What Are Examples of Biohacking?

In a world obsessed with quick fixes, discover how biohackers use science and self-experimentation to unlock their bodies' peak potential.

Inside Tracker icon
By Staff Writer
Caitlin Snethlage
Edited by Caitlin Snethlage

Updated April 9, 2024.

A woman watching the examples of biohacking while eating a salad.

At the moment, many people are hacking their way to better health by experimenting with techniques and collecting data on their bodies to see what works best.

This DIY approach, called biohacking, involves making minor changes to diet, lifestyle, and supplementation to optimize health and maximize physical and mental performance. The goal? To live healthier and longer.

There are many examples of biohacking. The latest scientific findings support the benefits of some. Still, people are putting these techniques to the test.

Key takeaways

  • Sufficient and quality sleep is vital for disease prevention and longevity. Optimize your sleep by aiming for seven to nine hours per night and healthy blood levels of biomarkers such as vitamin D, magnesium, and cortisol.
  • Intermittent fasting may improve measures of metabolic and heart health. But these changes may also be due to the caloric restriction that often accompanies a fasting regimen, which is associated with the same health outcomes.
  • Regular sauna use may provide significant cardiovascular and longevity health benefits.
  • Participating in zone 2 exercises can improve your aerobic fitness, thereby improving your endurance and ability to complete higher-intensity exercises with more ease.
  • Strength training benefits both athletic performance and muscle and bone health as you age.
  • Meditation is a simple way you can combat the adverse health effects associated with chronic stress.
  • Short-term use of l-theanine supplements in periods of stress may help boost relaxation and cognition.
  • Coffee and black tea contain caffeine and other bioactive compounds that can boost attention, alertness, and focus.
  • Cold water therapy may speed up recovery post-exercise exercise and help you take on the next workout in prime condition. 

1. Optimized sleep for longevity

The health benefits of adequate sleep are numerous, as research shows getting 7-9 hours daily is essential for: [1-5]

  • Optimizing muscle growth and repair
  • Keeping your brain sharp
  • Improving blood sugar control
  • Enhancing longevity

A meta-analysis of 16 prospective cohort studies with a total of 1.3 million participants found that people sleeping less than six hours daily had a 12% greater risk of premature death. [6]

How to measure this biohack

To reap the benefits of quality shut-eye, you can assess and optimize sleep with wearable devices that track sleep duration and quality, such as:

  • Fitbit
  • Apple Watch
  • Garmin
  • Oura Ring

Sleep also impacts blood biomarkers and vice versa. InsideTracker tracks and analyzes several of them—including vitamin D, magnesium, and cortisol. InsideTracker also syncs with Apple Watch, Garmin, and Fitbit to give you personalized feedback for optimizing your sleep.

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InsideTracker is a personalized health and wellness platform that aims to help people optimize their biomarkers to live healthier and longer lives. It analyzes genetics, behaviors, and goals to give you personalized nutrition, fitness, sleep, stress, and supplementation recommendations.

InsideTracker offers DNA testing for dozens of genetic fitness, nutrition, and longevity genetic markers. Since genetics influence many aspects of your health, the app can provide helpful context and an action plan. It also integrates with wearable devices to collect real-time health data, tracking factors like sleep, activity, and heart rate.

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2. Intermittent fasting for metabolic health

Periods of fasting promote adaptive stress that has benefits, such as antioxidant production, DNA repair, autophagy, and decreased inflammation. [7] It's the reason behind the many healthy effects associated with intermittent fasting, including improvements in [8]

This adaptive stress is the rationale behind the many health benefits associated with intermittent fasting, including improvements in

  • Cholesterol levels
  • Blood pressure
  • Weight
  • Insulin resistance
  • Inflammation

The authors, in a 2019 review of clinical trials, concluded that intermittent fasting has positive effects on diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancers, and neurologic disorders. [9] There are multiple ways you can practice it, but all versions include a routine schedule of fasting periods, such as:

  • Time-restricted feeding (TRF): Eating is limited to a specific time window—10 am to 6 pm—followed by an overnight extended fast.
  • Circadian rhythm fasting: This is a specific form of time-restricted feeding that requires a minimum of a 12-hour overnight fast and an earlier eating window during the day to align with the body’s natural circadian rhythms
  • Alternate day fasting (ADF): Fasting or a restricted caloric intake of less than 20% that occurs every other day.
  • 5:2 intermittent fasting: Fasting takes place two days of the week while regular eating happens on the other five.

