where you were before it's a little bit better but it's not as like i said the more time that you can go between eating the better and it and it isn't about a uh so much a routine on a daily basis it's basically um uh i certainly use that as a template but once in a while i eat one meal a day i'll go you know dinner to dinner to dinner and the the beauty here is because i'm metabolically flexible i have the confidence that i'm not tearing down muscle tissue i have that my immune system is probably benefiting from it as opposed to being somehow hurt by it i maintain muscle mass again i have all this energy and most importantly i'm not hungry catch new episodes of the joe rogan experience for free only on spotify watch back catalog jre videos on spotify including clips easily seamlessly switch between video and audio experience on spotify you can listen to the jre in the background by using other apps and can download episodes to save on data cost all for free spotify is absolutely free you don't have to have a premium account to watch new jre episodes you just need to search for the jre on your spotify app go to spotify now to get this full episode of the joe rogan experience