Energy Expenditure in Hunter Gatherers

We are told that our western lifetyle is to blame and that all we need to eat less and move more. And that sounds intuitively true. The move more part was challenged by a study of the Hadza people (Pontzer H, Raichlen DA, Wood BM, Mabulla AZP, Racette SB, et al. (2012) Hunter-Gatherer Energetics and Human Obesity. PLOS ONE 7(7): e40503.).

…average daily energy expenditure of traditional Hadza foragers was no different than that of Westerners after controlling for body size. The metabolic cost of walking (kcal kg−1 m−1) and resting (kcal kg−1 s−1) were also similar among Hadza and Western groups.

The similarity in metabolic rates across a broad range of cultures challenges current models of obesity suggesting that Western lifestyles lead to decreased energy expenditure.

We hypothesize that human daily energy expenditure may be an evolved physiological trait largely independent of cultural differences.

Interesting article (What a hunter-gatherer diet does to the body in just three days).

My other lasting impression was how little time they spent getting food. It appeared as though it took just a few hours a day — as simple as going round a large supermarket. Any direction you walked there was food — above, on and below ground.

Ketones and Blood Sugar Responses to Exercise


Determine the effects of exercise on blood glucose and ketone levels.

The prediction prior to exercise was that blood glucose levels would increase and ketone levels would decrease immediately following exercise but would rebound to a blood glucose level that was lower than the baseline and ketone levels would increase to a level higher than the baseline within a couple of hours.


The subject of this study is a male, 58-year old, approx 75 kg in weight who has been doing CrossFit training for about 10 months. Subject eats a ketogenic diet (less than 30 grams of carbohydrates per day). Subject was fasted overnight (about 14 hours) and exercise was performed in the morning. Subject had one cup of coffee with salt (Morton Lite Salt plus Sea Salt) added prior to exercise and one cup of same post-exercise. Exercise routine consisted of warmup followed by relatively high intensity workout. The warmup consisted of calisthenics and a 400 M run taking a total of about 8 minutes. The intense portion of the workout took about 16 minutes. Heart rate was recorded using a Samsung Gear Sport heart monitoring watch. Blood sugar was measured using a Livongo Blood Glucose Meter. Ketone Levels were measured using a Keto Mojo Blood Ketone meter.


Blood Ketone levels were 1.0 at the start of the exercise, fell to 0.3 at the end of the exercise, 0.4 at 1 hour post exercise and 1.5 at 2 hours post exercise. Initial ketone level indicates subject was fasted and was in nutritional ketosis. Blood Sugar levels were 92 at the start of the exercise, 129 at the end of the exercise, 82 at 1 hour post exercise and 89 at 2 hours post exercise. Subject’s heart rate reached a maximum of 188 beats per minute and was noted to be at maximum for 15 minutes, vigorous for 7 minutes and moderate for 9 minutes.


Intense exercise results in an increase in Blood Glucose levels which fall to lower than baseline level within in an hour. Intense exercise also results in a decrease in measured ketone levels in the blood. These reactions could cause psychological distress to someone who sees them for the first time in themselves but are common reactions to intense exercise.

The Intense Workout

The intense portion of the workout consisted of Medicine ball Cleans using a 14-pound medicine ball and Strict Chest To Bar pullups using resistance bands. The progression was as follows:

The time to complete the intense portion was:

Data – Chart

Time   Note Blood Sugar Ketone Level
-45 mins Start of exercise 92 1.0
0 mins End of exercise 129 0.3
60 mins Post-exercise 82 0.4
120 mins Post-exercise 89 1.5

Heart Rate Data

Additional Watch Data was:

Exercise Equipment

Cast Iron Kettlebells



Power Cage

Hyper/Back Extension Ab Bench

I got more out of my first time on one of these benches than four trips to the Chiropractor.

Pullup Bar


Bodyweight Exercises – Part 2

Why Do Bodyweight Exercises?

Here’s a few of the advantages to doing bodyweight exercises:

  • Doesn’t take up much (if any) floor space
  • Inexpensive – no gym fees
  • Very little equipment required
  • Quicker – no travel time to the gym
  • Less embarrassing – you can do these alone without someone watching
  • Less likely to get hurt than with heavy weights/equipment
  • Muscle gains are “natural” in appearance (as opposed to looking “jacked”)
  • Not cardio focused, but strength focused (although your cardio will also improve)
  • Improve mobility and coordination

One program that I really like the looks of is the program.


Note – I haven’t tried this particular program myself since I am doing CrossFit but many of the elements are the same as CrossFit. The difference is instead of using heavy weights and doing Olympic style lifting bodyweight training uses the weight of your body as the weight you are lifting. Not a bad place to start since we’ve all got more than enough body weight.


The Start Body Weight program consists of seven basic exercises intended to work each muscle group. These are:

There’s also a warmup period and a cool-down period at the end of the exercises. Each exercise includes rest times between sets as well.


Since it’s unlikely that a person who is starting out can do these exercises, for each of these seven exercises there is a progression of steps to reach the ultimate form of the exercise. With the progression you start with your current abilities. For most of us untrained people that will be in the first of the progressions within that particular exercise.

Example: Pushup Progression

The progression for pushups goes through the following steps:

  1. Wall pushups
  2. Box pushups
  3. Three quarter pushups
  4. Three quarter pushups + Eccentrics
  5. Pushups
  6. Elbows in pushups
  7. Diamond pushups
  8. Uneven pushups
  9. Decline pushups
  10. Decline elbows in pushups
  11. Decline diamond pushups
  12. Wall one arm pushups
  13. Incline one arm pushups
  14. One arm pushups
  15. Decline one arm pushups

Very few people can do #15 (decline one arm pushups) but everyone can do #1 (wall pushups). The idea is to progress over weeks from #1 through #15. There’s a lot of advantage to doing this as a progression compared to other ways which say, maximize the number of pushups. Plus, wouldn’t it be just plain cool to be able to do one-armed pushups?

How Often?

This program is set up to be done three days a week with a day or two of recovery between each workout day. The recovery time between days allows your muscles to rebuild themselves.

How Many Reps?

Each exercise consists of between 4 and 8 repetitions with a 1-2 minute rest between sets. After you can do three sets of 8 reps move to the next exercise in that progression.



Other Bodyweight Programs

Here are some videos which describe the basic progressions for each of the seven exercises.