Ari Rastegar, 37, is an Austin-based real estate investor who claims to have a “biological age” of five. He’s a biohacker, although he’s adamant that most self-professed biohackers have no idea what they’re talking about. “I can look at their faces and see the jaundice in their eyes,” he tells me over the phone. “If you’re really healthy, show me your blood. I’ll give you my blood test. I have it sitting right here.”
Biohacking is the umbrella term for what is, as Vox succinctly puts it, “DIY biology.” Like any DIY activity, biohacking can be relatively harmless in its simplest forms. Rastegar maintains his fair share of noncontroversial, traditionally “healthy” habits—he drinks plenty of water, he meditates every morning, and he avoids blue light around bedtime. But he also takes about 150 vitamins and supplements every day, and has, by his own admission, poured hundreds of thousands of dollars into the “research and development” of his personal biohacking routine.
Biohackers are especially concentrated in Silicon Valley, as noted in a 2017 New Yorker piece by Tad Friend that features interviews and cameos from some of the richest people on earth. I am immensely skeptical of their—and Rastegar’s—pursuits, but am also morbidly curious about how the ultra-wealthy are going about the process of maybe trying to live forever. So over the course of two back-and-forths—one by phone, one by email—I asked Rastegar to explain what his life looks like in practice.
GQ: How would you personally define biohacking?
Ari Rastegar: I don’t necessarily love that word, “biohacking.” I think it’s more than biology—it’s physiology, it’s spirituality, it’s your mentality. I basically have rules around my life and what I eat, what the exceptions are, when I train, how I spend time with my kids.
I have a very strict age-management protocol. My doctor tests your blood for 150 indicators, and based upon your results, every 90 days, he creates custom, bespoke, pharmaceutical-grade vitamins for my body. He gives the exact doses of vitamins, the exact hormones I need to really have my body functioning at a very, very high level. I also do many of the things people already know—no sugar, no dairy, no gluten, mostly leafy vegetables, cold-water vegetarian fish.
Can you walk me through a typical day?
I’m on a 24-hour, seven-day-a-week schedule. My work is my life. I don’t do days off. I don’t do personal time. I’m doing calls until I’m going to bed at midnight, and I’m up at 5:30 in the morning most days. The minute I get up, I’m drinking a liter of water and then immediately practicing transcendental meditation, which is a 20-minute process. From there, I’m going into a posture routine, which takes about 15 minutes and is aligned with balancing techniques.
Then I’m in the gym. I have a gym built into my garage, and I’m building one in my office right now. We train similarly to what Tom Brady does with his pliability work. I also usually have a smoothie and meal in the morning. Right after an early lunch at 11, I go into the hyperbaric chamber for an hour and 15 minutes. If I can, I’ll get a second workout in with a little cardio or flexibility or yoga.
On the weekends, I’ll go do some sort of exercise class, I’ll go in the hyperbaric chamber, and I’ll go in the infrared light bed, which is a way to stimulate ATP. [Ed. Note: ATP is adenosine triphosphate, a molecule that carries energy within cells.]
The list goes on and on. It’s massively, massively intense, but it’s my life. All the way to my sleep—I have a machine that regulates the temperature of my mattress. I also sleep in sleepwear that helps the body flush lactic acid faster. I set my bed temperature to 69 degrees, and it runs cold water through the bed so you don’t create hot spots when you’re sleeping.
When did all of this start for you?
It started about seven years ago, before my daughter was born. I was on Wall Street. You’re out late, you’re eating steaks and you’re drinking and you’re working crazy hours. I started to feel like shit, dude. My hair started to thin, I didn’t have the energy, I couldn’t fucking sleep, my stress levels were up, my marriage was getting fucked up, everything was falling apart.
When my first daughter was born, it was at that moment where I said, “Holy shit, I can’t do this.” I turned the same attention that I put into building big business to figuring out me. I did intravenous IV therapy, cryotherapy, hyperbarics. Through a massive amount of failures and R&D, I figured out the core tenets, the things that worked and made the biggest difference.
How much do you think you've invested in current routine? And how much does it cost annually to maintain that routine?
