Tag Archives: fitness

CRISPR, Biohacking, And Beauty Standards

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Years ago when I just started working out, a friend of a relative who worked part-time as a personal trainer gave me some advance. At the time, I was not in exceptionally good shape, but I wanted to get healthy and look good with my shirt off. Upon hearing this, he gave me what he called his three simple/inescapable truths about fitness.

Truth #1: To see results, you need to be patient and work out consistently.

Truth #2: To see results, you also need to tweak your diet and eat right.

Truth #3: No matter how hard you work out or how well you eat, everybody is still at the mercy of their genetics.

The passage of time, along with many long hours in the gym, have only proven those truths right. They reflect some of the inescapable obstacles that the multi-billion dollar fitness industry pretends aren’t there. As magician/performer Penn Jillette once so wisely said, “Great T&A requires great DNA.”

That doesn’t stop every fad diet and fitness gimmick from convincing people that they can overcome their genetic limitations and do so without putting in the necessary work. That’s akin to telling people they can become a foot taller just by wishing for it and giving some photogenic infomercial star their credit card information.

For the most part, we are very much at the mercy of our genetic limits and the basic chemistry of our bodies. If you want to lose fat, you got to get your body to burn fat, which can be harder for certain people with certain genetic dispositions. If you want to build muscle, you basically have to work that muscle until it breaks, forcing your body to repair it and make it bigger. Again, there are genetic limits at work here.

Those limits are frustrating. Believe me, I know and I have plenty of soreness to prove it. Despite that frustration, working out has been great for my health, my confidence, and my overall appearance. Those three truths still bug me at times, but I understand and accept them. For certain people, those hard truths are much greater burden.

As I write this, though, those truths are starting to falter. Unlike every other point in the history of fitness, health, and sex appeal, we have a working knowledge of the basic building blocks of the human genome. We have insights and understandings to our genetics that no infomercial star in the 90s could’ve imagined.

We know the genes that cause muscle growth. We know the genes that cause our bodies to burn fat. Some of these discoveries are very new and haven’t yet made their way to weight loss clinics or fad diets. The only barrier to making use of this knowledge is having a tool that can manipulate genes directly and precisely.

If you’ve read my previous articles on the future of treating infectious disease or fixing the flawed parts of the human body, then you know that such a tool exists and is being refined as we speak. That tool is CRISPR and, on top of potentially curing once fatal diseases, it may very well shatter those three truths of fitness. It may also destroy every other hard truth regarding bodybuilding, beauty standards, and sex appeal.

I’m not saying you should cancel your gym membership or junk those free weights just yet. However, the potential for CRISPR to change the way we think about our health and how we stay healthy cannot be overstated. While it’s still very much in the early stages of development, some people are already getting impatient.

That’s where biohackers come in. They’re not quite as badass as they sound, but what they’re doing is still pretty amazing and pretty dangerous. They’re basically skipping the part where they wait for the FDA or the World Health Organization to tell everyone that CRISPR is safe. They actually use themselves as guinea pigs to refine CRISPR.

Now, I need to make clear that this is exceedingly risky and not in the “Jurassic Park” sort of way. Tampering with our genome is uncharted, unregulated territory and we don’t yet have a full understanding of the potential dangers. That said, in the field of fitness and sex appeal, CRISPR may put gyms, plastic surgeons, and weight loss clinics on notice.

Renegade biohackers like Josiah Zayner, have actually live-streamed stunts where they inject themselves with CRISPR. Another biohacker, Aaron Traywick, injected himself with an experimental herpes treatment in front of a live audience. These are not scientists in cold laboratories using lab rats. These are real people tampering with their DNA.

Where this intersects with fitness comes back to those hard genetic limits I mentioned earlier. When you think about it, the way we build muscle and burn fat is pretty crude. We basically have to purposefully strain our bodies, even hurting them in the case of building muscle, to get it to do what we want. It can be imprecise, to say the least.

In theory, CRISPR would be more direct and far less strenuous than spending two hours in a gym every day. Instead of straining the muscles or sweating off the fat, you would just inject CRISPR into targeted areas of your body, like your belly or your bicep, and have it activate/inhibit the necessary genes.

Like cheat codes in a video game, it would prompt muscle growth in the specific areas you want. It would prompt fat burning in the areas you want. You could even take it further than that. Using the same techniques, you could use CRISPR to edit the genes of your skin so that it reduces the risk of blemishes and acne. As someone who suffered horrible acne as a teenager, I can attest to the value of such a treatment.

