10 Primal Date Ideas For Every Couple

I know we missed Valentine’s Day, but I’ve always said love cannot be contained. Besides: People are always going on dates. People are always searching for new ways to break out of the regular mold, which is completely understandable. Dates are try-outs. You’re spending time with another person to determine how they fit into your life. Unconventional dates that branch out from “dinner, movie, drinks” into more adventurous, creative realms provide excellent feedback for making that determination.

Dates are also a way for established couples to keep things fresh and exciting, to keep the relationship moving. There’s no better way than to try something new.

As it happens, most work for friends, too.

Now, some of these dates are silly or out-of-left field. Some are more serious. And one is a Primal Costanza date—what not to do. But regardless, they are all worth exploring. And—as always—I’d love to hear what you’d add.

1) Watch a Movie and Fill In the Dialogue

You know that scene in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind where Jim Carrey and Kate Winslet are watching a drive-in movie without sound and filling in the dialogue themselves? Do the same thing, only make all the dialogue health and fitness-related. For example, The Empire Strikes Back would work great.

Just before Han is frozen in carbonite, Leia speaks. “I love cold therapy, so many benefits. I can send you the PubMed links.” Han replies. “I know.”

Vader gives Luke the bad news. “Luke, I am a vegan.” “Nooooooooo!”

Pick your favorite movie, and try it out yourselves. Drive-ins aren’t necessary (do they even still have those?); you could just put the T.V. on mute.

2) Couples’ Spa Day

A couple hundreds years ago, you didn’t really go to the doctor. You’d go to a spa. Spas were healing centers erected around natural springs of mineral-rich water. People would bathe in it (many were hot springs), drink it, and engage in other healthy pursuits. Many of today’s most popular bottled mineral waters come from springs that doubled as health spas back in earlier days.

The average person may think of a spa as a pleasure center, a superficial luxury. But getting a massage, soaking in hot mineral water, smearing yourself with mud and/or clay, exposing yourself to extreme temperatures in the sauna, steam room, and cold water pool? These are all objectively healthy and pleasurable experiences with measurable benefits.

Go for a hot soak, followed by a cold plunge. Do the mud bath thing. Get a deep tissue massage. Soak in the salty mineral-rich brine. And do it with your date, as your date.

3) Get Physical

No, not like that (necessarily). I’m talking about doing something physically demanding together, like a yoga session, a tough hike, a Tough Mudder, a Krav Maga class, or even a CrossFit workout.

Intense physical exertion—performed together—increases bonding. You’re sweating, you’re touching, you’re working hard toward a goal. You’re a team. Make it a little dangerous and the juices really flow. For the same reason, going to see a scary movie helps couples get closer.

4) Go Dancing or Take Dance Lessons

Dance is the prelude to closer, more intimate physical contact. And it’s incredibly healthy learning to move with cohesion and fluidity and precision through constantly varying ranges of motion. Dancers are some of the most athletic folks around—think b-boys, ballet dancers, practitioners of modern dance. I’m not a follower of the show, but seriously just look at an episode of “So You Think You Can Dance” for plain evidence of their athleticism.

Go dance, or take dance lessons if you can’t dance yet. If the latter, don’t make this a one-off. Keep the lessons going. Build that skill together. Move together.

Dancing together in your living room to music on your smartphone is completely valid, too.

5) Cook the Farmer’s Market

This is a fun little date to try. Carrie and I used to do this at the Malibu farmer’s market every once in awhile.

Go to every stand, ask the farmer what’s best today, and then buy that item. If your market is huge, you don’t need to buy from every single stand. Try to stick to a dozen stands or so just to keep things manageable.

Be reasonable with the quantities. Otherwise it’ll add up fast. If, say, the farmer recommends the leeks, buy a couple leeks. If it’s cauliflower, buy a head. If it’s strawberries, buy a basket.

Go home and create a meal together using only the things you purchased from the market. Use things like oil/cooking fat, salt, pepper, and spices from home (unless you bought them at the market, in which case you get extra points). If your market doesn’t offer any meat, feel free to incorporate store-bought meat. But do your best to use only things from the market.

Prep and cook it together. There you go, that’s your date.

