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Pokémon Go as a Workout Plan - How to get the Most Exercise and the Most Pokémon

First, what is Pokémon Go?

Pokémon Go is a free-to-play location-based augmented reality mobile game that works on both Apple and Android devices (smart phones and tablets). The game uses real world exploration to collect Pokémon in the game, and later to battle Pokémon against each other.

Note - The game has become intensely popular, as the Pokémon Go craze has swept the USA and Canada. For some people it is now more popular than Facebook. It isn't just for kids either. Many adults, usually between 20 to 40, are now playing the game. But that doesn't mean that elderly people cannot get into it too, and are doing so - partially for the fitness benefits.

The goal of the game is to physically get the player to go from location to location, collecting Pokéballs, Pokémon, and other objects within the game. This means that people are walking, jogging, running, cycling, etc to get from location to location as part of the goals of playing the game.

Pokéstops are real world locations, varying from park benches dedicated to people, statues, museums, art galleries, historic sites, etc. At each Pokéstop a person visits they can then slide the icon sideways so it spins and they then get free Pokéballs and other stuff that are useful for playing the game.

Being close to Pokéstops also means that you are also in a great place to catch random Pokémon. They will randomly appear on the screen, usually with your phone vibrating or making a beeping noise to alert you that there is a random Pokémon nearby. Click on the Pokémon and you can attempt to catch it by throwing Pokéballs at it. (Which feels a bit like basketball, but once you get the hang of it throwing the balls and catching them is pretty easy. The only trick is if you miss, that Pokéball is gone and you can run out of Pokéballs very easily if you are struggling to get good accuracy with your throw.)

Pokégyms are unlike real gyms, in the sense that you don't normally fight people at gyms. When you visit one you can try to defeat the current defender(s) of the gym which works a bit like the old "King of the Castle" game you might have played when you were a kid. You fight your strongest Pokémon against whichever Pokémon are guarding the gym. If you manage to defeat all of the Pokémon guarding a gym, then you capture that gym and you can leave a Pokémon there to guard it. You will get your Pokémon back after they are later eventually defeated.

Pokémon Go's Augmented Reality

So why is Pokémon Go good for Fitness?

This game has been surprisingly good at getting people outside exercising when they would normally be indoors watching TV or fooling around on the internet. It is arguably a Competitive Sport.

The more you exercise, the more Pokémon you get, the more powerful those Pokémon become, the better they do in battles, etc. Thus it is a surprisingly powerful and easy way to motivate people to go outside and exercise.

That motivation factor is one of the biggest reasons why some people succeed at losing weight and others fail in their attempt. A game which helps motivate people to go for walks outdoors certainly scores points on the motivation factor, even if it does seem childish.

Now it is possible to gain various things within the game, like Pokéballs, just by paying for them. However even if you pay for the Pokéballs you still need to go outside and walk around to find and catch Pokémon - as they are rarely going to be on your doorstep. Thus while some people might choose to spend money in an effort to reduce how much exercise they have to do to play the game, they still need to exercise a fair bit just to find Pokémon.

Furthermore you cannot cheat during this game. While it is possible to catch a few Pokémon while in a car or on a bus, most of the time the speed of the vehicle will cause you to miss things, such as Pokémon and Pokéstops that are too far away by the time GPS catches up to the speed of the vehicle you are in. Thus the ideal speeds to be going is somewhere between walking and bicycling.

What I find fascinating is that this game has done what no sport has done before - get millions of people to suddenly go outside and exercise, with little more motivation than the attempt to find fictional non-existent pocket monsters who only exist within the game. You don't really get much out of the game beyond the fun of catching them, and the journey of catching them becomes the really fun part instead - in other words, walking around and exploring becomes the real challenge and the whole point of the game. The journey becomes both the means and the end goal.

10 Ways to Lose Weight using Pokémon Go

1. Family Fitness - Take the whole family with you and you can all play the game together as you explore. Friends who are also into the game means more people to talk to while you explore, so it becomes a social activity for everyone involved.

2. Jogging - Get from Pokéstop to Pokéstop faster by jogging. Dress for the occasion and take water with you! (Or plan your route so it goes by libraries with free water fountains.)

3. Cycling - Get there even faster on a bicycle. See more Pokéstops and catch more Pokémon in less time. Many bicycle trails will also have various Pokéstops along the way too.

Map of Pokémon locations in downtown Toronto
4. Walking - Take the easy way and just walk it. Very relaxing. In Toronto a simple walk around the downtown area will garner you quite a few Pokémon. See map on right.

5. Hiking - Hilly parklands can sometimes have lots of Pokémon. In the last two days I have visited two parks in Toronto and came away feeling invigorated from walking and exploring, and catching quite a few Pokémon.

6. Focus on Cardio - Don't be afraid to alter your speed now and then. Rotate between walking and jogging between Pokéstops the same way people do using HIIT (high intensity interval training). This way you get to enjoy the best of both worlds between walking and jogging, getting more Pokémon faster, but with breaks that allow you to take it easy once in awhile.

7. Stay Safe - Don't take silly risks. Pay attention to where you are going, what is around you, avoid cliffs or steep ledges, take the long way around, avoid dangerous shortcuts, and take your time. Also you don't need to look at your phone the whole time. You can ignore it while you walk from location to location.

8. Go to the Beach - If you want to swim, then do it safely. All of the Pokémon will be on the shore however as they usually dot places of importance, historical or otherwise. Many water-based Pokémon can be found near lakes, rivers, and ponds - and Toronto has plenty of rivers and water features to check out.

