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Optional Archery Equipment, Need or Don't Need

There are many things that not optional when doing archery. For example the bow, arrows, bowstring, shooting glove or tab. All the basics.

But there are also lots of optional items that not all archers get. Or sometimes decide to make their own, as many archers have more of a Do-It-Yourself approach to some of the more optional equipment they know they don't actually need.

#1. Archery Backpack or Case.

Like the pink and black one below. Many different options out there for colours, designs, etc. In theory you could always just use a normal large backpack however. Having a specially made one is not a necessity. Years ago I even looked into having a wooden case for archery equipment made, similar to the one further below.



#2. Bow Sock.

A bow sock can also be used to transport your bow, and only your bow. It is basically exactly what it sounds like, a very large sock made for carrying your bow inside. The one below was made by someone on Etsy apparently. To make your own a quick way to do so is to employ an old scarf, sew up one side of the scarf together, and sew the bottom together. Add a handle or shoulder strap (or both), voila it is done.


#3. Paper Targets.

It isn't necessary to have a paper target to shoot at. Many people I know in Toronto shoot at brown Tim Horton's lids. Or if they are like me, at objects dangling from a string because they love the challenge of a moving target.


#4. Moving 3D Targets.

So optional I almost forgot to add this in here. There are many ways to make your own moving 3D target. I favour a low tech approach, but other people have gone full DIY mode and decided to have motorized moving targets like the two examples below. And further below that, a set of round throwing targets.





#5. Armguard / Bracer.

There are some extremely decorative armguards out there, but it doesn't have to be fancy. It just has to work.


#6. Hip Quiver.

There is no rule saying you have to buy a fancy Easton or Hoyt hip quiver. There are traditional designs available, and many people go the DIY approach as well. I personally hate quivers and avoid them entirely.


#7. Back Quiver.

If you do decide to get a back quiver, at least try to get one which makes it easier for you to get your arrows out of it quickly and without breaking your spine. Try to get one with adjustable straps so it is easier to use. Tip - Roll up some fur or faux fur and stuff it inside your quiver, it will prevent your arrows from rattling around or falling out of the quiver so easily.



#8. Ground Quiver.

Ground quivers are one of the few quivers I do like. Sometimes also called a Field Quiver, they are designed to hold your arrows for you when standing at the firing line.


#9. Bow String Dampeners.

Sometimes also called String Silencers. Dampeners are often made of fur, yarn, plastic or other materials. Plastic is the most common these days. The purpose of dampeners is to reduce the amount of noise your bow makes when it is shot. I favour fur myself, but hey, I am a traditionalist.


#10. Stabilizer.

Stabilizers come in two main styles. Hunting and Olympic style. Hunting Stabilizers are shorter, often heavier, and commonly used on compounds but can also be used on recurve bows. Olympic Stabilizers are primarily used on Olympics recurve bows and are significantly longer and sometimes come with side stabilizers which give it a Y shape. There are also recreational stabilizers and people who make homemade stabilizers. Like many things in the world of archery, they often come in a variety of colours too.


#11. Decorative Limb Skins.

This is something you add to personalize your bow a bit in terms of appearance. Camo is a popular choice for hunters, despite the fact that deer are colour blind and only notice motion.


#12. Decorative Wooden Handles.

These are usually more for compound bows, but it really depends on the type of riser being used on the bow as some other types of bows may be compatible if the riser is designed to take them. They are not necessarily wood either, they might be made of faux wood, plastic, carbon fibre, etc.


#13. Wrist Strap.

These are to prevent you from accidentally dropping your bow. I never use mine - mostly because I never drop my bow in that manner, so for me it is unnecessary. Look at the silly person below, he is wearing two of them. Is he worried one of them is going to break?


#14. Portable Archery Target.

Lots of people like using portable archery targets, but mostly hunters. I personally favour an archery target ball like the one further below made by Rinehart. I like throwing it at random distances and practicing figuring out where to aim at strange distances. It also works well on unusual terrain like shooting downhill or uphill.



#15. Bow Racks and Bow Stands.

Bow racks come in two varieties, those that stay at home for storing your bow(s) on (partially for display purposes), and those you take to the range with you for holding your bow when you are not shooting it - which are properly known as Bow Stands. Bow Racks are usually for storing multiple bows, usually at home. Bow Stands are more commonly used at the archery range, and usually with only one bow on it.

