Primal Evolution: Change Within Weeks, Transformation in Mere Months

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!

Hi Mark,

Greetings from Tulsa, Oklahoma!

I’ve been debating sharing my success story, as I’m not really one to “toot my own horn.” However, I’ve thought about how others might benefit from hearing it – so here goes!

I was a very active kid and teenager growing up and liked to play a variety of sports (baseball being my favorite). Throughout middle and high school I tried my hand competitively at baseball, soccer, basketball, golf, and some recreational distance running. I always enjoyed being known for my speed, although not so much for my athletic abilities ;). Much of the reason I was fast was because I was very slender (about 135 lbs at 6’ tall). My freshman year of college I continued to stay active by playing intramural softball, and even some skateboarding. As my college years went on my activity level declined some, but I was still able to manage the same body image and general level of health, for the most part. Additionally, being a college kid, I never worried about what I ate or drank.

I took a full-time job (with the Tulsa Drillers, the AA affiliate of the Colorado Rockies) in Tulsa after college and moved from upstate NY to begin my career at age 22. For the first few years here I drank often (mostly beer after games), but for six months to a year drank a few too many Jack and Cokes. Boy did my body change! During this time I also struggled with terrible/debilitating back spasms. Finally two years ago (at age 25) I had enough of the back problems and began to do some cardio and some strength exercises to try and help combat the problem.

Last year, about a month before Thanksgiving, I discovered your blog by happenstance, and ordered your book The Primal Blueprint 21-Day Total Body Transformation. My views on health, diet, and working out all changed from that point forward. I went from weighing 180 lbs to my present day 150 in a matter of a few months. (I was heaviest at 195-200 lbs in 2010 (above).) I truly enjoy clean eating, and working out now.

This is how it happened: Since I had already incorporated some exercise into my routine, the next step was to begin eating correctly. It was amazing to learn (initially through your book, then through my own additional research) how the food we eat reacts in our bodies. I cut out SAD foods, bread, pastas, most processed foods, etc., and noticed a change in my body within a few weeks.

Once I felt I had a grasp on eating correctly I began Primal Essential Movements regularly. From there I realized I really enjoyed challenging myself with weightlifting. There’s no better feeling than being able to increase strength through hard work. I’ve continued to lift weights 5-7 days a week, and have continued to make strength gains. I recently completed a 50-day pullup challenge! 1,785 pullups in 50 days. First day begin with 10, second day do 11, and so on until you get to 60.

My diet is pretty boring now, really; my staples are eggs, bacon, steak, chicken, broccoli, asparagus, fish, and bananas. I don’t try cooking much, so these things are easy for me. Although, I have tried a few of the Primal Blueprint user submitted recipes. I particularly enjoyed Almond Banana Pancakes and Omelet Muffins. I use quite a bit of the following: organic whole butter, organic extra virgin olive oil, organic unrefined coconut oil, and almond butter sparingly. Occasionally I will drink organic whole milk with my Primal Fuel after a workout. The biggest challenge for me is eating enough vegetables, so I’ve begun to try and incorporate more of those in my diet (e.g. blending kale into my protein shakes). I supplement each meal with a protein shake (three per day). Occasionally I will add raw eggs to the shakes, and regularly add a bit of olive oil in each one.

I like to experiment from time to time with eating, and have found that I really like the LeanGains approach to meal timing. (Eat from 1 PM-9 PM, fast from 9 PM-1 PM). One of the reasons I like the approach is because I enjoy working out in the morning while in a fasted state (tons of energy typically!).

The biggest challenge I faced when making the switch to Primal was pizza. I really, really like pizza, so not eating pizza is tough! Mainly the hardest part for me is continuing to eat correctly. I don’t really know anyone else in my life who eats like I do. At work there are always cakes, cookies, etc., around. When eating at restaurants people sometimes find it hard to believe that I don’t want the loaf of bread or the baked potato with my meal. It’s not that I don’t enjoy these foods (hell, I like everything), I just choose not to eat them, and do what’s right for me. It sounds very selfish, but I’m not really concerned with what other people think I should be doing. A lot of people say that I don’t have any “fun” anymore because I choose to not go out drinking each weekend. My idea of fun is bettering myself, and continuing to learn what it takes to get stronger and healthier. I want to live a long life!

Mark, I’ve shared your book with family members, and co-workers. Reading it was the spark I needed to fuel the now fat-burning machine that is my body. Thank you!


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202 thoughts on “Primal Evolution: Change Within Weeks, Transformation in Mere Months”

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  1. Great job. I’ve still got a ways to go, but your story is an inspiration. I’ve incorporated IF into my Primal diet as well and love it.

    1. Great job bud. I’ve found IF hard to incorporate as a college athlete though. Feeling like I need a little more fuel than usual because of the amount of activity. I’ll be trying IF after college for sure

      1. Remember IF doesn’t always mean calorie restriction… IF/eating all your food in a small window of time is a good idea because it encourages cellular autophagy; as the amino acid pool in your blood drops from fasting cells in your body will cannibalize their own spare internal organs/organelles & throw them out into your blood… but they’ll get rid of the damaged, “junk” proteins first. Once you eat protein they’ll rebuild the lost organelles, only with new, undamaged proteins. As you age you accumulate a lot of junk protein in your cells that make them run inefficiently and can ultimately kill them… IF may extend your life, or at the very least reduce some of the effects of old age.

