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

Are You Living an Active or Passive Life?

Humans enjoy being entertained. We like watching funny, engrossing, exciting shows, movies, and plays. We love good tunes. And we enjoy watching a great stand-up comedian at work, the kind that makes your abs sore from laughter. But why? Well, it boils down to our need for sensation. Simply put, we need to laugh, cry, tense up from excitement, experience emotional highs and lows, and we enjoy the activation of our adrenal systems – whether it’s due to something happening to us in real life or to an imaginary character on a screen somewhere – because we have the equipment necessary to experience all those things, and we need to use it. Feeling sensations, emotions, excitement, then, is a prerequisite for being a healthy, happy human. An ancestral expectation.

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How to Deal with Common Primal Stumbling Blocks

A 30-day Primal Blueprint Challenge wouldn’t be complete without you facing some actual challenges. Yesterday, because we’re all in this together, I asked you to share your struggles with everyone in the comment board. We all face hurdles everyday, but it’s not often that we get to discuss them with other like-minded individuals, let alone get advice on how to surmount them. Today, I’ll give my two cents. I’ve read through all your comments and collated them to arrive at a couple dozen to briefly discuss. In the future, this post will serve as a resource for solutions to challenges commonly encountered in the Primal lifestyle, an FAQ of sorts. If I’ve missed any major ones, let me know and I’ll see about including them.

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Listening to Your Body

Question: what does your body feel like right now? Go ahead. Take an inventory. From the toes to the head, what’s going on in there at the present moment? How’s your back? How’s your stomach? Your head? How about muscles? Your energy level and mood? Is your thinking clear this morning? Good and bad, what signals are you getting? Beyond the here and now, what’s your body been trying to tell you lately? Any changes since beginning the Challenge? Most important of all perhaps – are you accustomed to listening to what your body has to say?

Everything about our culture, it seems, discourages us from doing just that. From the commercials insisting we don’t need to put up with that headache to the glorification of binge drinking, taking a body’s hint isn’t exactly at the top of most people’s list of talents or priorities. Why live with that pesky fever when you can simply beat it back with 1000 milligrams of extra strength head-in-the-sand? Indigestion from eating that second Big Mac today? Try some Pepcid AC.

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Why Self-Experimentation Matters

Self-experimentation is a term the online Primal community regularly bandies about. I’ve been meaning to write a post on the subject, and I figured the first week of this year’s Primal challenge would be the perfect spot to drop it. Because, after all, those who accept and undertake the 30-day Primal Blueprint Challenge will essentially be conducting a 30-day self-experiment on themselves. It won’t be your first self-experiment, nor will it be your last, but it may be your first chance at knowingly conducting one.

Yeah, we’re all lifetime self-experimenters, when you get down to it. From infancy onward, we conduct experiments – most of them totally informal – to understand how the world works and how to interact with it. A toddler trying avocado is testing whether it tastes good and nourishes, the teen using a cheesy pickup line is testing whether it gets the girl’s number, and the college freshman pulling an all-nighter before a midterm is testing whether she can party all quarter and still make grades. They’re all forays into the relative unknown, and they’re all crude, imperfect modes of self-experimentation, even though the experimenters probably aren’t consciously aware of any experiments being conducted. Life is full of these informal little tests.

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Violence: An Introduction to a Primal Instinct

For a guy that people don’t usually reference when talking about the ancestral health community, Tucker Max gave a fantastic talk on the importance of violence a couple weeks ago at the symposium. It was on the importance of violence in human evolution, and it centered on what he’d learned about himself since joining a mixed martial arts (MMA) gym several years back. His slides are now available, so I’d recommend taking a quick glance at them. The real meat was in the talk itself, though. Check out the video (and stick around for Seth’s talk, too). Hat tip to Tucker for stoking my thoughts on this topic.

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The Pleasure Principle

Last week a friend of Carrie’s was over for a visit, and I overheard a bit of their conversation while I was in the kitchen. She’s a new mother with all the stresses and string of obligations that come with it. On Saturday she’d gone for a massage – a gift Carrie had given her some months ago at her baby shower. She’s normally a very relaxed, low-key kind of person, but she was surprised at how much she had changed in the course of a few months. “It took me half way through the massage,” she said, “just to stop all the mind chatter – the list making, the reminders, the planning, the questions that never seem to stop running through my head these days.” She was finally able to let go after the therapist worked out some of the shoulder knots. “By the time she started on the legs,” she said, “I was a wet noodle.” Her experience got me thinking about the tension we all carry around with us and the tendency we have to get bound up in it – mentally and physically. A lot of Carrie’s friend’s angst revolved around doing all the right things for her child’s health and well-being. Even our efforts toward living a healthy life can give us grief. What set it right, in this case, was a massage – a luxurious, indulgent, sanity-restoring massage. I think we neglect this appeal to our detriment: the pleasure principle has something to teach us about health.

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