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

The End of the 2011 Primal Blueprint 30-Day Challenge

Well, it’s been 30 days, and the Primal Blueprint Challenge is now over. I don’t know about you, but I’m completely exhausted.

This happens every single time we do a challenge. I figure, since we’ll be running contests and awarding prizes and using lots of reader-created content, that I’ll have a month “off” to relax. Maybe get some stand-up paddling in, maybe take two weekly hikes instead of my usual one, maybe finally work on banishing excess stress from my life… but no. The contest rolls around and I find myself immersed in it. My actual workload is lighter and what work I have is easier, but I can’t tear myself away from the contest. I’m up late reading comments, thinking up new contests, tracking people’s progress, working on brain teasers. You guys, I gotta say, are engrossing. From the regulars running through the contest for the third time to the beginners still flabbergasted that they can “really eat butter, eggs, and bacon,” it’s a joy to behold people discovering, rediscovering, and getting excited about this Primal way of life. In a way, it renews my excitement.

So yeah, I’m exhausted, but I’m not complaining, because it’s the exhaustion that comes after scaling a mountain or eating four pounds of Thanksgiving dinner – a happy, sated, victorious kind of exhaustion.

That’s me, though. I’m wondering about you guys. You did all the work, not me. How are you feeling about the contest? How have the past 30 days treated you? You going to stick with it, or is it a 30-and-done type of thing? Are you sick of those twenty minute workouts, all that delicious steak, the great sleep you’ve been getting, and the lower stress levels (unbearable, am I right?) yet?

Before you answer, let’s do a quick recap of all the challenges. You’ve been through a lot, and this might help jog your memory.

The Primal Blueprint 30-day Challenge isn’t simply one single challenge. It is many challenges. Some are big, some large, some implicit, others explicit, but they were all designed to force you out of your comfort zone. You were challenged on multiple levels, and these contests were the heart of the Challenge:

  • To put together a Grokfeast. Now, a Grokfeast is essentially a big picnic, a party that involves edible, dead animals, plants, and (usually) fermented beverages, along with laughter, good conversation, new friends, and lots of smiling. These are all good, enjoyable things. Parties in general are inherently fun. Mirth and merriment are the ultimate purposes of throwing a party. Easy challenge, right? Not exactly, because these are things that fall by the wayside, that get put off until next week. Facebook invites to events go un-RSVP’d, next week morphs into next month which becomes next year, and before you know it, you haven’t hung out with your tribe in over a year. The formal Grokfeast challenge forced you to discover (or rediscover) your tribe, meet up, and break marrow-rich femur (doesn’t have quite the same ring as “break bread”) together.
  • To share your success story. Your stories prove that going Primal works to people who may be on the fence about it. It puts a face, a body, and a story to the objective, impersonal figures in a PubMed article. The bigger our pool of success stories, the greater the chance that a hesitant reader will find one that resonates with them and their story. “They did it; why not me?” is an extremely powerful mindset. Also, submitting your success story forces you to appreciate your success. You have to take the photos and write the article. Even though all that stuff happened to you, seeing it on the screen makes it somehow more real. Stay tuned for upcoming Friday Success Stories. I received 125 success story emails and have just begun to dig through them.
  • To create a recipe video. Being on camera is a weird feeling, unlike anything else. The dispassionate lens and blinking red light silently judging you, the anonymous, potentially vast audience… it took me awhile to get used to it, so I know how you folks might have felt. But you did great, and I think a lot of people now want to visit Barcelona for some tuna tataki.
  • To share a Primal recipe link. An easy challenge, sure, but an important one. I mean, how many new recipe blogs and ideas did you discover from this single, simple challenge?
  • To share your struggle. It’s not all fun and games, raw-fed puppy dogs and bacon lollipops. Going Primal can present some challenges. Cravings, low-carb flus, cardio addictions, unsupportive family members, financial constraints, vegetarian leanings – this is reality, and you guys did not shy away from brutal honesty. I did my best to offer my suggestions, but the explosion of advice from the community at large in the comments section was even more incredible.
  • To share a Primal dish. Dropping links to cool-looking recipes is one thing, actually going ahead and making the recipe is another. I asked you guys to choose one from the Primal recipe link challenge, cook it, and photograph it, and the response was huge. Great pictures, too. Several MDA office keyboards short-circuited from excessive employee slavering (around here, I try to promote a reasonable level of slavering).
  • To share your wisdom. I’m consistently impressed with the caliber of reader we get around here, and I’m always learning from you guys, so I figured making a formal request for bits of wisdom would work out. It did. I got over 1500 emails in a matter of hours. I’ve compiled the best of your tips on how to live a Primal life into an eBook and will be giving it (and other goodies) away as part of a special promotion I’m holding next Tuesday. See below for more details.
  • To show me an image that encapsulates your Primal life. I initially thought this would just be a fun one, and we’d get some cool shots, but it turned out to be really powerful. I sometimes forget that there are actual living people behind these bits and bytes and words on a computer screen (and I bet others fall into the same trap, from time to time). Your photos changed that.
  • To make a Primal Blueprint Workout video. This was sort of a selfish one, to be quite honest, on the part of me and the Bees. We really wanted to mine the creativity of our readers and get some new workout ideas about as much as we wanted to give you the opportunity to motivate your fellow readers. And you guys really came through on both accounts; I almost wish my kids were young enough to double as kettlebells!

