Category: Lift Heavy Things

Active Recovery Workouts

Back when I was competing at an elite level of marathon and triathlon, we paid lip service to rest and recovery, but recovery looked mostly like lying on the couch for hours on end with a gallon of ice cream resting on my chest. I poured all my energy into training sessions such that I had nothing left in the tank on off days. Even basic household chores were a big ask. 

If I knew then what I know now, I would have made more of an effort to move on my off days, incorporating more active recovery instead of the passive, frankly slothful recovery I favored at the time. 

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How to Work Out with a BOSU Exercise Ball

You’ve probably seen a BOSU exercise ball at the gym. It’s that piece of equipment hanging out by the free weights that looks like half of an inflated beach ball about two feet in diameter attached to a flat disc. You know the one. But do you know what to do with it? Have you ever incorporated a BOSU ball into your workout?

The BOSU ball is actually one of the more versatile items in the gym. This one apparatus can train the upper body, lower body, core, balance and stability, and it even provides a great cardio option if you know how to use it to get your heart rate up. When you’re traveling, if all the meager hotel gym has is a BOSU ball and a mat, it’s easy to devise a total body workout that will have you sweating.

Get started with this list of 12 simple exercises you can do with just a BOSU ball and your body weight, plus variations to make them easier or more challenging according to your fitness level. As always, check with your physician if you have concerns about starting a new exercise program. Folks who struggle with their balance may want to ask a trainer or coach to help get them started.

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How to Train for Backpacking

June is National Get Outdoors Month. Here at MDA, we’re spending the next couple weeks teeing you up to have your best summer yet in the great outdoors with posts to inspire you to get into nature.

Today we’re talking about how to train for backpacking. Let’s start with the most obvious question: what IS backpacking? Backpacking is simply multi-day hiking where you carry all your gear on your back.

Say you’re going out for a day hike carrying water, food, and basic survival gear, but you return to your car the same day you set out. That’s not backpacking.

If you’re trekking across the country, but someone else is sherpaing your gear from one sleeping spot to the next, that’s not backpacking either.

In a nutshell, backpacking is essentially a long hike with more gear and more details to think about because you’ll be spending at least one night—but possibly many more—camping out. I think of backpacking as a kind of endurance sport. As with any endurance sport, you want to train for your event. You probably wouldn’t enter a half-marathon this coming weekend with minimal or no training. You could, but it would hurt a lot less, and your chance of success would be significantly greater, if you took the time to train. Same goes for backpacking.

The good news is, if you already have a solid fitness base, you are well on your way. Now you just need to tailor your training to get ready for your backpacking expedition.

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Posture Correctors: Helpful or All Hype?

Posture seems to be on everyone’s mind right now thanks to the uptick in work-from-home jobs, coupled with the fact that practically everyone has a mobile device to stare at. Cue my usual laments about the sedentary nature of the modern lifestyle. Not only do we sit too much and move too little, many folks alternate between hunching forward over a keyboard and looking down at a phone or tablet all day, every day.

The result? Widespread poor posture and growing concerns about what this means for public health. Forward head posture (aka “tech neck”), rounded shoulders, and slouched, rounded spines all contribute to:

Soreness and pain throughout the body
Muscular weaknesses and imbalances that lead to dysfunctional movement patterns
Breathing issues
Headaches and migraines

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Dear Mark: What is Turkesterone, and Can It Help Me Build Muscle?

For today’s edition of Dear Mark, I’m answering questions about a rather mysterious supplement called turkesterone. I’ve been getting questions about it lately, specifically regarding its promise for muscle building.

Turkesterone has exploded in popularity, but there isn’t much solid information to go on. Compared to supplements with reams of human research, like whey isolate or creatine or magnesium, you’re flying pretty much blind with turkesterone. I’ve had to sift through animal studies, murky Russian research, and anecdotes to bring you my best take on the compound.

It’s not the final word, but I stand by it for now.

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Primal Guide to Bulking

So you want to gain some weight, some mass. You want more muscle. You want to bulk up. And you want to do it in a healthy way within the context of the Primal Blueprint, but aren’t sure where to start. Most popular bulking advice consists of eating everything in sight—dirty bulking with fast food, TV dinners, PB&J, peanut butter on the spoon, whatever you have on hand. That’s not the way, folks.

As I’ve made pretty clear, our ultimate goal is to achieve positive gene expression, functional strength, optimum health, and extended longevity. In other words: To make the most out of the particular gene set you inherited.

These are my end goals, and I’ve modeled the Primal Blueprint Laws with them in mind. But that doesn’t mean packing on extra muscle can’t happen with additional input. After I retired from a life of chronic cardio and started living Primally, I added 15 pounds of muscle, while keeping low body fat levels without really trying, so it’s absolutely possible for a hardgainer to gain some. The question is how much and at what expense?

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