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

Fresh Picks

Worker Bees Daily Bites

Sick of peanut butter already? No worries – there’s plenty of clickativity coming out of the health world today.

MS and Hormones

Scientists have discovered that a pregnancy hormone helps repair myelin, the fatty tissue that protects nervous system cells. This has important implications for MS, which strikes far more women than men. We’ll bring you the updates as research continues, Apples.

Photographer Mystic200

We Sure Know How to Spend

Health care spending is projected to double in the next decade. For an American earning 60,000 dollars a year, that means – on average – 12,000 bucks. Yikes! And you thought your premium was high now…

Spendy areas? Diabetes and cardio concerns like high cholesterol and heart disease are top among the health problems fueling growing costs. Suddenly, prevention looks awfully appealing.

Jean Scheijen photo

It Was Only a Matter of Time

If you’ve ever sent yourself an email just to have a message to check, um…you’re not alone?

Evidently, email addiction is such a prevalent problem these days, there’s now a 12-step program. For the love of tofu, people, stop working so much!

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Feel Great Right Now

5 easy tips to feel healthier now:

1. Each morning, drink a tall glass of water with a few squeezes of fresh lemon juice. You’ll feel noticeably less “puffy” within two days. (Warning: if you also drink a morning jolt of java, the acidity may get to be too much, so eat a little breakfast and consider skipping coffee.)

2. Stop what you’re doing and take ten deep breaths. Concentrate on drawing the breath up from your kidneys; visualize pushing it down into your stomach as you exhale. Feels great.

3. Don’t get overwhelmed – think in terms of “relative nutrition“. This is my term for putting health information in perspective. Getting healthier can seem overwhelming, especially if you’re just starting out or are recovering from an illness. Yes, hitting the gym, meditating, and eating organic, raw, pure food all day long and tossing out the microwave would probably be ideal (in some universe). Instead, think in terms of healthy as it relates to your current habits.

I suggest that you concentrate on taking 4 or 5 steps and applying them consistently. You can change and add more healthy habits as you progress, but even a handful of simple modifications can do a lot of relative good. I’m not advocating a “make half your grains whole” approach like the Food Pyramid – that’s irresponsible public health guidance when we know that refined grains are so unhealthy. But, don’t expect immediate perfection of yourself – it’s unrealistic.

The important thing is to work gradually towards that paradigm shift (moving from merely accenting with healthy foods or behaviors to practicing health as a lifestyle – the “cheats” become the accent, as they should). You’ll get a lot of healthy mileage out of just a few basic changes: for example, tossing the sodas, switching to salads for lunch every day, and making a point of going on a walk after dinner each night will improve your mood, help you drop a few pounds in just two weeks, and help you sleep better. Who wouldn’t love all that?

4. Toss the sodas! (And the sugary lattes, “juice” drinks, and milk shakes…) Don’t drink your calories. Craving a sweet beverage? You may simply be dehydrated.

5. When you dine out this week – as most of us do at least 30% of the time – just say no to the starchy sides and bread basket. Ask for vegetables as a substitute. You’ll cut hundreds of calories, lower your blood sugar, and actually be less hungry later on.

Most Popular Posts
[tags]water, relative nutrition, whole grains, food pyramid, sodas, cravings[/tags]

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Hard Core

Core strength – everyone is talking about it. Core is just a buzz word for your midsection, and it’s very important to maximize your core health. A healthy, strong core is the “core” of good health.

A few key steps:

– You must shed that spare tire to naturally improve core health (cut out that sugar, folks).

– Get both resistance and aerobic activity several times a week.

– Do one or two torso-focused exercise sessions a week. The midsection doesn’t need much time: 10 or 15 minutes is enough.

– Maintain good posture.

– Implement some stretching and balance exercises into your workouts.

Trainer Russ Suchala and I were discussing this “core” topic the other day – here’s why you must take care of your core if you want good health:

“Training your core will result in tremendous benefits in a relatively short amount of time. This is because a strong core improves your posture, decreases your chance of injury, increases your power and functionality, and gives you a great-looking lean midsection.

Core training is rapidly gaining popularity for one specific reason: sitting leads to a weak core. Sitting? Yep, sitting.

Think about your typical work day. If you are like most people then your day starts with a 30-60 minute drive to work, followed by 8 hours at your desk and then another 30-60 minute drive home. That’s a lot of sitting. And it all adds up to one thing: a weak core.

The muscles that make up the core play a unique role since they provide stabilization for your entire body.

Core training seeks to strengthen the muscles of your abdominal and lower back using coordinated movement. A strong focus is put on contracting your abdominal muscles by pulling your belly button in toward your spine throughout the exercises to ensure that your core muscles are engaged.

Unfortunately many ailments stem from having weak core muscles. You may be personally acquainted with the most common ailment…lower back pain. Other problems include poor posture, being injury prone, having minimal strength and (drum roll please) a bulging waistline.

Alleviating persistent back pain is one of the most welcomed benefits of a strong core. An increase in strength and protection from injury are also nice, and who doesn’t love to lose inches from their waist as a result of tightened muscle?

Everyday motions such as lifting, squatting, reaching, twisting and bending will become less challenging after strengthening your core. While you may not immediately see the value in this, remember that it is better to be safe than sorry – who really wants to throw out their back while taking out the trash?”

Thanks, Russ. Apples, stick around for more fitness tips in future posts. It doesn’t take much to improve your health and physique – just commitment to action. As I always say, putting on the sneakers is 90% of the battle.

