Think barefoot running is just a fad? Results are starting to prove otherwise.

barefoot running

Have you heard of the barefoot running movement?

Perhaps you’ve seen those silly “toe shoes” and laughed at the people wearing them.

They aren’t the most fashionable thing, I’ll admit, but if you wear them fashion is the least of your concerns.

Anyone who knows me knows that I’m a fan of being barefoot and have quite a few pairs of “barefoot” or “minimalist” shoes. In fact, I’m hardly a fan of socks and if you ask my wife she’ll tell you how many I leave in random places around the house. I’ve never really liked socks and I’ve been using minimalist shoes for about 8 years, ever since I learned about the Vibram Five Fingers.

For me, the reason I value being barefoot so much is because that’s how our body is naturally designed. My usual comment to people asking about it is: “no one is born with shoes on”.

AnthroPhysique is all about creating the body you were born to have. You were born barefoot and hundreds of thousands of years of evolution has created a pretty amazing structure we call a foot. Barefoot running isn’t just a trend, it’s what we’ve done for thousands and thousands of years.

My argument agains shoes is: how can something that was designed a few decades ago compete with thousands of years of evolutionary necessity?

I’m bringing this up now because I recently read an article that peaked my interest: Two year long case study demonstrating an increase in arch height from running in minimalist shoes.

What stood out the most for me were the pictures below. The changes in this person’s feet are incredible and noticeable by anyone, even with an untrained eye. The results are anecdotal and happened over the course of 2 years. From the study:

“To see the true effects of what happens to our foot by removing the external support from a traditional motion control running shoe, it takes time. Years actually. I would like to share an example of a runner who had abandoned her rigid orthotics and motion control ASICS running shoes and began wearing minimalist shoes.”

barefoot running

The client went from having “flat feet, a valgus position of the calcaneus (the heel bone angles inward when observing from behind), and a valgus knee deformity (knock knees). Her symptoms consisted of knee pain as well as frequent lower back pain. She was wearing custom rigid orthotics which were implemented to realign her arch and heel bone.”

They took approximately 3 months to transition the client into barefoot shoes and barefoot running. It then took 2 years training in them to get these results. As the author mentioned, it takes time!

The results, as you can see, are incredible and don’t need much explaining. Overall, the muscles of the foot got stronger which lead to: increasing the heel arch, realigning the foot and realigning the heel bone. This leads to a stronger foundation for the body and likely meant a reduction in their knee and lower back pain.

If these results and images are enough to make you consider the idea of barefoot running, here are a few things to consider:
If fashion is your primary concern, this isn’t for you
TRANSITION into the new shoes over the course of weeks or months otherwise you can expect cramps and injury
Results take time, don’t expect to notice a difference immediately
Bottom line, I don’t believe we’re designed to be wearing shoes. Although there are benefits of protection from the elements, there aren’t many benefits for the structure of your foot. Just ask an engineer about “arch support” and they’ll probably laugh at you.

Have you tried barefoot running? Post thoughts and comments below.

Vibram FiveFingers Lawsuit – where is the fault?

Vibram FiveFingers

Have you heard about Vibram FiveFingers?

They are those funky toes shoes that you may have seen people wearing on the street or at the gym. Unfortunately, they now have a lawsuit out against them.

Vibram FiveFingers
Me and my Vibram FiveFingers circa 2009

The funny part for me is that I had planned to have a post about barefoot running and the “barefoot movement” on this blog yesterday. I wrote it a week ago because it was in my plan of blog posts I wanted to do. Funny enough, as soon as I finished the draft, I found an article about a Lawsuit against the Vibram FiveFinger shoes.

There are now plenty of articles online highlighting the lawsuit settlement and even bashing the shoe makers for “crimes against fashion and humanity”. Check out these articles from FittishNBC News, and Vox.

The good news, in my opinion, is that you can also find some articles taking the other side of the argument. A writer at The Atlantic doesn’t want a refund, and apparently a survey says 70 percent of FiveFingers owners will keep toe shoes despite lawsuit.

I’ll add my opinions and non-scientific evidence about barefoot lifestyles next week. For now I’d like your opinion.

What do you think?

Where do you think the is the fault and who is to blame?

My Evernote Post-it Board

Evernote Post-it board

Last year in September I went to the 3rd annual Evernote conference (EC3). At their conferences they highlight new features, exciting plans for the future of Evernote and new integrations/partnerships. As an Ambassador it’s always a fun event.

