functional training

The Power of Two

Ongoing research by Stanford University has found that simply receiving a motivational phone call every two weeks can boost the amount of exercise a person does by 78%. If a simple phone call is all it takes the average person to become more motivated, just think about the gains that can be made when two people commit to fitness together. Even the most self-motivated person can benefit from a workout partner. Not convinced? Check out these benefits to having a good workout buddy:

Accountability. You will be less apt to skip a workout if someone else is counting on you.

Competition. Let’s face it, humans are competitive by nature, and a little friendly competition will up your game. No one wants to be the weaker link.

More productive workouts. We’ve all seen that solo person at the gym, who walks around, or sits on the bench for 10 minutes between sets. If you work out with a partner, rest time is limited, as you are either trading off exercises or doing them concurrently. Either way, with a partner, you are more apt to keep moving.

Motivation and support. This is probably the most obvious benefit. Workout partners will push each other to be better, lift heavier, move faster. They will encourage each other not to quit. They trade healthy recipes. They will even tell you it’s okay to take a rest day. There is no price tag that can be placed on emotional support.

So, what should you look for in a workout buddy? Workout partners should be on the same fitness level and have similar goals. But at the same time, you want to be fitness role models for each other. For example, if you have excellent core strength, but want to work on flexibility and improve your squats, look to someone who can help you in those deficient areas, and vice versa.

You should also have similar motivation styles. If one partner is a cheerleader and the other a drill sergeant, it’s probably not going to work out in the long run. Finally, you should trust each other. You want to make sure your workout partner has your back, literally and figuratively.

At XPF, we love to see people join together, or when members bring friends into the family. And we often see these partners make greater strides than those who go it alone. So grab a friend, and bring them into the studio, you will be surprised what you can accomplish together!

5 Reasons to Train Barefoot

You may have noticed that we have been having members ditch their shoes in certain classes, like kettlebells. And, if you have done a functional movement assessment with us, you were also “barefoot.” This is not an exclusively XPF practice, barefoot fitness training (and even running) has actually gained popularity over the last few years. Here's 5 reasons why:

1. Being barefoot is natural.
All species, including humans, enter the world barefoot. Think about it, we are the only species to wear shoes. And in fitness, we have unfortunately grown accustomed to shoes that provide TOO much support. This extra cushion actually degrades performance and weakens the body as a whole.

2. Training shoeless strengthens the muscles in the foot and ankle. Today’s high-tech athletic shoes provide stability, and actually do the work our feet and ankles are designed to do. Strengthening these small, stabilizing muscles can improve balance and overall athletic performance.

3. It improves our proprioception, or the sense of orientation and awareness of our surroundings and the relationship of body parts with one another via sensory (non-visual) input.
A perfect example of this phenomena is walking or running up stairs without looking down. Training barefoot strengthens the connection to our environment, which improves coordination and helps develop more natural movements.

4. It decreases the probability of injury.
Approximately 25% of the joints in our body are located in our feet, which support the entire body. Shoes not only provide artificial support, but they foster improper foot mechanics, placing unnatural pressure on the knees, spine and neck.

5. Training barefoot improves muscle alignment.
When barefoot, we use different, or even more, muscle groups than when wearing shoes, which positively impacts muscle patterns. What does this mean? Simply put, exercising without shoes engages--and strengthens--muscles in a more complete fashion.

Want to join the shoeless revolution?
We recommend you start slowly. Try a soft shoe with little to no sole like: Minimus or a Vibram(R) FiveFingers shoe. Keep in mind that some people require more support than others; and, if you have never run or trained barefoot you may experience some soreness at the beginning. If you experience any initial soreness, wait until it dissipates before trying again.

*Note: long distance running and plyometric training should be limited until feet are proper conditioned.