FiveFinger devotees have some explaining to do


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The above ad has an entirely different meaning now, doesn’t it? I’ll spare you the pun.

Not for a single moment did I buy into this trend.

I wasn’t against the shoe or the idea of lightweight running gear. And I fully recognize the value of Vibram to the shoe industry and the company’s heritage within the hiking world.

What I was against were those people who suddenly became champions of barefoot running, who were able to so quickly and confidently tell me that today’s running shoes were leading to the de-evolution of man, and that if we didn’t alter our evil habits of heel-striking the universe would soon cave in on itself and along with roaches and Richard Simmons, only those who donned these goofy rubber foot gloves would be left thriving.

All people had to say when they were asked about wearing a set of Vibram FiveFingers was something like, “They’re comfortable.” or “I just like them.” Fine. I can’t argue with that. I sometimes wear my visor backwards. Does that make sense?

However, don’t follow up with a tirade on your orthopedic expertise pedantically gleaned straight from the marketing collateral of the manufacturer or the article in Runner’s World which just happened to be placed in between two full page ads for the product its text was spewing on about.

Today, I’m happy to be reminded of just how many suckers there really are out there when it comes to fitness trends. And in a few years, when Yoga is revealed to be responsible for more injuries than Al-Quada, I’ll go through this little exercise all over again.

Steve’s Original Paleo Kit offers backpackers light, hearty trail nutrition. And helps kids.

Steve's Original Paleo Kit

I was told about Steve’s Original from a buddy who’s heavily into crossfit.

If you don’t know anything about crossfit and don’t feel like typing eight letters into Google, then just know that most workouts in the crossfit glossary are tantamount to being spun in a cement mixer with a pallet of flagstone and a plastic bag over your head. At 5:00 in the morning.

Anyway, Steve’s Original Paleo Kit is a vacuum sealed meal of beef jerky, nuts and berries (among other combinations) that sticks to the growing paleo, or “caveman,” diet. Again, for the Google impaired, the caveman diet is an eating practice that suggests its participants only consume what our bipedal, slope-browed ancestors did. Basically, anything that at one point had a parent. With a few, very minor exceptions.

I bought a box of 25 meal replacement kits as a way to take in a good amount of protein while rehabbing. The kit I bought has 360 calories, 28 grams of protein, 36 grams of carbs and 12 of fat. So it’s very well-balanced, pre-prepared nutrition.

And yes, they’re tasty.

Backpackers focused on weight shaving should give Steve’s Original a try. I’m certain they’re better than most freeze dried, pouch-water meals and only weigh 4.3 ounces. They pack flat but could be jammed into any corner of your pack. I guess you could consider the packaging an extra hassle to pack out, but there are very few backcountry meal options that don’t require you to pack out some form of waste.

Here’s the best part: the company donates profits directly to Steve’s Club, a non-profit centered on helping disadvantaged kids improve themselves through physical fitness and wellness coaching.

So there you go, backcountry nutrition with a cause more honorable than trying to gas your tentmate. (Not that there isn’t “some” honor in that.)

It’s nice outside … forget about the gym

Quit going round in circles.

Give it a rest. Seriously.

Even in the extreme corners of the country, spring brings some of the best opportunities to be outdoors, especially for fitness reasons. (However, I must confess that my climbing session this past weekend was not too pleasant, weather wise. Multiple pitches on cold rock, up a north-facing, sunless wall, can grow old real quick.)

My buddies and I bagged the gym today for a series of stair and hill runs at a local park. Several times up and down at 25, 50, 75 and 100 percent; broad jumps up stair sections; staggered push-ups into planks on the steps; several rounds of side steps; and then a series of hill runs. It was great stuff and an outstanding way to alter the gym schedule.

For those of you hitting the gym daily, I urge you to get outside at least twice a week until the heat of summer floats in. Trail runs, of course, are the ideal outdoor running experience. But even if you do a lot of core or crossfit work in place of LSD (no, it means long slow distance), your alternatives are endless. A neighborhood playground makes an ideal outdoor gym, as any of one the implements could be used in a multitude of ways to simulate gym equipment. Use your imagination. The point is, get outdoors. Hell, push-ups and ab work can be done just about anywhere.

Anyway, get outside when you have the chance. No one needs to be on an elliptical machine anyway. Ever.