Introduction: Coming up on this episode of The Doctor’s Farmacy.
Dave Asprey: The amount of time you brush your teeth every week is how much it takes to be cardiovascularly six times more fit than your friend who’s addicted to cardio classes.
Dr. Mark Hyman: Welcome to The Doctor’s Farmacy. I’m Dr. Mark Hyman. And that’s Farmacy with an F, a place for conversations that matter. And if you’ve ever wondered what biohacking is or how to upgrade your biology, this is going to be an amazing podcast because it’s with my friend Dave Asprey, the original father of biohacking. And we’re going to get into what that is. I think biohacking is just sort of the consumer version of functional medicine.
Dave Asprey: You could say that.
Dr. Mark Hyman: He’s been a leading voice in the movement to take control of our own biology. And he’s broken ground on areas that are now spreading like wildfire across the world. He’s hosted over a thousand episodes of the Human Upgrade podcast which was formerly called Bulletproof Radio which I’d been on many times. He’s been doing that more than a decade. Wow.
He also hosts one of the world’s largest and longest running biohacking conferences. He works with renowned doctors like me. No, I’m just kidding. Researchers, scientists and global mavericks to uncover the latest and the most innovative methods and techniques and products for enhancing mental and physical performance.
He’s personally spent, get this, nearly $2 million over two decades taking control of his own biology and pushing the bounds of human possibility all in the name of science and evolution. His multiple New York Times bestsellers are great. He’s also the creator of Danger Coffee and Bulletproof Coffee and the owner and CEO of Upgrade Labs, Human Upgrade Centers. And he lives in Austin, Texas where we are right now.
Welcome to the Doctor’s Farmacy. Dave.
Dave Asprey: Thank you. I love getting a chance to spend time with you, Mark. And also thank you for being one of the doctors whose name is on the back of my book-
Dr. Mark Hyman: Oh, there you go.
Dave Asprey: … to say, “You should read this.”
Dr. Mark Hyman: This is a great book. This book you wrote, Smarter Not Harder: The Biohacker’s Guide to Getting the Mind and the Body You Want is dope. It’s so good because a lot of people are in this space now. And it’s very crowded.
Dave Asprey: Love that.
Dr. Mark Hyman: It’s very cluttered. There’s a lot of garbage, a lot of noise, a lot of BS in my opinion. And-
Dave Asprey: Big echo chamber, yeah.
Dr. Mark Hyman: It’s a big echo chamber. And I think we’re not getting to what the essence of this is which is what is the real way to enhance our body’s own innate biological systems in the most effective, efficient and powerful way so we can feel good, do what we want to do in life and live a long healthy way?
That’s basically what you’ve done is sort of wintered all the garbage and kind of created a map for people. And I got so excited when I saw that you wrote this book because I’m like in this space as well but as a doctor and I just like it’s just such a mess and people are so confused. And how are we going to … Because I don’t want to write this book. And thank you for writing the book.
Dave Asprey: You’re welcome. And we both have that mindset. Neither one of us has the time or interest to write a book that’s already been written. It’s just easier to say, “Read this.” This is a done thing. And that’s why I just interviewed you on my show about Young Forever because it’s a fantastic book with new info in it.
Dr. Mark Hyman: Yeah.
Dave Asprey: There were a couple of concepts in Smarter Not Harder that I think ought to be more common in functional medicine but aren’t a typical-
Dr. Mark Hyman: Okay. School me. School me, Dr. Dave.
Dave Asprey: Okay. This will be fun. So, have you heard of the meat operating system before?
Dr. Mark Hyman: The meat operating system?
Dave Asprey: Yeah.
Dr. Mark Hyman: No.
Dave Asprey: Okay. This is a concept.
Dr. Mark Hyman: Meat OS.
Dave Asprey: Yeah, the meat OS.
Dr. Mark Hyman: Is it 4.0 or 2.0?
Dave Asprey: Exactly. Well, it’s something you can’t upgrade which is kind of cool because it’s in your body and it’s not you. And here’s a couple examples of what your operating system does for you.
Okay. You might have come across a neuroscience measure, I know you’re not a neuroscientist, that’s called P300. Is that familiar to you? Got it. It’s not well-known so I’m not trying to neuroscience shame you or anything.
Dr. Mark Hyman: No, I’m good.
Dave Asprey: I’m not a neuroscientist.
Dr. Mark Hyman: I promise you. I don’t know everything.
Dave Asprey: Good. And I’m not a neuroscientist either. I just have a neuroscience company and I know some parts of it but neuroscientists run circles on me. So, neither one of us is a full neuroscientist and we know what we know. But I write about this in Smarter Not Harder.
So, when I clap my hands like this, you hear it right away but you know there’s a speed of sound between me and you and then you hear it. But if we were to put electrodes from my neuroscience company on your head and we measured your brain, there was a one-third of a second delay between when I made the sound and when your brain gets the first signal that there was a noise. And then you have to think of what the noise was, which is a bit of a delay.
Did you notice the third of a second lag time between-
Dr. Mark Hyman: No.
Dave Asprey: That’s so weird. Okay. Now, in the middle of each of your eyes, there’s a dime-sized blind spot right in the middle of your vision on each eye. Can you see that?
Dr. Mark Hyman: No.
Dave Asprey: Okay. Well, some system in there is interfering with your ability to see reality and it has a third of a second to mess with you and it’s entirely invisible to you.
Dr. Mark Hyman: And what does that have to do with your meat operating system?
Dave Asprey: That is your meat operating system doing that. Its job is to take all of the complexity of the world around you.
Dr. Mark Hyman: I know you said meat as in like eating meat.
Dave Asprey: It is meat. You’re made out of meat my friend. So am I.
Dr. Mark Hyman: Oh, I’m the meat operating system. Okay, all right.
Dave Asprey: You’re not your meat operating system. You have a meat operating system. You run on top of your meat operating system. So your body’s job is to run itself. You don’t have to think about should I make another layer of glucosamine-based cartilage in my knee today?
Dr. Mark Hyman: No, definitely not.
Dave Asprey: That’s all hidden, right?
Dr. Mark Hyman: Yeah.
Dave Asprey: But also, what you see, what you hear, what you feel, what you sense, all of it is manipulated by the operating system in your body. Okay. And also as you age, your operating system gets slower. So if you’re 18, it’s a quarter second. So you have a frame rate on reality like 30 frames a second people have heard of or you’re watching a movie at 60 frames per second. So when you’re young, you can see more slices of reality per second. And as you age, it slows down unless you do something about it. So, this is a measure of aging which is how fast is your brain at detecting reality?
Dr. Mark Hyman: And why should we care?
Dave Asprey: Well, you should care about this because your operating system-
Dr. Mark Hyman: Because it’s in your book and I’m like, “Why is he talking about that?”
Dave Asprey: It’s making you old and it’s making you slow. And it’s stealing your energy. And it’s hackable. So, we believe because our operating system is lazy that we’re bad people. So, your body, it wants to save energy in case there’s a famine. And since it can manipulate reality, you have two choices in front of you.
One of them is the spin class, sweat and echoing music and someone yelling at you to pedal and you feel ashamed because you’re the only one not standing on the pedals so you do it. That doesn’t look very attractive. The other one is this beautiful couch and a bucket of Ben & Jerry’s.
Dr. Mark Hyman: Oh yeah.
Dave Asprey: Now, we know that the couch is the bad idea and the spin class is a good idea except we don’t feel that at all. And our feelings and our thoughts don’t match because your operating system is the one driving the feelings. So, we need to deal with that part of us.
Dr. Mark Hyman: So, my operating system always says, “Go to the spin class. Go to yoga.”
Dave Asprey: No, it doesn’t.
Dr. Mark Hyman: “Don’t eat ice cream and stand on the couch.” Well, probably like 95 times out of a hundred, I’m going to choose the thing that’s good for me.
Dave Asprey: That’s because-
Dr. Mark Hyman: And occasionally when I’m tired and stressed and depressed, I might eat a pint of Chunky Monkey.
Dave Asprey: See, that’s because you have energy and you have discipline. But when people are low energy which you and I have both been and we’ve both had toxic mold exposures, your willpower goes down. So you rely on willpower and habit to go to the gym and make the right choices. And that’s admirable.
