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A couple weeks before discovering the PB, I happened to set myself a fitness challenge of running a 10K. I had only ever done that once before, years ago during my last serious fitness attempt, but I posted a poor showing and didn’t enjoy the experience. (At one point, an elderly, fat woman passed me going up a hill.)

One year ago, I weighed over 200 pounds (I’m 5’9.5″) and probably could not run to the end of my block. But I had been working out doggedly (classic chronic cardio) and at 180 pounds at the end of 2009, felt like I could once again make it through such an ordeal.

Then I discovered the PB, which changed my life like a second puberty. I rapidly became more fit and healthy than I ever dreamed possible. Now I was really psyched to run the 10K!

My training was 100% primal, my diet more purely carnivorous as the weeks progressed. I never counted a calorie or balked at stuffing myself silly (when not fasting). I ran a lot less (just a couple times a week) and on the other days I carried weights, or went for a stroll with my baby in my arms. I tried to walk and enjoy the outdoors as much as possible, though I have a full-time desk job. I also did plenty of shovelglove, which I find more like play than exercise, for 15-30 minutes most days. And when I was tired, I rested.

On the day before the race, about seven weeks after going primal, I was down to 157 pounds and much more muscular. I went to pick up my bib, and couldn’t help gawking at the tables where the other runners were filling up on the complimentary “carb-load” lunch.

My own pre-race-day lunch was a feast of pure meat fit for Tarlach: churrascaria after a 16-hour fast. I ate so much I had to take a nap. Then I skipped dinner and breakfast, and headed to the race light as a feather and burning with ketones. I tied the race chip to the heel loop of my VFFs and, in a flash of primal inspiration, stripped off my shirt, spat on my hands and slicked back my hair. All I was lacking was a pot of woad and a penis gourd. (Probably for the best, now that I think about it.)

I started easy off the start line: after the first mile, this course went uphill 400 feet over two miles, and I needed to conserve my energy. But my VFFs were my saving grace! The path was rocky and uneven, crumbling asphalt strewn with debris; the runners were thick on the ground at first, and I was glad I had practiced curb running as I deftly slipped past the first few runners who were starting to flag.

Then I hit the hill, which felt far bigger and longer than I expected. Runners quickly began dropping off left and right, and my VO2max was sorely tested and found wanting near the summit. Grimacing, I broke my stride and furiously power-walked until my breath came back.

On the way downhill, I plunged back into oxygen surplus, and made up a lot of time. I felt like I was soaring through the air in continuous long jumps, pouncing like a parkour traceur from target to target. This was my specialty, the bulk of my training: anaerobic precision work. I was really in the zone!

On the last mile, the runners were definitely thinner on the ground, and starting to look a lot like the pictures in the “post your progress photos” thread. I had emptied my energy reserves and was clinging to the end of my rope. A tiny Chinese woman passed me like a minnow. But I stayed focused on my form and finished strong, with a little insane burst at the end to make Dr. Tabata proud.

When I first signed up for this race, I had hoped just to make it to the end. Then when I discovered PB, I set an ambitious goal of completing it in less than an hour. So I was overjoyed to finish in 53’39″, the 70th percentile for my age group (30-34 Male), and 79th overall! Not bad for somebody who had been overweight and chronically ill his whole life until a couple months ago.

Incidentally, the VFFs were a huge attraction for the other runners. At least a dozen people asked me about them before, after, and even during the race, and for every person asking more were listening with interest. Naturally I raved about them. I think we primalists may be ahead of a major fashion trend. Vibram really needs to send Mark an endorsement contract (and me a new pair of shoes).

I want to emphasize that this was a 100% PB achievement, and I owe a HUGE debt of gratitude to Mark and the whole MDA community. It was your logic that persuaded me; your stories that educated me; and your pictures that inspired me. So my victory is your victory too.

Thank you, and Grok on!

Timothy

Mark, my doctors was so stunned at my blood test results that she asked (half jokingly) if I had really given my own blood.

