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Let me introduce myself. My name is Mark Sisson. I’m 63 years young. I live and work in Malibu, California. In a past life I was a professional marathoner and triathlete. Now my life goal is to help 100 million people get healthy. I started this blog in 2006 to empower people to take full responsibility for their own health and enjoyment of life by investigating, discussing, and critically rethinking everything we’ve assumed to be true about health and wellness...

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January 17, 2018

Rest and Recovery: A Whole New Perspective (and A Giveaway)

By Mark Sisson
222 Comments

Inline_Rest_RecoveryIf you’re a type-A, hard-driving peak performer, my hope is that this post will stop you in your tracks.

Today I want you to completely rethink your basic philosophy about how you manage both your fitness activities and the assorted stresses of hectic, modern life. This post was inspired by a great article from training expert Joel Jamieson of 8weeksout.com titled, “All Pain, No Gain: Why The High Intensity Training Obsession Has Failed Us All.” Joel’s message set off a firestorm of internal dialog among members of the Primal Blueprint team. (Catch Brad Kearns’ recent interview with him for the Primal Blueprint Podcast.) After much back and forth and additional research, I’m eager to get you reflecting and commenting on the genuine nature of recovery from an entirely new angle.

We only have a certain amount of energy we’re able to expend each day. No matter how hard you try to burn additional calories through crazy training, or express your type-A, workaholic tendencies to get more done across the board, you’re ultimately constrained by your own personal daily maximum caloric expenditure.

This assertion is supported by a well-publicized study of the Hadza, modern-day hunter-gatherers in Tanzania. The study revealed the shocking insight that we modern slackers burn a similar number of calories (pound for pound, of course) as our seemingly harder working, traditionally living counterparts. The authors of the study, which was published in the journal PLoS One, reported that, “The similarity in [total energy expenditure (TEE)] among Hadza hunter-gatherers and Westerners suggests that even dramatic differences in lifestyle may have a negligible effect on TEE.” I’d consider this mind-blowing.

The idea that we have an energy expenditure limit is known as the “constrained model of energy expenditure,” in contrast to the popular, but now seemingly disproven belief that we operate on an “additive model of energy expenditure.”

Screen Shot 2018-01-16 at 1.10.17 PM

In the additive model embraced by conventional wisdom, your impressive morning workout adds to your total daily energy expenditure, seemingly promoting fitness gains, a faster metabolism, and a reduction in excess body fat. While logical at first glance, the additive model is being exposed as inaccurate.

Screen Shot 2018-01-17 at 9.54.04 AMIn the constrained model, when we bump up against our max, the body compensates. The downward slope of the “other” section is you glued to the couch watching Netflix all afternoon, too worn out to even answer the doorbell on the heels of your 10k run that same morning.

Figure Source: “Constrained Total Energy Expenditure and Metabolic Adaptation to Physical Activity in Adult Humans”

This is an extreme example of compensating with slug time when you do something really strenuous; however, there are more subtle, nuanced ways we subconsciously adjust our behaviors when we bump up against our daily max.

I also speculate that we might best look at a bigger timeline than a single day. As longtime Primal enthusiast and Newport Coast, CA fitness legend Dave Kobrine observes, if he strings together a good week or two or three of impressive workouts and busy daily schedules, he often eventually experiences a need for some sincere downtime: less exercise, less work (overburdening his brothers in the family business in the process), more sleep, and more recovery. Keep this concept of “borrowed time” in mind when we discuss recovery debt shortly….

This commentary supports the compensation theory that I’ve discussed at length in Primal Blueprint books in relation to calorie balance and weight loss. The theory contends that calories burned during exercise lead to a corresponding increase in appetite and a decrease in general activity levels, as your body tries to preserve energy and recover. Particularly if you exercise in chronic patterns, the appetite stimulation can exceed the calories you burn, such that your overly-stressful workout patterns will actually compromise your weight loss goals.

As I like to quip to lecture audiences, “Your brain is saying, ‘I better stuff my face in case this clown tries to do this again tomorrow.’” In all seriousness,there are profound implications to this maxim, especially for avid exercisers who get frustrated when they can’t shed excess fat.

Besides the appetite and hormonal dysregulation from excess exercise that promotes sugar cravings and fat storage, the compensation theory suggests that you get lazier and eat more calories over the course of the day as a consequence of your workout. This happens consciously, such as when you enjoy a hot fudge sundae as a reward for your “big” workout. It also happens subconsciously, where you might default to the couch for longer than planned; generally move more slowly and feel less motivated to do routine chores in the aftermath of one of those big workouts. Brad Kearns offers a great example of this from when he was training full-time on the pro triathlon circuit. He would drive the 0.6 miles to his mailbox—too tired from hours of training to bother walking or pedaling there. You might also zone out at work and take longer for routine tasks when you are stretched too thin by family, fitness, and fun; and/or snack more frequently with less discipline or awareness than usual.

