Biohacking Made Simple: 31 Small Steps to Becoming Bulletproof
By: Bulletproof Staff
December 28, 2016
Being Bulletproof is a mindset. It doesn’t mean overhauling your entire diet or drinking Bulletproof Coffee every morning. Being Bulletproof just means you’re working toward a stronger version of yourself.
Did you swap grain-fed meat for grass-fed meat? You’re Bulletproof.
Did you meditate this morning? You’re Bulletproof.
Did you walk 20 minutes today, instead of zero? You’re Bulletproof.
Change exists on a spectrum, and every little upgrade to your biology matters. Adopt one of the Bulletproof principles below, or adopt them all. Either way, you’ve taken a step toward bettering yourself and your life. You’re already Bulletproof because you’re reading this post. You’re on the path to becoming more awesome.
That said, the more you do, the better you’ll feel.
How to use this post
Below you’ll find 31 days’ worth of small steps to becoming a stronger, more resilient, more powerful you.
You can follow along, doing one hack every day, or skip the ones that don’t appeal to you. There’s no shame in passing on a day or going at your own pace – but again, the more you do, the better you’ll feel.
Use the hashtag #IamBulletproof on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter so we can follow along on your journey to upgrading yourself.
31 Small Steps to Becoming Bulletproof
#1 Get your kitchen ready. Plan your attack for the month by giving yourself a day or two to prepare your kitchen. Clean out your shelves of cereal, bread, pasta, candy, sugar, factory-farmed meat, and vegetable oils. Then go out to the store and stock up on Bulletproof foods: high quality fats, plenty of vegetables, raw nuts, grass-fed beef, pasture-raised eggs, and wild-caught fish. Here’s a complete roadmap of which foods to eat and which ones to avoid. If you want to try Bulletproof Coffee for the first time, get the recipe and learn the science behind why it works, then pick up some Upgraded Coffee and Brain Octane Oil.
#2 Choose one thing to be grateful for. Gratitude is one of the simplest ways to build your happiness. Find something you’re grateful for today and write it down, keep it in the “Notes” app in your phone, or just take some time to think about it. Focus on the feeling it brings up in your body. Try sharing your gratitude with your partner or a friend. This way you can keep each other accountable and keep the practice going.
#3 Drink more water. Your detox organs – your liver, kidneys, and skin – depend on water to do their jobs effectively. Make sure to drink enough water to keep your body hydrated and working efficiently. Shoot for half your body weight in ounces. So if you’re 150 lbs., about 75 oz. is a good goal.
#4 Get up, stand up. The phrase “sitting is the new smoking” gets thrown around a lot these days. Research shows that it’s true – how much you sit is one of the strongest predictors of mortality. It tightens your muscles, slows your metabolism down, and drives high blood sugar and weight gain. Yikes. Today, make it a point to stand up every 20-40 minutes. Set a timer if you have to. You can also find a higher surface like a counter or some stacked books to create your own standing desk. Ditch TV tonight and take a walk, or do some crunches while you watch. Find even more ways to upgrade your workspace here.
#5 Replace morning carbs with healthy fat. Carbohydrates from bread, pastries, cereal, fruit, oatmeal, and sugary foods will sap your energy and lead to brain fog and inflammation. They’ll also send your blood sugar into a yo-yo, meaning you’ll crash around noon or the early afternoon. Fat, on the other hand, provides stable energy for hours and actually encourages you to burn fat. Start by removing carbs from breakfast and replacing them with fat. Try pastured eggs with avocado or some wild salmon. Or replace breakfast with a creamy cup of Bulletproof Coffee. Get the recipe here.
#6 Hug someone. Oxytocin, nicknamed the “cuddle hormone,” increases romantic attachment, social bonding, empathy, relaxation, and trust. It reduces anxiety, too. Getting a bump of oxytocin is easy. Today, hug someone for an uncomfortably long period of time. Women release oxytocin after a 3-second hug. Men release it after a 6-second one. Not sure who to hug? You can pet a dog instead, and you’ll both release oxytocin.
#7 Start foam rolling. Foam rolling is different than stretching. It breaks up knots in your muscles to restore normal blood flow and encourage oxygen and nutrient delivery throughout your body and into your cells. This will likely hurt, especially if you’re not used to it and work out a lot. Do it anyway and increase your range of motion and decrease pain! A little more on foam rolling here.
