Friday, May 30, 2008

Working Out While “Workin’ It”

I’m always on the prowl for unusual and bizarre information, especially when it has to do with bodies and exercise.

My latest find is an exercise class called “Stiletto Strength,” and it’s taking the gym world by spike heel.

The classes were developed by a gym called Crunch, which offers them in Los Angeles, New York, and Miami.

Here’s the stiletto class description from their online site:
Stiletto Strength
B.Y.O.H. – Bring Your Own Heels and strut your stuff runway style in this calf-boosting, posture-building, cat-walking diva class.

Evidently all calves are simply not created equal when it comes to teetering around in tarty heels—some of us require a workout just to learn how to hobble.

I wouldn’t even try. Along with practically every other muscle group, I’m a member of the calf-muscle deprived group. But there’s a reason for this: I grew up as a member of the “Stiletto Gap Generation.” Back in the late 70’s, when I was going through maximum adolescent angst, no one dreamed of wearing high heels, not even the girly-girls in the southern town where I lived. Heels meant you were overdressed. They meant you were trying too hard. They were too obvious. I don’t recall seeing a single pair of high heels in anyone’s closet during college. Later, during the 80’s, most of us switched to power heels—which meant two inches high, max.

Then I clobbered one of my knees and stopped thinking about heels altogether, except for avoiding them whenever possible. If an occasion demanded me to wear heels, I’d go for a cunning little kitten style. And I didn’t feel the least bit out of step—to my way of thinking, stilettos were what my five-foot tall mother had worn, to make herself look taller. They were strictly for the cocktail crowd, which meant O-L-D.

Fast forward twenty or so years, and I must have snapped awake—I think it happened sometime between Sex and the City and Desperate Housewives. I realized that torture shoes had made a roaring comeback, even for women my age. (Like all things fashion-related, I probably discovered this bit of news about ten years late).

So, should I take an exercise class to pump up my calves, and learn how to improve my range of motion in my ankle and great toe, which is evidently critical to acquiring a proper stiletto stride?
Hell, no! I’m already doing major damage control on my abs, thighs and triceps. There’s no stamina left over for building up ankles and toes.

So ladies, I give you your Jimmy Choos. Hand me my Easy Spirits. I guess won’t be seeing you in Stiletto Strength.

On the other hand, I won’t be seeing you at the orthopedic surgeon’s office in five years, either.


Camille Minichino said...

Not to skip over your outstanding prose, Kathryn, but you do have the BEST graphics!

Kathryn Lilley said...

Thank you Camille! That's almost my favorite part of doing the blog, is picking out the pix, lol!

Anonymous said...

Yes, I blame Sex and the City. Those things hurt! (Which means I must admit I have personal experience with the phenomenon, which is made even more ridiculous when I say I'm 6'2" in stilettos).

Doesn't anyone remember the accusations of sexism flung at high heels? That they exist only to make the calf muscles more appealing to the male eye? And slow down our escape time, keeping us helpless? How quickly we forget!

Kathryn Lilley said...

Good point, Sheila! Those toe-killers rode back in on a wave sometime around the turn of the millennium. along with an anti-feminist backlash. I've wondered a lot about that, and I also wonder about the under-thirty TV bimbos who dismiss feminism as their mom's hang-up, an antiquated notion that is no longer useful. Have they looked at the disparity between mens' salaries and womens' salaries for the same work, recently? I don't think so! And that's my rant for the day, lol.

Anonymous said...

Last year I attended some Christian Women's Conference in Portland, OR. I was quite impressed with these intelligent, clever speakers, until I realized they were tottering around on stage in stilettos. For Pete's Sake--preaching about being Godly women and taking care of their bodies, and doing their best to set an example of how to ruin their feet. There went my respect...

Anonymous said...

No heels for me. Bunions will do that to you. But I'm too clumsy to wear anything but flat flat shoes anyway. I'd surely break something--a table I'd grabbed to catch myself, the floor I fell on, or more likely a bone.

Kathryn Lilley said...

Thank goodness ballet flats are in style, Leann! Anonymous, I think we're all fashion victims of whatever style is ruling during our formative years. I see my step-daughter teetering out the door in five-inch heels, and I ask her why she wears them, because she can't walk without wobbling. "Because they're cool," is the reply. Probably the same thing I told my appalled mother when I got my ears pierced against her direct orders!

caryn said...

This is interesting because I thought walking in high heels actually harmed your calf muscles-something about they would shrink or contract or something. I own two pairs of dress pumps-one black and one ivory. They get very little time out of the closet.
My daughter runs around in the most uncomfortable looking shoes everyday and swears her feet don't hurt, but I don't believe her-either that or her feet are just numb and she can't feel the pain!

JT Ellison said...

my feet go numb when I wear heels for more than a couple of hours. It ridiculous, what we do for our looks. Great post!

Kathryn Lilley said...

They do hurt your muscles and joints, Caryn! When I read the article that led me to this class, there were dire quotes from a foot doctor or surgeon warning about stilettos. Doesn't keep women from wanting to wear 'em, though! My feet go numb too, JT. I can never wear any kind of heel for more than three hours. I've literally taken my shoes off in the most inappropriate places (like in my first library presentation, when I was seized by an inexplicable desire to dress up for the event). The security guard started chiding me, until the library staff intervened, seeing that I obviously was in agony and would never make it through the event on two feet!

Linda O. Johnston said...

I've given up on heels except for the lowest kind, Kathryn. Most of my shoes are bought for comfort, and many have rubbery soles. But I need to be careful with them, too. I've been doing the puppy shuffle at home to avoid tripping on Mystie, and accidentally did the shuffle in my comfy shoes in the subway station... and fell! I felt like a real klutz, but no harm done. Anyway, even comfy can be trouble!

Anonymous said...

Forget the heals. Like yourself.
My daughters feet look 30 years older than mine. I am 52 and she is 23. I wear low heals and tennis shoes to work. Here is to great feet at 50.

Kathryn Lilley said...

I'm with you, Anonymous! The first thing stiletto fans have to look forward to is heel spurs. And it gets worse from there. Ouch!