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

After my children were born, I was completely out of shape. I had been active before my first pregnancy in 2008. I saw a post on social media about a charity event that was hosted at the gym. It prompted me to check out the JKC website. I was immediately impressed by the professional content and decided to give it a try. The professionally crafted and uniquely tailored work outs, as well as the sense of accountability and commitment that they foster. I have not missed a workout since joining – contrary to other experiences I have had when purchasing gym memberships. The flexibility of booking and rescheduling workouts, made easy by an online app, also contributed to my success in meeting my fitness goals.

I enjoy every session, working out with Jon, Thomas and Craig, as well as the “JKC Community”. Anytime someone achieves a personal best, I enjoy the celebration and support everyone gives each other. For me, I fondly remember achieving personal bests on bench press, chin ups and the sled push, in particular.

I’ve been weight training on and off for years but never really had a specific goal or target in mind so routinely stalled out, plateaued or stopped training all together. Before I joined JKC I was definitely in a fitness slump and needed something to motivate me and get me back on track. I did a bit of digging online, looking at various personal training options and gyms around town but JKC seemed like the best option by far. I’ve tried big box gyms and other personal trainers in the past but none of them have had the perfect combination of goal specific fitness programming, welcoming and supportive environment, and the knowledge and passion to back it all up that you’ll find at JKC. Jon and Thomas are great to work with, they know how to motivate you if you’re having an off day and are well versed in all the different ways to make your muscles burn! I also have noticed some major improvements in my deadlifts since I started with JKC and was really happy with the result.

A few years ago, I pinched a nerve in my neck which led me to be stationary as any form of movement would cause extreme pain. During this time, my fiancé (Sean) started at JKC and loved it!! Once I overcame the nerve issue, Sean spent a long time trying to convince me that JKC is exactly what I needed to safely start working out again (I’m slightly stubborn and was super scared of re-pinching the nerve). Long story short, Sean was right… as much as I hate to admit it!

I never had luck at gyms, if it started to hurt I would call it a day. At JKC that is not an option, as Jon & Thomas will push you to finish the workout, whether you want to or not! Working out in a group setting is also a big benefit of working out at JKC, if you’re not feeling motivated you can simply feed off of someone else’s energetic vibes.

I chose JKC originally to help prevent rowing injuries. I’m a rower and we won the St. John’s Regatta in 2019 but I rowed through a rib stress fracture and missed significant time in the boat during the racing season. Training at JKC consistently since the pandemic helped me stay injury free this year and made me the strongest I’ve ever felt, which helped me help my team win the 2021 St. John’s Regatta! Jon adds variety and mixes the exercises up well so that the workout goes by quickly and strength is gained. The gym is very personable and I like the eclectic mix of people that are there. JKC is much more intimate and personal than other gyms.

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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