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Archery Equipment Checklist 2018

One of my former students from 2017 is ready to be buying her own archery equipment and wanted to know what equipment she should be looking for. At present she plans to buy a Samick Sage, but she wasn't sure what else she should be buying.

Below is an edited version of my email reply to her questions.

A few of my personal collection of bows.
Bow

A common bow for many beginners is the Samick Sage, which I like to describe as the "Ford F-150" of bows. Usually Samick Sage comes in poundages between 25 to 60 lbs, but it is possible to get 20 lb limbs that are compatible.

However just because the Samick Sage is so popular doesn't mean you have to buy it. There are many other bow manufacturers to choose from.

See Recurve Bow Brand Manufacturers and Models.

You also don't have to get a recurve bow. You could get a longbow, a horsebow, a compound bow, a flatbow, or various kinds of exotic bows such as a Korean horsebow or a Scythian horsebow or a Japanese yumi bow.

Arrows

What poundage is your Samick Sage? If it is between 20 to 30 lbs, then 600 spine arrows would be best. Aim to get 28 inch arrows (longer is okay too) with feather fletching, 600 spine. Ten or a dozen is usually a good idea as people often break or lose 1 or 2.

Arrowheads

Don't forget these wee things. Arrows don't always come with them as they are frequently sold separately. I recommend beginners get 125 grain arrowheads.

Arrow Rest

A traditional Bear fur rest (not real fur!) is pretty common. There are also more expensive/fancy arrow rests that also work.

Nock Bead

Goes on the bowstring, prevents the nock of the arrow from sliding up and down, aka "stringwalking".

Archery Glove

I recommend the Neet brand, same one you used last year. Comes in various sizes. But there are plenty of other brands (and colours) to choose from.

Bowstringer

For stringing your bow without damaging the limbs. Various kinds available.

Bow String Wax

For waxing your bow string periodically. Lengthens the life span of the bow string, and oddly enough improves accuracy and arrow speed.

Optional Equipment
  • Quiver
  • Bracer or Armguard
  • Archery Backpack
  • Stabilizer
  • Sight
  • Dampeners

See also my:

Archery Equipment Checklist

and

List of Optional Archery Equipment

If you have additional questions just let me know. :)

Thursday Archery Lessons in Toronto

Regarding Archery Lessons...

I have been thinking of making some time slots available on Thursdays - 10 AM, 12 PM and 2 PM for teaching archery lessons.

UPDATE, I may also be available on Fridays too.

At present I only teach on weekends and watch my infant son on weekdays, but in the near future I may be able to start teaching on Thursdays again, pending availability*.

* I might not be available on all Thursdays. We shall see.

Sorry, no evening lessons. Not available.

Anyone interested in Thursday archery lessons should email cardiotrek@gmail.com and let me know what time slots you are thinking of and how many lessons you are interested in.

To learn more please read my Archery Lessons page which provides all the necessary info regarding my rates, equipment, etc.

And now, because I find them interesting and amusing, here are some photos of birds perched on arrows. Tada!


Owl perched on a cluster of Arrows
Peach Faced or Rosy Faced Lovebird Parakeet perched on an Arrow

Fancy Bows for Archery, what difference do they make?




The images above are from Flatline Bows, which I admit do make some very pretty looking bows.

Note - Flatline Bows did not pay me any money to write this post or to mention their bows.

Fancy Bows Vs Beginners

So here is the thing...

Beginner archers sometimes decide to buy a more expensive / fancy bow for their first bow. They do this for a variety of reasons:

  1. They are pretty nice to look at. Just like owning a sports car.
  2. They sometimes think that more expensive also means more accurate.
  3. They want to avoid buying a cheap bow, because they feel embarrassed.
  4. They want a fancier bow because it is a status symbol.

It is a bit like Apple iPhones. Most people who buy them are not buying the iPhone for its operating system or quality, they are buying it because it is a fashion accessory and a status symbol, because there are other companies out there that produce phones that are better.

Thus the same thing happens with beginner archers. They sometimes buy an expensive / fancy bow, and far too often in my opinion it ends up collecting dust in their closet.

They bought the fancy bow, but then they discover the poundage was too difficult for them to shoot. They lose interest in archery. They stop coming to the local archery range. The bow and their other archery equipment collects dust in a closet.

What Should Beginners Buy?

It is my personal belief that beginner archers should find themselves a decent bow that works, preferably one that is a 3-piece recurve so that they can swap the limbs out whenever they want to switch to a heavier or lighter poundage.

So for example they could buy a Samick Sage (typically about $150), which is the bow I bought my girlfriend/wife years ago, and she later married me and she is still shooting that bow.

I have written previously about the Samick Sage multiple times. It is basically the "Ford F-150 of bows". It is an affordable, commonly used bow that is everything you need in a beginner bow.

Some of my past posts:

The Bear Takedown Recurve Vs the Samick Sage

What kind of bow should I purchase?

Recurve Bow Brands and Models

The last post talks about different manufacturers who make bows similar, cheaper, more expensive than the Samick Sage. There are lots of manufacturers to choose from too. PSE, Martin and Bear all sell recurves for a variety of price ranges. Just because I recommend the Samick Sage regularly, it doesn't mean it is the only bow I recommend.

Years ago I also decided to get a Samick, but I opted for a slightly more expensive version: The Samick Red Stag 3-piece recurve. (They also made a 1-piece version and a longbow version of the Red Stag.)

So someone who still wants a slightly fancier bow could simply go up 1 price margin to the next more expensive model.

