Celebrating a year of being part of the barefoot junkie tribe this month!
Fitness has been a passion of mine since childhood and I trained to become a Group Exercise Instructor and Personal Trainer in my early 20's. I was a fast paced human that trained 'hardcore' and my motto was 'Go Hard or Go Home.' As I moved into my 30's I began to experience pains, injuries and stiffness and I decided that I wanted to learn and study Yoga, thinking to get a deeper innerstanding of how to stretch and move my body for longevity. I chose Fitness Yoga, exploring fun ways to bend, how to do funky balances and how to move in sequences that flowed. My practices were dynamic, fast paced and challenging. I felt fierce and powerful with yoga now added to my fitness world.
In 2020, the pandemic catapulted me from teaching fitness and yoga sessions in gyms to now mostly being online. I had began training barefoot indoors. Despite becoming more bendy and strong plus being barefoot with my online sessions, I was still experiencing pains in my shoulders, lower back, jaw tension and bunion pain. Something still wasn't right. I had also been going through a dark time emotionally, I felt overwhelmed and suddenly everything just felt too much to handle. A close friend saw my light dimming from inside and encouraged me to try breathing exercises (a 9 minute Wim Hof video) which at first I thought was ridiculous, however he was persistent and I thought sod it what have I got to lose if I try this. Fast forward 3 months later, breathing exercises had transformed my life becoming a daily practice that then led me to adding meditation into my life. The breathing exercises and meditations had also helped reduce the pain in my body (and calm my anxious mind) however I still could feel something wasn't right. So one afternoon I went into a deep meditation and decided to sit with my body and asked her what is going on with us (may sound a bit nuts I know!). And blow me down I got a response from my body and her wisdom, she said 'its too much, we need to slow down, repair and heal from old injuries, repair scar tissue and stop forcing movement when we feel tired!' Suddenly I could feel what she meant, my right hamstring felt heavy and worn out, my neck felt creaky, my back felt locked, my feet felt battered, and I realised it's time to listen and respond to my body (despite my mind shouting we need to keep pushing and going harder).
I began making changes to my training and focused on self massage, slower yoga practices (yin yoga and hatha) and took a long break from weight training. Walking in nature became part of my daily movement also. I booked a 2 hour massage months later (the guy is basically like an MOT for your body) and he focused alot on my feet, calfs and hamstrings and shortly after he left I took myself for a walk outdoors. All of a sudden my familiar comfy trainers felt so uncomfortable and I felt like I was totally lopsided! I could feel where I had worn down the shoe from walking and decided to take them off and go barefoot on the pavement which led me the woods I loved to walk in. However the ground (being October and had been particulary cold and wet) felt too much to be barefoot. And then it clicked...I need to get those Barefoot Shoes! And you know what, I have not looked back since!
When they arrived I was so excited and off I was out exploring everywhere feeling so free in my feet. It felt like everything was making sense with injuries, pains and stiffness the more I wore the Vibrams. I began complimenting wearing the shoes with deeper stretches for my toes, ankles, calves, shins plus regularly adding fascia release into my days. I felt more grounded, more present and more focused. After 6 months of wearing Vibram FiveFingers I felt so much more confident and balanced in my mind and body, I felt ready to incorporate weight training into my world after a long break and joined a local gym.
I now train much more mindfully in the gym, feeling so much more sure footed with Vibram FiveFingers shoes. I also realised that my yoga flows with the shoes on totally change my balance and assist me learning more about how my body can move which in turn has transformed how I move when I practice totally barefoot also. I love to mix up training sessions now with weights, mobility and yoga. The shoes have opened my world in many ways including being fun conversation starters with people, expanding my creativity, and also completely changing the health of my toe nails too! I have no more pain with bunions either. I feel so connected to my body, mind and soul and Vibram FiveFingers shoes have played a huge part in building this relationship to self. I still go on regular walks and the shoes still bring me so much joy to be in, I also love driving in them too plus they are IDEAL for travelling ❤ Fantastic for packing in a backpack and exploring all over the globe!
So if you have been considering trying the Vibram FiveFingers shoes (and socks), now is the time. Yes they take a bit of patience getting them on and off for the first few times and yes they take some adjusting too when walking, jogging etc however you adjust and become more light on your feet, more mindful where you are stepping and more in your body. You get to feel more, it is a beautiful journey and learning about ourselves opens the gates of self care and self love. Our bodies can be something we can take for granted or not see as a priority, we can get upset and stressed when our body tightens and gets injured however making small changes can have a huge impact over time. Remember change isn't always comfortable however it could be the beginning of something magical.
My personal favourites for when I am in the gym: V 2.0 Train
Outdoor walks: V- Alpha
Casual hang outs with friends: VI-B ECO Womens Burgundy (New 2023)
Lots of love
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