Author Topic: Mark Sisson - Mark's Daily Apple  (Read 12943 times)

Offline Gregg HIPK

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Re: Mark Sisson - Mark's Daily Apple
« Reply #20 on: October 29, 2009, 11:29:02 AM »
Yep. That was a good one.

PART 3 is on Physical Fitness Standards, and how do you measure up?

Mark lists the requirements for Utah PD, USMC, SEALs, Seattle FD, etc.

CrossFit is interesting in that it ordains no strict, precise, objective benchmarks. They don’t tell their members to hit a certain weight on the squat, or a minimum time on the rower. Instead, they preach general proficiency in all areas of fitness: “cardiorespiratory endurance, strength, stamina, flexibility, coordination, agility, balance, accuracy, power, and speed.” Athletes are free to set their own personal benchmarks, whether it be completing a strict bodyweight overhead press, or rowing 2000 meters in under seven minutes. They are encouraged to complete the scheduled workout of the day (WOD), though, which allows athletes to compete against each other (or themselves).

For my money, this is the way to do it, especially compared to the way military and law enforcement test their recruits. CrossFit (and other similar fitness methodologies) is constantly evolving, and its athletes evolve along with it. There’s always that drive to best your personal benchmarks, to improve and to grow. Typical fitness tests, on the other hand, are usually one-shot deals; a police recruit could conceivably train just enough to pass the entrance exam, only to go to pot once he’s embedded in the force and comfortable with his place

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Re: Mark Sisson - Mark's Daily Apple
« Reply #21 on: October 29, 2009, 12:20:53 PM »
from what i know about cross fit it seems good but how functional is it really? and how natural too?

Offline Gregg HIPK

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Re: Mark Sisson - Mark's Daily Apple
« Reply #22 on: October 29, 2009, 01:17:56 PM »
CrossFit is good, but not for me. It concentrates on short, intense workouts, focused on lifting and basic gymnastics. There are a lot of bodyweight exercises, but you really need a bar with weight, and some other equipment [kettlebells, jump rope, medicine ball, etc.] to do all the WODs. 3 days of workout, 1 day of rest. Because of the equipment required, you could do about 1/2 the WODs outdoors, but the other half would have to be indoors, unless you had your own gear you could carry [or leave] outside.

Methode Naturelle is a better fit for me. Or rather, I have adapted MN to fit how I want to train. I like to be outdoors. I like to run, jump, climb, crawl, and swim. I'll lift, carry, throw and catch stuff, but it's not what I focus on. Defense by myself just makes me sad. Based on time, I'd say 95% of what I do is functional, and 85% is outdoors.

The 12 tests are based on running [3 tests] and jumping [4 tests]. All you need is a watch of some sort, something adjustable to jump over, and a measuring tape. It's easiest if you have a standardized track, but as long as you used the same distance each month, you could tell your progress [or lack].

Get a standard shot put [7.25 kg] or a rock and you can do the throwing test. Get a 40 kg weight you can lift safely overhead with both hands, and you can do the lifting test [mine is only 70#, so that's what I use]. The climbing test is hard for me - I have to drive to the other side of the island to find a climbing rope, and it's too short, so I kinda go by distance I climb up + 1/2*distance down + distance I can climb back up + 1/2*distance I make it down before my arms give out. Finally, the swim and dive tests are best done at a pool with a big clock so you can see your times when you finish.

Offline Gregg HIPK

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Re: Mark Sisson - Mark's Daily Apple
« Reply #23 on: October 30, 2009, 02:25:58 PM »
PART 4 - Primal Blueprint Fitness Standard

I’ve concluded that modern fitness is, by and large, incredibly splintered and heavily specialized. Variety may very well be the spice of life, but excessive levels can lead to confusion, indecision, and then stasis, especially in the inexperienced beginner who just wants to be healthy, look good, and get stronger/leaner.

There are almost too many choices, and, barring a few like CrossFit or other similar “all-around, functional” approaches to fitness, most of them are too specialized and promote poor overall fitness habits. And even the hardcore functional fitness sets, while incredibly effective if you actually commit, might be just a bit too hardcore and too off-putting for the tender, gentle beginner. So, what’s the answer? What is a suitable fitness routine for the average modern Homo sapien?

I say we look to the old, time-tested benchmarks set by our ancient ancestors.

Grok had to be physically strong.

Early Primal men and women lived a life of constant activity. Unless they were resting, they were lifting rocks, hauling carcasses back to camp, carrying babies, transporting foraged food, erecting domiciles, heaving huge ornamental stones from miles away to form temples (think Stonehenge), and clearing out debris.

Lift weights or do body weight strength exercises, focusing on the same movements Grok made: squats, lifts, presses, lunges, pull-ups. You want to use multiple muscle groups at the same time, because that’s how our bodies are intended to work – as a machine with many parts, none inconsequential. And pay strict attention to form, especially on the more difficult lifts; Grok used correct form when lifting rocks or hauling carcasses (and the fossil evidence shows that skeletal damage was minimal), because it’s simply the best way to generate the most power with the most efficiency (and least chance for injury).

Grok had to be quick on his feet.

When the need arose, Grok would have had to run really fast for short (or not so short on occasion) distances. He might have to catch a small critter for a meal, rush in full speed for the killing blow, or flee a marauding boar that just took his spear thrust head on and now wants to respond with tusks. In an all out foot (hoof?) race, Grok loses to most mammals, but sometimes all he needed was that final burst of surprising speed.

