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Move to live, live to move! Health and fitness is a bushy, multi-disciplinary practice that includes body, mind, spirit and the creative imagination. Exuberant Animal explores the totality of human health and promotes a truly integrated approach that spans culture, biology, psychology and animal behavior. You’ll discover powerful new ideas for movement and living that will stimulate your vitality, creativity and enthusiasm.


“Frank is a superb writer. His voice is clear, accurate and accessible.”

Robert Sapolsky


"No joy, no gain!–that might well be Frank Forencich's exercise motto. A nation filled with fit, playful hominids fully in touch with their evolutionary heritage is a true pleasure to contemplate."

Bill McKibben



“I really appreciate Frank’s innovative approach. His method is sophisticated, playful and holistic.”

Debbie Armstrong

1984 Olympic Gold Medalist


Exuberant Animal grows out of the trunk laid down in my previous book, Play as if Your Life Depends on It. In that work, I sketched out an evolutionary view of physical fitness and its three primary branches: the primal, the practical and the playful. The primal branch is that of human origins and the natural history of our bodies. The practical branch includes the study of functional movement–concepts such as balance, useful strength, core integration and efficient locomotion. The playful branch emphasizes joyful exuberance and pleasure in motion. In Exuberant Animal, the idea is to take our interest in the human body and grow some additional branches, shoots and leaves. The branches you’ll find in this book began life as a series of newsletters and are naturally diverse: some are sober, reasoned analysis, some are creative non-fiction, some are how-to, others are wild and passionate ravings on our physical predicament. (I will leave it to you to decide which is which.) Some are marked by gravity, others by levity. In any case, each branch will provide a different perspective on how your body works and give you some ideas on how to make it work better. Throughout this book, we’ll explore two main branches of human health: exuberance and animalhood. The animal side is our physicality, our flesh, our tissue. It’s powerful, strong, endurant and primal. Exuberance is the psychospiritual branch, our joyful enthusiasm. It’s creative, curious and playful. It seeks adventure, novelty and movement of all descriptions. Of course, exuberance and animalhood are tightly interconnected and interdependent; each contributes to the other. In fact, it’s almost impossible to address one without the other. The more exuberance you can generate, the happier your body will become. Likewise, the more vitality and performance you can bring to your tissue, the greater your enthusiasm for living. It’s a perfectly virtuous circle that serves us well.

Frank Forencich earned his B.A. at Stanford University in human biology and has over 25 years teaching experience in martial art and functional movement. He has climbed extensively throughout North America and has traveled to Africa to study the ancestral environment. Frank is the author of The Way of the Owl and Play as if Your Life Depends on It.


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