        Fasting also boosts BDNF (brain-derived neutrophic factor), a hormone that makes your brain build new neurons/keep old ones from dying.

  2. Great job.Why not use coconut oil in your shakes instead of olive oil?

    1. That’s what I was gonna say. Coconut oil in my shakes has helped me lean out faster and it just tastes better.

      Excellent job tho Mike. I feel your pain on the pizza.

      1. Coconut oil is awesome but it will harden in the shakes and a person will be having to chew the chunks. Other than that it’s great for you.

        1. MCT oil is coconut oil, but it is liquid at room temp. Try it instead.

        2. There is a way to add coconut oil to smoothies so that the oil doesn’t harden into unappetizing chunks. After your smoothie is totally blended, then slowly pour melted coconut oil into the blender while it continues to run. Once all the oil is in, stop the blender. Comes out totally smooth and blended in, not hardened!

      2. Coconut milk, instead of coconut oil, is really yummy in protein shakes too

      3. Ive tried coconut oil in smoothies and it gets all hard and clumpy because of the cold temp, even blended in my Vitamix. I don’t love it like that…..

    2. It may very well be the cost. He’s a young guy and probably hasn’t started making real money yet. This has been my #1 issue with the primal diet; I LOVE wild salmon, grass-fed beef, etc, but I have tuition to pay!!!

    3. I’ll try the coconut oil today, but very true, it’s expensive 🙂

  3. DAYUM! Well done! And points for using the delightful word “happenstance”.

    Yes, that’s the kind of drag part: just facing peoples’ responses to not eating some of the common things.

    1. I had the same response from SO when I switched to primal/paleo eating: “You’re not fun anymore”
      Not being “fun” is grounds for breaking up! That’s ok – the dogs love how I eat (we share) 🙂
      Congratulations on your success! You look awesome. Way to stick to your guns.

      1. Ha ha! Peggy, you nailed it. Adult son finds our meals boring now. However, the dog loves and appreciates the jerky, bone broths, left over scraps of meat, eggs, home-made yogurt, etc. My diet is his diet, his diet is my diet. Only difference, I don’t eat mine raw and I don’t eat the bones! MIKE, you look great. Good for you.

  4. Great job man. I am right there with you. Being a 24 year old and living a primal/paleo lifestyle is tough. Very few people understand and conventional wisdom is always trying to get you down. It’s hard to have a social life that’s “normal” but we don’t want what’s normal…we want an extraordinary long healthy life. Keep it up and keep in touch!

    1. I understand the particular challenges of being primal/paleo at 24 years old (I was that age myself once!) but believe me, it doesn’t change, the same basic issues remain, no matter what age you are. Good for you for getting the strategies for healthy living and discipline to do it down now while you’re young.

    2. “Not Fun” is code when people who know they are making poor choices (drinking too much, eating junk) try to drag you down. I cooked 8# of organic, grass-fed beef, pork, and bison on my big green egg, while sipping some red wine with a fellow paleo buddy. We were outside, talking and having a great time. The kids, wife, friends, and family all loved the meal and we had fun. Keep it up, and start converting your friends. Your physique says it all.

  5. Good job. It’s not selfish to disregard bad information and eat what’s good for you. It would be irresponsible to do otherwise!

  6. well done! And good for you for not bowing to other people’s definition of “fun”. Real fun does not require late nights and alcohol, and real friends will support you in your goals.

    1. And from a 70 some odd year old, I agree. Mike, you have built one hot, healthy body!

        1. Can we call ourselves cougars if we’re happily married? I’m almost 50 and ya he’s smokin’ now! Wouldn’t have looked at Mike in the before state; but would do a double-take now in the after state!

  7. You look great, Mike. Thanks for adding the dates of when the pictures were taken. It’s amazing to see how quickly your body changed with the new lifestyle!

  8. wow, you look amazing! And I’m sure you feel it too. As a competitive swimmer who has managed to gain 15 lbs and almost double my body fat % in the few years I’ve been off from training consistently, I’m now trying out Primal in order to try and get back to competition. Started just under 2 weeks ago, and the cravings have kicked in big time! (I almost cried at dinner last night when my family was eating cheese fries and stuffing loaves of bread in their faces and I couldn’t have any. Boy, I am not going to miss those cravings!) This was just the inspiration I needed today to keep going. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Amy, hang in there, the cravings do go away and you will not be giving those foods a second thought.

    2. Keep with it Amy, you won’t regret it! I just started to swim a few weeks ago, and it feels great!

    3. Definitely hang in there Amy, after a while, those foods won’t even smell good to you!

      1. This is so true. Amy, to transition, I made my family long-fermnented sourdough bread to keep them from eating store bought junk bread. I helped myself to one slice when just baked. Over a few weeks, I noticed how I’d get slightly ill from eating it (bloating, gas, stomach cramps/pains). Over time, I skipped that slice and now don’t eat it at all. It took me 1 1/2 yrs to swear off the home-made bread (2 slices/mth). But I revelled in the fact that I was clean otherwise, even when eating out (unless they had a sourdough, then I cheated…and paid for it). The last few pieces I had tasted horrible! Your taste buds will come alive for real food. Hang in there!

    4. If you are up for it you could try a little hypnotherapy to cope better with the cravings. My hubby is not going primal with me and it was hell to watch him eat crumbles and pies and cheesecakes in front of me not to mention the smell of fresh bread in the morning. But since I had hypnotherapy I just can’t be bothered, temptation is completely gone and no willpower needed. So much easier, I can really recommend it. Good luck!

