The Purposeful Primitive approach to the art and science of physical renovation is deceptively simplistic. By using a few basic tools and food purchased from the grocery store, you can radically alter the way you look while simultaneously improving health, vitality and energy levels. The Primitive approach has two irreducible goals: tone, strengthen and increase muscle mass and function, and the systematic reduction of body fat. This methodology has been used by the athletic elite for decades and is shorn of fluff and bloat.
There are three core elements to any effective fitness regimen: progressive resistance training, cardiovascular training and nutrition . These are the three legs of the Fitness Triad. A Purposeful Primitive uses an unending rotation of simple yet effective methods within each of the three Triad component disciplines. Inter-related and inter-locking, the three disciplines compliment, stimulate and accelerate progress when linked and executed in a balanced, sane fashion.
The goal is to establish physical momentum and then keep the progress ball rolling.
Any fitness expert worth their salt will tell you is that stagnation is always just around the corner. The typical trainee finds a particular weight training routine, cardio routine or diet that they like and then proceed to stick with it for far too long. The dirty little secret of fitness is that almost any program of diet will produce results for the first 3-6 weeks. By exposing the body to a new and different mode of behavior (regular training, disciplined eating) progress will occur.
The problem is the human body is remarkably adaptive and from the time you begin using the new procedure, be it a weight training regimen, new aerobic routine or the latest diet craze, the body is seeking to neutralize the impact. If you stay with the new training or eating approach long enough the human body will find a way to 'normalize' what was once radical and effective. For this reason just about any new fitness or eating regimen will yield results for the first month or so. The inevitable problem is resistance to change: once the progress vein is exhausted, rather than recognize stagnation and rotate in a fresh new approach, trainees stick with the now ineffectual mode.
Among fitness adherents there is a disturbing and predictable phenomenon: developing an unhealthy and counterproductive allegiance to a once-effective routine or diet. Out of loyalty or a misguided sense of stick-to-it-ness, they take what was once (and no longer is) effective and turn it into a religion.
The Purposeful Primitive recognizes that all routines and diets, no matter how sophisticated or effective run their natural course and peter out. We recognize the indisputable fact of life and always have another equally effective routine or eating strategy ready to roll out. Progress is the most important product.
ENTHUSIASM TRUMPS WILLPOWER EVERY SINGLE TIME!
A key element to success is being able to develop a genuine enthusiastic love for the physical renovation process. If you view the fitness as drudgery and dread the thought of training and hate the idea of preparing foods that enhance the performance-eating portion of the fitness equation, then you are doomed to eventually quit.
Those with fabulous willpower last longer then those with lesser mental discipline, but regardless, all acts of will come to an end sooner or later. As any competent psychiatrist will attest that while willpower is great for getting a life-changing process or procedure started, at some point in the foreseeable future, willpower and determination must morph into enjoyment.
If you are able to develop enthusiasm (and love) for the process, effort will magically regenerate itself and develop a self-sustaining, self-regenerating momentum. When workouts become enjoyable and something that you look forward to, when you look forward to eating great tasting diet meals that happen to be good for you, the battle is won. Physical transformation becomes not a matter or if but when. Variety is one critical element to developing self-sustaining enthusiasm for the process.
Expose yourself to a wide range of training modes and systems, and amongst them you will most certainly find one or more that you actually enjoy. Ditto for nutrition: the key to eating correctly is taste. Learn how to prepare great tasting foods that also happen to be absolutely the perfect foods for you to consume. When all three elements are in continual rotation and when you look forward to engaging in each leg of the Fitness Tripod then inevitably the human body will undergo a positive molecular transformation.
PRIMITIVE SYNERGY: When all three elements of the Purposefully Primitive fitness triad are in place and practiced in a balanced and proportional fashion, a physical synergy occurs wherein results exceed all realistic expectations . Better to do a bit of each discipline than a whole lot of any one or two elements.
Typically a fitness adherent will latch onto one (or two) of the irreducible core elements and work the hell out of it. Unfortunately this approach will only get you so far. When progressive resistance training, cardiovascular training and performance eating are all present and accounted for and executed in a systematic, balanced fashion, results occur at a phenomenal rate that has to be experienced to be believed.
The Purposeful Primitive begins the transformation process by realistically accessing how much time they have to devote on a weekly basis to the total effort. Then the available time is apportioned in a fairly equal way. The PP allots time for meal preparation and grocery shopping and plans ahead on all fronts. Ample amounts of quality food need be prepared ahead of time, ready to be consumed at a moment's notice. This notion of balance and proportionality carries over into the composition of the individual meals. Primitive tactics used in a balanced fashion create critical mass. Physical synergy is real and when achieved results occur rapidly.
