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Sunday, July 1, 2012

Paleo Olympics!

The ancient Greeks, founders of the Olympic games, were actually not that far removed from being hunter/gatherer Paleo people themselves!  They were anything but "zoo humans" as most of us are today, living in unnatural climate controlled environments, looking at the world through eyeglass lenses, and walking around on concrete with our feet encased in "shoe/casts" that protect and insulate us from the real world.

And so, the original games were very Paleolithic types of events- founded upon practical skills for the most part, that were very important in every day life.  The events were performed largely in the nude, not relying on technology to determine who would be the victor- the man himself, his development, training, determination and nutrition decided the outcome.

"When the Persian military officer Tigranes "heard that the prize was not money but a crown [of olive], he could not hold his peace, but cried, 'Good heavens, Mardonius, what kind of men are these that you have pitted us against? It is not for money they contend but for glory of achievement!'"   Herodotus, Histories , 8.26.3

That's another difference- millions of dollars were not the prize as is now the case for the victors in the modern Olympics- it was the glory, the achievement itself that mattered!

Here is a modern pole vaulter- no one doubts the athleticism here!  It's just that they used to use bamboo poles... then, switching to the new fiberglass, bendable and springy poles, all the old records were shattered!  But, is this really greater excellence?  Or is it just a higher tech pole??

I guess what I'm saying is, if we are looking for measures of human achievement and excellence, then just keep the games free of technology.  It just clouds the issue.  Whoever has the best shoes, the best poles, the best ice skates, the best luge, the best rotating barbells, the most steroids and other drugs etc. etc.   It doesn't matter!  What if we gave the ancient olympic discus thrower a plastic frisbee?  Wow- new ancient Olympic record!!

Just as in our own diets, which have gotten far too artificial, and technology-manipulated, so too has our notions of exercise and competition!  Exercise should be simple, and general, and non sports specific.    When we emulate the modern Olympians, for the most part we are looking at such specialists in their single sport that they are not good role models for all the rest of us who just want to be all-around functional, healthy, high performing generalists.

So, for all you Paleo athletes out there:  Just eat real food, as our great grandparents did!  Cut the grains,  manufactured foods in boxes and bags, low fat garbage, and sugar.

And exercise your body without technologies intruding; wearing ultra-springy high tech running shoes, and they contorting your body within some specialized, isolating machine to work one part of your musculature alone-

Exercise your body with your own body- nothing else is needed!  It actually just gets in the way of real, self-generated total fitness.  

I'll tell you what- go ahead and watch the Olympics!  It'll be a great time for you to do your Perfectly Paleo Exercises!

(Can you find my little buddy above?  He's telling me I need more hi tech exercise gadgets...)

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