Meet Mark

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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August 05, 2009

No Better Time than the Present

By Worker Bee
44 Comments

You’ve read about it. Thought about it. You’ve watched Mark’s message calling all readers. You’ve even imagined yourself taking part in this month’s Challenge. You’ve toyed with it, considered it, but ultimately held back. For whatever reason you’re a straggler, a dawdler, maybe just slow to warm up, perhaps unsure, apprehensive – for whatever reason undecided, uncommitted.

Mind if we ask…why? What’s holding you back? When you imagine taking up the Challenge, what scenarios, what predicaments come to mind that ultimately convince you to sit this one out? What self-talk, if you don’t mind us asking, finally persuades you to forgo the investment in yourself? And, hey, can we get in on that conversation? Pardon us while we brazenly interject ourselves into that floating thought bubble above your head and put in our two cents.

Ah, here we see what’s been going on. Rationalizations, reasons, excuses of all stripes. Justifications galore. Some, to be sure, are compelling. Others not so. A few humorous in a self-deprecating, tongue-in-cheek kind of way. The point is, we’re right there with you. “Really?” you ask. “How can that be?” Let’s put it this way. We get it. We’ve all had to start from somewhere. (And some of us have had to restart.) Ask all of us here among the masses of modern day Groks who’ve already committed to the Challenge, and you’ll likely find circumstances that bear a broad, if not striking likeness to your own. Mind if we burst those bubbles?

1. “I’m young and healthy enough that I don’t need this – not right now anyway”.

There’s a collective cultural assumption/joke that you can do anything in your twenties and most of your thirties without any real consequences. Eat crappy food? Check. Sleep only at convenient times (as defined by young children’s schedules or busy social calendar). Check. Exercise a) not at all, b) on weekend warrior adventures with friends, or c) all the time, chronic cardio/sergeant spin class style. Check. (All of the above being the wrong choice, by the way.) Sure, you bounce back faster and easier in your younger years than you will later on, but listen up, Gumby. Your level of fitness and fortitude in your 40s has everything to do with what you do (and eat) today. Abuse your body now, and you’ll age much more quickly and have a harder road ahead if/when you decide to finally get serious.

If you’re still young, you have the best body you’ll possibly ever have. You’re working off of the best muscle base and hormonal balance. You still have the ability to reach peak lifetime health. Don’t blow the opportunity. Won’t you wonder later what it could’ve felt like?

2. “I’m middle age, and the real opportunity for anything optimum has passed me by. I’m just looking for general health at this point.”

Yes, the vitality of youth isn’t to be wasted, but it isn’t the end all. (Those of us in this category can speak to that, I imagine.) Obviously, Mark isn’t one to believe the best is past. He’s said many a time that he feels better today than at any point in his adult life. You still have that opportunity as well – make no mistake (or excuse) about it. You have the chance to extend or reclaim the health most people associate with youth. What you do today can actively prevent disease, build muscle mass and epigenetically set the clock back.

And it’s important to realize that things won’t get any easier, especially once you’ve hit this age. Five years, even one year from now it will likely be more difficult to get in shape, lose weight, gain muscle. It follows that tomorrow will be incrementally more difficult than today, and the following day incrementally more difficult than tomorrow. The increments may be small, but over time the trend is powerful. Use today to your advantage.

3. “I’m too old for this to make a substantial difference in my health.”

Our culture often teaches complacency – particularly with age. We’re shown images of aging “gracefully” that reflect passivity and acquiescence to physical decline. There’s no reason your later years can’t offer vitality. If you’re a senior, small changes now could mean thriving in the coming years instead of just surviving.

The key is understanding that there’s more to be written. Your actions and choices feed the conditions of health or disease, ability or limitation. Men and women in their later years who take up exercise programs can make crucial, significant strides in physical strength and endurance. A healthy diet can minimize inflammation and beat back disease. Time is certainly of the essence, it’s true, and every day impacts both future vitality and longevity.

