Marks Daily Apple
Serving up health and fitness insights (daily, of course) with a side of irreverence.

Archive for January, 2013

7 Jan

Dear Mark: Periodization Training, My Ideal Garden, and “Real” Strength

gardening2For today’s edition of Dear Mark, we’ve got a quick three-parter. First, I briefly cover periodization training, explaining how and why I think everyone participates in it (even if they don’t know it yet). Next up is a question about my ideal garden. Now, I’m no gardener, but I do have some ideas about what kinds of food I’d like to grow. I give my personal list of calorie-dense and nutrient-dense produce (green thumbs, criticism is welcome). Finally, I discuss the difference – if any actually exists – between “real” and “neuromuscular” strength.

Let’s go, shall we?

6 Jan

Weekend Link Love

weekend link loveResearch of the Week

Another reason to work out in nature: training outdoors in an urban (read: polluted) environment elicits fewer cognitive improvements than training in a rural (read: fresh air-abundant) environment.

Selecting for big-brained guppies subsequently reduced gut and litter size (yes, I know that fish don’t technically have “litters,” but you know what I mean), appearing to confirm the expensive tissue hypothesis and mirroring what happened to big-brained hominids (Duggar family notwithstanding).

5 Jan

Crispy Carnitas

step2 7As if slow-cooked, tender, succulent pork wasn’t tempting enough, carnitas takes it one step further by caramelizing the pork in its own fat until the outside is perfectly browned and crisp. The crispy, tender morsels of pork that come out of the oven are hard to resist; it’s not unusual to eat so much meat right out of the pan that you’re full before the carnitas make it to the table.

Cooking meat that is both tender and crispy might sound tricky but the only trick to making carnitas is getting out of the way so the meat can cook itself. The less you intervene, the better. Seasoned pork is braised in a pot of water until the meat is tender and the water is gone. Then the pork fat takes over, essentially frying the meat into a crispy, fatty, salty masterpiece.

4 Jan

Flab to Fab in 7 Easy Months

It’s Friday, everyone! And that means another Primal Blueprint Real Life Story from a Mark’s Daily Apple reader. If you have your own success story and would like to share it with me and the Mark’s Daily Apple community please contact me here. I’ll continue to publish these each Friday as long as they keep coming in. Thank you for reading!

P.S. This story was titled by the author of the story, Erin.

real life stories stories 1 2Dear Mark,

I am so excited to have a story I feel is worth submitting to the Primal Blueprint Real Life Stories. It’s certainly not anything I imagined at the beginning of this journey.

My story began like so many of the other stories I’ve read on Mark’s Daily Apple. Although I was very skinny in my younger years, sometime around puberty I started to pick up “baby fat” even though I’d had none previously. Through college my weight would fluctuate up and down. One year I’d be a size 6, and the next a 10. My eating habits, like most college students, were awful, but I walked almost everywhere I went, and my job working with children kept me on my feet all day, so I always stayed in an “average” range.

3 Jan

A Different Kind of Fitness Resolution

twochoices2It’s the month when gym memberships spike and fitness equipment flies off store shelves. I think most of us begin the year wanting to be healthier, and fitness stands as an essential element of that endeavor. Logical. Reasonable. Commendable. Yet, the common interpretation of what it will take to get there suddenly veers off in a white knuckle, nonsensical detour. Yes, let’s hear it for the chronic cardio model. As a former cardio king, I rack my brain questioning why so many people still subscribe to the “exhaustion or bust” mentality. (It’s unfortunately one of the reasons many said memberships will go unused by the middle of next month and the aforementioned equipment will begin gathering dust in a corner.) As with so many aspects of healthy living, the conventional fitness culture often misleads because it ignores what can and should be its ultimate guide – the nuanced role of physical activity in evolution and the simple but rather elegant connections that movement has to overall vitality.

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