Always on a search for alternative fitness trends outside of the methodologies prescribed by conventional industry gurus, I was thrilled to have come across the natural movement group in Central Park led by Ret Taylor, 32, a former ultramarathon runner. Far far away from pristine group fitness studios equipped with spotless mirrors, booming speakers, and the latest tools, the park provides a sprawling backdrop for the body to do what it does, naturally. There is no choreography, no screaming instructors, no inspirational jargon, and…. no shoes!!
“Move Naturally” was founded by Erwan Le Corre in 2008, and Mr. Taylor adapted the basic principals to his group. As a fitness professional, I am “programmed to program.” Programming is how we get our clients to see results. We approach movement anatomically and scientifically, and we control load, sets, and repetitions with the precision of an airplane pilot. Ret embraces randomness and improvisation, allowing a different group member to take the lead every three minutes or so. Resting when it seems appropriate, Ret will ask the group “What is your body asking you for?” One person may say, “I’m feeling my arms,” proceeding to lead the group with variations on push-ups or pull-ups while another person may be climbing a tree. I led the group in some lateral movement until we incongrously stumbled upon Shakespeare in the Park. This was slightly discordant, and we quickly found our way back to the rocks, channeling our inner ape. Later, in an open field, we busted out a game of tag. Speed work anyone?? I sprinted so fast, my HRM recorded a 9.6 MPH pace. Nice agility training as well.
Let’s have a look at the data. We covered a distance of only 1.4 miles(minus vertical distance), but I burned a total of 979 calories (14% fat) in one hour and 28 minutes. That’s only 543 fewer calories than I burned in my last half marathon. I’m not a calorie counter, but the proof is in the pudding as the saying goes!
We wrapped it up as the sun was going down with an easy jog back to 59th Street. I felt inspired by the openess of the group to share their knowledge and passion for movement. We mimicked each other like children do when they play, and I really felt like a kid again with all the scrapes and bruises to prove it. Fortunately I didn’t knock any teeth out crawling forward down the rocks.
See ya in the park! ; )