a lot more talk in the mainstream recently about u201Ccavemanu201D diets
training. Primal/Paleo/Evo seems to be gaining in popularity
and may be nearing the critical mass needed to garner mainstream
appreciation. John Durant appeared
on Stephen Colbert last week, Art De Vany was featured in Der
to Run is a NYT Bestseller and my book recently made
ten Health and Fitness titles on Amazon. Even so, we Primal
types still get those occasional looks of derision or incomprehension
when we show up at the gym with our Fives on and a bag of homemade
jerky hanging off our belt to do a quick 15 minute HIIT session.
I think there's a sense among outsiders that the Grok
fairy tale trumps the science within the Primal crowd — that the
notion of living like a caveman is a cute ideal but irrelevant in
a 21st century high-tech context. Of course, it's not true; science
always leads the way here at MDA and on most Primal/Paleo/Evo sites.
But even with the science completely supporting the idea that we
ought to emulate our hunter-gatherer ancestors in many aspects of
life, I still hear things like, u201CI trust my doctor too much to give
up the statins and start eating fats.u201D Or u201CI'm lazy, undisciplined,
and I love good food too much to be able to change this late in
my life.u201D Hey, me too! So for those of you who are looking for more
detailed rationale why living Primal is best for everyone (including
your doubting spouse and your
parents), here are my 10 Real-Life Reasons Why the Primal
Blueprint Works for Me.
1. I'm lazy.
I spent 25 years of my life pursuing high level fitness and peak
health through hard work, discipline, sacrifice and misery. That
didn't work out for me. I'm over it. Now I just want the best results
with the least amount of pain, suffering, and sacrifice. I jokingly
tell my ex-triathlete buddies, u201CI'd rather look fit than be fit.u201D
Of course, the irony is that when you actually do what it takes
to look fit (eat
right, cut the Chronic
a bit now and then and lift
intensely two or three times a week ) you become VERY fit. And
healthy. And happy. And more productive. The best part of Primal
Blueprint living is that you can get appreciably better results
with significantly less time, less effort and less sacrifice. Instead
of the old 20-30 hours a week I used to put in training, I now train
less than three hours total a week. I try to play
the rest of the time.
2. I love
think the Primal Blueprint requires giving up eating good food.
Nothing could be further from the truth. When I was a college endurance
athlete, my buddies nicknamed me u201CArnold,u201D after Arnold Ziffle,
the pig on Green Acres. I could eat more than just about anyone
in school (including the football linemen). I ate everything and
enjoyed it all. But I became a slave to the carbs and to the hunger
that they generated every three hours of my life. Later, when I
retired and researched the damage I was doing eating grains,
oils and all the other stuff I consumed to fuel my massive cardio
efforts, I feared I might have to suffer a lifetime dearth of gustatory
delights if I wanted to keep my boyish figure. Never happened. Primal
the genes in a way that takes
the edge off hunger, while assuring more-than-adequate energy
and stable blood
glucose levels. Now, I eat as much as I want, whenever I want
from a list of fabulously tasty foods. I just avoid eating most
things from that other list. Hunger doesn't drive my life the way
it used to. When I sit in a restaurant with a rare 20-ounce rib
eye steak, a bowl of butter-sauted mushrooms and a glass of fine
Cabernet in front of me, I never feel sorry for myself that I didn't
order pasta or that I won't be having the bread or potatoes or rice.
And for dessert, if I'm still hungry, I'd really rather have another
lamb chop or a bowl of berries than a slice of cardboard cake or
ice cream. Worst case, I can have a small taste of the latter
and be satisfied.
3. I like
I spent a fair
amount of my life training for grueling endurance contests (marathons,
Ironman triathlons, 24-hour relay running events). Only just recently
did it occur to me that I NEVER really had fun while I was competing
or while I was training. Admittedly, I could sometimes get into
u201Cthe zone,u201D but that's really only a temporary zone of less pain.
I did appreciate the valiance of my efforts and certainly felt pride
in my accomplishments, but from the time the gun went off until
I crossed the finish line, I never once could truthfully say, u201CIsn't
this fun?u201D In contrast, today I plan most of my (minimal) training
around being able to participate in fun activities later. And while
I don't necessarily see play
as u201Cworkout time,u201D it is most assuredly contributing to my fitness.
Primal Blueprint training gives me the functional strength and endurance
to jump into an aggressive Ultimate
Frisbee game, stand-up
paddle and surf for two hours, take a 90-minute trail hike with
sprints thrown in, play a round of golf, or snowboard for five days
in a row. I stay fit so I can play at stuff I find FUN.
4. I like
I used to feel
guilty if I slept too much. As if I were missing out on something
that might be taking place while the lights were still on somewhere.
Now I get at least eight
hours every night and embrace the idea that I am NOT wasting
time, but am recharging the batteries and will probably live longer
as a result. I think most people would prefer to get adequate sleep,
but feel like it's a sign of weakness that they u201Cneedu201D eight or
nine hours. It's not. Sleep is integral to health.
5. I don't
like being sick.
No one does.
At the peak of my endurance career, I got colds and flus five to
seven times a year. I also had severe seasonal grass pollen allergies.
The nature of Chronic Cardio training (all that cortisol)
and the obligate high carbohydrate diet (all that sugar) kept my
immune system so trashed that anything that was going around was
going to take me down with it. And stuff is always going around.
Primal Blueprint works because everything about it is contemplated
to support or boost the immune system and not trash it. My allergies
have long since disappeared. I rarely get any kind of cold or flu
now and, if I do, it's with no real down time and over quickly.
Many people argue that this benefit alone is worth the switch