For as much
as I emphasize the importance of food with regards to health and
body composition and deemphasize the purely mechanical act of burning
calories through arduous, protracted exercise, you still do have
to move. You have to lift heavy things. You have to move very quickly
every once in awhile. You have to stay active. These behaviors are
absolutely essential to your Primal foray. So, let’s dig into
Primal exercise, shall we? Enough food talk.
if you haven’t downloaded a copy of Primal
Blueprint Fitness, my free e-book that lays all this stuff out,
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you get tons of other cool freebies, so there’s really no
reason not to do it. Plus, it’ll flesh out everything discussed
in today’s post. Second, click on the pyramid to the right
to zoom in. And we’re off…
at a Slow Pace)
(at a slow pace) is the foundation of Primal fitness. It’s
what we are meant to do most often, and what we should be able to
do – walk around our environment for long periods of time
without tiring or complaining about sore joints or needing to stop
every few minutes to rest. Regular movement keeps us moving. And
yeah, it “burns calories,” but the main reason to move
slowly and frequently is to stay mobile, healthy, and alert long
into old age. Just check out some of the benefits and health
effects associated with walking:
an early morning stroll. Before you eat breakfast, before
you have coffee (okay, maybe not before the coffee), before you
head off to work, just take a short walk for as long as you can
spare. Got five minutes? Do a short five minute walk around the
block. Got twenty? Do twenty.
brief breaks from work. Not only will this add several
hundred steps to your total throughout the day, it will also clear
your head and get your creative/diligent juices flowing anew.
elevators, take the stairs. Oh, and try something you’ve
been wanting to do since you were a kid (don’t lie): go the
wrong way on an escalator. It’s like a free treadmill!
a dog (or walk the one you’ve got). If you’ve
got the time and energy that a dog deserves, get one. It will probably
enrich your life in many ways, not just by goading you into regular
walks. Extra points if you feed a species-appropriate diet.
before you get home. After pulling in the driveway, take
ten minutes to walk around the block a few times before you go inside.
Because you know you’re gonna head straight for the couch
an after-dinner stroll. The after-dinner stroll is customary
in many cultures, and for good reason: it helps lower the glycemic
response to a meal.
weekend outing. Go for a long bike ride or hike. Spend
about two to three hours in constant, slow movement.
it’s applicable, drag your entire family along.
Shoot for 10,000
steps a day. The average American gets just 5,000, which qualifies
as “sedentary.” Don’t be sedentary. It feels bad
to be out of breath after a couple blocks or a flight of stairs,
and it’s really easy to avoid that. Still, 10,000 steps seems
like a lot. Why, that’s nearly five miles!
Frequently at a Slightly Faster Pace)
good to elevate your heart rate. I don’t think elevated heart
rates should be sustained for very long, but staying between 55
and 75 percent of your max heart rate will keep you burning fat
for energy while avoiding any serious burn-out, Chronic
In lieu of
actually taking a strenuous maximum heart rate test, you can simply
use a fairly accurate formula: 208 minus (0.7 times your age). So,
if you’re forty, your estimated maximum heart rate would be
180 beats per minute, and your upper limit for aerobic activity
would be 75 percent of 180, or 135 beats per minute.
your heart rate, you have a few options.
buy a wireless heart rate monitor, which generally start at around
is the leading brand.
use a smartphone app, like the iPhone’s
Cardiio, which uses the phone camera to monitor your heart
place your finger against the carotid artery on the side of your
neck (where it’s the easiest place to find a pulse), count
the beats for ten seconds (using a watch), and multiply the number
by six to get beats per minute. This is how I do it.
Once or twice
a week, spend some time at the upper range of your aerobic limit.
Stay there as long as you can without exceeding your target rate.
Try stuff like:
(wearing heavy packs while walking or hiking)
(mobile or stationary)
(if you’re fit enough to stay under 75 percent of your max
paddling (my favorite)
done with one of these sessions, you should feel energized, refreshed,
renewed. You shouldn’t feel too wiped out, and if you find
yourself nursing an intense sugar craving, you probably left the
state and drifted into sugar-burning. That’s okay; just
use this new experience to keep yourself out of that zone next time.
Get to the point where you can jog for fifteen minutes
without exceeding 75 percent of your max heart rate.
total body fitness program has to include strength training, or
else it’s neither effective nor total
body fitness. You can run marathons and bike mountains, but
if you can’t do a few sets of pullups and pushups or help
out when your buddies need to move furniture, can you truly call
yourself fit? I don’t think so, which is why I (having come
from an endurance athletic background) always emphasize the importance
of lifting heavy things. Strength training isn’t just about
developing the physical ability to manipulate heavy objects in space
and time; it’s also about building stronger bones and more
resistant joints, developing more lean mass, living longer and better,
staying healthy into old age, improving insulin sensitivity, and
building up organ mass (or, as I like to say, insurance
popular belief, strength training does not require heavy weights
and expensive machines. That’s certainly one way for people
to get an effective workout, but you can get quite strong and fit
using just compound bodyweight movements. And even if you want more,
you can always add weights later.
Essential Movements are as follows:
From a plank
position (straight, rigid line from feet to head), hands flat on
the ground and shoulder width apart, arms extended, fingers pointed
forward, lower your body until your chest (or nose) touches the
ground. Keep your core and glutes tight and a neutral spine and
Progression (consecutive reps needed to progress)
1. Knee pushups
(male, 50; female, 30)
pushups (male, 50; female, 25)
Mastery – male, 50 pushups; female, 20 pushups
Keep your elbows
tight, tuck your chin (try to make a double chin), retract your
shoulder blades (to protect your shoulders). Without flailing or
using your lower body, lead with your chest and pull your body up
using an overhand grip until your chin passes the bar. When lowering,
never fully protract your shoulder blades. Don’t lead with
your chin; keep it tucked throughout.