The Benefits of Barefoot Training

In Cupcakes and Minimus, I promised that I would write an article on why wearing Minimus Sneakers was good for you.



Being of man of my word, here is that article.


The Benefits of Barefoot Training


At Advanced Training, we start every session by performing a few rounds of jump rope, followed immediately by our world famous "Four Minute Warm-Up".


Both the jump rope sessions and the warm-up are performed without any shoes on - aka ... with bare feet.

Most people who watch us feel compelled to ask the following question:

"What is the purpose of you taking off your shoes?"

I know they are asking in more of a derogatory way than in an inquisitive way, so I try to keep it as short as possible by saying...

"Because it makes your feet stronger."

While this is true, there are a few more reasons why we train with bare feet.


1. IT IMPROVES MOBILITY


When you train without sneakers, it allows you to sink deeper into your squats, lunges, deadlifts, etc.

The deeper you can sink, the better able you are to improve ankle mobility.

How deep do you really think you can sink wearing Nike Shox?

You Might as Well Wear High Heels


2. IT IMPROVES YOUR SQUAT AND DEADLIFT


This one really goes back to my man, Sir Isaac Newton.
(Don't judge me, I have a B.S. in Chemical Engineering from Columbia University.)


Sir Isaac Newton

In Newton's third law of motion, it states "For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction."

For the intellectually challenged in our group, this means you can push yourself up by simply driving your feet into the floor.

This is exactly what I stress to our athletes as they are coming out of the hole on their squats and deadlifts.

While most people simply try to raise their hips or pull the weight, they should really be trying to push their feet into the ground.

If you are wearing shoes with high heels, how can you effectively do this?

If you still don't believe me, just look at the pictures below.

Are you really going to argue with The Terminator?

The Real Guns are under the Jacket



Barefoot Squat



Barefoot Deadlift

3. IT INCREASES PROPRIOCEPTION


I already know what you are thinking.... "What is proprioception?"

To keep it simple, it is the ability to sense where you are.

How can training barefoot help you sense where you are?








When you run or jump, your feet are the only thing that touch the ground.

As they hit the ground, your nervous system sends signals back to your brain.

With too much cushion under your feet, most of these signals get lost.

If these signals get lost, how can you expect to stop on a dime or cut back to elude a defender?

Think I am crazy, try standing on one foot with your sneakers on.

Now try it with your sneakers off.

If you feel like you just took a blind side hit from a member of the New Orleans Saints, you need to improve your proprioception.

SO WHY THE MINIMUS?


Nice Flat Heel


As you can see from the picture above, the MINIMUS has a nice small sole.

As a result, it closely simulates what it is like to train barefoot.

In my next article, I will give a brief review of how the MINIMUS stacks up against the two other training shoes I have worn - The Vibram Five Fingers and Nike Free.


See The Next Article - Here

5 Reasons I Love Bulgarian Split Squats

At Advanced Training, we do a great deal of single leg work.

One of my favorites is the Dumbbell Bulgarian Split Squat - with the rear leg elevated.

HERE ARE 5 REASONS WHY:

1. It helps increase hip flexibility and balance.





2. It puts you in a position similar to how most sports are played (with one leg extended in front of the other)




3. It actually did not originate in Bulgaria.



4. Its allows you to add load to your legs without compressing the back - as opposed to what normally happens during a back squat



5. It helps build your grip - aside from variations of the deadlift, how many other lower body lifts can actually do that.





(This picture has nothing to do with grip strength, but it came up when I used Google Images to find "hands holding heavy dumbbells". I felt it was my obligation to share it with you.)





Seeing the Bulgarian Split Squat in Action


Enclosed is video of Ryan Smith performing the split squat with 90lb dumbbells.

Considering he is holding more weight, than he himself weighs, this is pretty impressive.



"Challenge" 2012

2012 has been an interesting year for "Challenge"

Within 3 months, we have had 13 "events" and 9 different champions.

To me, that means we have a pretty competitive group and no one person who is that much better than the others.

To see the actual results of our events, click HERE

If you have no idea what "Challenge" is, click HERE.

If you want to get a feel for how a "Challenge" goes down in our program, just watch this video.



Enter the Cheat Day

As promised in Cupcakes and Minimus, I am providing you with a list of everything I ate on my cheat day.

The food below equates to approximately 6100 calories, exactly 75% more than I consume on a normal basis. (I normally consume about 3500 calories / day).

Total weight gain for the day was 5.5lbs.

Within 3 days, I have lost 5lbs and am back at the same body fat.

The goal is to have lost even more by my next cheat day.




Breakfast

  • (1 lb) Seasoned Rice and Chicken (Don't ask why I had this for breakfast.)






Pre-Workout Meal
  • Focus Food Protein Bar



Post Workout Meal
  • (80 g) Brownie  (This is not a good post workout meal.)


Brunch
  • 1 Mimosa 
  • 2 Waffles + Syrup
  • 2 Pieces of French Toast with Cream Cheese
  • (200 g) Sirloin Steak
  • 6 Breakfast Sausage Strips
  • 3 scrambled eggs
  • 1/2 cup of mixed vegetables
  • 1 bacon, egg, and cheese omelet
  • 1 mini creme brulee






Post Brunch Dessert
  • French Toast Cupcake 

Dinner:
  • House Salad with Balsamic Dressing
  • 2 meatballs
  • 1 Italian sausage link
  • 350 g of Rigatoni with tomato sauce


Post Dinner Dessert
  • M&M Cupcake  (I ate this simply out of principle).


Cupcakes and Minimus

I went to the Staten Island Mall today to buy two things to enhance my physique.

Thing #1: New Balance Minimus Sneakers




New Balance Minimus 

Thing #2: Two Cupcakes and a Brownie

Taken From My Kitchen

If you are reading this post, there is a good chance you understand why Thing #1 is good for you.
(If you don't know, I promise I will write another post about this topic).


Having said that, I am pretty sure that 98% of the people who read this blog have no idea why Thing #2 is good for you.



Enter the Cheat Day:


For your entire life, everyone you have ever met has been telling you that it is bad to Cheat.




Fortunately for you, there is one time where cheating is actually a good thing.

This is not good cheating

So when is it good to cheat?

If you are on a strict diet and you need to manufacture a way to keep your leptin levels high.

What in the world is "Leptin"?

"Leptin is a protein manufactured in fat cells that functions as a circulating signal to limit fat stores and fat production...."
- Power Eating, By Susan Kleiner


Unfortunately, strict diets often have the nasty side effect of limiting leptin levels.


For the non-academics in the audience, I will keep this simple:

  • Low Leptin Levels = burn fat slowly
  • Hip Leptin Levels = burn fat quickly

As you know from my last post, I have been following a pretty strict diet as per "The 4 Hour Body."








In order to keep my leptin levels high, I currently need to incorporate a cheat day into my diet about once every 7 days.


Me every Sunday

It is for this reason that I bought the cupcakes and the brownie.
I also plan on eating other things like French Toast and Waffles.

If you are still skeptical, I highly recommend you purchase "The Cheat to Lose Diet", by Joel Marion.



His highly successful diet plan revolves around this concept, and holds many of the same principles as "The Four Hour Body", by Tim Ferriss.



Be sure to check the blog later in the week, as I plan on posting everything I ate today.


My main goal is to push "CHEAT DAY" to the absolute limit and see how it affects my overall diet.