There are any number of fad diets and exercise philosophies sold to the desperate and stressed-out population of overweight people who can’t find the time or energy to improve their fitness. I’m certainly not one to lecture on healthy living. I eat a bowl of Goldfish crackers before bed every night despite having spent my teenage years with a much more thoughtful disposition. The reality of what food does to your body, and how to eat the proper foods in the proper proportions, is not especially complex if you’re willing to do a little bit of reading about it. No cult mentality required, unless, of course, that social construct is what will motivate and help you maintain proper patterns of behavior. No judgment here.
Still, I’m intrinsically skeptical of that sort of thing, so I was pleased to watch Stronger by Stress, which doesn’t aim to sell its audience on anything besides basic facts of healthy living. Its subject is biohacking, but strip that buzzy label away from most of the information and it’s mostly all the same kind of stuff you’d see anywhere about taking care of yourself. Don’t load up on carbohydrates and empty calories; keep your body moving, especially if you have a sedentary lifestyle; form patterns rather than binging and fasting on good food. Find positive ways to deal with stress and incorporate it into your mindset. There are a few things about fasting that may or may not make sense for everyone, but nobody involved in the documentary insists it’s a universal approach. Biohacking worked for them, and everyone needs to find what works for them.
So what is biohacking? It’s basically an umbrella term to describe all of these positive ideas phrased in cooler modern parlance. Although this documentary focuses on a lot of different elements, its primary approach concerns the idea of stress and the biological responses our body has to physical and mental stressors. The idea is that by acknowledging how our bodies react to stress, we can better control its effect on us in most situations — particularly useful advice in the 2020s, when everyone has been stressed out of their minds by pandemics, wars and what have you.
Stronger by Stress isn’t necessarily the kind of documentary that feels enthralling per se, but it has a lot of good information. It doesn’t pressure the audience into a specific mindset or workout routine or try to sell anyone supplements; it’s just solid advice from people who have embraced taking care of themselves in a particular fashion. It made me think twice about some habits I formed in recent years. Maybe I’ll change some of them, and I think that would make the filmmakers feel pretty happy to hear.