Sign up for personal training / sports training by emailing cardiotrek@gmail.com.

Gone Hiking and Fishing - The Niagara Escarpment

From June 26th to 30th I will be away on vacation - hiking, fishing and camping - and will not be answering emails very quickly during that time period.

The location I will be hiking will be along the Niagara Escarpment of Ontario, which has many cliffs, rocky outcroppings, waterfalls and other sights. Below is a map showing waterfalls that dot the landscape along the Niagara Escarpment.


One of my personal favourites to visit is Hilton Falls near Milton, Ontario - not because it is the closest to Toronto, but because you can walk both on top of the falls and also behind the waterfalls. To get to Hilton Falls it is a roughly 20 minute hike through the woods from the parking lot.

Walking along the top of the waterfalls, close to the edge


At the base of the waterfalls


Behind the waterfalls


There are many places within a quick drive from Toronto where people can go to exercise, go hiking, cycling, swimming and many other activities.

Get out there and exercise!

Splitting Arrows + CityTV

Monday, June 22nd 2015

Yesterday I split an arrow while I was shooting at a paper target of a turkey. It was a solid cluster of three arrows so tight they were touching, but unfortunately the middle arrow broke the shaft of the arrow below it and scratched the side of the arrow above it.


Below - The bottom arrow in the cluster that broke from being hit by the middle arrow.


Earlier today I did an interview with CityTV for an upcoming spot where I am being honoured with the title "Athlete of the Week".

Following the interview I was doing some personal practice and split another arrow, this time on a moving target (moving bottle in the wind). Unfortunately the cameraman was gone and wasn't there to film the feat. Oh well. Here are some photos.



And lest we not forget Saturday, when I shot 4 arrows into a supertight cluster where they were all touching. I liked that cluster so much I made a video of it.

My apologies for the sound quality, it was windy at the time.



These are just recent feats from Saturday, Sunday and today. Feats which unfortunately means it is time for me to buy more arrows. Just 30 minutes ago I contacted my local supplier and ordered 24 more arrows.

Call it the downside of hitting your own arrows - I have to buy new arrows regularly.

On the 17th (last Wednesday) I split a string down the middle.


Two weeks ago I had a supertight arrow cluster that came out the back of an old target butt that is due to be replaced.


At the end of March I was practicing on a box suspended and blowing in the wind on a snowy day and got the supertight cluster of 3 arrows shown in the video below.



And I could go back further, back to an earlier post when I first Robin Hooded an arrow on a moving target last year and determined that I need a new challenge.

To see more arrow clusters / split arrows read Arrow Clustering at Work, which I wrote in October last year.

Archery Testimonials - June 2015

"Thanks so much, the lessons were so fun you're a great teacher."

- Natalie B.

"Thank you again for the wonderful archery lessons and also for being so accommodating after my husband broke his leg in 2014 and rescheduling us for 2015. It was a huge wait, but he really appreciated the extra time so he could heal properly. [I offered them a choice between a refund or we could reschedule for a much later date.]


Regarding the lessons we found the lecture on proper form very helpful and your insights into what we were doing wrong and how best to fix it made a huge difference. We learned a lot during our lessons.

Good luck to you in the future and we hope to see you again."

- Beth and John N.

"Thank you for the archery lessons you gave us in May. It made a huge difference in our shooting form. Sammy is now competing in high school archery competitions and I am coaching him.

I look forward to reading your archery book when it comes out but in the meantime I am reading that website you recommended."

- Maximilian S. and Sammy S.

Note - The website Maximilian is referring to is "A Blog for Archery Coaches" by Steve Ruis, which I highly recommend for anyone who is coaching archery.

"Thanks again for the archery lessons! We are recommending you to our friends so expect their emails soon."

- Mi Sun K.



10 Weightlifting Tips for Archers - Part Two!

Today I updated an older post titled 10 Weightlifting Tips for Archers and decided it might be time to make a sequel to that post.

So here it is! 10 MORE Weightlifting Tips for Archers!

#1. Proper Weightlifting Shoes, AKA Flats

What you might not know is that the shoe industry makes specific styles of shoes for weightlifters that allow them to build muscle faster when doing specific exercises. Indeed there is a bit of an argument within the weightlifting community as to which is better: Flats or Raised Heels.

