I was intrigued not only with Erwan Le Corre's MovNat but also the similarity to it's distant cousin Parkour - "the art of movement". This is not surprising as there is common ancestry. Both are based on the early 20th Century Methode Naturelle (Natural Method - "be strong to be useful") by George Hebert. MovNat however contains much more of its ancestor's DNA, modernised to maximise efficiency with additional categories of movement.
Components of Fitness:
Even though I have covered a great base of fitness with Crossfit/300 style training and furthered my education with qualifications in Personal Training. I still felt there was something missing. In many aspects some of the components of fitness e.g. balance, accuracy and agility don't have the same prominence as the areas covered by strength, speed and power.
In order to progress to being proficient in all fitness domains, I had to explore them with equal dedication. MovNat seemed to speak my language, but at times appeared too abstract. Was this suitable only for those who spent significant time outdoors? With that in mind I subscribed to the newsletter, pondered those questions and assigned this to the 'interesting list'. Hastily moving onto the next workout of that particular day...
Little did I know there was time for more personal development.
So what happened?
Since then I've read Frank Forencich's book 'Exhuberant Animal' (and attended seminar's exploring natural movement). I've read several books on Evolutionary Fitness. I've researched Paleo and 'real food' nutrition and studied movement based therapy in managing low back pain. All of these experiences have re-affirmed my belief that highly varied movement across many disciplines is more important than a specific fitness 'regime'.
I watched the MovNat video: "The workout the world forgot" (see below) again. It then dawned on me, this was all about the expression of natural movement, variable, adaptive and functional. This got me excited again!
MovNat's 12 movement patterns stem from the fundamental moves that humans universally possess. Regardless of cultural differences, heritage or environment: humans were designed to run, jump, carry, lift, climb, etc. Movements we often take for granted as part of our fitness goals, either neglecting to do any of these or just focusing on one or two of them at the expense of the others. These moves are natural and as Erwan demonstrated on more than one occasion, may one day prove essential for your survival.
A strict Paleo diet, prepared on site by Allie (consisted of 3 meals a day):
Avoiding sugar, grains, diary and processed/refined foods and drinks.
We avoided the afternoon crash, burn and hunger pangs typically experienced on typical Western diets. Inbstead we sampled a rich and diverse menu used to fuel workouts and to aid in our recovery.
Erwan and Vic imparted their knowledge via theoretical and practical presentations, personal experience, inspired debate and on-going assessments. We were challenged both physically and mentally with his passion, authority and philosophy.
"Power is nothing without efficiency, accuracy and control"
Erwan's instruction was sublime, scaled to the abilities of the group as well as individual instruction. Erwan was patient, but tough when required. Safety and technical precision was also presented in context. Vik's encouragement and anecdotes were refreshing. The correct balance at all times between instruction and hands-on tuition.
Everyone on the workshop experienced significant development. Tasks we struggled with on day 1 we found much easier to perform on the final assessment day.
Of course the process continues. I look forward to working on all those skills picked up on the workshop as opportunity presents itself. The diversity and varied ability of the attendees allowed us to focus on the efforts of pulling together as a team. I was also able to re-focus on my own goals and the new path I wish to take.
I realised my search for the ideal workout programme, or prescription is not what MovNat is about. Nor is it what I need.
It is about a lifestyle, where you engage the mind and body to explore fundamental movement patterns in whatever environment you are in. Breaking out of the confines of modern life to re-engage with nature, adopting a 'real-food' diet, and sharing this knowledge in a pragmatic fashion.
This workshop allowed me to create workouts combining these essential movement patterns in a fun and interesting way. Using various degrees of intensity, interaction with the natural environment - (the only limitations being your imagination).
I want to be prepared for anything in the fitness domain. MovNat seems to offer one of the highest levels of variability, natural movement, breadth, skills transferability and scalability I have experienced to date. The possibilities are endless. Many times throughout the workshop I realised brute-force was not enough, intelligent application and technique was often just as, or more important. I will now incorporate MovNat into my workouts, in conjunction with my strength and conditioning work.
Now I am back in England, there is only one area where I strongly disagree with Erwan. With the British climate being so temperamental I will be doing these workouts indoors as well as out!!!
Thanks Erwan, Vic, Allie and all involved that week in West Virginia. For helping me to explore my true nature.