November 2008 blood work results
Cholesterol: 277 (H)
Triglycerides: 424 (H) (yes, 424 – too high to to be calculated by the lab)
HDL Cholesterol: 34.0 (L)
Uric Acid: 8.0 (H) (I’ve had several Gout attack since 2005)
GFR: 62
TSH: 1.68

My wife and I went primal 3 months ago. We immediately noticed an increase in energy and started working out. She’s lost 25 lbs while I’ve lost 35 lbs (I have more I need to lose).

March 2010 blood work results
Cholesterol: 224 (H)
Triglycerides: 85 (yes, 85 – my doctor did a double take when she saw this)
HDL Cholesterol: 52.7
Uric Acid: no test, but no attacks since going primal
GFR: 76
TSH: 2.48

My weight loss and energy levels have made me a believer in going primal, but these blood work results have simply AWED me.

I was really curious to see if my cholesterol would improve while on a high fat, high protein diet and after 3 months, I couldn’t be happier.

I haven’t been taking high cholesterol meds (tried them briefly, didn’t like them) and the only change I’ve made in the last 17 months was to go primal.

This may be an anecdotal results, but I hope that it spurs others to give going primal at least 3 months.

Also:
November 2008
Glucose: 98

March 2010: 66

BMI is down from 45.8 to 40.6

My wife and I had a celebratory dinner of grilled grass-fed burgers (on lettuce “buns” of course), red wine, and a few sweet potato baked fries. Good stuff.

We really appreciate the non-dogmatic approach to the primal lifestyle.

John – Amarillo, TX

Hello Mark,

Let me take this opportunity to tell you how the primal way of life has
changed my life: I have a rare genetic disease that cause my mitochondria to
malfunction. It is called mitochondrial myopathy. Even though I am fortunate
enough to have a mild phenotype of the disease (CPEO – Chronic Progressive
External Ophthalmoplegia), my energy levels are much lower than of an
average person. After switching to primal and going through a difficult 10
week adaptation period, my energy levels have sky-rocketed to the point that
I have now more energy, both mental and physical, than my co-workers,
friends and family. I am now able to spend the whole weekend playing around
with my two kids instead of being laid in the couch trying to recover from
the work week. This is something I cannot express with words (not even in
Spanish). Not to mention the 20 lbs that I have lost …

Best regards,

Luis

Hey Mark,

I’ve been eating primal since about 7/1/09, I’m 53 yrs old, 5’10″ , I started at 195lbs, 25+% body fat. My diet has been 90% primal since reading the book, we do have the occasional helping of rice and a piece of chocolate every now and then, but for the most part my wife and I have tried hard to stick to it. As of this week I way 175lbs, body fat approx 10%. I feel great, and I’ve pretty much lost all cravings for grains. Have always been a big chip, cereal, whole wheat bread guy, not anymore and I’ll never go back.

I train in Martial Arts (Tae Kwon Do, Hapkido) 5 days a week, about 45 min – 1 hr a day. Some cardio, some core , some resistence. Not exessive my any means.

Thanks Mark, I have never felt better, with a very little effort I could get my body fat into single digits. I don’t have a before pic but here’s an after.

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Update: 05/17/10

Hey Mark,

Thought I’d give you another update, I reached my goal, back to my college days weight of 170-172lbs. I’m not obsessing about numbers but I’m down over 20lbs since the start 11 mos ago, I was in good shape then but I’m in great shape now. You probably don’t remember cause you get so many e-mails, but I’m 53 yrs old. I’ve never felt better. If I wanted to get real picky still have just a bit of loose stuff around the waste , but not much. You can’t turn the clock back but you have proven to me that you can slow it down.

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Thanks again and I’ll give you my last update when I hit 1yr in.

Jerry H. – Abilene,TX

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Hello Mark,

I just wanted to thank you from the bottom of my soul. I have been reading MDA since early January, have even posted 1 primal journal(not much of a poster), but have been totally primal for 2 months now…I was partially primal for the month before that.

