Meet Mark

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...

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Category: Lift Heavy Things

Primal Challenge Point: Master the Primal Essential Movements

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.

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Dear Mark: BCAAs, and That Weightlifting Article with All the Exclamation Points

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.

Let’s go:

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CrossFit Training: How Primal Enables Elite Performance

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?

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CrossFit Training: How to Add Mass and Build Strength with Primal

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.

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Are CrossFit and Primal Compatible?

Back when they were infants, CrossFit and paleo were the best of friends. Robb Wolf was giving CrossFit nutrition seminars. CF boxes were running paleo challenges and offering meal plans to clients. Tens of thousands of people were introduced to paleo through CrossFit and CrossFit through paleo.

Over time, however, they drifted apart. CrossFit met and fell in with the Zone Diet—a calm, well-mannered lad with impeccable balance, and paleo’s dad got a job in another city. They ended up going to different schools. These things happen. It’s fine. Both CrossFit and paleo are better versions of themselves for having met each other.

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How to Build Strength and Muscle with Progressive Calisthenics

Today’s guest post is offered up by some long-time friends of MDA, Al Kavadlo and Danny Kavadlo. I’m excited to share their expertise with the Primal community here. This year I wrote the foreword for their new book, Get Strong, which was just released. 

If you’re into Primal living, chances are you’re a minimalist when it comes to exercise. In our busy world, we all want to make good use of the time we allot to our training. Additionally, we Primal devotees know that many of the fancy machines we may encounter at the local globo-gym are not needed for building real-world strength.

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