Mark Hunter of Chimaira returns with his latest column — inspired by a fan’s question about biohacking. If you’ve ever been curious about managing your own biology, read on…and look up Mark on Facebook
What is Biohacking? I hear you talk about it often and how does it work for touring?
Dave McNeels, Springfield, MO
Biohacking is defined in the dictionary is as follows: “the activity of exploiting genetic material experimentally without regard to accepted ethical standards, or for criminal purposes.”
Yikes — That doesn’t paint the best picture. Let’s go to Wikipedia:
“Biohacking is the practice of engaging biology with the hacker ethic. ‘Biohacking’ can also refer to managing one’s own biology using a combination of medical, nutritional and electronic techniques. This may include the use of nootropics and/or cybernetic devices for recording biometric data.”
That’s a little more up my alley and what I’ve been up to.
To break it down in the simplest way possible, I pay attention to my body by tracking data and toying with nutrition, exercise, and supplements. By using the scientific method, I’m able to achieve the results desired. I am my own lab rat. My goal is to maintain health and “overclock” or supercharge my body. Then pass along that info to others. Open source.
Touring for me has improved in many ways. My performance and stamina are through the roof. My mood has vastly improved, and my stress levels are the lowest they’ve ever been. I somehow feel younger and more alive than I did in my twenties. When I don’t eat right or if I treat my body like shit, I feel it. I don’t enjoy that feeling, so I prefer to do my best to keep in the best shape possible. Then the show will be excellent.
Some methods I’ll use are things like tracking my nutrition through MyFitnessPal. My diet is mainly high quality fats, proteins and vegetables. I avoid grains as I have gastric issues when I consume them. I take vitamins and supplements like Glutathione, Glutamine and Creatine. I meditate and exercise. I have apps to help track my heart rate variability to better understand stress, and I am exercising my brain a lot with brain games. I’ve also been taking online courses to keep current with education.
I’ve also experimented with sleep, sensory deprivation therapy, hypnosis and psychedelics. Psychedelics for recreation aren’t the best idea, even if it sounds like a fun Friday night. Used medicinally, they can be highly beneficial. There are now reputable hospitals working with them.
Staying healthy is not always a flawless victory. I am currently held up in bed with pneumonia and had to postpone our European tour. I’ve been more resilient than ever before, but I bit off more than I could chew on the last tour and my body paid me back for it. I acted as the tour manager, driver and performer. While the extra responsibility kept me busy, it kicked my ass. The constant weather changing didn’t help matters either. Nor did interacting with metal fans whose post bathroom hand washing ratio is 20% at best.
If you’re interested in biohacking, the expert in the field is Dave Asprey. Head to here to learn more. I’ve implemented many of the principles found here, and they’ve worked. No bullshit. The coffee is insanely good and has been my breakfast for the past year.
Send questions to [email protected]
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