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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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September 10, 2012

The 2012 Primal Blueprint 21-Day Challenge Begins Now

By Mark Sisson
2121 Comments

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 21-Day Challenge!

Before we get to all the details, let’s kick things off with a simple contest. Share this blog post on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest or by email by using one of the icons at the bottom of this post AND leave a comment in the comment board below that finishes this sentence: “My Primal Blueprint 21-Day Challenge is…”. (Example: “My Primal Blueprint 21-Day Challenge is to completely eliminate grains from my diet, and to lose 5 lbs of body fat.”) That’s it! Help spread the word about this year’s challenge and publicly commit to achieving your own health goals, and you’ll be entered to win a $200 gift certificate to PrimalBlueprint.com.

This contest ends at midnight (PDT) tonight, Sep. 10. A winner will be selected at random and everyone around the world is eligible.

Now, on to the challenge details…

What Is the 21-Day Challenge and Who Is It For?

What’s the challenge? To get Primal, of course! I hold this 21-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.

There’s something here for Primal veterans, too. It’s a good idea to revisit the basics from time to time. And hey, the chance to win free stuff isn’t half bad either.

The actual challenge itself is pretty straightforward. The details can be found in the image below. I recommend downloading the 21-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. Articles over the next two weeks will be about taking steps to align your lifestyle with the Primal Blueprint. The third and final week of the challenge will be entirely comprised of reader-created content. That’s right, MDA readers (you!) will be running the show. Stay tuned.

Above and beyond the challenge as outlined below, I encourage you to make your own personal challenges. Whether it’s eliminating or adding a certain food to your diet, losing weight, playing more often, getting better sleep, or anything else, customize your goals to fit your needs and commit to 21 days starting now.

Why 21 Days?

You may have noticed that this year’s challenge is a departure from the 30 day format of previous challenges. Why? After many years of training clients and interacting with hundreds of thousands of Mark’s Daily Apple readers, my team and I have found that 21 days is the sweet spot for eliminating old habits and replacing them with new ones. It’s long enough to make legitimate progress toward reversing years of adverse lifestyle habits, long enough for most people to get past the low carb flu (if you experience it at all), and long enough to give the Primal Blueprint a fair shake, but not so long as to be seen as a daunting undertaking. In other words, anyone, including you, can give this a go for three measly weeks, and in that time you are bound to see results. If you have weight to lose, it’s reasonable to expect a reduction of three to seven pounds of excess body fat during this period, and to continue at that rate safely until you reach your ideal body composition.

I’m confident that you can transform your life in just 21 days with the Primal Blueprint. So confident that I wrote an entire book about it…

The Primal Blueprint 21-Day Total Body Transformation

This 21-day Challenge perfectly complements The Primal Blueprint 21-Day Total Body Transformation. The Total Body Transformation is all about making Primal living easy – distilling the philosophy of The Primal Blueprint (detailed in the 2009 hardcover volume) into 8 Key Concepts, 5 Action Items, and a lively 21-Day Challenge of daily endeavors in the areas of Diet, Exercise, and Lifestyle – with corresponding journal exercises. You’ll be shown exactly what to do and when to do it – eliminating any guesswork – to get and stay Primal for life.

If you can spare an hour a day for just 21 days, I guarantee that you will reprogram your genes and transform your life with this guidebook.

Order a copy today to enhance this year’s challenge, and for added guidance and direction.

The 21-Day Challenge Contests

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 three weeks 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 new contests every day for the first two weeks (through Sep. 23) of the 21-Day Challenge, 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 couple 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 for being featured in a 21-Day Challenge contest.

To track all the contests visit the 2012 Primal Blueprint 21-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 – 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 the Mark’s Daily Apple community.

4. The Books

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

6. The Newsletter – Sign up on this page to get 6 free eBooks, a 7-day course on the fundamentals of lifelong health, and more.

7. Have a question? – Contact Me

Tell your friends and family about the challenge so they can get Primal too! And don’t forget. Click the icons below to share this post, and leave a comment telling the world what you are committing to do over the next 21 days, for a chance to win a $200 gift certificate to PrimalBlueprint.com.

