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

Archive for the ‘ Fitness ’ Category

25 Jul

Dear Mark: Muscle Cramps and Parasympathetic Overtraining

For today’s edition of Dear Mark, I’m answering two questions from readers. First one comes from Debbie, a prolific hiker and backpacker who can’t seem to shake terrible thigh muscle cramps during steep climbs. She’s tried all the conventional advice. She’s taking electrolyte tabs. She’s staying hydrated. Nothing works. What does? And then, Brad wonders […]

18 Jul

Dear Mark: Swimming Tips; High Weight, Low Reps vs High Reps, Low Weight

For today’s edition of Dear Mark, I’m answering two questions. First up are some swimming tips for a novice swimmer who read last week’s post and wants to incorporate swimming into the schedule. What strokes to learn? What workouts to try? I also discuss the downsides of chlorinated pools. Next, a new study claims that […]

11 Jul

Dear Mark: Dairy Inhibiting Magnesium Absorption, Trampoline Training, and Max Aerobic Heart Rate

For today’s edition of Dear Mark, I’m answering three questions. First, does dairy inhibit magnesium absorption, thus negating the utility of adding blackstrap molasses to milk? There’s a good deal of evidence that points to a probable answer. Next, is mini trampoline training actually good for you, or is it just a silly way to pass […]

28 Jun

Why Exercise Actually Does Matter for Weight Loss

If you follow health news, you might be thinking exercise doesn’t matter when you’re trying to lose weight. Vox just published a big piece showing how useless exercise alone is for weight loss. The NY Times says “eating less” is way more effective than “exercising more.” Obesity researchers like Gary Taubes and Yoni Freedhoff—who don’t […]

14 Jun

Street Workout: Bodyweight Calisthenics for Primal Strength

The following guest post from Al Kavadlo & Danny Kavadlo is adapted from their book STREET WORKOUT and is published with permission from Dragon Door Publications. Enjoy! In the beginning, we crawled. We hunted. We climbed. We played. We did a lot of things. Early man used his arms, legs and entire body every time he pulled […]

19 Apr

Do Foam Rollers Really Work?

I own a foam roller. Every fitness facility I’ve visited in the last three years has hosted a large arsenal of foam rollers, lacrosse balls, and other instruments of fascial torture. The CrossFitter community has 2.3 per capita. I hear K-Starr sleeps on a bed made of lacrosse balls with foam rollers for pillows. Everyone and […]

29 Mar

8 Primal Rules for Building Better Bones

Strip away the skin, fascia, muscles, organs, blood vessels of a human and you’re left with the bones: the foundation providing passive structural support. Many people accept that we can affect and even control the health of the rest of our tissues. Muscles? Just lift. Cardiovascular system? Do some cardio and lose weight. Teeth? Stop […]

28 Mar

Dear Mark: Staying Aerobic, Glycogen Depletion, and Sleep-Low for Strength Training?

For today’s edition of Dear Mark, I’m answering three reader questions. First, do anaerobic workouts—sprints, lifting, etc.—interfere with your ability to become a fat-burning, aerobic beast, or can you integrate them? Next, in last week’s post I talked a lot about glycogen depletion in the context of the “sleep-low” carb partitioning. How can we actually […]

23 Mar

Should You Sleep-Low to Boost Performance?

Thought experiment time. Say you train hard, hard enough to deplete a signifiant amount of glycogen. Your muscles are empty, sensitive to the effects of insulin, and screaming for a couple potatoes to refill glycogen. What do you do? In most circles, the answer is to eat those potatoes and refill those glycogen stores. And why […]

21 Mar

Dear Mark: Bodyweight with Weights; Glycemic Index Versus Load

For today’s edition of Dear Mark, I’m answering a pair of questions from readers. First comes from Gaspare, who heard me talking on Joe Rogan’s podcast in January and wonders whether bodyweight training and weight training can complement each other. It turns out they can. Then, I discuss glycemic index, glycemic load, how foods can have […]

27 Jan

Interview with Simon Whitfield: Olympic Gold Medalist

As many of you know, I have a long history as a former elite endurance athlete. Back in the day, I achieved a 2:18 marathon and landed 4th place in the Hawaii Ironman. That was all well and good, but above all I was vying for Olympic gold. There was just one small issue: I was giving […]

20 Jan

How to Personalize Primal Blueprint Fitness

The Primal Blueprint 21-Day Challenge manifests differently for everyone. Some folks are focused on improving their diets, on removing this food or adding that food. Some have committed to optimizing their sleep by getting to bed at a certain time and eliminating nighttime electronics. And many just want to look better naked. But there’s one […]

15 Dec

Do You Know How to Properly Hydrate?

Hydration. It seems like it should be so easy: drink some water, go about your day, the end. If only it was that simple. In fact, there are many (often contradictory) opinions out there about what we should be drinking, and how much, and when, especially for the athletes among us. I have written about […]

23 Nov

Dear Mark: Back Health and Weight Lifting, Blood Pressure on Primal

For today’s edition of Dear Mark, I’m answering two reader questions. First, Will wonders whether his brother’s recent back injury from lifting a bag of mortar and his father’s lifelong bout with spinal stenosis following a deadlift injury should inform his exercise choices. Is the deadlift inherently risky? How prevalent is disc degeneration, and what […]

18 Nov

A Case Against Cardio, Part 27

I’m mostly joking with the title. Though, considering how much I’ve written on this topic since starting this blog way back in 2006, it’s probably not too far off. And it’s not just me. Endurance training has been getting the snot beaten out of it in recent years. A variety of media outlets, TED talks, […]

9 Nov

Dear Mark: Hunter-Gatherer Fitness and Volunteerism

For today’s edition of Dear Mark, I’m answering an email that reminded me of an idea I once had that I’m convinced could really work: organizing group workout sessions like fitness bootcamps only instead of a guy barking orders as you perform a completely arbitrary set of exercises with little regard for technique, the group performs […]

13 Oct

Why Older (and Younger) Runners Need to Strength Train

Last month, the NY Times Well Blog dropped a piece discussing the results of a recent study of how endurance runners alter their stride as they age. Investigators observed a group of 110 experienced runners aged 23 to 59 making their way around a track. Runners under 40 tended to display greater lower leg activity […]

23 Sep

10 Things You Shouldn’t Do If You’re Trying to Build Muscle

While it’s important to think positive and focus on all the things you should be doing to achieve your goals, it’s equally important that we focus on those things that interfere with our goals and remind ourselves to avoid doing them. Some call it the “not to do list,” which I like. Many of the behaviors […]

2 Sep

Why Getting Fit Isn’t the Best Exercise Motivation (and 10 Better Reasons to Move Today)

We’re told time and again that in order to get healthy we need to let go of our “lower” instincts (e.g. conserving energy on the couch or preferring to go out and have fun) and embrace future goals. We need to take things seriously – have concrete objectives and clear steps to execute them. It’s […]

13 Aug

Introducing PrimalBeat HRV

Regular Mark’s Daily Apple readers know of my enthusiasm for the cutting edge biofeedback technology known as heart rate variability (HRV). There is a detailed introductory post here, and a follow up post here. In short, HRV measures the variation in beat-to-beat intervals of your heart, providing a direct window into the functional state of your […]

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