6) Ten-Mile Date

Walk ten miles, at least. It can be through the city, the suburbs, or the forest. You can stop at stores, cafes, museums along the way—it doesn’t have to be ten miles straight without stopping. But get those ten miles in however you can.

7) Roughhouse

Roughhousing is universal. It’s also great fun. You roughhouse. You wrestle, jostle, poke, prod, but you don’t (ever) hurt each other. You keep things light, engaged, dancing on the edge of intensity. I really like Rafe Kelley’s approach. Check out the one where he and his partner act like their wrists are glued together as they move around, roll, push, and pull. Or where they stand on a large log, clasp hands, and try to pull each other off balance. That stuff is really fun. I’d try any of the videos from that link.

Another is one-legged tug of war. You each stand on one leg, clasp the other’s hand, and attempt to pull the other off balance. If there’s a big weight or strength disparity, have the stronger person stay on one foot and the weaker person use both. Put pillows and other soft landing spaces around your perimeter.

If you’re a man and she’s a woman, there will probably be some strength disparities. Use your better judgement. Keep things fair and competitive and fun.

8) Picnic and a Hike

Think back to all the hikes you’ve done, all the wilderness areas you’ve explored. Were there any perfect picnic spots that jumped out at you? Maybe a dry pebbly shore next to a gurgling creek. Maybe a ring of redwoods. Maybe a grassy meadow. Maybe a beach that only locals know about. If nothing comes to mind, Google one.

Then pack a lunch and get moving.

9) Stand-Up Paddling

I’m extremely biased. Stand-up paddling is probably my favorite activity. It’s training, meditation, adventure, and a fantastic core and rear delt/lat workout all in one. I’ve seen dolphins, manatees, whales, and any number of marine life on my board. I’ve hit the flow state on my board. I’ve finally figured out meditation being on my board. I’ve woken up with some of the most intense DOMS after a long day on my board. My transverse abdominals and obliques have never been stronger. It’s an all-around great time—and it makes a great date. We’re no longer youngsters in love, but Carrie and I have had a lot of good times when I can get her out on a board.

Not everyone has access to a paddle-worthy body of water, although more than you’d think—rivers, lakes, and reservoirs all work with a paddle board, not just the ocean. If you can’t paddle, something similar like kayaking or even cross-country skiing will work well.

10) Lecture Your Date At Dinner

Make sure your date knows exactly how unhealthy everything he or she is putting in her mouth.

When he orders pasta, make a face.

When she fails to confirm that the salad dressing was made with extra virgin olive oil, pull the waiter aside and do it for her.

When he orders the fish, let him know the Monterey Bay rating.

If she gets anything deep-fried, tell her all about how restaurants reuse cooking oil, which (by the way) is most likely very high in unstable polyunsaturated fats.

This will ensure a second date.

That’s it for today, folks. If you try any of these date ideas, let me know how it goes. If you have any other ideas, write them in down below!

Take care.

TAGS:  mental health

About the Author

Mark Sisson is the founder of Mark’s Daily Apple, godfather to the Primal food and lifestyle movement, and the New York Times bestselling author of The Keto Reset Diet. His latest book is Keto for Life, where he discusses how he combines the keto diet with a Primal lifestyle for optimal health and longevity. Mark is the author of numerous other books as well, including The Primal Blueprint, which was credited with turbocharging the growth of the primal/paleo movement back in 2009. After spending three decades researching and educating folks on why food is the key component to achieving and maintaining optimal wellness, Mark launched Primal Kitchen, a real-food company that creates Primal/paleo, keto, and Whole30-friendly kitchen staples.

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22 thoughts on “10 Primal Date Ideas For Every Couple”

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  1. I love this topic, and I actually think there’s a bit of a gap in social opportunities for Primal peeps. Someone – probably Mark – could make a lot of money with ideas like this. 🙂

    – Snowball fight/fort building
    – Primal playground playdate
    – Slackline session
    – Learn your date’s favorite sport (particularly fun if your partner does something you’ve never tried like skating, skiing, or the luge)
    – Learn a skill together (change the oil, fix a dryer)
    – Read the same text and discuss
    – Pick a feature of the other person and write about what that feature represents to you in terms of your relationship (probably not cool for a first date)

    1. What a thrill to see the ideas featured in Sundays With Sisson. I inspired Mark! It’s about time because he’s been inspiring me for close to a decade now.

