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

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.

I had spent a fair bit of time in gyms in my teens and twenties but I turned away from the gym to focus on activities that I enjoyed more. What keeps me at JKC is that I do really enjoy it. I always feel that I’ve accomplished something when I leave at the end of my workout. The environment is really positive and focused on challenging yourself whatever your level of comfort and fitness. I’ve also seen results that I’m really happy with; having someone who really knows what they’re talking about to guide your workouts makes them way more effective and focused than just “going to the gym”.

Shortly after I started at JKC, I sustained a fairly major injury that took me off my feet for several months. When I started to get back to activity, it was very difficult. Jon and Thomas worked hard to tailor my workouts to my goals and what I could do. With their help, I’ve been steadily building back strength and function.

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.

I’m 29 and I just had my 3rd Liftiversary 🥳 at JKC. I chose to train here because of the great word on the street and the fact that at lululemon, we’re encouraged to support our local community. My day-to-day routine is very busy, and I love showing up and having to think very little about my workout. The vibes are always good, my music choice is usually accommodated, and the bys are incredibly supportive and compassionate, helping me reach my goals (even when I had a broken hand). I also get to be my weird self, and am embraced fully.

Kathryn Sparrow

Nutritional Coaching by Julia Howard

From my initial consult with Julia, she was professional and knowledgeable as both a Registered Holistic Nutritionist and athlete. She was interested in my nutrition and fitness goals and the development of a plan that would set me up for success.

Julia designed weekly meal plans that were complete with recipes and shopping lists. The food choices were nutritious, easy to prepare, and ensured that I felt well nourished and energized throughout my training and non-training days. Not only do I feel leaner and more fit, but I have more energy and I feel much more in tune with my body and food choices. Julia really helped me put everything in place so I can continue this process going forward- I cannot thank her enough!

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