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What do Wayne Gretzky, Joe Montana, & Skechers All Have In Common? They All Need To Shape-Up.

February 28, 2011 2 comments

Wayne retired in 1999, these come out 10 years later... yeah sounds airtight.

If you paid much attention to this year’s Superbowl commercials (as most people do, more so than the actual game being played), or you watch TV with even moderate regularity, you may have seen the ads for Skechers’ latest shoes (though the technology has been around for 10 years, and has been employed by multiple other companies), their “Shape-Ups”.  While I don’t usually bother paying much attention to commercials at all, I feel this one irked me a little bit on a professional level, and I feel the need to explain why.

Skechers is claiming that their latest and greatest shoes will make you “get in shape without setting foot in a gym” by just walking around, and that you might as well “say bye-bye, trainer.” As a Personal Trainer myself, I’m sure you can put together why this bothers me; at least if you consider that that they’re basically saying that my profession is a hinderance, and isn’t worth your time or money. I just can’t let that slide.

From their website, here’s why Skechers say you NEED their new shoes: “Shape-ups are designed to help you tone your muscles – from your back and abdomen to your buttocks and calves. Shape-ups may help you lose weight and improve your circulation, creating a healthier you.” You are free to look up the science of the shoes’ claims; but long story short, an insert in the in-sole and an unconventionally shaped sole create a modified walking stride, theoretically engage muscles that don’t usually get used in the typical human walking motion, and thusly make you huge, and dissolve your need to ever exercise again in any other form.

Here’s the thing: they’re just not telling you the whole story. While the approach does have some decent scientifically grounded theory (making muscles work can produce hypertrophy [getting bigger] ), these shoes are just like any late-night infomercial selling the most recently invented product that will (well, claims to) grant you six-pack abs while you do next to nothing. In most cases, the product does actually assist in making your body perform an isotonic action that will stress the muscle it claims to, make you “feel the burn”, and think that the product is the miracle its creators told you it was. The thing that doesn’t get said is that for you to actually lose that body fat and chisel out your inner beach body, you need to follow the unadvertised cardio regimen to engage your aerobic system, as well as the diet plan (both of which are included in the packaging), and that you need to do so consistently over an extended period of time. For some reason, these critical points never make it into the advertising campaign.

I know that just wearing a pair of shoes and walking around probably sounds a lot more appealing than sustained and consistent exercise, so if no one else has already, I’m sorry to have to be the one to tell you that getting “More toned and strengthened leg, back, buttock and abdominal muscles, reduced body fat, improved circulation, aerobic conditioning and exercise tolerance, improved posture, relieving muscle tension and back/joint problems” is a little more difficult than Skechers and their unidentified “Doctors and researchers” would have you believe [interestingly, their website’s fine print states, “Walking regularly in Shape-ups may lead to the fitness benefits indicated on this page. Individual results may vary. These independent case studies were commissioned by SKECHERS. Results may vary from person to person. For the greatest results, walking in Shape-ups should be combined with a proper diet and regular exercise regimen.]

Another angle to consider is, of course, their celebrity endorsements. Commercial and website advertisements feature Kim Kardashian, Brooke Burke, Joe Montana, and my boyhood hero, Wayne Gretzky. I have no problem blasting the former three, but jabbing at The Great One is pretty tough for me, as he influenced a large portion of my childhood. But for a lot of people, I’m sure that’s the sell. “Wow look, Gretzky wears them, and he’s never done anything wrong or lied to us, they must be great!” I’m sure that’s how it’s sounded in many people’s heads as they debate whether their $100 – $300 is potentially being well spent on these shoes or not. But look everyone, were any of these aforementioned celebrities out of shape before these shoes existed? Did these shoes affect the playing careers of Wayne or Joe, both of whom completed their days as active players long before the shoes existed? Have the more than a decade old acting/modelling careers of Kardashian and Burke benefited from shoes that only just appeared on the market? Get serious. Shame on you, Wayne, shame (Gretz also recently played air-hockey with Justin Bieber on national TV, and gave him an autographed jersey; I’ve been meaning to having a word with Wayne for a while now).

So for argument’s sake, let’s give this gimmick the benefit of the doubt; let’s say the science is all dead on, and they work. My next question to you is, how long until they end up in your closet or storage room with along with the AbFlex, Ab-Roller, and every other fitness product you bought, used for a while, and then became disinterested in? In the end, this is where us trainers come in, and will remain: as motivators, educators, and enablers. Sticking to any fitness routine for the period of time it takes to see real benefit from is difficult, especially if you wouldn’t describe yourself as a self-motivated person. On more than one occasion now, my training clients have told me that there’s no way they would work as hard as they do with me if they were in the gym alone, if they even came to the gym at all. If you really want the results that the smokescreen of gimmicks promises you, eventually you’ll discover that the only way to achieve them is really is through hard work; and that sometimes the best way to realize your full physical potential is to have a Personal Trainer push you through to them.

