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Archery Lessons in the Rain in Toronto

It has been raining so much in the last two months (April and May) that I am curious how many people actually want archery lessons on rainy days.

Normally if it rains I reschedule lessons for several reasons:
  1. Water damages equipment.
  2. Water also causes mildew to grow on equipment.
  3. People are susceptible to getting sick if they get cold.
  4. People don't want to be standing in a field holding a potential lightning rod.
  5. People often feel miserable when shooting in the rain, which effects accuracy.
  6. A downpour will effect the accuracy of individual shots.
  7. The archer's ability to aim can be reduced by rain interfering with their visual sight.
However in theory if I used equipment that is immune to water damage I could teach on rainy days to people who are willing and up to the challenge. (I already have arrows suitable for this, although I might have to invest in different bows for teaching with than the ones I normally teach with.)

I am curious if there are people out there who would actually want archery lessons in the rain - perhaps there are people out there who really like a challenge.

If this sounds like you, send me an email and we shall explore this option.


Back when Jogging was Weird

Back in the 1950s and earlier jogging was something only soldiers, athletes and weirdos did. Although to be fair, the whole idea of "exercising for the sake of exercising" (or fitness / health reasons) was considered weird back then too.

And to shine a light on this check out the video below I watched yesterday which chronicles the rise of jogging as an exercise activity. It shows how jogging was once considered an oddity.



And to be fair, the whole modern idea of exercising is really a 20th century invention. Prior to the last 117 years, people rarely exercised for the sake of exercising. Sure, people competed in athletic competitions, but the idea of training, practice and maintaining a constant level of exercise - even in the winter! - was considered to be a weird idea and unnecessary.

That was before the advent of professional sports and sportsmen earning an annual salary for being a professional athlete.

Before bodybuilding became a competitive sport.

Back when bicycles were called Penny Farthings, had no brakes and the only way to stop was to crash it. (And usually had mustaches they combed with beeswax.)

It would take decades for many sports to reach a pinnacle in which a person could become a professional in their chosen activity and make a decent living doing it.

Even now many Olympic athletes still have to beg money from their governments and work full time / part time jobs in order to support their athletic endeavours.

Jogging is just one of many activities that were once considered strange and unusual.

Take archery for example.

While it is generally accepted that a person must practice regularly to be good at archery, it was usually a pastime in recent centuries thanks to firearms and only a rare few people did bowhunting. During the last 100 years archery and bowhunting has seen a resurgence in popularity and people can now be:
  • Olympic Archers
  • Professional Bowhunters
  • Archery Instructors
So it is now possible to make a living doing archery in a variety of ways. Even former Olympic athletes can presumably become coaches when they retire from competing.

Making a living by jogging, well that is the stuff of:
  • Professional Marathon Runners
  • Olympic Joggers (5 KM, 10 KM, etc)
  • Personal Trainers who teach people how to jog, train for marathons, etc.
So a lot has changed. Jogging is just a prime example of how things have changed.

And much more is still waiting to be changed. I am still waiting to see a professional women's hockey league in Canada to get televised coverage on the CBC.

Women sports (and televising them) has a huge potential to grow in the 21st century. Not just in North America where professional athletes are more common, but globally.

Outfitting your Archery Man Cave

Disclaimer - There is no reason why women cannot have their own "Archery Cave" or whatever people want to call it. I am simply using the vernacular "Man Cave" in this situation as it represents the often male urge to create dingy dark cave in which a man can indulge in their interests.
man cave 
nounhumorous 
noun: man cave; plural noun: man caves
  1. a room or other part of a home regarded as a refuge for the man or men of a household.
    Example - "a man cave equipped with a pool table and pinball machine"

Right - Bo Jackson in his Archery Man Cave.

Typically many a man cave is dark (hence why they are jokingly called caves) and not very clean - as men are sometimes prone to not cleaning up after themselves.

Bo Jackson on the right clearly believes in keeping his Archery Man Cave organized, with lots of hooks to store everything on.

So what should an Archery Man Cave have in it?

#1. A target to shoot at and space to shoot. Any good Archery Man Cave should at least have a small shooting area within it so you can take a few shots if you desire to test out a new product, creation or just shooting for fun.

Speaking for myself, my "Archery Man Cave" is in my garage, but as you can see in the photo on the right a basement with a fair bit of length can also be used.

