What do Wayne Gretzky, Joe Montana, & Skechers All Have In Common? They All Need To Shape-Up.
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 ( firstname.lastname@example.org ) , call ( 250 826 7489 ) , or Twitter ( @davecunning ) me today to book a training session!