One of the highlights for most of the ambassadors this past year was the partnership Evernote made with Post-it Notes. What they had done is come up with a great way to capture your post-it note scribblings into Evernote.

I’m going to make the assumption that you already know about Post-it Notes. You’ve likely used them for ideas, grocery lists, phone messages and all sorts of other memory jogging reasons. We all love them so of course and integration with Evernote makes them even better.

At the conference, Post-it notes gave everyone in attendance a package of coloured post-its as well as a larger format version that’s 12 inches wide!

I personally love this larger format version because it allows me to brainstorm. Instead of just jotting down and idea or something I want to remember, it now serves as a vision board or platform for my brainstorming process. I use a combination of the smaller notes and larger ones to create a large vision board on my office wall.

Evernote Post-it board

Here I have everything from individual ideas that need a home to bigger ideas like personal goals, business plan, service offerings and a high level view of my calendar for monthly marketing.

By having everything on one wall, I can take a few minutes each day to visually review everything I’m working on. It helps keep me focused on projects and sideline ideas that I can work on down the road.

As the image below indicates, I know I’m not the only one who does this. I found this office window on a walk one day.

What do you use for your vision board? Do you have a method of keeping all your task and responsibilities organized?

Evernote Post-it Board1

My So Called Unplugged Sunday

Since the beginning of this year, one of my new years resolutions was to have an Unplugged Sunday. “Unplugged” is the word I originally chose, but I’m not fully satisfied with it. The goal isn’t just about unplugging from technology, as is often understood when using that term, but more about unplugging from work and the hustle/bustle of the week. It’s more about re-connecting with me and my values.

My nutritionist Jennifer Northrup called it Sacred Sunday which I also like but I’m not sure if that fully fits either.

I want to find a better term…

A good friend of mine Bec Spink (@MissB_2), who is also and Evernote Ambassador gave me a link to an interesting article called The Pointlessness of Unplugging.

The article raises some interesting points about “how quickly the digital age turned into the age of technological anxiety, with our beloved devices becoming something to fear, not enjoy”. It talks about how we need to disconnect from our devices to reconnect with the real world. To reconnect with people. Yet, much of the time spent online IS to connect with other people.

I agree with many of the points because I’m not using it to escape some form of anxiety. I don’t feel like a slave to my technology and feel I have pretty good habits with it. Sure, I’m connected at all times, but it doesn’t stress me out.

Again, for me unplugged Sunday was never about a complete disconnect from technology. To be honest, this article was drafted on a Sunday because that’s when I was thinking about what this meant to me.

Here is what this Sunday looked like for me:

Today I slept in, grabbed a coffee then took the dog for a walk with my wife. We came home, made brunch then I spent over 2 hours soaking up the sun on my balcony while catching up on reading articles that caught my attention during the week. I read them in Evernote on my Galaxy Note 3 smartphone. After that I cleaned, did laundry then watched a hockey game on TV. Finally, we went out for dinner before our weekly grocery shop and now I’m writing this article.

Overall, it was definitely NOT unplugged. However, I did make a solid effort to avoid work emails, texts and todo’s. Working from home I tend to be a workaholic and that’s why I want to spend 1 day of the week not working. I spend the one day on me. Sure as the weather gets better I want to spend more of the day outside, but overall I want to spend the day doing things I love to do.

Now the point of this post was to come up with a better term for my day. Maybe something like: No Work Sunday, Personal Sunday, whatever-the-f@¢k-I-want-to-do Sunday or maybe even Selfish Sunday.

What do you think? Do you take a special day for yourself? What do you call it? Comment below.

Motivation – Where do you get it?

Motivation is defined simply as: the reason to act.

Seems pretty basic right? If I have motivation, I have a reason to act. If I’m lacking motivation, I don’t have a reason to act and therefore I don’t.

So how does that play out in real life and the world of fitness?

I’ve been spending more time on Twitter lately and it’s been a very interesting experience. I like doing searches to see what kind of things people are saying about fitness, health, nutrition and motivation.

If you do a search for “need motivation” for example, you’ll see people posting every 10 minutes or less on average. Now, this isn’t fitness only, but it still relates.

If you start doing searches about needing a personal trainer, it seems one of the top reasons anyone wants a personal trainer is because they’re lacking their own motivation and need someone to motivate them.

Some examples:

Motivation 1 Motivation 2 Motivation 3 Motivation 4 Motivation 5

What these are essentially saying is: I don’t have my own reason to act so I want you to give me one.

