American Parkour Forum

Local Connections - USA => Hawaii => The Islands => Going Natural - Fitness the old school way. => Topic started by: Gregg HIPK on July 09, 2009, 06:43:12 PM

Title: Mark Sisson - Mark's Daily Apple
Post by: Gregg HIPK on July 09, 2009, 06:43:12 PM
So I'm cruising around fitness sites. Following bunny trails. Tarzan leads to Marathons leads to an old guy sprinting on a beach. Mark Sisson is a former marathon runner, who still looks great in his mid-50s. Doing those squat stretches - oog. Me no likee... [SEE VIDEO HERE (]

I headed over to his site.
Besides having a banner pic of Mark carrying 2 large water jugs at the edge of the beach [or doing lunges], there are some amazing pictures of FOOD. Good food. Yum!

His plan mixes low level aerobic activity along with strength and “sprint” interval training.

"For fit folks, the low aerobic range usually kicks in on the lower end (55%) with a slow to medium paced but easy hike, a slow bike ride or relaxed cardio workout at the gym. An out of shape person would likely hit that same 55% with a stroll around the block. Now flip to the upper limit (75%) of low level cardio, and a fit person is likely looking at a vigorous hilly hike, a somewhat hilly bike ride, or a medium cardio workout at the gym."

"What does it boil down to then? Simple activity – whatever floats your boat. Dancing (line, club, ballet, etc.), outdoor hikes, pleasant bike rides, vigorous gardening, brisk walks, a light swim, rollerblading in the park, ice skating, yoga, some doubles badminton or tennis, a game of Ultimate, playing or just mowing the lawn. In short: leading an overall active life by working in low level aerobic exercise into the daily pattern of your life, your relationships and your free time fun. It’s the good life, I’d say."
Title: Re: Mark Sisson - Mark's Daily Apple
Post by: Gregg HIPK on July 09, 2009, 06:44:31 PM
For his extreme workouts, he suggests mixing in elements of parkour, free-running, Ultimate frisbee, skateboarding, rock climbing, and buildering. [CHECK OUT THIS BUILDERING VIDEO (]
Title: Re: Mark Sisson - Mark's Daily Apple
Post by: Gregg HIPK on July 09, 2009, 06:45:10 PM
The "Primal Blueprint"

1. Eat lots of animals, insects and plants.

Focus on quality sources of protein (all forms of meat, fowl, fish), lots of colorful vegetables, some select fruits (mostly berries), and healthy fats (nuts, avocados, olive oil). Observe portion control (calorie distribution) week to week more than meal to meal. Eliminate grains, sugars, trans- and hydrogenated fats from your diet.

2. Move around a lot at a slow pace.

Do some form of low level aerobic activity 2-5 hours a week, whether it is walking, hiking, easy bike riding or swimming. Ideally, and when possible, find time to go barefoot or wear as little foot support as possible. Low-level activity is necessary (especially if you find yourself chained to a desk every day). The combined effect will be an increase in capillary perfusion, fat-burning and overall integration of muscle strength and flexibility.

3. Lift heavy things.

Go to the gym and lift weights for 30-45 minutes, 2-3 times a week. Focus on movements that involve the entire body and in wider ranges of motion – not just on isolating body parts. Emulate the movements of our ancestors: jumping, squatting, lunging, pushing, pulling, twisting, etc. This will stimulate your genes to increase muscle strength and power, increase bone density, improve insulin sensitivity, stimulate growth hormone secretion, and consume stored body fat.

4. Run really fast every once in a while.

Do some form of intense anaerobic sprint bursts several times a week. This could be as simple as six or eight (or more) short sprints up a hill, on the grass, at the beach… or repeated intense sessions on a bicycle (stationary, road or mountain bike). These short bursts also increase HGH release (HGH is actually released in proportion to the intensity (not the duration) of the exercise).

5. Get lots of sleep.

Get plenty of quality sleep. Our lives are so hectic and full of things to do after the sun goes down that it’s often difficult to get enough sleep. Yet sleep is one of the most important factors in maintaining good health, vibrant energy and a strong immune system.

