It’s Monday, everyone! And that means another Primal Blueprint Real Life Story from a Mark’s Daily Apple reader. If you have your own success story and would like to share it with me and the Mark’s Daily Apple community please contact me here. I’ll continue to publish these each Monday as long as they keep coming in. Thank you for reading!

Yup, success stories are back! And I’m looking for more. Follow-ups, mid-progress reflections—every story at every stage has the potential to inspire folks out there who are getting started or contemplating a new beginning. Contact me here to share your story. You never know who you’ll impact by doing it. Enjoy, everybody!

One of my greatest passions since early adulthood has been health and fitness. Yet, I can honestly say that my health has had its fair share of ups and downs over the last 35 years.

My generation played outside…we didn’t have computers back then. I participated in sports, I was very active, and I was lean and strong. My work was also very physical, so I stayed fit until my early 30s. A progressive shoulder injury ultimately led me to a sales career. I then discovered a hidden talent: the ability to pack on weight…60 pounds in less than 3 months. This also led to foot, ankle, knee, hip and lower back issues.

In 2002, I became a personal trainer. In 2003, I also started coaching. In the beginning of my career, I took my clients through brutal workouts, but over time I switched to workouts designed to alleviate pain and correct muscular and skeletal imbalances.

In 2009, I discovered The Primal Blueprint. This was the greatest health and fitness concept I’d ever come across, and it took my health and fitness to an entirely new level.

At the time the Paleo/Primal diet flew in the face of conventional wisdom. Ten years later, it’s practically mainstream…because it made perfect sense and because it flat out works! Over the next 5 years, my strength and energy levels increased as the body fat decreased. Life was good.

And then suddenly, it wasn’t.

From June 2014 – May 2015, I was crushed by some major life challenges. As a result, I suffered from depression and emotional eating and drinking. I had officially hit rock bottom! By May 2015, I had lost most of my strength gains and a lot of muscle mass, but I had ballooned up to 220 pounds. At this point I had enough. I needed a change. I needed to start over.

In July 2015, I moved to Portland, Oregon, which proved to be one of the best things I had ever done. I started working out again, and I became extremely active. I was back on track!

I found myself adhering more and more to the Primal Blueprint Laws once again. After going Primal again, by November 2016, I had lost 90 pounds of body fat, and I added back some muscle. For the first time in my life I had 6-pack abs…at the age of 53! And I’ve kept it off!

In the fall of 2017, I discovered Primal Health Coach Certification program. I was officially certified in early 2018. Since I already had a fitness background, this was an absolute no-brainer for me! The Primal lifestyle changed my life, and I decided to make it my mission to help others as well. I’ve overcome many obstacles: physical issues, chronic pain, rapid weight gain, depression, emotional eating, food addiction and alcoholism.

Since receiving my certification…

What I have learned through the Primal Health Coaching program has allowed me to serve all types of clients, with different needs, at a higher level than I ever dreamed possible. Since graduating, I’ve been building my health coaching business, creating my website, posting on social media and reaching out to friends, family and past clients for referrals. But the best thing I’ve done is to network with a local chiropractor. One of my areas of expertise is pain reduction, so this was a great fit for both of us.

Rick Stype, PHC

The post Overcoming Life’s Obstacles With Primal Living appeared first on Mark’s Daily Apple.

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It’s Monday, everyone! And that means another Primal Blueprint Real Life Story from a Mark’s Daily Apple reader. If you have your own success story and would like to share it with me and the Mark’s Daily Apple community please contact me here. I’ll continue to publish these each Monday as long as they keep coming in. Thank you for reading!

Yup, success stories are back! And I’m looking for more. Follow-ups, mid-progress reflections—every story at every stage has the potential to inspire folks out there who are getting started or contemplating a new beginning. Contact me here. Enjoy, everybody!

This week’s return to success stories features a contemporary of mine. (Yup, those of us in our 60s want to show what’s possible.) I hope you enjoy this follow-up story from reader Bob Connor. You’ll find his original success story reprinted below along with an inspiring update on where he is (and what he’s up to) now. 

ORIGINAL STORY:

Dear Mark,

I am an Athletic Director at an international school in Santiago, Chile; having arrived here this past July, from another school in Bangkok, Thailand. I am 57 years old (like you!), and I have been endeavoring to follow a Primal lifestyle for just over two years now. I had previously tried being a vegetarian, and then added some fish, but I did not feel much different or better. So, I started eating Primally and after the first few weeks (a tough adjustment with deleting all the grains and starchy carbs I had been eating), I began to notice some changes. I no longer would get any bloated/gassy discomfort, and I always felt “lean.” Additionally, my energy level increased and I honestly now feel like I have more energy these days than I did 5-10 years ago!

I have recently started the Primal Fitness routines and exercise suggestions, and the overall flexibility of the program has helped greatly—it is easy to adapt and modify depending on your schedule, and your overall motivation levels. Plus, I feel that I have gained a great deal of “functional fitness,” which is crucial. I also continue to use my TRX suspension trainer, and usually try to work out in my Vibram FiveFingers, along with doing various other bodyweight/core training workouts. Overall, I am feeling great as I enter my 7th decade on this planet!

My real story though, is more about helping others, which you have made your “mission,” Mark. When I started living Primally and feeling/looking better, people started noticing, and would ask me questions. I then began to spread the many benefits of this awesome lifestyle. In the past two years, I have purchased around 15 copies of THE PRIMAL BLUEPRINT, and given the book as a gift to friends whom I felt were truly interested, and would “give it a try.” I have also bought some Grok On t-shirts for some good friends who have “gone primal,” and I continue to regularly purchase some of your supplements, and recently some new Primal Fuel and the Primal Leap Kit. Reading your website daily and feeling the great effects of being Primal has really made me want to share as much info as possible with friends and colleagues. When I receive positive feedback from people, it is a great feeling—one which you experience every day, Mark!

For me—this is one of my favorites from a good friend still teaching in Thailand, as he had just returned from a summer trip to the U.S.—

Just wanted to say thanks again for changing my life. Had a great summer. Bought the FiveFinger KSOs, and working out is even more fun than before! Big difference.

