What Is Biohacking? 6 Hacks to Get Beyond Your Limits

What Is Biohacking? 6 Hacks to Get Beyond Your Limits

What Is Biohacking? 6 Hacks to Get Beyond Your Limits 1280 831 Mindmonia

Biohackers hack their everyday life by following an optimal diet, taking a cold shower or wearing blue-light blocking glasses. Some biohackers report, that they managed to lose dozens of pounds in no time, took part in five triathlons in a single week or even achieved an optimal intestinal flora by self-implanting new microbacteria.

Becoming the best version of yourself by “hacking” your physical and mental health, that’s the goal of biohacking.

However, biohacking struggles to appear credible. Mostly because of its extreme methods, which are little or not confirmed by science at all.  

In this guide, we will take a closer look at biohacking. First, we start with an introduction to biohacking and answer the question of what is biohacking. Then we’ll explain its advantages and what techniques you can use to become a biohacker yourself. Ultimately, we’ll also talk about the safety aspects of biohacking.

Jump ahead to any of the sections below:

What Is Biohacking

Person in the gym

The term biohacking consists of two parts: Bio and hacking. Bio stands for biology and hacking stands for unlocking potentials.

The goal of biohacking is to become the best version of yourself by using hacks that improve your physical and mental health. The methods of biohacking are intentionally called hacks because they aim to achieve the best possible results with as little effort and hassle as possible.

One name you will definitely come across on your biohacker-journey is Dave Asprey. He’s one of, if not the most important person who made biohacking popular.

Dave managed to become a completely different person through biohacking, both physically and mentally. He lost 100 lbs, increased his IQ and founded a successful company. His next goal is to become 180 years old.

If you ask Dave, the definition of biohacking is as follows: 

“Biohacking is the art and science of changing the environment around you and inside you so that you have full control over your own biology.” 

Biohacking is the conscious control of your external and internal environment to maximize your physical and mental performance across all aspects of life.

Starting with small changes, like taking cold showers, some biohacks can become extreme self-experiments, like changing your own DNA.

Biohacking follows the principle of personal freedom. That means that you can decide for yourself how far you want to go and which changes you consider to be effective for you and which are not. 

You can see how this can look like in your day-to-day life in the following video, in which Dave Asprey is followed and filmed for one day:


Biohacking Benefits

Biohackers see their body as a complex biological system that can be analyzed, understood and improved. There is no silver bullet, universal hack for everything or magical biohacking secrets. A biohacker focuses on more than one area and has multiple methods of optimizing. 

Let’s assume that two biohackers want to achieve the same goal, like improving their mental power, for example. While one biohacker considers superfoods as the best way to achieve that goal, the other biohacker prefers to practice gratitude or starts to meditate on a daily basis.

This makes it abundantly clear that biohacking offers a variety of approaches, both physically and mentally, whereby the benefits depend on the types of hacks you use.

Therefore, you must differentiate between biohacking benefits as a topic and the benefits of individual biohacks.

Since this guide is meant to be an introduction to biohacking, the following list will show you the advantages of biohacking, on a more general level, as a combination of various biohacks:

Physical Advantages

  • Easier fat loss
  • Better sleep
  • Increased energy level
  • Reduced blood pressure
  • Faster muscle building
  • Stronger immune system
  • More active sex life
  • Better intestinal flora 
  • Reduced inflammation
  • Fewer cravings for unhealthy foods
  • Increased athletic performance

Mental Advantages

  • Increased satisfaction
  • Better focus
  • Higher emotional stability
  • More Mindfulness
  • Boosted motivation
  • Prevention of depression
  • Better cognitive functions
  • Greater empathy
  • Enhanced productivity

The list is very versatile and could be continued almost endlessly. In the end, it matters what your goals are and how you pursue them. Your goals are the factor that will determine the benefits you will experience. Read more on this in the next chapter.

Biohacking Examples

Taking a cold shower

You could spend every free minute for the rest of your life hacking and optimizing yourself. To make biohacking more efficient, however, you should define your goals before you start biohacking.

Especially at the beginning, it makes sense to lower your goals and start with smaller ones. You could start by doing more sports, being more focused at work or improving your sleep. Then you can start using popular hacks to accomplish your goals.

