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

Dear Mark: Maximum 4,000 Calories a Week of Exercise?

burningcaloriesLast week, I made the suggestion that people interested in maintaining health and immunity while avoiding excessive oxidative stress should expend no more than 4,000 calories per week through focused exercise, a recommendation that I’ve found to be pretty sound for most of the general population. You guys had plenty of questions about that recommendation, as I expected, so today I’m going to devote the entirety of “Dear Mark” to answering some of those questions. I didn’t get to all of them, but I did try to tackle a representative swath. Don’t expect big sprawling walls of text; I’m just doing this rapid fire style. If I’ve made any glaring omissions, let me know and I’ll see if I can answer them at a later date.

That said, let’s get right into it:

This makes my daily 16-mile round trip commuting through London bad for me then?

When I talk about a 4,000 calorie limit, I’m talking about formal, focused exercise: weight lifting, running, sprinting, cycling, circuit training, CrossFit, training for a 5k, 10k, or half marathon, arduous hikes. If you set out with the mindset to “get a workout in,” you should count that toward your “limit.” If you end up sweaty and breathless and feeling like you’ve just done some real work, you’ve done focused exercise that counts.

If you have to ask, it’s probably not. If it were too much, you’d know. You’re probably so used to it and the relative intensity is such that it’s not much of a stressor. Cycling, right (walking 16 miles a day would be pretty nuts)? It’s free activity, in my opinion. It doesn’t really count.

Plus, that’s your commute. You have to do it. Even if you’re going over the 4,000 calorie “limit,” what can you do but make the best of it? This is just a guideline to keep in mind.

If 4,000 weekly exercise calories is the maximum recommended, what would be the minimum weekly exercise calories?

I hesitate to give a minimum calorie figure, so I’ll give a minimum recommended fitness regimen instead:

One or two strength training sessions a week. Weights, bodyweight, rocks in your yard, sandbags, kettlebells, anything. Just lift some heavy things. If you go once, you’re really gonna have to make it count.

One intense movement session a week. Sprints, intervals, circuit training, maybe a CrossFit WOD. Something that makes you move quickly and safely for about 20-30 minutes (counting the breaks in between intervals, sprints, etc). Think metabolic conditioning.

Lots of moderate activity. Walking, hiking, light jogging, cycling, swimming. Just move around a lot, usually a slow pace, but occasionally picking things up a bit and elevating the heart rate.

Choosing a minimum expenditure is tough, because the quality of calories expended is what matters most on the low end. You could lift a couple times a week, sprint once, and do lots of walking. You wouldn’t necessarily “burn” a ton of calories, but you could get lean, strong, fit, and healthy on that routine because the quality of calories expended was exemplary. At the high end, hitting 5,000, 6,000, 7,000 calories expended is going to be rough on your body no matter their quality.

Any hints for adjusting this – I weigh about 2/3 what your theoretical 185lb. fella does… Should I be thinking in terms of 2/3 the time, the ‘calories’, the road miles….? Will it basically adjust automatically because it ‘costs’ me fewer calories to haul myself around?

Oy, I’m talking about calories.

Also – when you say stuff like walking around doesn’t count – you mean it doesn’t count for purposes of this cutoff, right? It still ‘counts’ toward making us generally happier, perkier, etc…. right?

Yeah, this is just a really rough guideline. A big guy will burn 4,000 calories a little easier than a smaller guy, who’ll have to put in a bit more work… but 4,000 is a good target to shoot for in my experience. You could add up to a 1,000 calories for bigger guys and subtract up to 1,000 for smaller people and you’d still be in the general ballpark.

And of course, walking counts toward happiness, health, and general mobility, so you should definitely do it as much as you can. It just doesn’t matter in terms of caloric expenditure.

Did those studies control for food in? I would imagine the average person at super high levels of activity is eating more and likely eating more higher carb foods, including all of those nasty in-activity gels, blocks and other forms of corn syrup.

I’m curious if a sample exercising at 4,000+ calories/week but making it up with high quality fat and protein would see the same ill effects.

Well, that’s just it – when you start getting into the upper echelons of caloric expenditure, you almost have to rely on the cheap sources of refined carbohydrates, just to get by and keep your head above the water. This is necessary to keep up your energy output, but it’ll mess you up in the long run. Not only will the activity induce excessive oxidative stress and impair health, the food will do it, too. Plus, you’ll only enable your excessive activity even more.

