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Primal in the Military

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  • Primal in the Military

    Hello everyone. Just looking to get some perspective on going Primal while in the military. I am in the Army myself and am extremely active. From doing PT in the morning and working out in the afternoon, I am very fit, however, I really feel like my diet is holding me back from my full potential. I am trying to cut all excess body fat and be as lean as possible. (Currently 5'11" and about 198lbs with a goal weight of 180lbs-185lbs) Does anyone have any thoughts on the subject? Seems there are some key differences in the military lifestyle and the primal lifestyle which can cause some challenges....

  • #2
    Your challenge will be hunting down grassfed/finished farmers and farmers markets everytime you get stationed some place else.
    You will also be eating a lot of mess hall foods? Field rations? Those are all extremely high in carbs, not to mention high on omega 6.
    You will be doing a ton of chronic cardio, no?
    Can you cook for yourself during your off hours? If you're in the barracks, how would you do that?
    My husband was in the military for 14 years and I found it extremely hard to get real food. Sure you can buy real foods at the commissary, but those are usually not organic (very few berries or apples if that) and all the meats are feedlot meats (i'm sure you know what health consequences come with eating those).
    Even if you find a farmers market, how do you find the time to go there and buy fresh produce that spoils within days, where would you store it?


    • #3
      Well, I don't live in the barracks so I can buy foods to store. How big of deal is it to eat regular meat in the meat section of the commissary vs. grass fed beef, fresh fish and/or organic chicken, etc. One of the big concerns I have is the exercise regime I am forced to deal with - tons of cardio and long sessions of intense exercise. After working out like that, all I want to do is eat a big plate of pasta! Will a diet based only on meats, fruits, and veggies satisfy my energy needs?


      • #4
        The transition may be a bit harder, and you'll have to include from the start items such as yams or sweet potatoes, potatoes, and/or rice. These should keep your muscles filled with glycogen and satisfy carb cravings.

        The grass-fed part is less important than getting rid of grains and seed oils, to include soy and corn oils, which is probably all they use in the DFAC. Butter, coconut oil, and animal fats are your friend.

        As far as the workouts go, most of the time you should be pretty okay, unless you are in an infantry unit that actually does long runs on a regular basis. Chronic cardio is regular efforts of over 45 minutes or so at a heartrate higher than 55% of your maximum. In my experience, the Army only does those kinds of runs once a week at most, as too many joes can't keep up, and it's hard on your body. When I was in AIT, we only did long runs a couple of times as a company in six months, and they were ridiculously slow (airborne shuffle), well below that heartrate threshold I described. The rest of the time the runs were much shorter, or included interval/circuit-type exercises.

        Ruck marches are great.

        One thing I noticed about Army PT after 10-11 years was that they don't do anything to work your back or posterior chain. Pullups, deadlifts, and back bridges will help you balance this out.


        • #5
          Primal in the Military

          Thanks for the great advice! I have tried go go primal for a few weeks now...the carb cravings hit me hard after two days of not eating carbs and I cheat a little every now and then. Plus, I am currently deployed so I had to eat MREs the other day...


          • #6
            Wow! If you are deployed, then make the best choices you can and don't stress about the rest, as you have more than enough to stress about right now. Do what you can and you should start seeing some benefits, if maybe fewer and more slowly than you'd like.