Every year I spend over 1,000 hours reading, discovering, analyzing, and testing strategies you can use to get the most out of your body, mind, and spirit.
I Approach Biohacking Differently
I design plans uniquely tailored to upgrading your life as a high-achiever. Elevating your mental & physical performance one percent every day will make you an Outliyr in no time.
I combine time-tested ancestral wisdom with the latest clinical research to deliver actionable insights that are decades ahead of conventional wisdom.
I don’t give blind recommendations. I research, rigorously test, and carefully curate anything I endorse. I turn down everything I don’t completely stand by.
Human Performance Optimization
Malcolm Gladwell’s stated that subject matter expertise takes 10,000 hours of practice. But for most things, ~10,000 hours is too long. When it comes to biohacking and performing at my peak, I like efficiency. How can I achieve 80 percent mastery with only 20 percent of the effort?
Taking this approach frees up precious time and mental bandwidth.Resilient humans overcome challenges with ease. Experiencing more of life's fruits. Joyful and free of limits. #outliyr Click To Tweet
Whether playing sports with friends, crushing a presentation, or thriving in an arctic tundra for days on end — I want to perform my best anytime, anywhere.
I launched this site for you to shortcut the “10,000-hour mastery” process. Learn from my trials, tribulations, and N=1 experiments. Track, hack, and self-optimize your way to superhuman performance.
This site explores:
- Peak performance
- Therapies & protocols
- Workplace optimization
- Nootropics & smart drugs
- Gear & tools
- Digestion & microbiome
- Purpose & motivation
- … and much more
If any of these topics pique your interest, you are in the right place.
Nick Urban’s Introduction to Biohacking
My journey began with brain fog and chronic fatigue. My doctors chalked it up to high fasting blood sugar and off-the-charts inflammation.
Aside from the occasional “cheat” meal, my diet exemplified the USDA Food Pyramid. I snacked throughout the day and made sure to include plenty of grains. I diligently avoided dietary fat, drank my morning glasses of fruit juice, and refused to salt my meals. A perfectly balanced diet — or so I thought.
I felt worse than I looked. Sports kept me fit, but eventually, my performance plateaued. Nagging symptoms worsened. My doctor couldn’t hide his worry. Specialists told me I’d need insulin soon, and gave me pamphlets on living with diabetes. Tethering myself to insulin for the rest of my life scared me and I couldn’t accept it.
I took my health into my own hands. I tirelessly combed through research and entertained what at the time seemed like radical ideas. I began to see patterns. Patterns that went against everything I thought I knew. What choice did I have? I methodically tested each and monitored myself for changes.
Cutting out dairy completed relieved my daily congestion and occasional bouts of exercise-induced asthma. Replacing grains made my blood less acidic, which stopped the early-afternoon energy crashes. Finally, I could become a nose breather. I changed my training routine and within a few days improved my sleep.
9 months later I passed all blood tests with flying colors. Equally importantly, I felt better than ever. These small sacrifices profoundly improved my energy, mental clarity, and sports performance.
My rugby game improved. In my junior year, I helped lead the Claremont Colleges Rugby team to the NSCRO National Championships. We placed second. The very next season, we took home the gold.
Questioning conventional wisdom completely changed the trajectory of my life. I realized that no one else, even the highly-credentialed experts, would rescue my health. I became steeped in biohacking, health optimization, and optimal living. Now, I’m open-sourcing some of my notes, personal research, and my favorite tools I’ve used to get here.
Today, more than ever, the natural route is gaining traction. Every day new research confirms what shamanic healers and ancient tribes knew millennia ago. Some of the most effective treatments are cheap, safe, and time-tested.
The key is knowing where to look.
Neurohacking: Cognitive Athletes of The 21st Century
Since early childhood, curiosity permeated my personality.
I must understand the why behind things. “Just because” never satisfied me.
In high school, I began to explore how the brain and neurochemicals influence athletic performance. I discovered certain supplements, ingredients, and compounds that could boost neurotransmitters associated with motivation, energy, drive, focus, concentration, mental clarity. Even things like mood and movement efficiency have roots in the brain.
Perhaps IQ and the brain are indeedmalleable.
One rabbit hole after another, until I found myself supplementing with a source of choline called alpha-GPC. My memory improved, reaction time decreased, and even my physical strength slightly improved.
Could the brain really be the “central governor” of the human experience?
My curiosity morphed into obsession with cognitive enhancement for the classroom.
While my peers fueled long study sessions with neurochemistry-damaging stimulants, I found alternatives that improved the efficiency and effectiveness of my brain. Alternatives without a nasty crash or a dizzying list of side effects.
With the same (or even less) time studying, I bumped up my grades. Giving me free time to research and explore my passions.