    5. I wouldn’t jump in so full-force. Ease in and just have some of the things you miss. After a while you will not get the cravings. I never had a carb flu because of this. Plus I don’t stick 100% with the primal diet. I just make meat and veggies my mainstay.

  9. Well done! Ignore those naysayers and keep on. They all wish they had what you have! Grok On!

  10. great job! pizza is by far the biggest challenge for my husband & i. we run into the same issues with people thinking our diet is strange (including family), but i really just don’t care. i know that this lifestyle is best for us!

  11. Mike, you’ve done an incredible job. You’re looking healthy and strong and I would bet that, even more importantly, you feel healthy and strong as well. Keep up the great work and ignore those who try to feed you the conventional wisdom — it looks like your approach has really worked.

  12. Wow! I love that you took pictures as you progressed.

    Pizza is the only food that I struggle with too. I almost never eat it now, but always regret when I do. It can take me two weeks to bounce back after I throw my body out of whack with some pizza. I wish I could get over my cravings for it as easily as I did with the sugary deserts.

      1. Pizza-lovers – have you tried Meatza? (Pizza with the crust made of ground meat) — soooo yummy! We took some to a pizza party recently and all the (non-Primal) folks LOVED it! I think there’s a recipe on this site, or you can Google it.

        1. I might miss pizza but my cravings for cinnamon rolls is unbearable. But nice Italian style neapolitan wood-fired pizza is to die for!

      2. A friend of mine gave me this cauliflower pizza recipe recently. It’s my new favorite food. Seriously. Make it!

        Serves four:

        “Rice” a head of cauliflower in a food processor (i.e. process it until it resembles rice)

        Microwave cauliflower in a bowl on high about 3-4 mins.

        Let cool a bit (10 min?)

        Add two eggs and enough mozzarella to make it into a dough (3-4 handfuls).

        Add generous amounts of Italian seasoning and garlic salt. Mix thoroughly.

        Grab a handful and plop it onto parchment paper on top of a cookie sheet. Shape as desired (i.e. rectangle or circular)

        Pat down to as thin as you want (about 1/2 inch works well) and put in 425 oven for 15-20 mins (depends on how thick, sometimes longer).

        Take crust out when browning consistently around the edges and top with whatever you like (veggies/meats), pop back under broiler to melt the cheese and you’re done.


    1. In “The Primal Blueprint”, there’s a reference to an Australian study, which says that the negative adverse effects from sugar consumption last for two weeks in the body, and that might be true to the other “poisonous” foods as well, explaining your observations.

    2. I found a healthy pizza sauce and grass fed mozzarella and I’m experimenting with pizza substitutes. Even just making the sauce and cheese into a hot melty dip and dipping in steamed broccoli is really tasty. You can get a pizza fix without the dough! Right now I have mini pizzas cooking with big zucchini rounds as the crusts. Not sure how that’ll turn out but I had to try it..

  13. Killin’ it, Mike! I’m enjoying the LG 1-9 feed window as well. It makes life so much easier. Keep at it, man!

    1. Thanks! I haven’t quite figured out how to “gain” yet, but I’m getting stronger, which is all I’m really looking for.

      1. Great job! I really enjoyed the “day-date time stamp” photo sequence. Lots of progress in a short time.

      2. If you’re getting stronger, then you probably are gaining muscle. If you’re not changing weight, it must be because you’re losing fat and gaining muscle at the same time (possible because of hormones involved in IF). The muscle gains will be less drastic on an IF protocol, however, as it’s not a “bulk” which takes advantage of lots of food to stimulate mTOR (good for general growth). From what I’ve read, you’re doing the progression correctly – stronger then bigger. That’s how Arnold Schwarzenegger trained, after all. Keep doing the Primal stuff and lifting heavy, then if you want hypertrophy (size) switch to 6-12 rep range (for upper body) and like 15-20 rep range (for lower body) and you’ll get bigger (but strength will be slower).

        Also, I’m a college student, so this was a very relevant success story for me. Methinks bacon, eggs, and steak will be 50% of my diet (cafeteria willing…). I am going to start LG protocol next semester, but we’ll see how I can juggle sleep, social life, grades, and primal (oh god, wish me luck).

        1. Just wanted to chime in as another college student! I’ll be a freshman at UNC chapel hill this fall. I’ve been primal for 3 years, and am planning on staying that way! It’s nice to hear there are other college age groks out there (:

        2. Alyssa, I’m a UNC grad (’09) and I still live in town! I don’t personally know any other paleo/primal people, so I’m glad to hear there will be another in Chapel Hill 🙂

  14. I think the change in confidence is most dramatic. Look at you! Knowing you look all good. 🙂

  15. Great job Mike! What percentage of the transformation would attribute to food and what percentage to working out more (as you said 5 to 7 days a week)?

    1. I push myself very hard in the gym, but I would venture to guess 80% diet. My body kept (and still is) changing as I maintain the diet.

    1. I believe it is the Leangains eating window from 1pm to 9pm. Correct me if I am wrong.

      1. You are correct. Chantal, type leangains into google and you’re off! Combining LG with the primal diet is a great gateway to strength.

  16. Nice transformation! The Friday stories always encourange me to keep on keeping on– oh and BTW– maybe I can encourage some of the heavyweights here at my company (Electrolux) since I am the only one of about 120 ( mix of engineers and techs) to use a stand up desk and run sprints at lunchtime!