Personal Trainers are equipped with the knowledge of how your body actually works — which hasn’t changed since humanity began.  Though gimmick fitness products would argue only they possess the secret to fitness, the real facts remain that to lose weight, you need to burn off more calories than you put into your body on a daily basis; and this is achieved by getting your heart pumping at a mathematically determined Training Heart Rate exclusive to your personal attributes,( ideally from 20 -60 minutes, and 2-6 days a week), taxing your aerobic system to draw in more oxygen and expel more carbon dioxide, and increasing the efficiency of your heart.  There are different aerobic training methods and approaches, and a Personal Trainer can steer you in the direction of which methods are most appropriate for your fitness level, body type, and fitness goals.  These methods and calculations is not information that most people are aware of, and many people get stuck and frustrated from not achieving their own goals because they are training like other people and not appropriately to themselves.  Along with motivation, a Personal Trainer can help you achieve your fitness goals faster by making your workouts more efficient and directed; avoiding time and energy wasted training in unnecessary and inappropriate approaches, thusly getting you “in shape” much quicker than on your own.  When you think about you, a Personal Trainer is the real shortcut, not the unused gimmick device collecting dust in your closet.

So if you live in Kelowna, West Kelowna, Lake Country, or Vernon, I’d be happy to spur you on to reaching your fitness goals the – regardless of what they are, or what kind of shoes you wear! Email ( davecunning09@shaw.ca ) , call ( 250 826 7489 ) , or Twitter ( @davecunning ) me today to book a training session!

 

Cranial Cleanse: Reality Renormalization, Ben Franklin, Akon, Bowl Games Boggle, Catfish, Spelling, and Special Feature Shh’ers… You Know Who You Are.

February 16, 2011 8 comments

Can we just go ahead and properly rename “reality” shows like Survivor, Big Brother, etc as regular game shows, like they actually are?  In what person’s twisted “reality” do you get deprived of food and water for extended periods of time, purposely betray trust and stab people in the back, and generally do whatever it takes to screw people out of a large lump sum of money and obtain it for yourself?  What is the big difference between “reality” tv and a gameshow, that a “reality” show is not filmed in a studio, and sometimes they go outside? 

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When someone makes an ambiguous statement, and then follows it up by saying “You know who you are”, in reference to anonymously calling out people who do what’s being talked about;  sometimes that subject’s identification is a lot hazier than the speaker realizes.   It’s a lot like when someone that you don’t know is waving at someone behind you, but you don’t realize there’s someone behind you, and you think the mystery person is waving at you, and you question yourself whether you should point at yourself and mouth “me?” to the person, or not.  Then you turn around and realize there’s someone behind you returning the greeting.  You also conclude that, you’re an idiot that no one wants to wave at.  Moral of the story is that people need to be more specific; you people who are purposefully general, you know who you are…

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I hate every song Akon sings.

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The whole college football “bowl” season’s popularity boggles me.  It’s great when teams like my friend Adam’s favourite Oregon Ducks make it to the legit national championship; but for all the other bowl game’s whose participants are voted in rather than earning their spots, I have a hard time giving them much cred as they lay claim to the “prestigious” Godaddy.com Bowl Championship, and other such farce trophies.  I mean, are college football teams actually excited to win the godaddy.com Bowl? Can u tell someone you won that with a straight face and legitimately be proud of yourself?

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No disrespect to people out there who choose to use online dating services to find a mate, but if you do, do yourself a favor and see the movie “Catfish” first.  Please.  I won’t spoil the movie for you, but basically a woman grossly misrepresents herself through an online relationship and the guy calls her on it.  It’s pretty nutty.  On paper, you would think online matching services would be able to very scientifically and appropriately pair people, BUT that only has a chance of working when truthful data is entered.  Granted, the movie isn’t based on an online dating site (rather, an email/facebook connection), but the same premise still applies.

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I really enjoy the “Special Features” option on DVD’s; you know, deleted scenes and whatnot.  But the one thing I just don’t get why anyone would want to see/hear it is the movie’s audio commentary (usually by the director, actors, or people involved in the film) dubbed overtop of the show and drowning out the movie’s dialogue – I mean, who wants to watch a movie while someone’s talking the whole time?  Isn’t this just a “shhhh’ers” crowning moment?

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It’s a good thing electricity was invented; at this point, there wouldn’t have been enough trees left on the planet to burn for heat and light for the 7 billion people of today.  Well played, Ben Franklin.

