Traditional Shoes vs. Minimalist Shoes

Traditional Shoes vs. Minimalist Shoes

In the last few years there has been an ongoing debate in the running industry regarding the footwear. At one extreme are the barefoot and minimalist running shoe proponents who argue that no shoes or at most, shoes with minimal structure are best. On the other end are experts who hold that the traditional thick soled, cushioned shoes are optimal for injury prevention.

Traditional Running Shoes

injuryfree 2 Traditional Shoes vs. Minimalist ShoesUntil the 1970’s running shoes were manufactured with flat, thin-soles. Indeed the current growth in popularity of minimalist shoes can be seen as a case of old becoming new again.

In the late 70’s and early 80’s running shoe construction began incorporating thicker soles with elevated heels. The rationale for adding cushioning in the midsole and motion control features in running shoes was to absorb impact forces and control movement, specifically pronation, of the foot.

This rationale however was probably misguided. Cushioning materials in shoes actually increases overall leg stiffness (Bishop et al. 2006). Some leg stiffness is beneficial to running well but excessive leg stiffness may be a factor for increased risk of injury (Hewett et al. 2004).

A review study by Richards et al in 2008 concluded that the prescription of “pronation control, elevated cushioned heel (PCECH) running shoes to distance runners is not evidence-based.”

Additionally, a study by Ryan et al in 2010 showed that motion control shoes had the highest incidence of injury in their research group, regardless if the wearer had highly pronated feet or not.

There is good evidence that the shoe construction of the last thirty years or so has not accomplished what it was originally intended to do. Injury rates in runners today remain as high as ever.

Minimalist Shoes

Since Christopher MacDougall published Born to Run in 2009, there has been tremendous growth in the number and styles of so-called minimalist shoes. Virtually every major shoe manufacturer and a number of smaller upstarts now have minimalist shoes.

These shoes were designed to mimic how the foot functions barefoot. Generally, running barefoot will cause a runner to land with a flatter foot (De Wit et al 2000).

In addition, Lieberman et al. (2010) found that if a barefoot runner lands with a forefoot landing there is no impact transient (a very rapid rise in impact forces) as compared to landing heel first in shoes. It should be noted however that Lieberman and his group do not claim that heel striking in and of itself causes injury.

Minimalist shoes share the following characteristics:

  • They’re lightweight.
  • They have a flexible upper and sole.

flexible Traditional Shoes vs. Minimalist Shoes

  • They incorporate less or no cushioning material in the mid-sole.
  • And there is less difference between the heel and forefoot height (also known as heel drop). Traditional shoes have a heel drop of 11 – 15 or more mm while minimalist shoes have a heel drop under 10 mm.

Traditional Shoe 

Heel Drop

shoe 1 Traditional Shoes vs. Minimalist Shoes

Minimalist Shoe Heel Drop

shoe 2 Traditional Shoes vs. Minimalist Shoes

Within the minimalist shoe category are three main sub-categories:

  1. Barefoot-style shoe. This shoe is the most minimal in structure with no cushioning, a zero-drop (heel and forefoot are level) and the thinnest sole. Examples include the Vibram Five-Fingers and the Merrell Trail Glove.
  2. Minimalist shoe. These shoes have some cushioning in their midsole, small or no heel drop and a wide forefoot allowing the toes to be splayed. Examples include the Altra brand shoes.
  3. Transition shoe. These shoes are most similar to traditional running shoes but are lighter, more flexible and have a lower heel drop. Examples include the Nike Free, Saucony Kinvara or the Brooks Pure models.

Take Home Advice

Currently, neither the minimalist side nor the traditional side can conclusively say their method of shoe construction is superior in regards to injury prevention. More and more studies are being done with minimalist shoes and it will be interesting to see the data.

In my opinion as a coach I think most runners could benefit from some amount of running in minimalist shoes. However caution must be taken in how quickly and how much a runner transitions away from a regular, traditional running shoe.

There will be a wide range of individual variability in adapting to a more minimalist style of running. A runner’s experience, ability, strengths, weaknesses, injury history and psychology are all factors to consider.

The choice of running shoe style needs to be part of a well-thought out training program. If a runner has been relatively injury-free and is content with their performance in traditional shoes I see no reason to push them into minimalist shoes.

