Just a few years ago, body hacking would sound like the stuff of a science fiction movie, but now if you have an Apple Watch, Fitbit, or Smart Scale, you are being provided with data to optimize your health, performance, and well-being.
With all the data that you can now gather on such things as your weight, heart rate, sleep, exercise, mindfulness, and level of ketosis it is important to remember:
“Data is not information, information is not knowledge, knowledge is not understanding, understanding is not wisdom.” - Clifford Stoll
At its core, body hacking refers to optimizing one's physical and mental capabilities. Combine this with the transformative power of self-leadership, and you have a recipe for unparalleled personal growth and success. This post explores some insights into body hacking and self-leadership that you can apply to live your best life.
Body hacking is the art and science of enhancing one's physical and mental capabilities. It's not just about fitness or nutrition; it's a holistic approach that encompasses every aspect of human well-being so, BEWARE the charlatans and snake oil salesman who try and sell you their 'miracle cure'.
I’m 62 years old and graduated as a physiotherapist in 1982, I have subsequently studied acupuncture, and psychology, and researched and written two books on self-leadership. I’ve seen so many fads come and go. I remember my dear mother, who constantly battled with her weight, trying the F-plan and the Grapefruit diet, amongst others. I didn’t worry about such things when I was young, fit, and active but now, after living and aging, the impact of what I do with my body is a life-or-death decision.
When a decision is this important, it’s worth understanding the data, enhancing your knowledge, and making wise choices. This is where self-leadership comes in.
Self-leadership is the ability to influence and guide oneself to achieve desired outcomes. It's about taking charge of your life, setting clear goals, and working diligently towards them. When combined with body hacking, it becomes a potent tool for personal transformation.
“Self-leadership is the practice of intentionally influencing your thinking, feeling, and actions, toward your objectives” - (Bryant & Kazan 2012)
To truly harness the power of body hacking with self-leadership, it's essential to understand its foundational pillars.
Self-awareness - Being aware of one's strengths, weaknesses, emotions, and beliefs is the first step towards self-improvement. It allows us to identify areas that need attention and work on them proactively.
Self-regulation - This involves controlling or redirecting disruptive emotions and impulses. It's about staying disciplined, even when faced with temptations.
Seif-learning - This is about identifying one’s gaps in knowledge and taking responsibility to close these gaps.
Intention and Motivation - Having a clear vision and passion for what you want to achieve and why it’s essential for success. Intention and motivation are the driving forces that provide the resilience to keep you going, even when the going gets tough.
What’s in it for you?
“Everyone can be a self-leader but not everyone practices self-leadership”
Think about the practice of self-leadership like taking a shower. Miss a shower and you fill dirty, miss a few showers and you will stink!
Our bodies are intricate machines, and gaining some knowledge of the science of how they work can help us optimize their performance.
The Mind-Body Connection. The mind and body are deeply interconnected. Thoughts, emotions, and beliefs can significantly impact our physical health. For instance, chronic stress can lead to various health issues, from headaches to heart diseases.
Neuroplasticity. Neuroplasticity refers to the brain's ability to reorganize itself by forming new neural connections. This means that with the right strategies, we can rewire our brains for success.
Self-leadership plays a crucial role, guiding us to adopt habits and mindsets that foster positive neural pathways. Self-leadership is about being intentional about your future self.
What’s in it for you?
Science tells us that we can change our bodies for the better if we make the right choices, and those choices are driven by our mindset, and our minds can be transformed.
Self-leadership shows that you can overcome the programming of your childhood and education by visualizing your future self and adopting that identity.
Are you visualizing the best version of yourself?
By setting clear health goals and working towards them, you can achieve a fitter, healthier body. This not only increases longevity but also improves the quality of your life.
When you're in tune with yourself and have optimized your body and mind, you can achieve more in less time. This not only boosts productivity but also frees up time for other pursuits.
I have dabbled with body hacking throughout my life. I’ve been lean and fit and I’ve let myself go, indulging in an excess of food and drink. My recent journey was prompted by a series of sinus and chest infections that led me to be depleted of energy and overweight. Eventually, I found the right doctor who adjusted my asthma medication and casually said, “You would feel better if you lost some weight.”
I had been telling myself that I couldn’t exercise because I had been unwell, and I had been justifying my drinking and eating as self-soothing. Well, that one remark from the doctor was enough for me to say:
“Enough is enough!”
I had the knowledge, it was just about putting into practice. Here are the self-leadership and body hacking strategies that I am using, that you can too.
Clear Goals - Be clear about who you want to become in terms of your body weight and composition. Is mental focus and performance important, and why do you achieve these things?
For me, I am a keynote speaker, and it’s important that I look good on stage. Being out of shape would detract from my message of self-leadership, so it was critical that I address this.
What do you want to achieve? And why is it important to you?
Belief - Believe that you can change and improve your life. Believe that it’s worth it, believe that you are worth it. Get a support system to help with this belief, if your goal is losing weight or getting fit, connect with people who have already done this. If you are giving up alcohol or any other substance then enlist the support of others who have successfully made transformed. transformation.
Do you believe, do you have a support system?
Measure but Don’t Obsess
It’s important to track your progress and technology will now let you do that but don’t overlook the power of journaling in a physical notebook.
Writing a journal each day lets you track your ups and downs and how they make you feel. You are in control, not your moods. By journaling you can recognize the patterns of your thinking, the actions you are taking, and the results you are getting.
I have a smartwatch, a smart scale, and a breath tester for ketosis.
I can measure my weight, my body fat, my blood oxygen, and how much acetone I am breathing out, letting me know if I’m burning fat. I can also go to my local pharmacy and get my cholesterol and blood pressure checked.
I use these tools to remind me to stand up and move, drink more water, how long I have fasted for, and to take time for mindfulness. I must admit; I love the cool graphs and the celebrations when I achieve a goal but the most important thing for me is that as I read my journal, I can see that I am becoming the person I set out to be.
If you don’t possess the knowledge to interpret the data or don’t know how much is too much or not enough then I recommend you speak to a qualified health coach or medical professional who has an interest in body hacking.
“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” - Will Durant
Your body-hacking habit will likely include:
That’s a lot of choices to make and this can lead to decision fatigue and failure unless you plan to make it a habit.
Beware of doing too much too soon, remember you are hacking for a body that you are going to have for the rest of your life.
Tech can help you create new habits. I used to have a habit of sitting at my computer for long stretches of time, but now I get a reminder from my smartwatch to get up and move for a minute every hour and this is becoming a new habit.
What's in it for you?
Once something is a habit, you don't have to think about it anymore. You will get the results you want with minimal effort.
Conclusion and Final Thoughts
Body hacking with self-leadership is more than just a trend; it's a lifestyle. It's about taking charge of your life, optimizing your body and mind, and achieving your fullest potential.
As a leadership coach, I have spent time with CEOs running billion-dollar companies, and I can confirm that most of these individuals take body hacking as seriously as the quarterly reports because they know that they must perform at their best or burn out.
After just a couple of weeks of body hacking, I shed 3 kg, improved my sleep, and felt more energized and focused. I have experimented with the extreme, like going for a 2.5-hour hike after a 16-hour fast to kickstart lipolysis, and have found the balance in small things like rehydrating and doing yoga BEFORE my morning coffee.
In the past, we were in the dark about what worked and what didn't but with self-leadership and the latest tech we can fine-tune our bodies for our best life.
Are you already body hacking or are you ready to embark on this transformative journey?
BEING HUMAN WHILST DELIVERING ACCELERATED RESULTS