9. Rollerblading - Again, watch where you are going and be careful. Rollerblading will let you get from place to place faster, which saves on battery life - and you get to capture more Pokémon faster.

10. Skateboarding - Not for everyone, but still a decently fun way to get around Toronto.

Note - Fans of the Pokémon TV show will also note that one of the main characters also used a skateboard frequently to get around.


How to do an Archery Trick Shot

The trick shot I did yesterday for the Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation's #TakeYourShot campaign got me thinking about the nature of archery trick shots and how people can practice for them. Visit http://www.takeyourshot.org if you want to take part and do your own trick shot or donate to this great cause.

You can see the one I did yesterday in the video below, during which I shot two arrows at once at a target 20.5 yards (61.5 feet) away.



To accomplish the task I practiced shooting two arrows at once for half an hour prior to making the video, determining several things...

#1. Where to aim. #2. How much to be canting the bow. #3. How I should be nocking the arrows in order to get more consistency (mostly to prevent them from colliding midair and going awry).

Once I had those things figured out I was ready to film it and we managed to do it in one take. The two arrows were tight enough on the target I didn't feel the need to do it again. (It is basically impossible to get super tight clusters when shooting two at once anyway.)

Regardless, having done it, the experience got me thinking about the nature of trick shots and whether it is possible to teach someone how to do a trick shot.

Yes and no. I shall explain why.

You really need for the person to know how to shoot first. They should know all the basics and have good consistency when doing normal target practice. A complete amateur shouldn't really be attempting to do a trick shot, as their arrows will be super inconsistent even under normal circumstances.

Thus I feel I should break down this possible process into several steps, which are basically mandatory if someone is hoping to do a trick shot and do it well (without trying to do it and failing 10,000 times before they finally succeed).

Step #1. Learn how to shoot properly first. Whether you get archery lessons, learn from a book, or learn how to shoot based on years of practice. There is no point attempting a trick shot unless you are guaranteed to at least have a decent chance of succeeding.

Step #2. Know your limits. A good archer should have a decent idea of how far they can shoot accurately and try to stay well within those limits when trying to show off. Trying to shoot at a really long distance for example in an effort to display your skill, when you normally don't practice at that distance - well that is a great way to become discouraged, break/lose arrows, and eventually realize that maybe you picked something that is too difficult.

Step #3. Choose a Trick Shot that is within your range of Skill. Try to pick something relatively easy that you already know how to do, or is perhaps only slightly harder than something you normally do already. This way your chance of success will be way higher. To be a proper trick shot archer, you should be able to repeat the trick shot more than once - not just the one time when the camera was filming and you deleted all the other failed attempts.

Step #4. Practice the Trick Shot. This is really your chance to get good at it. So that you can repeat it on command. Years later, you might not have done the trick shot in a long time, but you should remember all the basics and in theory should be able to repeat the trick shot based on memory.

In my defense yesterday was not the first time I practiced shooting two arrows at once. I have been doing that for years now. Years earlier I did a series of trick shots for Rice Krispies and one shot included shooting two arrows through a bag of flour simultaneously. They wanted me to shoot a single arrow through it, and I suggested that it was a tad boring and what if I shoot two at once? They liked the idea and we went with it. Another shot involved shooting through a plastic milk jug and having it pour milk through the holes into two bowls of Rice Krispies cereal. Twas quite fun doing those.

Step #5. For best results, repeatedly practice the Trick Shot on multiple days. Self explanatory, practice makes perfect. By the time you decide to film it, you should be able to do the trick shot "most of the time" on command. 60% of the time or better would be good.

Step #6. Perform the Trick Shot on Camera. By this point you should be able to do the trick shot either on the first or second attempt.

One of the things I regret not doing yesterday is repeating the trick shot, thrice. To prove it was not a fluke. I should have shot two arrows at once, then another two arrows at once, and then maybe another two arrows at once. A nice cluster of arrows on the target.

Instead I did it on the first attempt and then didn't bother doing it over again. Oh well. Maybe next time I will up the ante.

I am also thinking of doing a whole series of archery trick shot videos. Moving targets, three arrows at once, shooting upside down, various ideas. We shall see.

For fun below is another trick shot video I made in 2015, during which my goal was to hit a tiny moving target - a bottle cap.



And below, a tight cluster on a bottle.

Happy shooting!


#TakeYourShot for the Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation

Earlier today I performed a trick shot on behalf of http://takeyourshot.org/, which is raising money for the Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation, located in Toronto.

#TakeYourShot is a social media campaign to raise money/awareness and they are encouraging athletes and sports enthusiasts to use whatever skills they have - football, basketball, darts, archery, bowling, javelin, axe throwing, etc to show off their skills and raise awareness/money for the PMCF.

The trick shot I chose to perform was "Two Arrows at Once", which I recorded at 120 frames per second on my cellphone and then slowed it down to 30 frames per second to show it in slow motion.



The video was made today (July 11th 2016) at the Toronto Archery Range. I spent half an hour before the filming practicing shooting two arrows at once, then handed my cellphone to a friend and we recorded the trick shot in one attempt. That first attempt was so good we didn't bother doing it over again.

The bow used was a three piece Samick Red Stag, which I have named "Ulmaster", draw weight 35 lbs. The arrows were Easton Power Flight 400s. The distance I was shooting at was approx. 20.5 yards (61.5 feet or 18.5 meters).

To donate to the Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation you can visit either: http://takeyourshot.org or http://www.thepmcf.ca/Ways-to-Give/Donate-Now.

