I'm Darryl Edwards (aka The Fitness Explorer), founder of Primal Play, this website is no longer being updated - please check out www.primalplay.com for current details on my work, passion and lifestyle approach.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 Vibram Five Fingers (6)

Sunday
Dec192010

Road Test: Vibram Five Fingers in Cold Weather

 Road Test: Vibram Five Fingers in Cold Weather

I woke up today to several inches of snow in London.  It is not often we see snow in London, or indeed have temperatures below 0°C.  So I've taken this opportunity to test my Vibram Five Fingers under these conditions.  I went for a sprint and did some running drills in the snow, it was -3°C with several inches of snow covering.

There is only one shoe in the Five Fingers range that was designed to be used in cold conditions down to -4°C/°25F.  The Flow.    

 

 

The Flow is a more robust version of the Five Finger KSO.  These have a 2mm protective upper layer covering the entire foot and providing insulation against the cold with a neoprene lining (neoprene is used in the manufacture of wetsuits).  The sole uses Idrogrip which provides better traction than the usual sole and also works better in icy conditions. 

The tests were a mixture of real-world (and just useful to know): 

  • standing in the snow for a few minutes with feet completely immersed;
  • sprinting from a standing start (to test traction);
  • running in fresh and settled snow;
  • just walking;
  • running at speed and attempting to stop suddenly (not so sure about this one)!
  • comparing the shoe against the FiveFinger KSO with toe socks;
  • comparing the shoe against a trekking shoe;

In terms of traction the Flows worked better than expected.  They do offer pretty decent anti-slip protection in the snow, just as well as a pair of trekking walking shoes that I used for comparison.

For thermal insulation, there were no issues.  My feet didn't feel numb at all during my activities or whilst stationary for several minutes (my hands however were starting to feel numb after short periods).  I also tested without any toe socks. 

I am a fan of the Vibram Five Fingers, and feel confident that for cold weather conditions the Flows are more than adequate for any outdoor training I will do this winter.  I have tried the KSO's with toe socks at about 3°C/38°F not something I would want to endure for too long.  The Flows really are the best choice for cold weather.

Of course common sense dictates being careful what you do whatever you're wearing, as you will never quite know what is underfoot...

 

You can read my original review of the Vibram Five Finger Flow's here:

 

Wednesday
Sep152010

How to clean Vibram Five Fingers

How to clean your Vibram Five Fingers 

Vibram Five Fingers

I am a big fan of the Vibram Five Fingers and wear them during my training - indoors and out.  One thing is for sure the only complaint I have (and that I hear from Vibram users most often) is about the smell.  They can really stink.

There are 3 things you can do: 

  • wear them very infrequently;
  • wear them with toe socks;
  • or wash them frequently AND use an effective cleaner. 

I wear my Five Fingers for all my regular training, driving and walking around town (where appropriate). For me the last option is the only feasible choice.  

I followed the instructions on the main Vibram Five Finger site which suggests regular machine washing and detergent alone is sufficient.

"Vibram FiveFingers are machine washable. Use gentle, warm water cycle with liquid or powdered detergent. Hang to air dry."

This does keep them clean, however if you wear them regularly or for lengthy periods (which I do) the odour still remains even after repeated washing. If you find you have the same problem, then try the following:

A simple and natural way to deodorise the Vibrams.

Things you'll need: 

  • A bowl of hand hot (not boiling) water
  • 1/2 tablespoon of Baking Soda
  • 1/2 tablespoon of Baking Powder
  • 1 tablespoon of Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 3 drops of Lemon Oil* 
  • 5 drops of Peppermint Oil* 

*Aromatherapy oils will do.

Instructions: 

  1. Soak the Vibrams for an hour or two in the solution above (preferably overnight);
  2. If heavily soiled use an old toothbrush to clean inside the toe pockets;
  3. Fasten any loose velcro attachments;
  4. Machine or hand wash in warm water;
  5. Hang them up to dry (for obvious reasons do not tumble dry).

Additional Notes:

The Vibrams will not lose shape after repeated washing.  The solution is a natural disinfectant/deodoriser, cheap and safe to use (it also avoids the use of toxic chemicals/cleaners too).

I have experimented with the quantities above and have found this to be the ideal ratio to clean and freshen up my five fingers, but feel free to experiment. 

Wednesday
Jul142010

MovNat - Exploring my True Nature

 

MovNat:

My first exposure to MovNat (pronounced Move Nat) was reading the 2009 Men's Health article "Fitness to Survive in the Wild".  

I was intrigued not only with Erwan Le Corre's MovNat but also the similarity to it's distant cousin Parkour - "the art of movement".  This is not surprising as there is common ancestry.  Both are based on the early 20th Century Methode Naturelle (Natural Method - "be strong to be useful") by George Hebert.  MovNat however contains much more of its ancestor's DNA, modernised to maximise efficiency with additional categories of movement.

Components of Fitness:

Even though I have covered a great base of fitness with Crossfit/300 style training and furthered my education with qualifications in Personal Training.  I still felt there was something missing.  In many aspects some of the components of fitness e.g. balance, accuracy and agility don't have the same prominence as the areas covered by strength, speed and power.  

In order to progress to being proficient in all fitness domains, I had to explore them with equal dedication.  MovNat seemed to speak my language, but at times appeared too abstract.  Was this suitable only for those who spent significant time outdoors?  With that in mind I subscribed to the newsletter, pondered those questions and assigned this to the 'interesting list'.  Hastily moving onto the next workout of that particular day... 

Little did I know there was time for more personal development.

So what happened?