    1. Similar situation here: I am the only one with the standing workstation which I alternate with the 95cm swiss ball as a chair.
      I hope you have better luck than I encouraging other people: my record is a big zero.

  17. Grok would approve (apart from the milk) 🙂

    Also, your observations of “tons of energy” with working out in the morning while in a fasting state are interesting, but contrary to what I’ve found to be true for myself.

  18. Awesome Mike! I work out on my lunch break here at work, and I usually do so in a fasted state and then eat immediately afterwards. I too have amazing energy during my workouts!

    @Pastor Dave, Sprints on your lunch break! I’m right there with you.

    TGIF Stories!!!

  19. I think your pictures say it all!! And like so many, I LOVE pizza and have luckily found a grain-free pizza I love…even people that aren’t Primal/Paleo have tried it and had to admit it’s good. I don’t have it often because it’s a lot of cheese/dairy, but when the pizza craving strikes, it’s great! I was on vacation last week with my sisters and their families and we had pizza night – my sisters recently have removed gluten from their diets and were missing pizza, so I made my recipe for the 3 of us while everyone else got take out & they LOVED my pizza!! Even my 17 year old niece tried it and really liked it!

  20. You look amazing!!! Great job and thanks for sharing your story. 🙂

  21. I’m going to call you Magic Mike, just because. Wow, you look great. It’s amazing what a few months can do. I think in order to be healthy, feel and look good, you have to be selfish. Junk food pushers beware, primal eaters are selfish and can have a good time without liquor.
    As for the pizza, try Meatsa, its easy to make, use ground meat as your crust. Yummy! Almost like pizza but impossible to eat alone, so share.

  22. Great dedication! The 50 day pullup challenge seems like a fun thing to try.

    I too got the “less fun” card pulled on me when I nixed drinking. Now I volunteer to be the D.D. and everyone is happy about that. Plus watching drunk people is highly entertaining. And no hangover!

  23. I can get my pizza fix grain-free with the following very simple preparation:

    In a small oven-proof skillet (I use an 8 inch stainless steel skillet), put a few tablespoons of organic tomato sauce (Muir Glen is awesome)

    Layer fresh mozzarella cheese on top; I like to use curd style cheese because I don’t have to shred or chop it.

    Layer pepperoni slices on top of the cheese.

    Bake for 10 minutes or so at around 350 degrees, til the cheese is melty/bubbly. The tomato sauce will be bubbling up through the cheese and pepperoni. (With the recent summer heat, I have also discovered that this cooks very well when covered on the stovetop at low heat – just mess around with it and keep an eye on it to figure out the right stovetop time and temp.)

    Let it cool for 5 minutes or so on the table, then dig in with a spoon.

    It tastes just like pizza (well duh) and I honestly do not miss the pizza crust! Very simple and quick too.

    1. We do something very similar, except put it on zucchini. It’s delish and tastes just like pizza.

  24. Congratulations!

    Keep ignoring those naysayers, you are doing what’s best for you and it clearly shows.

    Grok on!

    1. Very nice Mike. Congrats. Another great example that almost everything we hear in the mainstream is the mirror opposite of the truth.

      I wish I had taken pictures… Unlike mainstream approaches, Mike’s results ARE typical of a primal diet and lifestyle 🙂

  25. If being healthy is selfish then by the same reasoning being unhealthy is being, what, generous? From my perspective it’s selfish of people who try to make you feel uncomfortable. If someone give you a hard time about your choices it is they who are being selfish because it is they who want you to conform to THEIR vision of what a good time is or how you are supposed to eat. It’s not any different to me than peer pressure regarding drinking or drugs actually. If you are a non-smoker, is it selfish to not have a cigarette if your friend’s a smoker? Of course not. Not sure why it’s different. I only mention it because you have done so awesome and yet there seemed to be this small part of you that seems to feel guilty about your choices. I’m just trying to articulate why you shouldn’t feel this way at all. Also, you are a perfect example of what Mark means when he talks about changing your gene expression and I’m perfectly jealous. Great job.

      1. OMG I love your name! Everytime you comment on things I end up reading them with a question mark at the end à la Burgundy: You stay classy, San Diego?

    1. Thank you for your words. You’re right though, some part of me still feels guilty for some strange reason. Who knew making good choices was so hard?!

      1. I feel ya on the guilt. I’ve definitely been there. I think I’m over it now though, which is good! You just have to be real with people, and stand your ground.

  26. Hey I just met you, and this is crazy, but here’s my #… call me maybe? 😉 Keep up the good work!

  27. Niiiiice!!! The irony is that if you went out to the bar now with them, they would quickly figure out they DON’T want you there cause you’d be getting ALL the attention! 😉

    Seriously though, it’s the lifestyle thing and the friends you know you will have to leave behind that always manages to make me procrastinate going primal until… tomorrow. So props to you for doing NOW!

  28. I bet it’s not the girls who say you’re not fun anymore! HaHa

    You look great! And much more fun to look at 🙂

  29. Hey from Norman! Glad to see another Oklahoman here! You’re fabulous.

  30. Great story! It totally mirrors my own experience… ditching the pizza, ignoring the baked potato, saying no to pasta and bread. I took about 8 weeks to transition to paleo by slowly cutting back on grains and such. I’m doing this for me and it’s easy. I’m just a tad addicted to Justin’s Nut butters (Vanilla Almond).

