Many of you may know that one of my favorite television shows is Survivor. It turns out that Mark Burnett, the producer of Survivor, has a new show called Expedition Impossible; an adventure series where contestants race through the deserts, rivers and mountains of Morocco. (Interest piqued.) It also turns out that one of the teams, the Gypsies, could just as well have been called team Grok. That’s right. John Post, Taylor Filasky and Eric Bach, contestants on the show, have all gone Primal.
Mark Burnett? Africa? Adventure race? Primal contestants? Ok, I’m hooked. Between attending to the media blitz that comes with starring on a new TV show and operating a recently purchased 27-acre farm (Sweet Peeps) with his sister and their two best friends, John Post found time to answer a few questions about his experience going Primal and being on Expedition Impossible (airs Thursday, 9/8c on ABC). Find out more about John’s team at The Modern Gypsies, and ask John any questions you have in the comment board.
John, tell us about Expedition Impossible.
When I first heard about Expedition Impossible, I was volunteering in Cambodia. I saw the title and knew this was something I wanted to be a part of! Expedition Impossible was a true test of the Primal lifestyle and definitely the most epic experience of my life. It’s incredible to have the opportunity to see how my teams’ lifestyle choices stack up against a truly diverse selection of Americans. Grok vs. all! There’s no schedule, no hotel rooms, and we never knew what would be around the next corner! We trekked through the Sahara dessert, climbed snow capped mountains, and paddled some gnarly rivers. We were riding crazy camels and Arabian stallions and pulling stubborn donkeys through miles of river bed. They really did a good job of trying to throw teams out of their comfort zones! I remember the first day while I was leading these camels through the Sahara dessert with my two teammates thinking “wow, this is real!” There wasn’t one moment that wasn’t absolutely incredible.
You’ve said that the Primal lifestyle was a big part of your training. What did you mean by that?
Being Primal keeps you ready for anything. It was perfect training for a competition that is constantly varied and unknown. When Mark Burnett, producer of Expedition Impossible and Survivor, designed this show, he must have had the Primal Blueprint in mind. Combine long distances, bursts of intense activity and constant problem solving with a survival of the fittest style competition and you have Grok in his daily life!
How did you first come to find out about the Primal Blueprint?
My sister Stephanie has been a long time Primal eater and I have to give her credit for my first experience with the Primal Blueprint. We were training for the Warrior Dash SoCal a little over a year ago. I’ve always been athletic but never paid much attention to my eating habits. I quickly started to notice that on days I ate Primally, my mind was clear and focused on my intent and my body felt more powerful during my training. On days when I didn’t eat Primally, all I could think about while training were the bad things I put in my body. I didn’t know much about the Primal Blueprint at the time but as I learned more I realized the things I envisioned weighing me down actually were. My body knew and could recognize the difference.
What was your diet and exercise routine like before going Primal and why did you make the change?
Before going Primal my diet and exercise routines varied widely. To be honest I wasn’t educated about what was really good for me. I thought I was healthy and fit enough until I got my first taste of Primal. After that there was no going back.
How has the Primal lifestyle affected your health and fitness?
I often tell people I wish I could experience the change to the Primal Blueprint again. I just felt so much better. The increase in my energy level was amazing. My favorite part is being able to make conscious decisions about what I put in my body and understanding how it affects me.
What was it like trying to eat Primal foods and live like Grok while on the Expedition? I imagine getting adequate sun and low level aerobic activity wasn’t a problem, but how about getting adequate sleep, managing stress, and avoiding stupid mistakes?
Living like Grok while on the expedition was pretty easy. We definitely got adequate sunlight and enough low level aerobic activity for Grok to migrate to Brazil! Eating while on the actual expedition was a little bit trickier. At first, we were the crazy guys with mustaches who wouldn’t eat bread or candy. After our performance the first few days people stopped thinking we were crazy! That being said, food was really limited and for a lot of the competition there was a tough balance of eating what our bodies needed and what was available. I definitely hunted and gathered a few loafs of bread and possibly some beans while in Morocco.
Are your teammates Primal, too? If so, how long have they been Primal and what have their experiences been?
My whole team followed the Primal Blueprint leading up to the show. Eric and I have been Primal for about the same amount of time. Taylor made the change just 3 months before we were scheduled to leave for the expedition. He took training for the show really seriously and lost over 15 lbs after switching to the Primal Blueprint.
What would you say to anyone that was considering trying the Primal lifestyle?
This is how people are supposed to feel!
What was the craziest thing you did while on the Expedition?
Camels are pretty crazy! Throughout the show we dealt with all kinds of animals including a few different kinds of camels. Lets just say the ones you see in the first episode are nothing compared to what’s to come! It gets pretty crazy.
Who won the competition? Actually, don’t answer that. Your team had Grok power, so I think we all know who won.
Well, I can’t reveal too much but I can say that coming in first place on the first stage felt pretty good. We’ve proved that we are capable of winning. We’ll do our best to make you and the rest of our friends and family proud!
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.