The J.J. Experiment: Primal Leap Results

Five weeks ago, the J.J. Experiment (week 2, 3, 4) began. J.J. Valdivia, a personal trainer in Miami, guided ten people as they took a 30-Day Leap into a healthy lifestyle. Let’s find out how they did…

Dear Mark’s Daily Apple readers,

I can’t believe the 30 Day Challenge has come to an end! We had an amazing month and it all went by so fast. I’d like to express how proud I am of my Leapers and just what an honor it was to lead them through this journey. When the challenge began, I asked each one of them for 1000% percent of their effort. With the results I saw yesterday from the body fat tests and measurements, I know that that’s exactly what I received. Out of 8 leapers measured (2 are out of town on business), they lost a combined total of 118 lbs of fat, 143 inches, and gained 48 lbs. of muscle! (click image below to enlarge)

As amazing as these results are, it is not how I measure the success of the last 30 days. Each one of the Leapers has told me that this is something that they can do for the rest of their lives and that they are looking forward to continuing their new lifestyles. This, to me, is the true indicator of success on this program. Not only do they look AND feel better, but they got there almost effortlessly and with the least amount of pain and suffering. The sustainability of this program is what truly sets it above the rest and although this 30 day challenge has ended, I am eager to take a step back and watch my Leapers continue on their Primal journeys. We celebrated the end of the challenge with a “Grokfeast” on Wednesday night. Gaucho Ranch, a local grass fed beef retailer, catered the event and prepared an “asado” (Uruguayan Bar B Q) for us with grass-fed sausage, beef, and veggies. We had over 25 guests and it was the perfect culmination to a truly awesome 30 days. I would like to thank my Leapers for their commitment and effort throughout this challenge and I would also like to thank Mark and MDA for documenting our journey. I told my Leapers last night that this wasn’t the end of a 30 day contest, but the beginning of the rest of their lives. I hope that our experience has inspired others into living Primally, and that all MDA readers out there achieve the vibrant health and wellness that they deserve.

Grok On,

J.J. Valdivia

Primal Leap Update from Leaper Arlene

6th October 2010

Today we culminated the 30-day challenge that has ultimately changed our lives for the better. Admittedly, I entered into the Primal Leap cautiously, and with a dash of skepticism. Yet, I was determined to make a positive change in my life –  I had become frustrated by unsuccessful dieting and could not understand how, despite taking four belly dancing classes per week, I was not any slimmer or, more importantly, did not feel any fitter. My endurance was not what it used to be. I was tired all the time. And, as I joked early on, I needed to free the slim belly dancer within me, because she had a performance in November for which she needed to get in shape. Little did I know then that in these short four weeks, I could learn to disregard previous, albeit misguided, nutritional beliefs and actually embrace fat as my friend.  = ) In so doing, I now have energy to do the things I enjoy and am never hungry. What is more, the results that my RCCL teammates and I achieved during this brief time are nothing short of extraordinary, In my case, I lost 9 ½ pounds of fat, gained 3 pounds of muscle, and am now a little over 14 inches smaller.

The first three weeks of the challenge were a time of adjustment, learning, camaraderie, and fun with my fellow Grokstars (and even a visit from Mark!). However, week four brought the unsettling news that I would be losing my job due to a department reorganization. While in what now seems like another life I would have reached for the Oreos, I have not felt the need to eat out of anxiety or skip a dance or exercise class out of depression. Rather, I have been remarkably calm, while contemplating the future. I have asked myself how Grok would handle this kind of situation. I believe he would simply go on to the next meadow, to find another deer, and just perhaps, he might find some more time to play and share with his family. So, while I may be saying farewell to a place (not to mention people!) that has been such an important part of my life for the past 12 years, I shall go on to the next meadow to look for my new challenge. I will work hard, I know. However, I shall be taking with me my new Primal lifestyle; I shall continue to enjoy the sun in the meadow and will never forget to…PLAY!

J.J. and Mark, thank you for your time, dedication and generosity, and for making such a positive difference in my life.

Grok on!

Kind regards,


Primal Leap Update from Leaper Elaine


Yea, I just got back from my final weigh in and measurement. I am so very excited and eager to keep this up. I have lost over 16 inches and 8 lbs of fat in just 30 days. The days have just flown by. I am so motivated to continue. With the other diets I have been on I could hardly wait for the end so that I  could go back to eating the food I like. This has been a completely different journey; all month I did nothing but eat all the foods I love and lost. What can be better than that? I love grocery shopping now. My energy level is high and my hunger level is very low. I now eat only when I am hungry and truly enjoy preparing and eating my food. Throughout this journey I haven’t thought of this as a diet but a lifestyle change.

Thank you so very much J.J. for taking us all on this journey.


Lourdes’ New Primal Menu

Cauliflower crust pizza, with lots of veggies. Great for dinner with salad and even better for breakfast with 2 fried eggs on top.

