In today’s busy world, everybody is always looking for ways to be more productive.
Whether that’s downloading the newest productivity app or trying out the latest hack, most people rely on technology and tools to increase their productivity…
And I used to do the same, but after years of mediocre results and constant burnout – I came across an interesting concept.
One that didn’t focus on technology or tools, but instead focused on health hacks…
Because when you really think about it, health is the foundation of all productivity.
And even though there’s plenty of different ways to capitalize on this foundation, from eating healthy to a daily walk…
Of all the things I’ve tried, a short term fast always works best for my productivity.
It sounds crazy, I know…
And it’s not a sustainable tactic that you could use everyday, but whenever I have a big project that needs finished or simply need to have an extremely productive week – fasting is my one go-to that allows me to get anything done.
That doesn’t mean there’s not any dangers to fasting and you need to take proper precautions to ensure your health, but after reading this article…
You’ll have a lot better idea on how you can use this to your advantage, along with the reasons why it works so well.
What I mean by fasting
To get us started, it’s always important to start with what I mean by fasting.
I guess I didn’t realize this until I started telling people about my new productivity hack, but fasting can mean a lot of different things, to a lot of different people.
Some people think fasting means not consuming anything (food or water) for a period of time…
While others think fasting means simply not eating for a short period of time, like 16 hours.
Now technically these are both correct and both would provide some benefits, but I’m all about finding the happy medium.
One that gives you the max benefits with minimum effort, and I’ll explain that happy medium in a second…but first, I want to show you the 4 main types of fasting:
As I mentioned a second ago, to some, fasting means not eating or drinking anything for a period of time…
And that’s what we’d consider a dry fast. This is also the one type of fast that I would never recommend to anybody.
Because it causes unnecessary harm.
I’ve done extensive research into this topic and I can’t find one good reason why you’d want to stay away from water…
Then on top of this, you can only survive a few days without it – so a dry fast limits your fasting period as well.
Long story short, please don’t ever do a dry fast.
Moving up one notch on the “sanity” scale, a wet fast. This is the exact same as a dry fast, except during a wet fast, you’re allowed to drink all the water you’d like.
This removes most of the negatives of a dry fast, but it’s still something I’d only recommend to “experienced” fasters.
The reason for this is because if you’ve never fasted before, then your body isn’t going to be ready for it and that can cause a variety of problems…
Like extreme headaches or breaking down muscle for fuel.
On the other hand, if you’ve entered a “fasting” period through safer methods, then your body has had a chance to become familiar with this and that allows you to skip a lot of the negatives…
Like not using muscle for fuel, and instead – going straight for body fat.
That’s why I always recommend the next type of fasting for any beginner…
And that’s a:
I put supplemented in quotations because I really don’t know what to call this type of fast.
I guess I’ve never seen a universal term for it and the only relevant type of fast that I’ve seen is a “low-calorie protein” fast, which does have some similarities to my supplemented fast…
Yet misses a few important parts, like drinking quickly digesting fats during the first few days of your fast.
These fats are extremely important when entering a fast because they:
Provide a source of energy for your brain and that helps eliminate brain fog
Tells your body to start using fat for fuel and skips the process of using muscle for fuel
You can also take this one step further and drink BCAAs (the main staple of low-calorie protein fasts) to preserve muscle…
But healthy fats are the key supplement to focus on, and one that’ll make your fasting experience a lot easier.
There’s plenty of ways to consume these healthy fats, but I highly recommend MCT Oil Powder by Quest Nutrition.
This is the source of fats that has the least amount of digestive issues and it’s very easy to consume (simply put 2 scoops in a blender bottle full of water, then enjoy).
On top of this, it quickly converts to energy and when I take this during the first few days of a fast…I experience little brain fog (if any).
Last, but certainly not least…intermittent fasting.
This has become a popular diet trend over the recent years and I’m sure you’ve heard of it in one way, shape or form…
But long story short, intermittent fasting is the practice of not eating for short periods of time.
I’ve seen people do this in different ways, but the most common (from what I’ve seen) method is an 8-hour feed followed by a 16-hour fast.
The main reason why this works so well is because technically our bodies are in “feeding” mode for approximately 12 hours after we eat…
And anything after that is a fasting period, one that starts to give us the benefits that I’m about to mention below…
But before we get there, I want to mention that even though intermittent fasting does have some benefits – it doesn’t quite have all the same positives as the other forms of fasting.
