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

Dear Readers

Past “Dear Readers” blog posts (1, 2, 3, 4) have started some great discussions. As I always say, I’m lucky to have some of the most intelligent and thoughtful readers on the internet. It’s always a a pleasure getting feedback from all of you, so from time to time I’ll continue to do this style of blog post.

It’s a mixed bag this week. Email topics ranged from Primal survival food and Primal weddings to food cravings and bucking the trend as a registered dietitian.

Check out the questions (and photos!) below and make yourself heard in the comment board.

Thanks, everyone!


Question 1

A recent discussion with friends brought to mind another potential topic for MDA.  We were discussing food options for two similar situations. First for prolonged backpacking or remote camping situations. Second for world crisis times such as a flu outbreak where you just want to be able to survive and eat at home for a few weeks, preferably without needing electricity or refrigeration. I know there are companies selling various food products (Mountain House for example), but are any of them tasty, and are any of them even remotely PRIMAL? Of course in real survival situations remaining PRIMAL would be secondary, but it never hurts to plan ahead if possible.



Question 2

Note from Mark: You may remember our good friend Sterling from his Primal Blueprint Success Story post. He’s having no trouble staying fit (check out the photos below) but he has some questions about a new fitness goal.

I’m considering training and competing in a triathlon. A couple of questions: 1 – Will this put me in a complete state of inflammation? 2 – If you don’t think it will be detrimental to my health in the short-term, would you be willing to suggest training methods, etc?  Thanks as always for your candor and help.



Question 3

I am starting my third year at a university and working to become a registered dietician. I am just now starting to take my core upper-division classes.

Unfortunately, so many of these classes are conflicting with my beliefs (primal). I love food and nutrition so in what direction can I take my degree to become successful and happy? I feel like I am about to begin a life of banging my head on a wall. What should I do when I become an RD?

Thanks in advance for your reply.



Question 4

I have no problem with feeling satisfied or full, even with small amounts of food. It’s my taste buds that spark and I “crave” (the only word I can think to describe it) makes me keep eating till I’m almost sick. I assume I will have no choice but to defeat this with will-power, but is that normal? Will I ever get past that with just diet changes, or is this a life-long fight?



Question 5

I would like to hear more success stories on us over 50’s folks that need a little more help and encouragement.

Is it to late when you are 60yrs old and 50 lbs over weight Female?

Where do we start? PS I got the book.



Reader Mail

This final message isn’t a question for readers, but I wanted to share it anyway. Suz, a Mark’s Daily Apple reader, sent me these photos of her wedding. The beautiful bride and groom were recently married in a gorgeous desert ceremony wearing none other than my favorite Primal footwear. Talk about a wedding that would make Grok proud. (And don’t they look so happy!) Check out the photos and give the newlyweds your best wishes in the comment board!

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. Re Question #3: Stick with it! Pander the bull*** so that you can pass your tests and become a licensed dietitian. Once you’ve done that, you can take of the mask and start helping REAL people to eat REAL food! The best way to make a difference is from within the system, so you can change the system one dietitian at a time! And perhaps convert a few more dietitians along the way. Also, think about forming a primal lifestyle club at your university. That will give you a nice social life with friends who share your passion, and an outlet for it.

    Aaron Blaisdell wrote on July 27th, 2009
  2. Shelley, I agree with Aaron, finish your degree. I am a dietitian as well but haven’t worked in awhile. You may be banging your head against the wall before you graduate. Your schooling really just teaches you the basics anyway, what you learn out in the world and on your own is your real education. It will be difficult to change the average dietitian’s thinking(won’t happen) but do what you believe and you may actually help others to feel well. Good Luck

    Crystal W. wrote on July 27th, 2009
  3. totally awesome wedding photos. Congratulations :)

    Jedi wrote on July 27th, 2009
  4. i’m just starting college this fall with an undecided major but was really looking into nutrition. My concerns were the same as Shelleys, but i think i’m gonna go for it! :)

    Vivian wrote on July 27th, 2009
  5. Sterling,
    I’m a triathlete too, and what I’ve found is that you may have to take in more carbs (like on long training days) but for the most part, your training should be long slow distance (LSD). If you keep it in a low heart rate zone, and wear a heart rate monitor to make sure, you should be fine. Some speedwork is helpful, too, but as long as you don’t increase your distances too fast, you should be ok. Make sure, too that you supplement with antioxidants.

    Aubrey wrote on July 27th, 2009
  6. Sterling,

    Congratulations on achieving and maintaining your amazing level of health and fitness! Triathlons are a lot of fun. You didn’t mention what distance you wanted to train for. Regardless,I would check out CrossFit Endurance ( You pair the short, intense CFE workouts with regular crossfit workouts and can acheive tremendous gains in speed and endurance even without putting in the kind of distance and hourt that can really harm your body. Although I’ve only tested it for running relatively short distances, proponets claim that one can compete at ultradistance events while putting in only 6-8 hours of training per week.

    Tereza wrote on July 27th, 2009
    • Tereza beat me to it – definitely check out CFE. You’ll be blown away.

