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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...

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May 31, 2013

I Feel Healthier, Stronger, and More Energetic

By Guest
78 Comments

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’d like to start by saying that I’ve always been a “skinny” kid. Growing up I had been called lanky, bones, or whatever name you want to insert here. And at the same time, I was always active. Coming home from school and playing dodgeball, football, basketball, etc., with the neighborhood kids was the norm. Granted I never ate well, but at that age it didn’t matter because of how active I was.

My slender frame stuck with me all through high school and into the first couple years of college. My horrible eating patterns continued and I slowly started putting on weight. I’m talking about daily fast food, tons of soda, any packaged food you can think of, and of course tons of beer. I didn’t remain too active except for a weekly visit to the gym where I’d mostly half-attempt my reps while talking with friends. The “weight” I put on was not very noticeable but it was different for me and I started to get that skinny-fat look some of us are familiar with.

March 2010In March of 2011, my wife and I went on vacation and I got serious about getting in shape. I saw pictures from the year before on our honeymoon, and I didn’t want to hit the beach without some attempt of getting in shape.

So I did what everyone does when they want to get in shape: RUN! I laced up my running shoes and hit the trails 3-5 days a week for a nice 3 mile or so run. My diet slightly changed by the incorporation of fruits and some vegetables. But I still ate a ton of processed, packaged foods and plenty of carbs to fuel my runs. I continued this pattern until our vacation and I dropped a good 10 pounds.

When we got home from vacation, I had lost any momentum I built prior to the vacation and I started putting on weight again. In November of 2011, I found the nearest gym and signed up for my first membership. I remember huffing, puffing, and sweating on the treadmill until I reached the elusive “400 calories burned” number on the LED. I would continue to hit the treadmill every other day and churn out a solid 30-45 minutes of steady cardio. My diet was still pretty poor and consisted of the typical preservative-filled packaged meals that were low in calories. My favorite was the frozen Tyson chicken fingers that I had with frozen french fries that I could throw in the oven. Even with a diet full of crap food, I managed to drop around 15 pounds.

April 2012

Even though I thought I was in shape, I continued to sustain random injuries. It started with a knee injury which was diagnosed as Runner’s Knee; so I bought expensive running shoes. But I didn’t get too far until a bulging disc in my lower back caused some back pain and tingling down my leg. I eventually fought through these injuries until I started getting exertion headaches caused by my high blood pressure. The doctor tried putting me on meds, but at 28 years old I respectfully declined. So I did what you’re supposed to do: reduce your sodium intake, which is much harder than I thought. Sodium is in everything, especially my favorite frozen meals. I did the best I could and took some time off to reevaluate my lifestyle.

It didn’t take long after some aimless research when I stumbled across the Paleo/Primal lifestyle. It all made perfect sense to me, and I was immediately hooked on the idea and started further research by reading blogs and articles on websites like Mark’s Daily Apple. I immediately signed up for Mark’s newsletter and completely absorbed the 10 Primal Blueprint Laws.

I cut out all processed foods, including fast food and packaged frozen meals. Grains, soda, and most sugars were out the window. I added in more animal protein and even more eggs, fruits, vegetables, nuts, and healthy fats. I currently never “count calories”, and eat when I’m hungry and stop when I’m full. I also completely changed my exercise habits. I quit the chronic cardio and now focus only on weight training (squatting, deadlifting, pushing, pulling), light biking, and occasional sprints. Needless to say, I feel great and I haven’t experienced any of my injuries that I mentioned earlier. No more pain in my legs or back, and the headaches are completely gone. More importantly, my blood pressure levels have shifted to normal ranges. After a follow up with the same doctor who wanted to prescribe me meds, he was floored by my blood pressure numbers and told me to keep doing what I’m doing.

I still have plenty to work on as I continue the Primal lifestyle. I need to focus on better quality meats and oils for starters, but I know I am on the right track. It does become a challenge to make quality meals throughout the day, but I’ve found some shortcuts like grilling a bunch of meat at once for the week, and utilizing the Crock-Pot. It also helps that my wonderful wife is now a practicing wellness chef, and she’s completely supportive of my new way of eating. My body weight hasn’t changed in the past year, but my body fat percentage has plummeted and I feel healthier, stronger, and more energetic.

March 2013

Thanks, Mark, and keep up the great work!

Eric

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78 Comments on "I Feel Healthier, Stronger, and More Energetic"

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Primal-V
Primal-V
3 years 3 months ago

Primal eye-candy! Nice work Eric 🙂

(and well done on your improved health too 😉 )

Susan B.
Susan B.
3 years 3 months ago

Yes!

Lainey
Lainey
3 years 3 months ago

What a cutie/hottie! I am forwarding your Success Story to my 20 yr old nephew who is still doing low-fat and chronic cardio. 🙁

Eric R
3 years 3 months ago

Show him the way, Lainey!

