The popular story of how low-carb diets work goes something like this: Reducing your carbohydrate...
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...Tell Me More
I like intensity when I train. Lifting heavy, running sprints, playing Ultimate Frisbee. I keep it brief, and the foundation is always a lot of slow movement throughout the day—easy runs, long walks or hikes, rarely sitting—but I go hard when I “work out.”
What if you were to go slow, on purpose?
Entire schools of physical culture are founded upon slow, deliberate movements. They squash momentum and lambast rapidity. They’re difficult in a different way. They require patience and fortitude.
There are many reasons to be thankful for the cushy existence modernity affords us. War and other extenuating circumstances aside, you probably don’t fear for your life on a daily basis. You have clean water to drink. Food is widely available, and it’s affordable. You survived infancy, childhood, and adolescence, which is quite special on a historical scale.
But there are downsides. Food has gone industrial. We increasingly live our lives in the digital realm and ignore the physical. Perhaps the most recent change relative to that shift has been the physical neutering of our kids. This has happened more broadly across all ages as countries shift away from manual labor toward more of an information economy, but it’s become incredibly pronounced in the generation coming up. At least when I grew up kids still wandered the streets in search of adventure, testing themselves out physically, undergoing mental and physical challenges, breaking bones and straining muscles, and learning about movement from the best teacher of all—hands on experience. Now? The lucky ones will get gymnastics or martial arts or dance training a couple days a week. But most languish indoors, prevented from the kind of free-form exploratory play human children have enjoyed for thousands of generations.
Last month, you asked a ton of great questions in the comment section of my post on reclaiming your wildness and being less civilized, covering everything from rock climbing to role playing games, grappling to kung fu, walking meditation to grounding. For today’s post, I’m answering as many of them as I can.
Let’s get right to the questions.
With two weeks of healthy eating and Primal adaptation under our belts in this post-New Year month, it’s a good week to talk fitness.
(By the way, if you need a good primer covering the basics of Primal Blueprint fitness, this is a good place to begin. The New Primal Blueprint book offers an in-depth treatment, and you can learn more as well by browsing our hundreds of free fitness articles on MDA.)
Today, my long-time friend, fellow competitor, and writing partner, Brad Kearns, is showing you his morning movement routine. And it’s different than what you’d expect, I’d venture.
This is no sweaty hour in the gym. Much of it, a series of dynamic stretches, you can do before you even get out of bed. Who’s willing to rethink their morning now?
Contrary to popular belief, strength training doesn’t require heavy weights and expensive machines. That’s certainly one way for people to get an effective workout, but you can get quite strong and fit using just compound bodyweight movements. And even if you want more, you can always add weights later.
It’s a great start for those beginning (or reigniting) a fitness routine, but I’ve also known plenty of experienced folks who benefit from putting aside more elaborate routines and practicing the basics now and then.
As a mini-challenge, work on one per week.
I’ve always been a student of performance—in my athletic days and now. Whether it’s nutritional intake, training strategies, or supplement choices, this is where science comes to life for me. Over the years, I made this interest work for my fitness performance and now for my optimal health. It’s not about “hacking” the body’s functioning but understanding it from the ground floor up. This knowledge helps me live and age through life more on my own terms, which is exactly the way I like it.
A few weeks ago, I went over 7 of the most important longevity biomarkers to track. Today, I’m shifting gears a bit. The theme remains longevity markers, but the markers I’ll discuss today are subjective, logistical, and psychological ones. A couple involve physical sense but you can’t measure these with a blood draw or a lab scan. The only way to assess your standing is through some genuine self-experiment and honest soul-searching. Or by, in one case, running a mile.
So, as you read through today’s list, keep that in mind. Where do you stand—truly? Do any of these apply to you? Number of years aside, what do you really want your longevity gains to look like, feel like? What changes are you willing to commit to now that will make this a more probable reality—to live longer and live more while doing it? Here are a few markers to start with.
Let’s have at it….
Today’s awesome guest post is offered up by a good friend to MDA—Ryan Hurst, Co-founder and Head Coach at GMB Fitness. I hope it helps you during your work week. Enjoy, everyone!
Our shoulders carry a lot of our stress. We hunch forward at our desks trying to get work done, tensing up over issues we thought we’d fixed already. And it doesn’t help that we often have to stay in the same position, even if we are lucky enough to have standing desks, typing or doing some other repetitive tasks.
As a result, a lot of us have issues with tight shoulders, and we know we really should move and stretch them, but stiffness and aches can make this even more difficult and uncomfortable. And that dreaded vicious cycle sets in. Your shoulders are tight because you don’t move like you should, but when you start moving it starts to hurt. And that stops you from moving….
There are some who hold the view that at birth, each of us is allotted a finite supply of energy which exercise depletes, thus hastening our demise. An intense regimen like CrossFit, in this paradigm, would hasten a person’s demise.
That’s wrong, of course. Those who remain sedentary their entire lives often have short, miserable ones, while regular exercisers enjoy better health throughout their time on earth. Exercise has real potential to prolong life and compress morbidity. But it is a major stressor that, if applied incorrectly or excessively, can reduce health and overall wellness.
Exercise is a major stressor. But it’s a major acute stressor, rather than a chronic one. It hits us, then it’s over, and we recover. When the next session rolls around, we’re better/faster/stronger/fitter. We adapt. At least, that’s how exercise is supposed to go if you have enough buffer time between sessions. Most people do provide enough buffer time between their exercise sessions to promote recovery. Many provide too much, leading to detraining.
Some people go the other way. For these people who train 4, 5, 6 times a week, workouts can become, for all intents and purposes, chronic stressors. String enough acute stressors together with small enough buffers in between and you’re stewing in low level inflammation. Never quite recovering, never quite wringing out as much adaptation as you should.