      AdamKayce wrote on July 27th, 2009
      • Just want to put in another plug for Crossfit and CFE to get ready for your triathlon. I finished Ironman Florida last November in 11:02. Not exactly Mark’s caliber, but not too shabby for a first try. My training plan was based primarily on CFE workouts (particularly for running). I started training in early March using both CF and CFE. I managed to get myself hit by a car at the end of June (be sure you stop for those red lights when you’re on your bike) which forced about a month break in training (5 cracked ribs / 3 cracked vertebrae). That also pretty much eliminated any heavy lifting for me. I used CF metcon and CFE workouts almost exclusively. If you’re looking at a half Iron distance or shorter CF & CFE should set you up very well. If you’re planning a full Iron, you might consider throwing in a couple long runs and bike rides over a 6 month prep. Good Luck!!

        Matt wrote on July 29th, 2009
    • Q#2: Also an added comment regarding Terezas feedback. I would be a bit cautious doing only Crossfit workouts. Some of their workouts seem to be overkill on the nervous system. For example, doing highly technical lifts like power cleans in a fatigued state after doing deadlifts in a circuit training fashion is dumb and is a sure fire way to injury. Similarly, doing high rep front squats will tire your rhomboids statically even before your legs are tired. Technically demanding lifts should be done first in your workout with plenty of rest and then move on to lactic acid training if the need arises

      Kishore wrote on July 28th, 2009
  7. Sterling, you look fantastic and doubt you’ll have to change much of your diet and exercise program. I’ll be curious to hear others chime in about specifics regarding a training routine since I’ve also had interest before in participating in an event.

    The primal footwear is hilarious. Congrats! Are they sold in Canada anywhere or strictly online?

    Michael - Fat Loss Tips wrote on July 27th, 2009
    • Michael,
      Some Mountain Equipment Co-op stores have them in stock, or you can order from their website. But they only have a few styles so the vibram site might be your best bet depending on where you live.

      Jeff wrote on July 27th, 2009
  8. Shelley. . .that’s great that you’re getting your degree! We need advocates in the field, and I think your timing is just right–there are tiny glimmers in CW now, and you’ll be on the forefront.

    Hi Linda. . .we’re out here! I’m not ready to call myself a “success story” yet, but I’m 57, 30 lbs. overweight, and I’ve lost 6 pounds in 5 weeks of being primal. Walking is a really good start for exercise, and keep looking on this site for ideas–lots of amazing recipes to keep your excitement up, links to other great sites, and plenty of encouragement on the forum.

    Suz. . . how delightful!! Congrats!!

    Catalina wrote on July 27th, 2009
  9. I’ve been following Suz and very much enjoyed the photos of her and her man (Urbanbluegrass). As a fellow lacto-primal guy, I also enjoy seeing what those two are eating through the gorgeous meal images Suz posts via Twitter.

    Mark Lee wrote on July 27th, 2009
  10. Question 4 about food cravings – quote:

    I assume I will have no choice but to defeat this with will-power

    I don’t know that’s true. There may be ways around that.

    I’ve read that this can be because of some kind of emotional thing in the background – for example, a parent who gave a child that wanted attention sweets instead. In that example, I read that the woman with the problem got over it by repeating an affirmation while having “tapping”.

    I don’t know anything about “tapping therapy” but it sounds plausible. There’s a doctor who works for Medecins Sans Frontieres who’s written about eye-movement therapy. With that, since rapid eye movement seems to play a part in dreams, doctors have reasoned that getting someone to recount a traumatic experience while the doctor moves a pen that the patient follows with his eyes can help. It seems to work.

    Sometimes I think there’s a route in through the body where will power and just talking about something don’t help.

    If there is some kind of emotional trauma at the bottom of the cravings, those kinds of approaches might be worth looking into. Maybe even just recording oneself making positive affirmations and playing them back through an iPod every morning would help.

    Mick wrote on July 27th, 2009
    • If it is an emotional piece (and not a need for more fat in your diet), “tapping”—aka EFT—is pretty cool stuff. My wife does it with her clients, and it’s great. I’ve used it for allergies, emotional stuff, you name it. is the main site for it, where you can look up all kinds of info.

      AdamKayce wrote on July 27th, 2009
  11. Question # 3, the future dietitian: Go for it!

    I’m sure that there are lots of people like me, wanting dietitians who will listen and help design an eating plan that matches our needs.

    I get tired of dietitians who just dispense the same old one-size-fits-all tripe.

    But don’t limit yourself to one style of eating. The world is filled with all kinds of individuals, and you will undoubtedly find lots of people with unique requests. Be flexible, and you’ll do well while performing a valuable service.

    Jim Purdy wrote on July 27th, 2009
  12. #1Rodney: do you have the space to store jars? If so, do some canning & pickling! Also don’t forget about your dehydrator. You can make entire meals in one, besides the dried fruits, vegs, & jerkies. Mark posted a pemmican recipe/how-to here. Also, don’t forget that sometimes Nature can provide some snacks on the trail. Study the area you plan to backpack in ahead of time. Take a wilderness survival course – preferably one that focuses on wild foods (Check out books by Tom Brown)

    #2Sterling: You just keep getting/looking better, don’t you? Hubbah-Hubbah!

    #3Shelley: I agree: play the game ’til you get your degree, then bust out girl! Maybe even go to graduate school & prove them all wrong with your “ground-breaking” discoveries…

    #4Chidi; hahaha, I’m the Wrong person to ask about That one. I’m battling my oown cravings. So I’ll look here for anwers too!

    great pics Suz! (now maybe they’ll quit teasing me about mine)

    Peggy wrote on July 27th, 2009
    • I second Tom Brown!

