Hey. My name is Carl. I’m a MovNat Certified Trainer (MCT), health-enthusiast, and am generally pretty crazy about nature. This is my personal blog where I write about things I think are interesting or important, but will most likely be tailoring it soon to use to get my MCT career off the ground. I hope you find it enjoyable.
If you live in Maine and would like to contact me to learn more about my training with MovNat or are interested in working with me please contact me at email@example.com
I thought it might be useful to share my journey so far, so here goes:
All throughout high school and the first couple of years of college I was your average computer nerd with an undying passion for Cheez-Its and video games (specifically MMORPG’s). Before college I generally ate what is known as the standard American diet or SAD which is typically characterized by the majority of your calories coming in some form of processed foods. I was big into toast, grilled cheese sandwiches, crackers, cheese, mashed potatoes, and other carbohydrate-heavy stuff like that. That doesn’t mean I didn’t eat any meat or produce, as I usually had eggs with my toast for breakfast and meat in the form of meatloaf or pork chops with dinner and whatnot.
Things only got worse in college. Being able to buy food instead of having it made for me at school or home (yeah, I was a tad spoiled) was an interesting change to say the least. Needless to say peanut butter, Poptarts, Cheez-Its and various other junk foods were rarely in short supply in my dorm room.
I’d always been very skinny which often times gets mistaken for healthyness (typically referred to as skinny-fat; mostly skinny but with a bit of a gut due to inflammation), but if you know what to look for it’s fairly obvious I wasn’t terribly healthy. In my case, the most prominent physical indicator of poor-health came in the form of acne:
Fast-forward to August of 2008 when my father finally lost his 16-year battle with melanoma. Obviously that sucked major ass and things weren’t very swell for me and my family for a while, but that kinda goes without saying. I continued living mostly the same in terms of diet and exercise for around 1.5 years after that. Sometime in 2009 I experimented with cutting most junk food out of my diet and then eventually vegetarianism due to the supposed health benefits in an effort to avoid suffering as similar fate as my dad. This basically resulted in me baking a lot of my own bread and eating lots of grilled cheese sandwiches, granola, whole grains, and fruit.
The summer of 2010 I read the book Born to Run by Christopher McDougall. It’s basically about Chris’s journey to discover how to run without getting injured all the time, which leads him on an adventure to Mexico to meet the Tarahumara Native Americans whose claim to fame (i.e. survival tactic) is running incredibly long distances. They semi-regularly run 200 miles over the course of a couple days in the extremely rough, mountainous terrain they inhabit. That info alone ought to be enough to impress, but the fact that they did it wearing only light sandals made from old tires would make most doctors (especially orthopedic specialists) scratch their heads. It’s an incredible book based on a true story that I encourage everyone to check out.
What initially interested me about the book was simply that it dealt with Native American cultures because I’ve always been fascinated by them and their natural, simple ways of living. Little did I know how much it would eventually change my life.
I started running and living barefoot as much as possible before I even finished the book, and had a blast doing it. I used to be a runner in high school but stopped at college due to laziness and because I mostly found it boring. The main reason I ran track and cross-country was because I enjoyed running around town with all my buddies having jolly good times after school everyday. I never ever liked the meets. Too much structure and anxiety around something as free as running.
My sophomore year of high school I acquired a stress-fracture on my left shin just below my knee when I was out running during one practice. I had to hobble a couple miles back to school and got checked out by the school’s sport therapist or something. He basically poked me in a few places, said it was shin splints and to just run it off. Like a smart person (this was obviously before I understood the importance/ability to listen to my body) I continued running on it for two weeks per his instructions. It was extremely painful and embarrassing because of the obvious pain I was in whenever I put my weight on my bum leg. Eventually I went to a real doctor, got an X-ray taken and was told it was actually broken. I’ll never forget when I told the doctor I’d been running on it for two weeks after which he said “Gee, that must have hurt a lot!” Yeah, you could say that… It was at that point that I began to question the validity of conventional advice, particularly in regards to health.
I was able to run for the remaining two years of high school, but only after getting custom orthotics to support the arches of my feet which gave me gigantic blisters. After doing away with thick-soled running shoes, and shoes in general, coupled with barefoot running/living, my arches became a lot stronger and my entire lower legs are strong and mostly healthy like they should be. The reason for this change is explained by the following example: When you get a neck brace to support your head after you injure your neck (such as whiplash from a car crash), your neck muscles become weakened due to lack of use and reliance on the brace. Shoes support the muscles in your calves and ankles similarly, leaving them weak when you wear supportive shoes. You can imagine what wearing a neck brace your whole life would do to your neck muscles, now think of how your feet and ankle muscles are having been in shoes for so long..
Anyway, after reading Born to Run, I was browsing Barefoot Ted’s (a person from the book) blog when he mentioned he was going to attend a MovNat workshop to discover other natural ways humans can move. I visited the site and was immediately intrigued by everything I encountered. The philosophies behind it were particularly appealing to me (such as zoo human syndrome). I watched all the videos several times and began practicing it on my own as much as I could to the best of my ability. It was the perfect combination of fitness, fun/play, and natural exposure. I was hooked.
Erwan (the founder of MovNat) had a link to Robb Wolf’s book The Paleo Solution which I bought and read. Again I immediately absorbed this new information and applied it to my life. I had finally discovered the optimal human diet for which I had been searching and felt extremely fortunate to have done so. No longer would I be plagued by the fear of meeting a fate similar to that of my dad and millions of other unfortunate folks out there. Which reminds me of this quote:
“The food you eat can be either the safest and most powerful form of medicine or the slowest form of poison.” – Dr. Ann Wigmore
Fast forward again to the present day where I’ve been eating and, in many ways living naturally for a few years. It took quite a while to more or less perfect my diet and I’m certainly nowhere near close to being a natural movement-master, but all in all things are pretty darned fantastic. Initially I ate what is known as the Faileo diet with too much emphasis on nuts and sugary fruits, but eventually I learned that nutrient dense animal fat and protein coupled with copious amounts of veggies and the occasional ‘Safe Starch’ (e.g. sweet potatoes, plantains, squash, etc.) was the way to go. It took me a little while still to incorporate organ meats and bone marrow/broth into my regular dietary routine, but since doing that I feel even more awesome.
Too long; didn’t read: I was unhealthy and didn’t care. Then my dad died from being unhealthy, and I was like ‘HOLY SHIT!’ Now I try to live in accordance with nature to be healthy and happy, and try to encourage others do the same. 🙂
Here are some obligatory ‘After’ shots of me having lived in much closer accordance with our species’ place in nature for a few years.