Bow Stands for Recurve Bows

Bow Rack at Home
After reading this you will probably have seen some things that you might want or have decided that you don't need for your own personal use. To each their own. Archery is very much about making personal decisions as to what kind of archer you want to be.

Want to learn more about archery? Sign up for archery lessons in Toronto.

Happy shooting!

20% Seniors Discount for Archery Lessons, May 1st to June 20th

For a limited time I am offered a Double Seniors Discount for Archery Lessons, starting May 1st and lasting until June 20th. My normal Seniors Discount is 10%, but I am doubling it to 20% off during this time period.

This offer is valid for weekday lessons only (mornings and afternoons) and only for lessons booked between May 1st and June 20th. For lessons further into the future the normal seniors discount of 10% applies.

Discounted Senior Rates (at 20% off) are as follows:

1 Student
$48 for 90 minutes; 3 Lessons - $136; 5 Lessons - $216; 10 Lessons - $416.

Discounted Senior Rates (at 10% off) are as follows:

1 Student
$54 for 90 minutes; 3 Lessons - $153; 5 Lessons - $243; 10 Lessons - $468.

Now you might wonder, why do I give discounts to seniors? Honestly, because I love teaching seniors. They are simply a joy to teach and a joy to talk to. Teaching someone I enjoy teaching is pure bliss, and I don't mind giving a discount to attract more seniors to the sport of archery. The more seniors, the better in my opinion.

It is never too late to do archery.
 


Girl Pushups and More

The "Girl Pushup"
What is so bad about a "Girl Pushup" ?

It is exercise after all. And lets face it, some people cannot do normal pushups because they haven't reached that stage of athletic fitness - including some men.

It is not a "feminine thing" to be doing so-called "Girl Pushups". It is an "I am out of shape and cannot do a normal pushup yet style of pushup."

You will notice I underlined the word yet. That is the operative word. Do "Girl Pushups" often enough and you will eventually be able to do regular pushups.

Do regular pushups often enough and you will likely also try Incline Pushups or Decline Pushups. Or even One Hand Pushups.

Do various different styles of pushups often enough and you will eventually be able to do Handstand Pushups. Like the woman below is doing.


Clearly this means that Girl Pushups is just part of a gradual process of becoming better at pushups.


My point here is that you should never let embarrassment prevent you from doing exercises. Sometimes things are just names, and there is nothing wrong with doing a Girl Pushup - especially since people (men and women) do them all the time when they are rolling out of bed to get up in the morning.

When you do eventually get good enough to do regular pushups you will want to focus on the quality of your form. Keep your back straight and lower yourself so your chest is nearly touching the floor.

While it is more difficult to do proper form with a pushup, you get more benefits from doing the exercise properly.




Post #700 + Exercise Quotes

It has been awhile since I have made a post containing exercise quotes, and seeing as this is also the 700th post I felt it was time to do another Motivational Exercise Quotes post at the same time.

"Think working out is painful? Try liposuction and find out how painful that is."

"Anything worth having is worth working hard to get it."

"No one ever regrets being healthier."

"Every one breaks records when they strive to do their best - and beat their own records."

"The only way to have pride in yourself is to do something you didn't think you could do."

"Don't wait to make yourself a better person. Start today and become better by tomorrow."

"Sweating is easy. If exercising is hard, then it means you are making progress."

"Go outside. Do stuff you enjoy doing."

"Persistence doesn't come easily. You have to do it again and again and again."

"Even a baby can exercise. It is called baby steps."

"Facing challenges changes you - one step at a time."

"Exercise like you mean it."


A few statistics...

Since its first post CardioTrek.ca has been visited by over 1.6 million visitors, mostly from Canada and the USA.

Most of my clients live in Toronto, but the website gets visitors from around the world. Outside of North America, visitors are most likely to come from: United Kingdom, France, India, Germany, Australia, Russia, Taiwan + Mexico.

Not sure why CardioTrek is so popular in France, but sure. Whatever. I am okay with that. Might have something to do with the words "cardio trek", which means exactly the same thing in French. Apparently I picked a name that was perfectly bilingual. Maybe in the future I should make CardioTrek bilingual so it is also available in French? Hmm. Although truth be told my Korean is better than my French.

Archery Trivia

France has over 72,000 registered archers. More than any other European nation. France even has more archers than the USA.

There is a rumour (unsubstantiated) that French forces sometimes cut off two of the fingers of captured enemy archers so that they wouldn't be able to fight against the French later in the future. This supposedly led to the phrase the "Two Finger Salute", however there are many historians who question the accuracy of this rumour.

