Going barefoot...

I’m not particularly sketched out by going barefoot in public places. I love any chance I get to kick off my shoes and I have never had a bad experience with a foot infection or fungus or anything of that nature. BUT, I do have class participants who are not so happy about removing their shoes in my classes, and when I think about it, especially since I now am barefoot in a LOT more gyms and spaces than I used to be… maybe it’s worth taking some additional reasonable precautions. I do not want to cover my feet because the barefoot experience is CRITICAL to stimulating the nervous system through the feet (where it is LOOKING for stimulation—hence the concentration of nerves and how sensitive our feet are…), and to developing greater proprioception and balance, a major benefit of Essentrics classes, and also key for dance, of course. SO, I started using this soap to help kill any problematic germs I may pick up on my feet, and without having to use a problematic, overly-strong, anti-bacterial soap. I have very sensitive skin and don’t use soap with fragrances or harsh chemicals, and I have had no problem with this soap. I mostly just use it on my feet, because it’s so minty and tingly even if it did not irritate my skin, it would be a bit too stimulating for me for an evening shower, but I do like the product a lot. I originally heard about it on the Joe Rogan podcast, and it seems to have been developed and be very popular for participants in grappling sports and the like where people are getting a LOT of skin-to-mat and floor surface exposure. I’m glad to be using it!

Here is the link to the Defense Soap website. I have been using and enjoy the Original Bar. It is also available on Amazon.

My go-to mat... a convenient alternative to a full size yoga style mat

There are probably several options for brands, but the one I have and love is the SukhaMat.  I find it to be perfect for any form of floor work where I am lying on my back or side. I also use it under my hips when I stretch on the ground in a seated position, and under my knees whenever I am doing push-ups, planks, or quadruped exercises.  Whether it's my knees, or my spine that would otherwise be feeling the hard floor, this little mat provides plenty of padding, and I find it to be a lot easier to carry around than a full size yoga mat, and it weighs almost nothing. 

SukhaMat

My favorite nutrition-oriented YouTube channels

FoundMyFitness

Dr. Rhonda Patrick is amazing.  This channel makes cutting-edge nutrition science available, and relatively accessible, without overly watering it down.  Some of her interviews have had a profound impact on the way I eat. 

 

High Intensity Health

Mike Mutzel does incredible interviews on all manner of nutrition and exercise related topics.  Deanna Mutzel also takes part in some of the interviews and fitness oriented videos, but more recently has focused on food and recipes, specifically raw and keto creations, none of which I have tried, though all of which make my mouth water.

Lifestyle faves of all kinds

Gadgets

If you work out or have an athletic hobby that has you bringing home sweaty clothes every day, this thing -- what I consider a laundry salad spinner -- is awesome for cutting down on laundry, and for giving a realistic option for hand washing our often pricey, workout wear.  I can quickly wash my workout clothes in a bucket now and this thing spins them so well they dry in a day in the Inner Richmond fog (!!), if not a matter of hours if it's nice and sunny.  It has cut my machine laundry needs by half or more!  And if you have to haul your stuff to a laundromat, this thing will pay for itself in no time!  Awesome for apartments. 

The Laundry Alternative Soft Spin Dryer

 

Minimalist footwear

I have a long history of mistreating my feet.  I have high arches and wore orthotics from about 14yrs old, inspired by a life of what I'm confident now was excessive distance running for my age.  Many years and many injuries and signs of uncondition later (Achilles injury, superficial blood clot in my calf along with other signs of bad circulation, extremely weak intrinsic foot muscles), and I finally got serious about strengthening my feet, and as a result, so many other aspects of my health. Make no mistake, it was a long process of foot and lower extremity conditioning and effort to transition out of orthotics and super-rigid, super-padded, "stabilizing" shoes and the like I had worn for decades, but today I spend as much of my time barefoot or otherwise with as little limitation on my foot movement as the circumstances allow. 

About a year ago I discovered Xero Shoes  and completely fell in love with the Prio model.  If we've met in person, I probably showed up wearing these.  Now that it's summer, and I've needed a sandal that also didn't have a rigid sole, or wouldn't distort my gait the way a flip-flop does, for example, I have become a huge fan of the Cloud model.  The strap system is so simple, and elegant in its function, if not in fashion, and those are the priorities I roll with these days.  The strap across the top of the foot slides to create a secure ankle strap so that you are not forced to use your foot to keep the sandal on.  It's genius and feels *almost* as good as barefoot, but safer for public spaces :)
 

 A Xero shoes sandwich!  My well worn Prios in the middle and the Clouds on my feet :)

A Xero shoes sandwich!  My well worn Prios in the middle and the Clouds on my feet :)