Over the past 10 years that I've been on this mission, I've easily spent a couple hundred thousand dollars trying different mechanisms, programs, and anti-aging tools. The supplements and hormones I take are around $1200 a month. I have personal trainers, consultants for postural alignment, my life coach, and I attend different conferences to educate myself. It's a substantial amount of money but it's an amazing investment.
How does one take roughly 150 vitamins and supplements a day?
I do about 40 at a time, three times a day.
Is that difficult to do?
No. Remember, the vitamins I’m taking were created for me. Every 90 days, I’m testing my blood levels to figure out what supplements I need, so I’m only taking the things that my body needs. If I’m eating with it, there’s no problem. I take special digestive enzymes, probiotics, prebiotics. That’s not even counting the stuff I do in the morning with my smoothies, which have organic vegan powders with basically every single vegetable accounted for.
From what I've gleaned, human growth hormone is often a part of anti-aging programs. Is that something you're using?
It’s all about customization and what each person needs. When I got tested, I discovered that I actually produce a lot of human growth hormone, so I didn't need a supplement for it. I was heavily deficient in testosterone, which I needed to take a supplement for—testosterone cypionate injectable—and I still do that.
Within the umbrella term of biohacking are certain techniques that people have tried. One is implanting devices in your body, sometimes known as transhumanism. What do you think of transhumanism?
We’re going into this transhumanism era where man will merge with machinery. Information technology will continue growing exponentially. The amount of information being produced in this era—with your normal biology, you won’t be able to physically process it. Having a little USB plug in your wrist, for example, that can plug in to the Internet and download a bunch of data, I believe is very much the future. I’m a big proponent of it.
Do you see any drawbacks to transhumanism, though? Especially from an ethical perspective and a privacy perspective?
I think the benefits far outweigh the detriments. It’s like any type of technology. Social media has brought the world together and given us more access, more data, and larger communities, but you’re also seeing a massive fallout from social media addiction. I’m sure smarter people than me will figure out how to put boundaries and regulations around them.
Is there an age in your head that you think you can live until?
I think not just for me, but the generation we’re coming into, living forever will be a choice. That’s in the cards with the way technology is growing. But it’s not about how long I live; it’s about how much vitality and how many years I can continue to contribute. If there ever comes a moment where I can’t add value in this world as a person, I don’t want to live.
It’s a spiritual endeavor for me. It’s not about trying to be the richest asshole around. To me, wealth creation is about solving extraordinary problems. I want to be able to do that for as long as possible.
I’m glad you brought up “wealth creation.” A criticism of biohacking and its associated practices is that it’s exclusively for people who have the money to pursue it through extraordinary means of trial-and-error. Have you considered that?
Sure, it’s certainly crossed my mind. Look, when you’re talking about people with hunger issues or poverty in third-world countries, no, this is definitely a first-world problem, I guess. You can’t start thinking about peak performance unless you have the requisite necessities, right? That goes without saying. So it’s a little bit of a criticism, I guess, but you can’t even have the conversation unless you have basic necessities. If you’re trying to figure out what your next meal is, you’re not considering whether it’s vegan.
Isn’t that the point of the criticism, though? There are lots of people with large amounts of wealth who are using their money to do what you’re doing.
Wealth is only important to someone like me if I’m able to then share it, and have a platform to create greater opportunities. If you look at the timeline of an entrepreneur, you’re in these years of struggle, you’re putting money together, you’re trying and failing, and then you get to this place where you’re creating wealth. Then you create more, and it’s going into your business, and you’re growing your business, you’re employing people and creating jobs. And then you get to a place where if you’re a humanitarian, you take that wealth and put it back into the community like Bill Gates or other very wealthy people have done.
That’s what all this is about—take it and give it back. I have a very strategic plan about what all of this is going to mean and how I’m going to take this knowledge and be able to create a massive, massive platform to directly affect the exact people you’re talking about. It’s like an oxygen mask, right? If you’re on a plane and the plane is going down, you put the mask on your face first.
This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity. GQ does not endorse any of the practices or methods discussed above.
Welcome to Aoki Bootcamp, where the 40-year-old DJ shares his secret to staying in amazing shape.
Originally Appeared on GQ