The phrase "keep it under your hat" speaks of an ancient tradition of archers keeping a spare bowstring under their hat so it doesn't get wet.

The phrase "playing fast and loose" refers to archery jargon for "fast" which was traditionally used to mean "stop shooting fast" and the word "loose", which means to loose your arrows at the enemy. "Playing fast and loose" thus originally meant a person who would stop and start things quickly.

The phrase "a bolt from the blue" refers to a person struck by a crossbow bolt launched from a long distance, coming out of the proverbial blue sky from an unknown crossbowman.

It could also be used to shoot broken or damaged arrows whenever the archer started running low on arrows.

Is Canada's Wonderland cheaper than a Toronto Gym?

Okay, stay with me on this one...

How much does it cost you to get a 1 month membership at a Toronto gym?

Well lets look at a few big box store style gyms around Toronto...

Extreme Fitness... Cost? ~ $70 to $100 per month.

Recently got bought out by GoodLife Fitness, is referred to as an Extreme Ripoff by a BlogTo.com review. They try to sucker people in with 1 month free deals or "$8 per month" deals that later turn out to have hidden fees, even though they claim there is no hidden fees. They also claim there is no annual contract, which is bogus because everyone who signs up at their gym is automatically put on the annual contract (it is in the fine print). Learn more about this by reading Extreme Fitness, Extreme Ripoff. For fun try contacting Extreme Fitness and try to get them to tell you their normal monthly rate over the phone and discover how evasive they are about answering that question. Extreme Fitness also has a notorious reputation for overcharging people, double charging people, and refusing to stop charging you even after you cancel your gym membership. They routinely overcharge customers on purpose.

GoodLife Fitness... Cost? $63.92 + HST per month.

Spoke to the nice lady on the phone and she quoted me the above price. However having read reviews and some of the info on the GoodLife website, that price is the bare minimum. GoodLife likes to add extra fees for everything you can think of. Towel service. Access to the pool. Access to tennis courts. Day Care services for your kids if you bring them to the gym with you. GoodLife is all about gouging you with the extra fees. With tax included the total is $72.23 per month.

Next lets look at an organization that should be cheaper because in theory they're supposed to be a non-profit.

YMCA... Cost? $48 to $58 + HST per month.

The YMCA of Greater Toronto operates 8 locations with a range of different facilities, some with both gyms and pools. The prices vary on what is available at the location. The price is above is the normal Adult rate for people 22 years old or older. Unlike other gyms however the YMCA also offers family rates with prices varying between $81 to $97. Thus if you are a couple and have kids, you can truly save a bundle. We should note that the YMCA also charges a signup fee when you become a member.

And finally lets look at something that isn't even a gym...

Canada's Wonderland... Cost? $89.99 for a season pass + $45 for all season parking.

And yes, you read it correctly. Canada's Wonderland is arguably cheaper to use as your own personal gym if you don't mind driving there and paying for parking. The $89.99 is the normal rate for an adult season pass. (It is fairly easy to get a discount however as they do promo codes on a regular basis.) The season pass gets you roughly 4 months of access to the park, the splashworks pool, all the rides, etc. Certain things which are optional are clearly going to cost extra, oh and you should really bring food with you because the food prices inside Canada's Wonderland are ridiculously expensive.

Thus a person could theoretically go there, exercise, go on rides, stand in long line ups regularly, go swimming, completely avoid the fattening / overpriced food, and ultimately only pay $89.99 +$45 + HST = $152.54 for the 4 month stay.

Compared to 4 months at the Toronto gyms mentioned above you would be spending:

Extreme Fitness... $280 to $400 for 4 months.
GoodLife Fitness... $288.92 for 4 months.
YMCA... $216.96 to $262.16 for 4 months.

So Canada's Wonderland is cheaper than all the above examples, you will clearly have more fun there, and it is ultimately the more frugal choice (even with the all season parking pass).

Want to know what is even cheaper?

Toronto Parks and Beaches... Cost? Zero $s per year.

Parking is free. Swimming is free. Ice cream is extra. All the sand and beautiful skies you could want. Many of Toronto's parks have many unusual amenities.

Unusual Amenities

The Toronto Archery Range at E. T. Seton Park.
Sunnybrook Stables at Sunnybrook Park (where you can take horse riding lessons for a reasonable fee).
Riverdale Farm Petting Zoo and Dog Park.
High Park Petting Zoo and Fishing Pond (and Swimming Pools, Tennis Courts, and more).
Mountain-bike Trails / Hiking Trails at Don Valley Brick Works Park.
Allan Gardens Conservatory and Dog Park.
Centennial Park Conservatory.
Centennial Park Ski and Snowboarding.
Earl Bales Park Ski and Snowboarding.

