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

More Mark’s Daily Apple Readers “Go Primal”

real life stories stories 1You asked for it, so here it is: another round of Primal Blueprint Success Stories. Emails like these are basically why I continue to run Mark’s Daily Apple. It’s all about giving people the tools and resources they need to feel empowered to take control of their health, and in many cases completely turn their lives around.

Years ago I set a (lofty?) goal for myself: to personally play a role in helping 10 million people. If you’re one of the 10 million please let me know! If the Primal Blueprint has helped you in any way email me. It could be your story that helps others make the Primal leap. Grok on!

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Finding the Primal Blueprint has changed my life completely. My weight had always been an issue for me. Growing up my parents took us to fast food often, and I had unlimited access to chips, sodas, and snack food. I became obese at a very young age and was teased and tortured at school for being ‘the fat kid’. The last straw was when I 12 years old and no longer could shop at normal sized clothing stores. I vowed to myself that I would make it my goal to become healthy.

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My crusade for achieving the perfect body led me through some very rough territory in the following years. Fad diets, chronic cardio, starving myself, diet pills, you name it, I tried it. Through conventional wisdom dieting and exercise I lost 35 lbs and stayed there for years. Even though most of the weight was gone, I experienced major dental problems, hair loss, migraines and digestive issues. I thought I was eating ‘healthy’ even though most foods I ate were processed ‘healthy’ snacks and frozen foods. As I began law school, even healthy processed foods were replaced with pizza dinners and sugary caffeine drinks to help keep me awake. I felt tired, stressed and hopeless. After finals I was 10 lbs heavier and miserable, I knew something needed to change.

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I stumbled upon Marks Daily Apple in February 2010 and began reading everything I could get my hands on. I was ready and determined to make the change. I dove in head first and went 100% primal. My fiancé even jumped on the primal bandwagon as well. The progress came fast and I lost 6 lbs in the first two weeks. I got back into lifting heavy once a week and sprinted once or twice a week on the beach. Here it is 2 months into being primal and I am 7lbs lighter, stronger and finally feel as if I am in touch with my body. Now if I eat something not primal, my body sure lets me know that it does not approve. My hair is thicker and my headaches and digestive issues are a thing of the past. Before a workout would mean becoming a treadmill zombie at the gym, zoning out to the television for an hour. Now I sprint on the beach, carry/throw heavy rocks, climb on the jetty, and just have fun! Thanks Mark for all your doing. I know me and my Fiance are much healthier because of the Primal Blueprint.

AthenaNatural Selection

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270 Days of Primal Lifestyle

It has been quite a journey so far. A chance check of my blood pressure started this trip. My blood pressure registered at 198 over 120. I knew if I went to my doctor she would tell me to lose weight, exercise and change my diet. She would probably put me on drugs that would screw with the rest of my body so I decided to see if I could lose weight, exercise, change my diet and bring my blood pressure down myself.

My research started with Dr. Jay Wortman. He is a Canadian Doctor and is the author of “My Big Fat Diet.” This program put First Nation volunteers on a traditional diet to overcome their health issues. That got me thinking.

I Googled “What did humans eat 10,000 years ago?” and fortunately I ended up at Mark’s Daily Apple.

I’ve since been to see my Doctor and my success has given me some leeway. I’m still not on drugs (medication), but I’ve been getting some systolic readings in the high 130’s and diastolic readings in the high 80’s.

I’m not cured yet… but those numbers are considered high normal… and it has only been 270 days.

Let me share some other numbers with you. I’ve always considered August 4th 2009 as my start point. That is when I started to record this experience. My weight was 234 lbs. Today I’m at 192 lbs. My waist has gone from 46 inches to 39 inches. My chest has shrunk from 49 inches to 44 inches. (Sob) I’m melting… but then it has only been 270 days.

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Excluding my love for potato chips and Irish whiskey, I would have told you I ate a nutritious diet. Conventional wisdom sucks!

I have learned a lot following PB. What I am focusing on now is balance. However this isn’t the balance of supporting the different segments of the agricultural industry. Sorry Dr. Kellogg but no shelf space for you!

