Flints tone the caveman body

AFTER decades of being sold home exercise contraptions that vibrate, spin, rotate, and fold away for easy storage - and all for six easy payments - fitness gurus are sweating on a new exercise trend.

The Caveman Workout is a new fitness 'craze' involving things like walking or running to one's destination and lifting things that need to be lifted. Crazy, I know.

This new trend follows the hit dieting movement, the Paleo Diet, which replaces processed food with vegetables and simple meats.

Like the diet, The Caveman Workout gets the body doing what it evolved to do over thousands of years.

Caveman exercise or 'functional fitness' is about incorporating movement into your whole life. It aims to strengthen and support you for meeting real-world physical challenges.

However, this is all very well when your life involves walking 2km to a water hole, hunting down a sabre tooth tiger and hauling it back to camp, but how do we get the caveman calorie-burning benefits in a busy, modern world?

According to outdoor fitness personal trainer Nic Carram of Byron Fitness, the cheapest and most effective way to get fit and lose weight is to rid yourself of those weird and wacky TV contraptions.

"Any product that has the word 'ab' or 'king' in the title or that you buy from the TV is absolute bullshit," says the Byron personal trainer.

Instead, Nic proposes that we focus on using the biggest muscles of the body, just as our Neanderthal forebears did.

"Think about it. Cavemen were chasing things and being chased, then crouching for a rest, which is what we try to replicate with interval training involving sprints, squats, lunges and lifts," he says. "But it's horses for courses. Listen to your own body."

I'm not sure if I'm personally ready for the caveman workout but I have recently ditched my vacuum for one of those old fashioned carpet sweepers that require lots of good old fashioned elbow grease to operate.

Lifting a squirming toddler into a supermarket trolley and scrubbing hardened cornflakes off the couch is also quite the workout.

I think I'll call it The Grandma Diet. But don't tell the LA fitness gurus.

It's my best-seller.

Ways to get fit for less

  • Power poles: You can replicate gym interval training by using power poles. Try sprinting from one power pole, then walking to the next, and then sprinting again.
  • Jump for joy: A skipping rope is inexpensive, fun and a super calorie burner.
  • Whacking it: Hitting things involves full-body movement and exercises just about every muscle.
  • Backyard blitz: Based on an 80kg adult, general gardening burns 290 calories an hour (or a Snickers bar), while real hard yakka like hauling branches and pushing wheelbarrows burns 350. Mowing the lawn burns a whopping 385 calories or the equivalent of half a Big Mac.
  • Friend or foe? Choice Magazine suggests getting a few friends around for tug-of-war and "wheelbarrow" races (the "wheelbarrow" walks on their hands while the operator holds their feet).
  • Twister, anyone? Milton Bradley's Twister is a game of physical skill that will get you 'planking', a great isometric core strength exercise.

Topics:  paleo diet

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