Dave Asprey wants to cheat death. Or at the very least, he wants to delay it for a very long time.
The Silicon Valley entrepreneur tells Business Insider that he has spent over $300,000 on research trying to do so, using data to optimise his mind and body.
Asprey is the founder of Bulletproof Coffee, the multimillion-dollar company selling a blended drink with grass-fed unsalted butter and “Brain Octane,” a trademarked oil extracted from coconuts.
“My goal is to live to 180 or more,” he says.
Asprey believes his small daily choices will lead up to that ambitious goal, which he hopes to reach by any means necessary. Asprey is part of the growing biohacking movement, which is made up of people (mostly men) who use data science to become “super-human.”
In a few weeks, he will open Bulletproof Labs, a facility in Santa Monica, California where members can practice biohacking — essentially, experimenting on special equipment intended to boost your immune system, give you more energy, and help you live longer.
So what does a typical day look like for someone who wants to hack death?
In the mornings, Asprey’s phone stays on aeroplane mode.
Before Asprey goes to bed, he turns his phone on aeroplane mode, and he keeps it that way until he drops his two kids off at school in the morning.
“Your nervous system is watching out for alerts,” he says. When your phone is on, “you’re getting electromagnetic frequencies that you don’t need.”
When Asprey wakes up, he makes Bulletproof Coffee for himself, his wife, and kids, which he says gives them all energy to start the day. The coffee also serves as his breakfast.
Asprey’s health claims about Bulletproof Coffee have garnered scepticism. Earlier this year, Gizmodo’s Brent Rose debunked most of the promises of the coffee, including that it will instantly burn fat and eliminate hunger.
Nonetheless, Asprey believes Bulletproof Coffee jumpstarts his metabolism and makes him not want to snack.
As part of his morning routine, Asprey also picks a “biohacking practice” to work on. These include lying underneath an ultraviolet light for 10 minutes (which he says slows down ageing), standing on a “biovibration platform” that vibrates 30 times a second (which he says burns calories), or standing inside his cryotherapy chamber that spews -260-degree nitrogen-iced air for about two minutes (which he says reduces muscle inflammation).
There’s conflicting evidence on whether cryotherapy actually helps your body, according to the very limited number of studies on it. As The Washington Post’s Emily Sohn notes, icing can dampens the body’s ability to repair and strengthen the tiny tears that happen in muscle tissues during intense exercise. Other researchers argue that cryotherapy reduces muscle soreness, and some say it’s a mere placebo.
During the workday, Asprey leaves planning up to an assistant.
Having an assistant helps Asprey not waste time or think too hard about his schedule, which he says helps boost his performance at work. He tries to minimise the amount of decisions he needs to make throughout the day.
“I don’t have to plan or memorise my calendar,” Asprey says. “All I have to do is execute.”
He always takes a break during the day to exercise.
Asprey believes the purpose of exercise is to push your body to grow and change. He works out intensely once a week, because he says if you do it everyday, your body won’t recover enough for the next workout.
Asprey’s more intense workouts include heavy weightlifting, sprints, and pedalling on his customised exercise bike for short periods of time. His bike is connected to an oxygen mask, which feeds him varied amounts of oxygen during a 15-minute workout.
“It’s really intense because you’re exercising without enough oxygen, and then you’re exercising with a ton of oxygen,” he says, adding he feels the workout gives him more energy.
Asprey follows a strict diet without snacks.
“If your body wants to snack, you did something wrong in the last meal,” he says.
Asprey’s diet features a lot of vegetables and little gluten, sugar, legumes, or dairy. At lunch, he fills his plate with veggies (which he picks from his own organic farm) and avocado, or a salad with carrots and fennel, featuring a homemade dressing with avocado, olive oil, herbs, and his trademarked Brain Octane oil.
For dinner, he again eats a plate of veggies plus four ounces of meat and a starch, like rice, sweet potato, or squash.
He tracks his sleep and gets about six hours a night.
On an average night, Asprey sleeps six hours and two minutes. Last night, he got about four hours of sleep, though he usually shoots for seven a night.
“Healthy people need less sleep,” he says. “It’s not about sleeping less — It’s about getting a higher quality of sleep and having more resilience.”
To achieve the best sleep possible, he blacks out his room with curtains that don’t let street lights in. He also invested in a high-quality mattress, monitors the air quality in his bedroom (he says low-quality air disrupts sleep), and lies on a sleep induction mat for three minutes before bed. The mat is similar to acupuncture, except needles don’t puncture his skin. The device has spikes that push on pressure points on his back.
Right before Asprey goes to bed, he cools his house to 68 degrees Fahrenheit, which he believes is the optimal temperature for sleep. Other research has found that setting the thermostat to around 65 degrees helps you fall asleep quicker and obtain a deeper sleep.
The most important part of his daily routine happens at night: naming three things he’s grateful for, which he says grounds him and helps his body perform at the highest state possible.
“My body responds [to my daily routine] like a race car. When you have a high-end car, you touch the accelerator and it just goes,” he says, coughing a few times. “I just swallowed water down the wrong pipe. I haven’t found a biohack for that yet.”