Why Self-Experimenting is Sexy (3 Health Experiments You Need to Try Now)

How long have you been exercising the same way?

When did you last switch up your morning routine?

Consider this: you’re probably not being nearly as creative with your lifestyle as you could (most of us aren’t). 

But there is colossal value to be gained by being experimental when it comes to your habits and lifestyle.

At a very practical level, your uniqueness renders scientific studies and research second place at best to personal science garnered through self-knowledge. 

Self-experimenting involves interrogating your habits to discover whether there is a better way of doing things Click To Tweet 

On a more wholesale level, approaching your health from this perspective means you maintain a flexible and curious attitude, cultivating greater confidence in your ability to keep yourself operating at A-game. 

Who doesn’t want that?

How to become your own scientist

girl-843076_640 (2)

If you are completely new to self experimenting, here is what you do:

  1. Decide what you want to work on.
  2. Get a few experimental conditions.
  3. Evaluate the results.

Example:

  • Thing you want to test/improve: Focus and concentration levels. 
  • Conditions: Implement set times for checking Facebook and email. Try different breakfasts. 
  • Evaluation: At the end of each day, write down how productively your time was spent. 

One thing to bear in mind: to know that the results of your test are due to your experiment and not something else, the other things that may impact your results need to be kept constant.

For example, if testing different workouts to help you sleep, ensure that you train at the same time every day. Ideally you only want to change one variable at a time.

Three experiments you definitely need to try

business-792176_640 (2)

These three are relatively simple to do and have the potential to yield massive results. 

Your morning and evening routines are excellent choices to begin your romance with self-experimentation Click To Tweet

Your late evening routine

You’re looking at your ability to set yourself up for restorative and health-enhancing sleep.

Experimental conditions (examples):

  • Do strenuous exercise 2-3 hours before bedtime.
  • Do yoga an hour before bed.
  • Use blue blocking glasses to protect yourself from screens that emit blue light for the last hour before bed.
  • Stop working one hour, two hours, or immediately before bed.
  • Read for the last hour before bed.
  • Have sex.
  • Eat a small fruit snack, or protein, before bed.
  • Have your last meal be at least three hours before bed.

Evaluation criteria: How quickly you fall asleep and whether you stay asleep.  You can measure this with a wearable or mobile app, or (my preferred method) just check in with yourself in the morning. 

Things to keep constant: Coffee during the day; stress/anxiety levels; sleeping alone vs with a bed partner. 

Your early morning routine

The activities you perform immediately after waking up in the morning, and how they set the tone for the rest of your day.

Experimental conditions (examples):

  • Spend the first five minutes after you wake performing creative visualization.
  • Bounce on a rebounder.
  • Go for a half an hour walk.
  • Check work emails first thing in the morning.
  • Spend five minutes in meditation.
  • Eat breakfast within an hour.
  • Fast until lunchtime.
  • Delay your first coffee until at least 9.30 a.m when stress hormones drop.
  • Journal/write.

Evaluation criteria: Your mood and/or ability to focus on work on a 1-5 scale, tested at junctures throughout the day.

Things to keep constant: How well you slept the night before and any emotional turmoil that is going on which might distract you or affect your mood.

The breakfast test

The effects that different foods have on both mind and body. Ideally you’ll test each breakfast 2-3 days in a row as the effects of food are often cumulative. 

Experimental conditions (examples):

  • Fasting until the middle of the day.
  • Eating a protein only breakfast (e.g. eggs). 
  • Eating a raw carbohydrate breakfast (e.g. fruit).
  • Drinking a smoothie.

Evaluation criteria: Your energy levels. Record how energized you feel on a scale from 1-5, every half hour, from breakfast until lunch.

Things to keep constant: Hydration levels and how well you slept the night before.

40 other cool experiments

walker-1208261_640 (2)

Here are some others you can try. As you can see, you can get very creative with this.

Exercise

Thing to test/improve: Your aerobic fitness; strength; flexibility; recover time.

Conditions:

  • Lift weights at end of cardio sessions.
  • Lift weights before cardio sessions.
  • Do more N.E.A.T.
  • Work out in the morning.
  • Work out in the evening.
  • Work out in the middle of the day.
  • Take rest days.
  • Do not take rest days.
  • Use supplements such as high quality fish oil, Vitamin D, creatine or protein powder.
  • Introduce flexibility training, such as yoga, once or twice per week.

What you are evaluating:

  • Energy levels through day.
  • Fat/weight loss.
  • Muscle tone.
  • Performance levels during exercise.

Food and diet

Thing to test/improve: Energy and vitality levels; elimination; fat/weight loss; hunger/satiety levels; calorie intake; stress/state of mind; sleep quality.

Conditions:

  • Go ‘raw until 4’.
  • Follow Ayurveda guidelines.
  • Trying a fast/detoxification. 
  • Cut out processed foods.
  • Eat less meat.
  • Increase your water consumption.
  • Eliminate diary.
  • Eliminate wheat.
  • Eliminate something you eat a lot of.
  • Prepare at least one meal yourself per day.
  • Reduce carbohydrates.
  • Increase fat and protein.
  • Leaving five to six hours between meals.
  • Fasting for 12 hours each night.
  • Having at least one serving of dark leafy greens per day.
  • Eating breakfast.
  • Not eating breakfast.
  • Waiting until 8-10 on the hunger scale before eating.
  • Practicing mindful eating.
  • Using probiotic foods such as kefir daily. 

What you are evaluating: The effects of different diets on your mind and body. 

Spiritual stuff

Thing to test/improve: Levels of inner content, fulfillment and resilience. 

Conditions:

What you are evaluating: Ability to move through life with grace and ease. 

Relationships

Thing to test/improve: Satisfaction, honesty and communication.

Conditions:

  • Setting aside quality time.
  • Taking time out for yourself each day.
  • Changing the way you listen.
  • Attending courses together. 

What you are evaluating: Fulfillment levels; whether relationships are authentic and a source of joy and growth. 

Work and career

Thing to test/improve: Job satisfaction; fulfillment; use of skills; productivity; personal/professional development. 

Conditions:

  • Gratitude practice.
  • Standard setting.
  • Upskilling.
  • Structured times for checking emails.
  • Walking meetings.
  • Work-based mindfulness training.

What you are evaluating: Whether your work is fulfilling you in the area of life purpose; your levels of engagement; your professional results.

The experimental life is the intentional life

These experiments should give you a taste for the experimental life.

Self-experimenting is living a creative, intentional life - it's about living on your own terms Click To Tweet

Once you are practiced with doing this, you can really start drilling down on what lifestyle habits produce the best results for you holistically (at a number of different levels).

Testing key elements of your life through regularly carrying out one to two week experiments makes for fun, interesting and intentional living – and can radically improve the quality of your life.