On the other hand, if a runner has had repeated injuries and setbacks with traditional shoes it may be time to transition to a more minimalist shoe.

My advice would be to first look for a shoe with a wide toe-box to accommodate splaying of the toes during running. This will facilitate proper function of the big toe. Less cushioning and more flexibility are other characteristics to look for. Lighter shoes will help improve running economy.

I would be more cautious in regards to heel drop. Going to a zero-drop shoe for many runners will be put too much strain on the Achilles tendon and lower posterior chain. Look for a 4 – 8 mm heel drop initially.

Use the shoes indoors during stren

gth training sessions first and then try them for short runs and running drills. Build the mileage gradually. Some runners may adapt to where they can run with minimalist shoes all the time. Others may only be able to progress to using them for shorter runs.

But keep in mind that shoes, whether traditional or minimalist, are not a solution by themselves. Runners need to incorporate strength training, multi-planar mobility drills and technique exercises into an individualized conditioning program that includes adequate recovery and sound nutrition.


Something you need to know…

This may not sit well with you, but it’s something that you need to know, and so I’m just going to come out and say it.


See, the way I see it they’re insulting your intelligence.


Who’s “they”?


THEY are the talking heads you see on TV and hear on the radio. And I’m convinced they’re trying to make you fatter.


Every year at about this time all you see, hear and read about are people making the big three New Year resolutions – more money, quit smoking, and to lose weight.


Now, I don’t know the success rate of the first two, but as a fitness expert and someone who has helped dozens and dozens of folks lose weight and get in better shape, I can tell you (and statistics prove) that most people who resolve to lose weight in the new year are doomed.


In fact, an article I just read on said that most people who have a new year resolution to lose weight will fail.


In the same article, clinical psychologist Mark Crawford of Roswell, Georgia said that one reason people fail is because they sabotage themselves.


I believe this to be true.


I’ve seen it myself.


You’ll start off in mid to late December telling yourself that you will commit to losing weight starting the new year. Over the weeks building up to the new year you formulate a plan of sorts… to eat less, make better choices, exercise more, and pick up better habits.


And that’s the EXACT road map to failure!


And that’s why I’m writing you today – to warn you of this impending doom IF YOU’RE ABOUT TO MAKE THIS “NEW YEAR RESOLUTION” MISTAKE.


Here’s what I mean.


Look, I’m going to be brutally honest with you, because I can’t see the “media” telling you this truth any time soon.

The reason most people fail at losing weight in the new year is because…


1.      Your goals are probably un-realistic and so you’re already setting yourself up for failure.


2.      You’re unprepared. Sure you have a general idea that you want to lose weight. But you most likely do not have a game plan.


3.      Your goals are unclear.


4.      You lack support. Because the going WILL GET TOUGH and your support system is what will see you through to your goal.


Imagine going to another country you’ve never been in before. Now imagine if I handed you a GPS but didn’t give you an address (a goal). You’d probably fail at getting to your destination, wouldn’t you?


Now imagine if I said your destination was a house about 150 miles north. Well, you now have a general idea, but you’ll still never get to your destination and therefore fail.


Get the picture?


Now imagine if I handed you a GPS AND gave you the address of the house you needed to end up at.


Once you type your goal destination into the GPS, it will give you VERY specific turn by turn directions AND a very realistic timeline in which you’ll arrive.




Makes sense, right?


Yet, nearly 96% of all people who set weight loss goals for the new year don’t know how much they want to lose.


And if they can pin point a number they want to lose – they still don’t have a “turn by turn” game plan to get there.


Now the reason I’m on this soap box and having this rant is because I’m sick and tired of good people being misled and being told half truths.


Frankly, I hate the idea of a “new year resolution”. That’s just way too much pressure on anyone. PLUS, the way I see it, you can do anything you want, anytime you want.


You don’t need to wait till the New Year. If you’re the type of person that I think you are, I’m willing to bet that you can do anything you put your mind to and you can do it whenever you want.


Now, if when you want is now, then start now.


And if when you want is in the New Year, fine with me, start then. But do it because you made the decision to do it and not because the talking heads on TV and radio influenced you to do it.


And now that you know how NOT TO FAIL, you can achieve whatever goal it is that you want to achieve.


I believe in you!

New Location and Times!!!

