How to Succeed with the Primal Blueprint
By Mark Sisson199 Comments 3184 47 7582 198
So you’ve decided to join the challenge. You’ve created your own Primal Challenge Journaland have publicly stated your goals for the next month. Now what? First things first. You have to know the basics. If you’re new to the Primal Blueprint the following article will be like gold to you. Revisit it again and again until you’ve committed the concepts to memory. The graphs and charts are visual representations of the principles that are at the core of the Primal health philosophy and give you a taste of what it is in my new book, The Primal Blueprint.
You’ve defined the “what”. If your goal is to lose weight, build muscle, increase energy or just generally look and feel healthier these graphics explain the basics of the “how”.
The Primal Blueprint Carbohydrate Curve
What’ll It Be? The “Sweet Spot” or the “Danger Zone”?
Carbohydrate intake is often the decisive factor in weight loss success and prevention of widespread health problems like Metabolic Syndrome, obesity and type 2 diabetes. These average daily intake levels assume that you are also getting sufficient protein and healthy fats, and are doing some amount of Primal exercise. The ranges in each zone account for individual metabolic differences.
- 0-50 grams per day: Ketosis and I.F. (Intermittent Fasting) zone. Excellent catalyst for rapid fat loss through I.F. Not recommended for prolonged periods (except in medically supervised programs for obese or Type 2 diabetics) due to unnecessary deprivation of plant foods.
- 50-100 grams per day: Sweet Spot for Weight Loss. Steadily drop excess body fat by minimizing insulin production. Enables 1-2 pounds per week of fat loss with satisfying, minimally restrictive meals.
- 100-150 grams per day: Primal Maintenance zone. Once you’ve arrived at your goal or ideal body composition, you can maintain it quite easily here while enjoying abundant vegetables, fruits and other Primal foods.
- 150-300 grams a day: Insidious Weight Gain zone. Most health conscious eaters and unsuccessful dieters end up here, due to frequent intake of sugar and grain products (breads, pastas, cereals, rice, potatoes – even whole grains). Despite trying to “do the right thing” (minimize fat, cut calories), people can still gain an average of 1.5 pounds of fat every year for decades.
- 300+ grams a day: Danger Zone of average American diet. All but the most extreme exercisers will tend to produce excessive insulin and store excessive fat over the years at this intake level. Increases risk for obesity, Metabolic Syndrome and type 2 diabetes.
The Primal Blueprint Food Pyramid
For effortless weight loss, vibrant health, and maximum longevity
General Guidelines: 80% of body composition success is determined by diet. Limit processed carb intake (hence, insulin production), and obtain sufficient protein and fat to fuel and rebuild.
- Protein: Average .7 – 1 gram per pound of lean body mass/day – depending on activity levels (more at times is fine).
- Carbs: 50-100 grams/day (or less) = accelerated fat loss. 100-150 grams/day = effortless weight maintenance. Heavy exercisers can increase carb intake as needed to replace glycogen stores.
- Fat: Enjoy freely but sensibly for balance of caloric needs and high dietary satisfaction levels.
- Avoid Poisonous Things: Conventional Wisdom’s dietary guidelines promote fat storage, type 2 diabetes, inflammation and obesity!
- Eliminate: Sugary foods and beverages, grains (wheat, corn, rice, pasta, breads, cereals, etc.), legumes (soy and other beans), trans and partially hydrogenated fats, high-risk conventional meat and produce, and excess PUFA’s (instead, increase omega-3 oils).
- Modern Adjustments: Some modern foods that Grok didn’t eat can still be included in a healthy diet
- Moderation: Certain high glycemic fruit, coffee, high-fat dairy products, starchy tuber vegetables, and wild rice.
- Supplements: Multivitamin/mineral formula, probiotics, omega-3 fish oil and protein powder.
- Herbs, spices and extracts: Offer many health benefits and enhance enjoyment of meals.
- Sensible indulgences: Dark chocolate, moderate alcohol, high-fat treats.
The Primal Blueprint Fitness Pyramid
For functional, diverse athletic ability, and a lean, proportioned physique
Exercising according to the three Primal Blueprint laws will optimize gene expression and promote Primal Fitness.
- Law #3: Move Frequently at a Slow Pace strengthens the cardiovascular and immune systems, promotes efficient fat metabolism and gives you a strong base to handle more intense workouts.
- Law: #4: Lift Heavy Things stimulates lean muscle development, improves organ reserve, accelerates fat loss, and increases energy.
- Law #5: Sprint Once in a While stimulates the production of HGH and testosterone, which help improve overall fitness and delay the aging process – without the burnout risk of excessive prolonged workouts.
The Conventional Wisdom approach to fitness is clearly not working! Stress is excessive, weight loss goals are compromised, and many are misguided to pursue narrow fitness goals that are unhealthy.
- Avoid Chronic Cardio (frequent medium-to-high intensity sustained workouts)
- Avoid Chronic Strength Training (frequent and/or prolonged sub-maximal lifting sessions ending in exhaustion)
- Avoid Regimented Schedules (instead, allow for spontaneous, intuitive variation in type, difficulty and frequency of workouts)
All this and much more can be found in my new book, The Primal Blueprint. Order a copy today and start getting Primal!
