In my 1st installment I talked about what the primal lifestyle is all about and promised to get into food, and physical fitness in greater detail.
I covered real food in my second installment.
Before I dive headfirst into the 3rd, I’d like to observe that I get a lot of questions from people around asking me what diet is this, and how do I know it will work as compared to numerous come and go diets out there. The answer is in the simplicity of the philosophy. Eat and live the way we were meant to. And of course once again, it’s not a diet. It’s a lifestyle where you incorporate activities and habits in your life that us humans as a species were meant to do.
Here’s what our species were NOT designed to do:
1) Sit in chairs for long hours.
2) Run at the same pace for hours everyday. (Marathon anyone?)
3) Workout for an hour exercising small muscles, or targeting a spot.
4) Do the same workout/ activity day in and day out, week on week, month on month.
5) Go crazy on cardio. (Chronic cardio)
6) Workout for 2 hours everyday. (rigidity and monotony)
7) Do no activity for days/ weeks on end.
Primal fitness is fairly simple. It’s almost magical, how little you need to do to stay fit. Keep in mind I am talking about the average person who wants to be fit and healthy here and not an athlete.
In keeping with the theme, allow me to paint a pretty picture.
For most of human history, we were nomads and foraged for food. So a lot of walking at a slow leisurely pace took up the bulk of physical movement.
While walking some amount of frolic and play took place. A chase broke out; someone climbed a tree then jumped down. There were a lot of giggles all around. All this while the sun shone overhead.
It got dark and the tribe stopped to camp. Where they stopped was a nice spot with a stream nearby so they decided to stay put. After a few days they got tired of the fish and berries around and one group decided to hunt. They walked a fair bit before they spotted a herd of bison and took off at full speed after them. The two slowest were killed and they lifted the heavy deadweight or dragged it back to the camp.
In the meanwhile, the rest of the group had not walked nor hunt in the last few days; they sat around telling tales (not on chairs but in a deep squat), playing, sleeping, eating, and chilling.
While this picture takes on many many shades, here are the basics:
1) Physical activity was pretty random. No waking up every morning fighting the alarm to go to the gym where they trudged through the workout watching the clock. When you workout slightly randomly your body reacts better. When you do the same thing in a set routine, your body becomes more efficient in burning energy, which is why exercise tends to become less effective. Having said that I agree today we need routine in our busy lives, but at least the workouts if not the timings should be mixed up as far as possible.
2) Slow movement. Mark Sisson at Marks Daily Apple has waxed eloquent about moving slowly, walking, yoga, hiking (if you’re lucky) whatever you like. This should be the bulk of your exercise regimen. Read here and here for the why. Just being more active by moving more, taking breaks from sitting, taking the stairs instead of the lift, going for a leisurely walk after dinner could be the difference between you today and a healthier you. We were born to walk, and not run.
3) Moving faster. A brisk walk or a light jog could be something that you can incorporate as a workout once in awhile. While moving slowly should happen everyday by being more active, moving faster can be incorporated once in a while when you need a boost of energy.
4) Sprint. Sprints take far less time and are far more effective than jogging.
Sprints stimulate the production of testosterone (important for libido and muscle building). They increase the secretion of growth hormone (crucial for fat-burning). They improve insulin sensitivity and increase endurance and develop fast-twitch muscle fibers (the muscle fibers that look impressive and allow us to make powerful, quick movements).
Sprints are an absolute must for anyone. There are tons of ways to do sprints. Check out Tabata sprints on youtube or just find a place to run as fast as u can till you run out of breath, slow down and recover, and take off again 4 or 5 times and work it up as you go along. When you sprint, it takes all of 10 minutes and you’re done for the day. You can even do this on a treadmill if you love the gym or the swimming pool.
Have a look at a sprint vs jog comparison I’d done a while ago.
5) Lifting heavy. Today we don’t really need strength to save our lives. But can you call yourself fit if you cannot lift your luggage of the carousal or up some stairs, or if you can’t rearrange furniture for a party?
There are 5 basic movements, which are functional and effective and use the entire body (and variations – weighted and non weighted –t here after.)
5) overhead press
by doing a combination of these even a couple of times a week with variations, you will be working out all your core muscles. All these movements involve pushing and pulling and core. Instead of working out small muscle groups, they involve larger muscles which in turn make you stronger and burn fat and build lean muscle mass.
If you want a rough idea on how to exercise with primal movements, read this.
By exercising like this and getting away from long hours at the gym or long sessions of running when you dread it, you’ll discover fun ways to work out and push the limit.
Also doing the same thing over and over again, and over doing the workout sometimes not only makes you plateau but can also make you fat due to the excess cortisol!
Thanks for reading! Hope you found this helpful! Let me know in the comments!