Peter Attia, M.D. — Fasting, Metformin, Athletic Performance, and More (#398)

Photo by Tyler Ruiz

“If you’re really committed to brain health, you want to be exercising every day.” — Peter Attia

Dr. Peter Attia (, TW: @PeterAttiaMD, IG: @peterattiamd, FB: @peterattiamd) is a former ultra-endurance athlete (e.g., swimming races of 25 miles), a compulsive self-experimenter, and one of the most fascinating human beings I know. He is one of my go-to doctors for anything performance- or longevity-related. He is also easily the best quarterback and sherpa for the US medical system I’ve ever met.

But here is his official bio to do him justice:

Peter is the founder of Attia Medical, PC, a medical practice with offices in San Diego and New York City, focusing on the applied science of longevity. The practice applies nutritional biochemistry, exercise physiology, sleep physiology, techniques to increase distress tolerance, lipidology, pharmacology, and four-system endocrinology to increase lifespan (delaying the onset of chronic disease), while simultaneously improving healthspan (quality of life).

Peter trained for five years at the Johns Hopkins Hospital in general surgery, where he was the recipient of several prestigious awards, including resident of the year, and the author of a comprehensive review of general surgery. He also spent two years at NIH as a surgical oncology fellow at the National Cancer Institute where his research focused on immune-based therapies for melanoma. He has since been mentored by some of the most experienced and innovative lipidologists, endocrinologists, gynecologists, sleep physiologists, and longevity scientists in the United States and Canada.

Peter earned his M.D. from Stanford University and holds a B.Sc. in mechanical engineering and applied mathematics.

Peter also hosts The Drive, a weekly, ultra-deep-dive podcast focusing on maximizing health, longevity, critical thinking, and a few other things. Topics include fasting, ketosis, Alzheimer’s disease, cancer, mental health, and much more. Subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Overcast, or wherever you listen to podcasts.

Please enjoy!

Listen to the episode on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Overcast, StitcherCastbox, Google Podcasts, or on your favorite podcast platform.

#398: Peter Attia, M.D. — Fasting, Metformin, Athletic Performance, and More


This podcast is brought to you by HumanN’s BeetElite, the endurance superfood and nitric oxide activator. HumanN’s BeetElite can help extend endurance, improve energy and stamina, and increase oxygen delivery throughout the body. It provides the nitric oxide equivalent of six whole beets, and BeetElite is trusted by hundreds of elite teams, athletes, and organizations all over the world, so you know you’re getting a top-notch performance product.

BeetElite is Informed-Sport Certified, and the team at HumanN is making an offer exclusive to my listeners: Take your performance to the next level with BeetElite by going to to get 20% off your first purchase!

This podcast is also brought to you by Peloton, which has become a staple of my daily routine. I picked up this bike after seeing the success of my friend Kevin Rose, and I’ve been enjoying it more than I ever imagined. Peloton is an indoor cycling bike that brings live studio classes right to your home. No worrying about fitting classes into your busy schedule or making it to a studio with a crazy commute.

New classes are added every day, and this includes options led by elite NYC instructors in your own living room. You can even live stream studio classes taught by the world’s best instructors, or find your favorite class on demand.

Peloton is offering listeners to this show a special offer: Enter the code you heard during the Peloton ad of this episode at checkout to receive $100 off accessories with your Peloton bike purchase. This is a great way to get in your workouts, or an incredible gift. That’s and enter the code you heard during the Peloton ad of this episode to receive $100 off accessories with your Peloton bike purchase.

Want to hear the first time Peter was on the podcast? — Listen to our conversation here. In that interview, we discuss optimizing blood testing, drinking “jet fuel,” training for ultra-endurance sports, consuming synthetic ketones, using metabolic chambers, extending longevity by avoiding certain types of exercise, and much more. (Stream below or right-click here to download.)

#50: Dr. Peter Attia on Life-Extension, Drinking Jet Fuel, Ultra-Endurance, Human Foie Gras, and More


QUESTION(S) OF THE DAY: What was your favorite quote or lesson from this episode? Please let me know in the comments.



  • Connect with Peter Attia:

Website | Podcast | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram


  • Something Peter’s been excited about lately: The concept of Centenarian Olympics. [09:00]
  • Peter describes one of his favorite exercises for all ages: The goblet squat. [18:12]
  • How Peter is training with dynamic neuromuscular stabilization (DNS) to correct some of the weightlifting quirks he’s picked up over the years. [21:40]
  • Why is the ability to control our intra-abdominal pressure — especially as we age — so important? [25:25]
  • Something Peter has changed his mind about lately: The use of anti-diabetic drug metformin in healthy individuals for enhancing longevity. [27:30]
  • What are mitochondria, what role do they play in our metabolism, and how could taking metformin — a mitochondrial toxin — possibly be good for us? [31:22]
  • While certain drugs for certain people under certain conditions can improve and even save lives, never underestimate the power of fasting, exercise, and sleep. [34:51]
  • What is egg boxing? [37:54]
  • Something else Peter’s been excited about lately: The space and potency of fasting. We know it’s effective, but how can we scientifically quantify it for greater efficiency and secure the funding to do it? [42:28]
  • Peter’s current fasting regimen, diet, and supplement intake. [49:42]
  • Something else Peter has changed his mind about recently: The fate of one’s personality may not actually be set. [54:06]
  • A stupid and absurd thing Peter likes: Tearing phone books in half. [1:00:44]
  • Another thing Peter’s been excited about lately: Archery hunting, the consumption of wild game, and a 2021 goal to only eat food that he’s killed. [1:07:35]
  • What type of gear does Peter use currently? [1:16:31]
  • In archery, what is the significance of back tension? [1:17:43]
  • Something else Peter has changed his mind about recently: Childhood experiences that seem minor in the moment can linger long after the fact in unexpected ways — and we, as adults, need to make sure we’re not inadvertently creating negative experiences by behaving badly around the children in our lives (e.g., road raging). [1:21:18]
  • Tying in with Peter’s acknowledgment of the possibility that personality isn’t fixed in place, how has he managed his own relationship with anger? [1:26:47]
  • As someone who’s been historically skeptical of therapists, what are the characteristics of a therapist Peter would trust to help him reduce his own suffering? [1:37:00]
  • Another stupid and absurd thing: Since he was eight years old, Peter has played a game called Forks and Knives. [1:42:26]
  • Peter’s thoughts on The World Anti-Doping Agency’s efforts to stay ahead of performance-enhancing drugs not yet labeled as such or with restrictions that would be difficult to enforce — like xenon gas and growth hormone. [1:46:04]
  • Something else Peter’s been excited about lately: Racing cars. [1:51:02]
  • Something else Peter has changed his mind about recently: The benefits of exercise being much greater than he ever envisioned. But how does he think about type and dose for getting the most out of the effort involved? [1:55:53]
  • Since taking sleep expert Matt Walker’s advice to heart, how has Peter helped his patients improve their sleep quality, and how has his own sleep protocol changed? [2:00:35]
  • Another stupid and absurd thing: The What If? game. [2:10:37]
  • We discuss another game that comes with its own Kevin Rose story: “The How Much Would I Have to Pay You To…” game. How many times in human history has this game been played by women? What’s the worst thing Peter ever agreed to do when he played it in high school? [2:14:39]
  • Peter and I discuss what we’ve struggled with, enjoyed, and learned in the process of hosting our own podcasts, and what we’ve observed from the interviewing styles of others in the sphere. [2:19:51]
  • The sometimes intense prep work that goes into an interview, plus pointers for aspiring podcasters eager to get their feet wet before diving in headfirst. [2:31:15]
  • Parting thoughts. [2:36:53]