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

Action Item #4: Exercise Primally – Move, Lift, and Sprint!

fitness pyramid flat 2012 For as much as I emphasize the importance of food with regards to health and body composition and deemphasize the purely mechanical act of burning calories through arduous, protracted exercise, you still do have to move. You have to lift heavy things. You have to move very quickly every once in awhile. You have to stay active. These behaviors are absolutely essential to your Primal foray. So, let’s dig into Primal exercise, shall we? Enough food talk.

First off, if you haven’t downloaded a copy of Primal Blueprint Fitness, my free e-book that lays all this stuff out, go sign up for the newsletter to gain access. It’s free and you get tons of other cool freebies, so there’s really no reason not to do it. Plus, it’ll flesh out everything discussed in today’s post. Second, click on the pyramid to the right to zoom in. And we’re off…

Move (Frequently at a Slow Pace)

Moving frequently (at a slow pace) is the foundation of Primal fitness. It’s what we are meant to do most often, and what we should be able to do – walk around our environment for long periods of time without tiring or complaining about sore joints or needing to stop every few minutes to rest. Regular movement keeps us moving. And yeah, it “burns calories,” but the main reason to move slowly and frequently is to stay mobile, healthy, and alert long into old age. Just check out some of the benefits and health effects associated with walking:

Take an early morning stroll. Before you eat breakfast, before you have coffee (okay, maybe not before the coffee), before you head off to work, just take a short walk for as long as you can spare. Got five minutes? Do a short five minute walk around the block. Got twenty? Do twenty.

Take brief breaks from work. Not only will this add several hundred steps to your total throughout the day, it will also clear your head and get your creative/diligent juices flowing anew.

Avoid elevators, take the stairs. Oh, and try something you’ve been wanting to do since you were a kid (don’t lie): go the wrong way on an escalator. It’s like a free treadmill!

Get a dog (or walk the one you’ve got). If you’ve got the time and energy that a dog deserves, get one. It will probably enrich your life in many ways, not just by goading you into regular walks. Extra points if you feed a species-appropriate diet.

Walk before you get home. After pulling in the driveway, take ten minutes to walk around the block a few times before you go inside. Because you know you’re gonna head straight for the couch otherwise.

Take an after-dinner stroll. The after-dinner stroll is customary in many cultures, and for good reason: it helps lower the glycemic response to a meal.

Grand weekend outing. Go for a long bike ride or hike. Spend about two to three hours in constant, slow movement.

And whenever it’s applicable, drag your entire family along.

Mini-challenge: Shoot for 10,000 steps a day. The average American gets just 5,000, which qualifies as “sedentary.” Don’t be sedentary. It feels bad to be out of breath after a couple blocks or a flight of stairs, and it’s really easy to avoid that. Still, 10,000 steps seems like a lot. Why, that’s nearly five miles!

Move (Less Frequently at a Slightly Faster Pace)

Sometimes it’s good to elevate your heart rate. I don’t think elevated heart rates should be sustained for very long, but staying between 55 and 75 percent of your max heart rate will keep you burning fat for energy while avoiding any serious burn-out, Chronic Cardio symptoms.

In lieu of actually taking a strenuous maximum heart rate test, you can simply use a fairly accurate formula: 208 minus (0.7 times your age). So, if you’re forty, your estimated maximum heart rate would be 180 beats per minute, and your upper limit for aerobic activity would be 75 percent of 180, or 135 beats per minute.

To monitor your heart rate, you have a few options.

  • You could buy a wireless heart rate monitor, which generally start at around $50-60. Polar is the leading brand.
  • You could use a smartphone app, like the iPhone’s Cardiio, which uses the phone camera to monitor your heart rate.
  • You could place your finger against the carotid artery on the side of your neck (where it’s the easiest place to find a pulse), count the beats for ten seconds (using a watch), and multiply the number by six to get beats per minute. This is how I do it.

Once or twice a week, spend some time at the upper range of your aerobic limit. Stay there as long as you can without exceeding your target rate. Try stuff like:

  • Brisk walking
  • Uphill hiking
  • Rucking (wearing heavy packs while walking or hiking)
  • Cycling (mobile or stationary)
  • Jogging (if you’re fit enough to stay under 75 percent of your max heart rate)
  • Swimming
  • Rowing
  • Stand-up paddling (my favorite)

When you’re done with one of these sessions, you should feel energized, refreshed, renewed. You shouldn’t feel too wiped out, and if you find yourself nursing an intense sugar craving, you probably left the fat-burning state and drifted into sugar-burning. That’s okay; just use this new experience to keep yourself out of that zone next time.

