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

Archive for the ‘ Fitness ’ Category

20 Jul

Dear Mark: Metformin for Life Extension, Too Many MEDs, MED for Lifting Addict, and Horseback Riding

For today’s edition of Dear Mark, I’m answering four questions. First, does the diabetes drug metformin have life-extending potential for non-diabetics? Then, the final three questions come from the comment board of last week’s Minimum Effective Dose post. First, is it possible to try to do too many minimum effective dose workouts in a week. […]

15 Jul

5 Ways to Get the Most Bang for Your Workout Buck

Late last year, I introduced the idea of the minimum effective dose: the lowest dose to produce a desired outcome. Whether it’s calorie intake, exercise, sunlight, carbohydrates, or work habits, we often think we need much more than we actually do to get the results we want. Why crank out those extra reps, put in […]

29 Jun

Dear Mark: Vitamin D for Babes, Ingredient Bait and Switch, and Kettlebellin’ for Strength or Cardio?

For today’s edition of Dear Mark, we’ve got a three-parter. First up is a controversial topic: vitamin D supplements for breastfeeding babies. Do they need it? Can they get enough through mother’s milk? Or is there another, better method for ensuring optimal vitamin D levels in breastfeeding infants? Next, what’s my take on the ol’ […]

22 Jun

Dear Mark: Melatonin Supplementation, Overcoming Previous Poor Health, and Is HIIT Too Stressful for Women?

For today’s edition of Dear Mark, I’m answering three questions from readers. First up, what’s the deal, exactly, with melatonin supplementation? Is it harmful? Dangerous? Will it impair our body’s own production of melatonin? Second, a reader wonders whether his past poor health decisions are sabotaging his health today. Even if he’s feeling great now, shouldn’t […]

17 Jun

The Greatest Piece of Exercise Equipment Ever Invented

Not the barbell. Not the bicycle. Not the rower, the Airdyne, not the pullup bar. I’m talking about the Smith Machine, of course, specifically the squats and curls you can do within its elite confines. Just kidding. It’s the Versaclimber, folks: the most brutally effective piece of fitness equipment you’ll ever use (but probably haven’t). […]

15 Jun

Dear Mark: Balancing Strength with Military Conditioning; Sitting in a Squat Position

For today’s edition of Dear Mark, I’m answering two questions from readers. First comes from William, an officer in the Navy who likes lifting heavy but also needs to score well on the physical fitness assessment, which involves a 1.5 mile run, pushups, and pullups. His taste for basic 5×5 strength work has left his running […]

10 Jun

5 Reasons to Run Outside Instead of on a Treadmill

Let me get this out of the way: treadmill running is better than sitting on the couch reading blogs that outline the reasons running outside is better than running on a treadmill. If it’s your only option – or even just the way you prefer to exercise — have at it. You have my blessing. The […]

2 Jun

The Myth of Perfect Conditions: 9 Common Excuses Used to Delay Exercise

It’s the Goldilocks Syndrome…. It’s too hot to exercise. It’s too cold. It’s too early. It’s too late. I’m too tired or busy or overweight or overwhelmed. When x, y, or z changes, things will be better, easier. That’s not long to wait, right? And, so, we talk ourselves into waiting and out of working […]

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 […]

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