Episode 94 – Mads Friis | Nordic biohacking & top performance habits

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In this episode, I speak with Mads Friis, a personal growth and high performance mentor. We discuss habits for top performance, Nordic Biohacking and creating a life that you love from the ground up.

From playing different sports at a high level to discovering books by the Dalai Lama and Anthony Robbins, Mads has always been interested in personal growth and high performance. On this journey, he completed different studies and degrees in Psychology at Copenhagen Business School and Harvard University. In his research, Mads found that many of the resources focus 80% on the problems we are facing and only 20% on the solutions. He is on the mission to flip this statistic around to help more people.

To read more about Mads...

One of Mads’ biggest passions is building health, performance, and wellbeing-related ventures and projects. Also, exploring what helps individuals feel extraordinary – perform better, live a more meaningful life, and be happy. Mads has co-built 3 successful, impact-driven ventures with KRING. A few years ago he started Growth Island, a podcast on health, performance, business and life’s bigger mysteries. health and human wellbeing, where he interviewed nearly 100 world’s experts – doctors, scientists, psychologists, and entrepreneurs.

With his management consulting experience from Deloitte, Mads started actively training and consulting startups globally – he worked with +150 startups from all the continents, guiding them through the business model validation and preparation for scale.

We go deep into the psychology behind habits, why they matter, how we can build new ones and remove negative ones, as well as how to bring dopamine into any habit to make it more rewarding. We then dive into Nordic Biohacking and how we can use it to mitigate the unnatural world we currently live in. This is a key episode to listen to if you want to increase your performance, full of practical and easily implementable tips!

Episode highlights include:

  • When we continuously do, it’s who we become
  • A habit reward system can be as simple as high-fiving yourself or a pat on the back
  • Remain focused on what you can do something about, and don’t worry about what you can’t
  • Not all biohacks are necessary – choose what feels right for you
  • Do not discount ancestral wisdom (like meditation, grounding, cold water therapy) when it comes to creating your life.

To connect further with Mads, check out his website Growth Island, and find him on Instagram and LinkedIn.

P.S. The two Growth Island podcast episodes mentioned in this interview were #76 with Milla Titova and #24 with Dr Scott Sherr.


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Murray Guest  00:00

Mads, welcome to the podcast, I’ve been excited to catch up with you and talk to you about a range of topics, particularly around habits. I know you’ve really passionate about helping people implement real change through resetting their habits, looking at those, and I’d loved our chat already before we started recording around your passion for what you do, how are you and where are you right now?


Mads Friis  14:32

Thanks Murray, thank you so much for inviting me on the show I’ve really been looking forward to it. So I am in Denmark right now. I’m down in the southern part of Denmark because I’m doing a skydiving course. So we’re headed a late skydive with the sunset yesterday and then now it’s early morning and been looking forward to this interview.


Murray Guest  14:52

So tell me, skydiving, you’re the first skydiver I’ve had on the podcast, I’ve had some extreme skiers and pilots and a range of people. Why skydiving?


Mads Friis  15:03

Since I was a small kid I always wanted to fly. So we’re talking like four years old, and I used to take like papers in my hands, I would find these, we call it the playhouses before kindergarten. And I would jump out flapping my hands, trying to fly. It wasn’t such a good strategy. So, yeah, then the adults looking after me had to tell my parents that I should stop doing that. When I got older I started playing with weights, because I realized if I just had a bigger like, wing, I’d probably be able to fly, didn’t work either. So that obsession with flying is kind of like freedom and full energy. You’re like a fly the wall, you can see the world and, and, yeah, well it’s inspired energy, what you call it, for me it’s that freedom and and feeling myself in a different way. So, so now I’m doing the course and it’s, it’s fantastic.


Murray Guest  15:56

And and how far into the course are you at this stage.


Mads Friis  15:59

So, I’m at my eighth jump. So today I have to do a back row, and then regain my balance. My friend did it yesterday, he was tumbling around three or four times so I’m, I’m excited, a little nervous to do today, but it’s gonna be interesting. I’m lucky I have an instructor who jumps out who keeps an eye on me, that can catch me if I if I tumble too much.


Murray Guest  16:22

Yeah, gotcha, gotcha. And what height are you jumping out of the plane from?


Mads Friis  16:27

Jumping at 4000 kilometers so like 10,000 feet.