Since then I've read Frank Forencich's book 'Exhuberant Animal' (and attended seminar's exploring natural movement).  I've read several books on Evolutionary Fitness.  I've researched Paleo and 'real food' nutrition and studied movement based therapy in managing low back pain.  All of these experiences have re-affirmed my belief that highly varied movement across many disciplines is more important than a specific fitness 'regime'.

I watched the MovNat video: "The workout the world forgot" (see below) again.  It then dawned on me, this was all about the expression of natural movement, variable, adaptive and functional.  This got me excited again!

 

 

I decided it was time to learn more.  I booked a place on the MovNat 5 day workshop entitled the 'Reawakening'.  This was held at the beautiful Summerville Lake Retreat in West Virginia, USA.  July 6 to 10, 2010.
 
This covered movement, and lots of it!

Movement:

MovNat's 12 movement patterns stem from the fundamental moves that humans universally possess.  Regardless of cultural differences, heritage or environment: humans were designed to run, jump, carry, lift, climb, etc.  Movements we often take for granted as part of our fitness goals, either neglecting to do any of these or just focusing on one or two of them at the expense of the others.  These moves are natural and as Erwan demonstrated on more than one occasion, may one day prove essential for your survival.

Nutrition:

A strict Paleo diet, prepared on site by Allie (consisted of 3 meals a day):

organic meat/fish/fowl,
good fats,
nuts,
fruit/vegetables.  

Avoiding sugar, grains, diary and processed/refined foods and drinks.  

We avoided the afternoon crash, burn and hunger pangs typically experienced on typical Western diets.  Inbstead we sampled a rich and diverse menu used to fuel workouts and to aid in our recovery.

The highlights:

We were assessed on the first and final day to compare our 'before and after' abilities;
We explored techniques in all MovNat movement patterns;
Introduction to optimising the body's ability to perform everyday and extraordinary tasks;
Focusing on scaling, efficiency and safety;
Creating combos of movements with mindfulness, relaxation, focus and control;
The food!

 

Coaching:


Erwan and Vic imparted their knowledge via theoretical and practical presentations, personal experience, inspired debate and on-going assessments.  We were challenged both physically and mentally with his passion, authority and philosophy.

"Power is nothing without efficiency, accuracy and control"

Erwan's instruction was sublime, scaled to the abilities of the group as well as individual instruction.  Erwan was patient, but tough when required.  Safety and technical precision was also presented in context.  Vik's encouragement and anecdotes were refreshing.  The correct balance at all times between instruction and hands-on tuition. 

Metaphorphosis:

Everyone on the workshop experienced significant development.  Tasks we struggled with on day 1 we found much easier to perform on the final assessment day.  

Of course the process continues.  I look forward to working on all those skills picked up on the workshop as opportunity presents itself.  The diversity and varied ability of the attendees allowed us to focus on the efforts of pulling together as a team. I was also able to re-focus on my own goals and the new path I wish to take. 

Summary:

I realised my search for the ideal workout programme, or prescription is not what MovNat is about.  Nor is it what I need.  

It is about a lifestyle, where you engage the mind and body to explore fundamental movement patterns in whatever environment you are in.  Breaking out of the confines of modern life to re-engage with nature, adopting a 'real-food' diet, and sharing this knowledge in a pragmatic fashion.  

This workshop allowed me to create workouts combining these essential movement patterns in a fun and interesting way.  Using various degrees of intensity, interaction with the natural environment - (the only limitations being your imagination).  

I want to be prepared for anything in the fitness domain.  MovNat seems to offer one of the highest levels of variability, natural movement, breadth, skills transferability and scalability I have experienced to date.  The possibilities are endless.  Many times throughout the workshop I realised brute-force was not enough, intelligent application and technique was often just as, or more important.  I will now incorporate MovNat into my workouts, in conjunction with my strength and conditioning work.

Now I am back in England, there is only one area where I strongly disagree with Erwan.  With the British climate being so temperamental I will be doing these workouts indoors as well as out!!!

Thanks Erwan, Vic, Allie and all involved that week in West Virginia.  For helping me to explore my true nature.

-Darryl.

Wednesday
Jul142010

Vibram stockists in London

A few people have asked me where they can buy Vibram Five Fingers from recently.  If you have the option, it is well worth trying on the Vibram's for size.  

Each style has a different fit and given their minimal nature the correct size is key, otherwise you could spend endless time sending them back to online retailers, realise no size will be suitable for your feet or even worse purchase a very cheap but difficult to spot counterfeit pair!

For example the KSO's fit me perfectly with a size 46, however the classics I have to get as a 47 and they fit at a push.  

Vibram Sprints

 

The list below is only suitable for those who live in London, but I will add to the list any Vibram stores I come across elsewhere.

Confirmed stockists of Vibram Five Fingers (London):

Global Sports
182 Shepherds Bush Market
London
W12 8DF

SPORTEC (5 minutes walk from Ealing Broadway Station)
Unit 17a
45 Ealing Broadway Shopping Centre
W6 0RN
020 8567 9961

SPORTEC 
248 Upper Street
Islington
N1 1RU
020 7226 2210

SPORTEC 
102-105 Whitechapel High St
(corner of Commercial St.)
E1 7RA
020 7247 5111

SPORTEC (opposite Curry's)
12 Rye Lane
Peckham
SE15 5BS
020 7277 6611

SPORTEC (1 min walk from Swiss Cottage Tube Station)
10 – 11 Northways Parade
Finchley Road
Swiss Cottage
NW3 5EN
020 7483 4344

SPORTEC
245 Walworth Road (10 minutes walk from Elephant & Castle Tube)
London
SE17 1RL
020 7277 1111

 

You can read my review of the Vibram Five Finger's here: