Personal Training Tips

10 Reasons You Should Never, Ever Wear Flip-Flops

It's summer! What are you going to wear on your feet? Hopefully not flip-flops. Check out this recent article from Cosmopolitan magazine before your next personal training session and find out the blistering effects of your favorite pair of sandals.

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As the weather warms up, it's hard to resist the urge to break out the truest sign of summer: flip-flops. But most experts are horrified by the idea. Here's why you should reserve your flip-flops for the beach, pool, spa, and shared showers — and keep your feet out of them, otherwise, according to Dr. Jackie Sutera, DPM, a podiatrist and spokesperson for the American Podiatric Medical Association.

1. They expose your feet to bacteria, viral, and fungal infections.


Any time your feet get particularly filthy (i.e., any time you wear your flip-flops in public), they're likely covered in some nasty things likes Staphylococcus, a bacteria that can irritate the skin on your foot in the best case or lead to amputation in the worst-case scenarios. (It depends on whether you have open wounds, like microwounds from exfoliation during a recent pedicure, or actual cuts, and your state of health when you pick up the bacteria.) Athlete's foot, an itchy fungal infection that's highly contagious, is spread by contact with something that's contaminated. When you wander around nearly barefoot, you're screwed if this fungus crosses your path. And the same goes for the virus that causes warts, human papillomavirus (HPV).

2. They slow you down.


An Auburn University study found that flip-flop wearers take smaller steps than people who wear sneakers.

3. They make you extra clumsy.


Those short strides you take when you wear flip-flops? They increase your risk of tripping (or being trampled in a crowd).

4. They destroy your heels.


Because your heels hit the ground with more force when there's nothing but a measly piece of foam separating your foot from the ground, walking in flip-flops accentuates the heel-strike impact, which could end up causing pain — especially if you stand or walk in them for extended periods of time.

5. They can cause terrible blisters.


When a thin strap is the only thing that holds your shoe on, that strap rubs up against your skin every time you take a step. This can cause irritation and blisters. When blisters pop, you're left with an open wound that makes you more vulnerable to the pathogens you pick up anytime your foot is exposed.

6. They can permanently damage your toes.


Ever hear of hammertoe? It's when the knuckles of your toes bend. When you wear flip-flops, your toes need to work extra hard to keep the shoe on your foot, which can cause hammertoe over time. If you want to avoid stiffness, pain, and potentially, surgery, you'll stick with strappier sandals (ideally, a pair with a thick strap at the midfoot, and one that goes behind your ankle). Think Birkenstocks and Tevas, which — just your luck! — happen to be trendier than flip-flops. Most important, it will affect your performance during your session with a personal trainer.

7. They mess with your posture.


Any super-flat shoe that doesn't bend like your foot does when you walk barefoot alters your biomechanics and affects posture.

8. They can cause shooting pains.


People with flat feet need arch support to keep their knees, hips, and back aligned. In a flat shoe, there's none of that, so your joints have to compensate. This can cause overuse injuries all the way up the body, including Achilles tendonitis (injury to the tendon that connects the calf muscle to the heel bone), heel pain, and pinched nerves in the back. Not surprising, most personal training clients come in with one injury or another. Does your injury stem from flip-flops?

9. They can exacerbate bunions.


Because your toes have to work so hard to keep flip-flops on your feet, over-gripping can aggravate people with unsightly and painful bunions, a bump at the big toe joint. Not good.

10. They could be made of toxic materials.


Plastic straps may be made of latex, which many people are allergic to, or plastic that contains BPA, a toxin linked to various cancers. Do you really want your toes to get all up in that? Opt for sandals with fabric or leather straps, because natural materials tend to be safer.Still feel like such a flip-flop day? (Didn't think so.)

Article Credit:
Author: Elizabeth Narins (Cosmopolitan)
10 Reasons You Should Never, Ever Wear Flip-Flops
Fitness and injury tips to help your personal training in Chicago.
 

5 Things You Should Never Do Before You Work Out

My personal training clients are always looking for ways to make their sessions with a personal trainer more efficient. Here is a recent article from MSN.com that should be followed by them and anyone active in the fitness studio.

