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: Pullup/Chinup

Dear Mark: Tendon Edition

Last week, I told you how to strengthen your tendons and improve their resilience to strain and injury. You had a lot of questions in the comment section. For today’s edition of Dear Mark, I’m answering some of them. First, can Dan John’s “Easy Strength” program work for bodyweight training? Probably, and I give my suggestions on doing so. Next, what’s the deal with meniscus tears—mild ones? Can you heal them yourself? Are there any exercises that help the process? And finally, can the tendon exercises I discussed in the original post help folks with carpal tunnel syndrome?

There were some other questions about nutrition for tendon health, which I’ll cover in a future post. Don’t think I’m ignoring them.

Let’s go:

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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: Dried Sardines, Pullup Alternatives, and Blood Donation for Women

For today’s edition of Dear Mark, I’m answering three questions from readers. First concerns an alternative form of a food I’ve always urged people to consume: small dried whole fish. Are the omega-3s still viable after the drying process? Next, pullups are a fantastic exercise that everyone with the ability should perform, but not everyone has access to a pullup bar. What other exercises can you do to approximate, if not altogether replace, the humble pullup? And finally, in previous posts I’ve mentioned the potential health benefits of regular blood donation for men. Does the same apply to women? After all, they already “donate” blood on a regular basis through menstruation. What about post-menopausal women?

Let’s go:

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Dear Mark: Bodyweight with Weights; Glycemic Index Versus Load

For today’s edition of Dear Mark, I’m answering a pair of questions from readers. First comes from Gaspare, who heard me talking on Joe Rogan’s podcast in January and wonders whether bodyweight training and weight training can complement each other. It turns out they can. Then, I discuss glycemic index, glycemic load, how foods can have low glycemic loads but still be bad for weight gain, and how focusing on glycemic index and glycemic load might be misleading, if not an outright mistake.

Let’s go:

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How to Personalize Primal Blueprint Fitness

The Primal Blueprint 21-Day Challenge manifests differently for everyone. Some folks are focused on improving their diets, on removing this food or adding that food. Some have committed to optimizing their sleep by getting to bed at a certain time and eliminating nighttime electronics. And many just want to look better naked. But there’s one tie that binds nearly everyone I’ve interacted with through the course of this and previous challenges: physical activity. Whether you’re trying to eat, sleep, or look better, exercise matters. Effective exercise especially matters for everyone, and my intent when creating Primal Blueprint Fitness was to democratize fitness without compromising it—to distill effective training down to its essential elements so that everyone could practice it.

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Dear Mark: Fasting Issues, Pullup Neck Pain, and Red Palm Oil

For today’s edition of Dear Mark, I’m answering three questions. The first one comes from Neda, who’s experiencing some issues that may be related to her fasting schedule. How should she modify her fasting? Or should she eliminate it altogether? The second question concerns a common issue: neck pain during pullups. Why does it happen and how can we avoid it? And finally, what’s the deal with red palm oil? I give my take on the controversial oil, drawing on randomized controlled trials and personal feelings about orangutans to arrive at my conclusion.

Let’s go:

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Dear Mark: Budgeting, Calcium, Supplements, High Cholesterol, and Chinup Replacements

For today’s edition of Dear Mark, I’m answering five questions, all coming from a single reader email. First, Rosa asks about buying high-quality produce and grass-fed meat for her family on a budget. Can it be done? If not, what should she do? Second, she wonders whether she’ll get enough calcium eating this way. It’s a valid concern, seeing as how basic Primal eating often eliminates dairy. I try to assuage her. Third, if the Primal Blueprint is such a healthy, nutrient-replete lifestyle, why do I sell supplements? How does one reconcile the two seemingly contradictory concepts? Fourth, should Rosa be worrying about eating a high-fat diet if she’s taking meds for high cholesterol? And fifth, what are some effective replacements for chinups and pullups that can be done at home sans equipment?

Let’s go:

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5 Ways to Get the Most Bang for Your Workout Buck

Late last year, I introduced the idea of the minimum effective dose: the lowest dose to produce a desired outcome. Whether it’s calorie intake, exercise, sunlight, carbohydrates, or work habits, we often think we need much more than we actually do to get the results we want. Why crank out those extra reps, put in those extra few hours, choke down another chicken breast if they won’t make you any more prepared to handle what life dishes out? Failing to heed the minimum effective dose costs you money, time, and mental real estate. Figuring out the minimum effective dose for the various inputs shaping our days can make us more efficient and open up the rest of our life to do the things we actually want to do.

What, exactly, are the minimum effective doses for exercise? How little do I have to train to stay and/or get fit? And what kind of effects can we expect to get from said minimal doses?

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Dear Mark: Balancing Strength with Military Conditioning; Sitting in a Squat Position

For today’s edition of Dear Mark, I’m answering two questions from readers. First comes from William, an officer in the Navy who likes lifting heavy but also needs to score well on the physical fitness assessment, which involves a 1.5 mile run, pushups, and pullups. His taste for basic 5×5 strength work has left his running performance lacking. What can he do to improve the run without eating into his strength numbers? After that, I explore whether sitting on a footstool or medicine mall in the squat position is better than just sitting in normal chair.

Let’s go:

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Zen and the Art of Calisthenics

This is a guest post from Al Kavadlo of AlKavadlo.com.

When it comes to exercise, there are a lot of options. With such an abundance of fitness programs and modalities, it can get overwhelming trying to discern which method is best for you. While there are a lot of people out there who will offer you advice on your fitness journey, ultimately it is up to you to make your own decisions. That’s right—only you have the power to change your body and improve your life. Others can help illuminate the path, but the responsibility rests on the individual. Through sharing some of my experiences, however, maybe I can get you asking some questions you hadn’t considered until now.

Throughout my life, I’ve experimented with dozens of different exercise modalities. I’ve used barbells, dumbbells, kettlebells, medicine balls, sandbags, and just about every other heavy object I could think of to try lifting.

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