Don’t Let Reebok Fool You – Shoes Won’t Tone Your Butt!December 14th, 2009
Reebok claims to have a simple answer to the elusive toned body that so many people want. They’ve created a line of shoes called EasyTone that will supposedly tone your lower body simply by walking in them.
According to Reebok, “EasyTone is designed to help give definition to your legs and butt. Simply walk and let the balance pods under your shoe do the rest. The slight instability created by the pods forces your muscles to work a little harder, toning you up as you strut.” Before you invest $100 or more in these sneakers thinking that they’ll actually improve your muscle tone, here are a few things to consider.
Is Appearance More Important than Function?
The foot is one of the most anatomically complex structures of the body, and unfortunately, we spend most of our lives wearing stiff shoes that restrict its natural function. This can promote weakness and increase susceptibility to injury in the foot and ankle, and because each joint of the body influences adjacent joints, it can also cause problems in other areas of the body that might seem unrelated.
The Reebok EasyTone shoes are just as likely as any other typical sneaker to alter natural foot function, and walking with “balanced pods” fixed to the bottom of your feet may even be worse. Although unstable surfaces can be beneficial for rehabilitation and injury prevention, this doesn’t necessarily make it a good idea to be regularly walking on “balance pods” that are embedded in rigid soles. Furthermore, the toes provide support and neuromuscular feedback which is important for balance and is likely to play a role in promoting proper walking mechanics. It seems that the “balance pods” in Reebok’s EasyTone sneakers would reduce toe function even more so than a normal sneaker.
Another concern is that the slight instability created by the EasyTone sneakers likely makes them inappropriate for certain activities, especially sports. Any activity that demands additional strength, balance, and agility, which can be something as simple as running on a bumpy sidewalk to catch a bus, will increase the need for stability. Because Reebok’s EasyTone sneakers are intentionally designed create slight instability, they oppose this need and can potentially increase the risk of injury in such situations. Although most people might consider this to be a matter of common sense, I’m sure there are some who would assume that the EasyTone sneakers are safe to use for any activity that regular sneakers could be used for.
While a toned body may give you some personal satisfaction and bring you additional attention, such benefits aren’t worth very much if you’re in pain and prone to injury. I’m not suggesting that Reebok’s EasyTone sneakers will directly cause you pain, but rather that the concept behind them is very questionable and prioritizes appearance over optimal function. In addition, it’s quite a stretch in my opinion to expect a pair of sneakers to have a noticable effect on your physical appearance.
Sneakers are Not the Answer to an Attractive Figure
Reebok claims that walking in their EasyTone sneakers results in your calf and hamstring muscles being activated up to 11% more than they would be with ordinary sneakers and that your gluteal muscles will be activated up to 28% more. Regardless of the percentages that Reebok quotes, walking isn’t enough of a stimulus to transform legs that are skinny or fat into legs that are toned with muscular definition. This would still be the case even if the EasyTone sneakers resulted in 100% more muscle activation. Despite this, I’m sure Reebok will make millions from their EasyTone line because most people are too attached to the prospect of a quick and easy solution and will be eager to believe that they really can “tone up as they strut.”
Being toned is really nothing more than having a reasonable amount of muscle without a lot of excess body fat. Although this is a simple concept, many people make the mistake of thinking that they need to do special types of exercises and do an excessive amount of exercise to burn calories. By doing so, they’re sacrificing their health for a slim figure when they really don’t need to. All that’s typically necessary to achieve an attractive figure is a moderate amount of exercise and a truly healthy diet, both of which will promote optimal health instead of detracting from it.
If you’re truly committed to improving your figure and don’t want to waste $100 on a pair of sneakers that are unlikely to deliver the results you’re hoping for, I suggest that you focus more on your lifestyle than what you’re wearing on your feet. With optimal health as your top priority and motivating force, stop eating processed foods, especially those containing sugar and refined carbohydrates, and eat more natural whole foods. This is the most reasonable way to lose weight, and you can accelerate the process in a health promoting way by doing low intensity aerobic exercise on a regular basis along with occasional interval training.
To improve your muscle definition, do some moderate strength training with an emphasis on functional and compound movements such as presses, pulls, lunges, squats, and deadlifts. These exercises will improve your physical function as well as improving muscle definition, and the fact that Olympic powerlifters do these exercises doesn’t mean that they’ll make you bulky or that you’ll need to lift heavy weights to benefit from them.
More on Improving Your Figure the Healthy Way
If you’re looking to improve your figure, one of the best things you can do for yourself is realize that most of your success will result from living a generally healthier lifestyle. Attempting to improve your appearance without this foundation will likely be a compensatory effort that will compromise your quality of life in other areas. If you need more guidance getting started with a well rounded exercise program, I recommend reading Core Performance by Mark Verstegen. For more information on the healthy lifestyle habits that will help you live a better life and make it easier to improve your figure, I suggest that you sign up for my free course, 7 Simple Steps to a Leaner, Happier, and Healthier You.