Mark Sisson’s Primal Life

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Editor’s Note : This speech is available in HD exclusively on 21 University. Go here to learn more.

The foundation of The Primal Blueprint is that as we grow and age, we give our genes signals that impact our lives and health in profound ways. Mark believes that to optimize our health and happiness, we need to look to our ancestors dietary environment and habits.

In this video, you will learn:

  • How to live awesome with vibrant energy.
  • What determines 80% of our body composition.
  • How to manage stress in the modern world.

About Mark Sisson:

Mark Sisson is the author of a #1 bestselling health book on, The Primal Blueprint, as well as The Primal Blueprint Cookbook and the top-rated health and fitness blog Mark’s Daily Apple.

He is also the founder of Primal Nutrition, Inc., a company devoted to health education and designing state-of-the-art supplements that address the challenges of living in the modern world.

Read on for more about Mark’s background from Mark himself.

I am the oldest of four children, born and raised in Maine. I was always interested in human health and athletic performance, probably because my father had been a top track and field athlete and inspired me to test myself at an early age (I even broke my leg at age two jumping off a rock for distance). By age 12, I was holding one-boy track meets in my backyard, running laps around the block and pole-vaulting with a bamboo pole into a dirt pit. My mother was always interested in achieving good health through nutrition, so I also began devouring books on health and nutrition.

I excelled at cross-country and distance track events in high school and at Williams College, where I was a pre-med candidate and received my degree in Biology.

In fact, the running was going so well after college that I decided to forgo medical school for a few years (it’s at 31 years now) and concentrate on a running career. I trained seriously as a marathoner for another five years, racking up well over 100 miles each week in training. The effort culminated in a top 5 finish in the 1980 US National Marathon Championships and a qualifying spot for the 1980 US Olympic Trials. Unfortunately, by then the inhuman amount of training and weekly racing was taking its toll and I found myself constantly sick or injured. (Note to self: too much exercise is not a good thing). In fact, in my last year of competition, as a world class, extremely “fit” athlete, I experienced eight upper respiratory infections! Clearly I was ruining my immune system and my joints doing too much exercise. That’s when I started exploring nutrition and supplementation as a way to enhance my performance and to support my damaged body and bolster my immune system.

The running injuries – osteoarthritis and tendonitis – precluded ever racing at a high level again, but that was just about the time that the new sport of Triathlon was starting to emerge, and I was immediately hooked. While I couldn’t run much anymore, I could certainly cycle and swim to my heart’s content…and I did. I spent a few more years racing triathlons, including finishing 4th place at the Hawaii Ironman, the biggest in the world at the time.

I finally retired from competition in 1988 and decided I would do whatever I could to help others avoid making the kinds of health mistakes that I had made. I figured I could use my pre-medical background, my degree in biology and an intense desire to unlock the health secrets that I knew were out there – answers to questions about health, wellness, anti-aging, safe weight-loss, nutrition and supplementation – to find the natural ways of achieving good health.

I wrote several books, including Maximum Results, The Fat Control System, The Anti-aging Report and The Lean Lifestyle Program (over 400,000 copies distributed). I edited the Optimum Health national health newsletter (circ. 90,000) from 1994 through 1996.

But most importantly, I saw the need for specific natural supplements to address the concerns of aging baby-boomers who needed nutritional “tools” to help them achieve better health. I was appalled at the amount of medications people were taking and the speed with which people were having surgery to address lifestyle problems. So I drew on my extensive research and science background to design natural state-of-the-art health-enhancing nutritional supplements and educational diet and exercise systems.

During this time, I also served for 15 years as the volunteer elected anti-doping and drug-testing chairman of the International Triathlon Union and as its liaison to the International Olympic Committee.

At the end of 2006, I decided to jump into the blogosphere to help foster compelling, critical and enjoyable health discussions. Founding is one of the best things I’ve ever done and has been incredibly rewarding.

Out of the blog came The Primal Blueprint (2009), The Primal Blueprint Cookbook (2010) and the inaugural PrimalCon (2010), a 3-day retreat bringing together members of the Primal community for a weekend of amazing food, great company, educational breakout sessions, and a little play, rest and relaxation.

My life has been one built around health and fitness and I don’t plan for that to ever end. I’ve made it my personal goal to help 10 million people achieve their ultimate genetic potential. To this end my team and I have many exciting new ventures planned for 2010 and beyond. I hope you’ll check back often to learn how my story, the story of The Primal Blueprint, and, most importantly, the stories of all the Primal Blueprinters out there, unfold.

