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Who do I think I am?

SHORT VERSION:

Over the last 10 years, I’ve made myself a human guinea pig.  I have tried every workout in (or outside) the gym and diet under the sun, and only Jay Cutler has taken more supplements than I have.

I’ve neurotically carried Tupperware to Christmas parties, done biceps for 2 hours and chugged enough Creatine + Protein + complex-carb shaker cups (you know what I’m talking about) to choke a herd of Ronnie Colemans.

I’ve wasted more time in the kitchen, the gym, in the aisles of the grocery store, and on the internet researching this stuff than you can imagine and I’m better off for it.  But why should you go through all that if I already have?

PBB = taking in all the available information regarding health and fitness, cutting out the extraneous, the silly, the confusing and the time consuming, to create a platform for physique development that is so deceptively simple that many who read the core concepts without attempting them simply will not believe it to be possible.

The last couple of years, I’ve been helping those closest to me (because they can’t get away from me to avoid my unsolicited advice) to get in the best health and shape of their life.  I am now ready to share these concepts with anyone who will listen (or read…).

The Tao of Primal Body Building is maximizing results while minimizing effort.  Don’t confuse it though.  Reducing effort doesn’t mean what we do here is easy.

LONG VERSION:

I think it’s safe to say most avid & active dieter/lifters lean a bit towards the “more is better,” possibly slightly neurotic style of weightloss/strength.  I empathize, because I was in that boat.

I’ve tried every bodybuilding diet, cutting diet, etc.  3 meals a day turned into 5, turned into 6 and at my peak I was eating 7-8 times a day… totally insane.  I carried tupperware to work, brought food to family parties and have stayed in when I should have gone and enjoyed myself.

I have tried Atkins, Zone, Anabolic, Ultimate Diet 2.0, FLEX magazine, the ABS diet, you name it.  Orthorexia is an unhealthy obsession with eating healthy and I promise you I was that.

Sure, I lost some weight using those strategies (after college I was eating like a football player and working out like a couch potato, any change would have probably worked).  I went from 208 down to about 195ish by doing what those diet books told me, but I plateaued.  Despite adding in cardio and lifting 6 days a week, my weight stuck.  Not to mention how hungry I was.

The thing I realized as time went on was that I was working AGAINST my body rather than WITH it to be healthy and lean.

My current profession is as an Analyst for a major market research company, and I’m good at what I do.  The reason I am paid every two weeks is because I excel at taking multitudes of seemingly incomprehensible data and turning it into something easily digestible.  This is why, despite my “lack” of nutrition/fitness certifications, I believe that you can trust my conclusions.

In addition, I am hypoglycaemic.  If you arrived here looking for a way to cope with blood sugar issues, I believe I can both empathize and help.  I could never skip a meal before my diet changed.  I could never even go more than 3 hours without being ravenously hungry.  As a grown person, working a cubicle-oriented position, this was a major imposition on both my time and my mental health at work.

In my spare time (and on my company’s time…) I started doing TONS of research on all things diet, nutrition and health and I’ve come to widdle it down to a core group of concepts that start with just having a healthy relationship with food and working out.  No more calorie counting or trying to ” burn more than you consume.”  No longer having to worry about working out everyday or eating as little as possible; it’s an unbelievable burden I couldn’t appreciate fully until after I fixed these things – and something I hope to pass on to anyone who comes to PBB.

Since you took the time to read through that (snooze fest!), it’s only fair that I share more detail about my conclusions.

“Nothing in Biology Makes Sense Except in the Light of Evolution,” – Theodore Dobzhansky

Any time a diet guru starts prattling on about macronutrient ratios and the benefits of soy milk, think about the above statement.  We didn’t evolve to eat foods that can’t be plucked from the ground or ripped off a bone (yea, I said it).  Let that be your shiny-new internal BS detector.  Any time someone tells you something about nutrition/fitness, if it doesn’t pass the test of: “could this apply to a cave man?” then it doesn’t pass muster.  I’m not saying there aren’t advances in how we train, or everything old is the best, so relax.

Just know this: if you don’t have a post workout shake, your muscles won’t shrivel up or fall off… because occasionally we may have failed as hunters and could have gone a day (or three) without eating.  The only thing that makes your muscles shrivel or fall off is not using them.  Put simply: humans are weak animals from a power to weight ratio.  We cannot afford to get softer and weaker than we already are everytime we skip a “feeding window.”

