Nathaniel Nolan | Mastering Human Movement

Sevan Matossian (00:03):

I went back and last night, nine o’clock at night, I got on the old assault bike and at 1.5 time watched some of our old podcast a year ago. God, what an inspiration You are. Oh yeah. You are killing it, dude. I’m killing it. I think you’re killing it. You’re 28 months into your practice, a practice that you developed on your own.

Nathaniel Nolan (00:30):

Yeah. Well, walking on my hands every single day. That practice today is, it’s like eight 70, all

Sevan Matossian (00:42):

Fours practice is what you call it. Right? All fours still.

Nathaniel Nolan (00:44):

Yeah. Well, that’s how it kind of started was specifically with Bear Crawl. But since the practice has evolved to more calisthenics, break dancing, including stuff from my juujitsu practice, some of the stuff that doesn’t include being on all fours now, it’s just being on my hands. So at some point throughout the day, I’m going to try to accumulate a certain amount of time on my hands, and that’s been true since the very beginning. It’s just the thing that’s also remained true up through Day 870,

Sevan Matossian (01:17):

You have a XP movement account, and then you have the annual Nathaniel account, and those are the two on Instagram. And then I don’t do TikTok, but I’d forgotten how popular you are on TikTok. I’m guessing you crossed over a million.

Nathaniel Nolan (01:32):

Yeah, we got over a million on TikTok. I wanted to have XP movement actually be my handle on Instagram as well. But right after the first video went viral, somebody snagged that name up and I made a commitment to myself that I’m not going to pay anybody for that name. So they get that, but it’s got zero followers and zero posts.

Sevan Matossian (01:53):

Yeah, that’s interesting. Someone snagged my Instagram account too. I had the Real Seon podcast was taken right away, soon as I started, and so we had to switch to the Real Seon podcast. It’s kind of annoying.

Nathaniel Nolan (02:10):

That is annoying. That feels like my intellectual property

Sevan Matossian (02:15):

Or just like, Hey, it’s a dickhead move. You’re not even using it.

Nathaniel Nolan (02:19):

Yeah, you jerk.

Sevan Matossian (02:20):

Yeah. Do you know who it is?

Nathaniel Nolan (02:23):

No. No. It’s just some faceless internet person

Sevan Matossian (02:26):

And you’d be willing to do five, three minute rounds of jiujitsu against them to get it back.

Nathaniel Nolan (02:32):

I would do that with a lot of people. I think that’s actually where my career is heading, is towards the influencer fight game.

Sevan Matossian (02:41):

Tell me serious. So are you telling me, let’s go back just a little bit more. So you have 870 days of a practice you’ve developed. Do you know who John Hackleman is? No. He was Chuck Liddell’s coach, and he was Glover to sheriff’s coach. You know who those two guys are, right? Oh, yeah. Yeah. So John Hackleman ISS based out of San Luis Obispo, California, and he’s been on the show and he trained in Hawaii with a guy, a guy who had developed his own martial arts, and he was also a collector for this guy. So basically a lone shark guy, you know what I mean? He was a thug for this guy, and he also took martial arts from this guy. Anyway, and this guy had developed his own martial arts, and hackleman became a 10th degree black belt in this self-developed martial arts.


Then he came to San Luis Obispo, California and developed another martial arts that he then mastered, and his students gave him a 10th degree black belt in that. How he got Chuck Liddell as his first fighter is another dojo said, Hey, your shit stinks. And so he goes, okay, I’ll come over to your dojo and we’ll settle it. And the guy goes, fine. So he goes over there to that dojo in San Luis Obispo, California, and the guy says, Hey, my back’s hurt. The sensei says that, but you can fight one of my students, and guess who the student was? Chuck Liddell. So he beats up Chuck Liddell and Chuck Liddell follows him out into the parking lot and goes, Hey, I want to train with you. And he ends up turning Chuck Liddell into a world champion, and then now he’s also Glover to share’s coach, which is crazy, right? Glover, to share what he’s done is one of the most remarkable things ever. Yeah, go ahead.