These assorted compensatory reductions in metabolic activity on the heels of strenuous exercise and generally hectic living are typically outside of your awareness. On his Primal Blueprint podcast appearance, Joel Jamieson references research that athletic types paradoxically have a slower metabolic rate at rest than those who exercise less. Who knew!

The Recovery Deficit

Here is the other glaring omission from conventional thinking about stress and rest, the centerpiece of Joel’s argument for what he calls “recovery-based fitness”— recovery and restoration require energy in and of themselves!

Our flawed rat race, “no pain, no gain” perspective about peak performance in fitness— and in life—is that we should go, go, go until we collapse in a heap at the end of a productive day. We take rest and restoration for granted, instead of allocating a necessary slice of the daily energy expenditure pie for it.

Reflect carefully on Joel’s contention that our daily energy resources are allocated to three main functions:

1. Vital Biological Functions: We prioritize basic daily survival with assorted homeostatic mechanisms that require substantial energy—firing brain neurons, digesting food, breathing air.

2. Workouts and General Everyday Stress: Yes, these have to go in the same category. Realize that whatever energy you wish to allocate to fitness ambitions must compete with your commute, busy workday, jet travel, and shuttling around to the kids’ weekend soccer games. Exercise may be a great “stress release” from a hectic day at the office, but it’s also another form of stress to the body.

3. Recovery and Restoration: Surprise! Restocking depleted muscle glycogen, optimizing immune function, and replenishing the sodium-potassium pumps in your brain neurons and exercised muscles all require significant energy expenditure.

It follows that a type-A hard driver trying to dispense big energy to career, family, and fitness endeavors is playing with fire, constantly challenging the body’s maximum energy expenditure ceiling each day and consequently incurring what Jamieson calls “recovery debt.”

This is where your big expenditures on objectives #1 and #2 compromise what you have left for #3. Perhaps your immune system will break down and you’ll catch a cold. Maybe you’ll take nine hours to put together your audit report or quarterly marketing plan, instead of the six (with fewer mistakes!) it might take if you were firing on all cylinders during the work day. Maybe you’ll blow out a hamstring or strain your shoulder during a workout—not because the workout was beyond your abilities and not because of bad luck or an insufficient warmup, but because you weren’t fully repaired and prepared for your physical effort.

Relax, Records Are Made To Be Broken

One exciting element about this discussion is how it might foretell the future of athletic peak performance. They say records are made to be broken, and we have seen improved performance in team and individual sports in recent years due to increased economic incentives and refined training techniques. Tiger Woods single-handedly generated massive increases in money and attention to golf, and now we have droves more superfit, super competitive players from all over the world competing for unimaginable fame and fortunes. NBA and NFL players are bigger, stronger, faster, and more skilled than in decades past (sorry, Jerry West, it might be time to update the NBA logo!), thanks to the aforementioned economic forces.

However, we’re clearly approaching the ceiling of human potential in many prominent professional and Olympic sports. The exploits of LeBron James, Steph Curry, and Kevin Durant are not going to be trivialized in 50 years by 8-foot tall superhumans sinking 35-foot “four-pointers.” Nor will Usain Bolt’s world 100-meter record of 9.58 (that’s a human running at a top speed of 27.8 mph for the uninitiated) be considered pedestrian in 50 years.

Consider that the current high jump world record of 8 feet (yes, a human can clear his entire body over a bar that is the height of your ceiling!) has held now for 25 years. Forget the famed four-minute mile, the current record of 3:43 (c’mon, watch it on this video, it only takes a few minutes…) by Moroccan Hicham El Guerrouj has held for 18 years.

“El G,” who at 5’9” was estimated to have the cardiovascular system of a man 6’6”, the inseam of a man 6’2”, and the upper body of a man 5’2” (“a machine,” said commentator Craig Masbach, a former 3:52 miler himself) was also motivated by deepest of callings; he believed that it was his destiny in the eyes of Allah to become the greatest middle distance runner in history. After an upset loss in the Olympics he reported that, “I was unable to eat or sleep for a week.” He didn’t lose again for several years. Tough guy, and experts that predict that in 100 years, the mile record may only drop a couple seconds at most. But I digress…

Where are we headed from here? How will future athletes actualize the
“records are made to be broken” maxim when we have already seen such superhuman feats? I speculate that future performance breakthroughs might be attained by athletes who train less than the current mindblowing standard of the world’s elite athletes.

Remember the legend of Jerry Rice, considered the all-time greatest NFL wide receiver? His off-season hill-sprint-till-you-puke regimen gained legendary status amongst fitness enthusiasts. “He worked harder in the off-season than anyone! No wonder he lasted in the league ’til he was 40!” the thinking went.

