I often extol the benefits of exercising outside in Nature, instead of in a dark, dank, stinky, sweaty gym. So, you can imagine my delight when I came across the Parade magazine in my Sunday paper and read about a “new” trend called MovNat — which sounds remarkably like my sensible philosophy.
MovNat is promoted by French-born fitness enthusiast Erwan Le Corre, who emigrated to the U.S. more than a decade ago. And, since then, he’s trained thousands of people — including elite athletes and U.S. Navy Special Forces (SEALS) — in his method of natural movement.
Le Corre’s MovNat is all about spending time moving freely and instinctually outdoors in Nature — mainly climbing over and through natural obstacles like rocks and trees. There’s nothing complicated about it — and there’s no need for any equipment, except what Nature provides.
MovNat also sounds very similar to how I spent my free time as a child in New England. Every day after school, we ran and played in the woods for hours. In fact, I had to walk two miles home from school. (Yes, even in the snow.) And I often played in the woods and wetlands along the way.
But according to Le Corre, children today frequently play in artificial, indoor environments. And even when they do go outside, they play on a playground — not in Nature.
Gyms are a “travesty of fitness”
Le Corre also critiques our modern-day fitness industry, which is too focused on encouraging people to buy their gym memberships, fitness products, and expensive workout gear.
As he said in his interview with Parade, “The machines and the weights are set up like a manufacturing plant. Then people go to work with machines that don’t allow any freedom of movement…it’s a travesty of fitness. This has nothing to do with the way humans are built to move.”
Not only that, but Le Corre also thinks it’s just plain boring to lose weight and gain muscle this way. In his eyes, it’s a disgrace to the beauty of the body and it encourages people to compare themselves and their bodies to others.
I say d’accord — French for “I agree” — to Le Corre, who some people call a modern-day Tarzan.
Interestingly, Buster Crabbe and Johnny Weissmuller, who both played Tarzan in the old black and white films, were also big swimmers — like me!
Of course, Buster and Johnny swam mostly in pools (except in the movies). But I recommend swimming in a lake, pond, or ocean whenever you can.
In the end, even though I’d hardly call Le Corre’s philosophy something “new” — it does make perfect sense to me.
So forget the gym workouts. Get outside and move in Nature. And stop reaching for constant physical perfection. Rather, try to experience the perfection of living in the moment, especially each time you’re outside.
“Fitness Trainer and Modern-Day Tarzan Erwan Le Corre Says Gyms Are a ‘Travesty of Fitness’.” PARADE, 2/7/2019. (parade.com/738344/rachelweingarten/fitness-trainer-and-modern-day-tarzan-erwan-le-corre-says-gyms-are-a-travesty-of-fitness/)