What’s happening for most people listening, 92% of people don’t go to the gym as much as the government says. There’s 400 million a year of ghost gym memberships where we buy the membership because our brain knows it’s a good idea but we never go because our operating system says no. So we have to address the operating system. And the way you do this, first of all, before we even get into these techniques-
Dr. Mark Hyman: So basically, you came up with this idea of meat operating system.
Dave Asprey: Yeah, but I can-
Dr. Mark Hyman: It’s not like I didn’t read it, I didn’t miss it in the medical literature. It was a Dave Asprey concept.
Dave Asprey: It is actually there but it’s not called that.
Dr. Mark Hyman: Okay. Okay, good. I’m like, “Wait, am I so out of touch here?”
Dave Asprey: You’ll see a little bit of this … I am a biohacker, right? You got to put in language that we can understand. You’ll see a little bit of this in Candace Pert’s Molecules of Emotion.
Dr. Mark Hyman: Molecules of Emotion, yeah.
Dave Asprey: And this is the woman who discovered the opiate receptor. And she’ll tell you and many others in functional medicine and probably you would say that your immune system has its own unique trainability, it has its own consciousness. And you can even argue that your cells each have their own small and simple consciousness.
In fact, in my word, your body is billions of cells, each of which is a tiny computer that takes an environmental signal, looks around, talks to its neighbors, decides what’s happening and then it can make electricity, it can make proteins, it can make sex hormones, it can make melatonin and it can make inflammation.
Dr. Mark Hyman: Amazing.
Dave Asprey: And it decides what to do. And they all vote with each other to decide what’s going on in your meat. And then they decide what you’re allowed to see. It’s scary. These little bastards are in charge of us so we have to hack them.
Dr. Mark Hyman: And how do we do that?
Dave Asprey: Okay.
Dr. Mark Hyman: I want to get into how you do that. But before, I want to give people a few little nuggets because you really have thought about this, researched it, tried it on yourself, done it with tons of people. What are the top three things that we can do to biohack our metabolic, neurological and epigenetic systems? And then we can get into all these-
Dave Asprey: That’s like top three things for top three things. So you got a three by three matrix. So, let me break that into a few questions for you. So, getting a signal into the body to make it change is really important. Because our brains are trying to save energy, we just make simple thoughts like, “Oh, working hard gets results therefore if I want to get thin or I want to get in shape, go to the gym more.”
So, I did this when I weighed 300 pounds, Mark. This is my revenge. I went to the gym for 702 hours, 90 minutes a day, six days a week, half weights, half cardio for 18 months straight even if I was sick. No matter what was happening in my life, this is my top priority, more important than sleep.
At the end of all of that, I still had a 46-inch waist. I still weighed 300 pounds but I could max out most of the machines at the gym. Was I more muscular? Yeah. Was I still fat? Yeah. And-
Dr. Mark Hyman: I mean you were fitter but you were still fat.
Dave Asprey: Oh yeah. And I was on a low fat, low calorie diet.
Dr. Mark Hyman: The diabetes prevention diet.
Dave Asprey: Exactly. And then-
Dr. Mark Hyman: Or maybe we should call the diabetes-causing diet.
Dave Asprey: No kidding, right? Yeah. The American Diabetes Association which causes diabetes with their diet. So-
Dr. Mark Hyman: Oh, is that why they called it the American Diabetes Association because it’s those people getting diabetes?
Dave Asprey: It’s obvious, isn’t it? Yeah. Same with the American Cancer Society, clearly.
Dr. Mark Hyman: Oh dear.
Dave Asprey: It says right in the name. So anyhow, all this time in the gym, it was a false belief that working hard would get results.
Dr. Mark Hyman: Yeah. You cannot exercise your way out of a bad diet is what I always say.
Dave Asprey: What I’m teaching people to do is to say … There’s actually five things, not three things. You mentioned neurological and mitochondrial. Here’s the five things that people ask for. This is data from eight years of running the world’s first biohacking center where you can go in and do this stuff.
I opened it under Arnold Schwarzenegger’s office. It’s called Upgrade Labs and we’re opening dozens of these across the country as a franchise. You can go to ownanupgradelabs.com and you can open one in your neighborhood. And what we do is we say, “All right, there’s these five things.” And when you read Smarter Not Harder, you’ll learn about them.
But some people want muscle. And that’s different than saying, “I want cardiovascular performance.” The marathon runners don’t look like bodybuilders for a reason because they’re opposite ends of the spectrum. You can choose the amount of each of those you want.
Sometimes that’s your top goal. But for many people, it’s actually, “I want to get my energy back.” How do you do that? You don’t necessarily even go to the gym for that but there are techniques to do it. And to lose weight, they usually go together.
Some people want their brain to work better. That was my biggest goal. When I was younger, my brain fog was so bad. And the other people, for the first time ever, people are saying, “I want to manage stress and anxiety. I want resilience more than I want weight loss.”
So, these are the goals. You got to pick one and attack that. And for each of them, I go through the technologies that work better. So, let me start with cardiovascularly.
Dr. Mark Hyman: Take us through it. Take us through it.
Dave Asprey: Okay. So, this is why the book is called Smarter Not Harder. I was doing-
Dr. Mark Hyman: By the way, it’s a great book.
Dave Asprey: Oh, thank you.
Dr. Mark Hyman: Everybody’s got to get a copy. Smarter Not Harder, go get a book wherever you can get a book.
Dave Asprey: I appreciate that, Mark. It’s if you were to sa, do an hour of spin class five days a week, that ought to do it for cardiovascular. That’s plenty. You worked really hard. You sweated. You had to take a shower afterwards. You had people yelling at you. You’re going to get a 2% improvement in your VO2 max which is the marker of how cardiovascularly fit you are. So it’s a lot of time improved by 2%.
You can use an AI-driven technology. That’s at Upgrade Labs. And I tell you how to do a similar thing in the book at home. Five minutes, three times a week so 15 minutes instead of five hours without sweating.
Dr. Mark Hyman: What do you do?
Dave Asprey: Well, wait to hear the results. 12% improvement, six times better results in 15 minutes versus five hours.
Dr. Mark Hyman: Really?
Dave Asprey: With three university studies backing it up.
Dr. Mark Hyman: And how do you do that? Because I’m like, “Wait a minute. Am I just going to get all my time back?”
Dave Asprey: Yes.
Dr. Mark Hyman: Am I going to be able to read more novels-
Dave Asprey: That’s why I wrote the book.
Dr. Mark Hyman: … and more books?
Dave Asprey: Literally, the amount of time you brush your teeth every week is how much it takes to be cardiovascularly six times more fit than your friend who’s addicted to cardio classes. It’s worth knowing just that in the book. So here’s how we-
Dr. Mark Hyman: Lay it on me then.
Dave Asprey: Okay. Here’s how it works. At Upgrade Labs, you’re on an AI-driven bike measuring your heart rate. But I’ll tell you to do this at home right now. It’s based on a new principle that will make it into functional medicine. And this is new thinking so this is like the seed that I’m planting. It’s called slope of the curve biology.
And what that means is that it’s not how hard we work, it’s how quickly we can turn on a signal to our operating system and how quickly we can turn it off and return to baseline. So when you’re on our AI-driven bike at Upgrade Labs measuring your heart rate, we turn the pedals all the way up to really hard for all of 20 seconds which just completely drains you. And we’re like, “Go as fast as you can.”
And then after that, breathing exercises goes slow. And it’s the speed that your heart rate returns back to normal that drives how much your body adapts. It’s not how hard you worked. It’s not how much you sweated.
Dr. Mark Hyman: But how do you get … I mean, that’s a well-known principle that your recovery rate determines your fitness. So, there’s no-
Dave Asprey: No, no, it’s not determines fitness, it changes your fitness. This is a different principle and it holds true for almost everything.
Dr. Mark Hyman: How do you achieve that then?
Dave Asprey: Okay. So here’s how you would do it-
Dr. Mark Hyman: Because typically, you’d achieve improve recovery by increased fitness.
Dave Asprey: Right. So, what’s shocking and what the data shows is that you don’t have to improve fitness, you just have to improve recovery from whatever exercise you did and your rate of improvement of fitness goes through the roof. So in other words-
Dr. Mark Hyman: How do you improve recovery?
Dave Asprey: So, in this case, by not over-exercising, it’s only a 22nd sprint with resistance on it. And then you’re doing breathing exercises and moving way slower than is comfortable. The problem with you and me and all of the other Type A people-
Dr. Mark Hyman: Just want to go, go, go.
