The Best Tips from ErisFit for Upgrading Your Cognitive Performance From The World’s Ultimate Health and Fitness Conference, Paleo f(x)
Hi Everyone. This is Chris. I had the opportunity to attend the world’s foremost health and fitness conference in Austin, Texas last week. I wanted to get this article out to share my experience at this convergence of health, fitness, mind and body.
Paleo f(x) is a HUGE conference and we wish all of you could have been there. We saw thousands of people, hundreds of vendors, amazing talks, fitness competitions (our own Thaddeus Owen crushed the Deadlift competition and set a new Paleo f(x) record!).
Besides the movement classes, primal walks and food tasting, there was a BIG focus on brain health.
Day one of Paleo f(x) was a day to remember.
I got to meet some great people, try some great products and learn some so much at the same time.
Don’t forget the Bulletproof coffee… LOTS of it! FREE! I visited the Bulletproof booth multiple times for hits of coffee, Unfair Advantage and Bulletproof Activated Charcoal.
It may come as no big surprise to regular readers that most of the talks I attended revolved around cognitive performance.
Here are a few of the highlights from what I learned today.
10 Ways to Jumpstart Your Cognitive Performance – Ben Greenfield
First of all, let me tell you that this was my favorite talk of the day. Most of the talks today were pretty basic and tailored more towards the person just beginning their paleo and biohacking journey. That definitely wasn’t true for this talk. I learned quite a bit.
In this talk, Ben laid out his 10 best ways to enhance your brain, biohack cognitive performance & banish neural inflammation.
Check out his resource page for this talk here.
Here are the 10 hacks he provided and a brief summary of them.
1. Jaw Realignment
No matter what your health issues are, your vagus nerve probably plays a part in it.
One of the most informational articles on the vagus nerve can be found here.
The main point of the jaw realignment or Active Release Techniques (ART) is to stimulate and jumpstart the vagus nerve. This can be done by your massage therapist or you can attempt to do this yourself.
To attempt this yourself, check out these videos. You can also place pressure on both sides of your face where your jaw meets your skull. You will know you found the right spot when you feel quite a bit of pain. While placing pressure on these points, slowly open and close your mouth. If you did it right, you will probably hear a pop.
Ben mentioned that he does this process every morning and has his massage therapist perform the ART on him when he’s home and not traveling.
2. Morning Brain Flush
Ben’s morning brain flush consisted of quite a few things. These are some of the supplements and tech he uses in the morning to jumpstart his day.
- Intranasal light therapy using a red light (yes, up his nose).
- Making a huge Green smoothie with, among other things, the following:
3. Hot/Cold Therapy
In addition to the supplements listed above, Ben also uses high dose niacin as part of his hot cold therapy.
Niacin is great for lowering cholesterol levels, controlling blood sugar, detoxification and supports many hormones in the body. Niacin, especially at high doses, helps the body really generate heat and sweat. If combining the use of niacin with sauna, the body is said to detox faster than many other therapies, and sweating (sauna use) is one of the only ways to detox the body of certain compounds, like phthalates.
After taking the niacin, Ben spends time in the sauna, usually doing a yoga workout, and then goes directly in to his cold pool. The hot/cold contrast …
If you don’t have a sauna and cold pool, or you are traveling, you can achieve the same thing by switching your shower back and forth from hot to cold.
He recommends standing under 10 cycles of 20 seconds cold water and then 10 seconds hot.
4. Intermittent Fasting
Ben’s version of Intermittent fasting is to not eat for 12-16 hours between dinner and breakfast. So if he ate dinner at 9pm, he won’t eat again until sometime between 9am and 12 noon the next day.
More and more people are starting to realize the benefits of intermittent fasting, which include:
- Increased fat loss
- Reduced oxidative stress and inflammation
- Reduced insulin resistance
- Increased HGH
- Increased cellular repair
- Improved brain health
- It may also increase lifespan
Ben mentioned that he does this 365 days a year. While I can’t say that I do it every single day, I do try to do this as much as possible.
5. Kundalini Yoga
This is a form of yoga that has always interested me. If you would like to learn more about Kundalini, check out this recent podcast he did here.
During this part of his talk he led everyone through 60 seconds of fire breathing. By the end of this time my abs were starting to get a little sore, so when he stated that he performs this for 30 minutes at a time I really felt like a sissy.
This is something that I will be practicing daily from now on.
6. Blood Glucose
Besides the benefits of intermittent fasting, he also does a few more things in the morning to regulate blood glucose. These include:
- 2 tsp apple cider vinegar
- 2 tsp organic cinnamon
- Bitter melon extract before carbs
Having a variety of new experiences can help to create new neuropathways in the brain and also is a great protection against cognitive decline and diseases like Alzheimer’s.
