2500 people from around the world gathered to attend the 4th Annual Bulletproof Biohacking Conference in Pasadena, a sunny corner of LA. Just walking around the city, it was clear that the Bulletproof® tribe was in town. Groups of attendees would hang out near the conference center without shirts on to soak up the sun before heading back inside and putting their blue blockers on to deal with the artificial light.
At night, you could see hotel room windows that were significantly darker than the rest, which were likely from biohackers blacking out their rooms for sleeping. Inside the conference center, about 10% of people were wearing blue-light blocking glasses to shield their eyes from the artificial lighting. Studies have shown artificial light to significantly decrease the lifespan of mice (with many different lighting environments tested). So we weren’t too surprised to see people wearing their blue-blockers during the day.
It was a three-day event with many of the world’s top speakers in the fields of biohacking and human performance like Mark Sisson, Kelly Starrett, Jim Kwik, John Gray and of course, Dave Asprey (unfortunately, Wim Hof couldn’t make it this year!). The main themes were light hacking and stem cells. All the lectures are in fact available online. Mind-expanding talks aside, we were also treated to a huge exhibit hall full of cutting-edge biohacking technology to play with. In between the excitement of brain hacking in the tech hall and taking notes in the speaker rooms, there was more Bulletproof Coffee being served than you could ever drink! They even made ghee variations along with collagen protein. I think the official count for the weekend was over 13,000 cups.
The best part was that any time you felt tired at the conference, all you had to do was pop into the tech hall for about 15 minutes and you’d leave with more energy than you’d felt all weekend. From Four Sigmatic Mushroom Elixirs, light therapy gadgets, IV drips, virtual floatation, cryotherapy, to essential oil vaporisers and the more esoteric therapies, there was no shortage of pick-me-ups.
Some of our favourite exhibits from the tech hall can be split into a few categories: light, sleep & relaxation, food, and exercise/physiology hacks.
1. Light Hacks
Exhibitors in the light hacking space included Re-Timer light therapy glasses, Infrared Saunas, red light fixtures, and our favourite, the HumanCharger®.
The Human Charger: There are headphones which shine a warm, bright light in your ears onto the surface of your brain. It’s known for boosting mood, mental alertness and even reducing jet lag. Ben Greenfield says, “I’ve used the HumanCharger® for three separate trips and experienced absolutely zero jet lag on any of the trips.” When testing it, I felt very alert, though that could have been partly placebo.
2. Sleep & Relaxation Hacks
Sleep & relaxation exhibitors included blue-light blocking glasses, Nervana’s relaxing brainwave music, Monq’s essential oil vaporisers, and the Muse biofeedback headband.
3. Food Hacks
There were a bunch of free samples to fill up on in between sessions; all of which supported the body in healthy ways. Some of our favourites included EPIC protein bars from grass-fed animals, Four Sigmatic mushroom coffee, Primal Kitchen Mayo and Vital Choice sardines in olive oil. All very Bulletproof and keto friendly!
4. Physiology Hacks
These were all pretty cool to play with. Exhibitors included innovative foam rollers, virtual reality gadgets, electrical stimulation and enhanced gravity suits.
Enhanced Gravity Suit: Gravity+ is a weighted suit to wear while doing movement exercises. Taking the suit off after five minutes led to a feeling of weightlessness as my body adjusted to the regular sensation of gravity. This feeling was much like stepping off the Bulletproof Vibe, as the body also adjusts to stable ground after 5-10 minutes of vibration.
Virtual Reality Flying Simulator: The ‘Airflow’ by Mindride is a flying simulator that straps you on a harness while you wear VR goggles. It’s an immersive gaming experience where you soar through the sky in a wingsuit.
Here’s a video to show you what it looks like.
Being fully immersed in an experience like this, your mind has nowhere else to be but the present moment, so it’s a great way to induce a flow state! Some people even describe the experience as transcendent.
Orgasmic Meditation: OneTaste promotes the connection between orgasms and meditation through OM (orgasmic meditation). Not only does this provide a sense of deep presence and connectedness, but OM can help people heal past emotional trauma. They offer classes and workshops and have countless transformative stories on their website.
Bulletproof Labs is Opening!
The tech hall’s anchor tenant this year was a teaser for the new Bulletproof Labs opening in Santa Monica. This is a new a broad-spectrum biohacking facility for anyone to train their brain and body. It’s opening right beside the Bulletproof Coffee shop in Santa Monica. They even have a section called The Clinic which offers intravenous vitamin infusions and intramuscular shots.
