Warmup: Minimum 18-hour fast, three light sprints at 70%, three exercises from the hip mobility series.
The holidays are, for the most part, over. The family is finally beginning to trickle out the door, recycling bins are full of wrapping paper and boxes (broken down and flattened if you’re that type, still in box form if you’re like me), and a general sense of malaise mixed with regret hangs in the air. And if you gave in to the proffered sweets, cakes, cookies, pies, French toast breakfasts, eggnog, and bready entrees, you may very well be bloated, gassy, and just generally uncomfortable in your own skin. Basically – you’re a physical mess, and to top it off, guilt over your dietary transgressions has probably entered the picture. Well, no more fretting. First, it’s the holidays: guilt is silly, so stop it. 80/20 rule, don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good, etc. Second, after a few days of 20, what better time to get in a good sweaty workout?
Now, I don’t know about you, but if I’m ever feeling under the weather from something that was clearly my fault – maybe I had few too many glasses of wine the night before, or I went ahead and had an extra bite or two of some devilish dessert that was too good to pass on, or I was on the road and had no options but less than ideal food – an intense, metabolically-demanding workout really gets me feeling normal again. This isn’t a strength based grind-it-out workout or a light enjoyable day of activity with the fam; this is the type of workout that depletes your glycogen stores and halfway in makes you regret ever visiting MDA this morning. Ignorance is bliss, and today’s workout is hellish, but I suggest you take the tougher route and “build a Heaven in Hell’s despair.”
Just to refresh your memory, I’ll go over the exercises real quick:
You’ve done these movements before. They’re cobbled together from previous WOWs, so this is a revisiting of past exercises. Burpees, you know (and fear), so I don’t need to explain them and pullups, sprints, and pushups are self-explanatory. You did the weighted squat throws way back in the early WOW days: just break the movement down into a squat and an overhead press into a throw, and you’re golden. Weighted tosses are a bit different; if you have a good grasp of the kettlebell-esque hip snap, that’s what you’ll be doing here. Read the original WOW where the tosses popped up for a thorough description. Whatever you’re doing, go hard as you can without sacrificing efficiency and precision. You’re not using heavy weights, so form breakdown leading to injury probably won’t be an issue, but maintaining quality of movement under metabolic duress is a valuable attribute.
A few things to remember:
You’re aiming for sweating, heavy panting, and glycogen-depleted muscles. Go hard and minimize rest.
The pre-workout fast is essential. When you start fresh with a hungry belly, you’ll feel a bit more raw, a bit more savage. These are good things.
Think about finding a partner for this one, if only to have him or her scream obscenities/inspiration in your ear. It really helps to have someone else share in the misery on a workout like this.
Tailor the movements to your ability. If you have to do chair pullups and bicycle sprints, that’s totally fine. If you have to take breaks in the middle of your fourth set of clapping pushups, go ahead and take that break. Just finish the twelve with as little rest as you can stand.
If you can’t complete a pullup or a clapping pushup, for example, use the PBF Essential Movements Progression and Self-Assessment to determine which movements you can complete. Even if you’re doing knee pushups and chair pullups, that’s totally fine! Do what you can. Also, fasting is optional. If you are new to the Primal lifestyle and haven’t experimented with fasting yet you may want to complete this WOW fully charged.
What are WOWs?
Workouts of the Week (WOWs) are an optional component of Primal Blueprint Fitness that add a fractal and often fun and playful quality to the basic PBF protocol.
In most cases WOWs should only be completed by those that have mastered Level 4 of each Lift Heavy Things Essential Movement. Also, it’s recommended that WOWsreplace one or both Lift Heavy Things workouts or the Sprint workout (depending on the WOW) each week instead of being done in addition to the Lift Heavy Things and Sprint workouts.
Learn more about WOWs and Primal Blueprint Fitness by getting the free eBook. And access all Workouts of the Week in the WOW Archive.
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.