Friday, November 16, 2012

Unzoo This Week - Treehouses, The Question, and A Call To Arms.

I haven't got time to do blog full posts just now, but there is plenty of good stuff out there that paints the Unzoo picture...

File under Unzoo Habitat:

A Dream Tree house 

What happens if you're an adult and still dream of a tree house? 
 Design will save the world....

File under Unzoo Think:

Prim8 asks the question:

I was in London last week and had the utterly utterly (yes, it needs that much emphasis) ridiculous fortune to get a one-on-one class with Sébastien Foucan when normally the classes have six people. I learned a ton from him in that brief hour and a half and I'm still processing everything that we discussed and the things that he taught me. In particular, at the end of the class, there was a potent piece of advice he gave to me. Now, I'm paraphrasing a little here and keeping it brief, so it is missing the context of the discussion. Anyway, what he said was essentially "identify the reason why you are practicing." I'm sure that sounds way too simple, but it's because we aren't talking about surface level reasons like "I want to get stronger," or "I want to be able to do X technique." Instead it is about identifying reason(s) why that resonate with you on a deep emotional level. These reasons provide an underlying purpose to your training; they are not the specific goals that you use to achieve it.

Now, I'm going to pose this very same question to you: Why do you train and practice? There is no "right" answer (or answers) to this question. If you think your answer feels weak for any reason though, dig deeper and and ask yourself the same question, but this time about your previous response. You'll know you are on to something if when you write (or just think)  it you can feel its impact, on an emotional level. It may take some tries to get to an answer that resonates with you. Be patient and if needed revisit the question later. Once you have an answer that satisfies you it can be used to better direct your training and help maintain motivation to keep going over the long haul. 

Blane puts it out there:


Sunday, November 4, 2012

The Natural Playground

I bumped into this link on Marks Daily Apple today - The best playground is the one nature provided...
I like it. It's getting there.

Nature is the best playground.
But playgrounds are not just for kids.

Even the concept of playgrounds are flawed. Work here, play there. Humans compartmentalise too much. That's another human technology that turns on its makers.

If you unzoo yourself by moving naturally in nature, eating as nature intended - the next step is letting nature into our spaces more. Beyond playgrounds, into our work, our cities, our zoo habitats. And I am not just talking about some trees and pot plants.

Unzoo you, unzoo our habitat,  unzoo our culture.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Unzooing Culture

My vision of the Unzoo process is that it starts from the inside out. See the Unzoo diagram below? That is you in the centre, then your habitat, then your culture. Altogether that is your world. It makes sense to me that the process would radiate out from small to large, from personal control to cultural collaboration. 

So far in this blog I have been focusing pretty much on the "you" aspect. It is the easiest place to start, and self conversion is a prerequisite for making any change in the wider world. Unzoo your food, your psyche', and your movement. But don't leave it there. Here is an inkling of where else you can go:

Zombie Apocalypse
Fifth Ape - Post Apocalypse Now: This is one of my favourite sites, and here's some great out-takes from this post that capture what I am talking about:

A lot of modern post-apocalyptic art highlights nature reclaiming urban areas. Everything is quiet - no traffic noise, airplane noise, no construction noise, no constant beeping of phones. Perhaps this speaks to a universal desire to reconnect with the natural world and enjoy a moment of peace and quiet?
Our cultural obsession with post-apocalyptic scenarios speaks to a widespread dissatisfaction with our current lifestyles. We feel trapped and we want a release.
We can make the world we want to live in, on an individual level but also on a societal level. I really think we all must make an effort to live simply and sustainably - for our own health and happiness, sure, but also because it shouldn't take a global catastrophe for us to see the error of our ways. Let's take steps now to avoid the apocalypse. I'd really miss the coffee.

And on the same site (via TED), although it's sure to have gone viral, is this "Good Talk" from Charles Moreland (TEDxFlourCity) about using Parkour as a tool to combat the cultural trend of displaced responsibility (and other rotten societal developments):
Charles will introduce us to parkour training; a form of fitness and dexterity training that employs natural (yet under-utilized) movements to effectively navigate the environment. He addresses some misconceptions about parkour and describes its practical advantages. He also brings a thought provoking perspective regarding the sedentary lifestyle, play behavior and social norms.

