How My Fitness Routine Has Evolved

If you’ve been here for any appreciable amount of time, you know how insane my fitness routine used to be.

I used to run 10-20 miles EVERY SINGLE DAY.

A “short ride” would be 100 miles. Uphill.

Rest days? I’d rest when I was physically unable to move.

It wasn’t even a fitness routine because it was counterproductive. It didn’t make me fitter in the holistic sense. I wasn’t even very strong, mobile, or explosive. I was “fit” only in a single domain.

And, sure, I could run and bike and swim long distances faster than most, but it ruined my health as well as took a toll on my family life, my social life, my ability to play and have fun, and my happiness.

These days all those other things are just as important as my ability to churn out physical work, lift heavy things, run sprints, and maintain vitality. Turns out that I don’t have to sacrifice the former to achieve the latter. I can have it all. How?

Well, I had to make some changes, and even today I’m still making them. A new locale has contributed to this evolution, as has a new adventure. (You’ll see me doing it in the video.)

These days I’m committed to a lifestyle that maintains my sharpness, strength and mobility—what will help me continue to live an active and awesome life in the years to come. That looks a bit different than it did fifteen years ago, and it’s more rewarding than ever. Check it out….

Let me know what you think—and what changes you’re making that bring you closer to the sweet spot of strength and well-being. Have a great week, everybody.

TAGS:  Aging, mobility, videos

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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42 thoughts on “How My Fitness Routine Has Evolved”

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  1. Great article and for me this resonates of goals that I’ve been working toward. Nearing 47 I’ve found that I no longer have the desire or the time to work towards having a jacked physique. I’ve recently come to the mindset that I would like towards, looking good in my cloths (or naked) and being able to perform most moderate tasks with efficiency. I think my new goal will be working to have better mobility and fitness for longevity. Thank you for this article Mark.

  2. And if you don’t have access to a hex bar, might I suggest a kettlebell for swings

  3. Great post. Ex hardcore triathlete here always tweaking. 59 years old. Reading Maffetone’s book now with all focus on aerobic vs. any anaerobic to speak of. Did lots of Sprint 8 last few months found myself constantly injured. Now doing the Maf aerobic work with some sprints seems to be working. No doubt deadlift the best lift IMO. I do two times per week strength maybe 15 minutes. Good move going to Miami I think as where you live has such an impact.

  4. I just got a feet up yoga inversion stand… Google it. Really fun way to build core strength instead of planks.
    I’m getting back into bike rodeo too….as I near 60, it’s more about having fun and not getting injured

    1. I’ve had one of these for almost 10 years. I use it multiple times a week and it’s much safer than unsupported sirsasana… I live in Canada and, at that time, incl shipping it cost me 400 bucks. I don’t regret the purchase

  5. After playing golf for a number of and helping the fellow members with their fitness and recovery from injuries, I noticed a number of things. The guys who exercised (besides walking the course) could keep their strength, hardly any of them stretched and they all suffered for it, with injuries recurring more often. The main thing though was their ability to go down to the ground and get back up. When I trained them they would do anything to avoid getting down on the floor. It was just seen as too much, so the one thing I push more than anything is getting down and getting up practice. When someone improves in this area, they improve in nearly all areas.

  6. Thank you for that video. It was enjoyable to watch.

    Your adjustments over time sound really smart and good. Great advice.

    As for me, I’m not too terribly younger than you. I now walk, run and go to a couple of yoga classes per week. That’s it. I’m extremely happy with it. I’m very happy and healthy, so I’m not interested in tweaking it any at the moment. Well… I might if I could add that thing on the water you have! That looks incredibly fun! Sadly, I don’t have that kind of water access. Oh well. 🙂

  7. You always put things diplomatically Mark, but you’re not fooling me. You moved from the miserably-governed failed state of CA to low-tax FLA for other reasons than your Malibu location

    1. You mean that failed state with the fifth largest economy in the world.

    2. If Cali was income tax free like FL no way he would have left Malibu. Miami Beach is a dump compared to Malibu. But Now he can walk everywhere from his $17,000,000 condo he bought. Good for freaking him. Mark Changed my life, he deserves all the success that comes to him. World Changer

  8. thank you for teaching/sharing that being so mindful of your body -no matter what age.

