How I Got Stronger, Ditched Back Pain, and Transformed My Body and Mind Through Natural Movement

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By Valerie Nuytten, Mother and Level 2 MovNat Certified Trainer

Jérôme Rattoni has been coaching me for the last year, and I am incredibly grateful for all the help I have received so that I could complete my MovNat Level 2 certification (I’m now aiming for Level 3). But my journey wasn’t easy.

Before I discovered MovNat, I wasn’t sporty. I didn’t jump, climb trees, and had certainly never vaulted over anything. I had a lot of back pain and was often tired. I thought I was already doing well by walking a lot (barefoot) and running occasionally. 

However, I had always wanted my children to be able to move the way humans were intended to move. I could only try and motivate them to do so. I usually didn’t participate alongside them (or very rarely). I bought Erwan Le Corre’s book to inspire my children. I thought I could only dream of being able to do those movements myself.

The following year, a lot changed.

I joined a Natural Movement workshop led by Ken Gilbert, who is a MovNat L3 trainer.  And then one thing led to another. I enjoyed it so much. I discovered the sheer joy of movement. This was so much more powerful to me than trying to observe the practice just from books.

It has brought me so many things. Rolling, climbing, carrying, balancing, just playing and most importantly – simply enjoying the movements.

Although I struggled with many movements and often felt clumsy, I still enrolled in the L1 certification. By doing so, I hoped to not only get access to the best resources and hone my own ability, but also then be able to teach the movements to others, especially my children.

This goal was a huge motivator for me.

Meanwhile, my back pain gradually disappeared. I really enjoyed doing MovNat. I prepared myself by following the Level 1 Fundamentals e-course.

It was definitely not easy. There were a lot of movements, like vaulting or hanging, that were new to me. I had to learn so many basic human movements. Every progress I made felt like a victory.

I met Jérôme Rattoni at the certification event in Biarritz, and I immediately liked his coaching style and enthusiasm for MovNat. Also, the group spirit felt amazing.

I became completely hooked on MovNat. With much dedication, I received my final certification a few months later. I still wanted to develop further. So, I signed up for the Level 2 certification. Although I knew this was a huge step, my own motivation remained my biggest driving force.

Being still a bit clumsy, pretty uncoordinated and lacking strength and confidence, I needed all the help I could get. I took extra lessons from Ken Gilbert (and some from Pieter Derycke, MovNat L2 trainer). I also signed up for MovNat Online Coaching, with Jérôme as my coach.

They all knew that getting that Level 2 certification would require a big effort from me.

As I travel a lot, the online program was perfect for me. The consistent training kept me going. All I had to do was to follow the program, do the movements and reap the benefits.  Instead of rushing through the movements, they slowly built up to more difficult ones. I was given many clear and easy instructional videos. Whenever I had questions, Jérôme answered them immediately. I liked his style of coaching, both in real-life as well as online.

And for the first time, I also started filming my own movements.

Every week I uploaded videos, so Jérôme could comment on what could be improved or motivate me to continue. The videos helped me to revise my exercises and correct myself.

I started posting some of my recordings on Instagram as I wanted to inspire others, but also as a way to gradually overcome my own shyness.

I wasn’t completely ready for the certification in September (which took place again in Biarritz), but in that half year, I gained a lot of strength and my overall fitness improved massively. It felt so empowering.

Vaulting and the Pop Up movement were still too difficult, but I felt so much support and encouragement.

At the certification there was a huge turnout. 

I still lacked confidence when it came to strength. But one moment changed a lot.

At the ‘fireman carry’ challenge, we had to drag and carry a person within a certain time interval. I lacked strength, technique and confidence. It was all a struggle. My thoughts were “I can’t do this.” I tried and failed so many times. But I kept on trying. And then, after mustering up all my courage for one more attempt, I was finally able to stand up carrying someone from the group on my shoulders (shout out to Ally!). It took me much longer than the others, and my overall technique was pretty bad. But the whole group was cheering and clapping because I had finally made it.

