Are you frustrated that your current workout regimen isn’t delivering the results you’re after? You’ve tried every new fitness machine that’s out there, spend 30-40 minutes at a time, 3-4 days a week, and yet you’re really not where you thought you’d be by now.
Well, the answer to you achieving success may lie in getting off the machines and exercising the way your body was meant to – using your entire body at once, the way your ancestors did. It’s called Paleo Fitness. You can also learn how to incorporate the Paleo Diet into your modern lifestyle.
Paleo Fitness – How Your Ancestors Worked Out to Stay Alive
Back in the Hunter-Gatherer periods of man’s history, your ancestors didn’t have workout equipment to keep themselves fit. Instead, they used their own bodies as their only means to preserve their strength, flexibility and endurance that increased their survival.
Today, fitness experts are looking back to those simple methods that your ancestors used to help 21st century humans get better, faster, fitness results. They call it “paleo fitness” and it advocates doing the same type of movements that your ancestors did just going through their daily lives – mostly the hunting and gathering of food, clearing land, building homes and dodging predator attacks. In order to survive, your ancestors had to be agile, strong, flexible, and be able to endure long periods of movement traveling from one place to another on foot.
Paleo fitness involves doing “cross-training”, rotating several different forms of exercise on different days including interval “bursts” of more intense movement which most closely mimics the ways your ancestors moved every day. It includes a little sprinting – movement your ancestors would have done in hunting or running from a predator which builds power and speed; a little squatting and jumping – as they would have done in stalking, waiting to catch prey which strengthens your back, legs, and promotes endurance; a little lifting and leveraging of weight, swinging them when necessary, like they would have done in clearing land of heavy rocks and tree branches that both builds strength and flexibility. And they would have also done just “free movements” – any whole body aerobic movement like walking, running, climbing that would have transported them across distances or in scaling heights. This type of movement helps build endurance, strength and lung capacity.
So, are you ready to boost your fitness and longevity by going back to the movements your ancestors performed day in/day out? A few things to know first are:
1. Unlike going to the gym 3-4 days a week for 1 hour, your ancestors performed these movements every day. So, paleo fitness workouts are designed for some amount of every day movements. Our current obesity epidemic has less to do with how much food we’re eating than how little we move in our daily lives to burn the energy from our food.
2. Some activities will require “bursts” of faster movements – like your ancestors did when hunting, or when being chased by a tiger. Others will require lifting weights, and others will require slower, more sustained “endurance” type exercise. In the following simple, beginner’s routine, you’ll start to get used to your entire body moving in 3-dimensional space rather than primarily using only your legs on a treadmill, stair stepper or cycle.
You’ll start building more cardiovascular tone, lung capacity, as well as strength and flexibility. Do this routine for 2-3 weeks and then progress to a more intermediate level, maybe adding more intense bursts to your routine, a little more resistance weight/more frequently, or a little longer endurance time (if you can fit it in). Even though you’re moving a certain amount every day, you’ll actually be spending less time each week exercising yet getting greater all-around benefit.
First Day: Anaerobic/Sprinting. Fast walking for 15 minutes at a time with 2, 30 second to 1 minute, bursts of more intense, faster movement.
Second Day: Endurance. You can walk for 60 minutes, ride a bike, or play a sport like lawn football, soccer, volleyball, racquet ball, tennis, go swimming, hiking, golfing, any type of activity you enjoy that keeps your entire body moving at a moderate exertion pace for 60 minutes. Do these outdoors (weather permitting) for added sun and fresh air benefit.
Third Day: Resistance: Free weight lifting. Using dumbbells (free weights), do weight swings, chest presses, triceps/biceps strengtheners.
Fourth Day: Endurance. You can walk for 60 minutes, ride a bike, or play a sport like football, soccer, volleyball, racquet ball, tennis, go swimming, hiking, anything that keeps your entire body moving a moderate exertion pace for 60 minutes.
Fifth Day: Strength: Practice doing several squats first, then jump after each squat. If you have knee problems, check with your doctor first so you won’t put stress or strain on existing injuries or problems.
Sixth Day: Anaerobic/Sprinting. Fast walking for 15 minutes at a time with 2, 30 second to 1 minute, bursts of more intense, faster movement.
Seventh Day: Endurance. You can walk for 60 minutes, ride a bike, or play a sport like football, soccer, volleyball, racquet ball, tennis, go swimming, hiking, anything that keeps your entire body moving a moderate exertion pace for 60 minutes.
Your ancestors had to use their entire body to keep their daily lives functioning. This is how they stayed fit and survived. In addition, they ate a particular diet that made use of only the natural, local, fresh food they could gather for themselves. You, too, can also return to this simple diet of your ancestors and further boost your health and longevity. Be sure to read about it in Part II: Simple Principles of The Paleo Diet.