6. Play.

Spend some time each week involved in active play. In addition to allowing you to apply your fitness to a real-life situation, play helps dissipate some of the negative effects of the chronic stress hormones you’ve been accumulating through the week.

7. Get some sunlight every day.

Contrary to the “Common Wisdom” dispensed by dermatologists (who suggest you shun the sun), the Primal Blueprint would insist that you get some direct sunlight every day. Certainly not so much that you come close to burning, but definitely enough to prompt your body to make the all-important vitamin D and to support the mood-lifting benefits. A slight tan is a good indicator that you have maintained adequate Vitamin D levels. Natural sunlight also has a powerful mood-elevating effect, which can enhance productivity at work and in inter-personal interactions.

8. Avoid trauma.

Eliminate self-destructive behaviors. These concepts are self evident to most people (wear seat belts, don’t smoke or do drugs, don’t dive into shallow water) yet so many of us live our lives oblivious to impending danger. Develop a keen sense of awareness of your surroundings.

9. Avoid poisonous things.

Avoid exposure to chemical toxins in your food (pesticides, herbicides, chemicals, etc) and on your skin. But also try to avoid the hidden poisons in foods like sugars, grains, processed foods, trans and hydrogenated fats, and mercury in certain fish.

10. Use your mind.

Exercise your brain daily as our ancestors did. Be inventive, creative, and aware. If your work is not stimulating (or even if it is), find time to read, write, play an instrument and interact socially.
Title: Re: Mark Sisson - Mark's Daily Apple
Post by: Gregg HIPK on July 09, 2009, 06:45:53 PM
The "Primal Blueprint"

1. Eat lots of animals, insects and plants.

And then he has no recipes for insects.  :P The sites I went to on eating bugs just turned my stomach. Scorpions, roaches and centipedes? Sorry. Their job is to DIE !!
Title: Re: Mark Sisson - Mark's Daily Apple
Post by: Gregg HIPK on July 09, 2009, 06:46:48 PM
How to Gain Weight and Build Muscle. LINK ( This is for the hard gainers...

"Now, my initial advice for a hardgainer is this – don’t worry too much about it! As long as you’re getting stronger, you’re doing it right."

He goes on to talk about 3 hormones your body produces to build muscle.

Your central nervous system only pumps them out if they're needed. Light aerobics and isolation exercises won't do much. "If you want to get your CNS’ attention, pick up the intensity. Run some sprints or do some heavy lifting. When you do an exercise like the squat with a heavy weight, all hands are on deck."

Cortisol is a hormone that breaks down muscle and converts it to blood glucose. To reduce cortisol, reduce stress, get enough sleep, and take at least one rest day after a really hard workout.

"The foundation of your routine should be the big compound lifts: squats, deadlifts, presses (bench and overhead), pull-ups, rows, dips, snatches, power cleans, clean and jerks. These engage multiple muscles while triggering your hormonal response systems. Bodyweight stuff, while valuable, simply isn’t going to get you the strength and mass increases you’re looking for."

Eat Lots (I Mean Lots) of Plants and Animals

    * Protein intake > 1g/lb of body weight.
    * Eat plenty of saturated and monounsaturated fat.
    * Dietary fat also spares muscle wasting.
    * Eat a dozen eggs a day.
    * Eat often.
    * Increase caloric intake. Eat!
    * On those days when you do expend a ton of energy, a starch, like squash or sweet potato, is a decent way to replenish depleted glycogen stores.
    * Eat a big piece of fatty meat every single day.
    * A hardgainer is often someone who doesn’t eat enough. Eat more and lift harder to grab the reins.
Title: Re: Mark Sisson - Mark's Daily Apple
Post by: Gregg HIPK on July 14, 2009, 10:59:03 AM
Today's MDA was pretty seedy.

