If you’re a regular reader of this blog, you know we talk about all the many biohacks that people are using today to improve their biology and life. Many of the biohacks we’ve talked about concern exercise, like Tabata and HIIT workouts. They allow you to improve your workout (and thus your results) by, for example, increasing your metabolism for an extended length of time. In fact, exercise is an excellent example of a biohack (and may even be the perfect example).
In today’s article, we’ll take a look at biohacking bodybuilding and, more importantly, why so many consider bodybuilders to be the first biohackers. (They biohacked when it wasn’t even trendy!) If you’re interested in bodybuilding, biohacking, or both, read on! We’ve got pounds of great information for your brain to lift!
What Makes Something a Biohack?
Now, here’s the thing; biohacking, at its core, is any activity or change that improves your biology in some way, shape, or form. (Taking Vitamin C to improve your immunity is a biohack, for example, as well as getting ‘chipped’ with an RFID tracking device.) With that in mind, it’s easy to see how bodybuilding is the perfect example of a biohack. You perform an activity (in this case, lifting tremendous amounts of weight), and the result is improved biology (i.e., the large, impressive, incredibly strong muscles that now shape your body).
Biohacking is also seen as a type of body modification to gain more or better abilities. We mentioned the RFID chip already, and there are certainly more examples out there. (We talk about many of them in this article.) Interestingly, bodybuilding is also a type of body modification (and thus a biohack!). Bodybuilders modify the musculature of their body using progressive weight resistance training. Their goals are very specific as well, including what size a certain muscle should be so that their overall musculature remains ’balanced.’
Bodybuilders Were The First Biohackers
The truth is, many in the biohacking community consider bodybuilders to be the first biohackers. For example, the bodybuilders who competed at the Olympic Games in Ancient Greece. Those massive dudes may not have had a Gold’s Gym, but they still managed to completely change their body into one that mimicked the Gods of old. That was some stone-cold biohacking, you have to admit, and was so popular that it persisted to this day.
What’s truly interesting is that bodybuilders are the first group to have experimented with human enhancement and body modification and gotten real-world results. They, in fact, changed their bodies completely by using biohacking techniques. (And also, frankly, anabolic steroids and gene doping. Which many would argue is a perfectly acceptable form of biohacking.)
How Can You Biohack Bodybuilding?
So, if bodybuilding is already a biohack, how can you biohack it? That’s where modern science comes in because today there’s a new field called ‘regenerative medicine,’ and it can help you get better results from your bodybuilding (and thus biohack the biohack).
One of the main things that biohackers focus on in this new field is a type of cell called Adult Pluripotent Stem Cells or APSCs. APSCs were discovered in 2005 and, since then, they’ve been widely studied. The reason why is that, due to their “embryonic-like” features, APSCs can replicate themselves and multiply freely in the human body. More importantly, APSCs can become any other type of cell. A liver or heart cell, for example, or bone, muscle, cartilage, skin, you name it.
What’s even better is that, unlike embryonic stem cells, APSCs don’t have any of the same cancer-causing properties. (A rather dire drawback, most agree.) Finally, there’s the fact that, in a clinical application, APSCs can be derived autologously. That means you can give them to yourself if needed, unlike a bone marrow transplant where you would need the bone marrow from someone else.
APSCs Are The First Responders of the Human Body
The reason why APSCs are so powerful (and so popular among bodybuilding biohackers) is that, as we mentioned, they can become any other cells in the human body (with none of the side effects of embryonic stem cells). For example, if you really push yourself during a bodybuilding workout (and, subsequently, create micro-damage to muscles, ligaments, tendons, etc.), the APSCs will target the areas that have been damaged (like the muscles) and begin to repair and help regenerate them! It’s like putting a cream on your sunburned skin that becomes new skin, replacing the old, burned skin with fresh, healthy skin.
In other words, APSCs can help you recover faster and get stronger because they help repair all the damage that you do whenever you bodybuild. In fact, they can create new muscle cells, new tendon cells, new bone cells, or whatever it is that your body needs to regenerate, recuperate and get bigger.
Of course, all of the science about APSCs is in its infancy, especially when using them for bodybuilding purposes. Also, as far as biohacks are concerned, this one will set you back a few bucks, at least. (They’re not selling APSCs at your local grocery store just yet.) The cost to see and get treated by a regenerative medicine specialist will likely run into the thousands of dollars and, frankly, isn’t 100% guaranteed to get you any results. But, if you have the financial means, the desire to get ripped, and an adventurous spirit, there are clinics out there waiting to help you.
What If You Want To Use Bodybuilding To Biohack Your Body?
Bodybuilding is, as we’ve seen, a type of biohacking. If you’d like to use it, whether to experiment with biohacking, get ripped, or get into better shape, it’s easy to get started. That being said, bodybuilders spend hours and hours in the gym to get the results you see during contests. Keep in mind that you won’t get results overnight. On the other hand, if you keep at it, you can get into amazing shape and create a body you’ll be glad to show off at the beach.
Strength Training or Hypertrophy Training?
When starting your bodybuilding/ biohacking adventure, you’ll want to choose whether to begin with strength training or hypertrophy training. Both will change your body, no doubt, but the former is used more for strength while the latter is used more for definition.
The term ‘hypertrophy’ is a medical term that refers to when a tissue or organ grows in size. (It can be used for muscles as well as many other organs and tissues.) In the world of bodybuilding, hypertrophy training refers to the type of exercise you can use to ‘bulk up’ or ‘get swole.’
Strength training, on the other hand, is training that focuses on making your muscles stronger. The more weight you can use when you exercise, the stronger your muscles will be.
Starting With Strength Training
If you begin your bodybuilding journey with strength training, most experts recommend doing five sets of heavy to very heavy weights with five repetitions each. They have to be done with the proper form, which is crucial for two reasons. First, it increases the efficiency of all of your training and thus your results. Second, using proper form reduces your risk of injury significantly. The truth is, many bodybuilders begin with strength training and, once they have a solid base (i.e., body) to build on, move to hypertrophy training.
Starting With Hypertrophy Training
If hypertrophy training is the way you choose to go, you’ll want to lift moderate to heavy weights and perform 8 to 12 repetitions with every set. (The last few repetitions should be the most difficult.) Between sets, you should rest but not for longer than about two minutes. As with strength training, your form is crucial when performing hypertrophy training. In fact, some say it’s even more crucial to be as close to perfect as possible. Perfect form leads to muscles being isolated correctly and higher efficiency with every rep that you perform.
Targeting Muscles For the Best Biohacking Results
No matter which reason you’re using bodybuilding as a biohack, whether to compete or just get in better shape, you need to target your muscles for the best results. Experts say that each muscle should be targeted at least twice every week. However, you want to make sure that you don’t train the same muscle or muscle groups on two consecutive days. The reason being is simply that your muscles need as much time to recover as possible. (It’s during recovery that your muscles actually grow.)
Don’t Forget To Rest and Nourish Your Body!
Once you start bodybuilding (and biohacking), you should keep a very close eye on two things; your food and the amount of sleep you get. Both are incredibly important for excellent results but also to make sure that you don’t injure yourself. For example;
- It would be best if you had as much REM sleep as possible. That’s when muscle growth occurs at its fastest. (Again, not when you work out, but when you sleep.)
- Your body needs protein from bioavailable sources. That means eggs, fish, lean beef, nuts, and chicken.
Biohacking and bodybuilding go hand-in-hand. Indeed, many say that bodybuilders were the first biohackers and paved the way for the biohacking being done today. Whatever the case, it’s a time-proven method to change your biology (and make people’s heads turn down at Muscle Beach). Best of luck in your journey to a better body!