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 older you get, the more important strength, agility, power, and lean mass become. This isn’t how most people approach old age. They expect strength and all the other trappings of physical capacity to degenerate, and so they do. It’s what happens all around us, every day. Seniors are feeble, right?
The weight room is scary for a lot of people. Hell, even able-bodied youngsters in the prime of their lives shy away from lifting heavy things. So, first things first: Seniors should definitely strength train. If you’re unsure of your form and capabilities, find a trainer who works with older folks and ensure your safety. Just get out there.
For over a dozen years, I’ve railed against what I call “chronic cardio“—the excessive, unrelenting endurance training I did for the better part of three decades. Most of my health issues cleared up when I stopped stopped running and training for marathons and triathlons, removed the refined grains and sugar I ate to support my endurance training, and began taking it easy. Explore the MDA archives and you’ll read all about the downsides of chronic endurance training, as well as my experiences in that world. Next to Primal living, most people probably know me best for being against “chronic cardio.” It’s kinda my thing.
As a result, a lot of people have this idea that any type of endurance training is verboten and totally antithetical to the Primal way of life.
A few weeks back, I explored the potential benefits using fat as your primary fuel can have on cognitive function. While the strongest research centers on people dealing with age-related cognitive decline and other neurodegenerative diseases, and whether burning fat and ketones can boost cognitive function in healthy adults remains unconfirmed, the totality of the evidence suggests it can provide a benefit. Today, I’ll be discussing a related topic with more solid scientific footing: the effects of fat-adaptation on athletic performance.
Things have been busy for the Primal Endurance movement since I released the book back in December. People have been eager to learn more about this novel form of training, so we’ve been answering a lot of questions. Much like how The Primal Blueprint received a lot of attention because it bucked against Conventional Wisdom, such has been the case for Primal Endurance. Lots of head scratching, balking, but then, after learning the science and seeing the results, a healthy curiosity or full blown conversion. So what’s Primal Endurance training all about? What are the fundamentals? Who’s practicing it? And where can you learn more about it?
Men I know. I am one, after all. Have been for many years. For the most part, I enjoy it. It’s worked out really well for me. I don’t find it particularly difficult to be a man. Once I dialed in the basics of this Primal stuff, my health improved and my fitness became more well-rounded and applicable to the things I enjoyed doing. I haven’t struggled much. But many people do. And while the majority of Primal advice is geared toward humans in general, I’ll just get this out of the way early: These “men’s tips” all apply to many women, too. And many of the “women’s tips” from last week’s post also apply to men. But ignoring the gender-specificity of general trends serves no one. Everyone has the capacity for competitiveness; men tend to have more. Both genders can benefit from fasting, but women are more likely to have negative responses. Men and women both need sleep; lack of it hits women harder. That’s all. As always, if you recognize yourself in these tips, go for it!
For today’s edition of Dear Mark, I’m answering three questions about training. First, why might cycling feel harder than running at the same heart rate, and what should be done about it? Second, is it safe or smart for a footballer to try to become a fat-burning beast when he’s currently in-season? Are there lessons can we draw from athletes who have given it a shot?
And finally, what do I think about the relatively new Orange Theory gyms that have arrived on the fitness scene? Are they good, bad, or both?