Grok on!


  1. This speech started out good! I watched the FIRST 15 minutes, and was starting to like this guy. THEN, he started talking about nutrition, and, WOW. What an idiot!

    He said you don’t need to eat carbs, but if you don’t eat fat, you’ll die! HA! Idiot. Fat is NOT a necessary nutrient for survival, contrary to retarded ‘paleo’ beliefs.

    You DO NOT need fat in your diet. I’ve personally thrived on a fat-free diet. In conclusion, I feel BEST w/ both carbs and fats.

    I may finish this speech one day but for now, I am grossed out. Take care

    1. That’s because you are eating your own body fat… fat is absolutely necessary to survive. How long were you on this so called “fat-free” diet?

    2. I TOTALLY agree. What makes him think never having another sandwich, or bowl of cereal, will assure you of achieving excellent health? Eliminating ANY food group is setting yourself up for failure. Moderation, people. That’s all it takes! Exercise, eating anything and everything….in MODERATION….including FAT. Hello! It isn’t rocket science!! Guess it sells books though. 😉

      1. Soo… Cyanide in moderation? Heroin in moderation? Cigarettes in moderation? Moderation is bullshit because who gets to decide what is a “moderate” dose? The facts are there and if you bother to research it and experiment with it you will find what the truth is. Repeating bullshit conventional wisdom like “moderation in all things” is a perfect example of not doing any independent thinking or critical analysis.

  2. So lucky to be steered in the right direction concerning nutrition and exercise. Can’t thank you enough Anthony for getting Mark, Drew, Bill, and Doug to speak at the convention.

  3. I loved the speech, but he doesnt take into account that some people actually struggle to eat enough to maintain a healthy weight, even if they eat unprocessed, organic, healthy foods. I can barely keep my weight above 135 lbs, i probably am less right now bc i havent had money to be able to afford groceries. Incredibly smart man but doesnt address some issues in this speech that are important, i dont know if this is bc he has blind spots or if he skipped talking about ppl who struggle to gain weight for a reason. I probably need to gain at least 15-20 lbs, im 5’10, how am i supposed to do that? I do not even buy wheat products from the grocery store, I am a chef, and i bake all my own bread products from whole unprocessed grains. I also have grown wild yeast to use for leavening, which is also an important point Mark misses, wild yeast was traditionally used to leaven (raise) wheat products. Yeast that is naturally grown from wheat creates a complex environment of enzymes, bacteria, and probiotics in order for the yeast to grow and gain complexity, the older the colony of yeasts, the more potent and complex the environment becomes, it is a living micro-climate. The bacteria, enzymes, and probiotics found in these environments are essential for our digestive system, and are incredibly good for our bodies, we have adapted to be able to handle wheat if we have the proper bacteria and enzymes in our digestive system that wild yeasts create when they break down and feed on wheat. After switching to this method I have noticed a more regular, stable apatite and improved digestion. I’d love to hear his thoughts considering we have been consuming wild yeasts and their byproducts for centuries.

  4. I’ve been thinking about how the studies on wheat are designed, and to expand on my other comment, i think a that the lack of probiotics, and enzymes produced by wild yeast in our modern diet could be a major reason for our bodies having troubles processing wheat. The bacteria and other byproducts of wild yeast, and the yeast itself, naturally breaks down and feed on wheat, however, with the industrial revolution came the advent of commercially produced yeast, which removed the need to keep a living micro-climate of yeast in the average household, thus completely removing these essential probiotics and enzymes from out diet. Another good point, flour that has been bleached and highly processed does not provide any of the essential conditions for these bacteria and complex yeasts and their byproducts to survive, let alone grow. Weve basically completely removed something from our intestines and gut that break down and process wheat, something we naturally have had in our diet since we began eating wheat. So its not surprising that studies done today show we have trouble processing wheat, and that more ppl are allergic to gluten. Once you’ve actually seen a colony of wild yeast feed on whole wheat flour and taste bread made with it you’ll get what i mean.

    1. Ah I wish. As stated above,

      “A condition set before Mark spoke was that the speech only be released on post event. I agreed, and am sticking to that.”

      I would prefer it on YouTube of course, but this was a call left to Mark per our agreement and it won’t be on Youtube until he gives the clear.