In addition, it’s important that you quantify your goals. This means, that before you start hacking, you must accurately document and measure your goals. Then you start biohacking, measure again and compare the stats in order to see if the biohack had the desired effect or not.

A simple example is losing weight. Let’s say you measure your body weight before, during and after the diet. If you do so, you’ll be able to determine the effect of the diet on your body easily. 

Another good example is your concentration in the mornings. Write down how you typically feel at work each morning for one week. Ideally, you should also document your own productivity by measuring the number of tasks you completed before noon.

After a week you start to change minor things in your morning routine, like taking cold showers, change or skip breakfast, meditate or exercise for 20 minutes. Every morning, document your mood and productivity and compare these results with the previous week.

This way you can determine if and how effective your changes in your morning routine are.

Now let’s dive into well-known examples of biohacks. In the following chapter, we’ll explain to you how they optimize your body and mind and how you can measure them.

Biohack 1: Be Grateful

Practicing gratitude is probably not the number one biohack you thought of in the first place. Especially because gratitude doesn’t have anything to do with your biological system. In fact, Dave Asprey (remember: he’s one of the best-known people in biohacking) calls this hack the biohack he would recommend the most.

This hack is simple and effective. Here’s how to use it:

  • Pause anything you are doing and concentrate exclusively on one thing, one moment, one person or one experience for which you are grateful. This could be something small, such as a nice conversation you had or something very memorable, like the birth of your child. 
  • Think about it for as long as you like. 
  • Repeat this exercise for two more things you are grateful for. 

Then, write down those three points to reinforce the positive effects.

Changes

This simple trick helps you feel happier, deal with stress more easily and increase your optimism and overall performance.

Measurement

There are so many different advantages that it’s difficult to measure all of them. Pick one area you want to improve, quantify it and see if you feel a change after your biohack.

If you manage to develop a routine out of this hack, you will profit from it in the long run. It makes sense to review your progress once a week by asking yourself, what has changed positively in your life since you started and then simply write it down.

There is no direct gratitude measurement app (if you do know one, feel free to tell us in the comments). You can, however, use the app Daylio to record your mood during a particular activity. 

Biohack 2: Improve Your Sleep

We already wrote a guide on this biohack, in which we used with many scientific studies. There are countless studies that confirm the enormous effects of sleep on your physical and mental health as well as on your overall performance. 

Click here to read our article: Tips for Falling Asleep.

Changes

Healthy sleep leads to so many positive changes that we can’t list them here in detail. These include among others: better well-being, lower risk of getting sick, increased brain performance, better mood and many more. 

Measurement

Sleep can be measured in two ways: how long you sleep and the quality of your sleep. The two metrics are related, but you can measure them separately.

As an adult, you should sleep for seven to nine hours daily. Your sleep quality is determined by several factors, including how active you feel in the morning, how fast you fall asleep and whether you are going through the four sleep phases.

Just like we explained in the first biohack, you can take notes to document the sleep results and better understand the changes, associated with the biohack. After some time, you will see a trend between the quality of sleep and the hacks. For example, if your performance increases when you get up in the morning after wearing blue-light blocking glasses in the evening before.

Instead of notepads, many biohackers use sleep tracking apps and gadgets, such as the app Sleep Cycle, which measures sleep quality with your smartphone or Beddit, which is a gadget that you attach to your bed. Beddit records data such as your heart rate, snoring, breaths per minute to eventually determine your sleep quality.

Biohack 3: Changing the Diet

Different vegetables

Probably the most complex area to hack in your life is nutrition. Especially because there is no clear answer to what is the right nutrition. You have to figure out what works best for yourself, what you can do in the long run, and above all: with what diet you feel fit and comfortable.

There are two diets that are particularly common in the biohacking community because they are effective when it comes to burning fat: Intermittent fasting and the ketogenic diet. As with all diets, they only work as long as you follow them. It makes the most sense to test every diets with the goal of maintaining them permanently.

Intermittent fasting means that you only eat at certain times of the day. There are different methods for doing this. The most common one is to maintain a six to eight-hour window to take in calories and to fast for the remaining 16 – 18 hours.

