Fitness Goal-setting

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created August 10, 2010 at 6:51 PM

In his "Primal Blueprint Fitness" e-book ( http://www.marksdailyapple.com/primal-blueprint-fitness/ ), Sisson quotes Earle Liederman on defining adequate fitness:

???Every man should be able to save his own life. He should be able to swim far enough, run fast and long enough to save his life in case of emergency and necessity. He also should be able to chin himself a reasonable number of times, as well as to dip a number of times, and he should be able to jump a reasonable height and distance.??? (Liederman, Endurance)

Sisson further elaborates his own interpretation of Liederman's criteria:

"For argument???s sake, we could frame Liederman???s quote in practical terms as follows: ??? 1/2 mile swim ??? 200 yard run, at full sprint speed ??? Ability to jump over waist-high objects ??? 15???20+ pullups ??? 25+ dips"

My question is how do we modern primal/paleos go about setting our fitness goals, both short and long term? Are the pronouncements of our gurus on this subject worthwhile or merely arbitrary? Are 20 pullups and 25 dips a reasonable goal for everyone, despite differences in age, gender, genetics and body type? Should I train to swim 1/2 mile, even if I have no interest in swimming? How do I know when I'm "fit enough"?

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on August 11, 2010
at 06:19 AM

I'm lazy so I go with "if it's not fun, don't do it" therefore I wouldn't bother with swimming if I already knew that I don't like it.

Saving your life has nothing/very very little to do with your fitness level in my opinion. People did things that are said to be impossible when needed.

We can be hip and cool in a nice cozy gym, listening to music, throwing those weights around like feathers but what if you had to remove a big stone that fell on one of your family members and crushed their legs ? It's about handling the situation and handling starts in your head.

Exercise might help in you in a day by day basis but I don't believe it will be the determing factor that will save your life.



on August 11, 2010
at 03:59 AM

This morning, as I was driving, I heard a weird sliding noise following by a kerplunk noise. It took me a few moments to realize I had left my book on the top of the car when getting in and had drove away with it up there. And it must have just then fallen on the road. So I had to stop the car, set the emergency flashers, and RUN back down the road at least a block to get my book. Plus I had a flip flop shoe handicap. But I got my book and made it back to the car before any traffic caught up. I consider this a case of physical fitness success!

Last week, I was out hiking with my dog and I saw a huge piece of really cool driftwood. To get it back, I had to set it on my shoulders and haul it at least a half mile. But I got that wood back to my car. I consider this a case of physical fitness success!

last winter, my friends and I went camping out in the desert to look for semiprecious stones. That particular area is graced with a large meandering river. Many agate and jasper stones lay along the river banks waiting to be found. To hunt on the far side requires swimming across the river, which is easy. The hard part is swimming back again later, now that you happen to be also toting a large bag of rocks as you swim! But I got those rocks back the car! I consider these kinds of things to be a case of living life to the fullest! To me, it's about doing what you want to do and having fun doing it.



on August 11, 2010
at 06:06 AM

If you and your companion are being chased by a hungry bear, how long should you be able to sprint? The answer is, "longer than your companion".

Since losing some weight and doing BBS style training for a year, I'm able to do a chin-up for the first time in 40 years. Now I can do 2 of them. But 15+? I don't know about that.



on August 10, 2010
at 11:50 PM


There is no objective "right" answer to your question. What I would keep in mind is that "health" and "fitness" are NOT always congruent. This is something that Mark, much to his credit, stresses.



on August 10, 2010
at 09:43 PM

Goals are personal things, so I wouldn't adopt something just because a "guru" suggests it. I have no idea where 1/2 mile comes from as a swimming goal, for example. If you enjoy swimming, and that sort of goal would keep you motivated, then go for it.

We have a corporate challenge run every year. My goal is to show up and run the damn thing barefoot and beat the times of most of the people 10-15 years younger than me. And without chronic-cardio type training. That's a vain goal, I know, but I guess it would mean in a crisis I could get my ass 3 miles down the road faster than most other people, so that's something!



on August 10, 2010
at 07:57 PM

This is an excellent question. I really like Crossfit's idea: Prepare for the unknown. With that said, the infinite number of things that can come your way are too hard to train for. I think it goes back to having a good General Physical Preparedness (GPP) base. There are many ways to approach that goal. Crossfit, Body by Science, Mark's Primal Blueprint program. Just enjoy whatever program you choose to do. A body built with a good GPP base plus a healthy diet plus a healthy lifestyle insures you against any unforeseeable event (black swan).



on August 10, 2010
at 07:27 PM

I think that is a good starting place, but I think the real answer is: you will be fit enough when you can complete all of the tasks of your daily life without injuring yourself. Those tasks include: moving, sleeping, chopping wood, carrying groceries/kids, reaching up on the top of the fridge, etc... I also really like the "save your own life" metaphor. You do need to be able to stretch yourself, functionally, physically at times in cases of emergency, or risk, or a good hard game of touch football/volleyball, etc...

How do you set your goals, how to attain them, how do you get there: Functional exercise. My choice is CrossFit, here is my local gym, but there are lots of other programs and gyms around the country that are moving toward this type of exercise and philosophy. We do mostly complex movements at varying levels of time with max intensity. The other day I was wondering what was functional about running 400m with a 35lbs weight several times...I have an 11 month old daughter who is over 20lbs, I now know I could probably run a mile with her to escape danger, etc...

Keep it functional, keep it varied, keep it fun. And next time you move or help someone move, if you can go half the day without getting winded or sore, you are pretty much there! That was one of my true tests two weeks ago.

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