Bonus for any age! 4. “I just don’t have the time to commit right now.”

Here it is, the universal, catchall, everyman/woman rationale and blanket justification. (We couldn’t possibly skip this one.) The details vary, but the “no time” excuse inevitably follows the same template. Fill in your own blanks here, and then hear the real reality check. Time is always a scarce commodity. There will never be a time when “achieving fitness, eating right, and sleeping adequately” will be convenient. The house will always need some repair. Your kids will always need you. Your job will always impose demands and stress. Your family/social life will always involve commitment and probably some drama – the good and the grief. All of us find ourselves in this picture somewhere.

The key is to make your health a priority in the midst of life’s commotion. Make your life fit your priorities and not just the other way around. Healthy eating isn’t an add-on to your meal prep. Active living inhabits your full day rather than just a slot in your planner book. Adequate sleep means your waking hours are that much more awake – efficient, focused and productive. Look at it as infusing your life with healthful practices rather than heaping them on top or squeezing them in the middle. Shift your perception and practices rather than your calendar.

We know we haven’t covered every possible excuse. However, we hear these particular ones often, and we’re pretty sure they’re among those floating around in the minds of many of our readers. Our intention with these refutations here isn’t to belittle, to diminish or to dismiss legitimate difficulties. A Challenge is, well, exactly that. Our hope is to rally your better judgment, your bolder vision for what your life can be – not next year or next month but now, today, in the imperfect reality of daily life.

Now about that Challenge… Sure, there’s already a sizable throng of motivated, thoughtful folks already committed this month. They’re responsive and enthusiastic in the forum and boards, and we love it. However, we know there are more of you out there. Call us brazen or stubborn, but we’re not satisfied until we’re sure we’re speaking to every last reader out there. However much a chronic straggler, a reticent onlooker, or a casual lurker you might be, we’re talking to you today. This is our challenge to you, and you know who you are. Be honest. By all means, start from where you are. But start. Today. Make this your opportunity to turn the page on old habits, big regrets, small thinking and deferring, defeatist attitudes. Make this your time. Your month. Your commitment to yourself. You’re worth the time. The results you’ll see – physical and otherwise – will be worth the effort.

So, what’s going on in those thought bubbles now? Did we argue profusely enough with the self-talk? Counter the nay saying influences and convince you finally? We’re hoping to welcome you aboard. What say you?

For those of you already on board, what are your “in spite of” stories? What are the circumstances that could be excuses, and what made you choose to see the situation differently? What ultimately made you take up the Challenge (this month or maybe years ago), and what would you say to others still sitting on the fence now?

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44 Comments on "No Better Time than the Present"

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Grok
7 years 1 month ago

Be like Nike “Just do it” 🙂

Christian Chun
Christian Chun
7 years 1 month ago
I see and hear a lot of people that are happy with how they are (even though I can see that they’re not). Whether they’re fat and unhealthy… they seem to just have accepted the way they look and feel and are willing to live life(and be happy about it)… I consistently hear that well “who wants to live eating like that”… or “who wants to spend hours working out”… “I don’t want to inflict pain on myself”,etc… “I’ll just eat what I want and be happy”… (has anyone caught an episode of “More to Love”) I used to be… Read more »
Jesse
Jesse
7 years 1 month ago

This post rocks, I just sent it to my whole family.

Mark Sisson
7 years 1 month ago

Thanks for sending it, Jesse. I appreciate the support. Cheers!

Geoff
Geoff
7 years 1 month ago
O.K. I’ll bite. What’s holding me back? Lack of knowledge. I only found this site a couple of weeks ago and received the book just a week later. I’m making my way through both diligently to learn about PB, but don’t want to jump in with a major lifestyle change until I feel that I understand it sufficiently well to explain it to my wife, family, friends, and others. What I AM doing now is making an concerted effort to follow as many of the PB “lifestyle” laws as I can: Avoid Stupid Mistakes – should be a no brainer… Read more »
Mark Sisson
7 years 1 month ago

Have you signed up for the PB 101 Newsletter, Geogg?

http://www.marksdailyapple.com/primal-blueprint-health-challenge-newsletter/

I designed for people just like you; for those that are just beginning to learn about the PB lifestyle. Truth be told though it’s great for anyone as it provides links to the best of MDA organized by topic.