X-Factor Fitness Boot Campers, Clients, Friends, and Blog readers,

Wrona Fit is excited to announce the opening of our new performance facility on Monday, December 5th.  Our new location is only 3 min west or 1.8 miles west on Parker Rd. from our current Plano location.

New Location Address: 2425 West Parker Rd. Building #6, Carrollton, TX 75010(Behind True Spirits)

This new location will not only be 5x as big, but it will be solely ours.  Over time you can guarantee that we will add many more fun toys and items of torch-er to utilize.  Ropes, tires, heavy bags, rings, heck maybe even a climbing wall. 🙂  The options are limitless.

I also wanted to let everyone know that 2 more class times will start on Monday December 5th, and registration is now open.  For you current members you now have the option of attending unlimited classes of the X-Factor Fitness Boot Camp at 5:00am, 6:00am, 5:00pm and 6:00pm.  Monday through Thursday.

Please let me know if you have any questions.  Now as you all know we are going to crank it up a notch 🙂  Who’s with me?

Once again registration for the evening camps which are ongoing are now open.  Click here to register now<<<<<<<<<<<<<<

(if you purchased our Amazon local daily deal and were waiting for an evening time slot to open please email me and I will send you the registration code)

Last thing I want to announce, is with our new location we will be opening up one on one training as well, so if you are needing extra help or just would rather train one on one please let us know.

Dedicated to your success,

Eric Wrona MS, NSCA-CPT

940-453-9380 cell

Protein Isolate vs. Protein Concentrate

Whey Protein Isolate vs. Whey Protein Concentrate

Today I wanted to  clear up a question I commonly get about protein powder – What is the difference between whey protein isolate and whey protein concentrate.  At the end of the post I also share with you one of my favorite protein powders.

I really think that protein powders are a  must for everyone. Having a protein shake following a workout is something that cannot be duplicated with whole food (chocolate milk does come close though). Liquid protein gets into your system fast because there is no need for mechanical digestion and minimal need for chemical digestion (with certain types of protein powder).

Amino acids get shuttled to your “hungry” muscles much quicker with a protein shake than with whole food protein. The best type of protein powder for this situation is whey protein isolate or whey protein hydrolysate. There are so many brands, types, and flavors of protein powder on the market today that it can be hard to choose which one is best overall and for specific times of the day.

You will generally find the following types of protein powder: whey, casein, egg, and soy. Protein powder also comes in different grades: concentrates, isolates, and hydrolysates. Each of these protein types and grades has unique properties and tastes.

What is Whey?

Milk protein is 20% whey. Whey is by far the most popular protein choice, perhaps because it is so cheap. Whey protein contains large amounts of branched-chain amino acids as well as the full spectrum of amino acids (i.e., every muscle building block you need). Compared to the other proteins on the market, whey is one of the fastest digesting proteins (hydrolysate > isolate > concentrate).

Whey Protein Concentrate vs. Whey Protein Isolate

Protein concentrates. Protein concentrates are created by pushing the protein source (milk, whey, etc.) through a very small filter that allows water, minerals, and other organic materials to pass though. The proteins, which are too big to pass through the filter, are collected, resulting in protein powder. When this process is used to make whey protein concentrate, it yields a protein powder that is 70-80% protein and up to 5% lactose. People with lactose intolerance will have trouble consuming large amounts of whey protein concentrate.
Protein isolates. This is the next step up in purification; the protein is purified again using more filtration or a technique called ion-exchange or cross-flow microfiltration. Protein isolates have very low levels of carbohydrates and fat and are almost exclusively pure protein. People with lactose intolerance usually don’t have trouble with whey protein isolates. Many companies that make whey protein isolates will certify that their product is lactose free or they add lactase (the enzyme that breaks down lactose) to the protein powder to help with digestion.

A really interesting area of protein research is looking a whey protein peptides (i.e. short chains of amino acids). Studies are showing that these peptide chains have additional benefits independent of the actual amino acids. For example glycomacropeptides are found in whey protein. They have been shown to cause your body to release the hormone CCK which signals your brain that you are full (pretty cool, huh?)

One of my favorite protein powders is Prograde Protein. This protein powder is different than most in that it is sweetened with stevia and not splenda or aspartame. It is just about all whey protein isolate and contains lactase and aminogen (a compound that helps with protein digestion).

