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
Even though we, as Primal enthusiasts, do acknowledge his presence by eating his food, doing his exercises, and minimizing the kind of artificial stress he rarely experienced, something seems absent from our relationship with Grok. We pay attention to his counsel when it comes to nutrition and biology and fitness – but is something lost in the translation between his past and our present? It’s almost like we’re tourists on some grand expedition: temporal-anthro-eco-nutro tourists who visit the Edenic past and, indeed, adopt its way of life and follow its precepts to a tee with resounding success and inimitable results. But in the end, we remain tourists. We aren’t yet truly going Primal.
Environment and necessity naturally play big roles in our disconnect. Much like our ancestors at the dawn of agriculture, we can simply settle in and “enjoy” the fruits of civilization. For most people nowadays, it isn’t a conscious choice – it’s just what we’ve grown up with. It’s all we know – it’s our environment. For Grok, his diet and behavior also revolved around his environment. He ate what was available and most efficient. He ate what made him strong and tasted good while rejecting things that tasted bad or bitter or had previously made a relative ill or took too long to prepare or gather. We Primal Blueprinters, on the other hand, have the exquisite luxury of picking and choosing. We stand aside, careful observers, and take what works from Column A (Grok) and Column B (modern life) while casting aside the remains (of course, Column A is our favorite, but don’t sell Column B short – bacon, red wine, dark chocolate, and soap aren’t anything to sniff at). We’re healthier and happier for it, but we’re still missing something.
Same goes for fitness. People today work out to look good, to feel healthy, and to get stronger. We construct elaborate exercise systems of pulleys and cables, and ridiculous infomercial contraptions that – in the end – only seem to get between us and our environment. We wear shoes on our feet, weight lifting gloves on our hands, and skin-tight under armor that prevents any semblance of perspiration. Grok’s motivation for fitness? Survival. The next meal. Dominance over a rival tribe (okay, maybe not much has changed here). His equipment? Rocks, branches, cliff faces, and trees.
And so we choose to go Primal, albeit in a decidedly unPrimal world. We know our limitations. We can’t go back in time, and – though who knows what awaits us in the coming decades – modern life isn’t a hard-scrabble constant battle for survival and limited resources. Our world is not Grok’s.
So how do we truly go Primal? How can we unleash our inner Grok? If it’s not just the foods we eat, what is it?
The key is utilizing a specifically human ability, one that has been handed down generation after generation for hundreds of millennia. It has fueled our campfire stories, our innermost thoughts, and our art: our ability to imagine, to visualize, to transport ourselves into another experience is the answer.
Short of heading out to the African savannah and taunting lions until they chase you, imagination is going to have to suffice. When you’re sprinting, envision a predator right behind you. Imagine a rival tribe is bearing down on you, stone clubs in hand, and if only you push it hard enough you might make it home in time to warn everyone of the impending attack. Scream if you have to – it’s just your inner Grok yearning to be unleashed. You’ll find that imagination like this doesn’t just work for kids; I think you’ll be surprised at the results and your sprint performance will improve. With a sabre-toothed tiger lapping at your heels, even if it’s imaginary, you’ll find yourself sprinting that much harder.
When you lift weights, especially heavy ones, don’t be afraid to grunt. Get Primal. Let loose your barbaric yawp, fellow-gym goers be damned. You think Grok was meek and polite when lifting a massive boulder to smash a mammoth’s thigh bone for the marrow? Not a chance. You do the same. If people are offended, they shouldn’t be in a gym. There aren’t just performance benefits to letting loose (rather than holding in your breath and reducing efficiency) in the weight room; you’ll undoubtedly feel more Primal and Grok-like than that guy reading “People” on the stationary bike.
Unleashing your inner Grok can take many other forms. Eating with your hands every once in awhile, scouring your neighborhood for local, public fruit trees, going hunting or fishing, as well as the visualization and projecting during exercise – these are all effective methods for going Primal and bridging that gap between our world and Grok’s.