Short MovNat Combo Video

I made another video of a MovNat combo workout. Don’t worry, this one is super short compared with the last one and is also a bit more entertaining to watch in my opinion. I was rocking the blaze-orange headband for equal parts fashion and protection from hunters if any happen to be about.

You can’t see it in the frame, but at the beginning I went over and under a couple of fallen trees right before the video starts as part of the circuit. Unfortunately the camera’s battery died right before I could shoot the last part of the circuit, but it was just getting down from the branch I was climbing on and then walking over to the part from the beginning. I repeated this circuit a few times until I was sufficiently beat. I did manage to perform an elbow swing popup during one lap, but unfortunately didn’t capture it on video.

Oh, and the music is called Soon It Will Be Cold Enough To Build Fires by Emancipator.

Ground Movement

I made a little video of me doing various ground movements which help with mobility, flexibility, and things like that.  Humans used to (and many still do) live and operate on the ground  A LOT.  In modernized societies, however, this isn’t really the case after about the age of 5 for most people.  Chairs are a relatively recent addition to humanity, and unfortunately our frequent use of them leads to quite a few bodily problems; namely tight hips, weak back and abdominal muscles, etc.  I learned most of them during the MovNat workshop I took last year but don’t practice them nearly as often as I should.  Attempting to name and describe the movements would be difficult and kinda pointless, especially since I made the video.  Obviously, there are many more ways to move on the ground but for the sake of keeping the video somewhat short I figured these would suffice for now.

For some reason the video is showing up squished on here, so watch it at YouTube for non-squished viewing.

When practicing any of these movements always remember to keep good posture (don’t slouch), breathe deeply and comfortably, and just generally try to be as mindful of your body as possible.  Watching this video has shown me that I definitely slouch a bit more than I should, but hey everybody needs to improve in some way, right?

Feed Me

I thought I’d share what I had for breakfast this morning for those who’re interested.

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I fried up a little more than half a pound of 65% lean grass-fed ground beef which is also 5% beef heart and 5% beef liver courtesy of U.S. Wellness Meats with some turmeric, Celtic sea salt, ground black pepper, and dried Italian herb blend.  The ground beef is only about $4.50/lb if you order enough of them to get the 15% discount like I do, the only catch is it’s labeled “Pet Burger” because the USDA or the FDA.. I can’t remember which doesn’t allow meat fattier than 75% to be marketed to humans because that would be far too logical.  It’s processed and everything the same way as all of their ground meat which I confirmed with them via e-mail to be sure I wouldn’t get food poisoning if I ate it.  So if you order it be prepared to take shit from your friends for eating ‘dog food’.. the jokes on them though because you’re eating super healthy food at a damn good price while they are just being ignorant noobs mocking your good fortune of discovering such a nutritional goldmine.

Anyway, I placed the fried beef on top of a bed of a raw salad mix and then sauteed some spinach in a couple tablespoons of coconut oil.  I sliced a few slices of Kerrygold Dubliner cheese (which is also grass-fed of course) and placed them on top to melt.  I also had a small bowl of blueberries and raspberries.  I should mention that I also had a bit more than a half-teaspoon of a mixture of fermented cod-liver oil and high-vitamin butter oil courtesy of Green Pasture which is probably the single most important supplement you can find. It contains ample vitamin A, D, and K2 which are all essential for many bodily functions but are also some of the most commonly deficient nutrients for people in our modern society.  You can read more about it at www.westonaprice.org though it appears to be down right now.  A quick gist of is that people traditionally went to significant lengths to acquire and consume foods which contain these vitamins like organ meats, bone broths, seafood, etc. because they learned the importance of including these foods as part of their regular diet in order to maintain good health.  Unfortunately very few people in modern society eat these foods regularly enough to meet their bodily needs which results in a wide range of health problems.

Tl;dr – eat like this, feel strong like bull.

Long time no blog..

Soo, I kind of took a bit of hiatus from the blog-o-sphere for a while there… As I said before, life has a funny habit of getting in the way of blogging.  Don’t worry, though. I’m hoping to make up for it with this and future posts (I hope).