Balance is about balancing the micronutrients. Why do we cut out grains? Besides a list of reasons, they screw up the balance. The ratio of Omega 3 and Omega 6 is covered in great detail on MDA. Did you know that the western diet has also thrown the sodium to potassium ratio out to lunch? Those with high blood pressure should be aware and learn more about it.

Based on the Omega 3-6 ratio and the relationship with sodium and potassium I’m convinced that it is the different ratios that are important. I still have much to learn on this subject… but then it has only been 270 days.

I really enjoy my exercise routine. Lift heavy, sprint occasionally and walk. I’m really getting into shape and on less than 20 minutes a week. What can’t you like about that?

I started with 1 rep static holds. My bench press went from 185 lbs to 425 lbs. My squat went from 245 lbs to 575 lbs. My dead lift went from 295 lbs to 555 lbs. My high intensity training took about 60 seconds a week. (Adjusting the weights kept me I the gym for about 30 minutes but my actual time under load was under 1 minute.)

Vick04 26 2010

In November I changed to the big 5. These are range of motion exercises but I time myself rather than counting reps. My performance improved when I cut it back from five exercises to 3. My best increase was with the leg press. It is important to note that I was only doing the one lower body exercise. I went from 360 lbs for 53 seconds to 630 lbs for 56 seconds. My high intensity training was now taking about 180 seconds a week. I almost broke into a sweat once or twice.

I’m taking my strength and conditioning to a new level of study. It can be broken down into three parts. The first is muscle growth. This is achieved by applying techniques that through sequential stimulation causes inroading. This is micro trauma at the cellular level. If correctly applied and allowing time to adapt it will create the body to grow more muscle tissue.

The second is synaptic facilitation. As Pavel Tsatsouline puts it… “Grease the Groove”. This is about using intense stimulation to strengthen the nerve impulses to the muscles to make them more efficient. The key to these stimuli is repetition with light to moderate weights.

The third is fascia recoil. The fascia wraps our muscle tissue. It can focus energy and momentum to make us stronger. While much research is going into the fascia for curing discomfort in the muscles and joints I see it as a means to greatly increase functional and explosive strength.

The breakdown into these types of training is in its infancy. I see how muscle growth and applying synaptic facilitation to everyday life skills will greatly enhance a person’s life. Fascia recoil helps us with explosive strength. I’ve a lot more to develop on this theory… but then it has only been 270 days.

As I continue this primal trek I need to maintain what got me this far. I will continue to research and apply my newfound knowledge in balancing my nutrients… 80% of the time.

I should walk more… but I’ll continue to do my high intensity resistance training once a week. I’m presently applying the new Max Pyramid protocol. I’m doing one upper body and one lower body exercise a week. This protocol should increase my high intensity training to a maximum of… gosh… it might hit 6 minutes a week. Will I handle the shock?

I personally want to thank Mark for MDA and his book The Primal Blueprint. I also want to thank the members of the forum. You have been excellent sources of information, ideas and support.

Vick

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Hey Mark,

I just love your book and website! I’ve been Primal since approx. March 5th and preparing for our city’s annual 12k race. Well, today was the race and I finished in 1hr:5mins, which is a record for me and a 8.71 minute mile, which I never was able to do before when I lived on bread, pasta and tons of sugary foods and drinks. I know that my time and my energy level during training and in the race is from adopting the Primal lifestyle. My energy levels have soared, and I no longer experience the energy dips that my coworkers and friends do. THANK YOU for all you do for everyone and a personal thanks for helping me do so well in my race and I have confidence in my performance in other races that I will do this summer.

Sherry

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I was born in 1966 and will turn 44 in December. I am 5’6″ and at my heaviest, I was 170 lbs. I realized this was unhealthy but did not know of a better way than what conventional wisdom taught. Every time I tried to eat whole grains and smaller portions, I would get hungry and as we know, hunger ALWAYS wins. My problem was sugar and carbs – too much of it. I wore size 34″ waist pants. Today I am 148 lbs which works out to a 13% loss of bodyweight. My latest pant size is 28″. My resting heart rate is 58 bpm. My blood pressure went from 130/80 to 105/70. You have already seen my blood work from January 2010.

