Darryl Edwards, aka The Fitness Explorer is the founder of Primal Play, a paleo nutritionist and author of the books Paleo from A to Z and Paleo Fitness. His Paleo lifestyle has made him fitter and healthier in his forties than ever before. I met Darryl at the first ever Paleo f(x) in Austin, Texas and his passion stood out clearly from the crowd. He walks his talk and although he has become quite the ‘Paleo Pop Star’, he remains as down-to-earth as ever.
1. You are in your late forties. How have you maintained apex health and fitness?
I was never a jock or fit and healthy in my youth, in fact I always felt that it was impossible to ever be strong, fit or capable based on my ‘genetics’. I was a geek and categorized fitness as aesthetics for the beach and health as something I could pay for if I became sick. How wrong was I?
Maintaining good health is not relying on one aspect of a healthy lifestyle to the detriment of others. For example my fitness is important, but not just one category of fitness. I have to work at strength, speed, power, balance, visualization, imagination, coordination, creativity, interaction, function, agility, stamina, etc. Similarly I have the same multi-faceted approach with my diet, sleep quality, stress, access to nature, sun exposure and other critical lifestyle attributes. They all matter.
2. Since you turned 40, have you experienced any changes to how your body looks, moves and performs?
I certainly look and feel more capable now than in my twenties and thirties but that is mainly due to my former sedentary lifestyle, poor diet and taking sleep for granted – which led to a lack of fulfilling my potential in my prime. My goals now relate to longevity, avoiding injury and not taking unnecessary risks for short term gain. I can't mitigate all aspects of the aging process but most of the impact of ageing such as sarcopenia and muscle atrophy is not inevitable and is premature due to a “lose it because we don't use it” mindset. I feel grateful for my current health status as one never knows what maybe around the corner.
3. What does your current fitness routine look like?
I definitely play a lot more outdoors than I used to, this has led to me becoming fitter, stronger and healthier than ever before. My training regimen constantly changes – one day I may go for a sprint session, playing ‘chase the jogger’ – not as dubious as it sounds! Or balancing on a fence or railings. Climbing trees and lifting and hauling logs. Performing Animal Moves such as bear crawls and crocodile walks with a focus on mobility and flow. I also take advantage of impromptu movement opportunities such as taking the stairs, walking more often and using my environment as my gym. My Primal Play method incorporates play-based theory with ideas around evolutionary fitness and practical training to achieve fun and optimal results without sacrificing one’s health to get there. I'm happy to be a jack of all trades and a master of none.
4. Have you changed the way you eat as you have got older?
I follow a Paleo type template – avoiding foods of agriculture and focussing on nutrient density. This consists mainly of pastured meats, wild-caught fish, healthy fats, complex carbs in the form of tubers, cruciferous vegetables and some nuts and fruit. I avoid processed and artificial foods, and try to eat a moderate protein, moderate fat, moderate carb diet which suits my metabolism and ensures I get adequate protein which is more difficult to metabolize as we age.
5. Finish the sentence: When I’m 75, I’ll be……
Still playing Tag!