While hanging out with friends at a Saturday afternoon happy hour in downtown Culver City, I was asked about the Bulletproof Biohacking Conference. Someone asked something like:
What is the Bulletproof Biohacking Conference – and why go there?
Good questions. And I was unsure how best to explain it. The questioner is a nutritionist so I assumed she was into health – so I told her that it was basically all about the leading edge of health and wellness. But that explanation doesn’t seem to do the conference much justice.
She turned out to be anti Bulletproof in some ways that I didn’t discover. Something about too much butter and fat – which I guess is what you would expect from a traditionally trained nutritionist.
I told people to check out the website thinking that Bulletproof had done a good job of selling the event. When I later checked, that didn’t seem to be the case. So, although we may have failed at doing a good job of selling the event to the uninitiated, I’ll do my part to explain my experience and top takeaways from the conference.
To sum things up, it was an exhilarating experience for me. Filled with all-time highs of energy and human connection – not to mention all the information and biohacking.
Be sure to read all the way through to the end if you want to hear my bonus: My exclusive experience with the 40 Years of Zen Mastermind that preceded the conference.
Bulletproof Retail Products
If you know Bulletproof then this is nothing new to you. Regardless, here are some of my highlights:
Bulletproof Coffee. Unfortunately there was no decaf 🙁 and, as a slow metabolizer of caffeine – as shown in my 23andme results – avoiding caffeine is generally a good thing so that I balance my energy throughout the day and thus ensuring my cortisol isn’t too high, drops sufficiently in time for bed, and so on. Regardless, I had an extra large cup of Bulletproof coffee every morning – and loved it! If you’re not familiar with Bulletproof Coffee and its benefits, check this out.
Collagen Protein Bars. Not surprisingly these were big sellers at the Bulletproof Biohacking Conference. Why? Because they are sweet! And full of fat and flavor. Which is why, as a health coach and consultant, I say, “proceed with caution”. Why? They have no added sugar and instead use xylitol/stevia which have questionable/unknown effects on the gut. Plus, your body is getting that sweet sensation without the actual sugar. And that sweetness combined with cashew butter is a recipe for overeating.
Brain Octane Oil. This is the best of of the best in terms of MCT oil, an extract of coconut oil. Why take Brain Octane? In simple terms, it upgrades your brain. It’s a quick energy boost and helps support fat metabolism. You can put it in your coffee – or on just about any other food.
Activated Charcoal. As Robb Wolf states, we are “wired to eat”. And what he means is that we are wired to eat delicious food. Unfortunately, as you know, often times what tastes good isn’t good for you. And it upsets your stomach. And gives you “brain fog”. This is where activated charcoal comes in. It binds to toxins in your gut to alleviate that distress thus helping to lift you out of the fog.
Collagen Protein. This is yet another ingredient you can add to upgrade your morning coffee – as well as many other foods. Why collagen? The sad reality is that, although we generally consume a LOT OF MEAT [LINK], we aren’t getting all of the nutrients our bodies crave and need – for better skin, joint health, and more. One of these nutrients is collagen from the bones and joints of animals we eat.
Chocolate Bars and Powders. The bars are a great snack and the powders go well in all different kinds of drinks. I like to add it to green tea, yerba mate and dessert toppings. Be sure to heed the sweetness warning that I already explained above with the protein bars!
What are some of your favorite Bulletproof products?
Let us know in the comments!
Bulletproof Human Potential Coach Training
As a Bulletproof Human Potential Coach, there were a few different events I attended. I received my graduation certificate during the ceremony (although I graduated in December of 2016). Fellow coaches gathered together to meet, greet and generally be present and mindful. And grateful. It was really powerful for me to connect with people who share a similar journey in life!
Finally, Dave Asprey held a session to field questions and answers about the program. He did a pretty good job at answering them and a better job at pitching the program. As a student and certified Bulletproof Human Potential coach, it was apparent that Dave’s involvement in the program is limited. So it was interesting that they had him fielding questions. One point I would argue was that he said that, as part of the program, coaches are trained to start their own business. In my experience, this part of the training was severely lacking – and I see it with almost all of my fellow coaches. Simply put, we’re having a hard time finding clients!
However, if you’re interested in the program, I highly recommend it. That is, assuming you’re the right fit. Going into the program I thought I was going to learn and be all things Bulletproof so that I could smartly field questions and recommend advice around health – diet, exercise, etc.
