Marks Daily Apple
Serving up health and fitness insights (daily, of course) with a side of irreverence.
4 Aug

How to Succeed with the Primal Blueprint

So you’ve decided to join the challenge. You’ve created your own Primal Challenge Journal and have publicly stated your goals for the next month. Now what? First things first. You have to know the basics. If you’re new to the Primal Blueprint the following article will be like gold to you. Revisit it again and again until you’ve committed the concepts to memory. The graphs and charts are visual representations of the principles that are at the core of the Primal health philosophy and give you a taste of what it is in my new book, The Primal Blueprint.

You’ve defined the “what”. If your goal is to lose weight, build muscle, increase energy or just generally look and feel healthier these graphics explain the basics of the “how”.

The Primal Blueprint Carbohydrate Curve

What’ll It Be? The “Sweet Spot” or the “Danger Zone”?

Carbohydrate intake is often the decisive factor in weight loss success and prevention of widespread health problems like Metabolic Syndrome, obesity and type 2 diabetes. These average daily intake levels assume that you are also getting sufficient protein and healthy fats, and are doing some amount of Primal exercise. The ranges in each zone account for individual metabolic differences.

  • 0-50 grams per day: Ketosis and I.F. (Intermittent Fasting) zone. Excellent catalyst for rapid fat loss through I.F. Not recommended for prolonged periods (except in medically supervised programs for obese or Type 2 diabetics) due to unnecessary deprivation of plant foods.
  • 50-100 grams per day: Sweet Spot for Weight Loss. Steadily drop excess body fat by minimizing insulin production. Enables 1-2 pounds per week of fat loss with satisfying, minimally restrictive meals.
  • 100-150 grams per day: Primal Maintenance zone. Once you’ve arrived at your goal or ideal body composition, you can maintain it quite easily here while enjoying abundant vegetables, fruits and other Primal foods.
  • 150-300 grams a day: Insidious Weight Gain zone. Most health conscious eaters and unsuccessful dieters end up here, due to frequent intake of sugar and grain products (breads, pastas, cereals, rice, potatoes – even whole grains). Despite trying to “do the right thing” (minimize fat, cut calories), people can still gain an average of 1.5 pounds of fat every year for decades.
  • 300+ grams a day: Danger Zone of average American diet. All but the most extreme exercisers will tend to produce excessive insulin and store excessive fat over the years at this intake level. Increases risk for obesity, Metabolic Syndrome and type 2 diabetes.

The Primal Blueprint Food Pyramid

For effortless weight loss, vibrant health, and maximum longevity

New Primal Blueprint Food Pyramid

General Guidelines: 80% of body composition success is determined by diet. Limit processed carb intake (hence, insulin production), and obtain sufficient protein and fat to fuel and rebuild.

  • Protein: Average .7 – 1 gram per pound of lean body mass/day – depending on activity levels (more at times is fine).
  • Carbs: 50-100 grams/day (or less) = accelerated fat loss. 100-150 grams/day = effortless weight maintenance. Heavy exercisers can increase carb intake as needed to replace glycogen stores.
  • Fat: Enjoy freely but sensibly for balance of caloric needs and high dietary satisfaction levels.
  • Avoid Poisonous Things: Conventional Wisdom’s dietary guidelines promote fat storage, type 2 diabetes, inflammation and obesity!
  • Eliminate: Sugary foods and beverages, grains (wheat, corn, rice, pasta, breads, cereals, etc.), legumes (soy and other beans), trans and partially hydrogenated fats, high-risk conventional meat and produce, and excess PUFA’s (instead, increase omega-3 oils).
  • Modern Adjustments: Some modern foods that Grok didn’t eat can still be included in a healthy diet
  • Moderation: Certain high glycemic fruit, coffee, high-fat dairy products, starchy tuber vegetables, and wild rice.
  • Supplements: Multivitamin/mineral formula, probiotics, omega-3 fish oil and protein powder.
  • Herbs, spices and extracts: Offer many health benefits and enhance enjoyment of meals.
  • Sensible indulgences: Dark chocolate, moderate alcohol, high-fat treats.

The Primal Blueprint Fitness Pyramid

For functional, diverse athletic ability, and a lean, proportioned physique

Exercising according to the three Primal Blueprint laws will optimize gene expression and promote Primal Fitness.

  • Law #3: Move Frequently at a Slow Pace strengthens the cardiovascular and immune systems, promotes efficient fat metabolism and gives you a strong base to handle more intense workouts.
  • Law: #4: Lift Heavy Things stimulates lean muscle development, improves organ reserve, accelerates fat loss, and increases energy.
  • Law #5: Sprint Once in a While stimulates the production of HGH and testosterone, which help improve overall fitness and delay the aging process – without the burnout risk of excessive prolonged workouts.

