Sunday, March 8, 2009

Erwan Le Corre (Movnat) in Men's Health

You will recall the interview here recently with Erwan Le Corre and the videos of him.

Men's Health in the States are now running an interview with him in the current edition. It is in the April issue with a 11 pages and about 15-16 photos about MovNat.

Here is the link

A Wild Workout for the Real World - Long before Cybex machines and stationary bikes, men built their bodies in the gym of the jungle. It's time to renew your membership

Read it - it is superb.....

A smart body, he explains, knows how to convert force and speed into an almost endless menu of practical movements. Hoisting yourself onto a pole may seem as trivial as a circus stunt, but if you're ever caught in a flood or fleeing an attacking dog, elevating your body 5 feet off the ground could mean the difference between safety and sorrow.

And with that one word -- "practical" -- Le Corre exposes a key weakness in modern exercise: Our workouts are domesticated, while the world out there is still plenty wild. In a pinch, can a man put gym-generated biceps and tank-tread abs to any real use? Could it be that our treadmill-running, elliptical-gliding, well-oiled Cybex world has turned us into show dogs who can't hold our own in the hunt?

"I meet men all the time who can bench 400 pounds but can't climb up through a window to pull someone from a burning building," Le Corre says. "I know guys who can run marathons but can't sprint to anyone's rescue unless they put their shoes on first. Lots of swimmers do laps every day but can't dive deep enough to save a friend, or know how to carry him over rocks and out of the surf."



Asclepius said...

Yeah - nice interview. It would be great to fly down to his jungle retreat for a couple of weeks!

It can't be long before the whole caveman eating/paleo workout thing goes mainstream.

It will be built up and subsequently knocked down by the media. But the fun element of the workouts might actually make a persistent in-road in to society's concept of health and fitness.

Anonymous said...

Here is a contrarian from your liked view that I found... refreshing:

Three squares a day.

In the midst of all this low carb lunacy, periodic starvation and calculating blocks of food we have forgotten what has worked going back to biblical days. Remember three squares meals a day? Talk about passé. Yet many of the proponents of today’s various fad diets are often unable to maintain healthy weights. They remain fat.

These days we are supposed to ignore roughly the last 10,000 years and pretend that we are best suited to eat like hunters and gathers. Never mind that these people routinely died of starvation. According to today’s experts we are supposed to eat like cavemen. The great bane of modern man is agriculture and specifically grains. I wonder if anyone has ever sat back and thought about why man put down his spears in favor of the plow. It was of course a matter of survival. An agricultural life was more stable and increased one’s chances of survival. Early agricultural man was still considered underweight and undernourished but was far better off than his hunting and gathering ancestors that succumbed regularly to starvation and a woeful lack of nutrients. It’s a nice fantasy to hold that Paleo man led some sort of idyllic existence but the fact is that he didn’t. It wasn’t a coincidence or a fluke that man took up the plow.

Now these days a man is told he is fat essentially because he eats too many grains. Interesting that for 10,000 years this wasn’t an issue until the last 20 or 30 years. Even well into the beginning of the 20th century most people were still considered underweight. And they achieved these svelte builds predominantly on the consumption of carbohydrates. Meat was a rich man’s commodity and if one were obese chances are he was wealthy.

Even today in wealthy countries like France, Italy and Japan people stay relatively thin on diets that are largely based on breads, pasta and rice. And we aren’t talking about whole grains or brown rice here. Despite this kind of evidence many American cling to fad notions about what constitutes a healthy diet and have even gone so far to turn eating into a moral issue. There are “good” and “bad” foods. I’m not talking about candy bars versus apples here. I mean I have heard people demonize carrots and potatoes. If you are overweight I’m willing to bet good money that it wasn’t carrots and potatoes that got you fat. Let’s just call it a hunch.

The problem is that so many people disseminating dietary advice today make it overly complex or worse they are narcissists that exercise compulsively and have at least a mild eating disorder. While 4% body fat, a six pack and bulging biceps might be aesthetically pleasing for some it has little to nothing to do with living a healthy life. More often than not these things are the result of the genetic draw and/or an unhealthy obsession with diet and exercise. Pursuing the methods that these narcissists advocate is problematic for most normal people. In essence all this is nothing more than bodybuilding precepts. The spectrum is vast but in essence there is little difference between Mr. Olympia and John Jumping Jacks doing Crossfit. They are both disordered and poor examples to follow for average and well balanced types. Oh yeah. If right about now you are parroting this business about fat-skinny you are seriously demented and there’s a good chance you are simply fat-fat. Concepts about being fat-skinny is utter nonsense for practical purposes.

I think we all know the crux of the problem today is too many calories and not enough expenditure. Foods that were eaten only occasionally can now be consumed instantaneously. It used to take effort to make cream filled cakes and what not. So eating them was saved for special occasions. These things can now be purchased cheaply and ready to eat. This combined with a more sedentary existence has been disastrous. Soda and other snacks foods really add to the calorie creep.

