Ben Greenfield: How to Find Balance in Biohacking

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Biohacker Summit 2015 opens with Ben Greenfield’s “Biohacking vs Nature”, Ben is an ex-bodybuilder, Ironman triathlete, Spartan racer, coach, speaker and author of the New York Times Bestseller “Beyond Training: Mastering Endurance, Health and Life”.

Ben starts his presentation with a Warrior breathing technique, which he practices every day to boost his energy. This technique involves hyperoxygenating the body with fast and deep nasal inhale followed by a quick exhale in sets of 50-40-30-20 and deep breath in and out in between. The technique apparently works as Ben receives a burst of applause.

According to Ben it is essential to find a balance between living in nature and biohacking. See below his 10 ways to get most out of biohacking without losing the connection with nature:

  • Quantified self. Ben is not convinced that constantly tracking the body with various wearable devices is healthy because the signal they emit may disrupt the blood brain barrier and cause low-level radiation. Ben poses a question whether one really needs data from various devices. Nevertheless, he agrees that these are great tools to look at how different habits affect different aspects of life. He spends only 5 minutes a day to track his heart-rate variability – the most important and insightful metric to get the information on what your body is capable of doing.
  • Hypoxic training. Ben advocates this non-invasive technique aimed at improving human performance and well-being by means of oxygen deprivation. The easiest way to integrate hypoxic training in your life is to simply start swimming and perform underwater sets. For more advanced athletes Ben recommends to check Laird Hamilton workout underwater.
  • Cold thermogenesis and cryotherapy. Ben admits that cold therapy has been proven to enhance the immune system, primarily by increase levels of immune system cells that help fight disease and infection. By combining hot & cold thermogenesis you can stimulate norepinephrine release, which opens up blood vessels and hence, improve your immune system. Cryotherapy – a technique involving the use of low temperatures on the body. Ben agrees that cryotherapy combined with anti-inflammatory diet is an extremely potent fat loss tool. Yet the same result can be achieved with a very cold outdoor pool or river. This helps to build up stress resilience for several months ahead.
  • Electrical muscle stimulation. According to Ben EMS is a great way to train as it stimulates a lot of muscle fibers and increases the muscular endurance with a very little joint impact. The best results can be achieved by combining EMS with regular workout. For example, one can train the upper body with EMS while doing sprint on a treadmill. Yet you can achieve similar results with isometrics, or static holds – a type of strength training in which the joint angle and muscle length do not change during contraction. Ben likes to do set of isometric exercise while traveling.
  • Real food and supplements – like Ambronite, and other pre-packaged meals that contain optimal amounts of nutrients to support your body for hours. Ben understands the concerns around meal replacements, protein shakes and energy bars yet underlines that eating real food is the most ultimate biohack out there that perpetrates our connection with nature.
  • Compression devices and Inversion – Compression devices are one of Ben’s favorite go-to’s for post workout recovery and rehabilitation, targeting muscular pain and body aches. Compression boots, socks, and shirts are designed for people who spend most of their time by the standing desk or runners and cyclers, helping them to relieve muscular fatigue and improve blood circulation in the body. At the same time, handstands, and inverted yoga poses create similar effects as compression devices, yet more easily affordable and attainable for most of the people.
  • Sauna – infrared or smoked Finnish sauna, according to latest research is great for balancing blood pressure, improving cardiovascular health and increasing longevity. Ben suggests that high dose niacin 30 mins prior to sauna session causes fat cells lipolysis in the body. He reveals that he combined high niacin dose while training for the heat with several layers of clothes and exercise to achieve the similar effect.
  • Vibration platforms and jumping jacks – useful technique to be implemented between weight lifting sets as it enables you to recover faster and lift more weight. Vibration platforms and trampolines increase the limp flow and blood flow, yet exercises like jumping jacks may be a great alternative if you don’t have a vibration plate nearby.
  • Blue light – technology that stimulates photoreceptors in the ear with light to normalize circadian rhythms and adjust the body to the new time zone. Ben advocates the bluelight devices to be a great solution against jetlag. However he agrees that there’s no better source of blue light out there than a morning sun.
  • Head bends and meditation – devices that monitor your brain waves during meditation. Ben agrees that those are great to walk you through the meditation process yet concerned about the amount of positive electrons sent into the brain by these devices. He suggests to find a good meditation sit spot in nature instead, as it opens up your senses and you feel better after a quick 15 minutes recharge.

In 2008, Ben was voted as NSCA’s Personal Trainer of the year and in 2013 and 2014 was named by Greatist as one of the top 100 Most Influential People In Health And Fitness. Ben blogs and podcasts at BenGreenfieldFitness.com, and resides in Spokane, WA with his wife and twin boys. Get more insights about Ben’s life philosophy by listening to Biohacker’s Podcast #5

 

Biohacker Summit Helsinki - 13-14 October 2017

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