But I just had a doctors visit today, a follow up for some of the major issues that have been plaguing me.

1. High blood pressure
2. Severe back back
3. Migraines

Well since January I have lost 24lbs in total, the doctor said I can stop my blood pressure meds if I continue doing what I am doing, and on top of that I have not had any back pain or headaches other than very minor(1 on a scale of 1-10) ones. I told him my eating plan, and he was so very happy with my progress and eating plan he heartily agreed with me keeping on it.

I honestly had no idea how much weight I had lost, but I knew I felt better than I ever have….but to see my blood pressure drop to normal(he still wants me to check in to make sure it is staying down), how much weight I have lost and my overall great feeling.

I just wanted to say thank you! Thank you for having MDA up with so much to get from it. For sharing your research and doing all the work involved in that. Not only has it changed my body, but me as well. I will be buying more copies of the book and giving it to family!

Thank you for a life changed, I have not been so happy in so many years.

Best regards,

Michael

Mark,

I’ve been meaning to write you a thank you note with a little bit about my story. Throughout my teenage years, all the way through college, I have always been involved in sports and considered myself to be in pretty good shape.

The problem was, I was never happy with how I looked. It actually held me back from things I enjoyed like going to the beach/pool with friends. Some people would probably think I was crazy b/c I was by no means fat. I had about 195-200lbs on a 6′ frame at the end of college.

Oldme oldme2

Then came active duty Air Force. I always performed well on the PT test. I could max the 1.5 mile run, pushups and situps, but my waist measurement always handicapped my score. I was a person who thought that I was ‘big boned’ and could never drop down to a 32.5″ waist (I was always between 34.5″ and 35.5″).

Over the last couple of years, I had stumbled upon some of your articles from time to time, but was always too stuck in CW to listen.

Last summer, I made a goal for myself to get in as good of shape as possible for my March 2010 trip to Barbados. I started eating smarter (but not really primally), and lost maybe 10lbs. When I went home for Christmas, I was down to 185lbs and was about 60% primal. I was feeling great.

Back to Germany I went, 2 months left to go; it was crunch time. With the exception of a meal with a side of fried potatoes, I was as primal as I thought I could get. It worked wonders. I lost another 10lbs and was down to 175. I could see definition in my upper abs, and I had reached a new level of vascularity.

newme3 Newme2

I can’t thank you enough for sharing your knowledge with all of us Groks. I now have no problem being shirtless, I catch myself staring at this new, toned, weightlifting machine in the gym…and best of all, when I take my PT test this month, I will max the waist measurement with a half inch to spare.

While some of my reasons were for vanity, I can say my energy level is better, along with my digestion and sleep habits. My next goal is getting my Dad to stick with the diet.

Thanks again, and I know you’re busy, so I understand if you don’t respond. Good luck with expanding your business and I hope to see you at the next PrimalCon.

Shane

Update: 06/11/10

A while back, you posted my story on your blog.  Well I have a big time update that I believe must be due to going primal.  Ever since I was a kid, I’ve had an intolerance to many fresh fruit (mostly bananas, apples, pears).  This was a bummer b/c I loved bananas and apples.  Using the magic of the interwebz, the most obvious explanation was that I had Oral Food Allergy (OFA).  I’m sure you know what this is but the idea was that the fruits I had an intolerance to had a link to the fauna I was allergic to.  Well, some time mid 2009 was the last time I had eaten a banana and an apple before I went primal.  The intolerance was very apparent, but I ate them just to see if I would still react.  Then, yesterday, we had a luncheon at work and I wanted a piece of the nice arrangement of fresh fruit available.  So, I already had a few strawberries, oranges are a hassle, apples were the fruit I reacted to the worst, and bananas didn’t give me too bad of a reaction.  I grab the banana and decide to eat it for s’s & g’s.  I destroyed the naner, and……NO REACTION!  I couldn’t believe it.  I chalked it to either going primal, or masking by the other food I had eaten.  Today, I decided to press my luck….no whammy, no whammy, no whammy, STOP (sorry, had to)…..and buy a few bananas and apples.  One apple and one more banana later, I think my intolerance is gone.  As if I were going to go back to my old eating habits, it definitely won’t happen now.