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Craft a killer playlist. Get dressed in your workout best. Perform a light warm-up. You know what to do to get ready for an awesome workout. But there are some things you should never—and we mean never, ever—do before a workout. Like these five workout-wrecking mistakes:

1. Drink Just One Glass of Wine at Happy Hour


“Any amount of alcohol before working out is too much,” says certified strength and conditioning specialist Mike Donavanik. “Depending on the tolerance level one may have, it may affect some more than others—but either way, you’re looking at possible drowsiness, dehydration, narrowing of your blood vessels, impaired motor function, and a number of other side effects, which just aren’t conducive to working out.” What’s more, drinking even one glass of alcohol can lower your blood-sugar levels, which can lead to everything from shakiness and weakness to flat-out injury, says Georgie Fear, R.D., author of Lean Habits for Lifelong Weight Loss.

2. Chug More Than a Few Cups of Water


It’s an hour before your workout, and you just realized you’ve drunk shockingly little so far that day, so you down a bunch of water. We’ve all done it. But if you drink too much, it could backfire. Your kidneys can process close to a liter of water an hour, so if you drink more than that, you could put yourself at risk of a rare but serious condition called hyponatremia, in which the blood becomes diluted and the concentration of sodium ions drops too low, says Fear. Symptoms include a loss of energy, muscle weakness, and cramps, none of which make for a good workout. On the more dangerous end of things, it can cause seizures and coma.

Luckily, it’s unlikely that you’re going to down a two-liter bottle of water before your workout, but Donavanik recommends capping your intake even lower: at to two to three cups of water two to three hours before exercise—for your stomach’s sake. “If you have a stomach full of water and you’re doing intense exercise like sprints, jumps, and inversions, you feel that water moving around in your stomach—and it’s super unpleasant,” he says. “It can also cause you to cramp, feel nauseated, and possibly throw up.”

3. Hit Up the Indian Food Buffet


“Eating a big, spicy meal is a no-no if you don't want reflux or heartburn during your workout,” says Fear. It doesn't sound pretty: “Combined with jostling around, a full stomach increases the risk of acidic stomach contents contacting and irritating the inside of the esophagus and giving you that familiar heartburn sensation,” she says. “Reflux can torpedo your workout by making it less comfortable to work at your full intensity, giving you a sour taste in your mouth or even causing you enough pain to pack it in early.”

Plus, even if you somehow sidestep heartburn (lucky you), you still may have cramping and reduced exercise function to deal with. “If you start to work out while your body is still digesting food, the body now has to also shunt blood into the muscles being worked,” says Donavanik. “So now you aren’t getting enough blood supply to your stomach to help properly digest your food, and you aren’t getting an adequate blood supply to your muscles.” If you’re planning an intense workout, avoid meat, eggs, corn, and anything else that’s hard for your stomach to break down within a couple hours of hitting the gym. Stick with lighter foods, like fruit and carbs, within a couple hours of your workout, he says. Bonus: Since they are easily digestible, your body will actually be able to use them to help you power your workout.

4. Have Crazy, Wild Sex


“If two people are really going at it, sex can be detrimental pre-workout because you’re expending a lot of energy," says Donavanik. "Not just that, but during sex, oxytocin is released, which kind of mellows you out and gives you those feel-good vibes. So if you’re planning a hardcore bootcamp workout, skip the pre-workout sex.”

5. Try to Touch Your Toes


Static stretching (think: bend and hold) before a workout is a no-go. “When you work out, your muscles need to contract as intensely and forcefully as possible,” says Donavanik. “So when you put them in a stretched state beforehand, you limit their ability to do their job efficiently. It’s like you're taking away their tools for success.” For instance, in one study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, exercisers who static stretched before performing a squat reduced their strength by 8.36 percent and lower-body stability by 22.68 percent, compared to those who performed dynamic stretches before getting their squat on.

Article Credit:
Author: K. Aleisha Fetters (Women's Health)
5 Things You Should Never Do Before You Work Out
Fitness tips from a personal trainer in Chicago.