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Primal Blueprint Fitness
© 2010, Mark Sisson. All rights reserved.
Except as permitted under the United States Copyright Act of 1976, reproduction or utilization of this work in any
form or by any electronic, mechanical, or other means, now known or hereafter invented, including xerography,
photocopying, and recording, and in any information storage and retrieval system, is forbidden without written
permission of Mark Sisson.
For more information about Primal Blueprint Fitness and the Primal Blueprint,
please visit primalblueprint.com and marksdailyapple.com
Publisher: Primal Nutrition, Inc.
P. O. Box 6250
Malibu, CA 90265
ii

DISCLAIMER
The ideas, concepts and opinions expressed in this book are intended to be used for educational purposes
only. This book is sold with the understanding that authors and publisher are not rendering medical advice
of any kind, nor is this book intended to replace medical advice, nor to diagnose, prescribe or treat any
disease, condition, il ness or injury.
It is imperative that before beginning any diet or exercise program, including any aspect of Primal Blueprint
Fitness or Primal Blueprint programs, you receive ful medical clearance from a licensed physician. Author
and publisher claim no responsibility to any person or entity for any liability, loss, or damage caused or al-
leged to be caused directly or indirectly as a result of the use, application or interpretation of the material
in this book. Sorry, but that’s what my lawyers forced me to say in order for me to be able to offer you my
insights. If you do not agree with this disclaimer, you may return the book to the publisher for a ful refund.
iii

TABLE OF CONTENTS
Introduction....................................................................................................................1
Chapter 1: Defining Fitness...............................................................................................16
Chapter 2: Move Frequently at a Slow Pace..................................................................23
Chapter 3: Lift Heavy Things.............................................................................................30
Chapter 4: Sprint Once in a While....................................................................................60
Chapter 5: Workout of the Week (WOW).........................................................................71
Chapter 6: Play..................................................................................................................76
Chapter 7: Rest.................................................................................................................79
Frequently Asked Questions and Concerns......................................................................82
Primal Blueprint Fitness Logbook.....................................................................................93

iv

INTRODUCTION
Struggling, Suffering, and Burnout:
Flawed Conventional Wisdom
I spent over half my life training for high-level
health. Thousands of other extreme athletes suffer
competition in endurance sports, carefully follow-
a similar fate, as do millions of less fit folks who try
ing the extreme training regimen recommended
valiantly to follow the struggle and suffer approach
by Conventional Wisdom. I ran and bicycled thou-
of Conventional Wisdom in pursuit of even modest
sands of miles each year, lifted at the gym several
exercise goals.
days a week, stretched like crazy every day, and
covered my body with expensive, super high-
For the duration of my career as an endurance ath-
tech gear. I sacrificed, endured and suffered be-
lete, I was emaciated, physically fatigued, and bat-
cause I truly believed it was necessary to achieve
tling one injury or illness after another. Aside from
a healthy, lean, fit body. I fueled my constantly
possessing superior cardiovascular endurance, I
depleted muscles with the obligatory high-com-
was actually a pretty useless physical specimen.
plex-carb diet, suffering all manner of diet-related
I didn’t dare take up any new sports or even play
health problems without even realizing it.
any fun physical games for fear of getting hurt or
straining unfamiliar muscles. I missed out on any
Yes, I could race a marathon or triathlon faster
semblance of a social life because I was exhaust-
than almost anyone else around, but the conse-
ed from my year-round training. By contrast, some
quences of earning medals and trophies on the
of my plump couch potato friends seemed to be
race course were severe. In no uncertain terms,
healthier and, in some important measures, fitter
my devotion to fitness severely compromised my
than me. They certainly enjoyed life more.
Primal Blueprint Fitness is just one component of a healthy Primal lifestyle. Pick up a copy
of The Primal Blueprint to learn the rest and get a FREE Poster and FREE S&H.

1

Shortcuts Changed My Life
My real epiphany came after I had retired from
Luckily for me, I was forced to retire from endur-
competing, when the endorphins wore off and I
ance competition due to a broken down body
realized that throughout all my pain, suffering and
while I was still a young man. I’ve been able to
sacrifice, during all those hundreds of endurance
enjoy the past couple decades exploring what
contests in which I had competed, from the time
it really means to be a strong, fit, lean, healthy
the gun went off until the time I crossed the finish
and happy human being. On the occasion of
line, not once could I ever truly say to myself “isn’t
my 40th birthday, still under the influence of lin-
this fun!” How sad, really. Life’s too short not to
gering fatigue from my racing days, I got a few
be enjoyed to the maximum, especially when it
laughs when I made the profound statement that,
comes to physical pursuits and pleasures.
“I’d really rather just look fit than be fit.” Really
though, my quip had a measure of truth to it, and
Granted, I enjoyed a tremendous sense of accom-
actually became the impetus for me to search for
plishment from pursuing and achieving compel ing
effective shortcuts to fitness, strength, leanness
athletic goals, and learned many valuable charac-
and health, that required the least amount of time,
ter lessons from the journey. As legendary sub-four
pain, suffering, and sacrifice. That’s what Primal
minute miler Sir Roger Bannister said in reflecting
Blueprint Fitness (PBF) is all about. This booklet
upon his accomplishments on the track, “Struggle
will describe in detail how you can get fit quickly
gives meaning and richness to life”. As you pursue
and then maintain your strength, fitness, leanness
your fitness goals with my guidance, I want to inspire
and health well into your 70’s, 80’s and beyond.
you to be the best you can be, shatter mental and
And I’ll explain in detail how you can arrange your
physical barriers to peak performance, and achieve
physical activities to include the most pleasure,
personal growth and enlightenment in the process.
fun, enjoyment and satisfaction possible.
However, I want to help you establish parameters so
that your journey—your struggle to be the best you
can be—is healthy and fun, instead of destructive.
2

PBF = LGN
The Primal Blueprint Fitness strategy will help
and started eating Primally, you’ll already have
you build or maintain lean muscle mass, reduce
the direct experience of losing body fat without
your body fat, increase your energy, improve your
needing to do much exercise. That’s one of the
strength, agility and power-to-weight ratio, reduce
principles that make the Primal Blueprint Fitness
your risk of getting injured, improve insulin sensi-
program work so well: once you dial in the eating
tivity, boost immune function and increase organ
to reprogram your genes to selectively burn body
reserve. A major side effect, of course, is that you’ll
fat for fuel, you really don’t need to do very much
look good naked (we affectionately call it “LGN”)!
exercise to shape, tone, build muscle and get
Not like a greased up, muscle-bound cover boy or
stronger. In fact, more is not necessarily better.
girl...more like a Calvin Klein underwear model,
You can maximize your potential on relatively
SI Swimsuit model, Olympic Gymnast, or Linda
little “work.”
Hamilton in Terminator 2: well-muscled and pro-
portioned, with minimal body fat. No matter what
Conversely, no amount of aerobic or cardio exer-
your family history, you’ll arrive naturally at the
cise will ever make up for a bad eating strategy.
optimum expression of your own unique genetic
Recent research suggests that the sum total of
makeup. Oh sure, you may vary a few percentage
all those hours of sweating in the gyms and open
points in body fat from those with world-class ath-
roads of America in the name of weight control
lete genetic attributes, but you’ll be able to main-
simply leads to an increased appetite—particu-
tain your fitness and your new body easily on very
larly for sugar—with minimal effect on body fat
little work, for the rest of your life.
percentage. Obviously, exercise has many physi-
cal and psychological benefits, but if you are
It’s important at this point to restate one of my
struggling and suffering in the name of losing
most important caveats from The Primal Blueprint:
weight, why not stop right now and try this greatly
that 80 percent of your body composition is deter-
appealing alternative approach.
mined by how you eat. If you’ve read the book
3