I see a major problem with this kind of thinking: The motivation is NOT IN YOUR HANDS. In this scenario, the motivation would be in the personal trainers hands. THEY would hold the stick, not you.

If they’re the ones holding the stick and pushing your forward, how are you ever going to build your own motivation? For the rare person, they do build their own motivation, but for most they don’t.

Now this doesn’t mean personal training is bad, that’s not what I’m saying. What I’m trying to express is that if you feel you need motivation, getting someone else to push you isn’t going to work in the long run.

What you need instead is to develop your own motivation.

Yes, it’s that simple!

… In theory.

Ever heard someone say: “that’s easier said than done”? Ya, it fits here too.

Building your own motivation can be hard and can take a while. Some days it will be high, others it will be low. Some weeks will be awesome, some will suck. It’s the nature of learning anything, there’s ups and downs.

So the big question should be: How do I build my own motivation?

I know for sure that there isn’t some magical equation that will work for everyone (sorry), but I think there is a guideline we can follow.

Here are 5 steps to building your own motivation:

  1. Vision – create a strong vision of your goal and where you want to end up. Make a vision board, change your screen saver or post pictures around the house. Having a clear vision of your goal will help inspire you on low motivation days.
  2. Belief – build the belief that you can. Start slow and start small. Small wins over a few weeks does wonders for self confidence and believing you can succeed.
  3. Consistency – following through on your goal is huge. Now this is normally where people feel they need the motivation to do this step, but this step can be how you build motivation. Even on the days you don’t want to, follow through with your plan. (this is where it’s very important to start small)
  4. Reminders – review your vision and goals daily. You’ll need constant reminders to stay focused and not lose sight of what you’re trying to build.
  5. Expect setbacks – failures, road blocks, set backs and struggle are all part of growth. It’s literally impossible to have growth without them. So stop pretending you’ll be perfect and be okay with the fact that you will have setbacks on your journey.

The final thing I’ll say about building motivation is that it’s often best to reach out to others for support. Even the best of us can use a hand here and there.

Support in my mind is someone who will keep you accountable to your own goals. Someone who can support you to build your own motivation, not be the motivation for you.

I hope this gives some insight into motivation, how we perceive it and where I personally think it should come from. I’d love to hear your thoughts. Please comment below.


Does Lifting Weights Make Women Bulky?

lifting weights

Women often wonder if lifting weights will make them get big bulky muscles. We always see men in the gym lifting weights and getting big, so doesn’t that mean women will have the same fate?

The problem isn’t the weights themselves that cause bulky muscles, but how the weights get used. Truth of the matter is that weights will help build some muscle, but this can be very beneficial even if your goals is weight loss.

If you want to avoid the big, bulky muscles and focus more on leaning or toning, there is a general rule you can follow:

Lighter weights for more reps.

Now be careful though because this isn’t always true for everyone. We all have different body types and metabolisms  It is however a pretty good general rule that you can at least try out. If you want to be sure or you’ve had the opposite experience, it can be really valuable to get some professional coaching advice.

If you have experience lifting weights, please comment and share your thoughts. If you’ve always avoided them, I encourage you to try them in your next workout and report back with your results. You might find that you love them!

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Exercise – Am I Doing Enough?

Exercise - Online Fitness Coaching

A very frequent question I get about exercise is: “Am I doing enough”?

This usually happens when people are just starting a new exercise routine, but can also come up when they’ve been exercising for a while and aren’t seeing the results they were hoping for.

My approach to this question is to look and where you’re at in your exercise routine. If you’re a beginner just getting started, usually you’re keen to get going and have a lot of motivation. This leads to wanting to workout 5-7 days a week. Unfortunately, that amount of exercise usually leads to over doing it and ultimately losing motivation. As a beginner, the key is to start your program slowly and build up your confidence and strength to be consistent.

If you’re not a beginner and have been exercising regularly for a while, then the concern is usually that you’re not reaching your goals. If you’re not seeing progress, then this could be a good sign to step it up a little and increase what you’re doing. Add an extra day to start and see if that’s enough to get you moving towards your goals again.

I hope this helps with the “Am I doing enough” question. Please let me know if you have any other fitness related questions in the comments below and I’ll be sure to answer them in future videos.

Muscle Soreness – What to do?

online fitness coaching - muscle soreness

If you’ve ever done strenuous activity, you’ve probably had muscle soreness from it. It can actually be really easy to get at times, but the question becomes how do I get rid of it and how long should I be resting before I workout again? In this video, I talk about the two types of muscle soreness and whether or not it’s good to workout.

Muscle soreness is a very common part of exercise if you’re challenging yourself properly. For some, muscle soreness is actually the reference point for whether or not they’ve worked out hard enough. Regardless of how you get it, it can be a very painful experience. At the very least, it’s definitely not pleasurable.

In my opinion, there are two types of muscle soreness. I’ll classify them as good soreness and bad soreness. Good soreness is when you’ve worked out hard and you feel it the next day. There’s discomfort in moving around but not a lot of serious pain. Bad muscle soreness is when there is a lot more pain. It can be very challenging to move around, especially after being stationary for a while. This is because there has been a lot of micro-tearing of the muscle fibers and they’re needing repair.

The question now is: should I workout, or should I rest?

With good muscle soreness, it’s actually beneficial to workout. The movement of the muscles and blood flow to the area will help reduce the tightness.

With bad muscle soreness, you likely want to rest those muscles. It may take up to a week or more for the muscles to fully heal. However, that doesn’t mean you need to stop working out completely. Do workouts that involve other areas of the body and avoid the muscles that are in pain. The exercise will still increase blood flow to the sore area and help the recovery process.

I’d love to hear your experience of this and if it worked for you. Also, I’d love to hear if you have other tips for reducing muscle soreness. Please share in the comments below.

Weekly Fitness Challenge – Water

Weekly Fitness Challenge - Water

For today’s weekly fitness challenge, I’m changing things up slightly and offering a nutritional challenge. The goal is to see if you can drink nothing but water for 7 full days.

This is always a fun one because of the questions I get about ‘exceptions’.

Is tea okay?

What about coconut water?

Fresh squeezed juice?

Although I agree that those things may have positive benefits, it’s not the focus this week. It also wouldn’t really be a fitness CHALLENGE if it wasn’t hard and didn’t exclude some things. So, for this week, no, those things are not okay. Go for it 100% and stick to ONLY WATER.

As Always, please post questions and progress in the comments below.

Introducing Lauren Atkins – Food Blogger

Lauren - food blogger

I’d like to take this opportunity to introduce Lauren Atkins as a guest blogger on AnthroPhysique. Lauren is a fellow Evernote Ambassador (Home Cooking).  In her spare time, she runs a food blog (Have Fork, Will Eat), studies gastronomy, and cooks and bakes as much as possible.  She loves to help other home cooks use Evernote and other tools to make their time in the kitchen as delicious and efficient as possible. Lauren will be posting here once a month to offer some great tips, recipes, and guidance for all things food and kitchen.

A few words from Lauren:

Lauren - food blogger
Lauren Atkins,
Have Fork, Will Eat

Hi all!  I am so excited to be doing guests posts on Chad’s site!  It’s full of inspiration and ideas for anyone trying to live a healthy lifestyle, and Chad is an amazing person and resource.  

I know that eating healthfully can seem like a big challenge, especially when you’re busy, you’re short on time and you have a giant sweet tooth.  I hope that with a few of my recipes and kitchen tips, you’ll see that it’s easier than you think, and delicious to boot.  I always thought that you are what you eat, so be both real and delicious.

As a bit of an intro to me, I’m just a few weeks shy of 30, married, no kids but two very spoiled dogs (an English Mastiff and a Shar-pei Basset).  By day, I’m an instructional technologist at the University of Michigan, because I love technology and I love helping people learn.  I know how hard it can be to work all day and then have to come home and cook dinner.  I also know how difficult it is to have a crazy schedule and still eat right during the day.  But it can be done!    

My favorite daily meals are simple, with just a few ingredients but a lot of satiety, though I have a soft spot for American comfort foods.  I like to experiment, and will make pretty much anything on request just to see if I can.  My goal is to have an efficient, organized kitchen and pantry, where quality raw food goes in one end and delicious meals come out the other.  I’ll stop now before I ramble about it too much but in future posts, I hope I can answer some of your questions and share great recipes and tips.  I’d also love to hear about your favorite foods, cooking methods or any questions you might have.

Please post any questions you have for Lauren in the comments below, or share what challenges you experience for keeping meals healthy.

Plank Challenge – vBlog #8

Plank Challenge

This weeks fitness challenge is a front plank challenge. I’m challenging you to see how long you can hold a front plank for every single day. If you missed last week, I offered a walking challenge that’s worth checking out.

