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5 Quick Biohacks to Try This Weekend

By: Bulletproof Staff

Let’s face it: fun as it is to slap electrodes on your head and frighten children with your orange safety glasses, sometimes it’s nice to try biohacks that are a little more low-key. You can do all five of these hacks this weekend – they work quite well together, and you can get the goods you need for all 5 from a quick trip to the grocery store. Check it out.

1) Build muscle with baking soda

First things first, a quick warning: baking soda is perfectly safe for most people, but if your blood is already alkaline and you take too much baking soda, it can contribute to a condition called hyperalkalosis. If you find you get short of breath or your heart is racing after baking soda, you took too much.

This only happens to a tiny percentage of people, but it’s still a good idea to start slowly with a half a teaspoon and work your way up. It is possible to give yourself a heart attack with a large overdose of baking soda. If you get metabolic alkalosis (very rare) from too much baking soda to push your blood pH >7.55, its bad. Mortality rates are 45% in patients with an arterial blood pH of 7.55 and 80% when the pH is > 7.65!

And don’t take it right after a big meal. A large dose will react with your stomach acid to create a lot of gas, which can damage your stomach. Again, it’s rare, but it’d really suck if it happened to you.

All that said, as long as you take it with care, baking soda deserves a front row seat on your supplement shelf. It’s not as sexy as taking smart drugs, which is probably why people don’t talk about it more, but baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) does a surprising amount of good for you, especially if you’re an athlete.

Baking soda may increase cerebral blood flow by dilating your arteries to bring more oxygen to your brain [1], although there’s debate about how well it works [2], and neither side has evidence from healthy adults. What’s more clear is baking soda’s effect on your athleticism.

Baking soda improves athletic performance across the board: weight training [3], high-intensity interval training (HIIT) [4], and endurance interval training studies [5] all showed that the stuff you use to deodorize your fridge doubles as a powerful workout supplement.

The boost isn’t modest, either. People who supplemented with baking soda showed a 28% increase in HIIT endurance after 3 weeks when compared to a placebo group [4]. After 6 weeks they showed a 34% increase. The baking soda group also nearly doubled (+91%) their total force output during workouts, and put on significantly more lean muscle to boot.

Another study found that baking soda increases the effectiveness of creatine and enhances both peak and average muscle strength over those on creatine alone [6]. Baking soda even decreases stress on your immune system following a workout by preventing oxidative damage to your white blood cells [7].

If you’re following the amount used in the fitness studies, you’ll want to build to a total of 1g/15 lbs. body weight (i.e. 10 grams for a 150-lb. person) each day. Spread the doses out to 4 times a day and take baking soda away from food. For example:

8 AM (before breakfast) – 2.5g

12 PM – 2.5g

4 PM – 2.5g

9 PM – 2.5g

Baking soda dissolves readily into water. To be safe, start with half a teaspoon and work your way up to a full dose over a couple weeks.

You can find a big bag of this stuff for $5 at any grocery store. Try taking it before your workout this weekend.

 

2) HIIT

Speaking of your workout this weekend: if you haven’t gotten on the HIIT train, now’s the time to give it a try. It does all kinds of good for you, both physically and mentally, and it’ll make up the most exhilarating 15 minutes of your day – or 20 minutes, if you take baking soda first.

Go to the beach, park, backyard, gym, etc. this weekend and do the following:

Burpees – 1 min.

Rest – 30 sec.

Sprint – 1 min.

Rest – 30 sec.

Mountain climbers -1 min.

Rest – 30 sec.

Work yourself to exhaustion. It may be 2 sets; it may be 5. It doesn’t matter as long as you push yourself.

You’ll feel amazing afterward. The rush of sex hormones and endorphins that follows is one of the most Bulletproof highs around. HIIT is well worth taking 15 minutes out of your Saturday morning.

 

3) Go outside…naked

Sunlight is a powerful carcinogen, but as is the case with many toxins, the devil’s in the dose.

Intense sunlight exposure leads to cancer. Mild to moderate sunlight exposure, on the other hand, may actually decrease your risk of cancer [8]. It’s good for a host of other things, too.