My introduction to Primal Living was by way of Art Devany’s Evolutionary Fitness website (before it turned into a subscription site) when I was searching about a certain way to execute a golf shot. While Art’s information struck a chord within me, I did not find sufficient examples illustrating the implementation of Primal principles.

Researching more of this landed me on Marksdailyapple.com. Thanks to the writers and editors of this website, Marksdailyapple.com is the perfect blend of information. Detailed enough to be rich, aptly illustrated with captivating color photos yet not so academic that it is beyond my scope of apprehension. A superlative balance that is hard to achieve.

On October 23, 2009, my wife and I decided to change the way we ate and embrace Primal Principles. We now order organic produce and meats which is delivered to our house once a week. We try to abstain from all wheat and sugar. We really watch our refined carbs while freely dining on veggies and meats with fruits in moderation. Even though I am not a diabetic, I monitor my blood glucose levels to see the effects of certain foods, post-prandial changes and exercise.

VictorBeforeandAfter

If you look on my Facebook account you will find some good pictures of primal\paleo food I cook using a pressure cooker, slow cooker and cast iron pan complete with recipes:

Victor’s Eating and Cooking Channel 1

Victor’s Eating And Cooking Channel 2

I have friends from the UK to Australia who try these recipes! LOL.

I’ll attach some food\recipe pics (click the thumbnails to enlarge) so you have an idea what in the Facebook albums:

ahutuna 1 brusselsprouts 1 kalestirfry 1 roast1 1 lowcarbdeerpotpie 1 masalasteak 1 lowcarbbrownie 1 beefstew 1

Take care,

Victor

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Mark,

My name is J.J. Valdivia and I am a 24 year old personal trainer down in Miami, Florida. First and foremost, I cannot thank you enough for the impact that your book and website have made on my life. I have been Primal now for almost one year and I am in the best shape of my life! I am 5’11, 165 lbs and carry around 6% body fat. Before discovering the Primal Blueprint I hovered at around 10-12% body fat and weighed in at around 175-180 pounds. All this considering I now exercise less than I ever have my entire life! I used to train six days a week religiously. I would alternate between one day of 1 hour circuit weight training and another day of 1 hour chronic cardio. I would count each and every calorie and needless to say I was miserable. I have always been into “health and fitness” and I was convinced that I was doing everything right, or so I thought. Constant overtraining mixed with a high carb, low fat diet led to binge eating on the weekends and a continuous cycle that led nowhere. I was always starving even though I was eating 5-6 small meals a day! Not only that, but I looked exactly the same and saw no results. That was one year ago…

Today I lift heavy weights three days a week, usually no longer than 35 minutes. I sprint once a week, and I do low level aerobic activity anywhere from 2-5 hours a week. I also eat only 2-3 times a day and I feel fantastic!

jjbody

I became Primal about a month after I became a personal trainer, last May. (So June of last year) The company that I work for is an amenity management company and we are contracted to manage several corporate and residential fitness facilities throughout the east coast. I was hired to work for Royal Caribbean Cruises. I work in their corporate gym and I train a lot of their employees. The first thing that I do before I start training a new client is tell them to buy The Primal Blueprint. (Well, actually, the first thing I do is explain to them that yes, what I wear on my feet are indeed shoes and that yes, I exercise in them!) I then explain to them that my style of training and my understanding of health is based upon everything that they will read in that book. If they follow what is inside, they will acheive the results they desire. I explain to them that body composition is 80% what you eat, and 20 percent training and genetics. My clients are exercising much less than the other trainer’s clients but are seeing greater results! Needless to say, there are over 20 Royal Caribbean employees that have bought the book and are living according to the Primal Blueprint Laws, each one of them with their own success story. Thank you for everything Mark. I am truly grateful for the the change you have made in my life and in those of my clients. No matter what, I will continue to live the Primal lifestyle and lead others in reprogramming their genes!

