We’re in the infancy of 2022, and the air is thick with resolutions. People are eating healthier, growing their savings accounts and shrinking their waistlines.
You’ve probably got your fitness routine mapped out for the first month of the year, and maybe it includes lifting more weights, running more miles or squatting more squats. But does your carefully planned regimen include biohacking?
First off, what is biohacking? To the uninitiated, it sounds like some sort of sci-fi cyborg concept, and for the fringes of the biohacking community that are getting microchips implanted in their brains, bionic eyes and the like, that’s exactly what it is.
But for the average, about-to-be-above-average person, biohacking covers any clever DIY shortcut that provides an unexpected edge: heat and cold therapy, infrared saunas, intermittent fasting, adding adaptogens and supplements to your routine, and so on. Heck, you may even be biohacking right now, and not even know it.
The cleanest definition comes from self-help guru Tony Robbins and co.: “Biohacking your body means changing your chemistry and your physiology through science and self-experimentation to increase energy and vitality.”
Biohacking is rich with opportunities to maximize your workouts, heal your body and enhance your overall performance. It can be as basic as switching to organic foods and beverages — or as complex as cryotherapy to reboot your cellular system.
Need guidance where to start? I suggest keeping it simple. As noted in our recent Library of Pursuits course, one of the most helpful methods in developing a plan is to identify your goals, then tailor biohacking methods to help you reach them. Try hacks that fit into your existing lifestyle. They'll be easier to implement and stick to — and give you the confidence to branch out from there.
Here are seven realistic jumping-off points — complete with products to optimize your experience, of course. Happy hacking.
1. Get More Out of Your Morning Joe
The jury is still out on whether coffee, or more specifically, caffeine, is beneficial for health, but if you've determined it works for you, try upgrading it. Biohacking works best when it can be integrated into already firmly set habits; as any ca-fiend knows, it's an integral part of the morning routine.
Four Sigmatic's coffee is infused with mushrooms and adaptogens, giving you a jolt of energy with caffeine, but also balance, brain power or restoration, depending what you need. The Ground Mushroom Coffee With Lion's Mane is the "Think" brew, thanks to 250mg of lionsmane and chaga mushrooms, each. Lionsmane has been shown to increase focus and brain function, while chaga has been used for centuries to support immune function. Swapping out your standard brew for this tasty upgrade is an easy and hassle-free hack.
Price: $20 for a 16-serving bag ($16 with a subscription)
Eat Drink Your Greens
You've been told to eat your greens since childhood, but I'm willing to bet there are a fair amount of you out there, reading these words, avoiding those leafy greens like the plague.
Avoid health no longer, and enjoy the perks of produce with Athletic Greens, a powder supplement that can be added to water or smoothies and contains a hard-to-believe amount of goodness inside every single scoop serving.
Athletic Greens checks all the modern dietary marks: It's gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, and contains no added sugar. What isn't it free from? I'm glad you asked. The powerful powder contains the equivalent of 12 servings of fruits and veggies per scoop, as well as probiotics, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals and immune-supporting mushrooms.
Price: $99 for 30 servings ($79 with a subscription)
3. Take the Plunge
One of the more popular biohacking methods, plunging yourself into icy cold water, may sound like a recipe for disaster (or catching a cold), but studies as well as anecdotal evidence are showing that immersing yourself in cold water daily has a wealth of health benefits, including immune system support, increased blood flow, boosted metabolism and sleep, increased energy and lowered inflammation, to name a few.
Cold water plunges are a form of whole body cryotherapy, a method of biohacking that exposes you to extremely cold temperatures, which initially constricts blood flow. Upon leaving the plunge tank, there's a rush of blood back to the tissues. Consistent practice brings benefits including reduced inflammation, faster muscle recovery, reduced risk of dementia and more.
The Plunge uses cooling, filtration and sanitation to deliver clean and cold water — think, 39 degrees Fahrenheit cold — whenever you want it. You can use it inside or outside, depending where you live.
4. Score Some Magic Mushrooms
No, not those magic mushrooms. We're talking about the non-psychoactive, but still powerful kind — reishi, lion's mane, chaga, cordyceps and turkey tail. Collectively, these five fungi are loaded with antioxidants, plus the potential to improve mood and immunity, boost energy, fight inflammation and maybe even fight cancer. You can add them to curries, salads, risottos or other dishes, or if you're looking for a quicker option, you can take them in powder form.
Alchemi makes a mushroom powder that's tasty on its own thanks to ingredients like cinnamon, cacao and coconut milk, but you can also add it to teas and chai lattes for a flavor — and brain — boost.
Price: $36 for a 20-serving container ($30.60 with a subscription)
5. Pour a Cleaner Glass of Vino
You may not partake in Dry January, and that's cool. To each their own. If you're going to keep indulging into the new year, there are a couple ways to still incorporate a bit of body-friendly biohacking. The first option? Simply cut back your consumption. The second option: Upgrade your drink of choice to something cleaner, with fewer chemicals and less sugar than traditional alcohol.
Have your lips ever gotten stained from a glass of red wine? Yeah, that's not just because of your favorite cab's hue — that's dye, added to make reds appear redder and more appealing. Grossed out? Switch to natural wines, which are farmed organically, have no additives or processing and are produced with natural fermentation.
One standout is Dry Farms Wine, which creates non-processed wines that go above and beyond the industry standards, resulting in a drink that's free of sugar and additives, lower alcohol and produced with organic farming methods. The wines are keto and paleo friendly, vegan and biodynamic.
Sign up for its membership program, and pick your wine color, box size and how often you’d like to enjoy it. Dry Farms curates a box unique to your choices, alongside a 100% Happiness Promise, offering to either replace the bottle or refund you in full if you're not satisfied.
Price: $171 for 6 bottles; $323 for 12 bottles
6. Roll It Out
Foam rolling, a biohack? Why not?
Although it may feel like a commonplace technique, foam rolling is a recovery biohack, offering benefits including relieved muscle tightness and tension, increased range of motion, improved relaxation and sleep, and relief from back pain.
There are a multitude of foam rollers on the market, but I recommend the Trigger Point Grid 1.0 Foam Roller. The multi-density foam on the surface works out sore muscles, and also channels blood and oxygen to all the right places for enhanced muscle recovery. At under $40, it's affordable, portable and easy to use.
7. Meditate On It
You've no doubt heard about the benefits of meditation. Although it's a practice rooted deeply in history, over the last few years everyone and their brother seems to be touting its benefits, from CEOs to celebrities.
There's a reason why: Studies show that a consistent meditation practice can yield reduced stress, better sleep, increased focus and improved relationships. But how do you fit it into a busy schedule? And how do you even meditate, anyway?
Meditation apps like Headspace answer your burning questions and provide guidance as you embark on your mindfulness mission. Based in research, Headspace offers a 10-day beginner’s course as part of its free trial, and once you subscribe, hundreds of exercises for mindfulness, sleep, focus and more. You can listen on your phone, tablet or computer, or even download sessions to check out when you are, say, seeking a little solace while masked up the middle row on a cross-country flight.
Price: $69.99 per year or $12.99 per month