ArcheryToronto.ca is also looking for people to submit links to YouTube videos of archery trick shots for the campaign so that people can get inspired and take part / donate.

Want to see more archery trick shots? Leave a comment below and a suggestion for another archery trick shot and I will see if it can be done.

Toronto Archery Photos a Hit

One Very Popular Photo
I recently received an email from Google notifying me that some photos of mine are extremely popular.

Years ago I submitted 5 photos to Google Maps in an effort to help boost the popularity of the Toronto Archery Range located at E. T. Seton Park.

Those photos have since apparently gone a bit viral, with over 300,000 views. Woot? Sure, what the heck. Woot!

During that time I have also seen attendance at the Toronto Archery Range skyrocket. Much of that is largely due to the Hunger Games and other film / TV franchises.

But the good people of Toronto wouldn't necessarily know we even have a public archery range. That is the real trick. The range is one of Toronto's best kept secrets, as the vast majority of people don't even know that the place exists.

When I first started going to that archery range in 2009 it was usually dead quiet there and you would be the only person there most of the time. On a busy day there would be maybe 3 people there, and they were the "regulars" and you would get to know them all by name.

During the height of the Hunger Games/etc visitors to the archery range exploded, with crowds of 15 to 30 people there regularly, or even 60+ on the really busy Saturday mornings.

So clearly the word that the place existed was getting out. Huzzah!

Last year it was so busy I found myself wistful for the quiet days back in 2011 and prior to that, when archery was comparatively less popular.

Recently visitors to the range has dropped off in 2016. A sign perhaps that the archery fad has slowed down a bit and only the true archery fanatics are sticking around.

However as the archery fad of the 1940s to early 1970s shows, these things come in stages. The 1940s-1970s fad lasted 4 decades, spawned largely due to all the Robin Hood movies in the 1940s. (There was literally dozens of them, beginning with the 1938 film "The Adventures of Robin Hood" starring Errol Flynn and showing the archery skills of Howard Hill.) The fad ended a few years after 1973, the year Disney made their animated version of Robin Hood. Deliverance in 1972 was also part of the same fad.

A brief archery fad in the 1980s sparked up after the making of the 2nd and 3rd Rambo movies. Another one followed with Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves in 1991. A small one occurred after the first Lord of the Rings film in 2001.

But those fads were all relatively small. Especially compared to the decades long fad of the 1940s-1970s era.

In this era of smartphones, the internet, and cable television it is very difficult for people to get motivated to go outside - thus it is also more difficult for large numbers of people to get involved in an outdoor sport. We will likely never see an archery fad as big as the one which occurred between 1938 and 1975.

Ramsay's Archery Skills on Game of Thrones / National Post Article

I was recently asked a series of archery questions by a reporter from the National Post, a Canadian newspaper. The questions pertained to a recent episode of the popular television show "Game of Thrones", episode 9 of season 6 during which the character Ramsay Bolton (formerly Ramsay Snow) displayed his impressive archery skills.

SPOILER ALERT - If you have not seen the recent episodes of Game of Thrones you may want to watch the episode in question before reading any further.

Some of the questions I was asked included:
  • How far would Ramsay, the shooter, have to be to successfully target the victim? How far would be too far?
  • And how long would this shot typically take? How fast do you believe the arrow is moving? 
  • What style of arrow and method of shooting is Ramsay using, and do you think these are good choices considering what he is about to do?
  • Would the arrow continue moving in a straight path at this distance? Would his victim have been able to “zig-zag” and avoid it, in other words?
Ramsay Bolton with Penobscot Flatbow

Ah yes, the scene with the Penobscot bow. I was very happy when I saw that. The Penobscot are a Aboriginal American tribe who used "double limbed flatbows" which have extra cables attached to extra limbs on the bottom and top of the bow, which allows the archer to adjust their tiller and weight by shortening/lengthening the cables by twisting the cables to tighten or loosen the cables. The adjustability and added power makes the arrows go further with a longer arc, which ultimately leads to more accuracy at longer distances.

Normally Ramsay in the TV show is seen with a Hungarian style horsebow, a type of shortbow which is not known for its long range accuracy, but by switching to a Penobscot bow he gets added range and accuracy. As a fan of the Penobscot bow, it was very nice seeing it being used in the show.

Sample of a Penobscot Bow

Penobscot Woman with Penobscot Bow
Note - Torontonians interested in buying a Penobscot bow should contact Gary at Basically Bows at 940 Queen Street East. Address and hours are listed on http://www.archerytoronto.ca/Archery-Equipment-in-Toronto.html

How far would Ramsay, the shooter, have to be to successfully target the victim? How far would be too far?


Depending on the archer and the power (measured in poundage) of the bow, he could be pretty far away. Howard Hill once shot a bald eagle at 150 yards away, which is twice the distance modern Olympic archers shoot at. Rickon is a lot bigger than a bald eagle however, but I would estimate he was about 100-120 yards away when the fatal arrow hit him.

Ramsay showing off, deliberately missing.
Judging by Ramsay's previous skill shown in the TV show, this is not impossible. I would say Ramsay is likely "reasonable accurate" out to a distance of 120 yards when shooting at a man sized target. Ramsay's skill is quite good and he even shows off a bit by looking away during one shot and deliberately missing. Judging by the camera angles and the size of people in the distance I think the two opposing forces were about 200 to 250 yards apart.

[It is difficult to estimate the precise distances as camera angles will sometimes skew distances. I am basing my estimates on previous experience of seeing the sizes of people at known distances of 100 yards, 200 yards and 300 yards.]

And how long would this shot typically take? How fast do you believe the arrow is moving?


