MovNat founder Erwan Le Corre joined us in Edinburgh last year for a couple of days to introduce the concepts of MovNat to an enthusiastic audience. I have to say, for me, it was an absolute pleasure to meet someone who so completely embodies what he teaches. Whilst MovNat presented physical challenges, the biggest challenge was re-framing how we look at movement, fitness and our evolution and understanding how removed we have become from the legacy of health and wellness that is rightfully ours. I have to add that Erwan is funny, undogmatic and down to earth, fitting for someone who is doing his utmost to bring us back to the natural roots of human potential.
The following is a Snapshot. I find it incredibly interesting to hear how particular individuals have arrived at the point they are at. There are undoubedly common threads across these interviews. The constant theme seems to be one of emracing exploration, experience and personal evolution.
How did your own training start, were you always interested in fitness and health or was there a particular event that set you on the path?
It’s been an evolution a continuation, but I can honestly trace it from my early childhood. Though I could not call it “training”, I do have in memory that I was already trying to push my limits and progress. It was I believe an evolutionary, instinctual drive to get stronger. I believe this is universal in all young human animals.
Did you participate in any sports or activities growing up that had an influence or impact on how you train?
Yes of course. There are of two kinds though, on the one hand the compulsory physical activities in school which I did not like for most part. The reason is that for the most part those were based on competitive games and I did not enjoy the limitations imposed by specific, subjective rules or by the pressure to win for the sake of it. I was happier on my own or with my few good friends with whom we’d share physical and mental challenges in the woods that we would have freely defined. We felt free out there, we felt limited and somehow trapped within an environment fully defined by adults and imposed to us. We did not share the same agenda obviously, and ours was the evolutionary agenda of the human species, the agenda of nature. Move naturally, get strong, fit, healthy and free in the process. On the other hand I did take up a few specialized sports down the road which I enjoyed to practice a lot like karate, Olympic weightlifting, rock climbing, trail running and long distance triathlon for instance. But if you pay attention to what they’re made of, you’ll observe that they’re all based on natural abilities that are potentially practical in the real-world.
How has your training changed and developed over the years? Are there key concepts that define what you now do?
Real. What I train has to be real, useful in a practical way. It’s a constant focus of mine that whatever I train must be practical and prove useful in situations of the real-world, even if they don’t occur so often at all. It makes me feel good and confident to know that I could face most situations of life demanding a physical and mental response with a certain level of preparedness. It is what makes me enjoy my training, what is deeply satisfying about it.
Whilst there probably isn’t anything like an average week, can you tell me if you have a particular focus or approach to your current training?
It often changes. I am like anyone else and do not make a living as an athlete that would be paid just to train. I am in charge of developing MovNat, work on a cert, a book, managing workshops worldwide, communicate with international media and that is a huge workload. So I keep on training opportunistically. At the moment I am in WV by a lake and might train my swimming more, when I’m at home I love to train my grappling skills, and of course I keep on maintaining my overall skills and physical conditioning but without too much of a specific emphasis at the moment. In ant case this is what MovNat is about, we are not specialists but generalists. A new breed of athletes for sure.
There is a tremendous amount of confusion when it comes to diet. Some people seem to approach it as an extreme sport. Can you give me a snapshot of your own nutrition?
It’s a Paleo type of diet. I’d say “type of” because even within this community, there are slightly different approaches, but also because I do not believe in any kind of nutritional orthodoxy. It is true that some people are diet zealots, or worse, ayatollahs when it comes to the diet they’ve chosen. To me, food is what I eat, certainly not what I am. My diet does not define me as a person, only reveals part of my lifestyle choices. I think that sadly people generally are either totally lacking concern for what they eat, or fall into the exact extreme opposite. I don’t like cults and anything cultish. Moderation is important, but you have to be honest with yourself and not confuse moderation for self-indulgence.
Are there any particular supplements you consider essential for yourself?
None, except when you cannot find real food that naturally contains the particular nutrients you’re looking for and can find it particular supplements. If your food is high quality food and you do not suffer of any particular health issue which may require supplementation then why supplement your food? If you cannot always find or afford high quality food (nutritionally rich and varied) and/or suffer of a particular deficiency for instance, supplementation can necessary.
In my experience, recovery is the most overlooked aspect of the whole training process. What key strategies do you use when it comes to recovery?
Rest? Haha. The best strategy is to listen to your body, not to your ego and its numerous demands. It’s not that people train too much indeed, but that they do not let their body (and mind) recover enough. Once you understand that you may prioritize resting over training and not feel guilty about it but instead be confident that it is the smartest thing to do and a proof of an intelligent approach to training. To me the big mistake most people do is to set totally subjective timelines and even deadlines for the progress they’re supposed to make, beforehand. They put themselves under pressure to commit to their self-defined goal and their body must comply, follow and deliver. Though it is something important to commit to personal goals, associating them with rigid calendars is a mistake because your body is not as pliable and predictable you want it to be. If you understand that the process of progress making you’ve engaged into is more important than the illusory idea that you will reach a particular physical state at a particular time, you become more in tune with the reality of life. You are more relaxed, happier, and can be even more productive this way! Remember the wisdom of John Lennon’s quote: “Life is what happens while you’re busy planning.”
Who have been your biggest influences over the years?
Several people, but certainly my own parents of course. Then someone that has greatly influenced me, but who is not a famous person, but has taught me a certain perspective on life and training a long time ago. Then Georges Hebert through his writings, no doubt.
Then, my greatest influence is myself, the guy I have chosen to be. I don’t have mentors anymore. I also believe that it is essential to define oneself and build that person we choose to be, then experience her. So how one influences oneself is of primary importance in life. Overall, I believe we’re made of other and that whatever we do, say, how we behave and even how we think participate to others. It means that in return, whatever people do, say, etc…participate in what we are, that we see it or not. It is a subtle process of constant mutual influence, positive or not, conscious or not. It is a constant process. For instance, your questions just influenced me and I am slightly different and a bit more myself because of them. My answers just did the same to you brother.
Are there any books or resources you might recommend that have informed your approach to training or life in general?
Georges Hebert has been a greatest influence of the way I define my approach to physical education, even though he was not the one who brought such an approach to me. But his books are really old, hard to find and only in French (old style French!). So it’s hard to actually recommend them in these conditions. As for philosophical insights, it may be surprising but the greatest influence on me has been “Conversation with God” by Neale Donald Walsh, especially the first tome of the trilogy. It is not a religious book as it may appear though.
I’m a big fan of quotes. Do you have a personal favourite?
“Nothing is lost, nothing is created, everything is transformed.” By Antoine-Laurent De Lavoisier, French chemist (1743-1794).
Currently reading? – Currently writing a book!
Currently listening to? – Kings of Leon, The Foals, B.o.B
Check out Erwan’s presentation at the Ancestral Health Symposium