You were hired as a SOC Analyst for one of the biggest Juice Shops in the world and an attacker has made their way into your network. An IT team has sent you a zip file containing logs from the…
Attaining Ninja status and further musings on biohacking, micro-dosing, optimal performance, and personal sustainability.
Friends and associates often ask me about biohacking. Likely due to my wife and I treating ourselves as a 24/7 continuous bio hack experiment and always presenting the results with implicit honesty and radical transparency. It is our way of finding optimal pathways for ourselves and helping friends, family, partners and collaborators achieve improved sustained performance in their passions and undertakings. Spreading this message and way of life happens to be our passion, hence the “Why?” of this article.
It came as no surprise when an old friend and former talented colleague of mine visited Amsterdam and the hot-topic of micro-dosing came up. The questions from this veteran multi-billion dollar risk-manager were direct:
“Do you think micro dosing improves performance? and What is the risk-reward ratio of various substances that can be micro-dosed?”
The simple answer is “Yes” and “it varies.” But the more accurate answer is a bit more nuanced and requires a step back from the original question…
If the fundamental purpose of micro-dosing is to bio-hack oneself into optimal performance, then allow yourself to use optimal performance as the primary stated goal and see micro dosing as just one of many tools to achieve it.
At their core, these concepts relate to one central theme. Generating, controlling, and allocating energy in the most efficient way — be it mental, physical, psychic, or multi-planetary (I’m not here to judge, if you wish to commune with shape-shifting reptiles, that’s on you).
While micro-dosing is certainly a way to effect personal energy, much like liposuction can affect weight loss, or Cliff’s Notes can affect one’s chances of passing an exam— it may not be the optimal way.
My recommendation is to create habits that are sustainable for the longest period of time rather than achieving a peak result from a current (most likely low!) baseline state. Continuity wins the race, and continuity requires daily attention and sustainability.
In my practice, the primary variables contributing to the biohacking of thyself into optimal performance are:
4) Mind & Body synchronization.
These broad categories of Rest, Inputs, Outputs, and Synergy have numerous books published on them, not only for human and biological machines but also mechanical machines and structures of organization. My assertion is that these 4 fundamental bio hacks will affect optimal performance significantly more than adding micro dosing onto a dirty canvas.
That’s right, I just called you a dirty canvas. But that’s OK. The following basic tricks should get you primed and ready to receive…paint? Or whatever your dirty, soon to be clean, canvas desires. These tips are integrated (w)holistically, working together to create the new super-human you, the Homo Deus Naturalis… Yes, I just made that up — must be the added creativity of my naturally, hence described, bio hacked brain.
A. 8 hours of sleep is essential. Those 8 hours consist of deep sleep and REM sleep. Help yourself get into a deep sleep by…
B. Turn off all technology at least one hour before bed (cell phones completely off to decrease EMF exposure). Keep phones out of the bedroom and get into a habit of not using phones or computers in the place you designate for rest. Ideally dim all lights one-hour prior to sleep. Keep the tech off one hour after you wake up as well… Not only is checking your email on the toilet disrespectful to your colleagues, but it also fucks with your natural biorhythms. And since we’re talking about biorhythms, most of us city-dwelling humans are deficient in a few vitamins and minerals that significantly help our bodies and minds rest…
C. Magnesium, Potassium, and Calcium. The first two are critical to skeletal, muscular, and tissue relaxation. The combination of the three creates the most bio-available combination for our bodies to retain them. Find an organic; powdered supplement that you can take 30 mins before bed. Once the body can physically relax, the brain can spend less energy worrying about why your knees are tweaking or neck cramping, and more time on rest and recharge.
A. Treat Your Bodies Like Ferraris. We treat exotic sports cars as the most complex and intricate machines capable of attaining peak performance. Yet the human body make Enzo’s masterpieces look like Mr. Potato Head! Ever wonder why at every Formula 1 or NASCAR race, during pit stops, the pit crew rarely refills a full tank? Or how pit timing often becomes the difference between victory and defeat? The answer is peak-performance. Weighing down the machine with extra fuel decreases performance and knowing when to run and when to refuel is key to victory — we are no different!
Be a Ferrari, feel yourself revving your sexy-ass engine and propelling your machine to optimal performance. Eat during an 8-hour window. Run/Perform/Rest/Live during the remaining 16 hours of the day. You can call it intermittent fasting or simply eating smarter. Likewise, eat until you’re about 75% full, then HIT THE GAS and get out of the pit lane. If you’re eating clean fuel, you can eat as much as you need during the 8-hour window to maintain an optimal balance from 0% to 75% full.