  31. Although looks are not the primary reason we embark on this way of life and (for many) it’s about the way we *feel*…these were my reactions to your pictures as I read through this article:

    First two-Oh he’s cute!
    Next one-He looks good!
    Next two-Oh wow, he’s starting to get that sexy little line off his hip…
    Last two-Well hot damn there it is!

    Vanity aside, great story and congrats! I’ve also started cutting back on the going out on weekends. Many times I’ll go and either not drink or have a whiskey and water, but that is quickly starting to lose its appeal when my time is better spent on workouts, resting, or even reading. I’m just waiting for the comments from friends to start, telling me I’m “no fun.” They don’t realize that I’m still the same fun person, I just don’t have an interest in their type of fun anymore.

    Keep up the good work!

    1. Glad to hear that I’m not the only one who struggles with the issue of drinking/going out, etc.

  32. Does anyone have that recipe for cauliflower-cheese crusted primal pizza for the pizza-cravers here? I have it somewhere, can’t find it. People are very enthusiastic about it.

    Oh and nice work man!

    1. Mike, I am super impressed with your results of following a healthy lifestyle. I hope you are ignoring the guys saying you are no fun; I am going to bet the girls you meet are disagreeing with them! Keep up the great work!!

      I have a cauliflower crust recipe that I have tweaked several times, it is now really yummy and very “pizza crust-like” in texture as well as taste:

      Take one head of cabbage and shred/grate, then microwave ½ the head for 8 minutes on high, uncovered and without adding any water. Repeat with second ½ and allow to cool.

      Preheat baking stone in oven to 375 degrees
      Whisk together:
      3 eggs
      2 tsps garlic powder
      1 tsp black pepper
      1 tsp sea salt
      1 tsp oregano
      3 TBSP almond flour
      3 TBSP coconut flour
      ½ cup parmesan cheese

      Stir in cooled cauliflower until well mixed.
      Remove stone from oven and spray liberally with olive oil

      Press ½ the cauliflower mixture onto the center of the stone and carefully press down and shape into crust until @ 1 inch border of stone is all that you can see of the edge. Remember stone is very hot and will burn you! Use wooden spoon to smooth edge of crust as you are pressing out circular shape.

      Bake at 375 for 15 minutes, remove from oven. Apply your choice of pizza toppings, and bake until cheese is melted (about 10 minutes). Repeat with remaining cauliflower mixture to make second pizza

      Hope you like it, my family and friends have all been amazed to learn the crust was primarily cauliflower, it really is great!


  33. Good to hear of a fellow Okie going Primal. Keep up the good work and you are a shining example of how well this works

  34. Congrats on your success! Regarding pizza, I always feel terrible after eating the regular stuff, too much bread!
    However, I recently tried using almond flour cracker as the crust (MDA has a good recipe for this,) and it was yummy. I add Italian spices and parm cheese to the cracker crust too. Toppings include tomato sauce, spinach, bell peppers, feta,some shredded mozzarella and ground beef, etc. Bake until bubbly. YUM and primal!

  35. Misery loves company. In my family if you don’t eat the donut you’re not only crazy and boring, you’re not part of the team…Team Muffin Top!

    While I can’t say I have felt selfish about saying NO to eating their trashy modern food, I have felt anger that it’s pushed on my husband and especially the kids! But my kids eat liver…theirs eat chicken nuggets!

    Time works everything out…and in the future while all the “fun people” are being spoon-fed MSG soup in their nursing homes, we’ll still be active, healthy and smiling because we took the steep, narrow, rocky path to awesomeness.

    BTW…I concur with the other cougars here…meow. This coug has already caught her morsel, and she’s buying him this book today thanks to this post! He’s slender and beautiful…but muscles rock. 😉
    Awesome success story!

    1. “…we took the steep, narrow, rocky path to awesomeness.”

      +10!! (And doesn’t this path have just delicious scenery!?)

  36. Thanks Mike for the giving the rest of us affirmation that this lifestyle is worth all the efforts of working out and changing our eating patterns. You look terrific and it is very evident that you feel great about yourself. Life is ment to be enjoyed not “dedicated” to the needs and wants of others…I’m working through the same issues of coping with others not respecting my choice to no longer poison my life with breads, pasta, etc. Keep up the great work and love to see more pics as you continue to progress.

  37. As far as everyone talking about alcohol, I’ve actually found that this is just fine for me… I still get pretty hammered on the weekend with roommates… I just don’t eat dinner that night if I’m drinking, so I don’t have to drink as much to get fuzzy, and I stick to red wine and clear liquors and STAY AWAY from junk food.

    Actually, I often make an entire package of bacon toward the end of the night when we start to sober up and go home-ALWAYS a hit with drunk people!!!

    1. And when we make bacon, we pour the grease into shot glasses and drink it, lolol. It’s pretty easy to convert people to TBP after they see me with my health food B-)

    2. Agreed. I’ve cut back on drinking, but still drink a few glasses of wine a week, and get pretty hammered every few months (the reason it’s not every weekend anymore is not for health reasons, but mostly life/responsibility reasons). When I was still in school a few years ago, I would drink fairly often, and eat well/exercise hard the rest of the time. Really it comes down to what you *want* to do. When it gets to the point that you just don’t WANT to drink anymore (or get totally wasted), because you’d honestly rather read a book or workout or whatever, then I think that’s the time to stop. It should come naturally, and not feel like too much of a sacrifice.