Here are some of the highlights of what’s coming in Bulletproof Labs:
- Virtual Float Tank (with no water!)
- Red & Infrared Light Therapy
- EEG Brain Trainer
- Adaptive Resistance Workout Tech
- Comprehensive Lab Testing
- & more!
Check out the #bpcon2016 hashtag on Instagram for photos!
My favourite speaker had to be Kelly Starrett– human movement and athletic performance specialist. Kelly is the best kind of unconventionalist and there is nobody more passionate about getting people out of life-sucking chairs than him. He and Juliet Starrett did an hour-long Q&A session where they had us throw aside all the chairs so we didn’t have to sit.Kelly then proceeded to answer our questions while also instructing us to change positions every 5 minutes. From kneeling to lunging to squatting to standing, our bodies were engaged the whole time.
Kelly and Juliet have also started StandUp Kids, an initiative to bring standing desks to every public school in the next 10 years. He’s also the author of the NYT Bestseller book on mobility, Becoming a Supple Leopard, as well as Deskbound, a blueprint for combating the harmful effects of a sedentary lifestyle.
Pro-tip from Kelly: Wedge a towel or shoe behind your back while driving to better straighten your posture.
Jim Kwik crushed it as well with an engaging keynote on the learning process. He integrated a ton of exercises into his talk to shift everyone into an active state (to better absorb the content). These exercises were mainly social activities to get ourselves out of our comfort zones.
Jim covered the idea of how to learn as well as the specific technique of using a “mind palace.” He emphasised the importance of a positive state, nutrition, and environment in the learning practice. If you don’t cover your bases, it’s easier to get distracted from learning. As for the mind palace, Jim explained how using visual cues in your environment can improve your recall of information. For example, associating body parts in a sequence with information can help it stick in your memory much better.
Dave Asprey spoke all about light hacking. He shared the benefits of exposing yourself to sunlight, blocking out blue light and increasing red light in the mornings. He mentioned studies that show exposing your skin to the sun while only wearing shorts can boost testosterone in men up to 120% (and wearing no shorts at all can be up to 200+%). Dave then encouraged everyone to get some sun at the conference to boost vitamin D levels!
Matt Riemann spoke on personalised health, epigenetics, and how our DNA affects our environment (food, social, indoors, outdoors) and lifestyle (exercise, career, sleep, mind). He brought up three audience members on stage: an ectomorph, an endomorph, and a mesomorph. Matt then proceeded to share how each person responds differently to their environment and lifestyle. For example, ectomorphs naturally need less food and have lower digestive enzymes, while mesomorphs need a lot of food, and endomorphs can go for long periods of time without eating at all.
At the end of the talk, he introduced Shae; a virtual health assistant. Shae gives you targeted advice on when and what to eat/drink to be healthy. It will actually order specific food for you based on your body’s needs! On top of that, Shae can set up social events based on your mood and even play that will boost your neurotransmitters when you’re stressed.
Aside from the speakers and fun biohacking toys, the food was incredible! Though there wasn’t much food at the actual event (other than mini collagen protein bars and exhibitor samples) the surrounding restaurants sure knew how to accommodate this tribe. The Bulletproof® team actually had custom menus made at a few local restaurants to include Bulletproof-friendly options. It was hard not to come across grass-fed steak, wild-caught salmon, and even a side of Brain Octane oil!. Here are some of our favourites:
It was a great weekend overall and I can definitely say I came home feeling healthier than when I had left. We even met some other Australians there, too. Marta Taylor, the founder of Living Limitlessly, joined us for a tech hall visits and Bulletproof meal in between her interviews with Mark Sisson, Kelly Starrett, and Dave Asprey!
The Bulletproof Biohacking Conference exceeded expectations, was a ton of fun and full of amazing, interesting people. I’ll definitely be back next year!
PS. If you’re interested in another cool tech company that we saw in the exhibition hall, check out the SubPac (a wearable pack that lets you feel your music through vibrations). That was by far the coolest audio experience I’ve ever had. You can feel every beat and I highly recommend it. I was plugged into the system right in the middle of a packed exhibition hall but felt like I was immersed in my own world.
Did you go to the event? If so, what did you like best that we haven’t covered?
Originally published on the OptimOZ Optimal Performance Blog on Nov. 4th, 2016.