To nock, draw and aim - only a few seconds. You would not want to be holding it for a long time when aiming at a moving target, as the character Ramsay likely would have tuned to the Penobscot to his ideal poundage for the utmost accuracy and speed. The arrow was likely traveling between 200 to 250 feet per second (fps) on release.

Regarding the precise arrow speed I am basing that on the estimate that Ramsay might have tuned the Penobscot bow to approx. 80 lbs, the higher the poundage the more power and speed released initially. Based on Ramsay's physical size, his youth and the fact he has clearly been shooting a very long time, 80 lbs seems like a reasonable amount.

Historically any bow used for war would be a much higher poundage than any bow used for hunting or recreation.

To put this in context 80 lbs is the bare minimum for an English warbow, which is more powerful than the standard English longbow. Longbows for adults are *usually* in the range of 20 to 80 lbs. English Warbows are usually in the range of 80 to 200 lbs. For example Howard Hill once used a 173 lb now while hunting a bull elephant in Africa, which admittedly was overkill in terms of power.

A typical hunting bow in Ontario is between 40 to 70 lbs, stipulated because the minimum legal poundage for bowhunting deer is 39.7 lbs and for moose/elk/black bear the minimum is 48.5 lbs.
A bow that is only 20 - 30 lbs of draw weight in contrast would have a speed of approx. 100 to 125 fps. Only a fraction of what a Penobscot bow is capable of.

What style of arrow and method of shooting is Ramsay using, and do you think these are good choices considering what he is about to do?


Ramsay appears to be using a wooden arrow with long turkey feather fletching (for added accuracy on non-windy days, less accuracy on windy days). The arrowhead appears to be a moderately heavy traditional broadhead. He would not want an arrowhead that is too heavy as that would reduce his long distance accuracy, so he has chosen one that is relatively narrow and saves on weight.

Ramsay Bolton with Hungarian-style Bow
Ramsay is using a style of archery similar to the Howard Hill style of shooting (this is how famous Howard Hill is, he has an archery style named after him). Howard Hill would also lean forward and into the shot slightly, aligning his body with the angle of the bow. The style is popular with longbow and flatbow archers, and bears similarities to Mongolian, Persian, Turkish and Hungarian archery styles. The style involves deliberately canting (changing the angle) of the top limb of the bow to the side so you get a cleaner view of the target and it compensates for the sideways motion of the arrow - without the cant the arrow would tend to go further to the side, but the cant allows the archer to be able to compensate for the difference and makes it easier to aim at their target.

As longbow archery styles go, there are three common styles you may have seen previously: English Longbow Style (no cant, shooting long distance in volleys because of reduced accuracy), Japanese Kyudo (no cant, but with significant stylistic differences in form and release), and the Howard Hill style of shooting. Of these three styles, the Howard Hill style makes the most sense, plus since he has already been seen shooting Hungarian style horsebows, it is not so different from the style of shooting he does regularly.

So yes, a moderately weighted arrowhead with a long fletched arrow, using a Howard Hill style cant makes total sense to get the most accuracy.

Hungarian Bow

Would the arrow continue moving in a straight path at this distance? Would his victim have been able to “zig-zag” and avoid it, in other words?

The arrow would be traveling in a straight arc, so yes, it would be straight and arcing downwards. In theory, yes, Rickon would have been able to zig zag at that distance and dramatically reduce the chances of Ramsay hitting him, but Rickon clearly was not thinking that. He also did not think to run behind the burning crosses and let the heat rising from the crosses change the view of the target so that it was blurry and more difficult to aim at. So if he had thought to zig zag behind the crosses, his chances of survival would have shot way up.

I should note that in the TV show Stark children who have their wolf killed somehow have a tendency to die. Sansa is the only character who has had her wolf die and has not yet died. She has so far bucked the trend, which makes me wonder if she is doomed. Rickon was clearly doomed the moment he got captured and his wolf was killed. Arya is fortunate that her wolf is still wandering the Riverlands.



Additional Notes

Check out Ygritte's bow that she had. It is a recurved replica of the Meare Heath bow, which is a famous example of ancient bow designs.

Ygritte with her Meare Heath replica

Diagram of the Meare heath bow

Ramsay was taking his sweet time there between shots. He was in no rush. Had he wanted to he could have shot perhaps 10 times easily in the space of 1 minute, but instead he was patient and took his time about it.

Which I think is part of his character. He takes his time and enjoys his sadistic pleasures. In contrast when he realizes he is in danger he manages to get three shots off at Jon before he starts getting punched in the face. That scene was shorter but was a better example of fast shooting.


Got archery questions?

Send your questions to cardiotrek@gmail.com. More than happy to help answer questions.

Happy shooting!

Five Tips for Winning an Archery Competition

Yesterday (Saturday, June 25th) I took part in an archery competition. The events in question included three categories of archery: Olympic, Compound and Barebow. Unfortunately they were short on competitors for the Compound and Olympic categories, and while I don't normally compete in such things, I agreed to take part so that they would have more competitors.

Drawing upon the experience, I have constructed a list of five tips for people looking to take part in archery competitions.

Tip #1. Understand the system being used for the particular competition you are in.

For example, the competition yesterday involved 3 ranking rounds, 3 shots per round. The results from those 9 shots (3 rounds x 3 shots per round) then determined your rank for the duels.

The rankings then determined the order of the duels, the highest ranking people facing off initially against the lowest ranking people. The winners of those duels progress to the next level, the losers duel it out to stay in the competition, if they lose round two then they are eliminated. As the duels continue, they eventually reach 4 semi-finalists, who are narrowed down to two people - the finalists.

Understanding how the competition system works will give you a better idea of how you are expected to win the competition. A dueling system like above could knock people out of the competition just by having 1 or 2 bad rounds.

In my case, there was only 3 people competing in the compound competition. So I was ranked against Randy, and then after I won that duel I faced Luis. Below are the scores during the rounds:

Charles Vs Randy

Round 1
Charles 10x 9 8 = 27 with one bullseye
Randy 5 3 3 = 11


Round 2
Charles 7 7 1 = 15
Randy 9 8 4 = 21


Round 3
8 6 5 = 19
7 6 5 = 18


Total Charles 61 vs Randy 50

Charles Vs Luis

Round 1
8 7 5 = 20
8 8 8 = 24

Round 2
4 3 2 = 9
10 9 8 = 27

Round 3
9 7 7 = 23
9 8 5 = 22

Total Charles 52 vs Luis 73

Round 3 Vs Luis. Green Fletch = My Arrows, Orange Fletch = Luis Arrows.

Tip #2. Keep track of everything you did during the rounds of the competition.

This isn't just useful for the current competition, but will help you to analyze what you did well and what you did wrong, that way you can use that information for future competitions as well.

So for example I know Round 1 vs Randy I took my time and did very well. Round 2, I rushed the shots when I should have took more time. Round 3, I narrowly beat Randy by 1 point by forcing myself to be more patient.

Versus Luis, I did okay during the first round, but during round 2 I encountered two problems. The first problem was mental, I had calculated that I needed to improve my score by at least 4 points just to catch up to Luis. This caused me to stress more about my shot and tense up. The second problem was wind, which caused me to stress more. After the first shot did so poorly I felt like I was already defeated and it didn't matter any more. By the second shot, it was clear my score was going to be dismal, thus by the third shot I had basically given up. Round 3 I recouped some of losses and even beat Luis by 1 point, but by then it was too late.

Analyzing this after the fact, you realize that what I really did wrong during the first duel was that I rushed the 2nd round when I should have been more patient, I could have got a score in the 20s had I not rushed it. And the second duel was mostly mental, and a dose of patience could have helped versus the second round when the wind was messing with my head.

Tip #3. Practice, Warmup and Tune before a Competition

I joined that competition last minute and had only practiced shooting compound once during the previous two weeks. I had hoped to arrive at the competition an hour early to do some "last minute practicing" but ended up arriving about 30 minutes before the event instead.

Had I known I was going to be taking part in the competition further in advance, I should have been practicing compound 3 times per week, tuning the bow for more accuracy, and I should have made more of an effort to arrive earlier and give myself ample time to "warm up" before the event.

In comparison Luis, the winner, regularly shoots compound and was amply prepared. I divide my practice time between traditional recurve, longbow, Olympic recurve and compound.

Thus anyone wishing to do better during a competition should be practicing the archery style in question more regularly so that they will well-practiced and well-tuned before the event. Showing up early to warmup is also handy.

Tip #4. Pace what you eat and drink.

Having a BBQ on a hot day and cold drinks may sound like a great idea for a party, but for an archery competition you would be better off eating healthier and trying to pace your consumption of both food and liquids. Obviously you want to avoid dehydration on a hot day, but you should also try to avoid over-hydration, eating too much and feeling bloated.

Since the competition yesterday was just for fun, it didn't really matter what I ate or drank during the event, but during any serious event people should try to be more cautious about their eating habits.

Tip #5. Mentally prepare yourself to prevent competition anxiety.

During the 30 minutes that I warmed up before the event I focused mostly on shooting a longer distance, so that when I was shooting at the distance at the shorter competition distance it would feel comparatively easy. I feel this did actually help.

There are other ways to mentally prepare yourself, including regular practice so you feel more confident in your skills.

Other Ways to Mentally Prepare Yourself:
  1. Choose and maintain a positive attitude - basic skill.
  2. Maintain a high level of self-motivation - basic skill.
  3. Set high, realistic goals - basic skill.
  4. Deal effectively with people using social skills - basic skill.
  5. Use positive self-talk - intermediate skill.
  6. Use positive mental imagery - intermediate skill.
  7. Manage anxiety effectively - advanced skill.
  8. Manage their emotions effectively - advanced skill.
  9. Maintain concentration - advanced skill.
Mental Skills Pyramid for Competitive Athletes

Some of the above mental skills come with taking part in competitions regularly, as experience will allow an athlete to draw upon past experiences with competition anxiety and they will be able to better cope with that anxiety.

You will also note that the above skills are useful for other kinds of competitions. Or public speaking.

Final Notes

I also won an arrow case as a door prize just for showing up, which was actually the primary reason I took part in the competition. I just wanted the arrow case right from the beginning. I had zero use for a trophy to collect dust.

Happy Competing!

A Journey with Pebbles in your Shoes

"A journey of a thousand miles will inevitably include having pebbles in your shoes. Bend over, take off your shoe, shake out the pebbles and put your shoe back on. Keep walking, you will get there."


18 Tips for Long Distance Walking / Walking in a Walk-a-thon

Every few months Toronto has various organizations that organize walk-a-thon style events, usually raising money or awareness for cancer or various other ailments. Some of these activities include walking extremely long distances over 1 day, 2 day or even 3 day periods. However to do those kinds of extreme walking distances not everyone is up to snuff and perhaps should be warned that they should be "in good shape" before the Big Walk and should be trying to be "a bit more energetic and healthy" in the days leading up to the big event. Thus here are 18 tips for taking part in such a long journey. Many of the tips below are also handy for long distance hiking.

