If you read my article last week on FIIT Werx, you are quite familiar with the concept of barefoot training. The willPower Fit Studio owner Stacey Lei Krauss is a pioneer in this exercise ideology and founder of the willPower Method. She is an international fitness educator accredited with ACSM, ACE, AFAA, 10 years of dance training and over 20 years in the fitness industry. Additionally, she consulted with Nike on the launch of their “Free” shoe line and subsequent downloadable workouts.
The willPower Method is a multi-level approach which focuses on functional movements that train bodies to be better humans. It has pre-designed progressions consisting of 58 main exercises that provide results through repetition. The core of the method is foot fitness. This is because “your feet are your base of support and your connection to the earth.” Stacey instills a positive philosophy into her students through affirmations during the workout. Finally, a form of sensory integration helps correct imbalances emotionally from the over stimulation if the world.
Walking in the door the first day, I was greeted by Stacey with a look of confusion. She has been approached by many reporters in her many years of experience but none dressed in workout gear. I admit my ambiguity in email communication was probably the main issue. She was elated that I wanted to immerse myself into the willPower Method and get out of my comfort zone. She gave me a tour of the building and showed me how to use her “rock garden” to strengthen your feet.
We agreed the willPower & grace class would be an excite introduction to the studio. “willPower & grace is a high-energy, cardiovascular and muscular conditioning barefoot workout. It’s a fusion of plyometrics, yoga, calisthenics, and Pilates: strong full-body functional exercises with inspiring, positive psychology.” If any of you know me personally, a few words scare me in that sentence; yoga and Pilates. I have been ignorant to these workouts all my life and assumed that they could not possibly be more grueling than my general workout methods. I was wrong, plain and simple. I left that class sweating like crazy, cramping in areas I didn’t know were possible, and amazed at my lack of overall flexibility.
Not one to pass up another experience, Stacey invited me back to try another class called willPower IGNITE. This class seemed a lot more toward my comfort zone of high intensity workouts but still used her willPower method movements. This class was structured in a “TABATA-style” of intense activity with coinciding active recovery. Each movement has three levels to increase the difficulty. At the smirks of my classmates, I kept choosing level-3 to really push my body to its brink of failure. I again left the class sweating like crazy, cramping in areas I didn’t know were possible, and this time a respect for Stacey and her ideology of fitness.
willPower Fit Studio is located on 21st Street and Market Street in the Ballpark District.