Most Popular Posts
[tags]core strength, aerobic, posture, exercise, Russ Suchala, training, back pain[/tags]

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The Secret to Great Abs

Admit it: half the reason we all watch Lost is because the main characters are just so great looking. They all have those ripped abs and defined arms that every guy and gal wants. Guess what? It’s not as tough as you’d think to look like Kate or the Doc (oops…lest I start yet another “which guy for Kate” debate, Sawyer, too).

The big myth about getting a sleek, jelly-free belly is that you have to do endless stomach exercises. Hence the never-ending procession of rollers, riders, crunchers and other fitness gimmicks that never give you the washboard you want.

You cannot roll, twist, or squeeze your way to a sexy stomach, no matter what the infomercials tell you.

Here’s why: you already have abs! They might not be as developed as the dude on the cover of Men’s Health, but you already have abs. The problem is that fat is covering them up. Get rid of the fat, and your abs will show up just fine. Believe me, they are there.

Doing stomach exercises is important for further developing those muscles and building core strength (more on that in a moment), but the best thing you can do as far as your torso is concerned – not only for improving confidence, your looks, and your comfort with your body, but your health – is to shed fat. Midsection fat is the most harmful kind of fat to your health and is a critical indicator of stress.

Flex your stomach – even if you’re a couch potato, there’s a little muscle there. Now, if you are flexing and you can still grab abdominal fat in your hand, that’s exactly how much is surrounding your precious internal organs – and that’s a dangerous thing. Fat on your backside? Not so much.

So by all means, crunch away – but your middle will actually get bigger if you don’t simultaneously shrink the fat. Spot toning without overall fat reduction is the wrong approach to getting flat abs, but it’s what most people do. (And notice, nothing changes much, and we all have to suffer through yet another magic abs infomercial with way too much spandex.)

I’m a big proponent of taking care of your torso, not so you can look like a Lost extra (though that’s not a bad thing), but because a healthy middle means reduced chances of obesity (duh), diabetes, heart disease, hypertension and sleep problems.

I’ll be bringing you tips on cutting fat in upcoming posts, but here’s a quick suggestion: cut out all refined carbs, sugar and alcohol for two weeks. I guarantee you’ll see a major reduction in bloat and midsection fat. Although excess calories are what adds the poundage, sugar is the culprit that goes right to the gut. It’s incredibly difficult to have a spare tire if you are primarily getting your calories from protein and produce.

Be sure to check in tomorrow when I’ll be posting a discussion I recently had with Russ Suchala,

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It’s a Runner’s World

All you runners out there need to sprint on over to Runnersworld.com to take advantage of the numerous free training calculators and coaching tools. This site offers a pace converter and a cool tool that projects your finish times for a number of distances based on your current time for a given distance. It also provides a tool they call SmartCoach that will put together an entire training program for you depending on your level of fitness, what your goals are and how long you have to attain them.

Additionally, there are tons of other running resources that cover everything from stretching and recovery to nutrition and gear.

Whether you are training for a full marathon, or are a beginning jogger with aspirations to simply finish a charity 5 K, these useful tools can help you realize your goals.

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Wrinkle-Free News

Worker Bees’ Daily Bites:

The week’s off to an interesting start! Here’s the latest from the world of health.

1) Bird Flu Gets Real

From those news nuts over at The Lede: Culling has begun in the UK to curtail bird flu . Regardless, nobody should be eating chicken nuggets.

2) This Just In: Kids Like Junk Food, Study Says

That’s Fit reports that kids are fatter than ever thanks to zero exercise and an abundance of junk food in everything from school cafeterias to Costco’s towering shelves. Is this a surprise?

We can all moan and groan about it, but better to be proactive. Maybe you have kids. Maybe you are a kid. Either way, these steps are non-negotiable when it comes to health:

Daily exercise of some sort. It can be as basic as walking home from school, mowing the lawn, helping out with household chores, or walking the dog. But exercise is a must. Make it a requirement for TV and computer privileges. Worried about enforcing it? You make them brush their teeth, do their homework and occasionally even bathe. Add this to the list.

Daily vegetable intake, preferably not fried. Whether you spend an hour on Sundays putting together baggies of veggie snacks, or whether you make them do it for themselves, get veggies into your kids! Kids love junk food. Their taste buds are literally wired for it. It’s probably not realistic to think they aren’t going to eat junk ever, but you can at least keep it out of the house. Always serve a salad for dinner, and keep washed fruit available at all times. Kids don’t mind peas or green beans – even the most finicky kids will eat a bowl of peas. Kids do crave starch, but keep those options green. Avoid the fries, tater tots, chips and other pale starches.

Lie. Tell them eating healthy will diminish acne, mood swings and body odor. (Actually, it’s not even a lie).

Enact and enforce a zero-tolerance soda ban. As far as your kids are concerned, soda is Satan.

Kids are gonna do stupid stuff – you can’t watch their every move. But you have more influence than you may think, so use it. This means setting a good example, of course!

3) Tofi

Diet toffee? Tea-coffee? Hipster tofu?

No, TOFI stands for something else entirely , and it’s a…big…problem.

4) Enviga’s Going Down!

Mark’s Daily Apple was among the first to debunk this ridiculous new “negative calorie” drink from Coke. Now the big guns are getting on Coke’s case , too. Aha!

5) Making Single People Everywhere Feel Really Fabulous

Thanks, Scotsman . No, seriously, thanks. This study is small, merely highlights reasonable correlation (rating your own emotions: not exactly the gold standard of scientific inquiry), and also, it’s totally annoying. It makes sense that the more socially active and fulfilled you are, the healthier you will be. Studies prove that consistently. This is more about finding something sensational to whip up on a Monday. If we were betting bees, we’d lay good money

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