What is the Paleo/Primal Diet? Part 6: Fitness

So far it’s been all about food; what to eat, what not to eat, how to eat it, and when to eat it to maximize fat burning. But only “80% of your body composition will be determined by your diet.” Included in the other 20% is exercise.

A lot of people think of “exercise” as work. You may think,  ugh, I have to go to the gym and ride the bike for three hours until the monitor says I burned 500 calories. It’s not like that; at least it’s not in the Primal world. Exercise can be anything from walking to jogging, running, biking, swimming, surfing, kayaking, hiking, playing etc. And when you’re Primal, that’s most of the exercise you’ll do.Humans evolved to be slow-moving, fat burning beasts. We weren’t constructed to constantly be in a sprint, ready for an all out fist fight at every turn. In the beginning, Grok was a gatherer, scavenging on whatever animal kills were left by animal predators to take. Then Grok became a hunter; he could stalk a deer invisibly for hours at a time then carefully, make a quick move in for the kill and take down the prize. One kill could feed his family a week or longer, depending on the size of the animal.

Today, if you showed up to your butcher’s counter with a spear, not having showered in six months, stalking the poor guy’s every movement, you may be removed from the store, but in principle, we are still the same as Grok was 10,000 years ago. We may not physically be in the hunt anymore. But the idea of moving around slowly most of the time then suddenly giving an all out effort is embedded in Primal fitness.

There are three basic principles involved in Primal fitness:

1. Move Slowly, Move Frequently

The first step in building a foundation in Primal fitness is to move around at a pace 55-75% of your VO2 max 2-5 hours every week. The most crucial mistake people make is forgetting to enjoy life! Walking the dog, canoeing, taking a long bike ride, playing and hiking are all ways to move around and enjoy life at the same time. Getting this easy level of cardio not only builds up your  cardiovascular endurance to be able to handle more intense exercise, but it has been proven that simply walking can help keep your brain healthy. 
2. Lift Heavy Weights
Grok moved around slowly, but he also needed to build shelter regularly to sleep in and be protected from nature’s worst. To do so he would be pushing, pulling and lifting heavy rocks, dragging fallen trees, and jumping over blockages. In the modern world, filled with skyscrapers and bustling cities, it’s not necessary (usually) to be doing that kind of day-to-day work, so instead, we mirror Grok’s workout’s by doing brief, functional, full-body exercises 1-3 times per week lasting between seven and 30 minutes at a time. Squats, lunges, dead-lifts, and even jumps are all explosive, full-body movements which mirror ancestral fitness and give your muscles the work they need to stay in shape.
3. Go All Out!
So you started to get more walking into your daily routine and have made functional fitness a must two to three times a week. So what else? Now it’s time to add one ten minute sprint session every seven to ten days. Studies show that “sprinting is more effective for fat loss vs. low intensity walking or cycling for hours on end.” A “sprint” can be taken literally or can be done on a bike, or even in the pool. This effort should be at 95% or even 100% of your VO2 max; this means you need to push yourself! A great way to get the most out of these sprints is to workout with a partner and help push each other. But remember, its a sprint; so it will be over soon!
There are three basic parts to Primal fitness: Move slowly frequently, Lift heavy things, and Go All Out. Every week get several hours of easy-going, slow-moving exercise, two to three times a week lift heavy weights to build muscle and burn fat, and once every several days, make an all out effort to give your fat burning process a giant boost. If you can master these three basic concepts, you’re well on your way to becoming a functional, free-moving, and fit Primal athlete.

About The Author

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As a recent recent high school graduate, I've seen a lot of kids struggling with health and fitness over my years in school. I went Primal when my physical trainer helped me really focus on my physical well-being in training for my baseball career. I credit a large percentage of my health and well being on and off the baseball field to my Primal lifestyle. An idea came to the my mind to create a website where kids going into college could find great information on health and nutrition as well as functional fitness. I am extremely excited to be able to write about health in the college world, as a lot of times kids forget how to eat healthy when they go off to the college world. While we saw this as an opportunity to reach out to the college world, we also wanted this site to be a resource for people of all ages struggling with their health as a place for them to go and find great resources and information. Feel free to email me or Max at cavemancollege@gmail.com with any questions you may have. Email Josh at joshsinger11@gmail.com.

One Response

  1. Phalakone Mysay
    Phalakone Mysay August 5, 2012 at 2:15 pm | | Reply

    Funny post…

    I used the same picture (paleo man) in my video explaining what is the paleo diet? (in a sexy tv show)

    Take a look:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bImidIWJ-Ag

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