B. High Octane Fuel Only. None of that 87 shit! Find foods that burn cleanly and quickly in your body. If you feel “full,” it’s a signal that optimal performance is lost. All non-processed, organic plant matter burns out of the body in approximately 8 hours, certain meats, animal fats, and proteins can linger in the human system for up to 72 hours. While that may be incredibly beneficial for optimal performance of an Inuit ice fisherman on weeklong arctic expeditions, it may feel completely inappropriate for the 99% of us. If the feeling of a “meat sweat” is familiar, perhaps you’ve answered your own question. Start with local, seasonal, organic fruits and vegetables. No, tomatoes aren’t in season 12 months out of the year. Neither are avocados or oranges. Get to know your local farmer — ask, “What’s up?” — you just may learn a thing or two!
Research the bioavailability of amino acids and proteins. Avoid proteins such as casein, which have a direct correlation to dis-ease. Avoid genetically modified proteins (sadly most soy in America, be careful and double check!). Avoid sugars — yes, that includes alcohol. Unless sugar is derived from fibrous fruits/vegetables that we masticate, it hits our bodies digestive system like sand to a Ferrari’s fuel injection. If you absolutely need the sugar hit, check out carob, dates, roasted butternut squash, and sweet potatoes.
Focus on original grains and seeds and avoid simple and processed carbohydrates like white flour, pasta, cookies, crackers, etc. In the end, these simple carbs convert to sucrose, which inevitably kills you — simple enough, right?
C. Water. We are comprised of nearly 80% H2O. Our PH balance is literally our lifeline. Disease cannot exist and thrive in a specifically alkaline environment and we affect this environment with hydration (among other things). Water that is maximally bio-available must be free of heavy metals, chemicals, and preferably be structured and intact, with a PH of 7.85–9. Start the day with 500–750ml of water first thing in the morning (distill the H20 overnight in a copper vessel for extra Ninja powers), continue the morning routine by using said magick water with your favourite ceremonial-grade matcha (it does make a difference, and requires its own essay), or white tea with jasmine — two of the most powerful antioxidants on Earth. Avoid acidic beverages that compromise PH balance unless using them sporadically as antioxidant or probiotic medicine — my apologies to the coffee and kombucha lovers out there but a PH of 2 to 4 doesn’t feel like a good mix with the pristine 7.85 waters of your inner sanctum.
D. Sun. Humans are not that different from plants and sun exposure is critical to our health and mental wellness. When the Sun is out, use it. Get outside, recharge. Walk around and watch some sunsets and sunrises (where available). For those of us in the North, close to the Wall, I suggest a highly bioavailable Vitamin D supplement. This was a gnarly bio hack gone wrong — as I watched my own Vitamin D levels plummet in the course of one year after moving to Amsterdam from Ibiza. Oral supplements beat the risk of skin cancer from tanning booths. Mushrooms have Vitamin D as well and can absorb sunlight even after harvesting— don’t forget to “charge” before consuming. Get familiar with mycelium — mushrooms, in all forms, are the next medical marijuana!
E. Air and the art of using it (“Breathing”). That thing you do over and fucking over, every moment of every day, yes, funny enough it turns out to be important. First, find your baseline. What kind of air are you breathing? What is your breathing rhythm? We can all agree, we’re not mouth-breathers?
Regulate the breath by imagining breathing into your stomach. Breathe in, through the nose, the stomach expands, breathe out through the nose, stomach contracts (if you focus on the contraction, the exercise doubles as an abdominal workout). Next level air intake requires mentally counting to 4 as you breathe in, taking a natural pause, exhaling smoothly over 4 seconds, holding a natural pause, and repeating. Eventually, the body will reset and normalize to this pattern and you won’t need to count while walking.
For most city dwellers, getting out to nature is crucial to getting a dose of quality air. It’s a perfect place to practice that fancy timed-nose-belly breathing! Fine-tuning your Air intake will compound the effects of some of the other bullet points on this list of hacks — that is so quickly running out of my control!
F. Vibration. Music, conversation, and relationships. I’ve already mentioned our bodies are comprised of 80% water. Have you ever seen how water behaves when exposed to vibration? Well, the results vary and illustrate the importance of surrounding ourselves with complimentary and life-affirming vibrations. Dr. Horowitz showed that listening to certain solfeggio frequencies could exude feelings of assimilation, comfort and wellbeing more so than traditional Western tuning. John Lennon’s Imagine was tuned to solfeggio (A= 432Hrz) and it started a bit of a global Revolution! Likewise, conversations and relationships with people who expand our perception, fuel us to reach and perform at our highest level — magnetizing our internal H2O to reciprocate the high vibration of others.
G. Read a book. Knowledge is power, thus knowledge is fuel for optimal performance. If you don’t have an answer for, “what are your top three influential books?” you have your weekend cut out for you. My current Top 3? The China Study, Principles: Life and Work, and How to Change Your Mind. The quest continues and this list WILL change.
Not only does information fuel thought, integrating new information generates fresh neural pathways that act to rejuvenate brain tissue and distract you from life-destructive, circular thoughts…
A. Our thoughts become our reality. Recognize the thoughts that run in circles — the ones that stand out as the most persistent. Isolate them and try to account for how they make you feel. Odds are, that feeling that you get from those thoughts is the average feeling of your overall day, and if the feeling is felt often enough — your whole life experience. If it vibes, keep it going! If you wish to experience a different feeling, start with having different thoughts!
