jon-erik kawamoto fitness coachA few weeks back, I participated in a Health Talk with a few other health care professionals in Port Moody. It was hosted by the Runner’s Den, which is a specialty running store that used to sponsor me when I was competing.
I answered questions on strength training and core stability training and it’s application to runners.

One question that stood out, was “what are you thoughts on barefoot running?”

With all the hoopla on barefoot running over the past year, people want to know if it’s going to be all it’s made out to be and that’s understandable.

Alright, here are some of the points I mentioned:

  • Barefoot running isn’t for everyone.  Some people with extreme biomechanical deficiencies “work better” with orthotics, braces or special types of footwear.
  • Elite runners wear different types of footwear depending on the type of run workout they are doing.  Very very very very rarely will you find an elite runner run 100% of the time either barefeet or in Vibram Fivefingers.
  • Elites spend more time in low profile shoes than recreational runners.  Track spikes and racing flats have a very low profile and allow runners to land more mid-foot compared to really built up cushy shoes.  Their bodies are used to running in these types of shoes, so the transition to running barefeet or in something like the Fivefingers isn’t as extreme as it would be for a sedentary person wanting to start a running program.  Elites would want to either perform their running drills or cool downs barefeet to improve proprioception, ankle stiffness and arch muscle activity and strength.  Running workouts, like repeat miles or hill repeats will be performed in racing flats or track spikes.
  • Elite runners will usually wear similar or thicker than racing flat type running shoes for “easy runs” AKA “off day runs.”  Because some runs may be on cement, the shoe provides impact protection and saves the joints and the body from the high amounts of mileage elite runners usually put in per week.
  • The tribe known for barefoot running doesn’t run on concrete, sit at the computer all day and lead a sedentary lifestyle.  Oh ya, they have been running with minimal footwear since they were born…THEIR BODIES ARE USED TO IT!!  Compare all those points to the population who live in the modern western world who want to join the minimalist running cult.
  • Runners who want to try barefoot running and are used to wearing thick soled running shoes should transition slowly to thinner and thinner soled shoes to teach the body how to adapt to the new stresses of barefoot or minimal running.  Just as you would progressively overload weight in the gym, you have to progressively transition the new stresses on the body with flatter and flatter shoes.

So, the bottom line, it really depends.

-JK

lisa jumping onto a box

JKC was recommended to me by a fellow runner. I was experiencing injuries, and feeling weak and fragile. When I started with JKC, Jon asked me about my goals and my focus. I wanted to concentrate specifically on running, and preventing injury. Jon developed a program for me that has enabled me to focus on my form and strength and has been flexible enough to enable me to train for many different races. I have been training with JKC for six years, and during that time I have enjoyed Jon and Thomas’s expertise in a very warm and supportive atmosphere.

JKC is different from other gyms/fitness regimes I have tried in the past because of my level of comfort with the facility and other JKC clients and the amount of knowledge both Jon and Thomas demonstrate through personal attention to form, core development and overall strength is outstanding. JKC is by far the best training hands on attention that I’ve experienced period and I have experienced many over a lifetime of activity and playing various sports. The facility has everything you require plus, as you will learn there are many ways to use every piece of equipment and Jon and Thomas are very creative! There are many age groups and professions who attend this gym from elite athlete’s to the rest of us and the casual but focused atmosphere in the gym makes each visit interesting, friendly and challenging at all levels.

I had virtually no real experience using weights and felt intimidated going gyms. I avoided gym-goers using free weights, especially when hearing that loud crash, as they would drop weights to the floor. I thought this was to show everyone around them that they owned that area and that I shouldn’t go anywhere near! So I guess I just wanted to learn how to lift weights safely in a gym environment.

I spent over 18 years in the British Military, so I got to use some nice gyms. 99% of my time and experiences in those gyms was spent doing cardiovascular workouts, because I could just jump on a treadmill, plug in my head phones and do my own thing! JKC is different, because they have given me the confidence to use free weights and equipment that I had feared for years. Their demonstrations and knowledge is impeccable and I thank them for their continuous belief and support they show me at every session.

Tara Rector-Whelan

Personal Strength Training by Thomas King

I started at JKC after a good friend recommended it to me. She had been coming for about a year and I was envious of her great results. I felt sluggish after failing to motivate myself with various home workout routines. I love the fun and relaxed atmosphere at JKC. It’s such a comfortable gym space and I enjoy knowing so many of the people I work out with. Jon and Thomas make an effort to introduce everyone to each other and with all the joking around,  it starts to feel like a family. Not to mention the awesome results. I’ve always liked to run on a treadmill but I’ve never had the drive to lift weights on my own. Going to JKC makes me accountable which was what I really needed. I feel so much stronger and healthier than I did 4 years ago when I started.

log overhead press

I had tried JKC based on the recommendation of a parent of one of my students. I originally started by attending Saturday drop in classes. I was hooked. I decided to join full time when I I had taken a year off from teaching and it was the best thing I have done for myself.

First and foremost the trainers at JKC are extremely knowledgeable. I feel like they are as dedicated to my success as I am. The workouts are tailored to me, my skills and my goals. This is important. Jon and Thomas truly want the best for their clients no matter what level of fitness they are starting from. I also like being able to book a session at a time that suits my schedule. This also helps keep me accountable. Once the session is booked I am not likely to cancel!

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