Christoph Bründl: Stefan, I really like your slogan "welcome to yourself"! To me, it means embarking on a journey to explore your own body with the goal of discovering and optimizing your personal potential. But firstly, tell us about your fascinating past: you spent ten years in the IT industry, where digitization and optimization were your passion and still guide your daily activities to this day. What personally motivated you to switch careers and dive into the world of health optimization?

Stefan Klinglmair: I've always been driven by an interest in exercise, nutrition, and health, initially out of personal necessity, since I've had a chronic intestinal disease since my early twenties, also requiring regular medication. Knowing how many health issues originate in the gut was a turning point and my motivation to listen more to my body. Through careful dietary monitoring and tailored nutritional supplements, I've managed to live a life that’s completely medication- and symptom-free. That said, I've been engaged with this topic for 25 years, and it was a natural step for me to also make it the focus of my profession.

CB: Off the cuff, what are your three most important principles for good nutrition?

SK: Well, I may have a different take here. I don't follow the typical approach of "cut this out, cut that out..." I prefer the principle of "eliminate it once I notice something isn’t good for me personally". However, that doesn’t mean you can’t indulge from time to time. I've learned to manage my diet better because ascetic denial doesn’t lead to long-term happiness, at least not for me. With that in mind, I follow the 80/20 rule and listen to my body. This helps me recognize which foods and what times work best for me. Another major principle for me is cooking for myself. I avoid fast food and focus heavily on high-quality, regional foods, which are readily available here in Austria, even if it means more complicated logistics, like getting eggs from a specific organic farm.

My third principle is balance and diversity in my diet, meaning I use nutrient-rich and high-fiber foods, avoid monotony, and am always open to trying new recipes and products, including vegan ones. I value biodiversity and clearly feel the benefits I get from that.

Interview im Firmensitz Salzburg der Biogena Group

CB: Daniel, let’s jump right into the topic with the catchy term "biohacking." In simple terms, what exactly happens inside the body?

DD: We can use nutrition as a prime example. But why hack into your body, what are the benefits? Because, at least here in Austria, we live in a time of great prosperity—we always have enough to eat, we don’t freeze, and many things are just one push of the button away. We live in an extremely comfortable world. However, our body hasn’t caught up with these circumstances, our biochemistry and evolution haven’t been able to adapt swiftly enough to these conditions. Biohacking is simply about reintroducing primal stimuli so that we can reconnect with our natural, biological selves.

CB: I see what you mean—here in the Western world, we’re living in a comfort zone of prosperity, almost luxury. So, you’re saying we need to break away from that comfort?

DD: Absolutely, we are too entrenched in the comfort zone, not challenging our bodies enough. However, the solution is quite straightforward: we need to create stimuli to trigger vital changes. Essentially, our prosperity is also making us ill, although it is admittedly a nice luxury problem to have. Yet, we can make many positive changes for ourselves if we alter our lifestyle just slightly. Dietary supplements can further support that finetuning process.

SK: That's it exactly: setting stimuli that were once normal but now need to be consciously sought-out to signal to our body, "you need to do something, improve yourself." It also means listening more to yourself and understanding your body better.

CB: How do I get started, then, to optimize my overall health? And something our readers are definitely eager to know: What's an especially quick or simple method to enhance my well-being?

DD: There are so many small and large levers you can easily pull. If you’ll allow me to outline my daily routine: I aim for 7 hours of sleep, as studies show it promotes longevity. I start my morning with a cold shower and do a few minutes of breathing exercises after brushing my teeth. Then I make sure to get some daylight, either sitting in front of my red-light panels, or more usually, I go outside, since our dog needs to go out anyway. Changing your eating habits is comparatively more complex, requires a lot of knowledge and a bit of a budget. Simply put: biohacking for beginners is something anyone can do and it costs nothing: Get enough sleep, take cold showers, spend fifteen minutes outside in daylight, and breathe consciously – breathing is one of the most undervalued things there is.

CB: And how do I integrate small, effective elements into my daily routine?

DD: Here at Biogena, just before lunch, we do a five-minute plank and then two minutes of conscious breathing. Only then do we actually eat. Or, after eating, I go for a fifteen-minute walk. In the evening, I try to take another stroll to get in touch with nature or enjoy the silence.
But I've simplified it for myself to integrate it more easily into my daily routine: I ask myself every day, "Can I manage my 10,000 steps today?" or "Can I burn 750 calories through physical activity?" or "Have I taken an hour just for myself?" These questions are crucial, as I know that, only in this way, do I feel strengthened. The result? I have much more energy in my everyday life, for others and myself. And let's be honest, everyone has a spare hour every day—you can always squeeze it in if you want to, and ultimately, it's the best investment we can make in our lives.