Jérôme looked at his watch, informed me how long it had taken to complete the exercise, shrugged his shoulders, smiled broadly and asked the group: “What’s the most important skill when you have to rescue someone?” You can have the strength, the right technique, be in a good shape, have the most efficient breathing…But the most important thing is to have perseverance.

That was indeed the case. I shone with the realization that I had been able to find perseverance when it was needed.

I kept that in the back of my mind for the rest of my L2 journey.

The program helped me to deepen all the L2 movements and to gain confidence in them.

I knew that all the movements were leading to something. For example, better jumping meant stronger legs and core. I needed these stronger legs and core for the explosiveness required to do the tuck popup skill. Whole body movement means getting stronger everywhere.

Months went by and I still couldn’t do the tuck pop-up (which you need to be able to do in order to get the certification). I was getting worried, anxious and even frustrated. But Jérôme had faith in my progress and sent me the following message: “I think you can really do the pop-up. In 1 month? It’s possible but I would not be obsessed with a deadline. Just simply keep enjoying this practice just as you are doing now, and you will succeed, maybe even faster than you think. The key is to enjoy and FEEL it!”

The MovNat community was also very supportive. I asked for the ultimate tips and got them from Diana (MovNat L3 coach) and Linus (MovNat coach). I also continued to work with Ken. Very grateful for that!

Shortly after, I did my very first pop-up with a lot of perseverance. The key was to have confidence in my own ability. When I trusted I could do it, I could. When I thought I couldn’t, I couldn’t.

From not being able to do anything at all, I did not do so badly after all!

Obtaining the certification was not only a life transformation on a physical level, but also on a mental level.

I’m still following the coaching program, so I can keep practicing.

I hope others now realize that, with the right support, it’s possible to achieve so much more than you think! 

About the Author: Valerie Nuytten is a Mother and a Level 2 MovNat Certified Trainer. You can connect with her on Instagram at @valerienuytten.

Note from Jerome Rattoni: “Valerie, whom I had the pleasure to coach for both her in-person Level 1 and Level 2 certifications + online for a long time now, is the true example of dedication, consistency and passion into the practice of Natural Movement. I’ve seen changes both mentally and physically, with tremendous skill and conditioning gains. Her story is truly inspiring.”

The Power of Trust, Perseverance,
and MovNat Online Coaching

Before Valerie discovered MovNat, she wasn’t “sporty.” She didn’t jump, climb trees, and had never vaulted over anything. She was “a bit clumsy, pretty uncoordinated and lacking strength and confidence.” She also had a lot of back pain and was often tired. After working online with a MovNat Master Instructor, she has rebuilt her body, gotten stronger, eliminated the back pain, and gained many new abilities like the Pop Up and Fireman Carry. She also earned her MovNat Level 1 & 2 certifications and is now training for Level 3. If you’d like to follow in her footsteps, a great place to start is with MovNat Online Coaching.

Take a Deep Dive into Natural Movement Fitness

The MovNat Level 1 Certification is your entry point into the world’s official Natural Movement® Fitness program. It equips you with the knowledge, skills, and methods you need to transform your movement & fitness and build real world capability from the ground up. You’ll learn not only the movements in the official MovNat curriculum, but also the methods to apply those movements to your unique needs, goals, and circumstances.

Over the last twelve years, MovNat has helped thousands of people from all walks of life restore their natural abilities and lay a foundation for a deeper, lifelong movement practice. We are the original, official, and only Natural Movement® Fitness certification, with thousands of certified professionals and dozens of MovNat Local Partners all around the world.

Whether you’re completely new to Natural Movement Fitness, or a seasoned veteran looking to expand your skillset, the MovNat Level 1 Certification is your launchpad to a deep understanding of natural human movement, how to integrate it into your training and lifestyle, and help others do the same.

Want to get started at home?
Start today with our MovNat Level 1 Fundamentals E-Course





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