Biohacking is a relatively new phenomena, and I myself claim to be a biohacker. Reading a lot of the different blogs and articles I wonder if I’m a different kind of biohacker than many of the others writing about these things.
Biohacking is like any other kind of hacking, taking some physical thing and trying to optimize it, preferably in an ethical way. The term “hacking” came from the computer world, where programmers and electrical engineers would hack together hardware and software to do certain fun things. That eventually metastasized into the world where a lot of hackers break into computers to steal things, just disrupt things or put rogue programs on the internet and in computers to just generally be disruptive influences. There are still ethical hackers out there that know the same tricks of the trade but use them for good rather than bad.
The same is true of hacking your own biology. There are lots of ways to do it, but the primary thing across all of them begins with monitoring metrics to see how your body reacts to changes. Over time you can use that to correlate what things work well for your body and what things do not. The question then is what do you experiment with to optimize your health. There are of course nutrition and exercise, but what sort of nutrition and what sort of exercise? There is playing around with fasting, sleeping, supplementation, electronic stimulation devices, special glasses to block out certain light, and the list goes on for quite some time.
While I don’t feel there is anything wrong with any of these things, I’d like to try to concentrate on doing it from a purely natural perspective. Yes, I could take dozens of supplements of various kinds every day but I’d rather try to tune my body strictly through my diet. I’m not saying I would never take vitamins, Vitamin D is a big one that I have to take due to not getting enough sun exposure, but I’m saying I can’t imagine taking literally dozens of pills a day. I could try to squeeze as much exercise as I can into as little time as possible, but why not try to just live an active and healthy life instead? The idea of optimizing everything to a razor point in an obsessive compulsive way doesn’t seem any healthier to me than not exercising at all or exercising to the point of excess. I could buy thousands of dollars worth of devices and contraptions to stimulate muscles, memory or what not, but why not just try meditation or some simple mental acuity drills?
I suppose if my ultimate goal was approaching peak performance right now then it would make more sense to do those things. That’s sort of the sprinting approach to biohacking. I’m looking more at the marathon approach. I don’t want to sacrifice my life enjoyment or capabilities now so I can live into my 100’s, but at the same time I don’t want to optimize all my performance in my 30’s and 40’s to have my body require massive amounts of medical services to stay tolerable into my 60’s, 70’s and beyond. In an ideal world, I’ll be like the case studies in the Blue Zone book. They didn’t require thousands of dollars a year of supplements and devices to hit their ages, they just lived a common sense life with lots of activity, good stress management, good diet and good social networks. I’m taking it one step further to actually quantify these things, but the essence of the biohacking I’m doing is just doing those very specific things.
A few years from now I may change my mind and decide that I need to be washing 30 pills a day down my throat drinking adaptogenic herb laced kombucha while wrapping myself in special vests that chill my core temperature in away that doesn’t prevent me from simultaneously applying electrostimulation of my legs to work them out as I listen to meditation tracks coordinated with the beta wave generating blue filter glasses in my pure oxygen chamber. Something tells me, that’s not going to be the case though…