Finding the Primal Blueprint has changed my life completely. My weight had always been an issue for me. Growing up my parents took us to fast food often, and I had unlimited access to chips, sodas, and snack food. I became obese at a very young age and was teased and tortured at school for being ‘the fat kid’. The last straw was when I 12 years old and no longer could shop at normal sized clothing stores. I vowed to myself that I would make it my goal to become healthy.

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My crusade for achieving the perfect body led me through some very rough territory in the following years. Fad diets, chronic cardio, starving myself, diet pills, you name it, I tried it. Through conventional wisdom dieting and exercise I lost 35 lbs and stayed there for years. Even though most of the weight was gone, I experienced major dental problems, hair loss, migraines and digestive issues. I thought I was eating ‘healthy’ even though most foods I ate were processed ‘healthy’ snacks and frozen foods. As I began law school, even healthy processed foods were replaced with pizza dinners and sugary caffeine drinks to help keep me awake. I felt tired, stressed and hopeless. After finals I was 10 lbs heavier and miserable, I knew something needed to change.

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I stumbled upon Marks Daily Apple in February 2010 and began reading everything I could get my hands on. I was ready and determined to make the change. I dove in head first and went 100% primal. My fiancé even jumped on the primal bandwagon as well. The progress came fast and I lost 6 lbs in the first two weeks. I got back into lifting heavy once a week and sprinted once or twice a week on the beach. Here it is 2 months into being primal and I am 7lbs lighter, stronger and finally feel as if I am in touch with my body. Now if I eat something not primal, my body sure lets me know that it does not approve. My hair is thicker and my headaches and digestive issues are a thing of the past. Before a workout would mean becoming a treadmill zombie at the gym, zoning out to the television for an hour. Now I sprint on the beach, carry/throw heavy rocks, climb on the jetty, and just have fun! Thanks Mark for all your doing. I know me and my Fiance are much healthier because of the Primal Blueprint.

AthenaNatural Selection

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Dear Mark,
I am writing you today with a deep feeling of gratitude and admiration for your tireless work and commitment to improve the lives of others. You are an inspiration and a role model to me as well as all your readers around the world. I hope your day will be a bit brighter knowing that you drove another amazing lifestyle transformation and helped another person enjoy a fuller, happier and healthier existence.

I have the privilege to write you from a truly amazing place, the tropical South Pacific attol of Vanuatu (were just right of Australia if you check the map) where I am serving as a Peace Corps Volunteer in a small costal village and living a uniquely Primal lifestyle. My goal here is to support sustainable development, live as one with the community & build capacity in people to help them better their livelihoods. I also get to climb coconut trees, walk around with a 12 inch machete, pick fresh mangos in the bush and spear fish for lunch… very Grokkish Id say! All of this goodness thanks in large part to you and Marks Daily Apple.

When a friend introduced to Primal living and your website 2 years ago I could not even imagine the profound impact your work and the Primal Blueprint will have on my life. At the time I was a 23 year old kid toiling away in a prestigious but extremely demanding, 80-hour a week, international finance job which took me from Tokyo to New York. Stressed, woefully sleep deprived, constantly sick, and unenergetic my health (don’t even mention fitness) was at an all time low. I have always been a big proponent of fitness but years of endurance athletics in school, unconscious nutrition, chain-gangesque work schedule, bad advice and conventional wisdom knocked me down every time I tried to take control of my physical wellbeing. I looked for information and knowledge but encountered contradicting and unsustainable advice which made me feel more helpless.