Trying to maintain a heavy exercise schedule (especially if it’s heavy on the glycogen-burning cardio) on just fat and protein – no matter how grass-fed, raw, and/or organic it may be – won’t work out too well. It may even be more stressful, as you’ll be working overtime to produce enough glycogen from protein to replenish the stuff you burn. Of course, since you’ll burn out and eventually figure out that maybe you should change things up, maybe it’ll work in the long run in a roundabout way.

That’s why I recommend that health-focused individuals stick to a moderate, smart exercise program without “too much” caloric expenditure: to reduce the need for cheap, refined, excessive amounts of carbohydrates. It’s easier on your body, it doesn’t preclude excellent fitness levels, and it allows you to eat nutrient-dense, Primal fare.

Wow, this is really food for thought. I am in my late 50′s and don’t think I burn anything close to 4,000 calories per week. I don’t do any formal exercise, but I farm on a small place and do a lot of walking and hauling. I am the most muscular I have ever been in my life, and for the first time in more than 25 years, feel like my weight is under control and stable. I’m not sure what to do with this post since my life seems to be working as it is, but I don’t want to ignore something that may contribute positively to my longterm health.

4,000 calories is the upper limit. Hanging out below that threshold is perfectly fine, and perhaps even ideal or optimal. Heck, from what you’re saying – lots of walking and hauling, more lean mass than you’ve ever had, weight stable for the first time – you should absolutely keep doing whatever you’re currently doing. Whenever your “life seems to be working as it is,” rejoice, for you have attained what we’re all pretty much chasing.

Isn’t a leisurely ride round the neighbourhood and a stroll to the store moving frequently at a slow pace? No mention again of “natural” exercise, working in the garden, chopping wood etc as well as taking the stairs instead of the lift etc and just trying to incorporate more natural movement and exertion into your daily life.

Yep. I love all that stuff and you should do it as often as possible. Daily, integrated movement is essential. I didn’t explicitly mention it last week, however, precisely because it doesn’t “count” toward the calorie expenditure upper limit. It’s “free.”

I agree with Mark (or thought I did?) that these are more likely the natural gaits for homosapiens most of the time – that we were, in fact, NOT “born to run”, at least not long distances at a time. Isn’t PB and PBF about getting away from medium/high exertion, long duration? Long being more than a minute or so?

Not exactly. The “Chronic Cardio” I’ve always railed against refers to high exertion, long duration, steady state training where your heart rate is in excess of 75% of your max. It’s the ceaseless pushing that breaks you down. It’s the high volume that hurts you, the miles and miles you pack away. I’m not against long duration training as long as the intensity is mild enough. I’m not against high exertion training as long as you take breaks (intervals) or keep the duration short. Think of the ancestral persistence hunt – lots of walking and crouching down to follow tracks interspersed with light jogging and full out running – which was absolutely not done at “marathon race pace.”

Thanks for reading, folks, and I hope I covered the questions you needed answering. Send along any more, and if there are enough to warrant a new post, I’ll try to answer them in the future.

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. Wow, seems like your suggestion caused quite and uproar! I thought you were merely reminding us not to overdo it.

    Team Oberg wrote on October 15th, 2012
    • Goes to show how brainwashed we are into thinking that more exercise = better health.

      Myra wrote on October 15th, 2012
      • Generally when people exercise in excise of 4,000 calories a week they are doing it because exercise is enjoyable and rewarding, not for their health.

        I can’t imagine how anyone could conclude that it is necessary for health.

        rob wrote on October 15th, 2012
        • Agreed Myra, though I think that also include people training for an event.

          Doing more than 4000 calories equivalent of exercise weekly seems lot when you can be fit as a fiddle on 1x sprint, 2x kettle bells, 1x play per week…

          Plenty more time to enjoy life too!