Speaking of seedy - the demo video of the woman with the Animal Stick. I much preferred the one I saw on Exuberant Animal.
Title: Re: Mark Sisson - Mark's Daily Apple
Post by: Gregg HIPK on July 22, 2009, 06:51:29 PM
Mon: Food label rant
Tue: Social Wellness - how important it is to have friends
Wed: Working out with a MACE. The ones I saw looked like bowling balls on the end of a long pipe. So I saw videos of people swinging these things around. THIS ( was one of the better ones.
Title: Re: Mark Sisson - Mark's Daily Apple
Post by: Gregg HIPK on August 01, 2009, 03:47:53 PM
This is the chapter summary of "Primal Blueprint"

Introduction – What’s Going On Here?
In the Introduction, I detail how many elements of Conventional Wisdom about diet and exercise are making us unhealthy. Even those with high motivation levels and a sincere commitment to “doing the right thing” become confused and manipulated into lifestyle practices that are harmful. The obscene state of human health in the modern world is a testament to the dismal failure of the conventional approach to diet, exercise and stress management.

I discuss the concept – quite familiar to regular MDA readers – that we are genetically identical to our hunter-gatherer ancestors and that their diet, exercise and lifestyle behaviors represent an ideal to aspire to in modern life. I explain that genes are not merely unalterable inherited traits, but actually play a critical role in the function of every single cell in our bodies at every moment. Following the Primal Blueprint behavior laws creates the ideal environment for your genes to express themselves in support of robust health and peak performance, instead of turn on you to create excess fat storage, accelerated aging, disease and assorted pain and suffering. Unfortunately, many of us consider bad gene expression and poor health to be our destiny, based on family histories of risk factors or simply refusing to look beyond the prevailing cultural beliefs and health norms for a better way. The Primal Blueprint can help anyone – regardless of current state of health or the genetic cards you hold – to immediately experience improvements in health with behaviors that are easily sustained for a lifetime.

Chapter 1 – The Ten Primal Blueprint Laws
In Chapter One I present the “re:evolutionary” premise that our primal ancestors were bigger, stronger, healthier and possibly smarter than us! I provide a quick summary of the remarkable process of human evolution leading to the creation of the perfect human being…some 10,000 years ago. Our primal human role model from that time – the starring character of the Primal Blueprint – is nicknamed “Grok”. Since 10,000 years ago, the advent of agriculture and the inexorable technological progress of civilization have led us ever further astray from the dietary habits and active, stress-balanced lifestyles that allowed Grok to thrive and prevail under the harsh competitive circumstances of evolution. As a result, we have literally gone soft since then. Furthermore, thanks to medical intervention allowing even those with genetic flaws to reproduce, we exist today in what is arguably a state of devolution.

The ten Primal Blueprint laws allow us to overcome the negative cultural influences in the modern world and achieve robust health, peak longevity and effortless weight loss. The ten laws are: Eat Lots of Plants, Animals and Insects; Avoid Poisonous Things; Move Frequently At A Slow Pace; Lift Heavy Things; Run Really Fast Once In A While; Get Adequate Sleep; Play; Get Plenty of Sunlight; Avoid Stupid Mistakes; and Use Your Brain.

Chapter 2 – Grok and Korg: A Tale of Two Families
In Chapter Two we examine the contrasting daily lives of Grok and his primal family with their modern day antithesis, the Korg family. The extremely unhealthy saga of the Korgs might seem unrealistic, but it’s actually a statistically accurate indicator of many lifestyle trends today, including: hectic schedules, cultural and economic factors compromising quality family time; widespread use of prescription drugs to address the symptoms of health problems easily corrected by lifestyle modification; excessive digital media use and lack of exercise by children, which leads to behavior problems and early onset of disease risk factors; and flawed, overly stressful approaches to exercise and diet by even the most devoted fitness and weight loss enthusiasts.

While the story is distressing, the good news is that with some simple, enjoyable lifestyle modifications, the momentum can turn immediately in the direction of better health (including freedom from dependence on prescription medication), more energy, successful long-term weight loss and a generally more enjoyable life for you and your family.