I love nerding out in PubMed, sipping a coffee, and learning about the latest mind enhancement research, techniques, and compounds.
But the need didn’t end after university.
In Silicon Valley’s hyper-growth workplace, everyone’s looking for the smallest edge. The productivity-boosting nootropic and so-called smart drug (see my top modafinil replacements) market likely outnumber that of recreational drugs.
Friends and colleagues turned to me for help as a brain coach. Designing customized nootropic blend and lifestyle plans to get more out of their mind. Due to the vast biochemical and electrical differences between people, finding the right combinations takes some experimentation. But their results surprised me:
- Faster and larger promotions
- Concentrating with ease for an entire day
- Steady energy through the evening
- Motivation to take on passion projects
- Finishing more work in less time
- Elegant solutions to complex problems
Our generation is applying the backbone and framework of athletics to work. Using self-quantification and self-optimization to beat the competition. On theMind Body Peak Performance podcast, I collaborate with neurohackers around the world to democratize this knowledge.
Biosynergy: The Biohacking 2.0 Movement
At some point, I realized that biohacking doesn’t work long-term. Rather, it brings unexpected consequences or mediocre results. When humans “hack” nature, things go wrong. A few examples:
- Vitamin D supplements aren’t the sun in a pill. Sunlight “activates” (sulfates) vitamin D. vitamin D supplements also require vitamin K2 to build bone. Without it, the additional calcium deposits in dangerous areas.
- Genetically modified food is detectable in human blood after ingestion.
- Common shoes insulate us from the richest known source of anti-aging free electrons: Earth’s surface.
- Sunscreen blocks the benefits of sunlight, reduces vitamin D, and delivers potent chemicals through the skin and into your blood.
- Mouthwash kills beneficial microbes in your mouth and predisposes you to oral health problems (whereas oil pulling does not).
- Gut microbes are the middleman between you and the environment. Anything that harms them indirectly harms you.
- Man-made compounds have unrealized side effects. Decades after their introduction, researchers continue to discover “new” dangers.
Scientific knowledge evolves quickly. Models built on yesterday’s understanding become obsolete. But humans aren’t capable of such rapid change. So we stick to irrelevant systems and teach the next generation outdated “facts”.
Instead, I propose an entirely different methodology:Bioharmonizing is the science of achieving your maximum potential by aligning with nature instead of fighting against it. #outliyr #biosynergy #bioharmony Click To Tweet
Here’s how to upgrade from biohacking to bioharmonizing your lifestyle:
- Understand ancestral wisdom that our species has known for millennia. Look into Ayurveda, Traditional Chinese Medicine, and other forms of ancient medicine. Follow the basics that humans relied on to survive through the 21st century.
- Choose technology wisely. Recognize where modern lifestyle departs from human evolution.
- Reduce harm. Find ways to harmonizing the irreplaceable but potentially risky technology.
Biosynergy is the future of biohacking and personalized wellness.
What I Am up to These Days
- I recently completed a 7-day water fast while maintaining my fitness regime. Looking for a fasting buddy?
- I committed to the practice of meditation and hit a streak of 752 consecutive days. Accountability partners welcome.
- I maxed out my squat for 30 consecutive days and set a personal record of 485 pounds to better understand the physiology of recovery. The body can handle more than I thought.
- I average a daily walking distance of 8 miles. How do you stay active?
- I quadrupled my max breath-hold time using various breathing techniques to improve CO2 tolerance. My secret: I cut out mouth breathing and practiced the Wim Hof Method.
- I did two weeks of the carnivore (elimination) diet to start 2021. Ultimately I missed veggies too much and caved.
- I’m researching the brain and cognitive enhancement. I feel sharper today than before my decade of collision sports. Do you have a favorite ingredient?
- I’m discovering sensitivities and “kryptonite” foods with a CGM device called NutriSense. What biomarkers do you track?
I consider myself a human guinea pig (or investigative journalist to sound fancy). I love testing new ideas, products, and technologies designed to upgrade the human experience.
You’ll find me learning every single day. Books, courses, videos, papers… I welcome any and all novel information recommendations!
I’m deepening my knowledge of holistic health wisdom and integrated movement science by becoming a certified CHEK Practitioner. Taught by wellness legend Paul Chek and his wife Angie themselves. Highly recommend for anyone interested in skipping to the core of performance.
In April 2021 I am open-sourcing my knowledge and conversations with the world’s leading experts on living the high-performance lifestyle. Join the tribe and subscribe to the podcast at mindbodypeak.com.
I am also consulting as a Brain & Nootropics Coach for a NYC startup.
Enough about me. Shoot me a message, let me know what you’re up to, or if you’d like help designing your custom performance plan.