#8 Add some color to every meal. Brightly colored vegetables contain fiber and antioxidants that clean up the free radicals that contribute to chronic disease. Polyphenols found in brightly colored veg are particular potent. They fight free radicals and act as prebiotics, feeding good bacteria in your gut. Drown your veggies in grass-fed butter or ghee for some extra fat. Choose vegetables from this list in at every meal for increased energy and to keep your gut in good shape.
#9 Stretch out. Stretching can increase blood flow to healing muscles and can help prevent injury. Yoga (so much more than stretching!) has been shown to relieve chronic pain and decrease anxiety and stress, among other things. Find a local Yoga class or look up some stretching videos on YouTube. And check out this post on how to upgrade your Yoga practice!
#10 Get some sun. Sunlight stimulates vitamin D production, testosterone, blood flow, and feel-good dopamine. Sunscreen companies want you to believe that you should never go out in the sun without protection. In reality, sun-exposed skin actually has a far lower risk of cancer than covered skin. Sunlight is great for your skin, eyes, and mitochondria. The key is to get the right dose. Spend 10-15 minutes in direct sunlight today (and every day, ideally). Expose as much skin as you can without getting arrested. If you start to burn, you’ve gone too long. Scale it back by a couple minutes next time.
#11 Eat more fat. Fat from fatty wild-caught fish (sockeye salmon, for example), avocado, coconut oil, Brain Octane Oil, and raw nuts and seeds power your brain and support your hormones and mitochondrial function. Check out the Bulletproof Roadmap for a guide to which fats are good and which one will sap your energy.
#12 Go for a walk. Go for a 20-minute walk, or spend 5 minutes on a Bulletproof Vibe (if you’re in LA, you can use a Vibe for free at the Bulletproof Café and the LA Arts District Store). Walking will sharpen your memory and cognition. It’ll also loosen your muscles, strengthen joints, boost your metabolism, and circulate lymph to remove metabolic waste from your system. Your body is made to move. Oblige it.
#13 Get creative. Creativity is a skill, and it’ll grow if you make it into a habit. Creativity builds new pathways in your brain and strengthens your analytical thinking, too. Today, do something creative. It doesn’t have to be big or extraordinary. Draw, dance, write, sing, cook, plant a flower, play guitar, make up a new workout – whatever you enjoy. Whether you simply read a poem or pick up those old watercolors, engage your creative brain today in some way. This may lead to your next big idea or breakthrough at work.
#14 Black out your bedroom. Sleep is absolutely essential to functioning at your best. That doesn’t mean you need a lot of it, as long as you focus on sleeping better, not longer. Sleep is a critical time for tissue repair, detox, muscle and brain growth, and hormonal production. For better sleep tonight, cover your windows and turn off electronics so your bedroom is completely dark. You can use electrical tape to cover light that’s peeking through. For all the details on getting stellar sleep, check out this post.
#15 Trade conventionally raised meat for grass-fed. Grass-fed beef and grain-fed beef are two completely different foods. Grass-fed meat contains more antioxidants, omega-3s and other beneficial fatty acids, trace minerals, and vitamins than grain-fed beef. Factory-farmed beef contains added hormones and harmful fatty acid profiles that can make you sick and fat. Check out this handy infographic for the details on grass-fed vs. grain-fed.
#16 Relax and play. Most people work too hard these days. Block out time in your schedule to have fun: pencil a couple hours of relaxation into your day, and treat the time as seriously as you would a meeting. If you feel guilty about taking time off, remember that relaxing will make you far more productive, and look at your playtime as part of work. Chase your kids around the house. Take your dog to the park. Hike. Read. Do yoga. Try sensory deprivation. Meditate. Go for a drive with music cranked up and sing along. Whatever you do, enjoy it. Life is too short to spend your days working all the time. Caveat: zoning out in front of the TV doesn’t count.
#17 Upgrade your vocabulary. Eliminate the words “need,” “can’t,” “bad,” and “try” from your vocabulary. Weasel words limit you mentally.
#18 Change your brain with music. Certain kinds of music interrupt your brain’s response to distractions in your environment – people talking, web browsing, folks moving about the office – and help you to focus on the task at hand. Try a free trial of Focus@Will, a company that uses the science of sound to maximize your ability to concentrate.
