Meet Mark

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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Category: Fasting

Should You Rethink Your Meal Timing for Weight Loss?

I’ve written about what to eat. I’ve written about what not to eat. I’ve even discussed the benefits of occasionally eating things you “shouldn’t eat.” I’ve written about skipping breakfast, eating a big lunch, and skipping entire days of meals altogether. I’ve discussed sleeping low (carb) and punctuating a low-carb diet with occasional high-carb refeeds. But I haven’t written very much about when to eat.

I won’t tell you when to eat. There are many paths. You must find the one that takes you to your goal. But there are some physiological “truths” that impact how we process food depending on what’s happening in our lives which seem to apply to all humans. I’ll discuss several ways to think about meal timing, and then you can decide which concepts make sense for you and your life.

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Dear Mark: IGF-1 and Fasting, Ex-CrossFitter Fitness Maintenance, and Barre Training

For today’s edition of Dear Mark, I’m answering three questions from readers. First, what’s the deal with IGF-1, growth hormone, and intermittent fasting? Some people say fasting increases growth hormones, while others say it decreases them. Who’s right? And what’s it all mean for our health? Next, how can a former CrossFitter ensure she’s maintaining her former fitness levels? And finally, what’s my take on Barre training and other “feminine” training schools?

Let’s go:

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8 Essential Tips for Primal Men

Men I know. I am one, after all. Have been for many years. For the most part, I enjoy it. It’s worked out really well for me. I don’t find it particularly difficult to be a man. Once I dialed in the basics of this Primal stuff, my health improved and my fitness became more well-rounded and applicable to the things I enjoyed doing. I haven’t struggled much. But many people do. And while the majority of Primal advice is geared toward humans in general, I’ll just get this out of the way early: These “men’s tips” all apply to many women, too. And many of the “women’s tips” from last week’s post also apply to men. But ignoring the gender-specificity of general trends serves no one. Everyone has the capacity for competitiveness; men tend to have more. Both genders can benefit from fasting, but women are more likely to have negative responses. Men and women both need sleep; lack of it hits women harder. That’s all. As always, if you recognize yourself in these tips, go for it!

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12 Essential Tips for Primal Women

Look: I’m a man. I’ve lived a different experience than the average woman, with totally different equipment and different concentrations of hormones coursing through my body. But I have a daughter and a wife and a good head on my shoulders that’s spent the last 30 years thinking about health, nutrition, and fitness for humans, so I have a few things to offer.

So let’s get right down to today’s post. What follows are 12 tips for Primal women. Or any woman, really.

(Men, too: if some of the things mentioned in today’s post aren’t working for you, and the tips seem to apply, go for it!)

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Dear Mark: Higher BMI and Mortality Risk, Calories When Meal-Skipping, HIIT After Fasting

For today’s edition of Dear Mark, I’m answering a couple questions from you guys. First, there’s a new paper out claiming that the ideal BMI for overall mortality is an overweight one—27, to be exact. Is this really the case? Should we all pack on a few extra pounds to see us through into old age? Next, should you try to make up for all the “lost” calories when you eat in a compressed eating window? If you skip breakfast, should you try to eat more at lunch? And finally, how does one incorporate high intensity interval training on a low-carb diet that includes fasting?

Let’s go:

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Dear Mark: Just Outside of Goal Weight, Skipping Breakfast and Coffee, and Quark

For today’s edition of Dear Mark, I’m answering four questions. First up, I discuss what to do—and really, what not to do—as you approach your goal weight but keep coming up short. Second, why do breakfast skippers also tend to be the biggest coffee drinkers around? Is it just correlation or is there a causative explanation lurking within? And finally, what’s the deal with the cultured dairy product known as quark? Is it a worthwhile addition? Is it safe, given its decidedly neolithic origins?

Let’s go:

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Why Breakfast Isn’t the Most Important Meal of the Day (For Everyone)

If you’ve been reading this blog for any amount of time, you know I’m always interested in exploring those time-tested bits of advice, those old wives’ tales, that folk wisdom handed down generation over generation because they’re often right, or at least contain a kernel of truth. And if a piece of conventional folk wisdom turns out to be wrong or misguided, understanding why it endured for so many years is a fun exercise and usually reveals other messages and truths. Today, I’m looking at the importance (or lack thereof) of breakfast. For years, you’ve heard how important breakfast is. Your grandma says it. Your doctor probably scolds you if you’re not eating it. We all grow up having this “fact”—breakfast is the most important meal of the day—drilled into our subconsciouses. Even the people who just don’t feel hungry in the morning feel guilty about it and compelled to stuff something into their craws.

Is it right or wrong?

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10 Interesting Predictors of Longevity

This isn’t a Homeric epic. There are no oracles laying out our destiny and predicting our inevitable demise. But even if we can’t know the precise date of our death, we can use certain biomarkers, measurements, and characteristics to make predictions—with a reasonable amount of accuracy—about a person’s propensity to kick the bucket.

As is the case with any observational data, these predictors may not be malleable. And if they are malleable, actively changing them won’t necessarily confer the longevity they’re associated with. Getting plastic surgery to appear younger probably won’t make you live any longer. But they do tell a story. They suggest the qualities, activities, behaviors, and exercise patterns that may, if maintained, lead to a better, longer life. At the very worst, walking a bit more briskly and gaining some lean muscle won’t hurt you, and it will very likely help you.

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Dear Mark: Sun Aging Skin, Veggies as Carbs, and What Breaks a Fast

For today’s edition of Dear Mark, I’m answering three questions. First up comes from Carlos, who is worried about the effect of sun exposure on skin aging. Is the type of sun exposure I recommend good for vitamin D levels but bad for the health and appearance of skin? Second, how can someone eat all the vegetables I recommend while keeping their carb intake below acceptable levels? Aren’t veggies really high in carbohydrates? And finally, what “breaks” a fast? How much protein, fat, carbs, and overall calories can a person get away with without shifting completely out of the fasting state?

Let’s go:

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Dear Mark: Fasting Issues, Pullup Neck Pain, and Red Palm Oil

For today’s edition of Dear Mark, I’m answering three questions. The first one comes from Neda, who’s experiencing some issues that may be related to her fasting schedule. How should she modify her fasting? Or should she eliminate it altogether? The second question concerns a common issue: neck pain during pullups. Why does it happen and how can we avoid it? And finally, what’s the deal with red palm oil? I give my take on the controversial oil, drawing on randomized controlled trials and personal feelings about orangutans to arrive at my conclusion.

Let’s go:

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