3-Piece Recurves Vs 1-Piece Recurves

So here is the thing. If you break something on a 3-piece recurve, you just replace that limb or riser with a new one.

If you break something on a 1-piece recurve, you have to replace the whole bow. (Or be really good at fixing things.)

I have in my foyer closet a 1-piece recurve (a Stemmler Jaguar) that I found broken at the Toronto Archery Range. The previous owner broke one of the limbs and threw the whole thing in the trash. Me? I looked at it and speculated about whether it could be repaired in some manner.
  • I could cut both limbs off it, add bolts and turn it in a 3-piece recurve.
  • I could cut both limbs off it and add the limbs to a crossbow stock.
Either way, I will eventually figure out a way to fix it and make it usable.

But the average person isn't going to go through all that extra trouble.

So to the average people who are looking to buy their first bow, get a 3-piece recurve.

Preferably one that is affordable.

And then if you really get into archery as you progress, you can buy more expensive bows later on. In which case then you can start thinking about buying the 1-piece recurves. You can see some of my collection of 1-piece recurves in the photo above behind the the Stemmler Jaguar limb.

So are fancier bows more accurate?

Nope.

They sure do like nice, but no, generally speaking, they are not more accurate. It is the archer that makes the big difference.

In 29 years of shooting, I have determined cheap brand name bows can go toe to toe with more expensive brand name bows and there is very little difference in their accuracy, and that the major difference lies with the archers themselves. The type of arrow rest being used effects the arrow more than the bow does, so if you are going to invest money in hopes of getting more accuracy, then you should invest in a nicer arrow rest.

Longer bows are also more forgiving, which is why longbows are considered to be quite accurate. You can sometimes make a mistake with a longbow and still hit the target.

A shortbow or horsebow is not very forgiving. If you make a mistake, you probably missed the target by a foot or two.

Same thing goes with compound bows. Yes, more expensive, but the longer compound bows (measured from axle to axle) are often the more forgiving and accurate bows when compared to shorter axle to axle compound bows.

Some people will spend a tiny fortune having a custom bow made out of exotic woods - Flatline Bows for example exclusively makes custom bows. Having all those expensive exotic woods in the bow doesn't make it any more accurate. It just makes it more expensive.

You could add diamonds and rubies to a bow too, it won't make it shoot any more accurately.

Flatline does make some pretty bows... but seeing as I currently need to repair that broken Stemmler, my efforts and money are probably best directed at finishing that project first before going out and buying any more bows.


PS. I actually have a flatbow for sale if anyone in Toronto is interested. It is an Eastern Woodlands flatbow made by Rudder Bows of California. Barely used. I bought it around the same time I ordered a custom pyramid bow from a local Toronto bowyer, and I very much prefer the custom pyramid bow. I only shot the Eastern Woodlands bow a few times. I am asking $180 for it. Send me an email to learn more: cardiotrek@gmail.com.

5 Slimming Foods that are also Fast Foods

Out and about and need to eat in a hurry, but you want to eat something healthier that actually helps you lose weight? Here are 5 items on the menu you should consider.

#1. Ice Water or Lemon Water

Drinking ice water actually burns calories. The colder the water and the more ice water you drink, the more calories your body burns in order to warm the water up to the temperature of your body.

The clear benefit here is that you are also avoiding the sugary soda pop you usually find on fast food menus. However fast food franchises are more than happy to give you ice water instead.

Starbucks also routinely gives out ice water for free, so the next time you are feeling thirsty on a hot day (or even a cold one) that is an option too.

Lemon water (with ice cubes) is also good, as it improves digestion and has a host of health benefits.

See The 8 Benefits of Lemon Water for your Diet

#2. The Big Salad - skip the dressing!

Typically any kind of salad, including egg salad and chicken salad, will be slimming. The trick here is to skip the dressing, as that is often the most fattening part of the food.

If they have a "Big Salad" option on the menu you can literally fill up on salad as your meal.

If you are ordering a burger combo and there is an option to get a salad instead of fries, get the salad. Easy!

#3. Chili

Some fast food places have chili as a side dish on the menu, but you could order 2 or 3 of them. The reason why this is a good option is because of all the beans and legumes found in chili - which are slimming.

#4. Soup

Watery, filling, and to save money they often add lots of veggies in there. Soup is an excellent option. Just avoid adding too much salt, as too much sodium makes you retain water.

#5. Get the Chicken or Vegan Burger!

The mundane chicken burger is basically on the menu for the people who want to eat healthier. If the place you are also has a vegan burger option, that is also a possible solution.

Tuna and salmon, if available, are also slimming foods you can choose. Lean beef is also good, as it has only slightly more calories than chicken.

So a sample burger combo could be: Chicken burger, side salad instead of fries, and ice water instead of soda pop.


10 Ways to Improve your Cardio Workouts

Want to get better results with your cardio workouts? Here are 10 tips and tricks for getting a better workout.

#1. Stop looking at the clock, lose track of time.

Don't wear a watch, and stop looking at your phone to see what time it is. Just exercise, exercise, exercise and take a break once in awhile. Don't finish your workout until you feel like you have exercised all you are willing to do today.

Now the first couple of workouts that you do this, you will probably work out less time than you would have hoped.

However, as you progress your workouts will get longer and longer as your endurance improves and you will eventually just lose track of time during your workouts. Music helps too, as people are more likely to lose track of time while listening to music.

Note - If you have a meeting or event you want to attend and you don't want to miss it, just set an alarm on your phone to remind you. Otherwise your goal should always be to workout as much as possible so that you forget what time it is and end up exercising more than you have ever hoped for.

eg. Lets say your goal was to exercise for a minimum 30 minutes every day. The first couple of times you might only exercise 20 or 25 minutes, but as you progress and build endurance you could eventually be working out 45 to 60 minutes or more because you keep losing track of time.

