By Erwan Le Corre, MovNat Founder.

Being fit for the real world means training for it.

Lately I have been noticing more allusions to “real-world situations” in fitness articles, trying to explain how a conventional approach to strength conditioning may not be that relevant in the real life. Welcome to the club guys, you’re finally seeing the light and trying to catch up. Real-world capability has been MovNat’s core mantra since the very beginning. After nearly 10 years of existence we have never departed from the principle of real-world capability, regardless of the fitness trend du jour.

MovNat has been hammering on about it. An ancient approach to fitness that fully embraces the diverse contextual variables of the world we live in, the environments where we find ourselves and the situations we face. A useful, practical approach to physical training that places movement skills and efficiency where it belongs: at the very core of our physical capability, its absolute foundation.

Real-world Fitness.

It’s not about muscle size, even though there’s nothing wrong with muscle size. It’s not about weight loss – even though physical activity will help – as weight loss is the outcome of a multidimensional approach to lifestyle. It is not about how we look in the mirror, even though improved, attractive shape and allure result from bodies naturally built through Natural Movement.

You MovNat folks know it. You MovNat practitioners have a first-hand experience of the difference between training and application. You know how to train your technique, progressively get stronger, then frequently test your improved capability with physical challenges that resemble the real deal, the challenge of the real-world environment, situation. You know that is about your actual physical ability and performance regardless of how you look, regardless of your body shape.

So for now let me intentionally, specifically talk to those of you how haven’t delved into the MovNat approach yet.

It doesn’t matter how functional you believe your training is: is it practical? Have you tested how “functional” you are through tests simulating challenging real-world circumstances? Say, you have to sprint, balance across that beam, then jump off it to land accurately on that small surface. That’s just one example among many other contextual challenges you could have to face. How do you do? Do you even have a clue? Then who cares how well you can “pull, push, twist and lunge” in the gym: in the absence of a realistic verification of your “functional fitness” levels, it is jut faith. Untested, unproven, unverified. Period.
It doesn’t matter how well measured your physical performance is either. Because your tiny scope of measurements will be gloriously defeated by the vastness of potential real-world situations. Numbers have a place in training. But in the absence of testing your physical capability through real-world variables, trusting in numbers is just reassuring.

There are many ways to comfort yourself in the usefulness of your training. If you do train physically, it is radically and unquestionably more useful than doing nothing. But you can’t fool yourself into a false sense of preparedness only by making a few numbers shine, or by the mere replication of a short list of functional movement patterns divorced from the very real-world demands those patterns were born from and shaped after. If you do realize the complexity of real-world demands and the complexity of the physical responses they will demand from you, how can you just try to superficially revamp conventional fitness drills you know will fail at covering the wide scope of skills and physiological adaptations required for actual real-world capability? Sorry guys, it won’t work. You forgot context, not just to consider the context where your training will apply, but the context you need in your training to get the real-world results you claim to consider.

Real-world fitness: don’t just assume it, don’t just measure a few aspects of it.

Since we are talking about “real-world”, it would be easy to dismiss my points are being “just” philosophy after all. OK. So let’s test this philosophy then. Let’s say you are fit. You can do 100 jumps in a row up and down a 2 feet high “jumpbox.” You can do 15 pull-ups in row on a bar. Your training involves “power”, “coordination”, “balance”, “accuracy” etc,. Awesome. Congratulations.

Now do this: find two walls about 8 feet apart and at least 6 feet high and with a landing surface no more than a foot wide. Imagine there’s a raging river in between. You have one shot. Can you launch that jump in a second? Can you land balanced on top of the opposite wall? Yes? No? First off, you SHOULD know if you can before you even jump. Why? Well simply because you have trained for it enough to know you can. Jumping repeatedly up and down a low or mild height has NOTHING to do with a single broad jump over an actual obstacle that involves danger. OK, so…you don’t know how to jump. You don’t know how to land. You maybe don’t even know how to control your breath and emotions in the presence of such a realistic risk.You said you did what? Functional training? Real-world stuff? Well…

No need for more examples. I could give you many others. You got the point. If you want to be specifically ready, you have to train specifically. It’s got to resemble what you want to be ready to handle and face. There is NO WAY AROUND THIS.

So when do you make everything connect? When does it click? When do you realize that being “fit” for the real-world means you have to train for it.

MovNat. Fitness for the REAL WORLD. Let’s do this!