Mini-challenge: Get to the point where you can jog for fifteen minutes without exceeding 75 percent of your max heart rate.

Lift

Any effective total body fitness program has to include strength training, or else it’s neither effective nor total body fitness. You can run marathons and bike mountains, but if you can’t do a few sets of pullups and pushups or help out when your buddies need to move furniture, can you truly call yourself fit? I don’t think so, which is why I (having come from an endurance athletic background) always emphasize the importance of lifting heavy things. Strength training isn’t just about developing the physical ability to manipulate heavy objects in space and time; it’s also about building stronger bones and more resistant joints, developing more lean mass, living longer and better, staying healthy into old age, improving insulin sensitivity, and building up organ mass (or, as I like to say, insurance against disease).

Contrary to popular belief, strength training does not require heavy weights and expensive machines. That’s certainly one way for people to get an effective workout, but you can get quite strong and fit using just compound bodyweight movements. And even if you want more, you can always add weights later.

The Primal Essential Movements are as follows:

Pushups

From a plank position (straight, rigid line from feet to head), hands flat on the ground and shoulder width apart, arms extended, fingers pointed forward, lower your body until your chest (or nose) touches the ground. Keep your core and glutes tight and a neutral spine and neck.

Simplified Progression (consecutive reps needed to progress)

1. Knee pushups (male, 50; female, 30)

2. Incline pushups (male, 50; female, 25)

Movement Mastery – male, 50 pushups; female, 20 pushups

Pullups

Keep your elbows tight, tuck your chin (try to make a double chin), retract your shoulder blades (to protect your shoulders). Without flailing or using your lower body, lead with your chest and pull your body up using an overhand grip until your chin passes the bar. When lowering, never fully protract your shoulder blades. Don’t lead with your chin; keep it tucked throughout.

Simplified Progression

1. Chair-assisted pullups (male, 20; female, 15)

2. Chin-up (inverted grip) (male, 7; female, 4)

Movement Mastery – male, 12 pullups; female, 5 pullups

Squats

With feet at or around shoulder width (whatever’s most natural) and toes either forward or pointing slightly outward, lower by pushing your butt back and out until your thighs reach at least parallel. Keep the weight on the heels and a tight, neutral spine throughout the movement.

Simplified Progression

Assisted squat (using a pole or other support object while lowering into squat) (male and female, 50)

Movement Mastery – male and female, 50 full squats

Planks

Your body is a plank, as the name suggests. You are a single cohesive unbroken body, a straight line from head to foot. Elbows/forearms and toes are your only points of contact with the ground.

Simplified Progression

1. Forearm/knee planks (male and female, two minutes)

2. Hand/feet planks (male and female, two minutes)

Movement Mastery – male and female, two minutes

For more details and videos on these movements, check out their pages on MDA: squat, pullup, pushup, plank.

Twice a week, warmup, get your body and joints warm with some light “cardio,” and engage in a total body workout using the Essential Movements. Your goal should be mastery of all four movements for three sets. Once you’ve exhausted your mastery and want more, then add some weight (weight vest, kettlebell, sandbag, barbell, etc). Otherwise, maintaining movement mastery or bumping up the rep counts will keep you fit, lean, and strong.

For more variety, check out our Workout of the Week archives, which contain all sorts of workouts that incorporate these movements and more.

Mini-challenge: Achieve Essential Movement mastery for at least one Primal movement.

Sprint

Ah, sprints: the forgotten movement. Nobody sprints anymore, unfortunately, but we’ve all done it before. Check out how a kid gets from here to there – he sprints! Remember those days?

It turns out that those kids know something we do not. Sprints stimulate the production of testosterone (important for libido and muscle building). They increase the secretion of growth hormone (crucial for fat-burning). They improve insulin sensitivity and increase endurance and develop fast-twitch muscle fibers (the muscle fibers that look impressive and allow us to make powerful, quick movements). Okay, so maybe that nine year old sprinting around the house just for the heck of it isn’t thinking about all those health benefits, but we certainly can.

Before you head out to the track with visions of Usain Bolt dancing in your head, give an honest assessment of your abilities. When’s the last time you sprinted – truly gave an all-out effort on the track, pavement, or path? If it’s been awhile, or if you have some doubts about your abilities, it’s best to take it easy. Launching into sprints full bore can easily lead to pulled muscles or strained ligaments, and you don’t want that to happen.

