I'm Darryl Edwards (aka The Fitness Explorer), founder of Primal Play, this website is no longer being updated - please check out www.primalplay.com for current details on my work, passion and lifestyle approach.

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Reading List
  • Animal Moves: How to move like an animal to get you leaner, fitter, stronger and healthier for life
    Animal Moves: How to move like an animal to get you leaner, fitter, stronger and healthier for life
    by Darryl Edwards

    Animal Moves

    • improve strength, speed and stamina
    • increase mobility, flexibility and stability
    • look, feel and perform better

    Find out more and details on how to purchase at www.animalmovesbook.com

  • Paleo from A to Z: A reference guide to better health through nutrition and lifestyle. How to eat, live and thrive as nature intended!
    Paleo from A to Z: A reference guide to better health through nutrition and lifestyle. How to eat, live and thrive as nature intended!
    by Darryl Edwards

    "If you are looking for a simple way to better understand Paleo concepts, Darryl's Paleo from A to Z guide is the go-to resource.
    -Mark Sisson, best-selling author of The Primal Blueprint and publisher of Mark's Daily Apple

  • Paleo Fitness - A Primal Training and Nutrition Program to Get Lean, Strong and Healthy
    Paleo Fitness - A Primal Training and Nutrition Program to Get Lean, Strong and Healthy
    by Darryl Edwards, Brett Stewart, Jason Warner

    "This book is a useful reference to enable individuals just starting out on the Paleo path as well as those who want to explore more challenging, playful and interesting ways to move."

    -Robb Wolf, New York Times best-selling author of The Paleo Solution

     

  • 7 Day Introduction to Paleo Fitness: Get Fitter, Get Stronger, Get Healthier in Seven Days. Move as Nature Intended.
    7 Day Introduction to Paleo Fitness: Get Fitter, Get Stronger, Get Healthier in Seven Days. Move as Nature Intended.
    by Darryl Edwards
  • The Paleo Solution: The Original Human Diet
    The Paleo Solution: The Original Human Diet
    by Robb Wolf
  • Why Zebras Don't Get Ulcers
    Why Zebras Don't Get Ulcers
    by Robert M. Sapolsky
  • Primal Blueprint: Reprogram Your Genes for Effortless Weight Loss, Vibrant Health & Boundless Energy (Primal Blueprint Series)
    Primal Blueprint: Reprogram Your Genes for Effortless Weight Loss, Vibrant Health & Boundless Energy (Primal Blueprint Series)
    by Mark Sisson
  • Slow Death by Rubber Duck: The Secret Danger of Everyday Things
    Slow Death by Rubber Duck: The Secret Danger of Everyday Things
    by Rick Smith, Bruce Lourie, Sarah Dopp
  • Wahls Protocol, The : A Radical New Way to Treat All Chronic Autoimmune Conditions Using Paleo Principles
    Wahls Protocol, The : A Radical New Way to Treat All Chronic Autoimmune Conditions Using Paleo Principles
    by Terry Wahls, Eve Adamson
  • Protein Power
    Protein Power
    by Michael R. Eades, Mary Dan Eades, Mary Deans
  • Born to Run: The Hidden Tribe, the Ultra-Runners, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen
    Born to Run: The Hidden Tribe, the Ultra-Runners, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen
    by Christopher McDougall
  • In Defence of Food: The Myth of Nutrition and the Pleasures of Eating: An Eater's Manifesto
    In Defence of Food: The Myth of Nutrition and the Pleasures of Eating: An Eater's Manifesto
    by Michael Pollan
  • Food Rules: An Eater's Manual
    Food Rules: An Eater's Manual
    by Michael Pollan
  • The Paleo Diet for Athletes
    The Paleo Diet for Athletes
    by L. Cordain
  • Vegetarian Myth, The
    Vegetarian Myth, The
    by Lierre Keith
  • The Second Brain
    The Second Brain
    by Michael D. Gershon
  • The Paleo Diet: Lose Weight and Get Healthy by Eating the Foods You Were Designed to Eat
    The Paleo Diet: Lose Weight and Get Healthy by Eating the Foods You Were Designed to Eat
    by Loren Cordain
  • Eat Drink Paleo
    Eat Drink Paleo
    by Irena Macri
  • Cholesterol Clarity: What the HDL is Wrong with My Numbers?
    Cholesterol Clarity: What the HDL is Wrong with My Numbers?
    by Jimmy Moore, Eric C. Westman