Fast Shred Program: 4 Day Compound Set Workout Split
Tired of spending hours in the gym without getting the results you want? Try the Fast Shred program; a compound set workout to get you shredded & on your way!
Main GoalLose FatWorkout TypeSplitTraining LevelIntermediateProgram Duration8 weeksDays Per Week4Time Per Workout30-45 minutesEquipment RequiredBands, Barbell, Bodyweight, Cables, Dumbbells, MachinesTarget GenderMale & FemaleAuthorJosh EnglandWorkout PDFDownload Workout
Do you want to get shredded?
Do you also want to cut down on the hours you spend in the gym on a weekly basis?
With summer right around the corner, I can’t say that I blame you if you answered yes to both of those questions.
I mean, who wants to spend all their time in the gym when they could be hanging out by the pool, shredded, soaking up that summer sun?
That’s why I’ve designed a sequel to the Fast Mass Program.
But instead of packing on size, we’re going to focus on shredding some body fat this go around.
The Basic Component of the Fast Shred Program
In the Fast Mass Program, I introduced you to a time saving intensity booster known as the superset.
In this program, we (for the most part) traded out the superset for compound sets.
What’s the difference? I’m glad you asked. Supersets involve opposing muscle groups, for example you would superset a set of bicep curls with a set of dumbbell tricep extensions.
Compound sets involve the same muscle group. So, for a traditional back compound set, immediately after a set of barbell rows you might hit a set of pullups.
In the Fast Shred Program, I’ve done my best to strategically set up compound sets that involve a heavy lift followed by a set of a bodyweight exercises. This way, you can utilize a heavier weight for the weighted motion without fear of injury risk of a loaded second movement.
That’s not to say that a few compound sets, supersets and giant sets involving loaded exercises weren’t incorporated into this program, but it was avoided for the majority of the sets.
The compound set drastically increases the muscle’s time under tension, thus causing greater overall muscle damage. Combined with proper nutrition, rest, and recovery the end result should be increased muscular endurance and a greater amount of fat loss.
Day 1 – Lower Body
|1b. Bodyweight Squat||4||12-20|
|2a. Dumbbell RDL||4||8-12|
|2b. Leg Curls||4||12-20|
|3a. Leg Press||3||8-12|
|3b. Reverse Bodyweight Lunge||3||10 each leg|
Day 2 – Upper Body
|1a. Bench Press||4||8-12|
|2a. Barbell Row||4||8-12|
|2b. Inverted Row||4||12-20|
|3a. Lateral Raises||3||8-12|
|3b. Front Raises||3||8-12|
|3c. Rear Delt Raises||3||8-12|
|4b. Seated Tricep Extension||3||8-12|
Day 3 – Off / Active Recovery / Abs
off (light cardio 20-40 minutes of walking for active recovery)
Day 4 – Lower Body
|1a. Barbell Deadlift||4||8-12|
|1b. Single Leg Toe Touch||4||10 each leg|
|2a. Front Squat||3||8-12|
|2b. Side Lunges||3||10 each side|
|3a. Leg Extension||3||8-12|
|3b. Leg Curls||3||8-12|
|4a. Standing Calf Raise||3||20|
|4b. Seated Calf Raise||3||20|
|4c. Jump Rope||3||1 min|
Day 5 – Upper Body
|1a. Standing Dumbbell Press||4||8-12|
|1b. Band Pull Apart||4||12-20|
|2a. Dumbbell Row||4||8-12|
|3a. Dumbbell Incline Press||4||8-12|
|3b. Incline Fly||4||12-20|
|4a. Dumbbell Curl||3||8-12|
|4b. Rope Pressdown||3||8-12|
Day 6 &7 – Off/Active Recovery/ Abs
off (light cardio 20-40 minutes of walking for active recovery)
How Long Should I Take for My Rest Periods?
You won’t be taking any rest periods in between compound, super, or giant sets.
After you finished the prescribed reps for all of the exercises in a set, take between 60-90 seconds worth of rest before attacking your next set.
With that said, it is important to know your own ability and fitness level. If you need longer in between sets, take a little longer to rest in between sets.
If I Eat Properly and Do this Program, How Long Will It Take to See Results?
There are quite a few things that will determine your success with this program. Nutrition is indeed a key factor. For fat loss, you want to make sure you are in a caloric deficit. Find out your BMR here, then subtract ~250-500 calories away from that.
Other factors will include the amount of hours you get of sleep each night and how you spend your time recovering outside of the gym.
A good goal to aim for is about 0.25-0.5lbs of fat loss per week. Grant it, this will depend greatly on your current body composition and all of the factors listed above.
Related: How To Build A Fat Loss Meal Plan
What Should I Do For Abs?
Everyone wants a six pack for summer. Feel free to add in ab and core exercises to the tailend of these workouts or on off days.
Check out our full database of ab workouts here.
Can I Switch up the Order of the Workouts/Sub Exercises?
You’re more than welcome to tailor this program whatever way you see fit to better fit your needs and help you reach your goals.
With that said, be cautious about subbing exercises and switching the workout order. You want to make sure you are still able to recover properly from each workout as this is how you will inevitably see the results you want.
If you have any other questions, comments, and/or try the workout, let us know in the comments section below!