The Whole Brain Billiards Biohacking Project – Overview

Okay, so I finally set the date for the launch of my brain hacking project.

My brain training will begin on 10/10/12.  I am committing to 6 months of intensive whole brain training to see if I can improve cognitive performance (raise my IQ, improve short-term memory & spatial intelligence), improve my health (20 specific biomarkers, sleep quality & heart rate variability) and make quantum leaps in my sports performance (accuracy, focus & endurance).

I’m going to share all of my findings on this site and on The Billiards Biohacker Report Podcast, so anyone can follow along and, hopefully, gain insights to improve their own health and performance.

What I Will Be Doing

I will be following a specific whole brain training protocol.  This brain training is designed to “exercise” and increase the usage of both hemispheres of my brain.  Also, they will increase the “processing speed” of my brain by increasing myelination and growing neuron pathways in the brain.   I will be performing the following daily training drills.

  • Memory and computational drills
  • Ambidextrous motor skills training drills
  • Fine motor skills training
  • Drills that increase visual spatial processing speed and hand-eye-body coordination

I’m trying to be coached by an experienced brain training coach that has worked with professional golfers, tennis players and baseball players.

How I Will Measure, Track and Report Results

I will be tracking and reporting metrics in 3 key areas:  Health, Cognitive Performance and Billiards Performance

1.  Health Metrics

I will be looking at health from a few different angles.

First, I will be tracking key biometric markers through blood testing.  At a minimum, I will be doing baseline testing before the start of the project and testing at the completion.  If I have enough funding, I will do testing at the mid-point, too.  If the project is fully funded, I will be using the services of www.InsideTracker.com.  They have a very comprehensive set of 20 critical performance biomarker tests that they run.

Here is a list of the 20 biomarkers.

Strength and Endurance

  1. Hemoglobin
  2. Ferritin
  3. Creatine Kinase

Energy and Metabolism

  1. Glucose
  2. Total Cholesterol
  3. LDL
  4. HDL
  5. Triglycerides

Bone and Muscle Health

  1. Calcium
  2. Vitamin D

Brain and Body

  1. Magnesium
  2. Folic Acid

Performance

  1. Vitamin B12
  2. Testosterone
  3. Potassium
  4. Sodium
  5. Zinc
  6. Chromium
  7. White Blood Cell Count
  8. C-Reactive Protein

A couple of other health markers that I want to track.

Heart Coherence:
I will track my heart rate variability and my ability to get into coherence with my Emwave 2 device.

Sleep Quality:
Part of the funding of this project will go towards the purchase of a Zeo Sleep Monitoring Device.  I want to see if there is a correlation between quality of sleep and brain function.  Also, I want to see if these exercises have an impact on the amount of REM & deep sleep that I experience.

2.  Cognitive Performance

Dual N-Back Scoring:  I will be performing Dual N-Back tasks via software that will score my working memory and fluid intelligence.  I will perform these tasks, before the start of my training, to get a baseline.  I will perform the same tasks at multiple points, throughout the duration of the experiment to compare performance.

3.  Billiards Performance

I will be repeating a set of pool playing drills that will test my accuracy, spatial intelligence and focus.  I will do this set of drills before my brain training begins to get a baseline score.  I will perform the same set of drills at intervals throughout the 6 month training program and log my results.  I will be watching to see if the intense hand-eye-body coordination drills and ambidextrous fine motor skills training will translate to better performance with my pool stroke and with my minds ability to perform visual-spatial processing.
I will be looking for correlations in the data collected above.

Also, I will be reporting other anecdotal findings along the way.  I will be sharing all of my data, findings and experiences on my blog and weekly podcast.

I’ll be sharing videos, so people can see the types of exercises that I’m doing.  I’ll be sharing some extra videos that I will make available to folks who are able to help fund the project with a donation of $10 or more.  In these “secret access” videos, I will be sharing all of the best discoveries that I find with regard to improving my game during this project.

Can You Help Me Out?

If you think you may be interested in helping me fund this little project of mine, just follow this link to my project home page.  Even if you don’t contribute money, you can still participate by asking any questions you may have or give me some comments.
 

What’s In It For You

These types of quanitified-self experiments can be as good for the observer as they are for the experimenter.  My published results will help a lot of people understand the impact of brain exercising.  This is something that is under-appreciated and desperately needed in our modern-day lifestyle.  These types of physical and mental exercises can really help to improve performance and prevent mental degeneration.

The impact of passive stress on our bodies and mind is huge.  The type of training I will be doing is a great form of active stress that helps to strengthen the brain and improve overall health in ways that can be trans-formative.
You can play a part in getting this information out to a lot of people.  Also, you can gain from it yourself by implementing the stuff that I find that works and avoid the stuff that I find not working.

Lastly, I’m giving some cool rewards for being a contributor.

Check out my rewards list and get the most from your generous contributions.  Here are some highlights from the Rewards Levels.

Secret Access Videos:  
I will be providing a special part of this site that will hold videos reserved for anyone funding $10 or more.  I will save my best tips, insights and knowledge gained for these videos.  If you fund $10 or more, I will send you the secret link to view those videos throughout the 6 month experiment.

Special DVD:
For a donation of $20 or more, I will create and send a special DVD.  After the project is complete, I will produce a DVD that will explain how you could use the same types of brain training techniques.  I will utilize my learnings from the 6 months of intensive training to share with you what works and what doesn’t.
This DVD will teach you how to apply brain training to improve your health, brain function and sports performance.  Of course, the sports performance will have information specific to the sport of billiards.  Though, I’m sure that this information could be applied in many other disciplines with similar physical & mental demands.