#2. Lots of hooks for storing for archery items on, or a toolbox to store them all in.

Because if you are like me, you tend to collect arrowheads, nocks, fletching, fletching glue, fletching tape and all manner of archery related items.

#3. A rack or container for storing arrows in.

eg. I think a Bowman Dairy Milk Can would be great for storing arrows in. The trick is finding one, because those old milk cans are tricky to find and collector's items now.

#4. A magazine rack or shelf for archery magazines.

There is a fair number of archery publications available out there, including:
  • Archery Focus Magazine
  • Bowhunter Magazine
  • Petersen's Bowhunting Magazine
  • TradArchers' World Magazine
  • Traditional Bowhunter Magazine
  • Ontario Out of Doors Magazine
The last one I listed, OOD, is a local magazine here in Ontario which is also about fishing, hunting and other outdoor activities - not just bowhunting. I do not subscribe to it myself, but I do keep an eye out for issues with articles about archery because they do sometimes have articles worth reading. Plus I enjoy fishing, but that is a whole different topic.


#5. A bookshelf for archery books.

Plus related books on bowmaking, arrowmaking, and general woodworking books. You might even store DVDs on that shelf about various topics like bowmaking, bowfishing, bowhunting skills, or even your favourite archery movies like Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, etc.

#6. A collection of woodworking tools commonly used for bowmaking.
  • Rasps
  • Files
  • Draw Knives
  • Sand Paper
  • Tillering Stick
  • Work Bench
  • Vise
  • Etc
You might even have items like a Fletching Jig or an Arrow Dowel Maker (I started building an arrow dowel maker two years ago and it is on my To Do List to finish making it...) and similar useful tools.

Photo Courtesy of ArtemisArchery.ca
Take Gary for example, the owner of Basically Bows Archery in Toronto. His archery shop, commonly just known as "Gary's", is essentially both his Archery Man Cave and his archery shop. He has all his tools there for doing woodworking, he has decorated the place, and has lots of archery equipment all over the place, but roughly one third of his shop is dedicated just to his tools and woodworking area.

#7. Archery Posters, Paintings and Decorations.

No Archery Man Cave is complete until you've added some decorative touches.

Paintings, posters, photographs, sculptures, beadwork, drawings, decorative bows, antlers or taxidermy - if it is artwork or decorative, it has a home in your Archery Man Cave.

It doesn't even have to be archery themed artwork per se. It is your "Man Cave", you make the rules for what you want to have in it in terms of decor.

#8. A Bow Rack.

Clearly this is something any bow collector will need. Now admittedly some people only have 1, 2 or 3 bows, but for the collectors like myself (I currently have 30 bows) having a bow rack is a necessity.

Below is the bow rack I built in 2015 and is currently in my living room.


 But there are many different ways to design a bow rack. You should not feel limited by one design. Here are a few more sample designs to look at.





 #9. Something to sit on.

I always find it annoying when you go somewhere and they don't have any seating. Stools, comfy chairs, whatever you can find. A nice sofa.

It was one of the first things I suggested to Gary when he opened Basically Bows Archery - get stools to sit on. I was his second customer after he opened years ago and I am happy to say he took my advice about getting some stools, because when you visit his shop you really need to sit down and take your time there. (He should probably sell drinks too, as talking about archery for long periods can be thirsty business.)

#10. Entertainment and Relaxation.

This may be an archery themed man cave, but it is still a man cave - so having some form of entertainment is a good idea.

My recommendation? A big screen TV, a PS4 and a copy of The Elder Scrolls - Skyrim Special Edition. Because frankly that particular game is so good you can play it for years and never get bored of it. The Special Edition version uses updated graphics and is smoother / more detailed, and includes all the expansions.


A friend of mine a few months ago gifted me with a map of Skyrim, so obviously that is something that would be used as decoration for a wall in some future version of my Archery Man Cave. For now I keep the map folded up and near our PlayStation.

Assassins Creed III (the one about the American Revolutionary War) also has archery in it and might also be on your list of games worth playing.


#11. Archery Comic Books.

Not all of us are into Green Arrow, Hawkeye or various other superheroes found in Marvel/DC or other sources (Japanese Anime for example), but for those people who are it would probably make sense that they would want to store all of the archery themed comic books in their Archery Man Cave.

