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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Category: Personal Improvement

4 Surprising Ways Other People Affect Your Health

Jean-Paul Sartre in one of his famous plays said, “Hell is—other people.” I think most of us might sympathize with that claim depending on the day and the person we’re dealing with. On the flip side, people can be the source of our greatest joys. His sentiment, regardless, speaks to the strong impact others can have on us. Whether we like it or not, we all live (and need to live) in some relation to others. None of us exist in a vacuum, and research on extreme isolation suggests the real hell on earth might be exactly that. So make no mistake—how people make us feel is not just the stuff of poetry and philosophy. Other people can and do influence our immediate physiology as well as our ongoing health. What does this process look like though? How does it play out in our lives? Let’s examine a few examples.

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How to Accept Your Body After Significant Weight Loss

There are many meaningful reasons people go Primal: they want to improve their fitness, increase their longevity, feel younger, reverse lifestyle conditions, heal hormonal imbalances, enhance fertility, get off prescription medications, and lose fat. With regard to losing fat, some want to lose a good deal of it—to significantly alter their body composition. This goal, while it has the power to shift one’s entire health trajectory (not to mention life experience) may also be the most likely to come with unforeseen, even undesired results. I’m talking particularly about those who undergo dramatic transformations—the kind that can leave them feeling incredible, enjoying vitality, and (in particular) looking substantially different.

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The Dangers of People Pleasing in the Modern World (and What to Do about It)

“Be Selfish.” It’s without a doubt the habit of Highly Successful Hunter-Gatherers I’ve gotten the most feedback on throughout the last few years. (You can check out the other nine if you’re curious or want a refresher.) The reason, I think, is that it’s so unexpectedly radical, so brashly subversive to an almost universally held tenet: good people serve others rather than themselves. You can file it under the “better to give than receive” ethic and the general cult of self-sacrifice that permeates Western moral and work culture. We’re supposed to want to help others, to devote our lives to the service of the greater good. To be selfish is to be shallow, vapid—a flimsy, one-dimensional model of what it means to be human. But as modestly proposed in The Primal Connection, we’re working here with an unfortunate distortion that can quickly wade into treacherous, life-sucking waters.

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10 Primal-Friendly Tips from Wise People Throughout History

I’m not the first one to talk about the importance of sleep, the primacy of gut health, the impact food has on your well-being, how we divorce ourselves from nature at our peril, and why everyone needs to explore and express and enhance their physical capacities. Wise men and women have been saying the same things for thousands of years around campfires, on scrolls, during lectures, in town squares, and on the printed page. Today, we’re going to read about ten of them.

For each, I’ve attempted to confirm that these are indeed real quotes, claims, and practices. And in the off chance that I get it wrong and a misattribution slips through, that doesn’t take away from the quality of the content. Good tips are good tips.

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How Caring Less Can Help You Accomplish More

It’s been a concept I’ve been focusing on the last few years now—applying it to my life and contemplating how it fits with (and indeed underscores) the Primal Blueprint philosophy. The fact is, I’ve never wanted to see the PB as only a means to a smaller waistline and more defined musculature. I’ve ultimately hoped for it to evolve into a guide for what I’d consider the good life. And what do we think of when we think of the “good life”? Beyond any personal material whims, the crux of most people’s answers usually hover around ideas of ease, balance and happiness. Compare that with the images we’re often shown to illustrate accomplishment (health or otherwise): razor focus, dogged effort, staunch insistence. Anyone else see the disconnect here? Do we really need to throw ourselves into exacting standards and maniacal will to achieve anything of substance? I think not. So let me say a few words on behalf of caring less.

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Should You Wear a Fitness Tracker?

For a nation of supposedly obese, lazy, and sedentary layabouts, American consumers sure are interested in tracking their daily activity levels. In 2015, they bought 13.4 million dedicated activity trackers, up 50% from the previous year, and spent almost $1.5 billion on the devices. That’s in addition to the hundreds of millions of smartphones in circulation that also track your daily steps, sleep quality and duration, and calorie expenditure. From FitBit to Jawbone to Apple Watch to dozens of others, the wearable fitness-tracking gadget industry is growing quickly. Venture capital has responded, pouring billions into the wearable industry.

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Why Grok Didn’t Have Work-Life Balance and Neither Will You

Research published last year revealed that one-quarter of American workers feel it’s increasingly harder to maintain a work-life balance. Among global respondents, that number rose to one-third. According to the survey, parents are among those who struggle the most. Among the difficulties cited by participants, “finding time for me,” “getting enough sleep,” and “managing personal and professional life” were the most commonly mentioned challenges. Even those who manage to leave on time from work may then face an increasing overlap between work and home life, with another survey finding that 20% of participants worked more than 20 hours from home in addition to regular office hours. For all our social and technological advancements, it seems we’re increasingly stuck in an unfortunate cul-de-sac of our own making. Shouldn’t we be beyond this by now? How is it that we can’t seem to innovate, design, reason or hack our way into a better collective work-life balance?

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8 Confidence Building Exercises for Primal Success

When it comes to going Primal, there’s lots to enjoy. But on the way to success, it’s inevitable we’ll hit some dips in the road. Life intervenes, challenging our newly minted Primal routines. At some point or another, we’re bound to reach a confounding impasse and lose our mojo. When it happens, we’re presented with two choices: take it as an intractable character flaw (not recommended) or take it in stride, recognizing the inherent need for a reboot. Many readers write in for a pick-me-up, a pat on the back and some reassuring words of support to keep them going (keep those coming, since I learn from every person’s experience). So how can we find a confidence foothold to keep climbing on these days? Or, to put it a different way, how can we mentally fortify ourselves when we’re feeling our weakest?

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Primal Performance: How to Stay Cool Under Pressure

Think for a minute about how many times you felt pressure today—pressure to do something you were nervous to do, pressure to perform in the moment, pressure to make the right choice, pressure to take a big step toward a change or experience you want in your life? What was it like? I find pressure to be an intriguing concept. It certainly feels stressful, but it’s ultimately more than stress. Whereas stress at its core is really just a state of physical and/or emotional strain (generally in response to what we somehow perceive as challenging circumstances), it’s initially a response versus a force (but can become a force when chronic). As a result, stress is most essentially a reaction we can at times avoid or use any range of strategies to minimize or manage. Pressure, on the other hand, is more of an input, a force not just acting in us but on us, influencing and compelling us toward action, much like the concept in physics. The pressure we experience may come from outside expectations or from internal sources (e.g. perfectionism), but the net effect is the same: in one way or another, we’re called to act.

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The Primal Competitive Instinct: What Is It Good for?

These days we have a mixed relationship with competition, and maybe rightfully so. As a culture, we struggle with the joys of simple play, the meaning of good sportsmanship, and the lightheartedness of a game well played. Life as we live it today can feel too serious, and the prospect of competition against that backdrop can feel like yet another layer of harshness, judgment or evaluation. To boot, those who have too much of a competitive spirit often demonstrate the least exemplary attitudes. I’d argue, however, that we throw the baby out with the bathwater when we push competition away instead of cultivating a healthy relationship with it.

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