J.J.

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. Fantastic pics and stories. Take that Conventional Wisdom – this stuff works!

    Jeff P wrote on May 17th, 2010
  2. Wow! You guys are looking great! I only know 1 family member who is sorda interested eating primally & I just keep posting links like these on FaceBook & encourge & offer suggestions when they ask me questions. Keep it up! Mark, keep posting stories like these cause it really keeps us motivated. Still waiting on that cookbook (*^_^*). Keeping Austin Primal (I know, it’s such a abused phrase yet this also motivates me lol)

    madeline wrote on May 17th, 2010
  3. @Vick,
    Congratulations on your success so far! I’m intrigued by your training theories and methods. Do you have any links where we can read further?

    Ed wrote on May 17th, 2010
  4. Awesome stories all. Keep trucking guys. Just goes to show that what worked for thousands of years before Lean Cuisine and health foods still beats the pants off any new-fangled food or exercise that has been dreamed up in the last hundred years.

    @ madeline, don’t know if you have seen our bumper sticker down to the south of you “Keep San Antonio Lame.”

    John Solter wrote on May 17th, 2010
    • I saw a bumper sticker the other day that said “Keep Houston Ugly”. I am glad that I only work in Houston. At least it didn’t say “Keep Houston Fat”.

      TexasPrimalSurfWahine wrote on May 17th, 2010
  5. I love seeing the success stories! I get so inspired :) Everyone looks so great! I feel like I can especially relate to Athena, having tried EVERYTHING. I’ve been making a sincere effort to be 100% primal and she just makes it look SO worth it! Athena, you look absolutely STUNNING! I’m so impressed! You serve as my inspiration :)

    Tara wrote on May 17th, 2010
  6. e-wink for the first young lady there.

    Awesome and inspirational, guys!

    Mountain Dew wrote on May 17th, 2010
  7. These stories are so inspirational. It motivates me to continue to help grow the primal community to unbelievable heights no matter what negatives I here from family members and friends.

    Primal Toad wrote on May 17th, 2010
  8. Nice, I googled “What did humans eat 10,000 years ago?” too and found some good stuff as well.

    Lars1000 wrote on May 17th, 2010
  9. Great stories, I should send in my pics too. I went from 172 to 155 in 4 months by working out smarter

    Jesse wrote on May 17th, 2010
  10. Awesome guys!!

    Especially Victor, what a difference in the before/after pic. Too bad your story mentions a wife….;)

    SharonW wrote on May 17th, 2010
  11. Totally inspiring and a great selection of stories from a variety of people.

    Janet wrote on May 17th, 2010
  12. Love, love, love reading the inspiration reader posts as I go along my own journey. Thank you Athena, Vic, Victor and JJ….you all look fabulous and are truly an inspiration. I hope to be posting my own story one of these days! :-) And John, love the comment about Lean Cuisine. At work everyone eats that crap and they look at me like I am crazy with my bacon, egg and avocado salad (from this week’s food food column!) Grok on! :-)

    Janine wrote on May 17th, 2010
  13. Vick, Your impressive max lifts have me stunned. Are those real? WTF?

    pinebark wrote on May 17th, 2010
    • I second that! Those are some crazy numbers! Are they real??? Are they machine assisted? That is the fastest progress I have ever heard of! That’s a 240 lb increase in bench over 270 days….

      Ben wrote on May 17th, 2010
    • @pinebark and Ben.

      The static holds were done with free weights in a power cage. The big 5 was done on machines.

      I followed the principal of only training once a week and allowing my muscles time to heal and adapt.

      As a side note my wife did the leg press from Nov to April. She started at 160 lbs for 69 seconds. Her last press in April was 340 lbs for 42 seconds.

      Vick wrote on May 17th, 2010
      • Well, what can i say other than unbelievable! Is there anywhere on the internet that describes your training technique? some sort of program? I’d like to check it out.

        pinebark wrote on May 17th, 2010
        • You have me thinking about doing some video for youtube.

