David Asprey Bulletproof | Tech to Train Your Brain + Body

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David Asprey Bulletproof Creates Futuristic Tech to Train Your Brain and Tone Your Body


photo by Zeke Ruelas

Virtual float tanks, cryotherapy and infrared-light beds…can you really transform your mind and muscles without breaking a sweat?

We wake up with our phones buzzing, inboxes overflowing, and the need to be doing more; it’s exhausting before we even get to working out. Alas, technology to the rescue. To combat the overwhelm, so many of us are on the lookout for the newest trends in health-focused products as well as farm-fresh food and organic spirits, to build a better us while putting mindful wellness at the forefront.

bulletproof technology

photo by Zeke Ruelas

We spoke with Amanda McVey, the Vice President of Experience and Programming at Upgrade Labs, presented by the widely known brand, Bulletproof. McVey also happens to be a certified personal trainer and fitness instructor who began working for the founder of Bulletproof, Dave Asprey, just a few years ago, but has quickly become the eloquent and energetic force behind the brand’s innovative Labs.

You might know Dave Asprey for his outspoken beliefs on biohacking and whose butter coffee concoction and supplements have made waves in the wellness industry. He is a multi-talented Silicon Valley success story who not only was the first person to sell something online using e-commerce (a t-shirt emblazoned with the words ‘caffeine’) but is a New York Times best-selling author, globe-trotting speaker and the creator of biohacking. McVey breaks down this popularized term for us here.

“What is so incredible about biohacking is that it looks to the body’s own intelligence to become stronger and more responsive by addressing what the body needs on a cellular level in order to succeed.”

Upgrade Labs

photo by Zeke Ruelas

“Biohacking describes the process of taking a systemized approach to health and finding shortcuts by sending signals to the brain to get maximum results with minimal effort.” Asprey basically applied the same design framework of building computer software as he did to building a better body and mind in order to take control of his biology. McVey continues, “what is so incredible about biohacking is that it looks to the body’s own intelligence to become stronger and more responsive by addressing what the body needs on a cellular level in order to succeed.” Because of Dave Asprey’s investment in tech to transform our health, he now has two Upgrade Labs in Los Angeles—imagine fitness laboratory’s where weird science is celebrated.

At their first location on Santa Monica’s Main Street, you can find state-of-the-art machinery (some have never even been used in California before) that includes, but is not limited to: an atmospheric cell trainer that works the body while you relax, a NASA-tested system to improve recovery, and a bone trainer that applies biomechanics to enhance endurance and bone strength. These futuristic machines paired with weekly exercises and heart-rate enhancing workouts are meant to support the brain’s functionality and aid performance.

Their second lab opened its doors in January at the glamorous and celeb favorite hotel, the Beverly Hilton. With 6,000 square feet of space and more than 15 services available (including a bioenergy test and infrared bed), they are out to prove that health really is the new wealth. We talked with McVey to learn what the fan-favorite services are and what she does to stay sane in a screen-filled society.

“If you look and feel beautiful, it makes you feel more energized and actually makes your brain sharper—allowing you to perform better.”—Amanda McVey

Upgrade Labs

photo by Zeke Ruelas

When did fitness and health become your full-time focus?
My background has played a key role in how Bulletproof was formulated because I was brought on to help build the experience and programming angle of the business. I come from a financial background on Wallstreet in New York City but was always involved in fitness on the side. From being a floor trainer at Equinox to teaching classes at Crunch, I have been helping people find health for about 15 years. I decided to leave finance and take the full leap into fitness by segueing into management at different exercise facilities, including heading up their education and training programs.

I traveled from continent to continent presenting at trade shows and one thing I noticed was outside of the U.S. there was new technology popping up that I had never seen before. Consumers were clearly ready for this innovative tech and manufacturers seemed to be set on delivering. There was a shift happening, and I knew I wanted to be a part of it.

Why Bulletproof?
I heard the Dave Asprey Bulletproof Radio podcast and discovered biohacking for the first time. Without hesitation I reached out to the company and ended up finding a job with them that led me to helping them grow their programs and experiences at Upgrade Labs from the ground up. I was incredibly curious about what was being created here—it was something different than I had seen in any fitness studio in the world.

