Over and Out

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While perusing Robb Wolf‘s blog, I ran into an essay titled, “Evolutionary Fitness,” by Arthur De Vany.  I posted two excerpts below.

  Fascinating stuff!  Although I may disagree with his assumptions on sweating and relative hairlessness, still just fun to read…enjoy!

Males among hunter-gatherers do not carry the large game our ancestors did, so they are not a good model of power walking for males. Consider this instead as a model. A historical source reports that 5 Indian braves drove 5 bison into a pit. After they killed these 2000-pound bison, they pulled them out of a pit more than 10 feet deep, lined them up and skinned and butchered them. Then, they carried as much as they could back to camp to get others to return for the rest.

What a wonderful model of fitness, combining speed, power, strength, and stamina. You can be sure this successful hunt was followed by plenty of rest and play and feasting. This model is always on my mind when I think of what fitness means.

Life in a patchy resource environment requires the capability to perform a wide variety of activities. Clearly, the body’s design tells us that extreme exertion of brief duration was an important human attribute, essential for our survival and evolution.

Our upright, bipedal posture gives us the mobility to cover the range required of an omnivorous generalist. A large brain is required for hominids to cover the widest range known to any animal species. High value nutrients are essential to the energy demanding brain and small stomach required for high mobility in a patchy savanna where high value nutrients are variable and fugitive. Our muscle fiber composition reveals that we are adapted to extreme intensity of effort. And the energy sources of these fibers shows that the highly intense activities through which our ancestors “earned a living” were of short duration (anaerobic metabolism came before aerobic metabolism, which was grafted on later and the quickly exhausted fast twitch fibers are likely to be the most primitive of our sources of movement). Our ability to sweat, our relative hairlessness, our upright and, hence, cool posture, our mobility, as well as our temperature regulation and appetite mechanisms are designed to solve the problem of keeping an energy-hungry, but delicate, brain alive in an energetic body capable of high mobility and peak energy bursts.


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