Murray Guest  16:31

10,000 feet. Gotcha. What’s some of the insights you think you’re getting to yourself, by now doing this as a, as a sport? So I can imagine the mindset is really important.


Mads Friis  16:46

The mindset is key. So once you get into the plane, you feel your heart start beating a bit more. Your hands are suddenly starting to get more sweaty. But that’s actually a good sign. That means your systems are still working, because this is not a normal thing to do. So that’s the body really telling you like, hey dude, what the hell you’re doing jumping out of a plane. But you’re, you’re learning to teach the body as well to be in a super stressed situation, and relax. So use breathing when I’m sitting up the slow breathing, calming down the system, focusing on like, this is not going to be dangerous. I got some instructors around me, I know what to do. I’ve been practicing the habit so many times to release my parachute and so on. So I think it’s really a good window into like the stress that you can use everyday life, but that you can actually overcome it.


Murray Guest  17:41

Yeah, wow, it’s such a great link to talking to you today about habits, and, and then taking as you’re talking there about how you can get those bodily functions under control, tap into that and then transfer that data to stressful situations in your life. Yeah, wow, that’s so cool so tell me why habits for you? Why is this an area that you are so passionate about and you’ve been focusing on for some time?


Mads Friis  18:11

Because habits are really, so most people think about, I need to build a new good habit because they want to get in shape or something else. But habits is much, much more than that. Habits is really what shapes your identity. And that’s why I find it so fascinating, because when we continuously do, it’s who we become. So I used to be an athlete. And so even after I stopped playing sports at a high level, I will continue to do sports because that was the identity that I had, so I would continue to have this habit. And it’s the small things right, we try to make like huge life differences. But how often does that work?


Murray Guest  18:48

Not often, yeah.


Mads Friis  18:50

If we know that from research people fall back, where if we start building these small habits that is really like the long term sustainable change for becoming the person that you want to be. So that’s why I find it extremely fascinating because it gets me closer to being the person that I want to be. And when I coach people and so on I see like this mind shift things that we need to work with them on, but it is really building these like good sustainable habits that last more than three weeks, or three days for most people.


Murray Guest  19:18

So, there’s a range of research I’ve seen over the years around 21 days and 90 days to lock in that habit. What’s your understanding and what do you tell your clients, how often they need to stick to something for it to become a habit.


Mads Friis  19:35

So research is always hard to do right there’s so many parameters and the common thing that when you go online, this is 21 days, and I haven’t been able to locate it, and I know several other researchers that look into habits haven’t been able to locate like a really good paper that shows that 21 days is the thing. So, and it’s kind of that annoying answer that it depends. So, the more addictive the behavior is, the faster it goes. So you can just think about social media, and your cell phones, it doesn’t take 21 days to get in the habit of picking up your phone and looking on Instagram, or Twitter, for example, if you start using that 21 day picture. So, it can go extremely fast. If the behavior is kind of addictive and rewarding enough, so we get so much dopamine when we use our phone so it becomes a habit so fast for us, it’s super easy to do, and it’s super rewarding. Thereby, it creates a habit much faster. Where when we’re trying to create something that is not as pleasant it takes a lot longer to get the habit in, and we need to continue it a lot, a lot more to, actually, get that habit to stick. You always fall back kind of to our habits when we’re in a pressure situation, so it’s easy when like the kids are not screaming, you have plenty of time, there’s no deadlines, then it’s easy to stick to those habits but they’re not that deep rooted unless you really been working on them for longer, and you get the reward. So it’s a big part of also like how you build the habits, it is a system, so that you build in these reward systems, so it actually becomes a habit that your brain is craving to do.


Murray Guest  21:13

You got me thinking about how do we bring the dopamine into any habit, so it feels rewarding.


Mads Friis  21:21

Exactly. And that is actually one of the key steps. One of the most known researchers within habits BJ Fogg, who wrote the book Tiny Habits, he’s from Stanford and he’s been doing some of the best research in the world on habits over the years, right? And what he found is that it’s super important that we kind of get that reward tied up straight to the behavior. So many people say like okay if I do this 10 times then I’ll treat myself with x, that helps because it helps you have the motivation to do it. But you need more than that, because that’s only the motivation to do it. You want to get that reward tied off straightaway, so that your brain connects to that behavior. So let’s say that it is going for a walk, or running. So you want to like once you finish it find something to actually create that link up in your brain. And he talks about something as simple as just high fiving yourself giving yourself a clap on the shoulder, you might give yourself a hug, and for most people that sounds super like crazy, like can that really do it? But if you’re listening right now, and you’re not in a space where it’s going to be super awkward. You can try it and just be like, put your hands on yourself like yes.