Upgrade Labs trainer

What can we expect on a visit to the Labs?
A core tenant belief is that your brain and body is perfection, but we are inflamed, hormones are out of whack, and we often have limiting beliefs. What we do at Labs is identify what is holding you back, and then let your body really perform.

Our trainers spend time measuring you first. Looking at hormones, water weight, excess fat and making pointed decisions around you so your training is catered to what you need. We also find out what your routines are, whether you are preparing for a marathon or just looking for strength and cardio training. We also have everyone turn off their phones to begin with so they can let the powerful tech here take over.

We coach people to have a more calming system, thus creating a different perspective towards their email inbox and their boss.

What we do at Labs is identify what is holding you back, and then let your body really perform.

Is Upgrade Labs right for someone who enjoys a more traditional workout experience?
As for me, I love movement, loud music and sweating. That is a huge part of who I am. You can’t find this at our facilities right now but what is great about the labs is the recovery side of things. I have become faster and stronger, and that is why I do it. You can have pain and gain in your own routine, but we want to train your brain and strengthen your recovery as well.

We are paving a new path for people’s imaginations. Our Labs are full of space pods and things no one has ever seen before, so we need someone to experience this for themselves to really believe it. People walk out that day feeling different, more energized and with decreased pain. The science can follow later because the proof is in the immediate experience.

Upgrade Labs cryo

photo by Zeke Ruelas

Tell us about the on-site trainers aptly named the ‘BioHacker Techs’?
In order to be a BioHacker Tech, you must hold a nationally recognized certification or university degree in a related field, like kinesiology or exercise science. Because of their background, they understand the science of the body and are able to warm somebody up for a program and then progress them forward so they can move the needle on their goals. They go through rigorous training to operate the machines in order to best support each member depending on their capabilities. We are becoming our own school here at the Labs.

We also have an on-site medical director, nutritionist and registered dietician.

Upgrade Labs Pulsed Electro Magnetic Fields

photo by Zeke Ruelas

What are some of the fan favorite services?
Hands-down one of the favorite combinations of services is a trifecta of tech that stacks three of our services together.

The first machine is called the P.E.M.F (Pulsed Electro Magnetic Fields), which is a large padded bed that sends electromagnetic waves throughout your body. This super-charges cells to reduce pain from injury and energizes the whole body. We then take members to our red-light treatment bed, REDcharger, where red and infrared LED lights are distributed all over the body to help with collagen production and blood flow. We finish off with a whole-body cryotherapy session, which uses nitrogen-cooled air to lower the body’s temperature to reduce inflammation and boost the immune system.

People also can’t get enough of the ‘The Big Squeeze’, which is a great way to detox. They are these large pants that go chest high and put the body through a medical grade lymphatic flush.

We also provide IV therapy where nurses perform blood tests to identify where your vitamin deficiencies are to create a customized IV to fill in the gaps where you need it. There is an extensive menu of offerings that can help with everything from hangovers to anti-aging support.

Upgrade Labs IV therapy

What would you say to the naysayers who think these short-cuts to health seem too good to be true?
We get tons of naysayers. I even called BS before I began this journey, but I was curious and gave it a chance. You can’t overcome everyone’s objections all the time, but anytime somebody has hesitation or disbelief in what happens here, it is a powerful opportunity for me. It gives me another perspective that I need to think about when I am communicating with potential members.

When hiring our team, I made sure to find people who had varying degrees of belief. I need different voices for the members to relate to and I also need people who aren’t so deep in the Kool-Aid who can’t see this from the outside. It is always an opportunity to improve communication. A challenge I am up for.

Amanda’s 5 healthy hacks
Amanda’s 5 healthy hacks to avoid negative effects from tech:

  • Wear blue-blocking glasses in artificially lit spaces or when on the computer for long hours
  • Take Eye Armor supplements to enhance visual performance and glare sensitivity
  • Limit use of blue tooth headphones for long calls during the day
  • Take Smart Mode Mental Endurance & Agility supplements to support memory and focus
  • Turn WiFi off at night

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