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FAST - What are the unique aspects of the five survival stress tools?

Updated: Nov 3, 2022

"Fasting as a survival stress tool is a means of optimizing overall health and functionality while confronting the emotional and psychological challenges of scarcity.”

- Matt Soule, author of Fight, Freeze, Fast, F^ck, Breathe - Mastering the Stress Response

Each survival stress tool offers a wide range of physical, mental, and emotional benefits, when trained and applied correctly.

Recall last week we focused on Freeze, an environmental acute stress tool. Unlike the freeze which describes nervous system overload, such as panicking or shutting down, we discussed a positive type of freeze. This positive Freeze uses short exposures to frigid temperatures that allows us to gain a myriad benefits physically, mentally and emotionally. The training offers a way to address needed emotional resolution, find stillness amidst excessive stimulation, reinterpret the environment and adapt.

This week we will focus on the Fast tool. Fast refers to going without food for specific time periods. Similar to Freeze, it is also an environmental acute stress, but one which differs in that it allows us to focus on the challenges of scarcity. Used in the correct manner, the Fast tool physically helps us optimize our bodies through hormone and gene expression and vastly improves senses and sense awareness while contributing to our longevity.

To maximize the benefits of this tool, and reduce the chance that it becomes a source of added distress, a two-part approach to implementation is helpful.

The first part is to begin by establishing a time-restricted eating window of between 5-8 hours. It is important to take your time and be consistent over a period of several weeks to establish this reduced timeframe.

The second part is to begin implementing extended fasts which I define as 24-72 hours. As a general guide, I advise beginning with no more than one extended fast per month.

For this week, the takeaway is to follow these three steps:

Step 1 Become familiar with survival stress tools. Today we covered the Fast tool.

We learned aspects and benefits of the Fast tool. If we want to be optimal, we must support the body and brain’s natural desire to find its proper rhythm. This starts with eating on a more restricted schedule, because it will allow the body to prioritize functions properly without the interference of other processes. Meanwhile, extended fasts help to re-sensitize insulin receptors, allow the body to clear out impaired cells and build new stem cells. Mentally and emotionally, we can learn to overcome the fear of scarcity while finding gratitude for abundance and simplicity alike.

Next week, we will cover the Fuck tool. Want more now?


Check out Brock Cannon's podcast where I had the privilege of appearing on his show to talk about survival stress tools in depth.

Step 2 Take action. By taking action and implementing these tools in our lives, the information = empowerment! The result will be a tremendously positive influence on bettering our lives. Start today by checking out some of the upcoming training opportunities.

**Establish a new eating plan and make a goal to complete a Fast next month. Write to tell me how it is going. I can be reached at or on instagram @soulemd**

Step 3 Maintain the balance. High-threshold tools are powerful, which means that when wielded correctly— that is using them consistently but in short durations— they will serve us. Overuse them and you will pay the price which often leads to burnout, injury or worse. We are all at different starting places so respect the power of the tool as you calibrate your personal training regimen. If you are unsure about a particular tool, routine or anything around your training, submit your question and I will do my best to answer it.

This week's question

"How often should I get into cold water?"


Daily cold exposure is ideal so long as you train with a recovery mindset. More is not always better. As a general guide, consider taking a cold shower from as little as 30 seconds to 5 minutes daily and a two minute ice bath or nature equivalent once per week. If you find you are feeling great, with tons of energy and sleeping well you got the dose and frequency right. If you are feeling sluggish, worn down or getting sick, revisit your training routine. Those are not the results you want.

Ask a Question

Do you have a specific question that you would like answered to help you with your training? Send me an email at or connect with me on Instagram @soulemd and I will include your question and answer in a future newsletter or blog post.

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