Entries in RPM4 (4)

Monday
Mar122012

Guest Post: Why Measure When You're Exploring Fitness?

This is the fourth in a series of guest posts by Susan Alexander.

Quick recap: The first, second, and third posts were about Mindset, Motion, and Mastery, the first three principles of the model I created to empower any change you want to make in your life - whether it's exploring fitness, learning to eat sensibly, remaking yourself in some way, or any other change.


This post is about Measurement, the model's fourth principle. Measurement, in this context, means tracking what we're doing in the change process so we can know, in real time, whether our efforts are working. By "tracking," I mean assigning metrics to our efforts. As I'll show you, it's a mega-force that amps up the entire change process.

Evolutionary fitness is a great example of effective use of metrics. Its purpose is to improve fitness on an ongoing basis over time. It's also a learning process - an unending one. How do we know if we're improving and learning? We can estimate and guess, but we can't really know if these things are happening (and by how much) unless we track our progress.

If you read Darryl's blog, you probably know that his workouts are measured primarily in time, rounds, reps, and weight. These metrics align well with the general purpose of evolutionary fitness. This is just what we want - metrics aligned with purpose.

Keep in mind that with any self-chosen change, you'll need to be clear on why you're doing it, what you're trying to accomplish, and how you're going about it. Look to these 3 factors to determine your metrics. You can use standard ones, or you can be creative about it.

The top 3 reasons to use measurement

1) Perseverance. Well designed metrics give us relevant feedback on our efforts, which is a big contributor to what we all want: perseverance. When we have relevant feedback, and we're stretching ourselves reasonably and appropriately for our skill level, the body and mind work in harmony with each other. What we're doing feels worth it for its own sake. We get into a state of full involvement known as flow, which is a likable feeling even when what we're doing is very difficult. It's what keeps us coming back to stretch ourselves more and continue improving.

2) Truth
. We humans are intelligent, but we're also very biased. That's another way of saying that we have the cognitive power to find support for whatever we want to believe. In all areas of life (including fitness), we tend to make a lot of unfounded assumptions, come up with findings based on inadequate evidence, and draw conclusions based on too few observations. To reign ourselves in, we need metrics and numbers. They're the perfect antidote to vagueness and self-delusion. The famous words "what can be measured can be managed" tell us a lot. If we really want to manage ourselves and what we're doing, we'll avail ourselves of the benefits of measurement.

3) Accuracy
. It's useful to view evolutionary fitness as a big experiment we're doing with ourselves. The workouts constantly change, as do the numbers assigned to the moves (time, rounds, reps, weight, etc.). It's simply not possible to remember what we've done, how many, and the results. For clarity, learning, and comparison, the best course is to write everything down. Buy a journal and use it to play research scientist with yourself. Don't rely on erasable boards. Our memories aren't as good as we think they are. Keep writing and referring to what you've written. Great learning comes from this process. And it contributes to perseverance, by making our cumulative effort tangible and illuminating the areas where we need more of it.

The takeaway: There are about as many ways to measure as there are changes being made (and people making them). Be creative with your metrics, or use standard ones. What matters is that they align with your why, what, and how. Adding measurement to the change process amps up all components of it. It leads to perseverance and keeps us truthful and accurate. It also lends clarity and substance to what we're doing.

Over to you: Do you use measurement in fitness, or in anything else you do? If so, how does it help you? If you're not using measurement now, is it something you'll consider trying? Let's talk in the comments.