Being in the states was challenging for me in terms of eating Primal. Stayed with my mom and dad, and they eat like typical Americans. Been back in Bangkok for a month now and have regained all the strength, explosiveness, and stamina that I lost in the US. Amazing how one month of eating junk can change the body’s performance.

I now feel and look great again. I have lots of energy and feel totally rejuvenated in life. I owe you so much.

Take care,
Andrew

I have several other affirmations from friends and even some high school students also, but I have gone on long enough already. I often get funny looks and comments when people see my FiveFingers shoes on my feet, and many others wonder why I refuse to eat the typical “conventional-Western” diet. I try to explain the many reasons, all based on research and evidence (thank you again!), but most just shrug me off and think I am nuts—including some of my own family members. Yet, this only encourages me, as I am definitely committed to staying on this Primal journey, and I will continue to spread your message to whomever I think will listen. I am convinced that this is the ONLY way to go, and I now think that my next job will be in the health-fitness profession. I agree with my friend Andrew—I owe you so much, Mark!

Thanks for listening, and as always – GROK ON!

UPDATE:

I started my personal primal journey back in 2009 with my first success story featured on Mark’s Daily Apple in 2010.

Five years later, I became one of the original “Legacy” Primal Blueprint Certified Experts completing the first iteration of the Primal Health Coach Institute course—recently passing the recertification exam and studying all of the extensive information in the amazing Business Resource Center. It feels great to stay up-to-date on the latest Primal Health Coach education!

After a long career as an educator in numerous international schools, I retired from my last full-time position at the International School Bangkok in Thailand in June 2018. Following my retirement from education, I started my new small business venture as a Primal Health Coach here in Bangkok with a good number of clients ready to sign up for my services. I have been a coach for most of my 35+ years in education, almost entirely with student-athletes on various sports teams, so moving into Primal Health Coaching has been a smooth transition.

For the previous few years, I had been teaching free large group fitness classes for the teachers and staff at the school. Attendance was always quite good, with anywhere from 15-30+ people showing up each week for my Fitness Fun sessions. I am now paid by the school to lead two classes a week (people still attend free of charge), now known Primal Power Fitness Fun sessions.

Additionally, a number of teachers, parents, staff and downtown Bangkok residents have become Primal Power clients. I work with 25-30 people on a weekly basis as their health coach and/or fitness trainer.

This new venture has been incredibly gratifying with wonderful client results. It feels so great to be pursuing my true passion in life—passing on my knowledge and expertise of all things PRIMAL!!

Besides coaching and teaching, I have been partnering with a paleo-friendly grocery company in Bangkok, offering seminars, workshops and presentations on various health and wellness topics to a variety of audiences in the city. My presentations always include a number of concepts from the Primal Blueprint lifestyle, which inevitably bring up both typical questions and surprising comments from conventional wisdom viewpoints.

For all of this, I am incredibly grateful to Mark Sisson himself (I believe we are both the same age), and to the entire Primal Health Coach Institute community: program administrators, graduates and current students. I continue to learn so much on a daily basis from the facebook posts, webinars and PHCI blog posts. And of course, from the Mark’s Daily Apple posts where it all started!

At 66 years young, I can honestly say that I have more consistent energy on a daily basis, and I believe that I am physically stronger than I was 20 years ago! Following a primal lifestyle has been incredibly effective, and I genuinely believe that others will benefit similarly if they adopt the basic primal rules of living awesomely!

Read more about Bob’s journey and his passion for Primal living. Have YOU had success with Primal living and/or keto eating? Share your success story by emailing me here. Thanks, everybody, and have a great week.

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The post Retired, Reborn and Pursuing My Passion appeared first on Mark’s Daily Apple.

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ANNOUNCEMENT: Beginning next week we’ll be taking a short break from Success Stories to make room for another popular reader request: a video cooking series. Yup, Dr. Lindsay Taylor and I will meet you in the kitchen each Monday morning through June to cook up some Primal and Primal-keto favorites (all part of a bigger announcement I’ll be making this week). In the meantime, you can check out the amazing archive of Primal Blueprint Real Life Stories from Mark’s Daily Apple readers. And if you have your own success story and would like to share it with me and the Mark’s Daily Apple community, please contact me here. I’d love to hear from you. And now for today’s inspirational story…. Enjoy, everyone, and thanks for reading.

My story goes back to being a Jazz Piano Studies major in college. I was getting ready to graduate, and was planning a wedding with my high school sweetheart. At the start of my last semester in college my now wife was hit with a life changing diagnosis: non-Hodgkins lymphoma. This was at the age of 22. Our life was put on hold as we entered the strange world of cancer treatment. As the chemotherapy started, we would ask questions like “should we be eating a certain way?” Often we were laughed at by doctors and my wife was told to simply eat.

The food in the hospital was mostly processed carbohydrate and dessert based. Knowing what we know now about cancer being a mostly metabolic disease, it is horrifying that cancer patients are basically fed pure sugar. We did the best we could with healthy eating as we saw it. Mostly organic processed food and whole grains. Luckily my wife was strong enough to receive some of the toughest chemotherapy regimens in modern medicine and make it out the other end. After 6 months of treatment we were given the ok to go back to our normal lives. The question remained, “how did this happen and what can we do to make sure it doesn’t happen again?”

In my research I stumbled across Mark’s Daily Apple, and fell into the rabbit hole that is ancestral living. We immediately started to get sugars and processed foods out of our diet. Before this I had tried to be a vegetarian off and on for a couple years, with my wife struggling as well. I had chronic digestive issues, joint pain, and low energy and assumed that was just my baseline. We started to simply eat more meat and vegetables in place of the grain heavy diet we were on. We worked on mindfulness strategies to reduce our stress, and functional training to strengthen our bodies. To say we both felt better would be an understatement.

After 3 years of dialing everything in, my wife and I follow a mostly ketogenic diet with periodic primal carbohydrates thrown in. She is in the best health of her life, even compared to before the chemo. I was so blown away by both of our transformations that I entered the Primal Health Coach Institute and got my certificate a year ago. Since then I have been passionately spreading the word and educating people about how to maintain effortless health, before a crisis happens.

I have been able to gain muscle and not have digestive, dental, and emotional issues for the first time in my life at 25. My wife has had similar benefits. We are now the owners of Steele Back Your Health, a coaching business based in the Cascade Mountains in Chelan, WA. I educate the importance of stress reduction, ancestral nutrition, and sustainable movement to maintain health long term effortlessly. Everyone should know that the human body is capable of supporting you long term, given the simple inputs it has evolved to need over our evolution.

Thanks for everything Mark. Live Awesome!

-Elliot Steele

The readers featured in our success stories share their experiences in their own words. The Primal Blueprint and Keto Reset diets are not intended as medical intervention or diagnosis. Nor are they replacements for working with a qualified healthcare practitioner. It’s important to speak with your doctor before beginning any new dietary or lifestyle program, and please consult your physician before making any changes to medication or treatment protocols. Each individual’s results may vary.

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It’s Monday, everyone! And that means another Primal Blueprint Real Life Story from a Mark’s Daily Apple reader. If you have your own success story and would like to share it with me and the Mark’s Daily Apple community please contact me here. I’ll continue to publish these each Monday as long as they keep coming in. Thank you for reading!

I was over being a factory worker. I spent my lunch breaks smoking cigarettes and eating 5 dollar footlongs. Who knew that footlong subs weren’t healthy? I wanted to reclaim my health and find a more exciting career. Being a firefighter seemed cool and different. When I decided to take the upcoming firefighter exam for the city of Columbus, I knew that the physical portion would be difficult. I hadn’t worked out since childhood sports and smoked a pack a day. That’s when I started researching the optimal diet and workout routines. Like everyone in the early stages of their health journey, I tried everything.

Jogging had become my salvation. No matter how long my workday was, or how physically drained I was after clocking out, I would run 3 or 4 miles on the trail. I was trying to out-train my diet. I felt prepared to take on the physical exam after months of cardio training and zero strength training. The test was pretty easy besides dragging a 200 lb dummy around. I did fine, but I didn’t stand out. Onward and upward. I was now “skinny-fat” with no idea how to eat. It didn’t take long to realize that the fad diets and chronic cardio weren’t going to cut it. I wasn’t seeing the results I had hoped for. This was motivation for me to get better—to get stronger and wiser.

Thank you, Google, for introducing me to Mark’s Daily Apple and the Primal community. When I discovered the treasure that is the Primal Blueprint, everything got easier. It provided clarity on how to eat and move like I was meant to. Implementing the lifestyle laws that Mark created was easy: lift heavy shit a couple times a week and keep it moving. I ditched the 5Ks in favor of HIIT and hill sprints. My kettlebell and cobweb-covered pull up bar in the basement were the only gym equipment I needed. Once I could do twenty strict pull ups in a row, I began adding weight by hanging a bowling ball in the bag over my shoulders like a backpack. I quickly worked my way up to “mastery level” on the PEMs.

My diet was simplified. I found three or four go-to Primal meals and cycled through them weekly. Steak and cauliflower mash with greens is still a favorite of mine. No more Miller High Life, more Cab Francs. No more cigarettes, more kettlebell swings. Friends and family noticed my transformation and from there I became their ancestral health advocate (AHA). I became deeply passionate about ancestral health and teaching people how to eat. Once you go Primal there is a tendency to want to pay it forward.

Throughout this shift towards a Primal lifestyle, I was still grinding and testing my way into the fire service. I finally landed a job! I was officially a full-time firefighter and paramedic. Things did not get easier from there, however. I had job stability and my money problems went away, but my health suffered—mainly my sleep quality. Like most first responders, I developed shift work sleep disorder and chronic stress. My days off were now dedicated to recovery from sleep deprivation. Grumpy and tired was my new default. I realized early on that this would not be a sustainable career path if I valued my health and longevity.

Around the same time, Mark developed the Primal Health Coach Institute. After many discussions with admissions director Laura Rupsis, I decided to pull the trigger and enroll in the course. Four months later I was certified, smart AF, and ready to coach.

Now my off-duty days are spent researching and coaching first responders (my niche) to better health. I teach firefighters across the nation how to survive the fire service by incorporating ancestral health techniques. My philosophy on health has now been published in Firehouse Magazine and EMS World Magazine. If you can get through to firefighters, you can get through to anyone. Eventually, hangry firefighters will be a thing of the past and the fat-adapted will prevail. So here I am, having steak and eggs with broccoli and having a lasting impact on the fire service.

Ancient philosophy has provided me with a guide to the good life. The Primal Blueprint and ancestral health have provided me with a guide to the healthy life. By combining the two, I provide clients with peace of mind and peace of body. Mark Sisson wants to change the lives of 100 million people. I am hell-bent on creating a healthier fire service. Here’s to a life full of good food and gratitude. Your health, your hands.

Nick Holderbaum

Primal Health Coach profile

The readers featured in our success stories share their experiences in their own words. The Primal Blueprint and Keto Reset diets are not intended as medical intervention or diagnosis. Nor are they replacements for working with a qualified healthcare practitioner. It’s important to speak with your doctor before beginning any new dietary or lifestyle program, and please consult your physician before making any changes to medication or treatment protocols. Each individual’s results may vary.

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The post I’m Hell-Bent On Creating a Healthier Fire Service appeared first on Mark’s Daily Apple.

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It’s Monday, everyone! And that means another Primal Blueprint Real Life Story from a Mark’s Daily Apple reader. If you have your own success story and would like to share it with me and the Mark’s Daily Apple community please contact me here. I’ll continue to publish these each Monday as long as they keep coming in. Thank you for reading!

Most of the people whose amazing and life-altering stories appear on MDA are submitted by people aged 50 or younger. Here is one to inspire not only you “young puppies” but hopefully “geezers” like Mark and me. I am the same age as our fearless leader Mark Sisson, and while my story and my life have gone totally differently than Mark’s [I was never a triathlete or even close], the end result is just as rewarding!

My name is Lloyd and I am 65, and in the best shape of my life – almost. In my late 20’s I smoked 2 packs a day and drank two or three mixed drinks every night – and I sported a 42 inch waist. A neighbor convinced me to start running [he ran marathons and weighed like 140 lbs.]. I started running 2 miles a day around a golf course in the neighborhood and ran a very slow 10 minute pace at first. I really liked the feel of the endorphins kicking in and I took to exercise for the first time in my life. Fast forward a few years and I was running 8 miles every day, rain or shine, in around 55 minutes. I had lost weight, but was still eating poorly, whatever my wife put on the table, and often second helpings.

