The High Performance Journal

Health Cheat Codes I Know At 44 That I Wish I Knew At 24

high performance journal Jan 30, 2024

The High Performance Journal - January 30th, 2024

If there's one thing you should know about me is that I'm always looking for an edge.

I'm always looking for counter-intuitive things that will make me healthier, fitter, and more productive. I'm willing to test anything out even if it's not based on scientific evidence.

I've tested out thousands of things with my health. Most of them didn't work but the ones that did have helped me become healthier as a result of adding them.

So in today's article, I want to share with you some health cheat codes I've learned over the last 2 decades of being in the industry.

Btw I did a similar list of workout and fat loss cheat codes you can check out at the links.

This will not contain any of those as these will be more focused on overall health.

Are you ready to hack your way to the healthiest version of you? Let's get into it.

Health Cheat Codes I Know At 44 That I Wish I Knew At 24

  1. Avoid drinking tap water and, if possible, drinking water in plastic bottles. They contain endocrine disrupters that may affect your hormones. Drink water from glass or metal bottles instead. Make sure to filter your water before drinking it. Here's one I use at home.

  2. Intermittent fast the opposite way: In the morning eat a protein-rich meal and have an early dinner when the sun starts to go down. This helps build muscle, improves your sleep quality, and is more in line with your circadian rhythms.

  3. Get morning sunlight upon waking. When sunlight hits your eyes it turns on your circadian rhythms, which wake you up. This also has the effect of helping you sleep later on in the day.

  4. Add plyometrics to your warm-ups. Plyometrics turn on your nervous system before a workout. They've also been shown to have an anti-aging effect on your body as we lose power at a greater rate than strength as we age.

  5. Drink 500 ml to 1 liter of water before drinking coffee in the morning. When you wake up your body has gone 7-10 hours without liquids. Also, your cortisol levels are already elevated upon waking, which may reduce the stimulating effects of caffeine. By delaying coffee 1.5 to 2 hours upon waking you can potentially enhance the energizing and wake-up effects of coffee.

  6. Avoid using food or alcohol to deal with stress and emotions. These methods only numb the feelings of stress and tend to bring them back even stronger. Learning how to deal with emotions is a massive part of the health journey. Exercise (walking, lifting, etc..) won't get rid of your stress or emotion but they will turn on parts of your brain that specialize in emotional control. When in doubt, workout.

  7. Do dynamic stretches every single day. As we age our joints and muscles tend to get tighter, which can lead to pain throughout the entire body. Dynamic stretches are different than regular stretches. Regular stretching is about improving flexibility, which lengthens the muscle while dynamic stretches improve mobility, which is your ability to move your muscles in a lengthened position. Do these every day and your aging body will thank you.

  8. When eating a meal eat your protein first, vegetables second, and carbs last. This regulates your blood sugar and insulin levels. From a personal standpoint, I've found that my energy and digestion improve when I eat carbs last in the meal.

  9. Dim the lights as the sun goes down. This helps train your circadian rhythms to prepare for bed. If you want to take this a step further light candles and use them as your light source.

  10. Wear blue light blockers at night especially if you look at screens. Again, this entrains your circadian rhythms by blocking out blue light and will assist in helping you fall asleep faster.

  11. Breathe through your nose. Breathing through your nose helps filter out dust and allergens, boost your oxygen uptake, and humidify the air you breathe while mouth breathing can have negative effects on your health. Nose breathing also increases the amount of nitric oxide (NO) you produce. NO is a vasodilator, which means it helps to widen blood vessels. This can help improve oxygen circulation in your body.

  12. For proper mouth posture keep your tongue at the roof of your mouth. This ensures the lips are sealed, the jaws together, the maxilla widened, and that the face will be more likely to grow forward (which is better than the face growing down).

  13. The 10-3-2-1 protocol for better sleep: Stop drinking caffeine 10 hours before bed. Eat your final meal 3 hours before sleeping. Cut out liquids 2 hours before bed to avoid waking up at night to pee. Stop all screen time 1 hour before bed to sleep faster.

  14. Sauna's for a longer life. Saunas have been shown to improve your sleep quality, relax the body, improve circulation, aid in detoxification through sweating, reduce stress, and boost cardiovascular health. 2-3 times a week for no more than 10-20 minutes at a time is enough to see results.

  15. Cold exposure for mood and recovery. Cold exposure like cold showers or cold plunges have been shown to reduce inflammation and improve recovery while boosting your mood. Andrew Huberman states that 11 minutes of cold-water exposure each week is enough to continuously reap the benefits. Note: Do not do this immediately after a muscle-building workout as it will interfere with the process.

  16. Get light therapy for your desk in the wintertime. In the winter we don't go out as much and don't get as much sun as we would in the summer. This is why it's best to have a bright UV light (10,000 lux) on your desk when you're working. This will wake your body up and entrain your circadian rhythms. 90 minutes to start your day is enough to see the benefit. Here's one off of Amazon.

  17. Get a standing desk and a treadmill desk. The average desk worker sits for 6 hours and gets less than 4000 steps a day. The best way that I've found to get around this is to invest in an adjustable standing desk and a mini treadmill. The standing desk will help you stand to give your body a break from sitting. The treadmill desk can be used during meetings or dead time to get some extra steps in. For the standing desk I use Uplift and for the treadmill I use Urevo.

  18. The water test for hunger. When people are hungry they may be dehydrated. Instead of reaching for a snack drink 500ml of water and stay busy for 20 minutes. If you're still hungry then go eat. If you forgot about it you were either bored or dehydrated.

  19. Get regular bloodwork and cancer screening done. It's not enough to be at a healthy body fat percentage. You need to see what's under the hood to get a bigger picture of your health. If you're over the age of 30 I highly recommend getting regular bloodwork done as well as cancer screening. You'll find things like nutrient deficiencies and bigger things like possible risk for disease.

  20. For fast and sustainable results get a coach. The best thing I've ever done to improve myself is investing in expert coaches. They accelerate the speed of results through great advice and accountability. Coaches help you know what to do and, more importantly, what not to do while keeping you hyper-accountable to the process. When in doubt, get coaching.


“A healthy man wants a thousand things, a sick man only wants one.”
- Confucius

I have more but I'll stop there. When you look at this list it may be overwhelming. Remember that I applied these to my life over 20 years.

Do not try to apply them all at once. Find the ones that you can apply immediately and start with those.

Changing things in your health has a compounding effect.

It's not about doing them once. You get the benefit when they are done consistently as a part of your lifestyle.

Onwards and upwards 🚀

- Dan


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