Susan Alexander blogs at gooddisruptivechange.com

You can follow her on Twitter at @SusanRPM4

 

NOTES & FURTHER READING

Mihalyi Cskikszentmihalyi, The Evolving Self at 31-33.

Daniel Kahneman, Thinking, Fast and Slow at 4.

Michael R. Canfield, Field Notes on Science & Nature at 260-74.

Monday
Mar052012

Guest Post: Exploring Fitness & Finding Mastery

This is the third in a series of guest posts by Susan Alexander. 

Quick recap: The first and second posts were about Mindset and Motion, which are the first two principles of the model I created to empower any change you want to make in your life - whether it's exploring fitness, learning to eat sensibly, remaking yourself in some way, or any other change.

This post is about Mastery, the model's third principle. Mastery is a feeling - a super powerful one that happens by itself when you're doing something difficult. Once you learn to recognize Mastery, you can use it to amp up the learning process we looked at in the last post.

Mastery - what it is

Mastery, for our purposes, is that feeling we've all had at some point, the one we get when we’ve been trying over and over to do something new, and we finally do a small part of it - not perfectly or completely - but just enough to make us think, "I can do this" or "I'm on the right track."

This feeling plays a bigger role in learning and change than you might think. Here's an example. Suppose evolutionary fitness is new to you and you're trying to learn it. When you start, it feels different from what you're used to (like drifting from machine to machine in a big-box gym). You try the elemental moves and none of them feels right. Until one does. You haven't nailed it, but you do it well enough to think, "Wow - maybe I can do this stuff after all." That's Mastery. Then you keep working on that move, and another and another, and gradually, they start to feel right - just enough to make you feel more and more mastery. Eventually, entire WODs start to feel right, and eventually, evolutionary fitness becomes your way of working out.

Mastery is what fuels this process. It's what makes you willing to grit it out.

Mastery - how it works

Hmmm, you might be thinking. Mastery from small triumphs - why is this so important? Because it's hugely powerful, that's why. Decades of research bear this out. Mastery is the very thing that sustains change and learning. It's what keeps us in the game - by revealing the potential of our efforts and making us feel good about what we're doing. Once we feel mastery, even a little bit, we want to feel it again. It's the memory of mastery that makes us want to continue what we've started and keep improving along the way. It's a naturally occurring reward that happens for a reason (that's free and non-caloric). Learn to make use of it.

Mastery - how to get it

In order to feel Mastery, you have to be doing something that’s difficult for you, something you can achieve only if you stretch yourself. So once you feel mastery on one level, you have to raise the bar in what you're doing in order to feel it again. It’s this continuous, upward spiral that leads you from where you are to where you want to be.

There is a huge upside to feeling mastery as an intrinsic reward and allowing it to fuel your efforts: it makes change easier. If you discount it, or think you've just gotten lucky when something goes well, you'll undermine your own efforts. Be nice to yourself in the change process. Let yourself feel Mastery. Be in charge. Fix mistakes when they happen and keep iterating. You'll create your own supply of intrinsic reward that way.

The takeaway

Mastery is the source of the very things we often tell ourselves we don't have: motivation and perseverance. The best part is what few people know: Because of mastery, you don't have to wait to feel motivated before you get started with learning and change. Motivation can come naturally, later on in the process. Whether your change relates to health, nutrition, work, or some other aspect of your life, once you start, you'll get better at it with practice. You'll start liking the process and the feeling it brings, so you'll want to keep going. And when you want to keep going, you do keep going.

What's next?

So far, we've covered the first three principles of the model I've created for change: Mindset, Motion, and Mastery. In the next post, we'll cover the fourth (and last) principle: Measurement. OVER TO YOU: Think back to something you've tried to learn. Do you remember feeling Mastery? Is there a change you're contemplating that you could try to fuel with Mastery? Let's talk in the comments. See you there.