Today, in the aforementioned bigger, faster, stronger league (with consequently more severe impact trauma), we have exhibit B, Atlanta Falcons All-Pro wide receiver Julio Jones. An article about him caught my eye because of his trending toward Primal-style eating, but another statement from his interview was the real revelation: “I don’t have an offseason workout regimen. I don’t lift weights. I don’t run. I don’t do anything. I let my body rest. I just eat good. I actually eat great.”

Please don’t scoff and say “genetic freak.” I think Jones is giving us a glimpse into a future in which elite athletes (and enthusiastic everyday folks pursuing peak performance) will do more chilling, take longer off-seasons during which they log more beach time in Hawaii and steer clear of any fitness or lifestyle regimen that gives off a whiff of anything chronic.

Maybe we’ll even see pharmaceutical influences drive record breaking. The Tour de France guys love their drugs, right? What if they pedaled like crazy for 1,000 miles over 10 days, and then the team docs hooked them up to IV bags to enter medically induced comatose states for 72 hours of blissful recovery. Altered States II here we come!

Yes, the tide is turning. The Primal Endurance movement is being well-received by the endurance community that has long been mired in the overtraining, carb dependency paradigm. The Primal Endurane Mastery Course portal is filled with video interviews from leading training experts and champion athletes pounding the theme that there is such a thing as too much. In his Mastery Course videos, Olympic gold and silver medalist Simon Whitfield echoes the need for restraint when he says he is currently coached by his 80-year-old self!

Dr. Phil Maffetone—whose MAF method of aerobic-emphasis endurance training is finally getting its due after 30 years of stubborn resistance by tightly-wound endurance enthusiasts—promotes this theme beautifully in extensive interview commentary in the course. Here’s a sneak preview of his interview footage.

In Dr. Maffetone’s book, 1:59 Marathon, he argues that breaking this magic barrier will happen when an athlete actually does less mileage and less intensity than today’s elite, but improves running economy, optimizes rest and other lifestyle factors, and learns to race barefoot (because of reduced weight and improved explosive force per stride… once the feet become conditioned of course!). The current marathon world record is 2:02, a pace of 4:42 per mile! If you want to fully appreciate how amazing this is, go to a local track and try to complete one lap in 70.5 seconds. Good luck. Then imagine carrying on at this pace all the way from your house to downtown, or whatever other distant landmark you have in your town. FYI: you can’t approximate the marathon record pace on a treadmill because they max out at five minutes per mile pace!

The MMA world is also slowly but surely discarding the old school boxing mentality and ushering in an era of highly sophisticated training and recovery strategy. World champs are sparring much less, and spending more time in float tanks thanks in big part to the influence of the forward-thinking podcast king, MMA event host and standup comedian extraordinaire, Joe Rogan.

But let’s bring it back now. How about you? Are you willing to allocate a generous slice of your daily pie chart of energy allocation to recovery and restoration? What about taking down time on a park bench during your work day, taking an evening stroll with the dog instead of an elliptical session at the gym, turning around at mile 25 instead of mile 45 on your bike ride, and going to sleep instead of going to the email inbox? What if these choices might be paths to future breakthroughs in peak physical and cognitive performance? Yes, it requires some reprogramming away from conventional wisdom, but isn’t that what we all do here?

Now For the Giveaway…

Last week I unveiled two new course offerings:

Course_Announcement_FeatureThe Keto Reset Mastery CourseWe bring the New York Times bestselling book to life with over 100 videos, along with extensive audio and print programming—the most comprehensive online course on all aspects of ketogenic diet and lifestyle ever developed.

Paleo Cooking Bootcamp: A step-by-step meal preparation course that allows you to cook breakfast, lunch, and dinner options for an entire week in a single, highly focused two-hour power cooking session. Four sessions make for a month-long bootcamp.

Today I’m giving away a course (winner’s choice of the above two courses) to one lucky commenter. Just share a question or suggestion for what you’d like to see covered in future fitness related articles on MDA.

*Be sure to comment by midnight tonight (1/17/18 PST) to be eligible.

*If you’ve already purchased one or both courses and happen to be the randomly chosen winner today, we’ll simply refund you the cost of one course.

That’s it for me, everybody. Thanks for reading today, and I’ll look forward to hearing your questions and feedback on today’s post—and all things fitness and recovery based. Happy hump day.

paleobootcampcourse_640x80

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222 Comments on "Rest and Recovery: A Whole New Perspective (and A Giveaway)"

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Suzanne
Suzanne
4 months 5 days ago

I would love more HIIT/primal tips for type 1 diabetics. Thanks Mark

Ethan
Ethan
4 months 5 days ago

I see a lot of discussion of people who are now elite doing these more relaxed exercise regimens. But, for example, Mark has years of lifting heavy to actually have put on all of the muscle mass he has. Or in the primal endurance scene, Brad has years of running on his system, same for the examples of Mark Allen, Mike Pigg, etc.

