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

Primal Evolution: Change Within Weeks, Transformation in Mere Months

It’s Friday, everyone! And that means another Primal Blueprint Real Life Story from a Mark’s Daily Apple reader. If you have your own success story and would like to share it with me and the Mark’s Daily Apple community please contact me here. I’ll continue to publish these each Friday as long as they keep coming in. Thank you for reading!

Hi Mark,

Greetings from Tulsa, Oklahoma!

I’ve been debating sharing my success story, as I’m not really one to “toot my own horn.” However, I’ve thought about how others might benefit from hearing it – so here goes!

I was a very active kid and teenager growing up and liked to play a variety of sports (baseball being my favorite). Throughout middle and high school I tried my hand competitively at baseball, soccer, basketball, golf, and some recreational distance running. I always enjoyed being known for my speed, although not so much for my athletic abilities ;). Much of the reason I was fast was because I was very slender (about 135 lbs at 6’ tall). My freshman year of college I continued to stay active by playing intramural softball, and even some skateboarding. As my college years went on my activity level declined some, but I was still able to manage the same body image and general level of health, for the most part. Additionally, being a college kid, I never worried about what I ate or drank.

I took a full-time job (with the Tulsa Drillers, the AA affiliate of the Colorado Rockies) in Tulsa after college and moved from upstate NY to begin my career at age 22. For the first few years here I drank often (mostly beer after games), but for six months to a year drank a few too many Jack and Cokes. Boy did my body change! During this time I also struggled with terrible/debilitating back spasms. Finally two years ago (at age 25) I had enough of the back problems and began to do some cardio and some strength exercises to try and help combat the problem.

Last year, about a month before Thanksgiving, I discovered your blog by happenstance, and ordered your book The Primal Blueprint 21-Day Total Body Transformation. My views on health, diet, and working out all changed from that point forward. I went from weighing 180 lbs to my present day 150 in a matter of a few months. (I was heaviest at 195-200 lbs in 2010 (above).) I truly enjoy clean eating, and working out now.

This is how it happened: Since I had already incorporated some exercise into my routine, the next step was to begin eating correctly. It was amazing to learn (initially through your book, then through my own additional research) how the food we eat reacts in our bodies. I cut out SAD foods, bread, pastas, most processed foods, etc., and noticed a change in my body within a few weeks.

Once I felt I had a grasp on eating correctly I began Primal Essential Movements regularly. From there I realized I really enjoyed challenging myself with weightlifting. There’s no better feeling than being able to increase strength through hard work. I’ve continued to lift weights 5-7 days a week, and have continued to make strength gains. I recently completed a 50-day pullup challenge! 1,785 pullups in 50 days. First day begin with 10, second day do 11, and so on until you get to 60.

My diet is pretty boring now, really; my staples are eggs, bacon, steak, chicken, broccoli, asparagus, fish, and bananas. I don’t try cooking much, so these things are easy for me. Although, I have tried a few of the Primal Blueprint user submitted recipes. I particularly enjoyed Almond Banana Pancakes and Omelet Muffins. I use quite a bit of the following: organic whole butter, organic extra virgin olive oil, organic unrefined coconut oil, and almond butter sparingly. Occasionally I will drink organic whole milk with my Primal Fuel after a workout. The biggest challenge for me is eating enough vegetables, so I’ve begun to try and incorporate more of those in my diet (e.g. blending kale into my protein shakes). I supplement each meal with a protein shake (three per day). Occasionally I will add raw eggs to the shakes, and regularly add a bit of olive oil in each one.

I like to experiment from time to time with eating, and have found that I really like the LeanGains approach to meal timing. (Eat from 1 PM-9 PM, fast from 9 PM-1 PM). One of the reasons I like the approach is because I enjoy working out in the morning while in a fasted state (tons of energy typically!).