I wasn’t wrong. But, then again, I wasn’t quite right either. You see, it turns out that, in addition to getting information about the Bulletproof lifestyle, the main focus of the program was being a coach. Who knew!? And not just a coach. A coach who practices from a place of presence and puts the coaching client in the driver’s seat. The big surprise was that we kicked off our training with 8 weeks of mindfulness training.
Let me know if you want to find out more – about being a Bulletproof Human Potential Coach; or if you want me to coach you – so that /super-human-potential-zen-coaching/you take you can quickly step your game up to the next level.
The tech hall was full of hundreds of vendors showing off and selling their stuff. You had ways to biohack yourself using food, supplements, light, electricity, sound, motion, resistance, oxygen, and more. Here are some of the things that I’ve tried…
I was asking around at the conference what people tried and liked and a few said they really liked the NeuroLight. So I made it a priority to give it a try. After waiting for a while, I was finally in. They gave me a list of 25 different benefits I could choose from and told me to check just two of them. Then they asked me which one resonated with me more. That was learning. So I did the learning light protocol.
In simple terms, the neurolight is a white light that flashes above your eyes. I did it laying down and I had a pretty good idea as to what I was getting into. You see, I’ve already tried the “Virtual Float Tank” / aka the Theta Chamber which has a very similar light technology. The effect for me was seeing all kinds of shapes and colors – a veritable light show. The thing is, that my brain was creating the light show as a brain chemistry response to the flashing white light. This supposedly strengthens the neural pathways in your brain which results in all kinds of cognitive benefits – like better creativity, mood, sleep, intelligence, and so on.
They market this as “Total brain wellness” but I didn’t see or hear any specific health benefits or claims. The price tag is north of $4,000 so I would definitely do more research if I were in the market for such a device. In contrast, you can get a “sober psychedelic” experience by simply with the Lumenate app.
Another alternative sound and light therapy device that was recommended at 40 Years of Zen is the Mind Alive Delight Pro.
Pulse Centers PEMF
Pulse Centers had a line of chairs and beds where people could test out their products.
What is PEMF?
Pulsed electromagnetic field therapy (PEMFT) uses electromagnetic fields in an attempt to heal non-union fractures and depression.
But Pulse Centers is not specified for therapy. They call it PEMF “exercise”. So then, what does Pulse say about PEMF exercise?
PEMF Exercise can help you feel energized…
If you feel tired after a session, this may be due to a detox reaction.
PEMF Exercise uses pulsed electromagnetic fields to bathe low energy cells in pure, raw energy. Each cell in your body is actually a capacitor, or battery, which holds a charge. Your entire body is electrical and your cells each need a measurable electrical charge to function optimally.
What was my experience?
I spent about 15 minutes or so on the bed getting the full body treatment. Overall I felt pretty good just laying down and relaxing for a while. I could feel the vibrations and it was a bit intense in my stomach area.
Overall, I like to think there was some healing or energetic benefit but I really can’t say for sure. I browsed their website looking for some indication of evidence to support the health benefits but unfortunately didn’t come across much of anything.
This vendor had two different offerings at the Bulletproof Biohacking Conference:
- Vital Reaction Tablets
- Vital Reaction Inhaler
I tried both. The list of benefits is impressive:
- Improve cognitive function
- Reduce inflammation
- Promote cellular health
- Increase energy
- Have better skin health and tone
- Improve sleeping patterns
- Enhance athletic performance + decrease recovery time
- Support healthy weight management
- Hydrate at the cellular level
- Prevent hangovers
Here’s what it is and how it works:
Molecular hydrogen (H₂) is a unique antioxidant. H₂ eliminates only the most harmful free radicals, reduces oxidative stress and puts the body in balance.
Due to its small size and bioavailability, it easily crosses cell membranes, the blood brain-barrier and accesses parts of the cell that other antioxidants are too large to reach. H₂ is the perfect antioxidant mediator, anti-inflammatory and cell signaling molecule.
My experience was uneventful. I tried a few cups of hydrogenated water using their tablets as well as one inhalation session. Regardless, I like the explanation of the product and that they say there are hundreds of studies supporting the health benefits. (I’m actually on their website buying some now!)
Bulletproof Upgrade Labs
Bulletproof Upgrade Labs is finally open in Santa Monica and, to give the biohackers a taste of what they can do, they had most of the equipment at the conference to try out.
