in: Fitness, Health & Fitness, Podcast

• Last updated: September 28, 2021

Podcast #195: How to Live Like an Ancient Greek Hero

During World War II the Greek island of Crete was occupied by the Nazis and was a strategic stronghold. To take back the island, Great Britain created a small band of misfit resistance fighters consisting of poets, historians, and Cretan shepherds. Their job was to muck things up for the Nazis, but one day they decided to do something completely audacious: kidnap a German general and get him off the island.

Against all the odds, they accomplished their mission.

How’d they do it?

My guest today on the podcast went to Crete to follow in the footsteps of these WWII resistance fighters and along the way discovered that they had tapped into the ancient Greek art of the hero. His name is Christopher McDougall and in his book Natural Born Heroeshe takes readers on a whirlwind tour through history, psychology, and fitness to show how these clever, courageous Englishmen emulated Odysseys and other Greek heroes and what regular Joes can do to live more heroically. In today’s episode, Chris and I discuss the mindset, the virtues, and the skills needed to become an ancient Greek hero.

Show Highlights

  • How a group of British resistance fighters consisting of poets and historians kidnapped a Nazi general
  • How the ancient Greeks defined heroism
  • Why Odysseys was the hero of heroes
  • The defining mark of manhood
  • How outsourcing our basic needs to specialists has fragilized us
  • How the emphasis on physique in fitness has made us physically weak
  • The Cretan Bounce and the power fascia
  • How to run like a Cretan
  • How a WWII special forces combat trainer marshaled the ethos of Greek pankration
  • Wild Bill Hickok and instinctive aim
  • The theory that the ancient Greeks were the originators of all Asian martial arts
  • How parkour taps into how Cretans traverse mountains
  • How MovNat is continuing the legacy of the ancient Greek idea of physical fitness
  • Why “be useful” should be the motto of your life
  • How to eat like a Cretan hero
  • And much more

Resources/Studies/People Mentioned in Podcast

Natural Born Heroes by Christopher McDougall, book cover.

If you love the ancient Greeks, WWII history, and physical fitness, you’ll love Natural Born HeroesIt’s a super fun read and jam-packed with info that’s both fascinating and practical.

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Read the Transcript

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