      — Anthony

  5. The thing about skin cancer is true. I researched that stuff.
    Sun screan does NOT prevent cancer, it only prevents sun burn. In that case, it even contributes to cancer, becaue first you stay longer in sun, and second some products of sun screan break up into carcinogens when in contact with sun. Both is research and true.

    So, the only thing: tan up slowly in summer, youse clothing to protect most of the parts. And even if you cant protect you (swimming eg.) use sun s crean.

  6. Even though the speech makes perfect sense,I kind of have trouble being able to relate to it. I’ll explain.

    I come from middle eastern background, and knowing my grandfather and my other older relatives I have been told that their diets consisted of about 90% in grains, the main one course being wheat. The reason for this being poverty and as you know there not being the industrialised processes for meats, obviously the case around most of the globe back then.

    But what troubles me is that most of these relatives reached their nineties, my own grand father lived to 97. I should point out none of them overweight either, and they lived ok lives, and that’s what we’re looking for I guess.

    So my theory is that there is perhaps people that are more suited to grains just like there are people who are absolutely intolerant of it.

    1. I think wheat has changed a lot since those days. They probably were eating a more wild, healthier wheat. Today, it’s impossible to find a wheat like they used to eat.
      I read that in Wheat Belly.

  7. Is this video still active? It’s the only one on your sight I’ve tried to watch that won’t play. I feel a little disadvantaged watching Doug McGuff’s talk since he keeps referring back to this one.


  8. Mark Sisson has recommended that you take testosterone and Dr. Atkins died of a heart attack. I do not trust these guys.
    Google it if you do not believe me.

    1. I saw an article where Sisson said, in a hypothetical situation, he “would take” testosterone. Along with “I know it’s illegal, but I’m talking best case scenario”. He does not recommend it, per se, certainly not for most of us. And he does not say he DOES take it. Now…he may. But you cannot say that he does from what is out there on the internet. To say he does is irresponsible.

  9. As a graphic designer and retoucher I study faces and Mark’s visage was bugging me out coz it was so familiar and then it hit me… Mark looks like Harrison Ford and Richard Gere had a love child ;oP Great talk by the way going to cut out this crap and get on the fat.

  10. I’m going to show you a very scientific video on how Mark’s sisson philosophy, while might get you a 6 pack in the long run, will actually be EXTREMELY harmful for your health in the long run. Watch the entire thing, it actually have science research of two doctor over the spand of decades. I do hope that Dream have enough integrity to also watch this and not delete the video and in the long run, harm his listeners.
    “Forks over Knives”

  11. Mark advocate eating steak and enjoy animal fats. Did you even bother watching the video i posted above?

    Mark vs 5 doctors with several decades of research who have saved hundreds of lives. Sure dude.

  12. That woman honestly doesnt know what the fuck she is talking about. Nit-picking shit while doesnt really bring any contradiction to the argument made in the video.

    See you in 20 years bro, and we’ll compare our health then. I do hope the viewer of this video wakes up and dont end up destroying their own health so that they can get a 6 pack to impress chicks!

  13. Hi guys,

    Does anyone know how we can replicate the sprinting concept that Mark Sisson talks about in the gym? Any links from his website on this topic would be appreciated.. Surfed on, but couldnt find the specific article.. Thanks..

  14. Thanks Anthony.. I am following intense training and nutrition exactly the way Doug McGuff, Drew Baye, Mark Sisson suggests.. I am just at a stage now i need to lose those a few extra pounds in the belly area for the abs to come out a bit, but got stuck there and finding it hard to progress in losing more weight.. Mark talks about it in his speech here and his book that if you are at this stuck stage in your weight loss process after the initial euphoria, then sprinting and intermitent fasting can do a very good job alonside intense training to do the fine tuning.. So I am trying to focus on sprinting, but it is winter and very cold (at least in London:), so was trying to find other ways of replicating a similar sprinting impact at the gym..


  15. There seems to be some hostility on this thread, I don’t want to step on anyone’s toes but I would love some advise. Before I go into it Thank you so much Anthony for making this convention happen, your doing great things for so many men, myself included. If I made any extra money in my profession I would go to one of these conventions and support your movement.

