With the right plan and the right discipline, you can get seriously shredded in just 28 days.Read article
The mantra of achieving more with each passing day has been a driving force in biohacking. However, in 2024, there’s an intriguing shift . While performing at a high level remains a primary goal, the approach has taken a turn toward a more deliberate and measured pace. This year, biohackers are embracing the “chill,” slowing down and prioritizing balancing their autonomic nervous system through a blend of physical and mental tools.
Biohacking has got some bad rep from headlines concerning gene editing. However, it’s rooted in a much more natural practice. It’s all about the pursuit of unlocking your body’s full potential and feeling and performing your best. Biohacking encompasses your personal toolkit for upgrading your physical, emotional, mental and spiritual game. Picture it as a journey where you try out different tricks and apply advanced tools and technologies—tweaking your diet, using wearables, or looking at sunlight for at least five minutes within an hour of waking up—all in the name of figuring out what works best for you.
Fasting protocols and wearables continue to make a buzz, and saunas are still a hot topic—pun intended. But 2024 gives room to a new wave of five biohacking trends that beckon a more personalized and home-centric approach.
Once reserved for elite athletes or advanced recovery facilities, ice plunges are becoming a staple for biohackers seeking enhanced recovery and a cognitive boost within the comfort of their homes. The end of 2023 saw a surge of options for chilling in an ice-cold tub from easy-to-set-up inflatables to luxurious plunges, and that surge is far from over yet.
According to a market research report, the global cold plunge market size reached $324.6 million in 2023 and is expected to reach $464 million by 2032.
Samuel Whiting, director of performance at Edge Theory Labs, says there’s a lot of “cold curiosity” right now. “People are starting to engage with the stimulus of cold water immersion,” he says, noting that everyone has a different entry point from turning the shower cold to polar plunging in an icy lake. He adds it’s an ancient practice with a modern twist. “People are coming to the cold for so many different reasons, whether they’re grieving, at a season of loss, working with physiological ailments, or wanting to use it to activate something they’re creating in their life,” Whiting says, noting the beauty of how accessible these cold tubs have become, whether at a facility, at a friend’s house or home.
Sure, you can fill your bathtub and toss in ice bags from the grocery store without breaking the bank. However, for a more professional touch, these three brands are worth exploring.
Edge Theory Lab’s inflatable tub is unlike your typical kiddie pool. It mirrors the sturdiness of inflatable paddle boards with a setup as fast as 15 minutes. The 1 hp chiller cools the water to 37ºF in under three hours, controllable via your smartphone. And, you can spice it up even more by adding additional ice.
Fancy more of a hot tub experience? It can reach 104 degrees in a few hours.
A filtration system and non-chlorine sanitizer are designed to maintain water purity. But the brand recommends running weekly checkups—cleaning the filter and testing the water chemistry balance. If used at home, they recommend draining and refilling every three months, depending on the frequency of usage. If you get lost on how to do all that, they’ve got easy-to-follow explanatory videos on their website. Also, being portable and adaptable makes it perfect for road trips or sharing with friends.
Cost: Starts at $4,490
The Plunge is the ultimate ice breaker but without the ice. Its elegant design instantly catches the eye, and once you submerge in its chilling 39º water, paradoxically, all your stress melts away. Luxury comes at a cost though. It’s a lifetime investment of $4,990 for its standard size. And, for an extra few hundred bucks, you can transform it into a soothing hot tub at 103 degrees. With acrylic and fiberglass materials and a durable metal base, it stands strong whether nestled indoors or placed outdoors.
Their newest Plunge All-In (going for nearly $9K) requires no plumbing or wiring. All you need to do is just plug it into the outlet and control the temperature with your smartphone. Equipped with a built-in water sanitation system utilizing ozone, it ensures a pristine soak every time. However, even with high-quality filtration, it’s recommended to test the water quality and balance it with chlorine-free and bromine-free sanitizers. Also keep in mind that continuously keeping the chill or the heat can bear some weight on your electricity bill. So to help ease your wallet, an insulated spa cover will help to maintain the temperature.
