Challenge #1: Eat Lots of Plants and Animals
Eating right is central to the Primal lifestyle, which is why Law #1 is a five-part challenge:
Eat vegetables, fruits, nuts/seeds, meat, healthy fats: This one is pretty straightforward. I’m asking you to eat Primal for 30 days. Commit to it right at this moment. Just one month of nothing but the best food on the planet. In just a few short weeks your body will thank you. If you want more ideas on which foods to eat and which foods to avoid pick up The Primal Blueprint and stay tuned for coming articles.
Cook at home: If you don’t know how to cook the challenge above really will be a challenge. Over the next 30 days we’ll be covering some essential cooking skills and techniques that anyone looking to go Primal should master. If you’re the type that dines out more often than dining in, and doesn’t know a pot from a pan, make an effort this month to get into the habit of preparing your own food.
Eat clean: The quality of your food matters. While sourcing clean food (organic, grass-fed, pastured, etc.) can be difficult and pricey it’s also an important part of the Primal Blueprint. Let me be clear. If your eating plan strictly consists of Primal foods, but your beef isn’t grass-finished, your eggs aren’t pastured and your vegetables are conventionally raised, you are still light years ahead of most people. But there’s room for improvement. This month I want you find and eat clean food. Stay tuned for tips on sourcing the best and doing it on a budget.
Dial in your carb count: If you’ve read The Primal Blueprint you are familiar with The Primal Blueprint Carbohydrate Curve. This month I’m challenging you to take a closer look at your carb intake and make sure it aligns with the Curve. It’s the simplest, surefire way to drop excess body fat and stay lean for life. Stay tuned for tips on how to accomplish this.
Remember the 80/20: Not all neolithic food is poisonous. Additionally, the Primal Blueprint and this challenge isn’t about becoming an ascetic. Periodically indulge in sensible vices – high-fat dairy/cheese, dark chocolate, red wine – and take full advantage of state-of-the-science supplements – fish oils, high-antioxidant multi-vitamins, protein powders. It will make the challenge more pleasant, the transition easier and will support your health to boot.
Challenge #2: Avoid Poisonous Things
Don’t eat garbage: This is the other side of the first challenge above. If you are eating Primal you aren’t eating chips, cookies, crackers, grains, pasta, beans, bread, popcorn, energy drinks, soda, juices, candy, vegetable oils and fast food. The list goes on. If you want to go Primal the first thing to do is purge your pantry, your fridge and your life of all the junk that has no place in your body. Do it for 30 days. I promise it gets easier and you’ll want to keep doing it because you’ll look and feel better.
Challenge #3: Move Frequently at a Slow Pace
Just move: It’s that simple. Just get out there and move. I challenge you to align your low-level aerobic activity with Primal Blueprint Fitness. If you don’t already have the free fitness program grab it now. Get 3-5 hours of walking, hiking, light cycling, swimming, etc., each week. Do it all at once or in batches. Use the logbook at the back of PBF and your forum journal to track your progress.
Challenge #4: Lift Heavy Things
Lift your body: If you want to build lean muscle mass and stay strong into your golden years you have to lift heavy things. Align your weightlifting routine with Primal Blueprint Fitness and perform two bodyweight workouts each week. See chapter 3 of Primal Blueprint Fitness for all the details.
Challenge #5: Sprint Once in a While
Just move… very fast!: Too many people neglect to include sprinting in their workout routines. They’re the perfect Primal fitness hack that can be done in as little as 10 minutes. I challenge you to perform one sprint workout each week during this challenge.
Challenge #6: Get Adequate Sleep
Make sleep high priority: Late nights at the office. Late nights partying. Late nights… watching TV. Whether it’s business or pleasure, we’re busier than ever and sleep is often the first thing to suffer. I challenge you to get adequate sleep every night this month. What amounts to adequate is for you to decide. I think most people know how much sleep they need. Some people get by on six hours a night no problem. Others need eight or more. The important thing is you wake up feeling energized and ready to go.
Challenge #7: Play
Get playful: If you’ve forgotten how to play, this challenge will jog your memory. Grok did it and it’s why I train. For the stress-reducing effects, to get you moving without even realizing you’re moving and for the sheer fun of it, I challenge you to participate in each of the four Workouts of the Week this month. Each WOW during the challenge will be decidedly playful. Be prepared to print out the rules, gather your friends and have a blast.
Challenge #8: Get Adequate Sunlight
Soak in the rays: It’s difficult to emphasize enough the importance of vitamin D. In a world where we go from our houses to our cars, from our cars to the office place, from the office place to our cars and back home again many of us are woefully deficient. My challenge to you this month is to get 15 minutes of sun exposure each day of the 30-day challenge. If sun is hard to come by in your area take a supplement instead.
Challenge #9: Avoid Stupid Mistakes
Listen to your body: This is such a broad Primal Blueprint law the challenge could take many directions. For the purpose of this 30-day challenge, though, I’d like you to be particularly aware of what your body is telling you during each of the other challenges. Feel a sharp pain during a sprint? Be smart and end your sprint session. Skin turning pink while out in the sun? That’s a sign to seek shade and avoid a nasty burn. I want this to be a pain and injury free event, so pay particular attention to what your body is saying.
Challenge #10: Use Your Brain
Challenge yourself intellectually: I won’t ask you to throw out your television or read War and Peace this month. But I will say that you are gifted with a huge brain, and you should flex it. We each have the power to solve difficult problems, be incredibly creative, and effect major change. And it all begins in our heads. This month I challenge you to identify one of the intellectually challenging things in your life you’ve been meaning to do and take the first steps to actually doing it. Apart from the pride and satisfaction you’ll derive from following through there are many health benefits conferred as a result. As the saying goes, use it or lose it.