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The Caveman’s Guide to Food and Fitness
There are any number of weight loss plans and fitness programs available to suit almost any level of masochism. For the most part, weight loss plans emphasize a high complex carbohydrate/low fat diet, regimented meals, portion control, and severe calorie restrictions. Oh, and it also helps to have good genes because, like it or not, some of our weight management issues are hereditary. (That’s not to say you should just complain that everyone in your family is overweight and console yourself with another piece of chocolate cake.)
We’re told that the best way to fill up without filling up is to eat plenty (6-11 servings a day) of whole-grain breads and cereals, rice, corn, and pasta. Fiber (conveniently found in the aforementioned whole grains or supplements), they say, improves gastrointestinal function, lowers cholesterol, speeds elimination, helps control weight by minimizing calorie intake.
We must avoid saturated animal fats because “eating fat makes you fat” and eggs (except for egg whites) because egg yolks can raise our cholesterol levels and endanger our heart. For best results, we’re advised to eat three meals (or six small meals) a day and warned not to skip meals (because skipped meals cause slowed metabolism, lower energy levels, sugar cravings, and future risk of binge eating). ) or to eat between meals (because of the risk of overeating and because the foods we eat as a snack tend to be less nutritious). It would indeed be a good idea, we are told, to keep a diary of everything we eat and to count every calorie.
In terms of fitness, we’re urged to spend our energy on cardio workouts (a minimum of 30 minutes a day, three times a week — but more is better) and strength training with stress (pun intended) on lifting up. to failure (the point where you can’t do more) through a sequence of postings that requires active membership in a gym or fitness center, preferably with a personal trainer, and an hour or more per session.
There is an alternative. Mark Sisson, a serious competitive athlete, says: “I ran and cycled thousands of miles every year, hit the gym several days a week, stretched like crazy every day… I sacrificed, endured and suffered because I really believed it was necessary to get a healthy, slim and fit body… my devotion to fitness has seriously affected my health.” Sisson has spent the last two decades exploring what it really means to be a strong, fit, thin, healthy and happy human being. Using an imaginary (not unreal, just imagined) primeval man called Grok, Sisson has developed a nutrition and fitness program he calls “The Primal Blueprint.”
Grok was a hunter/gatherer who could conjure bursts of strength or speed to save his life when he occasionally had to, occasionally follow a tired animal for hours, climb a tree, carry heavy objects, and generally exhibit a good level of fitness rounded that provided preparation for all situations. The caveman’s diet (actually, we don’t know whether or not Grok lived in a cave. But he probably didn’t live on a split-level ranch) included meat—as much as he could kill and carry—animal fats, any eggs he could to find, nuts and berries, fruits and vegetables. He pursued a “feast or famine” type of eating plan: eating as much as he wanted when it was available, occasionally fasting when food was scarce. He didn’t worry much about calories or cholesterol, although occasionally he might worry about where the next meal would come from.
Interestingly, despite the occasional intense physical demands of his lifestyle and the occasional scarcity of food, Grok probably enjoyed more leisure and quality time with his family than many of his modern counterparts. The Primal Blueprint, based on Sisson’s research, emphasizes a high fat/moderate protein/low carbohydrate diet eaten in self-contained, sporadic meals (eat when hungry) with occasional fasting introduced to aid weight loss. weight. “Don’t worry about portion control, regimented meals, fanatic exercise, or even a family’s genetic predisposition,” says Sisson. “Calorie restriction with extreme exercise leads inexorably to long-term failure.”
According to the Primal Blueprint, saturated fat should be the main dietary calorie source (from animal foods). These saturated fats have driven human evolution/progress of brain function for two million years. Promotes efficient fat metabolism, weight control and stable energy levels. One of the major risk factors for heart disease is actually metabolic syndrome, driven by excess polyunsaturated fatty acids, insufficient omega-3s, high carbohydrates, excess insulin (from sugars and starches), and excessively stressful lifestyles.
Sisson takes a similar no-nonsense approach to fitness. His program employs three types of exercises similar to what Grok and his family might have used:
Move frequently at a slow pace
This includes walking, biking, swimming, hiking, playing games, and easy cardio that raises your heart rate to 55-75% of your maximum for 2-5 hours a week.
Lift heavy things
According to the plan, the heavy thing you’ll be lifting is your own body as you perform an exercise regimen that includes pushups, pullups, squats, overhead presses, and the plank one to three times a week for 7 to 60 minutes.
All-out effort running, cycling, swimming, or rowing for no more than ten minutes every 7-10 days.
This “caveman” (or cavewoman) approach to weight management and fitness is an uncommon approach that is doable.
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