          Patrice wrote on October 15th, 2012
        • Agree! I think it doesn’t matter how much you are doing as long as you’re not taking things to the extreme and you are doing it because you enjoy it, not because you want to lose weight/be healthier (that’s where diet is so much more important).
          Personally, I only sprint once every week or so, lift 2x a week and go for the occasional walk in the sun/play down at the park. But I also have a very active job which requires us to be on our feet for 3-4 hours at a time and also requires lifting/squatting, even the occasional sprint so I tend to count this towards my move slowly for the week and don’t go out of my way to “move at a slow pace” out of work if i don’t have time/am too tired.

          sarahemily wrote on October 15th, 2012
    • That was my take-away as well. I think sometimes people get too into the tiny details. Like the guy in the post who works on the farm and is in the best shape ever, that’s really what it’s about. I’ve stopped counting calories in/calories out and just learned to enjoy great food and move more often in ways that I enjoy. I am getting into better and better shape, knowing I will live a happy life. Wish my husband would do the same.

      Kris C wrote on October 15th, 2012
  2. I got the same impression as team oberg….more a guideline than a rule..

    Ed wrote on October 15th, 2012
  3. I REALLY like to know how I can track my actual output. How do i know how much I’m burning?

    Oliver wrote on October 15th, 2012
    • Hire a lab to follow you around.
      That’s a little snarky, but the short answer is “you can’t”. You can guess ballparks, and otherwise just try to keep track of look-feel-perform. It’s not important to know exactly.

      JMH wrote on October 15th, 2012
  4. Somebody like me, who has come to ENJOY the more extreme end of exercising, just needs to listen to their bodies and prepare themselves adequately for the stress. Also, I have found that intense exercise for a training block followed by something else is the best of both worlds. I’m doing a 30-day block of really insane stuff, pushing me to my limits 6 days a week. But next month I’ll be back hitting my bodyweight calisthenics and walking. Balance is key.

    Matt wrote on October 15th, 2012
  5. I still don’t want to accept the 4,000 calorie limit as true but I am hearing it from more and more sources. Thinking through my weekly exercise 20 miles of running, 4 hours of lifting and 40 minutes of abs, it probably comes out to just about 4,000 calories. I guess I am in good shape.

    Fitness Wayne wrote on October 15th, 2012
    • If you enjoy it and find it rewarding why would you possibly care about some rule of thumb?

      rob wrote on October 15th, 2012
      • Yeah, especially if you’re not feeling “dangerous strain,” then by all means, continue!

        Liz wrote on October 15th, 2012
  6. I tend to believe that a lot of folks working out like Fitness Wayne, have other issues. Workaholic types? Avoidance of other issues in the family? Body image? I love working out a bunch too, but 40 minutes of abs…Crazy!

    Nocona wrote on October 15th, 2012
    • Did he mean 40 min abs per week? That’s four ten-minute sessions, doesn’t sound unreasonable, esp if you take mini-breaks during the set. But I understand your comment, because I used to work out crazy like that while counting calories, and I ended up gaining fatter, weaker, and very often sick to the point where I had to miss work. That didn’t work for me, so I do less, and as long as I eat properly, I don’t get heavier.

      Liz wrote on October 15th, 2012
      • You are right, I tend to do 3 days of abs per week, 10 to 15 minutes per day. I don’t think my overall workouts are too overboard but maybe if I increased them much I would be putting too much strain on my body. I used to workout 12 to 15 hours of exercise a week, that was too much.

        Wayne wrote on October 15th, 2012
        • I don’t think 12 to 15 hours a week is too much. But then I’m a triathlete (12+ hours a week is the off season). I burn WAY more than 4,000 calories per week, but I acknowledge that is not the healthiest thing . . . health and fitness can be two very different things.

          Rebecca wrote on October 15th, 2012
        • I think you’re doing well. For me, the running would have to be short sprints only twice a week, but that’s only b/c I know I’m not a runner. I’m looking forward to getting back on the horse–had swollen glands and fatigue for over a week; it was time to rest up. Glad to be healthy again!

          Liz wrote on October 15th, 2012
    • I work out a lot due to pervasive existential angst.

      rob wrote on October 15th, 2012
      • I love this comment !!

        Dean wrote on October 15th, 2012
      • Hahaha!

        Liz wrote on October 15th, 2012
  7. One 6 hour hike would be equivalent to 2100 calories for me, according to a table I saw. But if you don’t climb the mountain, you don’t get the reward of that amazing view. If you aren’t out there all day, you might not get far enough away from your car and the noise of civilization. Once I walk into a grove of madrones with the soft, wet fallen leaves below me and those smooth red trunks all around me, I don’t care if it took me two thousand feet of elevation and put me over by a thousand calories and to get there. It’s worth it.