Tommy G
Tommy G
3 years 3 months ago

Great work Eric. I am 41 and have lost 30 pounds in the last 4 months going pretty strict Paleo and lifting weight/sprinting. Headaches, high blood pressure, snoring, lack of energy are all gone. I have found the fountain of youth. Can’t thank Mark enough for all his insights!

Eric R
3 years 3 months ago

Thanks Tommy, and great work to you! It’s amazing how the human body can repair itself when it functions like it’s suppose to…

Petra
3 years 3 months ago

Tommy,

Seems like you are a success story yourself. Why not jot it down and send it in.

Bev
Bev
3 years 3 months ago

Nice abs!

JennF
JennF
3 years 3 months ago

Well hellooooooo, Eric! 😉

Well done! It’s amazing how much a body can change without gaining or losing a single pound, isn’t it? You look both happy and healthy. Congratulations!

elle
elle
3 years 3 months ago

How inspiring! Primal beefsteak I say, not candy! You look amazing. Is it getting hot in here?

Cindy
Cindy
3 years 3 months ago

ditto!

Alice
Alice
3 years 3 months ago

This is a really striking success story because it shows how different a person can look while at a healthy weight. These pics look like 3 different people to me. The primal version is definitely rather dazzling. 🙂

Fritzy
Fritzy
3 years 3 months ago

Further evidence that way too much emphasis is put on the scale. While weight is not irrelevant to health, it certainly isn’t as important as your doctor makes it out to be.

Congrats and keep up the good work!

Olivia
Olivia
3 years 3 months ago

I agree with the eye-candy comment — looking OUTSTANDING!! What an inspiration — I am so happy for you and your success!

luke
3 years 3 months ago

Look great man! Keep up the good work. Good job on taking your health into your own hands!

Linda A. Lavid
3 years 3 months ago

Oh my. You look like Mark’s younger brother. Is that a slam against Mark? Hell, he can take it. Way to go!!!

Maurice
Maurice
3 years 3 months ago

You mean Mark’s “son”, right?……

Tom B-D
Tom B-D
3 years 3 months ago

I know! We need a Sisson look-alike contest here…

Way to go, Eric–you have a healthy future ahead. Those of us who came to this in our 40’s and beyond all wish we knew about it earlier. Looking great!

Sarah
Sarah
3 years 3 months ago

I’d hope he didn’t look like Marks older brother at 28…. lol

Ionela
Ionela
3 years 3 months ago

1+

oxide
oxide
3 years 3 months ago

Eric’s skinny-fat photo shows pretty clear man-boobs, even on someone who is considered thin and trim by CW standards. Getting rid of the wheat got rid of the man-boobs.
Dr. William Davis is right!

Eric R
3 years 3 months ago

So true. And the chronic cardio and lack of weight lifting didn’t help either…

Nocona
Nocona
3 years 3 months ago

Fantastic story Eric. People always talk about losing weight, which really bothers me…but we should always talk about losing FAT!!! Love that you look like an Indian Hunter/Gatherer and not a bodybuilder.

Anne
3 years 3 months ago

Eric, nice work! (And Mark, I really appreciate these posts that emphasize health and strength over thinness: THANK YOU for that.)

Also, a live-in wellness chef sounds pretty amazing. 🙂

Eric R
3 years 3 months ago

Thanks, Anne. That’s why I love this community. We all understand that getting healthier is the primary goal, and all the positive side effects come as a consequence.

Paleo Bon Rurgundy
3 years 3 months ago

Anne, we all can be a live-in wellness chef.

BW
BW
3 years 3 months ago

Looking good Eric. Well done.

Wenchypoo
Wenchypoo
3 years 3 months ago

Can anybody tell me an easy way to get drool off my keyboard–it’s all between the keys and everything!

James
3 years 3 months ago

Nice work, Eric. I completely relate to your story as a former “skinny” kid. Grok on!

Julia
3 years 3 months ago

Whoa Dude, you are seriously *hot* in the after photo! Glad you feel better too 😉

Rhonda the Red
Rhonda the Red
3 years 3 months ago

Lucky wife. Lucky. Lucky. Lucky.

trackback

[…] 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 […]… Mark’s Daily Apple […]

Matt
Matt
3 years 3 months ago

Good job man. Once you start its hard to stop.

Eric R
3 years 3 months ago

Well said, Matt. Thanks!

Josh S
Josh S
3 years 3 months ago

+1

Tom
3 years 3 months ago

Fantastic story. I feel like what you’ve achieved is exactly where my current goals are. My plan is to start doing those big compound lifts (deadlift ,squats, press) combined with some sprinting and good primal dieting. Seeing your results, I have more faith that I am on the right track.

Keep up the good work!

