Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Be comfortable with who you are

 .......because it's really really uncomfortable watching you try to be someone you're not. 
Pass it on. 

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Barefoot Running: Is it for you?

Barefoot Running, is it for you?

By Meredith Cale
Kintec Fitting Expert, Run Clinic instructor, and self-confessed shoe geek

Barefoot running has been gaining popularity over the past few years. So far, it has stood the test of time and proven to have many benefits. But is it right for you?

Firstly, barefoot running is a great way to strengthen your feet. In structured and highly cushioned shoes, your feet have less freedom to move naturally. The muscles in your feet are used and exercised.

Barefoot running can also help to improve your running form. Because there is no padding between your body and the ground, you have better proprioception.

What is proprioception? In a nutshell, it’s the sense of your body position. Having better proprioception can mean less heel striking, shorter strides, and faster cadence. All of which reduce the impact on your body and some say can result in potentially less injuries.

Aside from all the great things barefoot running has to offer, there are some things you should consider before heading out on your next run sans-shoes. Firstly, not everyone’s biomechanics are suitable for it. So consult with a biomechanics expert such as a Kinesiologist or a Canadian Certified Pedorthist (such as those at Kintec) for a gait analysis beforehand.

It takes some time to adjust to running barefoot. You need to give you body time to adapt and build strength.  Too much, too soon is the most common problem people encounter. The result is usually an injury, which, depending on the severity can sideline you for many weeks.

Minimalist shoes such as the Vibram FiveFingers can also help to provide some protection. In this NewYork Times article, 10mm of cushioning was found to be the best balance between having too much cushioning and the metabolic cost to running barefoot.

The trend in the footwear industry these days is also towards a slightly lower pitch or even zero pitch shoes (such as those from Altra Running), and less towards the higher pitched squishy highly cushioned shoes from before.

For the best results, think of using barefoot running as just a training tool. One night a week or after a run, take off your shoes and practice running around a grass field for 10 minutes. You will get the benefit from barefoot running and won’t risk getting injured!

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Sport Specific Speed

Sports Specific Speed = Straight Ahead Speed + Lateral Speed/Agility


-Teach correct mechanics first – speed is a motor task

-Address head position, body lean, leg action, and arm action

-Development of proper form requires many repetitions- speed takes time to develop

-Concentrate on improving the ability to accelerate

-Optimum speed = optimum stride length and stride frequency

-Maximize strength and power with resistance training and resisted running technique

-Progress from speed to speed endurance training


1.   ABCs
2.   Ladder/Hurdle Drills
3.  Plyometrics- Bounding/Galloping/Split Squat Jumps
4.  Acceleration Runs- Shift Gears on the Fly
5.   Hill and Hill to Flat Sprints, Stair Running
6.   Resisted Running- Sled, Chutes, Partner, Harness
7.   Downhill/Downhill to Flat Sprints
8 .  Falling/Crouched Starts with and with out weight


-Requires the ability to explosively to explosively start, decelerate, change direction and then accelerate again

-Single leg and eccentric strength are critical

-Also requires the ability to react to visual, auditory and kinesthetic stimuli to position the body to effectively do so – dynamic balance, coordination and footwork

-Balance work should incorporate visual, vestibular, and proprioceptive elements

-Quickness drills- incorporate reaction time and decision making into agility in response to sports specific stimuli

-Neuromuscular adaptation- most effective way to train the sports specific neuromuscular demands

-Improves athleticism

-Programs should strive to maximize technique


1. Transitional balance drills- 1 leg balance-leg/arm reach drills, hop and stick drills

2.  Basic Biomotor Skills – Shuffle, Carioca, Cross Overs

3.  Footwork- ladder/hurdle drills

4.  Shuttle drills with directional changes

5.  Cutting drills – zig zag, z patterning

6. Cone/bag/barrier drills- mimic sport/position movement patterns-triangle box, star, letter patterns

7. Complex drills- add sport specific skills/deciscion making at end of drill


-Refers to the velocity at which we can generate or change movement patterns

-Requires perfect practice to develop effective sensory- motor engrams

-Teach athletes to be conscious of correct movement patterns until they become unconsciously correct


1.    Basic bio motor to sport specific
2.    Slow to fast
3.    Simple to complex
4.    Active to reactive
5.    Predictable to unpredictable
6.    Low level to high level plyometrics


1. Backpedaling, multidirectional skipping

2. MB reaction drills-wall, partner tosses

3. Ball reaction drills-goalie drills, ball drops/sprints

4. Upper body quickness plyo, shuffle and MB push off push ups

 5. Limb quickness – four point pop ups

6. Lower body plyos with stimulus reaction

7. Ladder drills with reaction commands

8. Partner mirror drill 

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Exercise should be mandatory.

