We bumped into Darryl at Paleo F(x) in Texas – and when we say bumped into, we mean avoided being thrown over his shoulders and carried across the hall! You’d never believe that before founding the Primal Play movement, Darryl was suffering from the effects of poor diet and a sedentary lifestyle. He needed to change is lifestyle in order to avoid medications – and what a change he made…

What’s your story?

I worked as a technologist in investment banking for almost 2 decades and suffered from a poor diet, lack of sleep, chronic stress and a sedentary lifestyle. I had health issues including being pre-diabetic, suffering from high-blood pressure and an elevated cardiovascular disease risk. I didn’t want to take any pharmaceuticals such as metformin or statins because of concerns about the side effects. I was able to avoid the meds back in the mid 2000s just by changing my lifestyle and have continued to do so until the present day.

What came first for you, Paleo food or Paleo fitness?

From the point of view of changing my lifestyle they occurred simultaneously. I realised that diet alone wasn’t enough and that movement and physical activity were just as key to improve my health and vitality. A sedentary life increases the risks of chronic disease as does poor nutrition.

What’s the premise behind Primal Play?

Primal Play came about because of a need to focus on primal, instinctive, natural movements we were designed to do, but also to ensure we are also having more fun while doing so. Exercise shouldn’t be seen as a chore or punishing ourselves for poor dietary choices the day before. We should all reclaim the enjoyment of movement we experienced as children.

You say you get to work with children from 4 to 94…who are the most fun?

Children tend to be more engaging, instantly fun and can enter a play state far easier than adults which is always a joy to see, especially as kids don’t have as many opportunities for unstructured play as our generation did as children.

However, to witness an older adult smile and get back that twinkle in their eye when performing a Primal Play activity is so rewarding. You can see the years rolling back when they do so! So it’s a draw. 🙂

What do you love most about your job?

Helping myself and others achieve better health using ancestral principles with the best of modern medicine.

Your work takes you all over the world. Any highlights?

Travel is great, and one of my passions. I feel privileged to be able to speak at events all over the world and have the opportunity to educate those who resonate with the message of lifestyle being the best medicine. A personal highlight would be speaking at Harvard Medical School about Primal Play and the benefits of physical activity in terms of the prevention and treatment of chronic disease.

You’ve been in the Paleo/Primal industry a while. How has it changed over the last few years? Any predictions for the next couple of years?

In the U.K. it is great to see more established Paleo/primal businesses, bloggers and even Paleo representation in mainstream stores too!  I also expect many of the key themes around Paleo to become more established as part of conventional wisdom even without the label. There are now TV shows discussing the benefits of healthier lifestyles, grass-fed beef and non-farmed fish are appearing on restaurant menus and bookstores now have Paleo sections. We even have UK Paleo conferences and a Paleo Awards taking place in 2017, an outstanding development!

I imagine Paleo will become even more mainstream in the next couple of years here in the U.K.

Have you heard of Mark Sisson’s Primal Endurance? Basically saying that you need to do long, slow runs and keep your heart rate low (aerobic not anaerobic) in order to burn fat and build fitness. What do you think of that theory?

Primal Endurance is a great way to focus on long distance and steady state cardio. However, there are many ways to define fitness which include not just stamina and endurance, but power, speed, strength, balance, coordination, etc, too. So I would say we need to do far more varied activities to become fit. Also the evidence around fat burning currently is weighted towards HIIT (High-Intensity interval training) and resistance training as being some of the most effective methods.

If you could get people to do one thing to improve their fitness what would it be?

Make sure you cover as many fitness domains as possible and enjoy it!

Thanks Darryl.

You can find out more about Darryl here. He also has a couple of books, Paleo from A to Z, and Paleo Fitness, and he runs online courses.

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