You know, because you are just obsessed with archery, and that is frankly okay. You are not alone.

You might store them on a shelf, in a display case, framed on the wall like artwork - or in the same rack you store your magazines in.

And because you might enjoy other kinds of comic books, you might as well store your Batman comic books / etc there too. And if anyone asks why your Batman comics are in there too, just mention The Dark Knight Rises and how in the very first scene with Bruce Wayne he is practicing archery in his own little Archery Man Cave in Wayne Manor... Except his Archery Man Cave is way more well decorated than anything we could have. So there you go, in a round about way you now have an excuse to include any items pertaining to Batman in your Archery Man Cave. Congrats!

Bruce Wayne, right after scaring Catwoman with an Arrow.
When it comes to making Man Caves, Batman clearly deserves some attention right?

#12. Some Non-Archery Things that you nevertheless Enjoy.

Personally, I would include a dart board and darts. Something fun to do when bored. I guess a dart board technically counts as entertainment, but it is more of a "like archery, but obviously not archery" item to put in the man cave.

A person might also store their throwing knives, throwing axes, javelins, fishing equipment or other items in their man cave.

Personally my Man Cave would have a lot of woodworking items in it. After all, I consider Woodworking to be Exercise.

Keeping my collection of dumbbells and other exercise equipment in there would also be useful.

So clearly #12 here allows for a lot of personal taste in terms of personalizing your Man Cave to suit your needs.

I quite enjoyed writing this. Enjoy designing and decorating your own Man Cave!

Does Walking really count as Exercise?

I think it is silly to be even be talking about this, but apparently there are some people out who think walking doesn't really count as exercise - because walking is something you do every day anyway.

However as an avid walker - someone who comes back from long walks/hikes feeling exhausted, hungry and yet feeling like I accomplished something - I must defend walking not only as an exercise, but as a great way to build up an appetite.

Exercise does NOT have to involve:
  • Sweating
  • Grunting
  • Gasping for breath
Some exercises do, obviously, but it is definitely not a requirement. Anyone who tells you that exercises have to make you feel out of breath clearly has some funny notions about what counts as exercise.

So while we are at it, lets bust some myths people might have about walking by laying down some facts about walking.

Fact #1. Brisk Walking is actually a Moderate-Intensity Aerobic Exercise

Walking at a brisk pace that raises your heart rate into the moderate-intensity zone is recommended for the benefits of so-called "real exercise" for the cardiovascular system and to reduce health risks.

However even a slower pace counts as a Light or Lower Intensity workout. More so if there is  hill climbing or stairs involved.

A brisk pace is one where you are breathing harder than normal - you can talk, but you can't sing. If you take your pulse, it should be between 50 percent and 70 percent of your maximum heart rate. Walk at least 10 minutes in this zone for it to count as a moderate-intensity exercise session. You should aim for a minimum of 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise per day, five days per week, which can be broken up into sessions of at least 10 minutes at a time. For beginners try doing 20-minute brisk walks at a time and over time go further distances for longer periods to build up your endurance.

Fact #2. You can build Endurance using Long Distance Walks or Brisk Walking

Going for a longer distance walk (such as a 2 hour hike) will help build your endurance. You can do the same thing using brisk walking, but over a short distance. Brisk Walking for 30 minutes or more, five to seven times per week will build more muscle in your heart and lungs. Aim for a fast walk that brings your heart rate into the zone of 65-75 percent of your maximum heart rate.

If you prefer longer walks / hiking, aim to get your heart rate to reach the 40 to 60 zone.

Fact #3. You can use Walking as Exercise for Weight Loss

The truth about any exercise for weight loss is that it can help keep off extra pounds, but controlling what you eat will have the biggest effect. A healthy low-calorie diet combined with regular exercise - whether it is walking or something more intense - will help you to burn fat and consequently lose weight.

At least 150 minutes per week of moderate-intensity aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity is great for weight management. But getting exercise only solves half the problem - you also need to watch your eating habits and reduce your calories.

You can't outrun or outwalk what goes into your mouth

Fact #4. There are Health Benefits to Low or Easy-Intensity Walking

Walking the dog or going for a stroll at an easy pace works your muscles and joints. This is especially beneficial if you are overweight, aged, or at risk for arthritis. Strolling at an easy pace reduces the loads on the knee joints by 25 percent while actually burning a few more calories per mile than walking faster - assuming you are going the same distance regardless.

