Recently by Mark Sisson: Putting Out the Fire: Gut Flora and the Inflammatory Cycle
If the past four lessons came off sounding like nutrition is the end-all, be-all factor in good health and weight loss, I apologize.
The fact is that there are many other important lifestyle behaviors for optimal, lifelong health.
It’s just that diet is the easiest, most noticeable change you can make. It’s the one that you have the most direct control over, and fixing it usually elicits massive, instantaneous changes in how you feel, look, and perform. Basically, if you want to feel better tomorrow and start losing weight immediately, fix your diet.
From here on out, the lessons will deal with other factors, most of which are just as important as diet (the effects are just more subtle).
Take exercise. We can all agree that it’s important for good health. Your doctor pushing a low-fat, high-carb diet, myself, pretty much any health expert in the world – we all will tell you to work out.
But what’s the best way to exercise?
The mainstream prescription for exercise is ineffective, unsustainable, and downright unpleasant. Don’t believe me? Head down to your local gym and tell me what you see:
Men and women logging endless miles on a treadmill, slogging through their workouts with miserable looks on their faces and a perpetual spare tire around their waists – that never seems to go away.
Pencil-legged guys using machines to isolate individual arm muscles, staring in the mirror, and getting nowhere.
People trudging wearily across the gym parking lot, looking like they’re heading for an execution.
I don’t know about you, but that sounded like an awful way of exercising to me, so I decided to come up with my own program.
I call it Primal Blueprint Fitness, and it’s incredibly simple, to-the-point, and highly effective.
It requires minimum effort for maximum effect. Fitness, as I see it, should be about the basics. But to understand what the basics are, we have to go way, way back, just like we did with food in the previous few lessons.
It makes sense that our bodies might be primed for certain movements (foods), while performing (eating) other movements (foods) might not be so healthy or helpful. So, to identify those movements, I asked a few questions:
Which movements have humans been performing for millions of years?
Which movements are the body designed to perform?
And I kept coming back to the same answers:
Humans have been squatting, horizontal pressing, vertical pressing, climbing, and using their torsos to resist pushing and pulling forces for millions of years.
Now, it’s the 21st century, and things have changed. We have chairs, we don’t need to squat. We rarely need to climb anything. We don’t do a lot of physical labor that might require pressing things overhead, and we tend to avoid physical conflicts that involve pushing and pulling.
But we still need to perform the movements. They are essential to our health and functionality. In fact, I call them the Four Essential Movements, and they are as follows: