For today’s edition of Dear Mark, I’m answering four questions from readers. The first question is actually 5 questions, so it’s closer to 8 questions overall. Good deal. First, I answer 5 questions about exercise, jumping jacks, aerobic base building, and weighted hiking. Next, what’s my take on hunting? After that, I discuss a few different ways to approach pull-ups. And finally, what is my quick and dirty advice for those with type 1 diabetes trying to go Primal?
Very interesting read, lot to chew over with this one. As far as what I would like to see in future posts or books: what alternative exercises could you do for aerobic base-building efforts per Primal Endurance guidelines?
Is running in place better than jumping jacks? Does the elliptical have a place? How often is too often for hiking with a weight vest? And how much lower can you go under your 180-age before you need to worry about *not* getting an adequate training effect.
These could all be dedicated posts, as you mention. But I’ll do some quick rapid fire responses.
Literally any activity that keeps you under or at a heart rate of 180 minus age is building your aerobic base. The question is finding one that you enjoy doing, but not so much that you get carried away and turn it into an intense session. The real fun lies in doing nothing but “easy” movement and watching your aerobic threshold rise.
The elliptical has a place. I like it for high intensity intervals, rather than long, slow aerobic work. If your joints can’t handle the hard impacts of running or sprinting, ellipticals are a decent option.
Depends on the amount of weight in the vest, the grade of the climb, your experience hiking with weight. In my experience, the hardest part about rucking/hiking with weight has always been the downhill portion. That’s where the leg cramping sets in, especially if you’ve been going for miles or days. If you’re going with a nice 20-35 pounds, I’d say you could go as often as you would without a vest. That’s like carrying a toddler around—which many unfit people already do—only the weight is more evenly distributed and thus easier to bear.
It’s a long tail. There’s probably some area under the curve that would suggest time X heart rate equals workload. The point would be that you still get some amount of significant training from a four-hour hike at a heart rate significantly below your MAF. However, the training would not serve you necessarily as much if you were training for, say, an elite level marathon.
Brad Kearns has a great analogy he uses to talk about the effectiveness of low-low intensity movement. Imagine a cruise ship with 12 engines. Going 25 knots in the open sea, all 12 engines are going full blast. To putter around the harbor, it might only use 2 of those engines at half-speed—but those 2 engines are still being used, still being “trained.”
At age 30 I just took my hunter safety course and am excited to begin my own hunting practice. I think a deep primal exploration of our hunting roots would help bridge the gap for many who haven’t considered our ancestral connection to hunting and the outdoors. Basically, it’s a meaty topic that I’d deerly like to hear Mark and the gang’s opinion on.
Check out this older post. I’ll try to get something more fresh up in the coming weeks or months.
I would love to see an article about alternate ways to do pull/ups
You’ve got pull-ups—palms facing forward. A little more lat-centric.
You’ve got chin-ups—palms facing behind you. A little more bicep-centric.
You’ve got neutral grip pull-ups—palms facing each other. Easier on the shoulders, good for people with poor shoulder flexibility.
You’ve got fingertip pull-ups—a training staple of climbers.
One of my favorite ways to do pull-ups (any kind) is with ladders. Start with 2 pull-ups. Wait 30 seconds. Do 3. Wait 30 seconds. Do 4. Wait 30 seconds. Start the ladder over again. Make sure each rep feels crisp; you don’t want to grind out the steps of the ladder. I’ve seen people who can maybe do 5-6 pull-ups in a row do three rounds of this ladder without much problem. This allows you to accumulate great volume, really grease the groove of the movement, get stronger, increase max reps, and reduce the risk of overtraining or straining. If 2-3-4 ladders are too easy, you can step it up to 3-4-5. Too hard? 1-2-3.
I would love more HIIT/primal tips for type 1 diabetics. Thanks Mark
As for HIIT, less is more. Interval training has the tendency to raise blood sugar in people with type 1 diabetes. In one study, moderate cycling lowered blood glucose, while adding a quick 10-second all out sprint increased it. They even proposed using these 10-second sprints as alternative modifiers of blood glucose. Interesting stuff.
The bulk of your training should be strength training, lots of walking, and a ton of easy movement. Keep the intense sprints/HIIT for special occasions.
Oh, and consider going keto, or at least just low-carb. This should be a no-brainer, and many doctors are embracing it for their patients with type 1 diabetes, but you may have to push the issue with your doctor. Be sure to keep him or her in the loop.
That’s it for today, folks. Thanks for asking, thanks for reading, and thanks for chiming in below with your own input for today’s round of questions.
Mark Sisson is the founder of Mark’s Daily Apple, godfather to the Primal food and lifestyle movement, and the New York Times bestselling author of The Keto Reset Diet. His latest book is Keto for Life, where he discusses how he combines the keto diet with a Primal lifestyle for optimal health and longevity. Mark is the author of numerous other books as well, including The Primal Blueprint, which was credited with turbocharging the growth of the primal/paleo movement back in 2009. After spending three decades researching and educating folks on why food is the key component to achieving and maintaining optimal wellness, Mark launched Primal Kitchen, a real-food company that creates Primal/paleo, keto, and Whole30-friendly kitchen staples.