    Diane wrote on October 15th, 2012
    • I consider a hike to be one of those relaxing things that is considered to be free. I live in Colorado Springs so absolutely spending the hours hiking up to Pikes Peak or wherever is worth it. But we are not running or getting winded on the way up. That is the difference. Our legs are not begging for mercy. That is the difference. It is not exercise. It is therapy and enjoyable to the mind and the body.

      Mindy wrote on October 15th, 2012
  8. Maybe you’re doing too much when you’re doing it for the endorphins.

    BillP wrote on October 15th, 2012
  9. Think about this: 4000 calories *for me* is an ADDITIONAL two-days worth of food expended in workouts alone. That’s absurd! I now need to eat 9 days of food in 7. Huh! I better quit my day-job, all this eating is distracting me.

    I think if you WANT to expend more than 4000 in heart-throttling workouts or are training for competition; you’re going to need that much more food, sleep, physical therapy, supplements, and mental relaxation just to keep from breaking down. Primal right?

    Exerting in the 4000+ range (in workouts) puts you in the ‘I am a paid athlete’ category. Hence, fitness IS my day job. That’s how I feel about that much exercise anyhow.

    Will Cook wrote on October 15th, 2012
  10. What about energy expenditure/fitness when dealing with a long term illness? Any guidelines for finding the line between over-exertion vs ‘use it or lose it’?

    Jessica wrote on October 15th, 2012
    • Astronauts have to do a minimum amount of exercise to maintain muscle composition in zero-gravity.

      Pilates’ method was designed for bed-stricken soldiers in the U.K.

      I think there is probably a minimum amount of resistance involved in retaining muscle during illness. I doubt it’s as simple as a calorie amount. Energy output is not too huge in Pilates.

      Will Cook wrote on October 15th, 2012
  11. Ease up people, 4000 is a very very rough, subjective number dependent on so many lifestyle factors. Keep asking pedantic questions and the next post is going to be Mark throwing up his hands saying “Alright alright, forget I said anything; nobody is getting it”

    Joshua wrote on October 15th, 2012
    • The idea of a 4000 limit is a lot like suggesting to not-Primal people that there’s *about* a 150g/day limit on carbs. People hate the idea of ‘limits’ and restrictions.

      I think a lot of folks are misunderstanding the difference between high-intensity goal-oriented physical training and their recreational hobby. 4000 cal in HIIT is much different on the body than 4000 cal in backyard disc-golf.

      Will Cook wrote on October 15th, 2012
    • I’m with you Josh. I think if it feels right do it, but remember we’re not pro athletes. Like Mark says have some fun!!!

      Charles wrote on October 15th, 2012
    • LOL! I was thinking the same thing!

      Kitty =^..^= wrote on October 15th, 2012
  12. well I am happy to say I finished my first and last Marathon yesterday (3hrs 56min, i am 222lbs) and from now on

    i am sticking to primal fitness –

    i dont know why anyone would want to run 26.2 more than once, ouch!!!!

    lockard wrote on October 15th, 2012
  13. For a while I had a difficult time reconciling Born to Run and the Primal Blueprint. But slowly it sunk in that many competitive distance runners do not run like we were designed to. I guess we were not “born to run” at a difficult pace for extended periods of time : )

    Ben Hirshberg wrote on October 15th, 2012
    • Right, that’s the key. I read Born to Run after my brother challenged me that humans are natural runners, but if you look closely, the way the children learn how to run is through playing, turn-taking, and allowing each other to rest as needed. It is definitely NOT by hitting the road and running tens of miles at a time. One little tidbit I took away from that book was the story relayed to the author about witnessing a persistence hunt. He said the hunters averaged about 10-minute miles. That’s a pretty moderate pace, but it was an average — periods of walking, periods of sprinting. I also got the impression that persistence hunting wasn’t a regular thing, either. It was a special event. So, I think if you really look at the details in Born to Run, the book actually isn’t saying “Compete in as many marathons as possible and run all of them at a 5-minute mile pace.” Once I realized that, reconciling that with the Primal Blueprint was pretty easy.

      Deanna wrote on October 16th, 2012
  14. I’m just interested in knowing how your body would adapt and handle 4,000+ per week. I train 15h a week of rock climbing at medium intensity and do sprint and weightlifting to complement it. If my body adjusts to the climbing I would assume that just the rigorous lifting and sprinting would count to that 4k+.