#2. Stop drinking sports drinks during workouts.

Unless you are planning to be exercising for more than 60 minutes, you don't need any sports drinks containing sugar, salt and electrolytes. The salt in the drink just makes you thirstier, causing you to drink even more. Plus your body doesn't really need all that extra salt and sugar.

If you want to hydrate while you workout, your best bet is water. Just plain normal water.

Plus if your goal is weight loss, the sugar is counterproductive to your goal.

Want to learn more? Watch the following video from CBC Marketplace:



#3. Alternate between strength and speed and endurance.

Pick two of the following and then choose an exercise that focuses on those two aspects, with one of them being your primary goal:

  • Strength
  • Speed
  • Endurance

So for example you might choose Speed and Endurance, in which case a good exercise is sprinting for as long as you can and then take a break.

Then if Endurance is your primary goal, you pick a different combo to focus on, such as Strength and Endurance, in which case you climb stairs or a hill (lifting your own body weight as you climb). You don't have to go quickly since your primary goal is to build endurance, but you should keep climbing until it is time for a break.

Then you switch back to sprinting.

So if Strength was your primary goal you then choose two exercises that emphasize Strength/Speed and Strength/Endurance.

And if Speed is your primary goal then you choose two exercises for Speed/Strength and Speed/Endurance.

Alternating between the two exercises allows you to effectively do Interval Training. You can also change it up and do 4 different exercises, different combinations, etc.

#4. Exercise on a near empty stomach.

If your goal is weight loss, you want to be exercising on a near empty stomach. Not completely empty obviously. The more you exercise, the more fat you burn.

You want to avoid exercising on a completely empty stomach because you will just get exhausted in a hurry.

Exercising on a full stomach can give you stomach cramps and make you want to take a break and relax, so you can digest properly.

Thus timing your workout when you are not quite hungry yet garners the best results, as you have the energy to workout but won't become exhausted too quickly.

#5. Eat after a workout.

Afterwards your workout you want to eat a balanced meal that has low carbs and more protein. Lots of veggies is good too. The more intense the workout, the healthier you want your meal to be so you are getting plenty of protein (building blocks for muscle tissue) and plenty of veggies (mortar for the building blocks), and the small amount of carbs will replenish your energy levels.

#6. Vary the intensity of your workouts based on your mood.

  • Angry or frustrated? Do a very intense workout focuses on speed.
  • Stressed or worried? Do a slower and more relaxing workout that focuses on endurance.
  • Sad or depressed? Do the exercises you enjoy the most, emphasis on fun.
  • Happy? Do the exercises you find to be the most challenging.

The advantages of varying your workouts based on your mood means you have better mental health, but it also allows you to use your emotions to fuel your exercise routine on happy or angry days.

#7. Make a workout plan / list / schedule.

This way you know in advance what you are doing today. This way you can focus on the tasks on the list and not get distracted.

Get bored of your workout plan? Spice it up a bit with new exercises.

#8. Mix body-weight exercises with cardio.

This allows you to get more out of your workout by adding things that build muscle too.

Classic Examples of Body-Weight Exercises
  • Situps
  • Chinups
  • Pushups
  • Stair Climb

#9. New to exercising? Focus on endurance first.

If you don't regularly exercise, your primary goals should never be strength or speed. Building your endurance should always be #1 for a beginner. Focus on easy exercises that you can do for long periods of time.

When you later become ready for a challenge, see #3 further above.

#10. Fight the urge to stop.

Want to stop exercising? Just keep going. Think of mental reasons why you should just keep exercising. Don't stop exercising unless you have a legit reason for taking a break, like hunger, exhaustion, the need to urinate, etc.





The better you get at fighting the urge to stop, the greater your results will be over the long term because your endurance will improve a little bit each time you refuse to stop.

Every time you think of an excuse to stop, deliberately think of a different reason why you should keep going.


Happy Exercising!

How to take a Punch and Stay Calm

By Charles Moffat - April 2018.

Years ago when I was in South Korea I had a Tae Kwon Do instructor who said something profound which I will share you with you. I may not be remembering what he said exactly as he explained the concept in quite a bit of detail so there is going to be paraphrasing here as I don't recall the exact words he said in the full context of the conversation he told to us students.

But basically what he said was something along the lines of "When your emotions run high in a violent situation it is of utmost importance that you take a breath and keep your wits about you, and then act in a clear and decisive manner."

He broke this down in conversation with a number of examples.

Say you get in an altercation with someone and they attack you, and for a brief moment you have a choice. Do you immediately attack back without thinking of consequences? Or do you think of the consequences and then stay calm, while simultaneously acting in a manner that helps to defuse the situation.

WHY THIS MATTERS TO ME TODAY

Today I was assaulted by the superintendent who lives in my apartment building.

Ah, you say. Now it makes sense why I am talking about staying calm, restraint, and thinking about consequences before acting.

So let me break down the events to you.

1.

My landlord has been wanting the tenants to move our bicycles out of the basement of the building, where my wife and I have stored 5 bicycles. I own 9 bicycles currently and I am a bicycle mechanic hobbyist - I simply enjoy fixing them for fun. Two of the bicycles currently in the basement are really just there for spare parts.

2.

My son fell asleep earlier and I decided now was a good time for me to go move the bicycles while he was sleeping. I found the keys for my bicycle locks, went down to the basement, got the first bicycle and carried it up the stairs and outside to the cement porch that is near the garage and the parking lot. There is a metal railing that goes around the cement porch that many people climb over to the parking lot.

