Don’t let the so-called gurus and experts tell you the best solutions cost a month’s salary, fill half your apartment, or only they can perform some fancy protocol.Many of the best, most time-tested biohacks are FREE. Click To Tweet
From extensive research to my own personal experiments, here’s a short list of biohacks you can do today. Best of all, at minimal (or zero) cost!
1. Upgrade your fats
Ditch the canola oil, and introduce extra virgin olive oil, avocado oil, ghee, and butter to your kitchen. Every single cell in your body has a layer of fat. Including over 60 percent of the brain. Already following a high-fat diet? The source of that fat becomes even more important. Make sure not to make these common keto mistakes.
When choosing a fat, ask yourself this: is this food naturally fatty? Avocado oil? Yes. Olive oil? Yes. Canola oil? What is Canola?!
2. Liquify your meal
Replace breakfast with a large cup of coffee. If you already drink coffee, try it black. Creamers, sugar, and additives negate the benefits of coffee’s rich antioxidants and rob you of additional performance.
Drawing from body fat stores, caffeine keeps your blood sugar stable so you can focus on the task at hand instead of stressing over which Pinterest recipe to follow.
3. True mental resilience test
Okay, this one requires effort. What am I talking about?
Fasting. Yes, eat dinner and then skip breakfast and lunch the next day. Hard? Yes. Impossible? No. The benefits outweigh the willpower: fix hormone imbalances, heal injuries with stem cells, heal cancerous cells, and live a long time. Focus on the tasks at hand and step out of the kitchen (and restaurant).
Avoid the inner-voice making you wonder if you will live to see tomorrow. You will. Hunger comes and goes in waves. Before long the next day will arrive and despite eating nearly 24 hours ago, you will likely feel only moderately hungry.
4. Eat structurally intact food
Raw diets maintain the integrity of the food. Cooking food changes its molecular structure. High temperature destroys the nutritious properties of certain foods. When cooking on the stove, avoid high heat. In the oven, keep temperatures below 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
5. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure
Right now, 75% of America is chronically dehydrated. Start the morning with a large glass of water. Thirst often disguises itself as hunger. But hydration isn’t all about water. Add a pinch of clean sea-salt to your water for essential electrolytes. The salt gives the water better mouth feel, helps deliver it into cells, and provides trace minerals. Perhaps your desire for a morning feast is gone. Do you know the other reasons why hydration is important?
6. HCO3: The ingredient waiting in your cupboard
Baking Soda, an ingredient with seemingly infinite uses, also has health benefits. It’s useful for everything from treating systemic inflammation to increasing endurance exercise capacity. In the right doses, baking soda can be the cheap athletic performance enhancer already present in most houses.
Assuming no serious electrolyte imbalances, take no more than 1/8th teaspoon of baking soda an hour before or after lunch. Baking soda also alkalizes the body.
7. Meet your farmers
Looking to upgrade your cooking? Your local farmers are more than willing to help you choose produce that is in season and share their recipes, tips, and tricks.
Taste the produce and you’ll understand why people make the extra effort to visit farmers’ markets. Even better, that freshness also indicates lots of nutrients, vitamins, and minerals. Sometimes prices beat local grocers. These markets are also the perfect place to discover new foods not found in typical stores.
8. The king of exercises
Available on the beach, in the mountains, stranded on an island, or in the middle of the city. Sprints are the ultimate exercise. They work as a standalone workout or a nice finishing movement. Sprint workouts are best performed occasionally and just take minutes.
Make sure to warm up thoroughly before starting. Sprint between 10-30 seconds followed by 1 minute of rest. Start on the higher end of the range and decrease sprint duration as you pick up the pace. Repeat the process 4-10 times and quickly see benefits.
9. Cold exposure
Cryotherapy boosts energy, burns fat, improves mood, reduces inflammation, and helps attention & focus.
It builds resiliency and begins your day with a quick micro-win. Start short. Submerge your face in the sink for 30 seconds. Work your way up to full-blown cold showers (and ice baths if that’s your thing).
Finish the last few minutes of your next shower with a blast of cold water. Cold showers are great for the brain and body. Not only will you feel amazing, but the cold can burn stubborn body fat and reshape your body.
10. Quick afternoon recharge
You know the daily 1 PM – 3 PM energy crash? When the drowsiness sets in and you can’t focus? One antidote is to follow a blood sugar-stabilizing diet like keto.
Another is to capitalize on the natural alertness (cortisol) dip in the early afternoon with a quick nap. Your productivity increase after a brief 20-30 minutes nap more than makes up for time lost resting.
