Monday, December 5, 2011

Hacking the Human Body


When someone hears the term "hacking", 3 things usually come to mind: Neo, Wikileaks, and 01010101. One definition of a hacker is "anybody who tinkers with any kind of system, mechanical or electrical, in order to better understand how it work, and to possibly improve its function." While most folks will probably limit this definition to computers or machines, they forget that the human body can also be considered a machine. In my opinion, it is one of the most well designed machines in existence--but this doesn't mean the human body isn't without weaknesses. Examples include our inability to produce all amino acids, gene mutations, and my increasing weakness for Taco Time hot sauce.

However, there are ways in which we can exploit some of our body's weaknesses and find loopholes to help improve the overall system, usually with minimal effort involved. One of the most renowned body hackers is Tim Ferris, whose information I will be using as a source for parts of this article. Let's take a look at some of the more unconventional body hacks. I am not a doctor, so use this information at your own risk.

Ice Baths for Increased Fat loss


Many of us have heard the claim that Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps eats 12,000 calories a day to maintain his training and bodyweight. But how can this be? It definitely isn't from just swimming. In order to burn that many calories, he would need to be doing continuous butterfly swimming every day at a competitive speed.

It turns out that it is from the thermal load of the water. Since water is 24 times more thermally conductive than air, the body has to work much harder in order to keep the body at 98.6 degrees. But it isn't just cold water that can increase fat loss, its also just being extremely cold in general. Every time I summit Mount Rainier, I always come back at least 6 pounds lighter. I gain 2 or 3 of those pounds back, so that is just water weight, but what about the other 3 pounds? People who summit Mount Everest routinely eat sticks of butter and lard to help stave off weight loss, yet usually come back about 25 pounds lighter.

Ferris discovered that our brown fat helps dissapate excess calories as heat, unlike white fat, which is the bad fat (aka cellulite). Cold water immersion and general cold therapy activates brown fats ability to burn fat and glucose as heat. Since the body wants to stay at 98.6 degrees, it is going to need to burn white fat tissue to stay at that temperature. Sticking an ice pack at the base of your neck will also contribute to fat loss, since that is where a lot of brown fat is stored (probably less painful than an ice bath, too).

Maybe ice baths do serve a purpose, after all.

Gain 25 Pounds in a Month with GOMAD

GOMAD (Gallon Of Milk A Day) is the silver bullet for all so-called "hardgainers". 110% of the time, a hardgainer is just someone who isn't eating enough, is too lazy to do the required eating, too scared to eat that much, or a combination of all three. The first time I did GOMAD I was on it for 45 days and went from 178 to 215. No small feat for someone of my height and caloric requirements. The thing that sets GOMAD apart from just simply eating more is the fact that it is a liquid and takes advantage of the body's ability to digest liquid more quickly than solid food. If you break up in a gallon into 4-32oz servings (600 cals each), you can drink them after a meal with greater ease than you would have with a 600 calorie meal of solid food.

Whole milk is required. If you are drinking a gallon of soy milk then you need to get off of this site and reassess your life. The combination of protein, carbs and fat in whole milk are ideal for increasing testosterone production, calories, and muscle mass when combined with heavy compound lifts and your normal food intake. Simply drink a gallon a day isn't enough, you have to do it ON TOP of your regular diet. Fat gain is not inevitable, but if it worries you, then watch what your food looks like, and keep it clean. 

This is a prime example of K.I.S.S. (Keep It Simple, Stupid). What better way to be strong like bull than drinking moo juice?

Worried About High Iron Levels? Donate Blood

I donated blood to the platform gods last week
We are regularly told that donating blood saves lives, but interestingly enough it can actually be more beneficial for the donor than the recipient, especially if you are a male. Dangerously high iron levels can also be a contributing factor to Type 1 Diabetes because it can destroy the pancreas' ability to make insulin. The reason I say especially for men is because men are usually the ones walking around with high iron levels. Women rarely have this problem because of their menstruation. I have heard more than my fair share of hippies tell me that high levels of iron are caused by too much red meat, but it's simply not the case. Things like cereals and other processed food products that are fortified with iron are usually the culprit, along with an excess of alcohol consumption. Maybe that's why Sweden noted that the iron that is added to foods is more similar to rust than iron found in red meat.

High levels of iron can be toxic, and so are anti-antioxidants. Donating blood is one of the best things you can do if your iron levels are dangerously high. Here is a link where you can buy an iron test online to use at home.

A human body hack is simply an unconventional method to solve a conventional problem with minimal effort involved. What are some unconventional methods you use to solve conventional problems?

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