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2085 Comments on "The 2012 Primal Blueprint 21-Day Challenge Begins Now"

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Hilary H
Hilary H
4 years 2 months ago

My goal is to tighten up around my middle. I eat well, track my foods and exercise in some way each day, but I’m still not happy with the results. So this 21-day challenge will hopefully give me the tighter ab area that I’m looking for!

Cristina
4 years 2 months ago

Good luck Hilary!

Ann
Ann
4 years 2 months ago

my primal goal is to last 21 days without eating grains or chips

Boone_Mtneer
Boone_Mtneer
4 years 2 months ago

I want to remove grains, remove added sugar, and move like Jagger – wait Grok.
To much body swinging around to move like Jagger right now.

Mikey UK
Mikey UK
4 years 2 months ago

Jagger is a pimp!

Pam
Pam
4 years 2 months ago

My goal is to stop reading and listening to podcasts half the night, get more sleep and lose 13kg

NotApplicable
NotApplicable
4 years 2 months ago

I stayed up late last night reading Primal Blueprint, so I’m conflicted about that. 😉

My goal is to fully alter my desire towards primal foods while eliminating my desire for what I’m learning is poison.

Sam
Sam
4 years 2 months ago

Taking this 21 day challenge too been primal but nt losing fat or wt let’s see…..

Michelle
Michelle
4 years 2 months ago

My goal is to eliminate grains and sugar from my diet to feel better and have more energy.

Phineas Gage
Phineas Gage
4 years 2 months ago

Perfectly timed. I was just thinking I needed a Primal kickstart!

J. Delancy
4 years 2 months ago
Don’t know if there is anything called Primal Motivation but here is my recommendation for those interested in completing the challenge. 1. Recognize your personal Sabretooth (challenges)such as sugar, laziness, T.V. 2. Put tools in place to slay them before you begin. For instance if you spend too much time on the computer, put your walking shoes in the chair where you sit. BEFORE you start the computer put on the shoes and get moving. Each persons bad habits have dozens of smaller components called ‘triggers’ find them, eliminate them and replace with good habits. You’ll be a lot more… Read more »
Amy
Amy
4 years 2 months ago

Personal sabretooth–I like that!

Chris
Chris
4 years 2 months ago

Thanks for the “Primal Motivation” – you hit the nail on the head! You rock!

joanie
joanie
4 years 2 months ago

My goal is to release 7 lbs. of fat from my body, especially around the middle, and reduce sugar to almost zero. The only grain I eat is a small amount of sprouted quinoa. Thank you for this 21 day challenge – just what I needed

Ez
Ez
4 years 2 months ago

Thanks for the tips on slaying the beasts.
The computer is a big vortex for me, too easy to wander into the wilds of cyberspace. Especially, slippery since I have to use it for projects.

Jennifer Flint
4 years 2 months ago

Better than a rod through the head, right? 😛

Steve
Steve
4 years 2 months ago

Me too, getting a little soft around the middle these days – and lazy.
My Primal Blueprint 21-Day Challenge is to completely eliminate wheat from my diet (already greatly reduced), and to get off my lazy butt and move more. Loosing a few pounds of the beer gut would be a nice bonus.

Jamie
Jamie
4 years 2 months ago

My goal is to track my food, eliminate any lingering processed food cravings, ban any fast food items, and drop a dress size.

Joelle
Joelle
4 years 2 months ago

My goal is to quit dairy for 21 days and see if it changes anything, because I still have some skin issues and difficulty to lose weight, and do something outside at least an hour every day (doesn’t have to be stenuous exercice every time, but outside instead of computer time)

Andrea
Andrea
4 years 2 months ago

I had to cut dairy out completely too and my skin is clearing up. Miss it but like clear skin more.

Sd
Sd
4 years 2 months ago

My 21day challenge is to RELAX. Take it easy, don’t stress about my eating and/or exercise because i know i am on the right path.

spencer
spencer
4 years 2 months ago

I like it!!!

Pam
Pam
4 years 2 months ago

Dang! This sounds way more fun than what I chose!

Zach D
Zach D
4 years 2 months ago

My Primal Blueprint 21-Day Challenge is to get me past my plateau that im on by 1. stop drinking soda which has occasionally been creeping back in, 2. I.F. a few times a week. 3. Adhere to my lifting schedule i set for myself.

Patrice
4 years 2 months ago

My Primal Blueprint 21-Day Challenge is to do exactly as Zach just said! Now I’m feeling fit and at the right weight its time to get stronger in time for the beach next year!

You’ve made us, your members, vain Mark!

Monique
Monique
4 years 2 months ago

My Primal Blueprint 21-Day Challenge is to commit to the primal fitness program! Wall push-ups, here I come! We’ve been mostly primal in our house for about a month now. I want to continue improving and expanding my recipes repertoire!

lockard
lockard
4 years 2 months ago

My Primal Blueprint 21-Day Challenge is to lose 15 more pounds (already down 40 since going Primal) and not have a blood sugar reading over 140 (I am type 1 Diabetic, and primal has helped a lot)

Darcy M
Darcy M
4 years 2 months ago

My goal is to give up grains (for good this time!) and to get my hormones in check. Losing weight and gaining strength will just be bonuses 🙂

Joseph
Joseph
4 years 2 months ago

My goal is to get off my butt and get the recommended exercise. After the first month (I began getting serious about it in August) the diet’s working well, but I need to walk more and lift heavy stuff.

Marti
Marti
4 years 2 months ago

My 21 day goal is to lose 5 pounds of bloody belly body fat, to find more energy for my new job and to send my carb cravings on a permanent vacation. The weather is beautiful and I want to be outside playing with my 4 year old son. Perfect, perfect timing for a 21 day challenge!

CJ Thomas
CJ Thomas
4 years 2 months ago

I’ve been using the primal blueprint as a basic guideline for over a year and have gotten great results. Lately I’ve been veering off a little bit and it’s been showing. This will be a great way to get back on it 100%!

MJ Slazak
MJ Slazak
4 years 2 months ago

My Primal Blueprint 21-Day Challenge is to keep the muscle I’ve started to build but lose more fat thereby reducing my body fat percentage!

Cat
4 years 2 months ago

My Primal Blueprint 21-Day Challenge is to quit eating sugar, force myself to sprint to exhaustion once a week and balance out my funky hormones.

Thanks for the kick in the pants, hopefully it’ll be the start of great things to come 🙂

Shannon
Shannon
4 years 2 months ago

My goal is to tighten up on processed foods and spend more time outdoors.

Jesse P
Jesse P
4 years 2 months ago

My goal for the Primal Blueprint challenge is to eliminate grains from my diet, get out of the mental fog, become healthier and happier, and ride my bike faster!

Ann
Ann
4 years 2 months ago

My 21 day challenge is to continue strong on the PB plan but kick red wine (and beer, sigh…) to the curb!

Stephanie
Stephanie
4 years 2 months ago

My 21 day challenge is to become completely fat adapted, and to spend much more time outdoors, whether it’s exercising, walking to the grocery store, just relaxing, etc.

Cathy Johnson (Kate)
4 years 2 months ago

More sun, more veggies! Funny, I sunned a LOT in the winter when it didn’t help as much, but once the leaves were out, our land is very, very shady. Too sorry to get where the sun is–

I’ve been doing PB for a year now, and it’s been GREAT, but there’s always room for improvement.

David Porter
David Porter
4 years 2 months ago

My Primal Blueprint 21-Day Challenge is to follow through with the 80/20 principle and completely eliminate grains and fast food from my diet!

todd
todd
4 years 2 months ago

David – Love that logo. also wvu alumni.

Gerry Endres
Gerry Endres
4 years 2 months ago

Not an alumni of WVU but a resident of WV. Love the logo also. MONTANI SEMPER LIBERI.

Meredith
Meredith
4 years 2 months ago

My Primal Blueprint 21-Day Challenge is to cut out the sugar – including chocolate and wine… wish me luck 🙂

Thomas
Thomas
4 years 2 months ago

My goal is to get off diabetes medication, lose 75 more pounds in addition to the 25 I’ve already lost, and to figure out what to do about my food cravings at night.

Libby Colorado
Libby Colorado
4 years 2 months ago

My Primal Blueprint 21-Day Challenge is to give up grains completely — 100%. Well, 80%. 😉 But really 100%. I turn 30 on September 19, I started the primal lifestyle a year ago, and I’ve lost so much weight, and I was feeling so good. And I have derailed due to work factors that I have let “get” to me.

So, today starts the 21-day challenge, and to get back on the horse. The rails? Mixed metaphors are hilarious.

Aaron
Aaron
4 years 2 months ago

My Primal Blueprint 21-Day Challenge is to “stay Primal” in my diet while exploring more variety within the Primal foods, reach level 4 in each of the 4 basic fitness exercises, and find at least the first TWO abs of my six-pack that have been M.I.A. for a few years! 🙂 Thanks for this great Challenge, Mark!!!

lauren s.
4 years 2 months ago

i vow to do morning quick jogs / sprints (10 minutes babies), and when i need a refresher, and to be more honest with my parents, my primal buddies :p

Veronique
Veronique
4 years 2 months ago

My Primal Blueprint 21-Day Challenge is to REMAIN Primal on day 22, 23, 24… 😀 and lose 50 pounds!

Emir
Emir
4 years 2 months ago

My Primal Blueprint 21-Day Challenge is to lower my sugar intake and to get that six-pack of hard earned abs (almost there)! This is going to be a new start for me as I have been cheating quite a lot the last few weeks.

Samara
Samara
4 years 2 months ago

My Primal Blueprint 21-Day Challenge is to give up grains on the weekend. I’ve been grain-free Monday through Friday for almost two years, but no matter how gross I make myself feel every Sunday, I still can’t seem to kick the “cheat day” habit. I’d also like to focus on appropriate portion sizes, especially when it comes to snacks like nuts and fruit.

Hugh
Hugh
4 years 2 months ago

My Primal Blueprint 21-Day Challenge is to increase my frequent moving slowly to 4 hours per week and get more and better sleep.

Keri
Keri
4 years 2 months ago
My 21 day challenge is to get myself back on track (it’s been a summer of inconsistency!) and show my 16 year old daughter what a difference this way of living can make. I need to lead by example as she has health issues that would be vastly improved by eating primal but she strongly resists the idea of giving up unhealthy carbs. I will not purchase one single non-primal item. I may not be able to control what she eats away from home but I can certainly choose not to spend my money on anything but healthy, nutritious, primal… Read more »
tina
tina
4 years 2 months ago

My 21 day challenge is to start the pb and stick to it. My whole family is doing the program(my husband and my 13 year son). I will keep and food journal and walk. I will not buy anything that is not primal.

Stacy H
Stacy H
4 years 2 months ago

My Primal Blueprint 21-Day Challenge is to go 100% grain/sugar/starch free. No more little cheats!

Christina208
Christina208
4 years 2 months ago

Going starch free is amazing! I am doing a similarly hard core challenge! Good luck to you- your gut will thank you:)

Jackie
Jackie
4 years 2 months ago

My goal is to get back on track with my workouts! I stopped going to the gym over the summer and will start on my 3-day a week weight training routine again.

devo
devo
4 years 2 months ago

My challenge is to listen to my body. I’ve been primal for a month but I still get hung-up over ‘mealtimes’. I’d like to adopt a ‘eat when I’m hungry, stop when I’m full’ mentality and maybe try fasting without getting freaked out.

Ian
Ian
4 years 2 months ago

My Primal Blueprint 21-Day Challenge is about really implementing that little more discipline. 21 days without alcohol and making those few extra steps of improvement! I cant wait! Bring it on!

Adriana
Adriana
4 years 2 months ago

My goal is to commit to a regular exercising routine and drop 5 pounds. I’ve been doing the diet for a month with great results, but now it’s time to take it up a notch.

Laura
Laura
4 years 2 months ago

In order to improve my health and happiness, my primal blueprint 21-day challenge is to be 100% compliant for the entire challenge. Because I really need to get rid of my sugar cravings, I will not be allowing myself dark chocolate or fruit. I am pretty good at moving slowly, so I’m also going to challenge myself to get in a weekly sprinting session and two weekly lifting sessions.

E
E
4 years 2 months ago

My Primal Blueprint 21-Day Challenge is to not have my occasional cheats be soda or anything else with HFCS.

Kathleen
Kathleen
4 years 2 months ago

My goal is to re-eliminate grains and be more moderate in my use of dairy and alcohol. My 34 pound weight loss has now stalled out–guess I’ve gotten sloppy. Plan to tighten the screws and kick start the loss over this 21 days!

maddieaddie
maddieaddie
4 years 2 months ago

I’m committed to sticking with a PB lifestyle. The main things I need to focus on are 3-5 hr slow movement (30 min daily walk) and sleep (shooting for 8 hr instead of 7). Good luck to all!

EmmaSofia
EmmaSofia
4 years 2 months ago

My Primal Blueprint 21-Day Challenge is to completely eliminate grains and sugar and to add-in more vegetables and lifting heavy things 2x week. Your timing is perfect for me — I had decided last night to begin a 21 day challenge for myself, now I have the Primal Community for support!

Charl
Charl
4 years 2 months ago

My Primal Blueprint 21-Day Challenge is… to give up alcohol AND stay under 50 grams of carbs per day!

AJ
AJ
4 years 2 months ago

My challenge is to finally give up grains and get control over my asthma, walk everyday and lift heavy things.

jenny
4 years 2 months ago

My Primal Blueprint 21-Day Challenge is to completely eliminate grains and sugar AND dairy and to hit between 50-75 grams of carbs a day. I’d also like to dial in the sleep….snoring by 10.

Raquel
4 years 2 months ago

My Primal Blueprint 21-Day Challenge is to finally let go of grains and get back into a regular fitness routine.

Amy
Amy
4 years 2 months ago

My Primal Blueprint 21-Day Challenge is to make my health my number one priority! I tend to slip when I start putting others wants and needs above mine (happy hour? sure! Chinese takeout? Ok, why not!) I’m committing to do what I need and want to do for myself for 21 days (and beyond!)

Abby Jo
Abby Jo
4 years 2 months ago

My Primal Blueprint 21-Day Challenge is to become familiar with lifting heavy things. I’m starting week 2 of the StrongLifts progression this week and I want to stick with the program and really work on good deadlift/press/squat form! Gotta build that muscle 🙂

Matt
4 years 2 months ago

I’ll bite! I’ve been primal with increasing seriousness for the last 3 months and change… Radically better eating approach than I once thought necessary to shed body fat. My Big challenge for the next 3 weeks is to completely avoid added sugar and grains. The knowledge that just a little won’t kill me has held me back… Let’s clean it up!

Jared
Jared
4 years 2 months ago

I’ve been on a roller coster ride with my weight. When I was 25 I was able to loose 60 pounds and keep most of it off, but it’s been an uphill battle. I’ve been reading Mark’s Daily Apple for the last month and I finally feel that I’ve reached that ah-ha moment. This 21 day challenge is the perfect opportunity for me to do what I should have started doing from the beginning. For me it’s not just about looking good, but I want to feel good too!

Kitty c
Kitty c
4 years 2 months ago

My Primal Blueprint 21-Day Challenge is to completely eliminate grains from my diet.

Cathy Johnson (Kate)
4 years 2 months ago

By the way, I’d love to figure out that improve sleep thing, but I already turn off the computer by 7 most nights, don’t watch TV, don’t drink caffeine after noon, read a bit, drink Sleepytime tea, take melatonin and valerian, so if anybody has any more ideas, I’m all ears!

Gina Johnson
Gina Johnson
4 years 2 months ago

KAte, I’d skip the melatonin and try taking magnesium (Natural Calm) as a nightcap. When I was in my early 40s (I’m 51 now), I also had trouble sleeping. I had my hormones checked and my progesterone was rock bottom, so my doctor prescribed it for me (bioidentical, of course!) and I’ve slept like a spanked baby ever since. Lost weight and put on muscle too, without trying. Apparently the better sleep raised my HGH.

Jeannine
Jeannine
4 years 2 months ago

‘slept like a spanked baby!’ I love it!!

Sofie
Sofie
4 years 2 months ago

Being outside and active during the day helps.

amy
amy
4 years 2 months ago

My husband did the same routine as you with varied results. 5HTP has helped the most. Costco carries it.

Cynthia
Cynthia
4 years 2 months ago

Make sure there’s no light where you sleep, especially artificial light. It may even be beneficial for you to sleep with a mask.

Matt H
Matt H
4 years 2 months ago

My Primal Blueprint 21-Day Challenge is to get under 200 lbs (about 10 lbs to lose).

Harry H
Harry H
4 years 2 months ago

My Primal Blueprint 21-Day Challenge is to completely eliminate grains from my diet and lift heavy things twice a week.

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