    Evan Pavan wrote on October 15th, 2012
  15. Mark, I read both of your articles and I still have a hard time accepting what you’re saying. I am a cyclist and when I used to ride my most miles and was following a calorie-controlled diet (not restricted, controlled), I was in my best shape, lean (never skinny), muscular and vibrant. I blew it when I began thinking, “I just rode 100 miles, I can eat whatever I want.” Now, I’m overweight and struggling to get back to that shape. I rode 60 miles this past Saturday and, given how much I now weigh, I easily burned close to that 4,000 calories. The ride was difficult for sure and challenged me, but there were times when I was just coasting and “playing” with my buddies who were out riding with me. Yes, I ate a couple of crap gels/bars, I’ll admit it. But yesterday, although certainly not on fresh legs, I felt great when I went for a simple recovery walk, and I slept like the dead both Saturday/Sunday. I have found that I feel fantastic (and at my best) during the weeks where I put in a solid 4-5 hour bike ride plus other exercise (weight lifting for sure – something I’m striving to improve). I’m not a fanatic (anymore), I promise. But I just don’t understand how not pushing my body to excursion during an activity at which I excel is now the new gateway to health. I would be downright depressed if I thought I could only ride my road bike a measly 20 miles at a relaxed pace or risk seriously stressing my body and health. Perhaps, if I live to 60, I’ll pay for the damage I’m now doing to my body. But at 42, the more cycling I do, the better. Oh, and please don’t think me obsessed…there’s some beer drinking post rides and, some days, I’m just happy to walk a 1/2 miles as my form of “moving around.” I’m not one of those folks who exercises for hours at the gym in an attempt to lose weight or get cut – I just love, love, love to ride my bicycle. It makes me happy.

    Mary wrote on October 15th, 2012
    • correction – “…pushing my body to exertion..” Not excursion. I hate when I do that.

      Mary wrote on October 15th, 2012
      • If it makes you happy, why not keep doing it, and if you feel pain, then you’ll know you’re over-doing it.

        I rode my bike from Vancouver to Mexico and gained over 11 lbs of pure fat. I guess only the guys could eat pizza, chips, soda and candy bars and still lose weight bike touring. Live and learn, I guess.

        Liz wrote on October 16th, 2012
        • LOL…EXACTLY. So not fair! All the guys I ride with can eat fries and drink tons of beer and they stay in shape. Me? I balloon up like a beach ball.

          Mary wrote on October 16th, 2012
    • People who do not enjoy physical activity have trouble understanding what is enjoyable about physical activity.

      To them it is something you “have” to do, like flossing your teeth, rather than something you want to do.

      rob wrote on October 15th, 2012
    • It seems like when you are riding a lot, you are slipping into all the habits that the primal lifestyle gurus claim are bad for you: you consume poor sources of high-carb calories, you overeat to compensate for the high amount of energy exhausted, your weight increases or fluctuates, your body large swings in energy/recuperation, you think you may “pay for” the damage being done now at some point down the road, etc.
      Like most have said here, the 4000 cal/week limit is a general guideline and there may be times in your life to push those limits, but if it’s something you do on a regular basis, you probably will pay for it down the road. 60 isn’t that far away from 42 (I say that sadly, as someone whose on the + side of 40 as well); wouldn’t you like to be able to have a stable weight, stable energy levels, stable dietary needs, and a healthy body that can go for 20 mile bike rides when you are 60, or even 70?

      MarkA wrote on October 15th, 2012
      • If you love riding a bike like a fat boy loves chocolate cake, what is the point of depriving yourself of the thing that you love NOW in the hope that you may continue to do the thing you love LATER?

        Any one of us could get run over by a garbage truck tomorrow, so what are you saving it for?

        rob wrote on October 15th, 2012
        • You could say the exact same thing about the chocolate cake.

          The point is to live a long, happy, healthy life. If there are things that you love doing that may negatively affect your health, it’s probably a good idea to consider other options. I’m not saying that bicycling 60 miles several times a week is bad for you – I really don’t know. But Mary’s own observations make it sound like she’s on the “chronic cardio” roller coaster. Maybe she’s not, I don’t know that either.
          But I think it’s entirely possible to stop doing something you love because it’s bad for your long term health and to start doing something else that makes you feel just as good in the short term but that isn’t wearing your body down.

