The popular story of how low-carb diets work goes something like this: Reducing your carbohydrate...
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...Tell Me More
Keto is red hot these days, and it’s not going away anytime soon. Call it the latest dietary fad, but keep in mind a great insight Robb Wolf told Joe Rogan on his podcast: keto was “likely the default human metabolic state” over the past 2.5 million years of human evolution. Only with the extremely recent (on the evolutionary timeline) advent of civilization have we been stuffing our faces with carbs and snuffing out our magnificent ability to generate ketones as a clean-burning alternative fuel source to dietary carbohydrates. And we certainly were compelled to evolve a highly efficient mechanism to keep our high energy demand brains fueled with glucose or the glucose-like substitute of ketones at all times—for this was a matter of life or death in primal times. When our ancestors were starving, they needed to keep working hard, and concentrating hard, to find food!
I’ve been in meetings with the woman who did lunges in the corner while the rest of us sat around a conference table. I’ve watched a guy lift a kettlebell he kept under his desk every time he took a phone call. There’s nothing wrong with any of that. But not everyone works in a space where that would realistically fly. That said, frequent movement is one of the best things you can do for yourself. It’s the base of the Primal Blueprint Fitness Pyramid for good reason. So, if you’re stuck in cubicle land all day or can only get away for a few minutes at a time, what are some more “covert” ways to fit in some movement in your work day?
I like intensity when I train. Lifting heavy, running sprints, playing Ultimate Frisbee. I keep it brief, and the foundation is always a lot of slow movement throughout the day—easy runs, long walks or hikes, rarely sitting—but I go hard when I “work out.”
What if you were to go slow, on purpose?
Entire schools of physical culture are founded upon slow, deliberate movements. They squash momentum and lambast rapidity. They’re difficult in a different way. They require patience and fortitude.
For today’s edition of Dear Mark, I’m answering five questions about stress. First, how can someone handle the stress from training five days a week, assuming they don’t want to cut back on gym days? Second, what are the negative effects of chronic stress on athletic performance? Third, what do I do when I’m stressed out and Primal Calm isn’t cutting it? Do I have any practices? And fourth, how can a working mom with three little kids deal with non-negotiable stress? Fifth, can distractions like TV or movies help us deal with stress, or are they just ways to ignore the problem?
There are many reasons to be thankful for the cushy existence modernity affords us. War and other extenuating circumstances aside, you probably don’t fear for your life on a daily basis. You have clean water to drink. Food is widely available, and it’s affordable. You survived infancy, childhood, and adolescence, which is quite special on a historical scale.
But there are downsides. Food has gone industrial. We increasingly live our lives in the digital realm and ignore the physical. Perhaps the most recent change relative to that shift has been the physical neutering of our kids. This has happened more broadly across all ages as countries shift away from manual labor toward more of an information economy, but it’s become incredibly pronounced in the generation coming up. At least when I grew up kids still wandered the streets in search of adventure, testing themselves out physically, undergoing mental and physical challenges, breaking bones and straining muscles, and learning about movement from the best teacher of all—hands on experience. Now? The lucky ones will get gymnastics or martial arts or dance training a couple days a week. But most languish indoors, prevented from the kind of free-form exploratory play human children have enjoyed for thousands of generations.
It’s one of the biggest mistakes people who are looking to reboot their health make—and one of the most common reasons so many are already dropping their New Year fitness goals. Anyone seeing the gyms clearing out yet? The optimist in me wishes they’ve simply found other pursuits outside the gym that interest them more—at home or in leagues or other venues. Experience, however, suggests differently.
“Pursue the challenges that turn you on instead of worrying about what the magazines say is the ‘best’ workout, or the marketing hype that glorifies extreme events.” — The New Primal Blueprint, pg. 316
For more on finding your own fitness passions and creating an active lifestyle that fits your life, check out some of my past posts on the subject: