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

A Week in the Life of Mark Sisson

First off, I hope you can forgive me for the self-referential blog post title. “A Week in My Life” doesn’t mean much of anything to anyone that only sees the title on the Interwebs, so there it is. In any case, many of you have requested an update to my own personal Primal regimen to give you a sense of what my average day looks like. At the risk of boring you to tears, I thought I’d chronicle a week in my normal life for you today. I’ll start with a few random notes:

1. Art De Vany made a comment a while back that really resonated with me. He said these days he seeks to do as little as possible – to find more time to relax just like our hunter-gatherer ancestors did – and still do. I know where he’s coming from, and I want that too. While I am “working” more now than at any time in my life, I am also constantly looking for ways to cut corners and make things easier. I really do want to play (Law #7) more. Don’t get me wrong – I’m having a blast and am totally immersed in all we’re doing at MDA and Primal, but my goal is still to make my life as comfortable and pleasurable as possible.

2. We have a housekeeper – Diva – who has been with us for eight years and who has trained as a sous chef under my good friend Oren Zroya (the amazing PrimalCon chef). She’s a godsend. She ensures that the pantry and refrigerator are always well-stocked with the right foods and cooking ingredients. As a result, we always have access to healthy snacks, myriad ingredients for a big-ass salad, or several things freshly made from the Primal Blueprint Cookbook that we can simply heat up. Malibu Seafood is located right down the street, which helps when we want to buy fresh fish. I keep a supply of grass-fed beef, bison, pastured lamb and other goodies in my freezer at all times. And bacon.

3. As for training, I’ve said many times here that I really only train these days to be able to play well, play hard and play uninjured. Easier said than done, and at 57 it seems that injuries can lurk around every corner if one is not vigilant. I have chronic hip flexor issues (going back to my marathon days) and a problem rotator cuff from setting a PR on the bench some years ago. I decided to take the first quarter of 2011 to rehab those and really focus on strength and mobility in my hips and my shoulders.  Therefore, I do a few movements outside normal bodyweight exercises (PB Fitness) to focus on those areas, and Carrie and I take a “restorative” yoga class at least once a week for that purpose as well.

4. Notice that I often repeat the same schedule or menu. I tend to prefer a routine over new stuff all the time.

5. Supplementation Regimen: Every day I take 3-4 capsules of Vital Omegas (omega-3 fish oil), 2-4 capsules of Primal Sun Vitamin D (when I’m not getting enough sunlight), 1-2 Primal Flora and 1-2 packets of Damage Control Master Formula.

Here’s what last week looked like:


7:00 AM – Big cup of coffee (always French press, Starbucks – anything extra bold) always with heavy whipping cream and a teaspoon of sugar. Read paper, did Sunday Sudoku and Crossword (Primal Law #10 “use your brain”).

9:00 AM – Breakfast: Three scoops of Vanilla Crème Primal Fuel with ice cubes and water in a blender in anticipation of a big Ultimate game.

10:00 AM – Two hours of Ultimate (Frisbee). Warmed-up with some easy runs and throws, and then chose sides for 7-on-7 game. Great game (rained a bit during it) and excellent workout. Most fun I have all week. Probably did 20 full-out sprints of 40+ yards, with lots of stop and go or side-to-side mixed in. My team lost 25-21, mostly due to throwing errors. I always play in VFF Treks (Treks have more grip for grass than most other VFFs).

12:30 PM – Back home after game, stood in unheated pool up to mid-thigh (high 50’s – low 60’s temp) for 10 minutes. It’s part of my new repair and restore program.

1:00 PM – Lunch: Four egg omelet with onions, cheese, and red peppers, mineral water.

4:00 PM – Snack: Handful of macadamia nuts (20ish). Macs are the only nuts I eat anymore – they are so superior to all others.

7:00 PM – Dinner: One pound of ground lamb mixed with sautéed onions and peppers, steamed asparagus spears drenched in butter. 2 glasses cabernet sauvignon. Didn’t quite finish the lamb, but Buddha made quick work of the rest.

10:30 PM – Bed


6:30 AM – Big cup of coffee, read newspaper, did crossword.

7:30 AM – Work

9:30 AM – Breakfast: 4-egg omelet at desk.

10:30 AM – Gym: 3 sets of: 30 reverse rows + 40-50 pushups (with one minute walk/rest between sets)

3 sets of: 12 wide grip pullups + 15 parallel bar dips (one minute walk/rest between sets)

3 sets of: 10 narrow parallel grip pullups + 15 easy dumbbell curls to overhead press @ 25 pounds

2 sets of shoulder rehab stuff (circles, front raises, side raises, etc., with light dumbbells)

11:15 AM – Work

1:00 PM – Lunch: Big-ass salad. Mixed greens, cherry tomatoes, avocado, red bell peppers, browned slivered almonds, large dollop of tuna, dressing with EVOO as base. Ate at desk.

4:00 PM – Snack: Handful of cherries.

5:15 PM – One hour session with Michelle, my pilates/yoga/stretch guru, holding long, easy hip-opening poses.

7:30 PM – Dinner: 1 glass cabernet, 10 ounces grilled Bison “New York Cut”, 2 cups of Brussels sprouts with Hazelnuts (p. 142 PB Cookbook), 1 more glass cabernet, wedge of artisanal cheese.

8:30 PM – Game of Scrabble with son Kyle.

10:30 PM – Bed


6:30 AM – Big cup of coffee, caught up on news, crossword.

7:30 AM – Work

9:00 AM – Breakfast: Three scoops of Chocolate Primal Fuel with ice cubes and water in a blender. No easier way to get 30 grams of protein and a bunch of healthy coconut sat fat.

9:30 AM – Gym: 20 minutes on Precor stationary bike, started easy, gradually increasing resistance until maximum effort at 20th minute. Easy 2 minute recovery spin, then started 8 reps of: 20 seconds at max effort (high resistance and 110+ rpms) with 40 second easy spin rest between sets (lower rpms and a few notches down in resistance). Drenched. Grok squatted for a few minutes after. Went home and stood in the cold pool for 10 minutes.

10:30 AM – Work

1:00 PM – Lunch at local restaurant. Giant pork chop with mushroom sauce and asparagus tips, iced tea.

2:00 PM – Weather was awesome, couldn’t avoid going out for 1.5 hour stand-up paddle session. Should probably have worked, but my friend Eric and the board beckoned. OK. Shouldn’t have worked if my goal is truly to have more fun.

4:50 PM – Snack: Handful of macadamias.

8:00 PM – Dinner: 14 giant shrimp, each dipped in melted butter (maybe my favorite dinner). Steamed broccoli (same butter). 1 glass chardonnay (Sonoma Cutrer). A few pieces of 85% dark chocolate.

11:00 PM – Bed


6:45 AM – Big cup of coffee, caught up on news, crossword, Sudoku.

7:30 AM – Work

9:30 AM – Breakfast: Three scoops of Vanilla Primal Fuel with ice cubes and water in a blender.

9:45 AM – Hiked up Puerco Canyon with wife Carrie and Buddha (my Yellow Lab, if you hadn’t gathered that by now). I wore a 20-pound weight vest to equalize the effort (she’d had an emergency appendectomy 10 days earlier. 1:15 up and back. 10 minute cold soak in pool to mid-thigh.

11:30 AM – Work

1:00 PM – Lunch: Big-ass salad, with cold shrimp left over from dinner as protein source.

4:20 PM – Snack: Half-tin of sardines.

6:00 PM – Dinner: Chicken and fennel stew (PB Cookbook page 84)

7:30 PM – 90-minute deep tissue massage, which I try to get once a week.

10:00 PM – Bed


6:20 AM – Big cup of coffee, caught up on news, crossword, Sudoku.

7:30 AM – Work

9:30 AM – Breakfast: Four egg omelet with the works. Basically, very low carb.

9:45 AM – Gym: Repeat Monday’s workout, adding 50 deep air squats to second series (so x 3) and 90-second planks to third series.

11:15 AM – Work

12:00 PM – Business lunch: Half a free-range chicken and steamed spinach at local restaurant. Admit that I picked at a few potatoes, too.

4:20 PM – Snack: Handful of macadamias.

7:30 PM – Dinner: 1-2 ounces cheese, Kale salad, grass-fed beef rib eye, steamed broccoli drenched in butter. 2 glasses syrah. Who needs desert!

10:00 PM – Bed


More good food, easy hike up Bush Canyon.


More good food, took day off to attend Los Angeles Fitness Expo. Just like the circus only wilder.

You want comments? We got comments:

Imagine you’re George Clooney. Take a moment to admire your grooming and wit. Okay, now imagine someone walks up to you and asks, “What’s your name?” You say, “I’m George Clooney.” Or maybe you say, “I’m the Clooninator!” You don’t say “I’m George of George Clooney Sells Movies Blog” and you certainly don’t say, “I’m Clooney Weight Loss Plan”. So while spam is technically meat, it ain’t anywhere near Primal. Please nickname yourself something your friends would call you.

  1. I hope I’m not too late to this thread to get a reply. This post is *super* helpful.

    One area that I’d like some clarification: I did a quick back of the envelope and on these days it looks like you consume from 30-50g of carbs a day. (I know you probably don’t count carbs), BUT using your framework that puts you in “Ketosis” or at the very bottom range of the “effortless weight loss” zone of the carbohydrate curve (as opposed to the “effortless weight maintenance” zone).

    I have been eating around this range (30-50g of carbs per day) over the last week as I’m looking to lose that last 5-10lbs. BUT I have been exhausted in my workouts. My gut tells me (pun intended) that I should be closer to the 80-120g range (esp during heavy lifting days). And I’m probably trying to rush the process. Still, I am really determined to see a six pack :)

    Is this an acceptable maintenance zone (30-50g of carbs) for you bc you’re seasoned in primal living? What’s your recommendation for someone who is 4 months primal, lifting heavy weights twice a week and moving (fairly) frequently at a slow pace?

    Ryan wrote on March 29th, 2011
  2. LOL:
    “Macademia’s are the only nuts I eat.”
    Next day: Almonds and hazels. xD

    Edje Noh wrote on June 6th, 2011
  3. Lead by example, Mark! Thanks for sharing this information. Seems like “fun” is built into your day all over the place. I’m working my side business very hard right now so that someday (hopefully soon) I can ditch my desk job. Just can not imagine another 26 years sitting at a desk.

    Jeff Witt wrote on July 6th, 2011
  4. wow, clean diet and little snacking, no sugar. You dont eat alot either. I eat similar to this with the exception of more snacks in between.. I need to cut the snacks!!

    Jodi wrote on July 6th, 2011
  5. Hi Mark: I have been following your principles and have lost 75 pounds in the process (over 9 1/2 months). However, I am terrified of having a glass of wine; I’ve read that fat burning stops when you consume even the smallest amount of alcohol (because the body turns it into acetate and the liver goes into overdrive to get rid of it first). With your busy schedule, liberal workout plan and ripped body, you can afford to have a glass or two every other day. Since I still have approximately 50 pounds to go, I think I’ll schedule my “celebratory” glass of wine after I lose another 5 pounds. In any case, kudos to you and the other members of the “Primal scene” who’ve been successful in their weight loss/health gaining goals!

    Athena wrote on July 6th, 2011
    • Well done Athena. I look forward to being able to say that myself sometime!!

      Lady Fatshredder wrote on July 10th, 2011
  6. Mark, it is good to hear you have a simple diet with moderate variety. I find that I do best with fewer meal choices and stick to the regulars that work best for me.

    Shari wrote on July 6th, 2011
  7. Marc, I appreciate the total honesty here in admitting you have a housekeeper, etc. Many people disguise the help in their lives and seem like super-humans to the rest of us. We are all so busy these days, it makes me feel better if I see that other’s can’t do it ALL without help either. My husband and I have a housekeeper – we budget for it so that we have more quality family time and aren’t spending all our extra time doing chores. With a 12 mo old at home, we want all the family time we can get. Thanks for living your life in the open as such a great example of health both psychologically and physically. I am inspired daily and continue to fine-tune as I learn. It’s hard to live so openly when others are so willing to jump in and pick at your lifestyle – I think in part, to learn and share about themselves, but it must seem intrusive at times. Thanks for taking the risk to share! There are so many of us who benefit greatly.

    Jenee wrote on July 6th, 2011
  8. No wonder you are so slim. You don’t eat anything.

    Michael wrote on July 6th, 2011
  9. Just getting acquainted with your concepts. Two things I notice is your twist on evolution, and the unregenerate speech you use. As intelligent as you appear the choice of profanity nearly turned me totally off. Not all people are prone to thinking swearing is appropriate anytime. Go to the bar with your Buddies, or curse at your wife. Think I may go back to Schwarzbein Principle for my learning how to live lean.

    Cindy Mitchell wrote on July 6th, 2011
  10. Sugar in the coffee?

    Jazz wrote on July 6th, 2011
  11. As a baby beginner to the Primal lifestyle (at almost 55) Isometrics keep me sane at my desk at the 8-5. I eat 3 boiled eggs, 3 strips of bacon, with carrots and celery while I walk in the 95 degree heat of Atlanta. Up to 3.5 miles now!!