Murray Guest  22:43

Yeah, I can feel it. I mean, you feel it straightaway when you, you bring it into that embodiment of the habit, and that mini celebration. Yeah, love it. 


Mads Friis  22:57

Mmm, so simple, but that’s one of the ways that we can actually do it. 


Murray Guest  23:03

Yeah and you just got me thinking about phones and technology and I pick up myself all the time about how quickly I can get into some habits which are distracting, which aren’t valuable in my life but I know I’m doing it because it’s, you know, on the phone and it’s easy and it’s rewarding, and breaking that, and how I need to bring something else that I find rewarding. So maybe, here’s what I’m going to do and listeners, please challenge me on this. I want to put the phone down more, pick up the book more and do some reading. Maybe I should give myself some little celebrations as I read through my book, not just at the end of completing a book.


Mads Friis  23:43

That’d be fantastic, and definitely more helpful. A model you can look into as well as kind of the TAR model. So it talks about how you actually create a habit. So the model stands for T, that is the trigger. The A is the action, and the R is reward. So how we build habits is very much related to that. So, the trigger that can be that you see your phone, like you look over and you see your phone right, then you’re reaching for it so the action is that you reach for it and you open social media or your email, and the reward you get is, well, the brain rewards you by being like ahh, this was nice, I got some kind of confirmation or something else, colors and something interesting. So then that builds that space. It also happens with the bad habits so someone might be nervous and feeling a bit pressured. So you’re sitting at the office you’re kind of feeling a bit pressured. You then pick up your phone and go to social media to get kind of that relief, you get the reward because you get distracted from being pressured on the deadline. Then suddenly that loop gets stronger and stronger. So you’re looking at the phone as well when you’re not nervous, or when you’re not pressured or stressed. So we got to be extremely aware but understand that model first is kind of the foundation to actually changing. So if you want to build a habit the first thing to trigger, you want to make it super visible. So the phone is often visible right, we feel in our pockets, it’s lying in front of our computer or something else so we constantly have the trigger to be notified to be like, Hey, take your phone. And the action is super easy right? We even got it so easy now we have face recognition you don’t even need to put in the PIN code. It’s just like you pick it up. So the action is also easy. And then it’s super rewarding, so we want to build something we want to make it super visible, we want to make the action extremely easy which the phone makers have been fascinatingly good at right. And then you want to make it rewarding. So if you for example, want to read more, you put the book out in the morning, you put it on your bed, or you put it on your table. And then when you come home the book is already there so it’s visible, it’s lying there just like your phone would probably lie there or something else, or like the TV remote would be out visible. Instead, the book is visible, and then you make it easy by just having to read one page, then you come up with a goal and you have some kind of reward that you build in like if you just read one page a day you give yourself a high five or clap on the shoulder.


Murray Guest  26:12

Love it, love it. Yeah, I think that’s a real good insight for me around how I just make it easy to adopt a new habit by having that trigger out of the way, get rid of the phone, get rid of that device and bring the book more visible so that’s the thing I’m going to go to much easier. I love the way you’re chunking down little changes that make it easier. What about if it’s a real strong habit that someone’s got, for some of the people that you work with, and it might be like a really unhealthy negative habit they’ve developed. How do you start to turn that around?


Mads Friis  26:52

So there’s several steps I suppose like they’re kind of mechanical steps to break a habit and then there’s the reason why do they have that habit. What need is it meeting. So it’s figuring out what need is it meeting to do this habit. They said, comfort, is it a feeling of importance. What is it that it actually does. So figuring out what need it is meeting, and then what can we replace that habit with. So, because some people say I haven’t seen the research that says that you can’t get rid of a habit without replacing it with a new habit, but most of us know intuitively, at least, that it’s easier to get rid of a habit, if we replace it with a new one, so figuring out what need is that negative habit meeting because all of our habits are meeting a need, right, when we’re looking at the phone, when we’re eating junk and different things, it’s meeting needs. So we need to figure out how can we replace that need with a more healthy need. So that would be the first step, second step is just like TAR model again. So instead of the trigger, you want to make it invisible, you want to make it invisible. So once we move it whether it’s physically. So you don’t see that trigger often, you want to make the action super hard. So for example with your phone, you want to remove face recognition, have a long PIN code. I know it’s a bit impractical, remove those apps potentially delete them or put them down into folders, make a limitation on the iPhone, you can set limitations you won’t be able to use those apps for like five or ten minutes or you need to put in a PIN code again. Make that PIN code as long as possible, so that it’s difficult to actually do, and then find some way to make it unsatisfying. Some of these habits are already kind of unsatisfying in social media you can set up a limit for yourself like that if you do you have to like two things that you’d be embarrassed about liking, if you actually do it, then your brain starts connecting like hey this is not so fun.