Cost: Starts at $4,990
This Amazon best-seller is a cost-effective option for adding cold plunging into your biohacking routine. Setup takes around 10 minutes. Just fill it with water, toss in plenty of ice for your desired chill, and dive in. There’s no filtration system, but the thermal cover helps keep the water cool longer and protects it from debris and bugs. Still, it’s recommended to drain and refill every four weeks with daily use.
Keep in mind, you could purchase water chillers and purifiers separately. From there you can turn your cold plunge enhancement into a fun DIY project.
Cost: Starts at $116
Ever tackled a 45- to 60-minute zone 2 cardio session and wondered, “Is this effort enough?” or “Why is it so challenging to maintain training in that zone?”
With HIIT classes getting all the buzz, zone 2 cardio remains underrated. Thanks to thought leaders such as Andrew Huberman and Peter Attia though, this moderate-intensity training has gained prominence.
Gary Brecka, biohacker and co-founder of 10x Health Systems, highlights the struggle to stay at a slow pace, often feeling insufficiently intense. He says, “The effort does not seem beneficial to the athlete, and the tendency is to leave zone 2 and push harder to ‘feel’ the intensity.”
However, in this case, more isn’t always better. Brecka explains that “the little-known benefit of zone 2 cardio, in my opinion, is the increase in mitochondrial density. Meaning that it is known to increase the total density (number) of mitochondria in the muscle cell.”
Whether you’re a pro-biohacker or a rookie, you may know that mitochondrial health is a high priority. Being the battery in each of your cells, more mitochondria means greater energy production and better performance.
Brecka also adds that there is an increase in lactate clearance that helps to improve athletic performance. “Most of the literature points to athletes benefiting from consistent zone 2 training to keep their level of athletic performance at peak levels.”
As the intensity of your training increases, the body taps into different energy sources. Zone 2 primarily utilizes fat as its energy source, hence the delay in fatigue. Plus, cells also use the lower levels of lactate as fuel without reducing performance.
Additional benefits include improved heart health, better endurance and increased power.
To hit your zone 2 heart rate, work at 60-70% of your maximum heart rate and keep it there. To calculate your max heart rate take 220 minus your age.
Attia recommends incline walks or riding a stationary bike as your best zone 2 cardio options as they allow you to have steady control of your intensity throughout those workouts. If you don’t have an active heart rate monitor, target the “zone” by maintaining a pace where you can still have a conversation while doing it.
Becoming the master of the mind is a quest that proves to be rather challenging for many. Not only are we bombarded with information and distractions 24/7, but it’s often difficult to silence that internal dialogue too. But what if you could understand your brain waves, and thus, learn to better regulate them? And all that, at home.
With a history of more than 50 years, neurofeedback is still considered a new modality, yet studies have found it to be efficacious in various mental health conditions from ADHD and anxiety, to PTSD, addiction and more.
Imagine having a window into your mind—one that allows you to quantify your brain activity. Such measures will give you the power to better manage it, which is biohacking 101.
What used to be done only at clinics, having multiple wires of electroencephalography (EEG) sensors applied to certain parts of the head with a conductor paste is now built into portable non-invasive at-home headsets. These use a variety of sensors from EEG and pulse oximeter PPG to functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS).
The goal is to encourage specific desired brainwave patterns while discouraging others. For example, if you want to improve focus, you may train to increase beta wave activity associated with attention or to achieve a calm state of mind easier, train to increase alpha wave activity.
If you’re interested in learning more about neurofeedback, check out these options:
Mendi is like playing a video game with your brain being the controller. It’s a budget-friendly yet effective tool to help enhance cognitive function. Utilizing functional near-infrared spectroscopy optical sensors, the Mendi headset measures brain flow to quantify your brain activity in the prefrontal cortex—the CEO of your brain responsible for executive function, emotional regulation and cognitive functions.
