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PrimalCon 2013 Registration Now Open!

PrimalCon. For three years, you’ve read about it, seen pictures, watched videos – experienced it as much as humanly possible through the Internet. Perhaps 2013 is the year to pull the trigger [1]? That’s right, I’m talking about you joining me and 120 other intrepid folks for PrimalCon 2013 [1], from Thursday, April 11th to Sunday, April 14th, 2013 in Oxnard, CA. That is, if you like eating phenomenal food, experiencing the breathtaking Southern California coast, hanging out with totally cool fellow Primal enthusiasts from around the globe, and learning from some of the world’s most knowledgeable experts on all facets of Primal-related eating, moving, and living.

In case you haven’t heard (or reviewed the links from 2010, 2011, and 2012 [2]), PrimalCon is our three-day health and fitness retreat – a total immersion weekend experience of expert-guided workouts, play, leisure time, lectures and presentations with assorted expert presenters on Primal-related topics, camaraderie with fellow Primal enthusiasts, and extraordinary Primal feasts – an experience that you will never forget for the rest of your life. PrimalCon is more than just great food and a lively and diverse agenda blending lectures. The truly magical element is the gathering of like-minded folks from all over the globe who share a tremendous passion for living Primally.

PrimalCon welcomes participants of all fitness and experience levels. Really, we make it work for everyone! If you’re a hardcore CrossFit Games type, we’ll have stuff to test your mettle (I’m already in serious training for the Ultimate Frisbee battles – watch out Stember, watch out Curley twins!). If you are new to Primal living, relatively unfit, injured, whatever, don’t worry – you will fit right in. Our staff makes a sincere effort to ensure that you receive appropriate guidance and pace yourself appropriately all weekend. We also offer extensive pick-and-choose flexibility on the daily agendas, so you can custom design your ideal experience. Yep, you can repeat K-Star three times if you want, or escape to the beach for a spell – we won’t tell!

The conference fee is $849 ($799 if you register by Sep. 12), which includes a morning Primal Fuel coconut milk smoothie and snack spread, delicious catered Primal lunch and dinner buffets, and a lavish goodie bag of apparel and other Primal gear. You’ll book accommodations directly with a choice of nearby options (oceanfront resort, upscale affordable motel, oceanfront campground, or even renting a beach house with your pals). To ensure an intimate experience and direct engagement with me and expert presenters, slots are limited.

What to Expect from PrimalCon 2013:

Seminars and presentations include general sessions with me and other featured presenters with specialized areas of expertise directly related to the Primal movement.

Workouts will take place right on the sand or the expansive grass fields of Oxnard Beach Park. Experts in Primal Blueprint Fitness will guide you in small groups with sessions designed to invigorate you without risking overstress or injury. Again, this conference is for absolutely everyone. Whether you’re in great shape, or you’re injured, relatively unfit, or unfamiliar with the Primal Blueprint, this weekend can kick-start a brand new way of life!

We’ll have all kinds of fun, games, and relaxation, including leisurely hiking on the beach and sand dune preserve, Ultimate Frisbee matches (of course, no good conference should be without), extensive free time for small group engagement with the presenters of your choice (wanna learn to tightrope-walk?), and the top secret Primal Team Survivor Challenge that will test all of your physical, problem-solving, and teamwork abilities.

We’ll have lavish Primal feasts featuring ridiculously colorful and enticing lunch and dinner buffets. Enjoy an amazing assortment of fresh-cooked, locally grown, pasture-raised, premium quality Primal offerings. Linger after dinner for social time (can you say, “party house”?) as the sun sets and the fog drifts in to mark the end of the day.

Oh, let’s not forget the now world-famous Primal ocean plunge. (Watch it here [3].) Don’t worry though, you can get from the water’s edge to the Embassy Suites jacuzzi [4] in about 41 seconds (might even count as a sprint workout)!