Dave Asprey: … we want to work hard because we’ve been taught since we were little kids that people who work hard are good and people who are lazy are bad and will never be loved, even though our operating system is lazy.
Dr. Mark Hyman: So, what we’ve been doing is working harder not smarter.
Dave Asprey: It’s almost like … That was the title. See, here’s how you would do this in a park. Okay. Now, I just have to warn you. You might look funny doing this but this is how it works. You go to the park and maybe you have a weighted vest or something or maybe you just go to the park however. And then, you walk really slow, so slow like you had two THC gummies or something.
Dr. Mark Hyman: That would make me crazy.
Dave Asprey: Of course, it’s actually annoying it. It has to be so slow where you’re almost doing a walking meditation. And then without warning, you sprint like there is a tiger about to eat you. And you run as fast and as hard as you can for 20, maybe 30 seconds. But it has to be so fast that you almost can’t handle it.
And any kind of resistance you can apply there is good. You want to drain yourself to the point you couldn’t go any further. And then, you would lay on your back in the park and do deep breathing exercises where your exhale is twice as long as your inhale. So, through the nose.
Dr. Mark Hyman: Oh.
Dave Asprey: And you’re going to do that for probably two, two-and-a-half minutes until you feel like you’ve calmed down then you’re going to get up and walk like you’re on more THC gummies for just a little while. And you’re going to do it one more time. Lay on your back until your heart rate’s normal and then you’re done. Now, someone may try to give you mouth to mouth is the problem.
Dr. Mark Hyman: So basically, just two 30-second sprints?
Dave Asprey: In Upgrade Labs, it’s only 20 seconds because I can control the resistance with AI.
Dr. Mark Hyman: But basically two 20 to 30-second sprints.
Dave Asprey: Yeah. And that works better than high intensity interval training. Noticeably better. The reason is that you laid on your back. The reason is that you took really deep slow breaths with a long out breath. All we’re telling the body is … Because remember, these are dumb cells in your operating system. They don’t know what’s going on. They can’t see time. They can’t see tigers. They just know there must have been a tiger, and here’s the trick, but I got away.
Dr. Mark Hyman: Right.
Dave Asprey: And now I’m peaceful and I’m safe. If you go to that spin class instead and you climb your first hill, the body goes, “God, that was a tiger. I hope I get away.” And then you don’t get away because now you’re running at 50% capacity goes, “Damn, the tiger’s still chasing me. And man, I’m about to get eaten.”
And after 45 minutes of being hunted, your body’s like, “This was terrible. I gave you some endorphins so you could survive and maybe even get a little high off that. But I’m not going to really allocate much to improving my status because I might get hunted like that again. This is not a safe place.” So, instead I ran, I got away, now I’m safe. It’s the “now I’m safe” signal that causes the body to allocate nutrients to muscle and to cardiovascular and to mitochondria.
Dr. Mark Hyman: Interesting.
Dave Asprey: That’s the trick.
Dr. Mark Hyman: Interesting.
Dave Asprey: And it frees you. It’s like hundreds of hours a year you get back.
Dr. Mark Hyman: I love that. It reminds me of Robert Sapolsky wrote a book called Why Zebras Don’t Get Ulcers about the science of chronic stress versus acute stress and how zebras don’t get ulcers because they basically get chased by the lion. One of them is eaten then they’ll go back to munching their grass. And then while the lion eating his brother or sister and they’re like fine with it.
Dave Asprey: If you wanted to learn true resilience from a vagus nerve from a physiological perspective, you would be more like the zebra. And that means you mimic the pattern. We have the same mitochondria as zebra for the most part.
Dr. Mark Hyman: We have to eat grass.
Dave Asprey: And it’s, “Oh, I’m safe.” And not only-
Dr. Mark Hyman: So you lay on the grass and then you eat the grass.
Dave Asprey: Only if you’re vegan.
Dr. Mark Hyman: So, that’s amazing.
Dave Asprey: But eating’s important because there’s two signals that scare the operating system. One is something’s hunting me and I can’t get away. Okay. That’s chronic stress. The other one is I don’t have enough nutrients. And nutrients come in two forms. One is calories. In fact, when I interviewed you, we talked about this a little bit on my show.
And so, calories are important. If you’re low on calories the way I was when I went to the gym all that time, the body is like, “How am I going to improve? I don’t have enough calories so I am not going to put on muscle. I’m not going to improve cardiovascular. I’m just going to hold the line and give you stress molecules.”
So, especially in women I see this. You might need a little bit more. If you’re exercising as much as you are, you have to up your calories. And then they lose weight, they feel good, their hair gets shiny. But otherwise, they’re like, “I don’t know why I’m stressed all the time.”
Dr. Mark Hyman: Well, that’s right. I mean, over-exercising is a stress response to the body. And a little bit of stress is good. Too much is not good.
Dave Asprey: Exactly. And so, what Smarter Not Harder is about is, well, let’s figure out how to turn the stress on and turn it off in such a way that the body changes quickly instead of, “I just worked really hard therefore I get results.”
Dr. Mark Hyman: So that’s about cardiovascular fitness.
Dave Asprey: Yeah. That’s the cell.
Dr. Mark Hyman: What about muscle?
Dave Asprey: Okay. Muscle is exactly the same rule. How quickly can you exhaust the muscle? All of muscle building throughout all of human history has been pick up rocks.
Dr. Mark Hyman: Pick up rocks.
Dave Asprey: Pick up rocks. And by the way, all of cardio has been run away from tigers. So, pick up rocks. A while ago, someone was like, “What if we concentrate the rocks into kettlebells and plates?” So, pick up concentrated rocks.
Okay. Now, I’ve spent lots of time in the gym. I don’t spend lots of time in the gym right now because I have labs for that. But when you pick up those things up, you can exhaust your muscles. I mean, look at Arnold, you can get big. But what if there’s a way to do it in a lot less time? It turns out how quickly can you exhaust the muscles? And if you can do that in one or in three or four repetitions without getting injured, that’s amazing.
Dr. Mark Hyman: Yeah. That injury part’s a key thing.
Dave Asprey: So if you go to Upgrade Labs and again, you don’t have to go to one, you could open one in your town. Everything in the book, there’s an at-home version or a free version.
Dr. Mark Hyman: Yeah.
Dave Asprey: What we do there is we have an AI-driven system that resists you in a way that iron plates cannot. So, your muscles get overwhelmed very, very quickly. And once that happens, they were overwhelmed then there was recovery, then you put on muscle three times and maybe even up to five times faster than picking up heavy bells.
Dr. Mark Hyman: So, you would do three sets of one to three reps, is that it or?
Dave Asprey: Yeah, you would do that. And at Upgrade Labs, I only do the big muscle groups for you there. And my goal is you’re going to spend less than 10 minutes once a week on your muscles and have the muscles you want. I’m not going to get whatever the back of the tricep head. If you want to be a bodybuilder, go work on that because you’ll love it.
What I’m telling you is that most people, if we do your quads, your butt, your chest and your lats like some rowing muscles, you’re going to get all the big muscle groups that control your metabolism. And then you’re not going to have sarcopenia and you’re going to have less diabetes if you have enough muscles.
Dr. Mark Hyman: Yeah.
Dave Asprey: So, this is really important stuff and it doesn’t take much time because we can exhaust it quickly. At home-
Dr. Mark Hyman: What would you do?
Dave Asprey: … what you realize is that your whole body is afraid of gravity. And it’s afraid of gravity because if you pick up say a dumbbell, it’s going to wobble a little bit. When it wobbles, gravity makes it accelerate. And the little sensors in your wrist, your elbow, your shoulder, they’re called proprioceptors. And they sense that gravity is there so they’re going to tell you, you can’t pick up anything heavier.
You could pick up something heavier but it knows that if it wobbles, the wobble will make it even heavier and then you’d get injured. So, it’s holding back something like 70% of your possible ability to apply pressure.
Dr. Mark Hyman: Interesting.
Dave Asprey: Because it knows it feels gravity. So, let’s remove gravity. And I go through all the different technologies that let you do this. And one of the interesting ones is a resistance band, just a rubber resistance band.
Dr. Mark Hyman: Yeah. Tell me about that.