      1. I agree Michelle. That is essentially how I feel about it, although I had never quite put those words together. Thanks for helping me do so for when I explain it to other folks!

      2. Yep yep! You’re far more likely to stick with it for life if you allow yourself to still live life!

    3. Awesome! I only happened to do that exact thing once before, but it was a hit the, too (cooked a whole pack of bacon after drinking!). Coincidentally, a friend who also talk about eating in a more paleodiet fashion was there and suggested taking shots of the bacon grease (no one did though!)

      As far as drinking alcohol, I think I had good success continuing to change my body composition last year (based on visual only) even while drinking but eating quite primal much of the time.

      I like the coincidences!

      1. Heheh, try the bacon grease shots. It feels weird going down the first time but it’s awesome!

  38. Nice effort! The only thing I would recommend is to take some cooking classes or do other things to help yourself enjoy cooking and eating your own food more. If you limit your diet too much, you’ll burn out quickly or else eating will just become a chore. Transitioning to the primal diet has been pretty easy for me so far because I was already buying lots of fresh meats and veggies from good sources (and my wife has Celiac disease, so we had already cut back on grains). I agree that the hardest part is fending off the avalanche of non-primal foods that are so prevalent. I restaurants, even when I request sliced veggies instead of bread to go with an otherwise primal appetizer (like baba gannoush, olive tapenade, or a good cheese and cured meat plate), they almost always bring the veggies and the bread.

    1. Cooking classes seem like a good idea. I do get burnt out at times since I don’t cook much (during the baeball season it’s common to put in 80 hour work weeks). I do a lot of grilling when I’m actually home. Once the season is over I’ll give cooking a chance.

  39. Congratulations on your journey, Mike, it’s incredible.

    As someone with a similar story, I will say that finding veggies was hard, but once I found the veggies that I like, it’s a lot easier to incorporate them. My biggest tip would be find yourself a farmer’s market and start looking around there for staples you may normally use, then branch out.

    While I don’t love big plates of veggies, finding different snackable veggies has proven to be a huge help. And they are really filling.

    Clearly though, you don’t need too much help. Keep it up, dude!

  40. Way to go Mike! I’ll throw in my Cougar Call on this one too….you are looking hot!!!

  41. Good job! If only my son could be like you. He still likes to be like the boys But no beer. He has a few years to catch up to your age of wisdom. So there could still be hope.

  42. Great Going, Mike.
    And don’t worry about being “no fun” for not drinking. sooner or later it WILL catch up with you.
    My 46 year old neighbor is in ICU in Lourdes Hospital from drinking all his life. His liver started to fail about three months ago.They stuck a scope in his liver yesterday and found it has turned to mush.
    I am a 74 year old just starting out.
    Yesterday for lunch I had a can of sardines, a hard boiled egg, and a pint of blueberries.

    GROK ON!

  43. Mike… Try a meat crust for the pizza cravings… Supposed to be a sweet trade out!

  44. Here’s what I’ve come to realize about the primal diet or any other diet for that matter. This is after a year and a half of training, perfect diet and research. Nothing works the same for “beginners” as it does for all these people that were fit as kids/teenagers and let there body go. You will
    Never get the same result as a beginner starting for the first time in your life as an adult. You can get there but it takes much longer and much stricter routines. This teaches me two things get your kids in shape so they have an easier time later in life and don’t expect it be as easy or work for that matter as a beginner adult.

    1. Tony, I would’ve still considered myself a beginner even though I was fit as a teenager. Eating “correctly” never happened until I made the change (age 26). Additionally, it was, and continues to be hard work, even for a guy like me.

      1. Sorry to be argumentative but this is not a beginners statement “I was a very active kid and teenager growing up and liked to play a variety of sports (baseball being my favorite). Throughout middle and high school I tried my hand competitively at baseball, soccer, basketball, golf, and some recreational distance running”

        Your muscle were built doing all that stuff as a kid. Had you not been that active, for example: a band member and eaten primal as that band member you would still have had a very low base of lean muscle mass. What do you think?

        1. No worries, I didn’t think you were being argumentative. Tony, I guess I really can’t speak to if it’s easier for folks who played sports growing up as opposed to a band member. I really only have my own experience to go off of. I was just saying that it still wasn’t and isn’t easy for me; it takes work. Additionally, I probably lifted weights a maximum of ten times by the time I was 26, so this is all very new to me, hence saying I was a beginner.

  45. Well Mike, I’ll have to check out the pictures when I have my laptop (when the content is not blocked)…seems you could have the start of a good cult following here! Even without pics, it sounds as though you have done well. Great job!

  46. Kick arss Mike- great job bro.

    By chance your still not a prospect in the Rox organization are you? If so they could use all the primal help they can get!

    1. El, haha. Nope, I just work in baseball. You’re right though the Rox need some help!

  47. I never tried putting olive oil or coconut oil in my protein shakes. What benefit does this provide? I can see coconut oil adding a bit of sweetness 😉

    1. Well, I actually use coconut milk in my morning shakes so I assume it has nice fats with that too.

      1. Mr. P-coconut oil has medium chain triglycerides, which are rare in the SAD, and increase energy, plus they’re saturated, which means they won’t oxidize in your body like unsaturated fatty acids will. Plus, if I do a protein shake for breakfast with berries, coconut milk, raw chocolate powder and whey protein concentrate, I’m hungry again in a few hours, while if I add the coconut oil (fat) I do much, much better. Even with regularmeals, if I don’t add healthy fat in I get hungry too soon. If I eat high protein, low fat, I just don’t feel good. I’m trying to learn how to listen to my body.
        So try for yourself-eat a shake without any fat in it, then try the same recipe with some fat and compare how you feel. I love MDA for not teaching the one size fits all diet plan and encouraging us to take responsibility for ourselves and our health.
        And Mike-excellent job! Keep on keeping on !

