2 The Primal Blueprint
Here's the skinny: "A quest for health, wellness and truth" is at the heart of Mark Sisson's philosophy. He offers a multimedia approach to keeping health and fitness simple and fun.
Mark founded Primal Nutrition Inc 15 years ago, but his 2009 book kick-started the intensive diet and exercise phenomenon it has become today.
"The Primal Blueprint is about changing lives; it's about giving you hope if you've been discouraged; it's about making health, even weight loss, effortless and enjoyable," says Mark.
Get your teeth into it
This comprehensive, 30-day plan (dubbed the Primal Leap) focuses on moderating insulin production by ditching sugars and the grains. Instead, meat, eggs and other high-fat foods should take a starring role in your diet.
You also have to incorporate brief, high-impact strength-building workouts and the odd full-on sprint.
The plan gives you step-by-step instruction, including a 135-page 'Primal Leap Guidebook' "containing action items and extensive journal exercises each week in the areas of diet, exercise and lifestyle".
The eating part follows four basic principles: your diet is responsible for 80pc of your body composition (exercise only accounts for the other 20pc); instead of focusing on losing weight, you should aim to lose fat and build muscle (meaning the scales may go up); excess body fat is bad; and excess insulin is also bad.
So what does that mean on your plate? Well, protein takes priority. Mark goes into a lot of detail about the amount of protein you should eat every day to maintain your lean, mean physique.
So let the carbs take a back seat -- the Primal Blueprint only allows enough carbs to provide glucose for the brain, and a bit of anaerobic exercise. He says: "I use a rule of thumb that 100-150g carbohydrate per day is plenty to keep you out of ketosis (and ketosis is NOT a bad thing) but away from storing the excess as fat if you are the least bit active."
Learn to love your fats -- they are your fuel of choice. Nuts, avocados, coconut, eggs, olive oil, fish, chicken, lamb, beef ...
Why you should try it
Mark makes a convincing argument that millions are sweating for hours in the gym and battling to control their weight by counting calories, and it isn't working.
He is offering a compelling alternative to shift four to eight pounds in 30 days, without compromising on taste and with short, high-intensity workouts. So for all those who've tried other diets, this could be the key -- provided you like being told exactly what to do.
Why you shouldn't
Many people enjoy sweating in the gym and counting calories. If fatty foods are a no-go for you when you're trying to shape up, you're better off with a different plan.
The Primal Blueprint does go against what is preached by dieticians: that protein should account for 10-15pc of your daily calorific intake, with carbs making up 60pc and the rest coming from fats.