Some of this isn’t even just theory, either. Remember Josiah Zayner? Well, he injected himself with a CRISPR cocktail designed to block the production of myostatin. Those who are into bodybuilding know why that’s a big deal because blocking myosatin is one of the main functions of steroids.

While Zayner hasn’t gone full Hulk just yet, other more legitimate brands of research have already demonstrated that CRISPR could be the ultimate steroid. Researchers in China used the same technique as Zayner to create a breed of heavily-muscled dogs. This isn’t on paper. This stuff is real and it will affect both our health and our sex appeal.

Imagine, for a moment, standing in front of a mirror and documenting the parts of your body you want shrunk, grown, or smoothed out in some way. Maybe you’ll even make a detailed list, complete with diagrams and a full rendering of how you want your body to look.

Then, once that information is compiled, your personal doctor/biohacker programs all this into a series of targeted CRISPR injections. Some go into your arms. Some go into your abs. Some go into your face, butt, and genitals. If you hate needles, it may get uncomfortable. If you love gaining muscle and sex appeal without any real work, then it’s basically the miracle drug that every bad infomercial failed to deliver.

Considering the beauty industry is worth over $445 billion dollars, it’s pretty much a guarantee that some enterprising biohacker who may or may not already work for a major cosmetics company will make this a commercial product. There’s just too much money to be made along with too many people unsatisfied with how they look.

It may be costly at first, as most new treatments tend to be. People will pay for it, though. If you could exchange spending hours at the gym for just a few injections and get similar results, I think most people would gladly pay a premium for that. Sure, it’s a shortcut and it’s lazy, but if the results are the same, why does it matter?

That’s a question that has many answers, some of which are too difficult to contemplate. One of the reasons we find certain people so beautiful is because that beauty is so rare. Only a handful of women look as beautiful as Jennifer Lawrence or Kate Hudson. Only a handful of men look as beautiful as Brad Pitt and Idris Elba. Some of that beauty comes from hard work and conditions. Some of it is just good genetics.

What happens when that kind of beauty is as easy as administering a few injections with CRISPR? This is a question I already asked in my novel, “Skin Deep.” I offered hopeful, but incomplete answer. I have a feeling, though, that our entire notion of beauty standards will undergo major upheavals once people can shape their bodies the same way they customize their cars.

With CRISPR, we’re not just adding a layer of paint or trying to tweak an old engine. We’re modifying the foundation and scaffolding of our bodies. In theory, people could use CRISPR to achieve an appearance that is otherwise impossible, no matter how many hours are spent in a gym or how many dangerous steroids they inject. For all we know, what counts as sexy 20 years from now will look bizarre to most people today.

These trends will take time to emerge, but they’ll probably emerge faster than most fad diets or exercise gimmicks because once we start tweaking genetics, the old rules no longer apply. All the traditions and truths we’ve had about exercise, bodybuilding, and beauty collapse. It’s hard to know what will manifest in its place.

For a while, we may get a world where most women are thin and pretty while most men are tall and muscular. However, chances are people will get bored of seeing the same thing. As such, they’ll start experimenting. They’ll try coming up with entirely new body shapes, body features, and physiques that defy the existing laws of biology. As long as some people find that sexy, though, it won’t matter.

Then, there’s the impact of CRISPR on athletes. It’s one thing to test for performance enhancing drugs. What happens when some determined athlete injects a bit of LeBron James’ DNA into their genome to improve their basketball skills? What happens when an Olympic athlete tweaks something in their lung DNA to help them run a three-minute mile? How would we even test for that?

There are so many implications, both for sports and for beauty. It’s hard to know how our society will react, but unlike some of the other emerging technologies I’ve mentioned, CRISPR is real and it’s growing rapidly.

It’s still a very young technology and these things take time to develop. For a quick reference, penicillin was discovered in 1928, but it wasn’t commercially available until 1945. By comparison, CRISPR is barely five years old and biohackers are just starting to learn its limits and potential.

As that potential is realized, we may have to revisit other hard truths beyond those pertaining to fitness and health. From body image to sex appeal, a lot is going to change with this technology. It may be overwhelming, at times, but when it comes to sex appeal, humans are nothing if not adaptive.