Guest Presenters

In addition to yours truly, we have a stacked presenter list for PrimalCon 2013 [1] featuring numerous leaders in the field and members of the Mark’s Daily Apple community:

Kelly Starrett [5] is Founder and operator of CrossFit San Francisco. He is an expert on performance-based orthopedic sports medicine, helping athletes prevent and recover from serious injuries with functional rehabilitation exercises. Kelly holds a doctorate in Physical Therapy and has trained numerous Olympic and professional athletes, professional dancers, and military personnel. He has competed at the elite level in whitewater rafting and whitewater kayaking. At his PrimalCon 2012 debut, Kelly absolutely rocked the house with his engaging and extremely informative presentation. I was quite busy dealing with logistics at the event, but when Kelly took the floor I stopped in my tracks and was captivated for 90 minutes. Kelly will be available at presenter free choice time to discuss specific functional problems and injuries of PrimalCon guests.

Barefoot Ted [6] is back by popular demand for his fourth consecutive PrimalCon! What a journey Ted’s been on – from the guy getting funny looks aimed at his exposed pedals to now an international celebrity and leading proponent of the exploding barefoot/minimalist shoe movement. Who can forget Ted floating along the Oxnard Beach Park [7] cement path with strides as light as a deer, undaunted by strange looks from passer-by’s and inspired 24/7 by his mission to ”re-discover primal human capacities and encouraging others to do the same.” Ted is an independent athlete committed to re-discovering primal natural human capacities and encouraging others to do the same. He has been featured in numerous articles focused on the benefits of barefoot running. He also has played a major role in popularizing minimalist footwear including Luna Sandals [8].

Michael Stember: We are overjoyed to report that Olympic runner Michael Stember will once again join us at PrimalCon. Michael was a former champion middle distance runner who owns Stanford School Records in the 800 meters and 1500 meters and competed for US Olympic team in the 2000 Games in Sydney. He ran on the professional track circuit for a decade and is one of America’s foremost running technicians and theorists about proper technique for running and fitness acuity. Michael’s engaging presentation will appeal to all fitness levels and will teach how to simply move your body properly and efficiently while running at both high speeds and slow speeds.

Angelo dela Cruz: Angelo is simply the all-around all-star of PrimalCon. He gets our days off to a great start with his morning sessions of Vitamove (an energizing/focusing mix of tai chi and stretching), and no doubt will be goaded into ending our days in style by busting out some of his break dancing moves at the beach party house! Angelo will engage with groups large and small to dispense his unique wisdom and instruction in the areas of parkour/freerunning, gymnastics, and martial arts. Angelo is also an expert healer and will be available for 1:1 stretching/massage realignment sessions during presenter free time. To get a sense of Angelo, check out his ninja warrior audition tape [9]!

Chef Rachel Albert [10]: Another four-year PrimalCon veteran, Chef Rachel presents the ultimate in fun, time-efficient, Primal-aligned meal and snack preparation with her delightful cooking demo at her private beach house kitchen. Rachel is a dynamo of enthusiasm and expertise from Phoenix, AZ who has been making quite an impact on the Primal/paleo cooking world. You may know her from her book, Garden of Eating [11]. Rachel’s demo and free-time engagements will introduce you to special cooking techniques, and also show you how to make dazzling, eye-catching arrangements that entice everyone – Primal or not – to dig in.

William Vives [12], kettlebell king, is back! William’s photo was published in the new Webster’s dictionary next to the definition of “high-energy”. William will present his unique and super-creative kettlebell workout throughout the weekend. William’s kettlebell training honors two key principles: attention to quality of movement and keeping it fun! “Quality of Movement” means fine-tuning the training to ensure that all trainees are learning and maintaining good posture, which is the foundation of efficient movement. He stresses injury prevention and patience (“First move better, then get stronger”). William teaches kettlebell training from the “ground up”, allowing trainees to work on understanding how it feels for their body to move right. The trainees flow through the complementary aspects of stability, endurance and dynamic power, while learning how even a relatively light weight (18lbs) can be an easy warm-up – or a challenging test of strength and coordination. William’s session caters to all levels – from beginners who have never held a bell to hard-core enthusiasts looking for innovative new ideas.

