Biohacking is becoming hugely popular, thanks to the Internet. People now have access to vast amounts of information, experts, and the latest science, which enables them to to take charge of their own health like never before. Many of them call themselves “biohackers.”
If you’re not familiar with the term “biohacking,” Dave Asprey, one of the best-known biohackers and CEO of Bulletproof™, describes it as follows: “Biohacking is the art and science of changing the environment around you and inside you so that your body and your biology will do what you want it to do.”
Through things like diet, exercise, and technology, people are optimizing their bodies, minds and environments so they can improve their health, perform at their best, and live longer.
One of the main focuses of biohacking is improving cognitive function. In addition to things like supplements and nootropics, lifestyle changes are emphasized, particularly through exercise and diet.
Many biohackers follow a low-carb, Paleo-type diet, combined with intermittent fasting, such as The Bulletproof Diet™.
Behavioral modifications are also important, such as managing stress with methods such as meditation and mindfulness, and optimizing sleep through things like light therapy.
Some things biohackers do may seem a little bizarre to the uninitiated.
How I Became a Biohacker
People often become biohackers after dealing with health challenges and not getting answers from conventional medicine. That’s how I got involved with it myself.
As someone who had a bad run in with toxic mold, like Dave Asprey, I was on my own to figure out how to get my health back after seeing many doctors and spending a lot of money. It was why I was attracted to Bulletproof and became a Certified Bulletproof Coach.
Measure Your Results
Part of biohacking is measuring results through testing and tech gadgets, such as sleep apps. I’m not always good at that myself as my approach to biohacking has been to throw a lot of things at the problem and see what sticks.
It’s best to just start one new thing at a time so you can tell it it’s effective or not. Before adding supplements, get tested for deficiencies first, and make lifestyle changes before adding things like nootropics.
Five Free Biohacks
1. Get Cold
Exposing yourself to cold helps maximize the mitochondria of your cells and improves your immune system. The simplest way to expose yourself to cold daily is at the end of your shower, turn the water temperature all the way to cold and try to tolerate it for up to a minute (start slowly). Getting into the ocean or other cold water is also great.
2. Change Your Light
Avoid artificial light, which messes with the sleep hormone melatonin and is damaging to the eyes. This includes blue light from screens on phones, computers and TVs. You can download a free software program called f.lux that adjusts the light on your computer screens in the evening; the newer iPhones can be changed in the settings to do the same.
Getting some sunlight early in the morning and also later in the day will help reset your circadian rhythm from being inside all day.
See this article for more light hacks.
3. Move More
As you’ve probably heard, sitting is the new smoking. Humans weren’t designed to sit at a desk all day. Even working out regularly doesn’t counteract its damaging effects. As getting a standing desk isn’t an option for most people, try to get up and walk around every 20-30 minutes or even just standing for a little while helps.
4. Get Out in Nature
Just like we weren’t designed to sit all day, our natural state isn’t to be inside all day either. Getting outside in green space has been shown to be good for our immune system and overall well being. Outdoor air is usually cleaner than indoor air too.
Even better take your shoes off and walk on the bare ground when you can, which will help ground you to the earth’s energies.
5. Optimize Your Breathing
Proper breathing is important for getting enough oxygen, eliminating toxins, reducing stress and being mindful. Many of us breathe too shallowly, so check you’re breathing (in and out through your nose) into your belly area, not just your chest.
A quick breathing exercise I do when I want to calm myself down is the 4-7-8 breath: inhale for a 4 count, hold for a 7 count, and exhale for an 8 count (repeat a few times).
Another practice I like to do is to take 30 deep breaths every day. Or try the Wim Hof breathing exercise, which is practiced by many biohackers.
Meditation is a great way to connect with your breath; it can be as simple as just closing your eyes and paying attention to your breath for 5-20 minutes every day.
Is Biohacking Addictive?
Yes, I think you can overdo biohacking just like anything else–there’s some people doing pretty crazy things (I won’t mention names).
If you’re wondering if you’re taking biohacking too far, ask yourself the following questions:
- Is biohacking/self help getting in the way of your life and relationships?
- Are you secretive about it?
- Can you really afford it? If your credit cards are maxed out, then probably not. Biohacking can become very expensive.
- Are you overly concerned about the foods you eat?
- Is all your time spent on the computer researching health and similar topics?
If you answered “yes” to any of these, don’t feel bad. It’s good to remember that we’re being marketing to 24/7, and even our trusted “experts” are ultimately trying to sell us something.
While there’s nothing wrong with wanting to be healthy, look good, and live a long time, it takes time to be a biohacker. When you get too preoccupied with your body, you could be missing out on other things in life.
I’ve been guilty of this myself. My morning regime of exercise, sauna, doling out supplements and fixing food had just become too time consuming. Even though I was getting up around 5:30 am, I was often still wearing my robe at 10:00 am. Yes, I could say I had a excuse as I was trying to recover from illness, but still….
If you’re new to biohacking and want to know more, here’s some resources to check out:
A Beginner’s Guide to Biohacking by Dave Asprey of Bulletproof
A podcast by super fitness biohacker Ben Greenfield