Which Chrissy’s Socks Am I Wearing?

Thigh high boots are part of my signature style…so are thigh high socks!

My friends know that I am obsessed with thigh high boots, but they might not know how much I enjoy wearing different thigh high socks underneath my boots. There is a wild streak in me that gravitates towards fun designs like the ones that Chrissy’s Socks offers, and the best part is that it’s my way of having fun with my personal style. When I’m home, I really enjoy walking around the house in leggings and fun knee high or thigh high socks.

Can you guess which pair of Chrissy’s Socks I might be wearing here?

Which style of Chrissy’s Socks am I wearing here?

Here are the thigh high sock styles which Chrissy’s Socks offers:

https://www.kneehighsocks.org/products/Thigh-High.html#.XLE8gPZFzVI

A great pair of socks will stay in place, feel great against the skin, and with thigh high boots, help to keep the boots in place so that they don’t slouch or bunch up. Chrissy’s Socks deliver on all counts!

Check out all of their amazing styles by accessing this link:
https://www.kneehighsocks.org

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Kick A Foot Or Leg Out

Many of you are already aware of the “one leg out” sleeping position, in which one leg is hooked over the covers, while the other leg remains nestled under them. This clever approach to cooling the body down during sleep actually has a scientific basis.
The body prepares for sleep by dropping its core temperature, and in the deepest stages of sleep, body temperature actually dips a couple of degrees below normal. This is part of the natural physiology of slumber. Even some of the pre-bedtime rituals which some people adopt, such as taking a warm bath or drinking a cup of hot herbal tea, cause the body temperature to cool rapidly, priming it for sleep.

When we uncover our feet but keep the rest of our bodies snug under the bedclothes, or we swing one leg over the covers, we enable the blood vessels of the feet to dissipate body heat and keep us cool, which further supports restful sleep. Besides, who enjoys sweating while trying to sleep?

Some scientists even recommend keeping feet uncovered while sleeping at night, especially if you are sleeping next to a partner or pets (those of you who have pets know that they often sleep ON you). Another tip is to keep your bedroom temperature between 60 and 68 degrees, so if you are in the habit of cranking up the heat to keep your home warm and cozy, you might want to drop the thermostat setting at night while you sleep.

Minimalist Footwear (repost)

minimalist-shoes-5

I wrote this article for AFE last year, and am reposting it for you to enjoy.

Less Is More

Are there benefits to training in minimalist footwear? Studies have demonstrated that training while wearing minimalist shoes results in enhanced performance, due to greater foot pliability and a closer approximation to a barefoot stance. Since our feet adjust to wearing raised heels over time, it can be incredibly challenging to keep our heels on the ground while performing exercises like deep squats. Proponents of minimalist footwear may even argue that barefoot is best for heavy weightlifting, but the risks of exposure to microbes or hazardous fragments of glass, metal, or rocks, make minimalist shoes a much more feasible choice while at the gym.

Dysfunctional movement patterns become established throughout the body over time. Conventional athletic shoes can often contribute to ankle and foot dysfunction because they inhibit natural foot action. If you don’t believe it, then try to perform some of your physical activities barefoot and see how well, or poorly, you perform. Chances are that the impaired mechanics in the feet and ankles will make it difficult at best to perform those activities. By gradually switching over to minimalist footwear, an athlete can essentially correct improper foot mechanics and optimize kinetic feedback throughout the body during movement.

Benefits Of Minimalist Shoes

Conventional athletic footwear features a cushioned heel which also can compromise power. In contrast, minimalist footwear features little to no heel, and the soles are very thin and malleable, so they allow the joints in the foot to move and adjust to weight loading movements. In addition, the heels and midfoot make solid contact with the floor, causing more activation in the glutes and hamstrings. Studies have demonstrated that people who wear minimalist footwear develop greater strength in their legs and feet, since more power is transferred from the working muscles, through the feet, and into the movement. Plyometric movements and sprint power will also be enhanced while wearing minimalist shoes.