Is there any sense in doing a really hard exercise regimen for say 6 months, like Starting Strength, to really put on muscle before entering the more relaxed type B style exercises?

Hap
Hap
4 months 5 days ago
Ethan YOu bet you bippy there is . I am a novice lifter in Starting Strength (novice meaning in what is called the LP or linear progression phase where volume held relatively static and intensity increased incrementally by adding weight). Starting Strength is about lifting, but the gains come from recovery. Mark Rippetoe…”you don’t get strong from lifting weights, you get strong from recovering from lifting weights”….so this blog today of MDA is very relevant. therefore the recovery phase, rest, sleep, nutrition is carefully monitored. Now “rest” is to be compared with “active recovery”. Some people will tell you and… Read more »
Brad Kearns
4 months 5 days ago

That’s an interesting question Ethan. In the doping world, it’s believed if an athlete dopes up and trains like crazy in the off season when testing is less likely/frequent, the gains made during these aggro training phases can last for a long time. I think any period of time where you are in a chronically overstressed state is a bad idea. Six months of crazy training has high risk and minimal reward. You don’t want a forced rest period you know? The body can progress over time with a more gentle approach

Ethan
Ethan
4 months 4 days ago

Thanks for the feedback Brad!

I guess I don’t mean a chronic stress pattern, which thanks to your rants on the Primal Endurance podcast I never want to enter. I mean just being more type A at the start so you get more muscle mass, stronger, leaner more overall fit and then try to be more intuitive.

I meant hard as in, really lifting, doing MSP type workouts with major lifts multiple times a week. Then, after you actually have some muscle to work with try an aerobic base building period or a more intuitive approach to the lift heavy/sprint protocol/

chad
4 months 5 days ago

I am a firm believer that to be truly successful in any physical endeavor, you must put as much, if not more, effort into recovery as “training”. In fact, this just occured to me: focusing on your weaknesses to shore up deficits is a great strategy for injury prevention; how about giving recovery efforts as much time and diligence as any other weakness?

chad
4 months 5 days ago

To clarify: My last line was not meant to read as “needing to recover is a weakness”. I intended quite the opposite: “recovering properly leads to lasting strength.”

Brad Kearns
4 months 5 days ago

that’s great stuff Chad. Calling recovery a “weakness” is very clever and insightful. Yes, go work on your under activated glutes and work on your couch time ha ha!

Pierre
Pierre
4 months 5 days ago

Rest is critical…great article. Thank you again Mark!

Beth
Beth
4 months 5 days ago

I second that. Rest is just as important as the workout itself, as it is during the period of healing that the muscles are built.

Kim Foote
4 months 5 days ago

I would love to see articles (more) about pre and post workout nutrition. I know a lot of people believe in supplements (I have) and would like to know more about what nutrients your body really needs that can come from food.

Kim Foote
4 months 5 days ago

**that come from food or supplements.

Hap
Hap
4 months 5 days ago
There are many studies now showing that protein supplements approximately 1 hour after weight training of prior to sleep (sweet spot 30gm) will increase muscle protein synthesis. When you look into it….that is true, but the gains are not major and I wonder, especially before going to sleep whether it is appropriate to engage the anabolic machinery when sleep is often devoted to finding and throwing out the daily “trash”. I suppose, if you are making new neuron connections etc, you do use energy but I see it as potentially detrimental. Of course whey supplements are not whole food….but certainly… Read more »
Andrea
Andrea
4 months 5 days ago

I would be curious if there are certain life events that affect a person’s TEE. Do gestation and breastfeeding really require eating additional calories because they expend more energy or does your body automatically compensate and your TEE stays the same.

Maybe in the future the idea of better rest and recovery will drive health care policies for maternity & paternity leave for parents who are adapting to less sleep during the newborn phase, or people who undergo surgery and really shouldn’t be going back to work as fast as they are now.

Nicole
Nicole
4 months 5 days ago

if working out earlier in the day leads to subconscious laziness adjustments, is it better to exercise later in the day? or no effect, since our total energy available will be the same regardless of when we use it? how can we think about this for our primal movement?

Brad Kearns
4 months 5 days ago

Hi Nicole, it’s an interesting question but I think, like the example from Dave Kobrine, we should look at a bigger picture of a week or a month to full appreciate this concept. Whereby the time of day is not a big deal. The best time to exercise is the time that you prefer and is most convenient, period.

however, I guess if you have a busy busy day and tire yourself out, it might affect your evening workout motivation and performance you know?