So that's a bit of Unzoo culture. Make sure you are ready for it...

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Welcome to the Unzoo...

Part of the Unzoo credo is that you get outside and move like you are meant to. Welcome to my Unzoo playground! One Tree Hill works well for me, although I am a bit of a nomad and can end up training elsewhere depending on my mood or goals. Here's a mid-winter pictorial homage to this magnificent game-park, the place where I can be the most Unzoo...

My main stompin grounds
At the ground level. A movement frozen in time - getting ready to leap into a tree.

Dark morning starts can entail somewhat "ethereal beginnings' on some days.

One of my favourite obstacles; wall and tree vaults

The "Spartan Circle"  - the halfway house for unzoo movement

A more natural playground

The "fear cliff climb", just another obstacle, turning fear into fun.

The 6 second sprint session; 6 trees = 6 seconds; run for your life!
The climbing zone...

...from boulder to tree.
A place for fractal forest sprints
"The Forest" - good for rabbit chasing and log carrying

The gateway to Unzoo?
I just can't train in a gym anymore!

Friday, July 13, 2012

Movement Flow Session

This morning for our skill session with my one Unzoo disciple we were working on our mindfulness and movement flow.

I have done this circuit before, either as part of a much bigger "journey workout", or one other time as a stamina session where I did it as a continuous circuit, as many rounds as possible for time, just for 15 minutes. That was killer, and not long after that I succumbed to one of the nasty bugs going around this winter, and ended up with bronchitis. WTF? So here I am, recovering and back into training after not having been to the doctors for three years.

Today was set as a light recovery session. DC was not convinced he could even do some of the jump/climbs initially, but after working on the sticking points together he started to own it.

We took this video at the end of the session.The first one is me, the next is DC. It is interesting to see the difference in styles; DC holds himself more compactly and has crisper form, whereas I am a bit more sloppy or relaxed looking, maybe even a little lopsided? One of the differences I noticed was my gaze is focused more to my overall path of movement whereas DC tends to look down more often and you can almost see him "triangulating" - calculating the relativity of his position to where he is going. Perhaps because he was newer to the movement than I was?

The key things I discussed with him was to try to avoid hesitation in approaching obstacles, no double stepping, breathe in sync with the movement requirements, and be mindful of the movement you are in, and going into. Plus have a "tap & go" relationship with the obstacles - that equals movement flow, and gets you flying. But don't get caught up in technical details, this stuff works best when it is play and fun.

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Unzooing Ego

A book review and further development of the Unzoo concept.

The sub-text for my Unzoo blog header, taken from Desmond Morris is: "If he is given the chance he may yet contrive to turn his human zoo into a magnificent game-park. If he is not, it may proliferate into a gigantic lunatic asylum"...with "Ego", I am not convinced we will avoid the asylum.

The promise of Ego is what drew me to it initially; as shown by this video and the following paragraphs.

Ego - applying the principles of evolution to contemporary human life, through the lens of 9/11. The authors argue that the sense of self (the ego) that we hold so dear is a relic of our evolution, and that by understanding how our Stone Age brains work in an increasingly more complex world, we can perhaps improve all human existence.

That sounded pretty Unzoo, and looked pretty Unzoo, but then I read the book and found the devil is in the detail. The main benefit of reading Ego was it helped me to refine my thinking on Unzoo. Otherwise it was a thought provoking read that was held back by some key flaws (just my opinion, but hey, it's my blog right?).

The most powerful part of the book may be the heavily relied on quote from Einsten;

A human being is a part of a whole, called by us "universe,"a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings as something seperated from the rest - a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.
It's a great quote, but the book doesn't seem to capture it entirely. The keys are compassion and a wider acceptance and understanding of nature. Even though "Ego" stems from evolutionary psychology, somehow it misses fully integrating the evolutionary context into its premise. Unzoo is exactly about this, whereas Ego has a completely different assumption base.

Ego accepts our present condition as the result of our ongoing evolution,  and sees our "stone age" biology as a yoke holding us back in the modern world. Out of date and out of tune. Hmm, not the angle I would take. Unzoo is about factoring in our evolutionary context harmoniously with our modern world, to futher evolve. But let's not just accept that the modern world is the bees knees please.

