The Annual Primal Blueprint 21-Day Challenge Begins Next Week! (and Here’s How to Prepare)


Happy 2016, everybody! I hope each of you had a spectacular holiday season, chock full of laughter, community, and a few primal treats to drum up happy stomachs and warm comradery. Now, with January 1st just behind us, it’s time to make the changes and commitments we all need to set the foundation for an exceptionally joyful 2016. With a new year comes new goals, which is why our team is ready to announce our favorite, much anticipated goal achieving event of the season: The Primal Blueprint 21-Day Challenge! This year’s challenge will run from Jan 11th-31st, and we have quite the lineup of contests, prizes, and all around fun activities planned for everyone who wants to participate.

Starting next week, you’ll be able to jump start your new year’s goals with thousands of other primal folks looking to do the same—all in the service of becoming your healthiest self, with the least amount of pain and sacrifice possible. With over 13,000 official participants—and surely tens of thousands more unofficial participants—last year’s challenge was a whopping success. And I look forward to seeing that number rise even higher this year. Are you up for the challenge? Check out some of the fun (and exciting) details for what we have planned over the next several weeks.

1. Get the App

21day-appTo enrich your experience, we’ve teamed up with Vimify once again to create a Primal Blueprint 21-Day Transformation Challenge accessible from your desktop computer or iOS-compatible device (iPhone or iPad).

First things first: get the Vimify app and join the 21-Day Challenge. Seriously, go download the app—either to your computer or iPhone/iPad—and sign up right now. It’s free, it takes just a couple minutes, and it will enrich your experience in the weeks to come. (Note: When signing up, make sure you’ve entered your email address correctly and that your password is at least 8 characters long.)

From there, you’ll have a series of Prep Tasks to complete before the Challenge starts on January 11, including:

  • Purge your pantry of all non-Primal foods and restock it with Primal fare. Doing this now allows you to jump headfirst into the Challenge when it begins.
  • Do a Primal Essential Movement assessment. Determine your level of physical fitness so you know what you’re working with and can plan fitness goals accordingly.
  • Invite friends to join you in the Challenge. The strength of this app lies in the community you build, the accountability it promotes, and the healthy competition it provides. You need people to get those benefits.

You can also review the Primal Blueprint Guides to the aspects of Primal living that are especially important to success this Challenge, like the 10 Laws, Shopping Guide, Primal Essential Meals, and the Carb Curve.

After that, it’s a waiting game. Once the Challenge begins, the daily tasks will be linked to the daily challenges, contests, and content posted right here on Mark’s Daily Apple.

Important note: If you want to participate in the app challenge you have to sign up by January 11. There is no joining mid-Challenge. The app challenge is available all year on a regular, revolving basis, but for this month only, the entry fee has been waived. Long story short, get in soon!

2. Choose One of the Three 21-Day Transformation Packages

21-Day-DigiPackageThe app is free for everyone. The Challenge is free for everyone. But for those that want to get the most out of the Challenge or could use a little extra guidance, there are three product packages to assist you:

For the Digital Package, you’ll get immediate access to digital versions of the 21-Day Total Body Transformation (the official book of the Challenge), plus an audiobook of the 21-Day Total Body Transformation as well. You’ll also get digital versions of Primal Blueprint Quick & Easy Meals, the Primal Blueprint Poster (a graphic guide to the lifestyle), the Primal Blueprint Shopping List (a complete list of all Primal-approved foods), and an in-depth 90-minute video of me covering all the major elements of the Primal Blueprint lifestyle. You’ll also receive daily email encouragement for the duration of the Challenge, plus access to the app.

The Fuel Package includes all of the above, plus physical versions of the book, the cookbook, the poster, and the shopping list shipped directly to your door. PLUS you’ll receive a bag of Primal Fuel, a Primal Fuel recipe book, and a Primal Fuel blender bottle from which to guzzle all your delicious Fuel creations. It’s the best value of all.

The Essentials Package has everything from the Fuel Package PLUS bottles of Primal Omegas (my high-quality omega-3 fish oil), Primal Calm (my herbal stress-fighting blend), and Vitamin D (because sun is scarce this time of year).

If you have been wondering how the supplements fit into the lifestyle, this is the perfect opportunity to give them a try and see how they work for you. Order today to ensure your package arrives by the time the Challenge begins on the 12th.

Note: The app and the products aren’t necessary to participate in the Mark’s Daily Apple 21-Day Challenge (everyone’s welcome!), but they’ll definitely make your life easier and give you a better shot at success.

3. Get Started on the 2016 Primal Blueprint Recipe Video Contest

cowPer annual tradition, once again it’s time to make some delicious Primal dishes.