Then we had a freak snow and ice storm, and running was out of the question – for weeks. I was used to doing something physical late in the afternoon so I bought a beginner set of weights and got hooked on bodybuilding. Even after the streets were passable, I kept lifting and soon joined a gym.

I didn’t realize this because I was a neophyte, but the gym I joined was very hardcore. Incandescent lights, bare floors, hard rock music, all guys, chalk flying, grunting and screaming everywhere, and lots of the members were on steroids. No, I never partook, but I did start lifting very heavy weights, and found I could. By two years later, I was very strong and about as big as a natural guy could be. I loved lifting heavy weights and having big muscles. I received a lot of encouragement from the other members and many gave me diet tips as they could see I was serious. The diet? Low fat, high protein and lots of carbs. Some days I ate almost 5-6,000 calories a day and had a 34 waist. At my peak I weighed about 250, with very low body fat. But I was in my 30s. As we age, a lot of things change.

Year after year, I trained the same way, and ate the same way, but by my mid 50s I could see changes happening – my weight was staying the same, but my waist was getting bigger. So I started doing a lot of cardio, all high-intensity, close to my max heart rate, big puddles of sweat under my exercise bike at the gym, and no weight loss!

I was really discouraged, began doing internet research, and I found MDA when it was pretty new. I bought Mark’s first edition of The Primal Blueprint, and it all made so much sense, I dove in 100%. No cheat days, no 80% 20%, I was all in. I started this new eating style at [you’ll love this] at a Thanksgiving Day buffet, lost 2 pounds the first day and about 25 pounds in a few months. Blood pressure went down, bad cholesterol down, good cholesterol up, my doc was amazed, as he was ready to put me on a statin.

I maintained the weight for years until Mark started talking about Keto. Once again, I went all in immediately [I had been eating Primally for so long that I passed Mark’s “test” with flying colors]. I also started using the myfitnesspal app to keep track of my food and nutrient intake. My goal was to lose another 10 pounds and get to 215, but it was so easy, I ended up as low as 204 and I have stayed within a few pounds of that for about 18 months now.

Like Mark, I stay right on the edge of ketosis, some days I might have 60g of carbs, but most of the time, under 40g. I also have found fasting for 24 hours easy to do with my travel schedule and about half of the time, with the exception of coffee and maybe a piece of cheese, I eat nothing until dinner. And I am NOT hungry!

Just one thing more I want to add. From all the years of heavy lifting, I have had back surgery, two total shoulder replacements, and one hip replacement. Yes, I am a poster child for getting rid of old joints that don’t work well anymore.

During each recovery period, I had to stop lifting and curtail cardio, which by the way is now mostly elliptical limited to 75% of my max heart rate. Because of my primal eating style, even sitting around with little to no exercise other than PT] while recovering from surgery, I never gained weight!

So am I a huge fan of Mr. Sisson and this lifestyle? Absolutely! It works, it’s not hard, and it’s for LIFE!

The readers featured in our success stories share their experiences in their own words. The Primal Blueprint and Keto Reset diets are not intended as medical intervention or diagnosis. Nor are they replacements for working with a qualified healthcare practitioner. It’s important to speak with your doctor before beginning any new dietary or lifestyle program, and please consult your physician before making any changes to medication or treatment protocols. Each individual’s results may vary.

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It’s Monday, everyone! And that means another Primal Blueprint Real Life Story from a Mark’s Daily Apple reader. If you have your own success story and would like to share it with me and the Mark’s Daily Apple community please contact me here. I’ll continue to publish these each Monday as long as they keep coming in. Thank you for reading!

My visual transformation isn’t all that impressive. In fact, despite having a completely different body composition, I weigh more or less the same that I did six years ago.

My real transformation has occurred on the inside and in the way that I try to embody the Primal Blueprint principles in the way I live my life.

Before Primal Living:

  • Out of shape
  • Abysmal self-esteem
  • Without a clear life path

6 Years Since Discovering Mark’s Daily Apple:

  • Owns a Health & Fitness blog and coaching business
  • Inspires others to find their self-esteem through leading by example
  • Recreational athlete in Powerlifting, Strongman and Highland Games
  • Loving life every day

I first heard of Mark and his message about primal health back in 2013. At the time, my husband and I were living in a modest cabin in the woods of Northern Maine and the extent of my fitness routine was the obligatory jog now and then or some exercise videos that mostly involved bodyweight training. Our cabin had no electricity or running water which meant that we were gathering, cutting and stacking firewood by hand so that we could stay warm during the long winters. Turning manure, bending over in the garden, hauling hay for our goats and clearing woods for future pasture were serious back killing chores and we knew we needed to find a way to get stronger in order to support our active lifestyle. Coupled with this was my husband’s chronic GI distress and autoimmune condition, Reactive Arthritis, which led us down the road of research into how a grain-free, sugar free diet could improve those ailments.

As is often the case, primal nutrition and heavy lifting principles were deeply entwined from the very beginning of our journey towards optimal health. And as we cut out wheat and sugar, we also began learning the functional movements of the squat, deadlift and pull-up. With a manual treadmill we found in the barn, we regularly blasted ourselves with intervals after reading from you the importance of sprinting. Your fitness principles of walk far, run fast, lift heavy came so naturally to us and in the setting of the lush, Maine woods, it felt that much more primal to get in tune with our ancestral physiques.

You might imagine that the stronger and more fit we became, the more we wanted to eat better to support that. Before long, our backs felt bulletproof chopping and stacking piles of firewood. My husband’s arthritis improved. I was seeing the extra weight I had carried my whole life slip away. We had gone to the woods to seek a lifestyle where we could call the shots and pursue our healthiest existence. But in the process, we had the rude awakening that our bodies were the weakest link in the chain of health. Our minds were strong and our homestead was strong, but our bodies were not. And so when we saw the benefits of the Primal Blueprint massively improve our existence, it was like coming out of a bad dream and I woke up one morning thinking “hey, this is really something to live for.”