Even though the authors sound wise and have reviewed some powerful material, their own inherent biases are evident in their writing, and sadly thwart them from achieving a more exciting conclusion. I think they paint a too rosy a picture of the evolution of humankind,and have strong American based values that restrict a more universal perspective.

Facebook and the internet are hailed as key technological evolutions that feed the next stage of human cognitive development; "Conscious Awareness". The book contains two charts that illustrate firstly the phase model of development, and then how that looks for Human Evolution.

 Conscious Awareness takes us beyond the realms of ego to a new "enlightened" state. The authors seem to trust the forces of evolution will take humanity into this next phase, despite a key point made by them that natural evolution may have been replaced by artificial selection, primarily as a result of the huge growth in technological sophistication (but also increased complexity in the other two key variables; social and the brain). My concern is that their idea of evolution, if correct, is divorced from nature and may not be subject to the same historical trends and laws of natural evolution. Maybe it's not going to be so great after all? Maybe something needs to be done?

However, Ego offers no plan or tools, not even a clear vision really. The use of 9/11 as a filter for the concepts seems a gimic to me and almost gets in the way of the real purpose of the book. Yet there are moments of brilliance. This quote from them for example;
Sometimes a fish can become aware of the water in which it swims.
That was beginning to resonate with me, as did their token hat-tip to "mindfulness" and a bold statement that "As a species we will be increasingly aware of what is conducive for humans to flourish"..."the enlightenment revolution  may usher in an era of reintegration of body and mind".

Sadly they seem to have left nature out of the equation. Indeed,  they make a mention of it, but dismiss it mostly as "little evolutionary hacks" that may not make that much difference. Think again buddies. I will do a seperate post on the significance of Biophilia and the role it plays in Unzoo soon, but for now just hang onto the fact that we need nature. And maybe it should be the basis for significant change, rather than "tweaks" or "hacks".

Another nice quote; "Our physiology has not yet caught up with our sociology". So true, but there are different ways to react to this. Ego takes the position that we need to "get over it" and move onto the next level of evolution. Ouch. That approach seems full of bugs. Maybe we need to change our sociology as well? Overall I find the picture of the future painted by Ego a little sterile. We end up detached from our more primal mental activity and become a race of "Spocks" like the Vulcans from Star Trek, worker ants moving as a collective whole.  Science is the new religion, indeed religion is a "relic from the evolutionary past", and individualism fades to grey. And yet there is no mention of all the kinds of issues we face as technology outstrips our natural development and threatens to implode.

From an Unzoo perspective, we need nature in the equation, and the evolutionary context should be a key variable in evaluating  the human condition. If we do this, we may still end up at the same goal Ego has in mind, but it may be by a different path, and perhaps the goal will be richer. Maybe instead of Conscious Awareness, we might reach  another stage of "Organismic Consciousness" (yes, I made that up) that integrates subconscious and conscious thought processes, and retains individualism within a universal experience?   And instead of relying on a perhaps corrupted evolutionary process to generate an enlightment revolution, we should take the reins and become the architects of our evolution.

Anyway,  that was the book review for "Ego". I hope I didn't get the wrong end of the stick. It certainly made me think, and I value that, and the ideas it exposed me to.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

The Emperor and the Nightingale - just a fairy tale?

"You can understand and relate to most people better if you look at them -- no matter how old or impressive they may be -- as if they are children. For most of us never really grow up or mature all that much -- we simply grow taller. O, to be sure, we laugh less and play less and wear uncomfortable disguises like adults, but beneath the costume is the child we always are, whose needs are simple, whose daily life is still best described by fairy tales."
Leo Rosten

The Emperor and the Nightingale
I was reading a fairytale to my youngest daughter the other night, and Unzoo theme's started popping out at me. The overall mantra of Unzoo is "go back to move forward", and the evolutionary context is the primary vehicle for this. However the principle is also manifested in other ways, such as with MovNat's call to watch how children move; they move naturally without the corrupted zoo influence we see in adults. Looking at children's natural movement is a way of looking back to how it should be done, so we can learn from it and move forward into natural movement for ourselves. The same theme popped out at me reading the fairytale; in this case "go back to move forward" means read the old stories and you will find the truth hidden in them for you to see and learn from. And here is what the story of "The Emperor and the Nightingale" has to say...
(bits sourced from Wikipedia...italics are me)
"The Nightingale"is a literary fairy tale by Hans Christian Andersen about an emperor who prefers the tinkling of a bejeweled mechanical bird to the song of a real nightingale. When the Emperor is near death, the nightingale's song restores his health.

