Barefoot compatible health/fitness clubs?

Discussion in 'Barefoot & Minimalist Running' started by Kyrrinstoch, Oct 27, 2016.

  1. Kyrrinstoch

    Kyrrinstoch
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    As the weather here in Mn starts doing it's usual thing this time of year and making even the mercury in the thermometers head south to warmer climates, I'd like to find a barefoot compatible fitness club so I can keep running through the winter, rather than risk frostbite...

    Does anyone know of any of clubs that are "officially" barefoot compatible (i.e. - not requiring a medical document requiring a lack of shoes during exercise/running...) that I could look into?

    Most I've checked with so far have claimed "Insurance reasons" for not allowing people to be barefoot outside of the locker rooms/showers/pool areas...


    And - before anyone asks - due to my *extremely* wide feet (US 9 EEEE...), I'm extroadinarily limited on my available footwear choices to begin with and even running in my 5 Fingers takes away too much of my ground feel for me to maintain good form (I tend to push off when I get tired and/or my form gets sloppy...), and I'd rather run through the winter on a treadmill maintaining decent form and put up with the stares, comments and harassment than to develop bad habits that I'd only have to break in the spring...
     
  2. Kyrrinstoch

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    Whoohoo! Found one!

    Xperience Fitness in Vadnais Heights, Mn.

    The General Manager (Michael Welter) has spend time doing training barefoot so he "gets it". The limitation is barefoot only on the treadmills (and locker rooms/pool area of course). His "safety reasons" have nothing to do with *my* not getting injured, but more about "containing the mess" and reducing the risk his staff would have to deal with blood borne pathogens, etc. if someone dropped a weight on your foot - which is the most clear, well-thought out explanation I've heard yet.
     
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  3. Barefoot TJ

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    That's a start.
     
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  4. Ahcuah

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    Yeah, and what if someone dropped a weight that scraped down your leg and made a bloody mess that way?

    He bans shorts, too. Right?
     
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  5. Lorri

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    I hate the blood borne pathogens argument. It's pathetic. Like our feet are the only part of our body that can actually bleed.

    One is far more likely to hurt their hands weight training than their feet - so does he make everyone wear full fingered gloves when weight lifting?

    Does he make everyone wear face masks in case they have a nose bleed when their blood pressure goes up during exercise or in case they sneeze or cough (saliva and mucus can contain many pathogens). What about vomiting - not unheard of during intense exercise? Does everyone have to walk around with a sick bag on a string hanging around their necks just in case?
     
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  6. Kyrrinstoch

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    Agreed. And as we can get more of the general public exposed to and educated about BFR in a non-threatening manner (i.e. - "Lead by Example" and "educate when approached"), they'll see it's not another "fitness fad", we'll gain more and more social acceptance, which will open more and more opportunities for us.

    After all, how many tattoo and/or piercing shops have sprung up in the past 15-20 years...? It wasn't that long ago that having visible tattoos/piercings was considered socially unacceptable in many areas (gross, un-hygenic, etc), but now you can find those shops in a lot of the larger shopping malls...

    I've spent a year and a half trying to find a local fitness center I that *could* run barefoot at (Mn winters are NOT a good time to be out running BF if you value your toes...). I found one that didn't hide behind the typical uneducated/invalid company line/excuses and wanted to share that good news and the encouragement to my fellow members here that they are, in fact out there for those of us that don't have other alternatives - we just need to be dilligent enough to keep looking.
     
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  7. Kyrrinstoch

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    Update - so much for that gym...I'd been on dr's ordered "no gym" for the last several months because of my shoulder and finally got cleared to start running again ("but taking it easy"..) right before X-mas.

    Today was my 2nd day back and I was told I can't run barefoot on the treadmills (cited the ambiguous "for Health Reasons"), and that the General Manager who had previously authorized it no longer works there. Apparently their tolerance for us BFR's varies strictly based on the management's opinions on any given day... :(

    Needless to say I immediately cancelled my membership and need to find another gym as -4F is a little TOO cold for me (despite being a native Minnesotan..).
     
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  8. Barefoot TJ

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    That sucks. At least you'e not giving in. Good luck.
     
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  9. Tristan

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    Have you checked the local craigslist for some good deals on used treadmill? Might be cheaper than a gym membership anyhow. You were brave for trying though, I don't think I could even attempt to work out in a gym barefoot :shy:
     
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  10. Kyrrinstoch

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    Thanks. Could be I'm just too stubborn to quit :p

    Unfortunately, we don't have sufficient space in our house for a treadmill (no spare room for it and basement ceilings are too low), so if I want to run barefoot in the colder weather here in Mn, I have limited options.


    On the upside though, I found another club that's the same distance from my house and have permission (from the owner) to be able to use the treadmills (only) barefoot and they're open 24 hours. Downside is they're a lot smaller (don't have nearly as many resources) and are $10/mo more expensive.
     
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  11. hikerdana

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    But you save money not having to buy gym shoes.

    Sent from my Pixel 2 XL using Tapatalk
     
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  12. Kyrrinstoch

    Kyrrinstoch
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    Naw - I'm a Historical Fencer, so I still need to have them - just not for running...:cool:
     
  13. migangelo

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    you can always try challenging their "insurance reasons" and ask for written proof. watch them dance when you say that.

    if they're worried about protecting feet then i would assume everyone is wearing osha approved steel toe boots correct? otherwise NO athletic shoe provides protection from falling weights. If they're worried about broken glass cutting your feet then ask if they don't clean their floors or if they can just ban the glass.

    if it's a health issue about cleanliness then they must require everyone wash their shoes at the gym correct. are people eating and drinking in the weight room? do they monitor people's hand washing? you get sick from bacteria and viruses entering mucosa. that means mouth, nose, cuts, and anus. if people are putting their hands in their mouth after touching all things without washing them then that's their fault for being unclean.

    you could also just get swole and walk in bf and don't ask permission!
     

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  14. bfsailor

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    No real suggestions - just a couple of stories - When I first started running barefoot 18 years ago I belonged to a gym that had a great indoor running track - 10 laps to a mile. I lasted 2 laps barefoot before I was stopped and told it was against the rules. I immediately cancelled my membership (I had been a member for over ten years). It just happened that I had a friend who worked at the local YMCA, and she talked to the Director and got approval for me to work out barefoot, even though it was technically against their rules. I was constantly being challenged by the trainers on the floor until they all got the word that this had been approved by top management. (BTW - the director was a native of South Africa. :)) I quit that after a few years - indoor tracks and treadmills just lost their appeal. I now have an elliptical machine at home that gets me through the winter - when I use it. ;)
    Interestingly, when I injured my quad tendon a couple of years ago, I had to go to physical therapy for almost nine months, which included using a leg press machine, stationary bike, treadmill, and elliptical machine. I did all of this barefoot, twice a week for eight months (usually didn't even take shoes with me to the physical therapist). The only comments I ever got from the staff about bare feet were all positive ones. Go figure.
     
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  15. Kyrrinstoch

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    Mike, while all of those are valid points, based on the attitude I received from them the arguments would have fallen on deaf ears. It would likely have quickly escalated to the point where either I would have cancelled my membership, or I would have embarrassed them to where they would simply refuse to allow me to do it and cancelled my membership under that "Management has the right to refuse service..." justification.

    So, even if I had argued the point and won, I felt I would have been intentionally made to feel uncomfortable and unwelcome by the "trainers" I did deal with about it.

    Not actually that much of a loss, as the place now has a 2.8 rating on Google, with the biggest issues being the (lack of) cleanliness and maintenance, and the bad attitude from the trainers/staff. The new place has a 4.7 rating :)

    All of the places in my area that have indoor tracks all have a footwear requirement issued from corporate, so no real leeway there. That would have been my preferred choice over a treadmill.

    When it comes to Physical Therapists vs Personal Trainers, I've found the therapists to be much more open-minded about things like that. Seems that most Trainers just stick to what they were taught in class and push whatever programs/products/ideology the company they work for tells them to, whereas the Therapists are genuinely interested in anything that may show documentable improvement or benefit, to the point where they will question "conventional wisdom" and the Dr's orders if they don't feel there's an appropriate benefit.
     
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  16. migangelo

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    i know. That's the problem with arguing. You don't really win and just make the person dig in their position even more, especially when you prove them wrong.

    It just felt good to vent like that!
     

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