The popular story of how low-carb diets work goes something like this: Reducing your carbohydrate...
Let me introduce myself. My name is Mark Sisson. I’m 63 years young. I live and work in Malibu, California. In a past life I was a professional marathoner and triathlete. Now my life goal is to help 100 million people get healthy. I started this blog in 2006 to empower people to take full responsibility for their own health and enjoyment of life by investigating, discussing, and critically rethinking everything we’ve assumed to be true about health and wellness...Tell Me More
The microorganisms that reside in, on, and around our bodies influence almost every facet of our well-being. Part of maintaining microbiome health is maintaining homeostasis. Another is supporting diversity.
Our goal, then, is to improve our microbiological real estate in the many areas of the body that commensal and symbiotic bacterial like to put down roots—the gut, mouth, lungs, skin, reproductive organs, and so on. The average Primal enthusiast is well-versed with the role of food choices and smart supplementation (although research is always uncovering new wrinkles—more on this to come).
I thought I’d give a little attention to some of the other basic practices that can influence microbial diversity and homeostasis. There are more answers and nuances than I can cover today, but let’s start with some of the fundamentals.
Over the past two posts in this series, I’ve explained how a Primal way of eating can not only support a heavy CrossFit schedule, but elevate it. Today, I’m going to explain how going Primal can help fix a common complaint among CrossFitters: fatigue. No energy. No pep. A distinct lack of physical and psychological motivation to train, let alone hit PRs. This doesn’t just make it hard to finish workouts and make gains. It bleeds into the rest of your life and makes that worse, too.
One of the reasons CrossFit tends to produce excellent physiques in both men and women is that it forces you to do everything. You’re lifting heavy, sprinting, going long and slow sometimes, going short and intense. You’re tapping into every energy system and stimulating anabolic pathways. It’s a recipe for fat loss and muscle gain.
If you eat enough to support your activity levels, that is.
Historically, that’s been the big knock against paleo by CrossFitters: It’s too satiating a diet. The food you eat is so nutrient-dense that you end up eating fewer calories than you need to maintain the activity. What makes paleo so great for weight loss—inadvertent calorie reduction—makes it tough for CrossFit.
At the heart of every building is its framework. That latticework of timber, concrete or steel is what holds the entire structure up. Without it, there’d be no building at all. I think of that phrase some people use when they look at a house and declare, “It’s got good bones.”
Considering how essential bones are to our existence, it’s surprising how most people take them for granted. A lifetime of neglect can suddenly reveal to us just how sensitive and integral this living framework is. Yet, there’s so much more to this truth than we commonly assume.
Sure, the skeletal system provides the stable foundation upon which our muscles, organs and fascia are constructed. But that’s just the half of it. Bones also secrete hormones, interact directly with the brain (ever heard of the bone-brain axis?) as well as other organs and fat cells, and even play a key role in immunity. I’ve covered many of the basics of bone health before, and I’d definitely recommend checking those out to augment these suggestions. For today, however, let’s look at some of these lesser known and appreciated functions—as well as some additional tips for supporting bone health throughout the life cycle.
A simple restorative yoga practice can teach you to truly relax your body, tune in with your breath, and calm your stressed-out mind.
Restorative yoga uses props to aid in physical, mental, and emotional relaxation.
As you do these poses, keep in mind the goal is not to “work hard” like you might do in a traditional flow yoga class. The goal is to get comfortable, hold still, and allow your mind to slow down and the tension to release from all areas of your body.
For today’s edition of Dear Mark, I’m answering questions from the comment section of last Thursday’s post on CrossFit, Primal, and carbs. First, I use a comment from Dave to expand on the idea of earning your carbs and eating the carbs you earn. Second, I discuss the notion of athletes using cyclical low-carb diets. Would their performance suffer? And finally, I go over a few more starchy carb sources allowed on the Primal eating plan that I forgot to mention last time.