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

The people and the training set JKC apart from other gyms or programs I’ve tried in the past. Truly Jon and Thomas meet you where are and help you get to where you want to be. There are no expectations and never any judgement. You can go there having the worst day and you always leave feeling better. Truly JKC has given me a level of strength and confidence I would not have had otherwise ❤️.

I’m 35 and I started at JKC in November of 2019. I was coming off the win of the Royal St. John’s Regatta in 2019, and our crew was chomping at the bit to be stronger and faster for 2020. The reputation of JKC leached into our group and away we went! Unfortunately the regatta was cancelled due to COVID-19, but I just loved JKC so much I stuck around. JKC is different from other gyms because the level of experience the team has is unparalleled. Jon, Thomas and Craig all mesh well together and mentor me in a way that I know they love what they do and are genuinely excited to guide me towards my goals (and beyond). I really enjoy the atmosphere, the sense of community and all the positive vibes that I experience in every session. There’s never a time I don’t want to go because I’m motivated by the team’s coaching style and I get results.

I originally chose JKC to help me rehab following back surgery. JKC was the first gym where a trainer took the time to help me identify my goals and tailor my workouts to achieve them in a safe and doable manner. 🏋🏼 Jon & Thomas are both highly professional and knowledgeable. 👨🏼‍🎓 With their guidance and informative explanations 🗣 they have enabled me to reach my ever evolving goals. At JKC I’m guaranteed fun 😆, interesting 🙃 and diverse workouts, with Jon & Thomas forever supportive and encouraging. 👏🙌👍👊

I chose JKC because I row/coach teams in the St. John’s Regatta and was looking to add strength training to our program. My wife is also running friends with Julia, so I got to meet Jon a few times and heard lots of good things. I like JKC over other gyms because of the level coaching I receive and the gym atmosphere. The energy in the gym helps me through the tough workouts.

Not having much if any experience with professional gyms I though it would be along the lines of going to a facility and doing your own thing, getting some instructions from time to time, if you asked for it, and for most part working out on your own, in a large impersonalized setting. I was a bit apprehensive as I figured I’d be standing around a lot looking at all this equipment wondering what to do with it, or worst doing something to hurt myself. Well I couldn’t have been more wrong. Both Jon and Thomas are very attentive, professional trainers, who lay-out an exercise program, from start to finish, for you. They demonstrate the exercise they want you to do and then watch you do it to make sure you got it right. Jon and Thomas are very thorough, patience and non-assuming.

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