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
It’s Friday, everyone! And that means another Primal Blueprint Real Life Story from a Mark’s Daily Apple reader. If you have your own success story and would like to share it with me and the Mark’s Daily Apple community please contact me here. I’ll continue to publish these each Friday as long as they keep coming in. Thank you for reading!
I have to start by saying thank you for providing me with the tools that allowed me to change my life.
I live in New England and as a former “New Englander” you know very well that we enjoy our food, especially in the winter months. I grew up eating what my parents fed me which was mostly comprised of the typical standard American diet foods. Luckily, I was very active throughout my childhood and into my teens, playing sports year round, so I was able to stay in relatively good shape without worrying what I stuffed into my pie hole. Needless to say, after school was finished I started gaining weight. Same ol’ song and dance, the sports stopped and the pounds rushed on.
I became a firefighter/paramedic which if there is anyone involved with public safety you’ll know that the meals cooked at the station are so incredibly carb heavy that it’s difficult to get up for the bell even hours after the traditional “face stuffing”. Anyway, from my late teens until a few months ago I tried and tried to “eat healthy” and go to the gym as often as I could. Inevitably, “eating healthy” left me starving, and getting married and having my first child allowed almost NO time for the gym… I needed a change.
I did as much research as I could on living a healthy lifestyle. Due to the MASS confusion of healthy living I sort of ran around in circles for quite a while. It started by reading magazines like Men’s Health and Men’s Fitness, etc. What I found was that these magazines promoted quick and “easy” ways to sick pack abs and huge arms. The magazines were primarily focused on exercise, particularly easy exercise. I followed the so-called easy way to six pack abs and huge arms, lo and behold… beer gut and weak arms.
I knew at this point I needed a fundamental change. I hadn’t ever felt a dire need for immediate change until I began getting injured at work. With all the lifting and carrying of sick patients I do on a weekly basis I began to feel nagging back pain, weakness, fatigue, and then finally a back spasm that put me out of work for two weeks and made me a frequent flyer at my chiropractor. Right around this time I landed my dream career profession – a full-time career firefighter. I couldn’t have been happier. I started the fire academy in late May of 2011, trained hard and met some great friends that I’ll have for the rest of my life. In particular I became close with a guy named Mike. Mike is an avid CrossFitter who in my opinion was the fittest guy I had ever met. He was strong as hell(!) and agile, which confused me due to his size and strength. In essence, I was incredibly jealous. I believed I was in great shape, but it was at the cost of being sore and stiff all the time.
One day about 2 months after we had finished the fire academy, Mike and I happened to land on the same engine company for the shift. I finally built up the courage to ask for some advice, which was difficult because I thought I had it all figured out and was just in a short remission from being fit. Anyway, I shared my dilemma with Mike and asked, what the heck do you do beside CrossFit? He said one word to me that literally changed my life: PALEO. At first I thought it was ridiculous, there was no way I could give up pasta, bread and whole wheat products, they’re healthy… or so I thought. I finally gave myself a slap upside the head and said to myself, “If Mike is this successful, there must be something to this Paleo thing.” I began my research. Being a fiend for knowledge, I couldn’t stop reading. The first book I purchased was your book, The Primal Blueprint. After reading it, everything made so much sense to me that I couldn’t believe that this wasn’t common knowledge. Following The Primal Blueprint I read Robb Wolf’s The Paleo Solution. Needless to say, I immediately began putting my knowledge into practice and the results just began reinforcing everything that I had learned.
After about 6 months I went from 225 lbs to 198 lbs, and from about 17-18% body fat to approximately 8-9% body fat. My nagging back injuries disappeared. My fatigue completely disappeared. I had my first child as previously stated, my son Jack, and now I’m a dad that’s full of energy as well as a husband who is never too tired and fatigued for our true primal instincts! *wink wink* My main point here is that this change of lifestyle has made me a better husband, a better father, a better firefighter/paramedic and in general, a better man in every sense of the word, and I cannot thank you enough for being a 50-something year old man who can still drive a 27 year old man to be as strong/agile and sharp as you are. This June I’m headed back up to Maine to hike Mt. Katahdin for the second time, and I’m gonna give it hell this time around! Grok on!!!