What burns more calories? Walking 100 meters really slowly, or jogging 100 meters?

Walking at a speed of 4 km per hour (average walking speed is 5 kmph) a person can walk 100 meters in exactly 1.5 minutes. A 200 lb person walking 100 meters at this speed burns 6 calories.

Jogging at 10 kmph a person can jog 100 meters in exactly 36 seconds. The same 200 lb person jogging that distance at that speed burns 8 calories.

So going faster only burned 33% more calories, but did it in less than half the time.

Walking slow also doesn't have the cardiovascular benefits of brisk walking (which would have burned 7 calories in the above example), but it is a good starting point for adding activities to your daily schedule that burns more calories.

Fact #5. Low-Intensity Exercises that Break Up Sitting Time reduces Health Risks

Many studies are finding that sitting or simply standing still for more than 30 minutes at a time can raise your health risks, even if you do a full bout of exercise at some point in the day. Walking around for one to three minutes every half hour or hour has been shown to be needed to reduce these health risks.

Getting up and circling the office or house thus can lengthen your life span. One study found that these short, easy walking breaks improved glucose control and insulin response. An increasing number of fitness bands have inactivity alerts to remind you when it's time to get up and move.

And lastly, another study determined that taking breaks from periods of sitting also reduced your stress and improved your sense of well-being, which in turn has an effect on mental health and even boosts your chances at weight loss because depressed people are more likely to overeat.

Fact #6. 10,000 Steps Per Day is a Good Workout

If you are addicted to tracking your daily footsteps and make the effort to reach 10,000 steps per day, does that mean you are exercising? For most people, that number is an indicator you have engaged in exercise during the day, as it is difficult for most people to log more than 6,000 steps just in daily activity. You could log 10,000 steps at an easy pace during the day, and it obviously wouldn't qualify as moderate-intensity exercise, but it would still count as a low-intensity workout.

Many fitness trackers, such as Fitbit, analyze your steps and record those that are aerobic or exercise steps done at a pace they consider fast enough to quality. Thus if you want to ensure you are getting a "real workout" then look at that number as well as the step total.

Fact #7. Race Walking is an Olympic Sport

Walking is a physical activity regardless of what speed you enjoy doing it, from a slow stroll through a fast brisk that is practically jogging. eg. Like competitive walking, aka "Race Walking" - which oddly enough is also an Olympic Sport.



Conclusions

Yes, walking is exercise. Indeed, it is even a sport.

That said, you should balance walking with other physical activities that benefit various parts of your body. Strength training to build and maintain muscle. Cycling is very beneficial for walkers as it works the opposite leg muscles. It is good to engage in a wide variety of activities, so all of your muscle groups are challenged and strengthened. Keep walking and hiking and jogging, whatever it is you do - and remember, you are still exercising.

Archery Equipment Checklist

Q


"Is there a checklist of items I should get when looking for archery equipment [to buy]? I am looking to shoot recurve."

- Joe B.

A

Samick Sage is a very popular beginner recurve.
Hey Joe!

Sure, here you go:

  • A recurve bow in a poundage you can pull and hold steady for long periods. Avoid any bow you cannot pull and keep steady. When sold a new bow typically comes with a bowstring. See a list of popular recurve bow brands and models, there are plenty to choose from.
  • A Bowstringer - to string your bow properly, without the risk of damaging it).
  • An archery glove or tab (to protect your fingers properly). The most common style is a 3-finger glove, such as the one made by the American company Neet.
  • Arrow Rest - there are many styles of arrow rests, choose one you like that is within your budget. Generally the better quality arrow rests effect the accuracy of your dramatically, so if you are going to invest in something better, spending it on the arrow rest is a good idea.
  • Nock Bead - a tiny brass bead that goes on your bowstring that is used to prevent Stringwalking by accident.
  • Arrowheads - 125 grain field points are the most commonly used. Heavier field points are for shooting at close targets, light field points and for shooting further distances.
  • Arrows that are spined correctly for your bow's poundage. This is actually extremely important. You want the right arrows that suit your bow, both for accuracy reasons and for safety reasons (shooting cheap weak spined arrows on a very powerful bow can cause the arrow to shatter midshot and you can end up with pieces of arrow in your bow arm or hand - see photo below). See 3 Frequently Asked Questions about Archery Equipment for more details.
Just one reason why you need arrows that are spined correctly for your bow.