It’s meant to help you increase your focus and better control your emotions and attention. So, if every ping, notification and running squirrel can easily distract you, this will help to teach your brain how to stay on task and be less reactive no matter what’s trying to hijack your attention.
Head of Product and Science at Mendi, Mustafa S. Hamada, PhD, says that the hemodynamic, or blood flow, response measured by fNIRS is relatively slower compared to electrical brain activity measured by EEG. “While this decreases the temporal resolution of fNIRS, it is not a critical factor for consumer devices,” he says noting that many consumer applications involve analyzing longer-term patterns rather than rapid changes in brain states.
To play the game, pop on the headset, link it to the app and start the game, maneuvering a ball through a terrain. Not quite Super Mario, but a scientifically sound method for fortifying healthier neural networks.
Mustafa recommends 10- to 15-minute sessions, four to five days a week, for eight to 10 weeks to start experiencing the benefits. However, he adds that some people might require one or two extra weeks of training. Even after that though, it’s not set and done.
Much like our body requires consistent training to stay in shape, Mustafa says the brain responds to repetitive and consistent stimulation too. “By making neurofeedback training a regular part of our routine, we create a feedback loop that reinforces and maintains cognitive acuity,” he adds.
For those completely new to the concept of neurofeedback and who need more guidance to get the most out of it, Myneurva offers an expert-guided option. Albeit at a 10 times higher cost than other home gadgets.
They provide a comprehensive system, complete with an EEG cap featuring 19 sensors, a laptop, gel and applicators, as well as an EEG amplifier. While the cap and gel add a bit of hassle, a Myneurva team member will guide you remotely via Zoom to ensure proper setup.
Establishing your brain’s baseline is step one, which is key for every biohacker who wants to achieve measurable results. To do that, they run a brain map session remotely, so their medical doctors and psychologists can create an individualized protocol.
In general, protocols are set at 10 to 20 sessions with two to three sessions a week. Each of these takes about an hour. They take another test halfway through and then adjust the protocol accordingly. Sessions are also much like a video game with multiple options available, but they intensify after session 10. After the 20th session, you’re asked to return the equipment.
According to their team, 20 sessions will leave most people with lasting results, but you may start noticing changes as early as session seven.
Cost: Starts at $3,599
Biohackers are ditching the booze but not the buzz. Turns out mocktails are not the only alcohol alternatives for a good time. Not to mention, those tend to be loaded with sugar and additives, which are a no-go for most biohackers. Instead, they are reaching for “ketohol” and kava in 2024, enjoying the mellow buzz without worrying about hangovers, empty calories, and their heart rate variability taking a nosedive that night.
Most alcoholic drinks kick you out of ketosis, which is a state most biohackers enjoy tapping into for increased performance and more energy. Hard Ketones do the opposite. They don’t only increase your ketone levels but also leave you with a relaxing buzz. That is if you’re one of the lucky 80%. Frank Llosa, CEO of Hard Ketones, says their experience is that “20% of people don’t feel a buzz from it.” A mystery even to them.
The active patented ingredient is R 1,3 Butanediol, a non-ethanol alcohol that was first studied for increasing blood ketones. Llosa says he was inspired when finding out that, at higher doses, mice were stumbling as if they were drunk during experiments.
The taste of R 1,3 Butanediol is not appetizing, but he says, they finally reached a point where their current selection of flavors (Pina Colada, Ginger Mule and Gin & Tonic) can adequately mask it. Plus, it helps suppress appetite and there’s no hangover. Most people may feel that buzz after two cans, so it’s not something he says people would overdo.
It breaks down in the liver, hence the impact on ketone levels, so the buzz may be more noticeable if it’s consumed before dinner—somewhat on an empty stomach, as opposed to during or right after a meal.
Ketohol is not regulated by the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau, but Llosa emphasizes no driving during consumption or if pregnant and under 21, highlighting the novel nature of the formula.