It’s 3:00pm on Sunday afternoon and I know I need to get out & active. A solid work week + parenting two high energy boys + logging hours of exercise quickly adds up. As I make my way through the hood into the trails I encounter all types of people also getting out and active. Different sizes, different shapes, different ages and different types of activity at different intensities. I find this reassuring and make sure I acknowledge them as I walk / jog or run by. I’m not plugged into anything because for the next two hours I don’t want to be plugged into anything. I need a distraction free environment to organize my thoughts & process any negative energy that’s built up. If you’re a regular exerciser, you can relate.

Exercise yields more than just physical benefits, there are mental benefits as well. Exercise releases natural endorphins. Endorphins are chemicals that make you feel good (similar to the synthetic chemicals found in coffee’s sweetened foods & cigarettes except they are natural and won't harm you long term). When I wake up every Monday morning and drop my kid off at practice, I head to the track or hop on a bike and take advantage of the time I have to be there anyway. What am I going to do WATCH my son practice? 

It troubles me to see people chugging coffee’s, inhaling cigarettes and wolfing down fast food to start their days. While they are probably thinking & saying the same thing about my choices, my choices aren’t costing them money. I visit the doctors office once every 2-3 years to ensure there are no surprises (physical) and for emergencies, MAYBE once every 7 years when there’s something serious. This doesn’t make me better than those who don’t exercise, this simply makes me cheaper. Moving away from judgment, my wish is more people take up exercising. We’ve heard the excuses, we know it’s work, but in the end is it that much more work than leading an unhealthy life? Probably not. I’d like to see a point in time where exercise is mandatory or at least socially mandated, like getting an education, tipping after meals etc.

We don’t require another study to highlight the benefits and we don’t need to look to long or too hard at the adverse effects of not exercising. We need incentives for people to make healthy choices, accountability around their healthy pursuits and follow ups 4 times / year or 2 times / year on how they are doing.

So why not start with our circle of family friends and begin to make exercise a mandatory part of our routines.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Come Knock On My Door!

What happened to the days of knowing our neighbors by their first name? Or the days when we could confidently knock on their door to ask them for some sugar when we were out? Or when we would lean over the fence to catch up on life? Or when we simply engaged in social activities with those in the community?

It’s gone. Times have changed. We slowly sacrificed real-life community to our virtual communities. We started scouring the Internet just to “Google” the latest curiosity or trying to find things to do – yet it occupied the time we had to spend outside living life and socializing. We have become trapped on our Facebook newsfeeds paralyzing us in time (like driving past a bad accident) and wasted what we used to spend on the phone or in conversations with the people we know and like the best. Oh ya, and the dating game. What used to be a social experience and interaction…now relies on match making through a computer.

All of these have impacted the way we interact. And although we might believe we have become overly efficient through the platforms that connect us socially – we have sacrificed our ability to interact on a fundamental level.

Let’s be honest, the new generation has entered the much-predicted digital age, people's lives are literally lived surrounded by thousands of online friends while sitting alone in their room. It's easy to sound clever when you've had 4 hours to think up a new status update on Facebook or stolen someone else's line from Twitter for your own.

Everyone is used to keeping their head down, looking at their phones that they almost forget what a human face, in real life, looks like (let alone how to interact with one). The familiarity of Facebook's blue-and-white structure and Twitter's streaming columns are the new 'warm embrace' and people can't stand to stare at each other in person for too long before one wonders what the other is up to.

Eye contact is only to be avoided if you're confronted with a bear, a lion or a jaguar, not when you're meeting new people. A genuine inquiry into their lives might help create a bond further to the infamous "hi how's it going" icebreaker (which you sadly took all day thinking up).