Congrats on the changes you’ve already made and for taking on the 30 day challenge. Keep up the great work and stay in touch.

ReachWest
ReachWest
7 years 1 month ago
“I’m middle age, and the real opportunity for anything optimum has passed me by. I’m just looking for general health at this point.” Prior to January of this year (8 short months ago) – I believed that this statement was true. I bought into the myth that in middle age, I had to resign myself to having a “spare tire” around my middle, that I would feel run down and tired constantly and that I would have constantly restless sleep .. after all I was getting older. (50 years) Follow the Primal Blueprint and you’ll soon realize that in middle-age… Read more »
jenniferlynne76
jenniferlynne76
7 years 1 month ago
Injury has been a real challenge for me. In the past I’ve suffered from chronic low back and neck pain. What my chiropractor and I have discovered: when I stopped lifting weights and partaking of the chronic cardio? It all stopped. So I began doing a lot more of that slow, enjoyable exercise, like walking. Then, after returning from a very walking intensive vacation, I developed plantar fasciitis in not one, but BOTH of my feet. So now I feel as if I am limited in both my strength training and long, sustained cardio. It’s frustrating. I miss being able… Read more »
Rodney
Rodney
7 years 1 month ago
jenniferlynne, while I don’t have any specific exercise recommendations to offer, I do think you can start today to improve your overall health. Remember that diet is the most important part of any healthy life, responsible for 80% of your gains as some people say. If you have work to do in the diet area focus on that first. I found that by minimizing sugar, eliminating grains, eating lots of fruits and vegetables, avoiding vegetable oils (except olive oil), and adding a fish oil supplement my health has vastly improved. Most of my complaints were inflammation related such as frequent… Read more »
janet
janet
7 years 1 month ago
Jennifer lynne, As a plantar fasciitis sufferer I feel your pain. 20 years running a restaurant and running took its toll on me. I quit running, gained 20 lbs and felt worse. Foot doctors, shoe inserts and many different shoes haven’t helped. What has help after 10 years is 1. A reflexologist 2. Book. “Born to run” Chris McDugal. 3. Apple cider vinegar.every morning. 1 tblsp in a glass of water. If pain is bad I drink more at night. I am pain free most days now. 4.Primal Blueprint. Getting those sugars out of the diet help get rid of… Read more »
dthalman
dthalman
7 years 1 month ago
Swimming is great exercise and low impact…though access to a gym with a pool and knowledge of a pool stroke hinder many. Even without knowing how, one can grab a kick board and power across the pool with a flutter kick–anyone can do that (though you might have to rest for a few minutes after 25 yards, at first.) It gets the heart rate up QUICK! Most people swim train improperly–they just go slow for a long period of time. But it’s easy to do sprints and intervals in the pool, even with a kick board. Swimming brought me back… Read more »
ccarrigan
7 years 1 month ago
What holds me back? It would be easier to list what doesn’t. I have consistently struggled with negative self-talk, from a very early age. I have an alarmingly high fear of failure to the point that I rarely, if ever, put 100% into anything. I have the “I didn’t give it my all, therefore I didn’t fail” excuse all lined up. I have extreme empathy and understanding for others, but never extend the same to myself. It’s odd and I have yet to discover where it comes from, as I have some of the most easy-going, supportive parents one could… Read more »
Mr B
Mr B
7 years 1 month ago

First paragraph sounds like me, as well. To the max. =-(

Tricia
Tricia
7 years 1 month ago

This negative self-talk “can” be a symptom of low serotonin. Have you ever tried either tryptophan or 5-HTP? I was surprised how many negative loops were gone when I corrected this. For more info on amino acids => brain function => emotional patterns, see Julia Ross, The Mood Cure, or Joan Matthews-Larsen.

ccarrigan
7 years 1 month ago

Thanks for the feedback Tricia. I will look into it.