I took a video of my MovNat combo-workout-playtime-thing (call it what you will) earlier for anyone who’s interested, but also for myself to watch my form/posture etc.  It consists of:

  • hand-foot balancing across wobbly trees
  • tripod transitions on said wobbly trees
  • a deep knee stand/bend
  • over/unders
  • jumping from stone to stone (yes I’m landing on stones even though you can’t really see them in the brush)
  • tree climbing using the leg-swing technique
  • lifting and throwing a rock above me and over a branch

That’s basically repeated with some variation for 2-3 rounds or until I decided that was enough.  I was going at a nice easy pace to focus on movement quality, but unfortunately that resulted in the video being pretty lengthy.  The blooper at the end was the result of not getting a solid grip with my legs before attempting to hang upside down.. although, it almost looks like I meant to do that after watching it.  I assure you, it did not feel as smooth in my head when it was happening.. 🙂 Anyway, here it is:

The music is from Daft Punk’s new album Random Access Memories.

My Weekend at the Jedi Academ- err… I mean.. MovNat Certification Workshop

Obviously my plan to consistently blog about my experience at the MovNat cert. workshop this weekend fell through.  I was basically busy the entire weekend after my last post.  Although, I did promise to do a followup post so here goes.

Thursday morning my three roommates and I got a ride over to the gym in Winchester by another attendee who lived relatively nearby.  We were all very grateful for her generosity in this regard (thanks, Jen!).  After introducing ourselves and a few other necessary formalities we got down to business at around 9am.

The instructors (Kellen and Brian) began by talking about some of the core, fundamental aspects of MovNat that I find really cool.  I foolishly didn’t take notes during this portion like others did, but I’ll do my best to recall what was covered.

One aspect they discussed dealt with the practicality of MovNat.  In my opinion, this is a major way in which MovNat is different from most other exercise disciplines.  The basic idea is that each movement skill or pattern has a practical, real-life application associated with it.  For instance, crawling skills are useful when it’s necessary to navigate through a narrow tunnel or under thick vegetation.  Lifting and carrying skills are useful for when you need to move a thing somewhere else.  Climbing skills are useful for when you need to get on top of a building or a barrier of some kind.  You get the point.

I believe they also touched upon another MovNat principal that I consider related to the Practical principle known as the Vital principle.  Essentially, the movements not only have to be potentially useful for everyday tasks, but also in times of emergencies.  For instance, it may be necessary to run away and evade a threat of some kind, or to carry an injured person to safety, etc.  Stuff that will help keep you and others alive when shit goes down.

Additionally, they talked about the difference between effectiveness and efficiency.  Effectiveness is simply the ability to accomplish a particular goal using any means necessary.  This is definitely a useful ability to have since ineffectiveness implies failure and, potentially, danger.  The website’s definition for efficincy is pretty grand so I’m just going to steal that.

Efficient: the movement aptitudes practiced are performed skillfully, i.e., with efficient technique, resulting in greater performance, higher energy conservation and safety.”

In other words, if you move efficiently you can do so for longer, with less pain and risk, and you also look like a ninja.  A good example of an effective movement that isn’t very efficient is a muscle-up pull-up, which is basically using your muscles to pull yourself up and over a bar/branch.  Alternatively, an efficient method of acheiving the same goal would be to body-weight transfer to generate momentum with your legs and swing one leg up over the bar to establish an additional point of support, and to then body-weight transfer with your other leg to get up and over the bar.  If you don’t know what the hell I’m talking about then check out this video (skip to around 20 seconds in for the part I’m referring to):

You can check out the other MovNat Principles here if you’d like.

Mindfulness is another heavily emphasized component of MovNat that distinguishes it from other disciplines.  The instructors discussed how it is necessary to be externally and internally aware.  In regards to external awareness, this means being aware of your surroundings and the context within which you are moving.  For example, being aware of a stone jutting out from the forest floor you’re walking on could be helpful for not subbing your toe on it. This becomes particularly important in unfamiliar locations or places which change sporadically, like natural settings (trees falling after a storm and such).

Internal awareness can be equally important for similar reasons.  Paying close to attention to posture, breathing, sequence and timing are crucial for efficient, safe movement.  Attempting to lift a heavy object without proper posture can result in serious injury or worse, humiliation if done in a public setting.  Similarly, knowing at which point to apply appropriate selective muscular tension to swing your leg when attempting to climb onto a bar is crucial.