          Vick wrote on May 17th, 2010
        • Do it, Vick!

          Ben wrote on May 17th, 2010
        • Sounds a lot like Body by Science, especially John’s new protocol http://www.bodybyscience.net/home.html/?p=843. Great book and website. I use a rather modified BBS approach (20s static bodyweight exercises, around 7 days recovery) and have experienced great results. The main problem with bodyweight exercise is that it is more difficult to gauge progress.

          Sean wrote on May 18th, 2010
  14. These are wonderful testaments to what this primal lifestyle can do and how the Primal Blueprint and MDA can facilitate substantial change. Congradulations to you all, you are all inspirational.

    TexasPrimalSurfWahine wrote on May 17th, 2010
  15. Way to go! I commented on last week’s success stories with a pledge to recommit. Since such recommission five days ago, living strictly primal (no 80/20 and no fruit or nuts for a while) walking and one day lifting, I’ve gone down 5 lbs. Hoping to have my own success story soon! Thank you for the wonderful inspiration!

    Hilary wrote on May 17th, 2010
  16. Congratulations to all!

    Organic Gabe wrote on May 17th, 2010
  17. I LOVE these stories!! Thanks to all who share them. You are all quite inspiring!

    Sharon wrote on May 17th, 2010
  18. This is fantastic; these people have a lot to be proud of!
    I’ve been a reader of yours off and on for a year or so but only just bought your book Mark … 2 days ago and I’m nearly done with it, and that’s despite having had a very full schedule of work, writing, mothering! As a personal trainer for over a decade I’ve always pursued education on non-conventional health methods, so a lot of what you have to say I was already on board with. But I have to say this – your communication and ability to get into real nitty-gritty without overwhelming the reader is just fantastic. And I’ve had some really great messages driven home to me, particularly on not living my life by an overly structured food or training regime, and on getting more sleep (where my 6 month daughter will let me!)
    So thankyou – I’m looking forward to getting (more of) my pre-baby body back over the coming weeks by going Primal to the nth degree!

    Kat Eden wrote on May 17th, 2010
  19. Wow those stories are intense
    the pictures really show a difference

    I think I need more protein in my diet any recommendations?

    Katherine wrote on May 17th, 2010
  20. HI,
    I wish I took pictures. However, I bought into the Primal way last October (2009) and purchased your book. I am 5’9″ and my weight was near 230. At this stage(May 2010) I weigh 200, I lost 4 inches off my waist and am quite toned.
    All this in under a year. I will keep this up since my goal is 180lbs for this year.

    rik wrote on May 17th, 2010
  21. O wow!! haha I just realized Im on the front page! Yay! Thanks guys for all your support. I love the MDA community, its so positive and kind. :)

    Athena wrote on May 17th, 2010
  22. oh, these are so fantastic and so inspiring. i’ve finally gotten over myself and all my excuses and am diving in 100%. i wonder what i will look like in a year. i wonder what i will feel like in a year! and, yep…i second the resounding disappointment that your story mentioned a wife, victor. :(

    jennifer wrote on May 17th, 2010
  23. Holy shit Vick you made impressive gains in such a short time. Can you share with us in more detail your training methods?

    Bushrat wrote on May 17th, 2010
  24. the storys must be true.I started eating like grok in mid march I’ve went from 250lbs to 229lbs.Im 6’4” so I never realy looked fat but I was getting a beer gut[i quit drinking to].I hope to see my abs in the next month or so,can every one get a 6pack? Me and the kids run and play barefoot outside every day after school and the wife and I play one on one soccer one day a week, great game for sprinting. I hope by doing what im doing and lifting heavy i can have a great succes story like the one’s on this site. vick those numbers are awesome!

    ERIC wrote on May 17th, 2010
    • Yeah Eric, everyone can drop down to low body-fat %’s… it just takes discipline. Everyone has a different adipose distribution but, you know, the lower percentile you have the better the chance that your abs will be visible. Good work and luck in the future!

      wd wrote on May 18th, 2010
  25. great stories!!

    frank wrote on May 17th, 2010
  26. Good work – I’ve sent these to the GF as inspiration as she’s only just started Primal.