3.

The superintendent followed me out of the building and proceeded to argue with me about where my wife and put our garbage diaper bags. He then pushed me back into the railing so he could climb over the railing. Being pushed back, I reflexively grabbed on to his jacket in order to maintain my balance and during this struggle he punched me in the left side of my face near my ear. Around this time he slid the rest of the way over the porch railing, but I held firmly on to his jacket.

4.

At this point I had a moment of clarity. I had a choice here. I could punch him and beat him up easily. I am a boxing instructor and have studied kickboxing and Tae Kwon Do. He is an old guy in his 50s or 60s. He didn't stand a chance against me. But I had a very clear choice. I didn't have to fight him at all. All I had to do is call 911 and keep holding on to his jacket. (Note - Adrenaline in this situation doesn't help. While it does make you physically stronger and faster, and it helps you ignore pain, it doesn't help you keep your emotions in check. So it becomes ever more important to keep your emotions under control.)

5.

I called 911. This was the clear choice. I have a wife and a son to think about. There are consequences to getting in a fight and beating the **** out of an old guy. I would be in serious trouble if I decided to just beat the **** out of an old guy. So I held on to his jacket while I was calling 911. At this time the superintendent also took out his cellphone and called 911, it was like a race to see who could tell their side of the story first.

6.

I explained to 911 what had happened, with considerable detail. At this point the superintendent punched me in the lower jaw - effectively an uppercut because of the angle, and I did respond by jabbing him in the jaw with the same hand that was holding on to his jacket, so it was a very short jab. This is the one and only time that I punched him in response. I don't remember if he punched me again after that and there might have been an extra time he punched me that I simply ignored and didn't care about. I did tell the 911 lady about him punching be in jaw and that he was still attacking me. The 911 lady advised me that police were on the way and that I should release his jacket, which I did so.

7.

So the police are on their way and I tell the 911 lady that my wife is inside sleeping and I want to check on him. I was not expecting to be gone so long as I had simply wanted to move my bicycles and was not expecting to be attacked by anyone. She said that was a good idea and recommended I do so. So with the police on the way and they have my phone number and location, the 911 call ended and I went back inside. My son had woken up and was crying and I soothed him and fed him.

8.

The police phoned my cellphone, I answered, picked up my son and went to the door. I then held my son in the hallway while I explained to the police all the events. The police listened, asked questions, and two other officers interviewed the superintendent. I admit I was still shaking from adrenaline at the time. The officers then left me, I went back inside our apartment and fed my son some yogurt in the kitchen. I could hear bits of the conversation coming from outside the kitchen window and the superintendent was belligerent with rage. He was not having a very good time keeping his story straight and clearly was not very good at staying calm.

HOW COULD THIS HAVE GONE DIFFERENTLY?

Honestly, everything I did was reactionary. Cause and effect.

He followed me and argued with me, I argued back.

He pushed me, I grabbed his jacket to maintain my balance and a struggle ensued.

He punched me, I called 911.

But it could have gone dramatically different. I had that brief moment where I had to make a decision whether to fight or not to fight. And I chose to simply hang out tight to his jacket (mostly so he could not escape) and called 911.

If I had made the wrong decision, to fight back and beat up an old guy, I would mostly certainly be in handcuffs right now and being charged with assault, because the police would have looked at me with no injuries at all and this old guy who I could have simply beat black and blue.

Restraining myself in such a situation was not easy. I was angry at the time, but I made the conscious effort to not let that emotion rule me. I had to remain calm for my sake, my wife's sake and my son's sake. Love in this case, truly did defeat hate.

THE UNFETTERED MIND

The Unfettered Mind is a book by the Japanese Buddhist monk Takuan Soho, which contains letters he wrote hundreds of years ago to various samurai of the age. I have written various past articles on Cardio Trek about The Unfettered Mind and some of the Zen philosophies described within the book, such as the article: Archery Meditation + Zen Focus. I also have a whole section of my site dedicated towards "Zen Exercising", which is an interesting concept.

In part 2 of the book, titled "The Clear Sound of Jewels" Takuan Soho describes how people value life and "rightmindedness" and how people will sometimes throw their life away for the sake of "rightmindedness".

Takuan Soho states:

"Nothing is more precious than life. Yet, at the moment when we must throw away this valued life and stand on rightmindedness, there is nothing more highly esteemed than rightmindedness."

Basically it is the idea that people will often die for their beliefs.

However people can also die (or ruin their lives) by making unwise decisions, which Takuan Soho later points out by pointing out that people can also value Desire more than life. Desires such as lust, greed, vengeance, bloodlust and so forth.

Takuan Soho states:

"Dying because someone is vexed at being insulted resembles rightmindedness, but it is not that at all. This is forgetting oneself in the anger of the moment. It is not rightmindedness in the least. Its proper name is anger and nothing else. Before a person has even been insulted, he has already departed from rightmindedness. And for this reason, he suffers insult. If one's rightmindedness is correct when he is associating with others, he will not be insulted by them. Being insulted by others, he should realize he had lost his own rightmindedness prior to the offense."

In essence, getting angry at being insulted and then fighting as a result might feel like you are fighting for your beliefs, but really you are just fighting because you are angry.

I totally recommend reading The Unfettered Mind if you can find it in a book store or on Amazon. It is a fantastic book which has useful insights for many different activities, including archery, and also how to maintain a strong moral code.