Chapter 3 – Primal Blueprint Eating Philosophy
In Chapter Three I present the philosophy, rationale and benefits of Primal Blueprint eating. I make a special effort to detail the importance of moderating insulin production by limiting intake of processed carbohydrates – not only sugars but also all cultivated grains (yep, even whole grains). This simple dietary modification – perhaps the single most critical take away action item from the Primal Blueprint – will allow you to succeed with long term weight loss goals and avoid the most common modern lifestyle related health problems and diseases. I explain the benefits of ingesting optimal amounts of Omega 3’s, including their important role in controlling inflammation and preventing disease. I explain why the Conventional Wisdom story about cholesterol as a heart disease risk factor is deeply flawed. I discuss the true culprit that triggers the development of atherosclerosis: Metabolic Syndrome (a conclusion now widely accepted by the medical community). This is a serious widespread medical condition (afflicts one in five Americans) attributed to the typical modern diet (mainly, too many processed carbs and fats causing insulin resistance) and sedentary culture. I describe the dietary steps you can take to virtually eliminate your risk of heart disease.

We analyze each macronutrient in detail (protein, carbohydrate, fat and the “fourth fuel” of ketones), and establish the proper context for discussing how these nutrients affect your eating strategy, energy levels and overall health. I detail why “eating well” means more than just making healthy food choices; it encompasses eating sensibly and intuitively, in a relaxed environment conducive to maximum appreciation of food, and avoiding regimented, restrictive diets that lead to negativity, guilt and rebellion. Finally, I offer tips on how to succeed in converting to Primal Blueprint eating without causing additional stress or disappointment so common with unrealistic diet programs.

Chapter 4 – Primal Blueprint Law #1: Eat Lots Of Plants, Animals and Insects
In Chapter Four I detail the health benefits of eating Primal Blueprint style, and how to choose the best products in the food categories of vegetables, fruits, nuts and seeds, meat, fish, eggs, nutritional supplements and even sensible indulgences. We pay particular attention to the benefits of choosing natural, organic plants and animals and contrast the often offensive ingredients and processing methods found with conventional foods and mass produced animals.

We address the potential budget impact of eating Primal Blueprint style, offering some prioritization tips that can give you the most bang for your buck…and your health. I’ll offer lists of my favorite vegetables, fruits and primal snacks, with specific health benefits detailed – yep, even for the indulgences!

Chapter 5 – Primal Blueprint Law #2 – Avoid Poisonous Things
In Chapter Five I detail the health risks of eating “poisonous things”. In Grok’s day, poisonous plants could drop or even kill him on the spot. Today we have evolved to factory-produced items in bright packages that kill more insidiously over decades. We explore the cultural factors that create tremendous momentum towards unhealthy choices and how to take a stand against these manipulative influences. We pay particular attention to dispelling the Conventional Wisdom tenet that cultivated grain products (wheat, rice, bread, pasta, cereal, corn, etc.) are healthy, countering with extensive research and details indicating the problems they cause with insulin production, nutrient deficiencies, immune function and allergies. We discuss the drawbacks and dangers of consuming trans and hydrogenated fats, sugars, legumes and foods commonly miscategorized as healthy.

I detail foods that you can enjoy in moderation, including how to make the best choices among dairy products, starchy vegetables, oils and butter, wild rice and certain fruits. I refute Conventional Wisdom’s notion that you should routinely drink extensive amounts of water and instead assert that, like Grok, we simply use our thirst to guide us to proper hydration.

Chapter 6 – The Primal Blueprint Exercise Laws
In Chapter Six I detail the rationale and benefits of the three Primal Blueprint exercise laws: Law #3: Move Frequently At A Slow Pace, Law #4: Lift Heavy Things, and Law #5: Run Really Fast Once In A While. Mirroring the active lifestyle of Grok will produce what I call Primal Fitness, a versatile and diverse set of abilities that allow you to tackle varied active lifestyle or athletic challenges safely and competently. In contrast, many pursue narrow, specialized forms of fitness (e.g. – endurance athletes and bodybuilders) that are minimally functional and often compromise general health. Following the Primal Blueprint exercise laws will delay the aging process by preserving lean muscle mass, which correlates with enhanced organ function.