          MarkA wrote on October 15th, 2012
      • I see your point, but then again, I know 60+ year olds who can ride twice the distance and elevation I can. And they are in amazing shape. They didn’t get that way riding leisurely in fear that they were doing too much exercise.

        Mary wrote on October 16th, 2012
    • How much do you weigh and how fast were you going? You can do a rule-of-thumb calculation here for the calories: http://www.livestrong.com/article/135430-calories-burned-biking-one-mile/

      You can bike 100 miles at a moderate pace, sure, if that’s what makes you happy. You must realize that you will be making cortisol like crazy however, and accept all of the repercussions that come with that. You can still bike 100 miles and be paleo diet-wise and remain fit, but your joints/long-term metabolic health may suffer. Carbohydrate refeeds with potatoes after that long bike would be nice, then low-carb on your other days (there’s no way you need more than 400g of carbs to refill your glycogen anyways) – try to fat-adapt and you can go further on things like MCT oil, nuts, and other fats (because your fat stores are always > your glycogen stores, right?). Make some compromises to save your future self, but don’t compromise doing what you love – go for the best of both worlds.

      Adam wrote on October 15th, 2012
      • OMG not the dreaded cortisol! OMG! OMG!

        rob wrote on October 15th, 2012
        • Care to elaborate, or do you just like to troll? If you don’t think cortisol is a problem, let us know why.

          MarkA wrote on October 15th, 2012
  16. So… I read both articles, and finally got around to counting up the things that I count as “workouts.” It seems that with a family, kids and a full time job that I fall well under the 4000 calorie threshold and am still able to maintain a pretty decent level of fitness. Two 45 minute weight sessions, two miles of jogging (which I do in one mile increments to warm up for weights) and one hour on my bike trainer only gets me to about 1900 calories. On the upside I feel great and still have time to do all of the other things that I want to do! Your mileage may vary. :)

    Clinton wrote on October 15th, 2012
    • Glad you posted your routine–seems like a good amount to me! It’s always amazing to me how easily I can out-eat my exercise, you know? I guess that’s why in the past I never lost weight, even though I exercised like nuts :)

      Liz wrote on October 15th, 2012
  17. as always, such informative info! i’m so inspired to attempt lifting heavier things after i’ve visited this site!

    Marissa wrote on October 15th, 2012
  18. I like this definition:

    >> If you end up sweaty and breathless and feeling like you’ve just done some real work, you’ve done focused exercise that counts.

    It means that long trail runs are excluded;-)

    Martin wrote on October 16th, 2012
    • Love this! I ran a half-marathon with a friend the other day, and he was running so slowly that I would run forward a little bit, stop, wait for him, run a bit, repeat. I wasn’t panting or breathing heavy or anything when I was done; my husband thought I looked ready to tackle another one. That’s how slow we went. At that pace, I barely felt like it counted.

      Deanna wrote on October 16th, 2012
  19. >> Trying to maintain a heavy exercise schedule (especially if it’s heavy on the glycogen-burning cardio) on just fat and protein– no matter how grass-fed, raw, and/or organic it may be – won’t work out too well.

    The question is how heavy does it have to get to make carbs fueling necessary. I do what I consider very hard ‘workouts’ – bouldering, and fat & ketones as fuel work perfectly fine for me.

    I would like Mark to discuss this in greater detail with Jeff Volek and Steve Phinney.

    Martin wrote on October 16th, 2012
  20. It is amazing how ingrained in our heads “more exercise= better results” is. I thought both articles were just a reminder to listen to your body and not overdo it. I lift weights, walk my dogs and play with my daughter everyday and I have done that for a few years now so I don’t think I am over doing it because I listen to my body, if it is too much I slow down. These articles are just suggestions and people it isn’t like he is suggesting something crazy like cutting out grains from your diet. LOL

    Bob wrote on October 16th, 2012
  21. These posts actually cleared up a lot of stuff about Primal Blueprint Fitness. I don’t have a sports background, so I just kind of haphazardly lifted in the gym and did cardio, but I would go through phases where I would work out really hard and really consistently and really undereat, and then I’d swing the other way. Now, for the past few months, I’ve been really trying my hand at Primal Blueprint Fitness, but I’ve suspected that I have been too sedentary on my “rest” days because I get, well, restless. Hearing that 4,000 calories is the upper limit made me think, wow, I don’t even come close to that with my one lifting session, one sprinting, and one time trial. Yeah, I ride my bike to and from work, but it’s only a 6-mile round trip. This just helped re-affirm that I should listen to my body and throw in one more session each week.

