Monday, 31 May 2010

Does my bum look better?

I am not a blogger who normally reviews stuff. But I made an exception when Reebok's PR team contacting me saying that they would send me a new pair of EasyTone Trainers, plus a bunch of other training kit. Given that at the time I looked like a smallish elephant, particularly the saggy bottom and heavy legs, I said yes.

These shoes claim to increase muscle activation by 28% in bum muscles and 11% in thighs and calves. This is due to special 'balance pods' in the sole which cause instability, making the muscles work harder to correct your balance. (An aside: if walking while unstable gives you better toned legs, perhaps drinking too much wine is actually good for my figure after all?)

You can see their website here.

After being able to pick and choose the things I wanted from a shopping site, I waited anxiously for it all to arrive. Which it did, while I was away in New Zealand for a month, so it was a delayed start on my part.

But the minute, I got back, I put the shoes on and did some gardening. Now I'm not sure whether it was the shoes or the hours of squatting over flower beds that did it, but the next day I had a sore bottom.

I then attempted to run in them. I have since learnt (because I didn't go to the briefing in which they told people this stuff) that you're not supposed to run in them. All I can say is Oh. My. God. My normal 3 mile run felt far more like 6 miles. My legs burned like mad and I felt as though I managed to get a good cardio run PLUS a session pushing weights. Two for the price of one. But after several more runs in the EasyTone's I realised that they weren't good for running in,, so I saved them for doing the school walk instead.

The school walk is a brisk 5 minute march up a hill. The EasyTones are perfect for this. What normally wouldn't be classified as any real exercise actually starts to feel like it's worthwhile. A day walking around the house and you definitely feel the burn. (Incidentally, it's a nice burn. A long, lingering, tired-deep-inside your leg muscles sensation, that makes you feel as though you've really worked out hard, but all you've done is hoovered the house).

But the clincher of work outs came when I wore the EasyTones while trying to teach my son to ride his bike. There is honestly nothing as exhausting as trying to run behind a small wobbly person on a bike, doubled over at an awkward angle. It is a great cardio workout and good arm and shoulders stuff but mostly, it's all about the butt. And when combined with the EasyTones, it was a bum work out par excellence.

I've now been wearing them most days for about a month and I can honestly say that my legs look more toned and my butt seems less inclined to plunge earthwards. In fact, this weekend I went shopping and tried on a teeny tiny uber tight little blue pencil skirt. It was one of those 'Well hello Ms Jones' type skirts that almost certainly lead to inappropriate thoughts.

Ordinarily, had I put on a skirt like this, I'd either be laughing out loud or crying even louder. But this time, I actually looked awesome. Seriously. I had a pert bottom. Yes, you read it here first. Pert!

I didn't buy the skirt because I didn't think it would work on the school run (raised eyebrows I feel) and sitting at my home office doesn't have much call for a slutty secretary look (and it might even have given my husband ideas). But I was chuffed to bits that I could a) fit into it and b) look good in it.

There are two things about the EasyTones that I don't love. One is the tongue. I cannot get it to lie comfortably on the top of my foot. After wearing the shoes for a while, I want to take them off. Not because my legs are too tired, but because the tongue is irritating my foot. I've tried all kinds of ways to adjust it but it just doesn't seem to be quite wide enough, so the seam rubs on the top of my foot.

My second complaint is the styling. As far as trainers go, they're pretty nice to look at. But if they're not designed for running in and are intended for wearing while doing ordinary tasks, they're not quite cool enough for general attire. They look like a running shoe, not a converse trainer, so going shopping in them for example isn't a great look (unless it's for groceries in which case they're entirely acceptable and indeed recommended).

Despite the fact that it looks like a trainer and has an irritating tongue, I would still recommend them because they do seem to have worked wonders on my legs and bum. And truthfully, when I want to nip into town just wearing trainers instead of something a bit more fashionable so that I can be comfy, at least now I have an excuse: I'm working out!

Now, if they could just invent something for my stomach, I might manage a bikini again one day.....

PS - the training trousers and bra top from Reebok are AWESOME. Very cool design, super comfy and no bouncing boobs. Hoorah!


Iota said...

I've wanted to know if the claims made about these shoes (and others) are true. I couldn't really see how they could be. So I'm really interested to read this review.

Do you worry that perhaps it's doing some damage to you, though? I mean, if your muscles are having to compensate so hard during normal walking, might the shoes be throwing things out of aligment, or potentially giving you a bad back or bad hips or bad knees or something. Perhaps I just don't believe you can get something for free. Seems too good to be true, somehow.

Jo Blogs said...

I've read a lot about different negative heel or balance shoes so am trying out MBT trainers. They cost a fortune but I got some for £68 from a cheapie website I'd never heard of and they were shipped over from China. Only problem is, I obv couldn't try them on so they're a little too big. But soooooo comfortable. We went to Legoland with friends for the day and normally my fet would be aching after traipsing around for six hours but I was fine. They don't look good - my husband calls them my 'special shoes' - but hidden under boot-cut jeans they're not that bad. Not for running in either but you can walk for miles in them and feel the benefit. Just an alternative.

Metropolitan Mum said...

Mhm. I am almost tempted to try some on after this review. The only thing I really struggle with is that I try so hard to make an effort not looking too casual (i.e. no tracksuit bottoms and no trainers other than for working out), I don't want to ruin the current trend.
On the other hand, it's not going too well anyway. I have been mistaken for my daughter's nanny the other day. What does that say about my outfit...

nappy valley girl said...

A pert bottom? You're really selling them to me....

Like Iota, though, I wonder if they are too good to be true - surely there must be some payback?

Home Office Mum said...

Iota - I don't worry about any damage now that I'm not running in them. When I was running in them, it didn't feel right and made my feet go numb. So that wasn't good. But who knows, maybe there'll be a future generation needing Easy Tone hip replacements

Jo Blogs - I like the 'my special shoes' - I think my husband is thinking of these the same way

Metropolitan mum - my thinking exactly but now it really is quite nice to be able to 'slob out' in trainers using the excuse of working out. So much more comfy than squeezing into heels

Nappy valley - pert if in the eye of the beholder. It's pert to me. Possibly not to the rest of the world. I should also have added in the review (and forgot) that I have also been working out on a cross trainer so that's partly to blame for the 'pert' factor.

PantsWithNames said...

Almost tempted. But like Iota and NVG just would have some concerns about whether they would throw your back out? But a pert bottom would be very nice, especially considering the very unpert state it is in at the moment!

Alison said...

Am very interested in these - I've lost one of my trainers at the mo (that's my excuse for not running - they're stability ones) so walking in these sounds just the ticket!