With that said, it is a great stepping stone for anybody who wants to go from the traditional diet and prepare their body for a fast….
Which then allows you to do a full fast and receive all the benefits.
What do I recommend for beginners?
As I mentioned earlier, the only form of fasting I’d NEVER recommend is dry fasting.
It simply doesn’t make sense and does more harm than good.
That means any other form of fasting is an okay way to start, but here’s the best method I’ve found – and one that seems to work for anybody (from beginner to expert):
Do a 3-day “supplemented” fast
During the first 2 days of that fast, drink an MCT Oil Powder shake whenever you’re hungry (highly advise having one right after you wake up as well)
In addition to this, make sure you walk for at least an hour everyday (works best in the morning). The biggest misconception with fasting is how you lose energy and need to be on bedrest so you can preserve all energy. That’s simply wrong and walking allows you to enter fat burning mode a lot quicker, letting you use fat for fuel and actually having more energy
Try and consume a lot of electrolytes during this fast. You can do this by drinking SmartWater (full of electrolytes) or putting salt in your water then taking magnesium and potassium pills
Pro Tip: Start and break your fast in the evening. For example, I usually start my fast at 6 p.m. on Thursday night and break it at 6 p.m. on Sunday night. This way you can start your fast by sleeping and have plenty of time to enjoy a big meal on Sunday evening.
And that’s it, that’s the fasting method that’ll allow you to skip over most of the negatives and start receiving the positives…
Which brings me to my next point:
Why fasting improves my productivity
1. Not always thinking about food
Whether you realize it or not, we’re always thinking about when and what we’re going to eat for our next meal.
This has obvious negatives, like taking time out of your day to eat…
But it also has less subtle effects, like using a lot of our limited cognitive energy (always thinking about what to eat).
In other words, eliminating the need for food over a period of a few days not only gives you more time to be productive, but it also gives you more energy to focus on the task at hand.
2. Increased Energy
When I did my first fast, I did it for health reasons (which I’ll explain below) and honestly thought it was going to be a week of sluggishness and no energy.
That’s why I was extremely surprised to see my energy skyrocket on day 3 and that’s also what made me start to use fasting as a productivity tool.
I found a few major reasons why my energy skyrocketed, and I’ll explain a lot of them throughout the remainder of this article…
But a primary reason is because when you’re not using the digestive system, you’re reserving a lot of energy for other areas – like productivity.
In other words, our digestive system uses a lot of energy and fasting allows you to reallocate this energy to other areas.
Which also allows you to:
Fasting is a form of stress on the body, but as I learned throughout my research – all stress isn’t bad stress.
What do I mean?
Well, since we’re not providing our body with outside fuel…it starts to become more efficient.
And part of this efficiency is getting rid of all the “worthless” cells, the cells that are full of toxins and/or cancerous cells….a process known as autophagy.
This is the same reason why doctors are starting to recommend fasting before chemotherapy, but from a productivity standpoint – removing all these toxins from your body allows you to feel amazing and when you feel good – it’s a lot easier to remain productive.
4. Improves brain function
As I mentioned in item 3, some stress can be really good for the body…
And the same holds true for the brain.
This is honestly the main reason why I love fasting, as I notice a different level of mental clarity while doing so…
And the main reason for this is because under this stress – our brain produces a protein called brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF).
This protein does wonders for brain function, and when your brain is operating better…then well, productivity gets easy after that.
But it doesn’t stop there:
5. Fat burning mode provides the best source of energy
In addition to producing BDNF, when we fast our body starts to use fat for fuel.
This is awesome for weight loss reasons, but it’s also awesome because burning fat creates a different form of energy…
One that’s efficiently used by the brain and one that doesn’t create the energy roller coaster (i.e. 2 p.m. crash) that takes place with the standard diet.
This is the same source of energy you get from drinking the quickly digesting fats, but fair warning…
Once you experience this source of energy and realize what it does to your productivity, it’s hard to go back.
I love it so much I actually changed my diet completely, just so I could constantly receive this source of energy…
And if you want to learn more about that process, I created a free resource for you – found at SeanMeyer.com
Start simple, then work your way up
Fasting is an amazing tool that does a lot of good for your body.
From a complete detox to improved energy, fasting is a powerhouse for productivity…
But that doesn’t mean you should jump into a 3-day fast right away either.
It’s always important to take small steps until you reach your goal, and that’s why an easy option (like intermittent fasting or my change of diet) is advised before doing a full-blown fast.