I love the late summer/early fall weather on the Southern California coast. The fog patterns of early summer have burned off for good, and while the inland valleys bake in the heat, the beach temperatures remain absolutely perfect. We enjoy sunny, temperate days and comfortably cool evenings.
Why these ramblings about the weather? Because we are approaching our fifth annual PrimalCon event in Oxnard, but with a fall date for the first time. It’s happening Sept 25th-28th at the Embassy Suites Mandalay Beach Resort, Southern California’s best-kept secret (and most affordable) oceanfront resort. They recently completed a comprehensive renovation and beautification of the entire resort and it’s in fabulous shape for our group. With Southwest Airlines’ typically great fall deals from all over the USA, and the incredible PrimalCon discount room package at the resort, an excursion to PrimalCon has never been more attractive.
When we evaluate the guest feedback after PrimalCons (we now have eight in the books, hard to believe!), all sorts of different “highlights” are mentioned: connecting with like-minded enthusiasts from across the globe, eating the amazing food, enjoying the wonderful venues, and of course learning from some of the most knowledgeable, most fun, and most entertaining presenters you will find anywhere.
Now that event logistics operate really smoothly after eight test runs, I have transitioned from a bit of a stresshead (“Has the caterer arrived yet? Are the cops gonna bust up our party?”–the latter quote is a joke….not!) to more of a participant who gets to soak in all the fun and educational opportunities. The messages you are about to read from our presenters are colorful to be sure, but there is nothing like meeting these folks in person and experiencing their magic and their positive energy first-hand. That said, here are some quick comments from each of our presenters slated for PrimalCon Oxnard—they’re hoping to meet you in person in September and so am I!
Chef Rachel Albert: I can’t wait to meet everyone at PrimalCon this year! My presentation will cover my personal journey through breast cancer—including my experience with conventional, alternative, and integrative treatments, a stage IV diagnosis, a recurrence with brain mets (metastases), and how adopting a ketogenic paleo diet helped me reduce treatment side effects, feel stronger, get well faster, and clear the brain tumors. I’ll discuss topics such as how the diet can help with healing, what foods to eat and what foods to avoid, fasting, supplements, and dealing with cravings.
Today, I’m nearly at the end of my battle with cancer. My internal organs, bones and brain are clear, and I’m doing some final oral chemo and meds to give me a clean score with my breast cancer. The doctors have been truly amazed at my progress, and I believe I have opened up some important eyes to the power of primal-aligned and ketogenic eating, and assorted alternative health treatments that complimented my more traditional medical treatments. I feel incredibly fortunate to be where I am today and also to have the opportunity to share my message with you. If you ever have any questions throughout the weekend, don’t hesitate to just come up to me and ask!
[Mark’s note: Rachel has been presenting at PrimalCon for the last three years. Most of us had absolutely no idea she was in a fight for her life during this period, because she was her usual high energy, super enthusiastic self pulling off these incredibly elaborate cooking shows that she took all day to prepare with her team of assistants. Her attitude and her resilience throughout her battle have been incredibly inspirational.
Rachel’s cooking shows have been a highlight at PrimalCon for sure, but we thought this fall that she should simply stand up and tell her story to everyone. This will happen Friday afternoon right before my talk, and I can say I absolutely don’t mind playing second fiddle to her in the ballroom on Friday’s agenda. What’s more, Rachel will be hanging out all weekend and you’ll have plenty of time to engage with her about shopping, cooking and food prep tips.]
Tracy Barksdale: I have been attending PrimalCon since 2010, first as an attendee, then staff, then presenter, and then host of PrimalCon Austin 2013. This year I am back to Oxnard to hold one-on-one movement assessments. I am a bodyworker in Austin, TX, where I focus on natural movement to help relieve pain and discover optimal performance. Come find me during our breakout sessions for some movement assessment (squats, single leg stance, etc.) to address your mobility or stability strengths and weaknesses, and get some corrective strategies to improve.
Katy Bowman: I’m super excited to be presenting a hands-on course on making your work environment better for your body. I’ll be leading an interactive seminar where we will cover the pros and cons of standup workstations, and how to integrate movement and variation into your workday—even if you work at a stodgy buttoned-up joint that frowns on standup desks and exercise balls. This seminar will be a sneak preview of a comprehensive online educational course that Mark and I have been working on in recent months. The title is “Don’t Just Sit There!” and it will include an informative eBook filled with pictures and instructional tips, a series of a dozen or so instructional videos, an audio recording of the eBook, and a detailed video conversation with Mark and I about the importance of adding more daily movement to our lives.
At PrimalCon, we’ll set up a mock office environment in the ballroom, and I’ll have an eager team of certified teachers from my nearby Restorative Exercise Institute to give you hands-on support. This workshop will help you optimize your own personal body alignment and also give you some great strategies to create a dynamic workstation and a day filled with movement and variation. See you soon! If you wanna get a quick grasp of what my mission is all about, visit moveyourdna.com.
Tommy Brice, RPT: Hi, I’m Tommy Brice and I can’t wait to meet you at PrimalCon. I’m a Physical Therapist out of Milwaukee, WI and a graduate of Marquette University. I attained my bachelor’s degree in Exercise Physiology, a doctorate in Physical Therapy, and was a member of the Marquette men’s basketball team from 2004-2008. I’m a certified Performance Enhancement Specialist, and have recently been pursuing treatment through nutrition in the quest to treat the whole patient and help heal injuries from the inside out. My incorporation of a primal lifestyle has had a big impact on the patients in my clinic. Many of the key concepts are used to help facilitate a healthy recovery from various injuries and improved overall healing time.
I will be available for injury assessments and treatment, hands on therapy using the Mulligan technique (a manual therapy technique that addresses musculoskeletal disorders with pain-free “repositioning” of joints), and assistance with active recovery through stretches or individualized therapeutic exercise programs. I’m also bringing a Midwest perspective that can be very helpful for global success of improved health and wellness. So if you have any aches and pains, reach out to me and we’ll work together to get your body where it needs to be!
Angelo dela Cruz: Yep, I’m the guy tied with staff leaders Chris Adams and Tina Leaman, organizer Brad Kearns, and of course Mark, for the record of attending all eight PrimalCons! I’m excited to meet you in Oxnard this year to show you how to use movement and bodywork techniques to feel more powerful, fit, and full of energy every day. We’ll start our days with my custom-designed VitaMove session—it’s a little bit like yoga, mixed with TaiChi, mixed with Angelo. At the end you feel loose, warmed up and ready for action, but also relaxed and peaceful. I’ll also be available for one-on-one sessions to address pain or problem areas of your body with my unique and gentle healing and release techniques.
[Mark’s Note: Last month, I took my managing editor Brad Kearns to his first CrossFit Games in Los Angeles. We were watching the Muscle Up Biathlon event: a 400m run, 18 muscle-ups on the rings, 400m run, 15 muscle-ups, 400m run, and 12 muscle-ups—clock ticking, of course. As we stood on the running route (up stadium stairs, along ridge, and back downstairs to the rings at field level) Brad—a former pro triathlete and current masters track runner who just dropped a 59-second 400m time at age 49—remarked about how slow the participants were going on the 400m run laps…and how absolutely hulking ripped both the females and males were…
Yep, the competitors were pretty trashed and basically jog-walking the course before hitting another round of rings. I casually replied that muscle-ups are pretty difficult, and that they were also just midway through an entire weekend of separate competitions…Later in the expo area, Brad had the opportunity to attempt a muscle-up at a demo booth and struggled mightily to achieve a single muscle-up….Ouch!
The events at the Games are definitely no funny business. The CrossFit boilerplate “forging elite fitness” promotes the development of 10 disparate fitness skills (endurance, strength, power, speed, agility, etc.), but indeed the elite performers at the Games (and, it seems, the studs/studettes at your nearest CrossFit facility) seem to commonly be overloaded with muscle mass that’s way beyond functional.
Since I train to play rather than suffer royally at the CrossFit Games older-guys division, I’m realizing that my perspective about fitness is even broader than CrossFit’s. I marvel at the Games athletes and what they can do at their manufactured challenges, but I see no resemblance to the lithe Olympic sprinters I glimpse at the UCLA track now and then. Ditto for the NBA (and WNBA) specimens we see on TV. Yes, most are crazy tall, but they actually carry an impressively optimal amount of muscle mass for the disparate skills required on the court: the raw explosiveness to attack the rim all the way to the tremendous endurance needed to not only make it up and down court, but survive the lengthy season.