Optional, but Not a Necessity. See Optional Archery Equipment for more details.
  • Armguard or Bracer - arguably a necessity for some people, but not everyone needs one.
  • A spare bowstring. (In case the first one breaks.)
  • Spare Parts for Arrows - spare nocks, spare fletching, fletching glue, spare arrowheads, spare inserts. This is in case you ever need to repair arrows.
  • A quiver of some kind - possibly a back quiver, side quiver, hip quiver, ground quiver - or you can just make your own.
  • Dampeners - puffy balls that make your bowstring quieter.
  • Archery Backpack - to carry your gear in.
  • Bow Sock - for storing a longbow or one-piece recurve in.
  • 3D Targets - for shooting at fake rabbits and such.
  • Portable Archery Targets - for when you don't have anything else to shoot at.
  • Stabilizer - a gadget to help prevent people from canting the bow.
  • Decorative Limbs Skins - purely for decoration.
  • Wrist Strap - so you don't accidentally drop your bow.
  • Bow Racks / Bow Stands - for storing your bow when you are not shooting it.
  • Strange Arrowheads - Whistling arrowheads, Tibetan howling arrowheads, blunt arrowheads, glass arrowheads, flint, obsidian - there are quite a variety available.

Four Extremely Effective HIIT Workouts

Guest Post by SpotMeBro.com

HIIT (High-Intensity Interval Training) is one of the best and most effective ways of shedding fat and increasing your overall fitness. The best thing about HIIT is it doesn’t take much of your time, making it a perfect workout for busy individuals. After successfully completing a HIIT workout, you’ll feel good and satisfied with a refreshed and clear state of mind.


Many studies have shown that by doing intense workouts helps boost your metabolic rate and ultimately burn more fat. If you are the kind of a person whose job is to sit more than 8 hours in front of a laptop or several hours at the office, then HIIT is probably the ideal cardio routine for you.

Here are five HIIT workouts that will definitely help you lose more fat and, of course, it’ll be very challenging – especially if you’re a complete newbie. Don’t worry, it will find a special place in your heart once you see those amazing results.

1. 8 Minute HIIT Workout

Let’s start with more resting time to allow your body to become used to the intensity and stress. You don’t need any equipment, belts or weights for this. There will be 8 one-minute rounds of 20 seconds of working and 40 seconds’ rest in between each exercise.
  • Jab Cross, Front Right: With your right foot in front of the left and hips facing towards your left, bring your arms in a boxing position and jab forward with your right arm. Finally, throw a cross punch with your left arm and allow your body to rotate towards the right.
  • Jab Cross, Front Left: Same as the above but with the opposite foot. Bring the left foot in front of the right one with your hips facing towards the right. Bring your arms up in a boxing position and jab with your left arm. Throw a cross punch with your right arm and allow your body to rotate towards the left.
  • Jumping Jacks: Keep your feet hip-width apart and arms extended by your sides. Now, jump with your feet out and swing your arms above your head. Jump back to your starting position while lowering your arms back down to your sides. Do as many reps as you can.
  • Bodyweight Sumo Squats: Slightly different from normal squats. Position your feet more than shoulder-width apart with your toes pointing at a 45-degree angle. Keep your back straight while lowering your body till your thighs are parallel to the floor. Drive yourself back up to the starting position.

2. 20 Minute HIIT Workout

An ideal workout for maximizing calorie burning and increasing your metabolic rate. There will be 20 rounds of 45 seconds of work and 15 seconds of rest in between exercises. When you hit the 10-minute mark, take a two-minute break and continue.
  • Push-ups: Using the normal push-up technique, do as many reps as you can. Keep your hands more than shoulder-width apart and don’t allow your back to arch.
  • Bodyweight Squats: Unlike the sumo squats, these are just normal-stance squats -- your feet under your hips.
  • Butt Kicks: Stand in an area where you'll have enough space around you. Now, jog in place and kick the left heel back so that it touches your butt. Do the same with your right heel.
  • Tricep Dips: Take a chair and place it against a wall for support. Now place your hands on the edge with your back towards the chair. Straighten your legs out in front of you while keeping the balance on your palms. Lower your body by bending your elbows and press up. Go for maximum repetitions.
  • Side Lunges: You’ll be putting your body weight on your heels with your toes pointing forward. Step towards your right in a deep, lateral lunge and keep your knee above your toes. Switch positions and do the same for the other side.

