Biohacker Basics: Pillars of Health & Peak Performance

You control the quality of your life. It starts with your health.

High-performance becomes easier when your biology has the raw materials it needs.

That is the essence of biohacking. Reverse engineering high-performance into the necessary inputs.

Biohackers apply self-development principles to improve their health, vitality, and productivity. The second part of the word comes from the practice of hacking together the best ideas, principles, and strategies from certain fields. Click To Tweet

People become biohackers for all kinds of reasons: from seeking disease cures when traditional options fail, to high-performance brain enhancement, to transforming their bodies in record breaking time (and keeping it that way).

Biohackers define goals, reverse engineer the paths to get there, and begin.

That’s how I got into biohacking. I noticed that by eating (and not eating) certain things I performed better in sports — and it didn’t hurt that it carried over to the classroom. Check out my About page for my story.

The Pillars of Biohacking

Biohackers mostly agree on the importance of several overarching categories to maximize overall quality of life.

It’s easy to get swept up in the latest craze and excitement around products, technologies, and trends. Instead, develop a solid foundation in each of the following categories before progressing on to the more exciting stuff.

1. Sleep

How’s your relationship with sleep?

Mine was bad.

Your body regenerates while you sleep, and cutting it affects just about every part of your biology. How much time you spend in bed matters, but a lot of the sleep world ignores the other component.

Sleep quality.

All hours spent asleep aren’t equal. Ever wake up at first light after a long night of drinking?

You may have logged enough hours, but your poor sleep quality made it less restorative. You feel and perform worse the following day.

There’s a reason that some sleep researchers say “Your day starts when you head hits the pillow”.

Don’t succumb to today’s fast-paced always-on life, get some rest.

Basic ideas to sleep better:

  • Get blackout curtains or an eye mask.
  • Learn to sleep with ear plugs.
  • Cut out alcohol at least 90 minutes before bed.
  • Finish eating (snacks included) at least two hours before sleep.

2. Movement & Fitness

Wearables like garmin, Whoop, and Biostrap help quantify fitness.

Little compares to fitness in terms of brain and body enhancement.

In addition to helping you achieve the body of your dreams, exercise produces all kinds of compounds that help your brain perform at its peak.

Don’t have time to exercise?

  • You can burn fat in as little as four minutes.
  • You can build muscle in as little as twelve minutes per week.

But what’s equally important, is your non-exercise movement.

Throughout history humans have always moved throughout the day. Completing momentary micro-workouts throughout the day builds fitness fast.

Populations that live the longest all share the practice of frequent movement.

Basic ideas to get fit:

3. Resiliency & Recovery

HRV is a useful recovery, resiliency, and stress biometric.

Stress has a bad reputation.

Resilient humans survive and even thrive in the the real world, despite the stress. What’s the fun of going through life, fragile, decommissioned by the slightest of nuisance?

Stress can be good.

There’s beneficial “eustress” like exercise and fasting. It becomes problematic in constant, large doses. Suddenly, previously beneficial stressors can overwhelm us and cause burnout.

Chronic under-recovery added to stress can lead to disease.

Learning stress resiliency techniques helps you adapt to ever-changing environments and thrive in stressful situations.

Basic ideas to rapidly adapt to stress:

  • Work up to taking cold showers and/or the sauna.
  • Spend a few minutes focusing on your breath.
  • Learn to meditate without setting expectations or making it competitive.

4. Mind Enhancement

Kindles are a powerful learning tool.

You are not your brain or thoughts, but they matter.

Choices you make can help or hurt your brain.

Learning, memory, productivity, motivation… you can see why biohackers focus on the brain.

Get good at learning at a young age and the rest of life becomes easier.

The brain is a sensitive organ. Little changes can drastically change the way you feel.

There’s a whole world of brain-boosting nutrients, techniques, devices, and gadgets.

Basic ideas to strengthen your mind:

  • Challenge yourself with reading, writing, puzzles, and doing new activities.
  • Get your brain repairing sleep.
  • Move to grow neural connections.
  • Eat to support the brain.

5. Nutrition

Your diet should incorporate adequate vitamins, minerals, and other beneficial compounds to maximize health.
A typical high-fat, high-protein breakfast

Your brain and body need specific nutrients to operate and perform well.

Many biohackers start with nutrition. I prefer “nutrition” over “diet” to avoid all the dogma on both sides of every single diet.

It may sound crazy (it did to me), but food impacts the way you look and feel.

You know that post-lunch wave of lethargy?

I replaced a few foods and now avoid that energy slump.

Optimal food choices vary for everyone, but they have similarities.

Over the long-term, without the right nutrients you feel crappy, get injured, or become more disease-prone.

Basic ideas to find your ideal diet:

  • Remove processed foods.
  • Ban industrial vegetable oils from your house.
  • Cut back on the sweets, and especially the hidden sources of sugar.

Get Started Biohacking Today

Biohacking means something different to everyone. It’s all about improving your biology so that you can get more out of life.

Look over that those categories and note two things:

  1. Which categories have you mastered?
  2. Which do you stand to gain the most from improving?

Narrow down your focus and get started. It won’t be long until you notice something.

Something empowering.

Once you master one overarching health category, the others improve. It's a synergistic cycle. Effort today makes effort tomorrow easier. Click To Tweet
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