Murray Guest  28:43

I like all those little tips. And obviously, lots of people out there have, whether it’s Instagram or Facebook or Twitter or Tik Tok, whatever it is, you know, we can be getting, I think in a way of doing other parts of our life and leading a more fulfilling life. I mean, and that’s the thing that’s raising to my awareness right now around well how much time do I spend scrolling mindlessly when I could be doing something else that’s more fulfilling, more satisfying as well. That said, sometimes we need a bit of a distraction but, like you’re saying, be aware of why you’re doing it. Yeah, what’s that motivation.


Mads Friis  29:28

Yeah there’s some things psychology call healthy escapism. Like escape from the world. So it’s that balance that you really want to be aware of, like it’s fine once in a while to escape. So for me, my go to thing which is a healthy thing is I’m a Manchester United fan since I was a small kid, I haven’t seen any of the games for the last four to five years, but I grew up with Peter Schmeichel, who was a Danish goalkeeper. So he was like before I could read I was like, like, going through these magazines about it. So I go to this Danish website called OldTrafford.dk, and they only have one to two news a day, short news. That’s where I go, I read one news, which takes me like two to three minutes, but I don’t have, like on Instagram, an endless amount of content to scroll. Yeah, so there’s nothing wrong with using Instagram and the other things once in a while and especially I think social media is often getting a bad rap, but it’s also how you use them. So if you use them in a positive way where you’re not following people that makes you feel like less, but you follow like stuff that actually inspires you like your podcast, finding stuff where you can learn something from, then it’s just a matter of not getting stuck in only learning but also doing.


Murray Guest  30:42

Yeah, I did a big cull a little while ago and looked at who I was following. What was that bringing into my awareness, into my mind, into my heart, and did a big cull, and that felt really good. So, and I really encourage people to do that like Mads just said you know look at what’s filling up your feed. And is it is it helping you feel better about yourself and lift you and inspire you or is it actually giving you some emotions which made you feel worse about yourself or not strong about yourself. So, and be bit ruthless about some of those, because you can always re-follow something down the track if you really want to but be ruthless and cut some of those out of your feed. You mentioned Man U., how are they going at the moment?


Mads Friis  31:29

It’s kind of like Liverpool for 10 years, a dark period after the great Alex Ferguson, Sir Alex Ferguson, got a second place this time. It’s, I don’t know why it’s for me it’s more just like when I follow them, it’s something that goes back to my childhood and just kind of that, I don’t get that emotional about whether they win or not any longer. Still a bit annoyed when I see that they lose and there was a long period where they kept losing right.


Murray Guest  31:54

I think, I think what I’ve noticed with a lot of people I’ve talked to is as they grow older, they realize that the result of the game isn’t up to them and not attaching your emotional wellbeing to the result of a team that you follow isn’t healthy.


Mads Friis  32:12

I fully agree. And thanks for bringing that up. I really think like we need to figure out what can be controlled and what can we not control. I read when I was fairly young, in the Dalai Lama, a book from him where he was talking about worries and so on. And he talked about where he is like can you do something about it? Do it. If you can’t, stop worrying about it, because you can’t do anything about it. And it’s just so true, the same like, don’t worry about it. Don’t let it affect your mood when it’s like nothing you can change right. I know Tony Robbins he talks about a third one as well that he probably got from another person is like either you do something about it, or if you can’t do something you don’t do something. But if you can do something about it but you don’t do it, then stop complaining. Stop worrying. Because then you made that choice. Like, no more complaints. Either you do something, or you stop complaining.