A few sprint tips and tricks:

  • Uphill sprints are remarkably easy on the joints, since your feet aren’t traveling quite as far and the impact is lessened. They’re also a killer workout, which makes hill sprints my favorite sprint alternative for everyone (even people who can handle flat sprints).
  • I like beach sprints, but you have to live near a beach to do those regularly. The sand sure does feel nice, though.
  • Running on grass is a nice compromise, especially without shoes. I wonder if Walt Whitman ever experienced his blades of grass like that.
  • Running on a true, rubberized track is far easier on the joints than running on pavement. Just be sure to wear shoes. One of the Worker Bees tore off inches of hard-earned foot pad running barefoot sprints on a legit rubber track. Don’t let that happen to you.
  • Tabata sprints are real killers.
  • Sprints don’t even have to be on foot. You can cycle, swim, crawl, climb, or hit the stair stepper. As long as you’re giving a maximal effort, you are sprinting. It’s not about speed; it’s about effort. Try to go as fast as you can and it doesn’t matter how fast you go.

Let’s dig way back into the archives for this little gem from the early days of MDA:

Mini-challenge: Try mini sprints. Instead of sprinting for ten to fifteen seconds at a time, sprint for four to five seconds at a time – 40-yard dash territory. These aren’t quite as physically daunting, and you recover much faster. Bonus points if you do it uphill.

Play

It all comes back to play, of course. I train so that I can play, so that I can enjoy my life and my family and do things that I truly enjoy doing. I train so that I can keep up with the younger guys at Ultimate Frisbee. So that I can beat the younger guys. And more than anything, I train so that I can play and not get injured. I train so that I can keep on playing, keep on living.

If you’re going to go through all the trouble of walking, hitting that fat-burning aerobic zone, lifting heavy things, running hills, and everything else, you better have something to show for it, and I don’t mean a six pack or big biceps. I mean a good, long, enjoyable life full of experiences that you can look back on – and forward to – and smile. That’s play.

Mini-challenge: Assemble a group of friends and play some old school yard game – dodgeball, tag (freeze or standard), capture the flag, kickball, etc. Try to make a habit of it, too.

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 have a problem with Tabata sprints:

    Doing 20 seconds on, 10 seconds off is too much volume, with far too little rest.

    20 seconds is about as long as somebody can sprint (all-out) before seeing noticeable speed decrease, then with 10 seconds of rest (which is NOTHING if you were truly sprinting), then repeating 7 more times…

    that sounds like a conditioning workout to me. A really fit person can probably go at a decent pace, but even as a former collegiate sprinter, I’d guess my average speed would be about 80-85%.

    My favorite sprint workout ever:

    150 meter – 1 min. rest – 100 meter – 1 min. rest – 50 meter

    Rest 10-15 minutes.

    Repeat.

    Ben wrote on September 19th, 2012
    • I am with you. Tabata sprint really kills me. I usually just ditch the timer and do 100 meters sprint with about 45 secs rests for about 4-5 times.

      I just mostly do HIIT with 50/10 intervals for 10 mins instead of just sprinting….

      Gift Clumsywarrior wrote on September 19th, 2012
    • It’s not about how fast you are going, it’s about creating the necessary stress signals in your body to trigger an adaptation which improves your fitness.

      Kinnell wrote on September 19th, 2012
      • +1

        BillP wrote on September 19th, 2012
      • This!

        Sean wrote on September 20th, 2012
      • When I go all out on a sprint I feel a mental change as well. The mind must speed up and focus when the body is moving at maximum speed. It’s a natural psychosomatic congruency.
        Sprinting through a forest with obstacles that won’t slow you down too much helps fine tune this. We may all have our particular proper ways of sprinting on flat terrain but sprinting on uneven terrain can accelerate our gains and improve our skills.

        Animanarchy wrote on September 22nd, 2012
    • I go for 30 secs on 90 secs off on one of those Tony Little ‘Gazelle’ contraptions (which at last has a use). Like you say speed decreases, after about 15 secs for me, but it’s the 15 – 30 secs that count.

      greg wrote on September 20th, 2012
      • I keep telling my wife those 15-30 seconds count! “Tabatas dear, we’re doing Tabatas!”