Dave Asprey: Resistance bands change the resistance against the muscles to something that’s foreign to them so they don’t know how to defend against it. They know how to deal with gravity, they don’t know how to deal with something that changes when you move. So they get overwhelmed more quickly and they grow more quickly. And there are studies showing three times better muscle growth. You can use electrical stimulation. You can-
Dr. Mark Hyman: I actually use the bands. That’s how I’ve sort of … Because I don’t want to injure myself. So, I found them extremely effective and it’s amazing what they do.
Dave Asprey: And they’re a lot lighter to carry around than the kettlebells in my suitcase. The airlines don’t like that. And this is not against bodybuilding if you love that stuff. Most people, like I’m a dad, I have two teenagers. I have eight companies. I write New York Times bestsellers like you, big podcast and a life. And you know what? I love my life, but I don’t want to spend eight hours a week in the gym. I just don’t.
And if you do want to do that, you can but then your stress response is going to be much higher than you think so you have to eat and sleep like someone who’s being hunted often. And that’s okay. You can choose that lifestyle but it’s a choice and it’s not necessary. It’s that I believed, we all believed hard work gets results.
Do you know anyone in your life who’s worked really hard their whole life and didn’t get any results?
Dr. Mark Hyman: Not too many.
Dave Asprey: Really? I know a lot of people have because they had bad luck, because they got screwed by someone.
Dr. Mark Hyman: For sure.
Dave Asprey: And sometimes you work really hard on things that don’t matter.
Dr. Mark Hyman: Yeah. Well, that’s true. That I’ve done a lot of.
Dave Asprey: Yeah, me too. I’ve wasted a lot of time. So-
Dr. Mark Hyman: So I could get those hours back and get it back.
Dave Asprey: Right.
Dr. Mark Hyman: So basically, you’re talking about resistance bands. There’s other techniques. So, what about blood flow restriction?
Dave Asprey: I do talk about blood flow restriction in there. With blood flow restriction, you can put cuffs on your arms that restrict some but not all blood flow. And then you can do exercise with far lower amount of weight or with resistance bands, whatever you want. And you’ll put muscle on more quickly.
So, all I did is I went through all the literature and I said, “Okay, here’s everything that puts muscle on faster than picking up rocks.” And it turns out there’s a whole set of things and then I stack rank them in order, this one then this one then this one.
Dr. Mark Hyman: So, go through them. I think people would be interested to hear about what those are. Because I talk a lot about muscle as part of my longevity work and that conversation, so it is one of the central features of staying healthy and functional as you get older and both metabolically and just physically functional.
Dave Asprey: The top one is the AI-driven resistance because you can put so much force through your muscles like I did a-
Dr. Mark Hyman: But you need a machine for that.
Dave Asprey: You need a machine for that. I did a 1,600-pound belt squat. Now, if I did that with real weights, I would’ve destroyed my body as it destroyed my shoes. Literally, it ruined my $200 athletic shoes because they were like pancakes. And it’s because I didn’t have to deal with gravity and my muscles hurt for a week. I really, really got to work out. And that was one wrap.
Dr. Mark Hyman: Wow.
Dave Asprey: And so, you can do this safely because if you drop a weight or you wobble, it tears something. But with a machine that moves at a slow rate, nothing gets injured.
Dr. Mark Hyman: No.
Dave Asprey: So, let’s say we don’t have a machine for that. If you go home, resistance bands, electrical muscle stimulation, ENS, not TENS units but proper EMS, you can put muscle on very quickly that way. I do that sometimes when I travel.
Dr. Mark Hyman: So, tell us what that is.
Dave Asprey: This is when you get a machine. Usually you go to a clinic, there’s a few companies now who are selling them for home use but these are more than $1,000, between $1,000 and $5,000 systems. Or you go to a facility that does it. And you stick electrodes or sometimes like a vest if you want to wear wet clothes underneath it which I’m not a fan of.
But you put electrode where you want the muscle to be and you turn the machine up. And in fact, I do this at parties at my house. And you turn the machine up and suddenly, your operating system, your body says, “I can’t do that.” And instead you just focus and you do it anyway.
What’s going is I’m telling the muscle with the electricity, “Here’s the amount of force you’re going to do.” And it thinks it can’t do it because … And then you just make it do it anyway. And as soon as you do one repetition, all of a sudden, you have no problem doing it.
So what you’re doing is you’re resetting your operating system to realize it’s going to have to be able to carry more. It’s so afraid of getting injured that it won’t turn on anywhere close to what it’s capable of. And a lot of what we’re doing in the gym is just showing the body it can do it. You can use electricity to show the body you can do it a lot faster.
Dr. Mark Hyman: That’s amazing. So you’ve got the AI-driven resistance. You’ve got bands. You’ve got the electrical stem.
Dave Asprey: You’ve got blood flow.
Dr. Mark Hyman: Blood flow restriction.
Dave Asprey: And even if you’re going to pick up rocks, it turns out that there are some techniques that work better than what you’re probably doing. And the biggest thing you can do is super slow on the down part of the motion. So as you’re setting the weight back down-
Dr. Mark Hyman: Eccentric, yeah.
Dave Asprey: Eccentric but 10 seconds slow. And all of these, there’s studies that show you put muscle on more quickly. So, I don’t want to go to the gym. Because my operating system wants to save energy, I’m fundamentally lazy. All of my companies exist because I’m lazy. Laziness drives human progress.
I didn’t want to walk so I rode a horse. I didn’t want to shovel a poop so I built a car. I didn’t want to deal with a car so I flew in an airplane. We’re all lazy. And it drives progress. And by acknowledging that that’s part of my workout philosophy, my workouts are down to 15 minutes a week and I’m healthier, I have more muscle.
Dr. Mark Hyman: And you can measure VO2 max and you measure strength, all the objective metrics, you’re stronger.
Dave Asprey: Yup. My bone density is off the charts. They had a hard time cutting through my bones in a recent surgery I had. The saw slowed down on my bone. And the surgeon’s like, “What is going on here?” And-
Dr. Mark Hyman: Why are they chopping your bones, Dave?
Dave Asprey: I had an old yoga injury that healed wrong.
Dr. Mark Hyman: Damn yoga.
Dave Asprey: I will tell you, if you get an injury in a joint, you probably should get that looked at quickly instead of waiting seven years to get it looked at. So, I had to rebuild the joint in my big toe. And that was crow pose kicking back to plank. And I stubbed my toe really hard and just never got it fixed.
Dr. Mark Hyman: Oh no.
Dave Asprey: And that was really stupid. I should have seen someone.
Dr. Mark Hyman: So, is there any more on that list?
Dave Asprey: On the muscle list? Off the top of my head, I think we’ve got all those. There’s some things around just getting adequate amounts of animal protein to build muscle. If you put the signal into the body and you’re lacking minerals, especially trace minerals, your body can’t adapt quickly enough. And we’re all depleted of minerals so workouts don’t work, meditation doesn’t work.
Minerals are the substrate for any signal that comes into your body. The body says, “Do I have minerals? Do I have proteins? And do I have fats?” And those are the things that get mixed up to make new enzymes to make body parts. And if you’re lacking any of those, you get a stress response because you can’t adapt.
Dr. Mark Hyman: It’s such an interesting point you’re making. And I want to highlight this because it’s at the center of functional medicine which is you are constantly providing inputs to your system-
Dave Asprey: Yes.
Dr. Mark Hyman: … that are good or bad. And these inputs are being translated into biological signals that are registering in every cell, in every gene, in every pathway of your body.
Dave Asprey: Yes.
Dr. Mark Hyman: And regulating everything. So, your thoughts are biological response modifiers. Your diet, exercise, your stress levels, hot and cold temperature. Every possible thing you can think of translates into your biology through some kind of biological response modification that is a signal to do good or bad, to heal or to hurt. And that’s such a powerful framework for thinking about things.
So, everything you’re talking about is how do you use the latest science to rethink what we’re doing so that we can provide the right singles and the right dose for the right amount of time to achieve the optimal results.
Dave Asprey: You nailed it. You could also call it applied epigenetics.
Dr. Mark Hyman: Okay. Yeah.
Dave Asprey: And for listeners, epigenetics is the science of environment turns genes on and off. We just hadn’t figured out and we didn’t have enough data even five years ago to write Smarter Not Harder because we had to be able to say, “All right, what’s the difference between doing this versus this and comparing them across enough people and then understanding some pathways?” And in the case of cardio, it’s the only time where the slope of the curve biology isn’t always true as far as I can tell because of something called Zone 2 cardio.
