After a long, stressful day at work sometimes a quick sweet treat can lift your mood.
Unfortunately for longevity entrepreneur Bryan Johnson, his former evening alter-ego took that to the extreme: devouring entire trays of brownies daily in order to find some distraction from a hectic schedule.
It’s a far cry from the Johnson the public knows today. In 2021 he launched Blueprint, with the aim of monitoring and reversing his biological age.
The task has required a strict set of rules: Johnson eats his last meal of the day at 11 a.m., exercises for approximately an hour a day, takes more than 100 supplements daily, wakes up at 4:30 a.m. and is asleep by 8:30 p.m.
But he hasn’t always been the epitome of health, and has had his fair share of busy corporate periods. Johnson launched payments platform Braintree in 2007 before acquiring Venmo, and then sold the bundle to PayPal in 2013 for $800 million.
During that time he was also raising his three children, and like many parents needed a way to wind down at the end of the day.
Speaking to RAADfest 2023—the Revolution Against Aging and Death conference—earlier this month, the age hacker said that at the height of his stress “the only thing that would bring me relief was thinking about those brownies in the refrigerator, or leftover cookies.”
“It was like this idea that if I could somehow get my hands on this food, I would have this momentary relief of this pain of my existence,” he said, according to Insider reporting.
Johnson added he had been miserable throughout his 30s, battling “chronic depression” while desperately trying to balance his home life.
Every evening “7 p.m. Bryan would arrive,” Johnson told his audience, adding: “I would know full well like, ‘Oh God, he’s here again. We’re going to down a whole pan of brownies.’”
Firing ‘Evening Bryan’
Johnson has been open about how successful—or ineffective—various parts of his $2 million-a-year regime have been.
And while he hoped that swapping blood plasma with his teenage son might have yielded some results—Johnson openly said he saw no difference and ended the trial—a far simpler and more effective change was “firing” his evening alter ego.
“One night, I just kind of jokingly said: ‘Evening Bryan, you make my life miserable. You’re fired,’” Johnson said, according to Insider.
And that was the moment, Johnson said, which marked the first step on transforming his life for good.
“I had to peel back 20 layers of the onion. It was my 7 p.m. performance, and then it was the time I ate my last meal, and then it was the food I ate specifically at that time, and then it was my psychological state, and then it was my wind-down time before bed, and then it was this whole series of things,” he continued.
This “avalanche” of good habits also revealed which anti-aging hacks Johnson believes anyone can incorporate into their lives: “There’s this portrayal that this is inaccessible: rich guy spending a whole bunch of money.”
He added, as per Insider: “You don’t even have to do what I do, just stop the bad stuff. Stop overeating, stop skipping sleep, stop skipping exercise. You have the ability to not spend anything and just stop these bad habits and do simple things like go to bed on time.”