        Steve Gardner wrote on September 20th, 2012
  2. I do 30s sprint, 90s walk, repeat 8 more times. Only once a week.

    I have noticed, and this fits in with some study I read about not too long ago, that sprint-intervals have a similar aerobic-training effect as slow-running, but with less time and effort: I can now run up a particular long hill (1 mile) a LOT easier now, than when I was just doing regular 4 mile training runs & no sprinting.

    BillP wrote on September 19th, 2012
    • That is 30 seconds & 90 seconds, in case that was clear as mud.

      BillP wrote on September 19th, 2012
      • That is the same as Peak 8 or sprint 8 isn’t it! I do the Peak 8 and by the time you are done, you feel it.

        Josh wrote on September 20th, 2012
        • Love peak 8

          Grok's Girl wrote on September 21st, 2012
  3. “Death by 10m” is a great sprint workout, although it usually takes longer than tabata.

    Run 10 meters on the first minute. Run 2 x 10m on the second minute (i.e. run 10m, turn around and run back). Run 3 on the third minute, etc. Keep going until you can’t complete the round.

    Your workload increases while your rest time decreases. The key is to get good at planting your foot, stopping, then exploding back the other direction.

    Adrian wrote on September 19th, 2012
  4. Getting a dog for exercise is an excellent idea. First you have silently stalk through someone’s yard,lunge for the dog, and make off with it before they can catch you. Depending on the weight and thrashing of the dog it could be quite a challenge. That’s a full-spectrum workout.

    Animanarchy wrote on September 19th, 2012
    • Please don’t take my dog! She’s one of the few things standing between me and life-sucking slothdom!

      Erok wrote on September 19th, 2012
      • Animanarchy’s idea made me laugh. Of course, one would not like one’s dog to be at the receiving end of this exercise strategy, as you say. (But you would be saved from slothdom by the need to run after the dog-napper and heroically save your hound!)

        Violet wrote on September 19th, 2012
    • lol! Brilliant!

      Happycyclegirl wrote on September 20th, 2012
    • lol then the other person could steal it back form you and then everyone’s healthy!

      Lins wrote on January 2nd, 2014
  5. The other day I stacked different sized concrete bricks in the forest to make a seat with arm rests.
    I used one of the bigger flat ones for a set of power-lifts.
    After that I did kipping pull-ups on a limber tree that grew straight up then to the side at an almost angled arch so I had to jump to reach it and it moved as I used it.
    Yesterday I worked with a few guys to move a big rock a short distance to be used as a seat for a chill spot under a bridge. Later I moved another for a seat and dug around one I could barely move by myself.
    There are plenty of primal opportunities for exercise.

    Animanarchy wrote on September 19th, 2012
  6. First of all, I’m so grateful to Mark for this whole thing. I am still a newbie and had a major setback after a death in the family, but learning that there is a way to be healthy without 2 hour gym workouts every day and eating every 2 hours has completely transformed my relationship with exercise and removed a tremendous amount of guilt from my life.

    That said, I’m wondering if it is possible to do too much walking? On days when I walk the kids to two different schools and then to work and back, I’m looking at about 80 minutes, not including walking at my job, walking between buildings for meetings, etc. And that doesn’t even get into any “exercise” I might do, like sprints, or a family walk with the kids, or what have you. Somedays, if I take a walk at lunch and have a family walk or play with the kids, I’m looking at close to 2 hours of movement. This seems so far off the Primal-recommended few hours a week that I worry I might be missing something, even though I’m not pushing myself and am usually quite happy with this routine and the results!

    Beth wrote on September 19th, 2012
    • I would say that, as long as you’re not experiencing any chronic inflammation/pain or other adverse effects as a result of your walking, you’re doing great. I would imagine many a Grok/Grokette(?) had to roam far and wide daily in search of food/shelter/secret-drum-circle-party-places. I wish I could get in that much walking regularly!

      Erok wrote on September 19th, 2012
    • I wouldn’t worry about overdoing walking. Do you find yourself with sore legs the next day? When it comes to walking, the more the better. The fact that your walking is spread out over time and not continuous helps to alleviate any sort of “too much” in my opinion. At the end of the day you have to listen to your own body and what it’s telling you. Trust me, it will let you know if somethings up.

      Basil Cronus wrote on September 19th, 2012
      • AND if you stick to the 10,000 a day, two hours is about it.