Contrary to Ketohol, kava is an age-old remedy extracted from a plant. It’s been part of the culture of the Pacific Islanders for more than 3000 years. As it’s made its way into our Western world, it started to gain momentum due to its calming impact on the nervous system. Research has found it to increase GABA activity and reduce anxiety.
On its own, kava has a strong earthy flavor, but Tru Kava was able to hide it more than any other Kava drinks. Blending concentrated fruits, stevia and monk fruit, they’ve crafted a biohacker-approved fizzy drink loved by the likes of Dave Asprey and Ben Greenfield.
Take a sip and you might notice a mild numb or tingly sensation in your mouth and throat – a quirky insight into kava’s impact on nerve receptors. This plant carries a topical sedative property, but it’s only during the first few sips, and your sensation will return shortly after. The relaxation effect lasts a couple of hours and it’s also been found to help with sleep.
Best to sip it chilled and slowly. Avoid chugging it.
Cost: $29.94 (six pack)
Personalization, personalization, personalization… a golden rule in biohacking. Whether it’s diet, training or even chilling in an ice bath – it’s all about what works best for you. Nootropics, or “smart drugs”, are no exception.
Take coffee, for example–the OG nootropic. It hits everyone differently. One person’s rocket fuel is another’s nap inducer. Customizable nootropics kick cognitive enhancement up a notch. Your brain is an intricate puzzle. So, instead of tossing in all the brain-boosting goodies, some brands ask you a few questions first to establish your cognitive baseline regarding focus, memory, fatigue and more.
The formulas then are tailored to individual cognitive needs to empower you to fine-tune your mental performance with precision. Instead of overstimulating the brain, this approach provides a more balanced outcome that saves you the crashes and energy rollercoasters.
To get started on your nootropic journey, check out these options:
For the sake of a personalized approach, Nootopia’s pre-purchase quiz delves into the intricacies of your neurochemistry. Analyzing eight key components—dopamine, acetylcholine, anandamide, GABA, serotonin, cortisol, noradrenaline, and adrenaline—the quiz unveils the blueprint shaping your mood, focus and cognitive function. It takes a couple of minutes to complete, and the results will reveal how your levels stack up to the population average and which products are recommended to help balance those out.
After choosing your bundle, you’ll receive what resembles a chemistry lab in a box. One supplement is a pill inside a pill – mind is blown. It’s encapsulated so it won’t dissolve in stomach acid. Instead, it continues in your gut, where the pH shifts from acid to base. This keeps all the good stuff intact for better bioavailability. The nootropic powder inside kicks in a bit later, slowly releasing its magic into your bloodstream. It teams up with inflammation-balancing oils, crosses the blood-brain barrier, and voila! Your synapses get a day-long boost in brainpower with just a hint of energy. You may feel the effect kick in within minutes. Ben Greenfield calls it his “secret weapon in his pantry.”
Nootropics impact everyone differently since we all have different brain chemistry. Even after receiving the formulas, be mindful when taking each of them and pay attention to how they impact your cognitive function. Make notes of which ones work better than others, so the next time you order, you can tweak whichever worked best and omit the ones that weren’t your cup of tea.
Cost: Starts at $79
Thesis’ approach is not short of science, and biohackers love science. It starts with a quick quiz that will determine what your brain needs based on evidence from 472 independent scientific studies. It focuses on six categories or stacks–logic, creativity, clarity and motivation, confidence, and energy. After you receive your results, you can learn more about the ingredients in each stack, and where your baseline stands, which is established based on an algorithm using nearly 15 million data points.
Thesis offers a free consultation with one of their health coaches to help you best optimize the nootropic stacks. Neat! Start slow, take one stack a week and jot down its impact. This way you can have clarity on how each rocks your cognitive world. These are powerful ingredients, so you don’t want to push your brain into overdrive. Share your notes with a Thesis coach, and they’ll assist you in finding a blend that works best for you.
Cost: Starts at $79