We tend to overlook our feet. Sure, they get us from point A to point B and, tucked into the right shoes, they can make an outfit, but if you're like me, you don't give them much thought. For Stacey Lei Krauss, president and founder of the willPower Method, that's about the biggest mistake you can make: "We have 33 joints in each foot, and they need to articulate," she says. "Your feet are your base of support and your connection to the earth. A functional body must begin with functional feet."
That's the basis for the Method Krauss developed over a decade ago, which you can try during a barefoot functional fitness class called willPower & grace. The 60-minute sessions—done sans equipment and shoeless—blend Pilates, yoga, and calisthenics to literally work your body from head to toe. Though you're often making small movements (side to side, up and down), it's a tough cardiovascular workout—Krauss says people burn 400 to 800 calories per session—and you'll build up a substantial sweat. Instructors are encouraging, walking through the room to ensure you're moving correctly and getting the most of your workout. (Though classes are similar, each instructor brings something different, so Krauss encourages participants to find the right fit.) These leaders also add the mental aspect, pushing you just a little harder and forcing you to think about your own goals both in and out of the studio.
By the end of my trial class, which must have included 100 or so squats (no joke), I had activated muscles I didn't know I had. And though it was difficult to get used to the barefoot training—sweaty feet don't provide the best balance—I could certainly see the long-term benefits of the Method, especially for people looking for a calmer atmosphere to get in shape. willPower focuses on creating a strong core and a fit body that doesn't just look good, but empowers you with the stamina you need to tackle the day-to-day.
Try It: The willPower Fit Studio opens in Denver (2110 Market St.) on Sunday, January 13 with an evening class, which is free and open to the public. Check the website for details closer to the date.
Follow assistant editor Daliah Singer on Twitter at @daliahsinger.