Healthy Living

Unlocking Your Body’s Full Potential: A Beginner’s Guide to Biohacking

Graphics by: Aryana Johnson
Graphics by: Aryana Johnson

Full transparency: When I first heard about biohacking, my initial thought was oh no, not another wellness trend… I know firsthand what it’s like to spend money on supplements or memberships that promise drastic changes only to be disappointed by their short-term benefits (or lack thereof). The truth is wellness trends come and go because more often than not, they aren’t actually making a huge difference in our well-being. To my (pleasant) surprise, when I dug a little deeper into what biohacking is exactly, I discovered that it’s not a current wellness trend—it’s a tool everyone can use to make effective, long-lasting changes in their health.

What is biohacking? 

The term biohacking has been around for quite some time, first originating as a part of the molecular biology movement where people were implementing technology to enhance the human body (yep, straight out of a sci-fi movie).But in the world of wellness, biohacking is a little different. It’s defined as changing your physiology and chemistry through science and self-experimentation, with the goal of understanding what your body needs to function optimally. In other words, biohacking is literally trying different “hacks” for optimal health.

These hacks can be as minor as slight adjustments to your nighttime routine, or as complex as cold plunging and heat therapy. Biohacking can mean purchasing a hyperbaric oxygen pod or supplements such as nootropics, or can be totally free like getting sunlight in the morning for your circadian rhythm or walking barefoot on grass or sand to reduce inflammation. While the degrees of biohacking vary by price and extremity, the goal is always the same: the optimize your health, reverse aging, and live as healthy as possible.

Biohacking has been praised by celebrities like Tom Brady, Brooke Burke, and Tony Robbins, but what makes it so different from all the other wellness trends out there? Biohacking is really about self-improvement, but on an advanced level. If you’re looking to make incremental, highly-effective changes to your wellness routine and optimize the health of your body, biohacking may be for you. Read on for some life-changing biohacks you can try for yourself below. 

Biohacks to try right now:

If you want better sleep…

Whether it’s the struggle to fall asleep, wake up, or get enough quality hours, lack of sleep is a challenge we’ve all faced, and getting a good night’s sleep is crucial for our health. Sleep is a chance for our body to detoxify from the day and it allows for healthy brain and body function. If you’re looking to biohack your way to healthier sleep routine, the key is to make changes to hack your circadian rhythm, or the internal clock that regulates the sleep–wake cycle. The first step is to ensure your environment is set up for optimal sleep, including no electronics at least an hour before bedtime and ensuring you’re sleeping in a completely dark room, or using a sleep mask if you have any light from windows or electronics. Also ensure that you’re going to bed and waking up at the same time every day so your body can become accustomed to a sleep schedule.

If you’re looking to advance your routine a little further, try taking CBD or sleeping with a weighted blanket. Both of these tools help calm the nervous system and lower your heart rate to prepare for sleep. You can also try replacing your lightbulbs with red lightbulbs to naturally stimulate melatonin and opt for a sunrise alarm clock, which will wake you up to natural light as well as softer sounds. Don’t forget the natural sunlight first thing upon waking–open up the curtains, go for a walk, or sip your morning coffee by a window. 

If you want to boost your workouts…

When it comes to enhancing workouts, it will look different for everyone because our bodies are all different. But whether you prefer a fitness routine focused on cardio or one that revolves around Yoga and Pilates, there are ways to hack every workout. For starters, tracking your workouts with technology like a Fitbit or Oura Ring gives you stats such as daily steps, heart rate, and other health metrics. These products can help track your progress and guide you in making any necessary changes to boost your fitness routine.

If you have a menstruation cycle, another way to hack your fitness routine that I personally love is implementing the Cycle Syncing® Method. When you work out according to each phase of your cycle, you are essentially biohacking your metabolism to make each workout more effective. Cycle syncing can help you burn more fat and build more muscle while aligning with your hormones and energy levels. Whether you menstruate or not, choosing a workout that gets you sweaty (i.e. hot yoga, jogging on a warm day, etc.) not only has fitness benefits, but counts as a biohack for your lymphatic system

If you want to improve your nutrition…

Important disclosure: The key to biohacking your diet isn’t focused on how to lose weight or eat less calories, but rather becoming more in tune with your body. The healthiest people don’t restrict certain foods in their eating habits—they are listening to their body’s cues and honoring them (read: intuitive eating is the ultimate biohack, and the only one you really need). Once you’re connected to what your body needs, you can evaluate whether a pescatarian versus a keto eating approach is better for you, and explore further biohacking techniques like intermittent fasting, introducing certain supplements for deficiencies or wellness goals, or adding more superfoods to meals. Another effective way to biohack your diet for people who menstruate is by cycle syncing (just like for your fitness) or eating based on the phase you’re in. 

If you want better mental health…

Let me start by saying there’s no easy hack to great mental health. It’s a journey—we all have good days and bad days—but there are ways you can hack your wellness routine to assist your mental health journey. Incorporating practices such as gratitude journaling, meditation, sound baths, and breathwork are all helpful for getting out of your head and into the present moment. Personally, gratitude journaling is my go-to for those days when I feel like everything is going wrong. Practicing gratitude instantly reminds us of all the good in our lives, as opposed to the negative. Biohacking your mental health can even be as simple as getting outside. Go for a walk, step into your backyard with bare feet and ground into the earth, sit on a park bench, and soak up some sun. We spend a lot of time indoors and sedentary—fresh air and movement are necessary for our wellbeing. 

If you want glowing skin…

In a dream world, my skin is always Hailey Bieber-level glowing, and while I’m not quite a glazed donut yet, the skin hacks I’m about to let you in on are helping me get there. You’ve probably heard it before, but the skin is the largest organ in the body, and hacks like drinking more water and using SPF really do work. Starting each morning with a large glass of water and then continuing to drink water throughout the day is a game-changer for your skin health. Another way you can hack your skin is by trying a lymphatic drainage massage. Not only will it help with de-puffing, but it also does a great job of detoxifying the body.

Dry brushing can also help with lymphatic drainage and helps to exfoliate the skin (a double biohack!). The last hack for glowing skin is to try an elimination diet. If you are prone to breakouts or redness, there could be something in your diet that is causing it. After a recommendation from my doctor, I cut out dairy from my diet and my skin became much clearer. Work with your doctor to discuss possible food intolerances or allergies because our skin is a direct reflection of what is happening inside the body.

Please consult a doctor or a mental health professional before beginning any treatments. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical or mental health condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read in this article.