Choosing the Best Workout Shoe: 5 Biggest Mistakes

Choosing the Best Workout ShoeWhat’s the one piece of workout gear you can’t live without? Your Ipod Nano? A good water bottle? A truly supportive sports bra?

Wrong, wrong, and wrong. The single most important piece of equipment to virtually any kind of exercise program — running, aerobics, hiking, tennis, basketball — is the right pair of shoes.

A good pair of shoes can make or break your workout — but it’s easy to go wrong.

1. Grabbing Whatever’s Handy

“The biggest mistake people make when they start running, jogging, or doing any exercise program, is just reaching into the closet and pulling out an old pair of sneakers,” says Tracie Rodgers, PhD, an exercise psychologist and spokeswoman for the American Council on Exercise.

But how do you choose the right shoe for your workout?

A recent search of a popular shoe-buying web site yielded more than 4,500 different pairs under the category “sneakers,” including more than 1,000 running shoes, 199 “cross-trainers,” 133 pairs of basketball shoes, 110 pairs for tennis, and more than 1,500 in a nebulous category dubbed “athleisure.” Supposedly, you can wear these to the office and for a workout — but you probably shouldn’t.

2. Choosing the Right Shoe — for the Wrong Workout

First, you need to choose the right type of shoe for the kind of workout you’ll be doing. And yes, it does matter.

A shoe made for running is very different from a shoe made for basketball or tennis, in a number of ways.

“Running shoes have no lateral stability built into them, because you don’t move your feet laterally when you run,” says Joe Puleo, the author of Running Anatomy and the head men’s and women’s cross-country and track and field coach at Rutgers University in Camden, N.J.

“You’re only going forward, and a running shoe is built to give you support and stability as you move your foot through the running gait cycle,” Puleo says. “Basketball and tennis shoes both have to be stabilized laterally, because you move your feet side to side a lot when playing these sports. You can’t build a running shoe that has lateral stability, and you can’t build a shoe for basketball or tennis that doesn’t have it.”

Even walking shoes differ from running shoes.

“Runners land more on their forefoot, while when walking you have a heavier heel strike,” says Catherine Cheung, DPM, a podiatrist and foot surgeon with the Post Street Surgery Center in San Francisco. “So for running, you want a shoe that has more cushioning on the forefoot, while walking shoes should have stiffer rubber to support the heel.”

Can’t you just get a good cross-trainer and use it for everything? Probably not.

“Cross-trainer” shoes never existed before Bo Jackson, who played professional baseball and football (remember the “Bo Knows” ad campaign?).

“Before Jackson, we just called them sneakers,” Puleo says. “Then, Nike came up with an ad campaign and now we have cross-trainers. But there’s no specificity to them: you can’t do any one thing well. They have some lateral stability, so you can play a game of basketball with your kids occasionally. You can run a mile or two. But most of them are not very good shoes for any particular activity.”

Then again, some people aren’t heavily into running, hiking, tennis, or any one sport. They go to the gym occasionally, maybe play tennis with a work buddy once in a while, or shoot a few baskets with the kids.

For them, a cross-trainer might be the best choice.

“A good cross-trainer will allow you to do the treadmill, some walking on asphalt or on a track, and light jogging,” says Kathleen Stone, DPM, president of the American Podiatric Medical Association. “Not mileage, of course. But I like them for people who are doing a variety of athletic endeavors casually.”

To choose a good cross-trainer, Stone suggests you look for:

A firm heel
Good support (you shouldn’t be able to bend the shoe too easily)
Light weight (you don’t want to add a lot of pounds to your feet)

But the APMA recommends that if you’re going to participate in a particular sport on a regular basis (2-3 times a week or more), you should choose a sport-specific shoe.

3. Loving Them Too Much

“Your workout shoes should be your workout shoes, and not your running-around-town shoes,” Rodgers says. “You’ll break down a pair of shoes standing in them or wearing them to the mall and running errands much faster than when you’re running or exercising.”

So buy yourself a pair of casual tennies for running around town, and stow your good workout shoes in the closet as soon as you get home from your run or your tennis game.

“That’s where I buy the shoes I think look nice, but aren’t good for me to work out in,” Rodgers says. “Certain brands, I can’t work out in because they hurt my feet, but I love the way they look, so I wear them with my jeans for just hanging around.”

4. Loving Them Too Long

Another big mistake many people make when buying athletic shoes is not replacing them often enough.

“They think they should replace their workout shoes when they start looking bad,” Rodgers says. “But shoes start to break down while they’re still looking good. The support — the reason you buy the shoe in the first place — is gone, and you’ll start feeling strange aches and pains in your knees, hip, and back.”