Mr B. Keep your chin up! haha!

MDS
MDS
7 years 1 month ago

The first paragraph sounds like me to. After reading todays blog I am ready to get on board with the 30 day challenage. no more excuses for not taking care of myself while I am still young. I want to be rock climbing in my 40’s. Which means I need to get in shape now so I can learn how to do it.

dragonmamma
dragonmamma
7 years 1 month ago

Bubble #4 ( “I just don’t have the time to commit right now.”) reminds me of this bit of office wisdom: If you need something done, ask the busiest person in the office.

It’s all about priorities. Make the decision and plan for it, and the time will be there.

Catalina
Catalina
7 years 1 month ago
For me, there was a sense that “I’m middle-aged, never been an athlete, and here I am surrounded by young, active, workout maniacs!” But that’s not really true–the Primal Blueprint is for everyone, so I started a month ago, and it feels so great to love what I eat and know it’s so good for me. The challenge is a great opportunity to add more exercise, and to remind myself that exercise can be fun. (Growing up as the proverbial “last person chosen for the team” kind of knocks the fun out of you. . .but it’s high time to… Read more »
mhfrank
mhfrank
7 years 1 month ago

Doing it! Day 3.

Daniel Merk
7 years 1 month ago

Mark: I’ve been passing along your message to so many people. The challenge is a great way for people to get on board. So far I think I’ve been able to get about 9 people to buy your book and read it.

Today’s post is perfect! Gives me more fuel to change the “Not right now” mentality. Keep these coming!

Already geared up the video concept; shooting this weekend for round 1 of primal fitness.

Cheers,
dan

Mark Sisson
7 years 1 month ago

Wow, Daniel. Thanks for the support. I really appreciate. I can only do so much so I really rely on others to help me get the word out. Can’t wait to see the video.

BTW – I added this line to the Video Contest post because I received a couple submissions from already existing and only loosely related to the PB videos:

“The video needs to be an original video made for the purposes of this contest. Please title the video ‘Primal Blueprint Fitness:’ followed by your own sub-title.”

Cheers!

paulettegoesprimal
7 years 1 month ago
this has been what i’ve been looking for healthwise (health on all fronts…not just immediate physical health). jenniferlynne, i started with 1 “real” push up and walking around the block. it’s really all loving adjustment to what your body can do. do you have a way to swim? and fish oil supplements and cutting out sugar (and cereals) are essential to cutting inflammation (which it sounds like is a major issue for you). i would also add plenty of rosemary or thyme to my cooking as well as ginger. i used to have such bad inflammation that just sitting down… Read more »
darienx19
darienx19
7 years 1 month ago
My excuse for the couple of weeks leading up to the challenge had been: “it’s really hectic and there is so much going on and I’ll be out of town, so I’ll just not worry about it and get back to it later.” That was a solid three weeks of FAIL, I felt miserable the whole time. The best advice I can give for those still on the fence is to just stop listening to the internal struggle and do it as an experiment. Fully commit to doing it for two weeks. Decide to finally give it a test so… Read more »
John Park
John Park
7 years 1 month ago

Too many times I have failed with a diet or trying to be too strict with my diet. I’ve had experience with both failure and success in dieting. I know deep down that if I buckle down and keep it slow, steady, put in some effort, and keep consistent, I can get to where I want to be and live my life happy and worry free.

The primal lifestyle is a perfect way to get to where you want to be and live a healthy, long, and quality life.

bfaber87
7 years 1 month ago

I try to show my Dad the benefits of eating and moving Primal, but it’s hard for him to get out of his comfort zone…Fat makes you fat, carbs keep you fit. Funny thing is that he’s still not fit…This does not just go for my Dad, but the majority of people you see preaching exercise and nutrition…I look forward to telling my Dad it’s never too late to start. It’s not a diet, it’s a dream. Grok on. Share on!