Monisha White [13]:  Monisha joins us again to present Esther Gokhale’s [14] posture and movement technique. Monisha was such a huge hit in 2012 she almost, almost makes people forget about her mom—that’s right, it’s Esther! A lifelong (literally!) student of the Gokhale Method, Monisha is an extremely polished and passionate presenter. She was busy all weekend giving her formal presentations and engaging 1:1 with guests to fine tune the way they stand, sit, and move. Oh, did I mention her participation in the Ultimate Frisbee matches? Well, she plays on the Stanford team and gets more air time than Michael Jordan! Don’t let the sweet smile fool you, pick her first for your team.she’ll be the one throwing, running, and catching with perfect technique.

Tara Grant [15] is a featured success story in the Primal Blueprint 21-Day Total Body Transformation. You probably remember her from her Mark’s Daily Apple success story, Tons of Doctors and No Solution [16]. She has transformed from 235 pounds to 159 pounds since going Primal in 2009. Tara suffered a litany of serious health problems related to the Standard American Diet and repeated failures of western medicine to cure her. She’ll share her story in-person of how she took matters into her own hands with a steady, sensible, Primal approach – and what you can do to overcome all the momentum against healthy living that we face today. Watching Tara materialize from the book pages to holding court with the group, detailing her amazing story, was a real treat at 2012 PrimalCon.

Timothy Williams [17] is a three-time PrimalCon alumni and is also a featured success story in the Primal Blueprint 21-Day Total Body Transformation. Check out his success story on Mark’s Daily Apple if you haven’t already: Complete Recovery Within a Week [18]. During Timothy’s transition to Primal living, he developed a passion for sledgehammer workouts, which he will present at PrimalCon. Yep, sledgehammer workouts, which you will not be able to resist taking a crack at when you meet Timothy and experience his magnetic smile and positive attitude.

Bryan Barksdale: Bryan returns to PrimalCon for the third time, having been a participant, then a group leader, and now a presenter. Bryan and his wife Tracy founded the very popular and active Austin Primal Living Group [19] which maintains over 500 members. Bryan is currently pursuing an MD/PhD at UTMB/UT Austin in neuroscience and is studying the application of ketosis in the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases. Bryan will discuss how Primal eating and lifestyle practices can optimize brain function and prevent neurodegenerative disease.

Tracy Barksdale: Tracy was so inspired by the 2012 MovNat presentations at PrimalCon that she went out and completed the intensive certification program, and transitioned from her career as a schoolteacher to present MovNat classes in Austin, TX. Tracy, co-founder of the Austin Primal Living Group [19] with husband Bryan, is part of the Fearless Training Camp, a nationwide training camp for obstacle course racers. Tracy welcomes participants of all levels to this exciting natural movement program. Check out the recent feature story on Tracy and Bryan [20] in the Galveston, TX newspaper.

Vanessa and Adam Lambert [21] will be teaching the fundamentals of Olympic lifting and Gymnastics. Vanessa, AKA Nesta Rae [22], one of Primal Blueprint’s own, has been a gymnast and competitive athlete her entire life (fitness reel [23]). Adam is Battalion Chief and Physical Fitness Coordinator for Cal Fire. The two have been CrossFit games competitors (3rd place Affiliate team 2009), surfers, and avid Primal advocates for years. If you have ever heard of Olympic lifting and have wanted the opportunity to explore this ancient craft of weightlifting, or if you are an avid O-Lifter and just want to throw some weight around, you can join Adam and Vanessa during one of your elective hours to do so! The Lamberts will also be offering an elective that focuses on the fundamentals of gymnastics. Come improve your hand stand technique, learn to do a forward roll, or simply learn some gymnastic-based calisthenics. This is a great opportunity to explore gymnastics and its application to the Primal world.