Mathieu
Mathieu
4 months 5 days ago

Stress + Rest = Growth

By the way the best marathoners already usually take a few weeks completely off (no running) after major events, what most recreational runners don’t do (“I’ll lose my fitness…!!!”)…

Suggestion: Maybe something about the importance (or not) of flexibility / stretching

Brad Kearns
4 months 5 days ago
I have not heard of the best marathoners taking a few weeks completely off, but they and everyone else should. Peter Snell set the world 800m record within weeks of running a marathon. Arguably, a well-trained elite runner who is only out there for two hours and change might recover faster than a recreational athlete who pushes themselves hard to a 3 hour or 4 hour effort you know? Lot’s of muscle damage if you are not adequately trained the marathon really fries you. Similarly, I am absolutely fascinated watching the Olympic runners complete an all-out 400m or 800m or… Read more »
Mathieu
4 months 5 days ago

Kipchoge is pretty much the best marathoner 🙂

https://www.runnersworld.com/berlin-marathon/kipchoge-on-the-berlin-marathon-i-want-to-run-a-world-record

“Kipchoge, 32, didn’t run for a month after the Breaking2 project, using his downtime to catch up with friends and family who he had only seen on weekends during the seven months he spent preparing.”

Nicole
Nicole
4 months 5 days ago

I’d love a discussion on careers that blend well with someone’s desire to live a primal lifestyle. I was laid off recently due to restructuring and now thinking critically about my future. I’m really not certain I want to jump back into the 80 hour/chained to my desk work week. I wish there was a resource where I could find employers who were really in tune with the primal commandments.

Curtis
4 months 5 days ago

What a great idea. I would love a resource like that as well.

Magda Velecky
4 months 5 days ago

I’d love some specific workout suggestions for newbies (I mean someone who has never exercised in their life): what to start with, how many reps/sets, how long to recover and what to look for in recovery, etc.

Shannon Vaughn
4 months 5 days ago

Yes, this!

Brad
Brad
4 months 5 days ago

Have you downloaded the Primal Fitness Ebook? It’s a great resource, and it’s FREE 😉

Brad
Brad
4 months 5 days ago

Correct Name is “Primal Blueprint Fitness” 😉

Shannon Vaughn
4 months 5 days ago

Thanks, Brad! I will have to download that and check it out. 🙂

Eric
4 months 3 days ago

Apparently it’s not directly available anymore. (Mistake, maybe?). Signing up for the mailing list was the main way to get it, but it doesn’t send a working link to download it. I can’t find any other link either.

Shannon Vaughn
4 months 1 day ago

Brad, I’m having the same problem as Eric. I signed up for the newsletter and the eBook was supposed to be sent, but never was. Do you know if they are only sent out on a periodic basis, not automatically upon confirmation of the email list signup?

Shannon Vaughn
4 months 1 day ago

Eric, I Googled and came upon this link – in case Brad doesn’t see these replies. Maybe this link will work for you, too:

http://www.crossfitpraha.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/10/Primal_Blueprint_Fitness_eBook.pdf

I think it’s the same book to which Brad is referring in this thread.

John
John
4 months 5 days ago
My suggestion: blog posts on fitness for older adults just getting started in a fitness regimen. Our populations are aging in many areas of the world, and as (hopefully) the paleo/primal dietary guidelines continue to gain traction, people cleaning up their diets and feeling better may (again, hopefully) start looking toward getting back in physical shape as well. Some posts focused on people 50+, who’ve been desk jockeys most of their lives and now want to start on a road to fitness would have a large audience I think. Perhaps you could save a few from going down the chronic… Read more »
HealthyHombre
HealthyHombre
4 months 5 days ago
I used to work out with a gym owner / trainer who would say “less is more”! He would design intense workouts (that began with warm-ups and he was a stickler for using good form) that would last for 45 minutes, at which time he would kick you out of his gym. Some of the things I read about Crossfit fanatics makes me wonder if they understand how important recovery is. That “said”, all other things being equal some people seem to naturally have more energy and recover more quickly than average, know your own body is important I think.
Brad Kearns
4 months 5 days ago
45 min to me is way to long for a high intensity session. Just sayin’. Less is more. yes, and also respect the differences between individuals. Top trainer Dave Dolle in Switzerland talks about how certain clients run more steady with better endurance but not much explosiveness while others can go blasting hard for a short time but thrive on much shorter workouts. I am very impressed with the CrossFit approach and their pursuit of broad based fitness competency. However, I will state emphatically that at least for me, doing HALF of a CrossFit workout works much better than a… Read more »
HealthyHombre
HealthyHombre
4 months 5 days ago

45 minutes of sports performance training is not too much if you have adequate rest between sets. So the actual time exerting yourself is far less than 45 minutes. The TOTAL workout with rest and setup for a given exercise takes place within a 45 minute time span.

Joe
Joe
4 months 5 days ago

What’s the best strategy for pre run nutrition for Keto dieters who run long distances?

