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
Look: I’m a man. I’ve lived a different experience than the average woman, with totally different equipment and different concentrations of hormones coursing through my body. But I have a daughter and a wife and a good head on my shoulders that’s spent the last 30 years thinking about health, nutrition, and fitness for humans, so I have a few things to offer.
So let’s get right down to today’s post. What follows are 12 tips for Primal women. Or any woman, really.
(Men, too: if some of the things mentioned in today’s post aren’t working for you, and the tips seem to apply, go for it!)
For today’s edition of Dear Mark, I’m answering a couple questions from you guys. First, there’s a new paper out claiming that the ideal BMI for overall mortality is an overweight one—27, to be exact. Is this really the case? Should we all pack on a few extra pounds to see us through into old age? Next, should you try to make up for all the “lost” calories when you eat in a compressed eating window? If you skip breakfast, should you try to eat more at lunch? And finally, how does one incorporate high intensity interval training on a low-carb diet that includes fasting?
Sprinting is great. For my money, it’s the best bang-for-your-buck exercise. If you have only fifteen minutes to spare, you can sprint. If you’re on the road without access to a gym, you can usually find a place to sprint. It’s the missing piece in the quest for optimal leanness; incorporating weekly sprints can really help the fat just melt off. There’s just something about the raw, maximal expression of absolute effort that makes a person feel good, feel alive, and feel, well, Primal.
But not everyone wants or has the capacity to run as fast as they possibly can on a flat surface. Whether because of old/current injuries, the general state of the body, or simple personal preference, a significant portion of the population isn’t going to be running sprints on a track. Maybe you hate it. Maybe it hurts too much, or you’re worried about throwing something out. Whatever the reason for your sprint abstinence, there are worthy alternatives to traditional sprinting.
For today’s edition of Dear Mark, I’m answering three questions from readers. First, should the primary focus in constructing a healthy diet be caloric density? Is the key to weight loss and optimal health the consumption of bulky, low-calorie foods? Next, a new study seems to show that fat “starves the brain.” Is this true? If not, what’s really going on? And finally, are following Primal Endurance principles antithetical to high intensity performance?
Let’s find out.
I’ve always preferred traversing natural surfaces. Growing up in New England, I developed my cross country running chops actually running across the country surrounding my house. My favorite endurance events were those involving trees and trails to the point that I might still be doing them if they were exclusively nature-based. Even today, I cherish my hikes through the Malibu hills and rather begrudgingly go for neighborhood walks only because the sidewalk is so convenient. Walking on flat, linear, manmade surfaces is certainly fine, especially if I’ve got my wife or dog or a friend—or I’m exploring a new city—but naturally deposited ground full of dips and peaks and studded with random deformations is ideal.
And there’s growing evidence that it’s better for you, too.
I own a foam roller. Every fitness facility I’ve visited in the last three years has hosted a large arsenal of foam rollers, lacrosse balls, and other instruments of fascial torture. The CrossFitter community has 2.3 per capita. I hear K-Starr sleeps on a bed made of lacrosse balls with foam rollers for pillows. Everyone and their grandma has one. I’m not even joking; I saw a group of track-suited seniors doing some kind of a synchronized foam rolling routine in the park recently. The things are everywhere. And you can certainly spend an inordinate amount of time rolling around on the things, causing all sorts of painful sensations that should, in theory, help you. But does it really help?
As I mentioned earlier, I have one. I’ve used it and, I think, benefited from it. But it hurts. It’s pretty much the most unpleasant thing you can do. Not just because of the pain, but also the tedium. It had better be worth the trouble.