A 2011 study by Squadrone and Gallozzi assessed the ability of experienced runners to estimate the degree of inversion, eversion, dorsiflexion, and plantarflexion, of a slope surface board placed under their right foot while standing. They found that the degree of proprioceptive feedback which subjects received while wearing Vibram Five Fingers® was much more accurate than in subjects who wore a standard running shoe. In conclusion, cushioned shoes conferred a distinct disadvantage when compared to minimalist shoes during assessment of foot position awareness.

How To Transition Into Minimalist Shoes

Anyone who is transitioning from conventional athletic shoes to minimalist footwear needs to do so gradually, since the body has to adjust to radically different proprioceptive input. There have been cases of metatarsal stress which developed after converting too quickly to minimalist shoes. However, once the transition is made, noticeable strength gains should occur. Try spending about 15 to 30 minutes, twice a day, wearing minimalist shoes around the house. After about a week or two, you can try them out at the gym one to two days a week until you become accustomed to the feel of the shoes. Be aware that your gait and foot stance will probably change as you acclimate to this type of shoe.

REFERENCES:

1. Squadrone R, Gallozzi C (2011) Effect of a five-toed minimal protection shoe on static and dynamic ankle position sense. J Sports Med Phys Fitness Sep;51(3): 401-8.

Minimalist Footwear

minimalist footwear

Please check out my latest article for American Fitness Educators which discusses minimalist footwear! Original post can be found at:

http://www.fitnesseducators.com/blog/minimalist-footwear/

Merrell-Road-Glove-Barefoot-Shoe
Less Is More

Are there benefits to training in minimalist footwear? Studies have demonstrated that training while wearing minimalist shoes results in enhanced performance due to greater foot pliability and a closer approximation to a barefoot stance. Since our feet adjust to wearing raised heels over time, it can be incredibly challenging to keep our heels on the ground while performing exercises like deep squats. Proponents of minimalist footwear may even argue that barefoot is best for heavy weightlifting, but the risks of exposure to microbes or hazardous fragments of glass, metal, or rocks, make minimalist shoes a much more feasible choice while at the gym.

Dysfunctional movement patterns become established throughout the body over time. Conventional athletic shoes can often contribute to ankle and foot dysfunction because they inhibit natural foot action. If you don’t believe it, then try to perform some of your physical activities barefoot and see how well, or poorly, you perform. Chances are that the impaired mechanics in the feet and ankles will make it difficult at best to perform those activities. By gradually switching over to minimalist footwear, an athlete can essentially correct improper foot mechanics and optimize kinetic feedback throughout the body during movement.

Benefits Of Minimalist Shoes

Conventional athletic footwear features a cushioned heel which also can compromise power. In contrast, minimalist footwear features little to no heel, and the soles are very thin and malleable, so they allow the joints in the foot to move and adjust to weight loading movements. In addition, the heels and midfoot make solid contact with the floor, causing more activation in the glutes and hamstrings. Studies have demonstrated that people who wear minimalist footwear develop greater strength in their legs and feet, since more power is transferred from the working muscles, through the feet, and into the movement. Plyometric movements and sprint power will also be enhanced while wearing minimalist shoes.

A 2011 study by Squadrone and Gallozzi assessed the ability of experienced runners to estimate the degree of inversion, eversion, dorsiflexion, and plantarflexion, of a slope surface board placed under their right foot while standing. They found that the degree of proprioceptive feedback which subjects received while wearing Vibram Five Fingers® was much more accurate than in subjects who wore a standard running shoe. In conclusion, cushioned shoes conferred a distinct disadvantage when compared to minimalist shoes during assessment of foot position awareness.

How To Transition Into Minimalist Shoes

Anyone who is transitioning from conventional athletic shoes to minimalist footwear needs to do so gradually, since the body has to adjust to radically different proprioceptive input. There have been cases of metatarsal stress which developed after converting too quickly to minimalist shoes. However, once the transition is made, noticeable strength gains should occur. Try spending about 15 to 30 minutes, twice a day, wearing minimalist shoes around the house. After about a week or two, you can try them out at the gym one to two days a week until you become accustomed to the feel of the shoes. Be aware that your gait and foot stance will probably change as you acclimate to this type of shoe.