I’m on this tangent because I want you to be sure and watch Angelo’s Ninja Warrior videos (2014 demo; 2012 demo) and tell me you’ve ever seen anything better to embody well-balanced, functional, intensely primal fitness! Don’t forget this guy is on the other side of 40, and he’s fully booked most days helping others get fit instead of obsessively pursuing his own fitness goals.
Now, Angelo is a diminutive, soft-spoken guy. His Bruce Lee physique is well disguised in his comfortable clothes. In the fitness world populated by many greased up, inked up, scantily clad self-promoters, he’s refreshingly authentic and understated. Easy to overlook in a crowd at the CrossFit Games for example. But after eight PrimalCons, we have an incredible appreciation for the energy and the gifts this guy brings to the event. I could go on and on about Angelo and every other presenter, as well as the many amazing and inspiring guests that I’ve had a chance to get to know at PrimalCon over the years. But you have to experience the magic of PrimalCon first hand to really appreciate the superlatives thrown out here.]
Darryl Edwards: Hi, it’s Darryl, The Fitness Explorer here. PrimalCon Oxnard will be my fifth consecutive appearance at PrimalCon! My mission at PrimalCon is to play from start to finish [Mark’s note: He is NOT kidding! This guy is a 24/7 energy machine!]. My sessions are for anyone who feels a little stale about the routine of running on the roads or hitting the gym, and might want to inject a little creativity into their daily routine. We are going to play like kids and reawaken that playful spirit that’s been suppressed by the hustle and bustle and confinement of adult life.
If we’ve played at PrimalCon before, I have some new tricks up my sleeve that you are going to love. And if you’ve never played at PrimalCon with me before, isn’t it about time? Check out some videos if you want to get a better grasp of what kind of fun we’ll have.
Brad Kearns: I’m excited to attend my eighth PrimalCon! Mark refers to me as the PrimalCon organizer or PrimalCon director, typically addressing me on those terms when something goes wrong…Kidding aside, I will definitely take some credit for being there that day in January, 2010, when Mark and I parked on a dead end street in Oxnard and, navigating by Google maps, walked one block to discover one of the most beautiful park settings anywhere in the world, Oxnard Beach Park. We decided on the spot to create the first-ever PrimalCon a few months later.
The truth is, I made the decision to fire myself as organizer last year in favor of the much more focused and organized Arizona dynamic duo of Chris Adams and Tina Leaman, and Jaynee Higgott here at the PrimalCon headquarters office in Malibu. Now I get to focus on being a presenter! YES!
Being a former national champion professional triathlete and competitor on the global circuit for nine years, one of my favorite topics to discuss is how to cultivate the ideal mindset and disposition for peak performance in all areas of life. I reference my experience as a competitive athlete to get you motivated and deliver practical tips, because the athletic arena is a place where success and failure is exposed without excuses and nuances clouding the real story.
Keeping in the athletic spirit, I’m gonna impart my message to you in the context of a fun, active fitness rotation where we will learn the correct technique for the simple act of running. So we’ll have a little chat at the park about peak performance mindset, and then get out there on the beautiful grass fields and experience, maybe for the first time ever, what it feels like to run with beautiful, efficient, balanced technique. You’ll learn some fun drills and strategies to safely and gradually integrate actual sprinting into your exercise routine; since after all it’s one of the ten Primal Blueprint laws and about as primal as you can get!
Sound good? Then come on out to Oxnard this September and let’s have some fun at the park. Oh, I’ll also have some tricks up my sleeve in the ballroom as the emcee, until they turn my microphone off like they did at PrimalCon New York this summer….
Leslie Klenke: This will be my third PrimalCon event, but my first time presenting. Eek! I guess I could be nervous, but I’m actually just excited to meet and connect with you all. This past year I’ve put all my time and energy into writing, designing, and now promoting my first book,Paleo Girl. For those of you unfamiliar with it, it’s a Paleo lifestyle guide for teen girls—but don’t let the description fool you. Paleo Girl has a ton of great information for everyone…and so will my talk at PrimalCon Oxnard.