Nathaniel Nolan (04:15):

No, no. I mean, that’s

Sevan Matossian (04:16):

Awesome. So when I hear all that and I’m like, Hey, this is what Nathaniel’s doing. It’s not a martial art, but it is a form of training that you have completely and wholeheartedly stepped out onto your own and started doing. You’re developing a practice. I mean, do you know anyone else who’s doing what you’re doing?

Nathaniel Nolan (04:39):

So yes and no. So yes, in the fact that all the movements that I do are things that are totally within the normal realm of the fitness community and what people use, bear crawls, handstands, pushups, people do these things all the time. I think what I’m doing that I guess is a little bit unique is just the perspective of how I see organizing these things and how to approach when and where they happen. So that way most of it is integrated into my daily lifestyle and not into set aside sessions that make up most of my training. And that’s actually what the main point of my walking on my hands thing was. I’m trying to accumulate more time doing this kind of normal thing. You would set aside time to do bear curl at a gym. A lot of people would. I’m just doing that.


I’m just doing it in a way where I’m going to be able to accumulate all of that time all at once, and then, well actually now throughout the day, I usually will be able to break that up and accumulate it. But really the thing that’s just different is just the way that I approach integrating my training into my day. I’m taking something that basically walking on my hands thing, that’s just one aspect of my training. I’m going to make that an entire practice, but I do that with multiple things too. I don’t know if you saw, but I did a hanging series not that long ago too.

Sevan Matossian (06:09):

Are you still doing the hanging series? Is that still by still doing it? Are you hanging every day still?

Nathaniel Nolan (06:15):

Every single day, yeah. Day. What is it? Day 2, 2 25 of hanging. Today,

Sevan Matossian (06:23):

I want to go back. Can you give me some examples of integrating, let’s say you need to go to the store three blocks from your house and pick up a carton of milk. Will you go there on? Will you bear crawl there? No. No. Okay, so not integrated like that?

Nathaniel Nolan (06:38):

No. So it’s actually the point of it, and this is a concept I’ve spoken about before, but I call it free XP or free training. It’s basically the concept is I’m going to take, I’m acknowledge all of my goals, everything that I want to be able to do or the things I’d like to be able to fit in and work on, and then I’m going to audit my entire day, and then I’m just going to look for places to swap out things that I’m already doing with things that are more aligned with my goal. So walking to the store on all fours or in a bear crawl, that’s going way out of my way. But let’s say I’m transitioning from standing to the floor, and then I do that by putting my hands on the floor and then lifting my legs up and doing a little handstand.


That’s what I would call free training. I didn’t really set aside any additional time to make that transition, but I just fit it in, and then those accumulate very quickly throughout the day if you’re just constantly looking for them. I guess if I was going to go from the couch to the fridge, I could do that, but it’s just at this point really easy to find a kind normal ways to integrate it that I don’t need to really go out of my way. For example, being on my hands doesn’t necessarily mean being in a bear crawl or even in a handstand. I like to degrade things down to the absolute lightest version of them. So it might just be like in the morning while I’m brushing my teeth, I’m leaning on the wall at a steep angle with one hand, so that way I’m accumulating an extra two minutes on that hand before I even start my day.


And then I can do the same thing with the other hand while I’m having a conversation waiting for my kettle to heat up in the morning, and just little things like that, you’d be surprised, but if you set aside, let’s say, an hour to go to the gym, and a portion of that was, I’m going to spend some time on my hands now because I want to accumulate some time there to get better at either the skill or to build tolerance there. The time that you’re setting aside at the gym, it pales in comparison to what I can set aside in small one to two minute increments where I’m just replacing an activity that I would already be doing. So again, I’m not setting aside any additional time

Sevan Matossian (08:52):

Well ever. The thing that I think of right away is two miles from my house is a Toyota dealership, and every time, Hey, my checkup light goes on, I get excited. I know I’m going to drive there and I’m going to walk home and it’s going to give me two hours to listen to an audio book. So I can be like, oh, that’s sweet. I’m going to get just two hours of uninterrupted listening. Is there anything that you do? You would never watch TV unless you were, let’s say you were watching something that you were interested in. Let’s say you were watching some juujitsu matches for people who, dunno, you’re a brown belt belt and Brazilian, and how long have you been practicing?

Nathaniel Nolan (09:32):

Probably about 11 years now.

