This is how I've gone from hitting the snooze button a zillion times despite getting 8+ hours of sleep to working productive 10h days no problem.
Before We Begin, What Is This Biohacking Stuff?
You'll probably never get two exact same definitions as to what biohacking is, so I'll give you my personal one:
Biohacking, to me, is making the body and the mind healthier in a holistic way through science and self-experimentation.
Because a healthy body and a healthy mind let you live happier.
And don't we all want to live a happy life?
What is it you say? You thought biohackers were those crazy people wearing tons of weird gadgets?
While there are some of us using all kinds of fancy tech to increase health (totally not me by the way) and while that can give you that extra edge, it is most definitely optional.
Especially when you haven't even mastered the basics yet.
And we'll exclusively cover the basics in this post.
So let's dive right in.
I'm not a doctor and sure as hell don't play one on the internet.
This is simply what's worked for me and shouldn’t be taken as a substitute for talking to your doctor.
First Things First: Status Quo Analysis
If you're low on essential nutrients and hormones, best case you're only gonna be low energy, worst case you're gonna get sick a lot more often.
This is precisely why you'll want to fix your deficiencies asap.
And in order to do that, first, you need to know where you're at right now...
..Which is why you'll want to:
- Get extensive blood work done (vitamins, minerals & hormones)
- Get your poo tested for gut issues
- Get tested for food allergies/sensitivities
Alright, let's unpack that one by one:
You'll want to get checked for vitamin, mineral and hormone deficiencies/ imbalances...
...Because if you have either way too much or not enough of an essential thing, you're going to be less healthy.
You'll want to also check your gut health...
...And in 2020 the best way to do that (still) is getting your poo tested.
Lastly, you'll want to not eat things that harm your body aka things you're allergic/sensitive to.
The blood work you can get done at pretty much any lab around the world for a couple hundred bucks.
The poo and allergy tests only certain labs do.
But your doctor will most likely be able to recommend one near where you live.
Alright, So About The Poo Test...
Yes, I know it's gross scooping out a piece of your poo and mailing it to your lab of choice.
Really gross actually.
But please learn from my mistakes.
I had minor leaky gut issues two years back.
Leaky gut is when your gut doesn't properly absorb all of the (expensive) nutrients you eat.
This means I'd started to eat healthy and take oral supplements for that which I'd been deficient in, only to not feel any better.
It was only when I fixed my leaky gut that the other measures started to have an effect.
So please don't skip the status quo analysis.
And especially don't skip the poo test.
What gets measured, gets managed
The Pink Elephant In The Room...
This stuff is gonna be expensive.
Unless you have very fancy insurance you're gonna have to pay for it all out of pocket.
All in for me it was around 700 Euros + another 200-300 Euros every 3-6 months for the checkups and I'm getting everything done in Germany.
I don't know your line of work, but in mine (Software Engineering), this investment paid off within days because of the productivity gains alone.
Fix Your Deficiencies
So now that you know where you're at, you can finally start fixing your shit (pun intended).
This means a better, cleaner diet as well as specific supplements to address your deficiencies.
For example if you're low on magnesium, you're gonna take a magnesium supplement to fix that deficiency.
Pretty simple stuff, huh?
Fix Your Diet
There are a zillion different diets out there and no two people are the same.
I will neither tell you to follow a meat-only diet (that's an actual thing) nor will I recommend you go raw vegan.
That being said, there are a couple of universal things most scientists and MDs seem to agree on:
- Eat your veggies. Lots of them. The more varied the better
- Cut out all sugar from your diet
- Don't eat foods you're allergic to
Doing the above three things is the simplest biohack ever.
And dare I say potentially the most impactful too.
Notice I said simple not easy.
Fix Your Testosterone
(This section is very male-centric. Ladies, I apologize. I really don't know a lot about the female endocrine system...yet)
Look man (see what I did there), there are no shortcuts here.
Increasing testosterone levels comes down to long-term lifestyle choices:
- Stress Reduction
Apply the principles outlined in the 'fix your diet' section.
Basic strength training.
Body weight exercises in the beginning are completely fine.
This is a great 20min workout to get you started:
And if you want to get a more in-depth guide on how to increase your T levels naturally, check out this awesome post:
Fix Your Sleep
If you can, sleep in a cold room. For me, around 16-17 degrees works best.
Also, if you can get a great mattress and pillow do that.
Certainly blacking out the room completely helps too.
The main thing though, is falling asleep and staying asleep.
Difficulty Falling Asleep?
Try journaling before bed. Just brain dump everything onto the page until there's nothing left.
For me sometimes that's just one page, other times it's 10+.
Alternatively, give meditation a shot.
10-20m last thing at night can do wonders for your sleep.
I got started doing guided meditation using Headspace and Waking Up at first.
These days I sit in total silence for an hour first thing.
But meditation might not work for you.
And that's okay.
Just try out something else then.
Because every-body is different.
Wait, But What About Exercise Though?
And what about ice baths and other self-torture practices?
While I did mention exercise in the section about testosterone and while exercise should be a regular part of every biohacker's life, you shouldn’t start with it.
Why? Because the Return On Investment on exercise is bad for beginners.
It tricks you into thinking you're doing something good for yourself when in reality you might be doing more harm than good.
An example would be an overweight person doing classic steady-state cardio on a treadmill...
You're gonna get a much better ROI cutting out sugar and fixing your diet and your sleep first.
That being said, we'll cover exercise as well as more esoteric practices like ice baths in an advanced biohacking post soon.