11. Pomodoro technique
The hardest part of any project is starting. The Pomodoro technique solves this by breaking projects into 30-minute focus blocks. Close anything distracting, and put all devices into airplane mode.
After 30 minutes of hard work, take a 1-minute break to check social media, stretch, surf the internet, or indulge in your preferred distraction. Or you can use the break to knock out a quick Pomodoro micro-workout.
Every 4-5 rounds of this relax with a leisurely 10 minute break, you deserve it.
12. Embrace change
Ever wonder why school days seemed to drag on, but now every time you blink 5 years pass? School’s full of change: new classmates, new classes & teachers, after-school activities, homework, friends, “cool” trends popping up and dying out. Processing the constantly changing stimuli slows your perception of time.
If you do the same thing every weekend, mix it up. Whether you’ve always wanted to learn a foreign language, dance salsa, or play an instrument — dedicate a few hours per week to pursuing something new. You’ll sprout new neural connections, and feel time slow down.
13. Act like a kid
Profuse sweating from a workout or sauna session does more than burn calories. Movement is a primary way to circulate lymph (bouncing on a trampoline is even better).
What is lymph and why circulate it? Lymph, the cellular debris removal system of the body makes up one of two major circulatory systems in the body. From flushing toxins to mobilizing immune cells, humans could not function without lymph. Modern sedentary lifestyles pool and stagnate lymph leading to weight gain and unpleasant symptoms.
14. Mindfulness experts & military leaders do this
A favorite hack of the Navy SEALs and meditation gurus alike. Within seconds, controlled breathing can radically change your biology. In addition to toning your vagus nerve and thus improving brain function, breathwork kills stress.
Box breathing is one deliberate breathing technique useful for overcoming anxiety without negative side effects of medication. And it’s free. Box breathing is performed as follows:
- 4 seconds of gradual inhalation through the nose
- 4 seconds of breath-hold with full lungs
- 4 seconds of gradual exhalation
- 4 seconds of breath-hold with empty lunges
- Repeat 3-5 times
If it helps the military navigate life or death situations, breathing can also settle your nerves before your next work presentation. Not bad for a two-minute hack.
Hacks For Everyone
15. Do this at night to instantly improve sleep quality
Browse Google and you will find plenty of anecdotes of this simple change completely curing otherwise debilitating conditions. The Weston A Price Foundation has treated children with autism and ADHD by unplugging their WiFi router at night. I track my sleep every night the Sleep Cycle alarm clock app for iOS, and the Oura Ring. All else equal, sleeping with the router improves my sleep quality score by an average of 8 percent.
16. Harness technology to prevent damage from technology
F.lux provides basic protection from blue light, but I prefer the upgraded software — IrisTech. In addition to blue light protection, only IrisTech shields you from headaches, retina damage, brain fog, and cataracts caused by monitor flicker. See my full IrisTech review here. I use this in tandem with blue-blocking glasses and leave work feeling refreshed (rather than drained).
17. Look silly to live long and feel good
Between sitting for hours every day and a consistent workout routine, blood and healing fluids do not circulate to all areas of the body. This one also stimulates lymphatic drainage. Proponents of inversion therapy (hanging upside down) use the practice for better sleep, quelling back pain, and overcoming stress.
If budget and apartment space allow, inversion tables can help you accomplish exactly this. Otherwise, keep an eye out for somewhere to hang upside down without fancy equipment. Hang for a few minutes, several times per week.
18. Connection: the forgotten key?
Social connection, is one of the most neglected core components of overall wellness. Humans thrive in social gatherings. We’ve hunted, traveled, and survived together as far back as we can trace. Studies show that social well-being is a bigger factor in health than smoking, blood pressure, or obesity.
This isn’t justification to pickup a smoking habit, but rather added reason to foster relationships and spend quality time with friends and family.
19. The most powerful happiness hack
Gratitude. Yup, I said it. Gratitude is the practice of appreciating something — anything at all. It has the highest correlation with happiness and overall life satisfaction of just about anything. There are many forms and practices. Every morning and evening I jot down 3 things I am grateful for.
It’s not always easy, but I always come up with things. Push yourself to come up with new items. Even on the hardest days. For example, at the very least I’m grateful to have working organs and limbs.
20. Humans have always done this (though you may not)
This one requires a few minutes spread throughout the day. In most circumstances, small but frequent movement throughout the day trumps a brief workout paired with a full day of inactivity.
Skip the Uber and walk to lunch. Take a short break every few hours and walk around the block. Talk through your meeting agenda as you cruise the streets. Drop and bang out twenty push-ups. Do a pull-up every time you walk by that low-hanging ceiling pipe. Move throughout the day, lose fat, rev up your metabolism, prevent disease, and notice your focus and memory flourish.
