Last night I had an amazing opportunity to be involved in a Primal Play group meet up. What is Primal Play? Well the methodology that author of Paleo Fitness Darryl Edwards (@fitnessexplorer) uses is that it is about making activity fun, effective and engaging while getting healthier, fitter and stronger in the process. Darryl doesn't call the programs that appear in his book workouts but "playouts."
Darryl is deeply passionate about this as a form of fitness and is an ever moving and energetic instructor. The first activity we conducted was running in a single file along the kerb in a near by car park. The first thing that I noticed was the giggling and laughter that emanated from the collective group, instantly everyone was having fun. This is easily the first time I have done this type of activity since I was a child, and it was so much fun. Darryl encouraged us all to challenge ourselves in the next run through, test out our balance. We completed this a couple of times and despite all the fun and laughter the majority of the group had built up a good sweat and were breathing a little harder than expected. We then moved onto what looked to be as simple as a basic broad jump. The way Darryl wanted it executed however required concentration and precision. Using horizontal lines in the pavement we were tasked with landing on our toes, in a squat position, directly on the line, landing softly, maintaining our balance, chest up and not using our hands to support or brace the landing. Much harder than originally thought. It was then onto more playing and resurrecting the game of tag, or tips or whatever weird name was given to the act of chasing a friend around the playground and then crying "your it." This was where the competitive juices started flowing. Starting off as a two person game, then a three and finally a 6 person game, you didn't know where to move for fear of being tagged. At the end of that everyone was puffing but smiling like crazy, everyone was having fun and getting a positive physical response in the process.
It was then onto carrying a fellow participant, covering off on what to do and what not to do and giving demonstrations of how to make it easy and harder for the person doing the lifting. We did the usual piggy back type of carry, including more tag whilst piggy backing and piggy back squats, and then we moved onto the matrimonial carry holding our partner out front. we then experienced the "human climbing gym."
The rest of the session involved bear crawling up and down stairs, running silently up and down stairs, sitting down in and L-Sit then getting back up and down slowly then quickly, more kerb work but this time hopping on one foot before finishing off with some car pushing.
Our group was mostly adults apart from three young kids. Daniel, the father of the three brought them along and they all got stuck into the challenges with so much enthusiasm. It was fantastic to see. Daniel's youngest, Rocco, is extremely strong for his age and attacked the car pushing with vigour, pushing my rather large Navara (complete with large tyre and battle rope in the back) with ease. Everyone then got in on the action pushing my car over a distance of 100m and then sprinting back to the start. The funny thing about these movements is the reaction your legs have after the pushing portion. What Darryl didn't tell us was that you will experience "jelly legs" after the push phase. Daniel was first up and experienced it first hand, no damage done though but it did give the rest of the group something to consider. Everyone else got through their attempts with barely a stumble.
It was then time for a group selfie, a chat and then the signing of some copies of Darryl's Paleo Fitness book and we were done. What a great session it was though. Needless to say it didn't take me long to fall asleep that night.
Massive thanks to Darryl, Emma and Carla of The Merrymaker Sisters and for everyone else that came along. If you are in Melbourne this weekend do yourself, and your body a favour and head along to Darryl's presentation at the Low Carb Downunder conference on 15th November. Darryl will also be back in Australia for the Thr1ve.Me Primal, Paleo and Ancestral Health Symposium 13-15 March 2015 in Sydney which is looking like a fantastic event.