How I turned my Legs into Calorie Burning Machines

Muscles of the front of the leg.
Image via Wikipedia

My lower leg has transformed into a beautiful piece of art. Were I to shave it, it could serve as a shining example of the muscles of the lower leg; you can almost see the fibers of my tibialis anterior; heck I never even knew I had a muscle on the front of my leg. My new and improved lower leg is balanced, beautiful and it burns more calories with each step.

Why does it burn more calories?

As you may know I’m recovering from a torn soleus. I ripped it by doing too many eccentric heel drops and attempting to “run  through lower leg pain”. Big mistake. But I learned my lesson.

Whilst recovering from the injury I supplanted my running regime with some of my wife’s Jillian Michaels workouts. Her program focuses on 3 minutes of strength, 2 minutes of cardio and one minute of abs.

Ironically, it’s the strength portion that leads me to believe that barefooting burns more calories. The exercises in the strength portion involve a lot of movement. For example, Jillian has you do bicep curls as  you do lunges. The idea is to work more muscles at once; thereby burning more calories. By burning more calories, she assures me that I’ll be able to fit into that “strapless dress”. (HMMM, I don’t think the neighbors would be too keen on a barefoot Indian dude with tattoos running down the street in a strapless dress.  )

So, what the heck does that have to with barefooting? Remember my new lower leg?  Walking barefoot puts all of the muscles of your lower leg into action. So much so, that lower leg and foot shape have visibly changed. Since barefooting puts more muscles to work, it stands to reason that it burns more calories. Probably not a truckload more, but step by step a little more than shoes.

 

 

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Barefooting at Timberline Lodge

The Overlook (Timberline Lodge) as seen in a s...
Image via Wikipedia

I am lucky and honored to live in Sandy, OR. We’re minutes from majestic Mount Hood. My wife and I often drive up to Timberline Lodge to hike around. If you’ve ever seen Kubrick’s frightening movie, The Shining, then you’ve seen the exterior of the Timberline.

 

Cover of
Cover of The Shining

Lodge. I still get chills when I see the scene with the twins.

But this is the first year I’ve hiked Timberline barefoot. Wow! What a difference no shoes makes! The ground up there offers so many exciting textures; it’s rocky, but not as hard on your feet as you would think. The best part of hiking up there was the patches of snow! After tromping through each tiny field of the icy delight, my feet were greeted with warm gravel earth. The blood rushed to my soles filling them with a pleasant sensation that crept up to my ankles.

It was the Mt. Hood Mountain Massage. And I consider it a great honor. I’ve hiked there many times before but I feel much more connected with place now that I’ve hiked it barefoot. You get the sense that you’re interacting with mountain–almost having a dialogue with it.

Of course got some wicked glances from shod folk who must have thought I was crazy to be up there barefoot. (I did, however, bring a pack with snow emergency gear–yes there were warm shoes in there. I’m not stupid. I respect the mountain weather.) But I also got an unexpected compliment. As I was crossing a snow barefoot a little girl tugged on her momy’s arm and said, “Mommy mommy, can I take off my shoes and walk in the snow!” Her mother said, “No, dear; of course not.” But I couldn’t help laughing. Deep down everyone wants to walk barefoot in the snow. It’s almost as fun as skinny dipping in the Old Salmon River.

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DIY Running Sandals / Authentic Barefoot Shoes

DIY Sandal
Do It Yourself Tarahumara / Ruramari

Have you ever wanted to make your own running shoes? Steven makes it easy with his step by step Tarahumara Running Sandal Kits. He shows you everything you need to know to build a custom running sandal.

If you’re not into DIY, Invisible Shoes will also cut and construct a custom shoe for you. You just trace your foot and mail them the template.

If you’re going to run in a barefoot shoe, but don’t want to spend too much money for a running sandal, I highly recommend Invisible Shoes.

BTW, you can use Steven’s  excellent instructional videos to make your own Tarahumara running sandals out of other materials. I built some out of cardboard, oven mitts, and an old doormat. I use the oven-mit sandals for treadmill running. (The cardboard sandals were a joke.)

 

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10 Killer Barefoot Running Comebacks

Cartoon by Valen It’s summer. Time to hit the streets bare. But every rose has its thorns. Bare-footing in summer is no different. Creeping from summer shadows are the slack jawed hecklers. This swarm of idiots will make it their purpose to harass and hurl insults. Their inane question of choice:

Where are your Shoes?

It is almost as disturbing as it is ridiculous that these people somehow think that YOUR SHOES or lack thereof will affect THEIR LIFE. Why else would they ask? They see that you’re running. I hope they don’t expect you stop mid stride to strike up conversation with them. No. They’re not interested in engaging in a real conversation. The cold, dirty truth is that they aren’t asking for an answer; they’re calling you an idiot. Not outright; instead of being brave, they’re cloaking it in a question. Insecure people hide behind questions all the time. Their passive aggressive verbal attack is a feeble attempt to make their massively insignificant selves feel superior to someone they do not consider to be a threat. Usually, I let the snide comments slide, but sometimes I feel feisty. If you’re tired of listening the claptrap of the shod AND stupid, here are some potent barefoot zingers.

Where are your shoes?

  1. Only smart people can see them.
  2. Running barefoot strengthens bone. The bones in my feet are almost as strong as the one in your head.
  3. Sometimes less is more; unfortunately for you, that does NOT apply to IQ.
  4. You don’t need shoes to run. Your mouth has proven that.
  5. My feet love the open air. Maybe they can run inside your head sometime.
  6. My feet don’t need shoes, but your mouth could use a brain.
  7. Not on my feet. If you were a quarter as smart as a half wit, you’d have tripled your IQ.
  8. Running without shoes gives me magic power: It forces all the world class idiots within range to ask me about my shoes.
  9. I’ll put shoes on my feet if you put duct tape on your mouth.
  10. Where’s your tail? (Pause). Because I see a horse’s ass, but no tail.

“If you can’t ignore an insult, top it; if you can’t top it, laugh it off; and if you can’t laugh it off, it’s probably deserved.”
–J. Russell Lynes quotes

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