Brad Kearns
4 months 5 days ago

how about ingesting some high quality fat or at least a macronutrient balanced smoothie with lots of fat from coconut milk or almond milk, maybe a tbl of MCT oil, along with greens and perhaps a high protein, moderate fat powder like Primal Fuel?

S O
S O
4 months 5 days ago

Didn’t check whether you’ve covered this before but: gaining flexibility and mobility is an aspect of full fitness that I think many overlook.

Susan B.
Susan B.
4 months 5 days ago

This is very specific but what about arm exercises for women without much upper body strength and not-exactly toned arms.

Elizabeth Resnick
4 months 5 days ago

Hey Susan, a great way to start toning your arms and building upper body strength is with body weight exercises like the plank and push up (which are some of the essential primal movements) Both of them work your upper body and core, and I feel starting off with body weight stuff you’re less likely to injure yourself (this is just my personal opinion) And there’s tons of moves you can to with light weights to tone up your arms.

Susan B.
Susan B.
4 months 5 days ago

Thanks, Elizabeth!

NaturalGirl
NaturalGirl
4 months 5 days ago

Mark’s blog is pretty inclusive. I find so much information here that I rarely read other blogs. It’s all relevant to my lifestyle and goals. I love the professionalism and detail you provide.

Brad Kearns
4 months 5 days ago

how about that natural girl! Thanks for the nice message

Alessandra Abdala
4 months 5 days ago

How do I balance crossfit 3 times a week, other 3 times of dance class (Flamenco), which is hard work but also loads of fun for me (so no way I will give this up), and still get enough rest and recovery?

Brad Kearns
4 months 5 days ago

That’s alot to try and balance. Better sleep a ton and better cruise thru many of those workouts. Go down to a lower ability level at Crossfit on 1-2 of those 3 weekly workouts. Same with dance, dial it down at times and still have fun in the class

Bruce
Bruce
4 months 5 days ago
I’m 68 and do something at the gym everyday. I try to do 3 HITT bike workouts 3 times a week. Other days I might do 20-30 minutes on either stair stepper or elliptical (keeping my HR around 112 or so and do some weights. Not trying to set any records with weights but a nice 15-20 minutes of a little effort I go to bed around 9:30 every night-get up at 5-5:30 have coffee and go to gym Am I doing to much? Should I cut back ? I’m curious what you would say a typical week might look… Read more »
Brad Kearns
4 months 5 days ago

Bruce there is no simple answer except to say that setting a goal like ‘do 3 x HIIT per week’ is possibly a flawed mindset. You take what your body gives you each day and each week and don’t force things. Some weeks you are best to do 0-1 HIIT workouts per week. Maybe 3x a week once in a while but that’s highly ambitious to do week in week out at your age or any age. Check out PrimalEndurance.fit mastery course for some great guidance on designing an ideal schedule.

Nocona
Nocona
4 months 5 days ago

More stuff on protein intake amounts and timing, now that most of us are going down to 4-8 hour eating windows. If you only eat once or twice a day are we eating 50g of protein per sitting? Are we lowering protein amounts even if we are not trying to do keto?

paleofam321
paleofam321
4 months 5 days ago

Ditto!

Brad
Brad
4 months 5 days ago

How about a list of some good “walking” cities to visit on vacation. For that matter, any vacations spot that encourages primal movements.

bigmyc
4 months 5 days ago

I’d like to cover and maybe even arrive at a definitive statement regarding the optimal macronutrient ratios of post workout meals and for how long, in particular, after a session of of personal bests in resistance training. As a primal adherent, I always wonder what sort of altered insulin response to carbohydrate would occur after a rigorous gym session and for how long it would last. More over, I also wonder if excess or at least, considerable amounts of carbohydrate are even preferable to recovery and gains.

Ant
Ant
4 months 5 days ago

Great article, Mark I would love to see an article that takes look at gynecomastia through the primal lense.
Thanks

paleofam321
paleofam321
4 months 5 days ago

I really appreciate new lifting ideas. The MAF method has been huge for me, and I’d love other high bang for my buck strengthening workouts.

Leigh
4 months 5 days ago

I’d like to read an article that focuses on people with energy problems and how best to add exercise to their lives. I’ve suffered from very low energy (that is improving with a keto diet) and tried to start exercising several times over there past few years, but needed so much recovery time that I had to quit after one or two days working out in order to have enough energy to go to work and live life (shower, eat, etc.).

Brad Kearns
4 months 5 days ago

if you have low energy at rest your only workouts might best be walking or simple mobility/flexibility exercises. I had to learn the hard way as a pro athlete that when my energy was low in daily life, it meant no training was warranted.

Leigh
4 months 4 days ago

Thank you, Brad. I’ll try to start more slowly. I used to lift weights, swim, etc., and it’s been very difficult not being able to get back into any of that yet. Hopefully things will continue improving!