Dr. Mark Hyman: Yeah. Tell us about what Zone-
Dave Asprey: Did you cover that on the show?
Dr. Mark Hyman: No, tell us about Zone 2 cardio.
Dave Asprey: Zone 2 cardio is something if you’re going to do it, it takes an hour-and-a-half to three hours a week which is more than I’m willing to invest so I don’t do it. But there’s good science that says you might want to do it. And without a heart rate monitor, you can’t do it.
Zone 2 cardio is this weird small window of intensity that’s faster than walking or as fast as walking maybe but slower than jogging. And if you can keep your heart rate in a narrow window, that narrow window is what drives your mitochondria to burn fat directly. So, it turns out there is a fat burning pace of exercise but it’s not working harder.
Dr. Mark Hyman: It’s slower than you think.
Dave Asprey: It’s working at a very precise window. And so I tell you how to calculate the specific heart rate for you in the book-
Dr. Mark Hyman: For Zone 2.
Dave Asprey: … for Zone 2. And there’s evidence for it.
Dr. Mark Hyman: Because we have calculations based on our age but they’re not really accurate. I’m 63 and I was exercising every day. My heart rate was 172. It shouldn’t get that high. Technically, if you look at what defines a maximal heart rate of a 63-year-old, it ain’t 172.
Dave Asprey: I’m just going to say something. You should pick your about 35 heart rate and that should be your heart rate for life. If you’re staying young, I don’t know, young forever and I think 172 is about where it would have been when you were 35.
So, for you to say, “Well, my heart rate’s the way it should be for my age,” screw that. That’s not okay. My testosterone level is where, when I was 30 at least if I was healthy when I was 30, my testosterone is higher now than when I was 30. Because when I was 30, my testosterone was lower than my mom’s because-
Dr. Mark Hyman: That’s what I’m saying. We don’t have to follow those rules.
Dave Asprey: Yeah.
Dr. Mark Hyman: I mean, my heart rate maximally should be 157 based on standard medical thinking, but it was 172 yesterday. So, how does that work? That means my body is actually younger.
Dave Asprey: Yeah. And everyone listening, you can do this. What I’ve found is that I have a whole Upgrade Labs biohacking center at my house because that’s where I started the business. And that means I can spend eight hours a day biohacking if I want to and then I don’t get anything done.
And so even with biohacking, how do I just allocate 10 minutes a day or 20 minutes a day? And for me, I do about 45 minutes a day of biohacking. That includes meditation. That includes light therapy. That includes whole body vibration which is-
Dr. Mark Hyman: You can do them all at once.
Dave Asprey: You actually can do most of them all at once.
Dr. Mark Hyman: Workout in front of a red light.
Dave Asprey: Yeah. That’s right. And the idea is I want to-
Dr. Mark Hyman: But you have to be naked working out.
Dave Asprey: Well, I mean, why not? The idea here is people are going to come in maybe twice a week to an Upgrade Labs and they’re going to do all of the things that they need including neurofeedback for their brain, including recovery technologies, including things that affect lymph, things that recharge mitochondria, change water structures in the body, all of it in one place in under an hour twice a week. And you’re going to look and feel better. And we’ll measure thousands of data points and show them to you every time you come in.
Dr. Mark Hyman: That’s really impressive. That’s amazing.
Dave Asprey: There’s no-
Dr. Mark Hyman: Guesswork.
Dave Asprey: Yeah, there’s no guesswork. There’s no placebo here. And every time you come in, we know what you did. And we feed it back into our learning system so that it constantly improves for everyone the more we use it.
Dr. Mark Hyman: That’s great. Amazing. And people are going to want to do this at home, too, because there’s no biohacking labs everywhere.
Dave Asprey: Of course, yeah.
Dr. Mark Hyman: So, you’ve talked about cardio. We talked about strength. Let’s talk about energy because that’s another one of your key pillars. How do we optimize energy because that’s one of the things that is lacking for many people is energy fatigue, brain fog, just not being 100%?
Dave Asprey: You and I both had that issue in spades. So with energy, what I like to do is have the conversation about what they’re eating. And it’s in the book. This is not a diet book at all, Smarter Not harder. But there’s usually a deficiency of minerals that are behind everything. So even if you get rid of toxins let’s say, even if you’re getting rid of heavy metals, you’re looking at zinc and especially copper and you’re looking at manganese and molybdenum. People don’t necessarily need molybdenum in order to-
Dr. Mark Hyman: Say that three times fast.
Dave Asprey: Do you know many times I had to resay … When I was reading the book for the audiobook version, I said that word wrong like a hundred times-
Dr. Mark Hyman: It’s like chromium.
Dave Asprey: … like molybdenum.
Dr. Mark Hyman: Chromium, molybdenum.
Dave Asprey: Molybdenum. Molybdenum, fuck, if I know. Sorry, I swore on your podcast, but anyway.
Dr. Mark Hyman: It’s all right.
Dave Asprey: That mineral, it recycles glutathione. So if your cells are not doing a good job of handling stress and you’re deficient in this trace mineral that no one’s even heard of and I can’t even say reliably, well, no wonder you’re having a hard time with it.
So, what I found was that when I can get people to take high-quality multimineral and vitamin DAKE, that’s D, A, K and E, all the fat-solubles together, in fact, vitamindake.com has the info about that on it. But when you take those two things and-
Dr. Mark Hyman: And by the way, there’s no vitamin DAKE. It’s D, A, E and K.
Dave Asprey: Well, it’s D, A, K, E. I named that. It’s vitamin DAKE. It says right there in the book. It’s easy to remember that way. It’s just all the fat-solubles.
Dr. Mark Hyman: Okay.
Dave Asprey: But you’re correct. They’re separate vitamins. However, if you take vitamin D without vitamins A and K, it’s less safe than to take D alone than is to take all of those together.
Dr. Mark Hyman: Yeah.
Dave Asprey: And this is an important thing. You and I have both been vitamin D advocates for decades, right?
Dr. Mark Hyman: Yup, yup.
Dave Asprey: But more and more evidence is coming out that you need retinol from animals, the real vitamin A, not beta-keratin. And that you need K2 and maybe a little K1. I put K1 in the thing that I make. And what I find is that if you have those and the minerals, it all works. And then your body can start to make energy again.
And then you need to apply. This is also an unusual thing. You need to apply light therapy because when your body can’t make ATP, one of the reasons it can’t make ATP is something called exclusion zone water, Gerald Pollack’s work. When you drink normal water with or without electrolytes, and by the way in the book, you should have electrolytes in your water.
Dr. Mark Hyman: I do that. Every morning now, I drink 32 ounces of water with electrolytes.
Dave Asprey: Beautiful.
Dr. Mark Hyman: Before I have anything else.
Dave Asprey: It’s so healthy to get the electrolytes because otherwise regular water sucks minerals out of your body. If you drink a lot of water, you eat oatmeal, you eat all these processed foods, all the whole grains, they contain a compound that sucks minerals out of your body. And the plants and animals you eat don’t have minerals any more anyways so we’re all depleted of minerals. And it makes us weak, biologically weak, and we can’t make energy.
So you get your minerals in. And then, you do the whole body infrared, red and amber light therapy when you’re at Upgrade Labs. If you’re at home, go out in the sun for 20 minutes a day as naked as you can get without getting arrested. And-
Dr. Mark Hyman: Or freezing to death depending on where you live.
Dave Asprey: Well, cold therapy is fine. But the reason-
Dr. Mark Hyman: Twenty minutes and-
Dave Asprey: Yeah, that’s pretty cold. The reason you do that is that the infrared light changes the structure of water. And this goes back to when I first had yak butter tea at high altitude. That was the genesis of Bulletproof Coffee.
Dr. Mark Hyman: Yeah, I have that too.
Dave Asprey: And you had it too. That’s right.
Dr. Mark Hyman: Salty. It’s salty.
Dave Asprey: It’s salty and not nice but I felt different and I was like, “What happened?” And after funding some research at the University of Washington-
Dr. Mark Hyman: And by the way, just to clarify, yak is the male. That’s like saying bull tea. I was corrected by a Tibet monk. I said, “Oh, is this yak cheese?” And they’re like … They all started cracking up. And that’s a bunch of Tibet monks. And I’m like, “What do you mean? Why are you laughing?” “Oh, because a yak is a male.”
Dave Asprey: That’s hilarious. What’s a female yak?