    I’ve been doing it since January and have dropped 15Kgs (33 Pounds) to date.

    I was a sceptic but am now convinced!

    Mat wrote on May 17th, 2010
  27. Hi

    Ok so I need some advice. I have been following the primal way for well over a year now and I don’t seem to be losing the body fat I want! I train Cross fit and I walk daily and when I am not injured (as I am now) I was sprinting once to twice a week. I only eat kangaroo, Organic chicken and loads of fish. I am so strict on the food always Primal! I do have a glass of red wine once a week and gosh I would never have more than 1 row of dark chocolate once a week. My vegetables and fruit are always Organic
    So my injury well this is frustrating when I am so active I have been reduced to only walking and upper body exercises. I have a anterior tilt in my pelvis which is giving me pain down one side of my leg and tight hip flexor and tight lumbar. So its been a difficult path but that does not mean I give up on being primal.

    I know this is a bit long but I am really hoping someone can give me feedback. What am I doing wrong, why can’t I lose the body fat I want?

    Jo wrote on May 18th, 2010
    • How’s your stress level? How are you sleeping?

      Ben wrote on May 18th, 2010
    • No matter what anyone says, lift weights! And do regular cardio…not once or twice a week….you can buy a bicycle, and use it…or inline skates. My fun has to be my workout, and my workout has to be fun! Try it…and cardio only once or twice a week will not cut it…chronic cardio, as Mark states, is also counter-productive. You are probably not telling the truth about the glass of wine…knock it off. Taking my glass of wine out of my life took 15 pounds off of my body…but first, I had to get honest about how MUCH I was using.
      Best of wishes to you! cj

      Cj wrote on May 19th, 2010
  28. Well thats a bit of an small issue Ben I am a manager for a massive wholefoods store and just opened up another and sleep I do not always sleep 8 hrs….
    I don’t measure my food but I didnt think I had too as I only eat lean meat loads of vegies and fats are sesame oil organic all the time, olive oil and avocados and nuts. Can you have to much protein. I train Cross fit aswell.

    Jo wrote on May 18th, 2010
    • Jo,
      I totally get it. I’m a CrossFitter as well. I’d say, take a week off and get more rest. Sleep at least 9 hours a night. Your cortisol levels are probably off (this is advice taken from Robb Wolf when referring to the same issue). If you want to shed some fat fast, I’d suggest going Zone/Paleo for a couple weeks, cutting your wods to 2-3 a week, and getting a lot of sleep.

      Ben wrote on May 18th, 2010
  29. Lol @ John S. No I haven’t yet. I didn’t know about San Antonio being “lame” lol. Hey Mark? about the cookbook, when is the shipping date? Sorry to post it here but I’m sure others might be wondering too. Thanks.

    madeline wrote on May 18th, 2010
  30. AWESOME TESTIMONIES!!! I’m so Impressed! Mark’s Primal Blueprint is changing lives and everyone who follows it feels so much better about themselves “inside” and “out!”
    @ Mark, I’m sure there are many more testimonies yet to come, you’re making the difference in people becoming healthier and look better!!

    Donna wrote on May 18th, 2010
  31. Thanks Mark :)

    madeline wrote on May 18th, 2010
  32. I’ve got a thread started under primal success stories.

    I’ll update there.

    Great job by Athena, Sherry, Victor and J.J.

    Vick wrote on May 18th, 2010
  33. WOW!!! awesome success stories and love the pics too :)

    Michelle Matangi wrote on May 18th, 2010
  34. Hardly ever do I encounter a weblog that’s both educated and entertaining, and let me tell you, you might have hit the nail on the head. Your concept is outstanding; the difficulty is something that not sufficient individuals are speaking intelligently about. I’m very joyful that I stumbled across this in my quest for something regarding this.

    cloud computing tutorial wrote on August 8th, 2011

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