Quitting Chronic Cardio

I hope the publication of this particular success story doesn’t come across as too self-serving. Reader Brett expresses at length his appreciation for what I do, and for that I’m very grateful. My goal is to touch millions of lives with the Primal Blueprint message, and it’s emails from readers like Brett that motivate me to keep doing what I’m doing. But at the end of day it’s not about what I do. It’s about all of the decisions each of you make daily. I’ll continue to do my small part in challenging conventional wisdom and attempting to provide some direction amidst all of the confusion. But it’s up to you to take that information and do something with it. So make like Brett and his wife Beth and get Primal today!

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. Thanks for reading!

Dear Mr. Sisson,

Please allow us to humbly express our deep sincere gratitude to you for the invaluable health and nutrition knowledge you are generously sharing through your online and other publications. We provide a brief outline of our story here in hope that others may find it helpful.

Our Brief Background Chronology

I, Brett, and partner Beth, 54 and 56 years of age respectively, have been enthusiastic lifelong endurance athletes. Our general lifestyle theme is to achieve the highest possible levels of health and fitness. It has long been our ambition to become centenarians. I began excelling physically as a competitive gymnastics champion at 12 years of age. During my teen years I began competing successfully in marathons, and continued in the sport at a recreational level for 30 years. Beginning each day with between a ten and thirty mile run became my fundamental lifestyle principal. More than a decade ago we began to find the Ironman triathlon competition more eventful and appealing than marathon running, and converted mostly to training for Ironman events. Partner Beth’s experience in endurance athletics has been similar to mine, as we evolved and trained together for the past 20 years. Although we were recreational athletes, our training was intense and our level of competitive standing was relatively high. By our mid-40s, we’d achieved success in international business, and made the lifestyle decision to retire and dedicate fully to pursuing ultimate physical fitness, health and well-being. We planned to continue our triathlon training and competitions indefinitely. Subsequent, for most of a decade, our daily regimen consisted of 6 to 8 hours of training. Much of which entailed intense training, where we adhered to performance quotas and rigorous goals. Nutrition is of immense interest to us. We researched and studied sports and health nutrition in depth for over 30 years. In our attempts to leverage optimal health and physical fitness, we experimented over the past 20 years with dietary regimens ranging from vegan to aggressive carnivore, but for the majority of our lives we adopted the conventional lower fat, high carb diet. We have been invariably careful about the quality of our food products. We have not and will not consume any processed foods of any type. For example, we presently live on our own sustainable organic farm, where we produce 100% of our own food requirements under exacting plant and animal raising protocols. We’ve spared no expense in achieving a diet that is free of the contaminants that characterize most of the commercial food chain. Water is our only beverage, and we have our own deep water well that provides water with exceptional natural purity, and we further process this water through our customized processing system, for even greater purity. Essentially we have long been generally trying to do everything correctly to support achieving our goals of ultimate physical fitness and health. The results of our lifelong dietary and exercise efforts, until recently, however, proved to leave us far short of our goal.

Coming to Terms with Failure

As we entered our 50s, we may have appeared fit, and our endurance event performances may have supported the image of strong health and fitness, but this was purely a facade. By reasonable and objective definition, we were unfit and in poor and failing healths. Given our high level of endurance training and  corresponding dependence on frequent carbohydrate fueling, we evolved to become borderline diabetic. Further, we exhibited many symptoms of the currently well recognized metabolic syndrome (namely excess of waistline body fat levels and other systemic markers of potential heart disease). Particularly disturbing to us was the accumulation of excess body fat around our waist lines that we were finding we were unable to lose, despite our 30 to 40 hours a week of training, and even aggressive calorie-restrictive dieting. We had little if any vital energy to carry out tasks and activities beyond our dogmatic endurance training regimen.

At this point it became blatantly clear to us that our entire health nutrition knowledge base had been all wrong, and we desperately needed new direction and a new plan to avert our pending health and fitness catastrophe. We began urgently digging deeply for truths and new direction. We gradually began to understand clearly the insidious health hazards of the carbohydrate-based diet and abandoned such. We then transitioned to a high fat diet and embraced many of the Paleo Diet theories as presented by Dr. Loren Cordain. But as we aimed to continue our commitment to achieving ultimate fitness through aggressive intense endurance training, while fueling on fat, our fitness levels and general healths declined even further. We were forced to moderate our exercise regimens as our fitness levels declined, and we continued with a Paleo type diet, but were lost in a cloud of uncertainty and lack of direction. We researched ambitiously to establish a new dietary and exercise plan, but for a long period of time we were not able to formulate a general healthy nutrition plan that we could be confident about or have faith in.