The Emperor of China learns that one of the most beautiful things in his empire is the song of the nightingale. When he orders the nightingale brought to him, a kitchen maid (the only one at court who knows of its whereabouts) leads the court to a nearby forest where the bird is found. The nightingale agrees to appear at court. The Emperor is so delighted with the bird's song that he keeps the nightingale in captivity.(the process of “taming nature”)  When the Emperor is given a bejeweled mechanical bird he loses interest in the real nightingale, who returns to the forest (nature is forgotten, technology takes over). The mechanical bird eventually breaks down due to overuse. The Emperor is taken deathly ill a few years later. (technology fails, human health fails) The real nightingale learns of the Emperor's condition and returns to the palace. Death is so moved by the nightingale's song that he departs and the emperor recovers. The nightingale agrees to sing to the emperor of all the happenings in the empire, that he will be known as the wisest emperor ever to live. ( nature returns to humans, heals and enlightens. This is the Unzoo process, although unlike the story I don't rule out the possiblity of a duet between real and mechanical birds).
Then my searching took me into the rabbit hole and I found a host of related material relating to "real" vs. "mechanical/artificial" that roped in stories about Frankenstein and other horrors. Too scary for bed time stories...

The Fourth Discontinuity: The Co-Evolution of Humans and Machines (New Haven: Yale UP, 1993)

I could have chosen innumerable other examples, for tales of the automata are legion. Those I have chosen, however, are classic examples (Asimov's are currently becoming so) and illustrate different aspects of the human encounter with the mechanical "other." Andersen's tale hinges on clockwork mechanisms; Shelley's Frankenstein-perhaps the dominant Western metaphor for the fourth discontinuity, straddling both biological and mechanical fears-holds an importance which is self-evident and thus deserves extended treatment; Baum's Oz stories, which obsessively reflect a childlike curiosity about "life," are hardly as innocent as they appear; Capek's R.U.R. gives birth to the term "robot," and voices the fear of robots taking over-a fear echoed today in countless films about menacing androids; and Asimov's varied cast of robots allows us to explore many of the intellectual dimensions of the predicted coming of a robotic age.

In Andersen's telling, the tale has a poignancy and meaning that cannot be conveyed in a précis. Examined closely, the short story also takes on unexpected ambiguities. The compelling note is the constant comparison between human-made and "natural" things: at the beginning, the croaking of frogs is mistaken for church bells by the courtiers, the nightingale's song for glass bells. The artificial bird and the real nightingale cannot sing well together, "for the real Nightingale sang in its own way, and the artificial bird sang waltzes." At first, the palm seems to go to the mechanical contrivance for "three-and-thirty times over did it sing the same piece, and yet was not tired." Praising it, the artificer explains how "with a real nightingale one can never calculate what is coming, but in this artificial bird everything is settled."
In fact, the artificial bird is neither untiring nor settled. It breaks down, and cannot be repaired. In contrast, the nightingale goes on living, as if for eternity. Thus, the qualities normally assigned to animate (living) objects and inanimate (non living) objects are reversed: it is the animate that endures.
Whew! So what do we get from all this? For now just this; the balance between nature and technology has always been a source of tension for us humans; we create the technology but it threatens to consume us. This is the Zoo Human Syndrome. The theme is rich in history, and never more significant than in our present and future. The Unzoo position of "go back to move forward" accepts the evolutionary context as the key vehicle for integrating nature with our tools/technology, as opposed to technology being used by humans to dominate nature. Remove the tension, then move forward.

And fairytales, and other stories, are not just for kids, just as natural movement is not just for kids either!

If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairy tales. If you want them to be more intelligent, read them more fairy tales.

Albert Einstein
Attributed, but unsourced.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Is Paleo Unzoo?