“…we have not spent the last 65 million or so years finely honing our physiology to watch Oprah. Like it or not, we are the product of a very long process of adaptation to a harsh physical existence, and the past couple centuries of comparative ease and plenty are not enough time to change our genome. We humans are at our best when our existence mirrors, or at least simulates, the one we are still genetically adapted to live. And that is the purpose of exercise.” – Mark Rippetoe

Current whacky food and exercise choices run contrary to our inherant nature.  Fatness is a new (say, the last 8-10,000 years) luxury for humans, brought on by these whacky choices.

In order to illistrate this point, I would like to make a simple allusion to the wild outdoors.

You never see a fat lion.

Why?  Think back to anytime you’ve seen a lion on the Discovery Channel, they don’t do shit all day, right?  Just like today’s youth, lions of all ages seem to lounge around all day, and then… ROOOOAAAAAR.   The lion is out taking down elephants and tracking Zebra.

Think about the difference between human sprinters and marathoners.  One is lean and very muscular, despite significantly less work (definition of work, in this case being = time invested in training in a given period, ie. 10 sprints @ 20 seconds vs 10 miles @ 6.5 min).

When a lion is active, it is intense activity.  They sprint down a zebra, drag it back to camp, eat and sleep.  The next day, they go back to laying around, outside of a bit of walking, until they get hungry again.

So – when working, work.  HARD.

“Predators in the wild only hunt when they are hungry”  – Ori Hofmekler, author of “The Warrior Diet”

Ahh… Fasting.  The only thing I have found that could cure my obsessive compulsive desire to gulp down protein shakes and eat 3 pieces of celery with a tablespoon of almond butter 3 times per day.  Every day.  I thought I could only go 2-3 hours without eating or my muscles would fall off.  I ate food at the gym (I’m not kidding, I’ve been spotted munching down a chicken breast at the gym) to ward off the dreaded catabolism.  I drank shakes as I was walking out the door AFTER I ate a chicken breast during.  Very. Very.  Sad.  Sad, and a tremendous waste of time, effort and brain power.

Even once I tried fasting, I still certainly didn’t think I would be ONLY lifting after a full day fast.  No joke, I lift only fasted now, and my muscles haven’t fallen off (yet).  I’ve only gotten stronger, setting new lifting personal bests on a regular basis.  Why is that?

As I’ve come to learn, and I will share more as this blog develops, fasted training sets off scores of hormonal changes,  increasing our perpensity to gain strength and keep/gain muscle, as well as augmenting our ability to affectively utilize body fat for energy. 

Why is a lion lean?  1. Because it would suck having to sprint around with extra fat on the body (and the body is smart enough to recognize this), and 2. because, just like you, the lion gets all the food it needs, thus no further need to store body fat.  Hormonally, the lion’s body recognizes this and turns on/off the correct series of chemicals in its body to help it lean out and get stronger – once the stimulus has been sent that improvements need to be made.

It’s called Gene Expression.  How you workout sends the signal to your body of HOW you should look.  How you eat DETERMINES whether you get there or not.

The conlusion is simple: To improve how we look, feel and perform, we have to work with our bodies, rather than against tme.  In order to most efficiently work with our bodies, we must use diet and exercise in a way that attempts to mirror our paleolithic past.

Your body is an amazing instrument of adaptation.  Why not use that to your advantage, rather than try to ram fat-loss down its throat?  Your body is not a frail, wussified husk that must be protected at all times as conventional wisdom would have you believe.    The current nutritional mainstream and conventional wisdom tell you that you are meant to be fat and you have to wage an all out war with your body on a daily basis to stave off obesity, cancer and heart attack.

Screw that.  I choose to work with my body to find a place right in the center of peak health, strength and leanness.

I know what I’m suggesting is counter to the Biggest-Loser-Jillian-Michaels-you’re-fat-because-you’re-stupid-and-lazy conventional wisdom, but reader, you’re neither stupid nor lazy… how could you have found this little ol’ website if you were lazy?  If their plans and concepts were right, you would be ripped and stay ripped.

Please follow along with me on this fitness odyssey.  I hope to continue to learn, grow and adapt, and this site is dedicated to that pursuit.

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