Samurai historically believed in Bushido (which means honour), but it didn't mean that you died for honour. It meant that you behaved honourably and kept your vows. Samurai vowed to protect and avenge their leaders, but they did not believe in throwing their lives away on base emotions such as anger. Anger to them was a tool, which could make them more vicious in combat, but it could also be the double-edged sword that led to their defeat, and so it needed to be kept in check.

TAKING A PUNCH ITSELF

Taking a single punch by itself is actually easy in my opinion. Multiple punches, such as taking a beating, that is physical challenge obviously (in boxing terms, boxers who can take lots of punches are said to have good "chin"). The emotions that arise (as you probably figured out from your past experiences) is the true challenge of staying calm.

Once you recognize this, taking a single punch is no big deal. Even 3 or 4 is not that big of a deal, like I took earlier today. My jaw is a little sore, as is the left side of my face where he kept punching me with his right hand. But otherwise I feel pretty good. I only really any noticed any pain until much later when the adrenaline dissipated.

So clearly, with the benefit of adrenaline in this case dulling any pain, a person can choose to remain calm. If it just a single punch, it is really just a minor bruise and not worth worrying about.

AN OLD STORY, FISTICUFFS IN KENSINGTON MARKET

Years ago I got attacked by a drug addict in Kensington Market who was angry and decided it was a good idea to punch me in the side of the face and break my glasses. Ha, great idea. In that situation I was more upset about him breaking my glasses that I had purchased in South Korea - where I studied archery, Tae Kwon Do, visited many Buddhist temples, enjoyed good food, and gone mountain climbing many times. I totally recommend going, Korea is awesome. On that occasion I had opted for what I call "Classic Fisticuffs" like what you might see in a period film about the early 1900s. No kicking, just quality footwork, and two fists raised in the classic pose. I then aggressively used my footwork and blocking to dodge/deflect all of his punches and kicks, and get close enough to land solid punches. He then chickened out and ran away like a little coward.

Classic Fisticuffs
On that occasion the drug addict only managed to land his first punch against me when I was sitting down on a bench and not expecting it.

After that, and once he realized I was doing "Classic Fisticuffs" he thought he was being all smart by trying to kick at me, but I just sidestepped his kick and moved closer in order to be able to land solid punches. He tried punching several times and I just deflected them easily. A few jabs to the face later and he suddenly decided that even though I was using "Classic Fisticuffs" as a style, I was clearly good at it. He then ran away.

During the encounter I had two major decisions to make. 1. Do I fight back? Which I chose yes, but had opted for a more gentlemanly style of boxing, which went really well with my girlfriend-at-the-time who was observing this. And 2. Should I chase him after he runs away? I decided not to, stayed with the then-girlfriend, and we later tried to report the attack to police in Chinatown - which they ignored us and just waved us away. Violent drug addict attacking people nearby, and the Toronto police don't even care.

THE AFTERMATH

How do people deal with stress after a violent encounter with a crazed person?

In my case I focused on my son - making sure he was fed and entertained, and then I listened to 80s music while writing this post for my website.

I was reminded of what my instructor in Korea had said about staying calm, but I was also reminded of the book "The Unfettered Mind" by Takuan Soho.

I should probably eat something. According to my phone I was attacked and called 911 at 9:54 AM, and it is now 1:24 PM. I had breakfast earlier today and have not eaten since.

Food after a stressful situation is certainly beneficial. So I am going to go eat now.

I hope anyone reading this finds it educational, informative, and useful in the future when they are faced with a violent and/or stressful situation.

7 Fun Ways to Work Out With Your Dog

Competitive Dog Jogging
Guest Post by Eva Sykes

Keep your dogs away from developing health problems by ensuring they get their dose of physical activity! Obesity or overweight in dogs can cause them to have joint and heart problems, diabetes, and more. What’s a better way to keep them healthy and moving by doing something fun together, right?!

Here’s a list of fun ways to workout with your dog. Join forces with your loyal companion in achieving that healthy and fit bod!

1. Hiking

Have a spectacular time with your four-legged friend with a breathtaking view! Dogs also love nature and they definitely love exploring. But there are also some considerations you should be aware of to ensure your dog will be able to keep up. This includes their fitness, behavior, age, health, and size.

For your next trip, be sure to pack the essentials for your buddy! Just like humans, they will need some food, water, and their doggy bowl. And one more important thing is to consider all the precautions and safety measures for the both of you!

2. Running

Introduce him or her to a blissful jogging! You might’ve guessed that being on our list. Which really should be! Running is one of the famous and basic ways of staying active and fit. It may also be the easiest way to incorporate your dog into your workout routine.

For starters, you could use a leash and train them to run beside you. This will take a little time - but patience and consistency are key! Also, consider the heat and humidity. Dogs have small amounts of sweat glands, and they get rid of heat through panting and only sweat through their paws.

See Also: Dog Jogging for Beginners, a Competitive Sport

3. Obstacle Course

Level up the workout and fun with some obstacle course! This can create a challenge for both the dog and owner with its various exercise equipment. Some basic obstacle course items include a teeterboard, tire jump, a dog walk and a tunnel - which you can build in your own backyard.

Just keep in mind the safety and well-being of your dog while you set up the course. Unwanted accidents may also occur sometimes which can be treated by their vets. A wise advice, be prepared in advance and don’t put your finances in jeopardy with expensive vet bills! Have your dogs insured and be more financially smarter!

4. Swimming

Enjoy the water and burn some energy with your playful bud in the pool or beach! Some dogs may be scared of the water at first, but they will get used to it after some few tries. And if you really do love swimming, water-loving dog breeds like the Golden Retriever or American Water Spaniel will be your best swimming buddy! Swimming is also beneficial for old dogs suffering from joint problems or hip dysplasia.