        So don’t sweat it. Besides that is considered more on the minimal side for optimal health vs too much

        Mike wrote on September 19th, 2012
  7. Hi primal world! Kind of new to all of this so I´d appreciate your input. I am a 22 yr old woman looking to lose 15 pounds. I really love kickboxing, and do it between 2 and 3 times a week, and then an hour of weight training with lots of squats and lunges twice a week. I walk a few hours a week as well. Is the kickboxing not primal because its a challenging full hour? I really loathe running so Ive stopped trying, but I could try to incoporate some of these sprints. Do I have to give up kickboxing though? THANK YOU!!

    lydia wrote on September 19th, 2012
    • In my humble opinion, one should never give up an activity that brings one satisfaction and joy, especially if it’s kickboxing! Just take care of yourself, get plenty of rest, protein, sunshine, and good fat, and continue kicking butt(s).

      Erok wrote on September 19th, 2012
      • No problem. Martial Arts types of routines are NOT chronic cardio and more anaerobic. Especially bag work with breaks.

        Don’t focus too much on weight though, especially at that 15 lb mark. You may drop fat and gain muscle for example and not lose that but way better off.

        Mike wrote on September 19th, 2012
    • If you love kickboxing then I would classify it more as play. I’m betting Mark’s weekly game of Ultimate Frisbee is a challenging full hour of exercise also.
      I found that an hour of cardio makes me crave carbohydrates like crazy and makes if very hard not to cheat. You might have a different experience. My body isn’t very good at running on fat yet. In time perhaps a hard hour of play will not result in a mandatory sweet potato feed.

      Anon wrote on September 19th, 2012
  8. Love the videos Mark. I think a lot of people need to see the movement to be able to perform it correctly.

    I think the part about jogging if you are in shape is also interesting. I would love to learn a little bit more about the reasoning for this and how to test if you should apply this to your life or not. I personally enjoy jogging (for shorter distances) some times, but am by no means an avid long distance runner.

    Max Ungar wrote on September 19th, 2012
    • I agree about the videos. I learn better when I can see how things are done, rather than just being told, and one can compare their technique to Mark’s and be assured that they are doing it correctly.

      Kitty =^..^= wrote on September 19th, 2012
      • I agree. I usually try not to gush, but Mark’s videos are very very well done.

        BillP wrote on September 19th, 2012
  9. I also want to say that the videos are great. I enjoyed them, and found them useful – even though I am no longer a newbie.

    Violet wrote on September 19th, 2012
  10. This is an area that I need focus on more. Some weeks I do OK, but others… well… I simply need to get back to 3-5 hours of light activity, 2-3 days of lifting & 1 sprint session every week or so & then stick with it. Been doing too much hit & miss.

    T J wrote on September 19th, 2012
  11. I think I would need to at least add in some occasional dead lifts to Mark’s routine. Whether it’s moving your buddy’s furniture, or carrying a fresh killed elk back to your cave, there are some weight bearing skills that must be practiced to be safe : )

    flenser wrote on September 19th, 2012
  12. Videos are superb additions to your blog. Fabulous push-up refresher and reminder of alternatives for me. Teenage girls here totally impressed by your 6 pack on beach… I told them I can’t practice pullups w/out a bar and they were kind enough to remind me of the local circuit trail with high and low bars. Rats!…

    Paula wrote on September 19th, 2012
  13. I love to walk, garden, occasionally sprint like mad, hoop-dance for hours on end, but I really struggle with the lifting part. Well, I can squat & plank, but I can’t even do one full push-up in good form, let alone a pull-up. Do you think it would make sense to cut out all my other weight-lifting efforts (presses, flyes &c.) & concentrate only on progressions in the basics until I’m up to speed? Or will the other things help me get there?

    paleo-curious wrote on September 19th, 2012
    • Start with wall push ups and flex hangs (where you help yourself up to a chin over the bar position and hang there with ALL your muscles flexed for as long as possible – 1 second is good for starters [keep your chest up and shoulders down]).

      I hope that helps. ;)

      Cal wrote on September 19th, 2012
      • Thanks so much for the suggestions!

        I can actually do the knee push-ups now, but my question is whether other (dumbbell-type) weight work will help or hinder my progress toward doing the real thing? I am determined to do at least one set of real, honest-to-grok push-ups someday!! I couldn’t even do them in grade school, so it would make me feel like an Amazon woman to succeed at last! :-)

        The flex-hang sounds like just what I need working up to the pull-up! I have a long way to go, but can’t get there without a start!

        paleo-curious wrote on September 19th, 2012
        • IMO (unless you want to build LARGE muscles) bodyweight exercises are the best. Both pushups and pullups recruit nearly all your body muscles whereas weights exercises tend to isolate single muscles, or a muscle group. So (once again IMO), bodyweight exercises give you FUNCTIONAL strength.