As far as the plank goes, it’s a pretty straight forward exercise that you can do anywhere. All you need is you and a floor. So yes, literally anywhere. Here is an extremely exciting video I made of the front plank.

In this video blog post, I offer up a plank challenge to see how long you can hold it every single day. I suggest doing it at least once a day, but aim for 2 or 3 at various times throughout the day for maximal benefit. A good starting point is around 30-60 seconds if you’ve never done a plank before. If you have 1-2 minutes is a nice average. However, advanced athletes can hold for 3, 4 and even 5+ minutes!

The plank itself is an amazing exercise. It provides great benefit to the core helping you develop a strong posture. You’ll feel it in you abs, obliques, erector spinae muscles in your low back, and also in your legs and arms. It truly is a full body exercise.

As always, I encourage you to track your progress. Keep a journal for yourself and I welcome you to share your tracking with me so I can see what you’re up to. Otherwise, please post questions or comments below and good luck on the plank challenge!

Walking Challenge – vBlog #7

walking challenge

Think you can handle a walking challenge? It may seem silly, but truth is people are walking less and less these days. We now spend a majority of our time sitting, so we’re not getting all the benefits of a basic human function: walking.

In this video blog post, I offer up a walking challenge of at least 5 miles per week. The average human walks around 3 miles per hour. If you walked for 15 minutes per day, you would easily reach 5 miles per week. However, it wouldn’t be a walking challenge if I didn’t push you a little further. In this walking challenge I propose 35 miles per week. That’s 5 miles per day! This would require about 1.5hours of walking per day. Now, if you have a handy little tool like a FitBit, it can track your total activity throughout the day.

As always, I encourage you to track your progress. Online tools can be great. I personally use Evernote because it can track way more than just my fitness. If you too use Evernote, I welcome you to share your tracking notebook with me so I can see what you’re up to. Otherwise, please post questions or comments below and good luck on the challenge!

Motivation for your Resolutions

Okay, so it’s been a little while since I did my (weekly) video blog, but here’s my first for 2013. It’s almost February, so where many people start to struggle around now is motivation.

A lot of people know what to do. They have to routine, program or class that they go to, so it’s fairly well laid out before them. Even with that though, the hardest part is usually just getting to the gym in the first place so they can follow the program or join the class. Once there it’s easy, but how the heck to you get there? How do you motivate yourself to get out of the warm cozy bed or off of the comfy couch with potato chips on your lap?

I want to know how you stay motivated to stick to your fitness resolutions? Some people hire a personal trainer or an online coach like me, others place bets and some have photos of the body they want plastered everywhere. What do you do? Check out my video, comment below and let’s share some motivation ideas for our new years resolutions.

Virtual Workout – Evernote Fitness Challenge

Evernote Fitness Challenge Virtual WorkoutEvernote Fitness Challenge Virtual Workout

Have you ever tried a Virtual Workout?

I know I haven’t, and now I’m going to lead one! It’s part of the Evernote Fitness Challenge that we are currently running through January.

Basically, a virtual workout is a workout that I will be leading online with a webcam. You can join the Google Event and then follow along in your living room.

Evernote Fitness Challenge Virtual WorkoutEvernote Fitness Challenge Virtual Workout


As the image above states, the virtual workout will be on Thursday January 24th at 3:00 PM Pacific Time.

Join me at that time for the workout and Q & A session as part of the Evernote Fitness Challenge. It’s the perfect time to get focused for the final push to the end of the challenge, get your challenge back on track, or learn how to get active for the first time.

I will walk you through an special workout designed to get you energized and help you stick with your resolutions. I’ll be providing guidance for the movements and how to scale it if needed. I’ll also be answering all of your fitness questions after the workout.

Are you going to come join me in the workout and in the Evernote Fitness Challenge? What would you like to see in the workout?

vBlog #5 – Holiday Fitness Tip #2

My second holiday fitness tip is to help you fully enjoy the treats this holiday season. I don’t know about you, but at my family dinner, people start worrying or complaining about what they “shouldn’t” be eating.  After 3 butter tarts and their second piece of pie, the jokes start coming out about how long it’s going to take to work that off or the fact that it goes directly to their hips.

The holidays are a hard time stick to any diet or goal. This holiday fitness tip is about making your goal to have your treats when you say you will. Plan ahead for when you’ll have treats, but then stick to it. If it’s not planned, stay away!! Check out my video and let me know your favorite holiday treat in the comments.

Check out my last holiday fitness tip here.