Most experts recommend that runners replace their shoes every 300-500 miles. If you don’t run enough to have a mile count, or running’s not your sport, you should replace your athletic shoes at least once a year.

“If you’re exercising on a casual basis, you can make your shoes last a year, but if you’re working out every day, six months is pretty much your limit,” Stone says.

You should also have your shoe size rechecked every year, Cheung says. “Foot size doesn’t stay the same; our feet tend to grow bigger as we age.”

Do you need orthotics — the specialized, custom-built inserts designed for people with specific gait problems? For most people, the answer is probably no, Puleo says.

“There are certain foot types and injuries that can be corrected with orthotics, but my opinion is they’re dramatically overprescribed. They work well for some patients, but I’ve been wearing the same brand of over-the-counter generic insoles for years, and they’ve worked great as well, and are much cheaper,” Puleo says.

5. Doing It Yourself

Unless you’ve been playing your sport for a long time and have learned exactly what shoe is right for you, it’s a bad idea to just walk into a sporting goods store, try on a few pairs of shoes, and walk out with what you think is best.

Instead, go to an athletic shoe specialty store to get an expert insight on the right shoe and the best fit.

“The staff there will do a real fitting, evaluate your foot, and take a history of your athletic activities and what shoes may have worked for you before,” Puleo says. “They’ll watch you walk or run on a treadmill or outside.”

And they’ll take three measurements — not just one — on the metal plate we’ve all seen in shoe stores, known as a Brannock device.

“You need to know not just length, but also width and arch length,” Puleo says. “All three of those numbers together determine what size you should wear. And each shoe can be cut a little differently — a 10.5 isn’t a universal 10.5 in all shoes — so they’ll start with that number and work from there.”

A good athletic shoe specialty store will also have a liberal return policy — so ask. Others may permit you to return shoes if you’ve only worn them indoors, but not outdoors.

The New Jersey running store Puleo founded allowed customers to return a shoe at any time, for any reason. “You don’t like ‘em, you bring ‘em back,” he says. “It was on me to make sure you were satisfied before you left. We had a very low rate of return because we spent so much time with every customer, we knew they’d be happy with them. You should never be stuck with a shoe that doesn’t work for you.”

Beachbody Grows Exponentially Thanks To Network Marketing

Shaun T. Insanity
There are not many companies these days that can do $400 million in sales and remain relatively anonymous.

Yet Beachbody, a private company, grossed nearly as much as Groupon did last year and very few people talk about the robust engine that is behind exercise workout programs like P90X, INSANITY and Turbo Jam.

Under the leadership of co-founder Jon Congdon and Carl Daikeler, the company has developed a business model that seems to be Teflon, turning successful converts of its programs into network marketers who ensure that the brands flourish.

Many multi-level marketing companies are based on building a network of sellers and distributors getting rewarded based on the size of their network.

Most often, the people who have gotten in on the ground floor reap the greatest benefits while those late to the game struggle to make money.

What makes Beachbody’s network of distributors, called coaches, so successful is that these people have done the programs and are often in incredible shape. Their testimonial and therefore their business relies on how good they look, not whether they tell friends that a certain superfruit drink helps them have more energy or cures their stomach problems.

It seems like, more often than not, network marketing thrives on results which can’t be verified, but if my fat friend shows up with a six-pack, I’ll be more likely to believe he was doing an intense workout program.

Since starting the network marketing program three and half years ago, Beachbody now has 51,000 coaches who take a cut of videos and nutritional products they sell. Beachbody coaches sell $1 million worth of nutritional shakes under the brand’s Shakeology name a week. And it’s not cheap at around $120 for a month worth of servings.

“We could have built this company’s sales a lot faster at retail by selling at Walmart and Target,” Daikeler said. “But selling it through direct television (infomercials) and through our network works better for us.”

Daikeler says that his coaches serve as walking billboards and salespeople who want to help their family and friends by helping them lose weight through the company’s exercise programs. This is unlike many other multi-level marketing companies that solely rely on building a network to make more money.

And Daikeler doesn’t have to pay for testimonials, a common practice in the infomercial business space he plays in.

“The standard network marketing doesn’t work with our model,” Daikeler said. “This is not a ponzi scheme where if you’re the last one in, you don’t have a chance to do well.”

While the average lifespan of a multi-level marketer is three months, Daikeler says his coaches remain in the system an average of 18 months. It’s why he’s confident that by the end of 2011, there will be 150,000 coaches.

“We don’t promise it will replace your every day job,” Daikeler said. “That has been the case with about 1,000 of our coaches. But what it does for others is it keeps them in shape. In order to continue to have credibility selling, you need to continue to keep up. And so, it allows the people who want to fight obesity, to be motivated by the fact that they have skin in the game.”