Sevan Matossian (09:35):

Okay, so you’re a real competent brown belt,

Nathaniel Nolan (09:39):


Sevan Matossian (09:40):

Okay. You, yeah, I watched a bunch of footage. I mean, as competent as someone, as I could say is competent, would you ever watch TV or be watching any computer stuff while you’re also not practicing? Would you make sure that you’re up on a bar like a Parrott if you were watching tv?

Nathaniel Nolan (09:58):

So I do a lot of that because it’s so easy, right? Sitting is, I think sitting is one of the great untapped pools for developing strength, flexibility because we do it so often and it’s such a passive thing. Hell yeah, you’re doing it right now. But even beyond that, and here’s how I like to think about it. This is actually my perspective that I’m trying to push on people just so that way it’s easier for people to understand is that when you’re sitting, you’re already training, right? We’re already training right now. The way that we’re sitting is just training us to build tolerance to these ranges of motion to these positions. So if you sit at a desk in a comfortable chair for eight hours a day, your body will literally start to adapt to that setting, to that chair, to those positions. Your hamstrings will shorten and your hip flexors will get tighter, but those adaptations will happen because your body is trying to get better at that.


It’s trying to do you a favor. So whenever I’m sitting down, I’m trying to think about, all right, my body’s literally right now, I’m spending a copious amount of time, an hour, two hours, way longer than most people would go and spend at the gym sitting and doing this activity. Maybe I’m watching some juujitsu or something. What do I want my body to be adapting into in that time? So again, it goes back to I’m trying to, it’s more of a perspective thing. A lot of people don’t realize that the actions that you’re doing throughout the day are informing your physicality what you’re capable of more than anything else. And if you just acknowledge that, if you just acknowledge, Hey, what I’m doing throughout the day is impacting what I can and can’t do, then it becomes really easy to start to, like I said, swap things out and to see the game that you’re actually playing.


That’s how I like to think about. It’s like we’re all playing this game. We’re constantly training. Your body is constantly adapting to the actions throughout your day. Just open your eyes and see that that is the reality of it, and then you can make some changes very easily. My whole goal now is to, now that I’m in my thirties and I’m a dad and everything is to just be as capable as possible while doing as little as possible. I always try to joke with people that I really don’t train, even though I’m constantly training because I put so much less effort than I did in my twenties.

Sevan Matossian (12:28):

How old’s your kid?

Nathaniel Nolan (12:30):

13 months.

Sevan Matossian (12:31):

Wow. Congratulations. Thank you. Do you live with your kid? Oh, yeah. Yeah. Good job. We live together. Thanks. Wow. Wow. You’re doing it, boy or girl?

Nathaniel Nolan (12:39):

Girl. Yeah.

Sevan Matossian (12:41):

Wow. Congratulations. Thank you. Are you absolutely loving it?

Nathaniel Nolan (12:45):

I’ve been loving it. Yeah. It’s really been the very best part of my life so far. And it’s funny because before meeting her mom, I didn’t really want to have kids in the sense that I was like, I’m not going to contribute to overpopulation, blah, blah, blah. I had all of these reasons and then I met her and it all just made sense all of a sudden. And since then, it’s been the best part of my life. So going into everything that all my priorities and my goals prior to her being born, everything has completely shifted and completely changed. And again, that’s part of it’s I’m trying to do as little training, setting aside as little time for my physical goals so I can set aside more time for my family and for her.

Sevan Matossian (13:41):

And when you’re with her, do you see that with her? Are you looking for ways to already train her? I remember when my kid, I’ll give you a couple examples. I thought crawling was the holy grail of fitness. Even before I met you, I thought crawling was like, as soon as you stand up, you’re done crawling. Why would you ever encourage anyone to walk? So whenever my kids crawl and they were crawling proficiently and fast, I’d be like, dude, beast. And I would never give them those toys that encouraged them to stand or walk or any of that. But also when they would war to stand up and walk, I would cheer them on. You know what I mean? Oh, great. Just talk to ’em like they were just one of the dudes. Do you see yourself integrating what you know?

Nathaniel Nolan (14:31):

Well, I’ve always just known that kids are inherently better movers than adults because they don’t have all of the same restrictions, and I don’t really need to train her or coach her in any way. She’s a freak of nature. Phenom. She was walking at nine months, and by the time she was 10 months, 10 or 11 months, we had to take all of her pack and plays down because she would literally do a pull up and pull herself out of ’em.

Sevan Matossian (15:06):

Yeah, awesome.

Nathaniel Nolan (15:07):

So yeah, she just sprints everywhere now and has been for a few months. But I mean, you don’t have to teach her anything. The thing I want the most is to just show her. So I think part of it’s maybe just seeing me doing handstands, crawling around, jumping up on things, just seeing different options. She has such a little parrott, so she’ll, like anything we say or do, she’s going to copy. So I don’t really need to coax her. She is constantly trying to replicate what we’re doing. So I think just giving her a little bit of an example, some space, and it’s obviously seems to be working.

Sevan Matossian (15:46):

It’s funny, I didn’t even think about this until just now, since my kids, before they were born, I’ve always had wooden gymnastics rings hanging in the room. And so every day since my kids have been born and now they’re seven and nine, they’ve done some sort of hanging every single day of their life. They hang, and their cores are so crazy strong because as soon as you hang your feet kick in front of your frontal plane. And so my kids have always been hanging. I highly recommend hanging rings in a room somewhere, just some rogue wooden rings. I just mounted ’em to the ceiling. I I hired a handyman and he did the man shit. Yeah, crazy.

Nathaniel Nolan (16:21):

Yeah, I mean, I think that’s great. And that’s actually something, it’s something that is more accessible as a kid because you’re so light that you can kind of get away with hanging on things and climbing on things and suspending from things. But as an adult, most people don’t have access to something they can hang on in their own home. I think just having that around, and then again, they need to

Sevan Matossian (16:41):

Put it in, they need to stop being pussies and put it in, Hey, it’s your living room. I know other people don’t have rings hanging in their living room, but do it. Just do it. Not you. I’m just saying rhetorically.

Nathaniel Nolan (16:50):

Yeah, no, I’m telling you. If you find somewhere to hang, I’m talking directly to the audience now, but yeah, that’s really good advice. You should have someplace to hang.

Sevan Matossian (17:02):

Is your hobby turned into a profession? Let me rephrase that. Has your passion turned into a profession?

Nathaniel Nolan (17:13):

It’s definitely the goal I think is for me, just being able to do what I want and train the way that I want for that to be my entire profession. Right now I’m still coaching, but yeah, I would love to just do just the influencer thing. In fact, any businesses, any products, brands out there that are looking for somebody to promote their stuff. But the thing is, is that I’m just such a stickler with can’t fake. I’m not a good actor in any way, and I can’t really fake enjoying something or using something that I am not behind. So I need basically to just constantly be reaching out to brands that are things that I use. So if you are a brand and you see something in the background of my videos or you want to put something back there, send it to me and then we can talk. But that’s basically all I’m trying to do right now. I’m trying to get away from having to do too much one-on-one coaching. That’s still what I’m doing.

Sevan Matossian (18:17):

Kevin, I got a tumble track bar on Matt’s that you have in your garage. Awesome. Yep. My kids use those every day too. My four-year-old daughter came up to me yesterday. So proud of the calluses on our hands. Yeah, highly recommend all. Oh yeah. So those are the rings hanging in. Now I live in a different house, but we still have rings. I think that’s Avi at 10 months old. And as a parent, that’s really hard to watch. I’m terrified right now, but that’s my oldest son at 10 months. That was every day. And you think right there, it’s scary. If he falls back, he’s going to bang his head. His head can’t reach, but I think he actually falls here and you’ll see how quickly he rotates or maybe he doesn’t.


And I would dangle those rings just out of reach often. Also, by the way, if you do, oh, let’s go. If you do have rings in your house, that was a huge mistake right there, having rings that your kid can put his head through because your kid will stick his head through and he’ll hang himself and die. The rings always have to be above his head. And ideally now we have small rings that they can’t put their head in. So really important. And tumble track also sells small plastic rings, and you can use them too, obviously.