      He also does a survival camp in the North East if you can afford it. He’s the best of the best (he was also paid a million dollars to develop the Marines(?) survival program).

      Dan wrote on July 27th, 2009
      • My dad has been to his classes several times. My kids always loved going to “Crazy Grandpa’s” in the summers because of all the adventures they’d have in the Sierras. My dad also helped another similar guy teach a course in Germany. He sent me all of Tom Brown’s books. They are definately great reading! My dad, he’s 69yrs young & still at it!

        Peggy wrote on July 27th, 2009
      • ooooooo I would LOVE to go to something like that!! (now accepting charity donations!! LOL)

        Leanne wrote on July 28th, 2009
  13. For question 1… It’s going to depend on where you’re located and the season when you go, but don’t forget that generally there are a lot of options for “living off the land”. Seasonally, near my own house, I’ve already identified wild carrots, wild mustard, and chicory plants growing in abundance. How much more primal can you get?

    There are several field guides to edible plants available on the market. I’d just recommend that you (a) identify carefully, as some good plants and some poisonous ones look similar at first glance, and (b) become acquainted with them *before* you need them.

    gcb wrote on July 27th, 2009
  14. It’s never too late Linda!

    John Sifferman wrote on July 27th, 2009
    • I am 53 yrs old and have lost 60 pounds doing a slightly modified version of Mark’s plan. I find that eliminating the sugar, processed food and grains ( except for small portions of steel cut oats )were a great benefit to me.
      Sugar is like I drug for me so I have not eaten any in 7 months.

      Good Luck!

      Paul Pancoe wrote on July 27th, 2009
    • Exactly… you may need to go more strict in the beginning, if you’ve had weight issues for a long time. (I’m 37, have cut out all sugars & most carbs for the past three weeks, and I’m just now starting to drop a few pounds). I also do CrossFit four days a week, and have for about 18 months – and while exercise is essential, it’s only a part of the equation.

      You may want to get yourself tested for your DHEA levels, too… or, not that I’m prescribing anything here, but I’m just saying, I heard of a guy who just takes DHEA, since there are no ill effects or “rebound” issues, and it works great for him. Ahem. (You can check out a book called The DHEA Breakthrough, or The Metabolic Plan for more, if you’re interested.)

      AdamKayce wrote on July 27th, 2009
  15. RE: #4


    I’ve found that as my diet improves, food “cravings” are becoming less pronounced. Also, I’ve been able to differentiate between different types of cravings. When I crave carbs, I have a feeling that I would call “the munchies”, which feels different than a healthy hunger. When you have a craving, try to pinpoint exactly how you feel–are you hungry? Munched-out? thirsty? bored? lonely? tired?, etc. By pinpointing your exact feelings, you may be able to restore homeostasis in a healthy manner. If you have emotional issues surrounding diet, consider a behavior modification technique such as Richard Bandler & John Grinder’s Neurolinguistic Programming (NLP).

    Ed wrote on July 27th, 2009
  16. Q1: Pemmican. The real stuff. 50% pulverized bone dry lean mixed with 50% rendered fat, by weight. Traditionally this was made with large ruminants (like cows or bison or deer). Best to stick with tradition. Pemmican is shelf stable for decades. 1 pound of it is 3000kcal or so. For both backpacking and survival stores it is perfect. The fuel to weight ratio for backpacking is as good as it gets and the long shelf life makes is a perfect survival food. It is also totally primal.


    Erasmus wrote on July 27th, 2009
  17. Q5: Linda – I’m 50 years old & went primal 11 weeks ago. And I’ve lost 53 pounds. It’s been simple – walk the dogs every morning for an hour & do couple short full-body weight lifting sessions per week. And eat primal – life is good & getting better every day. Just get started.

    CJGabel wrote on July 27th, 2009
    • That is so awesome! congrats :) I keep trying to drop info nuggets to my mom (she’s 61) hoping she’ll catch on, but she “doesn’t like vegetables and [has] to get XXg of fiber a day!” blah blah blah… *sigh*

      Leanne wrote on July 28th, 2009
  18. Beautiful setting, beautiful bride, and nice sideburns. Perfect.

    Yum Yucky wrote on July 27th, 2009
  19. Q4: look on the website of Jimmy Moore of livin la vida low-carb and search for the Julia Ross podcast. Maybe the cravings are more than just something emotional/psychological… interesting podcast!

    pieter d wrote on July 27th, 2009
  20. #4 are the cravings just for non primal foods, or are they just to eat in general. Being primal for so long has made parties and get togethers etc easy..I just don’t crave or miss grains, sweets,etc…but man I can put back 6 eggs, 2 avocados, and a steak in one sitting…I crave vegetables and fats like crazy

    BigBeck89 wrote on July 27th, 2009
  21. Linda at #5, it is never too late! I started the primal lifestyle at age 63, overweight and hardly able to move. 6 months later I am a different woman and there’s a lot less of me. Where do you start? I started by cutting out grains, sugars, cooking everything from scratch, and increasing the amount of fat I eat. It wasn’t easy overcoming 20 years of anti fat conditioning but one day at a time is the way to go. You can do it! Just take that first step.

    Cloudberry wrote on July 27th, 2009
  22. Linda at #5

    I am 66 and I have been on Mark’s diet for 7 months except that I keep my carbs to less than 30. I follow all of his exercise recommendations and do intermittent fasting.