Dr. Mark Hyman: And it’s called a dri.
Dave Asprey: Dri. I forgot about that. I’ve heard that before. Dri tea, all right.
Dr. Mark Hyman: Dri butter tea.
Dave Asprey: What your body does is it takes that water that you bring in and it needs to transform the water from normal water into biologically useful water called exclusion zone water. To do that, it puts the water up against your cell membranes so tiny droplets of fat is what they’re made of. And it exposes it to 1,200 nanometer infrared light that’s called body heat.
And when it does that, then the water changes how thick it is. It’s a viscosity. And after that process, you can use the water to make ATP. Before that process, it will not work inside a cell. You can see this kind of water on a microscope. It is not fantasy quantum blue water. This is actual science based on decades of research from Gerald Pollack at the University of Washington.
Dr. Mark Hyman: Interesting.
Dave Asprey: And he actually proved that MCT oil and butter make the highest level of exclusions on water of all the different fats he tested which is why when you blend them into your coffee, magically you feel different when you drink. It’s because you changed the liquid that was in the drink. And heat, because it’s hot tea or hot coffee also improves it. And so does the presence of polyphenols.
Dr. Mark Hyman: Amazing.
Dave Asprey: So, this is what’s going on. So when someone says, “My energy’s broken,” I’m like, “Okay, make sure you’ve got enough minerals to fix things.” Lay down on this … It’s not about working hard at this point, it’s about recovery at this point. Lay down on this thing and let us charge the water and charge your cells with red and infrared light. And they do it for 20 minutes. I haven’t felt this good in years. Those knots that were caused by pseudohypoxia and toxins, they loosened up. My brain works. I feel different. I feel really good.
And after that, we might put them in cryotherapy to do some cold therapy. It only takes three minutes if you can do a liquid nitrogen or one of the really cold chambers that we’re using at labs. But at home, you could do ice baths. And I even teach in the book, “Hey, ice baths at home, unless you’re a diehard biohacker like me, are you really going to drive to 7-11, spend 20 bucks on ice, put it in your trunk, come home, take out of your trunk, put it in your bathtub?”
Dr. Mark Hyman: You just have a Massachusetts in the winter. It’s 45 degrees when I filled my bathtub with cold water.
Dave Asprey: That’s a fair point. I’m in Austin here. And you have to blow dry your trunk because it’s full of water. It’s really annoying to buy a bunch of ice to do it. So, what-
Dr. Mark Hyman: Although my friend bought an ice maker, a giant ice maker for his house. And he has a couch trough where they drink water out.
Dave Asprey: Yeah, that’s what I had in Canada.
Dr. Mark Hyman: And he fills the trough up with water and fills the trough with ice. And then you soak in that. That’s great.
Dave Asprey: You can totally do it that way. I have a cold plunge at my house here. But in the book, most people aren’t going to do that because it’s expensive.
Dr. Mark Hyman: Yeah.
Dave Asprey: So, here’s the cheapest and fastest way to get cold therapy because all I care about is saving you time when you read Smarter Not Harder and getting you the results. You take a salad bowl as big as your face. You put an inch of water in it and you put it in the freezer overnight.
Next time you want to do cold therapy, add some cold tap water to it and stir it around until the water’s really, really cold. Then you take a deep breath and you bend forward at your waist and you stick your whole face, as much of your face as you can get into that bowl and you hold your breath.
Now, this is called a dive reflex, but you have the most temperature receptors on your face. And by freezing your face, you’re sending a whole body cold therapy signal. And if you do that, you’ll last maybe 10 seconds before your face hurts and you get a cold headache. And then you can just go back in when you can.
After three days of that though, suddenly the cold headaches go away and you start feeling better and better. And then suddenly, you can tolerate cold showers and they don’t bother you anymore. So, the face is the most important place to get the highest ROI on your cold exposure.
Dr. Mark Hyman: Well, do you know actually, Dave, that’s a medical procedure. Do you know that? We used to use that in the emergency room. When people would come in, we would call supraventricular tachycardia which is where their heart’s beating like a mile a minute. And then there’s a bunch of different techniques to actually fix it like Valsalva maneuver which is squatting and holding your breath and all kinds of techniques.
But one of the techniques is to dunk the patient’s face in ice-cold water which doesn’t make you very popular but it works.
Dave Asprey: It totally does work. And it’s arguably less painful than a cold shower. Most of us are willing to do that.
Dr. Mark Hyman: I actually like cold showers.
Dave Asprey: I do too now.
Dr. Mark Hyman: You go, “Huh,” at the first second and then it’s like, “Oh, this is not so bad.”
Dave Asprey: That’s because three days of cold exposure in studies changes the ratio of fats in the mitochondrial membrane, which makes you suddenly now able to handle the cold. But the first three days are miserable. And after that, it’s okay.
Dr. Mark Hyman: Yeah, for sure.
Dave Asprey: But all these-
Dr. Mark Hyman: So, you’re basically talking about getting minerals to get and we’re talking about energy and ATP. You’re talking about light therapy. You’re talking having the right vitamins, A, E, K, D.
Dave Asprey: Vitamindake.com.
Dr. Mark Hyman: Whatever. Okay. And then, you’re talking about-
Dave Asprey: It’s a new vitamin, Mark.
Dr. Mark Hyman: Don’t confuse people. And then minerals and then the right kind of light.
Dave Asprey: Yup.
Dr. Mark Hyman: It seems like quite a cocktail. And then cold therapy.
Dave Asprey: It is quite a cocktail. And in fact, you could drive all over town trying to get it or you go to one place to do it. Or you can set it up in your living room. Everything in here, there’s a free version, there’s a cheap at-home version and there’s the crazy billionaire version. The crazy billionaire version proves that it works beyond a doubt and it’s the most effective. It’s also the thing that either crazy billionaires have in their living room or you’re going to go to a place and do it. But it proves that it works.
And then, okay, now we know slope of the curve biology, how do you do it at home? So, we had all the different things for cardio, all the different things for strength, the different things for cardio. And then we talk about getting your energy back. Cold therapy is a really good one. Getting enough minerals in your body is relatively easy to do. You cannot make ATP without magnesium. So-
Dr. Mark Hyman: So you’re talking about five minerals. What are the five minerals? Molybdenum is one of them.
Dave Asprey: Well, there’s macrominerals which you need-
Dr. Mark Hyman: The macrominerals, right.
Dave Asprey: So the macrominerals are sodium. Most people are sodium-deficient if they’re following the low sodium recommendations from the government because they’re set so low that if you do that, it raises something in the blood called renin.
Dr. Mark Hyman: Renin. And renin-
Dave Asprey: And renin increases cardiovascular risk. So, enough salt to taste and enough potassium which is the one that counteracts that. If you have sodium and potassium, you have enough. And I go into potassium in the book. You’re not going to have high blood pressure. A lack of potassium is a major problem.
Then you need calcium and magnesium. Most people get enough calcium and too much is bad. But that may not be true for you but it’s true for most people. And almost everyone’s magnesium-deficient.
And then you don’t have to worry so much about phosphorus because it’s in food. It’s less of an issue for most people. Those are the macrominerals. And the trace minerals, we get things like copper, zinc, molybdenum and things like that. And then ultra-trace minerals which are present in glacial water, in blue zones areas, in high mineral, even in mineral water.
So, what I do for that is you can take trace mineral supplements, you can get drops. You put in water. Danger Coffee, my new coffee brand is different because there’s electrolytes and trace minerals in the coffee. So you get a high dose of minerals every time you drink your coffee.
Dr. Mark Hyman: And could you add it or because it naturally occurs in there?
Dave Asprey: It’s added.
Dr. Mark Hyman: It’s added.
Dave Asprey: Yeah. So, it’s part of-
Dr. Mark Hyman: Wait, wait. It’s upgraded coffee.
Dave Asprey: Oh my God. Who would’ve thought? Yeah, dangercoffee.com is where you find that stuff.
Dr. Mark Hyman: Oh my goodness.
Dave Asprey: And I do it because different minerals, for instance, if you were to get corn flakes, they put iron filings in them to raise the iron level. But metallic iron is really bad for you. So, ionic form minerals and electrolytes are really good for you. And if you’re going to drink coffee every morning, you might as well just get your minerals that way. You still need to take mineral capsules. It takes about three capsules to get enough minerals to matter for the macrominerals.