How to measure this biohack

You can track the effects of intermittent fasting by monitoring blood pressure, weight, blood glucose levels, cholesterol, and high-sensitivity c-reactive protein.

3. Sauna sessions for heart health

Saunas are not only for relaxing. Exposure to high temperatures can have cardiovascular health and longevity benefits similar to those produced by aerobic exercise. [10] The body works to cool down by increasing heart rate, blood flow, and cardiac output—decreasing blood pressure.

For example, a prospective cohort study revealed that long-term, frequent sauna use—over 20 years of four to seven times a week—reduced the risk of sudden cardiac death, fatal coronary heart and cardiovascular disease, and all-cause mortality. [11]

Tip: For best results from this biohack, choose a temperature between 175-195F (80-90C) with 10-20% humidity for 30 minutes at least three times a week. 

How to measure this biohack

You can track various parameters of heart health—like cholesterol levels and blood pressure—to assess if sauna use is working for you.

4. Zone 2 training for endurance

Scientists have identified five heart rate zones and the energy source—carbohydrates, protein, or fat—that the body uses for fuel in each one.

Zone 2 is any activity that puts you at about 60-70 percent of your max heart rate, such as steadily walking or cycling, power walking, or rowing. You use the most fat and oxygen during this type of workout.

Research suggests that this type of biohack training in zone 2 improves your aerobic capacity—or VO2 max—which reflects how efficiently your body uses oxygen and converts it to energy. [12]

How to measure this biohack

You can try the talk test as a simple yet effective method to know if you are training in zone 2. If you can have a conversation without getting out of breath, then you are likely there. You can use wearables like Garmin that track heart rate and its variability to estimate and assess your aerobic capacity.

» Check out men who used blood tests to improve their health

5. Strength training for healthy aging

Strength training builds muscle through resistance with free weights, weight machines, resistance bands, and bodyweight exercises. [13]

Research has linked it with improved body composition, power, endurance, and flexibility. [14–18] It can also reduce chronic disease risk through better cognition, heart health, blood glucose regulation, and less chronic inflammation. [19–22] 

Incorporating strength training into your weekly exercise routine can help ward off age-related conditions and maintain physical health and independence for as long as possible. But, the ideal training plan will depend on your unique goals and baseline fitness level. 

How to measure this biohack

Specific blood biomarkers—including creatine kinase, ALT, and hsCRP—indicate how well you recover from strength training. You should rest to maintain the rigor and progression of your workout routine.

You can measure strength gains by tracking your one-repetition maximum or grip strength. Look at markers like blood pressure and sugar, as well as body composition, such as percent lean mass. 

6. Meditation for de-stressing

Chronic stress can lead to inflammation, weakened immune function, heart disease, depression, and altered digestive function. [23] Fortunately, biohacking your body through meditation combats these adverse effects. It involves clearing the mind to achieve an emotionally calm state. [24]

Research shows that it can lower levels of cortisol and make you more resilient to stressful situations. [25-27] Some studies even suggest that meditation may have brain and heart health benefits. [28, 29]

To start biohacking through meditation, sit down, close your eyes, and focus on a single point for five minutes. You can also say a mantra or add some relaxing background music. Over time, you can work up to 15-20 minutes of meditation daily for the best results. 

How to measure this biohack

You can measure blood pressure and blood levels of cortisol, white blood cells, and cholesterol to assess if meditation is an effective biohack for your physical and mental health.

You can also track when you’re feeling stressed to either determine whether meditation is improving your perceived stress or identify what may be contributing to it. 

7. L-theanine supplementation for relaxing

L-theanine supplements have received attention for their stress reduction potential. [30] They contain the amino acid found primarily in green and black tea and some mushrooms. [31]

L-theanine is thought to work by decreasing excitatory brain chemicals that contribute to stress and anxiety while increasing those that promote the feeling of relaxation. [32] 

Small human studies have found significant improvements in stress, relaxation, and cognition with supplementation. [30, 33] Studies show that a dose of 200–400 mg daily is often safe and productive. [33]

Note: L-theanine is most helpful when taken around a stressful event instead of on a long-term basis. To assess whether l-theanine supplementation is working for you, you can track blood biomarkers such as cortisol, the stress hormone. 