Nathaniel Nolan (19:30):

Yeah, I probably could. And then we’ve got a setup in here. We’ve got some adjustable bars and TRX and all of that. So honestly, I wish that I could switch over and start. I’ve kind of taken or slowed down the pace for my content creation and just been doing just the things that I really, really want to. Mostly because before I was doing my daily posts, here’s what I’m doing. I’m hanging every day. I’m crawling every day now. So much of my day includes my daughter. It’s like I feel like I have to exclude that because I’m still not sure how I feel about having her on the internet. And I think that it would be something that people would want to see and it would be a good way for me to share what’s going on actually in my life, other than just the small snippets of a session at the beginning or the end of the day. But I don’t know. How do you feel about that?

Sevan Matossian (20:33):

You’re bringing back so many memories. So here’s another thing I did. I never picked my kid up once. They had a strong grip. I can’t remember how it was. So every, and you have to be, this isn’t for everyone, but this is for people like me and you who are present and who understand grip and all that stuff. Every time I would pick my kids up, I would put my two fingers out. They would grab their fingers, I would lift them a little bit off the ground. I would bring them close to me, and then we would switch positions every time for two reasons. It always made me present. It slowed me down. He got stronger. I got stronger. It did what you said. We were multitasking. I had to pick him up to take him. The only time I would ever pick him up and grab him if it was an emergency, and I can’t even think of an example, you know what I mean?


But if he fell, if we were crossing the street and he fell and there were cars coming, but even then I realized that anytime my kid fell, if I went over and picked him up, I stole a burpee from him. I stole a fucking burpee from him. I got stronger and he lost an opportunity. But all of those things, and I showed all of that shit on the internet, and a lot of my friends, I got a lot of flack from my friends. My close friends said I was a sheer, I just had to share everything my kids were doing. Hey, Caleb, will you go to the maybe three playing brothers YouTube station or Instagram and just scroll back, but maybe even scroll back way back. So they have an Instagram account. Oh, so look at that pull-up bar right there. So that bar or Yeah, those gymnastics bars. Yeah. My kids spend so much time. I got that from Tumble track. They sponsored it, by the way. I’m sure they would sponsor you too. They’re a great company and my kids get on that thing every single day. Even today it’s seven and nine.

Nathaniel Nolan (22:29):

Yeah, that’s awesome.

Sevan Matossian (22:30):

Yeah, this stuff. So yeah, we do tons of this. Oh yeah, this is a great practice. Just keep moving that thing a little further and further away. And I don’t know how old they are here, three or four, but I got three of them too, which kind of helps. They kind of are competing and mimicking each other.

Nathaniel Nolan (22:49):

Yeah, the thing is that they’re just going to copy what they see and then they’re going to build on it a little bit. Kids are so good at taking literally a mundane task and making it a game, and that just keeps you constantly progressing. It must be like a survival trait or developmental trait that we have for our own good is to just keep trying things until we figure out what works. I feel like at a certain point, movement wise, we just completely stop doing that. In fact, we start taking cues from people start, I guess metaphorically picking us up, saying, you have to sit in this chair for eight hours to do your job or whatever, or you have to walk in a straight line whenever you’re going down the street. However, I feel like there’s these very defined ways that we’re told or at least shown to move And look, kids don’t follow any of those rules. If you’ve taken a kid to a store, it’s like complete chaos. I want to be that chaos. I feel

Sevan Matossian (23:42):


Nathaniel Nolan (23:43):

Then I can have that mobility and strength. Look at that. I don’t know very many adults that can do this.

Sevan Matossian (23:52):

So if you just have that stuff around, kids will just start doing that stuff. They just know to do that. You don’t have to be like, Hey, do the skin, the cat, this is how you do it. You just be like, Hey, hang there. And then eventually your kid does that shit.

Nathaniel Nolan (24:04):

Exactly. And this is also another distinction I like to make is kids don’t even see doing reps like this as training. This is currently their job is to just entertain themselves and they are gaining skills that, again, as a coach, just seeing people earnestly come in and try week after week to try to unlock a skill like that. And then to see some kid being like, that seems like a really hilarious thing to go do and to have my juice box. It feels like there’s kind of a missing link there. Why at the age of 30 is it so challenging, so difficult to do that, and I don’t think it’s anything to do with that. We’ve deteriorated physically. It’s just that literally A, we’ve completely limited all of our options, and B, we’ve adapted into something that is far from that. And like I said, just changing some little perspective things about how you approach your day. You can go back to being like a kid, and I think the biggest barrier for a lot of people is just not having permission to do it or thinking they look a little bit silly.