With the ketogenic diet, your body starts to change the way it’s burning fat. You reduce carbohydrates and replace them with calories from fats. Typical are 75% of all calories from fat, 20% protein and 5% carbohydrates. By doing so, you’ll put your body in a metabolic state called ketosis. In this state, your body burns calories much more efficiently.

Changes

A healthy and effective form of nutrition helps to reduce fat and in combination with sports to build muscles. It helps you to become physically and mentally fit and more efficient and prevents various diseases.

Measurement

How you will measure the effectiveness of this biohack depends on the change you want to have. Depending on whether you are more interested in mental benefits, muscle building, fat loss, or simply want to live a healthier life, the way you measure your results will vary.

A good start is the app MyFitnessPal, which lets you track what you eat. It gives you an accurate overview of the number of calories, proteins, carbs, and fats you consume. You can then track results on the scale at home. 

Some gyms also offer accurate body scans that measure muscle mass and body fat. You can take a blood test at your doctor to find out how the individual values changed. Of course, you can also keep a diary of your fitness level and diet and record the results on a regular basis.

Biohack 4: Meditation

Meditation is great for all kinds of situations and a useful solution for a lot of different goals. With only a few minutes per day, you can already feel significant changes in your body and mind. 

In its simplest form, you can spend five minutes sitting or lying down and concentrate on your breathing and play calming meditation music in the background. 

At this point, we recommend our comprehensive meditation guide if you really want to learn everything you need to know about meditation.

Changes

The benefits of meditation include a lower stress level, improved sleep, higher productivity and increased concentration and the best thing about it: the effects and changes of meditation on the body are scientifically proven.

Therefore, establishing a daily meditation practice is one of the best things you can do for your mental and physical health.

Measurement

You can measure three things.

The first thing you can measure is how regular you’re meditating. If you encounter problems meditating regularly, try a reminder app. 

The second thing is how you feel. Take notes to measure if you sleep better, are more concentrated and anything that changes as a result of meditation. Be aware that personal notes can often be affected by the placebo effect. 

The third thing is the direct biological effect. For example, you can use a gadget that monitors your heart and measures how your heart rate and HRV (more in Biohack 6) change. A gadget we at Mindmonia are using is the Oura Ring. This is a ring that you can wear just like any other ring. The Oura Ring is connected to an app and is continuously measuring various data points.

Biohack 5: Use Smart Drugs

The list of the most relevant biohacks would not be complete without a chapter about smart drugs (“nootropics”).

Nootropics are awareness-enhancing drugs and nutritional supplements. While some of them are relatively safe and well-studied, others have been classified as dangerous or require a prescription, such as amphetamines. The aim of taking Nootropics is mostly to increase your mental performance and to improve memory in general.

Smart drugs come almost exclusively in the form of pills and can often be bought online. Examples are L-theanine, artichoke extract, Adderall, Bacopa Monnieri, nicotine and Modafinil.

In food and supplements, several ingredients are mixed to produce a finished product. The same applies to smart drugs. The combination of citicoline, L-theanine and vitamin B12 already results in a nootropic.

That sounds extreme at first and there are many scams in the smart drugs sector – like anywhere in the supplement industry. Smart drugs are often without any effect and true scam, but with many side effects.

Therefore you can simply use classic supplements such as magnesium, vitamins, superfood powder, amino acids or caffeine pills.

We don’t want to give you any specific recommendations if or how to take smart drugs. Smart drugs are a big part of the biohacking scene and that’s the only reason why we’ve mentioned them in this article. How and if you should take some, you’ll have to decide for yourself. 

Changes

The goal of smart drugs is to improve mental performance. Better memory, faster learning, and increased concentration are just a few examples of the many improvements ypu can achieve with smart drugs.

Measurement

To measure the impact of smart drugs, you’ll have to use the notepad again. Follow two very important rules: you have to carefully inform yourself (like REALLY good) which smart drug has what effects, so you know what to expect from it. Then, write down your goals and start taking the smart drug. You have to note how you feel over time and whether the effect has actually taken place or not.

Biohack 6: Monitor HRV

Learning fast at desk

Heart rate variability (HRV) measurement is mostly done by doctors in an ECG to test and detect heart abnormalities. Recently HRV measurement also established itself in the biohacking and fitness scene. 

