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

I Am a Better Man in Every Sense of the Word

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!

real life stories stories 1 2Mark,

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.

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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.

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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!!!

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. I would like to know the how rest of his crew responded to his primal lifestyle. I too have the same story but am faced with animosity and endless opposition. You know noone like to have the old Ego challenged.

    Tim wrote on June 8th, 2012
    • One guy bought into it, but he was a friend anyway so he was more apt to listen. But don’t give a crap what they say… I catch so much ball busting but at the end of the day man are they going to be paying your medical bills? Or there to take care if your family when you die of a completely preventable disease? Absolutely not. So forget what any of them have to say and do what’s good for you and your family brother.

      Steve Correia wrote on June 9th, 2012
  2. In the words of Tim & Eric – Great Job!

    Pirate Jenny wrote on June 9th, 2012
  3. Great job kid I wish more people would take on this lifestyle. My wife and I did 4 months ago and will never turn back. We’re also in our mid 50′s and feel like we are in our 20′s again. We play softball together and street hockey with our kids and grand kids. My son inlaw is also a firefighter so thank yoy for your serviceand Grock on.

    borntobelean wrote on June 9th, 2012
    • My father went Primal 2 weeks after my husband and I. He is lighter than he has been in over 30 years, looks great, feels great, and is weaning himself off of his medications. A fun note: his new favorite dessert is berries in heavy cream. And he was lactose intolerant for his WHOLE life up until now. “I just wish I did it 30 years ago,” he keeps moaning. I tell him he’s adding years to his life now, so enjoy!

      Nicole wrote on June 10th, 2012
  4. It is never too late to make healthy changes. Youtube has plenty of videos featuring elderly men and women who are still going strong because they endorse healthy diet and exercise behaviors.

    One of my favorite books for ageing men and women, as well as young men and women, is Old School New Body. It teaches readers how to achieve superb health and fitness with minimum investment, similar to what Mark recommends.

    Brad wrote on June 9th, 2012
    • Good to know Brad thanks.

      borntobelean wrote on June 9th, 2012
  5. You look so awesome! And yes, I hear that familiar “Happy to be alive” Paleo/primal theme running through your post. Your story made me smile. Grok on!

    Connie wrote on June 9th, 2012
  6. Are you from Maine? If so check out existanew.com. These two are doing good things for health and wellness out of Portland.

    Cara wrote on June 9th, 2012
    • I’m from massachusetts. But I get there as often as often as possible

      Steve Correia wrote on June 9th, 2012
  7. Congratulations! You are an inspiration. I imagine your wife and kid are very proud.

    Crystal wrote on June 9th, 2012
  8. Enjoy the view from Mt Kathadin and while you are in Maine enjoy the lobstah drawn in buttah!
    Your story is inspirational and I thank you for sharing it.

    Julie wrote on June 9th, 2012
    • Wicked good lobstah in Maine!

      Steve Correia wrote on June 9th, 2012
  9. Is it possible to go up on the scale? I have read all these wonderful stories about people loosing weight and gaining energy. I love being paleo/primal but am weak and thin. I want to be as strong as an ox, really, and the work I do (farming, park conservation) demands that I be. Please send some primal insight

    Doug wrote on June 9th, 2012
  10. Hi Mark,

    Good job, some really good results. I am currently reading Robb Wolf’s The Paleo Solution after everyone in a local CrossFit meet raving about paleo and primal eating. Very good information :)

    Anthony - TheBodyBlogger wrote on June 10th, 2012
  11. Nice! Yeah I wish my after photos would look like his before photo. I’m inspired once again to really hit the exercise. The weight is coming off, but people at work nag me saying is better stop before looking like a dungeon prisoner but I tell them I eat way more than I used to and feel great. Anyone else have experience with the workouts packing on muscle? And how long before noticing the changes (for inspiration)

    ash wrote on June 10th, 2012
  12. Great transformation Steve. I to work as a fire fighter and have recently begun my primal lifestyle. My only regret so far is that I didn’t take a before photo. The transformation so far has been amazing, both physically and mentally. I do believe that this is a great lifestyle which suits the demands of our job.

    Lucas wrote on June 10th, 2012
  13. Thanks for sharing your inspiring story. It gives me hope.

    Lyn wrote on June 10th, 2012
  14. That’s inspirational. I was reflecting just yesterday about how the vegetarian world bases their way of eating mainly on ethics rather than science, and how so many ex-vegetarians there are who found great health and a great body by going Primal/Paleo.

    Emily wrote on June 11th, 2012
  15. Steve I hear exactly what you are saying and believe me that is exactly my response and I can, as david spade so classicly stated in tommy boy, hear them getting fatter eating the usual sad diet. To you and Lucas, do you have a peer fitness program in your dept’s? Do you follow Crossfit or have you tried Crossfit football?

    Tim wrote on June 11th, 2012
  16. Good deal. It’s amazing what a little knowledge and effort can do for a person. The biggest surprise to me was the positive outlook I had on damn near everything once I truly dove into this lifestyle.

    Matt wrote on June 12th, 2012
  17. Dayom… nice abs!

    Brigitta wrote on June 12th, 2012
  18. Hey man…could you please give us a sample of your daily diet? That would be huge.

    Mark wrote on June 13th, 2012

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