By continuing to have more and more videos – P90X led to a harder workout, INSANITY, and that program is leading to The Asylum, which will come out in a few weeks – I don’t see Beachbody slowing down any time soon. And the non-traditional, more patient route of using those converted to the brand by really using it is a smart approach that I think will pay off nicely down the road.

P90X vs INSANITY

P90X vs Insanity

P90X vs INSANITY – Which program is best for you?

I receive this question quite often from friends, family and patients. The key to any successful workout routine is consistency. In order to be consistent with any exercise program you have to like you workout program. In this post we will compare P90X vs INSANITY, 2 of the hottest at home workout programs so you can make the best decision for you. This is about getting results so let’s take a closer look at P90X vs INSANITY!

P90X vs INSANITY – Basic difference

When people ask me the question, “What is the difference between P90X vs INSANITY?” I give them this simple answer: P90X is a strength based program with some cardio mixed in, and INSANITY is a cardio based program with some strength elements. But to stop there with the comparison would do both programs an injustice, so let’s look deep into P90X vs INSANITY.

P90X vs INSANITY – The Results

I always say the greatest motivator for continuing any workout program is the results. Without question, both of the programs have a proven record of getting good results, but seeing is believing.

P90X Results:


Now those are some impressive results! But how does that compare to the results people are achieving with INSANITY?

INSANITY Results:


Equally impressive results! Does that make your decision any easier? Let me ask a simple question: as you watched the 2 different videos, did you find yourself identifying with one vs. the other? Did one of the videos get you a little more excited than the other? If so, I think you have your answer to which program you should start. However, if you are still unsettled in your decision about P90X vs INSANITY then continue reading below.

P90X vs INSANITY – My Experience

Having done both programs I can honestly say that they are both tremendous workouts and well worth the money I spent on them. They are great additions to my home exercise library. But let’s go back to the beginning.

P90X vs INSANITY: P90X is Where I Started

As a physical therapist people always ask me about different exercise programs, and I was hearing a lot from patients about P90X (including a patient who hurt his shoulder doing pull-ups). I decided to look into it. I purchased the program and was pleasantly surprised by what I found. I still believe that P90X is the most complete exercise program of any on the market today because it incorporates all parts of fitness: strength, explosiveness, cardio, flexibility, and core control. The P90X program incorporates what Tony Horton calls “muscle confusion”. This philosophy isn’t new but P90X is organized in such a way that people continue to get results over the 90 days. In working with patients I know that unless I challenge them, I can’t expect their bodies to change and respond. P90X is an all out assault on the entire body broken down into 3 different phases, each phase building on the previous phase to produce the kind of results that make people want to continue. The kind of results that make people ask, “How have you changed your body?”

P90X vs INSANTIY: INSANITY The Workout Evolution Continues

Once I completed a few rounds of P90X, P90X + and a few triathlons, I was looking for something new, a different challenge. I remember asking a fellow Beachbody Coach about this new workout program that had just come out INSANITY. My question to him was, “how does INSANITY compare to Interval X Plus?” His response, “INSANITY is ten times as hard as Interval X Plus, get ready to sweat!” Well, that is all the encouragement I needed. I purchased the program and jumped in with both feet, to find myself swimming in a pool of my own sweat. I quickly learned that INSANITY is properly named. I worked my way through the first month and started to feel my cardio improving. Then the second month started and I realized I still had a long ways to go – I never thought an additional 15 minutes added onto a workout could make that much of a difference. I was wrong! It makes all the difference and my greatest results with INSANITY came in the second month of the program.

P90X Vs INSANITY – A Comparison Chart

P90X vs INSANITY Comparison Chart

P90X Vs INSANITY – My Final Thoughts

The truth is that P90X vs INSANITY is a question that you can’t answer wrong. Both of these programs will help you get amazing results as long as you push play and pay attention to your nutrition. Poor nutrition has sabotaged my results in previous rounds of these programs, so don’t think you can out exercise a poor nutrition plan.

Both programs offer modifications for different fitness levels, but I believe that in order to avoid injury you need to have a better baseline level of fitness to start INSANITY than is required for P90X. They both come with a Fit Test to perform at the beginning so you can determine if you are truly ready (don’t skip the Fit Test!).

If you travel consistently for your work, it may be easier to do INSANITY in your hotel room than it is to do P90X. The P90X App now makes it easier to take on the road if you are staying at hotels with good gym facilites, but since INSANITY requires no equipment, it may be the best choice for frequent flyers.

Consistency over time is what brings true change, so choose a program that excites you and stick with it! Then when you finish, pick up the other program to add to your exercise library to keep your workouts fun and exciting. Grab a friend or family member and keep pushin’ play – your body will thank you for years to come!!