  2. My boyfriend and I are really into disc golfing which is a great way to both play and move frequently at a slow pace 🙂 Highly recommend it in the summer/if you live in a warmer climate.

  3. I tried #10 and my boyfriend called me a self-righteous bitch and broke up with me ??? Do you think I did it wrong?

  4. “…or even cross country skiing” ??? I know you’re in Florida, and previously were in SoCal, but there are a lot of us living in frozen lands right now! Cross country skiing is my winter SUP substitution. It’s great. And with two feet of fresh snow to break trail through, I’d wager it’s even a better workout than some days paddling…. 😉
    Great list, I’d add
    ~Clean out the garage/attic/closets together (for cohabitators… great sense of accomplishment when finished)
    ~Go grocery shopping in a shop you’ve never explored and look for new-to-you treasures or mysteries. Ethnic markets are great.
    ~Make something together. A Little Free Library, a box-jumping box, a bolster or pillow for floor-sitting, a bullwhip for varying upper body work…

    1. Volunteer togethere:
      take out a handicap couple (who can’t afford it) and make for them and for you a great valentine day date

      Go to a youth shelter of less fortunate teens, talk with them about the meaning of the day, what love is to you, and to them. How would they want to be loved. bBe raw and honest with them so they feel comfortable to open up

      Visit lonely elderly poeple in a nursing home, have them tell you about their v. days at their younger years. Find out tips to keep the relationship going

  5. I remember as a very poor new graduate spending many a happy Saturday washing the car with my bf followed by cooking an extra agent meal and having 2 or 3 over so we could share stories and spread the cost of the food great times. None of it lasted the times or the bf but great memories

  6. Go geocaching. It’s a fun way to explore parts of your world you might not otherwise see. Do be sure to evaluate each partners fitness level when choosing the difficulty of a cache.

  7. Dancing is definitely great! I met my husband on the ballroom dance team and we used to dance competitively. It definitely brought us closer, both the dancing itself and the competing-as-a-team aspect. Can’t beat dancing for romance, but only if both partners know what they’re doing! Now we both crossfit, and that’s a great obsession to have in common as well. I have my eye on a mixed-doubled team competition for us right around our anniversary!

  8. Mark, new sideline for you: please start a dating app/website for Primal singles!

    I loved that Farmers Market / cooking together date idea.

  9. I expected a post from Liver King detailing how he and his wife go on dates that feature tracking game in their bare feet, taking down the animal with home-made wooden spears, butchering the animal and cooking it over a fire they start by striking flint.

    1. I loved reading this… you made my day! The truth is, I love me some date night (every Saturday). Wife and I are big into archery so we keep a 3D course of life-sized wild animal targets on our property. We do a little downwind-deer tracking (always scent free)… we are always wearing our bare feet… and, we position ourselves in the camouflage of the trees, sitting in silence, talking with just our eyes, like our next meal depends on it. When we’re doing it right, we may encounter a real-life deer. In that instance, the date takes on a narrative just as you described (less the homemade spears).

      If there’s no real-life deer, we shoot our targets and we uber it into our favorite lodge where we devour one another’s company with a side of wild game. Dessert involves the warmth of her touch and the renewing of our souls… you know what I’m talking about… yes, it’s totally primal!

  10. My husband and I have a season pass to our local amusement park. It’s great for getting the adrenaline going and we usually walk 6-10 miles just going around the park. The food is not normally primal but that’s what the 80/20 rule is for, right?

  11. I took the Mrs on an Axe Throwing date for valentines and she loved it…. made us both feel very Primal ?

  12. Sigh. Now we need tips for how to find someone to do that with…….

  13. These sound fun! For years, the only dates my husband and I did were kayaking and hiking/bird watching because the main times we had the kids taken care of was when visiting grand parents in Florida or in the woods in Canad. I have a really IMPORTANT question, though, how do you play “hot lava monsters”?

    1. Ditto, I was wondering was hot lava monsters was…(no kids here) 😉

  14. I enjoyed 3 hours SUP in Tahiti today. More like vertical snorkeling with all the fish, stingrays, coral, etc that passed under my journey. I tried to get my love to try it but he is stuck on “can’t do it/won’t try” I will try again tom. Mountains and water were fantastic.