Good Old-Fashioned Fitness

If you’ve been stopping by for a while, and especially if you know me for-real-in-person, you know I’ve been exploring a more traditional way of eating lately. I want to divulge the details, and I promise I will, but I need to focus on fitness for the moment.

My goal for the first two weeks of September (1st-14th), and maybe longer, is to engage in my very own made up physical activity plan. It’s partially based on what’s in my brain from having a bachelor’s degree in Exercise Science and experience I’ve had in the past personal training people…but the other input to this plan is coming from my ancestors (and yours).

Did you know that the average paleolithic human engaged in 5 hours a day of low intensity activity (foraging, gathering, hunting, etc.). He also rested and took naps during the day, and spent a few hours a day lounging around. Additionally, he (and she!) slept well, but not necessarily soundly for 7 hours straight, and at certain times, he (she!) engaged in very intense exercise/effort (being chased by bears?).

I can’t replicate this exactly, but I’m going to come as close as I can, given the constraints of my schedule.

I’m just going to lay out my Thursday plan, and then a general template that I’ll alter based on my schedule.


5:30am walk 20-30 min at moderate pace

6am gentle/slow yoga 30 minutes (I know I’m not going to want to do this one!)

Drive to Rochester to wellness coach (+ drink coffee and eat an egg?)

7:30am wellness coach in the shop for an hour (walk around talking to people)

{rest of the morning will be pretty sedentary unless I can get people to go on “walking meetings” with me}

{Home at 12:30}

12:40 speed walk 15min around the block once

{work and prep for webinar–sedentary}

1:25 rebounder for 5 minutes

1:30 Webinar for 90 minutes (I’m planning to buy a wireless headset so I can pace during future webinars)

3pm 10 lunges, 10 push-ups, 50 crunches


4pm 10 squats, 10 turkish get-ups (kettlebell), 10 sun salutations


{Matthew arrives}

Evening: Play. Eat. Ride bikes.

That might look too messy to see the pattern…

…It’s possible I will not get my work done with this schedule, but Thursday should be a pretty light day for me since I’ve done a lot already this week. Also, I have the weekend to catch up!

The general recipe:

am  – walk/yoga/weight room (any combo)

noon – walk

evening – low intensity cardio

in between  – once an hour do something!

3 times per week – sprint or do something really intense in intervals


What am I hoping to find out?

Honestly, I have no hypothesis. I just want to try it and be open to whatever happens. I have been thinking about it for a while, and my job/life fits doing this on most days. Thursday is actually the least accommodating day due to being in Rochester for the morning.

Totally unrelated:

We had this glass when I was a kid (others too, I remember Barney specifically). I think from McD's. I saw it in the antique store. I almost bought it for $4. But I didn't. Really. what the heck do I need that for (except that it could symbolize this way of being active!)? I already once re-bought all the metal lunchboxes (on ebay) that I had as a kid.


Joe had a BLT on my mom's bread. I ate it wrapped in lettuce. I swear it was awesome, but don't you just want to bite into that?

Would you ever try the ancestor-approach to fitness? Or are you really active and already do it? Since I have to sit at the computer so much, I figured I can just make conscious effort to move more (and also appreciate my walk to my car…maybe).

In other news, my smartboard worked this evening in class…and my entire class is females! I think we’re going to have fun this semester (at least I will!).

25 thoughts on “Good Old-Fashioned Fitness”

  1. YES I am totally loving this post. I have the same desire to move all day long, like our ancestors. I bought a step counter at the beginning of the summer and made a commitment to get an additional 10,000 steps a day (on top of my 1hr workouts). It was awesome!

  2. Living in NYC has definitely got me moving more since I walk every where and I definitely feel better when I’m moving more 🙂

  3. ahhh!!! i love your idea, lisa, and can’t wait to see how it unfolds for you. i agree with the concept 110%. living uptown in my city, i do frequent little walks out and about for errands, like 2-3 times a day, and to get to work, etc. i notice how you’re not sure about the morning yoga…you know what? i’ve discovered i CANNOT yoga before late afternoon! my brain just does not go there!
    you have such a neat schedule, so much variety.
    ok, i totally would love to have that wilma glass!! i am trying to build an eclectic collection of dishes in 2011, and it would be perfect!
    hope your thursday unfolds as you anticipate!! and have fun with matthew time!