Brain Training and/or Billiards Coaching
I have a rewards package for $75 that includes the DVD, Secret Access Videos and a 1 hour consultation with me (no travel included).  I will help you however I can with that hour time-period.  If you are local, I can do a face-to-face meeting.  If it is long-distance, I can consult with you over phone and/or Skype.  I can review video footage, too.  Bottom line, I’ll do whatever I can to help you advance your game, health or cognitive skills.  I really believe that I’m going to gain a lot of insight into how brain training can improve pool skills.  This is based on results I’ve seen with golfers, tennis players and baseball players.

Website and Podcast Sponsoring
I have a few slots available to promote your product or service on this site, TubeBilliards.com (1200 uniques/month, 4000 page views/month, 7min./visit) and The Billiards Biohacker Report Podcast.  I will do my best to represent your brand in a very professional manner if you decide to choose one of these rewards.  I tried to create a good value with these sponsorship programs.  You could really benefit as this site keeps growing as I think it will.  Also, you can change the ad, throughout the year, if you want to promote another product or ad design.  Anyone that chooses one of the sponsorship rewards, will also receive the DVD and Secret Video access, too.

Billiards Artwork Collection
By fueling my project with $900, you can own my limited edition Movie Set Series Artwork Collection by Linda Pault.   This is the complete set of 6 different high-quality prints.  She sells these on her website for $400 each, so this is a $2,400 value.  One of them is already framed, which is another included value.  They are hand-signed and numbered lithographs in excellent condition.  They would be a great edition to any home billiards room or pool hall.

How The Funds Will Be Used

I want to do this project the right way.  In order to do that, I will need help to cover some of the costs.  All of the expenses add up to $1,900.  Here is the cost breakdown.

$950 –  6 months of Brain Training Coaching and Training Materials
The biggest expense with this experiment is the services of a proven brain coach.  I wanted to make sure that I am being taught the most cutting-edge techniques in whole brain training.

$499 –  Blood Testing of 20 Health Biomarkers from InsideTracker.com
This is the most comprehensive set of biomarkers designed to track energy, metabolism, strength, endurance, muscle health, brain health and performance.

$160 – Zeo Bedside Sleep Manager
I need to purchase this device, so I can track the quality of my sleep.  It will track how much REM & deep sleep and how often I wake at night.  All data that is used to calculate quality of sleep.  It will give an overall sleep quality number that will make it very easy to show a trend in sleep quality.

$100 – Rewards Expenses
This will be used to create DVDs, ship DVDs and artwork.

$190 – RocketHub’s Cut

Funding Notes:
If I fall short of my funding goal, I’m still going to do as much of the experiment as I can.  I really hope to be able to use the brain training coach, though, in some capacity.  If I’m close to my funding goal, I will cut-back on the blood testing expenses, by going with a smaller group of biomarkers or using testing that is covered by my medical insurance.
If I go over my funding goal, I will use the extra funds for an extra set of blood tests at the mid-point of the experiment.
No matter what, I will continue to use any funds to do as much to quantify and share my results to help as many people as I can.

Why I’m Doing This

If you aren’t familiar with the concept of biohacking, it has been defined as “using systems thinking, science, biology and self-experimentation to take control of and upgrade your body, your mind and your life.”  Simply put, I’m always looking for ways to upgrade my performance in life, in my career and in billiards.

I’ve been playing pool for over 35 years.  Now that I am 43 years old, I feel my cognitive abilities, energy and focus declining, as many people have.  It is my belief that this does not have to be the case.  I want to use this brain training protocol to see if I can take my health and billiards performance to a level that far exceeds any level that I’ve experienced, even in my “prime” years decades ago.

Like many sports enthusiasts, I have a very demanding career, so I don’t have the luxury to spend lots of time practicing.  Yet, I want to improve.

Many players (weekend warriors), want to keep improving, but struggle because of a lack of time to practice and prepare.  I hope to show them (and full-time sports professionals) that there is different way to approach health, performance and aging.
That being said, I hope you will choose to help fund my brain hacking experiment.  It should be a fun experiment and an educational one, too.

Cheers,
Skippy

5 Comments

  • […] structuring the project, along with metrics that I will be using to quantify and report my results. All of this is explained in great detail in the recent article I wrote. Also, I explain how you can play a part in the success of the podcast by helping defer some of […]

  • October 2, 2012

    Gerald Huber

    Skippy, I’m 67 years old and my skills in pocket billiards have been declining the past couple of years and it has cost me a bundle because I gamble high playing one pocket. many of the things you are planning on doing I have all ready been doing trying to keep my skills on an even keel. I’ll be following you and wish you the very best luck, thanks !

    • October 2, 2012

      Skippy

      Gerald,
      Thanks for the comment and taking an interest in what I’m doing. Feel free to add in any of your experiences, too. I’d love to hear more.
      Cheers,
      Skippy

  • October 3, 2012

    Zsolt Zsofka

    Your program inspired to create my own 6 months project, though I am not into billiard and frankly I never played it before. The idea of upgrading myself using various technology based biofeedback as well as objective measures of human energy systems appeals to me. I am looking forward comparing not on our journey!

    • October 3, 2012

      Skippy

      Zsolt,
      Yes, I’m looking forward to going through this project, sharing notes and keeping each other motivated.
      Cheers,
      Skippy