What’s interesting to me is that I remember well when this stuff was not an issue. In my family weight was not an issue for my grandparents but it was for my parents. Most of it boiled downed to eating habits and lifestyles. My grandparents did not exercise in the way we think of it. They did not own sneakers or sweat suits. I never saw them wearing short pants. My grandfathers both smoked and drank a fair amount. Yet they stayed thin throughout their long lives. One thing I remember clearly about them is that they ate 3 meals regularly. They did not skip meals unless fasting for Lent not did they fool around with the kind of food they ate. My parents were more likely to skip meals, fool around with diets and ended up binging. They also consumed a lot more processed and junk food than my grandparents.

In my own life my weight was at its healthiest during the years I lived in Japan. Prior to moving to Japan in 1990 I was into endurance sport, mostly Olympic distance triathlons. I was eating according to the order of the day which was high carb/low fat. My bodyweight was low due to all the training and the extreme nature of my diet. Upon arrival in Japan I began to fret over the lack of access to brown rice and whole grain breads and pastas. I tried to fight it and find specialty shops but I eventually succumbed to the native cuisine.

It was hard to deny the fact that the Japanese maintained healthy weight and that these people lived a long time despite heavy rates of smoking and drinking. Essentially what I adopted in Japan was the habit of eating 3 meals a day. Almost all those meals consisted of a portion of white rice or some kind of noodle. The portions were much smaller but I had developed a regular and normal eating pattern. My body found an ideal weight. I also think it’s important to note that I did not exercise excessively like I had done prior to coming to Japan. I’d jog a few days here and there and did some hiking but that was it. I stayed healthy and looked quite fit.

After coming back to America I got back into my habit of skipping meals and going all over the place in terms of what I ate. I have never been in the habit of dieting but have tried things like the Zone, Atkins and various forms of intermittent fasting. None of them worked for me. They were either too tedious, required an obsessive compulsive fixation on body image or they just left me hungry all the time. Most of these diets were based on dubious science and Paleo man mumbo jumbo anyway. They were doomed to fail with all but the most disordered narcissists.

A few month ago I was reading Abandoned By Wolves and came across this piece. The No S Diet advocates three meals a day, one plate of food each and no soda, sugar or snacks. Everything you would read in the book is contained right here at the authors site. It’s not that complex and is what has worked for thousands of years with human unlike these Johnny come lately diets were you’re supposed to pretend you’re a caveman. They recommended that I try it for 3 weeks as written . I did and have gotten back into established eating habits were I am not spending hours in a state of ravenous hunger followed by a binge session that always comes with these intermittent fasting programs. If you tired of the bullshit I recommend giving this a try. I realize the lack of caveman rhetoric or talk of warriors might turn off all you primitive and tactical types but unlike your kooky fad diets this way of eating has worked for most of the civilized world for thousands of years.

Chris said...

You see I have linked to the Institute? I think it is refreshing too - brings us down to earth a bit. I like Rant's stuff.

Chainey said...

Thanks for the link about "wild" workouts. It really struck a chord with me.

I'm not very fit, but when I do get into the gym, when I'm doing some machine-based exercise I sometimes find myself thinking that it's all a bit pointless.

I mean I know that theoretically I'm increasing the strength of some part of my body in a generalized way, but it's not very inspiring. Really it's hard to ignore the feeling that working that particular machine makes you good at working that particular machine and little else.

Asclepius said...

Interesting post Anonymous - but to take you up on just one of your points... "An agricultural life was more stable and increased one’s chances of survival".

To a point I can agree with this as if disease, pests or cliamtic conditions wiped out your crop, you would have a store of grains to see you through the lean times.

But, as a hunter-gatherer (HG), how could you EVER be short of food? Do you have any evidence that HGs "routinely died of starvation"?

Look at modern day survivalists such as Ray Mears. He does not go hungry in the wild because he is aware of natures seasonal bounty. As for early HGs, if one woolly mammoth/rhino escapes then there are others available. Such animals don't disappear over winter - so how could you have a failure of nutrition in the way you can with crops?

Rannoch Donald said...

Great stuff as usual Chris. Need to talk to you about our very own "Highland Fun & Games"!!!



Son of Grok said...

I am digging all this stuff out about Erwan Le Corre. Very ver interested in his methods. Unfortunately the big, flat rockless and treeless desert i live in is not as versatile as the jungle for this type of training. I am really racking my brain to try to figure out at least one workout i can do of this type.

The SoG

Anonymous said...

Yes, everyone should be able to handle their bodyweight especially in an emergency situation.

However, for every '400 bench presser who can't climb up through a window' I'm sure there are those who can climb up to a window but haven't the strength to lift a canoe overhead or walk a few blocks with heavy groceries. If you can do 300 Hindu squats but can't carry somebody on your back... who is more fit? I think it is relative to the task at hand in which you train for. I know I'd be more comfortable knowing the fireman that saves me can carry me for distance rather than amaze me with hundreds of pushups or Hindu squats.

Fitness Explorer said...

I attended the MovNat workshop a few weeks ago, an inspiration in helping me to reconnect with natural movement! Highly recommended.

generic viagra for men said...

Very nice way of writing i like the way of writing keep working nicely and updating the blog.

Smith Alan