What is Biohacking

Biohacking is a term I came across a few years ago that I have become more and more intrigued with.  It seems more experts in the field of peak human performance such as, Dave Asprey, Ben Greenfield, Tim Ferris, etc. are into biohacking. So, what is biohacking?  Wikipedia defines biohacking as “managing one’s own biology using a combination of medical, nutritional and electronic techniques.  This may include the use of nootropics, non-toxic substances, and/or cybernetic devices for recording biometric data.  My interpretation of biohacking is that it is anything you utilize to dupe your body and/or mind into better performance.  It can also mean utilizing methods and technology to speed up these changes or improvements. If you use my definition, and are training at Alliance, you are already a biohacker. It is just a matter of to what degree. The first steps in biohacking are maximizing the effects of the fundamentals.
1. Exercise
2. Nutrition
3.  Sleep
4.  Stress mitigation
5. Mental work

I have decided to take my own biohacking to another level in 2017.  I realize I am not getting any younger but what I do have, at this time in my life, is more knowledge and experience than ever before. I also have access to more information and technology than ever before. If you are a member of Alliance, you have access to me which means you have access to everything I do. I will keep you abreast of what I am doing for my own personal biohacking and what the results are.

The process works like this:
1.  Decide what it is you want to work on
2.  Measure what you want to improve
3.  Implement and track your new strategy
4.  Track your progress my measuring at regular intervals
5.  Make a decision about the efficacy of the strategy based on the results. If you are getting positive results, continue or tweak in order to continue progress.  If you are not getting results, first, insure you were implementing the strategy consistently and correctly, then either discontinue strategy or tweak and test again.

Our online nutrition coaching program demonstrates how this process works.  The program consist of:
1. 12 months of daily nutrition lessons
2. Specific daily habits to be implementing and integrating every 2 weeks
3.  Daily accountability ( did you study the lesson/ did you do the habit for the day)
4.  Periodic measurement (body composition, weight, pictures)

The program has a proven track record of results, in terms of body and health transformation.  If you are following the program with at least 90% compliance you can expect results.  If you are not compliant, then you simply need to get on track with the plan.  If you are 90% or more compliant but are not getting expected results then there can be tweaks or hacks to the plan.

Looking forward to making 2018 extraordinary!

Commit, Show Up, Don’t Quit, Be Uncommon,
Billy

Optimize Your Nutrition Life

A couple of weeks ago I sent out an email discussing our nutrition system for optimizing the way you look, feel, and perform. I realize it was a rather long email detailing the four different levels. I have had several questions about the system since then and wanted to send this out in order to simplify each of these levels.

Level 1:

No Cost. Basic General Guidelines as follows:

  • Do one thing at a time.
  • Eat a variety of real, whole, unprocessed foods that add value to your body.
  • To lose fat, eat a little bit less. To gain mass or fuel athletic performance, eat a little bit more.
  • Make sure your overall eating environment and habits, as well as your feelings and beliefs about eating, help you rather than hinder you.
  • Be consistent and “pretty good” every day, rather than alternating wildly between rigid or “perfect” eating and uncontrolled or chaotic eating.
  • Commit to doing a habit consistently for at least 2 weeks before making any changes, to determine how habits are working for you.
  • Your body reflects what you put into it (food, recovery) and take out of it (activity, stress).
  • Make decisions based on data and close observation of yourself, not “rules” or someone else’s ideas.

These basic concepts hold true for everyone from beginners to pro athletes. Mastering these fundamentals and practicing them consistently can get you pretty far. These are the basic principles from our online coaching program.

Level 2:

Receive 40 Lessons delivered via email every day over 40 days. You also have access to our accompanying Transformation Manual.

These lessons were previously used in our eight-week challenges to help people make a physical and mental transformation. These lessons go into more detail about the principles listed above for Level 1 and the mindset of change.

Cost: Subscribe to 40 Nutrition Lessons email list.
Request the Transformation Manual via email.

Level 3:

12-Month Online Nutrition program done in partnership with Precision Nutrition.

Cost: $60 per month with a 12-month commitment or $600 paid in full. The family plan is $90 per month or $900 paid in full. You will receive daily nutrition lessons and accountability tracking for 12 months.

Level 4:

12-month online nutrition coaching plus monthly accountability session with a coach.

Cost: $100 per month with a 12-month commitment.

With level 4 you are getting a little more accountability in that you know you are going to be meeting with a coach each month to monitor your progress and your compliance to the agreed upon plan. This monthly session can also be a time to troubleshoot any problems you may be having or to ask any questions that have not been covered in your daily lesson.

Optimize Your Sleep Life

Last week we continued our discussion of implementing systems into your life in order to optimize your life and be the best you can be. There are five areas that we want to focus on to accomplish this.

  1. Eating (Nutrition)
  2. Sleep
  3. Physical Work (movement and exercise)
  4. Mental Work
  5. Spiritual

This week I want to focus on sleep. First, you have to accept the fact that quality sleep is necessary for you to be at your best physically and mentally. I have met many people who are hard-driving and successful that view sleep more as a luxury rather than a necessity. They almost view their lack of sleep with a sense of martyrdom and those who get 8 hours of sleep each night as being lazy.