We contrast the benefits of Primal Blueprint exercise with the many drawbacks and health risks associated with Conventional Wisdom’s fitness recommendations. Moving frequently at a slow pace is superior to an exhausting routine of frequent sustained medium to hard workouts. These workouts often lead to sugar cravings that compromise weight loss efforts, and hampered immune and hormone function. Lifting heavy things involves brief, intense sessions that promote optimal hormone flow and prevent the catabolic effects of prolonged sessions where you leave the gym exhausted and depleted. Few things are more primal than Law #5 – running for your life once in a while! Short intense sprints trigger optimal hormone flow, lean muscle development, accelerated fat metabolism and incredible fitness breakthroughs. I discuss an optimal strategic approach for conducting workouts for each of the three Primal Blueprint laws (including form pointers and the benefits of going “barefoot”), with specific workout suggestions provided in the Appendix.

Chapter 7 – The Primal Blueprint Lifestyle Laws
In Chapter Seven I detail the five lifestyle laws of the Primal Blueprint: Get Adequate Sleep, Play, Get Adequate Sunlight, Avoid Stupid Mistakes and Use Your Brain. While Grok’s diet and exercise patterns were clearly major influences in shaping how his (and our) genes evolved, there were other environmental and behavioral forces that were no less important in perfecting the DNA recipe for a healthy, vibrant human being. It would be a mistake for us to underemphasize these other lifestyle habits, since they still play a significant role in whether or not we lose fat, build muscle, and stay focused, energetic, productive and disease-free.

Law #6, Get Adequate Sleep, delivers obvious benefits, but is widely compromised today. Good sleep involves understanding the physiology, establishing consistent habits, taking advantage of the profound benefits of napping (when you need one) and applying effective time prioritization skills. Law #7, Play, requires minimal analysis or specific instruction. Again, it’s an obvious but widely neglected lifestyle law that can deliver widespread benefits and make you quantifiably more productive when balanced effectively with work. Law #8, Get Adequate Sunlight, is an area where Conventional Wisdom has let us down, scaring us into avoiding the outdoors due to the misinterpreted risks of skin cancer. Obtaining optimal levels of Vitamin D, synthesized from sun exposure on your skin, is critical to cellular health and cancer prevention. Law #9, Avoid Stupid Mistakes, details how our obsessive desire to control or eliminate all sources of potential danger has made us lazy and inattentive. Cultivating the skills of hyper-vigilance and risk management is essential to avoid the self-inflicted trauma and suffering epitomized by the satirical but astonishingly true stories of the Darwin Awards. Law #10, Use Your Brain, may seem incongruent to many of us who are hyper-stimulated all day long. Actually, the unrelenting pace of modern life and intense pressure to achieve and consume strongly conflicts with our genetic makeup and can lead to feelings of restlessness and discontent. Pursuing creative intellectual outlets unrelated to your core daily responsibilities and economic contribution will keep you refreshed and excited about life.

Chapter 8 – A Primal Approach To Weight Loss
Chapter Eight provides a detailed step-by-step process to lose an average of one to two pounds of body fat per week. We learn how to target protein, carb, and fat intake in order to ramp up fat metabolism, maintain high dietary satisfaction levels and avoid the risk of depleting muscle tissue and suffering from the usual rebound/rebellion effect of severe caloric restriction. We discuss how de-regulating food intake and fasting intermittently can be effective calorie restriction tools and how exercise can support and accelerate progress towards your body composition goals.

We review two weight loss case studies (Ken and Kelly Korg – naturally!), calculating their average daily caloric expenditure and optimal daily intake of each macronutrient – Primal Blueprint style – to produce effortless fat loss. We examine a daily food diary of delicious, nutritious meals that contains a detailed caloric analysis and macronutrient breakdown for each meal and a daily total. The case studies result in a loss of 4.5 pound of body fat for Kelly and 6.6 pounds of body fat for Ken in a single month. Finally, I provide “Troubleshooting” tips for possible setbacks and plateaus that arise when trying to lose weight in the real world.