The Prize:

US Wellness has long been a favorite meat spot for MDA readers. A few years ago they donated pemmican and the popular 5 gallon bucket of fat. The last several years they’ve gone whole hog. And by hog, I mean cow. And they’re doing it again this year. US Wellness has generously offered up a cow to the winners of this contest.

For those of you with raised eyebrow, they won’t actually be delivering a mooing, cud chewing, udder dangling live cow to your doorstep. But you will receive the delicious meat that once was that cow. And I’m not just talking about a bucket of chuck. The winners will receive sirloin, brisket, short ribs, back ribs, rib-eye steaks, T-bone steaks, NY strip steaks, Delmonico steaks, filets, bottom round roasts, center cut roasts, chuck, tongue, liver, heart, kidney, beef tallow, marrow bones, beef stock, and an oxtail. Heart and tongue not your thing? No worries. This year’s winners will get to choose exactly what they want as they’ll be receiving $1500 worth of US Wellness gift certificates they can use to order hundreds of pounds of their preferred bovine cuts – all grass fed, grass finished. Check out this Grass Fed Goodness video where you can watch your prize/meal grazing around in sweet Missouri pastures.

But winning won’t be easy. It’ll take work. And Primal food…

The Contest:

Create and upload a 15 second Primal recipe video to Instagram. Have you mastered the omelet? Are you an organ meat fiend? Maybe your salad is so mean, it can win a chili cookoff. If so, let the world in on your secrets. Grab your smartphone, and show us how to make something Primal. In previous years, we’ve asked you to upload and record your Primal recipes to YouTube, but this year, we’re adding a new twist! Creativity is key, because Instagram videos are limited to 15 seconds. Just make sure your video relates in some way to the Primal Blueprint eating plan. Show the world (how to prepare) your best Primal dish and you could be the winner of a whole bunch of meat. For ideas on what you can do, check out these clever 15 second chefs:

Italian Meatballs

A video posted by Leslie Klenke ???? Paleo Girl (@leslieklenke) on


Grilled Dry-Aged Ribeye

A video posted by @barnappetit on

The Contest Details:

Follow the following Instagram accounts: MarksDailyApple, PrimalKitchenFoods, and PrimalPublish.

Upload your video to Instagram with the title of your recipe, list of ingredients and instructions, followed by #15SecPrimal. Then finally, tag @MarksDailyApple in your post.

The Deadline: Sunday, January 24, midnight PST.

Who is Eligible:

This one is global, but keep in mind that the US Wellness gift certificates are not available to residents outside the U.S. In the event of a non-U.S. team winning, a prize of equal value will be given as substitute.

How A Winner Will Be Decided:

Select video submissions will be reviewed and posted toward the end of the Challenge. The Worker Bees and I will choose a list of finalists to be voted on by readers.

Fine Print:

  • MDA reserves the right to publish any videos submitted.
  • We ask that any videos submitted to this contest remain live on Instagram after the challenge for future visitors to Mark’s Daily Apple to enjoy.

4. Tell Your Friends

As I said earlier, the more people we have participating, the more accountability we’ll all have and the better your individual results will be.

I’m really excited about this year’s 21-Day Challenge, and I hope you are, too. See you all on January 11!

Prefer listening to reading? Get an audio recording of this blog post, and subscribe to the Primal Blueprint Podcast on iTunes for instant access to all past, present and future episodes here.

About the Author

Mark Sisson is the founder of Mark’s Daily Apple, godfather to the Primal food and lifestyle movement, and the New York Times bestselling author of The Keto Reset Diet. His latest book is Keto for Life, where he discusses how he combines the keto diet with a Primal lifestyle for optimal health and longevity. Mark is the author of numerous other books as well, including The Primal Blueprint, which was credited with turbocharging the growth of the primal/paleo movement back in 2009. After spending three decades researching and educating folks on why food is the key component to achieving and maintaining optimal wellness, Mark launched Primal Kitchen, a real-food company that creates Primal/paleo, keto, and Whole30-friendly kitchen staples.

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19 thoughts on “The Annual Primal Blueprint 21-Day Challenge Begins Next Week! (and Here’s How to Prepare)”

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  1. The heads up notice is really nice, thank you Mark and worker bees. Selecting Jan 11th as the start day to let excessive New Year optimism wane is smart too.

  2. Yes, agreed! So important to have prep time. Plus I know there is some type of spiritual significance to a series of 1s, so it’s the perfect date to start something new and positive!

  3. I’ve never considered doing the 21-day challenge, although I do think it’s a good idea. The thing is, I was a Paleo eater long before I was Primal. It has always been my preferred way to cook and eat my meals. After coming to MDA, I incorporated the whole Primal package into my life, adhering more closely to the 80/20 rule than I had previously, ruling out sweets, most grains, getting more exercise, more sunshine, etc., all of which I’ve definitely benefited from.

