Before I get too far into the details, I feel like I should make something very clear. This is my journey, my chosen path to a better life. I’m in no way an expert on the topics of health, fitness or nutrition, so I’m not here to tell you what you should or shouldn’t do. I just wanted to share my experiences as I go along, including my successes as well as my failures. If I’m fortunate enough, I’ll see more success and might even inspire others to make changes – even if you choose a different path to a healthier life.
The Primal Blueprint
With that said, I’m following the principles outlined in the The Primal Blueprint. If you’re not familiar with it, The Primal Blueprint is a dead simple approach to fitness and nutrition. The main premise is the eat, sleep and move in ways that our bodies were designed or as nature intended. The primary concept here is that while our bodies have not evolved much from our paleolithic ancestors, our lifestyles have changed drastically, and for the worse. In future posts, I’ll get into the details as to what this ultimately means, but it really boils down to the following guidelines:
Fitness: Pretty straight-forward and sensible. You can view the ebook here.
- Move slowly, frequently – Go for a walk, a light jog or bike ride. Try to get in 3-5 hours a week.
- Sprint occasionally – Once a week, do a sprint routine.
- Lift heavy things – Once or twice a week, do some heavy lifting. Body weight exercises work just fine.
Nutrition: Eat the natural foods our bodies were designed to consume.
- No grains. Refined, whole or otherwise. Wheat, rice, corn (that’s right, it’s a grain), etc. are off limits. There’s a good reason behind this that the author explains in great detail.
- Eat “good” proteins. Preferably from organic, non-grain fed animals. Wild meat being highly recommended.
- Eat even more vegetables. When you look at your plate, your veggies should crowd your meat. Also, avoid high carbohydrate vegetables (e.g. white potatoes).
- Moderate fruits. While they’re generally nutrient dense, they can also be high in sugar.
- Avoid dairy. For me, this is easy since I’m lactose intolerant. But it’s still a bit of a grey area. The author has written a definitive guide for anyone who’s interested.
- Eat until you’re satisfied. You don’t have to count calories, but you should still exercise good judgement. Eat until you’re satisfied, not until you’re stuffed. No matter what quality of food you eat, gorging is gorging. Eating excessive calories will most likely result putting on more pounds.
As you can see, the fitness side of this approach is sensible and sustainable. If you’re totally out-of-shape, it’s pretty easy to start of easy and work your way up. I walk my dogs for a several miles a day so the “move slowly frequently” principle is a no-brainer for me. I just walk at a faster pace. The weight and sprint routines only need to be performed once a week minimum. You can do more if you’re more ambitious. Either way, I can easily see myself following this routine for the rest of my life vs. something like P90x, which I just don’t have to fortitude to stomach (not a knock against P90x, just being honest with myself).
The nutrition side is a little more challenging, to be honest. I’m Vietnamese and my wife is Italian, so rice, pasta and bread were staples of our diets since childhood. We’ve been following the Primal Blueprint for a few months now and I have to say, the first two weeks were hell. We literally went through carb withdrawal. Once we cleared the first two weeks though, the cravings eased up and we felt the difference in general physical and mental states. Best of all, once you’ve eliminated that “bad” foods from your diet, it’s very straight-forward. I don’t have to count calories or macronutrients. I eat until I’m satisfied
Again, as I stated above, these are the principles I’ve chosen to follow, in my quest for optimal health. Are there sacrifices to made? Absolutely, but any good fitness/nutrition plan has sacrifices. I’ve just determined, based on my personal preferences, that the sacrifices in the Primal Blueprint were worthwhile and made perfect sense – for me. They may make perfect sense for everyone, but that’s not what I’m doing here. I’m not interested in judging anyone else’s choices or lifestyle. I just hope that this works for me and inspires you to follow suit.
Hello, and a very warm welcome to Revival of the Fittest – a site dedicated to the pursuit of life, as nature intended. If you’re anything like me, you are likely on a path of self destruction. You’re spending most of your day sitting on your ass keeping the wheels of commerce in motion with keyboard strokes and mouse gestures, or something similarly mundane.
When you go home, you’ll grab some garbage-laden super-sized meal from the drive-thru, because it’s convenient, plop your dumper into a chair and spend the rest of your night staring at the TV, freaking out of video games or camp out in front of your home computer to surf the net. You’ll do this until it’s way too late, then finally go to bed with the TV on. After you’ve finally crashed, your alarm will go off way too early and you’ll drag your sorry self out of bed, sleep deprived and repeat the same damn thing all over again. Many of you know what I’m talking about. You’ve done this or some close variation of it.
This is the good life, right? Eat what you want and as much of it as you can fit into your gut. Then, sit back, relax and exert as little physical effort as possible. Now, step out your body and look at yourself. Proud of your hard work? I doubt it. This way of life is suicide. Just like smoking, this the prolonged version of putting the barrel in your mouth and pulling the trigger.
The statistics are there. In America, cases of obesity and Type 2 diabetes are through the roof. Our solution? Medication. Pharmaceuticals are making money hand over fist because they have “solutions” to our health problems. Solutions that work well enough to keep the symptoms at bay, but not actually cure.
I’m not interested in being a statistic. I want to be an anomaly. I want to be the guy who made the right choices. The guy who lived a long, healthy and active life — up until the day I keel over while chasing my great grand kids in the backyard. When my kids come to clean out my house, I hope they find a fridge stocked with real food and a medicine cabinet barren of prescription drugs.
This is my journey to change my life in real, meaningful way. To become healthy, inside and out, mentally and physically — through some serious life style adjustments that I can sustain for the remaining days, weeks, months and years of my life.
This is my quest. This is the Revival of the fittest.
I’m a 30-something working stiff currently living in Austin, TX. When my workday comes to an end, I’m making the best effort I can to get into the best shape of my life, for the rest of my life - through better nutrition, consistent movement and helping my running buddy, Kiba, burn off his energy.
You can track my workouts on RunKeeper.