The Guy Who Ran a Marathon in His Driveway Is on to Something
It might seem ridiculous, but people doing extreme health challenges are probably handling the pandemic better than the rest of us
Optimize Me is an Elemental column exploring (and fact-checking) the weirdest self-improvement trends. It comes out every Tuesday.
Geoffrey Woo is practically famous for intermittent fasting. The CEO of H.V.M.N., a biohacking and nootropic company, is an outspoken advocate for the health benefits of the practice and has been quoted about intermittent fasting multiple times. But when Covid-19 hit and all of our normal routines and dietary habits were thrown into disarray during quarantine, even Woo — who also follows a ketogenic diet — had a lapse.
“The first week or two was like, ‘Oh, this is weird. Maybe we’re all dead in three months. Maybe I’ll have a beer,’” he says. “I think we all lost context of what was the mental state we were in. We had no context, and I think when people have no context, they don’t keep their routines.”
Woo quickly got back in the saddle and renewed his normal 16:8 routine, fasting for 16 hours and eating within an eight-hour window every day. He also added a new component to his health regimen: completing a daily Murph challenge, a grueling CrossFit workout that involves 100 pullups, 200 pushups, 300 squats, and a two-mile run. Every. Single. Day. When Elemental spoke to him, Woo was up to 32 days in a row.
“Once I got over that initial shock, I was reflective on how I wanted to spend my time, how I wanted to go through this,” he says. “I think it’s been good for my psychology and productivity and mindset.”
For those of us who are fighting our most sloth-like and fridge-centric urges, stories like Woo’s of people undertaking quarantine challenges, particularly restrictive or physically demanding ones, may make you think these people have cracked. Who in their right mind would try to fast right now, or run a marathon in their driveway, or run more than 200 miles on a treadmill, like the second-place finisher of the Quarantine Backyard Ultra? But experts say these people are doing quarantine right. Physical…