While I graduated college with a degree in writing, I never really had found my purpose or a career I was passionate about giving my 9 to 5 energy to. I always believed that I had a lot to share with the world, but couldn’t conceive of what avenue to take, but with this new primal lifestyle, I discovered a completely unexpected passion. Always the chubby book nerd my whole life, taking on sports in school out of social pressure and obligation but never out of true interest, here I was, suddenly wanting to pursue fitness and wellness as a career.

We ended up leaving our little homestead for my husband to travel down the long (and still not complete) road of becoming a Dentist. He studied for biochemistry and tests and I studied strength and conditioning in between my long hours at Starbucks. (Side note: I managed to make it 2 years working there without consuming sugar and my coworkers would always marvel at my dedication of turning down a free Frappuccino. I explained to them that eating primal, my energy was consistent throughout the day and better than ever and seeing the positive effects of my nutrition in my day to day life was all the motivation I needed to persist.) The years we spent studying for our individual pursuits, we also spend wrecking ourselves on the barbell and on the field doing sprints and without following any strict program, we simply tried to remember to walk far, run fast, lift heavy. Slowly and surely, our body composition improved and I took on my first personal training clients.

Now living in Salt Lake City, I think of myself more as a Strength Coach than a personal trainer and before walking that road I didn’t even realize there was a difference. I see my colleagues often get wrapped up in ideal programming principles and I try to remember the basics: pick up heavy stuff and put it overhead using good technique, train for explosive speed and go on long hikes outdoors.

I use my personal experience to help guide my athletes on the emotional journey of becoming strong and realizing their physical potential. I have so many people, primarily women, come to me saying they want to lose weight. But as we begin working together, they quickly see that in fact their goal is much more complex that a number on the scale. They learn that it feels good to get strong and learn how to move in ways they never thought possible. I see the look of fear in their eyes at approaching a back squat for the first time and I recognize that look of fear because it’s the same one I felt when I started my journey. I see timid women who hate their bodies do a pull-up for the first time after working hard for a year and then it’s like poof… now they love their bodies because they unlocked this talent for strength they never knew they had. When that happens, the number on the scale matters so much less to them because now they have a performance goal. Now they are pursuing health rather than weight loss.

Although I am not strictly a Primal Blueprint coach, I still hold onto those principles while I teach other people how to lift and what strategies they can use to build balanced nutrition. I encourage them to seek nutrient-dense foods rather than counting macros or calories and to eat when hunger ensues naturally rather than adhering to six small meals a day. I feel confident coaching strategies like Keto and Intermittent Fasting because I have done the research on the health benefits and have the anecdotal evidence to back it up from my own experience. I am always trying to do what your blog did for me, which is to teach them ways they can figure out what health uniquely means to them. I still try to embody the idea that you instilled in me: study how our ancestors thrived to learn how to seek our healthy existence in a world that can often be toxic.

My transformation doesn’t come through in a before and after photo, but I believe I have gained a million times more than if I had lost 100 lbs and cured 10 autoimmune conditions. I discovered my life’s path and spend every day trying to guide others to do the same.

Thank you,
Hill

primalpillarsstrength.com
Instagram @primalpillars

The readers featured in our success stories share their experiences in their own words. The Primal Blueprint and Keto Reset diets are not intended as medical intervention or diagnosis. Nor are they replacements for working with a qualified healthcare practitioner. It’s important to speak with your doctor before beginning any new dietary or lifestyle program, and please consult your physician before making any changes to medication or treatment protocols. Each individual’s results may vary.

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It’s Monday, everyone! And that means another Primal Blueprint Real Life Story from a Mark’s Daily Apple reader. If you have your own success story and would like to share it with me and the Mark’s Daily Apple community please contact me here. I’ll continue to publish these each Monday as long as they keep coming in. Thank you for reading!

Growing up, I was very bookish and avoided all forms of exercise despite my parents’ best efforts to get me involved in some sort of sport. I was also a very picky eater, especially when it came to veggies, so my diet wasn’t the greatest.

Throughout high school, I always carried an extra 10-15 lbs and my lunch consisted of stuffed crust pizza, strawberry milk and fries swimming in ranch dressing.

My weight yo-yoed in college depending on how excited I was about the gym and whether I was on a salad bar or buffalo chicken wrap kick. I did gain a lot of weight after I got married and hit my all time high of 170 lbs. I was able to lose most of the weight through a low carb diet, though I still avoided the gym.

My first experience with primal eating came in 2014 when my husband came home talking about this paleo diet he’d heard about from a colleague. I started doing a lot of research and decided to start this new way of eating. We weren’t super strict about, using dressings and condiments that were not ideal and I refused to give up cheese (I now know that including dairy is more aligned with the primal way of eating). My husband lost a bunch of weight, and I felt really good even though the scale didn’t move.

Unfortunately, after only about two months, we went on vacation and fell back into our SAD eating habits even after we returned. Fast forward to 2016 and I had moved to another state, finally gotten a full-time job after a year of under employment/unemployment and was steadily gaining weight again. I didn’t realize how lucky I’d been to have been able to walk or bike to work before moving to a bike and pedestrian unfriendly area! I started calorie restricting, but that just left me feeling hungry all the time and my pants were too tight. I weighed in at 155 lbs.

In January, I finally gave in and let my husband sign me up for a gym membership. As much as I disliked exercise, I knew that I had to get my body moving if I didn’t want to look like a lot of the people in my office when I got to middle age. I started strength training which was way more fun than cardio and lost 5 lbs in the first month. But despite hitting the gym 3 times and week and participating in a Crossfit style workout once a week, my weight loss stalled after that. I knew I was building up muscle mass that I’d never had before, but I was mostly motivated to not have to buy new, bigger pants at this point.

By the end of March, I realized that I had to make some serious diet changes if I wanted to get my health completely under control, so I decided to do my first Whole30. It was hard but amazing! I felt great, finally kicked my diet soda habit, reset my taste buds and learned that dairy gives me migraines and makes my seasonal allergies go crazy. I also rediscovered MDA during this time and read years of primal success stories which gave me the courage to keep up this style of eating long term using the 80/20 principle. I also made it a point to try every (primal) food I thought I hated one more time and now I eat many of them regularly. Hello onions, peppers, brussels sprouts, squash, zucchini, fish, nuts, carrots, pineapples, sweet potatoes, tea, and so many more. I’m still working up the nerve to try sardines but there’s a tin of them in my pantry for the day I’m feeling brave!