REFERENCES:

Squadrone R, Gallozzi C (2011) Effect of a five-toed minimal protection shoe on static and dynamic ankle position sense. J Sports Med Phys Fitness Sep;51(3): 401-8.

Why I Am Against Instant Oatmeal

oatmealI know people lead very hectic lifestyles these days, and believe me, I can relate. Work, training, meetings, appointments, chores, errands, modeling, fitness and bodybuilding events, writing, shooting videos, and managing websites and social media keep me going at a frenetic pace every day. Yet I make sure I have a few minutes to prepare a nutritious morning meal every single day. I become very irritated when I hear patients and clients say that they have ZERO time to prepare a nutritious breakfast. Are you serious about not having even five minutes in the morning to take care of your own health? Come on.

Patients often proudly tell me that they are eating oatmeal every day, but when I ask them what type, they tell me they grab the instant variety. This irritates me to no end. You still have to put the oatmeal in a bowl, boil the water which takes about three minutes, then mix. When I make my old-fashioned oats, I combine them in a saucepan with water and a dash of cinnamon, then let the mixture cook for three minutes. So what if I take an extra 30 seconds to transfer the cooked oatmeal into a bowl?

Another thing I think is disgusting about instant oats is that the oat and water mixture often does not mix well, so you have a gloppy, soupy mixture which has to set for at least a minute so that it will thicken. Halfway through that extra minute in which you are waiting for your instant oatmeal to thicken, I am already eating my old-fashioned oatmeal.

You may wonder what the big deal is about eating the plain oats versus the instant variety. There are artificial flavors, thickening agents, sugar, and salt in the instant packs which lowers the nutrient density of the oatmeal. In addition, since there is so much processing which occurs in the manufacture of the instant variety of this food item, vitamins and minerals are added to replace what has been stripped from the original oats. Why go through all this when you can choose the least processed version which is the most nutritious?

Bear in mind that the cereal industry is counting on you grabbing the instant variety because of its attractive packaging. Guess what? The instant oatmeal is far more expensive than the old fashioned oats which have one item on their ingredient list: “OATS”. Just because a food item comes in a single serving envelope and only requires you to add hot water does NOT mean it will shave off significant time from your morning meal prep. Remember what I mentioned earlier about total prep time? Here’s a reminder:

INSTANT OATMEAL PREP:
Tear packet and pour oatmeal into bowl (5 seconds)
Boil water (3 minutes)
Pour water over oat mixture and stir (20 seconds)
Let sit for 1 minute to thicken (1 minute)
TOTAL PREP TIME = 4 minutes, 25 seconds

OLD-FASHIONED OATMEAL PREP:
Combine oats and water in a saucepan with a dash of cinnamon (10 seconds)
Cook mixture on medium heat for three minutes, stirring occasionally (3 minutes)
Remove from heat and pour into bowl (10 seconds)
TOTAL PREP TIME = 3 minutes, 20 seconds

If you insist on eating instant oatmeal, at least go for the healthier versions. The best out there is Trader Joe’s Organic Oats and Flax Instant Oatmeal, which contains: organic rolled oats, organic dehydrated cane juice solids, organic flax seed, sea salt.

No, You Can’t Borrow My Shoes!

IMG_0336

I have two of these cabinets, filled with boxes of shoes.  I have photos of each pair of shoes affixed to the sides of each box for easy identification.  At last count I had 70-something pairs of shoes which to some women isn’t a lot.  Believe it or not I actually do wear almost every pair of shoes I own!  Most women cannot borrow my shoes because I usually wear a 6-1/2 US which is a pretty small shoe size.  I swear I am not a shoe addict!

