Body Hacks

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In a time when hacking the human experience stands at the precipice of revolutionary science, David Asprey continues to push his Bulletproof agenda as... New Bulletproof Labs is Not About Fitness or Biohacking

In a time when hacking the human experience stands at the precipice of revolutionary science, David Asprey continues to push his Bulletproof agenda as if it was real science. What’s worse, people still give money to this charlatan for his snake oil.

Health and fitness seem like a confusing mystery to the uneducated so when someone offers a mysterious solution, it must be the real deal, right?

As a lifelong fitness student, and a fan of biohacking, Asprey’s newest venture is an intolerable insult to the credibility of both.

This isn’t the first time Body Hacks has discussed the adventures of Asprey. You may recall the blog: Dave Asprey Is Not A Transhumanist. If you have a minute, it’s worthy of your time [IMHO] if you’re not yet familiar with Asprey.

For every cornerstone of fitness knowhow humanity has cemented into place, reinforced with endless research and data, Asprey should outrage legitimate body hackers.

The garbage Asprey sells at his new Santa Monica, California fitness center only serves to undermine the legitimacy of biohackers by making preposterous health promises. It turns the true scientific exploration of body hacking into a rather costly circus sideshow.

The Promise

Bulletproof Labs Fitness Center sits next to Asprey’s Bulletproof Coffeehouse on Main Street in Santa Monica, California, the town some call Silicon Valley South.

In boldfaced capital letters, they make it clear that they are “NOT a gym.” Asprey prefers to call it a “human upgrade center.”

This is all cleverness intended to cover Bulletproof’s legal bases while making a subtle promise to those who prefer an easy route to better fitness. This not-a-gym doesn’t cater solely to the lazy and hopeful, but the wealthy among the bunch.

Monthly membership costs exceed $500. For as little as $50, one can try out some of the equipment in the lab, which includes a cryotherapy chamber, an LED light therapy system, bone trainer, and my favorite, the atmospheric cell trainer.

That’s the machine that purportedly “massages cells from the inside out,” according to Fast Company’s conversation with one employee.

The Bulletproof site presents research to support their claims, but good luck substantiating that any of that research.

The Equipment

The human upgrade center may claim not to be a gym, but Asprey wants you to believe it can replace the gym. “You get more benefit in less time,” says Asprey, according to Fast Company.

Bulletproof’s bone trainer puts force on one’s bones in some way that one cannot disprove with logic. Stress on the bones is one positive benefit of weightlifting, strengthening the bones over time.

Another piece, the Oxygen Trainer, subjects the willing to periods of positive and negative oxygen to increase circulation. Traditional gym rats achieve this with cardiorespiratory work.

Aping the effects of sensory deprivation float tanks, where one floats in a bath of body-temperature water under total sensory deprivation, Bulletproof’s Virtual Float Tank offers a foam surface and augmented reality goggles.

Both tanks may give users a feeling of tripping on psychedelics, but what benefit that may have to improve one’s health is a mystery to this writer.

The best one, however, is the Red Charger. This piece of equipment exposes the user’s body to infrared light, claiming to decrease inflammation (a buzzword in Bulletproof literature) and boosting mitochondrial function.

Because who doesn’t want mitochondrial function improvements?

The Difference

The nature of biohacking is such that there will be forays into research which prove fruitless. Ask any pioneer that has implanted something metal under the skin only to remove it shortly thereafter for any number of reasons.

Above the skin, we should expect most of the wearables will do little to accomplish what they propose; usually something about changing the user’s life.

Wearables live in the same sphere as the pills sold in supplement stores. They make big promises with the caveat of “may” inserted to cover their legal bases.

If one wishes to play human guinea pig using wearables or supplements, then fine. Every once and awhile, we amass enough data to support some of these products as valuable.

As one example, quality compounds of Branched Chain Amino Acids have proven to work for staving off catabolization of lean tissue.

On the wearables front, some people find tracking their fitness data invaluable for maintaining their health. Those people are the exception. Most will wear a tracker for some time then give up.

Determining if either will work for your life is a matter of trial and error. The difference between these products and Asprey’s is that he’s not selling “may,” he’s selling “can” and “will.”

He cans his methods as a revolution, an easy pathway to health without all that icky sweating. If health history has proven nothing, it’s proven time and time again that there is only one way to fitness, through sweat.

The only hopeful benefit of this adventure is that it may finally out Asprey as a fraud. Not likely, but even if it did, what it won’t do is stop people from trying to find sweat-free ways to improve their health.

Just like we accept that supplements sell consumers hope more than anything, that’s what Asprey does, just for a heckuva lot more money.