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

Archive for the ‘ Fitness ’ Category

19 May

15 Alternatives to Burpees for When You’re Tired of Doing Burpees

Whenever I’m strapped for time and equipment and still need a solid workout, I turn to the burpee. Burpees are bodyweight exercises, and thus require no equipment or weights. They are full body movements that employ every muscle group, require only as much space as you need to do a pushup, can be done anywhere, […]

5 Feb

Why You Should Reconsider the “Workout” Mentality

The workout. It’s funny how we talk about it. We “check in” at gyms to register our efforts with Facebook friends. We dramatically label everyday exertions as “quite the workout.” It even becomes a game of equivalents. We’ll lug ten bags of groceries to the house or mow the lawn and publicly declare, “I think […]

3 Feb

Zen and the Art of Calisthenics

This is a guest post from Al Kavadlo of AlKavadlo.com. When it comes to exercise, there are a lot of options. With such an abundance of fitness programs and modalities, it can get overwhelming trying to discern which method is best for you. While there are a lot of people out there who will offer […]

21 Jan

11 Ways to Assess Your True Fitness Level

I once dated a girl who only went to the gym once a month. She’d do the same workout — a tough, high-intensity circuit using weights, the stationary bike, the stepper, and a few other machines — every single time, and that was it. When you asked her about it, her reasoning was that if […]

9 Dec

9 Worthy Alternatives to the Back Squat

As great as back squats are for strength, general fitness, and body composition, sometimes they just don’t work for a person. Maybe they cause knee, shoulder, or wrist pain. Maybe someone’s body proportions aren’t conducive to proper back squatting. Maybe their legs are too long to achieve good depth without compromising position. While there are dozens of articles imploring […]

2 Dec

How to Leverage the Minimum Effective Dose in Your Primal Life

If you haven’t heard about the minimum effective dose, a concept coined by Nautilus fitness creator Arthur Jones and popularized by lifestyle hacker Tim Ferriss in his book The Four Hour Body, here’s the simplest definition: the smallest dose that will produce the desired effect or outcome. For Jones, this was the minimum effective load, the […]

5 Nov

The 10 Rules of Successful Exercise

Regular physical activity is important, and everyone pretty much agrees, but life gets in the way. Most of us end up trying to fit exercise in around a busy schedule rich in sedentary behaviors. We’re sitting all the time. We’re spending countless hours at jobs we may not necessarily love. Responsibilities pile up and time slips away before […]

3 Nov

Dear Mark: Oxidized Coffee Oils, CrossFit or PBF After Injury, Enduro Mountain Biking, and Pressure Cookers

For today’s edition of Dear Mark, we’ve got a four-parter. First, is it a problem if the oils in coffee beans are oxidized? Should we avoid them altogether? Is coffee coffee? Next, what should a guy who just recovered from an injury do for exercise: CrossFit or Primal Blueprint Fitness? After that, an enduro mountain […]

29 Oct

Better Than a Marathon: The 1 Mile Challenge

If you wanted schoolyard acclaim at my middle school, you didn’t bother with how much you could bench, how many pullups you could do, or how far you could throw a football. And you certainly didn’t bother with running a marathon. The true path to lasting seventh grade athletic immortality ran a mile in length. If […]

22 Oct

Are Elite Athletes Inadvertently Training Like Grok?

Modern elite athletes have different goals than our hunter-gatherer ancestors. Their training loads are higher and their physical activity is contrived and somewhat artificial. But for the most part, elite athletes are working with the same metabolic and neuromuscular machinery as Grok. The activities and movement patterns that benefited and shaped the evolution and performance of […]

7 Oct

Have You Checked Your Heart Rate Variability Lately?

People are always looking for that one biomarker to rule them all, the number on a paper that absolutely determines your health, longevity, fitness level, sex appeal, happiness, and productivity. Throughout the years, it’s bounced around as researchers think they’ve found “IT” – from cholesterol to LDL to BMI to small dense LDL to CRP to […]

6 Oct

Dear Mark: CrossFit and Carbs; How to Lose Weight as a Teen

For today’s edition of Dear Mark, we’ve got two questions. First, I handle one from Heidi, a full-time CrossFitter with low body fat, a love for carbs, and a desire to burn more fat than sugar. Find out whether her love of CrossFit is compatible with her desire to stick to a low carb Primal way […]

24 Sep

Why Exercise Feels Like a Drag (and What to Do About It)

Sometimes while working out at home I catch Buddha (my lab) just kind of watching me doing squats or pushups or pullups or burpees with this look on his face that says, “You feed me, walk me, scratch me, and water me and I love you for it, but what in Dog’s name are you doing?” […]

11 Sep

How Exercise Makes Us Feel

How did you feel after your last workout? (Apply as many adjectives as fit the occasion.) Now think about how others perceive exercise. Let’s say you stop a random hundred people on the street and ask them how exercise makes/would make them feel. I’m going to guess you’d get an interesting cross-section of answers, likely […]

9 Sep

Rajio Taiso: Why You Should Start Doing Light Morning Workouts

In the early 1920s, MetLife Insurance sponsored daily 15 minute calisthenics programs to be broadcast over the radio to American audiences in an effort to make them healthier and fitter. It didn’t catch on here, but visiting Japanese officials loved the idea enough to bring it back to Japan. To commemorate the coronation of Emperor Hirohito […]

21 Jul

Dear Mark: Growing Appetite, Boxing as Cardio, and Ammonia Sweat

For today’s edition of Dear Mark, I’m covering three questions from readers. First, how does a Primal family handle the growing appetite of a growing prepubescent without resorting to cheap fillers? It may involve reassessing our definition of “filler,” for one. Second, does boxing – an intense, demanding sport by any measure – qualify as […]

18 Jun

Have You Had a Breakthrough Workout Lately?

Yesterday, we discussed the importance of finding immediate value in your workouts. This makes exercise more enjoyable and more effective, and it also makes us more likely to want to do it. When we find intrinsic value in our workouts as they’re happening, exercise stops being a chore that we have to do to achieve some far […]

17 Jun

Do Your Workouts Feel Like a Chore?

Evolution tends to reinforce healthy, beneficial behaviors that improve the survival of members of a species by making them enjoyable. Sex, sleep, socializing, and animal fat either feel good, taste good, and sometimes feel and taste good at the same time not “just because” but because they are necessary components of a healthy, (re)productive lifestyle. And it’s not just […]

2 Jun

Dear Mark: Young Guy, Low Testosterone; RS for Babies; and Sprints vs Tempo Runs

For today’s edition of Dear Mark, I answer three questions. First up is a young guy with low testosterone. He eats the right foods, does the right exercises, and has lived the right number of years, but he’s saddled with the testosterone of a much older man and wants to know why. Next, I discuss […]

15 May

Improve Your Workouts with This One Simple Trick

Every once in a while I run across a study that makes me laugh even as it makes me think. Such was one in a gaming journal (admittedly unfamiliar territory to me). The study assessed the comparative impact of varying degrees of “human-like, software-generated” workout partners (e.g. “a nearly-human-like, humanoid partner (NHP), a hardly human-like, software-generated […]

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