How to Get Started with Biohacking
Our world has never been filled with more fitness data. Our wearables and apps track every calorie we consume, every step we take and every ounce on the scale. But are these trackers actually helping us boost our performance? According to recent research, that answer is no.
But just because fitness trackers don’t usually produce consistent health improvements doesn’t mean better health is out of reach. Enter biohacking.
Biohacking has become a popular way to bridge the gap between where our bodies are now and the optimized state we want to achieve. Here’s what you need to know about biohacking, and a few simple steps to get you started on the journey.
What is biohacking?
In simplest of terms, biohacking is the process of making changes to your lifestyle in order to “hack” your body’s biology and increase your performance.
Instead of research done at universities, the majority of biohacking comes from small groups of people getting together, usually in non-university labs, to explore biology. The result of these biohacking sessions is typically a product designed to improve how your DNA and genes function.
One prominent leader in the space is Bulletproof Founder Dave Asprey, who launched Bulletproof Labs, a fitness center of sorts, where you can pay a daily fee to receive a variety of biohacking treatments. You’ll find IV drips for everything from PMS to gut health, and even an “atmospheric cell trainer” that features rapid temperature changes and altitude to balance stressors. There’s also a virtual float tank and a bone trainer.
Is this the gym of the future? That’s questionable. But regardless of what you think about gadgets like the ones at Bulletproof Labs, one aspect of biohacking is inarguable: the more we know about our bodies, the better.
Understand your body
You’ve likely heard the saying, “What gets measured gets done.” But that adage isn’t just for your professional life; it’s also crucial to your health. To understand how you can optimize your body’s performance, you first need to, well, understand your body. Fortunately, a variety of affordable, trustworthy tests are available to fitness enthusiasts like you.
- Genetic testing: Companies like 23andMe have revolutionized genetic testing, making it fairly affordable for the masses. A typical test will trace your ancestry, plus determine your risk for certain diseases and propensity for gaining fat vs. muscle. Take this basic test a big step further by sharing it with a functional medicine practitioner. They’re trained to help you turn statistics into a food and supplement plan optimized for your genetic code.
- Fitness testing: Research shows that your genes impact more than your looks and your propensity toward disease; they can also impact how you should structure your workouts. But this knowledge is just one saliva sample away, thanks to Fitness Genes. After sending in your saliva sample, Fitness Genes delivers a comprehensive report. You’ll learn how certain genes impact your fitness, get genetically tailored advice on optimizing your workouts, and receive an Action Blueprint outlining the best nutritional strategy based on your genetic makeup.
- Gut check: If your gut isn’t functioning properly, it can affect everything from your brain health to your immune system, and even cause weight gain. The National Institutes of Health developed the Biohm Gut Report to help you understand your gut’s bacteria and fungi. The report will give you actionable wellness insights and a comparison of how your gut stacks up to typical ones.
Simple ways to start biohacking
Asprey’s gadgets aside, there are a number of accessible tools that can help you get in touch with your body and “hack” your way to better health.
- Biohacking apps: Use the Spire app to track your breathing and stress, the Sleep Cycle app to track your sleep, and the Zero app to time your meals.
- Red light therapy: Tony Robbins’ biohack of choice, red light therapy has been shown to treat a variety of conditions by stimulating healing, restoring function and relieving pain and inflammation. The “red light” range of 600 to 900 nm can activate nervous system and metabolic processes that point you toward better health.
- Supplements: Once you understand your genetic makeup, you can optimize your performance by giving your body the supplements it actually needs to reach the top of its game. Learn about our top ranked brain supplements here.
As biohacking grows in popularity, so do the number of devices and methods that claim to get your genes working in your favor. As with any new technology, do your due diligence and consult your physician or physical trainer if you’re thinking of adopting a new biohacking routine. But regardless of whether you’re ready to start biohacking or aren’t sold just yet, there’s tremendous value in understanding your body—and more scientific testing available than ever before to help you do just that.