Chapter 9 – Conclusion
In the Conclusion we reflect on the Korgs’ story (“Yeah, It Really Is That Bad”) and how far we have drifted from the natural dietary, exercise and lifestyle habits modeled by Grok that our genes thrive on. It’s clear that we cannot trust Conventional Wisdom, corporate America or our government to make us healthy – we are truly on our own. Taking action involves proceeding with an open mind and a clean slate to depart from the cultural momentum towards shortcuts and placation through consumption. I provide tips for “getting primal”, including easing into it, isolating on one lifestyle challenge at a time to avoid being overwhelmed, and tracking progress both objectively and subjectively. Goals should be process-oriented to avoid the risks of disappointment and declining motivation when failing to meet the often arbitrary and superficial success standards imposed by society.
Title: Re: Mark Sisson - Mark's Daily Apple
Post by: Gregg HIPK on August 04, 2009, 02:52:41 PM
Here's the best short breakdown I've seen so far of Mark's "Primal Blueprint"

Also check out the Primal Blueprint Health challenge.
Title: Re: Mark Sisson - Mark's Daily Apple
Post by: Gregg HIPK on August 13, 2009, 11:51:53 AM
"Unconventional" ways to get primal. Carry a big rock, go barefoot, eat bugs? How unconventional is that? I don't eat bugs on purpose, but that sounds like a standard MN workout to me ;D

Title: Re: Mark Sisson - Mark's Daily Apple
Post by: cranialpk on September 20, 2009, 11:24:24 PM
ya i like his blog, he's always got good tips for paleo diet/primal diet(a lil diff but pretty close) related stuff (and we just had a paleo contest at CF last month so it helped alot)
Title: Re: Mark Sisson - Mark's Daily Apple
Post by: Gregg HIPK on September 21, 2009, 01:44:46 PM
The pictures of food always make me hungry :)
Then I read that it's smashed up cauliflower or something...
Title: Re: Mark Sisson - Mark's Daily Apple
Post by: Gregg HIPK on September 24, 2009, 12:15:43 PM
Here's a fun 2 person sprint/ lift/ carry/ fight workout stolen from the MDA blog.

For what I have in mind, you’ll need a sandbag weighing 70-100 pounds. Scale the weight down or up depending on your strength. You’ll also need a partner for this. This is the perfect opportunity to introduce an unfamiliar friend to the Primal mode of working out. You’ll have a partner to motivate you, and you’ll be showing someone that fitness doesn’t have to be boring and miserable.

Leave the sandbag on the ground and walk away. Choose a starting point about 50-100 meters away from the sandbag. The distance isn’t exact; it’s just a guide. You can go longer or shorter depending on your speed and fitness levels.

Race your partner to the sandbag. As you get closer, you’ll notice something strange. The sandbag is no longer a sandbag – it’s a thick, juicy, mammoth leg! That’s dinner for a week, and this other guy’s trying to take it from you. If you care about your tribe, you’ll get to it first.

Did you make it? Good, you deserve it. Grab the leg, heave it up to your shoulders, and make a run for it. Try to make it back to the starting point. The other guy has to catch his breath, of course, so he’ll be resting (for ten seconds), but after that he’ll be right on your tail. That huge piece of meat will be weighing you down, so you better sprint with everything you’ve got left.

Inevitably, the other guy will catch up. When he does, there’s a brief struggle (for realism’s sake, you can actually turn this interlude into a wrestling match; your partner has to wrest the sandbag from your grasp), and the leg exchanges hands. (Take 30-45 seconds of collective rest here) Now he’s off with the leg (with a ten second head start), and you take off after him to repeat the process. That’s your damn dinner, and you aren’t giving up that easily!

Keep this up as long as you can. Eventually, the distances traveled will become shorter and shorter, and the sprinting will turn into shuffling – that’s when you know you’ve had enough. The mammoth leg will, disappointingly, also turn back into a mere sandbag, and your friend will cease to be your mortal enemy.
Title: Re: Mark Sisson - Mark's Daily Apple
Post by: Gregg HIPK on September 24, 2009, 12:46:21 PM
Create a Primal Workout Video for a Chance to Win Primal Gear!
The current theme: Bodyweight Exercises
How it Works:

1. Create and upload your video to YouTube (or Vimeo or any other video hosting site). When uploading your video please title the video “Primal Blueprint Fitness:” followed by your own creative sub-title. (This makes it easy to search for Primal Blueprint videos. If the video isn’t titled properly it will not be entered in the contest.)