Log out of Facebook. Turn off the twitter feed. And shut down the laptop. If you want to interact – meet up with a friend for a drink, a run, a real interaction. And if no one is around…I’m sure your neighbor (that you have yet to meet) is just waiting for you to come knock on his or her door!

Monday, July 22, 2013

Benefits of Trail Run Shoes

If you’re looking to add a pair of trail shoes to your running arsenal but are unsure on the specific benefits, we can help shine a little light on the subject.

Here are a few reasons to choose a trail specific runner if you’re planning on tackling some beautiful British Columbian terrain this summer:

(1) Traction: Trail shoes offer more grip on wet and muddy surfaces. The lugs that are on the shoes provide extra stability ascending and descending that a road shoe doesn’t offer. It also helps grip when running over muddy segments of trail.

(2) Protection: A trail shoe is typically a little more rigid than a road running shoe. Most trail shoes have what’s called “trail shield” in them. It’s a piece of plating either in the forefoot or in the entire shoe that protects the foot when running over rocks and roots.

(3) Toe Guard: Trail shoes are a little firmer at the cap of the toe box to protect your toes. If you catch your foot on a rock or stump while out on the trails this absorbs that impact saving your toes from bruises and black toenails!

Some trail shoes are what is commonly referred to as “Hybrids.” These shoes are designed for that in between runner meaning you may do a combination of road and trail running. These hybrids are somewhere in the middle of the highlights above and a road shoe.
 The intended use of a Hybrid runner is for those who leave out their front door and have a few miles of road running before they reach the trail.

Naturally if you are doing 100% of your miles on trail then a true trail shoe is the best way to go!

Happy Trails,
Ryne Melcher

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Innovation AND experience.

We had an interesting conversation with a fire chief last week about the divide between new & old school ideology in his fire hall. This division isn’t a new phenomena, in fact is the same division that stifles 
development, collaboration and ultimately growth in many organizations 

The card:
Fighting out of the red corner... the old boys. Old boys know it all and don’t want to think anyone with less experience or tenure can possibly have an idea that hasn’t been thought of or may have merit. 

Fighting out of the blue corner... the young gun. Young guns come in guns a blazing and try to change an entire culture during their 1st week on the job without ample research into what / why / how things have been done in past.

The winner? Neither. Essentially, it’s another another race, gender, pro/anti union type conversation that evokes polarizing banter at the dinner table with limited results.
 What IS clear is the following; 

  1. little forward progress has come without fresh eyes and a new way of looking at / trying things
  2. that same forward progress, has usually been made through the old boys... when they were the young guns
  3. sometimes, there ISN’T a need to try and build a better mouse trap.
  4. there’s no fast tracking the gap between theoretical knowledge and applied experience.
  5. there’s much more acceptance when one has learned, understood and applied the principals AND then suggested changes.
Consistent with everything in life, it is a culmination of little things that make the big difference!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Our "Alternative Selves"

Over the weekend, we dug into a fantastic book titled "Handbook of Motivation Science," and had an epiphany. For a people that are obsessed with progress and creating the best lives possible for ourselves and others, what we read should have been obvious.

We've written, lectured and counseled individuals on how they can close the gap between where they are and where they want to be in order to create a better life, but what we read hit us at our core and invigorated and inspired us even further. Hopefully it has the same effect on you.

The concept we read about was around "alternative selves." It's the idea that the "future you" has not been determined, and there is an unlimited number of versions of yourself that could come to fruition. Not just a slightly healthier, compassionate or financially secure version of yourself, but a radically different you.

This is probably one of the most important realizations you could ever have. Who you are right now may be the same person you are tomorrow, or next week, next year or even next decade ... or this "future you" can be someone completely different. It can be difficult to imagine a better alternative self if you feel stuck or are unhappy with your job, health, finances or relationships. But, regardless of your present situation, there are a vast number of "potential you's" out there waiting to come forward. And here's the gift. It doesn't matter how old you are, what you've previously experienced (or suffered), or who you are today, the future is both created and negotiated.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Confused About Bracing? Allow us to help!

