I’m not sure if it is the former high school coach or the journalist in me, but any time I hear about shortcuts to better health, my internal warning alarm goes off. Of late, biohacking has tripped the alarm, but as the term and its practice have become ubiquitous, I wanted to learn more.
AdvancedYou BioHacking in Dallas advertises itself as a human performance center that offers opportunities to improve one’s health at a cellular level to slow down or even reverse aging. The business is run by CEO William Moore, who founded and sold a successful chain of MedSpas to move into the world of biohacking.
The world of biohacking is a hot topic right now, with celebrities and billionaires embracing the treatments and seeking longer, healthier lives while rigorous research struggles to keep up with the technology. I wanted to try them for myself, and AdvancedYou set me up with a day of treatment. Many of the treatments I experienced are available in other places, but having all of them in one place is novel for DFW and part of the reason Moore embraces the biohacking label. “I didn’t even realize at the time that I was creating the biohacking clinic. Nobody had done anything like this in Dallas,” he says.
The TL:DR version is that it was a solid workout and not as weird as I thought it would be. Like any life change, consistency is the key to results, and one day at the performance center won’t do much to reverse my aging. But I wanted to share my experience, as it might be right for you.
Moore said he was inspired to leave the MedSpa world and look into the aging business by his mother’s battle with dementia, which he says was exacerbated by the isolation of the pandemic. He put me through what AdvancedYou calls the Super Human Protocol when I arrived.
The clinic is laid out in a series of rooms about the size of an exam room at the doctor’s office, each with a different treatment. I started by lying on a bed and experiencing pulsed electromagnetic fields meant to improve self-healing, wellness, and blood flow at the cellular level by causing our blood cells to repel each other rather than clump up. I didn’t feel much, but it is an FDA-approved process used since the 1970s in orthopedic treatment to help with healing and regeneration. The de-clumped blood cells have more surface area to absorb oxygen and nutrients, and my time in the bed was used to set up the next step in the protocol.
Next, I hopped on an air bike and donned a mask that pushed out 95 percent oxygen to super-oxygenate by now de-clumped red blood cells. I did a series of sprints and rest while breathing the concentrated oxygen, which is meant to elevate performance and immunity. I could feel a difference in breathing concentrated oxygen, but it was hard to tell how it impacted my performance. The research is relatively neutral on exercise with oxygen therapy, with a couple of reviews showing little to no improvement in fitness for patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and coronary artery disease. Still, they didn’t focus on healthy subjects looking to improve performance.
After that, I spent 10 minutes on what looks like a tanning bed but is actually a photobiomodulation therapy bed, where low-level lasers help relieve pain and enhance cell function. The process is FDA-approved and has been used to treat rheumatoid arthritis, carpel tunnel syndrome, and other conditions. Some manufacturers of these types of devices have been convicted of fraud for claiming that laser treatment can heal cancer and AIDS, but AdvancedYou focuses on pain and inflammation and how infrared light helps cells retain their function.
My next stop was my favorite part of the workout, where I could immediately feel the results. AdvancedYou has a machine called ARX Fit, which can be set to several exercises like leg press, bench press, and row. The machine resists as hard as you can push, so there is no adding or taking away weight, and the weight you lift throughout the movement is measured in real-time on a screen in the machine. Then the machine reverses course, and you have to resist the weight with all your strength. This made for an incredibly difficult and efficient workout.
I didn’t believe it when Moore told me I could get as good of a workout in 12 minutes with the machine as an hour in the gym, but it was fairly close. Because the machine changed resistance with my ability to push or pull, my muscles were fully engaged throughout the lift, as opposed to a standard lift where it may take all my strength to get the weight off my chest but gets easier through the middle of the lift. ARX ensures that the muscle gives max effort the whole time, challenging me to hit my max power on each lift by graphing it and comparing repetitions.
When the machine reversed, and I resisted with everything I had, the muscles were similarly engaged throughout the movement. The contracting (concentric) and relaxing (eccentric) movements immediately devastated my muscles, and after eight repetitions of each of the three exercises, it was like I had done 30. A loss of muscle mass is proven to be connected to falls and injuries as we age, and the ARX machine is an efficient way to work your muscles without the trouble of adding and subtracting weights.
I followed up the workout with some core work and used AdvancedYou’s muscle sculpting machine, which attached to my abs and delivered thousands of contractions using a magnetic pulse. I definitely felt the thousands of contractions and don’t have enough ab muscles to make it through a regular 30-minute session.
Fortunately for me, I headed over to the hyperbaric chamber. Inside my mini-submarine-esque tube, the pressure rose, and oxygen was pumped into the compartment. This is a widely used treatment by everyone from professional athletes for recovery to older people looking to improve cognitive function. Stroke victims and those suffering from cognitive loss have also benefitted from the treatment. The controlled pressure and pure oxygen are said to improve cell regeneration and recovery. Just one use is unlikely to do much, but I didn’t have much soreness the next day following the workout. While official authorities say there needs to be more research to prove all the benefits some claim, it has been linked with everything from injury recovery to improving sleep.
Nearing the end, I made a quick visit to the cryotherapy chamber. Though chilly, the treatment is widely used in sports medicine and has anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant advantages. Like an ice bath on steroids, it also improves recovery and helps prevent future injuries. This is another treatment that needs consistency to make a difference, but I certainly felt refreshed afterward.
I ended my Super Human Protocol with a relaxing rest on AdvancedYou’s Vibro Lounger, where I laid on a bed that vibrated with coordinated music and lights on the mask I wore. I nearly fell asleep, so the relaxation experience did the job and calmed me down nicely.
The traditionalist in me is skeptical of anything other than doing a bunch of burpees and running five miles, but AdvancedYou’s Super Human Protocol may have a convert. Early clients have ranged from competitive bodybuilders and high school athletes to older adults looking to maintain muscle mass, but most of the clients are between 20 and 50 and looking to improve performance and remain fit. “Many more people are realizing that we can avoid disease and medications if we do the things beginning to keep our bodies healthy,” Moore says.