Murray Guest  33:03

Yeah, and particularly after the year that we’ve had, if you think about 2020 and even right now in the middle of 2021, all that’s going on in the world. What have you been seeing with the clients you’ve been working with, around how they’re feeling at the moment because I have noticed, there’s more of a heaviness, because people are getting more in tune to what’s going on around the world and obviously COVID and many other things, what, what have you been noticing in the clients you’re working with.


Mads Friis  33:36

I think there’s a mix, but it’s definitely like that heaviness of not being able to see other human beings, right. When, when, which is such a important need for us to see other human beings, being part of a tribe. Then suddenly having to wear a mask we don’t get those, even those small smiles and interaction during the day, and you’re allowed to get that physical touch as well, which is so important for us as well. So I think it’s super natural that so many people are feeling more down because our basic human needs are not being met. And I also see a lot of frustration with like, the lack of information coming out in Denmark and other places has been a lot of censorship with different information if it wasn’t into the narrative of we need to lock everything down, we had like, top scientists that were like being removed from LinkedIn and other media as for, for pointing to studies coming out like there was a big Danish study and not going into what to do with COVID but just like, what frustrated people was that a big Danish study was coming out publishing good papers that mass didn’t help you from not getting COVID. It was a huge study, but it didn’t show whether it would protect someone from contaminating someone else but it did show that it didn’t have an effect. And people that were publishing that got removed and they got the post deleted. So I’ve seen a huge frustration about the lack of normal debate whether you agree or not but being able to pull that information out, that’s something that at least I’ve noticed like a huge frustration about like hey what’s going on. This is not okay.


Murray Guest  35:14

I’ve noticed some of that as well and I think the bit there, I think that’s really important that you mentioned is let’s still be able to have healthy debate from people that know what they’re talking about. That as you said, if there’s scientists that are conducting research and they know what they’re talking about and they want to publish that, that the platform should be available, you know, democracy, people to share that. And yeah, and that leads to some levels of frustration and heaviness. For people that right now are feeling a bit of that, I know that you’re living an amazing life and that’s what you help people do and the people you talk to in your podcast, what are some of the simple things that you know help people turn that around, is it back to some of what we talked about before about focusing on what’s in your control or what else do you know helps?


Mads Friis  36:02

Yeah, but definitely like the first point like what can you actually control. You can even make a map, all the things that frustrate you. It’s probably not the best but sometimes just get it out and just be like this I can do something about this I can’t. If you have too many frustrations, it might be too much for you depending on where you are emotionally, but if you’re still in an OK state, but then like what are all the things you can do about what are the things you can actually do something about that will have the biggest impact. So I mean like, what would actually make you feel better. And so there’s truth, like we talk about happiness Martin Seligman who is like the father of positive psychology, like back in the days with psychology, we only looked at like, how do we make a sick person feel okay. Which is super important. But how about how do we make someone feel okay to fantastic. So Martin Seligman, he was the President of one of the biggest associations within psychology of, like, okay, like one out of 10 studies is about how do we make people feel good. How about we get a few more studies. And he talks about what is happiness. And many of us mostly think about hedonic happiness, which is like chocolate, sex, that kind of stuff that makes us feel really good. Another level of flow, where you’re really engaged in something and everything disappears, you don’t feel that many emotions. It might, it’s when you’re doing some kind of challenging task but still at the level where you can actually complete it. And then there’s a third meaning back to your question with a third level of happiness which is meaning. So being involved in something, something that’s bigger than yourself. And all three levels of happiness are important, but it’s definitely important to begin number two and three. So going back to your question, what can we do, well we shouldn’t only focus on the things like chocolate, sex, whatever makes us feel good right now, a movie and so on, so on. And sometimes it’s also choosing if you’re frustrated about something, the level of meaning, like actually putting some effort into trying to change something that’s important or helping other people. I had a podcast episode as well with a scientist from the US who had done a study that shows that if you are not in the best state often you will get more happiness from helping others doing something good for others than yourself. They did five different experiments. That’s not to say, and especially in many women who are like, not focusing on taking care of themselves, that you should spend all of your time on like trying to help other people around you, but it’s like, of course, having a healthy balance of taking care of yourself giving yourself some self love, but then also looking outside of yourself to feel better.