 

Susan Alexander blogs at gooddisruptivechange.com

You can follow her on Twitter at @SusanRPM4.

NOTES & FURTHER READING

Mihalyi Csikszentmihalyi:

Flow at 3-4, 16, 19

The Evolving Self at xviii, 17, 189

Beyond Boredom and Anxiety at 22-23

Edward M. Hallowell, M.D.,

The Childhood Roots of Adult Happiness at 134-45.

Monday
Feb272012

Guest Post: The Right Motion for Exploring Fitness

This is the second in a series of guest posts by Susan Alexander.

Quick recap
: The first post was about Mindset, which is the first of four principles of the model I created to empower any change you want to make in your life - whether it's exploring fitness, learning to eat sensibly, remaking yourself in some way, or any other change.

This post is about Motion, the model's second principle. Motion is the term I've given to the combined actions you take to bring about a chosen change. Whatever the change is, and whatever the actions are, they fit into the same evolutionary process that made the world what it is, organism by organism, ecosystem by ecosystem.

The process is natural selection, aka classic trial and error. Once we recognize that the process that evolved the world is the same process that evolves us throughout our lives, we can tap into it whenever we choose to make change happen.

The motion process - distilled to its essence

In classic trial and error, this is all you do, over and over:

  • First and foremost, reject what doesn’t work.
  • Be extremely open to what might work. Try things out. Experiment.
  • Draw information from your inevitable mistakes and quickly correct them along the way.
  • Find what does work. Once you do, keep doing it, tweaking and iterating to maintain an upward trajectory.
  • Keep working. Awareness is key. Denial is the enemy. There may come a time when what works now doesn't work anymore. When that happens, stop doing it.
  • Keep looping through the process to keep evolving.

The takeaway

You can take any actions specific to any change and implement them through this process. Looking at change in evolutionary terms demystifies it and transforms it into something we can be open to. So does seeing change for what it really is: learning skill. It doesn’t matter what kind of change you're making. Every change is skill-based, whether it’s physical (like working out in a new way), or routine (like eating differently), or thought-related (like changing a belief), or character-related (like becoming more assertive).

What's next?

As explained in the last guest post, my niche topic is personal change. I've taken all that I've learned so far and distilled it into four essential principles that drive change. Together, they comprise a model you can store in your head and use anytime you want to make a change in your life. So far, we've covered the first two principles, Mindset and Motion. In future posts, we'll cover the remaining two: Mastery and Measurement.

Over to you: Have you ever thought of change in evolutionary terms? Have you ever been conscious of teaching yourself something through classic trial and error? Does it help to look at the learning process through this evolutionary lens? Let's talk in the comments.

Susan Alexander blogs at gooddisruptivechange.com

You can follow her on Twitter at @SusanRPM4.

Monday
Feb202012

Guest Post: Are You In The Right Mindset For Exploring Fitness?

This is the first in a series of guest posts by Susan Alexander:

What I admire about Darryl is his openness to experimentation, learning, and change. For him, life is an ongoing quest to find the essence of what we all want to know: what works, what doesn't, what goes well together, what needs tweaking, and what makes it fun.

Like Darryl explores fitness, I explore change, across many contexts. My purpose is to figure out the same things about change that Darryl's figuring out about fitness (what works, what doesn't, etc.). We're like field scientists in our respective fields. Darryl's about what to do and how. I'm about why you'd want to in the first place, and how to get started and stick with it. He's the freight train. I'm the engine.

Why should you read this?

Your fitness and health are driven by what you think and do. This post is about the thinking part. Have you considered the thought process that fuels fitness and health? Have you ever wondered what's going on in Darryl's mind, or in the minds of people like him? That's what we'll explore here. Fitness, health and everything we do are driven by something called mindset. There are two kinds: the growth mindset and the fixed mindset. Which one you have will determine the course of your life, because it's the very thing that makes you think what you think and do what you do. It's the source of your whole approach to life. Mindset is what makes people be like Darryl, or not. Which begs the question ...