Sprint. Tabata sprints, uphill sprints, beach sprints, pool sprints, even uphill bike sprints – any type of exercise where you’re pushing your speed to the max is a sprint, and it will help you reach the Grok sprint standard. Even if your idea of a sprint is fast walking uphill, as long as you’re pushing yourself to a reasonable limit (don’t injure yourself, of course), you’re getting the benefits of sprinting.
Grok had to have a good strength/body weight ratio.

Grok was lean and powerful for his size.

Natural selection dictated that the best body type for hard, active living was lean, well-muscled, and strong. The ideal Grok had almost no wasted space; every inch contributed to the overall cause. If Grok had to climb a tree to grab some honey or steal eggs, he could. If he had to ascend a cliff face with inconsistent, spotty handholds, his insane strength/body weight ratio would allow it.

Pull-ups, muscle-ups (think pulling yourself up to a branch with just your arms), push-ups, box jumps are all important ways to test your strength ratio, but you have pay attention to the other side of the equation, too: body weight. Less body fat means less dead weight, and if you pack on muscle, that’s active weight that makes the job even easier.

Grok possessed immense explosive power.

Whether it was throwing a spear to fell a distant deer, engaging in feats of strength with his brethren, or leaping from a crouched position to make a killing blow, explosive expression of power was a key component of Grok’s ability to survive. The ability to generate massive amounts of force in a short amount of time is crucial in those fight-or-flight moments.

Make your short workouts even more intense. The best way to develop explosive power is with kettlebell work and lifts like power cleans and snatches (consult with a trainer or pour extensively over instructional videos before you try these, though; CrossFit is a good resource). I also like doing medicine ball (or rock) throws in the sand. You could also consciously weight train with power expression in mind by moving the weight as quickly as possible. Just be sure to pick a weight that’s not so light that it isn’t hard work to move, but that’s also not so heavy that you can’t move it quickly. Keith over at Theory to Practice has some great thoughts on power expression.

Grok had to move around a lot at an easy pace.

Grok was in almost constant motion. If he wasn’t lifting, climbing, or moving incredibly fast, he was walking. Foraging, hunting/stalking, and exploration all required massive amounts of walking around.

This one’s easy, but it’s also the one we forget most often. We get too caught up in sprints and weigh training to remember to relax, take your significant other by the hand, and just go for a walk. It takes the edge off a rough day in a way that wine or pharmaceuticals cannot, and it’s a crucial aspect of Primal Blueprint Fitness. If you want to get even closer to Grok (and work a little harder), go for a hike instead.

All in all, Grok was prepared for any situation. Climb an 8-foot rock wall? Yeah, he could do that. Swim a half mile? If he was a coastal dweller, or lived near a body of water, I bet a little swim wouldn’t be an issue. Run a half marathon, if the situation called for it? He’d certainly do better than your average couch potato, but he wouldn’t make it a regular occurrence. Heck, Grok would probably be a half-decent two-guard on the basketball court, or maybe a cornerback on the football field, provided he got some training first. But he undoubtedly had the physical tools – and so should we.

I’m not saying you have to do twenty pull-ups or be prepared to swim across a small lake. I’m just suggesting that Grok’s fitness benchmarks are a good target for which to aim. After all, anyone can take the basic concepts of Primal Blueprint Fitness – sprinting, lifting, walking, hiking, climbing, squatting – and understand their practical application, even to our modern world. We aren’t hunting boars or climbing trees for eggs or building stone temples anymore, but we are helping friends move, carrying sick or injured kids to the emergency room, playing sports with our buddies, and climbing several flights of stairs. And, as we age, we become ever more conscious of these basic life activities. As I said yesterday, we shouldn’t have to consider taking the escalator or elevator instead of the stairs; we should be able to take a walk or lift a box or move some furniture without thinking twice.

I think of Primal Blueprint Fitness as endlessly malleable, eternally scalable. The hardcore can push their bodies to the limits lifting REALLY heavy things and running REALLY fast, while the beginners, the ill, or the elderly can lift moderately heavy things and walk REALLY fast. As long as you pay attention to the underlying principles of Primal Blueprint Fitness and follow in Grok’s footsteps, you can achieve functional, lifelong fitness – at any and all levels of proficiency.

Offline Gregg HIPK

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Re: Mark Sisson - Mark's Daily Apple
« Reply #24 on: January 12, 2010, 03:10:11 PM »
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qYqd_ptI6QI&feature=player_embedded

Nice nature scenes - makes me want to get outdoors and train. Looks COLD tho...

Offline Gregg HIPK

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Re: Mark Sisson - Mark's Daily Apple
« Reply #25 on: March 03, 2010, 11:21:22 AM »
 How to Deal with Overtraining

How to Deal with Overtraining

The thing about overtraining is that it exists on a spectrum, without clear-cut rules or boundaries. As I said last week, sufficient training volume is entirely subjective, and it’s constantly changing depending on an individual trainee’s goals, nutrition, sleep habits, stress levels, and injury status. What worked well for the last three months might prove to be excessive if your diet gets disrupted. A particularly stressful stretch at the office could undo a heretofore-steady strength progression. The human body is resilient, but there are limits – and the limits aren’t always clearly delineated. To divine them, it takes finesse and thoughtful tinkering at the edges. Sometimes you have to fall off the edge to know where it is. It’s more art than science. There are some solid, basically objective ways to deal with it, though, even if you’re not sure what constitutes overtraining for you.

Outright avoidance is the most prudent policy, of course.

If you take the necessary steps to prevent overtraining before it happens, you’re good to go. I’ve learned that, when in doubt,  less is often more.

[complete article]