Murray Guest  36:41

Yeah, yeah. Yeah, I love that you brought that back to that healthy balance that you’re looking after yourself so that you have a full cup that you can serve others. And at the same time, if you know that’s the case, but you’re feeling a bit flat a bit down a bit out of sorts, however you want to frame that up, you know, who can you serve right now to help as well. And that level of fulfillment you get, that level of purpose, that connection to purpose you just mentioned that’s so important. I want to ask about Nordic biohacking. This is a new term for me. I’m interested and curious. Can you give me and the listeners, a bit of an overview of what you mean by Nordic biohacking.


Mads Friis  39:25

Sure. So some people might have heard about biohacking before. And what do you think, Murray, when you hear about biohacking, what’s the first thought that comes to mind.


Murray Guest  39:36

So with biohacking I think about hacking your biology through technology or nootropics or different ways to, I guess hack your health and well being, through some new and different ways.


Mads Friis  39:53

Yeah, that’s not a bad description. So it’s kind of the American way of biohacking is very focused on technology, as Americans, sometimes, often, if you generalize. And that’s fantastic but so like we we look at the Nordic way of biohacking, we say, the art and science of optimizing your health, your performance and your well being, through nature and technology.


Murray Guest  40:25

Oh gotcha.


Mads Friis  40:27

So often the Nordic were very like minimalistic, there’s a bigger focus sometimes on nature as well. So, we will looking at like how can you optimize things, there’s some of the things that you said nootropics and so on, are definitely ways to optimize your sharpness and being present, but we’re living in an unnatural world these days with devices all around blue light that has negative effects. So biohacking is also very much about mitigating those negative effects. So both, we talked about psychology, how do you go from feeling bad to feeling okay. And then also, pairing, how do you go from feeling okay to feeling amazing, and having that extra spark and energy. So we look at what are things such as cold water. Now we know there’s more research about cold water, I had a PhD on cold water. And we know that it increases atrophagy which is better for longevity, we know that it increases or promotes the brown fat and other things. We know that when you come up as well they release the hormones in your body you feel amazing. So now we’re starting to get more research on it. Same thing goes with meditation, that used to be something that we back in the days, thought was crazy. Now we know that actually helps. So when we have biohacking we look at, that’s why we say the art and science if we look at studies first. What are the studies showing, what works well. But what we also know from the studies is, it’s often those outliers, right. And the outliers interesting for someone looking into the performance as well, because who are really like doing the best potentially can be an outlier, or who is not reacting well to this treatment or this method. So we talk about something called N=1, which is like the basics of biohacking is a sample size of one. So we start with the studies what works for most people but then testing on ourselves to see does it actually work, we actually see does it work for us or not. And then we say comes from ancestral wisdom, and modern science. So again, double blind studies, the best proof. Even though some double blind studies turned out not to be replicable afterwards that we can do them again and get the same result to like my grandma said, but there is some of this ancestral wisdom like my grandma said we’re starting to figure out. So as a child you might have been taught that you should eat dessert in the end, I’m not sure whether people have been taught that in Australia as well.


Murray Guest  42:54

Oh yes yes definitely.


Mads Friis  42:56

There’s many reasons for that, but now we also know if from biohacking technology if you put a continuous glucose monitor on you that measures your glucose levels, if you eat your fats and your proteins first, your glucose levels are not going to spike as much.


Murray Guest  43:11

Uh huh.


Mads Friis  43:12

And that’s quite fascinating because we don’t want a lot of spikes. So some of these things that we’ve been told, like from back in the days and using just like meditation and and being grateful or prayer and so on, fasting as well that many traditions and religions have done, are turning out like this ancestral wisdom to be extremely good. So, so we look at both sides both like well it’s a continuous glucose monitor that I tried with as a hyperbaric oxygen chamber which is showing amazing results for longevity, to what does it do to actually jump in cold water. What does it mean to fast, what does it mean to get out and get sunlight because it has a different effect on us.


Murray Guest  43:49

Yeah. And for me, and everyone that, or most people that listen to my podcast know I’m a mountain biker I love mountain biking, and I know when I get out in the forest, in the bush, there’s a level of joy and rejuvenation in my well being that I won’t get if I’m inside a building. And that’s away from technology amongst nature, rocks, trees, the wind, the sunlight. And when you’re talking before I was thinking about okay that’s part of my, my, my own biohacking because I’m, I can be on my bike in two minutes, I can feel a change straightaway. And then after, you know, two or three hours, it’s like I’m in a different state. Totally.


