By Jonathan Aluzas

I’m no scientist, but I can read and write. ?So, when you read this, you’re reading conclusions based upon other people’s research and my assumptions. ?But I think there’s room for common sense conclusions in this world, despite our need for a scientific rationale. ?I tend to be a guy who appreciates research to back an opinion, but I don’t think a peer-reviewed, double-blind test is necessary to determine that the sun will rise tomorrow, so there are times when you should just call things the way you see them and let science be damned.

This guy is fit!

Chimpanzees don’t need personal trainers. ?Now, this may seem obvious, because…..well…..they’re chimpanzees. ?But let’s stop to ask the question, “WHY don’t chimpanzees need personal trainers.” ?This is just the kind of hard-hitting scientific stuff I lose sleep over. ?It’s not that chimps don’t need trainers because they don’t particularly care about their abs or whether they have a fat butt (because if they were L.A. chimps, they probably would), it’s because chimpanzees are in great shape! ?By now, we’ve all heard that chimps and gorillas are up to 5 times stronger, pound for pound, than humans (, but that’s not what I’m referring to when I say they’re in great shape. ?After all, that’s just a biological, evolutionary advantage.

For the sake of clarity, let’s differentiate between WILD chimpanzees living in their natural habitat, and CAPTIVE chimpanzees living in a human-designed and managed habitat. ?Captive chimpanzees aren’t faring nearly as well as their wild counterparts. ?So, maybe it should be stated that, while WILD chimpanzees don’t need personal trainers, captive chimpanzees and humans do. ?Here are some facts:

So, to sum up: Wild chimpanzees don’t get fat and are more resistant to disease (some diseases, anyway), while humans and captive chimpanzees often become obese and sick. ?There are some scientific indications that wild chimps are more resistant to disease because of genetic factors, but it is also clear that humans and captive chimps get fat and sick because of:
  • Poor diet
  • Lack of exercise
First, let’s compare the diet of wild chimpanzees and humans.
  • The wild chimpanzee’s diet consists of over 65% fruit, roughly 25% leaves, around 6% seeds, and less than 4% meat and insects.
  • The Standard American Diet consists of roughly 50% carbohydrate (mostly processed), 35% fat and 15% protein.
  • The difference: Wild chimps have a diet of 100% natural food, almost entirely plant-based, with very little fat and meat. ?Americans have a diet of mostly nutritionally-devoid, processed foods that are high in refined sugar and flour, too much meat and too much fat.
  • Wild chimpanzees, according to recent research, eat many plants for medicinal purposes. ?They intentionally seek out plants that aid with diarrhea, bacterial infections, worms and other illnesses and learn from each other which plants serve as natural remedies (
  • Humans treat themselves like garbage disposals and then pop whatever pills the doctor gives them to treat the symptoms.
  • The difference: Wild chimpanzees are smart enough to seek out natural treatments for illnesses instead of creating illness and then masking it with pharmaceuticals.
Now, let’s look at the exercise levels of the two:
  • Wild chimpanzees spend a large part of their day foraging for food. ?What does foraging mean? ?It means climbing, digging, walking, and otherwise moving around to gather up all of the food you need. ?It means that a large part of their day is spent in physical activity. ?They also swing from branch to branch among the trees. ?Try doing that some time. ?Not easy.
  • Humans sit on their butts for most of the day and occasionally move when it means getting to the fridge. ?And they almost never swing from tree to tree.
Lastly, let’s compare wild chimps to captive chimps:
  • Captive chimps have restricted physical activity. ?Even if they have a large enclosure, the total amount of space within which to roam and forage is?significantly reduced. ?They don’t have to move much to acquire their food, so they don’t.
  • Captive chimps have a diet that has been compromised, too. ?It’s impossible to replicate the natural, wild habitat of chimpanzees, in which they often forage for up to 60 – 205 different food items ( ?So, they’re not able to consume
    These chimps need a personal trainer.

    the wide variety of natural foods that they require, which leaves them with diminished nutrition. ?Attempts to recreate chimpanzee food often falls short, because experts don’t quite understand their RDA.

  • Reduced physical activity and a compromised diet has made captive chimps more like humans.
Wild chimpanzees don’t need personal trainers, or health club memberships, or running clubs, or Weight Watchers, because their lives demand a lot of physical activity and their environment provides nothing but natural, unprocessed food sources. ?They are beneficiaries of their environment. ?Humans and captive chimpanzees, on the other hand, are victims of their environments. ?I say “victims,” not because I believe they are without control or choice (humans, anyway), but because we have become victims of convenience.
So, here’s my conclusion:
The fact that wild chimpanzees are healthier than humans and captive chimps is due to better nutrition and more exercise. ?And we know that these are the keys to better health and well-being in our lives, too. ?We’ve been told this 6,000 different ways, but the message obviously isn’t getting through to Americans, because we keep getting fatter and more sick.
The real lesson here is choice. ?Wild chimps are forced to make do with their surrounding, whereas we have the power to create our surroundings. ?We choose bad food, we choose inactivity, we choose illness and we choose shortened lives. ?This is the cause of the American health nightmare. ?We keep looking for explanations for our national condition that have nothing to do with our behavior, but in the end, the only remedy will be to adopt behaviors that result in health. ?We share 96% to 98% of the same DNA with chimpanzees. ?Let’s use the 2% to 4% that is uniquely ours to make a better choice.
Jonathan Aluzas is the owner of Arena Fitness, a personal training, semi private training and group fitness facility in Encino, California.