The PBF Schedule
PBF employs the simple principles that I (and
now thousands of Primal Blueprint followers)
have used to regain, build and maintain superb
strength and health. These principles are visually
Primal Blueprint Fitness Pyramid
illustrated by the Primal Blueprint Fitness Pyra-
mid, of which anyone that has read my book is
intimately familiar.
At 57 years of age, I now work out less than I ever
did in my twenties and thirties, yet I am as strong
as I’ve ever been. I can still sprint well and, despite
no other specific cardio training, am fit enough to
hop into a 10k race, a trail run, or a 50-mile bike
ride whenever I feel like it. Most importantly, I’ve
been able to take up new, fun (much more fun!)
sports. Ironically, many people say that I look fitter
and healthier now than I looked when I was a
world-class athlete. But the truth is, I only work out
for two reasons now: 1) So I can play more and play
harder. 2) So I can reduce the risk of injury while
I’m playing more and playing harder!
Today my competitive flame still burns brightly,
but instead of fighting to the death on the steam-
ing hot lava fields of the Hawaii Ironman course,
4

I’m giving it my all playing Ultimate (Frisbee),
That said, I understand the desire to have some
stand-up paddling, snowboarding, or racing my
structure and advance planning for your exercise,
teenage son down the beach and into the waves.
so I’ll share with you suggested weekly routines
And while the euphoric feeling that comes from
that align with the Primal Blueprint fitness prin-
“going long” is still in my blood, instead of push-
ciples. As you absorb the information, please
ing the pace in the pack till my tongue hangs out,
remember that you are still the one behind the
I take my time and enjoy a deeper connection
wheel, while I’m riding shotgun. This is a critical
with nature. I might follow the little white ball
distinction that many programs and experts fail
around the golf course, or hike and explore the
to emphasize, and I have personally suffered the
remote canyon trails near my home, but I’m not
pitfalls from turning the responsibility for my train-
concerned with beeping heart watches or down-
ing decisions over to someone else.
loading data from a GPS training watch into a
computerized mileage log.
Listen to your own voice above everything else.
Absorb the information provided, but remember to
Many folks ask me for insightful pearls about my
exercise when you feel like it, do the stuff that’s the
exercise “schedule”. Truth is, about the only thing
most fun, and always align your workout choices
on my schedule is a standing Ultimate game on
with your energy level, motivation level and state
Sunday afternoons. The rest of my workouts are
of health. If I’m tired, jet lagged, or detect a slight
based on what my mind and body feel like doing,
sore throat or elevated temperature, I’ll do little
if anything. This sporadic, intuitive, unstructured
or no exercise until I feel fine in a resting state. If
approach is flat out the most effective and evolved
I’m energized and excited, I will pull out the stops,
way to become fit and healthy. I must emphasize
throw caution to the wind, and push my body to
that I’ve arrived at this epiphany after forty years
great new heights doing fun new stuff. Excuse my
of struggling and suffering, so let me underline
over-the-top enthusiasm, but I can’t tell you how
how strongly I object to the linear fitness ap-
awesome it feels to be fitter, healthier, and more
proach favored by Conventional Wisdom—a life
energetic at 57 then I felt at 27 or 37. Lifelong
of graphs, schedules, weekly progressions, and
functional fitness can be yours too, in as little as a
beeping watches.
few hours a week of PBF style exercise.
The PBF Schedule cont’d
5

Primal Blueprint Fitness is built around a very
The actual prescription is simple: conduct an av-
simple formula that draws from recent work done
erage of one sprint workout a week, two brief,
in modern exercise physiology labs—as well as
but intense, strength sessions a week, accompa-
from what we know of evolutionary biology—to
nied by plenty of low level aerobic activity (your
arrive at the perfect exercise prescription for max-
choice), play and rest. It’s that simple. While a
imizing fitness with the least amount of time and
week represents an arbitrary block of time on
suffering. PBF workouts are based on real world
the continuum of pursuing lifelong fitness, and I
natural movements that result in functional fitness.
like to allow for plenty of fluctuation in my weekly,
PBF combines simple full-body workouts, using
monthly or annual exercise patterns, it’s helpful
as many muscles in combination as possible, with
to get a picture of a suggested PBF-style rou-
occasional short anaerobic bursts, and then regu-
tine that might fit with your busy life and allow
lar longer, easier aerobic efforts to effectively work
for proper recovery between challenging efforts.
every muscle, energy and performance system in
On the following page you will find the suggested
the body. The science supporting this strategy is
PBF Weekly Schedule.
irrefutable. After all, it’s what our ancestors did for
two million years, adapting to selection pressures
in their environment to survive and become lean,
healthy, fit, and strong.
The PBF Schedule cont’d
6

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