Bro Science vs Bio Hacking
Before I delve into this topic – let me start by saying Nutritional Science and Sports Science are very flawed disciplines subject to so much interpretation. I have a degree in Sports Science and in 20 years I know how much this field has changed in terms of training and conditioning – to get lean we were all about long duration cardio in the ‘fat-burning zone’ now we realize that this technique doesn’t always favour fat loss because of the potential negative hormonal responses it creates – like an increase in cortisol our stress hormone. Nutritional science, however, is much worse than Sports Science though and as now a practising Clinical Nutritionist – I cringe at what this monster has created like low-fat diets full of grains.
Let’s move to bro-Science. Most guys reading this will have heard of Bro Science. There are many definitions – here is one I found on the wiki.
Bro-science is when someone makes a completely unsupportable claim, not backed by either science or any form of reasonable speculation, and when challenged on that lack of support, the person instead points to his pictures, his lifts, or the phenomenal number of Olympic athletes he’s trained as support for the claim.’
As the name implies, the term “bro-science” is usually applied to such notions passed around among men. Among women, a better term might be “support group science” or, historically, “wives’ tales.”
They go on to list 10 examples but here are three related to fat loss:
- Fat can be directly converted into muscle.
- Anything about “toning” muscles.
- Spot reduction: the fat in a body part can be individually reduced by exercises using that body part.
These are obviously myths and not scientifically credible – but we have to watch out for bashing ‘bro science’ completely as I think the guys in lab coats often get it wrong and listening to trainers, coaches and fellow athletes who are experienced in success often leads to better results. But maybe instead of bro-science we can start to take more self-responsibility and move into bio hacking.
Bro Science – 20% Fact 80% Magic
Dave Asprey author of the Bulletproof diet defines Biohacking as a way ‘To use systems thinking, science, biology, and self-experimentation to take control of and upgrade your body, your mind, and your life. This approach could lead to performance enhancement in every area of life. Here are 3 steps to Bio hacking (successful people are already doing this):
- Gain awareness – get some data on your current performance – like blood work. I will go into this in a future article
- Investigate potential hacks – Do some research – this could include within the scientific community like journals but also speaking to those credible and successful in the field
- Test the hack and assess the success to a replicable standard.
An example – your lack of quality sleep is getting in the way of good recovery after training
- Use a sleep app like Snore lab to get a baseline of quality and duration of sleep
- Read some articles on improving sleep from experts in the field. Sort through the ones you don’t do and have the most credibility and scientific grounding
- Apply the tweak over a long enough period (eg. A week) and compare to previous sleep efforts
Sounds simple and even obvious I hear you say – but many of us don’t go through this process that could speed up our results but instead, we just dabble in untested tweaks. Try it out for fat loss, muscle gain, fitness gains, strength gains – plus any life enhancing goal.