P90X vs INSANITY – Now it is YOUR Turn to Decide!

P90XInsanity

Now let’s get to work!

April 2012 Beachbody Challenge Winner, Barry

Barry won a cool $1,000 for his Power90, P90X Transformation Story
Barry Crawford, Before and After
Tell us about your life before you started the program. How did you feel about yourself and your body?
It’s embarrassing really,…I can blame my weight on my back/neck injury ? Which limited me and thus I ballooned in weight ? Yeah an excuse, I liked to eat, and I liked to sit around and not do much prior to starting the program. let’s be honest with each other the weight I carried wasn’t gained in a year or two,.. I was always “a little over weight”. it isn’t a good feeling when someone walks up to you and rubs your belly and you ask what they were doing, they joke “Rubbing the Buddha belly buddy, your fat !” The constant jokes about weight,..they can hurt,people think they are funny,some think they are encouraging you to lose weight,..no it hurts ! I felt like an embarrassment to myself and my family,..not a good feeling being called the “fat one” in the family.

What inspired you to change your life and begin your transformation journey?
The desire to play with my granddaughter , who loves to run, jump and play. She inspired me to say I can do this ! I was a walking heart attack, I want to live to see her graduate from high school, maybe even get married.My tai chi coach taught me about healthy food choices,told me I should do a basic dumbbell exercise program every night prior to being able to eat dinner. I went from 224 to 210, I said wo what results could I see if i had a regular routine/program..ENTER the Power 90 and a transformational life style.

What is the greatest challenge you faced before beginning the program? How did the program and Beachbody® help you overcome that challenge?
The greatest challenge I faced was my spine ! I had been injured in an accident, and my neck and back were in constant pain and agony ! I would sleep maybe a max of 2 hours a night due to pain ! Eventually I was able to get more sleep here and there, but the pain was constant.Part of the cause tho was the large amount of weight that I was carrying on my person.I had a choice to make to be a victim or a victor,..I choose to be a victor ! The program reduced the weight, which has reduced the pain ! The program strengthened my core even doing more reduction in pain !The program was literally a life saver ! Through modifications I strengthened my core so much ..back pain ? Ha ! the pain is virtually eliminated ! i didn’t need to modify by the end of the challenge,I’m actually LIVING again !

Why did you choose this particular program?
While doing research on the P90X, so many regretted not starting with the Power 90,the P90X would have been too extreme for me at that point in time. All the reviews for Power 90 were positive for those that worked the program.clearly it worked for them,it could/did work for me too ! The thought and research that Team Beach Body placed into this program is AMAZING ! How it builds you right up to the P90X and beyond if you chose to go that route. I have had friends and family start the program now seeing the results I had,I’d suggest this as a way to start a new life style anyday of the week and twice on Sundays !

What in particular did you like about the program you chose?
The progressive way that Tony builds you up in the Power 90. First he increases your self confidence. Once that is built up and you say wow I can do this ! You start to realize he is also building up your physical capabilities to achieve even more ! And before the program ends where I would have never considered myself capable of doing P90X, I cant wait to start it now ! The Power 90 program has my self confidence up, and my physical ability to do the program is there now. It challenges you in such a progressive nature that is achievable, but yet a challenge. And once achieved, it feels so good to say ‘I decided, I committed and I succeed!”

Describe the results you achieved with your Beachbody program. Which achievements are you proud of?
My body weight DROPPED !, i feel 120% better ! I feel comfortable in my own skin ! I feel healthy ! I look healthy ! I’m so much stronger then before. My cardio stamina is baffling to me ! THANK YOU Tony H ! WoW I never ever thought I would have cardio stamina ! I think that the cardio stamina that I had (nothing) and what i have now wasn’t even a thought, wasn’t a consideration at all. I thought i’d get toned, lose weight,..but the cardio never dreamt I ‘d consider going running in this lifetime EVER ! And now i have this new found cardio stamina, I’m actually going shopping for running shoes. SAY WHAT !? Yes from being lazy sitting on the couch making excuses to going for a jog…… WoW ! That impresses me the most !

How has your life changed since completing your Beachbody program?
I find that my lifestyle changed by now actually living life ! Getting up from the sofa and doing things you see people do on TV. Guess what there is a huge world out there ready to be explored ! If you get up and go for a walk, WoW , go to the park, walk by a stream,..stroll alongside a lake,..now that’s relaxing, not sitting on the sofa. I have energy to do so much more now. I’m not making excuses to go sit down, I like doing things now and look for activities to do. Ok here’s one for ya, I’m looking forward to going by the river this summer to work on my yoga, last year I’d be looking to find a way to nap.

Coach Prize!April 2012 Beachbody Challenge Winner