2. Email me the link. Please make the subject of your email “Primal Fitness Contest”.

The video needs to relate both to this month’s theme and the Primal Blueprint Fitness philosophy. The more Primal the better. --- Here's a previous winning entry: Bringing Home the Bacon for more info
Title: Re: Mark Sisson - Mark's Daily Apple
Post by: Ozzi on September 24, 2009, 12:56:32 PM
Lol, that dude was about to pull the shoulder out of those girls sockets... then he throws them down on the ground. haha
Title: Re: Mark Sisson - Mark's Daily Apple
Post by: Gregg HIPK on September 24, 2009, 01:34:17 PM
Yeah, he was rougher than he needed to be. Good thing his sisters weren't 300 pounds.
Title: Re: Mark Sisson - Mark's Daily Apple
Post by: Gregg HIPK on October 02, 2009, 11:38:52 AM

Here's one of the contestants. My first thought was "It looks like he just got out of Auschwitz". The second, and more horrifying thought was "I bet I look even scrawnier."
Title: Re: Mark Sisson - Mark's Daily Apple
Post by: Ozzi on October 02, 2009, 11:45:51 AM
That place looked pretty cool.
Title: Re: Mark Sisson - Mark's Daily Apple
Post by: Gregg HIPK on October 28, 2009, 02:15:45 PM
Mark's doing a 4 part series on "What is fitness?"

From PART 1 ( What does it mean to be fit?
  The required “functions” are always changing based on circumstance, and the “fitness” that allows these functions to be performed must change along with them.
   I think we have to include health in the definition of proper fitness, especially if we’re talking about Primal fitness. There’s no point to lifting twice your body weight, running a sub-6 minute mile, and doing twenty consecutive pull-ups if you aren’t going to live a long, full life. With that in mind, I think true physical fitness must be functional across a broad spectrum of environmental pressures – no highly specialized gladiators or marathoners allowed – while still promoting optimum health and longevity.
  Competent strength, power, speed, agility, balance, flexibility, and cardiovascular endurance were essential attributes for our hunter-gatherer ancestors as they hunted, stalked, foraged, lifted, hauled, threw, climbed, and jumped. They were essential attributes for reproductive fitness and survival of the species.

From PART 2 ( Could you save your own life?
  There are still certain timeless, universal advantages to being fit. I’m talking about those fight-or-flight moments, those instances where time slows down and you’ve got to act – NOW – or risk probable death.
  You can’t always reach for your cell phone and call the authorities, and sometimes you just can’t wait to be rescued. In these situations, the abilities to maneuver your body with precision, manipulate/lift/push/pull your own bodyweight without tiring too quickly, jump high and far enough to clear a few feet, swim for a few hundred meters, and maintain top running speed for a couple hundred meters are crucial for survival.
  I think the ability to save your own life in an immediate (however rare) crisis should be the absolute baseline for general competency. After all, what’s more truly indicative of one’s fitness (the ability to survive and reproduce) than being able to call upon said fitness to extricate oneself from a dangerous situation. That should be the absolute minimum.
  So, I count manipulating your own weight (including pulling, climbing, pushing), supporting someone else’s weight while walking, swimming, and sprinting as the fundamental abilities any competently fit person interested in surviving dangerous situations should possess. I’m sure I’m missing at least a few more, though, so I’d love to hear from readers: what other physical abilities do you consider crucial for survival, especially in this modern world?
Title: Re: Mark Sisson - Mark's Daily Apple
Post by: Ozzi on October 28, 2009, 03:51:05 PM
Love the second one, thanks G, that is making front page.
Title: Re: Mark Sisson - Mark's Daily Apple
Post by: Gregg HIPK 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
Title: Re: Mark Sisson - Mark's Daily Apple
Post by: naturalninja 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?
Title: Re: Mark Sisson - Mark's Daily Apple
Post by: Gregg HIPK 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.
Title: Re: Mark Sisson - Mark's Daily Apple
Post by: Gregg HIPK 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.
Title: Re: Mark Sisson - Mark's Daily Apple
Post by: Gregg HIPK on January 12, 2010, 03:10:11 PM

Nice nature scenes - makes me want to get outdoors and train. Looks COLD tho...
Title: Re: Mark Sisson - Mark's Daily Apple
Post by: Gregg HIPK 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.

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