Brain fog. Moodiness. Forgetfulness. Fatigue.
These were some of the nagging symptoms Silicon Valley entrepreneur Dave Asprey spent years of research and hundreds of thousands of dollars to remedy, through experimental treatments, lifestyle changes and supplementation.
But while Asprey, famed for his buttery Bulletproof Coffee and author of the recently released “Head Strong: The Bulletproof Plan to Activate Untapped Brain Energy to Work Smarter and Think Faster — In Just Two Weeks,” goes to great and expensive lengths to boost his energy and mental performance, he says just a handful of simple diet and lifestyle “hacks” alone can deliver a significant boost in daily energy and brain power.
6 ways to recharge your battery
- Throw a little cold water on your day. When you take your morning shower, end it with a blast of cold water. Admittedly, this isn’t pleasant to do at first, he says, but it does get easier after a few days. Try to build up to a 30-second-long blast before stepping out. “You’ll burn hundreds more calories all day long,” Asprey says, and ”have more energy and sleep better.”
- Fast with fat in the morning. Intermittent fasting (or not eating for the 16 hours between dinner and lunch) has delivered big payoffs in energy and focus for Asprey, but, he says, it’s easier to do without irritability when you have Bulletproof coffee to last you through lunch. While Asprey’s popular but controversial creation is made with grass-fed butter, his own “Brain Octane” oil, and special mold-free coffee beans, many make it with their own coffee and a medium-chain triglyceride (MCT) oil derived from coconuts.
- Get 20 minutes of sunshine in the a.m. Take your dog for a walk, tilt your face — without sunglasses — to the sky, and leave some of your skin unprotected to help your body create Vitamin D and reap the full energy-producing benefits of this wake-up call before you spend hours in front of screens emitting blue light.
- Be smart about oil and sweeteners. Asprey cooks with monounsaturated fats such as avocado oil or grass-fed ghee and butter. “You want to cook foods at a lower temperature and eat the right fats. It makes a huge difference in how the body performs.” Asprey also advises limiting sugar and eliminating all artificial sweeteners such as aspartame, which he says reduces cellular energy production.
- Exercise differently. You don’t have to kill yourself to get fit, Asprey says. He advocates working out fewer times each week but upping the intensity to boost cellular function and energy output. “The vast majority of people over-train and under-recover” with weight training, he says. In addition to daily walking or other movement, he performs two intense workouts a week for peak performance — one a weightlifting workout with heavy weights and another high-intensity interval training workout that mixes sprints of 60 to 90 seconds with a minute of flat-out rest. That could be sitting, Asprey said, or actually lying down on the ground for a full minute between each of 10 sprints to better recover and push hard each round.
- Curb blue light to improve your day and night. Excessive blue light from your phone, computer, appliances and lighting in your home can cause food cravings, eye damage and inhibit your body’s ability to produce melatonin for sleep. Cover the blinking blue, green and white LED lights on your monitors, televisions and other electronic devices with electrical tape or other stick-on covers. Set your iPhone to the amber “night-shift mode” or use the Twilight app on Android to lower the light on your phone’s screen at night. Use a dimmer on the lights in your living room and bathroom in the evening (at least two hours before bed.)
“If you sleep well,” he says,” your whole life will change.”