    It is a long slow process when you are older. However, I am never hungry, I don’t have energy swings and I have no more gastric distress. So I can and will stay on this diet forever.

    Oh, by the way, I have lost 16 lbs.

    Montana Jake wrote on July 27th, 2009
  23. what lovely newlyweds! 😀 congrats and best wishes!

    barbara wrote on July 27th, 2009
  24. Sterling, question #2. I have to disagree with Aubrey, Long slow distance training is not a good idea. There is a reason endurance athletes are among the most injured and constantly inflammed of all sports. Reason 1, they train waaaay too much and Reason 2, they train the wrong way.

    Tereza is absolutley correct in suggesting CrossFit endurance. Your best bet is to find a CrossFit Affiliate near you, get strong, learn how to run effeciently and safely and follow the training plan on Read everything they have to offer and watch all the videos. Go intensity over volume and you’ll be fitter than ever with a fraction of the stress on the body. Plus you won’t have to go all carb crazy. Less is more!

    Good luck and nice work on getting as far as you have!

    David wrote on July 27th, 2009
  25. Thanks, everyone! We are very happy, and we appreciate your support! 😀

    suz38487 wrote on July 27th, 2009
  26. Question 5: Just watch this and you will understand what age means.

    Florian wrote on July 27th, 2009
    • Wow! That was great. . .I checked out the related video on his sample meal plan, and it was very primal (except for 1 piece of toast!)

      Catalina wrote on July 27th, 2009
    • Oh man! That was awesome! If I were to put up a poster in my room like I did back in the day with Cory Haim/Cory Feldman, it would now be one of Jack. He’s so awesome!

      Colleen wrote on July 28th, 2009
  27. Wow! Thanks so much for posting my question Mark! I’m so happy you’ve addressed my concern. I’m not the only one with it, I see.

    I can see that the general consensus is to go through with the degree and then start to chip away at all the CW. I’m sure I’ll get whiplash during a lot of my classes from shaking my head!

    I’m a very passionate person by nature so I’ll need to keep my beliefs to myself in classes for now. Once I learn to express myself better I’ll be ready for any debates! Also, the more I learn on my own the better equipped I’ll become.

    I appreciate the nice comments and I’m fully planning on bringing the primal lifestyle to the forefront wherever I go. I’m living, walking proof of it.

    Suz, what a beautiful and unique wedding. Congrats!


    Shelley wrote on July 27th, 2009
    • Keep plugging away at the degree! I’m a dietitian/personal trainer and I find you can make a difference if you have put in the (conventional)work and thereby earn some respect.Then just work in private practise!
      My biggest problem is my husband of 20 years.Although he can’t believe his luck that we now have butter and bacon to eat, every day he asks me if I’m ‘over the fad diet yet”.Grrrr!

      Sue wrote on July 28th, 2009
  28. Suz you look absolutely stunning and so comfortable! :)

    Miriam wrote on July 27th, 2009
  29. #2
    Forget LSD! Do some research on crossfit endurance. People who only train with crossfit and CF endurance are easily finishing triathlons and ultra marathons without putting in miles and miles of running. And they do this while maintaining muscle mass too.

    Anders wrote on July 27th, 2009
  30. Mark,
    Thank you for posting my question. I have gotten some very good responses. I am already seeing a slight decrease in these cravings after just a week. Some munchies,and I think i can tell it’s for carbs. I have also started eating very slowly and savoring everything. It makes me full faster but I don’t feel like my taste buds want to keep busy so much.

    I also feel a whole lot of energy during the day compared to what I’m used to. This is great.

    Chidi wrote on July 27th, 2009
    • Chidi,

      This may seem counter-intuitive but hear me out…have you tried fasting? Two thing usually happen with fasting, in regards to eating (when that time comes).

      First, your body starts to crave different types of energy (food). It is logical to assume that if your body is not getting energy for a period of 18-30 hours (typical paleo fasting lengths), then it will crave high energy foods like fat and energy types that have prolonged energy output, like protein. Make sense right?

      Second, and this may seem weird but you would think that you would eat a ton after a fast but you don’t/can’t. Most of the time I get full rather quick and there is no mistaking that I am full! I comes on quick and I get the, “If I eat another bite a may get sick” feeling!

      Fasting has many benefits, you should check it out!

      Adam wrote on July 29th, 2009
    • I find that if I eat too much fruit I can easily flip the switch from fat burning to carb burning resulting in a return of extreme hunger and resultant over-nibbling on more fruit and nuts. My blood sugar is very sensitive, however. I tested this last week by cutting down to 1/2 apple or five strawberries and it worked. Even that little bit of fruit (the whole apple) was causing my blood sugar to fluctuate enough for highs and lows and thus cravings. I used to always be hungry, now, as long as I keep my insulin from jagging out of control, I’m just not.

      Hilary wrote on July 29th, 2009
  31. Congratulations to the newly-weds!

    Mamatha wrote on July 27th, 2009
  32. Hey guys – thanks for the advice and comments. I’m going to try a mini-sprint first. And don’t worry…if I feel that I’m getting too tired, too inflamed, etc – I’m done. But please keep the advice coming.