For the first time in my life, I felt fit and strong. My body learned to love and crave veggies, even at breakfast. I was empowered to make better food choices. I still get anxious about food in social situations sometimes when my social anxiety combines with my fear of accidentally eating dairy and getting really sick, which has, unfortunately, happened. Now if I don’t feel comfortable with my food options, I eat beforehand or bring my own food. My health is totally worth being that weird person for. I have also learned that most people have no idea what is in their food or what is actually good for their bodies. I am so glad to have come upon this way of eating while I’m still young.

My next big health change occurred in the fall of 2018 when I started getting into long distance running. I came into running knowing that I wanted to do it in a way that aligned with my health and nutritional values that I’d worked so hard to get straight. This led me to using the run walk run method to decrease risk of running injuries and to primal keto to avoid all of the sugary fuel and recovery products aimed at endurance athletes. I do all my training runs fasted and eat a bit more carbs right before and after races. I also make sure to focus on keeping up my strength training by incorporating the Primal Essential Movements, even the two I dread-pushups and planks. There is something awesome about being able to take yourself 13 miles on your own two feet, but nothing makes me feel as badass as using the assisted pullup machine.

Doing keto while staying dairy free, maintaining a high veggie intake and properly fueling my athlete body has taken some extra effort but the benefits are amazing. I no longer get hangry if a meal is delayed. I feel strong and powerful in my own body. I weigh less than I did in high school. I have way fewer migraines. I even have abs. I have learned so much about my body and my personal nutrition needs. I still ended up needing to buy new pants twice but smaller rather than larger. I have so much more energy to do the things I love. Most importantly, I now know how to take care of my body properly for a long and healthy life.

Stephanie

The readers featured in our success stories share their experiences in their own words. The Primal Blueprint and Keto Reset diets are not intended as medical intervention or diagnosis. Nor are they replacements for working with a qualified healthcare practitioner. It’s important to speak with your doctor before beginning any new dietary or lifestyle program, and please consult your physician before making any changes to medication or treatment protocols. Each individual’s results may vary.

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It’s Monday, everyone! And that means another Primal Blueprint Real Life Story from a Mark’s Daily Apple reader. If you have your own success story and would like to share it with me and the Mark’s Daily Apple community please contact me here. I’ll continue to publish these each Monday as long as they keep coming in. Thank you for reading!

Here’s an update to my December 2013 success story.

I have been Primal—Low-carb—Keto for over seven years. I am 49-years-old and my health continues to improve. I am confident I am enhancing my prospects for longevity.
I eat delicious food, rarely feel hungry, enjoy fasting and truly enjoy the many interesting and challenging facets of powerlifting training.

I have been carnivore keto the past 6 months and I completely love the simplicity and feel slightly better from an intestinal standpoint compared to Keto. I lost most of my weight while enjoying Mark’s Big Ass Salads. I keep the Primal philosophy in the front of my mind when I comes to avoiding unhealthy fat, cheat meals, overtraining, rest, sunlight, outdoors and recommendations to someone new to a low-carb lifestyle.

I may not always be in ketosis, but I’m always Primal.

2017 was a fantastic year for my health.

2018 was better:

I have been 95% carnivore keto the past 6 months:

— Lost 17 pounds / decreased body fat

— increased powerlifting personal best lifts

— zero vegetables eaten

— less than 5% calories from occasional nuts, berries, dark chocolate and wine

— Intermittent fast ~18h five days a week and I train fasted

— supplement heavily with Himalayan sea salt (~10 grams sodium per day)

— eat mostly beef, bacon and eggs

— add butter and cheese to lean cuts of meat

— eat fish 2-3 times per week; fish/krill oil daily — eat liver once a week; supplement with desiccated liver daily

The past 2 years of Low-carb Primal Keto diet and powerlifting training:

— including the 6 months of carnivore above — lost 27 pounds

— increased squat and deadlift PR in 4 consecutive competitions (bench in training)

I have been Low-carb Primal Keto for over 7 years.

— lost over 100 pounds in 2012 with minimal exercise — ‘cured’ insulin resistance/metabolic syndrome: prediabetes, hyperlipidemia, fatty liver. Joint pain, GERD, irritable bowel, migraines, insomnia, acne/skin problems.

— continue to decrease body fat with powerlifting training

— my taste preferences have changed: I love what I eat

— fat adaptation enhances long term fasting, which facilitates continued diet adherence — I have learned a great amount of valuable information about serving sizes and counting macros during weeks of micromanaging / weighing foods, but now I easily hit protein and carb targets without detailed macro tracking; I eat fat to hunger/satiety.

— scroll my @joeketone Twitter and Instagram for my training log, food, wine and what’s on my mind

# 1 KEY FACTOR TO ALL OF THIS: I AM RARELY HUNGRY—I am in control of my intake and I eat delicious food.

Yes, I am in a five or ten day net calorie deficit, but it does not feel like I am—I achieve a net calorie deficit without ‘trying’ and I have immense energy.

I am burning stored fat and minimizing health problems associated with hyperinsulinemia and hyperglycemia: enhancing LONGEVITY.

I sleep deeply and when I’m awake I feel and function as if I am half my age.

Many thanks to Mark Sisson and The Primal Blueprint.

Grok on!

Joe Lovely

The readers featured in our success stories share their experiences in their own words. The Primal Blueprint and Keto Reset diets are not intended as medical intervention or diagnosis. Nor are they replacements for working with a qualified healthcare practitioner. It’s important to speak with your doctor before beginning any new dietary or lifestyle program, and please consult your physician before making any changes to medication or treatment protocols. Each individual’s results may vary.

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It’s Friday, everyone! And that means another Primal Blueprint Real Life Story from a Mark’s Daily Apple reader. If you have your own success story and would like to share it with me and the Mark’s Daily Apple community please contact me here. I’ll continue to publish these each Friday as long as they keep coming in. Thank you for reading!

