Erwan LeCorre: Evolutionary Fitness (LBP 005)


Erwan LeCorre, founder of MovNat, explains what natural movement really means: it is the movements our ancestors have been doing throughout the history of our species, but which are now often voluntary and not required for daily life. He explains how we’ve become a lot like Chihuahuas, why only doing as much as you can do well trumps brutalizing yourself in your fitness regimen, and how natural movement heals.




Show notes

What does natural movement mean? The movement skills that our ancestors have been practicing in the world since the dawn of human time- balancing, walking, climbing, running, lifting heavy things, jumping, throwing, etc.

Some people may ask, "We don't live in that environment any longer, so why would I do all these things?" It's not about mimicking our past. If there is anything that happens right now- right here right now- that requires you to sprint or carry somebody for example- are you prepared?

Also we are meant to move. Our culture makes us believe that it is optional, but it is a biological necessity. The people who move less have a lesser quality of life and of health.

Today children are often discouraged to go outside or take risk. Nobody is going to grow strong and healthy in that kind of environment. We need nature and we need movement- a lot.

As a kid he was encouraged to go out a lot. He could disappear into the woods for hours. His father would come with him and encourage him to do things he couldn't tackle on my own, and he never ceased to value this type of movement.

He enjoyed my experiences of specialized sports, but never stopped thinking about an approach to lifestyle that encouraged natural movements.

All physical education in Europe 200 or 300 years ago were all based on these practical movements.

Mobility drills are a part of the MovNat drills- the movement and mobility don't have to exist separately.

You want to stop thinking of "exercise" that it's a chore. That lazy people don't do it, but if you're good you do it- your weight training, and your cardio training, and your mobility.

But you want to think of  what makes up the bulk of your physical activity every day. The same way supplementation on top of an unhealthy diet, movement supplementation, i.e. exercise, won't work if the bulk of your movement is physical idleness every day.

Your mobility, strength, cardio, balance, etc will all fall into place. You don't need specific drills for specific needs. The reason you lack mobility isn't because you don't do yoga, it's because your daily life lacks natural movement. The reason you lack strength isn't because you don't work on the weight machines at the gym, it's because you aren't sprinting and lifting heavy things.

Potential has never been lost- if you recreate the movement environment it will come back.

What are zoo humans?

It is a metaphor. Some people are insulted by it- a different metaphor would be that we're farm animals, or domesticated animals. We're a little bit like pets. All dog species come from the wolf, which means the Chihuahua and the wolf are related. The Chihuahua would die within hours or days in a wild environment. We are fabricating a form of a "human breed"- we are to our ancestors what the Chihuahua is to a wolf.

It's not about giving people a hard time- but it's an observation that most people have become alien to the body and are in a state of physical neglect.

You cannot live optimally if your body is abandoned.

Have you seen people use MovNat to recover from injuries or pain or to get off of the path of the downward spiral?

We have a lot of people who have been through a lot of therapies, but who got great results from re-creating their natural movements with MovNat

This isn't to say that professionals aren't important- but any therapist cannot do anything for you if you don't remove the cause of your problem. Many physical problems stem from a lack of movement.

Even people who are physically active have become specialists- they do one type of movement, and that is going to create issues down the road.

Lifestyle behavior [movement] needs to support any therapy you are getting [for pain, injury, etc].

"You can only do as much as you can do well"- MovNat is a method, meaning that it's not about going into nature and trying to just jump  off stuff and break your legs.

A method means you are going to learn essential movement efficiency principles that include position, posture, timing, tension, relaxation, and techniques.

A lot of people realize that they have been neglecting their body, and that is a healthy awakening. Unfortunately, a lot of people want fast results and they are ready to brutalize themselves to get in shape in a matter or days or weeks. And that is completely delusional. You can't reverse the effects of physical idleness that quickly.

It's important that you understand mindfulness, and gentleness and kindness to yourself. Your body is not a machine, it's you. And you only have one. It is not to be mistreated. It's about listening to your sensations. You want to be patient and you want to understand that it's a process.

Movement is more than just something you have to do- it's not a chore. It is an expression of who you are. It is a biological necessity.

Don't expect instant gratification when it comes to how you look on the beach. But do expect instant gratification when it comes to happiness, a sense of freedom, and a sense of well-being that comes through movement. You can have satisfaction right now.

MovNat places a great emphasis on movement quality and efficiency through the teaching and the acquisition of techniques. Even if you have the most powerful computer, but you don't know how to use the software, then your computer is useless. If exercise is just about exerting yourself, you don't learn anything. You need to learn movement skills. You need to develop physical competency for the real world.

At the same time, without physical conditioning, skills alone won't do it. We emphasize technique, but also strength and cardio conditioning that require intensity. But only on the basis that the movements are still efficient.

If you want to get into natural movement right now, today, Erwan recommends that people go to the local playground and watch the movements the kids do, try to see if you could do the same. Also check out the Movement of the Day on MovNat (in resources).

Erwan is currently currently watching his 16 month old son and watching his development and movements stage-by-stage. He's also always exploring the basics. Natural movement is so broad, he never stops rediscovering them. For example, in walking the other day, just refreshing his perception when he does the simple movements.

" He quotes Gray Cook: "We are meant to grow strong and age gracefully. Reclamation of authentic movement is the starting point."

Home play!

Head to the playground! Watch kids playing in their un-self-conscious ways- no reps, no 'exercise as a chore'- and see if you can get on the equipment and move like they are. (As always, within the range of what is an option for you physically right now.)


Gray Cook and Erwan LeCorre program: Exploring Functional Movement

Here's a review I wrote on that program on Breaking Muscle

Movement of the Day, or MOD, on MovNat