    Sterling wrote on July 27th, 2009
  33. What a beautiful wedding dress! I’ve got the same VFF Sprints and I love them. Congratulations newlyweds!

    gilliebean wrote on July 27th, 2009
  34. Question #2: Since you are involved in a mostly endurance event, you should consider training the opposite end of the spectrum at the gym. In other words, you should primarily train for strength using 80-95% of your 1 rep max weight for a lift (compound lifts such as squats, deadlifts and power cleans), doing 5 reps or less. Also consider doing hill sprints which improves anaerobic threshold as well as your VO2 max without doing boring steady-state cardio. A lot of endurance athletes make the dumb mistake of training for endurance even while at the gym which is redundant. I picked up this idea from strength coach Charles Staley.

    Kishore wrote on July 28th, 2009
  35. LSD isn’t necessarily about doing a huge volume – it’s mostly about making sure that your body can handle the particular time/distance demand that a race will put on it. The SLOW part is not the ‘chronic cardio’ that Mark talks about – it’s about keeping your HR low so that you can build base endurance.

    Aubrey wrote on July 28th, 2009
    • Aubrey…

      Keeping your heart rate low does NOT build “base endurance” (whatever that is anyway…). Your body adapts and gets better when you challenge the limits of its capacities. Pushing the limits of your cardio-vascular system through, say, sprinting stimulates your body to produces more red blood cells, more mitochondria, and thereby increase your ability to use oxygen (VO2 max). That would be how you build your “base endurance”. You develop better endurance capacity through high intensity training, not LSD. OH, and the L stands for Long, which means lots of it, as in high volume, as in chronic cardio. LSD is pretty much the definition of chronic cardio.

      And have you ever thought about what it means to “make sure your body can handle the particular time/distance”? I would assume you mean preparing your body to handle a long race without a) completely bonking or b) getting injured. I’ve already addressed how to build the aerobic capacity to handle longer distances above, which only leaves the injury aspect. LSD training has the ever so lovely side effect of extreme stress on the muscles, joints, and connective tissue. I don’t know a single runner or triathlete who trains using the (out of date) LSD method who isn’t constantly nursing some kind of injury. Pulled hamstrings, inflamed piriformis, low back pain, plantar fasciaitis, knee pain, you name it. Endurance athletes seem to wear their injuries like a badge of honor.
      Plus there’s the oxidative stress and chronic inflammation caused by overtraining the aerobic/oxidative metabolic pathway. LSD training ages your cells at about the same rate as a heavy smoker or hard drug user. Zippity do. Sounds great, doesn’t it?

      Oh, and did I mentioned the catabolic, muscle wasting effect of LSD training? It causes your body to break down muscle for fuel, meaning that over time, you will LOSE muscle mass and become even weaker than before you started the program.

      So tell me again what’s so great about LSD training?

      Jocelyn R wrote on July 28th, 2009
  36. Q#2: Also an added comment regarding Terezas feedback. I would be a bit cautious doing only Crossfit workouts. Some of their workouts seem to be overkill on the nervous system. For example, doing highly technical lifts like power cleans in a fatigued state after doing deadlifts in a circuit training fashion is dumb and is a sure fire way to injury. Similarly, doing high rep front squats will tire your rhomboids statically even before your legs are tired. Technically damnding lifts should be done first in your workout with plenty of rest and then move on to lactic acid training if the need arises.

    Kishore wrote on July 28th, 2009
    • Always interesting how people that don’t know anything about a program feel free to criticize, isn’t it? Clearly Kishore isn’t really familiar with CrossFit or he wouldn’t say such silly things. CF is all about proper execution, even at high intensity. There are 1-rep max strength days with plenty of rest in between sets and then there are metabolic conditioning days with high reps, at moderate weight, executed at high intensity. At no time does CF ever advocate sacrificing your form or safety.

      For a triathlete, running and swimming (and to some extent cycling) ARE highly technical endeavours. How do you expect to train your body to handle maintaining proper execution of technical, high speed movements in a state of fatigue if you only ever do 1-rep max with plenty of rest and then hit your cardio afterwards? You fail at the margins of your experience and when you only ever seperate technical movements and high intensity cardio, you will fail when you have to do a highly technical movement at high intensity.

      Running 1 mile is the equivalent of doing 1500 single leg plyometric squats. Funny how no one ever criticizes running for being ‘overkill on the nervous system’ or that ‘it’s a sure fire way to injury’. I assure you that if you do ANYTHING that many times that fast with anything less than good form you will hurt yourself.

      Anyone who expects to be able to run after they have been on a bike after they have been swimming, SHOULD, at the very least be able to perform some good power cleans immediately after a set of deadlifts. Strong hips and solid midline stabilization with the musculur stamina to maintain good form is the name of the game.

      Jocelyn R wrote on July 28th, 2009
      • Running fatigues your adrenal glands more than anything. Nervous system fatigue accumulates from doing too much high intensity work for too long. Maybe you should get your facts right while trying to be sarcastic.

        Kishore wrote on July 28th, 2009
      • Why the hell would you do power cleans after a set of deadlifts? You have no potential for power generation from high treshold motor units at this point. I’m glad I know better to not take advice from people like you.

        Kishore wrote on July 28th, 2009
  37. Kishore, When doing max weight technical lifts CrossFit does recommend plenty of rest. An example of a strength day workout would be some kind of steady warm up then 7 sets of 1 rep max effort for 1 exercise (like a DL or Clean). 3-5 min rest time between sets, then stretching. That’s it… after words go home and let you body recover.