3. 5/10/15 HIIT Workout

This workout demands less time and is ideal for beginners. There will be only 5 seconds of rest in between exercises for maximum intensity.
  • 5 Pull-ups: Grip the pull-up bar with your hands wider than shoulder width. Now quickly perform 5 pull-ups without your body's momentum.
  • 10 Kettlebell Snatches: You need a kettlebell for this workout. Place it between your feet. Now bend your knees and push your butt back. Look in front of you and swing the kettlebell back in between your legs. Now, quickly reverse your direction and drive it through using your hips and knees. This way the kettlebell will be swinging in an upward direction. As soon as it reaches shoulder height, quickly rotate your hand and punch straight up.
  • 15 Kettlebell Figure 8's: Grab the kettlebell and place it between your legs. Bend your body in the same way as in kettlebell snatches. Now lift the kettlebell and pass it to your other hand between your legs in such a way that it forms an 8-figure.

4. The Quick 4-Minute HIIT Workout

Pretty easy, but will definitely make you sweat. Here is what you have to do without any rest in between the sets:
  • Plank: Drop down into a plank and hold this position for one minute.
  • Mountain Climber: From the plank position, get into a push-up position. Raise your hips, bend your knees and try to touch your right knee to your chest. Do the same with the left knee as quickly as possible.
  • Jumping Jacks: Use the same technique for jumping jacks and aim for maximum reps.

SpotMeBro.com and SpotMeGirl.com is the mecca for bodybuilding, fitness, gym motivation and, of course, hearty gym meme's. Regularly introducing fans to new trends in training, nutrition, gear and technology. Join over 3,000,000 monthly bro's and fit girl's today.

Analyzing Compound Bow Arrow Clusters

Yesterday (Easter Sunday) I did some personal practice with one of my compound bows.

It was rather windy (mostly wind coming from the south, but with occasional strong gust from the south). So lets see how I fared and analyze the results.

Disclaimer - This post is NOT sponsored by Tim Horton's. I just like using their coffee lids as targets.

#1. A Good Beginning.

First up is a near perfect shot. A good start for the day. This Tim Horton's coffee lid was doomed from the beginning.

This particular shot was so good I decided to just stop there and relax the rest of the round. It was highly unlikely that I was going to beat it - or worse, I could end up Robin Hooding the arrow (hitting it in the nock and splitting it), thus ruining my arrow. I have Robin Hooded so many arrows with my compound bow I now only shoot 3 or less arrows per round in an effort to reduce the chances of hitting my own arrows.


#2. A Gust from the South.

Below you can see what happens when the wind starts gusting from the south. Now what you might not understand is that the arrows themselves were not effected by the wind very much - it was actually the wind blowing me around that was the biggest annoyance. When the wind is blowing the archer around it makes it difficult to maintain your aim, your balance and hold steady.

You can tell from the angle of the arrows that some of them were effected more by the wind, by they are still in a tight cluster on the target - largely due to me being patient and timing my shots when there is less wind / more stability.

In theory if I wanted even more stability I could just wait until the gusting stops completely, but that would be missing the point of practicing during windy conditions. Practicing during the wind allows you to work on how well you adjust your and get used to it - and what skills you learn in the process to improve your accuracy.

Having flags at the archery range also help. Gives you a better idea of what the wind conditions are and their precise direction.

There isn't much left of the Tim Horton's lid at this point, so I am aiming for the upper left corner of the lid.


#3. Less Wind equals Tighter Cluster.

I held it together and timed my shots better during this particular round. You can see it is a nice tight cluster, and I am still aiming for the left side of the lid since there is so little left of it. The top right arrow ripped a chunk out of the lid.


#4. Not Much Left of the Target.

In this shot I hit the white golf tee so it pushed it into the target butt and the Tim Horton's lid ended up dangling from the arrow. There was so little left of the lid it was clearly time to pack up and leave.

Plus it started spitting a bit so I was content to pack up my gear and take a walk up the hill towards the Tim Horton's. (Where I later met my wife and we went to visit my mother-in-law for Easter Sunday dinner.)