    Two things I’ve wondered about, however… Why are legumes and white potatoes frowned upon? (Or has that changed?) I can understand that many people can’t handle beans very well (I’m one of them), and potatoes are members of the nightshade family, which some people have to avoid. Otherwise, both are fairly nutritious and beneficial when consumed in moderation.

    As a side note, I recently picked up a copy of Julia Child’s “The Art of French Cooking”, which is available again at a reasonable price. Interestingly, many if not most of the recipes are either naturally Paleo or easily tweaked to become Paleo, which might be one reason why the French can enjoy rich foods without much of an obesity problem.

  4. I would love to do the recipe challenge. 15 seconds seems sooooo short to try to explain a recipe!! Any reason it was changed to instagram??

    1. I kind of like the examples Mark posted. I got the jist of the recipes from them. Also not having to watch 20 10 min videos is a plus, for voting purposes.

    2. You’re right. It’s short, which makes it both an extra challenge and an extra opportunity to get creative. 🙂 Also, changing to the Instagram platform is going to allow us to feature the entries more prominently on the blog once the contest gets going (stay tuned to see how). Hope you enjoy the cool contests to come, Pam!

  5. Saweeet!!! This is gonna be great. 🙂 I’m so stoked for the competitions (and the challenge in general, of course). Good way to kick off 2016!

  6. What a great idea. My pantry could use a little purge and I haven’t tracked closely what I’ve been eating in a while. Challenge accepted!

  7. I won’t be following the challenge because I don’t have an iPhone and I don’t use my computer often, but I have vowed to start eating healthy (primal) from tomorrow on out. Also, I can’t “purge my pantry” of unhealthy foods because I live with my fiance’s mom and I can’t throw her food out. :p that’s the real challenge for me. Also deep ingrained habits of eating junk food when I visit my mom are hard to break. But I’m gonna do this anyway! Almost said try. Do or do not, there is no try.
    Hope everyone who does the challenge has fun and great success. 🙂

    1. Sure you can throw her food out, just be prepared for the consequences.

    2. I also live in a multi-generational household, where the matriarch is a carboholic junkfooditarian. You are correct that you can’t throw your future MIL’s food out, but you can most certainly clear up your own pantry staples and replace them with primal choices. This will be my 2nd Primal Challenge, or Re-Set as I like to call it for myself. For the whole 12 days of Christmas, I let myself stray a bit from the 80/20 rule because I truly believe that we are meant to enjoy a feast once in a while. Starting tomorrow I’ll be back to my usual eating patterns, and the challenge comes at the perfect time to help with that. Best of luck to you with choosing healthier eating patterns and living your best life!

      1. I agree on the feasting once in a while. My staples are already primal, I’ve just had big issues breaking my addiction to sugar. I swore off gluten as soon as my baby was born 10 months ago, but I’ve had severe sugar binges since then. I’ve read that a lot of breastfeeding women have problems with sugar cravings. I suppose I’ll have to just power through it. I posted this yesterday but had another sugar binge on gluten free chocolate cupcakes today. Guess I’m starting tomorrow too! Thanks for the kind wishes and I hope you enjoy good health as well. 🙂 I love the community here on MDA, you’re all so great.

  8. Very excited to get on board with everyone. I feel like I’m swimming against the tide most of the time, so it will be nice to be ‘following the crowd’ for once.

  9. It’s been a while and I’ve completely wrecked myself for the past year. It’s time to start from the basics again and feel better. I’ve already purged the pantry, ordered a “peices for people” package from the local, grassfed, free range cow, pig, lamb, goat, chicken, and duck farm and stocked up on my new favorite, sea veggies. Lets do this thing!

  10. I always enjoy this. It’s become an annual primal recharge. Here’s the problem: I already started…. My copy of Primal Endurance was under the tree (next to new VFF Bikilas!) and I was chopping at the bit to get going!

  11. I have been (and still am) a caregiver to my mother with dementia for the last 18 months. I have put ME on the back burner, like I always do. I have been doing some soul searching and know I need to start taking care of ME…..for ME and that will allow me to be a better, wife, mother, grandma, and daughter!! My family needs ME and I need ME! This challenge couldn’t come at a better time for ME!!

  12. I will be joining this year challenge, but mostly to encourage other people to try the PB. I have been doing it for 5 years now (backslided a little bit for 2 of those 5), but am now very committed again. On this journey I went from 282 pounds to 187 pounds, went back to 236 when I became too lax, but got again to 187 once I recommitted to it. Still some way to go (I think a good weight for me would be around 170), but the improvements are amazing. Thank you Mark!