Marks Daily Apple
Serving up health and fitness insights (daily, of course) with a side of irreverence.
12 Jun

Primal Blueprint Success Story: More Like Grok

For anyone that is now familiar with The Primal Blueprint, you’ll recognize both of the characters to the right. It’s our lovable Primal role model, Grok, and his modern antithesis – your average overweight and over-stressed American – Mr. Korg. (A quick aside: When I read “Grok” I hear it said in my head like “Grok On!!!” But, for some odd reason, when I read “Mr. Korg” I hear it said in the voice of Eeyore.)

In short, my goal with this site and the PB is to help people go from looking and feeling like Korg to looking and feeling like Grok. This is why I am always so thrilled to hear success stories: triumphant tales of people taking control of their health and lives.

I recently received a success story from reader Sterling. It’s the sort of response to the Primal Blueprint that makes all the effort worth it.

Check out the before and after pics and read Sterling’s personal account of transformation below.



5’8”, 225 lbs, 42” waist, multiple asthma medications, depression medicine, blood pressure medicine, topical testosterone. That’s where I was 4 ½ years ago – a freaking wreck and a dream patient for big pharma.

June 2006: Through hormone therapy and a low-carb DIET only, I trimmed down from 225 lbs to 170 lbs. Great? Not so great. Like so many people, I was able to lose weight and that in itself is a good thing, but I did not do it the right way. How do I know? Because when I stopped the meds and went back to a ‘normal diet’, I quickly climbed the scales back to 210 lbs. I had not changed a damn thing!

June 2007: I was watching TV in the wee hours of the morning. I came across an infomercial for P90X (very Grok-like). What I saw was an incredibly tough workout with real people who had great results. It looked so difficult that I figured it had to be legitimate. So in June 2007, I began P90X. This was my first introduction to Mark Sisson as he talked about sports nutrition at the end of one of the workouts. Mark would later become a larger part of my success as I started to eat and move more like Grok (unknowingly at the time). We’ll get to Mark and Grok a little later. As I moved forward with my new workouts, little did I know a Pandora’s Box of health, extreme fitness, and a completely new way of life would engulf me and my entire family. Between June 2007 and November 2007 I would complete 2 rounds of P90X. End of story? Happy ending? Not quite. Hang with me…I’m getting somewhere.

November 2007: 2 rounds of P90X complete. I was moving more like Grok and eating more like Grok…but not completely. I had trimmed down to 178 lbs and felt worlds better than I had in a long time. But after a nagging shoulder injury, multiple business trips, the flu, and pneumonia, 3 months had quickly passed since I had exercised, at all. And when you struggle with guilt from making bad decisions…again, not only do you not take care of yourself with exercise, but proper nutrition suffers greatly. And they did for me. This is the story for so many people.

Although not the drastic weight gain of times past, I crept back up to the 190 lb range much to my dismay and frustration. That feeling of stepping out of the shower and in front of the mirror after having been in great shape just 3 months earlier…what a feeling a failure. Why did I let myself down? Why did I not start back earlier? Why did I not at least maintain proper nutrition? One sentence sums up the answer to these questions: Do it for the right reasons. I was not doing it for the right reasons. I set myself up for failure before I even started. I wanted to look good and have other people tell me I looked good. After realizing that fact, I was ready to start doing it for the right reasons.

March 2008: my life changed for good. This time I would do it for all the right reasons: physical health, mental health, gene reprogramming, & family. And this is where my story takes a dramatic, compelling, and incredible turn. My eating habits were better and I understood why I was eating the way I was; not only for results (although great results were what I wanted) but rather to feel better and feed my body the proper foods with purpose. And although I struggled with lowering my body fat to my satisfaction, a much bigger change was morphing inside my body. Underneath the skin and muscles that everyone else was seeing, my blood vessels, lungs, heart, chemical makeup, hormonal makeup, genes, brain cells and tissues were changing in dramatic and unprecedented ways.  Within the next 3 months, not only did my weight get down to 170 lbs, and my waist shrink to 31.5”, but my life had changed forever. Remember the litany list of medications I mentioned before? Depression medication: Gone. Blood pressure medication: Gone. Testosterone: Gone. And for the first time in 30 years…let me say that again…for the FIRST time in 30 YEARS. Asthma medications: Gone.  Done. Finished. Wow! What a concept. Proper nutrition and exercise – the best medicine available to mankind. Big Pharma and FDA beware! We are coming after your business.