Basically all you need to know is that there are pros and cons to both flats and raised heel shoes for weightlifters. All weightlifting shoes (regardless of whether they are flat or raised heel) are designed to have better traction to avoid slippage, a hard sole, and a snug fit. Where the two schools of thought differ is what activities the shoes are being used for:

Raised Heels are better for front squats, back squats, and Olympic style lifts and squats.

Flats are better for deadlifts, barbell rolls, wide stance squats, and basically everything else.

I should note also that for archery purposes, flats are best. If you are curious about why flats are best I recommend reading Steve Ruis' blog post on the topic of Leaning In, during which he rightly bashes crosstrainers (which I despise) and extolls the benefits of wearing flats.

#2. Learn Proper Form

The principle of learning proper form applies in weightlifting just like it does in archery. Whatever exercise you are doing please learn the proper way to safely do that exercise because: A. It builds muscle faster and B. It prevents injuries.

For example lets say you are doing a Back Dumbbell Row (an exercise which targets your rhomoids, deltoids and triceps) you need to be doing it properly.

To do a Back Dumbbell Row start by kneeling down on an exercise ball (or sofa or chair or bench) with the opposing arm holding onto a dumbbell. Slowly bring the dumbbell upwards to your chest keeping your elbow tight as possible into your body. Slowly bring the weight back down to the starting position.

A good starting weight to use for this exercise is 15 lbs.

#3. Learn Many Different Exercises

Don't limit yourself to just 1 to 3 exercises. Research new exercises and learn how to do them properly too. For example learn other versions of exercises that are similar, like the Front Dumbbell Row shown below:


Other exercises archers should try include:

Chin Ups or Reverse Grip Chin Ups
Close Grip Pulldowns
Dumbbell Bent Over Row
Exercise Band Standing Back Row
Lat Pulldown
One Arm Row
Power Clean / Hang Clean
Seated Row
Standing Row
Straight Arm Pulldowns
T-Bar Rows

#4. Invest in Quality Equipment that is Versatile

Just like you do with archery, invest in equipment you can use and keep using because of their versatility. Dumbbells for example are very versatile and can be used for hundreds of different exercises. Exercise balls in contrast are comparatively limited in terms of the number of things they can be used for and arguably are completely unnecessary when a chair, stool, pillow or other device could be substituted. Spend your money wisely on versatile equipment.

Also avoid buying cheap junk that breaks easily. Exercise balls can get punctured, a dumbbell in contrast is very difficult to break.

#5. Even Things Out

Don't just exercise the one body part like Homer Simpson did in that one episode. Work both sides of your body evenly. For archery purposes you might think you can get away with only exercising the one side, but trust me, you actually need both.


#6. Skip Anything Too Good To Be True

If a weightlifting gadget or supplement sounds like it is too good to be true, then it is. Don't waste your time or money on gadgets or supplements making ridiculous claims. The companies selling such products make their livings by selling to gullible suckers. Don't be a sucker.

#7. Supplements Only Help If Used Properly

Whey protein and Creatine supplements will help you to build muscle faster, but only if you are using them properly in the correct proportions for the amount of exercise you are actually getting. If you are only exercising for tiny amounts and then gorging yourself on whey protein, you are not going to get all the benefits you were dreaming of. Eat healthy, use minimal amounts of supplements, don't overdo it.

#8. Safety = Use Common Sense

You know the saying "Common sense is very uncommon." ? Well if it seems like a bad idea, then you probably should NOT do it. A lot of weightlifting accidents happen when people try to lift things that are way beyond their ability to lift and properly control.


The same thing goes in archery, as you should already be aware. Don't try to pull a bow you know you can't handle and hold steady properly.

#9. Get a Spotter

Honestly, having someone watch what you are doing is incredibly important for safety - especially with the heavy weights. If you drop it, cannot handle it, you could potentially hurt yourself or even kill yourself by accident.

#10. Try Bodyweight Exercises like Yoga or Gymnastics

Many different kinds of exercises utilize bodyweight instead of using dumbbells, barbells, etc. Yoga for example is very effective for using your bodyweight to give you the physical challenge of lifting your own body. Gymnastic exercises are also good for building the necessary strength.


Bow Shoulder Fatigue in Archery

If you have been shooting for a long time and start getting tired you will start to experience fatigue in your bow shoulder which will cause inconsistent shots.

When your shoulder gets tired your arrows will start making lines on the target - often perfectly straight diagonal lines like the image below.  The shots below were performed by a student on June 2nd and I felt it was such a perfect example of shoulder fatigue that it deserved a photo.