Sevan Matossian (25:21):

For sure. People are afraid. We had a professional athlete on here, the backup quarterback for the Chicago Bears young man just made the team, and he was saying, yeah, that was interesting. He brought that up. I had forgotten about that. Now that I’m old, people are embarrassed. People are embarrassed sometimes to try things or work hard. He said, you got to get over that shit. You got to fucking go until there’s snot coming out of your nose.

Nathaniel Nolan (25:45):

I think it’s funny because I think I look around gems and if you were to just take any of that stuff out of context, it’s It’s super weird. It’s super weird, super goofy, super cringey to see somebody grunting and screaming, and it’s like within the context of understanding that that person just lifted maybe the heaviest thing they’ve ever lifted. That’s badass. You’re seeing it from the perspective of their movie, but outside, especially if you don’t even understand the training process, you’re like, what the fuck is this weirdo doing? This is super strange. That’s how I see everything. Or I guess that’s how it’s easy for me to see that as being just as silly as taking a stroll down the street in a bear crawl or whatever.

Sevan Matossian (26:38):

How about when the gardeners come to my house and I’m in the garage working out and there’s a dude walking around with a gas powered blower that I know is heavy working out his forearms. There’s another guy pushing a mower. There’s another guy raking, doing basically some sort of mock sled pool, and I’m in my garage like a fucking jackass accomplishing nothing. They’re out there. I’m like, I pay these guys to do what I’m doing in here. Sometimes I trip on that. That’s the only time I feel like a fool. I’m like, God, I’m kind of weird.

Nathaniel Nolan (27:08):

Yeah, I think people sometimes take fitness a little too seriously because they think of it as this separate thing that they’ve got to psych themselves up for or as some sort of, it’s something that’s going to transform them and it can physically and mentally can transform you, but it’s like people have been gaining strength and skill and ability not doing that for a long time. So it’s not like that is the norm. Before physical training, people still had strength and ability. In fact, we simulated in the gym because we just don’t encounter that in our daily lives. So I don’t see how doing what we did before, just having just an integrated lifestyle, like a training integrated lifestyle where you don’t have to set aside a bunch of time to go to a gym and to do kind of out of context exercises to look like you can do things in a specific context. For example, I mean, sorry, give me one second. My computer is unplugged. We’re back.

Sevan Matossian (28:22):

You were going to give an example.

Nathaniel Nolan (28:24):

Yeah, seriously. We go to the gym. We do this to build our bodies to look a specific way or maybe even to try to function a certain way, but for what task? What is the true task that you’re doing? If you were to actually go do that task, you would build more strength and proficiency and your body would look more like what that task would demand. So that’s generally how I try to approach my training. I get comments about how I look a lot of the times and how I look is exactly what I feel like I should look like because it’s exactly what my body looks like from being able to,

Sevan Matossian (28:59):

You have a fighter’s physique, like a warrior’s physique. I call it a

Nathaniel Nolan (29:03):

Dad bod. It’s my dad

Sevan Matossian (29:04):

Bod. I think you look like a fighter. You look like a professional fighter. You look like a little more muscular than a professional fighter. I think

Nathaniel Nolan (29:13):

I look more muscular than a professional fighter

Sevan Matossian (29:16):

When I think of boxers, I guess.

Nathaniel Nolan (29:22):

I think,

Sevan Matossian (29:23):

Are you still around one 50? One 60? Yeah. Yeah. And I was tripping on how, and you’re five seven. Yeah, that’s just, and look how thin you are. You’re just a fucking muscle you suck to roll with. Can you beat everyone at your gym?

Nathaniel Nolan (29:39):

I mean, yeah, I try to think of myself as a fun role, is how I think about it. But yeah, no, I literally do try to make it suck for everybody at all times. I try to make them uncomfortable as a way to make them grow. So you can see you were headgear. I got a hemat.

The above transcript is generated using AI technology and therefore may contain errors.

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