Natural Born Heroes with Christopher McDougall (LBP 039)

Christopher McDougall, author of Born to Run, joined me for a conversation about his latest book, Natural Born Heroes. We talk about this remarkable story of a band of resistance fighters on Crete during World War II, how they contributed to toppling the Nazi occupation there, and the amazing local Cretans who taught them about their tradition of the hero. 

Christopher doesn't stop at these remarkable people however, he asks what makes a hero and how can we all be heroes? 

The book dives into some of my favorite body nerd subjects; We talk fascia, Parkour, natural movement/MovNat, low heart rate training, burning fat for fuel, and how we can all rise to the occasion by studying the way of the hero. 

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Conversation highlights

  • How the bizarre story of a group of freedom fighters who wanted to kidnap a Nazi general led Chris to the question, "What makes a hero?"
  • Crete as the birthplace of the hero: they didn't believe heroes were superhuman at all- they wanted the million (rather than the one) to be the hero.
  • The ancient Greek definition of compassion.
  • Chris got interested in fascia (and studied with Tom Myers and Robert Schleip) when he realized that all the best trainers were interested in fascia and its elastic recoil properties.
  • How important Chris thinks Parkour is and why he even describes it as crucial medicine in this day and age.
  • Natural movement has to be universal- it does not discriminate between the sexes.
  • How the difficulty with monetizing things like natural movement or Parkour is the reason we keep forgetting and remembering it every 50 years or so.
  • How Barefoot Ted introduced him to Erwan LeCorre of MovNat.
  • University of Michigan Study "Your Brain in the Woods vs. Your Brain on Asphalt" and its findings
  • Erwan LeCorre's insight as to why staring at a screen makes us so tense and anxious.
  • Low heart rate training and burning fat for fuel- how did a bunch of amateurs behind enemy lines accomplishing intense endurance athletic feats- with very little food- manage to fuel themselves?
  • All effective things are simple and easy to follow.
  • What's stayed with him in his personal practice.

Home play!

Chris says that if he could boil down the book to two words they would be, "Be useful." This week let's embrace our inner hero by just noticing how in our daily interactions we can be most useful.

Resources

Natural Born Heroes

Christopher McDougall's website

The Heroes Tour aka "The Hero Cabaret" (see if it's going to be near you!)

Parkour- Shirley Darlington Chris's first coach

Erwan LeCorre and MovNat

Low heart rate training and burning fat for fuel- Phil Maffetone

University of Michigan study

If you liked this episode, you might also like

Erwan LeCorre Evolutionary Fitness

Steve Gangemi Raising the Bar for What "Healthy" Actually Means

Darryl Edwards Primal Play

If you’re inspired to leave a review on iTunes or Stitcher I would be oh so grateful! It helps more body nerds to find their way to the show and connects us more as a community. Body nerds unite!