  4. I did attempt yoga this morning…and it did not feel good. I made it about 20 minutes (I did it first before walking to get it out of the way). Then I walked for 30 minutes in the rain with one headphone (since it was dark, I figured I should be able to hear my surroundings). I put on a big sweatshirt with a hood of Joe’s and walked up a street that has huge trees so I didn’t really get wet. It was extremely relaxing and pleasant! I also found a dollar on the ground 🙂
    Hope the rain is not reaching up your way!
    On Thu 01/09/11 06:24 , “Disqus”
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  5. I hit the gym for weights 4 days every week (move heavy things). I used to end my workouts with 12 minutes of interval cardio. But I currently get wiped out doing that, so I limit it now to just the weights, which takes about 40 minutes. Since I’m 56, I need to make a concerted effort to keep muscle on. It’s not easy since my hormones have tanked! And since I have osteo, I need to keep my remaining bone! 🙂
    My goal is to get a 30-minute walk in at least twice a week. Studies show that 30 minutes of moderate exercise like walking lowers cortisol–and I figure, if I stress eat, that’s a good thing!
    So, no, I really don’t exercise Paleo-style. In those days, I’d have been dead!

  6. I went to a hugeee college and spent a large portion of my day walking. Made me feel super healthy. Eager to hear how your experiment goes

  7. SO funny! I just bought the Wilma and Fred glasses this weekend at a  yard sale for $.25/each! They must be making a comeback 🙂

  8. I think the ancestor-approach to fitness (like their approach to nutrition) sounds pretty interesting!  I especially love the idea of at least getting up once an hour and moving around for 5 minutes or so…thanks for sharing with us!  (And I can’t wait to hear more about your new eating schedule!)

    I’ve tagged you in my latest post!  😉

  9. I think the ancestor-approach to fitness (like their approach to nutrition) sounds pretty interesting!  I especially love the idea of at least getting up once an hour and moving around for 5 minutes or so…thanks for sharing with us!  (And I can’t wait to hear more about your new eating schedule!)

    I’ve tagged you in my latest post!  😉

  10. Heather (Where's the Beach)

    Very cool actually – Love the idea of moving throughout the day rather than all at once then just sitting. 

  11. That glass is so cute.  I love finding things from my childhood, such warm and fuzzy memories 🙂  I’m interested to see how you feel with this type of fitness plan!!!  As a teacher (preschool) I’m constantly on my feet and moving around and up and down, so I guess I”m sort of like my ancestors.  Although I would LOVE  a nap!!!  And I want a smartboard so much, they are amazing!!!

  12. This is an interesting approach to exercise.  I know that I feel much better with lots of low-intensity exercise during the day than I do with an hour of hard exercise followed by an entire day of sitting.  Having a dog helps with this…when his paw isn’t sore (poor boy stepped on broken glass a few days ago), I make an effort to play just for 5-10 mins in the backyard every couple of hours.  I’m  much more sedentary now than I used to be as a teacher…I used to take about 18000 steps just at work every day.  I’m not sure how I’m going to replicate that now that I’m trying to work from home.  It’s definitely something to think about!

  13. What I like the most about your exercise plan is that you do something a few times a day. I usually get in a really good run or strength workout for an hour or so per day, but the rest of the day I’m on my butt. I sit almost all day for work and at home I don’t do much as far as moving goes. That needs to change! I do get up at work to stretch and move around a bit, but I feel like I need more than that.

  14. I think the ancestor approach is very interesting. I agree with it all to an extent. I think w have evolved since then but on the other hand we’ve evolved to getting tons of disease from processed foods and lack of activity!!!!

  15. I definitely find this new fitness approach intriguing!  And I’m excited to hear about your progress with it =)

  16. Great post Lisa!  This approach to fitness makes total sense!  I work in a hospital so I am constantly on my feet and moving around.   Most days I feel like I have more energy and feel better when I am at work as compared to working out for 1-2 hard hours.  Have you heard of the paleolithic diet?  If so, what are your thoughts on it?

  17. What a fun experiment!  I could definitely do this with the job I have, but the small nap part would be difficult.  Although I could use my breaks for that (if I actually took breaks…).  Maybe that’s the point? I literally walk all day long during my job. I can’t wait to hear what you find out! 

  18. I have heard of the paleo diet! I’ve read three books on it now, and have blended what I like from it with sort of an archeological perspective on nutrition and activity—the science behind it makes so much sense…and personally, I really have cut out grains and lowered my carb intake. Immediately, I felt better and looked better…
    On Thu 01/09/11 21:38 , “Disqus”
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  19. I agree—I don’t think the “activity” part will overtake my “exercise” (I think I’d go crazy), but if I could get up away from the computer and just move every hour…I am hoping there is some tangible benefit!
    On Thu 01/09/11 21:21 , “Disqus”
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