Paleo Workout Routine: Efficient, Effective With A Little “Cheating” | PaleoMunch!

I like to structure my paleo work out routine with a crossfit-style approach, incorporating high intensity as well as timed workouts. Crossfit and the paleo diet are commonly found together in articles and many crossfit and paleo blog authors alike touch on how the two are inter-related.

Crossfit aims at combining incredibly powerful exercises from specific sports, such as gymnastics, and proposes that a full body workout is done everyday. This works great for consistency, and to be honest, why wouldn’t you want to workout the entire body all at once. 

Why is working out the whole body effective?

When you are working out specific muscle groups, specifically when applying very controlled, unnatural movements, the body isn’t encouraged to develop the necessary supporting muscles. These supporting muscles are built automatically when doing work outs focusing on natural movements, good form and full body exercises. How you construct these workouts will determine how effective your supporting, core muscle development will be. Focus on form and the right supporting muscles will build themselves up properly.

Building An Effective Paleo Workout Routine

So how are we going to make our workout routine effective?

Firstly, were going to apply paleo ideas and principles like simplicity, efficacy and freedom. We’ll mix these ingredients up with some hardcore workout  techniques thanks to crossfit, and control them with some Tim Ferriss “minimum effective dose” for timing. Tim speaks about the minimum effective dose just as you would when talking about dosing medicine. You need to find your own minimum effective dose of exercise to produce a required, or desired result. For us, that’s muscle building with the least amount of work required.

The method we’ll use for variation is to perform a different exercise for each muscle group each day, in a different order. It might look  a little like this:

Day 1

  • Arms: Biceps: Bicep curls
  • Arms: Triceps: Seated
  • Shoulders: Overhead press
  • Back: Push ups
  • Core: Plank
  • Legs: Squats
Day 2
  • Arms: Triceps: Elevated push ups
  • Shoulders: Dumbell overhead press
  • Arms: Biceps: Pull ups
  • Legs: Squat jumps
  • Core: Push ups
  • Back: Dumbell rows
You get the idea. Basically what you want to do is perform a full body workout everyday, while switching out your per-muscle group workouts, and while varying your orders.
Pretty exiting really!
So what about that timing? In crossfit, there is a commonly applied timing called the Tabata method. Basically what is required is that for crossfit, each muscle group is worked for 20 seconds at a very high intensity (around 170% of Vmax), followed by 10 seconds of rest. This cycle is repeated 8 times per exercise.
Yeah. Intense is crossfit’s middle name. Not to fear though, we are going to apply Tim Ferriss’s minimum effective dose principles here to mitigate both the barrier of entry to crossfit style exercise as well as reap the rewards of minimal effort paleo workout.
That’s not saying exercise should be a case of only doing the minimum. Sometimes it’s great to unleash the fury and exercise to within an inch of passing out.
Basically, all that this principle requires is that you work one exercise per muscle group per day to muscle failure. The rep count will vary, but you’ll count for 10 seconds up and 10 seconds down on each movement. So if you were doing a bicep curl, 10 seconds up, and 10 seconds down. This is where the magic is, as because of the low rep, low speed but full on muscle failure nature of the exercises the time it takes to complete even a full body workout is cut down to next to nothing.

So to sum it all up

Create a workout schedule

If not on paper, make a general workout and memorise it, this will enable you to always reference a solid workout plan and change it everyday. This workout should be full body and you should make sure you understand the requirements of the exercise, such as correct form.

Alter the exercise and order for each muscle group, everyday

This step is pretty much explained by its title. Just swap out each exercise for another everyday and switch around the muscle group order.

Maintain each exercise at a constant intensity of 10 seconds up and 10 seconds down, until muscle failure

Again, pretty explanatory. Count to 10 while contracting, and 10 seconds while relaxing (controlled obviously) your muscle.


That’s pretty much it!

Enjoy your stronger body!

Keep well,

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