The Paleo movement is growing in popularity at an exponential rate across the world. It's not as big as say, "weight watchers" by any means but it has left vegetarians and vegans behind. Check out the Google search trends:

Paleo (blue line) versus vegetarian and vegan search volume

 There are many definitions of what Paleo is, but I like John Durant's version on which has this simple diagram:
The basic Paleo model

So is Paleo Unzoo? No. This is Unzoo:

The Unzoo process is a "reset" button for continued evolution. 

Friday, June 1, 2012

Dealing With Fear - DC Gets Unscared!

A few weeks ago I posted on the "DC Challenge" dc-challenge-skill-session-in-progress and now here is the "he did it" post to celebrate!

What started out as a skill session ended up as more of a multi-disciplinary journey where we employed several approaches to get to the end goal. First I tried the "gung ho" approach, which involved the boot camp yelling, total immersion into the deep end method - which failed. It turns out we were dealing with more than just a skill session, we were dealing with fear (of heights in this case). Fear, as they said in the book "Dune", is the mind killer. It didn't matter what I said, fear was blocking DC from being able to overcome this obstacle.

So it was time to break out the psychology 101 stuff. We went  with two key approaches that I thought would work; systematic desensitisation, and mindfulness. For systematic desensitisation we scaled back the climbing to more achievable tasks that built confidence, and then progressed to literally "higher" levels. That took care of skill development and helped get the mind used to dealing with heights such as with the tree climbing session we did in the dark, on wet, slippery branches.

Negative self talk generates a downward spiral of performance inhibiting fear, and the best medicine for that is mindfulness. DC was ready for this, he got himself into a bit of meditation practice, and I emphasised focusing on the task at hand, as opposed to listening to the chattering monkeys in your head. (Such as; I can't do this, I am not strong enough, I need a rope, it's too far from the wall, I am too short, whatever...)

Then this week it was time to beat the fear, and knock the bugger off. We started with a light warm up to prepare - here is DC coming down from a warm up climb...dark and cold!

DC in the early morning up a tree in the dark, getting ready to face his fear.
From there we headed on to the cliff side where the climbing challenge was. We hiked with no talking, just to get a bit of moving meditation in before the climb. The first attempt showed the progress he had made; no negative self talk, just focus. There was a sticking point still, but this was OK now because the fear had been pushed back and DC could relax and "work it out". Which he did. Bloody brilliant! 

Here's his second go at it, silent and fast; good stuff. It took about 1 minute compared to nearly 45 minutes of fear previously.

Now we can get on with doing more stuff! Other challenges to come; a long high jump, some awkward climbing, getting a heavy rock overhead, and maybe catch a rabbit by hand!..then string it all together for another Bear Grylls "Man vs Wild" session!

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Unzoo Fitness and Seasonal Variation

 To Unzoo your fitness, you need to have the full fitness spectrum blended with natural movement, season variation that links to our evolutionary context, and a nutritional profile that complements our biological imperatives

This post is an off-shoot from the Unzoo Fitness page and outlines the Unzoo approach to Seasonal Variation.

To begin with, here's a map of the seasons according to activity levels and the related requirements of carbohydrates, sugar, sleep and intermittent fasting:

Comparing Winter to Summer gives you an idea of the variation; in Winter (repair mode) I have lower activity levels, more sleep, less carbs, zero sugar and activity engage in intermittent fasting. Summer (activity mode) is the reverse of Winter; more activity, more carbs and sugar, minimal intermittent fasting. The table below provides a slightly more detailed guide.

So how does that play out for Unzoo fitness? See the chart below. I maintain the fitness spectrum but tweak it according to the season.

So each season has a theme. The bi-polar focus for Winter compared to Summer is repair versus action. Just as in nature, Autumn and Spring are the graduation seasons. Autumn is a winding back from Summer activity levels, whereas Spring is gearing up for action. See below for a bit more of a guide.

See how I am truly full spectrum during Autumn and Spring, whereas the spectrum restricts over Winter and Summer slightly. Here's the rationale; Autumn is winding back, and entering a strength building stage. Winter maintains the strength focus but restricts the activity duration by investing in faster more intense workouts (get in & get out). Spring is preparation time, focusing on movement skill and re-kindling harder activity. Summer is all go!