What's with Darryl?

Darryl has a growth mindset, which is based on this simple belief: that we can grow our intelligence, our skills, and ourselves throughout our lives. It's the opposite of the fixed mindset, or this belief: that who we are now is the way we’re always going to be (in other words, we can’t really change much). Darryl and I have never met, so how can I know his mindset? All the clues are on his site, practically popping out of the screen. Our first clue is what Darryl does. He explores fitness, just like the name of his site says. In other words, he's learning. It's a journey. He doesn't think he knows everything already. Our second clue is what he says. His blog sums it up:

"I constantly question and educate myself .... I realize that what I do may not be the best way, but it is the best way for me at the moment and it is better than what I have done in the past. I constantly challenge myself not only physically but also intellectually. Just because it sounds right doesn't mean it is, and just because it is not conventional does not make it wrong."

This is classic growth mindset stuff. Exploring and learning is the whole point. Our third clue is what he doesn't say. He doesn't say his way is best, and he doesn't claim to have thought it all up himself. He makes clear that much of his work and skill are rooted in other people's work and skill. Humble and deferential, but endeavoring to kick ass at the same time. That's Darryl in a nutshell. You can't get more growth mindset than this.

What's with you?

Which mindset do you have? Let's review. You have a growth mindset if you believe that intelligence and skill can be changed and grown throughout your life. You have a fixed mindset if you believe that intelligence and skill are fixed, and that the way you are now is pretty much the way you’re always going to be. Here are the main characteristics of the two mindsets. Read them and figure out which one you have. As you read, keep in mind that the growth mindset and the fixed mindset are very real. They're the findings of famed psychologist Carol Dweck, from 20+ years of research. Generally, according to Dweck, people have one or the other, possibly with some overlap.

Growth mindset people are open to feedback of all kinds, whether or not it’s favorable. They see it as essential for learning and growing. So they seek it out and use it to keep themselves and their work on an upward trajectory. They practice and tweak a lot. They’re O.K. with being wrong and screwing up, because they see it as an opportunity for learning. That's what makes them open to trying new things.

Fixed mindset people are not open to feedback because they they take it as judgement. They believe they can’t change much, so they're very protective of themselves in their static state. To them, it's all about the result, not the process. They think they already know what they need to know, so they're not in exploration mode. When things go wrong, it's because of other people or the circumstances. They're very cautious about trying things and stretching themselves, because if they don't get the outcome they want, in short order, they'll see it as a reflection of who they are (as opposed to something they did that can be worked on).

In sum, the growth mindset is hugely optimistic – it’s all about learning and growth. The fixed mindset is brutally pessimistic. It’s all about judging and being judged.

The takeaway

If you're already in a growth mindset, great. Stay there and build on it. If you're in a fixed mindset, don't worry, you can switch into a growth mindset just by "putting yourself in one" (paraphrasing Dweck). It's pretty easy. Just knowing about the two mindsets helps you spot it in yourself (and others). You'll start catching the fixed, which you can switch into growth. Over time, your perception will change - of yourself, others, and the world. Thats when life gets fun.

Onward

From my own exploring, I've taken all that I've found so far and distilled into 4 essential principles that drive change. Together, they comprise a model you can store in your head and use anytime you want to make a change in your life. The first is Mindset, which we've just gone over. In future guest posts, we'll explore the other 3 principles. (For now, here's what I'll divulge: like Mindset, they also begin with the letter M: Motion, Mastery, and Measurement).

Over to you: Which mindset are you, fixed or growth? Now that you know about the two mindsets, can you think of some people in your life who are one or the other? If you have a growth mindset, can you think of some ways it's helped you? If you have a fixed mindset, can you think of some ways it's limited you? Are you open to switching? Let's talk in the comments.

Susan Alexander blogs at gooddisruptivechange.com

You can follow her on Twitter at @SusanRPM4.