#19 Get the biological benefits of a fast. Fasting can increase your lifespan, improve your lipid profile, make you more resilient to stress, increase mental clarity, and help you lose fat. [1,2,3,4,5,6] A spin on a traditional long-term fast is intermittent fasting – fasting for a short time without restricting your calories for the day. Eat all your meals in a 6-hour window today. The easiest way to do this is only eating between 2-8 PM, so you’re asleep for the majority of your fast. Make things even easier on yourself by trying Bulletproof Intermittent Fasting, which gives you the benefits of a fast without the hunger and crash.
#20 Work on your mobility. Pain isn’t normal. It’s your body’s way of telling you you’re doing something wrong, and you should probably listen. Mobility goes beyond traditional stretching. It involves soft tissue massage, dynamic movement, and strengthening exercises, too. Ready to get started with some functional movement? Try the Bear Walk and the Crab Crawl from this post.
#21 Breathe good air. Do you think about the air you breathe as nutrition? Indoor air may have mold, dust, industrial gases from furniture, and all kinds of other crap. Outdoor air is far cleaner. Go outside this morning and fill your lungs by inhaling deeply into your belly through your nose and exhaling slowly through your mouth. Better yet, work outside at a cafe today, if your job allows.
#22 Get rid of one of your possessions. Don’t let your things own you. Minimalism encourages getting rid of material goods so you can focus more on what matters – experience, family, friends, and whatever else brings you joy. But you can embrace minimalism without getting rid of all your possessions and living out of a backpack. Instead, only buy and keep the things that bring you joy long-term. Today, think of all the things you could trash, recycle or donate and commit to getting rid of at least one thing that no longer serves you.
#23 Strike up a conversation with a stranger. Exercise your social muscle. Do this especially if it freaks you out. Practice makes perfect, after all. If you aren’t sure what to say, ask a question or pay them a compliment. For more on hacking your social life, check out this post.
#24 Do a digital detox. Technology use – and social media use in particular – correlates strongly with depression and anxiety. Give up Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, internet TV, video games, and all other technology for at least 24 hours, or for a full weekend. You might be surprised by how difficult it is at first. Power through; you’ll feel great after you do it a couple times.
#25 Make yourself uncomfortable. The only way to see what lies beyond your fears is to face them. Plus, being consistently comfortable puts you into a state of complacency. Start training for a Spartan race, take a cold shower, or try rejection therapy.
#26 HIIT it. HIIT (aka high-intensity interval training) alternates between brief, strenuous exercise and “active rest.” This might look like a 60-second sprint, followed by push-ups, followed by walking. Studies on HIIT suggest that this may be more effective than either resistance training or aerobic exercise alone. Plus, it’s efficient, offering the benefits of longer workouts in less time. HIIT is also amazing for your mitochondria. Check out this post for a sample workout and get moving.
#27 Deepen your connection with a loved one. The quality and quantity of your relationships affect your mental health, your behavior, your physical health – even your risk of mortality. Today, sit with someone you care about and ask each other some of these questions.
#28 Meditate. Today, start with just 5 minutes of meditation. Over time, work your way up to 10-20 minutes per day. Meditation relieves stress, boosts your immune system, eases anxiety and depression, and much more. It’s more important to be consistent than to meditate for longer. Opt for 5 minutes every day instead of 20 minutes a couple times a week.
#29 Throw away your multivitamins. Supplements are a double edged sword. The wrong ones can do more damage than good, but the right ones can massively improve your health, even if you eat a great diet. Check out this post for a step-by-step guide to nutrients that increase energy and performance.
#30 Take a cold shower. Cold showers are cryotherapy 101. This may sound excruciating, but the benefits are worth it. Cold exposure decreases inflammation, speeds up recovery, and can help you burn fat and sleep better. Start by blasting your entire body with cold water at the end of every shower. Try to work your way up to 30 seconds or a minute. If that’s too intense, try this workaround.
#31 Upgrade your brain. Nootropics – sometimes called smart drugs – are compounds that enhance brain function. They’re becoming a popular way to give your mind an extra boost. Today’s hack is to read this post and pick a smart drug to add to your supplement stack!
Congratulations. You made it to the end. Did you try something new? How did it feel? Did these small hacks inspire you to rekindle a lost habit? Share your story of how you’re becoming more Bulletproof in the comments below, or on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter with the hashtag #IAmBulletproof.
You can subscribe below for more ways to upgrade your body and mind. Thanks for reading and have a great week!
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