The takeaway from Paleo Girl as well as my topics of discussion at this event is that YOU are worth it. That you deserve to be happy, healthy, and full of love! Think of it as Paleo 2.0—the other key factors that are outside of the 10 Primal Blueprint Laws. I can guarantee everyone will walk away from our free choice gatherings feeling more connected, with a full heart, and a smile on their face. See you in September!
Adam and Vanessa Lambert: Let’s start the event off with a bang on Friday morning with our fitness rotations—our now world-famous fitness rotations! We can’t wait to show you safe lifting techniques on everything from lightweight PVC pipes to some real heavy duty weights if you’re inclined. We’re also going to cover the fundamentals of basic gymnastics and calisthenics, and present assorted other fun, safe, effective outdoor movements. We’re going to keep you pumped up and excited throughout our rotations, and we hope you’ll be inspired enough to incorporate some of what you learn with us into your own personal fitness routine. For more information on personal coaching or our upcoming Costa Rica adventure visit us at www.beethewellness.com!
Brian Tabor: Hello. My name is Brian Tabor, and I am the owner of Strong Made Simple in San Diego, CA, as well as a MovNat Certification Team Instructor. I have a diverse background working with strength and conditioning programs (like the Navy SEALs Tactical Athlete Program), competing in Strongman competitions, as well as training all kinds of everyday fitness enthusiasts. In Oxnard, I’ll share my passion of empowering people to become strong, while keeping things as simple and effective as possible along the way. If I can help, support, or answer any questions about lifting, carrying, and getting strong, please don’t hesitate to come say hello.
Alessandra Wall: I’m a clinical psychologist and CrossFit certified trainer in San Diego, CA (Yes, I know, kinda random combo there…). In my practice, I specialize in treating the physical, emotional and cognitive challenges people are faced with when they attempt to make changes to their diet, fitness, and other life goals. I can’t wait to be back for a third round with the PrimalCon crew. Last September, after enjoying Tahoe as a participant, I submitted the feedback form (giving 10s all around!), and also suggested presentations on topics like how our psychology, thoughts and our histories affect our ability to engage in and stick with lifestyle/nutrition choices. The PrimalCon folks replied saying, “Great idea, can you suggest anyone?” Of course I suggested myself, and I was lucky enough to present on these topics at PrimalCon Vacation Tulum last March.
I am really looking forward to Oxnard because I’ll get to sit down in small groups and talk about common personal and emotional barriers that inhibit us from adhering to our goals and desired behaviors. I’ll offer up real-life practical tips and simple steps that will help you realistically work through the things that stand in your way, so you can live life the way you mean to. I like to be upfront and direct about the issues and patterns that we seem to not talk much about, but are common barriers to success that we all face.
I promise you that we won’t get too uncomfortable or personal. After all, I can’t practice psychology in this setting, so I’ll be more like a coach getting you focused and motivated to make positive changes in your life—beyond the mechanics of what foods to eat and which to avoid. Oh, and I’ll also be hosting some early morning deep breathing and relaxation sessions for anyone interested in starting the morning off relaxed.
Dawn McCrory, DPT: Hi, I’m Dr. Dawn and I’m excited to meet you all in Oxnard this year! I’ll be presenting alongside my associate Coach Kimmie. Together, we’re co-owners of Kinesis Center for Integrated Living. Our presentation will focus on the Yoga Tune Up® therapy ball rolling session. Yoga Tune Up® is geared toward releasing the fascial restrictions and adhesions that ultimately lead to injury, pain, and reduced mobility. These adhesions are bands of painful rigid tissue that usually form in muscles, tendon and ligaments, can be caused from chronic tension or tightness, overuse and injuries. Adhesions can block circulation and cause pain, inflammation, limited mobility and affect overall performance and quality of life. The intention of our workshop is to leave you feeling healthier, more relaxed, stronger, and more balanced physically. While the PrimalCon physical activities are all calibrated to your particular fitness level and everyone is careful to not overdo it, by the time the event ends you may be a little stiff from all the fun activities. Our therapy ball sessions will be a welcome way to unwind!
[Mark’s Final Words: PrimalCon Oxnard 2014 is shaping up to be the best PrimalCon yet. I hope you’ll join me and scores of other Primal enthusiasts from across the globe next month. I promise it will be a weekend you’ll never forget.