Norwegian world-class footballer Erling Haaland has revealed a secret to his exceptional class: Biohacking. In his free time, for example, the Borussia Dortmund goal scorer uses special glasses that filter out the blue light from mobile phones or televisions. This enables him to sleep better and thus regenerate more quickly. When it comes to nutrition, Haaland focuses particularly on foods with healthy fats such as avocados, nuts or seeds.
German national striker Serge Gnabry of FC Bayern Munich is one of the followers of the new trend towards self-optimization. And even his famous teammate Robert Lewandowski relies on elements from biohacking when it comes to nutrition and sleep.
"When such stars openly say that they are biohackers, it naturally increases interest - both among top athletes and the general public," says Andreas Breitfeld in an exclusive interview with ISPO.com. He is Germany's top expert in biohacking, owns a biohacking lab with state-of-the-art technology in Munich and shared tips and tricks on the trendy topic at ISPO Munich Online together with Max Gotzler.
According to Breitfeld, the term biohacking can best be translated as "self-optimization or self-responsible health management." Simply put, biohacking encompasses a wide variety of measures to feel better both physically and mentally. What this can mean in concrete terms is most impressively illustrated by the example of the former fitness editor and founder of an internationally active PR agency.
"I was completely knackered in my early 40s and felt worse than others in their 80s or 90s. I no longer had any bodily functions that worked properly and wanted to retire from life in Thailand," Breitfeld recounts. Friends, his family doctor, his professional experience as a journalist and a book by Tim Ferriss ("The 4-Hour Body") saved him. Andreas Breitfeld took responsibility for his body and his health. He discovered biohacking and now, in his late 40s, feels more vital than ever.
A very important point is to find the way back to nature. "It starts on the plate. All the convenience food is hurting you in the long run. Food should be prepared from fresh, natural ingredients," says Breitfeld. Competitive athletes like Erling Haaland also pay attention to the right distribution of healthy fats and carbohydrates.
Other nutrition tips:
- For nutrition, healthy omega-3 fats (e.g., in algae), antioxidants (vegetables), and proteins/amino acids are particularly suitable.
- Avoid convenience foods and packaged products
- Pay attention to quality, buy fresh ingredients from the market
"We need light, warmth and cold. Dealing with stress in a positive way is good for our bodies," says Breitfeld. For as useful as stress was in the early detection of natural enemies tens of thousands of years ago, today the body unnecessarily wastes energy by releasing stress hormones at a desk. "It takes hours for the body to get its functions back to normal afterwards," Breitfeld says.
Digital hygiene tips for less stress:
- Prevent situations that trigger stress, such as by disabling push notifications on your phone, using flight mode or noise-canceling headphones
- Pay attention to breathing and correct body position when stressed: Shoulders back, breathe deeply through the belly, inhale more slowly
- Breathing exercises and yoga help
Andreas Breitfeld takes a five-minute ice bath early in the morning - then he feels fit for the day. But it doesn't have to be ice bathing: "A cold shower is enough as a gateway drug. The body needs aha experiences." That's why the biohacking guru also recommends simply "standing barefoot in the field two to three times a week: It grounds you immensely."
Our bodies still function according to the same construction principle as thousands of years ago. That's why sitting all day is completely counterproductive, he says: "Even if you're sitting in a home office, you should spend at least five minutes every hour stretching your feet, lifting dumbbells or just throwing your kid in the air." He says it's important to bring playful aspects back into your life in addition to physical training, and to laugh as often as possible.
When mental and physical performance crumbles, the first thing that suffers is your sleep. With a sleep diary or suitable wearables, you can give yourself an overview. After all, the body uses sleep to purify itself. Seven to eight hours of sleep are essential to remain physically and mentally stress-resistant. "There's a lot of garbage pelting the brain all day. It needs the night to clean up the clutter and reorder the important memories," Breitfeld says.
To that end, you should watch TV or stop checking their smartphones one to two hours before falling asleep. The blue light from technical devices impedes the release of the sleep hormone melatonin. That's why Erling Haaland's anti-blue light glasses make a lot of sense.
More tips for healthy sleep:
- Eating shortly before falling asleep disturbs the sleep
- If you consume alcohol or nicotine, then preferably in the afternoon rather than just before going to bed.
- 2-3 hours before going to bed it is best to drink only water, but do not try to make up for your daily water deficit in the evening, but drink regularly during the day.
In addition to glasses, Breitfeld says purchasing a red light-imitating LED lamp also helps "consume the right light at the right time." The supply of antioxidants - for example, via tablets or a molecular hydrogen bubble device - can also help detoxify the body.
Those who are particularly stressed or have been hit in the head more frequently as martial artists, for example, should try oxygen therapy: "Most people say after a few times in the oxygen chamber that they can suddenly think clearly again." Infrared sauna cabins, which work without generating harmful electrosmog, are also a good tip for body and mind, he says.
The Corona pandemic has brought the topic of biohacking into focus due to increased health awareness. Breitfeld: "I also came up with the headline for ISPO Munich Online: Health is the new wealth." Nowadays, everyone should ask themselves whether everything in their body and mind is still functioning properly and whether they are in balance. If not, biohacking is one possible answer, he said. "It's not boot camp, but in addition to changing some habits, a physical training program is of course part of it," Breitfeld said.