Thursday, February 24, 2011

A Product Review of Sorts: Fivefingers

For the past several weeks, I have been looking into getting a new pair of cross-trainers (new in the sense that I had been using running shoes, and since I'm flat-footed, that extra padding had been taking a toll on my knees during some workouts). After comparing numerous brands and looking at even more online reviews and discussion boards, I decided on a pair of the Vibram Fivefingers. They FINALLY came in the mail on Tuesday, so I've been using them since then, and I have to say, I completely agree with all the hype!

Did I forget to mention they are obnoxiously bright?
Tuesday, I only did about 15 minutes on the StairMaster with them, and it didn't feel too much different than with my normal shoes, except just less of a sole. Followed that up with a bis and tris workout, during which I really couldn't tell if there was any difference, solely because I was lying on the benches for most of my routine. However, yesterday I got the full Fivefingers experience. After a lengthy conversation with my trainer, we decided I should take a completely different approach for cardio. This means HIIT (high intensity interval training) a few times a week, and only about 45 minutes each day. However, he also suggested I only do cardio (in general) 3-4 times a week yeah right Kevin, you know I want more cardio than that!

But anyway, back to the Fivefingers--so after my conversation with Kevin, I decided to try a HIIT workout on the treadmill. The five minute warmup was a breeze, and the intervals themselves were not bad either! I was kinda surprised--normally I get extremely bored on the treadmill, but the combination of my new kicks and constantly keeping track of the time helped it fly by (almost literally). The Fivefingers were so lightweight, and in a sense empowering. They were a little bit noisier, in that you can hear me padding along on the treadmill (but that's what headphones are for anyway, right?), but they were EXTREMELY comfortable. Also, I've heard that it takes a while to get used to them, so ease into them to prevent extremely sore calves. Of course, I didn't remember until I was more than halfway through HIIT that yesterday was a leg day. My initial thoughts: You have to be kidding me, I'm going to be dead tomorrow; Maybe I can convince Kevin that I should do shoulders today and legs next time. Yeah, the convincing didn't work. It was still a leg day.
Similar to my HIIT workout, but think 30s sprints
 and 60s recovery.

After getting off the treadmill, I made sure to stretch really well, but all-in-all, I was glad it was time for legs. One of the reasons I made the Vibram purchase was because I had heard they were extremely good for lifting because the lack of normal running shoe padding is actually beneficial. Without the excess sole material, you are closer to the floor, aiding with natural balance and stability (and of course strengthening everything). The leg workout was definitely interesting--it actually went really well, but there are a few things I have to get used to in my new kicks. Squats were fine--I actually did feel more stable without the normal running shoes. Same thing with lunges, except I could feel my toes expanding and contracting in the Fivefingers. Calves, however, are definitely something I need to get used to in these things. It was somewhat hard to do calf lifts because the toes are isolated, and instead of having a closed toe box with which to lift, you have to make sure all of your toes are correctly placed.

At the end of the night: slightly sore, yet a completely fulfilling workout, thanks to the Vibrams.
Today: slow to walk up stairs, and lucky me, I had to walk down 4 flights of them to get to a class today.
<3 my Vibram Fivefingers Bikilas
Oh, and I'm giving up the lazy elliptical for the treadmill!!

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