HRV measures the timely difference between your heartbeats. Let’s assume a heart beats at a heart rate of 60 beats per minute, but it doesn’t beat every “full” second. Realistically, it may beat after 800 milliseconds, then again after 1000 milliseconds, then after 930 milliseconds, and so on. 

This variability is a sign of your body’s adaptability. The variability shows that your vegetative nervous system (responsible for controlling important functions of the body such as blood pressure and breathing rate) is able to adapt to internal and external stimulation. The variable heartbeat is used to test whether the autonomic nervous system is capable of changing the heartbeat according to the situation. The more irregular the difference, the better.

Changes

HRV measurement is used in Bio Hacking to track and optimize heart health, stress levels, adaptability to new situations, and maximizing training and recovery times.

Measurement

If you did a classic ECG test before, you know that this is not a suitable solution in everyday life.

When you search online for HRV Tracker, there are over a million search results. Apps, straps, bracelets and even rings are supposed to reliably measure HRV. The results are stored in apps on your phone so all you have to do is to analyze your data and how you react to different situations.

A tracker that integrates very well into everyday life is the already-mentioned Oura Ring.

Further Examples for Biohacks

We introduced you to six of the most effective and easiest to implement biohacks. Yet there are many more.

In order to show you other ways to get started with biohacking, we have put together the following list (also includes advanced biohacking techniques):

BiohackUse CaseDifficulty
Reduce blue lightSleep qualityEasy
Do digital detoxStress and self-controlEasy
Cold ShowerWell-beingEasy
Visualize goalsGoal achievementEasy
Avoid mold on wallsHealthEasy
Use red lightHealthEasy
Walk barefootEnergy workEasy
Drink unprocessed waterPerformance and healthEasy
Hug peopleStress and well-beingEasy
Do HIIT TrainingHealthEasy
Train fasciaWell-being and regenerationEasy
Stand more oftenHealth and performanceEasy
Use Binaural BeatsEmotional stateMedium
Improve your posturePain and self-confidenceMedium
Do inversion therapiesPainMedium
Form real relationshipsWell-beingMedium
Breathe through your bellyHealthMedium
Become disciplinedGoal attainmentMedium
Eat superfoodsMicronutrient intakeMedium
Inhale additional oxygenHealthDifficult
Ice bathsRegenerationDifficult
Do stem cell therapyEfficiency and aging processDifficult
Eat unprocessed foodPerformance and healthDifficult

Is Biohacking Safe

Blood cells

Yes and no.

Most biohacking techniques for beginners are safe, like the hacks we’ve shown you in this guide.

Even body modifications, such as using RFID biohacking implants, are safe when done under medical supervision.

Extreme biohackers go even a few steps further with their biohacking projects – all the way to changing their own DNA. We at Mindmonia think that such experiments are extreme examples and anything but safe. We’ll let you decide how safe you think it is. Many biohackers are, at least in most cases, well-informed and have a lot of biohacking experiences.

There is an interesting video about the biohacker and former NASA scientist Josiah Zayner. Josiah suffers his whole life from digestion problems and wants to get rid of them by replacing his own bacteria with the one from a donor:


Conclusion

Biohacking has benefits for all of us but is not necessarily suitable for everyone. It’s a lifestyle for self-optimizers, analysts, curious people, and self-testers.

After all, it’s not just about improving your sleep or eating healthier. With biohacking, you try to improve your whole body and mind by changing your environment and yourself so that you get control over your biology. 

This includes the areas: 

  • Nutrition
  • Fitness
  • Sleep
  • Environment
  • Age
  • Awareness
  • Emotions

Another important aspect of biohacking is the way you optimize yourself: Biohackers always set a specific goal and document their bodies before, during and after the biohack.

If you want to start biohacking now, choose simple biohacks and set realistic goals. Don’t forget to stay on the safe side and don’t do anything dangerous or risky.

Don’t get overwhelmed and start with just a few hacks that are easy to implement and have a big effect at the same time. For example, the six biohacks we introduced you to are ideal for this. You can easily implement them, as they are effective and have low risk.

To become a successful biohacker, it is important to develop Mindfulness for your body and mind. This is exactly what you will learn in our free Mindfulness Newsletter, to which you can subscribe directly under this article. Thank you for reading.