    The metabolic workouts may involve a combination of the same technical movements but with lighter weights. Every rep should still be done with proper form to prevent injury. If your form suffers you’re going to heavy. You may see a workout that calls for high rep 250lb Deadlifts combined with running, and sit ups, but that workout is designed for the elite level athletes that can deadlift 400-600lbs. Newbies should never take on the full weight until the movements have been mastered and they’ve built up their strength.
    Doing deadlifts and cleans in a circuit are not dumb and a sure fire way to injury… doing them improperly in any fashion is a sure way to injury. Plus you’ll get a way better result than circuit training with bicep curls on a bosu ball and lateral shoulder raises. That crap is just a waste of time.

    You need intensity to get the best results. Intensity is directly correlated to power. Power is moving a large load a long distance, quickly… So lifts like the clean and jerk couldn’t be more perfect.

    Aubrey, the best way to build endurance is high intensity intervals. The heart and lungs are just like any other muscle. To make it stronger you have to push the limits.

    Trying to keep your heart rate down is an out of date training method. Forget your heart rate all together… if you feel amazing after a run or race and look at your heart rate monitor and your heart rate was above your “ideal zone” does that mean you should have slowed down? Hell no, you probably could have gone faster!

    I never run my full race distance until I run the race, maybe 50% of the distance max once or twice. If you can handle a max effort interval training then distance running feels easy.

    Just my humble opinions…

    David wrote on July 28th, 2009
    • Power is proportional to weight and velocity. Intensity is the percentage of your 1 rep max weight for a lift.
      So, lifting 100 lbs in 1 sec and lifting 50 lbs in 0.5 sec delivers the same power. So, intensity is not the only factor.

      Kishore wrote on July 28th, 2009
      • Power = (weight x distance)/time

        As in, how much does it weigh, how far did you move it, and how long did it take. Intensity is precisely (three bar equal sign) equal to power.

        If you lift, say, 75% of your 1 rep max (for any lift) at the same speed, over the same distance then, you’re right to say that is “less intense”. You generated less power and the endeavour was therefor less intense.

        In your example, moving 100 lbs in 1 sec or 50 lbs in 0.5 sec (assuming it’s the same distance you’re moving them) are both equally intense, because they are generating an equal amount of power. That’s just physics man.

        Whether we’re talking about horsepower in an engine or human performance, the measurements are the same. How heavy, how far, and how fast.

        Jocelyn R wrote on July 28th, 2009
        • What’s your definition of Intensity?
          In your example above, it’s still just physics ‘girl’.

          Kishore wrote on July 28th, 2009
  38. David, here’s some response from one of the best strenght coaches in world, Charles Poliquin on Crossfit. Now, the last time I checked, coach Poliquin has produced numerous olympic gold medalists and not Crossfit.

    Charles Poliquin on Crossfit:
    A: A lot of individuals love CrossFit. Many of them believe it’s the perfect program to achieve their goals. They’re very satisfied with their progress. And I have no doubt that some individuals have never been injured from CrossFit.

    That said, I have six major issues with CrossFit-type training:

    1. Lack of sufficient testing protocols

    When I looked over detailed notes from a CrossFit certification, I saw protocols for beginning, intermediate, and advanced workouts using multi-joint movements. But I didn’t see any protocols for testing trainees for structural-balance issues.

    I’ve worked with Olympians in 23 different sports, along with lots of professional athletes. Before having any of those athletes do their first power clean or squat, I do a series of tests to red-flag muscle imbalances that could increase the risk of injury.

    And if there’s a history of injuries with that athlete, then of course that’s addressed in the workout design.

    I’ll give you an example: Olympic shot-putter Adam Nelson couldn’t do power snatches before I started working with him because he had adhesions in his rotator cuff muscles. After we addressed the injury with Active Release Techniques (ART), Nelson was able to reintroduce the exercise in his workouts. Within a month he was handling personal-best weights.

    Jim McKenzie, a professional hockey player I’ve trained, went from a 281-pound close-grip bench press to 380 pounds in less than four months by focusing on corrective exercises — and that’s without doing any bench presses at all for the first three months!

    2. Focus on a single training protocol

    The protocols in CrossFit aren’t appropriate for developing the highest levels of strength or power or speed. I doubt if you’ll see any elite powerlifters, weightlifters, or sprinters using CrossFit protocols as their primary method of conditioning.

    For example, when I trained [long jumper] Dwight Phillips for the Athens Games, we worked first on structural balance, and then on increasing his eccentric strength.

    Besides winning gold medals at the World Championships in Helsinki in 2005 and the Olympic Games in 2004, in training he beat some top-ranked sprinters in the 100 meters. I didn’t accomplish this by having him superset high-rep push-ups with mile runs.

    Coaches often overemphasize energy-system training with athletes, to the detriment of other physical qualities. Check out any exercise physiology textbook and look at the studies performed on elite athletes and their VO2 maxes. It’s not necessary for a baseball player — or a basketball player for that matter — to have a VO2 max of 70. [A VO2 max in the high 50s is considered outstanding for a male in his late 20s.]

    The promotional materials I’ve read about CrossFit imply that this type of training addresses all the strength and conditioning needs of an athlete, but the concept of specificity tells us that if you try to excel at everything, you aren’t likely to reach the highest levels at anything.

    This is why we don’t see individuals who can run a mile in four minutes flat that can also bench press 500 pounds.