Here is a creative, low carb twist, of a Cuban favorite…Fritas (ground sirloin beef, chorizo, smoked paprika) in bibb lettuce cups. Full fat Greek yogurt and berries for dessert.

A quick lunch…tuna salad over baby greens and avocado salad. Yummy love avocados.

How about New England lobster, steamed and served over salad. Some melted butter and lemon makes this super salad delicious.

Lourdes Davila

Congratulations and many thanks go out to all of J.J.’s Leapers for letting me and Mark’s Daily Apple readers follow your progress, and to J.J. for organizing this experiment and being a source of encouragement and motivation to everyone that participated. The results really speak for themselves. I don’t imagine it’s a stretch to think that between the great food, the new found energy, and the weight and inches lost that staying Primal won’t be difficult for any of these Leapers. Just remember that 30-Days is just the beginning. Now you have the tools you need for a long, healthy and happy life. Grok on!

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28 thoughts on “The J.J. Experiment: Primal Leap Results”

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  1. I am very glad for everyone and applaud your efforts.
    I am a little confused? How did Elaine lose muscle? I am reading it right? Just wondering.

  2. I seem to remember that they had lipid profiles done at the begining. I’ll be interested to see what the results are.

    1. Yes, me too, those are the results that really show CW that eating high fat is ‘dangerous’.

  3. Results are amazing!

    Mark, can you set up a 30 day challenge in the MD/VA/DC area?

  4. Congrats to everyone on a great job.

    Elaine’s numbers appear to have some typos. Losing 1% body fat with the fat pounds being 7.6 would make her starting weight around 850lbs.

  5. Well done crew! This is an incredible inspiration that will have a large snowball effect. People reading this who are skeptical now have greater encouragement to go ahead and get started. Then some of those people will inspire others and it will just continue forever!

    Good luck to all of you for the rest of your life! It’s all about the journey – enjoy it!

  6. Most inspiring. You all deserve a big gold star. I loved how Arlene used ‘what would Grok do’ to get her through to the next adventure in her life.

  7. I’m in agreement with the primal lifestyle, but this talbe is false. An individual can’t gain that much muscle in 30 days while losing that much fat. One person is listed with 15 pounds of muscle gain! A body builder would kill for a 15 pound gain.

    1. Yes, the numbers do not add up. The amount of fat loss is reasonable, but the amount of muscle gain is not. One to two pounds of muscle gain per month would make any body builder ecstatic. The average Grok here lost 15 pounds of fat (118/8) and gained 6 pounds of muscle (48/8). It takes roughly 45,000 calories to build a pound of muscle. (That is why muscle building is the way to lose weight not chronic cardio and starvation on Wheat Thins.) So 45,000 * 6 = 270,000 calories to build the muscle. 15 * 3500 = 52,500 calories from fat loss went building muscle. 270,00 – 52,500 = 217,500 calories needed in food to build the remaining muscle or 7,250 calories need per day from food to build the muscle. (Please check my 45,000 and 3,500 figures and my math.) So the Leapers, on average, ate an extra 7,250 calories per day for 30 days? Some GrokFest! Thermodynamics still applies to Grok.

      1. I had the same thoughts. It can probably be chalked up to error in body fat caliper measurements.

        1. someone miss a decimal?

          45,000 calories, if I’m not mistaken, is an estimate of how many calories it would take to build 1 pound of dry muscle tissue (i.e., 1 .lb minus water weight.)

          Nevertheless, it’s hard to imagine taking ANY six people and getting this as an average.

          .6 avg would be much more likely.

  8. Yay JJ!! way too motivate a whole new tribe! This is soooo awesome! Hacking away at CW from all directions. Woot Woot! to all the leapers & welcome aboard 🙂

  9. This is great! I’m glad the Leapers had such good times and good results. It’s been a challenge the past two weeks for my wife and myself, and seeing how these folks have done makes it that much easier to continue the commitment.

  10. All these results are fantastic – some of them are down right AMAZING!

    Props to Lourdes and Thor – to achieve what you have in 30 days is fantastic!

    Also nice to see that the common held belief that males have far faster weight loss than females was disproven – well done ladies! 😉

    I’ve just started my 30-day Primal Leap – this is an inspiration (and a benchmark) for me!



  11. The results are fantastic, that’s for sure (although some of the “pounds of muscle gained” are clearly wrong or typos (7.9, 11, 15 in a month?)) At the caloric/metabolic deficits necessary for such great weight loss, gaining that much muscle simultaneously is, well, impossible.

    Claire – 30 days wouldn’t be long enough for a decent lipid comparison.

  12. Congratulations everybody! Like Mark said, thanks for letting us tag along for the journey, very inspirational, keep up your great new lifestyles!!

  13. You can’t do a sum for percentages like you would for inches or pounds. The figure of 39,2% in this context is misleading and/or meaningless. An average would work better.

  14. Great work! Congrats! I would like to know how did the measurements taken, are those figures refer to waist and abdomen areas?