I have split these tips into several categories, what to do "Before the Big Walk", what to do the "Day of the Big Walk", and "After the Big Walk".

Before the Big Walk

1. Keep a balanced diet. At least one item out of every meal should be vegetables.

2. Start going for walks every day to get yourself in shape (and double check the condition of your shoes, see #11 below).

3. Start eating smaller more frequent meals. Four to five are better for you than three big meals as it is easier for your body to digest smaller amounts.

4. Aim to eat fresh produce, especially fresh veggies - the more colourful the better, as unusual colours have a greater variety of nutrients.

5. Eat a variety of meat products. Beef, chicken, pork, fish, liver, oysters and mussels. This way you are getting a wider variety of nutrients.

6. Hydrate every day. A long journey is harder on the liver and your sweat glands, so it is important for both that you are well hydrated on the days before the Big Walk.

7. Make sure you have cushioned, breathable socks. Aim for comfort.

8. Moisturize your feet regularly. Check for any recent injuries and make sure they have healed fully.

9. Do NOT have a pedicure before the Big Walk. You are not there to show off your feet.

10. Clip your toenails short. Lots of long distance walkers lose toenails if they are too long due to the constant rubbing of the inside of their shoes on their toes.

11. Make sure you have TWO sets of comfortable walking / hiking shoes. If you know the terrain is going to be more rugged, be practical and get hiking boots. Having a second set is smart in case the first set has any problems.

Mr T during an United Way Walk-a-thon in downtown Toronto
Day of the Big Walk

12. Take time once in awhile to stretch your legs a bit so you can avoid cramping.

13. Hydrate at least every 10 minutes. If going up rugged terrain, hydrate every 5 minutes.

14. Bring food and eat some of it while you walk. Don't worry about the calories, bring something that packs lots of energy in it.

15. Pace yourself. You don't have to be the fastest person in a walk-a-thon. It is not a race. Travel at a reasonable pace and take your time if need be.

After the Big Walk

16. Finish your walk with a cool-down. Stretches. Brief jogging in one spot. Talk to other people while hydrating / stretching.

17. When you are finished walking, drink a bottle of juice, chocolate milk, something with lots of vitamins in it. Korean vitamin drinks with ginseng in them for example are awesome. Even V8 juice is good if you like that stuff (I cannot stand V8). My personal preference is chocolate milk.

18. Daydreaming about a hot shower afterwards? Make it a cold shower or a cold swim instead. Having a cold shower reduces any swelling that may have occurred during your walk. Myself a cold relaxing swim is best, followed by a BBQ in the backyard.

Don't forget to eat afterwards!!! Preferably something with lots of nutrients and vitamins in it.



Happy Walking! :)

Archery, huh, yeah, what is it good for?

If you said "Absolutely nothing." you would be repeating the song lyrics, but sadly mistaken.

The mental benefits of archery are listed as follows:
  • Increased memory function.
  • Better sensory awareness.
  • Higher observational skills.
  • Increased logic skills.
  • Increased problem solving skills.
  • Increased concentration skills.
  • Increased pattern recognition skills.
  • Increased mathematical skills and numerical aptitude.
  • Spatial awareness skills.
  • Better understanding of yourself (intrapersonal skills).
  • More complex thinking strategies (eg. being able to think about multiple things simultaneously).
  • Decreased chances of developing Alzheimer's Disease and similar diseases.
  • Higher order reasoning skills.
= Archery effectively raises your IQ over the long term. With a side benefit of reducing the symptoms of senility and similar mental problems.

The physical benefits of archery are listed as follows:
  • Increased fat loss.
  • Increased strength / muscle mass.
  • Increased endurance.
  • Improved cardiovascular system.
  • Increased hand-eye coordination.
  • Increased balance.
  • Improved overall health (including your immune system).
= Archery, like many forms of exercise, has a long list of health benefits from regular exercise. Everything from a stronger heart and an improved immune system.

And lastly, the social benefits of archery - since archery tends to be a rather social activity - are listed as follows:
  • Increased linguistic and verbal skills.
  • Increased understanding of body language and non-verbal communication.
  • Interpersonal skills.
  • Increased empathy. 
  • Better emotional processing.
= Archery will cause you to make more friends. That is really what it comes down to. Any person who is remotely social will end up making new friends when hanging out at the archery range. You would have to be completely anti-social and deliberately avoiding meeting new people to not be accidentally making new friends doing this sport. It is an extremely social sport and complete strangers will often build friendships in the span of a few hours.

CONCLUSIONS

Archery will make you Smarter, Stronger and more Social. What it is good for? Lots.

Naysayers of this might also point out that bowhunting, bowfishing, competing in archery competitions are also potentially useful, but frankly those are things that limited in their application. You would have to go out of your way to deliberately hunt, fish, or compete. In contrast, the mental, physical and social benefits will effect your life on a regular (if not constant) basis, especially if you become a regular at your local archery range.

Oh and one last benefit. Archery is FUN! What other reason do you need???

The photo below was taken when myself and two friends all brought our antique Browning bows to the archery range and we lined them up to compare them. :)


Saddened to hear Muhammad Ali is dead, boxing legend, age 74


I don't normally talk about obituaries on here, but nevertheless I was saddened to hear that boxing legend Muhammad Ali has died. He was 74. The cause of death was septic shock. He had been suffering from Parkinson's disease for over 30 years.

