15 Apr 2024 World leisure: news, training & property
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Leisure Management
2015 issue 1

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Leisure Management - Wild fitness


Wild fitness

A new breed of exercise class inspired by the animal kingdom is making its way into wellness. We take a closer look

Walk on the wild side

“Movement is the new fitness,” declared Jeremy McCarthy during a trends presentation at the Spatec Europe event in June. The group spa director for Mandarin Oriental references the work of movement guru Ido Portal as a revolutionary example. He explains: “Whatever kind of exercise you do – yoga, lifting weights or a certain sport – as soon as you start to specialise in one kind of movement, you’re sacrificing other areas. Portal’s approach is to practice a diversity of movement, to use your body is as many different ways as possible and not to repeat patterns which create imbalances.”

This echoes something we’ve picked up on in the global fitness arena in our sister publication Health Club Management – the emergence of multi-movement animal-inspired exercise classes. Relying on bodyweight, without the use of equipment, these new classes see people crawling on all fours, swinging from bars and leaping from obstacles to help them rediscover the joy of natural movement in a fun way. They’re a great option for spas and a number of providers are cropping up worldwide...


Originating fromºº the US, Animal Flow mixes quadrupedal and ground-based movement with elements from bodyweight-training disciplines to create a fun, challenging workout emphasising multi-planar, fluid movement. Its wide range of exercises are grouped into six components, with a typical class moving through each section and then combining them into a fluid ‘flow’ at the end.

The six components are:

• Wrist mobilisations – particularly important as you spend a lot of time in the class on your hands. 

• Activations: Static holds to connect the body, including Static Beast Hold and Static Crab Hold.

• Form-specific stretches are full body stretches that start in an animal form and then move through a wide range of dynamic motion to increase a person’s mobility and flexibility. Examples of the stretches include the Ape Reach, Beast Reach, Crab Reach and Scorpion Reach. 

• Travelling forms are cardio exercises that mimic animal movements, starting with the ABC: Ape, Beast and Crab.

• Switches and transitions are dynamic movements performed one after the other, creating the ‘flow’ in Animal Flow. Examples include the many variations for Underswitches, Side Kickthroughs, Front Kickthroughs and Scorpions. 

• Flow combines the moves, linking them together in a fluid sequence.

Originally launched as a signature class at US gym chain Equinox, Animal Flow is no longer exclusive to that operator and is now available in a number of other facilities across North America, Europe and Australia.

Details: www.animalflow.com


Animal Flow is built on six components which are then combined into a sequence

ZUU is the Australian-born fitness concept based on primal movements. Designed by expert in human movement Nathan Helberg, it combines high-intensity interval training with exercises grounded in seven natural human movements: push, pull, bend, twist, squat, lunge and locomotion.

The full-body workout has been designed to develop mobility, agility, flexibility and cardiovascular endurance while strengthening muscles, joints, tendons, ligaments and fascia. It’s claimed that exercisers can burn up to 600 calories in 30 minutes.

ZUU has over 100 unique moves, with each one working the aerobic and anaerobic energy systems and named after the animal that inspired it: Gorillas, Bears, Iguanas and Frogs.
Helberg says: “Before ZUU, I was fit and strong but only in singular movements. When I tried exercises that worked multiple muscle groups, I found my joints were weak. I developed a more functional style of training that didn’t involve weights or machines, but used body weight to improve the range of motion and overall strength.”

The concept is available across Australia and also internationally in the UK, France and North America. Health club partners include Goodlife and Virgin Active.

Details: www.thezuu.com.au


Zuu develops agility, flexibility and endurance

With the popularity of parkour growing globally, Parkour Generations has launched MOV’ training – a group exercise programme based on the practice of parkour that’s for fitness operators who to offer something functional, effective and different.

The new programme encourages people to step out of their comfort zone using the fundamentals of movement in a fun, accessible environment, offering workouts that are instinctive and draw on a person’s natural physical abilities.

This style of training builds self-efficacy, which helps develop confidence and overcome fears. In addition, the combination of high and low impact movements is said to be great for burning calories and building a strong, lean body. This is achieved through performing key functional movements including jumping, climbing, running, vaulting and balancing.

The new programme can be delivered through five different modules to suit all fitness levels. The introductory modules are: FlowMOV’, which focuses on agility and co-ordination over obstacles; JumpMOV’, which involves jumping and plyometric techniques for individual or sequenced jump sequences; BalanceMOV’, reconnecting body and mind through a holistic workout; and TribalMOV’, a quadrupedal bodyweight-based movement programme based on natural motor patterns.

The class concept launched in the UK in September 2014 and is now available around the world.

Details: www.parkourgenerations.com


Based on parkour, the classes push people to step out of their comfort zone

Based in New Mexico and launched in 2009, MovNat offers a fitness programme which encourages people to ‘reclaim your nature’. The cure for sitting at a desk is not sitting on a workout machine, the company claims – it’s moving like animals do in the wild to survive.

Founder Erwan Le Corre has spent a lifetime pursuing and studying ancient fitness methodologies resulting in Natural Fitness® – a discipline based on the practice of natural human movement skills. Everything at MovNat, including the coaching method, fitness programme and certification system, is centred around this.

The programme covers movement skills such as lifting, carrying, throwing or catching as well as climbing and jumping and episodes of high intensity metabolic conditioning. Its scalable, with an emphasis on progressions for various fitness levels. The overall aim is to make people fit, lean and strong – and for them to have fun in the process.

MovNat is offered across North America, Europe, Asia and Australia.

Details: www.movnat.com


MovNat is inspired by natural human movement and encourages you to ‘reclaim your nature’

MovNat is inspired by natural human movement and encourages you to ‘reclaim your nature’

It’s offered via outdoor retreats as well as in gyms

Originally published in Leisure Management 2015 issue 1

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