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Filed under futurism, gender issues, sex in society, sexuality

Making Exercise Obsolete (While Still Looking Sexy)

About nine years ago, I finally came to the realization that I was not as healthy, attractive, or fit as I wanted to be. I was weak, undersized, unassuming, and got winded just by walking around the block a few times. I had next to no sex appeal and hesitated to remove my shirt at the beach. Sadly, it wasn’t until five years ago that I got serious about getting healthy.

Why did it take so long for me to get my act together? It’s simple. That kind of health and sex appeal takes work. It takes a lot of work. To look like I do now, I go running for at least a half hour, six times a week. I go to the gym and lift weights at least twice a week. I also try to limit my sugar intake and drink plenty of water.

While the results have done wonders for my confidence and my sex appeal, it still took a lot of work. Most people, especially those who were die-hard couch potatoes like I was, are reluctant to do that kind of work. It’s strenuous, inconvenient, and downright uncomfortable at times. Go try running four miles in 102 degree weather to see why. Yes, I’ve done that. No, it’s not the most pleasant feeling in the world.

It’s a big reason why most diet and weight loss efforts fail. It’s also why most people tend to break their New Years Resolution to get healthy. Given the extent of the obesity epidemic, it shouldn’t take that much to motivate people into being healthier. However, the work it takes to get that kind of sex appeal is pretty significant, especially when you lack the genetics of a supermodel.

This is now the part where I get peoples’ hopes up about a sexier future, but have to temper them because we’re not quite there yet. However, in reflecting on how hard I worked to reach my current level of health and sex appeal, I think this is something that should give hope those who have given up at becoming sexy something.

For years, diet companies and bad infomercials have been looking for that magic diet pill. You’ve probably heard and/or fantasized about it to some extent. It’s that special pill that you take one a day, change nothing about your lifestyle, and still lose weight. It’s magic because, by and large, that’s literally what such a pill requires in order to work.

Many people claim to have discovered it. Dr. Oz has discovered it no fewer than 16 times. The fact that obesity is still a problem and people still need to exercise in order to lose weight and gain sex appeal shows just how bogus these products are. If you’re depressed now, please bear with me because there is some good news here.

That magic pill that Dr. Oz keeps failing to find might actually be possible, minus the magic. According to research conducted at Leiden University, in the Netherlands, it is possible for a pill that will not only help them lose weight, but mimic the effects of exercise. It basically means that you can get the equivalent of a two-hour workout and never leave your couch. It’s a lazy person’s ultimate dream.

How is that possible, though? How can it not rely on magic? Well, if you’ve been reading this blog for any amount of time, you already know how much I belabor the inherent flaws in the human body. The human body, despite its beauty and sexiness, is kind of crude. It can easily be tricked, hacked, and hijacked like an old computer running Windows 95.

According to the research, the miracle drug involved, unoriginally called GW501516, basically tricks the body into doing the same thing it does when you actually exercise. As it turns out, there are all sorts of basic, but varied process that happen when you work out. Your heart rate goes up, your metabolism spikes, and your body basically stresses itself into burning energy, becoming fitter and sexier in the process.

Those same processes are, like I said, fairly crude. Exercise is just the reaction your body has. If a pill can induce that same reaction, then your body won’t know the difference. It doesn’t have to do the same workout as Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. It just has to react as though it did.

If it sounds like cheating, that’s because it is, from a biological perspective. Unlike professional athletes and certain World of Warcraft players, the only consequence is washboard abs, toned arms, and legs that can kick a soccer ball across the field. Biology is pretty lousy at punishing cheaters, especially when it helps them look sexier and survive.

Now, if you’re wondering why this miracle drug isn’t already making billions turning everyone into fitness models, there’s a damn good reason. The drug, in its current state, has some nasty side-effects, one of which is cancer. No matter how much you want those washboard abs, cancer isn’t worth paying that kind of price.

However, the fact that pill worked is a proof of concept. Finding ways to mitigate those side-effects, or remove them entirely, is simply a matter of refinement, research, and testing. Given that the weight loss market it worth $66 billion, rest assured there are plenty of incentives to get this drug right.

It’s promising, but still a ways off, as many of the other advancements I’ve mentioned tend to be. However, unlike major breakthroughs such as smart blood, this one is probably closer than most. Given the incentives and the scale of the obesity epidemic, it’s only a matter of time before someone turns this into a true magic bullet for obesity.