» Discover why blood testing is essential for vitamin D

How to measure this biohack

Since l-theanine is used for acute situations around stress, take note of how you feel about a problem when you take supplements versus when you don’t.

A man using l-theanine supplements to biohack his health.

8. Caffeine for better cognition

Biohacking your brain with some of your favorite caffeinated beverages is simple. Coffee and tea may have several health benefits, including improved cognitive performance.

Research shows that short-term coffee intake can improve performance on cognitive tests, as well as increase focus and alertness. [34] Scientists believe the brain-boosting benefits of coffee are due to two main active ingredients:

  • Caffeinewhich acts as a brain stimulant
  • Chlorogenic acidwhich is a type of polyphenol with anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties 

Long-term coffee consumption may also reduce the risk of cognitive decline, stroke, and Parkinson’s and Alzheimer's disease. Similarly, research shows that black tea—which contains caffeine and l-theanine—can help improve cognitive function by boosting attention, alertness, and focus. [34]

How to measure this biohack

To biohack your brain power, you can drink up to 400 mg of caffeine daily, which is around four eight-ounce cups. [34] Some people may be more sensitive than others, and you don't have to drink that much to see a benefit.

Try setting up biohacking experiments to see if your attention or focus changes depending on whether you drink coffee, tea, or solely water during the workday. Then, experiment with the amounts and timing.

9. Cold water therapy for improved recovery

You might want to try cold water therapy if you want to improve your athletic recovery. This biohacking trend involves immersing your body in an ice bath or a cold shower. This is typically completed following exercise to quicken recovery, ease muscle joint or pain, or speed healing after an injury.

Research supports this biohack, suggesting that decreasing body temperature after exercise due to cold water immersion reduces muscular fatigue and improves recovery and relaxation [35–37].

Tip: For best results, try immersing yourself up to the neck in water that's between 41 and 59F (5 to 15C) for 20 seconds to 10 minutes. 

How to measure this biohack

You can assess the effectiveness of cold water therapy by monitoring the frequency and intensity with which you can complete workouts.

A man biohacking his health through cold water immersion.

Biohacking your way to health and longevity

Biohacking empowers you to take charge of your health and well-being through experimentation and self-discovery. By incorporating these science-backed techniques into your routine, you can optimize your sleep, boost your metabolism, and enhance your cognitive function.

Remember, biohacking is about finding what works best for your body. Experiment with these techniques, track your progress and enjoy the process of unlocking your full potential.

Your goals and current health state should inform your biohacking. InsideTracker can analyze many biomarkers and physiomarker data, generating a custom set of actionable recommendations and insights based on your focus areas and the blood test results.

Disclaimer: InsideTracker doesn't diagnose or treat medical conditions. Consult your physician for any health concerns.


[1] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25315456/ 

[2] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21532950/

[3] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22151079/ 

[4] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21835655/ 

[5] https://www.sleepfoundation.org/how-sleep-works/how-much-sleep-do-we-really-need

[6] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20469800/ 

[7] https://www.gwern.net/docs/longevity/2019-decabo.pdf

[8] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27810402/ 

[9] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31881139/ 

[10] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/2759081/ 

[11] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25705824/ 

[12] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/35682065/

[13] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21694556/ 

[14] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/35191588/ 

[15] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/34536199/ 

[16] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19204579/ 

[17] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21362056/

[18] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33917036/ 

[19] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21778224/ 

[20] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20083961/ 

[21] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32599643/ 

[22] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21896934/ 

[23] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28900385/ 

[24] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/16594839/

[25] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23696104/ 

[26] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24767264/ 

[27] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23724462/ 

[28] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20670413/ 

[29] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25436436/ 

[30] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31758301/

[31] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21735448/ 

[32] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/17182482/ 

[33] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31623400/

[34] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26677204/

[35] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31008862/ 

[36] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/36045743/ 

[37] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/35157264/