personal training st. john's

personal training st. john's

image credit Airiarunning.com

“Do you want to run faster?”

Who doesn’t? The new Airia One running shoe says it can make you faster.

A few months ago, the Swedish company contacted me because of my running background and my website www.strongerrunner.com to test-drive these new shoes. I said yes, so as a discloser, these shoes were given to me for free.

I was curious to see how these shoes would feel because, as you can tell from the video above, the design is quite different from a traditional running shoe. Their website (http://www.airiarunning.com) says that this shoe is completely designed for running that you can’t even walk in them.

How they are supposed to work:

“Our theory: a biomechanical difference affects each stride. Muscles are utilized in unique capacities, and since our shoes alter the muscular usage patterns with a unique design, you will be able to run faster and/or longer, especially at your maximum efforts.” ~Airia One website

After reading the proclaimed advantages of running in the Airia One, I was a bit skeptical but very interested to see how they would perform. When I first put them on my feet, my immediate reaction was “Whoa, these feel super weird.” The website was right, they are definitely not made for walking.

Here’s a brief history on me before I continue. I’ve been running for about 15 years, 9 of them competitively. I was prescribed orthotics to help with flat feet, a bunion (right foot) and an IT Band problem (right leg). I wore orthotics in my trainers, racing flats, spikes and day-to-day shoes. After I stopped competing (2007), I weaned myself off my orthotics and was conscious of changing my running stride from mostly heel striking to forefoot or mid-foot striking, even on slower paced runs. I also started running in Nike’s first edition of the Nike Free. After some time, I built up my foot strength and am now completely free of my orthotics. I now prefer running in a lower profile shoe. My current favorite running shoe is the Mizuno Hitogami. Read more about it here http://www.mizunocda.com/running/mens/running-shoes/neutral/wave-hitogami.

So, having said that, with my change in running gait and foot strength, I was really interested to see the Airia One in action. Last side note, I’ve tried Newton running shoes (the running shoe with the lugs that also promote a mid-foot strike) at a shoe store only once, so I’m not able to comment on the similarities/dissimilarities between these two brands.

In my first run, it took me about 15-minutes to get used to them. They totally forced me to run on my mid-foot. My left foot felt fine, but my right foot felt a bit off (because of my bunion). I’m conscious enough to keep my leg tracking straight, but noticed in a slow motion video of me running (incline 1, speed 20.0 on a km-mode treadmill) that I over pronate on my right foot in the Airia One (additional expert commentary is welcome!). From the rear view you can see my left ankle also over pronates. This irks me because it could lead to an overuse injury due to poor running mechanics.

I’ve included a video of me running in the Mizuno Hitogami as well for comparison sake. In the Hitogami, you can see (in my opinion) optimal pronation in both feet/ankles.

Mizuno Hitogami vs Airia from Jon-Erik Kawamoto on Vimeo.

Anyway, I tried the shoes on concrete, gravel and grass. I ran a few easy runs (60% max heart rate) and also did an interval workout with them. The faster running did feel a bit smoother compared to the slower paced running. However, in all my runs, my right foot never felt right. I felt that these shoes exacerbated my bunion issues.

Summary

What I liked:
-the promotion of a forefoot running gait (and that’s about it sadly enough)

What I didn’t like:
-right foot felt weird the entire time while the left foot felt “normal” (if my right foot was more like my left (no bunion) I might have enjoyed the ride a bit more)
-right big toe joint felt a unique stress that is absent in the Hitogami (perhaps my lack of big toe joint extension – because of my bunion – was really challenged in the Airia One)
-the shoe felt a bit heavy (US size 9.5)
-the price seems expensive, so I’m curious to see how many runners would actually purchase this shoe (even though my pair was free) vs a pair of Newtons

I had signed up for other gyms in the past and never went or rarely went. Something always got in the way or I was just too tired and lacked motivation to go. This way I’ve made a commitment to Jon or Thomas and I try very hard to keep my sessions once I’ve booked in. JKC is different from other gyms that I’ve tried in the past because no one is there to be “seen”. We are all there to get a good workout in and go on with our lives. And it’s a small gym so you get to know everyone and it’s like a big family. When I joined JKC, I couldn’t do a chin up with an elastic band, but I’ve slowly worked up to 10 free hanging chin ups. That was big because I hate chin ups.

sumo deadlift

I had always wanted to start lifting weights and get stronger, but didn’t know where to start. I was looking not just for a gym, but for training on proper technique to prevent injury and a program designed for my specific goals. I also wanted a fun and supportive atmosphere to keep me coming back. JKC delivered on all of this and more.

Jon and Thomas have a wealth of knowledge that help their clients get the most out of their time in the gym. Programs are continuously modified to keep the workouts challenging. Even through everyone’s program is unique, you always have the coaches and other clients cheering you on and pushing you to achieve new bests.

I heard somewhere that achieving your health goals is determined largely by what you do in the kitchen. I am grateful to have found Julia who brought direction and accountability to this most important piece for me. Having Julia in my corner has brought me confidence and certainty that I am on my way to achieving my goals. I highly recommend her if you are serious about making a change and feeling better about your health.

I had been struggling with work-life balance resulting in not exercising or playing hockey as much as I had been doing in the past. In addition to being out of shape, I was starting to experience some back/shoulder issues and realized I needed to make some changes. Around this time, a friend (who was also a client) recommended JKC and that’s when I started!

You really feel part of a community where everyone is welcoming and supportive. You get a program that is designed specifically to achieve your goals, with the ongoing coaching, progress tracking and support required to achieve them. The JKC team are very knowledgeable about fitness and conditioning, and very engaging with everyone to answer questions or discuss anything and everything training related. I also like the flexible scheduling and gym times that work for my schedule (I like early mornings and evenings).

Astrid Billfalk-Kelly

Personal Strength Training by Thomas King

I wanted to add strength training to my cardio, but have always felt gyms to be a bit intimidating, and was worried I would hurt myself without some supervision and help. JKC was highly recommended by several work colleagues. Thomas and Jon are both fantastic, making sure that everyone gets a highly personalized work out in a very supportive environment. The attention to detail and professionalism are second to none. The groups are very small, but very supportive and make the workouts even more fun. Since getting pregnant (36 weeks as I write this) I’m so happy that they continue to help me get stronger while always being safe.

As Seen On: