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

The 2012 Primal Blueprint 21-Day Challenge Begins Now

primal 21day challenge

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.

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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

21Day 3D BookcoverB 1This 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?

Blackboard grok2

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.

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. 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.

    jenny wrote on September 10th, 2012
  2. My Primal Blueprint 21-Day Challenge is to finally let go of grains and get back into a regular fitness routine.

    Raquel wrote on September 10th, 2012
  3. 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!)

    Amy wrote on September 10th, 2012
  4. 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 :)

    Abby Jo wrote on September 10th, 2012
  5. 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!

    Matt wrote on September 10th, 2012
  6. 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!

    Jared wrote on September 10th, 2012
  7. My Primal Blueprint 21-Day Challenge is to completely eliminate grains from my diet.

    Kitty c wrote on September 10th, 2012
  8. 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!

    Cathy Johnson (Kate) wrote on September 10th, 2012
    • 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.

      Gina Johnson wrote on September 10th, 2012
      • ‘slept like a spanked baby!’ I love it!!

        Jeannine wrote on September 10th, 2012
    • Being outside and active during the day helps.

      Sofie wrote on September 10th, 2012
    • My husband did the same routine as you with varied results. 5HTP has helped the most. Costco carries it.

      amy wrote on September 10th, 2012
    • Make sure there’s no light where you sleep, especially artificial light. It may even be beneficial for you to sleep with a mask.

      Cynthia wrote on September 12th, 2012
  9. My Primal Blueprint 21-Day Challenge is to get under 200 lbs (about 10 lbs to lose).

    Matt H wrote on September 10th, 2012
  10. My Primal Blueprint 21-Day Challenge is to completely eliminate grains from my diet and lift heavy things twice a week.

    Harry H wrote on September 10th, 2012
  11. My Primal Blueprint 21-Day Challenge is to lose 3lbs (2%) body fat. Yup, I’m a shortie!

    Claire wrote on September 10th, 2012
  12. “My Primal Blueprint 21-Day Challenge is to continue my progress. I’m going to eliminate high sugar fruits and all dairy (other than my heavy whipping cream in my coffee, of course!!)

    Joshua Bates wrote on September 10th, 2012
  13. My Primal Blueprint 21-Day Challenge is.. to completely eliminate grains & the sugar addicition that keeps holding me back from my primal goals. Bring on more energy, more clarity, more determination, and more fat loss!

    Marla wrote on September 10th, 2012
  14. Contest or no, this challenge is a great opportunity to refocus and improve on my base. So… My Primal 21 day Challenge is to incorporate the “Lift heavy things component twice a week AND the sprinting bit which I’ve completely avoided for the past year. Cheers and thanks!

    Velonaut wrote on September 10th, 2012
  15. My goal for the 21 day challenge is to eliminate break and grains from my diet, starting with a meal a day for the first week, then 2 for the 2nd week, then 3 on the last week, and to get better and more restfull sleep.

    chris wrote on September 10th, 2012
  16. I was just thinking to myself, I would like to start the 21 day challenge immediately instead of waiting till next week. And then I saw this post. Sympatico!

    My Primal Blueprint 21-Day Challenge is to eliminate grains from my diet, and to lose 6 lbs of body fat.

    Steve G wrote on September 10th, 2012
  17. My goal is to eat more meat and eliminate the foods I have a seriously unhealthy relationship with.

    Carole wrote on September 10th, 2012
  18. My Primal Blueprint 21-Day Challenge is to eliminate grains (again!) and sugar (the harder part!) from my diet. No cheats!!

    Jon C. wrote on September 10th, 2012
  19. My Primal Blueprint 21-Day Challenge is to re-engage with the Primal Blueprint after slipping this summer. I will cut out sugars (again) and lose 5 pounds.

    Kevin wrote on September 10th, 2012
  20. My Primal Blueprint 21-Day Challenge is to get rid of processed foods and “white stuff”.

    Jennifer R wrote on September 10th, 2012
    • My goal for the Primal Blueprint 21-Day Challenge is to follow my conscience and to not be as stringently strict as I have been in the past (which inevitably results in caving in and binging on unhealthy things). I will reintroduce nuts and fruit, but nothing else in the “moderation” category. Otherwise, pretty strict paleo. Once I get the nutrition pinned down, the rest will fall where it should. I’m going to college this fall and don’t want to put more pressure on myself.