  48. The world is fat and lazy. Do the opposite of what the world does, and you’ll be GREAT.

    1. I agree 100%. Reminds me of the Seinfeld episode with George using that concept successfully.
      Hi I’m George. I am unemployed and I live with my parents.

  49. Good to read your story Mike. I’ve worked in minor league baseball for 4 years now and going primal can be difficult with the hours and the free ballpark food all summer. I started eating primal about a year and a half ago and have lost about 25 lbs through just eating better. I need to start hitting the gym better so I can get cut up like you though. I will use your story as a mitivator. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Awesome to see a fellow Milb worker here. Yeah, just by changing eating habits really helped me as well. It helps that we get meals provided to us by our catering company. We typically at least have some sort of meat and vegetable available. What team do you work for, and is there an opportunity for you to workou at their facilities? A huge benefit to me is that we have a three year old stadium with a great weight room!

      1. I work for the Tacoma Rainiers (AAA Mariners). We don’t really get to use the weight room at the stadium but we have a deal with the YMCA and all get free memberships there, just have to make sure I get myself to go consistently.

  50. Mike, has your back problem improved. I recommended a young friend to go Primal to help her back. So interested if yours did. Very nice pics:)

    1. Heather, I used to have back spasms once every six months, no fail. The last I had was in May, which was a year and a half since the last. I really have to work on stretching, which I don’t do enough of. The squats seem to help as I strengthen lower body. I’m also trying to get a strong core, but its tough work! Long story short, yes my back has improved, but I’m afraid it may be something I struggle with my whole life.

  51. You look amazing! Wow – great job in sticking to your guns (w/work, at restaurants, etc.!).

  52. Great job Mike! Have you tried grilling vegetables? So good plus easy to do when you’re already grilling meat.. same with roasting.. try it!

  53. Awesome story and so glad u shared it. I started reading and implementing the 21 day challenge about 10 days ago. So far so good. I do like my booze so for me a few glasses of red wine are a tough substitute for gin on the rocks but it’s all for the greater good.

    I hope to post a success story one day as well.

  54. Since becoming part of MDA my neighbor and I have coined a new phrase. We no longer refer to people as “fat”, we say, “look at the carbs on that!”

  55. Regarding not eating pizza anymore, when my friends offer me pizza, I eat the toppings and leave the crust.

    The toppings are pretty much primal.

  56. Recently, when sharing my diet changes to another over-50 female about not eating grains like bread, tortillas, pasta, etc., she said, “But what else is there?”. Wow….

  57. Too much older than you to say anything more than you look awesome. 🙂

    I’ve had a “meatsa” at Unos before; years ago. It was insanely good! Meat crust. Who knew? Worth a try.

    More teens and 20 somethings should be as motivated as you to be healthy and fit. Congratulations.

  58. You look terrific, well done!

    And here is my version of the pizza:
    -stir fry some bacon with peppers, onions garlic and a little stir fry sauce Kikkoman. Set aside.
    -make an omelette with 10 eggs, add some seasoning. Before it is done (still liquid in the center) take out of the stove.
    -top it with the stir fry items
    -add lots of whole chesse mozarella, decorate with some yellow cheese stripes
    -leave it to rest for one or two hours

    The end result looks like a kickass pizza and it tastes better, cut it in pieces and you can use it for a quick breakfast.

    Try it you will thank me later 🙂

  59. Nice job Mike,

    Wondering what ur work-out routine looks like I follow the Leangains as well doing 3 strength training workouts a week:
    1. Squats, Bench, Dips
    2. Dead-lift, Pull-ups, Rows
    3. Squats, Press, Chins
    also mix in some yoga and if not too hungover on Sunday some 200 meter sprints.

    1. Andy, I really mix things up quite a bit. But Saturday is my big upper body day. Bench press, incline bench press, shoulder presses, barbell pulls for deltoids, dips, triceps, and pullups. Sunday mornings I swim then dead lift and work abs. Throughout the week I’ll squat a few times, work core again, and do back and biceps day.

  60. Good work, Mike! I do very well with IF myself. I usually eat between 12pm-9pm. I need to get the window down smaller but it’s sure better than many small meals like CW often suggests! I am 5′ 6″ and started at about 200lbs and I’m down around 140lbs now. (and I feel great!)

    Here’s a pizza solution that I don’t recommend all the time (lots of dairy) but it has no wheat and is a delicious treat for a special occasion:

    The “crust” is made from cheese and eggs.

    I hope this helps with your pizza desires!

  61. I’m really really new to Paleo, and at times it’s super tough for me to cut out my SAD lifestyle… but reading this article really gives me the motivation I need to keep at it. You’re such an inspiration. Keep it up, hotty.


  62. when you are told you’re not fun you should just lift your shirt up and give them a glimps of your abs, that should put theim right, LOL. you look hot, man 😉

  63. mr p, coconut oil also contains lauric acid,which is also found in mothers milk and is anti-bacterial anti-fungal, anti everything.
    In other words, great for your immune system.

