Paleo fit is a special approach to exercise associated with the paleo diet, which encourages activities in nature without equipment, and is inspired by the lifestyle of our ancestors. Discover the 3 basic principles of this unusual athletic training, create your own paleo fit programme and try this method at home.
Focus on a Trend: Paleo Fit; Sport as it was in Paleolithic Times
Paleo fit, or paleo fitness, emerged a few years ago, driven by the desire to experiment with a lifestyle closer to that of our ancestors, with simple moves and minimal equipment. In its purest form, it is practised in the open air, barefoot, with elements such as stones or branches as the only accessories. The concept appeals to fans of extreme sports and adventurers, both for fitness benefits and testing concentration and mental strength.
However, paleo fit can also be practised at home or in the city while maintaining its basic principles:
- Performing simple moves, which might have been part of everyday life when living in the wild: climbing, pushing things, picking, crawling, running, overcoming obstacles, walking while balancing, throwing projectiles and so on.
- Use the body to its full capacity without forcing it with the right mix of slow movements, carrying loads and short, less frequent intense activities.
- Accompany this training with a healthier lifestyle by adopting a local diet, avoiding processed foods, etc.
- Ensure you observe the day/night cycle and match your circadian rhythm to that of the sun.
The 3 Basic Principles of Paleo Training
The most important thing to understand about paleo fit is that it should be integrated as much as possible into daily life during everyday activities. This approach to exercise maximises the use of objects in the environment, with a balanced ratio of endurance cardio, muscle strengthening and more intense cardio exercises.
Moderate Exercise, as Often as Possible
Integrate moderate physical exertion into your daily routine as much as possible: walking, running, swimming, trail running, rowing, cycling, etc. This principle is the basis of all the health recommendations made by official bodies to limit the risk of cardiovascular problems: at least 150 minutes of moderate activity per week for an adult. By moderate activity, we mean an exertion that does not prevent you from holding a conversation while stimulating your heart. Aim for 55-75% of your maximum heart rate.
Natural Strength Training and Bodybuilding
Use your body to its full potential and take care of your muscles and joints by varying your daily movements as much as possible. Ensure that you adopt good posture in all circumstances: when squatting, lifting your arms, carrying groceries or materials when working, stretching, and so on. Targeted exercises without equipment or with weights can also help you to diversify your movements and mobilise the muscles and joints you are less used to using.
Incorporate Intense Sessions to Activate Your Cardio
Occasionally activating your cardio more intensely is also a good habit, modelled on the chases that might have taken place during the prehistoric hunt. Depending on your needs and your physical condition, do short sessions several times a month at more than 75% of your MHR to keep your heart in shape and burn calories. Sprinting, HIIT sessions, running on inclines or mountain trails – there are many possibilities. Don’t forget to warm up and stretch afterwards and space out these sessions to give your body time to recover.
Your Weekly Training Programme to Try Paleo Fit
To adapt your weekly training routine to the principles of paleo fit, you can try the following programme:
- 3 moderate-intensity cardio sessions of 30 minutes
- 1 strength training session using your bodyweight or light equipment
- 1 short sprint or HIIT session
If what appeals to you most about the paleo fit concept is a return to nature, why not occasionally go on a tree climbing course, try a trail or even go swimming in a lake or the sea? Remember that a day of outdoor work in the garden is just as good as a cross-training session!
Check out our Health & Fitness page for more advice.