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

The 2011 Primal Blueprint 30-Day Challenge Begins Now

If you want to lose weight, gain muscle, reduce stress, increase energy or just generally look and feel healthier you’ve come to the right place. Oh, and you can win lots of cool Primal gear, too. That’s right, it’s the annual Primal Blueprint 30-Day Challenge!

The 30-Day Challenge Details

So what’s the challenge? To get Primal, of course! I hold this 30-Day Challenge every year to encourage Primal beginners to give this way of eating, moving and living a try because I know it works, I know how empowering it is, and I know it changes lives.

I also do it to motivate those that have been dabbling with the Primal lifestyle for a while, but haven’t fully committed or still have some room for improvement (myself included!), to go all in and resolve to finally tackle whatever it is they want to address in their lives.

The actual challenge itself is pretty straightforward. The details can be found in the image below. I recommend downloading the 30-Day Challenge flyer here, and clicking on the links to learn more about each of the topics. (And maybe print a few copies to hand out to friends!)

No sign-up required. Anyone can participate. Just commit to the challenge, and check back every day for motivation and guidance.

Above and beyond the challenge as outlined below, I encourage you to make your own personal challenges. Customize your goals to fit your needs and commit to 30 days starting now.

Primal Blueprint 30-Day Challenge

The Primal Leap – One-on-One Support

This 30-day challenge perfectly complements The Primal Leap. The Primal Leap is my effort to provide one-on-one support and step-by-step guidance to those looking to lose weight, take control of their health and get Primal for life. If you would like expert feedback and be told exactly what to do and when to do it The Primal Leap is for you. Learn more here.

Community Support

Just like last year, I highly encourage you to use the forum during the challenge. In it you can start a “Primal Challenge Journal” to publicly state your goals and track your progress.

Create a journal to receive positive feedback, advice and help along the way from myself and the Mark’s Daily Apple community.

The 30-Day Challenge Contests FAQs

The main challenge itself isn’t competitive but that doesn’t mean we can’t have some friendly contests along they way!

Over the course of the next month Mark’s Daily Apple and sponsors will be giving away thousands of dollars in prizes.

Here are some rules and answers to FAQ:

  • There will be a new contests nearly every day for the duration of the 30-day challenge (through Oct. 11), so check back daily!
  • All contest prizes relate in some way to the Primal lifestyle. You won’t find any miracle weight loss pills, tummy crunching sling-a-ma-doo-dads, or whole wheat health blast jazzer snackers.
  • Some contests will require a bit of leg work while others will require something as simple as commenting on a blog post.
  • There is no limit to how many contests you can participate in.
  • The duration of any one contest depends on the nature of the contest. Some will last a few weeks (to give you time to complete the contest task) while others will be as short as one day. All deadlines are Pacific Standard Time.
  • Contest prizes will be awarded either by a random drawing, by reader voting/polling or by an executive decision (who I think should win!).
  • Some prizes will only be available to United States residents. If you live outside the U.S. and win a prize that can’t be shipped internationally an alternate prize of equal value will be awarded.
  • I’m not being paid by any company that is sponsoring the contest with a prize.

To track all the contests visit the 2011 Primal Blueprint 30-Day Challenge Contest Page for daily updates.

New to the Primal Blueprint and Mark’s Daily Apple?

If you are new to the Primal Blueprint and Mark’s Daily Apple and don’t know where to begin here are some resources to get you started:

1. Not sure what it means to “Go Primal”? Check out these articles for the basics:

2. The Primal Blueprint 101 Page

3. The Forum – Ask any and all questions you have about the Primal lifestyle.

4. The Book

5. What to eat? – Primal Blueprint Recipes on MDA and The Primal Blueprint Cookbook and Primal Blueprint Quick & Easy Meals

6. Have a question? – Contact Me

Tell your friends and family about the challenge so they can get Primal, too! Use the “ShareThis” link below to send this article via email.

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. Have dabbled in Paleo before but never jumped in wholeheartedly. I commit to 30 days without grain and learning as many new paleo recipes as possible. Had coconut flour pancakes last night and started the day off right today with salmon, greens and tomotoes for breakfast. Doing CF hero workouts all this week in honor of 9/11 – started with Murph yesterday and walked in the forest with the dogs this morning. Excited for this challenge!

    Erik wrote on September 13th, 2011
  2. I try to live the primal lifestyle but still can’t seem to lose the weight. I think I need additional help and maybe with the 30 day challenge I will get it!

    Amy wrote on September 13th, 2011
  3. In addition to giving up all sugar and grains, adding sprints twice a week to my workout regimine, I will not bathe or shower for this 30 day challenge! Now THAT’s primal

    Romeo wrote on September 13th, 2011
  4. I’ve been primal since the 1st of the month. Definitely joining in!