Muhammad Ali, sometimes referred to by his birth name of Cassius Marcellus Clay Jr., was three time world heavyweight boxing champion. His moral behaviour represented many of the things I admire about the sport of boxing - in the context that it is a gentleman's sport because it follows rules and a code of honour.

There is a stereotype that heavyweight boxers are huge lumbering brutes. Muhammad Ali was none of these things. He combined speed, agility and power into a fighting style rarely seen in large boxers. He was light on his feet and lightning fast with his jabs. Other boxers were often worn down by exhaustion over time by Ali's endurance. He won 56 fights over a 21 year professional career and only lost 5.

He had a sometimes brash personality, but it was combined with magnetism and personal convictions that made him stand up for his beliefs. When asked to go fight in Vietnam, Ali responded.

"Why should they ask me to put on a uniform and go 10,000 miles from home and drop bombs and bullets on Brown people in Vietnam while so-called Negro people in Louisville are treated like dogs and denied simple human rights? No, I’m not going 10,000 miles from home to help murder and burn another poor nation simply to continue the domination of white slave masters of the darker people the world over. This is the day when such evils must come to an end. I have been warned that to take such a stand would cost me millions of dollars. But I have said it once and I will say it again. The real enemy of my people is here. I will not disgrace my religion, my people or myself by becoming a tool to enslave those who are fighting for their own justice, freedom and equality. If I thought the war was going to bring freedom and equality to 22 million of my people they wouldn’t have to draft me, I’d join tomorrow. I have nothing to lose by standing up for my beliefs. So I’ll go to jail, so what? We’ve been in jail for 400 years." - Muhammad Ali.
Born January 17th, 1942. Died June 3rd, 2016.

Muhammad Ali's boxing career started young (age 12), and by the age of 18 he won the gold medal at the 1960 Olympics in Rome, Italy.

Returning to the USA after his win he became frustrated with prejudice and discrimination and according to rumour threw his gold medal into a river. He would eventually sign a 6 year contract in Lousville, where he would also be introduced to the "Black Muslim Movement" in the USA and be given the name "Muhammad Ali" by the leader of the movement, Elijah Muhammad.

By 1963 he had won 15 professional fights and was still only 21. He appeared on the cover of Time Magazine and set to fight heavy hitting slugger Sonny Liston, who he mocked as a "big ugly bear" and issued his now famous quote: "Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee, rumble, young man, rumble."

The heavyweight champion, Liston was expected to win that fight easily, the odds were placed as 7 to 1. But in the opening rounds of the fight it became pretty clear who had the upper hand. At 210 lbs and 6'3" tall, Muhammad Ali would dance away from Liston's clumsy punches and pepper him with jabs. By the end of the 7th round, Liston gave up. He had torn muscles swinging uselessly at Muhammad Ali. He was tired and broken.

Sonny Liston swinging uselessly at Muhammad Ali.
 In 1965 Liston would be given a rematch, but Muhammad Ali took him out in the first round with what became known as the "Phantom Punch". Many speculate that Liston took a dive and bet against himself.



After refusing to fight in Vietnam, Ali was stripped of his title, but fought attempts to send him to prison. He would not be allowed to fight again until he was 28 years old, losing 3.5 years of his athletic prime. His draft avoidance case went all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court and during that time he worked on a film, appeared in a Broadway musical, and endorsed a burger chain called Champburger.

When finally allowed to fight again it was Oct. 26, 1970, a minor fight before he would be allowed to go up against the new champion Joe Frazier on March 8th 1971. Frazier would win the 15 round match on points, but the fight was seriously damaging to both boxers and was a close decision.

Meanwhile Muhammad Ali was winning in the courts. The United States Supreme Court looked favourably on Ali and on June 28th, 1971, it unanimously reversed a lower court decision and granted Ali his conscientious-objector status.

After losing to Frazier on points, people began thinking Muhammad Ali was done. That he should perhaps retire. But that never happened. Over the next few years he would fight in 14 matches and win 13 of them, eventually getting a rematch with Frazier and winning, and also beating George Foreman who had become the new heavyweight champion.


The Foreman fight was unusual. It took place in Zaire, on October 30th 1974 and was billed as "The Rumble in the Jungle". Near the beginning of the fight Foreman hammered Ali with blows to the chest and shoulders that hit like sledgehammers, but as the fight wore on Foreman wavered and got tired. Ali just seemed to get faster and faster and by the 8th round Ali knocked out Foreman with a blurry series of lightning punches. He took back the heavyweight title.

Ali would fight Frazier again in 1975, in a match called the "Thrilla in Manila". Unlike their 2nd match, this one lasted 14 rounds, but Ali still won by knock out.

In 1978 Ali lost a fight to Leon Spinks but would regain his title during a rematch.

Ali’s longtime ring doctor, Ferdie Pacheco, urged him to quit, noting the slowing of his reflexes and the slurring of his speech as symptoms of brain damage. Ali refused. In 1980, he lost to Larry Holmes. A year later, his last fight, Ali lost to Trevor Berbick in the Bahamas.

It was time to hang up the gloves.

Ali would later be diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. Some would claim it was caused by exposure to chemicals at his training camp, but as the years went by and more boxers / football players / etc became victims of mental illnesses, it became pretty clear that the symptoms were due to head trauma.

Even after his retirement Muhammad Ali would continue to speak out on issues that concerned him. Not all of his comments were welcomed or admired, but he would speak his mind regardless. As the years went by he began to lose his ability to speak and had a loss in mobility.

More Quotes from Muhammad Ali:

"I ain’t got nothing against them Vietcong."

"I know where I'm going and I know the truth, and I don't have to be what you want me to be. I'm free to be what I want."