For starters, you can have your dogs on a leash and walk by their side in the shallow area. Slowly let them get used to having their feet wet and the rest will follow. What are you waiting for? Chill by your pool or hit up the ocean!

5. Fetching!

Dogs are known to be crazy for retrieving items - be it their favorite toys, a ball or frisbee. Thus, they love fetching! This is a game they seem to not get tired of. And there is a scientific explanation backing this up. Dogs have been with us for centuries and they were used for hunting in the early ages. The behavior of running after something that is moving is still instilled and built-in dogs. This behavior is self-reinforcing to them and makes them feel good!

Dogs aren’t just the one who should enjoy fetching while you just stand and wait for them. Try making this game more active and rigorous by incorporating some of your muscle-building moves like crunches, lunges, and squats while he or she retrieves.

6. Cycling

Another cardio you can do with your dog pal is cycling. It’s a great workout for you and can help build your leg muscles. This is especially great for dogs that are always excited when running! You could bike around at a fast pace and don’t have to worry if they can keep. It’s best to engage in this activity in a safe bike trail or terrain where you can avoid traffic from other vehicles.

7. Seasonal Adventures

Whatever the season is, with the sun showing high up or snow falling, there are always activities you can do outdoors for fun! Go surfing or kayaking with your dog in the summer, snowshoeing, skiing or snowboarding through winter, and a lot more! Dogs are smart, active and trainable - try exploring new sports with them!

See Also: 10 Exercises to do with your Pet this Summer

3 New Nutritional Diets Worth Trying

Fad diets are a dime a dozen, but some diets are actually worth trying. After all, sometimes a fad diet works for a particular person and they achieve success with it. Does that mean other people shouldn't bother trying that particular diet? No. It just means that some diets work for some people. And lets face it, most dieters fail due to a lack of willpower - not because the diet was necessarily faulty.

Today we will focus on three diets are focused on nutrition.

Wait, aren't all diets focused on nutrition? Nope. Not necessarily. A high protein diet for example might ignore carbs and vegetables and suffer from a shortage of vitamins and minerals, a vegan diet would ignore all animal byproducts, meat, etc and not be getting enough calcium or protein, and a low carbs diet would avoid bread / pasta / etc and the poor dieter ends up feeling exhausted and depressed.

So clearly those types of diets do have something wrong with them, and it is because the dieter isn't getting enough of the things they need. Nutritionally wise everyone should be eating a balanced diet of protein, veggies, carbs, and so forth so that they are getting a good balance of minerals and vitamins and everything else they need.

#1. The Ketogenic Diet

The Ketogenic Diet dates back to the 1920s and is a bit unusual. It is a high-fat, moderate protein, and low carbohydrate diet. It is usually used to treat children with epilepsy, but it also has benefits for the average dieter because of several factors:

  • While it is a low carb diet, because it is a high fat diet the person doesn't end up feeling sluggish and depressed because the extra fat provides all the energy they need.
  • Since there is so few carbs in the diet the liver converts fats into fatty acids and ketone bodies (which in turn lower the number and severity of epileptic seizures in children).

The Ketogenic Diet was popular back in the 1920s, but because it also caused constipation it fell out of favour - however in recent years the diet has made a comeback, with advocates working more vegetables into their diet that prevent constipation - things like dates, prunes, raisins, berries, popcorn, beans, dried apricots, figs, broccoli, plums, pears, apples, nuts all act as laxatives to prevent constipation.

Who doesn't like dried apricots?
So really this is more like the "Ketogenic Diet 2.0" as you basically do the Ketogenic Diet, but with added benefit of eating dried apricots / etc to keep yourself regular.

The Classic Ketogenic Diet for children was created by paediatrician Mynie Peterman and had the following rules:
  1. A ratio of one gram of protein per kilogram of body weight in children;
  2. 10–15 g of carbohydrates per day;
  3. The remainder of one's daily calories came from fatty sources.
The modern Ketogenic Diet amends the 3rd rule by adding various foods to prevent constipation - preferably foods that are both high in fat and also act as a laxative. Some of the food will contain some carbs, but it is really about seeking more nutritional balance and a happy colon.

Want to learn more about the Ketogenic Diet? Read this.

#2. The Atkins Nutritional Diet 2.0

Created by Dr Robert Atkins.

You have probably heard of the Atkins Diet before, because it is (was) a popular fad diet during the 2003 to 2005 period. In July 2005, the Atkins Nutritional company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection after a series of sales declines. The company does still exist, but it is no longer as popular as it once was.

Like the Classic Ketogenic Diet from the 1920s, the Atkins Diet had some problems... and it was frankly very similar to Ketogenic Diet. It was also a high-fat and low carbs diet, but it was nowhere near as balanced as the Ketogenic Diet.

Instead it advised people to consume only 950 calories per day... where normally people should be consuming approx. 1800 to 2200 calories per day depending on their body size, level of exercise, etc.

Also keeping in mind that anything below 1400 calories is widely considered to be a "crash diet" or a "near starvation diet".

Dr Atkins believe that embracing the starvation diet was beneficial and that such a low carb diet helped burn fat because "burning fat takes more calories so you expend more calories" during the fat burning process than if you were burning carbs instead.

So while a crash / starvation diet is good for losing weight, it also saps people's willpower very quickly and makes people depressed. And even if they do lose the weight, many people would later quit the diet and regain the weight because it was like leaving a long fast and their body desperately craved more food.

So clearly the original Atkins Diet wasn't that good of an idea.

