Many people have asked me this question when I describe myself as a biohacker. For those of you who aren’t fans of reading, here’s the shortcut (“hacked”) definition from the dictionary:
biohacker \ ˈbī-ō-ˌha-kər \ noun, plural biohackers. Somebody who uses science and technology to make his or her body function better and more efficiently.
Now you know! And for those who aren’t fans of reading but are fans of video explanations, just click below. In this video, you will also learn how to be a biohacker on a budget, so it won’t break your bank!
Then for those who don’t mind reading and would like a deeper understanding of the term, I’ll explain it further below the video, so just scroll down to read on.
I’ve been a biohacker for decades now, in fact, ever since 1987 when I began devouring the research on human performance, exercise science, nutrition science, and brain science while earning my degree in Exercise Science from Seattle Pacific University.
Pictured below is my 33-page senior college research paper, which was a requirement to finish my degree. This was back when we used dot matrix printers, and my “laptop” computer was the size of a carry-on bag.
My report was a “biohack” on human eccentric muscle contractions. My professor was teaching us at the time that eccentric muscle contractions were less beneficial than concentric contractions but my gut told me there was something wrong with that opinion, so I went to the library to find out.
You see, back then in 1989, the internet didn’t exist. We had to use real books inside a real library and find real journals that were being published at the time, of which there were only about a dozen in the fields of exercise science and human performance. At first, I thought our university library was just super lame, so I went to the Seattle library, only to find the same thing.
I went back to my professor and asked him what was up with the lack of journals available and he told me that’s all there were at the time because our field was so new. Then he said something that really got me pumped. He looked me in the eye with an electric intensity and said, “This is why our field is so exciting – because we’re all pioneers!”
That comment was what inspired me to find a new way to do exercise and completely redesign it from the way we know it. Not just to create something new, but to give the world an upgrade. And it really needed it because everyone was still doing traditional training (sets and reps), which was invented back in 1891.
This is what us biohackers do. We research and experiment on new and better ways to get healthier and fitter. I started this with my friends in the weight room at SPU.
I had been doing Crossfit type stuff (aka traditional training), for about two hours a day, five days a week, getting injured every few months (or less), and trying to fight through those pesky fitness plateaus.
I was burned out on all the time and energy it required, in exchange for injuries and flat results, so I started trying new stuff based on what I was learning in my classes, determined to give myself, and then the world, an upgraded training and fitness system.
We had a blast experimenting with new ways to do things. Some ideas worked better and some didn’t, but doing new stuff was fun, so we kept on, despite the judging eyes and condescending chuckles from others in the weight room. I didn’t know it at the time, but we were “biohacking,” before the term even existed.
Now we have the technology to help us make even faster progress and the internet to scour through hundreds of research journals, so the speed of information and the amount we can access is truly astonishing. This is what makes “biohacking” all the rage now, even to the extent of being included in the dictionary.
I recently attended Dave Asprey’s biohacker convention in Beverly Hills and it was a dream come true. So many gizmos and gadgets and so little time! So much information and data and such a small brain! My mind exploded several times when I was there, but it felt amazing.
Dave’s CEO of his labs division, called Upgrade Labs, was a member at my X Gym before he moved to California, so it was great to see him there. Martin calls me the “OG” (Original Gangster) of biohacking.
Dave and Martin have far surpassed me on the biohacking front now. In fact, the edited definition I used at the top of this post for those who don’t like reading was shortened as much as possible for their benefit. If you look it up for yourself in Merriam-Webster Dictionary, you will find the full version to read like this:
biohacker \ ˈbī-ō-ˌha-kər \ noun, plural biohackers
[Dave] Asprey, 42, is a self-described biohacker—somebody who uses science and technology to make his or her body function better and more efficiently. There are about 100,000 biohackers worldwide, Asprey estimates, and among them, he’s a celebrity.
This is already outdated though because as of today (11/2/19), there really are more like 300,000 of us.
The Kirkland/Bellevue X Gym in Washington state isn’t just a training center for our one-on-one personal training clients and group exercise members. It’s also my lab to try new experiments and invent new gizmos, gadgets, and shortcuts. My personal trainers, group instructors, and members all appreciate the new stuff all the time, knowing they are part of a bigger picture, where we are helping to change the world of health and fitness with our continued evolution and progression.
My X Gym app members and online training members also get to experience the benefits of these experiments, biohacks, and shortcuts, saving them time, energy, and offering better safety and effectiveness at the same time.
There you have it. Now if someone asks you what a biohacker is, you can explain it with detail (or send them the link to this post if they want a deeper dive).