Confused About Bracing?
Mikaela Patterson, B.Sc (HS)
Kintec Fitting Expert and Certified Brace Fitter

British Columbia is full of fun physical activities. Whether it’s playing soccer, mountain biking, weight lifting, hiking, surfing, or snowboarding, there’s something out there for everyone. Unfortunately, the activities we love so much present the risk of injury and thus, the need for bracing. The purpose of bracing is to support and restrict the range of motion of an injured joint to promote recovery or offer protection when returning to activity. Some of the more frequently used braces are listed below:

Knee braces can be equipped with several features depending on the injury. Some of the common features in knee braces are: metal hinges for medial and lateral support, sleeves to provide compression against swelling, and padding (buttress) to cushion and support the knee cap.

Ankle braces are designed to restrict the “rolling motion” whether it’s rolling out (inversion) or rolling in (eversion). Ankle braces restrict these ranges of motion by either supporting with straps wrapped around the foot and ankle, or by having rigid splints on either side of joint.

The wrist is an extremely mobile joint and is susceptible to many different injuries. In order to immobilize the joint, wrist braces have several rigid splints to hold the hand and wrist in a “natural position” allowing it to rest and heal.

 There are several types of elbow braces, but the most frequently used elbow brace is for epicondylitis (tennis elbow). The braces work by adding pressure to the arm muscle, creating a “false” attachment to the bone, removing stress from the injured tendon (actual attachment), and allowing it to heal.

Night splints are designed to aid in healing Plantar Fasciitis and Achilles Tendonitis, but they are worn when at rest. These splints help relieve pain by holding the foot and ankle in a “stretched” position at night. This removes the morning tension and tearing that is associated with both Plantar Fasciitis and Achilles Tendonitis.

Braces are provided either over-the-counter or custom made. Over-the-counter braces are stocked by bracing retailers, made from an “averaged” model of a body part (knee, ankle, etc.), purchased by size (small, medium, etc.), and are often used for strains, sprains, or excessive range of motion. Custom braces are used for ligament tears, hypermobility, arthritis management, and they are made on an individual basis.

A medical referral is required for custom braces, and is recommended for over-the-counter braces as well. This ensures consistency between the health care professional’s recommendations and the patient’s treatment plan.

It is important to work with your doctor on a treatment plan for an injury. Braces are useful, but full rehabilitation also requires physiotherapy, massage therapy, or chiropractic treatments.

Once you have returned to activity, it’s important to wear the brace in environments that present a higher risk of re-injury. Working regularly with allied health professionals (physio, massage, etc.) will also improve your day-to-day function.

If you do end up with an injury, talk to your doctor. They will be able to offer recommendations for healing; whether it’s rest, physio, a brace, or a combination of the three.

Stay active, have fun, and be safe.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Foot Speed and Agility in Sport

Many of the questions we get from coaches and parents involve building foot speed and agility for their athletes. "How do we get our athletes to improve their overall foot speed and what exercises are best for agility training?"

We have to clarify that fast foot speed does not mean that an athlete is agile and being agile does not mean that you are going to have fast feet. The key to developing fast feet and overall agility is to develop strong legs and lower body power. This is essential to develop foot speed and is the focus of speed training.

Consider drills and exercises as supplemental for developing speed. It is the process of building strength and power that will initiate the change in the body. We utilize ladder, cords, bands and various training tools to help build speed, agility, and quickness. The ladders are a staple in our program. But they are a small component in the overall approach to building strength. Ladders, cone drills, box jumps, and even skipping are great dynamic movements. They also incorporate the CNS in our body and get the muscles/brain working together.

So when the topic of foot speed and agility comes up, the answer is simple; no one drill will make quicker. Developing lower body strength and power will. But this takes time. These drills are supplemental to developing strength and thus are beneficial to an athletes overall development.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Stay strong as you move along

Last week a friend says you’re not long with people are you? to which I immediately answered - nope. Call it harsh, sociopathic, tie it to a past life event, or slip in the synonyms honest & efficient, it doesn’t really matter to me. 

It is a personal belief that the point in time when someone’s contribution no longer benefits myself in a positive, progressive manner OR I no longer benefit them in a positive, progressive manner – it’s time to move along. In theory, it’s the same practice a purging mementos & keepsakes that no longer provide the emotional or practical value. Chances are you either are or aren’t of this personality type.