Nycaise
7 years 1 month ago

I was a bit like that, I’m unemployed at the moment (bah credit crunch) and had convinced myself I couldn’t start being primal until I found a job due to the expense. When your challenge came up I just thought “now or never” and just have to work around my budget. Anything is possible if you truly want it.

Kathie
7 years 1 month ago
I was 100 pounds overweight and type 2 diabetic. I finally got the courage to join a gym almost 2 years ago. I worked out hard for a year without changing any eating habits. Then I realized I should look better for all the work I was putting in at the gym. I asked my trainer for help with the eating. Coincidentally, she sent me a link from this blog explaining diabetes in layman’s terms–which made me a little angry because my doctor had never explained it all to me in such simple terms. I went primal that day and… Read more »
Stacy
7 years 1 month ago

Mark,

I love your approach! No more excuses. I couldn’t agree with you more. Three years ago I started an online fitness website, http://www.youcanmakeitfit.com that offers over 100 workouts to combat the common excuses made everyday for lack of activity. “I don’t have time, I don’t know where to start, The gym is for skinny people”. The list goes on and on. But my philosophy. If not now, then when? If not you, then who? Commit! Way to motivate.

Trey Crowe
7 years 1 month ago

Knowledge is my biggest hurdle, but that wont be an excuse much longer since I’ve signed up for the newsletter.

Anngregs
Anngregs
7 years 1 month ago
I have a really bad neck because I’ve started and stopped so much that jerking motion has taken its toll! Seriously though, the incessant chatter upstairs seems to be getting worse with age. The big one for me is, ” Oops, you ate that Skittle. It’s ok, you can start again next Monday.” Truly a load of manure. To fight the demon-speak, when I notice it and realize what is going on, I have a small notebook tucked in my jean pocket with a small golf-card pencil. I take it out and write down the time. At that point, I… Read more »
caitlin
caitlin
7 years 1 month ago
I used to love the “I’m too busy” excuse. As in, “I’m so busy, that the last thing I want to do when I get home from a horrible long day at the office is eat something healthy. I want a pizza/chinese food/quesadilla/ and some beer/wine/blah/blah/blah.” It was like the only thing I had to look forward to was eating like crap, and damnit, I wasn’t going to let anyone take that away from me. Oh, and the exercise? Same thing. Why should I have to “punish” myself by exercising when I just wanted to curl up with a good… Read more »
CardioJunkie
CardioJunkie
7 years 1 month ago
Great posts everyone, nice to know I’m not alone! For me it’s a couple different things. One is definitely the fear of failure that someone else mentioned, the logic that if I didn’t committ 100% then I won’t have “failed”. The other is that while I have a relatively high level of buy-in to the PB, overall I don’t feel like I have been living my life that un-healthy. For example, I’m not overweight (155lb female at 5’10”, sure I’d like to get into the 140’s but still, not bad, fairly muscular though I could improve there (no six pack… Read more »
Christina
Christina
7 years 1 month ago

I’m very tempted (now here comes my excuse) “but I’m too late.” Convenient – huh? How about the excuse that I like my dairy (yes, I do use Raw milk), love organic PLAIN yogurt and Kefir, and sometimes eat cottage cheese. Oops. As Dr. Phil says “And how’s that working for you?”

I’d love to do a 30 day challenge – or now I guess it’s only 25. Why does food make me so anxious? As someone with a history of an eating disorder, I just think about food 24/7.

Okay. Time is a ticking…

Joana
Joana
7 years 1 month ago
Dear Mark, My excuse is quite simple 🙂 I only found your site a week ago and I’m trying to learn a bit more before I commit to this lifestyle. I’ve been reading your recent posts and some older ones (I subscribed your newsletter).Like you, I’m also curious about gene expression regulation and actually I’m finishing my PhD this year about…yap…gene expression regulation!! I do not study the environmental effects. I’m focusing my work on function and regulation of proteins called transcription factors that control the transcription (an intermediate step from gene to protein translation) of other genes. But the… Read more »
Trish
7 years 1 month ago

I’m sick and tired of being fat, sick and tired. In a nutshell.