What is happening in the photo above is the person is making almost no mistakes and the only problem they are experiencing is shoulder fatigue - and possibly inconsistent full draw.

This means the way to correct this problem is two fold:

#1. Take a break and relax. Your shoulder needs some time to recuperate.

#2. When shooting try to perfect your full draw so you are using more back muscles on your upper back (rhomboids) and less shoulder muscles (deltoids). Your back muscles should be tense and your bow shoulder should be relatively relaxed. (If you are unclear about the anatomical terms for muscles see Anatomical Terms for Athletes.)

Having stronger shoulder muscles does help, but it is not a cure. Ideally you need to be using your back muscles to be pulling the bow and stronger back muscles will do the most to help steady the bow. Thus if you are encountering this problem regularly you may want to consider regular exercises designed to make your rhomboids stronger (and to a lesser extent, stronger deltoids).

Pushups are a good example of an exercise that will target both your rhomboids and deltoids (and as a bonus, your triceps and pecs).

If you have dumbbells handy you can also do the exercise below to help strengthen the appropriate muscles. Like pushups, the exercise below will also target your rhomboids, deltoids and triceps. Because you are leaning forward it will also target your lower back too (traps).


If you are making no mistakes at all, you are not fatigued, and the wind is not a factor (low and steady wind) then you should be getting super tight clusters of arrows. Or even better, split your own arrow.

Want to perfect your archery form? Sign up for archery lessons in Toronto. Or keep reading my free archery tips.


Archery Clusters and Targets

I shot the cluster of arrows below on June 3rd while doing some personal archery practice. The target butt was so soft the arrows were penetrating right out the back of the target butt in a nicely grouped cluster roughly the size of a Canadian quarter.


Evidently I should be shooting at a different location of the target to avoid having my arrows penetrating so deep, but there was a target at that location on the opposite side of the target butt that was "just begging to be shot".

In the background on the 2nd target butt you can see an empty water bottle dangling from a string tied to a broken arrow. If you are familiar with my practice of shooting at moving targets then you may have read my previous post from August 2014 wherein I Robin Hooded (split) an arrow on a moving target. See Robin Hooding a Moving Target.

Hot Tip for Shooting at Moving Targets - Learn how to Gap Shoot.

If you don't know how to gap shoot, sign up for archery lessons in Toronto.

5 Tips for New Archers

If you are new to archery then chances are likely you are making lots of mistakes that you don't know about. Below are five tips to help you shoot better. Want more tips? Sign up for archery lessons in Toronto.

#1. Make sure you are using your dominant eye for aiming.

Check by reading Dominant Eye for Archery. Using the wrong eye is very often a reason for people to be shooting improperly. Just because you are right handed does not mean you are right eye dominant.

#2. Get a bow you can actually pull properly.

If you cannot pull the bow properly then it is obviously too hard for you. Get a bow you can pull easily and hold steady for at least 10 seconds.

#3. Pull with your forearm in line with the arrow.

If you pull with your forearm in a straight line with the arrow you are using your muscles more efficiently. You will be able to pull more because your back muscles (rhomboids) will be doing most of the work. If you are pulling with your forearm on an angle then your arm is going to shake like crazy.

#4. Don't squeeze the bow with your bow hand.

Squeezing the bow is completely unnecessary and will only cause you to torque your hand during shots - often causing the arrow to go off to the side. Learn to relax your hand completely. Squeezing the bow handle too much is a very common beginners mistake, but if you learn to just relax your fingers and thumb you will have much more accurate shots. Some archers also wear a strap on their hand or wrist to prevent themselves from accidentally dropping the bow while relaxing their hand.


#5. Stand up straight.

Bad posture is going to make for lots of bad shots during archery practice. Practice standing up straight while shooting. Also practice proper posture when standing, sitting and other activities too so your posture improves even when you are not doing archery.

Want to learn lots more? If you live in Toronto you can sign up for archery lessons, or if you do not live in the GTA please read more of the archery tips available on CardioTrek.ca for free.

10 Exercises to do with your Pets this Summer in Toronto

#1. Take your dog jogging!

#2. Take your dog to the beach - go swimming and play frisbee!

#3. Doggie Weightlifting - this is you lifting your dog up in an affectionate manner and rubbing their belly, then setting them back down, and repeat. You dog will think it is a game.