Challenge for some is theory doesn’t factor in emotion. More often than not, transitions are accompanied by emotion. Too much emotion. As I’ve aged I’ve learned a few things about carrying that emotion and;

  • better appreciate the value of the past experiences vs. the mindset of not all or nothing.   
  • realize not all relationships in life will be and/or need to be forever.  
  • do not invest energy on things that are out of my control.
Seems like 3 easy bullets, but it’s not. It's hard work. The nature of our jobs affords us the privilege of meeting people in the transition stages of their lives. Be it a customer who’s ready to transition to a healthier lifestyle or a young person who’s ready to transition from the university to career stage of life, our small role is to help, guide, lead & mentor them using our acquired skill set. During that process there are going to be natural points of alignment with people. Some may be stronger. Others may last longer but eventually there will come a point in time where the dynamic changes and that change can & should be embraced. Experts suggest avoiding personal & professional crossover and I have to say from my short experience, I agree. Most of us are fortunate enough to have family & friends as our supporting cast and from time to time – we will welcome guest appearances which adds both variety, perspective and enjoyment. 

The point here is threefold;

  1. don’t waste energy begrudging past relationships that are no more. Appreciate the positives, take the lessons and reflect on value of them as you carry on.  
  2. understand you don’t have or need multiple BFF’s in your life FOREVER AND EVER. As long as you have 1 (starting with yourself), you’ll be just fine. From there, everything else is a bonus.
  3. as you age, the people who you keep company with is going to change. Embrace that change as both the person on the changing and changed end of the dynamic and seek to understand why. 
There’s too much out there for us to enjoy and too little time for us to spend not enjoying it.

Monday, July 08, 2013

Types of Footpain and Solutions

Foot pain comes in many different forms and levels of severity, but at some point or another in our lives, we have or will experience it.  For athletes or individuals who spend a lot of time on their feet, foot pain can be debilitating and can severely reduce their quality of life. Some of the primary causes of foot pain are improper footwear which can cause a plethora of issues such as bunions, corns, Morton’s Neuroma, and plantar fasciitis. Luckily, there are a variety of steps you can take on your own to prevent chronic foot pain. These can include strengthening your feet with exercises, wearing proper footwear, and treating injuries as soon as they arise. 

Plantar Fasciitis
If pain becomes persistent, it is advisable to see a medical professional. Seeing a Podiatrist or Pedorthist would be a great place to start. From there, they can properly assess the issue and provide some recommendation for treatment. Custom orthotics have the ability to offer a personalized treatment solution for a variety of problems which can cause foot pain. Kintec is happy to work with you and your medical profession to help solve your foot problems.

Wednesday, July 03, 2013

Oh - is everyone else doing it?

We hear it all the time. It’s the in thing now. It’s what everyone is doing. To be dead honest, the minute I hear that is the same minute I think than that’s exactly what we should not be doing because we’re already behind. In fact, we’re at the end of the line. Ever tried to be relevant at the end of a line? Kind of like peeing in a hurricane..  largely ineffective.

There’s no edge at the end of the line. I mean where’s the differentiation in following the path hundreds & thousands before you have both blazed & trampled? They’ve already gained the advantage. They are further ahead. They’ve seen everything your about to see and generally, by the time you get there – they’ve moved on. It’s like my parents asking me are you on Facebook - a decade later. Its like being the 1000th visitor to the  raspberry patch. You get it.

If you find yourself following that well traveled path it’s clear sign for you to GO AND CREATE YOUR OWN ADVANTAGE. There’s millions of us which means there’s millions of opportunities to be absolutely, unequivocally unique and blazing NEW trail where the magic BEGINS. If you get lost – so what. If you screw up – oh well. Trust us when we share, the knowledge, perspective and enjoyment you take away will be well worth the time backtracking (if you have to).

End of the day life is a daring adventure or nothing at all and I would bet my bottom dollar that your fondest memories came when you heart was racing a little, your palms were sweaty and you thought WTF  have I gotten myself into here. Right? Of course. Its this simple. You have less relevance looking, acting, thinking and behaving like everyone else. You don’t stand out at all and you may as well be another number in a long line of sheople.