How to Oil a Wooden Longbow or Flatbow - FAQ

On a rainy day (like today) it is a good habit to remember to oil any wood bows that you used outside.

Now in my case, I ended up shooting inside my garage today because it is just plain pouring today - and spitting even at the best of times.

Today I wanted to shoot one of my antique longbows - a wooden flatbow made by "Archery Craft Toronto", circa 1960s. But just walking from my home to the garage gets the bow a little wet from walking in the rain.

Fortunately I routinely oil my wooden bows each time I use them and they get wet. This is a good habit to get into, so if you know if your bow got wet you should remember to wipe it down afterwards and give it a quick oiling.

What Type of Oil should you use?

Well, for starters, don't use WD40 or any oil meant for machinery. That is just plain wrong.

Oils used for protecting wood are usually made from mineral / plant oils or animal grease.

You do not have to use Tung Oil. This is just for example.
I used both linseed oil and mineral oil. However there is a broad range of oils out there that are available. For example I know that Mike Meusel, the Toronto Bowyer, prefers to use tung oil. Some people prefer teak oil or gunstock oil, although it often depends on what they have handy / within their price range.

Traditionalists often prefer animal grease - such as deer grease, bear grease, or other kinds of animal fat. I even know one person who uses bacon grease.

What kind of oil doesn't matter so much as you might think. Some oils last longer, some provide a thicker protective layer, some sinks into the pores of the wood better, there are pros and cons.
  • Mineral oil is cheap. Does a decent job.
  • Boiled linseed oil does a good job. Takes awhile to dry.
  • Tung oil is more expensive. Dries faster.
Generally speaking it is considered a good idea to use multiple different kinds of oil, that way you get multiple layers of oil which protect the surface of the wooden bow.

Some archers might prefer to use type of more expensive / better quality oil that provides a good protection and a nice shine. Others might simply use whatever they have available. Others might prefer to use a mix of both plant oils and animal grease. Some archers even have their own "special recipe" that they like to use.

What is more important is that you are at least oiling the bow to protect it from water damage.

Should I clean the bow before oiling it?

Does it look like it needs to be cleaned? Yes? Then the answer it yes, you should probably clean it.

Before oiling you may decide you want to first clean your bow, possibly using rubbing alcohol or fine grit sandpaper. Sandpaper should be something you want to avoid using unless the bow is in really bad shape and needs some heavy duty cleaning. I have purchased some antique longbows and recurves in the past which were "absolutely disgusting" and needed to be thoroughly cleaned because they were covered in guck and stains, and that is a good time to get out the sandpaper. Otherwise rubbing alcohol works very well.

There may be other cleaning products out there that are safe to use on bows, but those are the only two things I use.

How do you apply the Oil to your bow?

I recommend using paper towels and pouring a small amount of oil on to the paper towel (a lint free cotton cloth also works well) and then proceed to rub the wooden areas of your bow with the oil in a manner similar to using sand paper on wood.

After everything is well oiled wipe it clean with a second paper towel and then store in the open air. (Do not stick it back inside a bow sock or case right away.)

If you are using multiple different kinds of oil, I recommend starting with the cheapest oil first and repeat this process with each oil, using the most expensive oil last. So for example I would use the mineral oil first, and then the linseed oil. (The order you use might depend on personal preference however.)

How often should you oil your wooden bow?

Honestly, once it has a good layer of oil on there, it should be fine - as long as it doesn't get soaked in water for long periods of time. For paranoid archers like myself however, I routinely oil any bow that gets remotely wet. I would rather be paranoid about it than to later discover I had forgotten to oil one of my wooden bows and it became damaged as a result of negligence.

Should I use wax finish or expensive wood finishes?

Not a necessity, but some people may decide to do so for the sake of appearance. Some traditionalists might use a beeswax paste to apply a more waxy finish to the bow, but that is mostly for the sake of appearance. For the purposes of protecting the wood waxes are unnecessary. I personally don't use waxy finishes on any of my bows, but I might decide to use them in future on my homemade flatbows in the future just to give them a waxier look, especially if I am planning to sell them.

For the purpose of selling a bow, it makes sense to wax a bow before showing it to a potential buyer, in the same way someone selling their car should probably use car wax before showing it to someone who is thinking of purchasing. Generally speaking, the shinier something is the more people are willing to spend on it.

To learn more about archery sign up for archery lessons in Toronto.