One super easy way to do this is to listen to a variety of different music, sounds and tones. He did mention that normal digital audio has much less benefit compared to analog sounds, so break out the old record player and start jamming.
You could also learn a new instrument or language.
He also stated that table tennis has more positive effects on you brain than any other sport because it stimulates multiple parts of your brain.
Essential oils are one of my favorite natural hacks of all times. I use them daily and consider my diffuser one of my most important gadgets to travel with.
Here are some of my favorite oils and what I use them for.
- Frankincense- One of the most famous of all essential oils, it is sometimes called the king of oils. I use this oil in my diffuser, topically and also internally. It can help with relaxation, mood and when taken internally can support healthy cellular function.
- Sandalwood- I use this one as a type of deodorant because I love the way it smells. I also diffuse it and rub a drop on my forehead above the pineal gland to help with focus and concentration.
- Lemon- I add a few drops of lemon oil to a cup of tea every day. Lemon can drastically increase the health benefits of tea. To learn how, check out this post.
- Lavender- This is my go to sleep aid. I like to diffuse some in to the air and rub it on my feet and under my nose.
Ben also mentioned using peppermint and cinnamon for cognitive performance.
I use oils from DoTerra for their quality and purity.
If you are going to be using oils for anything other than the aromatic qualities, make sure you only buy therapeutic grade oils.
9. SR1 Delta Sensor
This is one sleep device that I haven’t tried but would love to… Hint… So if anyone has one that they want to send me for so I can review, I’d be ok with that.
Basically this is a really low level Pulsed Electro Magnetic Frequency (PEMF) device that is worn on the clavicle at night in bed. You press a button which helps your body and brain get into a sleep state quickly. The device works for 12 minutes and then turns off, at which time you should be fast asleep. You can also use this if you wake up at night and have trouble falling back asleep. Ben swears this works miracles.
10. Self Quantification
Self quantification is the act of recording or tracking certain variables about things you want to monitor, change or hack.
Here are just a few of the things that people apply self quantification principles to.
- Weight/fat loss
The best website to learn more about this process is Quantified Self.
Here are his top tips for self quantification
- Track your sleep – Ben uses the Oura ring. Tracking your sleep can give you so many insights on things that may be helping or hurting your sleep quality.
- Check your Heart Rate Variability (HRV) in the morning to see if you should do a strenous or light workout.
- Get a DNA test and run the results through something like Promethease.
- Have your blood labwork done 1-4 times a year depending on your goals and any underlying conditions. WellnessFX is about the best company for this.
- Stool sample – once a year to check your microbiome
- Dutch urine hormone test – once a year
Hacking Consciousness for Peak Performance – Aubrey Marcus
The first talk of the day went a little deeper than normal cognitive enhancement.
What started out a little slow quickly transformed in to a interesting talk covering the “force that animates life.”
According to Aubrey, here are some of the tips for hacking our own consciousness.
- Participate in high stakes activities, preferably in nature
- Implementing what we know is more important than gathering new information
- Practice mental override – take control of your decisions
- Live in the present moment
Great talk overall. I just wish he would have had more time to talk about ways to hack consciousness. This is definitely a subject I would like to explore further.
Optimal Mental Functioning: Accessing Your EPPIC Mind – Cecilia Garrec
This talk was basically about how she healed her brain after a serious car accident.
Cecilia describes optimal mental functioning as “purposely engaging with you mind in your best interest.”
To achieve optimal mental functioning, she introduces a process to develop greater neuroplasticity. Basically, that means your ability to modify the structure and function of your brain.
She uses the acronym EPPIC to sum up this process of upgrading your brain.
Here is a quick look at each of these areas.
- Recognize them
- Pay attention to them
- Trust your feelings
- Follow them
She didn’t touch much on this one since we are at PaleoFX, but recommended:
- Get serious about your nutrition
- Get plenty of exercise
- Get plenty of high quality sleep
- Learn to control, influence and change your thoughts
- Your thoughts create your reality
- Practice mindfulness and visualization techniques
- Go with your gut instinct. More often than not, it will be right.
- Set an intention for any problem you are working on and then focus on any feelings you have in your stomach around this intention.
The biggest take away here was to do stimulating and difficult activities and to try new things.
The one thing that was constant throughout all the talks was to have new experiences and learn new things. The more difficult they are, the better. This gives me a renewed vigor to get back to learning new languages and maybe even relearning how to play the saxophone.
I learned quite a bit and met tons of awesome people and have made some new friendships that no doubt will last a lifetime.
Whatever you are passionate about, I recommend that you go to a conference on that subject and meet new people with the same passions. I will definitely be back next year.