    Kerri O wrote on September 13th, 2011
  5. Drs. refused to operate on my knee/femur because of my ABI, so i took it upon myself to rehab with a trainer and chiro.. started with showing the trainer your book lol so yeah, rehabbing and stripping down to a better , healthier, happier me:)

    ellen wrote on September 13th, 2011
  6. My husband and I started the challenge yesterday – really excited!
    We have been eating Paleo/Primal since the day after Thanksgiving 2010. I’ve lost 45 lbs since then and feel absolutely incredible.
    We’ve fallen off the wagon lately (just slightly, we love margaritas and texmex :)) and we’re ready for the challenge!
    I know we missed the mini challenge, but our goals are to sleep 8 hrs or more each night, and closely follow the primal exercise routines – and of course, no margaritas.
    Good Luck, everyone!

    Lindsey Kidd wrote on September 13th, 2011
  7. of all the challenges in life, why is it that food is the hard one?

    my roommate who has struggled with weight and I, who has always had problems keeping weight, are both attempting to move to a Primal Lifestyle.

    personally my hardest bad food to give up is sugars. i have always been a candy snacker. jelly beans, hard candy, licorice and soda are staples in my life.

    since finding your site i have curbed my intake of sugar quite a bit and feel much healthier. my workouts seem more effecient and my teeth are thanking me already.

    Mickey Moore wrote on September 13th, 2011
    • of course that is not the only one, but it is a great step, as is quitting smoking, and more regular exercise.

      i am proud of myself, and proud of my roommate. she works three times as hard as i do.

      Mickey Moore wrote on September 13th, 2011
  8. I’m so excited! My challenge to myself is to eat 100% primal!

    elysia wrote on September 13th, 2011
  9. I am hoping to get into one-derland (meaning,getting my weight into the 100’s). I also want to continue to improve my morning/afternoon bike commutes.

    Paganmom wrote on September 13th, 2011
  10. Wow! I’m feeling so inspired. I’ve just spent the last couple of hours reading page after page of people challenging themselves and loving their Primal lives!

    My Personal Challenges:

    1) Fitness – On top of my ordinary medium intensity cardio I will do:
    1 HIT session a week. I think that means sprints for me.
    2 sessions of Heavy lifting a week. I set myself a pull up challenge in July. I’ve gone from not budging to being able to lift myself 4-5″ – the plan is at least 1 full lift by December!

    2) Sleep – I will try to get 8 hours a night.

    I really struggle with getting enough sleep. It impacts on my life in such a major way. My mood, my effectiveness at work, my ability to mange my diet and the energy to move about enough.

    It’s my biggest saboteur. And I’m not sure about what stops me. Staying up too late, reading MDA comments?! Coffee? Chocolate?

    3) Food – I’m almost there with the food. I’m already grain free, nightshade free. I’ve even managed to be sugar free 95% of the time the past few months. I still struggle with dairy and legumes – chickpeas to be specific!

    So, my food challenge will be to keep my carbs under 80g a day and No dairy and No legumes (and sticking to my other exclusions as per normal)

    I’ve already ‘technically’ broken this with a protein shake (dairy), tamari (soy) (and chocolate?) What do you guys reckon?

    I’m going to start a journal on here and have just set up a blog to document my journey.

    Come see me at

    Looking forward to sharing and learning with others over the next 28 days!

    Super Gaily Girl wrote on September 13th, 2011
  11. My challenge is sleeping! 4:30 a.m. have a quick breakfast work @ 6 p.m., get out @ noon, home by 1, son gets home from school @ 3 p.m., we eat dinner @ 4pm I bring him to work for 5pm pick him up @ 9pm and bed by 10 or 11 pm and so tired every day that I never have energy to work out! so I put the 17 plus lbs I lost when starting primal in June back on :( and I have no money to buy the book so I wing my recipes with what I can afford to buy. Hopefully next year my son will have his license and I will be able to get 8 hrs. sleep, but for now I am lucky if I get 6 :(

    Susan wrote on September 13th, 2011
    • oops! i meant work @ 6am! LOL

      Susan wrote on September 13th, 2011
  12. This primal thing sounds intriguing, I just happened onto this website and have read quite a bit so far. I am going to go full blast and see what happens. I work out regularly with running and weight lifting but eat pretty bad.

    I would like to see how the 30 days goes and if anything changes with the diet modifications and adding in a lot more sprinting, sounds fun!

    thedude wrote on September 13th, 2011
  13. Last summer it hit me I had only one year to go before the big 50. It was time to take back control of my mind and body.
    In short I quit smoking, cut way back on alcoholic drinks, turned away all sugar including the almighty butter pecan ice cream. Started walking and eating better.
    A good friend introduced me to “Marks Daily Apple” :)
    That’s when the lights came on and everything started making sense. I had some real direction. Now I can actually sprint for short distances and I don’t need anti inflammatory pills. I’ve lost 50 lbs. and my look good naked is looking better than It has in a long long time. Every day is so much more enjoyable, 50 is looking a lot less scary.
    You can make the decision to change in a split second. Do it…and join us on this 30 day challenge and change your life now!

    Pat Lais wrote on September 13th, 2011
  14. I welcome this challenge. It will put me to the test. I have long contemplated the primal principles of good health and how to introduce them into my life. I will fast and run like heck.

    Albert Carrasco wrote on September 13th, 2011
  15. Any support forums for those who need a ‘Primal Kick in the Pants’ every once in a while (myself)?.

    zanno wrote on September 13th, 2011
  16. Day 2: still meeting my goal of fewer than 70 grams of carb per day. Tough to do, ate a small apple today that almost ruined my goal. Happy to say I’m ready for tomorrow.

    Jackie wrote on September 13th, 2011
  17. I recently took all sugars and non-ancient foods out of my diet at the challenge of my trainer who is a big fan of Mark’s. I feel amazing and we put some of those calories back into my diet using fats and other nutrient dense foods especially fish and raw ancient vegetables. It’s fun and he challenged me to do it for 30 days and I like it. Won’t keep it up forever but it’s a great challenge. Good luck to you all as well, you’ll love it!

    Tim Duncan wrote on September 13th, 2011
  18. I’m excited about this challenge. I’ve been wanting to get really focused and I believe this will help. I’m going to work on getting the 8 hours of sleep. I exercise quite a bit already but I do want to incorporate the sprints into my workout as well. Eating is pretty good, but I could do better. I know to get the results I want, I will really have to focus on my eating as well.

    Suz wrote on September 13th, 2011
  19. Late entry for day 2 but had an awesome primal/paleo dinner with new friends where discussions of the lifestyle ruled the evening. Rested physically as tomorrow I will take a dance class. Did get 15 minutes of sun.

    Roark2112 wrote on September 13th, 2011
  20. I want to have more energy to keep up with my kids!

    Tracy wrote on September 13th, 2011
  21. Woo hoo. Love the challenges Mark, and am going strong for day 2!

    Shannon wrote on September 14th, 2011
  22. Do you have to tweet to do the challenge?

    kelly wrote on September 14th, 2011
  23. I love being primal and particpating in 30 day challenges to be stronger and healthier for 5k’s and Sprint Triathlons..

    Joy wrote on September 14th, 2011
  24. Day 3 is over for me: did it again, just barely under 70 grams of carb for the day. Difficult, but not impossible. Just need to stay away from the fruit. Found out broccoli (my “new fruit”substitute) has 16 gm carb in 1.5 cups…that’s a lot!

    Jackie wrote on September 14th, 2011
    • Well done Jackie! Day 3 in the bag! But, are you sure about the broccoli!? That sounded like a lot so I had a quick look here:

      Maybe you can have a wee bit more than you thought?!

      Best of luck with days 4-30!

      Super Gaily Girl wrote on September 14th, 2011
      • Isn’t that funny! I use a food tracker that accesses the USDA food base, and 1.5 cups showed up as 16 grams carb. (Cooked, boiled, drained, without salt.) Hey, what can I say except time to celebrate with more broccoli! Thanks for the heads up.

        Jackie wrote on September 16th, 2011
  25. Never saw who the winner of day 1’s prizes was. Has it been posted? Saw the mini challenge winner but not the main…..

    XFit wrote on September 14th, 2011
  26. Day 3, another success. Ate well, listened to a nutrition seminar on a conference call and signed up for an online cooking class. Soon I’ll be experimenting with new delicious foods!

    Roark2112 wrote on September 14th, 2011
  27. Day three of the Primal Blueprint, minus a sugar free Red Bull and sugar free creamer”must for my coffee, 80% right” have basically cut out all processed foods. Made my own orange juice last night and today am going to grill a roast and have it with some grilled veggies that I am going to pick up at the farmers market.I know its only day 3 but I feel different. Also started back to the gym after a 2 week break. Combining Crossfit and walking every day like Grok!

    Swany wrote on September 15th, 2011
  28. Over the past couple years, I have been feeling extremely tired in the middle of the day and evenings, and dealing with with headaches off and on. In addition, I need to loose about 20 pounds. I discovered this website last week and thought I’d give the 30 Day Challenge a try. Well, let me tell you, I impressed already.

    Day 1 had a bit of a headache and normal tiredness in the evening. Day 2, no headache and a little tired in the evening. Day 3 felt great!! Had more energy than in a very long time. Had to force myself to get to bed. Either very coincidental or this thing REALLY works. I guess time will tell.

    new2paleo wrote on September 15th, 2011
  29. I want to improve my disease. I am a diabetic and would love nothing more than to get off some or all of this medication. I want to teach my son that there are better food choice rather than fast food. Seems thats all the kids want. Makes me sick….and broke.

    Dawn wrote on September 15th, 2011
  30. Day 4 was good. Had to improvise as the gas on my stove was cut off by ConEd maintenance so I had to make cold salad with ham as my meal. Went to a fundraiser dinner and enjoyed the fish. Swam a little and walked 4 miles. Rained most of the day so no real sun exposure. Happy with the progress.

    Roark2112 wrote on September 15th, 2011
  31. Wow I am enjoying the daily sun so far. I spare a few minutes every day and it gives me time to think as well.

    Who knew it would help so much

    Mickey Moore wrote on September 16th, 2011
  32. STOP!!! DO NOT THROW OUT YOUR WHITE WHEAT FLOUR!!! But don’t eat it either – as a mom of four and a wife of a Canadian rancher (ie: no gov’t subsidies) we are on a TIGHT budget. So what to do with the 5kg of flour and 2l canola oil in my pantry now that there will be now baking with it. I can’t just throw away money – Ahhh HA! Playdough – kids love it, I love it and now the flour/oil has a new resting spot.. the craft room. If you don’t have kids, make it anyway, it’s fun :) or make it and donate it to the closest daycare/school. Here’s the recipe:
    MamaBears Playdough
    1 cup death dust (flour)
    2 Tbsp cream of tartar (baking aisle)
    1 cup water
    2 Tbsp canola oil
    1/2 cup regular salt
    food coloring
    1 tsp almond extract (optional – smells good)
    Heat everything except coloring in a pot until it globs and comes off the sides of pot. It will look like mashed potatoes – remove from heat and knead in food coloring. Store in airtight container – keeps much much longer than the store stuff.

    I made 4 batches the other day – you can save time by using boiling water too. I think I will have enough flour/oil to keep my kids in playdough for at least 2 years 😉

    MamaBear wrote on September 16th, 2011
  33. I ALREADY FEEL BETTER!!! I have struggled with severe hypoglycemia, the past two weeks I have eaten Primal and am amazed at how GOOD I feel.
    Not one pound dropped, WHO CARES?! I finally feel good, and I lost inches cause my clothes already feel better!
    I did it, I made a decision for myself to make choices that FEEL good.

    Stephanie Kozowyk wrote on September 16th, 2011
  34. Day 4 (Thursday)and Day 5 (Friday) and I’m still under 70 carbs! Today, under 50 and no pain. Protein a bit much, about 120, but it sure tasted GOOD. Sprinting a bit during my morning walk, it’s exhilarating but can’t do it for very long yet…

    Jackie wrote on September 16th, 2011
  35. Day 10 is in the bag for me. I am down almost 6 pounds and I can see the body fat loss already. I am so loving this. I have to admit that i haven’t been 100% but I am easily over 90. I love the fact that I am eating about twice the amount of food as I was eating on a “conventional” diet and still losing. My wife has lost seven pounds herself and we both have such an increase in energy. I have finally found a way that I can eat for the rest of my life.

    Joe wrote on September 16th, 2011
  36. Well, I’m a little behind the times, here having missed the start date by several days. I’ve dabbled in the paleo/primal eating and lifestyle for several months now, but not fully committed to anything. Having struggled with eating disorders and depression/anxiety most of my life and currently being 5’8″ and 250lbs it’s time to quit dabbling, quit screwing around and just freakin’ do it already. So it’s 10pm in my world on Friday and Saturday 9/17/11 will be my day 1 of the the 30 day challenge. Beyond the eating correctly my personal goal is to actually do, rather than just read about the PB fitness stuff each week. All that said, here goes.

    Tammy wrote on September 16th, 2011
  37. Day 5. Another good day, but still no stove gas, so I can not cook. Had salads mixed with burgers I cooked a few days ago, which held up well. Ran 2 miles but foot was bothering me so I did not sprint. Missed dance class as a result. New bed arrives tomorrow so sleep will improve. Staying away from tempting sweets. Onward!

    Roark2112 wrote on September 16th, 2011
  38. Day 6. Still feeling good. Actually had 99% dark chocolate as part of my meal plan, which was a bit bitter, so I still have not succumbed to sweets. Walked a lot and tomorrow I will sprint. No sunlight today as it was overcast all day long. New bed arrived and will monitor how I sleep tonight.

    Roark2112 wrote on September 17th, 2011
  39. Just purged the pantry…donated pastas & grains to the local thrift store

    Now I’m working to set up a morning & evening routine that will support a new lifestyle

    jgandb wrote on September 18th, 2011
  40. Day 6 (Saturday) and Day 7 (Sunday) both successful. Today I actually had only 27 grams carbs. Remarkable. Walked 4 miles today, made my lunch for the next week so I CAN enjoy my morning walks without stressing about being late for work. It’s all good. Really.

    Jackie wrote on September 18th, 2011

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