A challenge, by its very nature, teaches you something about yourself. It is ultimately a learning experience, and long after the challenge has come and gone, its lessons remain. Or at least that’s the idea.

Amidst all the reader-created content, I did manage to throw in some new material:

  • You’ve watched both fictional characters who live in an alternate reality where limited aspects of the Singularity have come to fruition (verbal hyperlinks) and real people who live in same reality as you discover Primal living, eating, and exercising while invigorating their relationships, sex lives, weight loss, ability to kick butt, and zest for life in the process. You’ve learned from them. Heck, you are them.
  • You learned about self-experimentation, and you were challenged to try it on yourself. Did you? What’d you learn? Did you notice anything? Did you learn what to do or what not to do?
  • You learned from the wisdom of others, but what about the wisdom of your body? Was it trying to tell you anything? Did you heed its warnings – or its encouragement?
  • Parents, you learned how to maintain your Primal lifestyle without going crazy or wreaking havoc in the household. Were you able to maintain in the face of bitter opposition from the tiny humans in your life? Or did you blend in seamlessly?
  • How’d you do on the mini-challenges? Do you think you’ll stick with some of ’em? All of ’em? Most? If my suspicions are right, you’ll have found that the small stuff is actually a lot more important than you originally thought.
  • After my treatise on an active versus passive life, how have you incorporated its concepts? Have you stepped outside a little more often? Are you shutting down the laptop a little earlier? Are you taking some of my advice? Saying “hello” to people instead of looking down? Being more of a producer than a consumer?
  • What about spontaneity – are you engaging in it? If you see a puddle, do you splash in it? I suppose saying “yes” to that is tantamount to planning your spontaneity, but hey, it’s still better than judiciously avoiding puddles altogether. Are you learning to wing it?

Overall, it’s time to take stock of your results. I know you have some. Maybe they’re objective results, like lowered lipid numbers, inches lost from the waist, better strength numbers, improved glucose tolerance, and normalized blood pressure readings, which are easy to analyze. If things got better, they got better. Done and done. The numbers are right there. But analysis of subjective results is a bit different. Do you feel better? Worse? Did you have more energy, or less? If you kept a journal, these changes will be easy to track, but if you didn’t, you’ll have to go on feeling, memory, and intuition. How “Primal” did you go? 100% 80/20? 60/40? The degree of adherence matters, so take that into account when making any conclusions.

I’m willing to bet that the vast majority of you guys who did the Challenge, followed the challenges, and went fully Primal for 30 days had an overall positive experience. I’d bet that you realized it wasn’t so hard after all, that it wasn’t as expensive or restrictive as you thought, and that the food actually tasted a lot better than you expected it to taste. If all that is true, why stop at 30 days?

Why not go all out, for life? Why not make the Primal lifestyle your lifestyle? You’ve come this far. Now is no time to quit. As this 30-Day Challenge comes to an end a new chapter begins, and I’m right there to help.

Next Tuesday, October 18, I’ll be officially releasing my new book, The Primal Blueprint 21-Day Total Body Transformation. It’s a step-by-step, no nonsense, practical guidebook/logbook that will tell you exactly what to do for three weeks to take control of your health for life. I’ve been working hard on this book for a couple years and it’s finally here. Check back on October 18th for all the juicy details. I’ll be giving away freebies (an exclusive eBook and podcast, and much more) to those that pick a copy (or two, or three) between October 18 and 24. I’m hoping to see this book top the charts so that the Primal Blueprint message gets the sort of exposure it needs to affect real change. With your help the PB can go mainstream. Tell your friends and family about this special offer (they’ll thank you). Rally the troops and be prepared to spread the word in any way you can the morning of October 18. Thanks, everyone. See you then and Grok on!

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