Mads Friis  44:37

And, and that’s the thing that we need to focus more on as well and that’s a big part of the Nordic biohacking movement, is that we do love technology. But we also realize many of the gadgets are in the early stage and we might want to be the ones testing them out. But nature is key. The same thing with grounding and just taking your socks off and putting them on the ground. For most people have gotten on to the sand, for most people just feels amazing. I was doing it yesterday after one of the jumps, and like took my shoes off and was just like wow my body felt better, as you’re saying like that state. We’ve been able to do some studies now where we can see inflammation lowers in the body when people are grounded. There’s a lot of research that needs to come out on it but at least there’s some studies and it can be high quality and bigger sample sizes but like, actually just that being in touch with nature. And I think it’s Japan that actually prescribed people that have depression and different things to go to forests, something called Biophilia where we know our connection to nature so important, someone that can see a tree from the window, and an office have less sick days. So it’s just like, it’s crazy how we got so disttached from nature when it’s so important for our well being.


Murray Guest  45:45

Yeah, and I picture someone that works and lives in a city, and every moment, they’ve either got shoes on or concrete under their feet, and to get some of that grounding back on sand or soil or grass and doing that, as you said, just, I know for myself I get that recentering but also I feel like my spatial awareness resets as well like I feel more back into my own body. So I also just want to go back, I like the N=1, which is what I’m hearing when you say that, that tested for yourself, is this right for you. Give it a try. But don’t just take everything at face value.


Mads Friis  46:34

Exactly. There’s so many experts out there. Or, when at least when you go to social media. And what I found was that many of them don’t read the studies. You see something on social media that are being reposted right so the first advice you get might even be wrong, but even if it comes from this good study like Milla that I interviewed who has a doctorate degree like a PhD in psychology, and that shows like helping others is still like okay, what’s that balance, and how do you feel from it right. And it’s, it’s so key that we take that awareness back.


Murray Guest  47:06

Yeah 100%. So, if there were a couple of bio hacks that have worked really well for you and for people you’ve worked with and what you’ve picked up on the conversations you’ve had in your podcast. What would be, you know, three or four that you would love to recommend for us to try. 


Mads Friis  47:25

The first thing is figure out what do you want to accomplish before trying to biohack. And so that’s the first question, and then you also look at the kind of the framework for finding the biohack. Is it helping you get data on something that you want. Is it effectful, do you like what you’re doing, is it fun.


Murray Guest  47:45



Mads Friis  47:47

Way too many people are beating themselves up every single day, like we need to have fun. Like there’s no reason just to push yourself all the time, so is it fun. Like, does it save me time, and is it fairly cheap right. So something that’s fairly cheap that I love to do is simply just take my shoes off, and my socks off and feel the ground. For me it just, it feels better in my body, it goes the same with meditation, but that’s advice that they’ve heard so many times, right, breathing, I learnt a simple breathing technique from, from an episode where we like do this humming and it opens up the chest, and it just, it comes down to Vagus nerve in the in the system so you are more relaxed. So like, those kinds of mindfulness in different ways is top. For me red light therapy, photobiomodulation, is this red light that sends different light frequencies. This old technology that we’ve been using for like almost 100 years that are just becoming more consumer gradable, and it feels amazing.


Murray Guest  48:50

Wow, that’s awesome. Yeah.


Mads Friis  48:52

I’m a person that loves to have fun, and I want to live a life of energy and principally in good spirit right, we have this one life, we get the most out of it so I prefer to do kind of bio hacks that that give me joy as well, and sitting up against it feels amazing. And I can do I can meditate or I can answer messages at the same time while I do it, I have big panels that are up against my wall. Simple stuff such as sauna, it’s also something that detoxifies and so on. So I would actually say most of my favorite bio hacks are not these crazy tech ones like I tried to have straps gathered around my entire brain which was super fascinating to see my brainwaves and neurofeedback and so on and and be in these chambers as well, but the best bio hacks for me are often the simple ones that gives a bit of joy.


Murray Guest  49:39

Yeah and what you just talked through there, a lot of those simple, don’t cost a lot, give you joy, have some fun. Yeah. Love it, love it.


Mads Friis  49:48

If I had a ton of money, I would buy a hyperbaric oxygen chamber. Those are like those are expensive, it’s old technology as well but we are seeing crazy results, health wise when using hyperbaric oxygen chamber, so if you’re sitting listening and you’re really loaded. Go check out hyperbaric oxygen chambers, a guy called Scott on my podcast, he is the guy to guide us.


