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Design Your Personal Paleo Exercise Program

Living Paleo, adapting a lifestyle like cave men, is all about you. It's about giving you the tools you need to express health and to become lean, strong, and energized. Through the anaerobic program of sprinting, you build power and speed. Through resistance training, you build incredible strength and look younger. Through the aerobic program of doing what you love, you build endurance.

When you begin to cross-train in these short but powerful bursts and find time to move by doing what you love, you make physical activity a part of your life as your ancestors did. Soon your body will reach its potential and flourish.

Some of you may need a little help building your personal program. Following are three sample weeks of exercise, from beginner to advanced workouts. Pick the program that fits your fitness level now, and work toward the next level. You'll know you're ready to progress on to the next level when the exercises become effortless and less challenging to you.

Beginner workout sample week of the Paleo lifestyle

Keep the end in mind, which is to build a strong, healthy, lean body by working out on a consistent basis. If you get injured or over-exhausted because of doing more than you should, you'll be forced to interrupt your program. Starting slow can sometimes be frustrating, but maintaining a pace that works for you and your fitness level is the smartest strategy.

Beginner Workout Week Sample
Day Exercise Time
Day 1 *Walking sprint 2 bursts in 15-minute walk
Day 2 **Do what you love 1 hour
Day 3 Met-con: 12 push-ups, 9 dumbbell squats, 6 pull-ups (use fitness band until you build strength to do without) 3 rounds for time
Day 4 ***Do what you love (slow, play pace) 1 hour
Day 5 Met-con: As many wall balls as you can do in 12 minutes 12 minutes
Day 6 Walking sprint 2 bursts in a 15-minute walk
Day 7 Do what you love 1 hour

*You always have the option to sprint by doing track, hill, bike, or treadmill. Walking is a beginning exercise and a great way to build a foundation for sprinting.

**Do what you love (walk, swim, hike, stairs, yoga, chase after your kids, or anything that gets you moving).

***Do what you love (slow, play pace): This is your day to take it easy. Your one hour of movement should be simple, non-strenuous, slow movements, like walking from one place to another.

Intermediate workout sample week of the Paleo lifestyle

The sample exercise program in the following table is for people who are beginning to progress past the newcomer's stage and are starting to develop the rhythm and flow that works best for them.

In this stage, you've started to build your cardiovascular base as your body becomes more efficient, and you feel the first blush of increased strength and energy throughout your day. At this point, you may even begin to notice the physical affects of your commitment to move, as your body becomes leaner.

Intermediate Workout Week Sample
Day Exercise Time
Day 1 *Running sprint 3 bursts in a 20-minute run
Day 2 **Do what you love 1 hour
Day 3 Met-con: 15 dumbbell lunges, 12 dumbbell rows, 9 push-ups, 6 kettlebell swings 3 rounds for time
Day 4 ***Do what you love (slow, play pace) 1 hour
Day 5 Met-con: 15 wall balls, 12 kettlebell swings, 9 pull-ups, as many rounds as you can do in 20 minutes 20 minutes
Day 6 Running sprint 3 bursts in a 20-minute run
Day 7 Do what you love 1 hour

*You always have the option to sprint by doing track, hill, bike, or treadmill. Running is a good intermediate exercise.

**Do what you love (walk, swim, hike, stairs, yoga, chase after your kids, or anything that gets you moving).

***Do what you love (slow, play pace): This is your day to take it easy. Your one hour of movement should be simple, non-strenuous, slow movements, like walking from one place to another.

Advanced workout sample week of the Paleo lifestyle

When you progress in your resistance training to go harder and faster in a shorter period of time and your sprinting leaves you feeling like you could do more, you're ready for advanced training. At this stage, your hard work and commitment will be noticeable to you — and those around you. You'll feel leaner, stronger, and more energetic.

Be careful not to overtrain. Overtraining does exactly the opposite of what you're trying to achieve. It leaves you chronically tired, prone to injury, and wide open for illness. If you're starting to feel like your workouts are exhausting you more than giving you energy, it's probably time to pull back and take a rest. In the long run, a rest will help you, not set you back.

Advanced Workout Week Sample
Day Exercise Time
Day 1 *Track, hill, bike, or treadmill sprint 4 bursts in a 25-minute workout
Day 2 Met-con: 12 pull-ups, 9 dumbbell presses, 6 dumbbell deadlifts, 12 push-ups 3 rounds for time
Day 3 Met-con: 15 kettlebell swings, 9 dumbbell lunges, 6 dumbbell presses, as many rounds as you can do in 12 minutes 12 minutes
Day 4 **Do what you love (slow, play pace) 1 hour
Day 5 Track, hill, bike, or treadmill sprint 4 bursts in a 25-minute workout
Day 6 Met-con: 150 wall balls 150 wall balls for time
Day 7 ***Do what you love 1 hour

*For advanced sprinting, doing a track, hill, bike, or treadmill sprint are all consistent with this level of conditioning.

**Do what you love (slow, play pace): This is your day to take it easy. Your one hour of movement should be simple, non-strenuous, slow movements like walking from one place to another.

***Do what you love (walk, swim, hike, stairs, yoga, chase after your kids, or anything that gets you moving).

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