With the feedback of Being Human, Part I, I’ll openly concede that my writing can easily be misconstrued as arrogance and written like I am looking down on the reader. Hindsight is always perfect, right? It wasn’t my intent at all, so I do owe everyone an apology. It is another component of being human for me.

To explain, I come from a personal history of being involved in the health care industry, and I hold a passion for understanding the human body in motion. Sadly, I’ve watched the medical community transform from what was once considered to be the only profession with the goal to get rid of itself into a business that sees its profits to be of greater importance than the health of any athlete. That research funds are focused on injury repair techniques, rather than injury prevention, highlights my attitude. Being human, for me, is being the best athlete one can be through optimizing what his body is capable of achieving through a better understanding of how it's designed to function, rather than who makes money from it. My goal is to share some of the information I have learned, in the hope that sharing  what I have discovered helps you reach your goals.

Are you aware of the studies documenting what shoes you wear, and how they will determine how long your rehabilitation time for an injury will be? For anyone who has injured himself and gone through a rehabilitation clinic, did you ever notice how very few patients are put through any exercises without wearing shoes? This reality prolongs the athlete’s recovery, making more money for the clinic’s owners. In another article posted here, its author wrote about several exercises that can cut an ankle sprain recovery time in half. I’ll go one better. By simply removing your shoes and walking barefoot or in moccasins, you will cut your recovery time by one third without doing any exercises at all. More so, the more your foot is allowed to function naturally, the less likely you are to incur an ankle sprain in the first place.

While the human foot contains 20 muscles, how many athletes or trainers can list all of them, let alone describe a training routine for any of them? Most find it difficult to explain their individual roles in locomotion. I joke that trainers and athletes are well versed in human function from the ankles up, but that the body from the ankle down is still very much a mystery. You wouldn’t deny letting athletes train 20 muscles in their torso, arms, or legs, but letting them skip training the muscles most responsible for generating the power necessary for peak acceleration is done without any thought.

In the bigger picture, that’s what shoes are to me: a piece of wood which duct tapes our foot to it, fully restricting its natural movement and forcing the individual to compensate for that unnatural interference in movement function.

Twenty five percent of the bones in your body are in your feet, not to mention 200,000 nerve endings and 33 joints fully capable of adding incredible power for the athlete. Yet, we wrap them in isolation and prevent them from being able to function to their natural abilities. How then can we not expect such a restriction of such an incredibly complex system of our body not have injury consequences?

So, in reading about how basketball shoes will decrease the statistical chances of an ankle sprain—with laces wrapping up the ankle and providing as much support as possible, the other side of the coin is hidden. What the shoe companies won’t tell you is that isolating the foot and limiting the natural function of the joint actually makes the injuries much more severe when they do occur. Such restrictions are also a factor with this isolation transferring the stress from the foot and ankle straight up the kinetic chain, leaving athletes at much greater risk for ACL tears or other knee related injuries.


The choice that the athlete isn’t aware that they’re making is what I ask: what would you rather incur three ankle sprains or one ACL tear? It seems that the shoe and medical industry would prefer you to acquire the latter rather than train you to prevent either.

I feel that it was my background of being an insider to both the medical and sport product industries that was misconstrued in my Being Human, Part I piece. Yes, I admit that I have a disdain for training techniques and procedures designed to sell products, and I believe that was projected, not explained. Writing is, of course, a back-and-forth perspective between author and intended audience. With that, I fully admit that I can be perceived as arrogant or trying to talk down to those of you who are reading this. What I was hoping to relay to you was the fact that a great deal of information is willingly kept from trainers just for the sake of selling products and making high profits for manufacturers... and done so at your health and performance expense.

While I train all of my clients barefoot from start to finish, it was a byproduct from calling the heads of sports research for the top shoe companies in the world and asking them a very simple question:

Are the two most common reasons cited (from bar stools or biomechanic conferences) for why Kenyan runners dominate the distance running events—their barefoot running and higher altitude environments—really true?

Every single individual I asked answered yes because that’s what the experts will tell you is their rationale. So my next question was a little more in focus:

Wouldn’t it be more logical to say that Kenyans aren’t faster runners because they run barefoot, but that maybe we’re slower because we wear shoes?

I can’t tell you how quickly I heard the phone slam down in my ear.

So that’s what I did for five years. Not only did I study how and why shoes inhibit us as athletes, but I also studied how many of our training routines are designed around a product rather than how the human body is actually designed to function. For me, it became quite clear. If I wanted to develop training techniques to better the athlete naturally, it would only be logical to study cultures who have never worn shoes and compare how they move. It was in that search that I found my first piece of evidence that proved that our shoe-based training techniques had no relation to what we’re told is optimum performance. And it all centers around the question as to whether running is nothing more than power applied to walking.

The unique story here is the connection between the two. Although walking isn’t considered a great skill, it is vital to anyone who wants to better understand how his foot is designed to function in optimum performance. Therefore, if your goal is to become a better runner (and not someone simply impacted by strength training), then your teachers should be the world’s best walkers—the mothers of the world’s best runners.

The difference in skill is defined by the tribal women of Kenya, documented to have the ability to carry 20% of their body weight in firewood with absolutely no increase in energy expenditure to do so. If the real question is to why Kenyans dominate in distance running, it's because their teachers gave birth to them and trained them. As the following article documents, the girls learn it and follow their mothers into the desert, while the boys have taken the skill and applied it to distance running.


While this has been known since 1977, the academic community has held the story from you willingly. No expert who trains with any shoe-wearing culture can describe, mimic, or teach this skill, so they have willingly left you in the dark rather than admit that shoeless runners are technically better in athletic skill than you are.

Reality is that if I can teach you to carry 20% of your body weight with no increase in energy expenditure, then running 20% faster is easy. Identifying, isolating, and then reverse-engineering that technique is what anyone can learn to do for themselves. If you can’t duplicate the skill or explain it, then how on earth are you going to train an athlete to be superior in skill, let alone its equal.

You asked for something to take away and use personally, so first off, I’m going to ask how many of you who critiqued the Being Human, Part I piece without having tried the masking tape exercise for yourself? If not, then why not? Given that I only got one response to it in contrast to the 30+ comments to the Being Human article tells a story, don’t you think?

The following linked study not only describes the carrying skills of this unique area of the world, but is also shows that learning its skills are exponential in load bearing efficiencies.


Didn’t we all learn in foundation to strength training that the maximum force applied to the ground for running is equal to the maximum amount of weight one is able to lift? What the women of Kenya demonstrate is that their technique of load bearing has the incredible ability to exponentially increase the amount of force applied to running speed than what conventional teaching would have you believe, if you‘re willing to do the math behind it. That increase in force, simply by altering their running mechanics, is why these runners cross the finish line long before shoe trained athletes ever will.

The only real question is: Do you truly want to beat the best? Because I have students like Navy SEAL Stew Smith who is able to verify to you that it is a learn-able skill.


If you want something to take away from this, the masking tape exercise and the walking transition that Stew shares will give you a few exercises to put to your own test. Walking in-line will introduce you to the biological reality of how non-shoe wearing cultures fire every single muscle in their bodies from the ears down in a completely different sequence than we do. It may seem like a silly exercise, but taking the ten minutes to play with it will prove the differences in skill I describe and teach.

And if you’re going to write a reply, then I can only ask that you try the masking tape exercise for yourself and transition it to walking as Stew‘s article describes. Otherwise you’re being unfair not only to me, but also to yourself and your clients as well. Arrogance isn’t my goal, sharing a new world is.