HOW WE TRAIN: Athletes know that training intensity is a force-multiplier. Better to have a second-rate training executed with great physical intensity than a super-sophisticated plan executed in a lackadaisical fashion. Those of us who belong to commercial gyms have no doubt noted that the vast majority of regular members never ever change physically despite being diligent and regular in their training. These diligent gym goers stay the same for very real physiological reasons: the human body does not transform itself in response to sameness; the human body changes its molecular structure only in response to the self-inflicted trauma of intense physical effort.
This is an inconvenient fact-of-life that promoters of commercial product gloss over or purposefully obfuscate. They want you to believe that their miracle product will allow you to by-pass all the blood, sweat and tears associated with true transformation. Wish it we so but this is the number one fitness myth. Intense training effort must be coordinated with a disciplined approach to nutrition.
The Purposeful Primitive understands that intense physical effort is required trigger muscle hypertrophy and intense effort is required to mobilize and oxidize stored body fat. The tools needed need not be sophisticated but the intensity generated need be sufficient to pull the hypertrophy trigger.
Generating training intensity is a learned trait and need not be hurtful, harmful or injurious. The good news is that by training intensely we need not train often - in fact by training as hard as we should in our progressive resistance training, too much training done too often is down right counter-productive.
Cardiovascular training, a.k.a. aerobics, are an indispensable leg of the fitness triad. Progressive resistance training builds and strengthens the 600+ muscles on the human body; cardiovascular training improves circulatory function, builds the internal heart pump muscle, increases the size of capillaries and prevents hardening of arterial walls. In addition aerobic activity burns calories and elevates the basal metabolic rate. Cardio exercise is the perfect complement to progressive resistance exercise -- one exercise form provides what the other does not and vice versa. When both are practiced on a regular, systematic basis, the combination (in conjunction with performance eating) causes the body to respond to a degree that is not possible if one exercise form is practiced to the exclusion of the other.
PERFORMANCE EATING AND SKINNY-FAT PARADOX: Exercise need be coordinated with a specific eating strategy. Most will-driven, serious fitness adherents under-eat. You need to eat enough calories to support the intense training. The combination of intense exercise and too few calories is a recipe for disaster. Catabolism takes hold when the human body is over-worked and under-fed.
In the PP lexicon we call this 'prison camp' nutrition: work the prisoner to death through intense physical activity then starve them. Oh sure you will lose body weight by using prison camp methodology but the result is the "skinny-fat" syndrome. Skinny-fat occurs when the fitness adherent loses as much or more muscle tissue as the do body fat during the dietary process. The end result is the individual ends up a miniaturized version of their old fat self. True, they might lose 100-pounds of body weight -- yet they still retain a high percentage of body fat. They have succeeded in replicating themselves in a way that is lighter but still fat, fat, fat.
The reason is rooted in simple physiology: when the body senses starvation, as it does when a person slashes too many calories too quickly, a primordial mechanism triggers that causes the body to hang onto body fat. Body fat is form of fuel and the last line of defense against starvation. If a starvation situation is sensed, the body's innate wisdom holds onto the fat at all cost.
The body actually cannibalizes muscle tissue to preserve precious body fat. Rather than expend its precious body fat in the face of starvation, the body will strip muscles of amino content to serves as fuel to power activity. The PP avoids this metabolic catastrophe by never slashing calories. If you train intensely you need to eat. The PP loves to eat and eat often. Performance eating is the art and science of eating plenty of tasty food; yet paradoxically you are able to simultaneously oxidize stored body fat. Sound impossible? Champion bodybuilders eat upwards of 10,000 calories a day while maintaining 4-8% body fat percentiles.
How do they do this? Over time they have build up the body's ability to consume calories without shuttling these calories into fat storage compartments. They have turned up the body's thermostat and burn tons of calories while at rest. This is the opposite of an obese person's sluggish metabolism. A champion athlete burns calories at a tremendous rate while an out-of-shape individual needs very few calories to exist. By engaging in intense physical activity and eating foods not easily converted in body fat the Purposeful Primitive raises their basal metabolic rate.
Does this mean we want you to eat 10,000 a day? Hardly, but in the finest tradition of Prometheus, the PP will expropriate the tactical architecture used by elite bodybuilders to aid the average individual build muscle, loss fat and stay healthy, sane and gobbling ample amounts of tasty food.
PUTTING IT ALL TOGETHER: Purposefully Primitive methods will work for you. Based in science and biology and drenched in decades of hardcore empirical experience, this approach to physical renovation yields significant, indisputable results in a short timeframe - provided you implement all three legs of the fitness tripod in a balanced fashion.
Marty Gallagher is a former fitness columnist for washingtonpost.com. He is also a former national and world champion powerlifter. Marty's articles have been featured in Muscle Media, Muscle & Fitness, and Powerlifting USA magazines. His website, http://www.martygallagher.com, assimilates years of accumulated knowledge from the athletic elite and makes them accessible to the common person. The "Purposeful Primitive" way has been proven effective time after time after time for weight loss, increasing muscle tone, and complete physical transformation.