Friday, March 5, 2010

The Primal Blueprint & P90X

I'm reading Mark Sisson's "The Primal Blueprint," and while I'm not yet sold on everything in it, I'm finding myself swayed by many of his arguments.

Here are Sisson's Ten Primal Blueprint Laws:
  1. Eat Lots of Plants and Animals. Enjoy the natural, satisfying foods that fueled two million years of human evolution.
  2. Avoid Poisonous Things. Avoid processed foods (sugars, grains, and chemically-altered fats) that are foreign to our genes and make us fat and sick.
  3. Move Frequently at a Slow Pace. Enhance fat metabolism and avoid burnout by keeping active but taking it easy.
  4. Lift Heavy Things. Short, intense sessions of functional, full-body movements support muscle development and delay aging.
  5. Sprint Once in a While. Occasional all-out sprints trigger optimal gene expression and beneficial hormone flow.
  6. Get Adequate Sleep. Avoid excessive digital stimulation and sync with your natural circadian rhythm for optimal immune, brain, and endocrine function.
  7. Play. Balance the stress of modern life with some unstructured, physical fun!
  8. Get Adequate Sunlight. Don't fear the sun! Adequate sun exposure helps synthesize vitamin D to ensure healthy cellular function.
  9. Avoid Stupid Mistakes. Cultivate hypervigilance and risk management to avoid the stupid mistakes that bring "avoidable suffering" to modern humans.
  10. Use Your Brain. Engage in creative and stimulating activities to nurture your mental health and overall well-being.
Most of these are fine by me; I've even been following the no-grains-or-legumes policy for the most part, and feel great (but check in with me again the next time I'm offered pizza). In his book and on his website, Sisson goes into a lot of detail about each of his points above, though I've been curious about how Laws 3, 4 and 5 jive with my current crazy patchwork quilt of an exercise program. Today, Sisson explained his perspective on P90X (and CrossFit) on his site:
I get a ton of reader emails about both CrossFit and P90X; in the Primal world, they’re probably the two most popular programs out there. Some people are pleased with their results. They get stronger, fitter, healthier, and better-looking by following them. But others aren’t so happy. These other readers talk about being burnt out, overworked, overtrained, or even injured. As much as I admire both programs and their creators, I think both could be improved upon.
I don't disagree that there's a risk of overtraining or injury with any frequent, intense exercise program, though I also find it interesting that Sisson's writing about the deficiencies of P90X and CrossFit now -- less than two weeks before he launches his own "Primal Blueprint Fitness" workout program on March 17.

But who am I kidding? I'm totally going to check it out.

(Thanks to David K. for pointing me to Sisson's P90X review.)