What advice do you have for our readers who are in good shape, but want to take it to the next level?
Seriously, before you try to reach “the next level,” think long and hard about your reasons for doing so.
“Being healthier” is not a good reason.
Being an elite athlete made me unhealthy. To fuel my training, I had to eat junk carbs and refined grains, and lots of them. All the pavement pounding gave me chronic tendinitis and arthritis. Running 100+ miles a week, plus all the grains, left me with chronically elevated systemic inflammation, and with my depressed immune system I got three or four serious upper respiratory tract infections every year like clockwork.
“Being fitter” is not a good reason, either.
Back when I ran marathons and did triathlons professionally, I looked fit. Heck, if you use a narrow definition of the word, I was fit. I could run, swim, and bike long distances fairly quickly. I could eat whatever I wanted without gaining weight. But if you asked me to bench press or squat my own bodyweight, I couldn’t have. If you invited me to go on a hike the day after a training session, I wouldn’t be able to move. If I wasn’t training, I was hobbling around like an old man, complaining about my sore ankles or bad knee.
If you want to be an elite athlete, the rest of your life is going to suffer. You won’t have time for anything but training. And there’s a very good chance that doing the thing you used to love – whatever athletic pursuit you’re engaged in – will become the worst chore in the world. At the peak of performance, life undoubtedly suffers. You can still chase it; just be aware of the price you may have to pay.
Can you tell us about the nutrition philosophy behind your book, The Primal Blueprint?
Sure, it’s pretty simple. For tens of thousands of years, and even longer if you include other members of the Homo genus, we were hunter-gatherers with access to nothing but wild-caught meat, seafood, roots, fruits, nuts, tubers, and all manner of edible vegetation. This environment of natural food sources was the site of our evolution. Our metabolisms, our musculo-skeletal systems, our brains, our hormones, and our physiology evolved with this dietary environment as a driving