Sunlight makes you synthesize more serotonin, the same neurotransmitter most antidepressants target, so it’s no surprise that sun exposure bolsters mood and focus [9]. In dark surroundings, your body turns serotonin into melatonin, which helps you sleep. That’s great at night, but during the day you want to preserve that serotonin. A dose of morning sunlight can boost your serotonin, suppress melatonin production, make you more alert throughout the day, and help you sleep better when night rolls around.

UV radiation from the sun also stimulates vitamin D production in your skin [10]. Vitamin D links to increased testosterone [11] and libido [12], as well as optimal cognitive function [13], and vitamin D acts on more than a thousand genes in your body. A vitamin D supplement is great, but there’s no reason not to add a little sunlight.

The best way to enjoy sunlight’s benefits? Sunbathe in the nude. A study from all the way back in 1939 found that getting UV radiation on your chest increases testosterone by 120%…and getting that same UV radiation on your genitals boosts testosterone by 200% [14]. Expose your private bits to sunlight whenever socially acceptable. Just be mindful of your neighbors. Bulletproof is not responsible for any public indecency charges you incur.

And remember not to overdo it with the sun. Get a taste, not a sunburn, and put on some good natural sunscreen once you’ve had your fill. If you have fairer skin, consider taking 12mg of astaxanthin (ass-tuh-ZAN-thin) daily. It acts like an internal sunscreen, protecting your skin from UV damage [15].

 

4) Take an ice bath

Cryotherapy can help you decrease inflammation and burn off extra fat. The most comfortable and efficient way to get your cold fix is by spending 3 minutes in a cryochamber, but an old-fashioned ice bath will give you the same benefits as long as you can stand the unpleasantness. Taking a cold plunge increases your metabolic rate by 350% and boosts dopamine and norepinephrine, both of which affect motivation, by 530% and 250%, respectively [16]. All that came from spending an hour in 57-degree water, head-out.

You may have to work your way down to 57-degree water. It’s a lot chillier than it sounds. You can start out with plain cold tap water for 10-20 minutes. If you do it regularly your body will adapt quickly. You’ll be reaping the benefits of a full ice bath in no time.

 

5) Breathe better

Again, this isn’t the sexiest biohack, but it makes a huge difference in your day-to-day life. Pay attention to your breathing right now. Is your chest rising and falling? What about your belly? Are you sitting/standing up straight or slouching?

Breathing through your chest is inefficient. It only gives you shallow volume to take in oxygen. Less oxygen decreases mitochondrial respiration, which in turn decreases your body’s ability to produce energy (ATP).

Breathing through your belly, on the other hand, maximizes lung volume and gives your mitochondria more oxygen to work with. That alone can decrease fatigue and increase mental clarity, calmness, and physical endurance. Belly breathing also forces you to improve your posture; you can’t breathe through your belly when you’re hunched over.

To breathe through your belly, sit up straight and breathe in, so that your belly expands as your lungs fill with air. Your chest shouldn’t move much. Hold the air for a second or two, then exhale so your belly flattens out again. It’s that easy.

Put all five of these hacks together and you’ve got the foundation for a solid Bulletproof weekend. Do you have any quick hacks you like? Share them in the comments, and subscribe below for more useful content. Thanks for reading.

 

  1. http://www.physics.upenn.edu/yodhlab/papers/2013/pr201325a.pdf 
  2. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2993989
  3.  http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22941193
  4. http://scholarsresearchlibrary.com/ABR-vol2-iss2/ABR-2011-2-2-403-413.html
  5. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12900682
  6. http://journals.lww.com/nsca-jscr/pages/articleviewer.aspx?year=2013&issue=01000&article=00035&type=abstract
  7. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1440244011000508
  8. http://jnci.oxfordjournals.org/content/97/3/161.full
  9. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2290997/
  10. http://jnci.oxfordjournals.org/content/97/3/161.full
  11. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20050857
  12. http://www.nature.com/nrendo/journal/v10/n3/full/nrendo.2013.262.html
  13. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22536767
  14. http://press.endocrine.org/doi/pdf/10.1210/endo-25-1-7
  15. https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Miguel_Olaizola/publication/10778074_Haematococcus_astaxanthin_Applications_for_human_health_and_nutrition/links/0deec529b9aadb0bea000000.pdf
  16. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4049052/

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