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...

Tell Me More
Stay Connected

Category: Personal Improvement

Personal Experiment: Does Daily Movement Make You Happier, More Energetic and Less Stressed?

It’s 3 o’clock in the afternoon. What’s the condition of your backside? Can you feel your legs, or did at least one of them fall asleep a few hours ago? And your back? Neck, shoulders – how much tension are they carrying at this point in the day? Not to mention your mood and concentration? Does your attitude take a nosedive this time of day? Has your brain turned to mush? Did you just have to read the same set of instructions or email memo a couple of times because your mind wandered off? How often do you end up feeling like this in a typical afternoon?

And…when was the last time you got up and moved – beyond a quick trip to the toilet or break room? I sense a lot of blank stares on the other side of this screen.

Are you one of them, or did you identify with any of the above scenarios? Consider your day for a moment – specifically your activity level. How compartmentalized is it?

Read More

Why Getting Fit Isn’t the Best Exercise Motivation (and 10 Better Reasons to Move Today)

We’re told time and again that in order to get healthy we need to let go of our “lower” instincts (e.g. conserving energy on the couch or preferring to go out and have fun) and embrace future goals. We need to take things seriously – have concrete objectives and clear steps to execute them. It’s about getting down to business and whipping ourselves into shape through the grit of sweat and discipline. Or?

Sure, a proclivity to plan for the future and to favor self-control over momentary whim, research shows, will get us far on the health front (PDF).

Read More

How to Create a String of Success

It’s always interesting to be in this business and read the health headlines. So often, they seek to hook us with the promise of ultimate clarity: “Rehabing Health: Diet or Fitness First?” or “Should I Sleep or Exercise?” The underlying assumption is that there’s a conclusive rule to this – that we all conform to the same pattern, a universal law that will remake the game for everyone.

Sure, I believe our physiology conforms to some pretty standard principles. The Primal Blueprint is based on them. As such, I incorporate these direct-route, often multi-functional strategies whenever and wherever I can. But my work and life experience have taught me something important about these laws and “hacks”. The mental versions of these, when properly and personally applied, tend to have the biggest and broadest impact.

Read More

What Screen Time Does to Our Kids (and What We Can Do About It)

For many parents I know, it’s one of those prime examples of “what I thought I’d never do before I had kids” versus “what I ended up doing after I actually had them.” After all, most of us were children of those pre-tech boom years. (Some of us were even pre-T.V.) We never had all the gadgets when we were growing up. Instead, we spent hours of childhood being bored and finding creative solutions that had no connection to a power outlet. Our tech toys were the likes of Lite-Brite or walkie-talkies (if we were lucky), not $600 app-loaded tablets. Summer road trip? That’s what Mad Libs were for.

Read More

7 Childhood Activities that Can Make You Healthier and Happier

Both my kids are grown now, but I still enjoy thinking back on the days when they were little. I can still see them covered in sand while digging on the beach, waiting enthusiastically for the next wave to knock them over, lost in whatever games their eager minds had come up with that day. While they definitely had their share of irritable days (mostly when tired or hungry), most of the time they were pure exuberance and unbridled energy – alternating between a wide-lens, darting awe of what was around them and a laser focus on whatever new treasure they had fixated on.

Likewise, they hadn’t yet absorbed conventional answers or expectations. Other than a few basic rules Carrie and I prioritized, they moved through their days with pure instinct. They let us know what they wanted (e.g. hugs, food) and were likely in much better touch with their needs than we were with our own as tired, busy parents.

Read More

How Important Is Consistency in Fitness?

Time to take an informal poll. Who here fits in two strength training sessions, 1-2 sprint/interval sessions and 3-5 hours of walking or low level cardio on top of ample play time – every single week? I’m betting there’s still a lot of hands raised in this crowd, but I’m going to wager I lost quite a number as the list went on. In an ideal world with a perfect schedule, we’d all consistently reach these goals. The best results come from this general protocol. That said, this level of regularity is probably the exception rather than the rule if you’re talking about the long-term – month after month, year after year. And, yet, plenty of us are in great shape – even if we didn’t always fit in the above full regimen. Hmm… Maybe the concept of consistency is more nuanced than we normally give it credit for.

Read More

Great Expectations: Why Good Health Is Awesome (but Not a Panacea)

How often do we bemoan people’s lack of expectations around their health? Their passivity. Their inertia. Their apathy. (Perhaps our own.) They just don’t seem to care or even expect that good health would offer them enough to justify the effort. I can feel heads shaking out there. Personally, I don’t get it either.

On the other hand, there are those people who hold good health on all encompassing pedestals. Maybe you know a few – or have identified as one yourself at some point. They’re the folks who believe that if they can only lose X pounds or get into great shape or achieve washboard abs that everything else in life will finally come together. They’d finally be happy, successful and otherwise “worthy.” And their thinking becomes a distortion that tells them they flat-out can’t be those things until they’ve achieved their physical end goals (as if there is such a thing). As odd as it might sound to some, I can’t tell you how many people I’ve seen latch onto this panacea principle.

Read More

Precommitment Is Powerful, or Why You Should Be Like Odysseus

Most of the time, we wield willpower like a holstered gun with the safety off. Temptation rears — an ice cream bar, perhaps — and we whip it out, firing blindly and wasting more than a few bullets in the process. The temptation is beat back, and the ice cream goes uneaten, but the willpower that remains is depleted and less effective in subsequent encounters. And the same thing happens every time we’re faced with a decision. That’s a sloppy way of dealing with the constant stream of temptation the modern world presents.

Read More

7 Ways to Use Stoic Philosophy to Improve Your Health and Happiness

A few weeks ago, I shared some thoughts on one of my favorite books of late, A Guide to the Good Life: The Ancient Art of Stoic Joy by William B. Irvine. I appreciated the comments from folks who connected with the central message: how to cultivate a life with the most peace and contentment possible. The Stoics were fans of living life mindfully and deliberately. When we’re honest, it’s easy to see how easy (and common) it is to spend life by accident. Getting through the day turns into getting through the years, turns into life gone by. What will we be thinking at that stage? Better, the Stoics advised, to be clear about your intentions, thoughtful in your choices, simple in your desires and content in your days. Here’s how I translate that to Primal practice.

First, let me say that this isn’t to abandon the Primal model. I’ve always said that the Primal Blueprint isn’t about recreating primordial conditions. It’s about identifying ancestral patterns, measuring their confluence with modern circumstances and gleaning useful strategies from all available sources to live the healthiest and happiest life possible.

Read More

The Pitfalls and Limitations of Self-Experimentation

I’m a huge proponent of self-experimentation. We can’t always rely on funding for research relevant to our needs, interests, and desires, and those studies that are relevant are still using participants that are not us. We like control, when it comes down to it. We want to be the arbiters of our own destinies, and running (formal or informal) self-experiments of 1 can help us get to that point. But as helpful as it can be, there are both inherent limits to self-experimentation and common pitfalls people fail to take into account when designing their experiments of one.

I’m not referring to the basics of experimentation, like the need to control for variables or the importance of limiting the number of interventions you test at once. You guys know that stuff. I’m talking about the limitations most people don’t foresee:

Read More

Join Over 300,000 Subscribers!

Signup and get:

Primal Blueprint Fitness plus 7 other eBooks
7-Day Course on Primal Fundamentals
Special Offers and More!