The 2015 Bulletproof Biohacking Conference has come to a close, and this year it was bigger and better than ever. Here’s a huge Bulletproof THANK YOU to the 1,122 attendees who made it such a hit.
Coffee and knowledge were flowing all weekend as speakers from across the world shared their unique approaches to biohacking. Trying to compile it all into one blog post would be madness, so here’s a quick rundown of 4 powerful hacks for those of you who didn’t make the conference (and those of you who did, but were too busy to make all the talks!). These hacks are all over the place: you’ll learn how to get in touch with your animal nature, work out better, balance your hormones, and build lasting friendships. Enjoy!
1) Go on a foraging trip
Want to increase your vitality and decrease your grocery bill? Wild man Daniel Vitalis gave a provocative talk on getting in touch with your primal side, and one of his main points was that you probably have higher-quality foods and supplements in your backyard than you do in your local supermarket. In his speech, Vitalis noted that wild plants are more nutrient dense than cultivated versions. So make a foraging trip! Grab a field guide that details edible plants in your area. Make sure it also lists poisonous lookalikes you don’t want to eat.
Your wild menu will vary based on where you live, but for anyone in the U.S. or Canada, dandelion greens are a great place to start. They’re packed with nutrients, including vitamins A, C, and K, and they grow everywhere in North America – but if you want to avoid pesticides don’t pick them from a suburban lawn or Central Park. Hike to a wild field instead.
Grab the dandelion root too, while you’re at it. You can use it to brew tea, or chop it up and put it in a dropper with some vodka to create a tincture/extract. Both preparations have cancer-fighting abilities [1,2].
2) Hack your workout with ARX
It takes working out on an ARX machine to understand just how much you can exhaust yourself in 30 seconds. The good people at ARX were offering free training sessions all weekend. The machines look pretty standard: there are grips and platforms and you sit down and move through normal exercises (chest press, leg press, etc.). The key difference is that when you start exerting yourself, the ARX comes back at you with a little more force than you’re putting out, like you’re pushing against a moving brick wall.
It’s every bit as tiring as it sounds. Three reps on the ARX leg press will leave you hobbling away on shaky legs. This thing is a phenomenal way to get an intense workout that’s both safe and efficient. Find an ARX near you if you’re interested in trying it. You just might drop your gym membership and switch over.
3) Pose your way to higher sex hormones
Professional athlete-turned-biohacker Maximilian Gotzler spoke about hacking testosterone, and he shared an unusual tip for influencing your hormones. It’s about as simple as biohacks come: adopt a powerful stance and think positive thoughts for a couple minutes. You’ll get a boost in testosterone and a drop in cortisol, and you’ll act more confident afterward [3,4]. Don’t skip this one, ladies! Testosterone is good for you, too.
There are plenty of poses to choose from. Max led a room of 100 people through the Haka, a traditional Maori war dance that New Zealand’s rugby team, the All Blacks, have made famous. It got so loud that it disrupted the talks in the rest of the convention center.
If you’re somewhere that frowns on noisy displays of aggression – the office, for example – you may be better off adopting the Superman/Wonder Woman pose: feet apart, hands on your hips, with your chest puffed and your chin up. You could also try the Wall Street banker pose: leaning back in your chair with your legs crossed on your desk. Get creative! If a pose takes up space and makes you feel like you run things, it’s probably a good option.
4) Connect with people to cultivate happiness
A big focus at the conference was on hacking your happiness. One of the most effective ways to build happiness is by connecting with those around you. People with high social connectedness are more positive long-term, less likely to react to stress, and quicker to recover from negativity .
The trick is that bonding with someone requires presence. People can tell when you’re distracted or fake in an interaction, and there’s a lot to distract you these days. Your email is pinging, your phone is buzzing, your earbuds are in, you’re thinking about the work you have to do later…you live in a busy world, with lots of stressors, lights, bells, and whistles competing for your attention. You’ll build better relationships and be happier if you learn to filter out all the noise and focus on the moment at hand.
Presence takes effort at first, but it pays off quickly. Here are a few tips to become more present:
- Shut off your phone for a few hours. Don’t text, don’t send out pictures of the tea you just bought, don’t listen to music – just let all that go and pay attention to your surroundings. Your office won’t collapse if you only check email twice a day, and you’ll be more in touch with your environment.
- The next time you’re talking to someone, breathe from your lower belly instead of from your chest. You’ll relax, and the other person will pick up on it and relax too. You can practice belly breathing right now: focus on filling your belly with air on your inhale. You should see it expand, and your chest shouldn’t move much, if at all. Slowly let all the air out on your exhale. Breathe like that for a couple minutes and see how you feel afterward.
- Dish out compliments. Notice what someone’s saying or doing, and if it brings up a good thought, let the person know. Happiness expert Alison Cebulla led a workshop at the conference about connecting through positivity. Her first tip was to walk up to a stranger, give him/her a compliment, and relate it back to yourself (“You’re in great shape. How do you do it?”). You establish common ground and start on an upbeat note. Just be sure your compliments are genuine. Studies show that people can tell when you’re faking emotion or positivity, and it makes them uncomfortable .
- Start small. Every time you’re checking out at a store, skip the customary halfhearted “Hey, how are ya?” and actually ask the guy bagging your groceries how he’s doing. When you’re walking past someone in the street, give a real, full smile instead of a curt nod. View your little daily interactions as opportunities to connect with people, however briefly. It’ll make you happier, and it might make someone else’s day, too.
Thanks for reading!