Only other thing to note here is the differentiation between "zoo" and "unzoo" types of activities. By "zoo" I mean the more traditional, yet beneficial functional fitness activity, whereas unzoo refers to the similar activity but a truly natural movement practice, and outdoors.  A good example of this is the heavy session; The zoo version is classic Olympic lifts with a barbell, the unzoo version is outdoors, moving rocks or logs or other objects - generally the environment and the objects are less stable in some way. I have already mentioned on the Unzoo Fitness page that I generally skew the ratio of unzoo to zoo at about the good old 80/20, mostly because I find the unzoo moves are more sustainable on a whole bunch of levels.

So there it is, just a guide. Lets see how it goes. It is Autumn right now.
What do you reckon - make sense? Could it work for you?

Thursday, May 10, 2012

The DC Challenge - Skill Session in Progress

As a result of doing a kind of Bear Grylls "Man vs Wild" workout a few weeks ago,  I started taking my primal training buddy "DC" through a series of skill sessions to help him develop his natural movement abilities, his mindfullness, and get him "unscared".

So here I am in the vid below, talking DC through ways to get up the side of a cliff using tree roots as climbing aids. When DC masters this I will post his moment of triumph...soon.

I promise to get a better camera soon!

Saturday, April 28, 2012

The Path To Primal

I asked myself, how did I end up on this primal thing? So I drew a map of the journey so far…

Early appreciation - It starts with a childhood (Thanks Mum) rich in “outdoorness”– mine was about pets, biking, long bush and beach walks, exploring farms, kids play fights and war games with mates.

A fairly standard kiwi childhood in the 80’s…?

"The Hull"

My early teenage years were pretty awesome too; I lived in a house by the beach down at Motueka which had a ship wreck down one end and a concrete sea pool down the other end. The top of the South Island was a good spot to grow up in – bushwalks, sea, fresh water swimming holes and rapids, it all got under my skin.

Crystal Pool at the Source of Riwaka


 I got into Seido Karate when we moved to Nelson when I was 14-16 years old. This was a key moment for me, learning about discipline and tough workouts, plus I had a great mentor in Sensei (now Hanshi) Andy Barber. These were the  “wax on, wax off” years - I even ended up doing a Buddhist meditation/karate camp up in the blue lakes in the mountains. That’s a very clear memory that seems pretty primal to me now.
Spooky native forest in the walk to Harwoods Hole

Then the road took a very non primal turn – my family moved up in Auckland and I ended up into bands, booze and bedlam in my University years. Good fun but not good health –typical city slicker!

I was roped into a corporate triathlon at work –and got hooked! Somehow the guy at the bike shop convinced me to ramp it up to Ironman level, and bang, suddenly I am making random decisions to cycle with a mate from Auckland to Hamilton, raid my auntie’s fridge, then cycle back to Auckland ( a lazy 270kms…). I generally steer away from ‘chronic cardio” these days, but I have to say that that was still an amazing time of my life with some fantastic training sessions. If only I had known that I was mostly enjoying the outdoorness of it all, I could have skipped the long stuff and just gone for a hike!
Near the end of my first marathon
Papakura half marathon

My first Ironman finish 
My best marathon run

After a few years I moved on from Iron Man to pure road running. I got caught up in the whole monotony of doing race after race trying to improve my times, it wasn’t fun anymore and I moved off-road with Total Sport just starting up their trail running events. Much better man!
Going off road - Whatipu half marathon
Mountain running in the Kepler Challenge

Keplers Challenge - a blissful finish
Total Sports' Coastal Challenge in Auckland

But chronic cardio was still there, eating away at me. All the long distance running volume and frequency was constantly eroding my immune system, giving me hacking coughs, chest infections and variable health through the year.

I tried naturopathic remedies, saw several general practice doctors, all no good. Then I turned to nutrition and the internet and in my search I found Marks Daily Apple and the Primal Blueprint. This stuff was the answer. CrossFit was also on my radar at about the same time – looking for bodyweight circuits to strengthen me for running. Slowly I started to assimilate the concepts into my lifestyle. First I cleaned up my lunches at work – goodbye sandwiches, hello big ass salads, and CrossFit workouts in the park. Looking back it was all pretty naïve and novice like, but that’s called a start.

