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

What Will 2017 Mean for Your Life?

It’s 2017. There are old sci-fi stories set in 2017. Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, the basis for Blade Runner, takes place in 2019. That’s just two years away. It’ll come faster than you think. The time to make anything happen is now.

But how?

That’s the catch. No one can bestow motivation upon you. External events can trigger or inspire a motivation cascade, but it ultimately comes from within.

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My Experience with Exogenous Ketones: Tale and Truth

I woke up the morning of the ceremony with butterflies in my stomach. I’d done the necessary prep. I’d abstained from carbs the past week and food the past 24 hours. I’d performed four consecutive full-body circuit workouts to deplete muscle glycogen, and undergone a liver biopsy to confirm full depletion of liver glycogen. I wasn’t taking any chances. Although I had extensive experience generating endogenous ketones and subsisting on my own body fat, exogenous ketones were another matter entirely. You don’t want to mess around with a holy sacrament without doing due diligence.

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How to Encode Better Choices

Quick check-in: what’s the hardest habit you’ve had to break in going Primal? Something you’re currently looking to change? What have been the challenges?

While I don’t consider Primal living particularly difficult, I think any behavioral shift can be tricky. It’s human nature to stick with what’s known. There’s a certain comfort in routine, however ill-advised our customary patterns are. And, let’s face it, some habits stick more than others. If only we were a more logical species, we might imagine, one able to simply encode the choices we know are good for us… Thankfully, our psychological blueprints are more complex than our gadgets, but that doesn’t mean we can’t optimize our settings and establish some tactical redirects.

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A Primal Take on Cannabis

Today I’m taking on a mammoth in the living room so to speak. Based on the emails I’ve received and the string of developments around the issue, it’s maybe a long time coming.

As of November 11, marijuana is legal for recreational or medical use in 26 states. Recreational use is even legal in the nation’s capital, Washington DC. Despite the DEA declining to recognize the therapeutic potential of marijuana, formal medical research proceeds in labs and clinics, while millions of consumers in states like California, Oregon, and Colorado are running informal n=1 personal experiments. Usage has doubled in the last ten years. A recent Gallup poll found that 1 in 8 American adults “say they smoke marijuana.” Pretty much anytime legalization is up for a vote, it passes.

It seems there’s more weed out there than ever before and more people willing to consume it. They’re eating it, applying it sublingually, vaporizing it, and smoking it. Meanwhile, “pro” and “con” claims mount on both sides. 

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Happy Thanksgiving

I’ve always considered Thanksgiving the most Primal of the holidays. There’s little fanfare beyond the company and food. The act of preparing and sharing a feast is about as basic, but intimately sacred, as human ceremony gets. Add to this the focus on gratitude itself, the turning of our attention toward all that is good or has brought good to our lives. What comes to mind for me is communal offering and celebration around the table much like Grok’s kin around the fire.

Thanksgiving also, along with New Year’s, counts as one of the primary times set aside for reflection. To consider what we’re grateful for, we take stock of the year and its blessings as well as its struggles. Often, we may be most thankful for the resilience and support that got us through the challenges. We rest in the comfort of ritual and cycle, participating in the arc of the collective, ancestral human story.

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Can You Harness the Placebo Effect For Yourself?

Every parent reading this has dealt extensively in placebo: the analgesic effect of the ouchie kiss. When your child bumps his head or skins her knee, the quickest way to ease the pain isn’t a Band-Aid, ice pack, or Tylenol. It’s a kiss. Works every time.

“But your kid only thinks it’s helping. You’re just tricking him.”

Maybe. So what?

In common parlance, “placebo” is a bad thing connoting uselessness, ineffectiveness, and treachery. Placebos are smoke and mirrors. Snake oil. Even the words clinicians use to describe the placebo arm of a trial—sham treatment, dummy pill, sugar pill—suggest placebo effects are nuisances impeding scientific progress. They’re inert. Their complete pharmacologically inactive nature defines them.

But I’m here to argue that the placebo isn’t just a necessary artifact of randomized controlled trials. It describes a very real effect that people can probably use to improve their lives.

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