CB: What are some different biohacking methods specifically for athletes?

DD: Here at Biogena, for example, we offer altitude training, which is very relevant for endurance athletes. This involves increasing the production of red blood cells to transport more oxygen and energy to muscles. We achieve this naturally through oxygen therapy. This is a form of metabolic training, also known as Metabolic Air, similar to altitude training. Here’s how it works: You lie down with an oxygen mask simulating an altitude of 4,500 – 5,000 meters. I stay at this altitude for five to seven minutes, breathing in correspondingly less air, then return to a normal altitude. This cycle generates stimuli, optimizing the body. Through deprivation, the body is constantly incentivized to improve. This treatment is beneficial not just for high-performance athletes but also recommended for amateur athletes as well. We also offer a wide range of other treatments, such as light, electrical stimulation, and compression, along with cold applications, like ice baths, primarily used for recovery in order to get back to regular training quicker.

Health is not the absence of disease.
Stefan Klinglmair
Biogena Group

CB: What role does nutrition play in biohacking—are there specific dietary approaches or forms of eating that work well with biohacking or even activate it?

SK: Essentially, people have to find a dietary approach that suits them personally, and that they can sustain in the long term. Enjoyment is also part of it, and being sensitized to certain foods is crucial. Whether it’s cutting out sugar, bread, or alcohol from your diet or at least minimizing them, you need to build a nutrition model that works for the long haul. And it’s important not to take on more than you can handle. In other words, at first try only to cut out the sugar, not a bunch of other things at the same time. Also, simple rules help, like no bread during the week, but weekends are okay. Or no bread in the evening. I do that because, in that way, I don’t have to constantly think about whether I should or shouldn’t. It’s unnecessarily stressful and makes it hard to establish routines. By the way, a dietary change in the context of self-optimization doesn't necessarily mean eating less or starving.

DD: Adding to that: Don’t lie to your biochemistry. Your body is a marvel, compensates for a long time, but it also remembers everything. The quality of our food is crucial. Yes, high-quality, preferably regional products are supposed to be expensive, but not all of them actually are. Consider, for instance, preparing potatoes fresh instead of using instant mash; what does that cost? In the end, it's about balance and moderation. I also recommend clearing out all the myths and tales about correct and incorrect diets that have been ingrained in our minds for years. Stay current, stay informed. The Biogena Group sees it as an important function to impart knowledge and expertise to our customers. We, as people, need to relearn what’s in which food. Of course there are consulting services and experts, but this underlying concept needs to sink into our heads first. It’s paradoxical—I go to the dentist for my teeth, I take my car to the mechanic, many have an accountant or tax advisor... but when it comes to health, we often try to make do with half-truths. Few actually invest in professional advice before making everyday dietary changes. Here again, we see the lack of a sense of personal responsibility.

Picture of Daniel Donhauser, Management Biogena Biohacking Solutions GmbH

CB: Let's now come to the big topic of dietary supplements as well as your products. Why are these supplements increasingly necessary, and how do I find out which nutrients my body might be lacking? Simply put, what are the classics that everyone should take?

SK: Three key themes emerge here. First, our lifestyle. We don’t go outside as much as we used to and (rightly) protect our skin with sunscreens. In a nationwide study in Austria involving 1400 blood samples from participants aged between twenty and seventy, it was confirmed what we already knew: Most people have a severe deficiency of Vitamin D, especially in the winter months. The second theme is nutrient deficiency. The quality of food has deteriorated, people take less time to cook, many rely on industrially processed foods. The third point is the rapid increase in common diseases, like osteoporosis, diabetes, or poor bone density, partly caused by insufficient exercise and poor nutrition. Also, many do not know that magnesium is one of the most important micronutrients and significantly affects our sleep quality. The body is a marvel and can compensate for these deficiencies for 20-30, even 40 years, but then what? The body does not forget.

