“People who lean on logic and philosophy and rational exposition end by starving the best part of the mind.” – William Butler Yeats

Is this “Paleo”?  Is that “Paleo”?  You for sure ain’t Paleo (not with choices like that).  Neanderthals weren’t even Paleo, brah, so how can you, Mr 70+ hour/week, live-in-a-city lawyer-dude, even think you can try to be “Paleo”?

Yeesh.  I think we all know where this post is headed.

And look — I get the “is it Paleo” thing, I really do.  Some people are purists through-and-through, and dig the Luddite route.  There’s a certain clarity with that take that I’m drawn to as well.  It’s cool and all — very Thoreauvian — and I totally appreciate that point-of-view.  I’m down with the minimalist approach.

And then, some folks are just trying to figure things out.  Trying to make sense of what this whole Paleo/ancestral thing encompasses.  Against, I might add, a flood of conflicting “evidence” fire-hosed from a multitude of “experts”.  And from a guy who has spent the better part of his life separating the wheat from the chaff (<–bad, bad Paleo metaphor) in all things related to strength and conditioning, I feel these folks’ pain.  The downside of passion is that it can breed narrow-minded ideology…and fanaticism.

Now, as I’ve said before, “I’m way too libertarian to be Libertarian”.  Or something along those lines.  I just don’t identify well with any “established” camps.  For instance, I ride a fixed-speed bike, which is pretty damn close to the “purist” end of available cycling options.  It might even be considered the “cityfied” version of non-conformity; of  anarchism.  My country mouse “live-off-the-grid, stockpile-the-ammo” brethren can relate to the attitude, if not the surroundings.  However, I put brakes on my ride (What??  Blasphemy, by purist fixie standards), and I ride with clipless pedals (lunacy, by any standard).  But, hey — these modifications suit my needs, and I’m really not too concerned with the “style” opinions of others.  Performance and substance, of course, is another matter entirely, and here I’ll vet any and all commentary.  Panning for gold, as it were.

Oh, and I also sprinkle-in the use of machines (machines!) in my otherwise sprint/barbell/dumbbell-laden training regimen.  Again, blasphemy.  That for sure ain’t Paleo!  Every — and I do mean every — brah worth his 12-inch biceps knows that, dude, machines suck and whatever motion were talking about can be better trained the old-school way.  Functional mean anything to you, brah?

Yeah, I get it.  Functional.  But you’re wrong, brah, on so many levels.

Another topic for another time, I suppose.

But for the purposes of this post I’m going to leave the brahs and their misguided arguments alone, and go ahead and alienate a couple of other groups.  First, the dietary purists of any stripe.  Then, those who consider capitalism a dirty word.  Oh, and I’ll probably shit-fry those who have a hard time maintaining two opposing views in theirs minds without sliding into conniption.  And damn, not to mention those who cannot maintain a sliding scale of relevance vis-a-vis goals and the Five Ts.

So anyway, here it goes: yeah, I do consider myself “Paleo”, and I use some selected supplements (whey protein, creatine, BCAAs & ZMA for instance).  I also charge a fair chunk of change for my training services — services in which machines are often used within those paid-for training sessions.

Heads are spinning, Linda Blair style (<—- old-school, Exorcist reference).  That, along with daring to ride a modified fixie (in Austin, no less), ought to get me kicked off of just about every purist island within the fixie/Paleo/S&C camp complex.  I’m truly a man without a home 😉

But let’s keep the discussion to supplements from here on out, and the idea that I’m going to recommend you buy a particular supplement guide.  Because the reality is that some supplements do work, and can actually help your performance and/or general health without depleting your wallet.

But remember: supplements are just that — supplements; enhancements.  Augmentation.  They certainly should never be considered alternatives to a solid diet and exercise regimen.

The problem is, of course, that (1) you don’t have time to sift though all of the bullshit marketing claims to find those supplements that actually do work, and (2) you don’t have the time to figure the appropriate dosing/frequency/timing of those (relatively few) effective supplements.

But hey — if you do have the time, contact me about modifying my lifestyle so as to afford me that kind of time.  4-hour work-week, anyone? 😉

Anyway, toward that end, my friends Kurtis and Sol over at Examine.com have put together an exhaustive “reference manual” of sorts for all things supplement related.

The Supplement-Goals Reference Guide will set you back $29 bucks.  And yeah, you could probably glean the info you need directly from the Examine site — again, if you had the time and desire for such things —  so consider the $29 a “convenience” fee.

Anyway, check out the offering here.  It’s quality information, updated regularly, at a damn good price.

Because hey, if you’re going to wade into the murky, deep-end of the supplement backwaters, at least slip in well prepared.  Like a friggin’ Navy SEAL 😉   

 In health, fitness, and ancestral wellness –






  1. Love it – both about supplements and machines! About time someone stated the obvious: we aren’t Paleos and we cannot be Paleos.

    What might be called the “Paleo Purist” approach brings all too chilling memories of an earlier generation dancing to a similiar tune just short of fifty years ago: the Hippies in San Francisco. Their version of back to nature, often expressed in communal living, was likewise a youth movement expressive of youthful idealism untempered by the lessons only living brings – hopefully! Binding the two is more than advocacy of “natural foods’ but also a ‘return to nature’ uncomplicated by contemporary civilization. Never much discussed since Hippies presupposed their youthful pride and lack of experience as Wisdom was the simple fact returning to nature successfully involves some kind of retrogressive downsizing of human intelligence gained over tens of thousands of years of development of language, reading, culture and civilization. We’re not Paleolithic people, not even more recent Neolithics.

    Paleo diet works rather well and, if not examine in terms of what it does metabolically, can be mistaken as a silver bullet. Paleo’s about supplying nutrient dense whole foods our ancestral genes are best adapted to.

    There’s a fallacy to that approach. Events such as personal history of pharmaceuticals, including current use, environmental insults, stress – just a few obvious ones – take their toll on our biochemistry – and can call for unique supplements. The older you are when you come to Paleo – and that includes your biological age not measured in years you’ve lived, but your biological condition based on diet and exercise effects of phenotype expression – will likely mandate coordinated use of supplements to restore basic endocrine and other metabolic functions.

    Machines? I’ll restrain myself. Bottom line is resistance training to prevent muscle wasting. There’s absolutely NO PALEO PURE or PRIMAL PURE system of exercise, nor equipment for doing it. If your mastery of life and personal freedom matter to you, you’ll be able to workout with bodyweight, TRX, kettlebells, barbells, dumbbells, and myriad machines – any competent ancestral fitness coach better be up to speed with all those basic modalities – I know Keith is!


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