The Daveman GROKS! - Episode 3: The Big Poppa Grok Non-Modern, Hard Work, Real Food, Diet and Exercise Un-Program

What do I do and eat to stay strong? I am of a different thinking than most on this one.

When I went Primal/Paleo with my diet, my brain and body went along too. That meant Primal/Paleo exercise! I also have a thing about not going to a gym (too far) and following a chart (too modern) or any format or diet “plan” (not real enough).

To me, Primal means that the way the body looks reflects how the body is fed and the energy and work that it does every day. I have a mindset for primitive, unconventional ways to work my body. I think old, long-ago, by-hand hard work. I think about building log homes, rock foundations, heavy things moved by man-power. Awkward, difficult, different things from the past. Heavy stuff, like log splitting, hammer swinging, and non-gym things are the rule for my expenditure of energy. I also build and make stuff for a living, so I don’t have a sit-down job. So, here are a few lines on what I do and when and how I operate.

First off, I have a park out back that is a series of flat and up and down sections of dirt road and trails. I do a 4-mile down and back walk 2-3 times a week at about 75% full steam. I usually am able to carry on a conversation with someone if they are with me, but I never change the step count. I may shorten or lengthen my stride, but never slow them down or speed them up. I will sprint up the longest hill pretending that a bear is after me! By that time, I am warmed up and I find it fun to push hard when I’m already part blown out although I never run or jog for distance. I always carry a spear or heavy staff on these walks due to the wild animals in the woods and people with trucks who need to find the far side of the road that I am on!

My “toys” are all unconventional things because I don’t live near a gym and believe that the body I want is shaped by the hard work that I do. I don’t want a power-lifter’s body, or swimmer’s body, or runner’s body, and certainly not a body builder's body! I want a Paleo-type body, a frontier body, a homesteader body and to be as strong as I can be from what I do and what I eat. In other words, I want a natural progression of size and strength provided by life itself.

I have a log yard, heavy stones, sledge hammers, huge tires (300lbs) and other things that have no bars or handles and are awkward, heavy, and do not have a balanced weight. I curl some, I lift some overhead and I shrug my shoulders with others . I’ll hold them and squat and I’ll squat to pick them up! I carry things for distance, and flip, roll, and toss them overhead.

With the very long tree trunk, I’ll hold it chest high and squat, stand, and then press it overhead. If I want, I will drape chains on it to increase the weight. Other logs I curl, balance, and toss like a Scottish caber. The lightest “toy” is around 40lbs and the big logs weight in at 100+ lbs. The log rounds are 18-20 inches across and weigh in at 70-100+ lbs each. I have an anvil too!

I do push-ups, body rows, and dips for fun also. My basic, hard-core set is to move 10,000lbs of weight in under 15 minutes doing curls, lifts, and squats. I lift, move, and stack. I lift and carry. And, I just plain lift! Everything is done in different formats, with a variety of different motions, none of which are the same as the last. I don’t do the heavy long sessions every day, or every time, because I don’t have a schedule or a plan. I just do it when I have the time or feel like it.

I don’t deliberately eat before or after my workouts or walks. I eat 2-3 times a day, sometimes not at all, sometimes just once a day. I take as it comes along and believe that that body can do what it wants, when it wants by being strong in general. I don’t follow any charts or plans, I just do it! Training to me is what you do with a dog. I don’t train. I work hard and play hard and do hard things as a rule. You can see the body I have from doing this. Absolutely no routines whatsoever here! I do random runs at being as good as I can be, that’s it. Some days I make it all the way through and some days I quit when I want to since its all good stuff and everything I do counts.

I don’t take any supplements and I don’t make a habit of eating certain things before or after workouts. I eat meat and fat and a few veggies, but no starches, very little fruit and nuts, and no dairy items except pastured butter. I am real close to a true Paleo diet.

My carb intake is always below 100 grams a day and a lot of times its below 50 grams a day, but I can lift the house if I need to. The strength is there and I can pick up the 300lb tire and walk away with it. I have been known to pick up over 400lbs a few times in a row without “planning” to and with no special preps or warm-up. It’s just me and what I do and what I eat going after it cold and ready to go! Nutrition is the foundation for all of this and I eat as good as I can get but very simply and clean and not complicated or fancy. I eat fresh and natural like they did hundreds of years ago, or at least as close as I can get to that!

I always encourage people to do some things that incorporate strength and control with awkward weights and without a handle or a bar. It encourages neuro-muscular connections and muscle combinations that the body “knows” deep inside. I hear a lot about “form” when squatting or lifting. Try this, squat down with a 100lb rock between your legs, wrap your arms around it, and pick it up. Your body will naturally adjust to the correct position for the easiest way to lift it. Your rear will drop down, your back will come to vertical, and your legs and butt with drive it upwards while your arms clutch it to your chest and your brain figures out how to keep your toes from getting crushed if you drop it. Total primordial stuff! What I do is brain and muscle and balance work. Many things must fire before you can actually do the move and when you don’t have a perfectly sized handle or bar to grip it makes it all the more of a challenge.

There are many ways to be strong. I do the Paleo, Primordial, Homestead-type thing because it fits who I am. If I lived in a city where this was not what I could do, I would be in a gym or Cross-fit box being the Daveman there. I need to be active and to test what I can do. It’s in me to be strong and to move and lift heavy things. The pic of me in the black GROK t-shirt is very recent and shows just how fit one can be with this absolutely un-serious plan. It’s who I am and it’s because of this way of life, the quality of my food, doing what I do for work, and keeping it fun.



Want more Daveman inspiration? Check out the previous episodes of The Daveman GROKS!

Episode 1 - Origins

Episode 2 - Oh the Pemmican Can!
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About Unknown

Tony is the host of the Paleo Magazine Radio podcast, author of "Paleo Grilling: A Modern Caveman's Guide to Cooking with Fire", and Cofounder of Powerful PT, an innovative information resource for Fitness Professionals. He has appeared on numerous local and national television and radio broadcasts and regularly hosts healthy cooking workshops and informational lectures. He is also a full-time Personal Trainer and Wellness Consultant who lives in Jacksonville Florida with his wife Jamie.
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  1. Hi Daveman,

    I lift a lot of 50 pound bags of grain - not for a living, but certainly more than most 54 yr. old women. Thanks for a new way of looking at lfting them because they are awkward, shifting weight and so on. Now I'll feel paleo while moving them instead of grumpy! :)

  2. Glad to hear that you are primalizing your mind Susannah! 50lb bags of grain definitely qualify as awkward, shifty, and primitive! Keep up the great work!