Energy Balance/Stress Optimization Reflections, Part 1: Could Popular Hormetic Stressors Like Fasting And Intense Exercise Be Too Stressful? (And Could Calling Out Liver King Draw In More Listeners? (Breather Episode with Brad)


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Welcome to Part 1 of a four-part presentation relating to the extremely compelling title.

Indeed, I have been reflecting upon some of the foundational elements of progressive/ancestral health—calling them into question since my first exposure to Jay Feldman of the Energy Balance Podcast and my recent interview with him for the B.rad podcast. One of Jay’s assertions has been haunting me for over a month since he said it to Ben Greenfield on their podcast interview: “Fasting turns on stress hormones.” This is such an obvious observation but I have failed to put it into proper context for reflection until recently. Could it be that our devotion to athletic performance, healthy eating, and anti-aging could easily drift overboard such that the vaunted “hormetic stressors” fail to deliver the adaptive benefits they promise?

On that topic, I brazenly question the extreme health practices of my main man Brian “Liver King” Johnson in a blatant attempt to draw in more listeners. Liver King is the king of ancestral living and doing a great job promoting the importance of hard work, sacrifice and challenging the body in order to regain the ancestral fighting spirit that’s been lost in modern life. Could his amazing training regimen, cold exposure, and quarterly 5-day fasting regimen be unnecessary from a physical fitness perspective alone? Perhaps, but he is diligent in emphasizing the psychological benefits of challenging the mind and body with peak performance endeavors.

Here is a pretty heavy and potentially controversial quote from Jay Feldman to whet your appetite about what's coming in the four-part presentation: “Low-carb, ketogenic, and carnivore diets, which mimic the fasted state (also called the starvation state), cause considerable amounts of stress...and are generally a terrible idea {holy crap Jay!}.... But, like fasting, the benefits from these diets can largely be attributed to reductions in gut irritation rather than stress, because many of the irritating, hard-to-digest foods that would lead to increased endotoxin production are carbohydrates, and these types of foods are avoided on these diets.”


We are calling into question some of the foundational elements of progressive and ancestral health movement. [01:05]

Are todays’ athletes, who are breaking records, compromising their health and longevity? [03:15]

Fasting promotes stress hormones. [04:18]

Adaptations to stress and damage don’t actually improve our health. [07:44]

You have to be really careful in managing your hermetic stress levels, especially as you are getting older. [16:57]

We would all benefit from a more varied temperature experience. [19:12]

When you participate in an extended fast, in many ways, it is equivalent to an intense workout. [24:14]

Brad talks about realizing that his recent workout combining a cold plunge with an intense workout caused him a problem. [27:19]


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