The Conventional Wisdom approach to fitness is clearly not working! Stress is excessive, weight loss goals are compromised, and many are misguided to pursue narrow fitness goals that are unhealthy.

  • Avoid Chronic Cardio (frequent medium-to-high intensity sustained workouts)
  • Avoid Chronic Strength Training (frequent and/or prolonged sub-maximal lifting sessions ending in exhaustion)
  • Avoid Regimented Schedules (instead, allow for spontaneous, intuitive variation in type, difficulty and frequency of workouts)

All this and much more can be found in my new book, The Primal Blueprint. Order a copy today and start getting Primal!

You want comments? We got comments:

Imagine you’re George Clooney. Take a moment to admire your grooming and wit. Okay, now imagine someone walks up to you and asks, “What’s your name?” You say, “I’m George Clooney.” Or maybe you say, “I’m the Clooninator!” You don’t say “I’m George of George Clooney Sells Movies Blog” and you certainly don’t say, “I’m Clooney Weight Loss Plan”. So while spam is technically meat, it ain’t anywhere near Primal. Please nickname yourself something your friends would call you.

  1. Fowl isn’t meat?

    Alex wrote on May 28th, 2014
  2. I have now been on the primal blueprint for over two months. Prior to this I was pretty much following it with the exception of lectins. I don’t eat dairy as I have a casein allergy, I haven’t been eating wheat and gluten for five years when I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia and I don’t eat soy as I have a soy allergy. About two years ago I removed all lectins from my diet as I wanted to see whether I would see improvements in my overall health as I try and heal my body from my autoimmune disease and even though it must have made some improvements I didn’t really notice it to be honest. Since January the 6th of this year I started removing all sugar from my diet for the second time in five years, but this time it really started to make improvements to my health. I have seen significant improvements but I still have around 30-40% to go to get to around 80-90% optimum health, which is why I chose the primal blueprint diet. I am pretty strict and very disciplined, I have hardly any sugar, limit my fruit intake to 2 portions a day, but I have enjoy nuts and some fats, like avocados (never more than a quarter per day) and have heaps of veg. Because I have been bedridden for significant periods of the last five years, I have slowly started to build strength over the last year with some improvements, I do find that when I push a little too hard (i.e. do yoga for a little too long or even contemplate walking) things slip back and my body crashes. I am really desperate to see this change and I was hoping you could help with this. I used to be a mountain biker, climber, sports enthusiast and I just miss walking and being active with my kids. I started with yoga as I know from past experiences (when I have viral meningitis around 9 years ago), it really supported me back into a healthy zone. I would also really like to loose some fat as being inactive (even with a good diet) I have developed fat around my middle region, which honestly I am truly fed up with. I appreciate that some walking and activity would shift this, but that doesn’t seem an option for me. I would really like to know what you suggest and look forward to hearing from you. I am new to this forum, so not sure whether your reply will hit my inbox or whether I need to check back here?? Many thanks

    Scrummytritious wrote on July 4th, 2014
  3. Everything sounds great and I’m ready to come aboard, only problem is, my husband does not eat any vegetables or fruit! I’m talking none! Can this still be a life style change we can still achieve? How can we get over this obstacle and be healthy about it?


    Trish wrote on August 26th, 2014
    • I’m no expert, but I think he must eat organ meat to have a truly balanced diet in the absence of veggies. I’d be careful about supplements as a replacement, most of the affordable vitamins on the market could not remotely be classed as real food. Veggies take on a whole new flavor once you your palette renews in it’s life after grains and processed, sugary garbage.

      Good luck, I think I’m just starting to convince my wife after a few months.

      Dan wrote on November 11th, 2014
  4. Hey guys! I started the 30day challenge and wow…challenging hah. I just cant seem to resist eating NUTS! They are my go to thing for snacks…tahini! The stuff is my kryptonite. Then almond spread…SO GOOD in the teaspoon fulls. This only seems to happen at night, when I’m watching a TV show, have finished dinner (mostly when I havent consumed heaps of meat)…is my body craving more fat? What’s the go here? I don’t get it. I eat lots of vegies, minimal fruit, but I think I go overboard on dairy (milk n cheese), the nuts and coconut cream/milk….I would like to lose some fat and def build more muscle, but I keep fluctuating from being super ‘good’ (counting carbs and dragging myself away from nuts/creams) to just eating it willy nilly!

    Anzjuli wrote on May 14th, 2015
  5. Great article. I recently starter following this and a lot of the pressure that surrounded my running went away!

    Peter Györffy wrote on August 16th, 2015

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