Hello Mark and the Primal Blueprint community! I usually don’t do stuff like this, but like many others who have discovered the Primal Blueprint path, it’s changed my life in such a positive way that it’s hard not to share. Growing up I was always athletic – trim, quick, and agile. I excelled in every physical activity I was into, without much effort. Karate, soccer, skateboarding, snowboarding, surfing, even golf came easy for me. Within my group of friends, I was the guy that was better at everything than everyone else (at least in my mind LOL). It seemed like I could maintain this level of health and physical ability forever.

Then of course life happens. In my late 20s I meet the love of my life. We get married and in short order, our first son is born.  As a parent, you know how life-changing that event is, and being still in our 20’s, my wife and I went into daily survival mode and did our best. I never thought much about eating right or exercising, being one of those people who could (and did) eat anything under the sun and come out (seemingly) unscathed. Fast food, chips, pizza, ice-cream, candy, processed food from boxes, you name it. And it wasn’t just what I ate, it was the time in which I ate it. I never gave much thought to pounding huge meals late at night, or right before bed-time. In fact, it was like I had a “second” dinner every night. And of course, this was all the usual SAD stuff; tons of bread and grains, corn, fried foods, processed sugars, the usual suspects. I ate like this through my 30s.

As I reached my 40s, however, I noticed that I was getting fatter and slower, and had developed a severe case of IBS. I was always fatigued, irritable, and always had a constant feeling of dis-ease and malaise. Though I was still physically active playing soccer and bike commuting religiously, it seemed like I was always pulling a muscle, or getting injured. My reflexes seemed slower. I didn’t sleep well and my head was always in a cloud. I experienced my first panic attack and developed severe anxiety. I was always getting sick, and never had any energy to really play with or interact with my son.

When our second son came along, these symptoms became compounded. I was miserable, and felt ground-down by the pressures of life as a husband, father and sole-breadwinner of our family. I thought what I was feeling was just life happening, and that it was just a part of getting older.

Being now in my early 40s, I was feeling like crap, looking like crap, and had no idea what to do about it. One day I looked at myself in the full-length bathroom mirror (with my IBS, the bathroom was my second home), and I realized I was at a crossroads. Like Tracy Chapman sang, “leave tonight or live and die this way,” I decided it was time to leave my current unhealthy state and go on a new journey; one towards teaching myself how to be a Fat Burning Beast. Through Mark and the ever expanding Primal/Paleo community, I’ve reclaimed my health and fitness. I’ve discovered and use Intermittent Fasting as another tool, and read Mark’s Daily Apple daily for knowledge and inspiration (and dark chocolate recipes).

I’m also being mindful of things like chronic cardio, stress management and finding time to “get wild.” I’m constantly trying to figure out how to implement the Primal philosophy into the choices I make, not only with nutrition, but with life in general. My six-year-old son is now one of my Primal coaches (even though he doesn’t know it). He loves his “Primal” wrestling sessions with daddy, and being used as daddy’s weight lifting equipment. He also likes joining daddy and mommy in our family burpee sessions before dinner.

So, in about a year’s time of living the Primal/Keto life, I’ve transformed my body (and my mind). I’ve cured myself of IBS, and feel great overall. My head is clearer, I sleep better, my energy level has increased. Somehow, I feel more optimistic. My anxiety has lessened enough that I can enjoy coffee again (yay!)

What’s also cool is that through my enthusiasm for this path, my wife is also now onboard the Primal/Keto train (it was hard doing it alone, especially since she does all the cooking for the family). After only a few months, she is looking and feeling great herself, and enjoying more energy than she’s ever had. It hasn’t always been easy of course, but overall, being on the Primal path has been an incredible epiphany in my life. I have co-workers, friends, and family wondering what the heck happened and how I did it.

Thanks Mark for all you’ve done and continue to do. How great it must feel to be helping so many people improve their health and well-being. Congrats on being a game-changer and positive force in the world.

 Sukho V

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It’s Friday, everyone! And that means another Primal Blueprint Real Life Story from a Mark’s Daily Apple reader. If you have your own success story and would like to share it with me and the Mark’s Daily Apple community please contact me here. I’ll continue to publish these each Friday as long as they keep coming in. Thank you for reading!

Hi Everyone, my name is Jason. I am 37-years-old. I have a beautiful, brilliant, and ambitious wife, two teenage sons and a 2  1/2-year-old daughter. I am a business executive, entrepreneur, and a life long learner with a master’s degree in management, and not to mention what I consider a pseudo “doctoral degree” in lessons learned the hard way. Driven by my desire to ensure my wife and kids had everything they could ever need or want, not too long ago I changed career fields from not-for-profit to for-profit, moving from social work to the IT world. In three years I went from a consultant position to an executive running the company’s operations. I specialize in engaging people and moving the management systems toward a place of consistency and efficiency while capturing what makes the company tick and not losing that. I am very excited about my work. I enjoy what I do and like that I am able to help the people around me succeed, and as a result they help me.

While an increase in income had its benefits, it also had adverse effects on my health, which ultimately threatened my ability to enjoy the things I worked the hardest to support. Taking on more and more at the rate I did caused me to constantly live in a state of fight or flight. I worked crazy hours to maintain and never felt at rest.

Having children relatively far apart (my sons in my 20s and my daughter not until my middle 30s) had a major impact on my perspective, and was the true driving force in my choice to search for a healthy lifestyle. I needed to be healthy for a long time to come to see my daughter’s future, walking her down the aisle for example, but having two active teenage boys who were heavily involved in sports meant I also needed to be fit right now as well. Working out historically for me involved long, drawn out hours at the gym, and frankly, took away precious time I could have been spending with my family. I eventually sacrificed my highly time consuming exercise routines and focused on being a business executive, an entrepreneur, and a family man. This inevitably lead to a relatively sedentary lifestyle. Once I had my daughter and my activity decreased, it was obvious that the boys took notice, and they openly expressed how much they missed tossing the football and essentially just playing together.

Being heavily involved in sports since an early age, I was never obese, nor did I ever really struggle in a serious way with my weight. Being in shape and exercising was normal for me.

