Inspiyr spent some time with Mark Sisson, author of the bestselling health book The Primal Blueprint and top-rated health and fitness blog MarksDailyApple.com. Mark discussed the ideas behind his primal living philosophy, and shared advice on fitness, business and life success. Being a former world-class marathoner, Ironman triathlete, liaison to the International Olympic Committee representing the sport of triathlon, and founder and CEO of Primal Nutrition, we thought we’d be able to learn a lot from Mark. And we certainly did…
You’ve been an athlete your entire life. As you’re approaching your 59th birthday, you’re still in excellent shape. How do you do it? What’s your secret to life-long fitness?
I made my short, intense workouts shorter and more intense, and my long, slow workouts longer and easier. Instead of maintaining elevated intensity for hours upon hours on a fifteen mile training run, I go for a half-day hike where I’m exerting myself, but I’m not huffing and puffing and miserable. Instead of half-assing it, I really go for it. I up the intensity and drop the volume. I’ll run short sprints, lift some heavy weights for lower reps, or carry something heavy on my shoulder, like a sandbag, around for a few hundred yards. You get more bang – and a greater hormonal response – for your buck this way. Plus, it’s far more sustainable, especially as you age.
My secret to life-long fitness, besides shortening my hard workouts and extending my easy workouts? Training to play. See, because I came from such a grueling endurance athletics background that made me hate fitness for a while, my primary goal is to enjoy my physical activities. To have fun moving, running, jumping, climbing, throwing. In short, I play. I stand-up paddleboard, I snowboard, I play Ultimate frisbee every weekend, and yes, I train here and there. But by making sure that the real reason I exercise and train is to support my play, I never get bogged down in miserable workouts that sap my energy and will to live. Play is essential. I don’t care what you do for fun. Tag, capture the flag, soccer, martial arts? They all work. Just do something physical that you enjoy, and then train just hard enough to maintain your desired level of proficiency in