The biggest challenge I faced when making the switch to Primal was pizza. I really, really like pizza, so not eating pizza is tough! Mainly the hardest part for me is continuing to eat correctly. I don’t really know anyone else in my life who eats like I do. At work there are always cakes, cookies, etc., around. When eating at restaurants people sometimes find it hard to believe that I don’t want the loaf of bread or the baked potato with my meal. It’s not that I don’t enjoy these foods (hell, I like everything), I just choose not to eat them, and do what’s right for me. It sounds very selfish, but I’m not really concerned with what other people think I should be doing. A lot of people say that I don’t have any “fun” anymore because I choose to not go out drinking each weekend. My idea of fun is bettering myself, and continuing to learn what it takes to get stronger and healthier. I want to live a long life!

Mark, I’ve shared your book with family members, and co-workers. Reading it was the spark I needed to fuel the now fat-burning machine that is my body. Thank you!


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. when you are told you’re not fun you should just lift your shirt up and give them a glimps of your abs, that should put theim right, LOL. you look hot, man 😉

    Anna wrote on August 4th, 2012
  2. mr p, coconut oil also contains lauric acid,which is also found in mothers milk and is anti-bacterial anti-fungal, anti everything.
    In other words, great for your immune system.

    Fred wrote on August 4th, 2012
  3. Wow, your transformation is incredible! Congratulations!

    Brian Carr wrote on August 4th, 2012
  4. You handsome devil you. Seems your genetic potential has been amplified! And your doing your part to spread the message to other young ppl. Gives me hope for the future…

    Kim wrote on August 4th, 2012
  5. You look much healthier, younger, and happier. (Very cute too!) Great job! Be proud of what you have accomplished!

    Zeppelingirl wrote on August 4th, 2012
  6. Wow, Mike! You look awesome and are an inspiration! Are you single? If so, there is a like-minded 29 year old female in AZ that would love to chat! (That would be me). 😉

    Erynn wrote on August 4th, 2012
    • Single :)

      Mike wrote on August 4th, 2012
  7. Wow. Amazing transformation Mike! Well done. This is definitely an inspiration.

    It definitely is interesting to see the shock on friends’ faces when you tell them you don’t eat grains…

    stupendous wrote on August 4th, 2012
  8. Great job, Mike. I had my binge buddies mad at me, too. They either got over it or found new binge buddies. Stay with your health.

    gibson girl wrote on August 4th, 2012
  9. Good job Mike!
    I am also 24 and I just got into the Primal lifestyle and in 6 weeks I dropped 20 pounds. 5’9″ 170 and now I’m at 150 which is less than I weighed in high school.

    Starting to workout now and I feel great every single day. I like the designated driver idea in the comments. Drinking to get drunk is losing its luster.

    Keep up the good work!

    Andrew wrote on August 4th, 2012
  10. Holy Cow! You look amazing!!!

    Melissa wrote on August 4th, 2012
  11. Great work! I also don’t eat a wide variety of foods, and am starting to find this pretty boring so I hope I can find ways to shake it up without gaining weight. Thank you so much for sharing!

    Maggie wrote on August 4th, 2012
  12. Oh my god.

    Patrícia wrote on August 4th, 2012
  13. Incredible work Mike. Stating the obvious, you clearly don’t have much body fat. Can you ballpark how many calories you think you typically eat in a day?

    Joe wrote on August 4th, 2012
  14. Awesome! Keep grok-ing

    Pepinfarb wrote on August 4th, 2012
  15. Nice job kid keep it up its a great way to live.

    borntobelean wrote on August 5th, 2012
  16. Wow, well done! I love your transformation; it’s funny, all the before pictures I have seen, people’s expressions always seem tired and a little sad, and after, they seem to glow! I’ve just done a Whole30 and about to start another one, thanks for sharing your progress, just the motivator I need to amp up the gym and focus on how much better I feel NOT drinking or eating sugar and grains. :-)

    Carol B wrote on August 5th, 2012
  17. Thanks for posting your story and photos. I am inspired!

    Kerry Soliz wrote on August 5th, 2012
  18. Looking good! An awesome transformation :D.

    I am getting badgered by my friend that I should be able to have sugar “every couple of weeks”, I’m getting sick of having to say “NO! NO! NO!” I told her that for me it’s like offering alcohol to a dry alcoholic… it’s too darn addictive, and if I go without it I feel better and don’t crave it…

    She also told me off because she couldn’t buy me a take away lunch (that I didn’t even need or want).