How did this happen? I started to live more like Grok. I cut way back on whole grains and legumes. I was eating lots more plants and animals, whole lean proteins, fruit, and tons of veggies. I lifted heavy things often. I got 8+ hours of sleep every day and napped when I could; even if only 30 or 40 minutes.

During this time period, I discovered numerous resources online that helped me tremendously. Tom Venuto was one, especially in understanding macronutrients and calories. Mark Sisson and was another. Through visiting MDA and pestering Mark with neurotic emails on how to get leaner he encouraged me to do several things: eliminate grains, sprint, continue to do the things that had proven successful, and try intermittent fasting. Since that time, I have leaned down to 11% body fat, 157 lbs, and a 30” waist. Self-admittedly, I often do too much – a neurotic decision fueled by my obsession to get to single digit body fat (aka, Mark Sisson ripped), but MDA and Mark have taught me the right ways to get there. Sprinting has become a permanent part of my routine (at least 1 day/week but usually twice/week). And no sprinting routine would be complete without my Vibram Five Fingers (as close to barefoot as you’ll get with a ‘shoe’); yet another introduction that Mark is responsible for. If you don’t have any, go get them now. Your knees will feel better and you’ll feel more like Grok as he sprinted either from being killed or to kill (except he was barefoot).  Intermittent Fasting (IF) is my newest ‘endeavor’ and I feel a sense of accomplishment and clarity. As I continue to eat and move more like Grok, I’ll be glad to update my accomplishments.

Lastly, as I sat at a recent sales meeting (I work for a Biotech company that sells hormone replacement therapy for diabetes – yeah I know I’m in a unique field considering my belief system regarding obesity, diabetes, and overall health and fitness), I wanted to take the stage and scream at the top of my lungs. I wanted to scream! I wanted to scream that pharmacologic intervention and the billions spent on their marketing would be completely and utterly unnecessary if companies (pharma, agra, government) and doctors would spend a fraction of their time, money, and energy preaching the truth about exercise and proper nutrition. Although, at times, I don’t think that they even know (educated ignorance I guess). Sure, they offer diet and exercise as first-line treatment for a lot of medical problems. But only to fill a ‘check-the-box’ requirement for insurance companies before they move on to drug therapy. If people truly knew the healing power of proper exercise and proper nutrition, there would be nothing to stop them. But alas, the almighty dollar and the greed that fuels companies and politicians will always trump common sense and hard work. The masses have been fed a load of crap and Big Pharma, the federal government, the FDA, and Big Agra are keeping the masses fat and (un)happy. I want to be a messenger for Grok! Will you join me?


Thanks to Sterling for his inspiring story! Check out his blog – Sterling Advice.

If you have your own success story that you’d like to share or would just like to read more success stories like Sterling’s visit this page. If you are new to the Primal Blueprint and would like to learn more check out the Primal Blueprint 101 page or visit to start getting Primal!

You want comments? We got comments:

Imagine you’re George Clooney. Take a moment to admire your grooming and wit. Okay, now imagine someone walks up to you and asks, “What’s your name?” You say, “I’m George Clooney.” Or maybe you say, “I’m the Clooninator!” You don’t say “I’m George of George Clooney Sells Movies Blog” and you certainly don’t say, “I’m Clooney Weight Loss Plan”. So while spam is technically meat, it ain’t anywhere near Primal. Please nickname yourself something your friends would call you.

  1. Mark,
    While I am all one for debate and educated disagreements, I am very thankful you took down the comments. I came in late and never saw her initial comments but am very proud of the MDA community for dealing with it in a respectful way.

    Negativity is a very unhealthy and toxic way of life. We should be thankful for what we have and our opportunities.

    Be blessed.

    Colleen wrote on July 28th, 2009
  2. Sterling watching you transform your body and your life has been a wonderful experience. I commend you on your success and am very proud of your hard work and dedication!

    Lee wrote on August 3rd, 2009
  3. hey mark. kudo’s on the deletion of profanity and negativity. People need to be happy and healthy. Grok on, I need a t-shirt. Where do I get one?

    Dan Lange wrote on December 3rd, 2009
  4. Hi Lisa,

    It’s perfectly appropriate to be skeptical, though it is possible to make some useful generalizations about differences in diet between the present and our distant past. It’s my understanding that we don’t know enough to definitively place a beginning point to human agriculture, for example, so it could have existed well before we have evidence for it.

    Also, I have to chime in on the asthma issue. I had exercise-induced asthma and changes to my diet along these lines (focused on reducing inflammation, as has been discussed here and at Art de Vany’s site) improved my condition quite a bit. As you might have suggested yourself, there are different kinds of asthma, and I believe the exercise-induced variety is different from the in a number of ways. But my experience suggests that diet played a big (in my uninformed opinion dominant) role in getting my own condition under control.