Prograde Protein.

The best part is the taste. I’ve have had enough vanilla whey protein shakes to know what to expect but…I was actually surprised at how good the Prograde Protein tastes. You can get your own tub to try here.

Laugther is good medicine! Watch this….

Research has shown that laughing is one of the best forms of medicine.  I hope this video gives you a strong dose of medicine.  We are definiately going to incorporate some of these exercises into the “X-Factor Boot Camp” next week. 🙂  There are so many great lines in this clip from My Wife and Kids, my favorite being “percolating pectorals.”



If you found this funny, pay it forward and send this URL to your friends through email and Facebook.


Best in Health,

Eric Wrona MS, NSCA-CPT

8 Step Game Plan to Dining Out

By Stephanie S. Saunders

There was a time not too long ago when dining out was a rare and exciting treat. People would get dressed up, spend hours lingering over a meal, and remember the experience fondly for days or even weeks. Today, dining out is often more common than eating a home-cooked meal. How many mornings does breakfast equal a cup of coffee and a bagel at Starbucks®? A good portion of the American workforce eats lunch out every day. And how often do you just grab dinner on the way home—or have it delivered to your front door? Yes, we are a nation of consumers, especially when it comes to paying someone else to prepare our food.

But for those of us following a fitness plan for any length of time, dining out can be inconvenient and sometimes a tiny bit scary. It’s hard to know what to order, how it fits into your plan, and most of all, how not to say, “Forget it; who needs a six-pack?” and order that three-cheese lasagna with Italian sausage. But making the right choices is easier than you think, and willpower has more to do with preparation than tenacity. So let’s look at some ways to prepare for dining out.

1. Get a copy of the menu. This amazing thing called the Internet gives us instant access to just about anything. Want to know how to defect to Russia? Google® it. Want to learn how to grow pumpkins in your backyard? Wikipedia® has the answer. Want to relive the comedy of your cousin’s drunkenness at your sister’s wedding? It’s on YouTube®. And if you want to plan for dining out, you can find an online menu for almost every restaurant out there. From McDonald’s® to Spago, you can instantly summon the information you need so you can select your meal without the pressure of a waiter—and your date—staring at you. Then when you get to that über-trendy bistro everyone raves about, you can impress your date by not touching the menu and saying, “Oh, I already know what I want. I eat here all the time.”

2. Look up nutrition facts. Once you’ve made your choices at home, you can easily look up the nutrition facts pertaining to those choices. Many low- to mid-priced establishments list not only their menus, but their nutrition facts online. For the higher-end places, you can look at each individual ingredient to figure out the approximate amount of protein, carbs, and fat. With this knowledge, you can figure out what might be the most appropriate choices, and what to avoid.

3. Eat your meals and snacks as scheduled. Everybody knows not to go shopping when you’re depressed, not to call your mother when you’re having relationship issues, and not to pick someone up in a bar when you’re drinking heavily. Now here’s another rule: Don’t go to a restaurant when you’re famished. It’s a common misconception in the United States that you should always get your money’s worth when dining out by making sure you clean your plate. Unfortunately, that plate probably contains enough food to serve a family of four in another country. American restaurants serve massive portions of food, which leads to the massive tummies and backsides evident in our national obesity epidemic. But if you’re not actually starving when you walk into the restaurant, you’ll be a lot less likely to lick your plate clean. So eat your already-scheduled meals and snacks for the day to help keep your cravings in check. If you’re really hungry when departing for the restaurant, grab an apple on your way out the door. And please note that you’ll still get your money’s worth if you take half your meal home in a to-go box.

4. Make sure you complete your workout. It’s fairly obvious that most fitness enthusiasts are unlikely to push through a tough workout, then counteract it with chili cheese fries and a bacon cheeseburger. Yet, when you miss a workout altogether, there’s the tendency to think, “I already messed up today, so what the hell?” Not such a great idea. If you’d only have gotten through that INSANITY® MAX Interval Circuit workout first, you’d have had some motivation, and you’d probably have eaten less overall. A study by a team of Brazilian researchers discovered that exercise actually increased feelings of fullness in your brain. That’s right: Work out first, and you won’t feel like shoving the entire Hometown Buffet® in your mouth. (Of course, if you felt like doing that in the first place, you might want to get your brain checked out.)