    People can be frustrating ;). I don’t see why you’re “not fun” because you can’t pig out on pizza (besides, I recently made meatza and realised I don’t need actual pizza at all!).

    Fiona wrote on August 5th, 2012
  19. Primal blueprint + Leangains or eat stop eat = unstoppable! I thought PB was the end all be all until I started incorporating Intermittent Fasting! Good for you brother you look amazing and probably feel amazing too!

    Christopher wrote on August 5th, 2012
  20. Mike…er…wow!

    You look AMAZING!

    Those last few photos are definitely firing off a few receptors in me!

    Zoe wrote on August 6th, 2012
  21. Very nice work, Mike!

    a) amazing how cleaning up the food changes so much!
    b) i’ve been doing leangains for the last 2-3 months and love it. really takes the bricks out of the suitcase when it comes to the diet.
    c) You may want to give meatza a try. Still not a crust, but at least you can have a little cheesy/saucy goodness.

    Lloyd wrote on August 6th, 2012
  22. Big Mike! The pipes the pipes!

    Great job turning your life around at the first sign of trouble. Tragic to hear that diet and lifestyle were causing you crippling back pain in your mid 20’s. But great to see that you found the magic of Paleo so early in life. You still have time to challenge some of Mark’s Ironman achievements if you are so inclined.

    But either way you look like an Ironman already, and obviously feel like one too. That’s a beautiful thing. Grok On!

    Deuce wrote on August 6th, 2012
  23. What amazing results! And, we sound so similar, so I particularly enjoyed that you shared everything you eat and what you’ve been doing. Thanks! I have to kick it up a notch — pizza & drinking are my weaknesses. I’ve mostly kicked the pizza out, but still working to reduce the drinking on weekends. Good for you! Thanks for sharing.

    Matt wrote on August 6th, 2012
  24. I’ve gotten the same response to primal as ” A lot of people say that I don’t have any “fun” anymore because I choose to not go out drinking each weekend.”

    Jaclyn wrote on August 10th, 2012
  25. this is incredible – mostly because in the first pics you seemed like you weren’t even predisposed to develop a ripped physique … great job! i’ve been paleo for 2.5 years now due to lyme … and i love it!!

    paola wrote on August 10th, 2012
  26. oh wow – you are looking HOT. seriously – amazing transformation. you are literally a picture of health!

    Tashka wrote on September 5th, 2012
  27. phenomenal achievement!!!!!…. My body looks similar to yours in the beginning pics…also, I share your love for pizza and I am also perceived as a “boring” guy because I don’t go out drinking on weekends. Lets see if I get to the same place that you have reached….that will be quite an achievement.

    Srinivas Kari wrote on September 13th, 2012
  28. Mike great results had the same things happen to me not funny anymore and such. I’m doing me and I just couldn’t find any girls who could accept that. Luckily I found a life partner in Phil who shares the seems belief. We eat and work out together and have are fun together and I don’t care what people think Im doing what I want. Have you had similar problems like this ?

    Bill wrote on October 4th, 2012
  29. 912194 906172You ought to join in a contest for starters with the highest quality blogs online. I will recommend this page! 903374

    5222aeAalVWm wrote on October 10th, 2012
  30. Nice work! You’re truly an inspiration. I’ve been primal for about a month now and it feels awesome. Anyways, I saw that you lift weights 5-7 days a week. Do you still do that?

    Tar wrote on October 23rd, 2012
    • Actually, I have cut it down to four. Three strength training days (Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday) and swimming on Sunday. I was actually able to put on 10 lbs in a month with no diet change because of the program I am doing now. It’s the 5×5 program by Medhi. Check it out!

      Mike wrote on November 1st, 2012
  31. Oh yeah? That sounds really awesome, Mike. Thanks for the advice because right now I’m getting stuck in the CW way of lifting weights. I’ll definitely check out the 5×5 program. Thanks again, you’re truly an inspiration. Grok on!

    Tar Lee wrote on November 11th, 2012
    • Update your progress here if you try it!

      Mike wrote on November 16th, 2012
  32. Uhh, holy crap, you gotta nice bod! ( giggle giggle in background) Nice job!

    PrilmalRach35 wrote on March 3rd, 2013

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