• Ana Bailoni

We've gone barefoot! Here's why.

You've probably heard me talk about this at the gym and on social media, but there's a reason why we've now gone officially barefoot. 

Honestly, feet strength and movement isn't taught and addressed very much with trainers and coaches. I discovered the importance of strong and mobile feet back in 2015 when I heard it talked about for the first time by a podiatrist and trainer, Dr. Emily Splichal. I was absolutely fascinated as I heard about impact forces and how they affect our muscles and connective tissue, and I started applying some of the principles I had learned with myself and my clients. But soon fell out the habit because, well, no one else was talking about it and other things took the spotlight.

It wasn't until the beginning of this year, when (un)luck would have it, that I looked down at my feet while taking a shower one day and discovered a bone deformity had appeared. Almost overnight! It was horrifying. I immediately went to Dr. Splichal's resources to better understand my condition. It was a bunion. A bunion, y'all!! I'm 34 years old, I have no arthritis, I don't live in tight shoes, so why in the world did I have a bunion?

I jumped into all the books, video trainings, and blog posts Dr. Splichal and other functional podiatrists have on bunions and soon discovered it was no bone deformity. It was actually a shifting of the first metatarsal due to a weakened muscle in the foot from wearing shoes all my life. Muscle weakness?? We can fix and prevent that!! I also learned that weakness, instability, and immobility in the foot was the cause for many chronic and acute issues in the feet, ankles, knees, hips, and low back. So I went to work and brought all my clients along with me.

About a month after my obsession began, one of my members told me about this awesome product: minimalist footwear for barefoot strength training. And it was a startup based right here in RVA. She introduced me to Vincent, the creator of Kinis socks, and I fell in love with his vision and his products. I started training in Kinis socks and quickly decided that I want every one of my members in them as well!

I believe my job is to help you become your fittest in the safest, most effective and complete manner - and I passionately believe barefoot training is key for functional strength that will help you live better, longer, and healthier. 

So if you're a member and have enjoyed barefoot training, or if you're someone who works out and wants to make their training better from the ground up, I highly encourage you to grab yourself a pair of Kinis socks. They circumvent many problems of barefoot training including comfort, hygiene, and safety. They're cheaper than a pair of training shoes, and they'll last much longer. They're machine washable, too. 

You can order online and pick up right from our gym. Use discount code rio10 for 10% off!

So, is barefoot training mandatory at Rio Fitness? Of course not! I invite all of our trainees to kick off their shoes and experience movement while fully connected to the ground, but if someone's not comfortable with that, that's fine. We don't discriminate against shoe wearers. And, yes, outside of my training, I'm a shoe lover. I love wearing high heels on the weekend, which is all the more reason to make sure I'm taking care of my feet strength and mobility on the daily.

If you're not a member, come check out what we're all about. Your first class is always free, and, because you stuck with me in this blog post, I want to offer you a special deal: 4 weeks of group personal training for only $99. You can't beat that. Enjoy the full membership experience for less than a hundred bucks.

Happy training!


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