Enter the Atkins Nutritional Diet 2.0... and its own set of rules:
  1. High Fat
  2. Low Carbs
  3. 1400 to 1800 calories per day
Gone is the crash diet approach, but it keeps the high fat and low carbs routine. And like before, dieters still need to be counting calories if they are seeking to lose weight by keeping it between 1400 to 1800 calories. Add in lots of protein, and it basically a modified Ketogenic Diet.

#3. The Canadian Food Guide Diet

If you grew up in Canada, you probably have seen this (or a version of it) before. It is basically a government endorsed diet for Canadians, following the principles of food portions and good nutrition.

The food guide calls for Canadians to eat the following per day depending upon their needs:

5 to 12 servings of grain products, wherein 1 slice of bread is equivalent to 1 serving.

5 to 10 servings of vegetables or fruit, wherein 1 apple is equivalent to 1 serving.

2 to 4 servings of milk products for adults per day, wherein 1 serving is equivalent to 1 glass of milk.

2 to 3 servings of meat / protein products per day, wherein 1 serving is roughly equal to roughly 1.5 eggs (it really depends on the size of the egg honestly.)

So basically a person doesn't need to track calories at all in this diet. They only need to track what they are eating in terms of number of servings.

A person seeking to lose weight and eat healthy could simply have, for example:

Breakfast - 2 slices of toast, 1 large egg, 1 apple and a glass of milk.

Lunch - A ham and cheese sandwich composed of 2 slices of bread with 1 serving of ham and 1 serving of cheese. Plus 1 serving of carrot sticks.

Afternoon Snack - 1 serving of grapes.

Supper - 1 serving of pasta, 1 serving of meatballs, 1 serving of cheese grated onto the pasta, plus 2 servings of different veggies: Broccoli and peas for example.

...

So if you have been paying attention, that is 5 grain servings, 5 fruits/veggies, 3 milk products and 3 protein.

Everything a person needs for a balanced diet, while still being able to have energy, lose weight, and enjoy a rare treat - and it can be customized to suit the person's individual needs.

So how many Canadians actually follow this diet?

Almost none of us. But we probably should be following it. Tracking servings is certainly easier than tracking calories.


6 Apps to Help with Your Fitness Goals

Guest Post.

As everyone knows by now, there are apps to help with every area of modern life. From staying on top of work emails to finding events in foreign cities, the tiny computers that live in our pockets have become essential tools for optimizing daily life.

Health and physical fitness are issues that affect everyone and that a lot of people actively want to
improve, so it’s not surprising that there are hundreds of apps to help you do just that. You should
investigate them yourself and find your own favourites, but the list below is a good place to start.

There are many apps that work well but are designed to function in conjunction with fitness
trackers, and we’ve left those out because, obviously, they only work if you have an extra piece of
equipment (the tracker). We’ve also chosen apps that are especially interactive, since the more
engaged you are, the more likely you are to stick with them.

DietBet

DietBet is especially helpful if you’re naturally competitive or have a penchant for gambling. Choose
a challenge based on how much money you’d like to bet and how long you’d like to participate, and
if you lose a minimum of 4% of your total body weight you’ll win. To keep you motivated, tracking
your progress with weigh-ins that you submit is very simple, and you can read and send positive
messages to the rest of the DietBet community too.

PEAR Personal Coach

The PEAR Personal Coach works with all fitness levels, offering hundreds of different audio workouts led by well-known health and fitness professionals. The voices you might hear include those of Jay Johnson, who coaches the Dallas Cowboys cheerleaders, and Olympian Deena Kastor.

The interactive PEAR Personal Coach app also allows you to determine your VO2Max. This is defined as the body’s ability to consume oxygen during exercise, and gives a good indication of
cardiovascular fitness so you can use the number to track your progress. Find it by putting on a heart
monitor, pairing it with your app, and performing a quick running test.

Sworkit

Sworkit, which stands for Simply Work It, also acts like a portable, affordable personal trainer.
Professional trainers demonstrate all kinds of different workouts, and you can choose from standard
options or customize your own. Just say which areas you want to target, how long you want the
session to be, and explain any other special needs or limitations that you have. More than 200
exercises are randomly combined with interval training, for maximum effectiveness.

CycleCast

Use CycleCast to turn any time you spend on a stationary bike into a fat-busting spin class, delivered
by experienced instructors. Choose the playlist, instructor and class length that you’d like, and get
spinning.

Couch to 5K

If you’re new to the fitness game, Couch to 5K is a simple, supportive way to get things going. I just
30 minutes a day, 3 times a week for 9 weeks, you can get yourself ready for your first 5K race. You
get to choose your own interactive coach who will keep you motivated every step of the way, and
you’ll be able to connect to the supportive 5K community, as well as share your results on social
media.

Pocket Yoga

If you’re looking for a different kind of workout, this app that allows you to practice Yoga any time
and anywhere is well worth a look. Experienced Yoga practitioners have designed all poses and
routines, and as you use the app more you’ll unlock new Yoga “environments” – this seemingly small
reward can keep you really motivated! All poses are clearly illustrated, with detailed descriptions of
their benefits.

Honourable Mention: Charity Miles

Charity Miles is interactive, but in a different way; it uses your physical activity to give back. For
every mile you run or cycle, sponsors like Lifeway Foods, Humana and Timex Sports will donate
money to charity. You get to choose where it goes, from a group that includes Habitat for Humanity
and the Wounded Warrior Project. Take your motivation to get fit to a whole new level of
philanthropy!

Sources:

https://www.active.com/fitness/articles/18-best- health-and- fitness-apps- of-2018/slide- 6

How much does genetics effect weight and weight loss?

