The expert in human movement and performance shares why health—not fitness—is important to him.
This summer, we’re bringing you inspiration from some of the top celebrity fitness teachers and athletes and sharing their summer workouts, power songs and more. Your dream summer starts here.
Michol Dalcourt is an expert in human movement and performance, and an international lecturer and educator. He is the founder of the Institute of Motion, a scientific resource for movement assessment, exercise design and more, and many of his techniques have been adopted by top international fitness certification bodies. Dalcourt is also the inventor of ViPR (a tool for training and conditioning), a father and fitness consultant. We asked Dalcourt to share his go-to workout, and his ideal summer day.
24Life: What’s your go-to source for inspiration?
Michol Dalcourt (MD): I find inspiration everywhere. I often walk my dog and think about how to change the world. I often find inspiration near water and with silence. A quiet mind attracts inspiring thoughts. Since I am a strong believer in how environment dictates behavior, I look to create inspiring environments to evoke inspiring thoughts. Sunset near a beach is a good start.
24Life: What do you teach and why?
MD: We at Institute of Motion (IoM) Health look at how to create structure around prevention health. That is what we do—we think about health as a lifelong pursuit.
24Life: Why is fitness so important to you?
MD: I’m going to say that fitness is NOT important to me. Health is. While this does indeed include physical fitness training, it is only one part of a much larger importance for me. How I live my life in all facets is what I focus on. I enjoy fitness; I enjoy time away from fitness. I enjoy activity and I enjoy relaxation. I enjoy work and I enjoy time away from work. My goal is to find enjoyment in what I do, as opposed to seeking out enjoyment. There is a huge difference for me.
24Life: What is your ideal workout (that is 24 minutes or less)?
MD: I love variability. This means that I strive to expose my body to a lot of different stimulus. I want to be ready in any situation. Therefore, the perfect workout for me is the one that is constantly changing. I will vary intensity (sub-max and high). I will vary load (resistance training and body movement training). I will vary times of day to work out. As for moves—if I shift and lift weight, move my body weight in space and grab a ViPR here and there, I am a happy man!
As summer draws to an end and people are getting back into travel, I want to show you a great mobility stretch for the hips.
24Life: What’s your greatest passion, outside of the work that you do?
MD: That’s easy. My daughter Berkeley. She is truly the best. Period.
24Life: Describe your perfect summer day.
MD: Morning: read, work out. Mid-morning: inspired work. Lunch: outside in the sunlight. Mid-afternoon: nap, inspired work. Evening: with family dining outside with the setting sun. Truly perfect!
24Life: What is your power food?
MD: Fermented food, such as sauerkraut.
24Life: What’s your number-one stressor and your surefire stress buster?
MD: Stress comes in various forms and at various times. I think it is impossible to identify a stressor that is more or less severe than others. It is all a matter of timing and context.
One thing that is excellent to practice as a health strategy, however, is the practice of establishing a “20X.” 20X speaks to the notion that we are 20 times as strong when we lean on our “tribe” as opposed to facing life’s stressors alone. (Clearly 20 times as strong is an arbitrary number, however, the premise and practice are significant.) Establishing a “tribe” is identifying and speaking to individuals who you can lean on in times of stress and crisis. As they understand their role in your life, it will help you and give them purpose—two critical aspects of health and happiness.
Everyone should have a 20X. 20X can be family, friends, faith, prayer, meditation or a combination of this.
24Life: What is one thing people might not know about you?
MD: I’m a private person who generally likes to amplify the power and presence of others, as opposed to talking about myself. I find it difficult to identify with the new culture of social media, where the lens of focus is put back on yourself. I would much rather inspire others and find out about them, than speak about myself. There is a great quote regarding social media: “Never in our history have we been so proud to show off so much, about so little.” Amen to that.
24Life: What’s your secret to getting stuff done?
MD: Surround yourself with good people. There’s no way could I get as much done without our incredible team at IoM.
24Life: What book is on your night table?
MD: I have three at the moment: “The Seventh Sense,” “Structure and Function in Cell Signaling” and “The Magical Tree House” series (for my daughter).
24Life: What’s your secret for a great night’s sleep?
MD: Create a sleep strategy. Falling asleep has little to do with what you do right before. It has everything to do with how you plan to unwind. Get enough light during the day and practice good nutrition. If I aim to fall asleep at 10, I begin dimming the lights at 8:30. Any music is relaxing and soft and all screens go off at 8:30.
24Life: Any interesting performance rituals that you have before you teach, work or train?
MD: I like to be in the moment. If I am teaching, I like to find out about the students I’m teaching so that I teach to THEM, not simply go through the motions.
24Life: Best advice you’ve given or gotten in 24 words or less?
MD: One lesson that I am constantly learning is one of empathy. Being empathetic is perhaps the most human of all qualities.
Photo credit: Courtesy of Institute of Motion