The Flintstones aside, early humans tend to be depicted in museums, pictures and pop culture as strong, lean and mean mammals.
They probably didn’t have Men’s Health articles or gyms—at least not the muscle machines we know today.
So, how did they build the predator-dodging, woolly mammoth-slaying fitness that we associate them with? The experts who study human movement have some ideas.
1. Low-intensity Cardio
“Walking is the quintessential human movement,” says Mark Sisson, author of The Primal Blueprint. Start at 2 hours a week, with a goal of 3 to 5. Other low-intensity cardio activities that keep your heart rate at 55 to 75 per cent of your max (220 minus your age) will also work.
2. Functional Fitness
Sisson suggests two-weekly total-body workouts. Says Ben Bergeron, elite Crossfit trainer, “Humans run, jump, lunge and squat. They respond better to these moves than to lateral raises.” Footwear optional.
3. Maximum Effort
Our early ancestors had to run for their lives every now and then. Today we hardly ever push ourselves that hard, even though doing so can boost metabolism. Try 10 minutes of sprints (varying your duration and rest) and 10 minutes of body-weight exercises.
4. Play Sports
Most of us quit playing sports regularly when the office badminton team disbanded. Without sports, we lose vital human movement skills, like the ability to throw accurately or change directions at full speed. Pick up any sport you fancy—it will do the trick, Sisson says.