      FrancescaCBY wrote on September 10th, 2012
      • That is a great goal! I find that I only struggle when I look at this lifestyle in black/white terms. Grok on!

        Joanna wrote on September 11th, 2012
  21. Exactly what I needed. Time to stop procrastinating. Goal: finally make primal stick. If 21 days is what you need to change a habit. I can’t wait for day 22!

    Jeffrey wrote on September 10th, 2012
  22. My Primal Blueprint 21-Day Challenge is to continue my transformation by focusing on better/more quality sleep and finding time to relax.

    Jeff Hicks wrote on September 10th, 2012
  23. Challenge accepted. We are going to the bahamas in 3 weeks anyways, so hopefully I will look a bit better in my swimsuit!

    Team Oberg wrote on September 10th, 2012
  24. My Primal Blueprint 21-Day Challenge is to cut back on my only source of gluten – beer!

    Bryan wrote on September 10th, 2012
  25. My Primal Blueprint 21-Day Challenge is to feel stronger, stand taller and take pride in my accomplishments!

    Selene wrote on September 10th, 2012
  26. My 21 day challenge is to eliminate grains and added sugar to my diet, increase my energy level and gain muscle.

    Sharon in NC wrote on September 10th, 2012
  27. Ok, this is really strange. When I woke up this morning I thought, “Oh, it’s the 10th. I should do a 21 day Primal Blueprint challenge.” And, what do you know? Here it is! My goals: to completely eliminate grains (no weekend cheats); be aware of my portion sizes; stick to my weight-training schedule; move a minimum of 5 hours per week; sprint once a week.

    kimberley wrote on September 10th, 2012
  28. My Primal Blueprint 21 day challenge is to improve consistency in practicing primal lifestyle so that I can improve my body composistion.

    Peggy Eigenberger wrote on September 10th, 2012
  29. My Primal Blueprint 21-Day Challenge is to add 15 minutes of mobility work into my mornings and evenings

    Jared M wrote on September 10th, 2012
  30. My goal is to give up sugar – once and for all. I’ve given it up before but if I have one setback I go back to eating it with a vengeance. Also planning to spend more time outdoors(now that Fall is here!) and make more bone broths for health.

    JackieVB wrote on September 10th, 2012
  31. My Primal Blueprint 21-Day Challenge is to lose the last 10 pounds using primal eating and IF.

    Rob wrote on September 10th, 2012
  32. My Primal Blueprint challenge is to cut down on the fake-primal foods (gluten free crackers) and alcohol that I cheat with on the weekends. I also need to step up my fitness routine and lift heavy things more than once a week.

    Jill wrote on September 10th, 2012
  33. My Primal Blueprint 21-Day Challenge is to do the one part of the fitness plan I haven’t done yet: Lift Heavy Things. I plan to do push-ups, chin-ups, squats, walking lunges, and planks. I’m meeting with my Dad (70 years old and in great shape) this weekend so he can show me his barbell routine!

    Ms. Shel wrote on September 10th, 2012
  34. My Primal Blueprint 21-Day Challenge is to resist temptation and stay away from baked goods!

    Yvonne wrote on September 10th, 2012
  35. My Primal Blueprint 21-Day Challenge is to bring Primal Blueprint to my household and specifically to my inflamed, pre-diabetic mother to obtain the highest quality of life.

    Michael W wrote on September 10th, 2012
  36. My Primal Blueprint 21-Day Challenge is to completely eliminate alcohol and get 8 hours of sleep per night.

    Lars T. wrote on September 10th, 2012
  37. My Primal Blueprint 21-day challenge is to stop cheating and get back on track.

    Patrick Davis wrote on September 10th, 2012
  38. My Primal Blueprint 21-Day Challenge is to end the afternoon sugar crash and lose 10 lbs!

    Suzanne wrote on September 10th, 2012
  39. “My Primal Blueprint 21-Day Challenge is to spend an hour Saturday and Sunday getting some sun and throwing some frees bee.”

    Jared Miguez wrote on September 10th, 2012
  40. My Primal Blueprint 21-Day Challenge is to remain consistent in eliminating grains/sugar/legumes/dairy and to really commit to getting 8 hours of restful sleep each night.

    Leah wrote on September 10th, 2012

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