    So first off I would like to give you a quick background on myself.Here are the main points
    -Skinny dude that has never been able to put weight on (6’2″ 150lbs)
    -Born and raised life long vegetarian.
    -I suppose grain based vegetarian.
    -Very active, work as a mountain guide
    -Ride a bike to work
    -average 12 hours of some level of exercise a day (both my work and transportation)
    -26 years old
    -history of many traumatic injuries

    I have always been happy with my health but in the last 5 years I have had many traumatic injuries mostly due to high impact adrenalin sports. I am getting to old to keep this up, something needs to change, and I am willing to do about anything, except quit participating in high risk activity, its my life. I think maybe my diet and work out needs a change. If I were stronger I could prevent injuries such as this one (this is my destroying my left knee) where my knee literally just gave out. I think if my legs were stronger I would have skied away, I though I was going to up until my knee buckled.

    So here are my questions-
    –Because I am very active how many carbs a day are recommended in a diet like this? or what percent of my diet?
    -Should I start eating meat? I am willing to make this change if it really can make me stronger
    -Has anyone else had similar injury problems and if so what where your solutions?
    -I guess I am also looking for some encouragement, it may seem weird to all of you but as a life long vegetarian the decision and motivation to start eating meat and make the change is more difficult then one might think.

    Thank you all so much, I would love any constructive criticism or advise.

    1. Gabe, I would very strongly recommend reading “Body by Science” by Doug McGuff MD and John Little. That should clear things up on the exercise front.

      Secondly, watch this speech by Doug.

      Should clarify things further on the diet front.

      Finally, watch this speech by Bill DeSimone, will clarify on the injury prevention front.

  16. The truth:

    Mark Sisson is extreme on a Gluconeogenesis(fat metabolism). What he doesn’t understand is that Gluconeogenesis is inhibited by Glycogenesis(Glucose metabolism). Fat is not the preferred fuel source of the body. Fatty acids are used for survival by the body.

    A person gains weight when they mix high carb foods(grains, fruit) with high fat foods(meat,dairy,oils,nuts) at the same meal. For example, when eating fatty foods with carbs, the body will always use the Glucose first and store the fat from the fatty foods for later use. By the way, vegetables don’t exist, they are just branches and roots. So.. Primal Blueprint is a manipulated carnivorous diet.

    Biochemistry doesn’t lie.

  17. If I want to make a living by doing something similar to Mark Sisson, by progressing health (especially in America) does anyone have any ideas on where to start?

    I am about to graduate with a Bachelor’s in Psychology. I don’t have any experience with nutrition related jobs, only counseling and that sort of thing.

    How might one suggest to go down this career path to make a living?


  18. I got this when try to watch the video:

    NoSuchBucketThe specified bucket does not existplayer.vimeo.com556511CB2427F66BKDqRwqvk3hfODJ/IAo5PWrRnBX6fE3VC7zOc8drfAzeFQIxq2OaNPzwSyqJ/28BA

    Sadly it’s not working.

  19. Could you please comment on some of the information posted in this website? Mark touched on this momentarily and I am very interested. I’m still on the fence about herbivore vs omnivore debate for humans. I think I’m leaning more on the omni side but there are so many varying viewpoints it’s really tough. I would just like to hear an extremely convincing viewpoint I suppose. Thank you for any responses…

      1. I did do a search and that’s how I found the link that I posted above. It makes some points about how the Vegetarian Myth has many false claims and I was hoping someone could respond to them.

          1. Just being vegetarian, no meat, versus the diet that these guys promote, Paleo Diet. Instinctually I feel like eating meat is okay but then I see many different studies stating how meat is unhealthy to eat. I still need to read the articles you posted on December 2 2011 on here. There are just so many differing viewpoints on the subject, it’s difficult to make a decision that I believe is 100% factual. I’ve watched things like “The China Study” and I’ve read things that refute it, I watch the speakers at this convention and then I see other things that refute the scientific claims that these guy uphold. So, like I said, I’m leaning more towards what Mark Sisson and Doug McGuff are saying but I am the kind of person that needs to know 100% that it is the right way and perhaps that won’t be possible.

            Thank you for any response, I really do appreciate your time and assistance. I would also like to view the entrepreneurship program that you posted February 24, 2012.

  20. He’s totally right about eggs and cholesterol. It’s bullshit.
    Dietary cholesterol has no effect on blood cholesterol.

    I’ve eaten around 10 eggs, every single day, for the past 15 years (most of the raw).
    And I have low blood cholesterol.

    Eggs are my favorite food (obviously),
    and I believe it’s the best food ever.

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