Are you a well-rounded athlete if you are the top guy in your sport?
Does specialization make you better than general fitness?
These two questions are leading because their phrasing most likely steers you to the answer “no”, especially if you are educated in the field of fitness, or at least well-read.
Athletes, more specifically professional athletes, tend to have imbalances because of overuse patterns and the demands of the sport. The resulting specialization creates not only imbalances, but potentially limitations. Of course, we can argue that some sports offer some sort of all-around balanced development, but in general, the hyper focus on the task to accomplish makes it difficult for a sprinter to run a marathon, a bodybuilder to fight in the ring, or a gymnast to be a good diver (the latter example because gymnasts are taught to always land on their feet and the concept of going head first after some flips doesn’t compute).
We could discuss that with the Crossfit games, the displays of athleticism are tremendous (and I guarantee you the competitors’ training is anything but WODs), but that would be perceived as a cheap way to get readers 😉
Back to Georges Hébert and his Natural Method, since it’s still an unknown subject to 99.99% of the fitness population. His goal is all-around athleticism: a balance of speed, endurance, strength, mobility, skill and functionality. According to Hébert, games, sports and manual labor are the finality of physical education. These forms of physical exercise are useful for the following reasons:
- They augment the general physical value of individuals and extend what can be called “physical knowledge”.
- They entertain the “taste” for physical activity by breaking up the monotony of methodical training.
- They help perfect agility, develop a sense of practicality, promote ingeniousness by giving complete freedom to individual action.
- They satisfy a need for variety and pleasure by providing a release from methodical training.
- They demonstrate functionality and bring out the advantages of good physical preparedness. Greater success is achieved, indeed, even more in the various branches of physical activity as one is better prepared thanks to methodical training (strength and conditioning).
So, what are we learning with Hébert’s Natural Method? Is it yet another secret sauce never revealed to you until now? While I could say if it’s new to you the answer is yes, the reality is that it’s a method that withstood the test of time, and that if you are a fitness enthusiast, your skills and abilities deserve the right to rekindle with your body’s natural desire to move well, as it is engineered to do so. Forget fat loss, muscle gain or some other specialized goal. All of that comes naturally, and it is so much more than just the moves posted on various social media. The philosophy behind the method is very wholistic and revolves around 3 major points:
- Hygienic action (not about being freshly scrubbed, read Book 1 if you want to know what that means in details about cleansing the system through air baths, circulation etc).
- Mental benefits.
We all need that, we tend to forget those aspects too frequently, and that’s what the Method is also about 🙂