The Barkley Marathon

The Barkley Marathon is effectively a super marathon (also known as an ultra-marathon). It is over 100 miles long, on rough hiking terrain, and must be completed in less than 60 hours. Depending on the precise route, the distance is said to be closer to 120 miles - making it roughly 4 times the distance of a normal marathon (a normal marathon is 26 miles and 385 yards or 42.195 km).


The Barkley isn't so much a speed race. It is a race of endurance, determination, sacrifice, careful preparation, and orienteering skills. Most people never even finish the race. They quit because they are lost, starving, dehydrated, lost their will to finish, lacked the endurance to finish, didn't prepare enough.

Participants get a map and a compass. The route of the course is unmarked.

The Barkley Marathon Factoids
  • Takes place in late March / early April.
  • The Barkley course was designed by Gary "Lazarus Lake" Cantrell.
  • The Barkley is named after Gary's running buddy Barry Barkley.
  • Only 40 runners are allowed to run the Barkley each year.
  • Potential entrants must complete an essay on "Why I Should be Allowed to Run in the Barkley".
  • Potential entrants are expected to be experienced at running endurance races / marathons. It is not for amateurs.
  • The entrance fee is a mere $1.60.
  • First time runners are required to bring a license plate from their state/country as part of the entrance fee.
  • If accepted, an entrant receives a "letter of condolence".
  • The course is a 20 mile unmarked loop. Each runner must complete the loop 5 times to finish.
  • There are no aid stations except water at two points along the route.
  • The combined hill climb involved during the race includes 54,200 feet of accumulated vertical climb.
  • The race officially begins when a cigarette is lit by the race director, Gary Cantrell.
  • Between 1995 and 2017 only 18 people have ever finished the Barkley. The vast majority fail to even finish.
  • The current record is held by Brett Maune who in 2012 finished the race in 52 hours, 3 minutes and 8 seconds.
In 2012 a documentary about the Barkley was made, titled "The Barkley Marathons: The Race That Eats Its Young". The documentary film is currently available on Netflix.



2,000,000 Visitors to Cardio Trek

March 31st 2017.

Roughly 1.5 years ago (in June 2015) I wrote a post titled 1,000,000 Visitors to Cardio Trek. Well, sometime today, March 31st 2017, likely halfway through the day, we finally reached the 2,000,000 mark.

Woot!

It took 3.5 years to get our first million visitors. It only took roughly 1.6 years to get our 2nd million. Clearly we are doing something right. I don't want to estimate when we will reach the 3 million mark, but hopefully the rate of growth continues.

June 2015
  • 550 pages on topics ranging from weight loss, muscle growth / weight lifting, cardio exercises, sports advice, and lastly dietary / nutritional advice. Free.
  • Cardio Trek is home to Toronto's "best archery instructor - according to testimonials.
  • Cardio Trek offers a number of unique / bizarre exercises and tips that are rarely seen elsewhere.
  • If you Google 'cardio personal trainer toronto' then CardioTrek.ca is the #1 personal training website that comes up in the results. CardioTrek.ca is also #2 too.
  • We make a special effort to make Cardio Trek fun to read.
February 2017
  • 770 pages, etcetera etcetera.
  • Still the best archery instructor in Toronto. Just have lots more testimonials now.
  • Still offering a selection of unique and bizarre exercises - the lists just keep getting longer.
  • If you Google 'cardio personal trainer toronto' then CardioTrek.ca is #1, #2, and #3. Still dominating the top of the roster in Toronto, just more so.
  • We still keep making an effort to making Cardio Trek fun to read. Mostly because we enjoy writing things that are fun, and therefore don't waste time writing about boring subjects.
Last time we toasted the next million visitors with a strawberry smoothie in a wine glass. I think we shall do that again, except this time I will be using:
  • Fresh Strawberries.
  • Homemade strawberry ice cream.
  • Milk
My cousin last year gave the wife and I an ice cream maker as a wedding gift and we have been experimenting with making ice cream since then.

The great thing about having your own ice cream mixer is that you can experiment with lower calorie recipes and also make frozen yogurt, thus creating your own low calorie versions becomes comparatively easy - and you can use the ice cream and/or yogurt when eating berries, bananas, nuts, granola, etc. And whether you mix or make a smoothie, there are many ways to use it too.
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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