Luckily in 2009 a work mate convinced me to try out CrossFit New Zealand
to see what the real thing was like. That was a turning point, and I improved my background and understanding of real nutrition and movement principles. You can’t really do it without an evolutionary context, both of which CrossFit and Primal are plugged into.  For a little while there I felt like superman and I did more events in a year than I had done in the last 10. Better results too. And great community spirit and coaching/mentoring that reminded me of my karate days.

Running the CrossFit way
CrossFit in Nature

CrossFit engaging natural movement

Still, I wasn’t sure I could do CrossFit all my life. Sparked off by the Parkour “Gauntlet” concept, I started experimenting with outdoor workouts that were a hybrid of natural movement, crossfit and boot camp style. Then snap! Erwan LeCorre’s MovNat got onto my radar and my appreciation of the natural movement truly began.

By this stage I was running around city parks doing strange activities such as climbing, jumping, lifting rocks and logs, chasing rabbits and all that stuff, and soon I started up my Unzoo blog after a friend suggested it might be a good idea. But what started out as a primal fitness blog has begun to develop into something more…

Chronology of Athletic Activity
1967-1980 - classic kiwi kid activity
1981 - 1983 – Seido karate up to 2nd Kyu Karate
1985-1989 – University, bands & booze!
1990 – First real job, first triathlon
1992 – Rothmans Duathlon series. Hyatt half marathon. Fay Richwhite Corporate Tri. Huntly half marathon (PB 1.25). Papakura half marathon. Auckland Marathon. Rotorua Marathon.
1993 – Ironman. Smokefree Duathlon. Auckland Marathon – PB 2.55
1994 – Ironman. Novice 8 Rowing.
1995-1996 ? Rotorua Marathon.
1997 – Auckland Marathon
1998-2000 – Melbourne, got fat on restaurant food
2001 – Melbourne half marathon
2004 – Auckland marathon. Kepler Challenge (67km).
2006 – Auckland marathon
2003- 2008 – Total Sport Coastal Challenge and off road running
2009 – CrossFit. The Duel (last half marathon on Rangitoto). Auckland Tough guy (4th on 6k course). Xterra off road Series (2nd in 6k course)
2010 – Tough guy
2011 – Tough guy, Auckland half marathon 
2012 – Unzoo…
2013 - MovNat!
2014 onwards  - Unzoo Movement...

Friday, April 20, 2012

"Ego" is Inherently Unzoo...

Ego - applying the principles of evolution to contemporary human life, through the lens of 9/11. The authors argue that the sense of self (the ego) that we hold so dear is a relic of our evolution, and that by understanding how our Stone Age brains work in an increasingly more complex world, we can perhaps improve all human existence.

How Unzoo is that?

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Pullups? Who needs "em?

I just finished up a heavy rock session and had enough energy for some monkey business on my favourite tree before heading on to work today.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

I am back

I have been on a blog holiday. I am back into it again now, and have a few posts & pages coming up. This year I plan to move on from just a training focus to expand on the Un-Zoo concept.

Before I do though, I will need to wrap up Un-Zoo fitness. I have been refining my thoughts and testing it in practice. In a nutshell it blends full spectrum fitness with natural movement. I will do a page on this later, but currently I am at the stage where I am trying to drop some of those bootcamp moves that, while still being "functional movements", are not natural enough. So no burpees!

So my test week looks roughly like this:

Monday - Primal; natural obstacle course
Tuesday - Heavy; single overhead presses with heavy rock
Wednesday - Fast; 10 minutes of 400m/5 boulder deadlifts
Thursday - Skill; 30 minutes of climbing
Friday - Heavy Conditioning; primal log & rock combo 
Saturday - Long/Slow; garden chores, play with kids, walk/run dog on beach
Sunday - Stamina; Volcano/Coastal Run

The workouts will be constantly varied, but the spectrum elements (Primal, Heavy, Fast, Skill, Heavy Conditioning, Long/Slow and Stamina) will be constant. 

Here's a video of a short snippet of one of my natural obstacle course sessions. Apologies for the quality, it's not like a cool CrossFit video with angry music and crashing weights, and not even like a MovNat video with chilled club music and amazing feats! Just a quiet, peaceful, real nature shot, more like spotting an animal in a David Attenborough documentary... :)    

Get out there and surf some nature!