Thihan
7 years 1 month ago

Wow, so I must be the best procrastinator in the world. I’ve even been able to put off thinking about my procrastination.

Despite this amazing ability, I have decided to see if a Primal Life is one I can stick to. I have the book, I have all the knowledge, now I need action.

So my goals are:
– follow the primal nutrtion plan 80/20 minimum
– daily exercise – crossfit and walking
– sleep -7-8 hours per night
– no alcohol for the month of August

Follow me on my blog
http://athleteunderneath.wordpress.com
There is no failure except in no longer trying. – E. Hubbert

trackback
7 years 1 month ago

[…] Categories: WOD 3 Rounds 21 Burpees21 GHD Sit-upsCheck out what is going on at Mark’s Daily Apple. I dare […]

Johanna
Johanna
7 years 1 month ago
I think I might not be the only one that does not want to make social life more difficult. Eg at work I enjoy lunches with either collegues or friends. I eat a salad of fresh vegetables with olive oil, but the main course is normal food, like spagetti bolognese, chicken wok with rice (not fried, but steamed), fried fish with potatoes etc. The main course does not provide enough energy without the side dish and I do not wish to spend my lunch time alone. Luckily there is salad included it’s normal food rather than burgers and pizza! As… Read more »
mom500
mom500
7 years 1 month ago
I’ll tell you why I didn’t do the challenge last year: I wasn’t sold on all the principles. My eating philosophy for the last 10 years has been to avoid processed foods and eat whole foods – and with regular exercise it’s kept me pretty close to the weight I’d like to be. I enjoyed coming to Mark’s site for health advice, but I really didn’t think totally cutting out grains was a good idea. Plus, when I’ve tried low carb diets before I had no energy and just felt terrible (and my sugar cravings went UP). I have five… Read more »
Paula
Paula
7 years 1 month ago
I’ve been following the blog for about 3 weeks, got the book last week. My excuses – I’ve tried so many things/times and didn’t give my all, that for me not doing the whole thing is failure, like some mentioned above. Work – everyone I work with eats together and the meals are carb loaded. I will get much pressure from my co-workers and I’m not sure I’m up to that. They’re like a feeding frenzy when someone tries to change how they eat. I’m newly diagnosed diabetic 2, high blood pressure, sleep apnea. I love potatoes and pasta and… Read more »
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[…] fitness goals. Thanks for visiting!Last week we took on the eternal “no time” excuse in our “No Better Time than the Present” post, and we were thrilled by the response. Readers offered their own efficiency strategies as […]

matthew
5 years 8 months ago
I was introduced to the Primal Blueprint by Matt Madiero (He’s written helpful posts on his blog about going Primal.) I can’t say that I, necessarily, was holding back or reluctant. To the contrary, I was actually looking for something. I had started Atkins, for the second time, last September, and took off about 25 pounds by the end of the year. I also recommitted to working out in the gym–namely doing treadmill-based cardio and circuit weight training. In all candor, I never transitioned from the Induction Phase of Atkins to Phases 2, 3 or 4. As I read Matt… Read more »
Julianne
3 years 2 months ago

Have you ever thought about including a little bit more than just your articles?
I mean, what you say is important and all.

However imagine if you added some great graphics or video clips to give your posts more, “pop”!
Your content is excellent but with images and clips, this site could undeniably be one of the
most beneficial in its field. Wonderful blog!

tkm
tkm
3 years 2 months ago

Oh, no…I must disagree. I am a reader, and I love blogs where the content is primarily well-written prose. Being forced to watch a video to get information is such a pain–it slows the pace way down for one thing, as I can read faster than I can listen to someone narrate aloud. Plus I hate all the overstimulating content of hyperlinks, buttons, tiny irritating icons…oh no. Please keep the site the way it is, Mark.

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