B. Meditation. Or quiet time. Or prayer. Or take a walk by yourself while you practice the timed-nose-belly breathing. Whatever you call it, take time at least once a day to spend in a void of thoughts. That consciously created void allows the mind to reset, ground, and get off repetitive and non-life-affirming circles of thought. It’s also a great time to generate positive feelings that will become your future thought patterns. The life-affirmative thoughts you actually desire and wish to carry with you throughout your day. Make sales. Enjoy nature. Nail a pitch. Connect to a dear one. Whatever intentions you wish to carry through your day, plant the thought seeds in the fertile grounds offered by your morning meditation.
In my last year of futures and options trading at Merrill Lynch, I started waking up at 5:50 instead of 6:10 in order to include a morning practice. Those 20 minutes of care, reset, and intense visualization completely changed my performance and enhanced the perception of many other variables on this list. The practice contributed to increased revenue, more ease and better timing of execution, and greater enjoyment of life and work as a whole. Clients naturally gravitate towards confidence, colleagues begin to respect a new set of boundaries, and new opportunities flow effortlessly.
C. Intention reset. Create cue points in your day where you take 5 mins to check in with your meditation intentions. Some people check in every 15 or 30 mins, I prefer to do it every time the “scene changes.” The morning commute is one scene, arriving at a meeting is another; time analyzing meeting performance is another and so on. What I mean by check-in, is account for how well you’re holding down the intention that was set in the morning meditation and reset your intentions for the next scene. Never walk into the next scene of life daydreaming unless you’re expecting and desiring an unfocused picture. Accompany this intention reset exercise with a few deep breaths and you’ll feel a noticeable boost in energy levels and confidence to deliver on your intentions through the next scene. “Life is made up of little moments, just like this.” I think that’s an Above & Beyond quote, but it totally works. If you intend on making each scene aligned with your full intentions, eventually you’ll string a few scenes together and make a rad day!
D. Shed remaining thoughts. It’s a beneficial practice to sit for another meditation in the evening. This time, be easy on yourself and account for the positive intentions that were fulfilled and shed the thoughts and feelings that feel restrictive and repetitive. Another alternative is consciously talking through and shedding any thoughts and feelings in a pre-bed shower. Add 30 seconds to a minute of ice-cold exposure to end your shower shedding session, and you’ll feel further refreshed, with DNA telomeres nicely tickled and rejuvenated (the everyman’s cryotherapy!). Once you’re truly ready for Ninja status… Cold shower (don’t forget to dim the lights, turn off the phone, and enjoy the Mg/K/Ca cocktail), meditate, then fade into your well earned deep sleep — BOOYAKASHA!
A. Our bodies are machines that channel energy. Energy is distributed through several complex systems. Cardiovascular, endocrine, endocannabinoid, and lymphatic to name a few. These systems are circuits. If energy is blocked or stagnant, the circuit loses the optimality of energy transmission. Movement resets our energy systems by shaking out the stagnant energy. In different lifetimes I’ve benefited from ice hockey, weight training, rowing, HIIT, yoga, self-practiced “prison workout” — and all of these disciplines have their place. Combining any of these practices with proper synchronized breathing and Pranayama (you guessed it, it’s own essay!) significantly enhances the effects. Uniting physical training, with meditation, and breathing results in a continuous Walking Prayer (needless to say, OG Ninja status). The ancient Vedic sciences call this radical concept…Yoga.
B. Decompression of the machine. Studies show daily 30 min saunas significantly boost health and performance. While that seems like a wonderful privilege, it’s far from most people’s access. In any case, saunas, steam baths, sensory deprivation floats, sweats, banyas, massages, and other bodywork is incredibly beneficial to retuning the body back into alignment. Don’t forget to spend that luxury time practicing your breath — every opportunity is an opportunity to refine your practice, especially one meant to fully decompress and synchronize the mind-body machine.
Observing and integrating these 4 basic bio hacks into a daily practice for 3 to 6 months will lead to tangible, sometimes seemingly superhuman differences to peak and more importantly, sustained performance levels. Yet all that will be attained is the body’s optimal operating mode — a triumphant return to our original, incredible default factory settings! If at any point, however, another boost or redirection of energy is required to meet specific demands, micro-dosing or peak dosing can certainly be an option. But that’s a topic for a separate soliloquy…
At times in this article, I provided a clue without an explanation. I hope that inspires some to dig deeper into the research, the science, and most importantly, into their own personal feelings and experiences. Find the Truth that resonates with you. Don’t search for shortcuts and be accountable for your choices. Personal sustainability starts with knowing yourself.
Be empowered to share with love and gratitude with Warriors, Bio Hackers, Micro Dosers, Nomads, Pioneers, and otherwise rad individuals.
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