Dave Asprey is known to millions around the world as the brains behind Bulletproof coffee and the forerunner of what we know as the ‘biohacking’ movement. As a four-time New York Times bestselling author, CEO, and popular podcast host, Asprey is a true disruptor in the health, science, and bio technology space. With his Biohacking conference heading toward its tenth anniversary in 2024, M&F sat down with the entrepreneur and change-maker to figure out how the man himself defines biohacking, why we should embrace it, and what the future holds for its evolution.
“You’re not an entrepreneur to make money. You’re an entrepreneur to do something you want to do, that makes a difference,” explains Asprey. “And you’re gonna help a lot of people do that. The money comes, but if you chase the money, the money doesn’t come—it actually goes away to chase something along the way.”
Far from chasing the money, it is the pursuit of making measurable changes that drives Asprey. Before the success of Bulletproof coffee, containing unsalted butter and MCT (medium chain triglyceride) oil, designed as a low-carb way to start the day, Asprey had become frustrated that the traditional approaches to losing weight were letting him down. “Before I made the word ‘biohacking,’ I had tried everything,” he explains of his stumbling journey into health and fitness.
The Beginnings of Biohacking
Eager to lose weight, Asprey’s beginnings in biohacking began when he was unable to shed some unwanted pounds through regular diet and exercise. The man from Albuquerque, NM, says that he grew frustrated after working out for 90 minutes per day, six days a week, but failed to drop fat despite being on a low-fat diet. “At the end of all that time, I could max-out all the machines at the gym, except for two, and I still had a 46-inch waist,” he says. “I didn’t lose any weight, and I was still fat even though I was stronger.”
Not content with accepting his stalling physique, Asprey picked up a bodybuilding magazine that advised a low-carb approach. “And, so I added more protein and I cut the carbs and magic; I lost half the weight.” The lifestyle guru’s trials and errors with nutrition also included a raw vegan diet but that didn’t agree with him at all, so he stuck with the keto approach, eventually perfecting his plan with the groundbreaking Bulletproof diet, where fat would become the focus for fuel, rather than carbs.
More than a decade on from perfecting the Bulletproof brand, Asprey says that he is always saddened to see the big food companies promoting the latest fad, so that they can make money by feeding us the cheapest foods. “I did not recognize the difference between different kinds of calories,” says Asprey of life before biohacking. “I used to only believe in calories in versus calories out. I used to believe that all proteins were the same. You just needed X amount of protein, or that all fats were the same. That’s nonsense. Every fat does something different. Every protein does something different. Every carb does something different. If you know what they do, you can have this infinite level of control of your biology.”
The Basics of Biohacking
While Asprey was able to use his own experiences to move his biohacking movement forward, he is also an avid reader and explorer of new theories and technologies. “I’ve read tens of thousands of PubMed articles,” he shares. While building his previous career in tech, Asprey felt that he wasn’t able to give his all to complex study areas such as mitochondrial biology.
So, just like with his fitness journey, he wondered whether there was something that could be tweaked in order to improve his cognitive output. Later, Asprey helped to create one of the first working instances of cloud computing before later becoming the vice president of cloud security for Trend Micro. Now those are some results, and his role at Trend Micro would be his last fulltime job before starting out with the Bulletproof brand.
This year, Asprey will be celebrating the 10th anniversary of his Biohacking Conference from May 30 – June 1, 2024 in Dallas, TX. It stands to reason then, that Asprey is still very much behind some of the staples of his success, such as grass-fed beef and wild game. For him, self-care is about quality ingredients and protecting our DNA particularly as we age.
“You’re designed to be resilient when you’re 20,” he explains. “So that you can escape from your tribe, go to another tribe and reproduce to spread your DNA, and survive lions and tigers and bears… Stay up all night drinking and dancing by torchlight.”
As we age, Asprey believes that we should step-up our self-help and recovery methods, noting that simple biohacks like cutting out our exposure to toxins such as mold, and fats such as hydrogenated oil can work wonders for us all. It’s not just our performance that will improve, but our focus, and our skin too, he asserts, pointing out that when you make these kinds of tweaks in your own diet, you are a biohacker in your own right.
While Asprey lives by his own teachings, he has often been accused of being the bearer of gimmicks. He tells M&F that negative reviews and trolls, and criticism from the media or within the health industry led him to become greatly traumatized for a period of time. Fortunately, he was able to adapt to his new found position in the industry, and learned that ‘delete’ and ‘block’ would shut out the majority of negative voices online. “And, you also have to realize: those are not your customers. Those are not the people you’ll serve,” he reflects.
Dave Asprey Celebrates 10 Years of the Biohacking Conference
These days, the Bulletproof diet is just the start of the biohacking movement. With his conference set to celebrate its tenth anniversary next year, Asprey is able to spread the message of what he says are essentially life-changing programs, such as his five-day ‘Brain Upgrade’ program. Asprey says that by unpicking psychological limitations that were developed during our youth, we can reach a higher career potential. He points to the example of a friend who now runs a call center that employs 1,200 people. By addressing the lasting emotional pain caused by bullying in his sessions, the friend was finally able to take control of his life. “So, instead of running away from something, you’re moving towards something you’re creating.”
Having lost money on his first conference that took place in San Francisco with one hundred people sat in a bar, Asprey now attracts thousands of delegates as he attempts to push the boundaries of human advancement, performance, and longevity, along with immersive learning experiences and influential speakers. “Alright, so I’m just totally just vibing on this,” he says of the enduring appeal of biohacking. “I’m just full of gratitude, and kind of a sense of awe.”
For more information on the 2024 Biohacking Conference click here!