Murray Guest  50:13

We’ll make sure we got a link to that one in the in the show notes to go and check that out. So tell me what’s in store for you for the rest of 2021? You’re skydiving at the moment, getting that done, what else is on your radar?


Mads Friis  50:26

Yeah. So we’re ramping up more with the podcast, and doing more talks. So both participating in podcasts and doing workshops on the main thing that drives me is like what makes people happy. What gets a good life and habits and Nordic biohacking are two approaches to get them in life. So that’s gonna take some more time in the coming year. I’m also partners in KRING where we build companies within health and well being. So tech companies and so on. And we’re going to be building some more companies there plus I’m also on the board for some of them, so that’s super fascinating.


Murray Guest  51:03

Yeah cool.


Mads Friis  51:03

That definitely takes some time as well. And then it’s getting better at taking time off, I get so fascinated by working. I have a I have a lovely girlfriend that I want to spend more time with. I have a great family and great friends so it’s really making sure that I get the time to remember them as well and don’t get stuck in the loop of like what I feel is a big mission to help people feel better in life but also remember the circle around me.


Murray Guest  51:30

Yeah, awesome and I think that’s a really great reminder for everybody that is linking back to you said before about us as humans being pack animals and part of a tribe and that connection and taking the time out for that as well. And that in itself is a hack, you know, don’t forget to do that, so important.


Mads Friis  51:47

The Blue Zones was the study about what the people living in the longest, one of the main things is a social connection. And it’s so easy right, we don’t talk about it as often because we’re take it for granted and everyone knows it but like, it is one of the main things like schedule in seeing other people, work on how do you build like strong connections like what are quality questions instead of just talking about the Manchester United game, like what’s the quality of conversation and, and how do you build that like space for having a conversation that matters. That is like one of the keys and probably much more important than all of the other things that we discussed in the, in this interview right, it’s like the social connections.


Murray Guest  52:30

Well, it’s interesting you say that Mads I ran a workshop for one of my clients, earlier this week, full day workshop covered a whole range of business processes and systems and updates that they needed to do and we did some other things but what I brought in was a very short session where I said, Get up, talk to your fellow team members about 40 of them, and find out from at least three people something about them that you didn’t know, a passion, something outside of work that they’re passionate about, or a skill or a strength in an area you’re not aware, and the amount of feedback that we’ve got, which said that was the best part of the whole day. Those conversations where they really got to know each other at a different level, and a different insight people just found it so insightful and valuable and I think you’re right, we’re having those conversations and let’s connect with people really beyond, you know, did my team win last night. Yeah, thank you so much for your time. Thank you so much for all your information around habits, Nordic biohacking, your inspiration around how we can build those into our, our lives to be the best we can, be happy, be joyful. It’s been fantastic. I want to ask, what’s your definition of inspired energy.


Mads Friis  53:51

It’s when you’re waking up in the morning and you’re excited about starting the day. It’s when I’m with people where I feel like there’s no limits. I feel like I can reach the moon, I feel fully alive, I feel I’m more in my body than in my head, that I have kind of that vibration is just like let’s go for it. That’s, that’s inspired energy for me.


Murray Guest  54:16

Oh I love that and that’s a new, a different definition about I’m more in my body than my head, I love that. That is fantastic Mads thank you so much. I want to make sure in our show notes we’ll have links to a few of the things you’ve talked about, your podcast, and links to your website to check you out. And if you got something out of this conversation with Mads, which I’m sure you did, because he’s a wonderful, wonderful man. Please let us know, tag us on social media, we will be on there at some stage and we’ll check it out, but also make sure to check out Mads’ podcast, and what he shares online as well. I look forward to seeing a photo of you skydiving. Okay. I want to see this.


Mads Friis  54:59

I have a video coming up. Hopefully I won’t be tumbling as many times as my phone hopefully I do get a lot of tumbles but I recover without the instructor doing it for me.


Murray Guest  55:08

Tumble with control. That’s what I’m feeling. Yes, yes, wonderful to talk to you, and connect, I’m sure we’ll talk again. All the best for your skydiving and the coming weeks, and thanks for all your knowledge, been amazing.


Mads Friis  55:25

Thank you so much for having me on Murray, pleasure to talk to you.


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