We event planners always lack time, are constantly under pressure and push our bodies to the extremes. What if you could use technology and science to cleverly deal with this? That's exactly what biohacking does. I talk about it with biohacker, Johan D'Haeseleer.
19-09-2016 - by Kevin Van der Straeten
We event planners always lack time, are constantly under pressure and push our bodies to the extremes. What if you could use technology and science to cleverly deal with this? That’s exactly what biohacking does. I talk about it with biohacker, Johan D’Haeseleer.
Hi, Johan, welcome to our studio.
Today’s topic is biohacking and you are a biohacker but what is that?
Biohacking is the art and science of optimizing your performance by using technology, science and biology to get better, faster, happier, leaner, whatever you want to achieve by using those three things.
It’s like doping.
Yes, it seems a bit like doping. But it’s not only by taking pills, it’s also by doing certain things.
Like, for example, optimizing your sleep which can be done by taking doping. And a lot of people are magnesium deficient. And by taking for example a magnesium pill in the evening, your sleep quality will become better.
But you can only take that if you’re deficient and you need it.
Because if you don’t need it, it won’t work for you.
It won’t help, yes. And this is done by taking measurements and for deficiency of magnesium, it’s easy to take a blood marker. You ask the doctor to take your blood and to screen if you’re deficient in magnesium or not.
Yes. And the reason why you are all doing that is to be more performance during the day.
Yes. I started out because my interest is personal efficiency for knowledge workers, and I’m a knowledge worker myself. And if my brain performs better, then I will perform better.
So I always am on the lookout for things that will help me become better in optimizing my brain.
Are there other examples than sleep? Yes, there’s a lot of examples and one of the examples is called, thermogenesis. That’s exposing yourself to the cold. Because this starts a number of processes in your body and it gives you more focus and more concentration.
So during the day, you just take a cold shower?
Yes, for example, starting your day with a cold shower would help you. Yes.
Oh, that’s surprising. Maybe I should try that.
And why is this? What happens is that you train your central nervous system to react better. And it starts all processes in your body that makes you more resilient. That’s really interesting. And there is a lot of things that we still don’t know about our body and our brain. But it’s becoming more and more easy to test it for yourself. That’s why doing those experiments, even a small experiment for three or four weeks, is so beneficial for yourself.
And do all the hacks help for everybody?
No. Our biochemistry is different.
So that’s the reason why you need to test. You don’t have to say, this will work for everybody. That’s why it’s good to test. For example, 20% of the people have a gene that makes it easier to digest coffee. I, for example, I don’t have that gene and for me, drinking coffee, after two hours, in the afternoon, has a real impact on my deep sleep. So I don’t drink coffee after two hours.
Some people, only 20%... I see a lot of people who tell me, oh, Johan, I don’t have a problem with coffee. Most people think they’re in the 20%. Which is not true.
Yes. But you can measure that, also.
Yes, you can measure that. You can measure sleep. That’s why we live in interesting times. Because all kinds of technology is coming to the market, that is much cheaper than going to a sleep lab and testing things. You can test at home now.
Were there any hacks you tried yourself that didn’t work?
Well, at the moment, I’m trying nicotine, twice…
Are you a smoker?
I’m not a smoker.
I’m trying nicotine in the form of gum.
I take two times a week, two milligram of nicotine and that should help your brain to be more focused. And at the moment, I don’t see clear evidence for me that it’s working.
Okay. And where do you get all the information?
Well, there are a lot of resources on the net available to get inspiration where you can test. For example, heart rate variability is one of the things that you can do, to train your nervous system to perform better under stress. There are a wide number of podcasts on biohacking and two that I follow frequently are Bulletproof Coaching and Tim Ferriss, who is a well-known biohacker. And they all give inspiration that you think, this is something I’m going to test. I have a huge list with things that I’m still going to test.
And is it still healthy doing all that stuff?
Well, is it still healthy? I think you should think for yourself, where do I draw the line? What am I willing to test or not willing to test?
For example, for me, drawing the line is, I don’t let anything happen to my body. I’m not willing to insert something into my body, to test. For example, some people have surgically implanted things in their body, to test. That’s a line that I don’t cross at the moment. Perhaps in the future but not at the moment.
Okay. I’m very curious to start experimenting and see, as an event planner, how it can help us during the day. Johan, thank you very much for coming over.
No problem. I like it.
And you at home, thank you for watching our show. I hope to see you next week.