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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Tag: prevention

10 Actions for an Anti-Stress Protocol

It almost goes without saying: Stress is at an all-time high. Not the kind of major traumatic stress we see elsewhere, sure. At least in the Western world, there aren’t any horrific sectarian conflicts scouring the landscape and generations to come. Our infrastructure is built to withstand most natural disasters. Our world is safe and predictable and sterile. But we’re stressed out just the same, afflicted with the kind of pernicious, low-level, unending stress that drives people into substance abuse, that promotes depression and suicide and broken relationships. The type that never quits. The kind you just want to drown out with Netflix and Facebook and anything at all to take your mind off the churning within.

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Popular Blood Tests—the Facts, Ranges, and Alternatives You Should Know

I’m of two minds when it comes to blood testing. For myself, I’m not a huge fan of obsessive, frequent testing and optimization. I have a good idea about how to optimize my health through the actions I take and the foods I eat, and by monitoring how I’m feeling, looking, and performing in response. It’s worked well for me. Whenever I do get a checkup or have blood drawn, my numbers are great.

But many people are the opposite. They like to quantify what’s happening under the hood. That’s great, and often necessary. The problem is that there are big problems with many of the most common blood tests.

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Dear Mark: What Does High HDL Mean? and Is Exercise Good or Useless for Weight Loss?

Today’s edition of Dear Mark is a relatively brief two-parter, but it’s a good one. First, I answer a question about HDL. Is higher good? Is higher (sometimes) bad? How does a person make sense of all the seemingly conflicting information? Then I explain how two statements about exercise and weight loss can be simultaneously correct and apparently contradictory. Is weight loss effective or useless for weight loss, or what?

Let’s go:

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Promises and Limitations of the “Personalized Care” Movement: Where We Are Now

Several years ago, I gave my take on the “personalized care” movement: the broad push to use a person’s genetic data to design optimal therapies, treatments, interventions, and pharmaceuticals. I was supportive and hesitantly optimistic, but I also acknowledged the limitations and drawbacks. Yes, genetics do determine how we respond to different therapies, and we can optimize medical care using the information—if we understand what our genes are saying and how they interact with the environment.

It’s only picked up steam. In last year’s State of the Union address, President Obama announced the Precision Medicine Initiative, pledging renewed efforts and funding to develop treatments tailored for an individual’s genetics, lifestyle, and environment. Businesses have sprung up promising to analyze your genetic data and create personalized workout routines, meal plans, and daily habits.

We’ve made big strides in personalized medicine.

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Why Training Your Tendons Is Important (and 11 Ways to Do It)

Building muscle is simple. Lift heavy things, rest, make sure you eat enough food, sleep, repeat. For a beginner, progress is linear and relatively sudden. You get quick feedback: your muscles get more defined, you look a little leaner, you can lift a little more each session, friends and co-workers notice and comment on the changes. New striations pop up, clothes fit differently, you feel more capable dealing with the physical world. You’re hungrier and heavier, yet still manage to drop belt sizes. All is well.

Muscle isn’t the only thing you’re impacting when you lift heavy things, though. You’re also imposing stress on your tendons and demanding an adaptive response. You’re training your tendons, too.

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Dear Mark: Does Cupping Work?; Do I Need More Protein?

For today’s edition of Dear Mark, I’m answering a couple questions from readers. The first one concerns cupping, the controversial therapy used by dozens of Olympians, including most notably Michael Phelps. What does it do, if anything? How does it work, if it even works? And then I discuss the need for increased protein intake in the context of losing lean mass. We want to lose fat, not lean, remember, and there’s evidence that increasing your protein intake can preserve lean muscle. Especially when you’re exercising a ton and eating low-carb.

Let’s go:

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Are You Suffering from Thyroid Dysfunction? Here’s How a Primal Lifestyle Can Help

Today’s guest post is written by Elle Russ, author of Primal Blueprint Publishing’s newest upcoming title, The Paleo Thyroid Solution, which is available on Amazon.com. To learn more about Elle, you can visit her website, ElleRuss.comElle is not a medical doctor. Her story and advice below are not intended to diagnose, prevent, treat or cure thyroid issues, but instead to serve as a point of discussion between you and your doctor.

Chances are, you or someone you know has suffered from some kind of thyroid dysfunction.

There is a big discrepancy among experts’ estimates of how many thyroid patients exist in the United States. But the common assessment seems to be about 20 million Americans, while some groups estimate 27 million—with 13 million of them undiagnosed. Roughly 200 million people worldwide have some form of thyroid disease, and 60% of those with thyroid disease are undiagnosed and unaware of their condition.

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The Definitive Guide to Coffee

Coffee is serious business. We Americans drink about 400 million cups of it per day and spend several billion dollars on it each year. It’s the most popular drug on earth, and certainly the most socially acceptable. In many ways, coffee’s the closest thing we’ve got to a universal, daily ritual, as just about every morning, billions of people across the planet prostrate themselves before the holy, energy-giving legume. It also hails from the same place the earliest members of our species do: East Africa (Ethiopia, to be exact). That the most industrious animal ever to walk the planet and the psychoactive legume that fuels said industry both hail from the same place on earth is pure poetry.

Coffee’s also delicious. I’d say you’d have to pry my coffee from my cold, dead fingers, only the ensuing struggle would slosh it all onto the floor, and that would be such a waste.

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Take It Easy, Increase Progress: How to Make Your Training More Primal

I recently had the pleasure of interviewing my friend and business and training partner Brad Kearns for the upcoming Primal Endurance Online digital course (more about that later). It was more of a discussion, really, and we kept coming back to the same three elements for constructing any successful training program. I’m going to present them as they came to me—as bullet points, as tangentially related thoughts. Then I’ll expand on them from there.

Without further ado…

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3 Common Types of Headache (and How to Treat Them Naturally)

One major downside to having these big prominent heads stuffed with consciousness-spawning brain matter is that they sometimes ache. Nobody likes a headache. You can find fetishists who enjoy pinching, slapping, biting, burning and any matter of objectively painful stimuli. But there aren’t “headache fetishists.” No one’s chugging a 32 ounce Slurpee in search of brain freeze, or getting drunk for the hangover.

The difficult thing about headaches is figuring out why they’re occurring. Pain in other areas is different. You can look at your hand if it’s hurting and figure out why. You can see the cut on your knee and know what’s going on. But you are your head, and the headache is inside. Your consciousness sits behind your eyes observing reality and directing your role in it. It’s all a big mystery. Or so it feels.

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