Enter the Primal Blueprint. With the support and encouragement of a friend and the information on MDA I made the switch to Primal living in 2008 and never looked back. Reading your poasts entirely shifted my perspective on healthy living. Here was something that made sense, that was all encompassing and that was proven by thousands of years of evolution… finally! I had the whole picture in front of me and it was a masterpiece. Applying the principles of Primal nutrition I was able to completely transform how I felt, performed, and looked. No more grogginess after that pasta lunch, no more exhaustion in the morning, no more colds, no more lethargy, flu and headaches (I have not been sick in 2 years!). All this while enjoying the lowest body fat Ive ever had and most strength & muscle. One of the most rewarding parts of the transformation was that I saw the effects almost immediately. As soon as I ditched sugar and grain I IMMEDIATELY felt more vitality energy and health. Dumping cardio and replacing it with things like heavy lifting and walking as well as taking control of my sleep had huge benefits not only on my body but my mind.

Yegor

The confidence, and emotional strength I gained through my transformation helped me make a decision and commitment to live the life I wanted, a more happier & healthier life. In 2009 I chose to get out of the unfulfilling rat race of corporate America and embarked on a journey of international service. I ended up in an isolated village without roads, electricity or running water on an island in the South Pacific where I am successfully continuing my Primal journey (yeah the roosters at 3AM tend to be unpleasant but tracking through the bush looking for wild pig makes up for it). I even managed to build a full gym out of concrete blocks, local wood, sand bags and rocks and I am working on a manual to help other volunteers do the same and live healthy on their islands. Needless to say its been an eye opening learning experience so far.
As I continue my Primal journey and experience more and more benefits of living like our ever-wise ancestors I can not help but feel a tremendous sense of gratitude for your contributions. Thank you for changing my life.

Yegor – Malekula, Vanuatu, South Pacific


270 Days of Primal Lifestyle

It has been quite a journey so far. A chance check of my blood pressure started this trip. My blood pressure registered at 198 over 120. I knew if I went to my doctor she would tell me to lose weight, exercise and change my diet. She would probably put me on drugs that would screw with the rest of my body so I decided to see if I could lose weight, exercise, change my diet and bring my blood pressure down myself.

My research started with Dr. Jay Wortman. He is a Canadian Doctor and is the author of “My Big Fat Diet.” This program put First Nation volunteers on a traditional diet to overcome their health issues. That got me thinking.

I Googled “What did humans eat 10,000 years ago?” and fortunately I ended up at Mark’s Daily Apple.

I’ve since been to see my Doctor and my success has given me some leeway. I’m still not on drugs (medication), but I’ve been getting some systolic readings in the high 130’s and diastolic readings in the high 80’s.

I’m not cured yet… but those numbers are considered high normal… and it has only been 270 days.

Let me share some other numbers with you. I’ve always considered August 4th 2009 as my start point. That is when I started to record this experience. My weight was 234 lbs. Today I’m at 192 lbs. My waist has gone from 46 inches to 39 inches. My chest has shrunk from 49 inches to 44 inches. (Sob) I’m melting… but then it has only been 270 days.

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Excluding my love for potato chips and Irish whiskey, I would have told you I ate a nutritious diet. Conventional wisdom sucks!

I have learned a lot following PB. What I am focusing on now is balance. However this isn’t the balance of supporting the different segments of the agricultural industry. Sorry Dr. Kellogg but no shelf space for you!

Balance is about balancing the micronutrients. Why do we cut out grains? Besides a list of reasons, they screw up the balance. The ratio of Omega 3 and Omega 6 is covered in great detail on MDA. Did you know that the western diet has also thrown the sodium to potassium ratio out to lunch? Those with high blood pressure should be aware and learn more about it.

Based on the Omega 3-6 ratio and the relationship with sodium and potassium I’m convinced that it is the different ratios that are important. I still have much to learn on this subject… but then it has only been 270 days.

I really enjoy my exercise routine. Lift heavy, sprint occasionally and walk. I’m really getting into shape and on less than 20 minutes a week. What can’t you like about that?