Eric R
3 years 3 months ago

Tom, great plan to start with the compound lifts. They’ll help out tremendously. My favorite blog Mark’s done is the “How to Gain Muscle” one. Tons of good info there if you haven’t read it yet. Thanks and good luck!

Alexandra
3 years 3 months ago

OMG!!! This is a GORGEOUS transformation!! What a Grok!!!

Marta
Marta
3 years 3 months ago

Is that really the same person? I am not so sure 🙂
Holy smokes…..so healthy looking at the end. It’s inspiring as I have had similar health concerns..need to stick to primal eating. Room for improvement for me. Thanks Eric for your story….way to go 🙂

Eric R
3 years 3 months ago

Thanks, Marta! Those last 2 photos were taken about 11 months apart, and I went “full Primal” for pretty much that entire time. Good luck!

Sandy
3 years 3 months ago

Eric, what a transformation! You look amazing now –l ike a different person. I am sending your story to my son who is just a bit younger than you are. He looks more like your first picture when he wants to look like the last one! I agree with the other comment, lucky wife!

Erin
Erin
3 years 3 months ago

Hubba hubba!

joey
joey
3 years 3 months ago

Holy cr*p! You look amazing. I’m sure you feel great and you’re healthy and all, but you look amazing!

coffeediva
3 years 3 months ago

Wow! Just goes to show you what steady exercise and nutritional eating can do! What a journey you’ve been through! Keep up the good work and thank you for sharing this story. It’s important that people know what’s possible if they just make up their minds to get healthier and commit to doing the actions to make it happen.

The Primal Minister
The Primal Minister
3 years 3 months ago

Easy ladies… take it easy!

Charlayna
3 years 3 months ago

hahaha. Nice!

Kathleen
Kathleen
3 years 3 months ago

You look great, Eric!! Thanks for sharing your story!

dragonmamma
dragonmamma
3 years 3 months ago

Hey, Eric, my husband wants to know what your wife thinks about all this.

Anna
3 years 3 months ago

This is the “lucky wife” herself. I couldn’t be more proud of Eric and how far he’s come in the last couple of years. I thought he was hot 13 years ago when I first met him, and obviously still think he’s hot now! It is unusual to have women from all over the world commenting on it… but it’s not the first time other women have found my man attractive! I’m just glad he’ll finally eat the veggies I make with dinner instead of the bag of frozen French fries 🙂

ruffian
ruffian
3 years 3 months ago

Eric: Awesome that you let the real you come out…and turned into an athlete, and not a bodybuilder (look).

Anna: Good job! It’s not easy with these stubborn men;)

Natalie
Natalie
3 years 3 months ago

Healthy on purpose, Hot by accident!

George
George
3 years 3 months ago

Great transformation, you seem to be doing pretty much everything right. You appear to be close to my son’s age, he is really ripped also and has that male model look (and his name is Eric LOL). If you want to take that next step check out leangains dot com (a site that appeared in one of Mark’s articles) that really takes things to the next level (Hugh Jackman used this diet to get ripped for his role as The Wolverine for the latest X-Men movie). Anyway, big time props and keep up the good work!

Eric R
3 years 3 months ago

I’ve heard of leangains.com, but I have yet to try it out. Maybe that’ll be the next thing once I plateau with my current workout program. Thanks for the heads up!

Darcie
Darcie
3 years 3 months ago

I’ve been doing the leangains eating part of the protocol (14-hour fast/10-hour eating window for women) but not the working out due to an ankle injury. I’ve lost weight, but I don’t know if it’s fat or muscle. 🙂

einstein
einstein
3 years 8 days ago
I would not bet anything on leangains being healthy. If all one cares about is his looks and strength, then well…., but I see far too many 30-ish heavy lifters in the gym with BP issues. If blood pressure problems genetically run in your family, the best thing you can do is stay as slim as you are and keep doing what you are doing. Age is a factor and most of us will get prehypertensive sooner or later, except perhaps a lucky few. So the goal is to push that date as far into the future as possible. As… Read more »
Sophia
Sophia
3 years 3 months ago

Wow- your wife is a lucky women- you look very fine 🙂 I have a similar story- always super skinny, but would get sick and injured often. I also started having really bad painful digestive problems at 18- primal diet and fitness has been extraordinary. You and your wife sound like an absolutely beautiful match! Xo

Chris
Chris
3 years 3 months ago

Eric,
What a transformation! Great work!

W. J. Purifoy
W. J. Purifoy
3 years 3 months ago

Just one word: Wow!

Simon
Simon
3 years 3 months ago

Nice job Eric!

What is the current workout program that you were using? Days on/off, etc.

I need to get me some of your results!

Eric R
3 years 3 months ago

Simon, check out my response to David below. Thanks!

Ara
Ara
3 years 3 months ago

Very inspiring! Thanks for sharing.