Kevin Foglesong
Kevin Foglesong
4 months 5 days ago

My wife is pregnant. She is fairly active. Likes to bike, do yoga, hike, okay soccer, and other outdoor activities.

I assume the soccer is out due to contact with the belly. What about yoga? Are certain poses a no go?

What exercises are beneficial? Maybe some are better in the first trimester for increased blood flow and some are better towards the end due to reduced mobility?

Thanks!

Brad Kearns
4 months 5 days ago

a good yoga teacher can accommodate a pregnant person. They even have lots of pregnancy yoga classes. Im sure any doc would agree to pass on the soccer for a while

Kevin Foglesong
Kevin Foglesong
4 months 5 days ago

Yes. We have tried searching for some pregnancy yoga videos on YouTube. We have yet to find one we like. Any recommendations?

I know about workouts are off limits for the duration of the pregnancy? And obviously ones with direct contact as well. Should these women ignore strengthening their core altogether?

Susanne
Susanne
4 months 5 days ago

I would like to know how primal might affect dysautonomia conditions like Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome.

Elizabeth Resnick
4 months 5 days ago
Love this post! While I am not one to push myself to the limits when I work out, I still see the need for rest and recovery. Just in the past month I’ve been making a huge effort to improve my sleep (quality and quantity) and I’m noticing that I have way more energy to work out and just feel better all over. As far as what I’d like to see…maybe some fitness/nutrition stuff geared specifically towards women every now and then. And I love the idea posted below of suggestions for good walking cities…that is definitely my favorite way… Read more »
Brad Kearns
4 months 5 days ago

Good message Elizabeth SUCCESS STORY Resnick!

Nikki
4 months 5 days ago

I would love to read more fitness articles geared at the absolute beginners out there. I tried to train as a runner for 2 years. I ran 3 miles a day, 5 days a week for 2 years. I never got under a 12:00 mile pace. I think I ran one 10:00 mile one time. How can that even be? To call it frustrating is a huge understatement. In all that time my legs never hurt/got sore/burned, but my chest was always tight during a workout. Why is that?

Patrick
4 months 5 days ago

Nikki,

Did you run exactly the same frequency (5x week), intensity (12 minute per mile pace) and duration (3 miles) for the ENTIRE 2 years without any progression whatsoever?

Do you run with a heart monitor?

Do you track your resting heart rate every morning and 1 minute post run?

michele
michele
4 months 5 days ago

I would love some practical tips on breaking through the mental barriers to actually devoting more time to rest and recovery. Thanks!

Shannon Vaughn
4 months 5 days ago

I appreciate the info… what would be helpful to me is a “beginner’s guide to fitness.” I get so lost in “where to start” that it becomes overwhelming. What’s the best weekly routine for a total fitness noob? How to start with HIIT and strength training… almost like a couch to 5k sort of program for total body fitness. Thanks!

Brad
Brad
4 months 5 days ago

If you haven’t downloaded the Primal Fitness ebook from this site, you really should. It’s quite detailed and exactly what you’re describing.

Shannon Vaughn
4 months 4 days ago

Just downloaded it – thank you!

Victor
4 months 5 days ago

Less work and more rest is always music to my ears. Between this, and the 12 min/week exercise as prescribed by Doug McGuff, we’ll all have plenty of time to play. How about some articles on how to play / move better? I didn’t even realize how much natural movement ability I’ve lost until I tried to mimic my kids’ movement…

RJ111
RJ111
4 months 4 days ago

Yes! Watching my little one’s bursts of natural energy is amazing. She’s generally been a calm girl and actually has hypotonia so she fatigues easily, but she gets these hyper moments when she runs around, laughing and screaming. It’s a delight to see and i try to mimic it in my life and do movements that feel good when I feel intrinsically motivated (plus two formal workouts per week 🙂

Tom B-D
Tom B-D
4 months 5 days ago

Yes.

Amy
Amy
4 months 5 days ago

Wow – as I read this post it was like I could almost physically feel my mental paradigm shifting. It makes SO MUCH SENSE and is music to the ears of this former intense (injury prone) exerciser, now working my way through a thicket of hip, gut, and autoimmune issues. LOVE knowing that the kinder and gentler fitness approach I’ve been forced to assume is primal and optimal.

Brad Kearns
4 months 5 days ago

thanks for the note Amy, a paradigm shift is a desired response. We really need to start totally rethinking the concept of recovery.

Jen
4 months 5 days ago

What an awesome giveaway! I’d love to see more articles on sleep and rest, as well as play, being just as important part of our lifestyle. Oh, also, about how regular people can achieve great metabolic flexibility through the Primal Lifestyle (maybe that would be more of a success story thing?)

Amy
Amy
4 months 5 days ago

I’d love to see information around managing TEE in the context of injury and/or chronic illness.