          Cal wrote on September 19th, 2012
      • For some reason I can’t reply to your answer below, Cal, so I’m doing it here.

        I would be happy with muscles of any size! And functional strength is exactly what I want. Hmmm. I think it’s time to refocus my workout!

        Thanks again for your help!

        paleo-curious wrote on September 19th, 2012
  14. I have been primal for about 6 weeks now and it is going great-much easier than I thought (down 12lbs from 200 with little effort)-I do have this insight:

    Of all the things I thought I would have trouble with, I am having difficulty finding time to move around slowly and play.

    In order to get my slow moving in, I have concentrated on working the mobility drills in the morning or evening-and these have really highlighted my imobility-so for those of you having trouble moving around slowly, there you go, some light exercise that you can do anytime and probably need to do more of anyway.

    I play with my kids, but that is hardly anything like ultimate frisbee.

    I would do a little running, but I am working on an Achilles tendon issue that has kept me from sprinting proper(thank goodness for the 123 workout).

    I am not too concerned about that stuff right now, but it does make one think about long term fun and activity.

    Being a stick in the mud is no way to go through life.

    Jiggy-Z wrote on September 19th, 2012
  15. This is great information Mark. My coworker and I were following this plan pretty strictly and started seeing results only after a couple of weeks. It is a great fitness plan and doesn’t even take that long!

    Ed wrote on September 19th, 2012
  16. I just read about Ulimate Frisbee via Mark’s link. Looks like a lot of fun so I’ll be buying a Frisbee and taking the nephews to the park this weekend. I’ve never played Frisbee in my life so this is going to be really interesting! :D

    Kitty =^..^= wrote on September 19th, 2012
  17. How do you accomplish a WOW without getting your heart rate between 75% and 85%? My heart rate stays there for the most part if I’m doing any strenuous cardio, even 12 min of suicide drills, push-ups, etc. Are we supposed to consider a WOW another form of sprinting?

    Rachel wrote on September 19th, 2012
  18. This is the plan I live by—it feels the most natural and is way more fun than wasting hours of pointless time in the gym!

    To move, I:

    – Walk/bike everywhere (I live in San Francisco so I get a lot of hills)
    – Walk my dog 2-3x a day
    – Go on lots of hikes
    – Go on lots of beach walks
    – Swim

    To lift, I:

    – Do all the primal movements (squats, pull ups, push ups, planks, and then some)

    To sprint, I:

    – Actually sprint (Tabata is my favorite)
    – Jump rope
    – Do fun effective exercises like wall balls and burpees

    It’s all play to me, of course, but for extra fun I also try new sports here and there—recently it’s been boxing and Krav Maga (self defense/street fighting).

    Krista wrote on September 19th, 2012
  19. This has been one of the hardest parts of going Primal for me, but once I committed to it and actually found a Primal trainer (yep, they exist), I’ve had some great success!

    I was big into lifting too often and doing too much cardio. Now, my less-is-more routine consists of a workout with the trainer, which is about 45 minutes of balance work, squats or lunges, and bear crawls, and then a circuit involving some kind of pushing, some kind of pulling, and frequently has kettlebells thrown in.

    My other two workouts are hill sprints and time trials.

    Otherwise, I walk around a lot and ride my bike to work as often as possible. I’m probably my fittest ever! It’s amazing what not over-training can do!

    Deanna wrote on September 19th, 2012
  20. I’ve got a question for anyone who thinks they may have a good idea. My spouse likes to run half marathons. I like to participate in them just because it’s something we can do together. How can I keep conditioned just enough to do the half marathons (3-4 times a year) without getting too far into the chronic cardio grind? When we aren’t training for the half marathons, I do tabatas once a week, lift 1-2 times a week and walk for an hour each day with my dog.

    Bud wrote on September 20th, 2012
  21. Some great ideas – I’m a firm believer in brisk walking – it can really help when undertaken alongside a half decent exercise routine and healthy lifestyle.