5. Write it down. So you’ve done your due diligence and you know exactly what you’ll order for that lunch meeting. Before even leaving your desk, record it in your food diary. When you commit something in writing, you’re a lot more likely to follow it through. You’re also a lot less likely to add on a bunch of extras, like appetizers or dessert, you’ll have to account for later. Keeping a record also gives you the opportunity to see where you are calorically for the day, and to see if that lunch means you’ll need to adjust things accordingly.

6. Be honest and firm. One of the most difficult things about dining out is peer pressure. How easy is it to give in to “Oh, just try one” or “You work out—you don’t have to be perfect all the time”? Or my personal favorite: “If you get hit by a bus tonight, you’ll be really sad you didn’t have some cheesecake.” Well, the reality is that having one off-plan treat can open the door to many more; working out is only half the fitness equation; and if you get hit by a bus, dessert’s going to be the last thing on your mind. Sometimes, the way to get your companions to be supportive is to be very clear about your goals before you even sit down. If you explain honestly how hard you’ve been working toward your goals, even your mother is likely to back off. And if she keeps at you, continue to be firm about what you want, which includes not dating her next door neighbor’s “nice, available son.” Willpower is often as simple as getting those around us to leave us alone.

7. Have a conversation plan. This particular point might seem ridiculous if you’re dining with family or close friends, but if your intended meal is with someone you don’t know well, like a business lunch or date, you should consider having a conversation plan. A lot of calories are ingested in this lifetime as the result of nervous energy. If you’re sitting across the table from the most beautiful girl you’ve ever seen or the person you hope will invest in your company, you’ll be all the more likely to grab for the bread basket to fill awkward silences. Also, when you “eat emotionally,” your desire to overcome your anxiety often trumps your desire for a six-pack. But if you walk into the situation with a few talking points, preferably not just about yourself, and some questions for your new friend, you’ll probably be so invested in the conversation that you can skip pigging out on the bread and wait for the salad. This doesn’t require a PowerPoint® presentation or even a cheat sheet, just a few topics to discuss that you “happen to think of in the moment.” You also might find the person is a lot more interested in you, because you express an interest in them.

8. Wear the skinny jeans. There’s an old dieting trick that involves wearing a bathing suit every time you have a meal at home. That second blueberry muffin isn’t as appealing when you’re staring at your “muffin top.” Unfortunately, wearing a Speedo® to Ruth’s Chris® isn’t exactly smiled upon. Instead, try to wear your tightest pants, skinny jeans, a form-fitting shirt, or that dress that makes your boyfriend drool. When you feel your clothes pushing against your belly, you’ll be a bit less inclined to continue shoveling in the food. Of course, there’s nothing to stop you from unbuttoning your top pants button and continuing your feeding frenzy. Unless of course, you can’t get it buttoned again, which will look creepier when you stand up than if you’d worn the Speedo. The right clothes can provide a gentle reminder that just enough food is enough.

A wise person once said, “The toughest part of a diet isn’t watching what you eat. It’s watching what other people eat.” That really is the crux of the problem with dining out in public. When you’re surrounded by people who are consuming the equivalent of their body weight in fat grams, it’s really tough to stick to that chicken breast and steamed veggies. But if you have a game plan, you’re more likely to walk out with both a satisfied tummy and a satisfied mind. So spend a few minutes on researching, on eating, and on exercising beforehand, and be strong when you get there. The effort will be worth it, and you might even be an inspiration to your dining partner. What greater reward is there than that? Oh, yeah—a six-pack.

FREE! Lazzy Labor Dayzz Plano Fitness Boot Camp..Join Us

Come join the X-Factor Team tomorrow morning at 6:00am at The Professional Black Belt Academy in Plano, TX.  5960 W. Parker Rd Suite #236

Lets go ahead and get in a great fat shredding workout so we can not feel so guilty about the rest of our Lazzy Labor Day!  Hope to see all of you there.

Congrats to all that came out the our Free Frisco Fitness Boot Camp as well.  We have over 30 people and started off the new session with a bang.  Still not to late to register, so if you are still on the fence click here.

Don’t forget next Monday as we open the North Dallas Fitness Boot Camp.

