How I Achieved My Best Body by Following the Primal Basics

It’s Friday, everyone! And that means another Primal Blueprint Real Life Story from a Mark’s Daily Apple reader. If you have your own success story and would like to share it with me and the Mark’s Daily Apple community please contact me here. I’ll continue to publish these each Friday as long as they keep coming in. Thank you for reading!

real_life_stories_stories-1-2I remember back in 2010 I was looking into changing my health and lifestyle. I had been working out consistently, but still lacked the basics regarding how to eat. I remember at that point, beginning to question everything I ate. I stumbled upon some YouTube channels and blogs regarding grains and the benefits of cutting out grains. While this was a good start, it wasn’t until I walked into a Barnes & Nobel in Rochester, Minnesota that I discovered The Primal Blueprint. I remember going through several pages and telling my wife I wanted to look like the guy in the book, Mark Sisson. After that, I just started visiting Mark’s Daily Apple to answer questions regarding, exercise, sleep, eating, and anything else health related.

I Love Cutting out the Grains:

When I started changing my lifestyle, I began to question everything I had been taught about nutrition, exercise, and health. One of the biggest changes I made was after Googling “Is oatmeal good for you?” While I found a lot of responses stating the so-called benefits of grains and oats, I also found a lot of resources talking about how people needed to cut out oatmeal due to high blood sugar concerns and diabetes. That led me to consciously cut out the oatmeal and grains altogether.

I only Eat Paleo, Run Sprints, Lift Heavy:

I kept things simple. One of the first things I learned from The Primal Blueprint was the simple concept of cutting out the grains, eat fruits, veggies, meats, and drink water. I lift heavy things and run sprints. So I have always focused on those fundamentals into whatever I do with regard to my health. One of the most important was RUN SPRINTS!!! When I first started the Paleo lifestyle I was not running sprints. I think it’s safe to say that I still thought the conventional cardio exercises were going to be enough to keep me fit. I am now very much into sprinting. So in 2013 I started sprinting every week. The first year I did a set of eight sprints a week, the next year I did two sets of eight a week, and now in 2016 I am doing 10 sprints a day(on average). I have noticed muscle growth, definition, greater heart health, and the list of benefits goes on. So I think running sprints religiously every week should be a priority for every Human on Earth.

I Don’t Spend Money on Fitness Memberships:

Since I started on the Paleo lifestyle I have not paid a penny on Gym memberships. The only money I spend on working out is to buy weights, sneakers, or athletic clothing. So I work out on as little to no financial budget as possible. I have weights at home.

So lifting heavy things are a must. I have become creative about it finding heavy weights to lift. My son is 10 years old and weighs a little under 100 or so. I have him get on my back and I run sprints, do push ups, squats, and calf raises.

I Do Not Count Calories:

I eat until I feel full. I make sure I am eating healthy portions of meats, veggies, and fruits. I only drink water. I eat the healthy fats, like paleo friendly mayo, olive oil, and animal fats. I noticed that I was becoming a bit over-indulgent with nuts, so I have since cut out nuts entirely. On occasion, I will eat almonds.

Regulating Glucose Intake:

I remember Mark Sission mentioning on a YouTube video that the less glucose you take in during a lifetime, the better. I try to keep that in perspective. I try to have an omelet or grilled chicken with mayonnaise on hand for any time I need to eat a quick meal. That way I can avoid just munching away on bananas and apples.

Cut Out the Lights at 9:00 PM:

I remember Mark saying that developing a sleep routine is crucial to healthy sleep. This is something that I was not practicing when I first started the Paleo diet. I was working out, eating Paleo, but not cutting out the lights at bedtime. Since 2014 I have started to cut out the electronics after 9:00 PM. I also start reducing lighting at home. I will take a cool shower and just relax in bed with a blindfold over my eyes. So I prioritize darkness and sleep after 9:00 PM, even on the weekends.

The differences are amazing. I have more energy. I don’t feel ashamed of taking off my shirt anymore at the pool. I eat food in order to live, and not live life to eat food. My meals take me to the place I need to go to. Exercise is more about enjoyment, not torture. I see exercise as a stress relieving, fun activity. Exercise is an opportunity to go outdoors, even during the winter. I sleep a lot better. I think that’s one of the best benefits at this point. I always tell people that Paleo can give you a great body, energy, and strength, but best of all is the quality sleep. I wouldn’t trade the quality sleep over anything. I also like to stand up a lot and move now. I cringe at the thought of just sitting all day long. It’s like I feel like my heart is telling me to get up and move, every day.

keith paleo transformation

The last thing I want to share with readers is that I started this journey five years ago. I look back and see that with every passing year I gain more benefits from practicing a Paleo lifestyle. I view life as a chance to give 100% of myself to everything I do. I think the Paleo diet, lifestyle, or whatever you want to call it is part of something bigger than myself. Inside of all of us, we hold the inheritance of our ancestors. These ancestors are flowing in our veins, and they survived massive obstacles. It was with this ability to adapt and overcome challenges that our hunter-gather ancestors gave us the ability to do intermittent fasting, lift heavy things and run sprints. By living a low stress, happy, healthy life, we honor them. They drew a blueprint for us a very long time ago, but that blueprint is still encoded inside of us. As a species, we have deviated from that blueprint, but we can now realign ourselves with it again. It’s what being Human is all about.




