Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Check It Out: Primal Blueprint Fitness

Mark Sisson just launched his Primal Blueprint Fitness program -- and he's giving it away for free. Here's how Sisson describes it:
I’m confident that Primal Blueprint Fitness is the right formula for people of all ages and skill levels to get lean and functionally fit for life with minimal time commitment, pain, suffering and sacrifice and, more importantly, with as much fun, enjoyment and ease as possible. No, it’s not the only way to get fit, but it might just be the most efficient, effective and pleasurable way.
In short, Sisson doesn't claim that his Primal Blueprint Fitness regimen will get you in the best shape of your life; rather, he makes clear that the point of his program is to get you "functionally fit" with as little effort and time commitment as possible.

I've only had a chance to quickly flip through the program materials, but it looks altogether consistent with Sisson's Primal Blueprint prescription for physical activity: (1) move around a lot, but slowly; (2) lift heavy things once in a while; (3) sprint occasionally; and (4) play outside. The Primal Blueprint Fitness contains a weekly schedule that consists of 1 day of sprinting, 2 days of lifting heavy things, and 4 days of slow movement and/or free play. Plus, once a week, Sisson's going to post a bodyweight-focused "Workout of the Week" (or "WOW")  on his site that readers can substitute for one of their two weekly heavy-lifting workouts.

My first impression: This looks like a watered-down version of CrossFit, with WOWs instead of WODs, sprinting instead of metcons, and bodyweight resistance exercises instead of technical O-lifts and gymnastics.

That's not necessarily a bad thing. The best fitness regimen is one that's sustainable -- and a sustainable program is one that you find doable and pleasurable. A lot of people don't have the time, money, energy or commitment to devote to a P90X or CrossFit routine. Equipment is expensive, and the sessions arguably take too long -- especially for those with school, jobs and/or family obligations to juggle. And frankly, the prospect of starting P90X or CrossFit can be intimidating. I'm sure plenty of folks can't fathom spending 60 to 90 minutes with Tony Horton every day, and would sooner chew glass than do a Fran or Angie WOD every other day. If Sisson can get these people eating according to the Primal Blueprint, they're already well on their way to improved health; add a few sessions of intense exercise per week, and they'll no doubt see even greater results -- all without having to throw themselves into a crazy-rigorous fitness program.

But if you're the type of person who thinks exercise is actually fun rather than "pain, suffering and sacrifice," the Primal Blueprint Fitness program may not be your cup of tea.