FREE!!! Frisco Fitness Boot Camp

Hey fellow fitness enthusiast.  I wanted to take a quick second and invite all of you to come and experience what everyone is raving about.  The X-Factor Fitness Boot Camp (now 4 locations) Give us 45 minutes of your time and we will push you to your fitness potential through positive encouragement and reinforcement. 

The X-Factor Team is offering a FREE fitness boot camp class in Frisco at 9:00am, this Saturday, August 27.  We will be meeting just outside the Frisco Athletic Center (FAC

Come and start your morning off with a change in your routine.  I promise you will have one of, if not the best workout of your life!  We will also be offering some special door prizes including a FREE month of boot camp!

Come and feel the “X-Factor” in your workout routine.

Be sure to click and become a fan on our facebook page too. 🙂

Best in Health,

Eric Wrona MS, NSCA-CPT


Get to the bottom of your weight gain

Why are the numbers on your scale climbing?

That is a valid and often frustrating question. And the answer isn’t always sweet and simple.

“Any change in your life circumstances can produce changes in eating and exercise, which leads to weight gain,” stated Edward Abramson, Ph.D., professor emeritus of psychology at California State University, author of Emotional Eating.

So why has your weight increased? And, more importantly, what can you do about it?

1. Life’s Fat Traps
A little addressed fact about weight gain is that everyone gains weight for different reasons. So often we hear about one-size-fits-all weight loss solutions that take little or no consideration of how the extra weight piled up in the first place. To experience true weight loss it is important to understand why you gained it in the first place.

Think back to the time in your life when your weight was just right. Were you in your teens? Your twenties? Or maybe your thirties? Picture yourself as you were at your ideal weight. Now when did things change? Was it a gradual addition of pounds that accumulated over a span of multiple years? Or did you gain it all at once? Check out the following weight gain triggers and determine which one is responsible for your plight.

  • College: The college years are some of the easiest for gaining weight. In fact, a recent study by Cornell University found that on average, college freshman gain about 0.5 pounds a week – almost 11 times more than the average weight gain among 17-and 18-year olds and almost 20 times more than the average weight gain among American adults.
  • Marriage: There’s nothing like holy matrimony to encourage a barrage of calories to overtake your diet. Late night comfort snacks are always more enjoyable when you have someone to share them with—and who better than the person who pledged to stick by your side through sickness or health?
  • Pregnancy: Talk about a great time to gain weight! And we’re not just talking about women here—most men admit that they gained ‘sympathy’ pounds right along with their wife. Hormonal changes along with strong encouragement from everyone you know to indulge in anything their heart desires leave most pregnant women with a feeling of entitlement when it comes to food.
  • Career: Though you may not realize it, your career choice plays a major hand in your weight. Those who go from an active lifestyle to spending 8 hours a day behind a desk and another 2 hours commuting almost universally gain weight. Conversely, people who spend their 8 hours in constant motion find weight loss a natural byproduct of the job.

2. New Habits
Close your eyes and go back to the fat trap that triggered your weight gain. What changed in your lifestyle? To help sort things out, I’ve broken things down into two specific behavioral categories.

  • Eating Habits: Did your eating pattern change at this time in your life? If your weight gain occurred in college then maybe you went from eating 3 square meals to an all-you-can-eat buffet style cafeteria. Or if marriage was your weight gain trigger, then maybe you went from eating small meals to fattening comfort food. Pregnancy brings on the perfect environment for a change in eating habits. You go from eating normally, to eating ‘for two’, to munching on your baby’s snacks right along with him! Your job can also dictate your eating schedule. Long hours and early meetings may cause you to grab a donut or chips from the vending machine.
  • Activity Level: The second category that leads to weight gain is your activity level. Simply put, what kind of exercise were you doing before your life changing event and how does it compare to your current exercise regime? Chances are good that you were doing more exercise before your weight gain began—which means that you are doing less exercise today! Go ahead, think back to the exercises or physical activities that you used to do and compare them to your schedule today.

3. Your Transformation
You’ve figured out which fat trap in your life led to weight gain, and then narrowed down the exact behaviors that changed as a result, so this naturally leads us to a solution.

It’s time to make a change.

Call or email today to get started on a fitness program that will help make you immune to all of life’s fat traps.

Once you start working with me, those numbers on your scale will quickly change direction.

Best in Health,

Eric Wrona MS, NSCA-CPT