"I hated every minute of training, but I said, 'Don't quit. Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion.' "

"I done wrestled with an alligator, I done tussled with a whale; handcuffed lightning, thrown thunder in jail; only last week, I murdered a rock, injured a stone, hospitalised a brick; I'm so mean I make medicine sick."

"He who is not courageous enough to take risks will accomplish nothing in life."

"If you even dream of beating me you'd better wake up and apologize."

"I've made my share of mistakes along the way, but if I have changed even one life for the better, I haven't lived in vain."

"The word 'Islam' means 'peace.' The word 'Muslim' means 'one who surrenders to God.' But the press makes us seem like haters."

"If they can make penicillin out of mouldy bread, they can sure make something out of you."

"Only a man who knows what it is like to be defeated can reach down to the bottom of his soul and come up with the extra ounce of power it takes to win when the match is even."

"I am an ordinary man who worked hard to develop the talent I was given. I believed in myself, and I believe in the goodness of others."

"It's the repetition of affirmations that leads to belief. And once that belief becomes a deep conviction, things begin to happen."

"The man who has no imagination has no wings."

"My trainer don't tell me nothing between rounds. I don't allow him to. I fight the fight. All I want to know is did I win the round. It's too late for advice."

"Age is whatever you think it is. You are as old as you think you are."

"Cassius Clay is a name that white people gave to my slave master. Now that I am free, that I don't belong anymore to anyone, that I'm not a slave anymore, I gave back their white name, and I chose a beautiful African one."

"It isn't the mountains ahead to climb that wear you out; it's the pebble in your shoe."

"I don't have to be what you want me to be."

Muhammad Ali will never be forgotten.

Archery Testimonials x 4

#1.

"Thanks again for the archery lessons! You are the best. We tried archery tag several times but didn't really learn how to shoot properly until we met you.

To anyone reading this, Charles is an amazing archery instructor who is very patient, very good at communicating ideas, and he helped us to get rid of a lot of our bad habits. You could not ask for a better instructor. He makes the lessons fun and we learned so much every lesson.

- Amber and Muhammad"

#2.

"Charles provides quality archery instruction and service. He has good attention to detail, is nice, friendly, very knowledgeable, and I am very happy with my archery skills. They are all due to his tips which covered everything from how to stand, how to pull, WHEN to pull, how to stand up straight, how to aim, how to release and much more. I had a problem with my drawing arm that was causing me to tremble, but Charles taught me how to fix it by pulling the bow correctly after pre-aiming. I would not have thought of that. He also taught me how to use consistent power so each arrow has the same amount of power and why that is important for accuracy. I am coming back for more lessons next year.

Thank you for the archery lessons!

- Zhang Min"


#3.

"Charles is a great instructor. I took five lessons with him and each lesson is different and tailored to fix whatever problems I am having. By lesson 5 I was shooting long distances and even scored a few bullseyes. The part I enjoyed most was the drills in which he would challenge me to try new things, like moving a target ball around so I have to learn how to adjust my aim, adjusting my aim for windy conditions and shooting at moving targets. I never thought I would be able to shoot at moving targets or long distances so accurately, but now I can.

I surpassed my expectations and now have my own equipment. I am extremely happy with the lessons I received.

- Jennifer D."

#4.


"To the reader:

Before signing up for archery lessons I did my research. I did this because I want to get into traditional bowhunting and I wanted someone who understood what I was looking for. One of the things that impressed me right away is that Charles practices archery in the winter. From what I can tell he is the only instructor in Toronto who does that. He also does bowfishing, which is not the same as bowhunting, but impressed me nevertheless. I was also impressed by the amazing amount of archery tips he had on his website, all for free - which got me thinking, if that is all the tips he gives away for free, then what is he teaching? So I decided it would be worthwhile to sign up for 1 lesson. I figured 1 lesson wouldn't hurt.

Wow. I learned so much in the first lesson it still boggles my mind. He started with a safety lecture, then he did an eye test to see which is my dominate eye, then he showed me how to put together a 3-piece recurve bow (at the time I didn't even know what a recurve bow was and I kept calling it a longbow by accident). Then he did a lecture on how to aim and then a lecture on proper archery form, which covered everything from what I should be doing with my toes, my fingers and even my neck.

Then we started shooting. Charles was very careful to adjust my form each time I was shooting so I could get better shots and foster what he calls good habits. Sometimes he allowed me to make mistakes so I could see what a difference bad habits makes. By the end of the lesson I was shooting clusters at a target 62 feet away.

Needless to say I immediately asked to sign up for more lessons. The following lessons taught me how arrow spine worked and how that effects the quality of the shot, how arrowheads come in different sizes and shapes and what they are used for, how to wax a bow string, how to properly string a recurve bow, how to string a real longbow, and he gradually increased the strength of the bows I was shooting so that I was becoming stronger. He also taught me several different aiming methods, which I found fascinating.

During lesson 6 we were shooting at a paper target of a deer 165 feet away, which I found to be a lot of fun. Charles had learned that I was also interested in bowhunting and surprised me during the final lesson with the deer target. He gave me an interesting tip:

If you want to hunt then you should routinely practice at double the distance you intend to hunt at. So for example if you want to hunt at 90 feet or less, then your should regularly practice at 180 feet. This way you feel confident in your accuracy at a time when you more likely to be pumped full of adrenaline and might start second guessing your accuracy.

That was an important tip to me. But it was just one of many I learned from his lessons. What you see on his website is just the 'tips' of the iceberg. Thanks again!

- Chris W."

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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