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Accidentally misspelling “lose” as “loose” automatically makes your sentence twice as hilarious (laughing at you, not with you, hilarious), and makes you look like twice the idiot.

Hockey Talkie: Hodgson Hype, DiPietro’s Judgement Deficiency, Collapsing Thrashers, Franzen, Ovie, and TSN’s WWF Playbook Move.

February 5, 2011 Leave a comment

For the Canucks’ sake, Cody Hodgson better turn out to be the second coming of Crosby, like Vancouver media would have you believe. He seems like a good kid, and a really good player, but the more that Sportsnet West jams him down all our throats, they more I start to undeservingly hate him by default. Just let him season a little, or at least get the birdcage off before the greatness assessments start flying; that’s all I’m asking.

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He'd played 20 games already, he was due for a rest.

So after years of unplanned injuries, New York Islanders’ goaltender, Rick DiPietro, voluntarily pursued one the other night when he squared up with Pittsburgh’s Brent Johnson; where he found himself a broken face, twisted knee, and another visit from the Injury Fairy. You would think that someone that’s clearly so fragile would try to avoid blatant threats against his health; especially with the dark cloud of trying to live up to his first-overall draft selection and his lengthy/exorbitant contract hanging over his reputation, and contending against his minimal activations, frequent and lengthy IR stints, and overall average performance. I’d say Islanders’ GM Garth Snow and owner Charles Wang are almost ready to one-punch him too.

A thought on goalie fights… as even casual fans seem to love them, why can’t NHL goalies that fight just sit in the box for 5 minutes to serve their penalty like everyone else? There’s no real reason why teams couldn’t just put their backups in until the penalties expire; both would be coincidental penalties, giving the goaltenders opportunity to reset after they are released. I’m sure the reason it’s frowned on is all to do with something along the lines of “not encouraging that kind of behaviour” or another hypocritical cliché.

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Another Atlanta Thrashers’ player collapses during a game? As much as I wouldn’t want to, I wouldn’t be surprised to hear about a Performance Enhancing Drug scandal in Atlanta in the future, especially now that it has happened to two players on the same team.  Had their been two seperate instances involving unrelated players, this might fly under the radar, but it’s hard not to wander towards suspicions after this revelation.  These are the most elite athletes in the world; you don’t just collapse for no reason while doing something your body has been trained to do for its entire existence.  With Freddy Meyer now experiencing a similar mid-game fainting episode to that of Ondrej Pavelec’s invisible banana peel slip earlier in the season, I’m going to go ahead and speculate with nothing beyond my own opinion that these guys are putting something into their bodies that is causing their systems to operate in an unnatural way – and is causing unnatural reactions. Regardless of whether my suspicion turns out to be true or not, it’s always dangerous to put things into your body that alter the normal operations of your heart or your brain; and if we can look to MLB for any indication of what drug scandals can do to your sport, I hope I am completely off-base, for the players’ and the NHL’s sake.

that's messed up.

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I really think Detroit’s “Mule”, Johan Franzen could be the best player in the NHL if he could be consistent. 5 goals in one game? A 4-goal game in the playoffs last year after being benched by Mike Babcock the night prior? Who else do you know that scores in bunches like that? He’s got a well-known streaky dominance, but an equally well-known follow-up of extreme average-ness for extended periods of time.  After the 5 goal game, Detroit was shut out by Columbus the next night, and Johan missed at least one wide open net.

A further player assessment; for a one time “best hockey player in the world” candidate, Alex Ovechkin’s…. kiiiiiiinda average at hockey now. Well, among the top 30 players in the world that is.  Even with an injured Crosby, Ovie’s still 8th in NHL scoring, and 15 pts off first place overall.  His hardest shot round at the Skills Competition was nothing short of comical; broken stick, unregistering radar, and swimming through tripped over TV cables and all. I wonder how rattled CCM was that Ovie blew up his CCM stick and then borrowed an Easton stick to finish the shootout? Luckily for CCM, the Easton blast was nothing spectacular. Still, having your poster boy tote someone else’s product in a globally viewed performance review couldn’t possibly be an option written into the product endorsement contract.

Also on the All-Star Game, I never understood why the NHL’s “All-Star” level goalies get so bad at stopping pucks in that showdown. I get that the defence and physicality is limited, while the offensive output is maximized, but isn’t that scenario the goalies’ show-off time too?

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I find TSN’s stealing signing of rival sports channel’s broadcasters (Darren Dreger, Steve Kouleas) like the WWF stealing underutilized WCW talent in the 90′s. To be fair, Sportsnet did pick up TSN patriarch Jim Van Horne at one point in time too, so it’s not like it’s a one-way street. Interesting talent joust. Sports channels are possibly the most entertaining they have ever been nowadays. Viewers win.

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