Straight to the Bar

All Things Strength


Review : The Primal Blueprint
Posted By Sandy Sommer

The Primal Blueprint is one book worth reading. If you’ve been confused in the past about what to eat, and how much to eat…even when to eat, then this book will help you make some decisions that will help you get the most out of your food plan.

Additionally, if you’ve been unsure about the best exercise approach, the author, Mark Sisson will give you some solid ideas. There are quite a few things he writes that I agree with and there are a few that I don’t, as I have found that for my clients and me a more thought out program gets excellent results.
The book is really more about getting healthy than a book about working out. That said, if you are working to get leaner, stronger and healthier, and you haven’t been pleased with your results then you should buy this book. Sisson’s general principles will help you immensely.
The Primal Blueprint opens up with a wonderful introduction that is essentially a “primer“. Sisson illustrates the main differences between “Conventional Wisdom” and his 10 laws of Primal life. Much of what passes as conventional thought is truly based on flawed science, protecting special interests, or both. A great example is that most of us think of grain as the “staff of life“. On the other hand, Sisson quotes Jared Diamond, UCLA evolutionary biologist, as calling propagation of grain the “worst mistake in the history of the human race“.
From here the book quickly moves into the 10 Laws of the Primal Blueprint. Nothing is all that earth shattering but combined, the mandates make up so much more than the parts. Representative of the laws “Use your brain” and “Avoid poisonous things“. Combining the 10 together will, however, be earth shaking.
The book goes into significant detail on each of the 10 as it unfolds. Sections include nutritional philosophy and the science behind it. The primal laws of working out… (Hint: sometimes less is more). And finally some great information about altering your lifestyle so that it is congruent with your goals. I found the nutritional information to be the most useful and beneficial. The exercise section is the least complete.
Many folks have said that the book doesn’t truly map out a plan of action. I think this is a benefit though, as so many so-called “diets” are so dogmatic that compliance is a virtual impossibility. For that reason, I’d agree that the title may be a bit misleading. In my mind, a “blueprint” leaves nothing to chance. It’s a complete plan in other words. More accurately the Primal Blueprint is a supply list and you will fill in the blanks as to how you will utilize the supplies. I don’t find that a shortcoming at all.

On a more personal note, I’ve managed to apply most of the standards in my own life. Since August of 2009 I’ve completely changed my body composition, going from 16.7% body fat to less than 9% as of last week. I’m 48 so I think that this is fairly significant. I changed only how I eat and sleep. All of my blood work “numbers” are vastly superior as is my blood pressure. I’ve pretty much rebuilt myself.
And The Primal Blueprint has really helped me have greater impact in my training practice. Clients have lost between 10-60 lbs since August, depending on their own level of compliance following the directives. Also, significant lab work improvement has occurred. One woman has lowered her triglycerides level by almost 20%, brought HDL down to 83 and her HDL ratio is 2.5. Less than 150 and 4 are considered healthy. When her internist questioned her, he was shocked and dismayed at her intake of what he would consider to be unhealthy fats. It ain’t the fat that makes you fat and your blood unhealthy.
It’s the carbs and the fat sources.

Incidentally, if this has got you thinking about your own diet, you might like to swing by Fantastic site.

Over to you. Drop us a line on Twitter ( @scottbird ), or add a comment below.



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Written By Sandy Sommer
Sandy Sommer is a kettlebell instructor, serious football fan and someone who is generally obsessed by fitness.
Drawing of Scott Andrew Bird performing a deadlift. Artwork by Vince Palko.