During 2010 – 2012 I was in peak physical condition, with a lifting routine coupled with biking or running on alternating days. I rarely took a day off, abiding to the ‘no pain no gain’ mindset, and really pushed my body to the limit. My diet consisted of steamed rice, veggies, chicken or fish, and some nuts. I would drink only water, coffee and the occasional ‘light’ beer. As a lover of a good local micro brew from time to time, this was rough. While I saw muscles in the mirror and could run for quite a distance, the LGN factor as Mark calls it, I felt aches and pains all the time. I even ended up with a kidney stone, which was probably the most pain I’ve ever experienced in my life. I really wasn’t even enjoying this ‘healthy lifestyle’! What’s there to enjoy about a bland, boring diet, hours at the gym, and super expensive supplements, to just feel rather mediocre at the end of it all.

As you can probably guess, I became rather burned out, eventually giving up my rigorous exercise routine and transitioned back to the SAD. I put on a little weight, but nothing shocking, so I didn’t worry. Around 2015 I truthfully stopped working out all together. It didn’t help that when my wife became pregnant in 2016, pizza was all she could tolerate with her severe morning sickness, and I allowed myself to eat as many pepperoni slices as she did.

I began to notice my mental performance and overall energy levels were low. I was increasingly irritable and found it hard to be patient. I was feeling sick all the time with what seemed to be cold like symptoms. I felt just so heavy and not as physically capable as I once was. At one point I was in the shower and lost consciousness and my wife found me lying down. I was not sure what caused this, but it was very scary and definitely a symptom of declining health. I had a very serious infection that ultimately ended up causing vertigo. After a trip to an urgent care to be checked out, he promptly sent me to the ER for a full work-up due to my family history of stroke and heart disease in conjunction with the scary symptoms I was experiencing. To top it all off, Sophia was born in 2016 and it finally hit me—I had three kids who were all going to need me to be around for a long time. I had gone from 170 lbs to 207 lbs. It was time for a change. Enough was enough.

My wife started a journey of weight loss and self discovery after delivering, and began to research paleo and primal lifestyles. She purchased a copy of The Primal Blueprint, and though I was familiar with Mark’s Daily Apple, I had never really engaged. I picked it up and read it along with another favorite of mine, Dr. Diamond’s Guns, Germs and Steel. I took the next few years doing my own research and fully digesting what it all meant. Watching my wife begin this journey, sampling some of her food, and seeing her energy levels increase along with her overall health improvement, in July of 2018, I decided to dust off our copy of The Primal Blueprint and try the 21-Day Total Body Transformation.

As mentioned earlier, I do have a family history of heart conditions and stroke, so I knew genetics were at play. Knowing what I had read about ancestral health and what Mark refers to as gene expression, I was skeptical that I couldn’t control these systems and even reverse some of them through just eating and living primally.

I chose to dive in to commit. I really engaged in the primal way of eating and I was amazed at my general overall improved health and well being. I almost immediately experienced mental clarity. Tasks that used to overwhelm and frustrate me due to brain fog became trivial and easy to think through. Being fat adapted was key and in a week in I noticed a definite change in my demand for food, especially in the morning. I would start the day with coffee with heavy cream or occasionally a rendition of “Bullet Proof” coffee, and this could take me until 1 p.m. At that point, I would feel a dull signal to eat when possible, but not the crashing hunger or a brain meltdown like I used to have when I was a sugar burner. Being free from the all consuming demand to eat with out of control blood sugar levels and insulin spikes is amazing—I feel like the machine is humming the way it should and I do take comfort in that.

The biggest thing for me in all of this is just once again being able to enjoy life. When I was at my least fit and most unhealthy, my sons commented on missing the days dad was ‘a beast’ or ‘like a super hero’. This hit me hard. I remembered the times I would be climbing the trees in the park with them and how I was able to keep up and not get winded, often getting social media shout-outs from teenage boys on how ‘the old man can keep up!’ I took on more and more professional responsibility and left myself, health, and most importantly what it felt like to just live a thing of the past.

Mark speaks to the idea of incorporating natural movement into your routine every day. I bought a kid carrier for my mountain bike to pull Sophia. She loves it and my wife joins us as well! I converted my garage into a workout area and invested in some padded floor squares. My son, the wrestler, and my wife, the Martial Artist, especially love this addition. I use this space for my essential movements, lifting heavy and other fitness experiments I find at MDA. I hooked up a sound system for extra motivation during tough workouts, and my daughter particularly loves dancing to Pearl Jam and the Rolling Stones, so everyone wins. I have always enjoyed photography, so I invested in a professional grade camera and now go on nature hikes, scavenging for local flowers and other beautiful wildlife I can catch in the moment. I usually carry a heavy weighted rucksack for added resistance. I now press the record button and chose to watch television shows later in the evening after I have completed a long, challenging but gentle walk, leaving my phone and other distracting devices behind. Being able to disconnect has ironically helped me stay clear minded and level headed during working hours when I need to be connected. I read books, prep meals, and engage in activities that relax and rest my mind, while also challenging it. Speaking of meal prep, I absolutely love the avocado based dressings and Primal Fuel with the Grass-fed Collagen is awesome post workout. Incorporating movement and my newfound healthy lifestyle into my daily rituals and allowing it to also touch my wife and children’s lives is a priceless investment for all of us for years to come.

In the end, once I was able to get over my own analysis paralysis, and simply follow the primal principles, things fell into place. Mark’s references all the time to living 80/20 and really engaging in the rich experience of the journey has made it easy. I feel unstoppable, like I can take on anything life throws my way.

After recently listening to a Primal Blueprint Podcast in which Mark introduces his mantra of ‘Living Awesome!’, it resonated with me, and I truly feel like I am able to live awesome for my family and for my personal and professional goals. This lifestyle has allowed me to be a better husband, father, colleague and have so much more to give in lifting them up in their own goals and life dreams.

Mark’s Primal Blueprint has given myself and many others a second chance at achieving the best versions of ourselves, and it is something that should be shared. I am truly excited to use my newfound health coupled with my business, operational, leadership, and executive skills, with inspiration from the Primal Mission, to inspire others to live their best lives as well. Thank you Mark!

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