Matthew Zastrow
4 months 5 days ago

Great article Mark. Work smarter not harder! I like to lift 3 times a week and do small hikes in the winter, but then when it’s summer and the mountains are free of snow I switch to lifting Tuesday Thursday and a BIG hike and fun on the weekend. I found a lot of struggles trying to hike hard on the weekend AND lift heavy 3 times a week…wasn’t making any progress…gave myself Mondays and Fridays as big-lazy-eat a-lot-rest days and suddenly made much more progress in the gym!

Julie
Julie
4 months 5 days ago

Great post today, Marc. I was able to apply some of that to an ongoing discussion my team is having about “leadership” and organizational change. Ya never know what you’re gonna get.

Diana Lott
Diana Lott
4 months 5 days ago

I’m trying to be more active through the day, but due to arthritis (hereditary) I feel a limit as to what I can do. What type of exercise is good for someone with really bad knees. I know a lot of people say swimming, but I can’t handle cold water either.
And also what to do after a knee replacement.

David Regan
David Regan
4 months 5 days ago

Hey Mark! I was curious what your thoughts are on crynotherapy and the benefits a lot of people seem to swear by including muscle recovery and decreased inflammation? Thanks and Grok on!

Charissa
Charissa
4 months 5 days ago

Anything Primal for kids. There’s almost nothing out there that educates kids, books, videos, etc…

Lisa
Lisa
4 months 4 days ago

Yes! I have six kiddo & more info would be beneficial.

Benjamin Nutt
Benjamin Nutt
4 months 5 days ago

I would love to see an article about fitting combat sports into a primal paradigm – a sort of “how to” for fitting high intensity, aggressive training into an otherwise chill primal lifestyle.

Lynn
Lynn
4 months 5 days ago

I would love a go-to place or course(s) that have DAILY workout videos that progress from Beginner to Advanced. I am a high school teacher and struggle to maintain my workouts over the course of the school year. I know everyone is busy and having a place to go – see a video of the moves/and or instructions for the day would be a time saver, inspiration and motivation!

Erich Randall
Erich Randall
4 months 5 days ago

With the Peloton craze expanding to treadmill and boot camp workouts, is it possible to leverage their original spinning classes and emerging workout technologies with Primal Fitness? How can one use these services without becoming it becoming chronic?

Clay
Clay
4 months 5 days ago
I concur with constrained energy model. Right now, we are getting our first “real” winter swells. Everyone is surfing overhead pumping waves for two to three hours a day. Sometimes twice a day. So what happens after a week of this? We are all becoming less productive in our daily activities. We’re friggin’ exhausted and mentally zoning out. We move slower, lounge more, eat more and sleep more. We’re starting to finally get our more muscular, rugged, higher endurance winter bodies but it comes at a cost. Even my vision suffers and I’m using my weak readers to see the… Read more »
Brad Kearns
4 months 5 days ago

of course its worth it and the rest of life can wait when there is a swell. At UCSB classes were half empty whenever there was a swell.

Tamara
Tamara
4 months 5 days ago

I would like more tips on caloric intake when you are injured and can’t burn the extra like normal. I know grams of carbs need to be counted more carefully but, is there a inflammation burner food that help recovery go faster?

Thank you for all you do to help us!!!

Hannah
4 months 5 days ago

Perfectly timed article! I’ve noticed exactly the behaviors you described and wondered what to do about it. “Do” being the operative response for a type-A personality Duh! Do less (but better), rest more, eat smart.

Brett
Brett
4 months 5 days ago
I have a friend who I’m not sure if he is chronic cardio or not? He is running 70-90 miles a week, but says most of it is at low intensity (7-9miles). We have tried getting him onto primal endurance but he didn’t make it very long before switching back to quick carbs. He’s so open to primal/paleo but won’t take the time to reset considering he’s been high intensity and high carb for years. But that is just a background. How about an article on excessive working out and finding your significant other. He’s run into issues with girlfriends… Read more »
Michael
4 months 5 days ago

Great article Mark. Are there forms of rest that are “better” than others?

Greg
Greg
4 months 5 days ago

What might be the best recovery concepts / techniques? In a 24 hour time frame. We definitely have sleep ( what are the determining factors for optimal and what is an indicator or how much time). And through out the day what type of rest for recovery do you employ? Would Meditation have better quality recovery than napping or listening to some classical music ect…

Clay
Clay
4 months 4 days ago

For me I’ve found sleep, lots of water, maybe ice on sore muscles, and upping both carbs and protein – mostly protein but you need some carbs for recovery as well. I also tend to go for some red meat and saturated fats when I’m physically pushing my limits.

Nikko
Nikko
4 months 5 days ago

I’d be curious to have Mark interview people like Herschel Walker and Ido Portal and see how they recover.

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