I particularly liked when they talked about how a primary goal of MovNat is to create a culture that once again moves in a mindful manner.  Too many times do I see people practically dragging their feet as they ‘walk’ without much if any consideration to their posture or timing.  Those same people are often quite oblivious to the space through which they are moving (people who may bump into you in the grocery store even though you may have been clearly standing in front of them).  It doesn’t help that these days it isn’t really necessary to walk on anything besides flat, uniform surfaces that don’t really require much thinking to travel across during our daily happenings.  Or that it is equally easy to travel on unobstructed sidewalks and paths devoid of overhanging vegetation or similar obstacles that we used to regularly deal with during most of our species’ existence living in the wild.  Not that I’m saying we should necessarily install obstacles on sidewalks and hallways (though I wouldn’t complain), just that we ought to practice mindfulness and awareness more during our everyday interactions (Although, I do find it useful and fun to venture off the beaten path from time to time and travel through an environment that isn’t designed with a bipedal ape’s locomotion in mind).  In other words, next time you walk through a doorway try to be more mindful of your actions, considerate of others and “don’t slam the fucking door”

A few other aspects of MovNat were discussed in addition to what I mentioned, but I don’t want this post to get too lengthy so I’ll move on (heh).  The remainder of the first day and the entireity of the second (other than the written exam which dealt primarily with material from the manual) we went through 11 of the 13 MovNat Movement Skills.  Swimming and defending aren’t covered in the level 1 certification, which was fine with me because I’m a pretty poor swimmer anyway.  The instructors did a great job of breaking down each skill in a manner that made learning and teaching them fairly straightforward.  Some of the skills like balancing and crawling were mostly just review for myself having been practicing them for a while now, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t learn a few new tricks to hone my skills further.

Other skills such as throwing and catching were basically new to me but I found them pretty easy to pick up (heh, again).  The second day we covered running which I honestly thought I had down pretty good, but little did I know I’d basically been running fairly inefficiently for a little while now.  I attribute this partly to having run incorrectly (thick soled shoes, heel-striking) for years, but also since lately I’ve almost exclusively been sprinting short distances which changes my form fairly substantially.  I certainly understand the importance of being able to run efficiently over a long period, but after doing it all throughout high school I honestly prefer to just walk and occasionally sprint for the most part.  I fully intend to work on my slow-paced running form quite a bit so that I can properly teach it to those who wish to learn, though.

The fourth and final day of the workshop consisted almost entirely of testing.  Needless to say many of us were pretty nervous, and I was certainly no exception.  We were split up into two groups and taken through each of the different stations and tested one-by-one.  I’m fairly comfortable performing most of the movement skills by myself, but when you’re being watched by several people and scrutinized by an instructor it’s a slightly different story.  Needless to say my heart and respiration rates were elevated during each of the tests, but I don’t think this impacted my performance too much.

For the most part, I completed each of the tests with relative ease, with the exception of running.  I have a tendency to over think things anyway, but with running there’s a whole lot to think about if you’re trying to run efficiently.  You’ve got to think about keeping a long and straight spine (along with proper posture in general), relaxed arms with appropriate arm-swing motions, appropriate cadence and stride length, etc.  I found this to be pretty tough because normally with running I just sort of go and tend not to think too hard since that usually results in inefficiency for some reason.  Brian (one of the trainers) actually had a really good suggestion to begin running with goofy, silly form so as not to over think it and more easily transition to proper form immediately after.  In hindsight, I totally should have taken this advice during the test, but oh well.

Following the movement skills test was the coaching test.  I was definitely much more nervous about this test due to having never coached anyone before other than a short practice session we had the previous day (which didn’t go terribly smoothly for me).  We all took turns being clients and coaches.  It was pretty fun being a client because you got to act like a newb or broken person or just a jackass sometimes.

When it was my turn to coach I was assigned the tripod transition movement, which is basically a way to practice going over a barrier which isn’t low enough to simply jump over and not quite high enough to climb over (basically the height of a wooden fence).  We had to do this on a couple of 2×4’s stacked end to end.  You stand roughly in the middle on the balls of your feet, squat down maintaining good posture and balance to demonstrate control, extend your hand to either your right or left side creating an additional point of support on the 2×4 (hence tripod) and body-weight shift over that POS so that you can lift and extend your center leg forward and backward as if to move off of the barrier.  You then body-weight shift back over your feet to a squatting position and perform the same motions on the opposite side.  Luckily this was a movement that came pretty easily for me so coaching it wasn’t terrible.