    Scott wrote on June 14th, 2009
  5. Ridiculous? Romanticize? What’s ridiculous is the amount of processed foods, refined sugar, and chemical additives we eat today. What type of “paleoman” ate such things?

    Diet can be a very significant part of any condition or disease related to inflammation or immune dysfunction, including asthma.

    Even water can cure asthma (or rather, dehydration can cause it). For more information, read The Body’s Many Cries for Water by Dr Batmanghelidj or the article I wrote about it.

    Vin - NaturalBias wrote on June 14th, 2009
  6. “There is NO WAY diet cures asthma.”

    It cured my friend’s asthma. Sometimes certain foods cause asthma (i.e. allergenic inflammation in the lungs), so taking the offending foods out removes the problem.

    Sometimes it’s caused by other things though.

    Candace wrote on June 14th, 2009
  7. Hi Lisa,

    I’m not up anyone’s butt. I simply have a passion for natural health and appreciate the sentiment of Mark and many of the other people here.

    No, I’m not licensed practitioner, but I have been trained, and I also read a lot of work from authors who have forgotten more about health than you or I know. I also have first hand experience with how the “modern world” of medicine fails so many people. It certainly didn’t help me deal with chronic fatigue syndrome.

    Drugs are absolutely necessary and I’m grateful for them. However, you seem to be an advocate of “a pill for every ill” and I think your position exemplifies the shortsighted symptom chasing mentality of modern medicine.

    Sure, you need anti-inflammatory drugs to treat an acute asthma attack, but that certainly doesn’t mean that you can’t change what you eat and how you live to prevent an acute asthma attack from happening in the first place.

    Vin - NaturalBias wrote on June 14th, 2009
  8. Lisa, this is hilarious. A picture is worth a thousand words. The lifestyle works, and it works for a reason.

    I’ll be happy to send you my pics too, as are hundreds of others I’m sure.

    If you want to be a spiral-eyed zombie and follow the mainstream media Oprah plan, go right ahead – I couldn’t care less. But to discredit true success is just shameful jealousy in my eyes, and you owe Sterling an apology for your negative attitude.

    Berto at PricePlow wrote on June 14th, 2009
  9. Ahh, my darling, you should be careful with comments such as “There is NO WAY diet cures asthma.”

    It only takes one case to prove you wrong. In this thread alone, we have three.

    Falsafiability’s quite a pain, isn’t it? Damn that scientific method!

    Berto at PricePlow wrote on June 15th, 2009
  10. Lisa,

    I’m all for a good debate, but name calling is where I draw the line in my comment boards. If you think you have a point please try making it with a reasoned argument and back it up with research instead of resorting to ad hominem attacks. Let’s keep things positive.

    Also, Sterling’s story is a very inspirational story of transformation. How about a little support instead of trying to bring everything down?

    Mark Sisson wrote on June 15th, 2009
  11. Yes, and that’s 98% of the problem. 😉

    Vin - NaturalBias wrote on June 15th, 2009
  12. The point isn’t to ‘romanticize’ Grok.

    The point is to EMULATE an extremely strong bodytype/lifestyle that HAD to survive these ridiculously harsh conditions, otherwise there would be no successful bearing of children.

    We may not need to live in “Survival of the Fittest” terms these days, but it’s what our bodies crave and have evolved to do. And emulating that lifestyle yields amazing results, both mentally and physically. You still can’t deny that the results speak for themselves.

    Lisa, go away. I’m sick of my inbox being flooded by your rhetorical vomit. You are clearly missing the major point and have reduced yourself to nitpicking over insignificant details.

    Berto at PricePlow wrote on June 15th, 2009
  13. Define “NEED”. Because I still see three examples that prove you wrong. Still haven’t looked up falsafiability, have you?

    Remember, big pharma and your idolized hospital doctors have two jobs: To keep you alive and keep you PROFITABLE. They are clearly successful at that, no doubt. But we don’t all have to fall for it.

    So which asthma drug do you sell, anyway? What is it in this thread that makes you so scared?

    Berto at PricePlow wrote on June 15th, 2009
  14. Sorry everyone had to deal with LisaR’s angry rants. The rhetoric got a bit out of hand in my opinion. Calling people names doesn’t fly on my comment boards so her comments have been deleted. I appreciate her different perspective, but not her approach.

    Be happy and live a wonderful day, everyone!


    Mark Sisson wrote on June 15th, 2009

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