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

Archive for the ‘ Lift Heavy Things ’ Category

23 Jun

Dear Mark: Grains and Joints, Cardamom, and The Cause of Aging Muscle

For today’s Dear Mark, we’ve got a three-parter. First: a question about grains and joint health from a reader who gets achy and creaky every time she veers off schedule and eats grains. Is this common? Is it supported by any real evidence? Yes and yes. Next is a short overview of cardamom, that other […]

25 Mar

Why Squatting Is So Important (plus Tips on How to Do It Right)

Just as we should eat the foods our bodies were designed to eat, we should move our bodies the way they were meant to move and impose the stressors they were meant to bear. That means squatting, and squatting often. Our hips flex, knees bend, and ankles dorsiflex so that we can rest comfortably in a […]

12 Mar

Are Bodyweight Exercises Alone Enough?

In my Primal Blueprint Fitness eBook, I promote a bodyweight training program. Though it can be modified with weight vests, at its core it is comprised entirely of exercises that use your own bodyweight as resistance – pushups, pullups, planks, rows, squats, and sprints. For the majority of people who try it, it works great […]

20 Mar

10 Full Body Workouts You Can Do in 10 Minutes Flat

It’d be nice if regular activity was woven into our daily lives so that we could stay lean, strong, and fit without really thinking about it, but that’s not the world most of us live in. We have to set aside time to move our bodies. But, as I always say, this doesn’t mean we […]

16 Jan

Dear Mark: Fenugreek and HGH, Marathons and Strength Training, Gluten and Eczema, and Insect Nutrition

Today’s Monday Dear Mark question and answer post is a fun one. I look into whether a claim about fenugreek and human growth hormone by the great Dr. Mehmet Oz pans out (hint: he’s off, but not by much). Then, I discuss how to strength train as a marathon runner (hint: short and intense), after […]

1 Nov

Managing Your Mitochondria: Exercise

A couple weeks ago, I wrote about how becoming an efficient fat-burner helps mitochondrial function, and last week I went over some of the nutrients and supplements most important for your mitochondria. All good and all useful, but today I’m going to talk about another route: exercise. It makes intuitive sense that mitochondria are profoundly […]

12 Oct

How I Would Change Gym Class

Gym class was not a great time for me. To understand exactly how painful grade school PE was back in my day, you must experience “Go, You Chicken Fat, Go.” Back in early 1960s, PE was all about preparing for and passing the Presidential Fitness Test, which was JFK’s youth fitness standards. “Go, You Chicken […]

10 Aug

How Many Calories Does Muscle Really Burn? (and Why It’s Not About Calories Anyway)

The hallowed halls of the Academy of Broscience contain untold tomes of knowledge, wisdom, and recipes for “sick” pump stacks. Over the years, their scholars have elucidated the arcane esoterica of muscle confusion, thereby making it palatable for the layman. They discovered that any gram of carbohydrate eaten after dusk turns immediately to fat, and […]

20 Jul

What is the Best Time of Day to Exercise?

Many people, myself included, prefer streamlining fitness to obsessing over its minutiae. Although I’m no fan of their footwear, Nike’s “Just Do It” really does capture my view of what exercise should be. Find what you like doing and what works for you, and simply go do it. But not everyone is that way. Tons […]

30 Jun

Are Stretching and Warmups Overrated?

If you’ve been paying attention, you’ll know that I’m not a big fan of protracted stretching routines or extended warmups that end up taking longer than the workout itself. I like simplicity. I like cutting corners without sacrificing quality or results. I’m okay with warmups that fulfill their basic goal – getting the muscles warmed […]

9 Feb

The Characteristics of Hunter-Gatherer Fitness

Dr. Loren Cordain and a few MD colleagues have recently published a paper (PDF) called “Organic Fitness: Physical Activity Consistent with Our Hunter-Gatherer Heritage.” It makes for a great companion piece to Primal Blueprint Fitness, and it encapsulates quite nicely the breadth of research into the physical activities of our hunter-gatherer ancestors. Read the whole thing. […]

24 Jan

Monday Musings: The “Dumb Jocks” Myth

The idea that brain and brawn are mutually exclusive is fairly well embedded in our culture; the popularity of phrases used to describe weightlifting enthusiasts, like “dumb jock” or “meathead,” make its pervasiveness pretty clear. But is it true? In a word, no. Anyone who’s ever heard Mark Rippetoe assess a novice squatter like a […]

10 Jan

Monday Musings: Importance and Simplicity of Physical Activity for Oldsters

A few studies caught my attention this week, not for being all that surprising or groundbreaking or even new, but because they jibed with something I’ve been mulling over: physical activity in old age. Studies: the first and second. I grouped these together because they largely deal with the same thing. The first, actually a […]

16 Sep

Facing the Primal Blueprint Fitness Challenges

For this next introduction – or re-hashing, for some of you – of an essential Primal concept, I’ll be covering the three basic Primal laws of fitness (click the image to zoom in). This one can be the most difficult hurdle for some. If you’re carrying a personal history of weight gain, for example, you’re […]

18 Aug

How-To: Proper Plank Technique

This is the last in a series of posts (Pushups, Pullups/Chinups, Squats) covering proper technique for the 4 Essential Movements of Primal Blueprint Fitness. Check back tomorrow when I’ll be covering the first of many ancillary movement patterns that will be featured in Workouts of the Week (WOW). I don’t like situps, crunches, or most […]

13 Aug

How-To: Proper Overhead Press Technique

Simulating the overhead press using just one’s bodyweight is the trickiest essential Primal movement yet. The standard bodyweight replacement for the standing overhead press is the handstand pushup. I’m a huge fan, but the reality is that it’s not a realistic prescription for most people right off the bat. Can you imagine Grandpa busting out […]

12 Aug

How-To: Proper Squat Technique

If you want to pick something up off the ground, you have two options: hinge at the hips or squat down. There’s no question that the full squat is an essential, Primal movement, and yet many folks in modern, industrialized society are unable to perform one. Kids have good squat form (just watch them at […]

11 Aug

How-To: Proper Pullup/Chinup Technique

Over the next week I’ll be covering some key concepts related to the recently-released Primal Blueprint Fitness. You can get your own copy of the free eBook here. Yesterday I covered proper pushup technique. Next up, proper pullup/chinup technique. Not everyone loves doing pullups and chinups, but they are an absolutely necessary part of the […]

10 Aug

How-To: Proper Pushup Technique

Over the next week I’ll be covering some key concepts related to the recently-released Primal Blueprint Fitness. You can get your own copy of the free eBook here. First up, proper pushup technique. If you’ve ever taken a PE class, joined the military, played organized sports, or watched Rocky, you should be familiar with the […]

3 May

The PrimalCon Primal Blueprint Fitness Challenge

The exciting grand finale of the fitness agenda at PrimalCon was the PBF Challenge at Oxnard Beach Park. Here participants conducted a timed high-intensity performance test consisting of a challenging, non-stop sequence of basic PBF body resistance exercises that work various large muscle groups to the brink of exhaustion. A protocol was given for Novice, […]

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