Seriously, you don’t want to miss this event, so grab your spot today [1] and take what is likely a well-deserved 3-day retreat this coming April. See you there!

Getting Down to Details

Fees: $849 conference registration

Cancellations: $100 cancellation fee (remainder refunded) if you cancel before Jan 31st, 2013. $150 fee if you cancel after 1/31/2013.

Schedule: Thursday evening, April 11 – Primal Dinner Feast and social mixer from 6:00pm to 8:00pm. Friday morning, April 12 – registration 7:30am, and then we jump right into the agenda. Well wrap up on Sunday at noon so you can embark on your journey home…and show up to work Monday morning a new person! See below for a more extensive agenda.

Travel: Oxnard is about 60 minutes North of Los Angeles proper (longer at rush hours), and about 30 minutes South of Santa Barbara on gold coast of Ventura County coast. For air travel, Los Angeles International (LAX) and Burbank (BUR) airports are your best choices. Commuter air service is offered at nearby Santa Barbara airport. Residents of Southern California and Bay Area/Northern California are recommended to drive (~6 hours from San Francisco).

The Metrolink train’s Ventura county line [24] will take you quickly from Burbank airport to Oxnard four times per day. Consult the schedule and if you require transportation from the Oxnard station let us know and our staff will accommodate you. The Roadrunner shuttle offers service from both LAX and BUR to your destination in Oxnard. For carpooling or other ride sharing options, consider posting on the PrimalCon Forum [25].


Embassy Suites Mandalay Beach Resort [26]

All-suite resort facility – walk to PrimalCon activities at adjacent beach park. Step out the back gate and onto the sand! Most upscale and convenient lodging option. Includes delicious complementary breakfast buffet with custom omelet bar. A true resort experience for a surprisingly affordable price.

We have secured a block of significantly discounted rooms at the Embassy Suites Mandalay Beach resort. Call 805-984-2500 and mention “PrimalCon” or visit the PrimalCon Embassy Suites Booking Page [27] to take advantage of the discounted package. Suites start at $149.

If you have any problems or difficulties making reservations for PrimalCon at the Embassy Suites Mandalay Beach resort, call our outstanding contact there, Natalia Molera, at 805-760-9041 or email Natalia.Molera@hilton.com [28]

Hampton Inn Channel Islands Harbor [29]

1.4 miles from beach park. Beautiful facility right on the water in the Channel Islands harbor. Kayak and bike rentals in the harbor. Deluxe continental buffet breakfast with hot items, free Internet and free parking. Top-rated hotel by Yelp and Tripadvisor in Oxnard! Fantastic cloud 9 beds to sleep hard after your big day. Choices of king, double queen, or King with sleeper. Guaranteed hassle-free experience.

The Channel Islands Hampton Inn also offers a great PrimalCon discount package of $89 per nite starting rate for basic king room up to $119 for premium queen. The hotel is honoring the 2012 PrimalCon special despite room rates increasing $50 per night in 2013! Mention “PrimalCon” when booking your room. Call (805) 985-1100 or visit: www.hamptoninnoxnard.com [30] or www.channelislandsharbor.hamptoninn.com [31]

Beach House – Get a group together and rent a beautiful beach house! Assorted options on Mandalay Beach sleep from 8-15 people. Call or email Nadine Wood at Coldwell Banker Oxnard Beach Rentals at 805 985 5190 or Nadine.Wood@camoves.com [32]

Purchase your ticket(s) for PrimalCon 2013 above. Email [33] or call 888-774-6259 if you have further questions.

2013 Daily Agenda (subject to change)

THURSDAY, April 11th

6:00pm-8:00pm: Primal Dinner Feast and informal social mixer. Location: Top secret Primal beach house TBA.

FRIDAY, April 12th

7:30am-8:00am: PrimalCon Registration: Oxnard Beach Park, permanent picnic structure #2.