It also means that, when that time comes, it’ll be possible for more people to get in shape, get sexier, and stay that way without maintaining a ridiculous workout routine. I’m not going to lie. If I could just take a pill instead of running 15 miles a week, I’d do it in a heartbeat. Who among us wouldn’t?

It might very well make the very concept of exercise obsolete. Who would want to go to the gym or run every day if they didn’t have to? While that may upset gym owners, I think a fitter, healthier, sexier population is a price worth paying.

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Filed under gender issues, Sexy Future

Jack Fisher’s Beach Body Tips

It’s almost that time again. For kids who have been languishing in school or adults who have been cooped up indoors, the wait is almost over. Summer is almost here and that means the beaches are almost open. Just writing that puts a smile on my face and a tear of joy in my eye.

I doubt it’ll shock anyone that I love summer and I love the beach. What’s not to love? I’m a man who enjoys sleeping naked and appreciates nudity in general. Many swimsuits these days are basically akin to underwear anyways so being at the beach means you’re basically halfway there. It’s the closest you can come to enjoying nudity without breaking any indecent exposure laws.

Beyond the bikinis, as though an aspiring erotica/romance writer needs any more reasons, the beach has pretty much everything. The weather is warm, the food is good, and beach bars are always a fun place to hang out. There’s music, body surfing, and a general fuck-work-let’s-just-relax type attitude. No matter who you are, you’ll find something to enjoy at the beach.

I say this with an even bigger smile because in a couple days, I’m taking my first major vacation of 2017. With the arrival of the Memorial Day holiday, most of the pools and beaches all over the country will be open. For me, that’s basically my cue to get the hell out of my fancy suits, put on some swim trunks, and get to the beach. After being snowed in one time too many, I’m ready for some warmer, clothing-optional weather.

As such, I’m making the necessary preparations for my first beach trip of the year. For me, that doesn’t just mean stocking up on sun screen and washing my beach towels. It also means working out a little harder, getting into just the right shape for the summer. That way when I take my shirt off, I can be proud of what I’m showing the world.

Now, I don’t consider myself a real fitness junkie. I’m no body builder and I’m certainly no Olympian athlete. In fact, not long ago, I was about as health conscious as Homer Simpson on a donut bender. It wasn’t until about five years ago when I started shaming myself into being healthier.

Surprisingly enough, I learned that I really enjoyed working out. For some reason, getting all hot, sweaty, and sexy can be very rewarding for a man. Who knew? It may seem so obvious now, but I really had to push myself to reshape my body and adopt a healthier lifestyle.

I started small, going to some crappy gym that cost way too much, at least once a week. It wasn’t much, but it got me started. It triggered in me an unexpected feeling. I felt good about myself. I felt confident in my body and my abilities. It wasn’t much, but it was enough to begin a new process.

Fast forward a few years and I’m now a member of a much nicer gym. I go twice a week, doing a mix of weight training and cardio. I’m also an avid runner. I run at least 15 miles a week around my neighborhood. It doesn’t matter of it’s boiling hot outside or bone-chilling cold. I still do it and I still love it.

It was hard, stressful, and downright agonizing at times. I’d spent most of my life as the kid who dreaded gym class more than calculus. That’s not an easy mentality to escape, but I did it. I did it and I’m a better man because of it and not just because I look better in a speedo.

Now, I know it’s become politically incorrect these days to show off your beach body and preach the value of exercise. For some people, it’s a downright affront to their right to look the way they want, no matter how unhealthy it might be. I’m not here to start another debate on that issue. That’s one of those arguments that can never be won.

Instead, I’d like to just appreciate the joys of going to the beach and looking good while doing it. Summer is here and no matter what your political affiliation or predilection for outrage, a trip to the beach is something we can all enjoy.

So for those looking to hit the beach at any point this summer, I’d like to offer a few tips on getting that beach body you want. Please note, however, that I am an aspiring erotica/romance writer and not a fitness guru. I’m no more certified to give health advice than I am to fix a rocket. However, I can speak from experience though and, as my visible abs can attest, that experience does give me some insight.

Now, I get there are some out there who don’t care to get a “beach body” of any kind. They’d rather stay in whatever shape they’re in right now. That’s perfectly fine. You’re free to do that. For those who aren’t content with their current body shape, though, I’d like to help. I want to help everybody be and feel as sexy as possible. So here are my top tips for obtaining a beach body for the summer.