    3. Insufficient instruction for teaching complex training methods

    It takes more than a single weekend seminar to develop the competency to teach certain types of exercises, or to prescribe protocols for complex training methods. I’d include Olympic lifts, strongman exercises, and plyometrics in this category.

    These training methods are sometimes criticized as dangerous by strength coaches. But when you look at why athletes become injured, you can often point to poor technique.

    Interestingly enough, my first comments about CrossFit got a lot of business for my PICP coaches. They got calls from CrossFit practitioners who wanted to learn how to lift properly.

    4. Inappropriate repetition brackets for complex exercises

    Although high reps and short rest intervals can be used to develop muscular endurance, these protocols shouldn’t be used with some exercises.

    This is especially true with Olympic lifts, where it’s difficult to maintain proper technique with high reps. And it’s especially difficult when supersetting Olympic lifts with deadlifts, or any other multijoint exercise. If you want confirmation, just watch CrossFit trainees do these lifts in videos on their website.

    The Olympic lifts should be used to develop power. If you want to develop muscular endurance, you should use simpler movements.

    5. Inappropriate exercise order

    In the CrossFit “Linda” workout, what’s the logic in fatiguing the lower back with deadlifts before doing power cleans? Not only does it prevent you from doing the power cleans with optimal technique, it makes it more difficult to activate high-threshold motor units. That’s why you should do all your sets of power cleans before you do deadlifts.

    Another problem is that combining weight-training exercises with sprints places an athlete at a high risk of injury, especially to the hamstrings.

    6. Endorsement of controversial exercises

    On one website of a CrossFit affiliate, I saw video clips of athletes jumping onto cars and standing on Swiss balls. I appreciate the need to use a wide variety of exercises with clients, but not if they’re high-risk exercises.

    Because of these six concerns, I can’t recommend CrossFit training, especially for those seeking the highest levels of athletic performance.

    But in the interest of being open-minded, let’s leave it at this: Despite its shortcomings, the CrossFit system is continually evolving. It’ll be interesting to see how it changes as more athletes, along with nonathletes, participate in the program

    Kishore wrote on July 28th, 2009
    • Ahhhh, yes. Good old Poliquin. Another example of someone who makes his ignorance of CrossFit painfully obvious through his own statements.

      “The promotional materials I’ve read about CrossFit imply that this type of training addresses all the strength and conditioning needs of an athlete, but the concept of specificity tells us that if you try to excel at everything, you aren’t likely to reach the highest levels at anything.”

      I can’t imagine how someone as intelligent as Poliquin could take what is the STATED PURPOSE of CrossFit and somehow present that as if it is a criticism. CrossFit asserts unequivocally that its goal is to create athletes with the broadest physical capacities – physical generalists, you might call them. They will also tell you that this is fundamentally a compromise position. So I guess Poliquin and I agree: CrossFit won’t make you the absolute best at any single thing. If you want to be the world’s greatest sprinter, then by all means train using “specificity” for that sport. If on the other hand, you’re not a 1-in-a-billion genetically gifted sprinting freak and you’d rather just be generally fit and capable of doing all kinds of different things, then CrossFit is for you.

      As for the “insufficient instruction for teaching complex training methods” comment, that should really be a criticism of the fitness industy as a whole. At least CrossFit has sparked an interest in coaches learning how to do and teach more complex movements, whether it be from Poliquin or some of the higher level CrossFit speciality certs. Thank goodness for the spreading popularity of CF because it has reignited interest in dying sports like olympic lifting. If it wasn’t for Glassman and his followers, trainers eveywhere would still be telling their clients to do 3 sets of 10 reps of lateral dumbbell raises and swiss ball crunches.

      Jocelyn R wrote on July 28th, 2009
      • I’m still not convinced you can prove points 2, 4 & 5 above wrong. Also, I’m sure intelligent, sensbile trainees don’t really need a ‘Glassman and his followers’ to train smart and hard!
        Anytime someone sounds like they belong to a cult, RUN!

        Kishore wrote on July 28th, 2009
        • Haha, very true, but they also don’t need a Poliquin. A good trainer is creative and find what works for them. For me CrossFit works. I use the main site for my own training (so I don’t have to think about it) and create my own workouts for my clients, just based on CF philosophies.
          I think the cult thing is pretty funny. CrossFit seems to draw a lot of ex-athletes and frat guy types that are so hardcore about they become a little obsessed. I try to stay out of that kind of stuff.

          David wrote on July 28th, 2009
      • Only 1-in-a-billion people train for specificity? What a ridiculous notion!
        You have high school athletes, college level athletes and pros who all require very specific game or sport related specificity in training.
        I personally have a very high composition of fast twitch fibers and I train for specific sprint training ‘for fun’, not competing in olympics. And I use specific training for that and it works great for me. I don’t do circuits of power cleans, deadlifts and sprints for that. There are much better ways to train.

        “Absorb what is useful, Discard what is not, Add what is uniquely your own” – Bruce Lee

        Kishore wrote on July 28th, 2009
        • Kishore – If you have a training program that’s working for you, in line with your goals, then that’s awesome! There’s no monopoly on good programs and good results. CF is the one that works for me, in line with my goals, but it’s certainly not perfect either. I do tend to agree with many of the points raised by Shugart in his article on T Muscle.