As with almost everything, there are outliers. There are people who can consistently function at a higher level without much sleep. However, I think these are few. My view on sleep changed a couple of years ago when I heard Dr. Kirk Parsley speak at the Unbeatable Mind conference. Dr. Parsley, a former Navy Seal, spoke about working with the Seals and how even this hard charging group experienced negative effects from sleep deprivation. He also said that with a return to better sleep they began performing better. You can listen to his interview on the Unbeatable Mind podcast or listen to a shorter Ted Talk.

Getting more sleep is something I have placed a high priority on this year. As a result, I’ve been experimenting with the OURA Ring to monitor my sleep (actually Louise gave it to me for Christmas). It was very eye opening in that I thought just because I was getting to bed earlier that I would automatically get more sleep. When looking at my actual sleep patterns it makes sense why I feel tired on some days when I think I should be fully rested. If you are like me, you can definitely benefit from more and better quality sleep.

Here are some ways to improve your sleep:

  1. Go to bed at the same or near the same time each night, even on weekends.
  2. Avoid caffeine after 2 pm.
  3. Avoid alcohol at night.
  4. Avoid heavy meals right before bed.
  5. Avoid intense exercise at night.
  6. Avoid television or blue light (computer, phone, etc.) before bed.
  7. Have room temperature between 60-68 degrees.
  8. Use blackout curtains.
  9. Do five minutes of box breathing before bed.
  10. Magnesium.

I hope you find this helpful on your path to optimization. Next time we will be taking a look at improving your nutrition.

Optimize Your Physical Life

PHYSICAL WORK

As we continue our discussion on 5 Ways to Optimize Your Life, our goal is to help you optimize your training in the gym, as well as, your life outside. We want to provide an integrated training that encompasses not only the physical but the mental and spiritual. It is, however, the physical that most often brings people to Alliance. Our training system continues to evolve as we gain new knowledge and make new distinctions. Since I am a firm believer in giving you the “WHY” behind our training, I would like to give you an update on our training system today.

Keeping It Simple

Although there are many pieces to each of the components involved in developing a complete and optimized physical training system, my intention here is to keep it simple and go into more detail in each of the components in the future. The three components that make up our physical training system in order of priority are:

  • Movement
  • Strength
  • Conditioning

The Priority of Movement

Movement quality is the number one priority in our training system. Just as the mental work lays the foundation for our training in general, proper movement sets the stage for all our physical work. First, you must move safely, then work on moving better, lastly move faster and stronger. Another way of thinking of this is learning to crawl, then walk, then run. Whether you are learning the squat or a new technique in Jiujitsu, this principle should be applied to any movement practice.

I can’t say that this has always been my priority. Up until the last couple of years, I would have prioritized strength as the number one focus. I have always emphasized form but was willing to sacrifice some of the that in order to get stronger. My realization is that if you sacrifice movement quality for more speed, weight, etc then there is a very good chance you are going down a road that will eventually lead to poor movement quality and injury.

Increasing Strength

Strength has always been a priority in our training. For the longest time, I would say that it was our number one priority. Your muscles move your body and if you have established good quality movement and become stronger then everything else improves with those strength gains. There is not a sport I can think of where increasing strength doesn’t help you perform better. This has not always been an accepted fact. I remember being in high school where the basketball, baseball, and golf coaches didn’t want their athletes lifting weights. Now steroids have become a big issue in baseball which wouldn’t be the case if strength didn’t matter.

Strength not only helps with performance but is critical for fighting the aging process. One of the biggest issues with aging is a loss of muscle and strength. This can be remedied through a good training plan. Some of our older students have made some of their biggest transformations doing just that. Increased strength also provides you with a bigger engine to drive your conditioning to a higher level. This is why I make strength a priority even if your primary goal is conditioning. The stronger you are the harder you can push your conditioning.

Lastly, strength helps protect us against injury. The muscles provide stability to the joints and they also provide armor to our body to protect us during contact sports and life in general.

The Importance of Conditioning

Conditioning is the last component I would like to discuss. Conditioning can mean many different things but in this context, I refer to three types of conditioning:

  • Metabolic
  • Armoring
  • Mental

When most people think of conditioning they are thinking of metabolic conditioning. To keep it simple, I will refer to metabolic conditioning as conditioning that trains both aerobic and anaerobic pathways. I think there is more bang for your buck training anaerobically but there needs to be some aerobic training as well. I mentioned armoring when talking about the benefits of strength but this can also be applied to conditioning.

Some strength and conditioning coaches would say that their job rests solely in getting people stronger and improving their metabolic conditioning and that it is not their job to work on developing mental toughness. I beg to differ and believe that much can be learned about mental toughness and resiliency through hard conditioning sessions.

Stay tuned for more details on “HOW” we incorporate these components.