DD: Our lifestyle has become much faster; we consume far more nutrients today, also caused by chronic stress, lack of adequate regeneration phases, and the drive to always keep our foot on the gas. Our cells are simply structured, very much like a car: the more you accelerate, the more fuel you need. For example, we’ve observed that people who constantly live under high stress levels need pretty much the same nutrients as an athlete. Returning to your question: My daily dose of additional nutrients includes magnesium, vitamin D, omega-3, fiber, and coenzyme Q10.

CB: How do our readers find out what additional nutrients they need, and what kinds of analyses are required?

SK: To get a comprehensive overall picture, a complete micronutrient analysis from whole blood is recommended. Only through a whole-blood analysis can we precisely measure the values of cells that renew every 13 weeks. When athletes come to us, the standard procedure is to first check their micronutrient levels by means of such a whole-blood analysis, after which they receive a therapy recommendation. We have been working closely with our partner doctors for years. And about 4 months later, a "re-check" is conducted. Unfortunately, this examination is a private service that not everyone can or wants to afford. Again, the question of self-responsibility arises. But it's not just about deficiencies; it's also about optimization, even if I'm already in the "green" zone. Why settle for 100% when even more might actually be possible? Especially for athletes, that's the big question: What if?

DD: Also, I don’t get regular blood tests; even for me, that happens once a year at most, often only every two years. But as I mentioned, I’ve also learned to sense what’s good for me and what I’m missing. And the standard nutrient supplements, which I call the three wise men—magnesium, omega-3, and vitamin D—are virtually impossible to overdose and are therefore part of my daily supplement regimen.

CB: Once more to clarify: For an athlete, the first step would be the micronutrient analysis. What steps follow then?

SK: They then receive a custom-tailored combination of vitamins, trace elements, and minerals from us, always with a focus on everyday practicality. Of course, it requires discipline and consistent intake, and possibly a change in training methods or lifestyle. But taking supplements must be tolerable and easily integrable into daily life, keeping it as uncomplicated as possible. Furthermore, we recommend that customers listen to themselves, create a maintenance strategy, develop the right mindset. Also, never forgetting that results don't happen overnight. Meanwhile, some changes I feel now, others, such as my contribution to better bone density, are far more like investments in my older age

Biohacking for beginners can be done by anyone and it costs nothing: Enough sleep, cold showers, fifteen minutes in daylight, and conscious breathing.
Daniel Donhauser
Biogena Biohacking Solutions GmbH

CB: As we approach the finish line of this interview, let's summarize for our readers: Why is physical activity so important? And what nutrition and regeneration principles are important in addition to professional analyses and supplementation?

DD: This concerns your target group in particular, likely involving many amateur and recreational athletes: Physical activity is important, but not as crucial as training. A simple example: In the past, a mail carrier would ride a bike for six to eight hours a day. But was he fit or healthy? Not necessarily. Because he performed the same movement at the same intensity every day. The body gets used to it and stops optimizing. You have to keep surprising it!

So, my advice, even for amateur athletes: Either incorporate peaks in training or perform extremely slow units so that practically no stress is involved at all. Moreover, endurance athletes often neglect muscle training. But as we know: No muscles, no bone density.

SK: Exactly: Stimuli are vital, you need variety. But balance is also important, slowly ease into changes, build on them, and constantly challenge your body anew. And don't neglect regeneration.

CB: Let’s talk more about muscle training and its importance. Many engage in muscle training just for looks, but the fact is, as we age, we gradually lose muscle mass if we don’t train.

DD: Correct, from the age of 30, we lose about 1% of our muscle mass per year, meaning by the age of 80, I only have half the muscle strength I had at 30! This has significant effects on metabolism. The result: Too many kilos and no muscles, which in turn impacts the immune system.

SK: So for me, as I get older, what counts is: proper nutrition, physical activity, and regeneration. And regeneration also includes sleep, by the way.

CB: In conclusion— we hear people talking about the term "health" almost constantly. It’s often understood as "nothing hurts." But what I am really aiming for in my personal life is vitality, energy, and spirit. Do you have any similar axioms?

SK: "Health is not the absence of disease."  Health, to me, means taking care of myself, being responsible for myself and others. With that in mind, I shouldn’t just focus on repair medicine but think preventively instead, investing in health maintenance, and I need to start with that early. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not criticizing conventional medicine; on the contrary, with two young kids at home, I’m extremely grateful for it. But it’s about taking some of that health responsibility back into my own hands. As one of our partner physicians from Hamburg emphasizes: "Address your health while you’re still feeling well."

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