    Amy wrote on September 20th, 2012
  22. I think jumping is just as important as sprinting and also get an allotment nothing like digging and growing your own stuff with a bit of soil on it.. Oh and sunshine in the UK is a bit hard does rain count (joke) but least you don’t need sunscreen to often.

    Garry Clarke wrote on September 20th, 2012
  23. Last time I played frisbee, I was 16 yo. I broke my right leg in an awkward landing. I broke my cast 2 weeks later rappelling down a cliff face.
    2 years later, I broke my foot demonstrating the polka to a group in college.
    In the navy, some years later, I tore up my knee lifting 280 lbs.
    I’m currently recovering from a back injury and was thrilled to manage a 2 hr walk yesterday. I have noticed that if you just keep moving, no matter how slowly, you will eventually get where you want to be.

    TruckerLady wrote on September 20th, 2012
    • Actually, it is possible not to get where you are going if you keep slowing down in the right pattern, even without ever quite stopping. For instance, if you went 8 feet in the 1st second, 4 feet in the second, 2 feet in the 3rd, and so on, going half as far in each second as in the one before, you wouldn’t stop but you would never quite reach 16 feet – you would be acting out Zeno’s Paradox.

      P.M.Lawrence wrote on September 22nd, 2012
      • You are too kind. I do appreciate you taking the time to reply to my post. I forget that some people read literal meaning into general statements. I shall endeavor to be more specific in my statements. Proceed, joyfully, in your paleolithic pursuits (Grok on!).

        TruckerLady wrote on September 22nd, 2012
  24. What Should You Do When You’re Not Hungry But Haven’t Eaten Enough?

    Jerad wrote on September 20th, 2012
  25. Thank you for the visual aid (the pyramid). I’ve read you saying to sprint and move frequently but I just read that as noise because I’m lazy. Yes, I’m all out lazy and any extra exercise to my regime just pisses me off and makes me feel put upon. But with the visual, I can see that it’s not a big deal. All I have to add is some walking and sprint once a week? Ok, I can DO that without it feeling like a huge weight on my shoulders. Just so I don’t get crazy, I printed it out and am putting it on my workout board. So thanks for that!

    K wrote on September 21st, 2012
  26. Has the overhead press/inverted pushup been removed from the essential primal movements? I wanted to review the progression tips for it in the MDA videos the other day and couldn’t find it, and I see it’s not listed in this post…. Should I drop it out of my primal workout because it’s now considered unsafe or unnecessary?

    Dru Pagliassotti wrote on September 21st, 2012
  27. Love the simplicity of your exercise pyramid. Easy for even beginners to understand.

    TokyoJay wrote on September 22nd, 2012
  28. I jog at a 10 to 12 minute pace. That is very slow but I love the movement. Walking is to boring and going faster than 10 minutes feels like I’m doing cardio…yuck! A real slow jogging pace is enjoyable and you see a lot more. I pretend I’m a hunter wearing out the game I’m chasing. Slow and steady. I smile and break a light sweet. Born to run. Hiking up hills is great too…to me that is a walk worth taking. The key, it should feel enjoyable. If is isn’t, then you are going to fast. I don’t think jogging slowly is “chronic cardio.” What do you think?

    will wrote on September 22nd, 2012
  29. How important is the “move (less frequently at a slightly lower pace”? Take two different contexts as examples.

    1) An amateur strength athlete. 5-10hrs per week focused on skill development and strength. Non-sedentary outside the gym. They typically have bursts well above 75%maxHR and then drop back below 55. Jogging (or something similar) would detract from training progress and add to an already high training load. Is it necessary for health?

    2) Someone who follows HG fitness to a T. Walking for at least an hour or two per day, plenty of play, with strength training embedded into daily life via the primal essential movements and others (pulups off trees, sprinting in crosswalks, carrying heavy groceries back from the grocery store). This person sets the example for hunter-gather fitness. But they rarely target 55-75%maxHR because their excellent aerobic fitness usually keeps it below 55%. Do they need to add jogging (or something similar) for health?

    CW wrote on September 23rd, 2012
  30. You know I like to do a light jog twice a week and a quick run twice a week. I also lift weights 3 times a week. It’s cool to see it in a visual image/pyramid.

    Womens Fitness program wrote on November 29th, 2012
  31. I was just curious if sprinting can cause calve enlarging due to muscle building during a sprint. I’m 5″0 and have larger calves(Maybe genetic) and want to do everything to avoid larger calves. Any input or tips would be great!:)

    Jackie wrote on May 16th, 2014

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