Updated: Nov 11, 2019
Biohacker - anyone looking what supplements to take to drink heavily and not be hungover, occasionally listening to Binaural beats and... that's the extent of it.
Lately I've been running into a lot of unhealthy looking folks who call themselves "biohackers" and "follow" a ketogenic diet (because they heard that's what biohackers do), just not today, because they felt like they needed a soda and felt like having a pizza...
No wonder that word has caught on a negative connotation.
So what's the real definition of a biohacker? Biohacker—somebody who uses science and technology to make his or her body function better and more efficiently. Exactly.
Does recovering from a hangover more rapidly ultimately make one's body function better? The answer is pretty clear. NO, if it wasn't clear enough.
I often hear, "I'm so into optimization". Right... What are you actively doing to "optimize", besides taking supplements and expecting them to cancel out your toxic lifestyle practices?
Are you tracking your blood markers? Your sleep? Are you giving your body proper rest? How do you know? Do you physically exert yourself at least a few times a week? Oh, you stood on a vibration plate last month for 3 minutes? Got it... That's exactly what biohacking isn't.
Biohacker—somebody who uses science and technology to make his or her body function better and more efficiently.
My quick rant above pretty much summarizes what biohacking ISN'T.
So how do you do it right?
Let's see... First and foremost, by prioritizing the practices that do not require a lot of time and/or special equipment. Fort-runner being proper nutrition. That's right. Not supplements, nutrition comes first. I am all for supplementation, because we all know that nowadays it is extremely difficult to obtain the optimal nutrient status purely from the whole food sources. However, the whole food sources come first. Always.
Second, sleep. Whatever the biohack you are trying to implement in order to sleep less than 6 hours and perform at your peak - it's not going to work long term. Unless you're blessed with an extremely rare genetic condition that allows you to sleep 4 hours or less and be fully rested, there's no replacement to AT LEAST 6 solid hours of sleep. PERIOD. Yes, meditation, naps, supplements etc. accompany better sleep quality and allow you to get a more efficient, but they do NOT replace it.
Next - movement. I'm all FOR hacking movement. That's why I have a treadmill work station. But I'm sorry, 5 minutes on a vibration plate does not replace a low-level physical activity sprinkled throughout the day and it does not increase your bone density and muscle mass as strength training does. If you have access to ARX Fit or EMS devices - great - that's a great way to cut your strength workout time significantly, but guess what - you still have to do the work. Same thing with mitochondria-targeting explosive workouts. They don't take long, but you still have to push and reach the exhaustion, there's simply no way around it.
Next up in line - stress. Even though you're doing everything else right, if you're chronically stressed, you're not going to perform optimally. Period. Meditation, breathwork practices and any other de-stressing activities are crucial in the fast-paced lifestyles that we live.
Finally... Your environment. If you've got the aforementioned practices covered, you should already be in a better place than 99% of the population. Yet, if you're still using antiperspirant or spray deodorant, put lotions on your skin that have a high heavy metal content in them - you're doing yourself a massive disservice. My colleague put together a great guide for non-toxic personal care and cleaning products that you can use.
Once again, biohacking is all about optimizing your biology LONG-TERM, not just the here and now.
I personally combine multiple practices, eg. Morning routine - grounding + meditation + photobiomodulation + binaural beats to get most out of my time. I do incorporate cryotherapy sessions, but I don't ignore daily cold showers and frequent cold thermogenesis in an ice bath. I administer myself IV therapies when I travel to enhance my recovery, but I make sure to eat well and supplement first.
I also like spending time in the hyperbaric oxygen chamber (in fact, I'm writing this while in it), but I do it while taking care of something else. Yes, I am enticed by stem-cell therapy, because it's cutting edge and sexy, but first and foremost I maximize my stem-cell growth and regeneration by simple fasting practices. And yes, I do only spend maximum 2 hours a week in the gym, but I make it count. It's called minimum effective dose, not 'do-nothing-and-expect-results'.
Hope that clears up the confusion what biohacking is and what isn't.
Basics first. Fancy stuff second. You can't hack a computer that's turned off...