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
For today’s edition of Dear Mark, I’m answering three questions. First, is power yoga—a more “intense” version of yoga that includes strength exercises—a suitable alternative to strength training for aging women? Probably not, but that doesn’t make it bad or wrong to do. Second, what’s the deal with pelvic floor dysfunction after menopause? What’s the best way to improve that situation? And third, is the Keto Reset right for older women with osteoporosis?
Let’s find out:
Generally speaking, the basic Primal Blueprint for fitness and physical activity applies equally to men and women of all ages. Lifting heavy things works in everyone. Sprinting is a fantastic way—for anyone who’s able—to compress workouts and improve training efficiency. Improving one’s aerobic capacity through easy cardio doesn’t discriminate between the sexes. And everyone should walk, hike, garden, and perform as much low level physical activity as possible. These basic foundations—the 30,000 foot view of fitness—don’t really change across age or sex.
But the details do, especially for women.
Contrary to popular belief, strength training doesn’t require heavy weights and expensive machines. That’s certainly one way for people to get an effective workout, but you can get quite strong and fit using just compound bodyweight movements. And even if you want more, you can always add weights later.
It’s a great start for those beginning (or reigniting) a fitness routine, but I’ve also known plenty of experienced folks who benefit from putting aside more elaborate routines and practicing the basics now and then.
As a mini-challenge, work on one per week.
For today’s edition of Dear Mark, I’m answering a pair of questions. First, a new study comes out and claims that branched chain amino acids increase the risk of insulin resistance and, eventually, diabetes. The study is legit, but the test subjects were mice. Is the research relevant to humans? Then I explain just why the interesting weightlifting article with all the exclamation points from last week’s Weekend Link Love got me thinking.
By now, you know that CrossFit and Primal are totally compatible. You can get enough carbs, calories, and micronutrients eating this way. The specific foods we recommend support healthy recovery, injury prevention, tissue health, ample energy reserves, and even longevity. The lifestyle recommendations—the Primal Laws—provide extra advantages most “diets” completely ignore. And the focus on fat-adaptation buttresses an energy system many athletes lack. All in all, Primal is a great choice for any CrossFitter.
But one final question remains: Can it support and enable elite performance?
Gaining mass and building strength while CrossFitting should be a breeze. You’re lifting heavy things using compound full-body movements like squats, deadlifts, and presses, providing a potent growth stimulus to your muscles. Yet, many people fall short of their goals, perhaps losing weight and improving performance but failing to really gain any real muscle or strength.
Today, I’m going to explain how going Primal can help you achieve both goals.
First, you must understand the very Primal reality of your body’s hormonal systems and their relation to the environment: Acknowledge that you are an organism whose endocrine system is acutely attuned to the inputs it receives. It’s actively engaged in the world around you, making predictions and taking actions based on your perceptions. If your body thinks it’s living through a famine, it will conserve energy and eliminate wasteful extravagances like big muscles and 2x body weight back squat. If your body thinks it’s living through plentiful times, it will be more liberal with energy and allow the growth of extracurricular tissues, like big muscles. Create an environment of abundance—or even the impression of one—and you will be more likely to gain muscle and strength.