Meet Mark

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...

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Category: Fitness

Dear Mark: Swimming Tips; High Weight, Low Reps vs High Reps, Low Weight

For today’s edition of Dear Mark, I’m answering two questions. First up are some swimming tips for a novice swimmer who read last week’s post and wants to incorporate swimming into the schedule. What strokes to learn? What workouts to try? I also discuss the downsides of chlorinated pools. Next, a new study claims that whether you lift heavy weight for low reps or lift light for high reps has no effect on strength or size, so long as you go to failure. Is this true?

Let’s go:

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Dear Mark: Dairy Inhibiting Magnesium Absorption, Trampoline Training, and Max Aerobic Heart Rate

For today’s edition of Dear Mark, I’m answering three questions. First, does dairy inhibit magnesium absorption, thus negating the utility of adding blackstrap molasses to milk? There’s a good deal of evidence that points to a probable answer. Next, is mini trampoline training actually good for you, or is it just a silly way to pass the time and look ridiculous (or all of the above)? And finally, how should someone calculate (and train under) their max aerobic heart rate?

Let’s go:

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12 Reasons Why Swimming Is an Essential Primal Skill

In the US, summer is upon us. And it is damn hot. To keep cool and to get in a good stretch after lifting, I’ve been putting in a few laps a few times a week.

As a triathlete, my most hated leg of the race was the swimming. I hated being in cold water. I wasn’t the strongest swimmer, so it was—physically—the toughest part. But in recent years, I’ve come to embrace my time in the pool (at least as a post-workout stretch). Maybe it’s cause my cold tolerance has gone up. Maybe it’s that I’m no longer swimming miles at a time, instead doing dramatically shorter swims. Maybe it’s because I do it for pleasure, rather than training for one of the world’s most grueling events. All I know is that those few laps every week have worked out nicely. But for you water lovers out there, there’s a whole host of benefits that swimming has to offer. So if you’re suffering from the summer heat and looking for a great way to cool down while getting in a pretty extensive workout, swimming should be toward the top of your list.

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Why Exercise Actually Does Matter for Weight Loss

If you follow health news, you might be thinking exercise doesn’t matter when you’re trying to lose weight. Vox just published a big piece showing how useless exercise alone is for weight loss. The NY Times says “eating less” is way more effective than “exercising more.” Obesity researchers like Gary Taubes and Yoni Freedhoff—who don’t agree on much else—both think using exercise to fix obesity is futile. I’ve always said that 80% of your body composition is determined by your diet, not how you exercise. And everyone knows it’s really hard, bordering on impossible, to out exercise a bad diet. You might be able to out exercise a bad diet if all you care about is abs and race times and make it your job, but eventually your poor health will catch up with you.

That doesn’t mean exercise doesn’t matter for weight loss, though. It does.

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Street Workout: Bodyweight Calisthenics for Primal Strength

The following guest post from Al Kavadlo & Danny Kavadlo is adapted from their book STREET WORKOUT and is published with permission from Dragon Door Publications. Enjoy!

In the beginning, we crawled. We hunted. We climbed. We played. We did a lot of things. Early man used his arms, legs and entire body every time he pulled himself up a tree to pick fruit or hoisted up a mammoth carcass for the weekly feast. He didn’t isolate body parts when he fought to survive. He didn’t jump or sprint because it was “leg day.” He did it because a saber-toothed tiger was gonna rip him apart if he didn’t.

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Dear Mark: Bikram Yoga; Stored Toxins Impairing Fat Loss

For today’s edition of Dear Mark, I’m answer two questions from readers. First, does Bikram yoga qualify as sprinting or high intensity training? It’s certainly intense, and it’ll make you sweat bullets and work hard to the point of nausea, but does it actually accomplish the same training effects as sprinting or intervals? Find out down below. Next, you often hear that body fat is the main repository for environmental toxins. This is true, but does that mean the body “holds on” to body fat to prevent systemic dispersal of the toxins it contains? Can stored toxins make losing body fat harder that it already is?

Let’s go:

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