Dr. Mark Hyman: Yeah.
Dave Asprey: So, before I would … I formulated nootropics-
Dr. Mark Hyman: Can you take a multivitamin and mineral? Would it have everything in there?
Dave Asprey: No, because none of them … Just minerals, take three full-sized pills. And very few people want to take more than three pills. So then the vitamin companies say, “Well, I’m going to make it three a day.” But they try to put in all the stuff in there that you’d want. You can’t do it.
Dr. Mark Hyman: And it’s lower levels than you need.
Dave Asprey: It’s lower levels than you need. So you’re better off before you take a multivitamin to take a multimineral. It’s that important because nothing works without minerals. Your body can make almost anything it needs if it has the minerals and it has the energy.
And so, these are not sexy. They’re not exciting. They’re almost boring. But they’re the things that matter most and they’re cheap. So, I mean, vitamin DAKE is about 20 bucks a month. It’s affordable. And it’s not a nootropic. It’s not a libido-enhancing formula. It’s not high energy, adaptogenic, mushroom shred or whatever the latest thing is. They’re just foundational. And if you don’t do that, don’t spend money on the other stuff.
Dr. Mark Hyman: Yeah, yeah, yeah.
Dave Asprey: Right.
Dr. Mark Hyman: Okay. So we got energy. Any other tips for energy or would that cover it?
Dave Asprey: The other one that helps is detoxing. That’s a part of that. So, one of the things we have is a clinically proven lymphatic drainage system that you lay in.
Dr. Mark Hyman: Those the boots or those Hyperice kind of things?
Dave Asprey: It’s like the boots. The problem is many of the boots on the market don’t work at all because they aren’t actually based on a lymphatic flow. They just apply pressure.
If you get a massage, Mark, if you get a lymphatic massage, it’s going to feel like someone’s petting you that you don’t even … It’s not really a massage. They’re just sweeping you kind of. That’s how soft the pressure has to be for lymph drainage to work.
When you’re like you and I were with toxic mold, your lymphatic system gets backed up. You have muffin top. We have people come in, they’ll lose a dress size easily in one session because there’s so much backed up lymph.
Dr. Mark Hyman: Wow.
Dave Asprey: And if you just squeeze or you do a Swedish massage, firm pressure doesn’t work. So you have to very carefully control the waves of pressure to do it. But when we get lymphatic flow to happen again, that also really affects things. And that’s a detox thing.
Dr. Mark Hyman: Yeah, for sure, because most of our lymphatic circulation is sluggish. Our diet makes it sluggish or lack of exercise makes it sluggish.
Dave Asprey: The other thing that we’ll do is whole body vibration and-
Dr. Mark Hyman: Oh, what is that?
Dave Asprey: This is something I’ve recommended. People have made fun of me for years for it but now it’s becoming cool. You stand on a platform that vibrates.
Dr. Mark Hyman: Yeah.
Dave Asprey: And they’ve figured out this works well enough for astronauts to recover. It restores bone density. And the reason it works is it’s moving limp in the body. It’s also shaking all of your tissues which wakes up your mitochondria via something called piezoelectricity. And-
Dr. Mark Hyman: That’s a big word.
Dave Asprey: It sure is. And piezoelectricity basically means that when your cell membranes flex that they’re making small electrical charges. So you stand on this thing for five minutes and you kind of wiggle around a little bit. And everything in the body loosens up and you get your bones back.
Dr. Mark Hyman: It’s like a vibration plate.
Dave Asprey: Yeah, it’s what it is. And now, you’re starting to see those … Definitely we have them at Upgrade Labs. You’re starting to see those at a lot of health clubs. And if you go back to probably our parents’ or grandparents’ time, health clubs used to have these machines with a band.
Dr. Mark Hyman: The belt? Yeah, the belt.
Dave Asprey: A belt that would vibrate your organs. It turns out those actually were good for you. They just look stupid.
Dr. Mark Hyman: That’s funny. Well, there’s a machine, I can’t remember the name of it, but it was this incredible, it was like a recliner chair with all these vibrational speakers built into it.
Dave Asprey: Oh, interesting.
Dr. Mark Hyman: And a headset. And you lay on it and it’s like “shh.” And it totally resets your nervous system. It’s quite amazing.
Dave Asprey: Oh, this is something that I talk about in the brain chapter and actually in the stress chapter. It turns out those proprioceptors that we mentioned earlier, they’re looking for touch. So, there’s a system called HUSO. And HUSO, you put on headphones and they have a little tiny speaker. It’s called a transducer that you put on your wrists and your ankles. And you lay in bed listening to headphones.
And by going to your acupuncture points or acupressure points and playing the same sound you hear, you go into these incredible altered states. There’s Dave Rubin’s company, Apollo, that has a vibrating thing you wear on your wrist or your ankle that also changes vagal tone.
Dr. Mark Hyman: Yeah.
Dave Asprey: These are stress reducers. This is for the relieve anxiety chapter. And then it goes on and on. There’s another one that goes over your chest. Because these are small signals that change your stress response so your chill … Remember when you-
Dr. Mark Hyman: Sensate, Apollo.
Dave Asprey: Yeah, Sensate, thank you. That’s what I was thinking of.
Dr. Mark Hyman: Yeah.
Dave Asprey: So, when you can turn on your chill factor faster, you put on muscle faster, you build cardio faster, you build new neurons faster when you can turn on calm.
Dr. Mark Hyman: Okay. Just for people listening, why that happens is because cortisol destroys your brain, destroys your muscles. And when you lower that, you can actually-
Dave Asprey: Unless it’s too low. High cortisol does that.
Dr. Mark Hyman: Right.
Dave Asprey: Adequate cortisol keeps building the brain.
Dr. Mark Hyman: Right. Of course we all need … Right. You know what I mean. But most of us are living in a hyper-stress state. And most of us have too much cortisol pouring through our system.
Dave Asprey: It is absolutely or pouring through at the wrong time. Instead of in the morning, it’s coming at night and things. I certainly had that obviously with the adrenal burnout.
Dr. Mark Hyman: Right, yeah. That’s the hard-wired going to bed and not being able to sleep but being exhausted.
Dave Asprey: The most important part of Smarter Not Harder is the last two chapters where I talk about emotional and spiritual hacking.
Dr. Mark Hyman: Yeah. And by the way, we can’t cover everything in the book. He’s got a whole section on brain and neuroscience. So, we’re really just scratching the surface. And I think for people listening who are really curious, you have to get the book, Smarter Not Harder, because it unpacks so much of the science and also the practical applications of what to do based on the science that you can do like you said either at your lab or at home, and be able to activate these biological signals that reverse our biological age, that optimize our health, that make us feel better now.
So, it’s awesome. So, we can’t cover all but let’s for the last bit of this conversation dive into the spiritual fitness and the aspects around that.
Dave Asprey: What you’re going to find is when you do the work to get your energy back and to make your body work well enough, suddenly you’re going to realize that you get triggered by stuff. And if you get triggered by something, it’s not anyone else’s fault. It means that you have something in your gun because no one should be able to trigger you. So, there’s three states that we work through on our way to spiritual part of this.
Dr. Mark Hyman: Unless there’s a loaded chamber you can’t fire the gun.
Dave Asprey: You might want to unload that instead of yelling at me, just saying. So, in Buddhist teachings and in many other schools, the first stage is empathy. You can at least feel another person’s pain. You can feel another person’s emotion. You can empathize with them. So, that’s a better state than just being angry. So, empathy is great. The problem is you have to feel everyone else’s pain. And it doesn’t always serve you. Maybe you don’t want to do that.
So the step above that is compassion which means you automatically wish well for others even if you don’t know them, even if they’re doing mean stuff, whatever.
Dr. Mark Hyman: The Buddhist framework of compassion.
Dave Asprey: Yeah, Buddhist framework of compassion. And that’s a higher state than just being empathetic. But the highest state is what they call equanimity. And that’s another word for it might be resilience, but the idea is you get to pick your state and no force on earth can change your state. So you say, “I’m going to choose happiness right now and it doesn’t matter if I just have [inaudible 00:54:52]-
Dr. Mark Hyman: It’s an inside job, not an outside job.
Dave Asprey: Exactly. So how do we do that? Well, that comes from our meat operating system. It’s not just us. We have to program it by removing all of our notifications from that system, all of our triggers.
Dr. Mark Hyman: Yeah.
