Paleo Diet: Maximum Fitness, Minimum Time

Science is increasingly showing that occasional sprinting can do more for heart health and fat-loss than long periods of cardiovascular exercise. Photo courtesy of Wikipedia.

I’ve spoken to a number of people who seem to have the paleo diet down pat, but who are still circling the runway when it comes to paleo fitness.  They’re either still doing their old fitness routines - endless cardio and/or repetitive lifting with weights too light to make a real difference - or doing nothing.

If you’re one of those people, I have two pieces of good news for you:

  • A little exercise can go a long way
  • Paleo fitness requires relatively little exercise

A Little Exercise Can Go A Long Way

Although by no means conclusive in its findings, I was interested to read of this recent study published in The Lancet, which shows that exercising for just 1.5 hours a week is associated with a 14 per cent reduced risk of death over the course of the study (compared with being sedentary).

It’s not surprising that the shift from sedentary to active would create such significant improvements.  But is it the case that “if a little exercise is good, then a lot must be better”?  When it comes to paleo fitness, the answer is no.  Paleo fitness focuses more on mimicking the movements that our ancestors evolved to use in surviving on a day to day basis, not proving your worth at the gym.

Paleo Fitness Requires Relatively Little Exercise

Mark Sisson, author of The Primal Blueprint, has an elegant way of describing the kind of physical activity that leads to significantly improved physical fitness in the paleo - or primal - sense:

  • Move frequently at a slow pace (gentle cardio, not running on a treadmill till you’re gasping for air)
  • Lift heavy things (not light things over and over, until your joints are crying out in pain - or boredom)
  • Sprint once in a while (pretend you’re running away from a sabre-toothed tiger)

Here’s a useful overview:

With those basic principles - and the knowledge that just a few short workouts a week, done properly, can create huge fitness improvements - it’s entirely possible to construct a workout routine that suits your own lifestyle and temperament.

Here’s how a couple of people have done it:

The only question now is - how will you do Paleo fitness?


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Brian Cormack Carr is a professional life and career coach, writer, and advocate of a real foods diet.
His home on the web is where you will find more articles, a free newsletter, and information about his online career-creation programme You can follow Brian on Twitter: @cormackcarr


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