Mind Bottling

February 22, 2012 — 17 Comments

So, pretty cool, a workshop I just taught in my position as Master Instructor at MovNat was covered in the Washington Post

Now, the article was good, the writer picked up on some cool and pertinent points we make in the workshops-and was fully supportive of MovNat, but what was funny was two paragraphs towards the end of the article

Before we get carried away, however, it’s worth hearing out Todd Miller, an associate professor of exercise science at the George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services and a board member for the National Strength and Conditioning Association.

Although he supports MovNat’s style of training — which shares many elements with how top athletes train today — Miller says humans have evolved too far away from these movements to make them a part of their daily lives. “When it comes to exercise, the gym is the place you do it. We’ve compartmentalized fitness,” he says.

He is quoted as supporting our style of training-which is good. But also quoted as saying “we’ve compartmentalized fitness”-as though that was a good thing. Maybe he was just saying it matter of factly, but regardless of how he said it, it’s crap. Sorry to be blunt, but why the hell would we be better off compartmentalizing fitness? Relegating it to only the gym for 3 days for 55 minutes…? That type of attitude, recommendation, and authority is exactly what we are trying to change in the Fitness world. Fitness is not movement, its some arbitrary measure that really doesn’t mean shit to me without enjoyment, happiness, and health. Mr. Miller saying that “humans have evolved too far away from these movements” is exactly why the hell we SHOULD be doing them. I titled this post Mind Bottling, because proples’ Minds have been Bottled by convention. Don’t let that type of thinking bottle your mind.

To be fair, I don’t know what else was said in Miller’s interview…in reporting, generally, fair and balanced is encouraged, so an opposing view is sought out in the article. Sometimes the opposing view looks so bad though that it helps the original 🙂

17 responses to Mind Bottling


    Wow, that’s appalling. I’m glad you posted this rant. As much as I LOVE the gym and barbells, etc… and as much as I learn about life and myself in the gym, NOTHING compares to being outside and moving/interacting with nature. NOTHING.

    Ten things I learned at MovNat:


    Because I have seen this happen before, I’m going to give him the benefit of the doubt that he was misquoted and/or taken out of context……….The comment actually doesn’t make much sense, which is why I think it was a typo/taken out of context.

    If I give him the benefit of the doubt that it was taken out of context, I take this quote “When it comes to exercise, the gym is the place you do it. We’ve compartmentalized fitness.” Maybe what he really said was that “these days we have sadly compartmentalized fitness. The general population thinks that exercise is something you do only in the gym. Most people think that we have evolved so far away from these movements that it would be hard to make them a part of our daily lives.”

    Am I being too generous? I just find it hard to believe that someone with his background would say that we are unable to do these types of movements any more and that we should stick to the gym and the machines, because that’s better for us……..

    I could be totally wrong, though, as robots are taking over the fitness and healthcare industry!



      I think that he probably was stating “these days fitness is compartmentalized” as fact. And it is, but it doesnt have to be and it shouldn’t be. You might be being a little too generous though.


      That was my thought to. The statement seems matter-of-fact, and it appears the reporter just wanted to create counterpoint to “spice up” the end of the article (failing).

      Anyway, a LOT of things are compartmentalized these days, but it doesn’t seem to be doing us a lot of good. Integrative practices like MovNat – and just applying common sense to life and movement in general – are definitely the ideal, if not the norm.

      Congrats on the press, Clifton. I hope most readers take it the right way.


    It seems that he’s making a couple points. First, with the “humans have evolved too far away from these movements” point, I think he’ right. In modern society, we don’t really NEED to be able to do these things to in order to find food, shelter, and survive. Sometimes its seems that both CrossFit and MovNat (I’m a huge fan of both) tend to try to sell themselves by saying that we need to be prepared for a broad range of situations (or “the unknowable”). That may be true for some people (fire fighters, military, etc.), but most of us will never face any such situation, and so don’t NEED to practice MovNat (or whatever) to survive. However, I do think that we NEED this kind of training to thrive — which means achieving optimal health and fitness (esp. maintaining mobility as we age), as well as independence and happiness. And this is where is second point is way off. He seems to grants the merits of this approach, but then dismisses it because it doesn’t fit the staus quo of gyms and compartmentalized fitness. That’s complete nonsense, and, in my opinion, irresponsible. That’s like a nutritionist granting the merits of eating paleo, but dismissing it because it doesn’t fit the status quo of factory farms, monocropping, and “MyPlate.” As a scientist, his standard should be truth, not status quo.



    And, I think you mean mind *boggling.* Just lookin’ out! 😉


    Too funny. Especially when you consider this guy’s academic position. Even a short stroll through the literature points to the fact that sitting on your butt all week and heading to the gym 3 days per week, is not enough to undo or halt the damage being done by spending so much time sitting down. We can take ourselves from our bed compartment to our car compartment, to our car compartment, then our office compartment, and perhaps include a gym compartment in there too. But it matters not. This muppet would do well with understanding this.


      Why does it seem that all too often the academic position serves as a blinder to the truth? It would be interesting to see where his research grants come from……..

      So, I did email him to clarify his position, and he said that he thinks MovNat is a great idea, it’s just that he doesn’t think that the majority of people would do things that are “so far out of the social norm” and “exercise only works if people do it.” To which I replied “the social norm in this country is to sit in an office chair all day, then sit in the car, then sit on the couch all night and eat junk. Shouldn’t we aspire to something more than that?”

      No comment back yet!


      People have just surrendered to the compartmentalized norm. It’s sad.


    It sounds to me as though Mr. Miller is trying to justify his own profession (as well as the bulk of the fitness “industry”) by asserting his own value, as if people need gyms and associate professors of exercise science to be healthy. If fitness is truly as simple as MovNat makes it seem, people like Mr. Miller, who make a living by convincing us that we need them, would be out of work.


      I really think it’s likely that he is just acknowledging what has happened in society, and isn’t actually condoning it in anyway-and that in the article it was presented as a “counterpoint”, which actually helps to prove how needed a non compartmentalized approach is.


    Dear Mr. Harski,

    I am not sure what the big deal is here.

    Just look how we have “compartmentalized” nutrition.


    Founders of Lean Cuisine, SlimFast & Pop-Tarts

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