During this first month of cavemanning, I imagined myself dividing much of my spare time between the regular gym and the CrossFit gym, hardening my slovenly jelly-flesh into something more respectably hunter-gatherer-like.
For various reasons, this hasn’t happened. Most importantly, I jammed my right big toe in a random stair-climbing pratfall, which gave me, as always, an excuse to avoid my least-favourite place: the stupid gym.
Nursing my throbbing toe, I soon found myself adrift in a sea of doubt. Can a guy so set in his sedentary ways really expect to get in shape? And is the idea behind this blog silly in the first place anyway? Does eating a few salads instead of sandwiches really mean I’m trying to live like a caveman?
Then, in a sunnier moment, I hobbled through the park after a snowstorm and felt better for the exercise. The sunshine, the kids tobogganing and dogs frolicking, the refreshingly cold air: This beat the tar out of the damn gym. I started to ponder how I might stay in shape without involving the treadmill (or dreadmill, as I seem to remember paleo types calling it online). I considered buying snowshoes. Plodding around using an invention used by actual hunter-gatherers: Wouldn’t that be pretty paleo?
Then some friends invited me along to another rather caveman-like activity, indoor rock climbing. In recent years some of my closer male friends and I had spent less time together, mainly because they were focusing more on physical activity while I remained an avid indoorsman.
Yet I had plenty of fun despite the toe, plus the fact that I am in horrible shape (having a poor strength-to-weight ratio is a serious hindering factor when climbing), and the resulting fact that I slipped off the wall rather often. I could get into this rock climbing thing, especially if I occasionally lug myself to the gym and build some upper-body strength.
I realized the wisdom, then, of primal guru Mark Sisson’s advice to “build a tribe” if one is to be a successful hunter-gatherer. My little band of buddies may not be paleo people like me but if I need that extra push out of my armchair — and off the cliff, as Nigel Tufnel would say — it helps to have some fellow kings of the Stone Age.
Dudes dine after climbing. As you may guess, the salad is mine and the sandwiches are not.