The Primal Blueprint is all about maximizing the efficiency of training to reduce the time spent working and increase the time spent playing. If I can figure out the minimum effective dose and get 80% of the benefits in 20% of the time, I’m all for that. It leaves me extra time to spend with my loved ones, play outdoors, go for hikes, or buckle down and get some work done. Especially if I don’t cut any corners or shortchange myself. This is why I love microworkouts, where instead of spending hours in the gym I just do movements and exercises throughout the day—have “exercise snacks”—and accrue a large training load without feeling like I spent all day in the gym.
But microworkouts aren’t the only path to make exercise more efficient, or at least feel that way. There’s also something called rest pause training, or myo rep training.
Hydration seems like it should be so easy: drink some water, go about your day, the end. Back in this blog’s early days, and when I first published The Primal Blueprint, my hydration advice was simple: drink when you’re thirsty. Over the years, however, my thinking on the hydration issue has become more nuanced. When I updated and expanded the most recent edition of The Primal Blueprint in 2016, I expanded on that basic advice to include more details about what we should be drinking and how much. For the most part, I still think that “drink to thirst” is a sound strategy for the average person. Your body has a built-in, well-regulated thirst mechanism that will keep you from becoming dehydrated in normal circumstances. However, some folks, like the endurance athletes in the crowd, would be wise to take a more intentional approach. Benefits of Proper Hydration and How It’s Regulated Hydration is a critical component of optimal health. Digestion, muscle contraction, circulation, thermoregulation, and neurologic functioning all rely on having appropriate fluid balance in the body. Your brain and kidneys are constantly working to maintain optimal hydration status. When you become even slightly dehydrated, several things happen. First and foremost, your blood osmolality (concentration) increases. Dehydration can also cause a decrease in blood volume and, often, blood pressure. The brain and kidneys sense these changes and release hormones and hormone precursors designed to restore homeostasis. For example, the pituitary gland releases an anti-diuretic hormone called vasopressin, or AVP, which tells the kidneys to hold on to water. Blood vessels constrict. Most importantly, a brain region known as the lamina terminalis initiates the powerful sensation we know as thirst. Pay Attention to Your Thirst! For most people, proper hydration is as simple as 1, 2, 3. 1) Tune in to your body’s thirst sensations and respond accordingly. 2) Tailor your fluid intake to your individual needs. Rules like “drink at least eight eight-ounce glasses of water” or “drink half your body weight in ounces” are all well and good, but they might not be right for you. There’s not a lot of scientific support for those nuggets of conventional wisdom. Some days you might need less or considerably more. 3) Make appropriate adjustments for exogenous factors like climate and exercise. When it’s very hot, or you’re sweating buckets during some long endurance event, it’s best to stay on top of hydration rather than waiting for thirst to kick in. Don’t Become Waterlogged You can have too much of a good thing. While I’m all about the trend of carrying stainless steel water bottles everywhere we go for environmental reasons, there’s never any call to drink literal gallons of water. In fact, drinking too much can bring about the dangerous condition of hyponatremia, where excess fluid compromises the all-important sodium balance in your blood. Hyponatremia can quickly become debilitating and even fatal. You may have heard the news stories of novice marathon runners losing consciousness after over-hydrating or radio station … Continue reading “Do You Know How to Properly Hydrate? It’s Not as Straightforward as You Might Think”
Other than saturated fat, I can’t think of a nutrient that’s been so universally maligned and demonized as salt. All the experts hate it and recommend that we get as little of it as possible. They even all seem to have their own little anti-salt slogans. The American Diabetes Association recommends between 2300 and 1500 mg of sodium per day (“Be Sodium Savvy”). The American Heart Association wants you eating less than 1500 mg per day and claims that 97% of young people already eat way too much salt. The other ADA – the American Dietetic Association – also recommends between 2300 and 1500 mg.
Why has salt been cast in such a negative light?
Some people feel like they shouldn’t snack, but there are lots of reasons you might reach for something to tide yourself over. Maybe you’re snowed in with work and your schedule was thrown off. You could be a little hungrier than normal from yesterday’s tough workout. You could need a snack because you’re just starting with intermittent fasting or keto as your metabolism is adjusting. Quality snacks are a good thing to have on hand so you’re not caught off-guard. These homemade energy bars are perfect snacks filled with my favorite fats and very low in carbs and sugar.
Research of the Week
The earliest known modern humans in Europe were products of a recent coupling between humans and Neanderthals.
How your face and body morphology influence how threatening you appear to others.
Thru-hiking—at least as commonly practiced—can impair vascular health.
Personality and metabolism.
In rodents, early life sugar consumption impairs later life cognition, perhaps via changes to gut bacteria.
Hey folks! In this week’s edition of Ask a Health Coach, Erin is answering your questions about how to offset the effects of a poor sleep routine, dealing with a difficult partner, and which is more important for optimal health: low stress or a Primal diet. Thanks for all your questions. Keep them coming in the comments or over in our Mark’s Daily Apple Facebook group.
Any strategies for countering the detrimental effects of not getting enough sleep? Preferably ones that don’t involve caffeine. My work schedule and family responsibilities are making it difficult, most of the time impossible, to get enough sleep during the week and sometimes on weekends too. I also have to wake up hours before sunrise to get ready for work, and naps during the day are impracticable.