  64. You handsome devil you. Seems your genetic potential has been amplified! And your doing your part to spread the message to other young ppl. Gives me hope for the future…

  65. You look much healthier, younger, and happier. (Very cute too!) Great job! Be proud of what you have accomplished!

  66. Wow, Mike! You look awesome and are an inspiration! Are you single? If so, there is a like-minded 29 year old female in AZ that would love to chat! (That would be me). 😉

  67. Wow. Amazing transformation Mike! Well done. This is definitely an inspiration.

    It definitely is interesting to see the shock on friends’ faces when you tell them you don’t eat grains…

  68. Great job, Mike. I had my binge buddies mad at me, too. They either got over it or found new binge buddies. Stay with your health.

  69. Good job Mike!
    I am also 24 and I just got into the Primal lifestyle and in 6 weeks I dropped 20 pounds. 5’9″ 170 and now I’m at 150 which is less than I weighed in high school.

    Starting to workout now and I feel great every single day. I like the designated driver idea in the comments. Drinking to get drunk is losing its luster.

    Keep up the good work!

  70. Great work! I also don’t eat a wide variety of foods, and am starting to find this pretty boring so I hope I can find ways to shake it up without gaining weight. Thank you so much for sharing!

  71. Incredible work Mike. Stating the obvious, you clearly don’t have much body fat. Can you ballpark how many calories you think you typically eat in a day?

  72. Wow, well done! I love your transformation; it’s funny, all the before pictures I have seen, people’s expressions always seem tired and a little sad, and after, they seem to glow! I’ve just done a Whole30 and about to start another one, thanks for sharing your progress, just the motivator I need to amp up the gym and focus on how much better I feel NOT drinking or eating sugar and grains. 🙂

  73. Looking good! An awesome transformation :D.

    I am getting badgered by my friend that I should be able to have sugar “every couple of weeks”, I’m getting sick of having to say “NO! NO! NO!” I told her that for me it’s like offering alcohol to a dry alcoholic… it’s too darn addictive, and if I go without it I feel better and don’t crave it…

    She also told me off because she couldn’t buy me a take away lunch (that I didn’t even need or want).

    People can be frustrating ;). I don’t see why you’re “not fun” because you can’t pig out on pizza (besides, I recently made meatza and realised I don’t need actual pizza at all!).

  74. Primal blueprint + Leangains or eat stop eat = unstoppable! I thought PB was the end all be all until I started incorporating Intermittent Fasting! Good for you brother you look amazing and probably feel amazing too!

  75. Mike…er…wow!

    You look AMAZING!

    Those last few photos are definitely firing off a few receptors in me!

  76. Very nice work, Mike!

    a) amazing how cleaning up the food changes so much!
    b) i’ve been doing leangains for the last 2-3 months and love it. really takes the bricks out of the suitcase when it comes to the diet.
    c) You may want to give meatza a try. Still not a crust, but at least you can have a little cheesy/saucy goodness.

  77. Big Mike! The pipes the pipes!

    Great job turning your life around at the first sign of trouble. Tragic to hear that diet and lifestyle were causing you crippling back pain in your mid 20’s. But great to see that you found the magic of Paleo so early in life. You still have time to challenge some of Mark’s Ironman achievements if you are so inclined.

    But either way you look like an Ironman already, and obviously feel like one too. That’s a beautiful thing. Grok On!

  78. What amazing results! And, we sound so similar, so I particularly enjoyed that you shared everything you eat and what you’ve been doing. Thanks! I have to kick it up a notch — pizza & drinking are my weaknesses. I’ve mostly kicked the pizza out, but still working to reduce the drinking on weekends. Good for you! Thanks for sharing.

  79. I’ve gotten the same response to primal as ” A lot of people say that I don’t have any “fun” anymore because I choose to not go out drinking each weekend.”

  80. this is incredible – mostly because in the first pics you seemed like you weren’t even predisposed to develop a ripped physique … great job! i’ve been paleo for 2.5 years now due to lyme … and i love it!!

  81. oh wow – you are looking HOT. seriously – amazing transformation. you are literally a picture of health!

  82. phenomenal achievement!!!!!…. My body looks similar to yours in the beginning pics…also, I share your love for pizza and I am also perceived as a “boring” guy because I don’t go out drinking on weekends. Lets see if I get to the same place that you have reached….that will be quite an achievement.

  83. Mike great results had the same things happen to me not funny anymore and such. I’m doing me and I just couldn’t find any girls who could accept that. Luckily I found a life partner in Phil who shares the seems belief. We eat and work out together and have are fun together and I don’t care what people think Im doing what I want. Have you had similar problems like this ?

  84. 912194 906172You ought to join in a contest for starters with the highest quality blogs online. I will recommend this page! 903374

  85. Nice work! You’re truly an inspiration. I’ve been primal for about a month now and it feels awesome. Anyways, I saw that you lift weights 5-7 days a week. Do you still do that?

    1. Actually, I have cut it down to four. Three strength training days (Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday) and swimming on Sunday. I was actually able to put on 10 lbs in a month with no diet change because of the program I am doing now. It’s the 5×5 program by Medhi. Check it out!

  86. Oh yeah? That sounds really awesome, Mike. Thanks for the advice because right now I’m getting stuck in the CW way of lifting weights. I’ll definitely check out the 5×5 program. Thanks again, you’re truly an inspiration. Grok on!