Here’s what’s available in Santa Monica:
- CRYOTHERAPY. Think you can spend three minutes in a -250°F chamber? It’s worth it to push through. Cryotherapy increases fat burning and boosts your immune system. It’ll also make you release endorphins – your body’s feel-good hormone.
- REDcharger. Harness the power of light. The REDcharger exposes your entire body to red (630 nm) and infrared (880 nm) LED light. Studies show that these two frequencies promote muscle recovery, decrease inflammation and boost mitochondrial function. You’ll feel a difference after just a few minutes.
- Bone Trainer. Strengthen your bones by applying optimal biomechanics and bone compression in a fast, safe and convenient ten-minute workout once weekly.
- THE CHEAT MACHINE. Hack your workout with adaptive resistance technology. The Cheat Machine pushes you harder than you could ever push yourself, giving you a week’s worth of weightlifting in under fifteen minutes. In just one to two sessions per week, you can safely build strength and endurance.
- ATMOSPHERIC CELL TRAINER. Sit in a comfortable, futuristic pod that uses changes in air pressure to create a workout for your cellular energy system. Experience physical conditioning without stressing your body and joints!
- OXYGEN TRAINER. Breathe air that alternates from being enriched with 100% oxygen to hypoxic (low oxygen) air while on a fitness bike tracking your heart rate and oxygen saturation, helping you maximize oxygen utilization and diffusion deep into your tissues. Your lungs have never had a workout like this before. Your oxygen-saturated cells with thank you, too.
- COLD HIIT. Currently being tested by NASA for space flights to Mars, this is the next generation of fitness performance systems. Make dynamic strength gains and accelerate recovery with this twenty minute high intensity workout. Cold HIIT combines compression and cooling technology, allowing you to push beyond your limits, then recover faster than you ever thought possible.
- THE VIBE. A whole workout in just minutes. G-forces penetrate every muscle fiber in your body to vibrate it at 30 times per second. This means you can get a complete workout routine in just a few simple movements.
- BREATH EZ. Sit back and just breathe specially charged EZ water vapor to turbocharge your cellular repair process. Just 15 minutes per session.
- VIRTUAL FLOAT TANK. Try sensory deprivation without getting wet. This virtual float tank drops your brain into a meditative theta-wave state, providing deep relaxation and clarity of thought. It also promotes creativity and hits the reset button on your neurotransmitters. See what your mind is capable of when you remove all distractions.
- EEG BRAIN TRAINER. Train your brain to be more focused, creative, and calm by using neurofeedback, a real-time display of your brain activity.
The vibe is a great way to get the blood and lymph flowing without having to much more than just stand there on the plate while it vibrates and shakes your body. I’ll typically mix things up with the some squats, pistol squats, calf raises and push-ups.
The Cheat Machine / ARX Fit
I’ve used this machine a few times now and it never disappoints. It’s called “the cheat machine” because it’s arguably the most effective piece of strength training equipment around – because you can push yourself to full force and resistance throughout the entire motion of the exercise. I’ve done the following exercises: chest press, shoulder press, pull down, row, and belt squat. I definitely felt the difference from typical weights. I was working MUCH harder and only needed to work for about 15 minutes before I was fully spent.
Virtual Float / Theta Chamber
This is a bit of a similar experience that I found when I tried the NeuroLight: I saw various moving shapes and colors. It’s definitely a trip – one I recommend everyone experience. My understanding is that the combination of light flashing on your eyes, the spinning and sound stimulate your senses and quickly put your brain into a theta state. This is the state you fully reach every night just before you fall asleep. Being in this state for extended periods of time will form new neural connections in your brain that will have all kinds of benefits for your brain. From my training at Bulletproof Upgrade Labs, I learned that you don’t really get the full benefits of this machine unless you use it on a regular basis – about 30 minutes a day for 21 days.
Cold HIIT / Vasper
I love this machine. To me it’s a brilliant concept to bring cold and compression to exercise so that you get a slew of benefits – like huge spikes in growth hormone and testosterone. This makes you stronger, more resilient, speeds recovery and much more.
My trainer pushed me pretty hard. I could feel the lactic acid buildup from the compression and resulting blood flow restriction to my limbs. But the cold allowed me to keep going – without even breaking a sweat!
I’m looking at ways to create a DIY replication of this for my own home use. Any ideas?
This machine looks (and feels!?) like a tanning bed. I’m really not sure that it feels like a tanning bed because I’ve never used one. Regardless, it was red. And it was hot. They told me it usually doesn’t run so hot but, with people constantly using it, it was heating up more than usual.