8:00am-8:45am: Opening Assembly: Oxnard Beach Park. Greetings from Mark, overview of the entire weekend agenda with details about each agenda item. Form groups, introduce group leaders and presenters. Participants divided into 6 groups of ~20: A, B, C, D, E, F. Note: Groups will NOT be tiered by fitness level in 2013. We will pair/group together all participants who request such.

8:45am-12:15pm: Primal Essential Movements (PEM), Sprinting/Running Technique, and Slack Line Experience.

8:45am-9:45am: A, B: Sprinting/Running Technique. C, D: PEM. E, F: Slack Line

10:00am-11:00am: A, B: Slack Line. C, D: Sprinting/Running Technique. E, F: PEM

11:15am-12:15pm: A, B: PEM. C, D: Slack Line. E, F: Sprinting/Running Technique

12:20pm-12:50pm: Primal Lunch Buffet

Break: 10 min.

1:00pm-2:30pm: Keynote address from Mark Sisson: Oxnard Beach Park

2:30pm-3:30pm. Presenter Introductions: Brief presentations from presenters explaining their offerings:

Barefoot Ted Experience
Chef Rachel – Primal Cooking Demo
Kelly Starrett – Mobility WOD
Carrie Sisson and Karen Moore – Women’s Round Table
Tara Grant Success Story
William Vives – Kettlebell Demo
Angelo dela Cruz – Vitamove
Timothy Williams – Sledgehammer Demo
Monisha Gokhale – Posture/Movement Technique
Michael Stember – Sprinting/Running Technique
Adam and Vanessa Lambert – Olympic Lifting and Gymnastics
The Curley Brothers – Slackline

3:30pm-4:45pm: Free Choice Presentations

4:45pm-6:15pm: Kelly Starrett (A,B,C) or Cooking Demo with Chef Rachel Albert (D, E, F)

Break: 15 min.

6:30pm-8:00pm: Primal Dinner Feast: Oxnard Beach Park. Bust out chocolate afterwards at Beach Park. Get people fired up for the plunge.

8:00pm: Primal Evening Ocean Plunge at Embassy Suites back gate

SATURDAY, April 13th

7:30am-8:00am: VitaMove – energizing gentle movement session with Angelo De La Cruz

8:00am-10:30am: Primal Team Challenge or 90-minute presentation TBA

8:00am-9:15am: A, B, C: Primal Team Challenge – Survivor style teamwork challenge on the beach.
D, E, F: 90-minute presentation TBA

9:15am-10:30am: A, B, C: Exuberant Animal. D, E, F: Primal Team Challenge

Break: 15 min.

10:45am-11:45am: Free Choice Presentations (Ted, Kelly, Carrie&Karen, Tara, Ted, William, Timothy, Monisha, Curley boys, guided beach hike with group leaders)

11:45am-12:15pm: Primal Lunch Buffet

12:15pm-1:15pm: Free Choice Presentations

1:15pm-2:15pm: Free Choice Presentations

Break: 10 min.

2:25pm-3:40pm: Ultimate Frisbee matches (A, B, C) or Free Choice Presentations (D,E,F)

3:40pm-4:55pm: Ultimate Frisbee matches (D, E, F) or Free Choice Presentations (A, B, C)

Break: 5 min.

5:00pm-6:30pm: Cooking Demo with Chef Rachel (A,B,C) or 90-minute presentation TBA (D,E,F)

6:30pm-8:00pm: Primal Dinner Feast: Oxnard Beach Park

8:15pm: Beach Bonfire at Mark Sisson’s crib on Mandalay Beach (1/2 mile from beach park)

SUNDAY, April 14th

8:00am-8:30am: VitaMove – energizing gentle movement session with Angelo De La Cruz

8:30am-10:30am: Free Choice Mini-Breakout Sessions with presenters

Break: 30 min. (checkout of hotel, etc)

11:00am-12:00pm: Q&A with Mark Sisson

12:00pm-12:45pm: Primal Snack Bar and Closing Ceremonies