          Poliquin in a great coach, and he certainly has contributed plenty to the world of strength and conditioning. What he does with olympic gold medal athletes (who are the 1-in-a-billion I was referring to) isn’t really too relevant to the rest of us who aren’t as physically gifted. It’s impossible to say any program is “better” than the other when we have any programs designed to accomplish many different outcomes, some specific, some general. This discussion started with contemplating the training program for a guy (Sterling) who has made great strides in getting his health back on track and is looking to tackle a new goal without damaging his health in the process. The overall recommendations from the posters on this website seems to be roughly the same: maintain a balance in your training so as not to sacrifice greatly in any aspect of your health or fitness.

          Although we may differ in our precise opinions on the subject, I think in the end we’re each recommending something in the best interest of Sterling and his triathalon goal. Ultimately it will be up to him to experiment with different protocols and see what works best for him!

          So I’m stepping off my soap box now. Always fun to debate a topic, but I don’t want this to descend into personal attacks. Given that we’re all interested enough in these topics to bother getting passionate about them, I suspect we have more in common than we have to disagree about :-)

          Jocelyn R wrote on July 28th, 2009
        • Jocelyn, I guess it’s easy to go off on tangents in forums like these. Anyway, I’m sure Sterling must have got some ideas that he can experiment with. I would think it would be a good idea for him to experiment with his fuel sources for a triathalon. Too much simple carbs and you will be riddled with inflammation. 5-10 grams of fish oil (I personally use Nordic Naturals) a day would be good, just make sure you are consuming enough Vitamin-E (not plant sources, too much estrogen in it) and anti-oxidants. Good luck and train smart!

          Kishore wrote on July 28th, 2009
  39. Chidi (question #4), check out David Kessler’s new book, The End of Overeating, or listen to the NPR interview at:

    I don’t necessarily agree with everything he says about fat, but I think he’s on to something about the addictive qualities of the sugar/salt/fat combo.

    Stephanie wrote on July 28th, 2009
  40. Kishore, Great responce!

    Poliquin has definitely had some incredible success in the world of fitness. I love his work on testing hormone imbalances with body calibrations. I assure you I would not like to debate with him as his knowledge of fitness is incredible and far supperior to mine.

    I would like to state however that his is an opinion of a person who has reviewed CrossFit, not tried it. There are many other great coaches affiliated with CrossFit that have also had some tremendous accomplishments. Mike Burgener has been a huge presence in the olympic lifting world, and Mark Rippetoe in the power lifting world, both of whom have CrossFit certifications. There is so many styles of training and so many dominant people backing them it really is hard to say what is best.

    Poliquin is correct in saying that you won’t see any specialty athletes strictly CrossFit trained. That’s because CrossFit specializes in not specializing. The goal is to in the top 80% of everything, a jack of all trades if you will. No one will run a 4 min mile and bench 500lbs, but an elite CrossFitter will run a 5:00, bench 300, DL 500, clean 300 so on and so forth. I’d pay to see a competitive power lifter run an 7 min mile, or an olympic marathoner bench press his body weight. CrossFit is for broad and general fitness and for preparing for the unknown and the unknowable. So for the 2% of the people out there that are training for the olympics or elite level sports their specialty training is where they need to be.

    But for the rest of us that don’t specialize we need general physical preparedness. The ability to overcome any challenge that comes our way, whether it be running away form a attacker, deadlifting 100 sand bags to build a wall to protect from a flood, or playing with your kids. CrossFit was designed for that. I tried the traditional training style for years and am fitter now at 30 then my entire youth because of CrossFit. So as far as my experience goes, as long as you take the time to learn the proper techniques (as with any new activity) CrossFit will make the average Joe all around fitter in a shorter amount of time… without the drugs that are so common place in traditional style bodybuilding, power lifting and even the olympics (which I hate to say but we all know it’s true.) Plus it’s fun!

    I agree that CrossFit is still in it’s infancy and there is some room for improvement in the certifications. That’s why I recommend every one finds a coach that is qualified and knows what he’s talking about. If you can afford Poliuin than all power to you, but for most people CrossFit is an effective and affordable way to get supervised training (hopefully from a qualified coach)

    I’m sure that in the next few years CrossFit will continue to grow like crazy and only get better. Right now it’s growing at 5% per day, it’s been adopted by the Canadian and American Military and numerous schools. It may be against the traditional means of training, but then again at one time the world was flat, the earth was the center of the galaxy, fat made you fat and whole grains were good for you.

    P.s. with intensity i was referring to more than just weight lifting. Power can be measured in running, jumping, lifting, anything if you use weight x distance / time. Percentage of 1 rep max, is just that. It’s not the definition of intensity. The power you generate in a workout is a good method of actually identifying and tracking intensity.

    David wrote on July 28th, 2009
    • David, I was recently reading some coaches recommending redesigning teting protocols for special forces.
      Standard testing involves doing a number of push-ups, pull ups and other drills with a 45-lb vest and so on.
      New recommendations are to test the participants to be able to do certain tasks like shooting at a target in a room, shooting at certain colors and doing tasks that are simple when in a relaxed state, but hard when under extreme fatigue and mental pressure.

      Kishore wrote on July 28th, 2009
      • I saw something on that as well. Some of the guys even perform better under stress… maybe I’ll add that to my workout. Push ups, pull ups, squats, shooting stuff… sweet!

        David wrote on July 28th, 2009

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