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.
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
One thing that raw diets do well is maintaining 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. Add a pinch of salt to your water. Notice the newfound energy. Perhaps your desire for a morning feast is gone. Do you know the other reasons why hydration is important?
6. You don’t need a degree in chemistry to add HCO3 to your life
Baking Soda, one of those ingredients that seems to have an infinite number of uses, also has health benefits. Useful in treating everything from systemic inflammation to increasing endurance exercise capacity, baking soda comes in as a cheap performance enhancer already found in most households.
Assuming no serious electrolyte imbalances, 1/8th teaspoon of baking soda taken an hour before or after lunch will alkalize the body.
7. Meet your farmers
For cooks, this one is a must! You’re not the only one interested in healthy food. Farmers are more than willing to help you choose produce that is in season and share their recipes, tips and tricks.
Just tasting the produce is a testament to the freshness and nutrient density. Best of all, sometimes I find prices to beat local grocers. Now your culinary prowess has no excuse.
8. The king of exercises
On the beach, in the mountains, stranded on an island, or in the middle of the city — consider sprints for your next workout. Perform this longstanding king of human movement from anywhere in the world and in mere minutes.
Make sure to warmup 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. Do this a 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 you begin the day off with a quick micro-win. Start small and work your way up.
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 you’ll look better too.
10. Quick afternoon recharge
A natural cortisol dip in the early afternoon combined with a large meal often lead to drowsiness. Your productivity increase after a brief 20-30 minutes nap more than makes up for time lost sleeping.
11. Pomodoro technique
Often 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 engage in a quick Pomodoro micro-workout.
Every 4-5 rounds of this relax with a leisurely 10 minute break, you deserve it.
12. Learn something new
Ever wonder why every day of school seemed to drag on, but now every time you blink 5 years pass? Very little stays the same in school: new classmates, new classes & teachers, after-school activities, homework, friends, “cool” trends popping up and dying out. Processing the constantly changing stimuli slows perception of time.
Do the same thing every weekend with the occasional vacation? Whether you’ve always wanted to learn a foreign language, dance salsa, or play an instrument — dedicate one day per week to pursuing something new. Feel neural connections grow, and slow your perception of time.
13. Act like a kid
Turns out that the uncomfortably sweating from a tough workout or sauna session does more than lower your body temperature. Movement is the primary way to circulate lymph. Unless you own a trampoline. In that case bounce around for unparalleled lymph drainage.
What is lymph and why circulate it? Lymph, the 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.
14. Mindfulness experts & military leaders do this
A favorite hack of the Navy SEALs and meditation gurus alike, in seconds controlled breathing can radically change your biology. In addition to toning your vagus nerve and thus improving brain function, focusing on the breath rapidly eliminates stress.
Box breathing can help you overcome the usual nerves as effectively as anxiety medication without negative side effects and for free. Box breathing is one form of breath-work and is done as follows:
- 4 seconds of gradual inhalation through 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, the benefits of breathing will probably extend to your next 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 my sleep score with the router unplugged and my phone on airplane mode is a full 10% above my data-exposed baseline.
16. Harness technology to prevent damage from technology
F.lux provides basic protection from blue light, but I prefer the upgraded software option — IrisTech. In addition to blue light protection, only IrisTech shields you from headaches, retina damage, brain fog, and cataracts caused by monitor flicker. I use this in tandem with blue-blocking glasses and leave work feeling refreshed.
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.
Social connection, plays an important role in overall wellness. Thriving in social groups, humans have hunted, traveled, and survived together as far back as we can trace. Studies show that social wellbeing is a bigger factor in health than smoking, blood pressure, or obesity.
This is no justification to pickup a smoking habit, but rather 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. Push yourself to come up with new items.
It’s not always easy, but I always come up with things. At the very least I have working organs and arms to be grateful for.
20. Humans have always done this (though you may not)
Congrats on making it this far.
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 hours 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. 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. 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 would not recommend it). Optimize your environment by ensuring the temperature is below 68 degrees Fahrenheit, wear ear plugs, install blackout curtains, and stop using technology 30 minutes before bed.
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.
What’s to gain? Better sleep, less stress, less anxiety, faster healing, fewer free radicals, and more energy.
24. Some sun
The sun gets a lot of bad press. It is necessary 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.
Scratching The Surface
Phew. That was a lot of information.
Notice any patterns here? Though many of the diet, exercise, and lifestyle tips are nothing new, our environment changes on a daily basis.
Everyone has their own favorites. Test these one-by-one to find what works for you. Time is precious, so stack multiple hacks for maximum efficiency.