Remember Blair Morrison? He’s the dude who got Primal in the Netherlands for his entry into the PB Fitness Video Contest, and also placed 7th at the 2009 CrossFit Games. Blair wrote to me with his latest workout video – which will close this post – and a reminder: don’t forget about urban Groks!
I live in Malibu, just outside of LA proper, and it’s not exactly an urban environment. LA itself isn’t a classic urban landscape; it’s more urban sprawl than anything else. We’ve got hundreds of miles of wilderness – mountains, beaches, trails, canyons – to climb, run, crawl, or hike, but very little skyscraper to scale or subway turnstile to hurdle. We give a ton of attention to the great outdoors, partly because of my affinity for it and partly because it fits the Primal theme really well. For today, though, I want to address the urban warriors among us. If you’re lucky enough to live in a vibrant, bustling cityscape teeming with ledges, poles, fences, staircases, and tall buildings, you owe it yourself to expand your workout regimen to encompass your (un)natural environment.
Based on the feedback I get, people like the Primal Blueprint for its simplicity. All it takes is a reasonably strict adherence to the ten Primal laws for most people to enjoy improved body composition, increased strength and general fitness, better sleep, and reduced inflammatory markers. The dietary component in particular is easy, simply because it stresses the inclusion of good fats, ample protein, and quality carbohydrates – the very same foods that have been naturally selected to appeal to our taste buds – but some have trouble with Primal fitness.
At first glance, this shouldn’t be an issue. No more chronic cardio and no more hour-and-a-half long workouts on the machines at the gym? Great – sign me up! But for those of you coming from a highly-structured fitness background of classes and strict schedules (which is most people, especially newcomers to the Health Challenge with their wrists still smarting from the shackles of Conventional Wisdom), putting the free-flowing, spontaneous Primal fitness concepts into practice can take, well, some practice. It sounds fantastic in theory, but we’re left with that lingering question: what, then, to do (and when, and how, and how often)?
Last week I was approached by Gym Junkies to be part of an article in which I and other health and fitness bloggers describe their top 3 favorite exercises with a little reasoning behind each of them.
Here are my current top 3 favorites:
1. Barefoot beach sprints. I ran 80-100 miles a week for years, but I feel more like a true runner just doing one set of these each week (and no other running except when I “play”). Nothing beats the flat, hard sand at low tide with the sun just coming up to make me feel connected to everything. Speed, baby.
The Prison Workout. New idea? Nah. It’s been around as long as there has been anyone locked up that is looking to stay in shape. Still compelling? Absolutely. Here is MDA’s take on why we think it is worth another look, along with our own variations on this classic routine.
Why We Can Appreciate the Prison Workout:
1. Unlimited time
You have no excuses. You can’t fall back on the most often used excuse to not get in shape.
2. Limited space
You don’t get to decide whether you should go to the basketball court, to the gym, to the tennis court, to the park, ride your bike, play ultimate Frisbee with friends etc. etc. because you don’t have a choice. Your options are limited. But this is a good thing. You don’t get bogged down with endless decision-making. You’ll be working out while Joe Schmo is still deciding what to do.
As a follow-up to last week’s 10 Primal Plyos to Make You Fitter, Faster, Stronger that focused on the lower body, we present 10 explosive exercises for your upper body. Thanks to reader dusty for the suggestion!
I’ve received a number of emails from readers asking for more details about my workout routine, especially after publishing a Case Against Cardio and the recent video of my beach sprints. Though I do snowboard and hike and love to try my hand at new stuff – especially while traveling – this basic weekly routine has been my foundational regimen for years. Of course, depending on travel, business and family matters, the routine varies, but this is the general idea. Over the years I’ve concentrated much more of my efforts on weight training, with great results. And I’m definitely an “outdoor” kind of guy. One thing I really appreciate about living in Southern California is the great weather; you can’t beat a hike for a natural, challenging work out. (By the way, if you’re not doing resistance activities, I encourage you to start. Weight-bearing and resistance exercises are essential, particularly as we age.)