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26 thoughts on “How I Achieved My Best Body by Following the Primal Basics”

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  1. Great job! I love how you took such a simple approach and then added more along the way. And agree about the nuts…I tend to go overboard on them, especially when I’m crazy busy.

  2. Hey Keith, great story. We have a lot of similarities in the progression of turning paleo/primal. I have made many changes and know what i need to do to keep moving forward to being healthier. Out of curiosity how old were you in 2010 when you started all this? I am going into my 4th year of eating this way and still evolving. I think learning patience and knowing you’re not ever “done” really helps in making the changes I want to make.

  3. Very impressive, great discipline and you are definitely doing everything right.

    Only suggestion, was that a typo or are you really doing 10 sprints a day? I believe Mark recommends HIIT once or twice a week. Sprinting every day is typically not advised, but you are young and maybe it works for you, for now.

    Thanks for the inspiration Jim!

    1. I was wondering the same thing–can’t imagine thriving on 10/day all-out sprints.

  4. Great story! Thanks for sharing with us…it’s always a big motivational boost to see how many people have changed for the better using Primal principles.

  5. I love your final paragraph – so true! Our amazing, magical bodies are such a gift and we should honour that.

  6. Keith, you do look like the guy in the book now. Thanks for sharing.

  7. Congratulations, Keith! It’s great to hear about all the changes you’ve made and how much better you feel as a result.

  8. Fantastic success story, Keith!

    I love how you keep things simple…and tend to various aspects of primal living (including but not limited to what’s on your plate).

  9. Any ideas for sprint work that is easy on the hips and knees? I have a stationery bike that I use but would like to mix it up with other options – appreciate any suggestions- and more info on what else would work (length of time etc would be great). Thanks in advance 🙂

  10. Fantastic! Loved the emphasis on keeping it simple… Sometimes I find myself bogging down in macros, ratios etc and overcomplicating a pretty simple way of life! Thanks for the reminder!

  11. Ten sprints A DAY?? Doesnt Mark say that once a week should be the maximum, since its so taxing on the body? Sprinting every day sounds like extremely unhealthy and obsessive…
    Ive noticed that a lot of guys tend to get addicted and obsessed with working out, when they lose weight and stop obsessing about their food. I think it would be healthier to just stop obsessing over things altogether and deal with whatever emotional issue is causing this addiction. :/

    1. I think it depends on your genetics. I know a guy who does pull-ups everyday, and he surfs everyday as well as works out with weights several times a week. He’s been doing pull-ups everyday his whole life. He can easily knock out 20 at a time. Strict, dead hand pull-ups.For most people, that would cause some serious overwork problems with muscle recovery and connective tissue. But for him, he’s totally relaxed, happy, healthy and shows no signs of overwork.

      Myself, I surf everyday plus supplement with HIIT on my spinner bike and do an insane 15-20 minute plank routine about two to three times per week in addition. It works for me because after surfing for 30 years, it’s not all that hard for me. For someone who only surfs a couple times a week, it’s always tough.

      So, it’s possible that for Keith, sprints every day is like my surfing, or my friend’s pull-ups.

      1. I dont think thats a healthy thing to be doing regardless of genetics, neither mentally nor physically. All that stress on the body will catch up on you at some point I am sure, and being obsessed/addicted to working out is a serious warning sign.. Its just like any other addiction; it will harm you eventually.

  12. Awesome! I really like how simple you made it seem. Never seemed too complex and very minimalist in nature which just proves anyone (who really wants to) can improve their health.

  13. Wow Keith very impressive
    I am also intrigued by this:
    “and now in 2016 I am doing 10 sprints a day(on average).”
    For my 64 year old body once a week has done wonders, I am thinking about adding one more … but ten or five … no can do!
    Congratulations, I am showing this to all the “biceps-curlers-in-the-squat-rack” at the gym at work…

    or better not, it will be a waste of valuable time I could use for sprints 🙂

  14. great job Keith!
    This is the beginning of my second year of primal endeavors. Have lost 45 pounds and run a road race almost every weekend (not too fast) but thoroughly enjoy it. I run around a small lake in Lincoln, NE and there is a steep hill by the dam and I usually incorporate about 6 to eight sprint efforts up this about once or maybe twice a week. Love it. I am 62 and hoping and planning to hit 120 functionally. i also enjoyed how you wrapped it up with the shout out to our awesome thrilling/victorious dna!

  15. That last paragraph was awesome. Good work going from fluffy to fit 🙂