    Deanna wrote on October 16th, 2012
  22. How about we just stick with the maxim that loads of high activity (whatever that means to you) is likely harmful to your overall wellness? Just enjoy what you’re doing and change it when you no longer enjoy it or the results.

    Joshua wrote on October 16th, 2012
  23. The post title made me laugh. I burned 4,000 calories (at least) on a single trail run this past Saturday. Nah, I’m not crazy – or exercise obsessed or anorexic. I love food! And I like to run, on the trails, in the beautiful fall weather. And to tie a few posts neatly together, I ate some sweet potatoes after, for carbs. :)

    Sue wrote on October 16th, 2012
  24. P.S. I’m an ultra runner. Hence the long run – not race.

    Sue wrote on October 16th, 2012
    • That’s awesome! I just did a half-marathon as a milestone on my way to running my first ultra. With all the reading I’ve done, I actually think ultras are very Primal. I’m excited to see a Primal ultra runner here!

      Deanna wrote on October 16th, 2012
  25. The studies you noted in your previous article all deal with Aerobic exercise, but in your 4000 calorie expenditure listing, you list weight lifting, (which is anaerobic), which none of the studies accounted for. In addition, were there any controls for lifestyle factors other than exercise? If someone is doing 4000 calories a week but eating McDonald’s every day because they feel they can get away with it, it would be rather misleading in terms of results.

    Also, I’m actually much more interested in the mechanism of why mortality rate creeps up with people who perform more intensive aerobic exercise (effects of heart inflammation? other factors?).

    I’m not saying that your post doesn’t have merit, but I’d think it’s still much too early to equate correlation with causation.

    ken wrote on October 16th, 2012
  26. Follow-up question: How would this have factored in with our paleo ancestors who most certainly would have burned more than 4000 calories per week hunting food (foraging and gathering is a different story)?

    So far, I’m pretty skeptical of this recommendation.

    ken wrote on October 16th, 2012
  27. Mark, how do you account for laborers who do far more exercise everyday than most of you do in a week?

    B wrote on October 16th, 2012
  28. I plan On hiking the Appalachian trail one day and would be burning about 4000 extra calories per day, every day for several months. I suppose this wouldn’t be ideal for health? It would also be extremely difficult to eat entirely primal if I were to do so. I’m still going to do it, but I’m a bit discouraged that it could be so bad for me.

    Jason wrote on October 17th, 2012
  29. Mark, a ‘fat adapted’ athlete could subsist easily enough on coconut cream, creamed coconut and oil surely?

    Of course power/sprinting wouldn’t be the same as for glycogen fuelled muscle but there are ways to fuel up without ‘grass fed steaks’ etc

    Michael wrote on October 19th, 2012
  30. Hi everyone. I am male , 68 in jan , i have done 1 hour of mixed exercise at home , 30 minutes on a manual treadmill,( no electric motor). I have designed a series of 100 paces each using different muscle groups for a total of (usually ) 2300 paces , plus 30 minutes of work with 10 lb dumbbells some squats and stretching , 3 days a week and only the 30 minutes of treadmill 2 days a week with weekends off , for rest and light walking , ect. I have done paleo eating for only the past 6 months and feel and look good i think , great to most i guess. I have had a bout with prostate cancer and hurried to get back to my workout regimen. I get sun (20 minutes) in by little bikini often and would be afraid to stop any of it now.I sleep great , 8 hours , wake with no alarm clock , and hustle to get on my treadmill to start , 5 days a week . then I make my own paleo breakfast and love every day . Not even cancer can make me stop , not yet anyway. Keep it up folks ,,,,never doubt it is essential for you. Love to all.

    steve finley wrote on October 23rd, 2012
  31. This information will help you to keep your body fit and healthy. I am going to bookmark this post for further updates. Thanks for sharing post like this.

    Factoring Advice wrote on October 25th, 2012
  32. You have shared a useful data for the medical students. With the help of this post they can get information about our daily consuming calories. Nice post.

    Kedron Park Medical Centre wrote on November 30th, 2012

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