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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Month: February 2008

Dear Mark: Advice for Athletes

This question came from speedingwaif in the comment boards last week. We thought it was something everyone might enjoy.

Dear Mark,

I’d be very interested in reading about the different nutritional needs of average folk versus athletes. For instance do we need more protein or just more calories overall? Are there foods or nutrients that are especially beneficial to the athlete? What is a good pre-training or pre-competition meal? Should the diet of a female athlete differ greatly from the diet of a male athlete?

Thanks for the question. I really enjoy the post discussions that get going and appreciate the questions. As you may have noticed, Dear Mark has become a weekly post now, so feel free to drop me a line in the comment boards. I’ll try to answer as many questions as possible in future Dear Mark posts.

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A Pain in the Neck – and Back!

With the rise of obesity and the prevalence of sedentary lifestyles in the U.S., it’s little surprise that back problems are common in this country. And, sure enough, health expenditures for these problems are going through the roof. According to a newly published research analysis, expenditures for neck and back treatments have risen a whopping 65% since 1997! But here’s the kicker: with all the extra money insurance companies and individuals are paying for back related treatments (surgeries, pain meds, etc.) patients are actually getting less relief. The research comes out of the University of Washington at Seattle and is published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

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Magnificent Muscle

A research study out this week indicates type II muscle mass associated with strength training not only helps reduce body fat but alters overall metabolism.
Researchers from the Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM) have demonstrated that in mice, the use of barbells may be as important to losing weight and improving health as the use of running shoes. The discovery builds upon the fact that skeletal muscle consists of two types of fibers. Endurance training such as running increases the amount of type I muscle fibers, while resistance training such as weightlifting increases type II muscle fibers. Using a mouse genetic model, BUSM researchers demonstrated that an increase in type II muscle mass can reduce body fat which in turn reduces overall body mass and improves metabolic parameters such as insulin resistance. These studies indicate that weight bearing exercise, in addition to endurance training, may benefit overweight people.
via Science Daily

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GMO Foods: Super Solution or Franken Future?

Close your eyes and think about genetically modified crops. Now what do you see? Green fields of lush, pest-resistant, hardy crops? A ghoulish cast hovering above insidious kodachrome orbs they call GM tomatoes? Hordes of protestors in t-shirts and Converse sneakers? Hungry children being fed? A Pandora’s Box?

Applaud or curse, the U.S. allows the planting of GM crops, while many countries do not. It also doesn’t mandate labeling of genetically modified food, as do Europe and many other countries. These circumstances have, experts agree, allowed food made with genetically engineered ingredients to be included in approximately 70% of food in typical grocery stores.

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Law Would Prohibit Restaurants from Serving Obese Patrons

Last week, the Mississippi legislature introduced a controversial bill that would have prohibited eateries from serving food to “any person who is obese based on criteria prescribed by the state health department.”

Under the bill, which was struck down before even making it to the House, the responsibility of denying larger customers would have fallen squarely on the shoulders of restaurant wait staff, with the state health department charged with monitoring compliance and revoking permits to those eateries that failed to comply.

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Mature Muscle?

A few weeks ago we tackled the importance of lean muscle mass in aging and its typical correlation with organ reserve. Conventional wisdom tells us that muscle is easiest to develop when you are young, that we tend to lose muscle as we age, and that it becomes more difficult to put on muscle as we grow older. We thought we’d investigate and give you a clearer picture of what the research has to say.

Just to review, we’re talking skeletal muscle here, which includes two types of fibers. Type I fibers are associated with endurance training, while type II fibers are associated with weight training. It’s true that adults do tend to lose muscle mass during typical aging (typical being the operative word here), and it’s the type II fibers that are depleted. Type I fibers are generally preserved. But the type II fibers, research is finding, play a crucial role in regulating the body’s metabolism. These guys help direct the activities of tissues in other systems of the body. Given their influential roles, maintaining type II fibers (i.e. muscle mass) as we age can reduce the risk for diabetes and obesity.

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