#4. Take your dog cycling in High Park.



#5. Join a Meetup Group for people who enjoy dog-related activities. Learn more by browsing the different meetup groups for Toronto dog owners.

#6. Competitive Dog Jogging. (Yes, that is a real thing.)

#7. Mountain Hiking with your Dog.

#8. Canoeing or Kayaking with your Dog. (Get your dog a special canine life jacket.)


#9. Dog and Owner Hurdles.



#10. Play a Classic Game of Fetch with your Dog. (Even more fun with water.)


BONUS

Dog Yoga in the Park


1,000,000 Visitors to Cardio Trek

June 1st 2015

Sometime in the next 3 days Cardio Trek will have its 1 millionth visitor to CardioTrek.ca. On Sunday May 31st the website surpassed 995,000 visitors and judging by the May average of 1765 visitors per day CardioTrek.ca should break the 1,000,000 mark sometime on June 3rd.

Not bad for a company that has only been around since December 2011.

Now you might ask why do we have so many visitors?

Well there is multiple answers to that question, so here goes:

#1. Cardio Trek has over 550 pages of unique content providing advice on topics ranging from weight loss, muscle growth / weight lifting, cardio exercises, as well as sports advice on topics ranging from swimming to boxing to archery, and lastly dietary / nutritional advice. And all of the advice located on CardioTrek.ca is FREE to access.

#2. Cardio Trek is home to Toronto's "best archery instructor" according to the testimonials of archery students - and archery's popularity is growing so fast we are in constant demand for archery lessons in Toronto.

#3. Cardio Trek also offers a number of unique / bizarre exercises and tips that only a handful of other websites talk about - including nose exercises for people who have suffered nose injuries or simply want to change the appearance of their nose, and also advice on how to reduce saggy skin after extreme weight loss / pregnancy. Those two topics are two of the most popular topics on CardioTrek.ca.

#4. 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. CardioTrek.ca is #1 or in the top 10 for a variety of different topics. So kudos to the quality of our website and our marketing efforts. (Although truth be told we don't really advertise much any more. We get most of our advertising from word of mouth.) Some topics we are not so hot at (eg. CardioTrek.ca is #27 if you Google 'weight lifting personal trainer toronto'), but that just means we need to work harder on those topics.

#5. We make a special effort to make Cardio Trek fun to read - whether it be via personal insights, the occasional joke, or the hundreds of inspirational quotes we have posted in the hopes of inspiring people who are looking for a little extra motivation to eat healthy, exercise harder, and have fun while doing so.

So in other words we have great FREE information, an amazing personal trainer / sports trainer, unique articles that are both interesting and fun to read, and a healthy dose of quality writing. Huzzah!

Here is a virtual toast* to the next million visitors!

* With a strawberry smoothie in a wine glass.

Archery Testimonials, May 2015

Testimonials

"Charles made learning archery an enjoyable experience.  He is very knowledgeable and has the ability to pinpoint areas where a student needs help in his patient and witty style.  I bought my first bow and accessories after a couple of lessons with Charles, and has learned much more in subsequent lessons.  There are a lot of tips and pointers online, but only a knowledgeable instructor like Charles is able to observe and correct your mistakes individually.  Getting the basics right in archery is extremely important as bad habits are difficult to get rid of.

Charles made the learning process fun and enjoyable - the hallmark of a great instructor!  I would highly recommend Charles to anyone who wishes to learn archery in Toronto."

- Tim C.

"I took three archery lessons with Charles from Cardio Trek and can honestly say I enjoyed every lesson and learned a lot each time. I strongly recommend anyone looking for an archery instructor consider getting lessons from Charles.

The first lesson included a safety lecture, eye dominance test and a lecture on proper form - which Charles explained in a very thorough and easy to understand manner. By the end of the first lecture I was getting clusters of arrows near the bullseye.

Subsequent lessons focused on fine-tuning my form and aim so my clusters of arrows were tighter and more on target. I had no idea when I started archery it would be so difficult, but I am very happy that I got an instructor like Charles who really knows how to break down issues like form and explain the physics of why people make mistakes when shooting. I went away with a new appreciation for physics and human physiology.

Thank you again for all of your help."

- Sandy R.

"Thanks for the archery lessons and all the equipment advice. You are the best! My girlfriend and I will be recommending you to our friends. :)"

- Jeremiah D.


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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