It has been a few crazy weeks! I’ve fallen behind a bit on blogging for a variety of reasons, one of which getting somewhat addicted to the videogame Destiny for PS3. But more on that later…
The 3rd Annual Bulletproof Biohacking Conference was October 23rd through the 25th in Pasadena California. This 3 day conference was jam-packed with biohacking vendors, top-notch speakers, and wonderful people. It was kicked off with an extraordinary performance by Charlie Faraday, and the energy level was high throughout the entire conference.
I’m going to summarize the main points of the conference in a few categories, but be warned the experience was far greater than any sum of these items.
- Brain Hacks
- Body Hacks
The entire conference structure felt like an analogy to The Bulletproof Diet. There was unlimited Bulletproof Coffee and FATwater provided throughout the day. There was no on-site lunch although many local restaurants made special “Bulletproof” dining options available for the weekend. So for the majority of the conference most people were likely in a fat-fasting state (AKA Bulletproof Intermittent Fasting). This is where you have only ingested butter, medium chain triglycerides (as found in the Brain Octane oil supplement), or other fats for a long duration of time. As Dave Asprey argued in his lecture that fat-fasting has benefits over intermittent fasting including reset hunger hormones, reduced stress hormones, and greater brain performance. The other argument to using Brain Octane oil is that it is converted to ketones (energy molecules derived from fat) in the presence of higher blood-glucose levels. The advantage here is a person can still eat carbs and have the benefits from ketones. So, carbs are used strategically in the diet without the typical brain fog and cravings that come after ingestion. I loved this lecture from Dave and it felt like an awesome explanation of his diet methods.
Also note; this is a super-high level summary of the diet and ketones, I’ll likely do an expanded post on ketosis in a future post.
After we have sorted out our energy sources the next logical step is to make sure we are well covered with nutrition intake. Of course there are the Bulletproof line of supplements for energy and detox, as well as representation from Surthrival, Ola Loa, Sun Horse Energy, Jing Herbs, and Natural Stacks. If you are craving some healthy protein you can ask the coffee counter to spike your coffee with Upgraded Collagen, stop by Arizona Grass Fed Beef for some bone broth, pick up some awesome jerky from Epic, or grab a can of salmon from Vital Choice.
One immediate draw for me was the injectable nutrient clinic! I knew from the start that I had to try it, having never done it before and my inner biohacker was screaming at me to do it! However, it didn’t go as smoothly as I imagined so here is the story: My wife and I show up for our time slot and I was buzzing on coffee. They told me to eat something so I open up my backpack and start eating a whole cucumber, homemade kale chips, and nuts. I settle into my chair and they start looking for veins on my arm to stick. They do one stick with the needle, I told them it was kind of uncomfortable, so they pull it out and said they’d stick me again in a slightly different location. This was not a pleasant idea to me, but we got the right spot on the 2nd try and they started the nutrient drip. Then they moved on to get my wife started by looking at her veins. It was taking a while to find a vein on my wife, which is a common issue for her. Meanwhile I am sitting next to them with my drip and I start feeling a slight upset stomach. I figured it was because of the caffeine and the food I just scarfed down. As the stomach upset slowly subsided, I started feeling lightheaded with my peripherals getting dark. I decided to finally say something before they get too involved with my wife, “Hey, I’m not feeling so good.” My wife and the doctor look at me and apparently I was ghostly pale, so they immediately stop my drip, put a cold pack on my neck, and gave me some water. I recovered fully after about 5 minutes and they started my drip again but much slower. They got my wife started and we are sitting pretty good with our drips. A little later I started feeling a slight burn in my upper arm, so I told the doctor and they set me up with a heat pad to keep the blood flowing, and they added some buffer solution to my drip. This is likely because the vitamin C is acidic, and I am probably sensitive to the acidity. We finally finish our drips and are sent on our way!
But don’t be afraid of the nutrient injections based on my experience! As a biohacker I’ve learned some things from my personal experience for the future, such as advising the doctor that I need a slower than normal drip and likely need a less acidic solution than other people. Keep in mind there were a dozen people who were in-and-out of the clinic in the time that I was getting mine done, so it appears the majority of people have no issue with this process.
3. Brain Hacks
Once your brain is well fueled with ketones and well nourished with supplements, you are in prime state to train it. We had the Bulletproof staple Heart Math, which clips to your ear and measures your heart rate variability. By simply measuring your heart rate the device can tell you if you are in a stressed mode or meditative mode, and this can be controlled with breathing exercises and focusing on a positive thought or emotion.
The next biofeedback device we tried was Neuromore, which utilized the Occulus Rift virtual reality setup with a biofeedback headband. Once set up, it runs you through a virtual reality tunnel with a spoken guided meditation. Apparently the speed and the colors of the tunnel respond to your mental feedback, giving you a more intense output as your brain gets more engaged. This was a lot of fun, and I loved the synergy between the videogame setup and biofeedback meditation. I believe that eventually videogames will be designed to give these kinds of positive feedback loops (many of which already are) and that self-help tools are becoming more like games.
There were also great presenters and workshops on hacking your performance, meditation, and gratitude. Among them were Alison Cebulla, a certified health coach and founder of the Kindness Challenge, who taught a great interactive workshop on meeting new people and conversation starters. We had a powerful presentation Brendan Burchard on traits of high performance people, such as having Clarity, Energy, Productivity, Influence, and Courage! And simple ways we can improve those traits such as not checking your email for the first hour of your day to improve Productivity.
4. Body Hacks
Finally lets get into hacking our body! I love the Bulletproof methodology that working your body smarter and not necessarily harder is key. The epitome of body hacks was the ARX machine. This is a beast of a machine which is designed for you to put your entire force against the machine, and do this for only 3-4 repetitions. After those four repetitions, you are completely spent. I set up the 1st day to do my chest press and pull-downs. I was actually buckled-in so the machine doesn’t take me with it! As I pull down with all my force, the trainer was lowering the straps with with me with a remote control. Then when he reversed it had to resist the straps from coming up like my life depended on it. We do this 3 times for pull-downs and chest presses, and afterwards my arms felt like jelly. I could barely hold my camera stable to take pictures the rest of the conference!
Like a good videogame, the ARX had real-time visual feedback of the force I was exerting on a time dependent graph. On my second rep the trainer was telling me to beat my last peak, but I was clearly not even close to getting there. The trainer later explained that I was supposed to fail as my muscles are fatigued, but that is the motivation to give it my all… sounds a lot like a videogame to me. The amazing thing I learned about my strength curves is that I am able to output much more force while resisting the upward motion as opposed to doing the standard pull down motion. This means the machine is effectively working the maximum number of muscles, if i was using a typical pull-down machine I am limited to only working at my pull-down strength, which is about 40% of my total muscle capability.
After I finished my workout on the ARX I told the trainer, “Well, that was my workout for the year, see you next year!” That statement sums up how I feel about the entire conference. It was one massive burst of awesomeness, which will last me until I go again next year!
Again, this only brushes the surface of the amazing experience at the Bulletproof Biohacking Conference! Leave me any questions you may have about the conference below or send me a message!