The first time I read Chris McDougall’s article on MovNat in Men’s Health back in 2009, I couldn’t stop staring at the computer screen, rolling over what it meant in my mind:
Somewhere, in the forests of Brazil, there was a man living in harmony with nature, climbing trees, vaulting over rocks, carrying logs, jumping from boulder to boulder, teaching people to grow past the limits of their sad, domesticated bodies.
Have you ever seen something and immediately felt, “I have got to do that. If there is one thing I must do in my life, this…is…it!”?
I didn’t just want to go do one workshop and be done with it. I wanted to live it. I wanted to be that wild and free. I wanted to get so good, I’d give Le Corre, the founder, a run for his money. I wanted to spread the word, show people that being healthy doesn’t mean hours on a treadmill or tedious, repetitive movement. It can–it should–mean vibrant, moving, freedom.
Unfortunately, the article provided more information on the history of Methode Naturelle, the precursor to MovNat, than information on MovNat itself. MovNat at the time was small and not well-known. I was in college, broke, beat down by my studies at one of the most masochistic universities in the country, and very, very far away from running wild and free in the forests of Brazil. I was at a dead end, but the seed had been planted.
I was content knowing it existed. At least if someone was doing it, I could eventually figure out how to do it myself.
A Winding Road
And I got pretty far actually. My forays into human movement took me through lands strange and uncharted, never glimpsed by the average fitness-enthusiast or even the personal trainers that fill our Globo Gyms. It took me into CrossFit’s intensity-above-all-else training mentality. It took me into the magical, gravity-defying world of gymnastics.
But I had lost sight of my dream, carried off by every new big thing. Realizing how lost I was, I came up with a list of movements based on what I’d like to see myself doing. And then…
MovNat exploded. They started offering workshops all over the world. Now I could do my research and I discovered that the list of movements I’d come up with was uncannily similar to MovNat’s philosophy.
I hadn’t seen their philosophy before I created mine, so it seemed significant that I should come to the same conclusions.
I had the theory, but I hadn’t yet tried to implement it.
Coming Back to My Muse
I needed to learn how MovNat had implemented it. It would let me leapfrog the process of figuring out how to do things so that I could start practicing, elaborating, and developing, but more importantly, so that I could start teaching others.
MovNat just recently started offering certification courses. I need to become a MovNat instructor, and this is not an optional goal for me. I could eventually acquire the skills and knowledge their course would give me on my own, but the resources are there, so why not take advantage of them?
I am saving up, but I have a sense that time is important here, so I have decided to take matters into my own hands. Instead of working month to month, collecting a paycheck, I’ve decided to be more proactive about my education and freedom and step off the beaten track.
I wrote a book, sharing everything I’ve learned thus far in fitness and health. This book contains everything I know, all the lessons I gleaned in the last three years on my quest for human physical perfection. It’s sort of my summary of the latest stage in my understanding of human movement and human health, a springboard for me to jump into an exciting new era. The book sets out, in 105 densely-packed pages, the most important things you can do for your health, and the 6 basic principles that underlie all effective healthy lifestyles. There’s also a lot of technical stuff for those who really want to dig into the truth of health, fitness, and diet.
I finished writing the book this month, and have been promoting it like crazy. It’s been a huge amount of work, but now that the end is in sight, I’m feeling that all the late nights and early mornings have been worth it.
The book is meant as a gift to my friends and the community I belong to. It is also my first step to financial independence and personal freedom. It is my personal investment in reaching my next goal, because all income from the first round of sales will go to my MovNat certification.
Keep in mind, for me, this isn’t about exercising or being in shape. This is about reaching our potential as human beings, and not just physically. This is about discovering what it truly means to own our human existence. There are humans out there capable of things we only ascribe to genetic outliers and Olympians. But the truth is that any one of us could be those humans, if only we knew how. I want to be one of those humans.
I know that the body is only one part of our existence. There are plans to develop other areas as well: spiritual, ecological, and mental.
This isn’t only personal either. I believe that if humans feel free and strong, healthy and happy with who they are, a great number of the problems in our world will be overcome. So much violence and corruption comes from insecurity and vulnerability. Le Corre calls modern Homo Sapiens ‘zoo humans’ because we’ve lost touch with our wild selves. The displacement felt by a pacing wild animal in an artificial zoo enclosure is a very good approximation for the species-wide angst that afflicts us.
I want to teach people to be fully themselves. I hope that will make a small dent in this world’s problems.
UPDATE: I have signed up for my MovNat trainer certification on March 2nd and 3rd, 2012. Thanks to everyone who donated and helped me. I won’t let you down.
The book is now finished. Download a free copy here.
Methode Naturelle was never about trying to live forever — it was about trying to make a difference before you died. –Chris McDougall, “Fitness to Survive in the Wild,” Men’s Health.
(Photo Credit: AZRainman on Flickr)