Toronto Parks also are home to beaches, pools, skateboard parks, mountain-bike / hiking trails, ice skating/hockey rinks, tennis courts, basketball courts, baseball diamonds, football/soccer/rugby fields, wading pools, water parks and more.

And the vast majority of Toronto Parks services are free.

Oh and lastly Toronto Parks and Recreation operates 81 community centres which have gyms and a wide variety of fitness options. If you live in Toronto then you probably live near one of them. Just register as a member and then just go.

Lastly universities often operate gyms which also open to the community, for a comparatively small fee. So if you live near Ryerson, U of T or York University those are also great options.

Exercising and Dehydration Vs Over-Hydration

Is it possible to drink too much water while exercising?

The short answer is Yes.

It is rather difficult, but still possible. All that is really needed is for a person to think they are dehydrated, drink too much water, and keep drinking because they think the symptoms they are experiencing are from dehydration - when in fact the symptoms of over-hydration are remarkably similar to dehydration.

The long answer requires us to explain the effects of dehydration and over hydration, especially the symptoms.
Dehydration is caused by the excessive loss of water from the body, which causes a rise in blood sodium levels. Since dehydration is most often caused by excessive sweating, vomiting, or diarrhea, water loss is usually accompanied by a deficiency of electrolytes.
Mild to moderate dehydration symptoms
  • Dry, sticky mouth
  • Sleepiness or tiredness — children are likely to be less active than usual
  • Thirst
  • Decreased urine output
  • No wet diapers for three hours for infants
  • Few or no tears when crying
  • Dry skin
  • Headache
  • Constipation
  • Dizziness or lightheaded
Severe dehydration symptoms
  • Extreme thirst
  • Extreme fussiness or sleepiness in infants and children; irritability and confusion in adults
  • Very dry mouth, skin and mucous membranes
  • Little or no urination — any urine that is produced will be darker than normal
  • Sunken eyes
  • Shriveled and dry skin that lacks elasticity and doesn't "bounce back" when pinched into a fold
  • In infants, sunken fontanels — the soft spots on the top of a baby's head
  • Low blood pressure
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Rapid breathing
  • No tears when crying
  • Fever
  • In the most serious cases, delirium or unconsciousness
Over-Hydration is an excess of water in the body. People can develop over-hydration if they have a disorder that decreases the body's ability to excrete water or increases the body's tendency to retain water. Drinking too much water rarely causes over-hydration because normal kidneys easily excrete excess water.

Mild to moderate over-hydration symptoms
  • nausea and vomiting
  • headache
  • changes in mental state (confusion or disorientation)
 Severe over-hydration symptoms
  • dangerously low levels of sodium in the blood (hyponatremia)
  • muscle weakness, spasms or cramps
  • seizures
  • unconsciousness
  • coma

Preventing Over-Hydration

Endurance athletes such as long distance runners can reduce the risk of over-hydration by weighing themselves before and after a race to determine how much water they have lost and need to replenish.

Individuals exercising should avoid drinking more than one liter per hour of fluid. Drinking more fluids before and during a race or an intensive athletic exertion can also help you avoid the need to drink too much water afterwards. Sports beverages that contain the electrolytes sodium and potassium are also recommended, as both are lost in sweat.

If you have an underlying medical condition, such as diabetes, congestive heart failure, or kidney problems, talk to your doctor about the best treatments for those conditions. If you experience excessive thirst or an overly strong urge to drink water, contact your doctor before you develop symptoms - it could indicate a problem that requires treatment and careful monitoring.

Drink healthy!

Bullseye at 195 feet with an Antique Recurve

Personal Note

Today for fun I decided to try shooting an antique recurve bow at 65 yards (195 feet) on a windy day (gusting 15 to 25 kmph).

Now it should be noted that antique archery equipment doesn't always stand up to the test when being shot for accuracy, especially at longer distances - but the bow in question is a true beauty. A 1975 Browning Wasp, a 50 pounder.

On the right here is three Browning bows, all of them antiques. It was a rare coincidence when three archers with older Browning bows were all at the Toronto Archery Range together and we decided to take some photos of the three bows together.

On the left is a 25 lb Browning Cobra.

In the middle is my 50 lb Browning Wasp.

