Health & Fitness Author
Mark Sisson is a former endurance athlete, distance runner, and triathlete who qualified for the 1980 US Olympic trials for the marathon. He came in 4th in the 1982 Ironman competition. Along with Morgan Buehler, Sisson co-founded Primal Kitchen which makes healthy snacks, sauces and condiments. (Primal Kitchen was acquired by Kraft Heinz in 2018.) Sisson has a food blog about the paleo diet called ‘Mark’s Daily Apple.’ He hopes to inspire people to become passionate about good health with as little pain, suffering and sacrifice as possible. He is the best-selling author of several books, and worked for 15 years as a volunteer chairman of anti-doping and drug-testing of the Triathalon Union and as its liaison to the International Olympic Committee. He is 5 feet 10 inches tall and weighs 164 lbs.
Mark Sisson’s Diet
Sisson eats a paleo diet and has created his own version called ‘The Primal Blueprint.’ It is high on vegetables and fat and moderate on protein. Preferably, proteins come from natural, grass-fed, local sources. Carbs should contain a lot of fiber and nutrients. Fruit should be in season and locally-grown while oversize, highly-cultivated fruits should be avoided. Sugar, processed foods and grains should also be avoided. Nuts, seeds, high-fat dairy and dark chocolate can all be enjoyed in moderation.
For endurance athletes and those who burn a lot of calories, some supplemental carbs can be added in the form of quinoa and wild rice, starchy vegetables like sweet potatoes and pumpkin, and legumes such as beans if you are not sensitive to them.
Sisson is a proponent of intermittent fasting. He does not believe it is necessary to count calories on the Primal Blueprint Diet.
- Low Carbs 10% 10%
- Mid Protein 40% 40%
- High Fat 70% 70%
The Primal Blueprint Diet
Eat only whole, natural unprocessed foods, preferably locally-sourced. The primal diet is based on what our ancestors ate before the agricultural revolution.
Avoid Sugar and Grains
Our ancestors did not have access to these things, and especially not in the processed forms we have today. By cutting out both grains and sugar, your carb intake will automatically be lower.
Protein is necessary for rebuilding and repairing all types of tissues in the body. Primal meals focus on protein.
Vegetables = VIP (a Very Important Part of the diet)
Leafy greens, brightly-colored vegetables that grow above ground and certain root vegetables such as parsnips, carrots and turnips are all part of the diet, whereas potatoes and other starchy vegetables are not. Seasonal fruits can be eaten in moderation.
Fat Is Prime, and Primal
High quality fats, including animal fat, extra virgin olive oil, avocado oil, ghee, grass-fed butter, coconut and any natural fat is an important component of this diet. The ones to avoid are processed: trans fats, hydrogenated oils, corn and soybean oil and any other chemically-altered or unnatural fats.
Diet Matters More than Exercise
Sure, exercise offers plenty of benefits. But if you don’t follow a healthy diet, it is unlikely you’ll be able to change your body composition through exercise alone.
What to Eat
Locally-sourced, naturally-raised meat
Wild caught fish
Apple cider vinegar
What to Avoid
Soft drinks including diet soda
Sisson on Health
‘Now, more than ever, you simply cannot hand over your health to others.’
Sisson on the Primal Blueprint’s Simplicity
‘Fortunately, this type of lifestyle is not only incredibly healthy, it’s quite simple.’
Sisson on Carbs
‘I want to explain that carbs are not evil per se, we just eat way too man of the wrong kind today.’
Mark Sisson’s Fitness Routine
Maximum Results, Minimal Time
With his background in endurance training, Sisson says he’s embarrassed to admit how little exercise is required to maintain an excellent fitness level.
It’s All About LGN
Looking Good Naked: Sisson has a sense of humor.
It’s Also About Enjoyment
Sisson works out with intensity so he can LGN, but he thoroughly enjoys his workouts and he also takes care not to overdo it.
Sisson does 3 strength training session each week involving free weights, machines, bodyweight exercises and other equipment including kettlebells, resistance bands and the like. These sessions are very high intensity, but of short duration.
Take It Easy
On one of his ‘rest’ days, Sisson might ride a stationary bike for 30-45 minutes, play fetch with his dog, or practice his slackline skills.
Sisson straps on his minimalist 5-finger shoes and goes on a weekend hike that lasts at least a couple of hours.
Sisson loves Ultimate Frisbee, Standup paddleboard (SUP), snowboarding, and slacklining.
After a killer session of Ultimate Frisbee on Sunday, Sisson takes his time getting out of bed Monday morning. He might do a 30-minute stationary bike ride to get the metabolic benefits of sprinting without the impact of running. But if he feels the call of the SUP, he’s going for it.
Weights: 45-55 minutes of chest/shoulders/triceps training
Intervals: 35-40 minutes on the Lifecycle, including 5×1 minute intensive intervals.
Weights: 45-55 minutes of back/biceps/leg training
Sprints (at the beach, if you’re Sisson, or lucky)
Weights: 45-55 minutes chest/shoulders triceps (Sisson rotates the Monday/Friday workout every other week to back/biceps/legs)
Hike 2+ hours. If traveling, Sisson will repeat his Lifecycle routine.
Ultimate Frisbee. Multi-family & Sisson’s favorite activity.
Sisson on Power
‘We choose how much power we give our ‘imperfections.’ How much emotional bandwidth will we sacrifice to them? What opportunities will we forgo?’
Sisson on Making Good Choices
‘Once you’re sensitized to the negative effects of unhealthy choices, it gets easier to turn down what used to seem impossible to resist.’
Sisson on Exercise
‘Those who think they have not time for bodily exercise will sooner or later have to find time for illness.’
Mark Sisson’s Supplements
Primal Fuel protein powder can help you lose weight by making you feel satisfied. It is made from coconut and contains no soy or gluten.
Your immune system depends on a healthy digestive tract, and Primal Probiotics contains 10 billion ‘good’ bacteria in every capsule.
The Primal Master Formula contains 51 research-proven ingredients for an all-in-one nutritional supplement.
Mark Sisson’s Lifestyle
Rest Is Key
Sisson makes sure he gets adequate rest every night (8+ hours) and takes breaks between workouts.
Make Time For Fun
Sisson doesn’t take anything too seriously.
Sisson says our biggest challenge is the amount of momentum we already have toward disease and accelerated aging due to manipulation by BigPharma and BigAgra, as well as the massive amount of misinformation in the mainstream health industry.
Sisson believes intellectual stimulation is necessary for good health and reads just about everything, but he makes a point of taking regular breaks from high-intensity cognitive tasks.
The Golden Rule
Sisson is a staunch proponent of ethical behavior. He believes that what goes around, comes around.
Sisson thinks we owe it to ourselves to take responsibility for our health and our life, and to be open to new ideas.
Sisson on Sleep
‘If you have a habit of disrespecting consistent sleep time habits, you create momentum in the wrong direction and will struggle to achieve basic health and fitness goals.’
Sisson on Motivation
‘My most prominent motivator is the pursuit of pleasure and happiness in my life.’
Sisson on His Life’s Mission
‘My mission is to change the lives of 100 million people.’
Vibram Five Fingers Footwear
The Primal Kitchen Cookbook
The Primal Connection
The Keto Reset Diet
21-Day Primal Reset Course
Paleo Cooking Bootcamp
Primal Endurance Mastery
Keto Reset Mastery
Don’t Just Sit There!
Mayo with Avocado Oil
Honey Mustard Vinaigrette & Marinade