Grokesque
Grokesque
3 years 3 months ago

Wowsa and well done Eric! It is obviously primal to find lean and toned sexy and, therefore, normal to find pudgy not sexy. I don’t know about the LGN scale, but it’s a 10 on the look good in shorts scale!!

David
David
3 years 3 months ago
Hi Eric, This is easily the most inspiring post that I’ve seen on MDA; since we are the same age, and share the same body type. Your results also match what I would like to achieve; a lean proportional body. I’d therefore love to know as much as possible about what your doing to achieve this; in particular: – often do you work out, and could you list the exercises you perform? Do you perform a similar set of exercises each time your at the gym? – could you detail a ‘typical’ days eating for you? I’d be particularly interested… Read more »
Eric R
3 years 3 months ago
David, For my workout program, I took the 5×5 idea and kind of created my own routine. I only lift 3 days/week on M,W,F. It’s something like this: Week 1 M – Squats/Bench Press/Chin Ups W – Overhead Press/Deadlifts/Dips F – Squats/Bench Press/Pull Ups Week 2 M – Squats/Chin Ups/Dips W – Overhead Press/Deadlifts/Bench Press F – Squats/Pull Ups/Dips Once you feel the 5×5 getting easy with the pull ups, chin ups, & dips, get yourself a weight belt and start putting plates on. I guarantee you’ll be one of the only people in the gym doing this, but it’s… Read more »
David
David
3 years 3 months ago

Hi Eric,

Thanks for taking the time for such a detailed reply; I found it very useful, and I’m sure I’m not the only one!

I have also been doing Mon/Wed/Fri workouts, but I’m gonna lose the dumbbell exercises (curls, lateral raises ect) and just concentrate on the functional, compound movements, in 5 * 5 sets for now. You never know; perhaps in a year’s time I’ll be making a post like yours!

My only question is what sort of rest do you take between each of your sets?

Thanks again for your help!

– David

Eric R
3 years 3 months ago

Glad to help.

I generally wait around 2 minutes between each set, depending on the weight. If it feels light on a certain day, it’ll be closer to 1:30.

Good luck and I’ll be looking for your post in a year.

Eric

ENM
ENM
3 years 3 months ago

Is it just me, or is he slowly transforming into Mark Sisson himself?

Siobhan
Siobhan
3 years 3 months ago

Wow! Just stopped in here after being away from all screens for a couple of days and find that a Greek God look-alike has been featured on Friday! Eeeeyyooowww! Congrats to you, Eric, and to your lovely wife. Stay in touch, would love to see an update in a couple of years.

Nicole
3 years 3 months ago

I read this post and thought – this is ME! At least, it was me – all those carbs, convenience foods, etc – just managed to keep major weight gain at bay by running miles and miles. (Runner’s knee and everything else Eric mentions included).

I still love the running and am not fully following primal (yet), but I am inspired to continue going down this path. Thanks for sharing!

Erik W
Erik W
3 years 3 months ago

Well done, Eric with a c! I recognize a lot in your story, such as the part about taking up running like everybody else when trying to get in shape. Glad you found Mark’s Daily Apple and took a huge bite from it.

Zach
3 years 3 months ago

I have been considering doing the primal/paleo diet now for some time. I am hesitant because every positive study I find, there is a negative one as well. Any suggestions or readings that you have found to be really informative and helpful?

Eric R
3 years 3 months ago

Zach,

If you’re not familiar with MDA, I would strongly suggest browsing through his posts and forums. For the more controversial topics, Mark examines the studies you mentioned and discusses them with an objective point of view. A lot of the “studies” that vilify paleo/primal are mostly flawed and extremely biased (funded by groups that benefit from the Standard American Diet).

Take some time to read through the top blog posts and decide for yourself. Good luck and I hope you decide to go through with it.

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[…] Le témoignage de la semaine sur Mark Daily’s Apple. […]

Brian Manning
3 years 3 months ago

Physical and mental fitness often go hand in hand. Love the stories of how functional fitness has changed someone’s life, no matter how big or small the change.

Thanks for the story, great article.

Ryan
Ryan
3 years 3 months ago

Seriously dude! you’re my inspiration!

Jon
3 years 1 month ago

Hi Eric, this is my favourite thread on Mark’s site 🙂

It was great you shared your training and diet info. Quick question: where do you stand on the weekly carb refeeds?
Do you do it?
Ever had the need to?
And if you do is it the Tim Ferriss eat as much of anything you can, or do you look to keep it Primal?

Would love to hear.

Cheers,
Jon

Eric R
3 years 1 month ago

Thanks, Jon. I hadn’t done any carb refeeds during the time of this success story, but I have recently added them into my diet, as well as IF. I’m anxious to see how my lifts progress, as well as my body comp. We’ll have to wait and see. Mark has numerous posts on both subjects if you’re looking for more information.

Jon
3 years 1 month ago

Great, thanks Eric.

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