  9. Mark, I enjoyed watching this. I was wondering if you have any knowledge or advice for people with hypermobility disorders (double jointed). I recently discovered that it’s actually a disorder. I found out when I was 7 I think, when I saw some lady on tv twist her arms around and decided to give it a try. I flaunted it as a child because I thought it was cool, but what I’m reading now is that people with it are more prone to injuries, dislocations, bruising, and joint pain (i have had terrible joint pain since age 4-5, which greatly reduced with a primal diet). I’m wondering if there are any specific exercises or precautions or anything of that matter for people who have this. And anyone in the MDA community who has experience with this! Thanks in advance.

  10. Wow thanks Mark! I’ve been toying around with switching things up recently. I’m 50 and realized the other day that I think I’m hitting it too hard too many times in a row. I need to have that rest and I appreciate you bringing that to light again as well as the idea of daily movement. Best to you and thanks again!

  11. Aloha Mark, (apology for being long-winded, I’m a newbie). Thanks for the video, it provided some welcome visual guidance, please keep them coming. Your bio is similar to mine. I’m 63. About me…I popped out the chute a voracious athlete; competitive swimmer/diver, road bike racer/avid cyclist, soccer, yoga, martial artist, runner, downhill skier, wrestler, etc. By comparison my body type/composition is similar to yours. A hardgainer with a lifetime chronically somewhat underweight. No idea what being overweight is like. 15-20y ago noticed increasing peaks & valleys in vitality, mood swings, odd respiratory infections, chronic tendonitis, ENT infections, etc. These maladies afflicted me even tho having quite a few years/various positions with Wholefoods Market & all the “natural/organic” foods & tidbits I desired as well as a product trainer for many of the “high-end” supplement/nutraceutical companies. Yet years of subjecting myself to extreme lifestyle stressors, what I now know as poor food intake/lifestyle and overworking/training more or less finished beating the crap out of me. I constantly dealt with high/low vitality believing “more & better of the same” was needed. My daily intake of “organic” grains/carbs was a foundation, fat & protein were lower priority. Sugary energy bars/fuels eaten unconsciously to beat the lows. Now just halfway thru The Primal Blueprint I’m eyes wide open. Whoa.

    Fast forward… I have a ton of re-learning to do. Primal eating now about 5 weeks now, Currently fluctuate 80-100% Primal food intake, went thru some carb blues & some detox/cleansing, no biggie. Virtually gone are my vitality swings. Yeehaw! Many of the aforementioned maladies clearing up as well as noticeable cognitive improvements. Will be 100% Primal food intake by months-end then commence ancillary hardcore Grok lifestyle changes using your 90-day journal. I’m a decent amateur chef, will eat like a king. Have had my share of doctors, hospitals, operating theaters & wildly fluctuating vitality/health. Time to go big or go home.

    Mark, I thank you for contributing so much to us out here who needed someone with the courage to re-write the rules of conduct for truly healthy living sans the BS.

    Kirk N
    humble newbie Grok in training

  12. Would love to learn more about mobility/range of motion exercise routine for opening up shoulders and hips.

  13. Well I am doing the regular routine from your exercise book but doing exercising doing push-ups etc. waiting 3 days. I’m 69

  14. Mark, may I ask the manufacturer of the Hex bar in your video? ( I’m in the market).

  15. I really loved this video, Mark, and the focus on sustaining play and joy in life is the best goal there is for any health routine. I’m curious if you have any thoughts about what you would do if you were 35 and had this info. Is there a benefit to putting on muscle at this point in life? Shedding some muscle to remain light and pliable? Would you be doing exactly what you are doing now? I know they say “it’s easier to keep it than it is to get it” relative to strength and mobility, so those of us who are a bit younger might benefit from hearing your thoughts on navigating middle age with primal principles in mind.