I started with 1 rep static holds. My bench press went from 185 lbs to 425 lbs. My squat went from 245 lbs to 575 lbs. My dead lift went from 295 lbs to 555 lbs. My high intensity training took about 60 seconds a week. (Adjusting the weights kept me I the gym for about 30 minutes but my actual time under load was under 1 minute.)

Vick04 26 2010

In November I changed to the big 5. These are range of motion exercises but I time myself rather than counting reps. My performance improved when I cut it back from five exercises to 3. My best increase was with the leg press. It is important to note that I was only doing the one lower body exercise. I went from 360 lbs for 53 seconds to 630 lbs for 56 seconds. My high intensity training was now taking about 180 seconds a week. I almost broke into a sweat once or twice.

I’m taking my strength and conditioning to a new level of study. It can be broken down into three parts. The first is muscle growth. This is achieved by applying techniques that through sequential stimulation causes inroading. This is micro trauma at the cellular level. If correctly applied and allowing time to adapt it will create the body to grow more muscle tissue.

The second is synaptic facilitation. As Pavel Tsatsouline puts it… “Grease the Groove”. This is about using intense stimulation to strengthen the nerve impulses to the muscles to make them more efficient. The key to these stimuli is repetition with light to moderate weights.

The third is fascia recoil. The fascia wraps our muscle tissue. It can focus energy and momentum to make us stronger. While much research is going into the fascia for curing discomfort in the muscles and joints I see it as a means to greatly increase functional and explosive strength.

The breakdown into these types of training is in its infancy. I see how muscle growth and applying synaptic facilitation to everyday life skills will greatly enhance a person’s life. Fascia recoil helps us with explosive strength. I’ve a lot more to develop on this theory… but then it has only been 270 days.

As I continue this primal trek I need to maintain what got me this far. I will continue to research and apply my newfound knowledge in balancing my nutrients… 80% of the time.

I should walk more… but I’ll continue to do my high intensity resistance training once a week. I’m presently applying the new Max Pyramid protocol. I’m doing one upper body and one lower body exercise a week. This protocol should increase my high intensity training to a maximum of… gosh… it might hit 6 minutes a week. Will I handle the shock?

I personally want to thank Mark for MDA and his book The Primal Blueprint. I also want to thank the members of the forum. You have been excellent sources of information, ideas and support.

Vick

Dear Mark,

Last August I weighed 325 lbs. I’m an entertainer and my bandmates fired me because of the impact I had on their image. I don’t blame them. I was only 27 years old but my lipids were in the red zone, my liver enzymes were scary because of substance abuse, and my doctor told me to get into treatment and make a change or else I wouldn’t make it to 40. After leaving treatment, I ditched the grains (a big catalyst for ALL of my obsessive consumption), got a much needed shoulder repair surgery, and most importantly I began reading your blog.

I have tried to get my obesity under control my entire life. Like many chronically obese, I was an “expert” on nutrition, but because of the pitfalls of conventional wisdom, I couldn’t stick with it. It didn’t take me long to adopt the philosophy of the Primal Blueprint – I’m big on common sense and it resonated with me. The main reason, however, was because of the results that I was seeing. It was almost instant – my mood and energy levels improved, I wanted to go outside and play, and the weight came off effortlessly. I got back in the studio and started writing and recording music again. The reason why I am writing you now is because as of today, I have lost 80 lbs!!! I saw my doctor last month and he said “Your lipids came back better than mine, and I eat nothing but f*****g grass all day.” He was absolutely astonished. Thank you so much for bringing this community of people together. Thank you so much for being so bold to get this information out there. It’s given me the tools I need to have a new lease on life.

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Now, I have a new band – more energetic and already much more successful than the one I left in August. I have a new audience (the college girls are loving the new me :)). I also have a new goal – I want to do everything I can to get this philosophy out to anyone who needs to hear it. I still have a long way to go, but I know that with this momentum and this knowledge, all it’s going to take is a little more time – and a little more bacon :P.

Thanks again for everything. You and the community helped me get from Rockstar to Grokstar. You can’t know how grateful I truly am.

Sincerely,

Chris

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