By Patrick Craig, Special FBA Contributor
Last month, I started a two-part article on Bio-Hacking and I presented some of the more bizarre forms this new fitness craze has taken. I promised I would develop the subject a bit more, so here’s part 2.
Two years have passed since the fitness industry was blind-sided by COVID-19, triggering a whole eruption of technological infusion into a previously non-tech environment. My observation from last month was the new normal in fitness “has become like something out of a dystopian movie of a future dominated by machines, like Terminator come to life in a fitness facility.
I made that statement partly tongue in cheek, but even so, it cannot be denied that new and, shall I say, unusual technological advancements are hitting the market every day and, like it or not, they are having an enormous impact on the fitness industry. After a rather disconcerting Part I and in researching Part 2, I have come across fitness practitioners who are downplaying the “need” for all sorts of gadgets and measurements to bio-hack yourself, presenting a less radical and more common-sense approach to the whole medium.
Doctors like Josh Axe, the co-Founder of Ancient Nutrition, think Bio-hacking has a legitimate place in the fitness picture, but he defines it in a much less controversial way. According to Dr. Axe, “Biohacking is the process of making changes to your lifestyle in order to ‘hack’ your body’s biology and feel your best. You know the saying, ‘You are what you eat’? That actually applies to humans in a broader sense: Everything we put into our bodies — our foods, our thoughts, our physical movement—affects how we behave. By biohacking yourself, you can actually transform your body so you feel more energized, more productive and, overall, like the best possible version of yourself.”
Now for most of us, this sounds like an approach we can get a grip on, as opposed to radically experimenting with your body by various means including inserting gadgets, chemical injections, implants and anything else you can put into your body to make it work the way you want it to.
Dr. Axe, on the other hand, advocates holistic bio-hacking, which takes us into a far more comfortable realm for most of us. Holistic Bio-hacking includes multiple ways to achieve the same results as the more radical “hackers” hope to achieve.
Here are some ways you can do bio-hacking holistically.
Typically for those of us who have trouble digesting foods or experience seasonal skin issues like eczema and psoriasis or acne.
For three to four weeks you remove foods that are known allergens such as gluten, soy, dairy, peanuts, and of course, all GMO foods. This gives your body time to reduce inflammation. Then you add them back one by one. You pay attention to how your body feels and responds physically. If one of the “added-backs” is an irritant, then you remove it again to see if the symptoms clear up. The goal is to discover the foods you are less tolerant to so you can make informed decisions about how you eat.
Getting rid of sugar
This is probably one of the best “hacks” you can do for your overall health. For years, we were told that processed sugar was a significant source of energy for our bodies. The same folks who told us that downplayed the value of healthy fats in our diets and we saw the markets filled with “low-fat” or “fat-free” items. What they didn’t tell you was that those same items were filled with added sugar and preservatives.
But while added sugar is universally considered unhealthy across the board, fat is actually an incredibly important part of the diet and can come with a long list of health benefits. They have also discovered that sugar feeds most cancers and that eliminating all sugar from a cancer patient’s diet has enormously positive effects. Now, this doesn’t mean eliminating naturally occurring sugars like you find in fruit. It just means getting rid of the terrible “ose” sugars—fructose, glucose, etc., that are found in MOST processed foods.
Did you know that changing the times you eat can have a very profound effect on your body? It can help you lose weight and normalize your insulin sensitivity which can help prevent diseases like diabetes. Intermittent fasting also regulates ghrelin levels. Ghrelin is also known as the hunger hormone which tells your brain when you are hungry. You can do intermittent fasting in a variety of ways. The two most popular are alternate day fasting where you limit your calorie intake to 25% of normal on alternate days. There is also time-restricted eating where you only eat during a window of time during the day, say between 12:00 noon and 7:00 p.m.
Get more sleep
This idea is something that is usually missing from conversations about improving your health and losing weight. If you don’t get seven to nine hours of sleep, you can put yourself at risk of sleep deprivation, which puts you in line for a host of health problems including chronic disease, weakened immune system, depression and others.
As fitness club operators we should realize that just buffing the body is not what most gym patrons are looking for these days. In one way, COVID did our industry a great service in that it pushed us into expanding our horizons and opening our programs to a host of opportunities that promote health and well-being as well as physical fitness in our members. Something we should all be thinking about as we move into a new fitness paradigm.
This is such a fascinating subject with so much information that I think I will take one more article to finish it up. Look for Part 3 next time.
Patrick Craig has worked in the Marketing Industry for the past twenty years. He is a published author and has written extensively about the fitness industry, particularly the gym software aspect of it. He has been with Money Movers, Inc. for the last six years where he serves as the Marketing and Operations Manager, web designer and coder, and maintains the custom websites Money Movers, Inc. develops for their Online Business Manager gym software clients.