And the bow on the right is a 55 lb  3-piece Browning recurve bow (model name forgotten, I shall find out the next time I see the archer who owns it).

Now you might wonder - why I am shooting such an antique bow? It is literally older than I am. Well, I firmly believe that the older bows are both beautiful to look at and will often surprise you with their quality and accuracy, even after 41 years like the Browning Wasp does for me.

I had also never shot a 50 lb bow at 65 yards ever before, and I wanted to see just how much accuracy I could get with the antique - despite the strong winds. Had I picked a less windy day to try this on I might have fared better, but not much better than a bullseye I would wager. (A warmer day would have been nicer too.)

I have had bullseyes before at targets between 50 and 70 yards, so that is nothing new, but achieving that on a windy day - with a bow most people would be skeptical about - had me so happy I was grinning like a Cheshire cat and hopping up and down (as one friend pointed out later) like "a kid in a candy shop". Nothing like a long distance bullseye to make you very happy for the rest of the day.

Note - I don't always get so excited about a single bullseye. It was the combination of wind, long distance, older bow and other factors that made that one shot so much more interesting.

Maybe next time I shoot at that distance the wind will be more cooperative and I will get multiple bullseyes. Won't know unless I work at it. During the summers I routinely like shooting at longer distances because it forces the archer to concentrate harder on their goal in an effort to attain ideal form and thus execute more controlled and accurate shots. The added concentration levels of facing a difficult challenge I find is beneficial to improving the quality of one's accuracy.

Below my bullseye of the day. Huzzah!


If you are looking for archery lessons in Toronto or if you need some archery advice, feel free to ask.

Five Exercises for Increasing Your Metabolic Rate

Increasing your metabolic rate is one of the easiest ways to get in shape and lose weight. Below are five exercises that boost your metabolism - and they're frugal, using only your bodyweight.

The primary purpose of these exercise is to get your heart rate up, which kickstarts the Afterburn Effect - a major boost to your metabolic rate and starts a fat burning process in your body. You should do the exercises until your heart feels tired, and then rest.

Best of all, these are exercises you can do every day, for 1 to 2 minutes each. 5 to 10 minutes per day isn't much, but if you are getting Afterburn Effect going then it will give you more energy for the rest of the day as you will feel more energetic, more alert, and you will be burning fat for approx. 24 to 48 hours after the exercises. Do them every day, and the Afterburn Effect is extended and multiplied, causing rapid fat burning.

Note - If you have a known heart condition you should consult your doctor before doing any exercises which could effect your heart.

Step-Ups - use a step or platform that is about 4-6 inches high. Stand with your feet hip-width apart and jump onto the step or platform at least 15 times. Repeat after walking around the platform in a complete circle.


Squats - stand with your feet hip-width apart and place your arms to your side. Pretend there is a chair behind you and almost sit bringing your arms out in front keeping your back flat and abdominal muscles pulled in.


Push-ups - begin on your knees or feet and place your hands shoulder-width apart on the step or platform. Inhale as you lower your body to the step and exhale as you push yourself up. Repeat for 15 repetitions. Pay attention to your form while doing push-ups, you want to do them properly to get the full effect.



Tricep Dips - sit with your back to the step and place your hands behind you on the step. Lift and lower your body using your tricep muscles to do the work keeping your elbows in line with your wrists. Repeat 12 times.


Lunges - stand with one foot on the step and place your other foot behind you so that your front knee is over your heel. Lower your body keeping your shoulders in line with your hips at least 12 times for each leg. Repeat on the other leg.


BONUS EXERCISE

Jumping Jacks - These old school exercises are actually amazingly effective as they get your heart racing fast, use both upper body and lower body simultaneously, and they require minimal space to do. Jumping Jacks are amazing at boosting heart rate and consequently your metabolic rate.


Whistling and Howling Arrowheads

Sometimes it is fun to shoot whistling or howling arrowheads as part of recreational archery. The trick here is that they are either:

More expensive than regular arrowheads.

Or homemade, which means you likely spent a good chunk of time making them.

Whistling or Howling Arrowheads come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes, antiques, steel, brass, homemade, traditional designs, modern designs, and so forth. Historically whistling or howling arrowheads to send signals to allies on the battlefield, or to scare the enemy by shooting thousands of them all at once.

If you decide to make your own, there are some relatively cheap and easy ways to make your own whistling / howling arrowheads. The process of making them can be fun by itself, let alone the fun of shooting them.











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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