Dave Asprey: And I go through something called the reset process in the book. This is at the core of 40 years of Zen.
Dr. Mark Hyman: Whoa. So what is that reset? How do you reset those old programs?
Dave Asprey: It’s an F word. You want to guess which one it is? Forgiveness. But forgiveness isn’t what people think it is. And I know this after having seen 1,500 people’s brains at 40 years of Zen at my neuroscience company where we do high-end brain upgrades for entrepreneurs and pro-athletes and stuff.
What’s happening is something happens in the world around you. Your meat operating system decides it might be a tiger even though it’s your mother-in-law or whatever it is that’s your trigger. Someone yelling at you, injustice, whatever it is. And all of a sudden, you’re like, “Argh.” Okay. That feeling that you get there, that means you were triggered. It means your brain was hijacked. It means all of the electricity that should have gone into making your life better just went into getting ready to fight, getting ready to flee.
So, we want to turn that off so that you can look at it and go, “You know what? That’s not fair, that’s unjust. I’m going to do something about it.” But you do it from a state of control instead of a state of being controlled.
Dr. Mark Hyman: Right. Instead of being activated.
Dave Asprey: Yeah. And so, forgiveness is how you do it but forgiveness doesn’t mean you say whatever the thing you’re mad about is right. It doesn’t mean you tell someone else that you forgive them. Forgiveness is the act of going into your operating system and turning off the trigger so that you can never be triggered about that again. It is a heart state. It’s something you can measure in brainwaves, but it’s something that you do in your chest.
Dr. Mark Hyman: And what are the practices that get you there?
Dave Asprey: Well, to teach the full reset process that I described in the chapter would take a few minutes. But the basic thing you do is you sit down, quiet space, and you imagine whatever, let’s say a person offended you. Let’s say that I’m mad at you because you didn’t drink enough coffee today. So-
Dr. Mark Hyman: That might be the case. It might be the case.
Dave Asprey: And let’s say I was actually really triggered that like, “How could Mark have not any coffee?”
Dr. Mark Hyman: How could he even have not had my Danger Coffee for breakfast?
Dave Asprey: Exactly.
Dr. Mark Hyman: You know how I could not have had it? Because you didn’t send me any.
Dave Asprey: See, now I have self-forgiveness today. So, what I’d do then is I’d sit the virtual Mark down across from me and I would say, “Mark, what you did really had this impact on me. It hurt my feelings. It made me feel this way. And I actually want to tap into how bad I felt. And this is the thing people want to resist. And you can forgive parents. You can forgive former lovers or spouses or whatever. And man, it did this. And you feel the pain again. And that’s not very comfortable.
But then, here’s the thing that’s missing from so much personal development and trauma resolution work. You have to find something you’re grateful for about it.
Dr. Mark Hyman: About-
Dave Asprey: About whatever you’re mad about. You cannot forgive anything until you turn on gratitude. Gratitude is the spark that lights the fire that’s forgiveness.
Dr. Mark Hyman: Gratitude for the trigger or for the person?
Dave Asprey: Gratitude for the situation, for what happened. So for instance, in this case, Mark, I’m really, really pissed. My feelings are hurt. You didn’t drink coffee this morning and I really wanted you to. Now, what’s one good thing that came out of you not drinking coffee this morning?
Dr. Mark Hyman: That I’m not too hyper.
Dave Asprey: There you go. Here’s one thing. So Mark, because you didn’t drink coffee, you were easily programmable today and I was able to take advantage. Okay. I wouldn’t do that. But I would find some good thing. And in this case, it’s such a dumb thing to be mad about. But okay, well, here is what it is.
Well, I’m really mad but the one good thing that came out of it is you were on time for the interview because you would’ve been late if you had to make coffee. So-
Dr. Mark Hyman: That’s true.
Dave Asprey: And it could be the tiniest, dumbest thing. It doesn’t matter what you’re looking for, but the feeling of gratitude, it changes you from earth to, oh, because your meat operator system is so, it just wants everything. So now, it got something it wanted and now you’ve hooked it. So, you felt pain. Now, you’ve got it hooked.
And then you start, “Well, let me put myself in Mark’s shoes.” And you start using compassion and empathy. You go, “Well, I wonder what bad things happened to Mark so he wouldn’t want coffee this morning. Maybe he was bullied in seventh grade and he’s still afraid of coffee.”
Dr. Mark Hyman: Well, that’s true.
Dave Asprey: I don’t really know why. But all of a sudden, you sort of see it through the other guy’s eyes. And then when you feel like, “Wow, I actually forgive Mark.” And the forgiveness thing is actually it’s like a thing that comes out of your chest and you can feel it with another person. And I teach people this with electrodes on their head so they can go into this forgiveness state more easily. But I describe it to the best of my ability in this.
And here’s the kicker. When you think you’re done, you think you’ve really let it go. You actually check in with whatever higher power you ascribe to. And if you don’t believe in higher power, that’s all right. Have an AI thing. You just need a little light bulb or a little Jesus giving you a thumbs-up. It doesn’t actually matter. Some infallible thing.
And it’s so weird. Sometimes you’re like, “Yeah, I’m done.” And you’ll check in with whatever invisible thing you invented. And it will be like, “You’re not done yet.” You’re like, “What the heck?” So, there’s all sorts of weird, semi-rational things going on in your meat operating system and interfacing with it is difficult. And you interface with feelings.
So what you just did in this process is you turned on the pain you felt when someone wronged you. You turned on a feeling of gratitude consciously. And then you turned on a feeling of compassion consciously. And when the body sees, in order, pain, gratitude, compassion, it cancels out the pain and you don’t get triggered anymore. And that same person can walk in and say that same thing and you’re completely resilient. You have equanimity.
Mark, I’ve spent six months of my life-
Dr. Mark Hyman: That’s so amazing.
Dave Asprey: … with electrodes on my head learning how to do this. And I’ve taught 1,500 high-end entrepreneurs how to do this because when you go through and you say, “Whoa, if I got triggered, hallelujah.” I’ve been triggered twice in the past four months, twice. And it’s, wow, I didn’t know I had that trigger. And then I went and I did the reset process on it so I’m hard to trigger.
Dr. Mark Hyman: Yeah.
Dave Asprey: And there’s been times in the last eight years where I’ve forgotten to do or ran out of time to do it. And every time when I realize someone’s triggering me, it’s I’ve probably made a mess of my life. So, I teach that in Smarter Not Harder because, yes, you should meditate. If you do this process once a week on anything that triggered you, you will no longer have a muscular middle finger when you drive. You won’t yell at your kids as much. Your life is just better.
Dr. Mark Hyman: That’s amazing.
Dave Asprey: All the energy that went into hate goes into doing something like folding proteins and being younger.
Dr. Mark Hyman: I love that, Dave. This is so great. Thank you for writing this book. Thank you for starting this movement which is really for me, it’s not just about all these fun gizmos and techniques and tools. It’s about empowering people to take control of their own health, to be the CEO of their own health and to realize that health doesn’t happen in the doctor’s office. It happens where you’re in charge and it happens at home and in your kitchen and in wherever you live, because that’s actually what’s changing your biology every minute.
And so, this is such a gift to the world that you’ve built this movement, that you’ve written this book and that you’ve laid out for people in really simple, practical ways how to understand how to unlock their own biology for better health and better life. And that’s basically it.
Dave Asprey: Yeah.
Dr. Mark Hyman: So, thank you, Dave. And I love you. It’s great been here chatting with you.
Dave Asprey: Thank you.
Dr. Mark Hyman: If you love this podcast, please share with your friends and family on social media. I’m sure they are going to love it because it’s full of all kinds of juicy tidbits of what to do to build your life back better. And leave a comment, have you used these technologies or techniques to upgrade your health? And subscribe wherever you hear your podcast and we’ll see you next week on The Doctor’s Farmacy.
Closing: Hi, everyone. I hope you enjoyed this week’s episode. Just a reminder that this podcast is for educational purposes only. This podcast is not a substitute for professional care by a doctor or other qualified medical professional. This podcast is provided on the understanding that it does not constitute medical or other professional advice or services.
If you’re looking for help in your journey, seek out a qualified medical practitioner. If you’re looking for a functional medicine practitioner, you can visit ifm.org and search there, find a practitioner database. It’s important that you have someone in your corner who’s trained, who’s a licensed health care practitioner and can help you make changes, especially when it comes to your health.