I turned 58 last week and, as I usually do around my birthday, I took some time to reflect upon all that I have to appreciate in my life and all that my Mark’s Daily Apple and PrimalBlueprint.com  team have accomplished in the last year. With that, I thought I’d hit a few highlights and bring you all up to date on some of what’s been happening at MDA and with the Primal Blueprint, as well as what’s in store for the near future.
But first things first. And let’s get this one out of the way early, ‘cause I get one or two of these every week.
I have heard you have gotten fat. And all the photos you have on the web are old. Please put up a recent photo with a recent newspaper.
No, I have not gotten fat in the last year and not all the photos are old . I chuckle (and often bristle) at the inane innuendo floating in the Interwebs: that I only use pictures from five or six years ago on MDA; that I was doped up when those pictures were taken; that I train way more than I admit to, or that I starve myself, etc. etc. Well, if you’re interested, here’s a picture of me taken yesterday  (with copy of the LA Times to prove the date). And here’s one of me out on the paddleboard a few days ago . And here I am in the gym a few months ago . Do I look fat in these genes?
(FWIW, as much as I depend on the Internet to deliver you guys the straight scoop, it’s my pet theory that the Internet is actually history’s largest experiment in pure democracy – and it offers proof that democracy will ultimately fail, as everyone’s “right” to say whatever they want about anything or anyone eventually de-evolves us to an irresponsible, blaming Idiocracy ). But I digress…)
Alexa.com and Site Visits
Speaking of the Internet, the Primal/paleo movement continues to grow. In the past few months MDA has dipped under the 10,000 mark on Alexa , reaching 8,575 as of today. For those of you unfamiliar with Alexa, that basically means that of the 300 million websites in the world, we are unofficially ranked in the top 9,000 overall in traffic. According to Dr. Joe Mercola, we are the third most visited natural health site in the world , and notably ahead of Prevention.com, Life Extension Foundation, Andrew Weil and Deepak. July will have seen over 700,000 unique visitors for the month, and we are well on our way to a million uniques per month by year end.
Many thanks to everyone that has helped get MDA to where it is today. You, MDA readers, have played a huge role: sharing articles with friends, imploring family members to pay a visit, regularly dropping by yourself. So thank you! Conventional Wisdom has taken a beating , and it couldn’t have been done without you.
We launched our Saturday six-hour, intensive Primal Accelerated Success Trainings in February at Karma CrossFit  in Manhattan Beach and followed that up with five more: Pleasant Hill, Reno, Kansas City, Seattle, and Austin. My chief Primal Blueprint  editor and Primal Leap  writing partner Brad Kearns led two of them, and I did the rest. The feedback was overwhelmingly positive throughout, as up to 75 people per event were deeply immersed in Primal Blueprint theory and practice. My intention was to have each person leave the seminar completely confident of his or her ability to handle any and all Primal hurdles forever. In the coming months we’ll announce a newer, “lite” version  that will typically take place from 6:30-9:30 on a weeknight in a more downtown facility, so attendees won’t have to give up a whole weekend day.
PrimalCon  was a huge success again this year. 83 people took the plunge and committed to a fun- filled, education-packed three day weekend at Oxnard Beach Park in April. The weather cooperated perfectly as our small groups – led by returning PrimalCon counselors – learned sprint technique from US Olympian Michael Stember, new kettlebell routines from Billy Vives, unique forms of bodywork and stealth training from Angelo dela Cruz, posture secrets from Esther Gokhale and cooking tips from Chef Rachel Matesz. Once again, renowned chef Oren Zroya made sure everyone was well fed with the best Primal foods possible. Plans now are to hold PrimalCon 2012 the weekend of April 13-15 again at Oxnard Beach Park. This year we will offer a wider range of sleeping accommodations and a few new twists. The details will be posted in the coming months.
In May we released The Primal Blueprint Quick & Easy Meals  cookbook, nearly a year after the release of the original Primal Blueprint Cookbook . Both have done well consistently and seem to be the missing link (gateway drug?) for many people who haven’t yet read The Primal Blueprint .
Hiked the Grand Canyon
In May Carrie, Devyn and I hiked into the Grand Canyon over a long weekend. It was every bit as spectacular as you’d expect one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World  to be and I highly recommend hiking it if you have the chance. Of particular note, I did our 17 mile trek in my Vibram KSO Treks and they performed exceptionally well (no blisters, no sore arches, no Achilles issues). Don’t think I’ll ever wear hiking boots again.
Indy HIT Seminar
In June, I spoke at the Indy HIT Seminar. If you are interested in SuperSlow and/or High Intensity Training (the kind that Doug McGuff  writes about in Body by Science ), then Bo Railey’s annual Indy HIT Seminar is the place to go. It’s a two-day event that covers everything relevant to this unique and effective training method. Bo invited me to speak on diet and nutrition as it relates to that style of working out, which fits perfectly with the Primal Blueprint eating and exercise strategy.
More Great Books
I am pleased to announce that I will be publishing Denise Minger ’s new book Death by Food Pyramid around the middle of 2012. We are both wildly excited about this project which will not only call on Denise’s unique set of analytical skills in destroying many of the “landmark” studies that CW hangs it’s hat on, but will trace the bizarre history behind the faulty US public policy-making regarding diet and health, and she’ll actually teach the reader how to take just about any study and critically review it from a layman’s perspective.
In November 2011, we will be introducing the Primal Blueprint 21-Day Total Body Transformation. This is a paperback guidebook/workbook geared more for newbies who don’t want – or need – all the science and theory and just want to cut to the chase. We’ve employed some of the strategies we’ve learned from the Primal Leap  and the PAST Seminars to drill down to some key concepts (no, not the PB 10 Laws) and several action items with a day-to-day, “do this, don’t do that” approach. The idea is that after 21 days of doing everything by the book, you will have reprogrammed your genes to make you a fat-burning beast for the rest of your life (provided you stick to the plan).
In January, we will be launching the paperback version of The Primal Blueprint. The plan is to update the book with some success stories, several Primal lifestyle “hacks”, and other features.
Around June, 2012 we will introduce my new book The Primal Connection, the answer to “what’s next after the Primal Blueprint – you know, after I have that diet thing figured out?” Among other topics, The Primal Connection will explore how and why our modern lives have created such conflict with our hunter-gatherer brains and what specific actions we can take to realign ourselves with the hard-wired expectations of those 10,000 year-old genes. With this understanding, we can once again become the happy, loving, productive, fulfilled and satisfied person each of us longs to (and was meant to) be.
Finally, I will be attending the CrossFit Games  this Friday and Saturday in Carson, CA, so stop by the Primal Blueprint booth and say hi (and get your copy of the PB autographed). And next Saturday (August 6), I will be one of many speakers at the inaugural Ancestral Health Symposium  at UCLA. Maybe I’ll see you there.
That about covers the first half of 2011 and some of my plans for the next six months or so. Thanks for reading today, and let me know what you think in the comment board. Grok on!