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. Click on over to this page  and share it on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, or Google+ by using one of the icons on the left side of the page, AND leave a comment in the comment board below with your commitment to this year’s challenge. That’s it! Help spread the word about this year’s challenge and leave a comment, and you’ll be entered to win a $200 gift certificate to PrimalBlueprint.com .
This contest ends at midnight (PDT) tonight, Sep. 16. 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?
What’s the challenge? To get Primal, of course! As you’ve already seen if you clicked the link above, this year I’ve put together a nifty infographic that summarizes the Primal Blueprint 21-Day Challenge. Click here  or the image below to see the full version. (I encourage any bloggers out there to share this infographic using the html I’ve included below it.) Additionally, you can dig deeper into each section of the infographic by visiting this more detailed Primal Blueprint 21-Day Challenge page .
In brief, this is the Challenge. Do it for just 21 days and the results will speak for themselves.
- Eat real food.
- Avoid sugar, grains, unhealthy fats, beans/legumes.
- Align your carb intake with your weight goals and activity levels.
- Move frequently at a slow pace: Get between 2-5 hours per week of moderate aerobic exercise.
- Lift heavy things: Conduct 1-3 brief, intense sessions of full-body functional movements.
- Sprint: Go “all out” once a week.
- Get 8 hours of sleep every night.
- Get 15 minutes of direct sun exposure each day.
- Play! Find time to let go, disconnect, unwind and have fun each day.
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 above, I encourage you to make your own personal challenges. Whether it’s eliminating or adding a certain food to your diet, losing weight, going barefoot more often, getting better sleep, or anything else, customize your goals to fit your needs and commit to 21 days starting now.
Who Is the 21-Day Challenge For?
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 take control of their health.
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.
Why 21 Days?
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 on Mark’s Daily Apple every day for the first two weeks (through Sep. 29) of the 21-Day Challenge, so check back daily!
- New to this year, there will also be contests held exclusively in the Mark’s Daily Apple newsletter , the Forum , and on Facebook  and Twitter . Subscribe, create an account, or follow today for chances to win.
- 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 Daylight 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 2013 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. Primal Blueprint 21-Day Challenge page  – On this page you’ll be introduced to the basics of the Primal Blueprint and can follow numerous links to learn more.
2. 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.
3. The Books 
4. What to eat? – Primal Blueprint Recipes on MDA , The Primal Blueprint Cookbook , Primal Blueprint Quick & Easy Meals , Primal Blueprint Healthy Sauces, Dressings & Toppings 
5. The Newsletter – Sign up on this page  to get 9 free eBooks, a 7-day course on the fundamentals of lifelong health, and more.
6. Have a question? – Contact Me 
Tell your friends and family about the challenge so they can get Primal too! And don’t forget. Share this infographic  across social media by using one of the icons on the left side of the page, AND leave a comment for a chance to win a $200 gift certificate to PrimalBlueprint.com .
Best wishes and good luck on your first day of the Challenge. Check back tomorrow for a new contest and an article on going into the Challenge with the right frame of mind. Grok on!