So stop following the human heard and be your own leader! And for the love of god – stop trying to tell me we need to do something because everyone else is. That’s just stupid 


Tuesday, July 02, 2013

The Greener Grass

Lifestyle. Opportunities. Wealth. Just think how far we’ve come in the past 100 years — especially when you look at what we have today compared to our great grandparents’ generation.

We’ve all been privy to the stories… “Married very young, lived in the same place their whole life, and worked the same job for 40+ years. Life was hard, poor, and lacking in any real opportunity.”

Thanks to technology, the Internet, and an improved society, our lifestyles are completely transformed. We have choices. We can live pretty much anywhere we want. We can travel and see the world.

We can secure jobs on the other side of the planet. We can start our own businesses and serve clients thousands of miles away. It’s definitely an exciting time.

But when there is a wealth of opportunities, choices, and places where we could choose to live, you’d think we’d all be happy, right? Wrong.

The problem with having choices is that we become restless. We can’t settle on what we already have or be satisfied with what we’ve got because we’ll always be wondering about the next big thing or continually comparing to the options we are privy to.

It’s called “the grass is always greener” syndrome. We think someone else is having a better time elsewhere. We make ourselves miserable by constantly thinking about the unknown in an endless quest to find happiness. We lie awake at night torturing ourselves over what we should do next, wondering if we’re missing out on something big. We feel we’re wasting our lives if we’re not doing something more important.

Oh ya…then there’s the “time pressure” that the generations of today feel.  

“The World is Your Oyster” & “You can have anything you want” – created the sense of urgency, pressure, and expectation of ‘doing more’. This translated into young adults feeling inadequate if they felt they were not living up to their potential or felt they should be doing something greater. 

Not to mention, society convinced the generations of today that they are something extremely special and that their lives are destined to be adventurous, thrilling, and hugely successful. And when they’re not turning out that way -- They become depressed. They want more. They get “grass is greener” syndrome. That’s when people become unhappy and spend all of their time and energy on focusing on what they don’t have rather than what they do.

People end up moving around a lot or end up jumping from one job (or relationship) to the next…never fully committing to one thing. But once they have made that leap to the other side—once they move to where they thought the grass would be greener and where they would be happier—they discover that it is no different. And for most, they come to the conclusion that it’s actually worse. 

There is something to be said about keeping life simple. Our grandparents lived the simple life – and they were happy. But they didn’t have all the choices. They focused on one thing and did it well! They reaped the rewards from working at the same job for 40+ years, from being committed to their family, and from focusing on what they had versus what they didn’t have. They didn’t worry about buying the next ‘gadget’ – they worried about putting food on the table and paying the mortgage. But the mortgage got paid off. And perhaps the simple life is where we all need to focus back on. 

Remember that all we ever have is right now. Forget about the past. Don’t worry about the future. Take each day as it comes, and most of all, stop thinking that the grass is greener, because it never really is.

Monday, July 01, 2013

Benefits of Supportive Flip Flops

It’s okay to be a flip flop lover…

Summer is here (sort of…) so it’s time to let your feet shine, but are you dreading the aches and pains that come with the flimsy, flat, foam flip flops? Not to fear, supportive flips are here! The flat foam flips which consist of a spongy platform and plastic straps place demands on the foot that can lead to serious over-use injuries. Conditions such as Achilles Tendonitis, Plantar Fasciitis, and toe cramping can develop with extended period of time in in-expensive flip flops because the stabilizing muscles, tendons, and ligaments fatigue and become inflamed.

Supportive flips flops offer comfort with significant medial arch supports, deep heel cups, and wide straps. The contoured foot beds mold and hug the foot in a more natural position compared to a flat cut out of foam. By supporting the foot in a natural positions the same tissues as above are relaxed and performing efficiently which prevents, or helps treat chronic foot pain.

  Flat, unsupported flip flop                                                                            Structured, supportive flip flop

At Kintec, we carry a wide selection of structured sandals including several flip flops. A couple of my favorites for orthotic customers, or for any flip flop lover like me are the Sole Sport/Casual Flip Flop and the Montrail Molokai/Molokini. With the arch support, wear-mold foot beds, and soft straps they provide the support and comfort needed to putter around the house, conquer Disneyland, and everything in between.

Written by: Mikaela Patterson B.Sc (HS)