How To Select Athletic Shoes

With all the brands, types and styles of athletic shoes that exist these days, it may be challenging to figure out which ones to buy.  As a response to the questions I get about this, I have compiled a list of tips to help you navigate through the choices out there and select footwear that is ideal for the type of activity you plan to engage in. 

Select shoes appropriate for your feet.  Most of us know whether we have narrow, medium width or wide feet, but do you know what type of arch you have?  A good way to assess this is to do what is called a “wet test”. To do this, you will need a piece of brown paper like the type that is used for brown paper grocery bags.  Wet the bottom of your foot, step onto the paper (make sure to put your full weight on that foot) and trace your footprint.  If you have a print with little to no curve on the inside edge, you have flat feet and your feet tend to roll inward (overpronation).  This type of foot needs a shoe which gives good support to prevent movement.  If your footprint shows a large empty space in the inside edge and there is a narrow connection between your heel and forefoot, you have high arches and tend to turn outwards (supination).  This type of foot needs a soft and cushioned midsole.  If your footprint is somewhere in-between, you have a neutral arch and should choose a shoe with a mix of support and cushioning.

If you wear an orthotic, bring it.  You should also bring the socks that you usually wear when engaging in whatever activity you are buying the shoes for.  I have heard of people who have made the mistake of fitting shoes to their feet when wearing socks that are either thicker or thinner than what they are accustomed to wearing, which results either in the hassle of making an exchange or return or the pain of wearing ill-fitting shoes.

Shop later in the day.  During the course of the day, feet will expand, which means they will be their largest towards the evening.  When determining the fit of a shoe, it is important to take this into consideration and fit to your feet when they are their largest to avoid disfomfort.

Make sure shoes are comfortable and enable the movements your sport requires.  While athletic shoes should be comfortable while standing in them, it is also a good idea to engage in jumping, lateral movements or whatever foot motions mimic the types of movements you will do while wearing the shoes.  Take note of any shifting or discomfort.

Buy a pair of shoes that fit well.  There should be about ½ inch between the front of your big toe and the end of the shoe.  A quick guide which you can use is your thumb.  When you lift off with your heel, the shoe should not slip off the heel at all.  You should be able to wiggle your toes while wearing the shoes, but the shoe should also feel secure around your foot.

Don’t go cheap!  I see a lot of people grab athletic shoes that are on clearance which aren’t the best fitting or the best constructed shoes for them.  This is not to say that you can’t find a decent pair of athletic shoes on sale, but try not to head straight for the bargain bin when you are searching for shoes.  Your main objective should be to find a well-constructed pair of shoes which fits your foot well and is designed for the activity you will use them for. 

Replace shoes before they completely fall apart.  I always find it amusing when I see guys at the gym wearing shoes that are tattered.  I wish I could just ask them, “If you care about your conditioning so much, why do you neglect your feet which are bearing all the weight and pressure you put on them during your routine?”   Most people can expect to replace their shoes every six months, or until they begin to notice that the shoe feels less supportive or develops areas which are uncomfortable.  Another gauge is to check the back of the sole frequently and to replace the shoes once that area begins to appear worn out. 

Buy shoes which are task-specific and expect to have multiple pairs.  Not all shoes are created alike.  A cross-training shoe is designed for midfoot support and has tread which enables lateral movements.  A walking shoe, in contrast, is rather rigid and is designed to minimize foot movement.  Running shoes are quite flexible but are also built with extra cushioning to absorb the high impact of the foot-strike on the pavement. 

If you exercise frequently, purchase several pairs.  If you get in the habit of rotating through your shoes, you will allow your shoes to air out between uses and will also extend the wearability of your shoes since you will be alternating through your collection.  I currently have eight pairs of athletic shoes in rotation and make sure to wear the type of shoe which is appropriate for the activity I plan to do on a particular day.  For example, I wear my running shoes when I plan to do high intensity intervals on the treadmill, and I have other shoes designated as my plyometrics shoes, my leg day shoes and my general lifting shoes.