There are 4 major factors involved in determining a person's weight, and consequently their ability to lose weight when they want to.

  1. Dietary Habits
  2. Fitness Habits
  3. Metabolic Rate
  4. Genetics

Dietary and fitness habits basically comes down to the lifestyle of the individual.

  • How much are they eating?
  • How nutritious is the food they are eating?
  • How much do they exercise?
  • How intense is the exercises they are doing?

So the number of calories consumed daily, the nutrition value of the food being consumed, the amount of exercise they are doing, and hopefully the exercises being done are intense enough that they get the heart rate pumping harder (a higher heart rate on a regular basis increases metabolism).

Diet, nutrition, exercise and intensity all in turn effect a person's metabolic rate. The faster their metabolism, the more fat they burn.

Thus if a person wanted to they could harness specific foods and exercises that deliberately boost their metabolic rate.

Likewise, the metabolic rate effects hunger, sleeping, stress levels and a host of other factors.

But what about Genetics?

So genetics do effect your body quite a bit, but that doesn't mean you have zero control over your ability to lose weight if you so want to.

Lets look at 5 different genes that effect weight gain/loss, and how you can actually work around that specific gene to invoke weight loss. Note, there is no 1 "fat gene". There are many different genes which affect weight gain/loss, these are just 5 of them that play major roles.

#1. The FTO Gene

The FTO gene acts as a food and nutrient sensor, which affects appetite and hunger, the ability to regulate food intake and how "full" you feel while eating. Scientists have found that people with abnormal variations in this gene have a higher BMI, which effectively means the gene isn't working properly and causes them to overeat.

An abnormal FTO gene is often associated with inbreeding, which is why it is common amongst Amish / Mennonite people. However you may have noticed that the Amish and Mennonites don't have a big obesity epidemic, and this is because they are doing daily chores around their farms - thus they exercising daily.

So how do you fight an abnormal FTO gene? #1. Regulate how much you eat and #2, exercise daily. The recommended amount of exercise if 30 minutes per day, daily.

#2. The PPARG Gene

The PPARG gene affects fat metabolism, including a regulating a special protein responsible both the creation of new fat cells and metabolism the fat later to be used as energy. An overactive PPARG gene can cause too much of that protein, resulting in weight gain and increases the risk for heart disease, diabetes, and stroke.

When people with an overactive PPARG eat more unsaturated fats than saturated fats, their body stores the unsaturated fats as fat tissue. By contrast, when they eat more saturated fats than unsaturated fats, the opposite is true - they lose weight and become leaner.

Solution? Eat more saturated fats. Avoid unsaturated fats.

#3. The ADRB2 Gene

The adrenergic beta-2 surface receptor gene (ADRB2) plays a major role for a protein that breaks down fat. An abnormal ADRB2 gene has also been found to affect your metabolic rate and increase your chance of being diabetic by a factor of 6 (as in you are 6 times more likely to be diabetic). Essentially the gene isn't doing its job, which results in difficulty breaking down fat cells.

How do you combat this? People with this gene abnormality have to workout even harder, so the recommended amount of exercise for people with this is to exercise 60 minutes daily.


#4 and #5. The PGC1-Alpha and Tfam Genes

So many scientists lump these two genes together because they both effect methylation.

Methylation is a chemical process effecting protein conversion, which in turn increases your metabolism. An unhealthy or low rate of methylation slows down your metabolism. The two genes PGC1-alpha and Tfam also effect the creation of mitochondria, which are the energy-creating part of cells. Low rates of methylation have been determined to cause various types of obesity.

Methylation is also affected by age, sex, race, exercise, and diet. So you cannot change your age, sex or rare, but your exercise levels and diet are certainly open to change.

How do you increase methylation and your metabolic rate? Healthy food and intense exercise certainly helps. Aim to be exercising at least 60 minutes daily.


Conclusions

You might think you have specific genes from the list above, but that is not a guarantee. You would need to have your genes tested to know for certain if there were any abnormalities. Also there are other thousands of other genes we did not discuss here, so it is possible you have an abnormality with a completely different gene not mentioned here.

So you may have noticed that people with an abnormal FTO gene only have to exercise half as much people with an abnormal ADRB2 gene or people with slower methylation. Lucky them! 30 minutes per day is only 1/48th of their day. Roughly 2% of their day.

The people with an abnormal ADRB2 gene or people with slower methylation meanwhile have to exercise for 4% of their day.

True, we do sleep 33.3% of the day, but is 2% or 4% of the day really that big of a deal? For the people with a genetic disorder, that 2% to 4% of their day can be the difference between leading a normal healthy life and being obese, so clearly it must be worth it.

Do genes effect your weight and weight loss? Absolutely. 100%.

But if it only takes 2% to 4% of your daily routine to rectify the problem, then clearly exercise and diet is more powerful than genetics. Like 25 to 50 times more powerful.

There are a lot of success stories out there of people who beat their genetics too. Lots of before and after photos too.

Do you know what is even more powerful?

Willpower.

Willpower and self control is the driving force behind eating well and exercising. You decide to make it happen. All you need is a good dose of stubbornness and then you just get it done. Perhaps you motivate yourself using music or you choose exercises which are more fun, which makes it easier to find that needed dose of willpower because you are enjoying the process of exercising.

You cannot change your genetics, but you can beat it into submission if you are stubborn enough.
Looking to sign up for archery lessons, boxing lessons, swimming lessons, ice skating lessons or personal training sessions? Start by emailing cardiotrek@gmail.com and lets talk fitness!

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