After a 14-hour flight, five movies, no sleep and more intermittent fasting than planned (more on that in a future post) – I made it back to Sydney from PrimalCon yesterday, exhausted – but very inspired!
This was my second year at PrimalCon, so I had a better idea of what to expect this year – and even some wonderful friends from last year I was excited to see again.
Last year was my first time in California, so I assumed it was always hot and sunny there. Packing with that assumption was a big mistake! The weather completely changed on Friday, the first full day of PrimalCon, so much so that the day’s activities were moved inside – thank goodness! I must make sure I bring some warmer clothes next year, just in case.
When I first arrived at the resort, I noticed a few people in minimalist footwear who I knew must be there for PrimalCon – and people drinking energy drinks who I knew I could safely guarantee weren't there for the same reasons!
The PrimalCon Experts
I finally got to meet Primal Girl, Tara Grant in person at registration. We’d been in contact over email, but it’s definitely no substitute for meeting in real life. Tara was there for the whole weekend answering questions, telling her own story and giving ideas to the participants. She really is such an inspiration and looks the image of health!
Last year Barefoot Ted’s session was my introduction to barefoot running. Since then I’ve been wearing Vibrams regularly, so I learnt so much more from him this year. Ted is a great storyteller and teacher. During a break in the rain we went outside for his class. Predictably as soon as we got to the furthest point, the storm came back with a vengeance, giving us even more incentive to put what we’d learnt into practice to sprint back to the hotel as quickly as possible!
The sprint clinic with Olympian Michael Stember dovetailed perfectly with the barefoot running class, I’m really looking forward to putting everything I’ve learnt into practice and trying to make my running style look and feel as effortless as both Michael and Barefoot Ted’s.
William Vives is a regular at PrimalCon and an expert on kettlebells and fitness and took his session in a corridor of the hotel (the rain was that heavy!) focusing on getting the techniques right. This was a great session as it’s all too easy to get distracted by speed and number of reps – and letting form suffer. I've been using kettlebells for a while, but learnt so much that was completely new to me in William’s class. William gave me so many fantastic tips and advice which I'm so grateful for – I feel like he’s helped to bring my fitness goals a lot closer. If only we had a William Vives in Australia!
One of the sessions I’d been looking forward to the most was Erwan Le Corre, founder of MovNat. I’d heard him speak at the AHS 2011, but his brand of teaching needs to be on the move, not behind a lectern. Unfortunately my group was the first; we were hoping for a break in the weather, but it just got worse and worse. In true Primal style, we persevered, crawling, jumping and lying on the ground. Despite the weather, it was enough to convince me to sign up for one of his 7-day courses – once I master pull-ups (Erwan says this isn't essential, but I want to get the maximum benefit from his class). Other than the class it was fascinating watching Erwan over the weekend. He never seemed to sit – even at lunch he ate his lunch from a grok squat on his chair. He also seems to look at the world in an entirely different way – I could see him studying the ground and objects, working out how he could get across/ over/ under/ along different surfaces. He really does live and breathe MovNat!
Mark Sisson took a couple of sessions talking and answering all sorts of different questions. It’s really interesting to hear which topics are hot issues at the moment. Predictably Cold Thermogenesis was of interest, as Jack Kruse has recently brought to the attention of the Paleo community. Ketosis was another issue that was asked about in various guises.
Kelly Starrett was new this year and was such a pleasure to listen to – he spoke about mobility, which is so important, yet really overlooked. I’d planned to catch up with him later to find out more, but got sidetracked with all of the other things that were going on.
I’d barely even noticed Vanessa and Adam Lambert on the schedule with Olympic Lifting. This was one of the choice sessions and I was delighted to have a one-on-one session with Adam. I've been interested in Olympic Lifting for a while, but had never actually tried it before. It was amazing, my favourite session of the weekend! I went from being really unsure of the strange movements, to some great lifting. I want more of this! Vanessa used to train with Robb Wolf and was giving some incredible gymnastics lessons and demonstrations. Perhaps at next year's PrimalCon I’ll give that more of a try.
Chef Rachel Albert was also back from last year, only this year her Paleo cookery demonstration was from a beach house. I’d learnt so much last year, so had high expectations this time – and she didn't disappoint. Her demonstration was full of so many tips, often really simple ideas, but things I’d just never thought of doing before! It’s great to have a chef championing Paleo cooking at PrimalCon
As you’d expect from PrimalCon, the food was absolutely amazing. I find it so hard to get Turkey and Kale in Australia, so made the most of their abundance! On the first evening we were served a soup and my first thought was that I would obviously have to leave it – then I remembered where I was! It’s such a wonderfully refreshing change knowing that all of the food was 100% Primal, not a grain or legume in sight – and certainly nothing processed.
It’s funny meeting so many people with the same beliefs on nutrition; you’d think all of the conversation would be about being Paleo, but it’s not at all. You already know you have that common basis and so much else to discuss. There were quite a few of us from overseas this year, including a few from Europe and the UK and even another Sydneysider – who’d have thought!
I’ve come away from PrimalCon feeling inspired with new friends and so many new tips and ideas I'm itching to put into practice. I hope to see more of you there again next year, for PrimalCon 2013!