The Tripod Theorem

So, here's the thing I have come to realise over the past 6 months of my biohacking journey, is that there are 3 things that are paramount to optimal performance. They're pretty straight forward, but it took some tough life lessons to appreciate their value and importance.

  • Enough sleep

  • + Healthy Diet

  • + Exercise

  • = Well Being

None of this might be news to you. It wasn't to me. But, what was news were the two clinchers.

Clincher # 1: They're interdependent. 

It really doesn't help if you excel in one, but neglect the other completely.

It's very much like a tripod on which your well being balances. A tripod stands on three legs. Even if two of the three legs are super strong, if one third leg fails, the whole thing comes crashing down. 
Heleen Mills Tripod Theorem.jpg

Here's a quick explainer:

  • Don't sleep?  Well, you hit a wall at work at 10am (if you're like me) and again at 2pm. Productivity drops, which means overtime work. Energy drops, which results in a stroll to the shop for sugary stuff to keep you going. Fatigue and exhaustion sets in at the end of the work day, which results in skipping exercise. Le Spiral! 

  • Don't eat healthy? This is how things work in my life... step over the line once, then it's easy to step over the line again. Unhealthy eating leaves me feeling meh... which then kills the fire for exercise too. It's funny - you think that if you eat unhealthy, that you want to exercise. Nope. Healthy eating inspires exercise. It's the "let's keep a good thing going" mentality.
  • Don't exercise? Well, lack of exercise and lack of endorphins induces more unhealthy eating. For example, if I plan to get up at 5am to go exercise, but I end up going to bed too late because: #socialmedia, then I don't hear my alarm & oversleep. I then start the day with a failure, feeling disappointed in myself. Not great. You can just imagine how the rest of the day goes, feeling tired and disappointed. Yikes


Clincher # 2: Being mediocre at all three is okay. 

Here's a quote that got me thinking:

"Maintaining friendships. Building a great company. Spending time with family. Staying fit. Getting sleep. Pick 3." - Randi Zuckerberg


It's difficult to pick only 3. So, in order to keep this tripod standing you have to hack your way to it.

  • For exercise, if you don't have the energy to gym/run. Just do something. 15min walk. Anything is better than nothing. You don't have to sweat everyday to tick this box. Stretch. Do mobility exercises. You never regret exercise. But you always regret not exercising. 
  • For diet, my biggest hack to date was banning all gluten from my diet. It's life changing. And also makes eating healthy so much easier. I've cut dairy from my diet as well, about 98%. I have the odd ice cream every now and again. 
  • Sleep...well, it's my single biggest issue at the moment. I'm trying to get to 50hours a week. 


Now, what I'm curious to figure out is, if every person has their version of the tripod? Or is sleep, healthy eating and exercise the universal tripos on which optimal performance is based on?