By great fortune for us, our desperate nutritional research efforts eventually led us to Mr. Mark Sisson’s comprehensive range of principles on health and fitness, which he generously shares through his numerous online publications. As lifelong athletes, with the deeply instilled beliefs that intense physical training of long durations would lead to better health and fitness and a better quality of life, our initial interpretation of Mr. Sisson’s Primal Blueprint theory was one of skepticism. Our deeply ingrained cultural and lifestyle biases brought us to be parochial and not readily able to see the light of reality. However, Mr. Sisson’s tireless and ambitious ability to confess his doctrine and values for the benefit of others, and to do so in a manner that is exceptionally extensive and comprehensive, allowed us to gradually but relatively quickly, internalize his principles and emerge to realize that Mr. Sisson conveys the absolute gospel. It was the fact that Mr. Sisson answered many of our uncertainties with certainty, confidence and comprehensive logical validation, that brought us to realize his great integrity and his abundant authority to provide leadership for athletes misguided as we were. For example, the very controversial and high-profile question of the relationship between consumption of animal fat/saturated fat/a high-fat diet and heart disease, is one which much erroneous information abounds about, and it is a question that  few health authors will take a strong position on. Mr. Sisson, however, thoroughly and comprehensively clarifies the truth for us on this matter, and he provides references to valid logical scientific data that proves his position is correct.

Realizing the Primal Blueprint Good Life

We are beyond grateful to state that we have made some enormous improvements in health and quality of life during the past year through having adopted Mr. Sisson’s exercise and nutrition principles. We have come to realize that intense aggressive endurance training is not a prerequisite for, nor component of, physical fitness. As Mr. Sisson clarifies, training regularly for a 10 hour intense endurance event is unnatural, unsustainable, and in discordance with our biological evolutionary heritages. Mr. Sisson has redefined accurately and clearly what constitutes physical fitness and a corresponding higher quality of life. Mr. Sisson provides brilliant leadership guidance that is comprehensive and correlates all relevant matters of nutrition and physical activity, leaving nothing vague and uncertain. We gave up Ironman training and competitions nearly a year ago, and are now grateful for having done so. Also, for nearly a year we have adopted the general principles of the Primal Blueprint diet in their entirety. We have, for instance, at present in our freezer at our Arizona organic farm, several hundred pounds of beef fat harvested from organically raised cattle. Beef fat is our soul source of fuel and our favorite food item, which we consume thousands of calories a day of. The result of adopting the Primal Blueprint diet and exercise principles has been our achieving the leanest body compositions we have experienced in years, stable blood sugar levels, stable energy levels, and the return of normal vital energy for engaging in daily activities. We have abundant energy, for example, to take a 100 mile recreational day bicycle tour through the Arizona desert and do so often. Our running, weight training, and other physical activities are now limited and rarely intense. Our strengths and general fitness levels have improved, and perhaps for the first time in our lives, we are beginning to realize genuine physical fitness. Adopting the logical evolutionary science-based Primal Blueprint principals, which are correct and effective, for the longest time eluded us, as they may elude many persons of similar cultural backgrounds. It took Mr. Sisson’s ambitious and caring leadership to guide us to our enlightenment, and we remain immeasurably indebted.

I’ve been converted to the Primal Blueprint only a short time, and only recently transitioned from the bio-systemic instability inherent in a carb-based diet to the excellent stability and well-being inherent in fueling exclusively on fat. In this photo, which is a very early “after” commencing PB photo, versus the pre-PB photo (above), I have reduced the relaxed waistline (and waistline body fat deposit) measurement by 1.5 inches. Perhaps in six months to a year, both wife Beth and I can resubmit some photos and updates.

In conjunction with communicating and sharing his valuable health and nutrition knowledge, Mr. Sisson de facto acts for some of us, as a mentor, role-model and therapist. Many persons of Mr. Sisson’s generation, perhaps bestowed with similar cultural indoctrination to Mr. Sisson, formulated their lives around the concept of intense endurance training fueled by a high carb diet being a requirement for or a component of optimal physical fitness and a path to a better life quality. For such persons, the eventual realization that their plan was skewed and their efforts have not only been in vain, but have been health destructive, may be a matter that requires some difficult coming to terms with and cognitive adjustment. To arrive at the ultimate realization that they have dedicated perhaps the better years of their lives and the major portion of her lives to a false and harmful prophecy may be at least disturbing. Mr. Sisson provides a model of excellence for dealing with this consideration. As he advocates in his various writings, we need take responsibility and accountability for our circumstances. Mr. Sisson executes this nobly as he candidly identifies and shares the realities of his earlier life misdirections with health and fitness, and without remorse, employs his experience constructively to help others find their way to health and nutrition enlightenment and a genuinely better life experience.

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