Tip #1: Look At Your Current Fitness Routine And Add ONE More Workout

It’s a common misconception that in order to get into great shape, you need to train like an Olympian and hire Brad Pitt’s personal trainer. That’s simply not the case. The human body is stubborn, but not that stubborn.

If you’re at all health conscious and you have a workout, then you’ve already completed the most important step. There are a lot of people out there who can’t even get that far. I know because, until a few years ago, I was one of them.

Having a regular workout is a great way to establish a base fitness level of sorts. If that workout helps maintain the body shape you want, then keep at it. If being cooped up all winter has made it harder to maintain that level, then add at least one additional workout on top of it. That’ll strain your body in just the right way.

By straining your body in that right way, you’ll get it burning some extra fat and building some extra muscle. Whether you wear a speedo or a bikini, every bit of sexiness counts, especially at the beach.


Tip #2: Tweak Your Diet For A Week To Emphasize Eggs, Chicken, And Fish

Working out is hard enough. Even hardcore fitness junkies will tell you that sticking to a diet is even harder. Let’s face it. We live in a world full of delicious, unhealthy food. You can’t go 100 feet in this world without running into a fast food restaurant, an ice cream shop, or something that reminds you how much you love chocolate.

It’s hard resisting all that sugary food. Contrary to what some gurus may tell you, you don’t have to abandon it completely. Even the muscle-bound Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson doesn’t do that. In fact, he’s famous for his so-called “cheat days” where he gorges on those delicious, sugary foods and does it with a charisma that only he can match.

Keep that in mind as you tweak your diet in preparation for the beach. That doesn’t mean eating only cardboard and kale, though. For building muscle and burning fat, your primary sources of nourishment should come from protein-rich sources like eggs, chicken, and fish.

If possible, throw in some brown rice and use whole-grain bread as well. This will put your body into a fat-burning, calorie shredding mode. It’ll help build muscle and reduce fat deposits.

Also, if you’re going to drink anything, drink water or calorie-free soda. Stay away from energy drinks or fruit juice. If you need energy, just simple black coffee will do the trick.


Tip #3: Spend An Extra Half-Hour Out In The Sun Before You Hit The Beach

This isn’t so much a fitness tip as it is a tip to make your beach experience less painful. Now if you’re not the kind of person who gets sunburned easily, you can skip this. For others who are of a very pale complexion and burn easily, like me, skip this at your own peril.

There are two kinds of people in my family, those who tan without even trying and those who burn. I’m the latter. When you’re pale, it doesn’t take much for the sun to scorch your skin like burnt toast. Sometimes, applying sunscreen only goes so far. One year, I slathered myself in sunscreen, but still got burned on the tops of my feet where the lotion washed off. That was not a pleasant feeling.

Beyond sunscreen, just spending some extra time out in the sun, getting a base tan of sorts, will go a long way towards easing any burns. You don’t have to spend hours on end outside. Just spend a half-hour at most, getting some rays to add some color. Trust me. Nothing is more painful and less sexy than a full-body sunburn.


Tip #4: Get Extra Sleep In The Days Before You Go To The Beach

There’s so much to do and see at the beach. Between the bikinis and the beach bars, there just aren’t enough hours in the day to enjoy it all. What’s the point of going to the beach if you’re too tired or stressed to enjoy it?

This is where sleep comes in. It doesn’t just rejuvenate your mind and give you awkward boners in the morning. It’s very important to your health. A lack of sleep can negatively impact your weight and your overall fitness. That’s why waiting until you’re at the beach to catch up on sleep will cost you half your vacation.

To ensure you have the energy and vitality to enjoy the beach, try getting some extra sleep in the days leading up to your trip. This won’t just help with whatever fitness routine you’re doing. It’ll ensure you have the time and energy to maximize your beach-going experience. That means less time sleeping and more time soaking in the sun, drinking lemonade, and admiring the bikinis.


At the risk of overwhelming people on a topic that should be inherently relaxing, I’ll stop the list here. If you have your own system for enjoying the beach and it works for you, then don’t let me stop you. Go for it! Do what you know works for you. These are just tips for those looking for other ways to maximize their beach-going experience.

I’m already in the process of preparing. I’m already looking forward to that moment when I step on the beach, take off my shirt, and strut my manly stuff. If anyone out there can think of a better way to begin summer, I’d love to hear it.

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Filed under Jack Fisher's Insights