    Sasser56 wrote on July 7th, 2011
    • I am so glad I’m not the only one over 50 to go primal. It’s never too late to start and I’m loving not ever having acid indigestion or bloated stomachs from pasta and bread. I remember reading that foods that produce a net acid load on the body are very damaging to your overall health as the body takes calcium from the bones to neutralise the acid. There is a lot going on in my body at 51 years of age, hormonal etc so I have a little mantra I say to myself when I want to eat something that isn’t healthy or not good for me…..”I can eat what I want, or I can be healthy”

      Lady Fatshredder wrote on July 10th, 2011
  12. the following people are helping me lose 75lbs in weight
    1.Mark Sisson
    2.Vic Macgarry – Gym Junkies and 31 day fat loss cure – all primal
    3.Dan the Man McDonald – The life regenerator for days when I need nutrition but want to give my digestive system a rest. local gym Northfield Sportsdrome – go every other day to improve my strength to help me achieve my dream of doing my first ever pull- up and some cardio to help my asthmatic lungs husband for making massive bowls of yummy salads and boiling the chucky eggs
    6.the loan of a pedometer so that I can clock up
    10,000 steps every day (approx 5 miles).
    I work 9-5 every day, I eat primal all the way. I’m 51 tears of age and for the first time in my life I’m investing in ME and it’s working. I’ve lost 21 lbs so far since 3 April and I’m loving my daily emails from MDA and Vic full of motivation and encouragement.
    I couldn’t make my life and my health better without you, so thank you Mark from the bottom of her heart. Xx

    Lady Fatshredder wrote on July 10th, 2011
  13. Weighing in (pun intended) a few months late to the party…doing my usual perusal of old posts on the site.

    1. Mark’s lifestyle is not luck. It is the results of hard work and commitment. A nice lifestyle…absolutely!

    2. Even with busy, hectic lifestyles, you don’t need Mark’s to make this happen. 80% is based on diet, remember? With a BIT of planning and preparation, the diet can be done on any schedule. Make meals in advance. Make a healthy primal lunch the night before and take to work. Snacks? Read what Mark’s are: a handful of nuts! You don’t have time to “pack” that?

    3. Ditch the TV at night. Go walk instead. Or prepare foot with your gf, a more bonding experience.

    4. The weekend is 30% of your week. Use those two days wisely for extra exercise.

    I know you were somewhat tongue in cheek, but I do sense some attitude that “my life is too busy” to make this happen as easily. Push through it and make it happen based on YOUR life. We all have to!

    Peter wrote on July 16th, 2011
  14. Basically you are exercising after eating, ie on a full-stomach?

    And on those days when you do not fast after workouts, do you just have a protein shake? If you have that with a banana, you know that one banana has a glycemic load of 10?? So interesting your entire blog, but there is one thing you do not take into account and that is that not all carbs are created equal and that some have a higher glycemic index than others. Wild rice is probably worse compared with quinoa or barley. I know you yourself don’t eat much fruit, but some fruit again can really cause spikes in your blood sugar! for further info:

    that said, if my bowels let me, I really would eat your way and I don’t eat junk food as it is and am v healthy. but unfortunately I cannot eat high-fat and there’s various food intolerances that I have to take into account (like lactose, fructose, some polyols, and can’t have too much fructans). :(

    Susie wrote on October 24th, 2011
  15. Mark,

    Why dont you eat anything after work outs? Can you explain how this helps fat burning? CW is to of course eat a protein/carb meal post work out but if there is a better option id love to hear the how and why of it. Thanks.

    Duke wrote on November 12th, 2011
  16. No fruit I see…

    Not so good I think

    Aaron wrote on February 3rd, 2012
  17. So you eat 12 eggs a week?

    William wrote on February 21st, 2012
  18. Is it me or does he never eat more than 1500 calories on a day?

    William wrote on March 15th, 2012
  19. Sounds like a nice life Mark!! I work 40 hours a week and I have plenty of time to relax… maybe New Zealand is where it’s at. Not so much traffic 😛

    Sarah wrote on September 18th, 2012
  20. Why dont you eat fruit? I eat more fruit in one day than you do in a week . and im not fat so why do you limit it?

    Justine wrote on January 13th, 2013
  21. note, how inexpensive this lifestyle cost. simple food and activities.

    mark is my hero!

    primal pete wrote on March 18th, 2013
  22. So this post has so many comments I hope I am not repeating. I LOVE heavy whipping cream in my coffee, but have been using raw cream skimmed off our fresh milk for over a month as I know the pasteurization process is not good. Moreover, I can’t seem to find whipping cream that doesn’t have a bunch of additives. I miss it terribly though and wonder what brand you use? Thank you!

    shelly wrote on April 14th, 2013

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