Liver King is embracing honesty these days, and it’s refreshing.
The health and fitness Instagram influencer (real name: Brian Johnson), who espouses his nine “Ancestral Tenets,” first apologized for lying about his steroid use, then made himself the butt of a joke about what his body looks like now that he’s supposedly going natty.
But in a new interview, he agrees that the actual “ancestral” influence behind his wild lifestyle routine might be a bit bogus—if factually based on what our ancestors looked like and how today’s primitive tribes look.
“I’ve been around the world to visit with our modern-day primitive culture tribes in the Amazon and Africa — we just got back from Mongolia,” Liver King recently told comedian Andrew Schulz on the podcast Flagrant, after Schulz noted, “None of our ancestors look like you, dog.”
Liver King confessed that he’s aware that the genuine “primals,” a moniker he also applies to his fan base, can’t live up to his hulking physique.
“Nobody looks like me. And I used to try and defend that position because you see a lot of six-packs, but you don’t see this muscle mass,” Liver King said. “It doesn’t confer a fitness benefit in that community.”
No one’s accusing Liver King of being a scientific health guru, and his shirtless ancestral shtick is just that, even if he does make cohesive points here and there. But here’s a little anatomical history lesson that Johnson is hinting at: our human hunter-gatherer ancestors had to move quickly and nimbly, far harder for those who are bulkier. The legitimate diet of our Paleolithic predecessors involved literally picking fruit, berry by berry, and chasing prey until total exhaustion, according to Scientific American.
While it’s unlikely any true primals are able to throw up the same bench press numbers as Johnson, he is impressed with the strength of Mongolian women. Having packed 100-pound dumbbells for his trip (apparently part of his standard luggage), he was shocked to see ladies who lifted and moved the mammoth weights with “no problem whatsoever.”
Despite our evolution beyond primitive routines, you can benefit from certain elements of our long-ago needs-based lifestyles. For instance, try ditching fancy gym gear in favor of “functional fitness”: foundational movements that actually help us daily.
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