Meet Mark

Let me introduce myself. My name is Mark Sisson. I’m 63 years young. I live and work in Malibu, California. In a past life I was a professional marathoner and triathlete. Now my life goal is to help 100 million people get healthy. I started this blog in 2006 to empower people to take full responsibility for their own health and enjoyment of life by investigating, discussing, and critically rethinking everything we’ve assumed to be true about health and wellness...

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Month: March 2010

Announcement: The Primal Blueprint Poster

You can now get a copy of The Primal Blueprint Poster. It is officially on sale for $14.95. The shipping and handling costs are on me unless you are outside of the U.S.

I think it’s a pretty cool poster if I may say so myself. Many thanks to Kristin, my ace designer, Farhad, and the other Worker Bees who helped complete it.

It’s 24×30 inches, fairly large as posters go. As you can see from the image (click to zoom in) the poster illustrates the core Primal Blueprint fitness, diet and lifestyle behaviors, with sections devoted to the 10 Laws, the Primal Blueprint Fitness Pyramid, Food Pyramid and Carbohydrate Curve.

Hang it in your garage, your rec room, your gym or anywhere else for inspiration and to help you “get Primal”! Click here to get your copy today.

Stay tuned for today’s regularly scheduled blog post!

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The Question of Seasonality in Human Health and Nutrition

How important is seasonality in our understanding of human health? In last week’s nuts post, I referred to the seasonality and intermittence of nut availability in the wild, implying that because they weren’t available to our ancestors on a year-round basis, excessive daily nut consumption may not be in our best interest. Regular, consistent, high-volume nut ingestion may not make sense in the light of human evolution, but does that necessarily make eating nuts – or, really, any food – in anthropologically unrealistic amounts detrimental to our health?

What about seasonal behavioral patterns, or seasonality of access to sunlight? Does it make sense to view our every move, our every tradition, in the light of the seasons? What do we mean by “seasons,” anyway – aren’t the seasons different depending on several factors, like proximity to the equator? Or is there an ideal seasonal cycle all humans should strive to follow, regardless of location or background?

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The Definitive Guide to Sleep

Sleep Awareness Week (as sponsored by the National Sleep Foundation) technically ended March 13th, but somehow I’m guessing there are just as many sleep deprived folks milling about this week as there were a few days ago – just like our good reader Monday. Maybe a few of us feel better adjusted to the time change these days, but probably just as many stayed up late to watch the NCAA games this weekend. Or maybe it was a late St. Paddy’s Day party. Somehow it’s always somethin’, isn’t it?

Even if we’re good and diligent and never sacrifice sleep for entertainment purposes, life too often pokes holes in our most worthy intentions. Babies wake up in the middle of the night. Flights leave early. Deadlines, projects and bills keep us up later than we’d planned. Maybe we even burn the midnight oil to get a jump on the next morning’s tasks! Nighttime too often becomes a default slush fund for the day’s chores. Still others of us might deliberately stay up to bask (however groggily) in what seems like the only time we have to ourselves. The house is quiet, the kids/partner are asleep. The world is hushed, and the deep solitude is too much to resist.

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How-to Guide: Standing at Work

Besides stuff like tribal warfare, cannibalism, and high infant mortality, it seems like most any divergence from our ancestral norms is ultimately detrimental, or at least problematic. Nutrition is an obvious one, along with sunlight, sleep, and exercise. The mainstream media is even beginning to question the superiority of modern footwear. And then there’s the seemingly simple act of sitting down in a chair. It seems harmless, but as I discussed last year and a recent NY Times piece mentioned last month, sitting for extended periods of time is strongly linked with increased mortality and metabolic syndrome, regardless of how much exercise a sitter gets.

The chair is a bit like wheat, actually: a relative novelty to which we aren’t physiologically adapted that has become a cultural staple nonetheless. For at least eight hours each day, we twist our bodies into weird Tetris blocks with poor posture and sit, for the most part unmoving, on chairs. When you stop and think about it, sitting down in a chair for extended periods of time seems a little silly. I mean, it’s not even all that comfortable (isn’t that why we distort our bodies with terrible posture – to make sitting more comfortable?). We aren’t “designed” to sit in chairs. We’re certainly meant to stand, but we sit in chairs because we designed them to fit our anatomy, and I somehow doubt that whoever came up with the chair was thinking about long-term effects on our physiology.

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Dear Mark: Sleep and Oxidative Stress

Dear Mark,

The time change pretty hit me hard this year. I’ve noticed that as I age I value my sleep more and more. When I was in my 20s and 30s I use to be able to get by on about 6 hours of sleep each night. Now if I don’t get at least 8 hours I pay for it. What’s the deal? Is this just part of getting older?


What’s one lost hour of sleep when getting over the hump of daylight savings time? It might not seem like much, but as I’ve noted before, time changes wreak a special havoc over everything from traffic accidents to workman’s comp filings. (Add the stock market and heart attack rates to this inspiring picture.) Truth be told, however, many of us were delinquent long before the recent changeover. Maybe the switch was simply the last straw in a long term bout of sleep deprivation. Anyone? (You know who you are.) We know we feel like hell warmed over when we make a habit of skipping out on zzzzs. We justify it, minimize it, though, by telling ourselves that it can’t be so bad if caffeine and a shower can cure us before we walk out the door in the morning. Some latest research says different. When we do without solid sleep, we decrease our ability to process even moderate levels of oxidative stress – the arch enemy of the Primal Blueprint of course. The impact, as observed by Oregon State University researchers, leads to faster aging and measurable neurological decline.

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Announcement: New Recipe Theme for the Cookbook Contest

Enter your best Primal Blueprint recipes for your chance to win prizes and be featured in the Reader-Created Cookbook

The new theme: Primal Salad Recipes!

In the last month I’ve received and published some delicious Primal Pork recipes (the previous theme):

Pork Tenderloin with Cilantro Pesto

Crock Pot Pork-Stuffed Peppers

Mediterranean Stuffed Pork Loin

Garlic Pulled Pork

All of these recipes will be featured in the Reader-Created Primal Blueprint Cookbook and the entrants have a chance to win an über cool Primal prize package.

But now, to mark the beginning of spring, I’m asking for your favorite Primal Salad recipes. If you’d like to participate in this contest email me your best salad creations.

What are your favorite Primal Salads? Are you a BAS-type person that tosses everything into a giant bowl and digs in? Or do you keep it simple and have more refined tastes? Click here for all the contest details.

Stay tuned for today’s regularly scheduled post in which we’ll be exploring sleep, circadian rhythms and aging.

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