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Body Hacks and Optimization

Mar 14, 2008 • general

Body HacksIn this SXSW podcast -- Body Optimization: Why Stop at Health and Fitness? --panelists describe techniques for health and fitness in the language of tech geeks and designers. They share "hacks" you can do to "optimize" your body profile. (Listen directly to the MP3 here, or right click and select Save Target As.)

Although the advice they give isn't revolutionary, it is inspiring. One panelist explains what it feels like to have more energy. When you finish eating, you don't lay down on the couch and say ugghhh as you digest for 2 hours. Instead, you say, great, what's next? You maintain an active level of energy despite having just eaten.

Another panelist recommends carrying healthy snack food with you wherever you go so that when you're hungry, you're not grabbing the most immediate thing in site (e.g., hamburger and french fries).

They all say to drink a lot of water. One panelist recommends Omega 3 Fatty Acid supplements. Astoundingly, Ray Kurzweil, the futurist author behind the Singularity theory (where man and machine become one), takes 250 supplements a day.

Another panelist recommends keeping a food journal, and another says to bike to work. The more you bike, the more you bike, he says ingeniously. In other words, as you bike more, you begin to increase the distance that you are accustomed to biking. Kind of like writing -- as you write more regularly, you tend to write more abundantly.

Why am I writing about body hacks and optimization on a tech writing blog? In case you haven't felt it yourself, writing is a sedentary act. You sit in front of a computer all day. (One panelist says he can sit in front of his laptop for 40 hour straight.) The sedentary day job can turn into a sedentary lifestyle, and you know what happens at that point.

After listening to this SXSW podcast, I decided to forego the grilled ham and cheese sandwich with french fries today and instead opt for the cheesy brocolli soup with the sandwich. I also started a food journal on my BlackBerry. Apparently if you're serious, one panelist recommends beginning with a 48-hour juice fast, presumably to purge your body of high fructose cravings.

Another panelist was a vegan who said that after not eating dairy for 7 years (the body wasn't mean to eat dairy, he adds), you go into a state of toxicity with dairy. If you suddenly chug a pint of milk, you'll experience discomfort akin to food poisoning, as your body rejects it.

Whatever you take away from the podcast, definitely add the word "body hacks" to your vocabulary. And start using the word hacks to replace "tips" and "tricks" and other "strategies." In fact, I'm thinking of changing the word "tip" in my online help to "hack."

While I'm on the topic, my cohost Heidi said she lost 25 pounds using SparkPeople, a site that allows you to track your food and other goals. And did you know I used to work at a place called BodyHealth, which just joined the blogosphere last week? Apparently triathletes, who are extremely meticulous about nutrition, make an average of 100K a year and are often times company CEOs.

Please share your body hacks with me in the comments below.

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About Tom Johnson

Tom Johnson

I'm a technical writer based in the California San Francisco Bay area. Topics I write about on this blog include technical writing, authoring and publishing tools, API documentation, tech comm trends, visual communication, technical writing career advice, information architecture and findability, developer documentation, and more. If you're a professional or aspiring technical writer, be sure to subscribe to email updates using the form above. You can learn more about me here.