  16. On the hex bar DL. What is the sets and reps recommendations and also do you follow the weekly protocol of doing this 2 times per week.

    1. I was wondering the same thing, Chris. If I’m trying to sprint once ever 7-10 days, I actually usually try to fit in some hex bar work the day after a sprint so I can be fully rested for at least one of my hex bar days. Not ideal. I’m wondering if ditching the idea of trying to do something every week is a good one, in exchange for a nine-day-ish cycle of hex bar, resting or active recovery for two/three days, sprinting, resting active recovery for two/three days, and then hex bar again to complete the cycle.

  17. What is the set/ rep recommendation for the Hex Bar DL? Also how many times a week are you doing this? I am a coach/teacher and love the minimalist type of exercise you provide. Awesome stuff

  18. Great tips Mark thanks! We are about the same age, so this is really relevant to my situation. My routine is similar to what you describe, and also I think regular sauna use helps us older folks in a number of beneficial ways (as you have detailed in past posts). I don’t have access to a hex bar, but I think I might try to simulate that exercise using kettle bells. I used to work with a trainer who would say “less is more”. He basically set you up with an intense 45 minute program, then when you had finished he would say “you’re done, good job, now get the hell out of here”!

  19. doc … unless you are interested in playing the guitar. 😛

    I bought one but do not use it much, for my hamstrings mainly, I will look to include it more in my daily routine, thanks! I just wish there was a better way to anchor it for the upper body.

  20. This video left me thinking about muscle strength vs muscle growth a little bit. In my mind, my ideal body composition would be lean, relatively small, and freakishly strong. I’m wondering, Mark, if there are ways to train what you have to be stronger without making gains in terms of mass?

  21. I’m 66 years young and this video makes so much sense to me . I started daily walking and I can feel the changes already .. I’ll be taking your other suggestions too. Thanks for all you do !!!!

  22. Thank you!!! I’m training for my first marathon and as a chronic overachiever I find true rest difficult.
    I stumbled on your blog as I am also trying to listen to my body and honor what she’s telling me. In this training season that means reintroducing meat into my diet. I’m enjoying your blog and feel very encouraged thanks to your knowledge and wisdom. Thank you!

  23. Mark, I can relate 100%! Thanks for the hex bar tip. I push my clients, friends and family to constantly move throughout the day. Your choice of words is perfect to explain why. Thank you!!!

  24. Great video and advice. At 53 I’ve never felt (or looked, IMO) better, although it’s been years since I set foot in a gym. I walk my two little dogs multiple times a day and work three days a week as a bartender/server which keeps me very active. I have a kettlebell, bosu ball, some light weights and resistance bands at home but just do very short workouts. Love the bosu for improving balance and the kettlebell because it is so efficient. When I am at my laptop writing posts for my website or Insta I’m often sitting criss cross on the floor and always make myself get up without using my hands or knees (great for balance and quad strength.) At the end of the day, it’s all about just incorporating movement into your daily life.

  25. Hey Mark

    Thanks for the video. Any sauna use or hot cold therapy>

  26. Kudos to your for being able to run 10 miles everyday, but that is indeed overworking your body and you have much more free time than most of us. I’m 54 and it is common for me to work 50 hour weeks so I don’t have much time for working out. The Veterano routine from Convict Conditioning is perfect for me. My workouts are usually no more than 10 minutes and I can also do some of them at work while my food is heating up. I eat Paleo, enjoy my cheat day and it’s very easy for me to have visible abs year round, life is good.

  27. For years, noted athlete and coach Joe Friel has talked about the minimum necessary expenditure to achieve your fitness goals. He’s quite a role model at age 80+. I enjoyed this video and appreciate hearing how your approach has changed over the years.

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