All in all I think I did a pretty good job with it, but definitely have a lot of room for improvement.  I was told I was moving a bit slow with it, and that I should use keywords such as ‘body-weight shift’ and ‘point of support’ rather than just saying ‘move your body’ or ‘left-hand’, respectively.  I was glad to receive constructive criticism like this so that I can improve.

Even though I am a certified trainer now, I fully understand that I need to get as much practice coaching as possible.  Which is why I’m offering to coach anyone within reasonable distance from me (I’ll be living in Old Town next week for the next year) for free.  At this point I would feel bad charging people for my services and just want to get the experience in.  So please, if you want me to help you move naturally let me know! I’m more than happy to do so.

Finally I just wanted say thanks to Brian and Kellen (and everyone else who’s contributed to MovNat’s existence for that matter) for being such awesome instructors and allowing me the privilege of acquiring this certification.  Also a huge thanks to the other newly minted trainers who I had the pleasure of getting to know this weekend for putting up with my eccentricity/weirdness.  You guys rock!

Also, I came across this remix just prior to attending the workshop and couldn’t resist sharing it due to the lyrical relevance:

MovNat Certification Workshop Adventure

Alright guys, I figured some of you might want to get the inside scoop on my experience attending the MovNat certification workshop in Winchester, MA.  I’m currently sitting in my hotel awaiting the arrival of some of the other attendees who are bunking with me for the next few nights.  There’s basically nothing fun to walk to around my hotel so I figured this might be a good time to write some words.  I figured I’ll just keep adding to and editing this same post so stay tuned for periodic updates, assuming I have the time and energy to do so.  This is going to be kind of a play-by-play post where I just write about things I remember and deem worthy.  I’ll have a follow-up post once it’s all said and done that should be more in depth.

Of the dudes sharing my hotel I’m the only one night flying in from some faraway land.  One guy’s coming from Munich, Germany, another from Indiana and the other I believe lives in D.C.  I thought that was kinda interesting considering they’re going to hold certification workshops at various locations around the globe and would probably be somewhere closer to their locations.  However, I think the main reason people felt obligated to fly in has to do with the fact that this is the last 4 day cert. workshop there will be… EVER! After that they will all be 2.5 day workshops and will lack the following cool things according to MovNat’s website:

The first 7 Certifications are the only events which will be 4 whole days, as we will be moving to a 2.5 day format starting in September. These first 7 events are quite the opportunity, as they provide the following special benefits:

  1. 4 Days of practical work with the MovNat Team Instructors. We will have more Team members at these events than any future workshops. This, along with the extra time, will really help with the mastery of the material and skills.
  2. Attendees of these first 7 events receive 40% off of a future 5 day, 7 day, or specialty workshop in 2012 and 2013.
  3. Attendees of these first 7 events receive one year of free enrollment in the MovNat Partner Program (a $600 value.)
  4. Attendees of these first 7 events can attend any Power & Grace 2-day workshops for free.
  5. Attendees of these first 7 events will have the honor of being the first 144 MovNat Certified Trainers in the world!

So basically there’s quite a few perks to attending one of these limited 4 day ‘shops.  The main reason I wanted to get it done now was so that I could potentially start training people up at Orono for my last year up there.  I was also considering starting some type of club oriented around moving natural in… nature.

I guess the workshop is being held at a crossfit gym called Mountain Strength CrossFit. I scouted out the area on Google Maps and it looks like there’s a couple parks very close to it so I’m hoping we’ll get to play in those a good amount and won’t just be in the gym the whole time.  I prefer being outdoors in almost every situation, especially ones where lots of movement is involved with nice weather like it looks like we’ll have.

Looks like one of the dudes just landed is attempting to find a bus to get to Woburn, which is the city of the hotel I’m currently in.  We’re going to go forage for food somewhere, as I’m in dire need of fruits and veggies.  I had a delicious dinner of wayyy too much pemmican, a can of sardines, a banana, and an apple I got from the hotel dining room, but one thing I’ve learned is that I can literally never eat too much.  I’m srsly, I eat and eat and eat and can’t really figure out where it goes.. I’ve never seen myself weigh more than 150 lbs. even after multiple feasts.  Maybe I just sweat it out from all that movement? The world may never know.