21. Get outside
Not only does logging time in nature feel good, but exposure to the outdoors strengthens your brain and microbiome. It reduces stress and makes you more resilient. If a fancy name or doctor’s approval help, Japanese physicians often prescribe “forest bathing therapy“.
Mitochondria —the tiny energy-producing “batteries” throughout the entire body— thrive in fresh, sunlit air. Nature is best but city streets will do.
22. Tune out everything
Sleep quality has among the greatest impact on physical and cognitive performance. Even more so than quantity. In fact, by improving sleep quality you can even reduce sleep quantity and at the same time improve performance (although I don’t recommend it).
Optimize your sleep environment by ensuring the temperature is below 68 degrees Fahrenheit, wear earplugs, install blackout curtains, and stop using technology 30 minutes before bed. For more advanced sleep tips, see my post on biohacking sleep.
23. Ditch the shoes
Yes, people will look at you funny. By sticking it out you allow your body to discharge positive ions that buildup from normal cellular metabolism. Until the advent of insulated shoes, we had constant contact with Earth. To avoid judgment, other options include doing yoga on grass, going for a swim, or walking (barefoot still) on the beach.
This movement goes by the names “Grounding” or “Earthing”. And as I wrote in my guide to Eathing, it has profound benefits for the sick and healthy alike:
- Natural pain reduction
- Reduced inflammation and autoimmunity
- Faster injury recovery and wound healing
- Greater endurance and strength improvements
- Protection against electrosmog
- Powerful antioxidants without any supplements
Best of all, modern Earthing technologies make it available indoors, while traveling, and even sleeping.
24. Some sun
The sun gets a lot of bad press. You need it for a number of reasons, the most widely known being vitamin D. Unlike supplements, when the skin is exposed to sunlight (with UVB rays) it produces a water-soluble activated form of vitamin D known as vitamin D sulfate.
To reap the benefits of this light, expose yourself during the first and/or last 30 minutes of light. Sunscreen blocks the production of this superior vitamin D sulfate, so if you must apply then wait until after.
25. Train for the “Centenarian Olympics”
Movement is an entire category of the biohacking pyramid. Living a long healthspan requires basic conditioning.
But here’s the secret: you don’t need to crush multi-hour marathon workouts. Instead, just think about the future. What’s your motivation to age gracefully?
At age 90, what kind of life do you envision?
- Playing with your grandkids?
- Walking up multiple flights of stairs?
- Standing up without assistance?
- Going on a trail hike?
Peter Attia’s trains with the metaphorical Centenarian Olympics in mind. Each workout should move you towards being a capable 90 (plus) year-old. Pick one thing every day and work towards it.
26. Start self-examining
Self-examination is the art of becoming self-aware. For some people, that looks like a classic meditation session. For others, rhythmic exercise. Or yoga. Some people just sit there, motionless.
The goal is to consistently schedule time for your mind to relax and wander. Notice—but don’t stop—thoughts.
27. Question yourself
“The first principle is that you must not fool yourself and you are the easiest person to fool.”Richard P. Feynman
The process of inking thoughts clarifies your thinking and helps identify automatic thought patterns. Journaling is a quick way to identify your personal limiting beliefs.
Since subconscious beliefs vastly outnumber the conscious, they determine your trajectory. And the first step to achieving your goals is to understand your beliefs. All of them. Especially the ones holding you back. Often times without any merit.
Scrutinize your internal thoughts as heavily as the external.
28. Mood tracking
Mood is a subtle and overlooked self-quantification datapoint. By logging your mood on a daily basis you’ll discover your cause-and-effect patterns.
For example, I realized that when I don’t move my body signfiicantly in the morning, I’m less happy the rest of the day. Unfairly impacting the people around me.
29. Professional reality TV can wait
There are two types of people: those that watch the news, and the rest.
For years I religiously tuned in every morning and evening. I feared getting left behind, living uninformed, and missing breaking news
Then I took a 7-day social media & news detox. While I use social media again, I’ve never gone back to the news. I hear all the breaking news from the people around me, and my mood’s never been so consistently high.
The Complete List of Free Biohacks Available to Everyone
Phew. That’s a lot of information.
I hope that I’ve convinced you to try something new.
Notice any patterns? Many of the diet, exercise, and lifestyle tips are old practices. They’re cheap and affordable. They have the greatest impact on your wellbeing.
Centenarians live to ripe old ages without the luxury of modern, expensive biohacking technology.
Everyone has their favorite biohacks. Test these one-by-one to find what works for you. Time is precious, so stack multiple hacks for maximum efficiency.
Am I missing any big ones?