The supposed benefits are for your skin, muscles (recovery) and charging your cells. I didn’t notice the benefit but, with all of the offerings now for red and infrared light, I definitely want to try it out on a regular basis and find out how well it works.
I love the concept of the Muse headband. As they simply state:
Muse makes meditation easy.
This is one of the simplest – yet very effective – pieces of neurofeedback equipment. The band measures your brain waves and gives feedback on the screen of your smartphone – to support a more mindful state.
Next-Health IV Therapy – Brain Boost with Glutathione
This is one of the things I did at the Bulletproof Biohacking Conference that I felt the most and felt benefited me the most. It wasn’t cheap but, because I was sleeping less, going all day and pumping my body with all kinds of stimulants (mainly caffeine) and thereby boosting my cortisol, a boost of vitamins and minerals definitely helped keep me going.
Connections with fellow Biohackers
This was easily my favorite part of the Bulletproof Biohacking Conference. Reconnecting with friends from around the world. And making new connections with truly amazing people. This is the best so-called biohack of them all. And it’s something I could use more of in my day-to-day life. There were lots of smiles, laughs, and hugs. This is known to produce oxytocin which helps make us feel good. It’s something that many of us lack in our busy and somehow isolated, disconnected modern-day lifestyles that we lead.
Bonus: 40 Years of Zen Mastermind
Although I had registered as a volunteer at the conference, I was able to skip out on the very first day of my volunteering duties (with my identical twin brother, Jeff, there to cover for me!) and participate in the gathering of folks who completed the 40 Years of Zen program. It’s an intense five days of neurofeedback, coaching and training that rewires, changes and grows the brain. You can check out my experience with the 40 Years of Zen program here.
The day was broken up into three parts: the morning with Dave Asprey, the afternoon with Dr. Barry Morguelan in the early afternoon and Amy Herrera (my former boss at Bulletproof Upgrade Labs).
Dave Asprey on 40 Years of Zen
Dave kicked things off by soliciting feedback from the program and explaining some of his ideas around neurofeedback and the 40 years of zen program.
It was interesting to hear that a few people didn’t have great experiences as a result of the program – but, otherwise, it seemed everyone thought it was very beneficial and even worth the $15,000 price tag.
One interesting takeaway from Dave was that he said something along the lines of wanting to get 40 Years of Zen into high schools for students. That sounds great but, until the costs come WAY down, that seems a bit out of reach for the commoner.
You can find out more about 40 Years of Zen here and my take on 40 Years of Zen here.
Dr Barry Morguelan
I’d seen this guy twice in person and heard Dr Barry on Dave’s podcast. It was more or less the same story and practice – except this time in quite a bit more detail. I really enjoyed his story of wanting more beyond being a traditional physician/doc. He traveled to the ends of the earth to find something better…
And he found it! And now he will sell it to you for a premium. This is where I lose just a little bit of faith. I respect Dave, he brings in this amazing expert in Barry with an amazing story, and then they try to sell us something…
And I admit that it’s tempting. I really want to buy it. But I’ve made a concerted effort to spend less on all these self-help and productivity programs – unless, that is, I think I really could make use of it.
He did guide us through a visualization practice (for the third time for me) and, although I was hopeful that it would lead to some kind of insight, unfortunately it didn’t. Thus, in the end, I’m not sold on Dr Barry and his “Energy for Success” programs.
I know Amy from my brief stint as a Bulletproof employee. She was Head of Culture at the time and also was tasked with leading the efforts to get Bulletproof Upgrade Labs up and running. From that short time I found her to hold a very strong and powerful energy – in spite of her diminutive stature. I had a feeling she was going to dig deep into our souls and spirits. And she didn’t disappoint…
She guided us through an inward journey that did indeed go deep – into the body, all the way down to the feet – and far beyond. When we opened our eyes and came back to the “real world” we were asked to start putting pen to paper to describe the experience. Here’s what I came up with:
It’s interesting that I actually drew a picture (albeit crude which isn’t a surprise seeing as I nearly flunked out of my 2nd grade art class!). Usually I opt to just write or type on a keyboard.
As you can see, the Bulletproof Biohacking conference had a lot to offer – and I didn’t even see a single talk during the entire event! I’m planning on catching up on the speaker talks when they come out on video.
What do you think? Any thoughts about the conference, biohacking, health, etc?
Leave a comment and let me know!