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The Benefits of Running Outdoors

If running outdoors is good enough for horses, cheetahs and other animals what makes us think the gym treadmill is so much better?

Because of air conditioning?


Get off the treadmill and get outside, and discover the hidden benefits of running and jogging outside!

#1. Fresh Air and Sunshine is a Natural Painkiller

Its true. Fresh air and Vitamin D from the sun acts as a natural painkiller, causing you feel less pain while running and jogging and allowing you to run harder and faster by naturally boosting your endurance.

#2. Varied Terrain

Running on different terrain is great for hitting muscles in different ways. Even better if you live near a beach and can run across sand and/or the boardwalk. Pound the pavement, grass, sand, wooden boardwalk and a hilly ravine and you will discover the differences it takes to go across uneven ground and different surfaces. Going uphill works the quads, sand sprints focuses on the hamstrings and sticking to the grass is easier on the overall impact of the run. This makes running outside better for toning and firming your leg muscles.

#3. More Jumping

You never jump while on a treadmill. Its more of a lazy stride that is regulated by the size of the treadmill itself and your fear of kicking the treadmill. Outside you can run and jump and you jump without even realizing it in the process of running. Jumping exercises the legs more like weightlifting and provides a better - deeper muscle - workout.

#4. It's More Progressive

Running on the treadmill installs somewhat of a psychological barrier. Seeing how fast you are running in a way, limits how fast you will run because it creates a fear factor. Most people won't run certain higher speeds on the treadmill because seeing that speed is intimidating, and they are a little afraid of falling off. And its so loud, the sound of your feet stomping on the treadmill constantly that it becomes bothersome. Running really fast outside in a park or on the beach doesn't make you feel like you're overdoing it, and a light jog doesn't feel like wussing out! And you certainly don't notice the noise so much either.

#5. Nobody Watching You

There are a lot of creepy guys at the gym sometimes and if you are a woman this can really decrease your comfort level. You half expect them to follow you home from the gym and peep at you, becoming all Crazy Joe Davola stalker like. Outdoors the only people who might notice you and be tempted to follow you is people who can actually keep up with you, which will be be comparatively few if you're fleet on your feet. And chasing a female jogger down the street is a sure way to get yourself noticed and arrested.

#6. Most Athletes Train Outdoors

And the reason is because they know the benefits of running and jogging outdoors. Given the option they train outside all the time, sometimes even in the wet and cold. Some sports, like Olympic wrestling, don't really work that well outdoors, but other sports like shot-put which could be done indoors is still practiced outdoors.

#7. It's Refreshing

Nothing is nicer than a run on a warm and sunny day. It's refreshing and revitalizing in ways that words cannot accurately articulate. Even better, a nice long run on a weekend morning, and you have already completed a workout, and ready to enjoy the day.

The treadmill really comes in handy when you want to run at 5am, or immediately jump to the weights before or after at the gym. Running outside is more challenging, better for firming and offers much more interesting scenery. If you run exclusively on the treadmill, try getting out once a week. It will be a change of pace that you may find easy to get used to!

Long Range Archery Tips

If you've taken archery up as a sport you are eventually going to get tired of shooting at the short range targets of only 20 to 30 yards away. You will want to try hitting the longer range targets, partially because you are curious as to whether you can actually shoot that far with a degree of accuracy.

And also partly because some of us just love to see an arrow arc its way towards a really far away target.

But if you expect to hit the target with a great degree of accuracy you are going to be severely disappointed. (Unless you have sheer dumb luck on your first try, which I have seen students sometimes do.)

Nevertheless, if you want to try shooting at the longer ranges there are some things you need to know.

#1. Strength Matters!

Getting an arrow to go extreme distances with accuracy comes down to a measurement of strength. This means you need to build up your back, arms and core muscles. You will want to do a variety of weightlifting routines that focus on upper body strength. Two of the most obvious exercises you can do is pushups and chin-ups.

#2. Balance and Breathing Matters!

I find that people who do yoga tend to do very well at archery. Partially because both yoga and archery require balance, but also because yoga and archery are both mental disciplines. Practice a variety of yoga techniques 3 times per week to improve your balance, posture and core strength.

If you aren't balanced your aim will be off, and if your aim is off then at the long range it will be WAY OFF.

Another thing to try is yogic breathing. You want to breathe into your stomach, not your shoulders. Breathing into your shoulders will throw off your aim by causing your arms to move. A simple yogic breathing exercise to learn is to breathe sharply in through the nose, breathe into your stomach, keep your shoulders still, and then exhale sharply through the mouth. Practice this for 5 minutes daily.

On the archery range breathe into the stomach as you pull back, aim and shoot, and then breathe out after you release.

#3. The Right Tools for the Right Job.

Take the range you want to shoot at and multiple that number by 0.8. The resulting number is the minimum number of lbs your draw torque should be for your bow if trying to shoot at that range accurately.


20 yards = 16 lb bow
30 yards = 24 lb bow
45 yards = 36 lb bow
60 yards = 48 lb bow
70 yards = 56 lb bow
90 yards = 72 lb bow

Note: At the 90 yard range I normally recommend a minimum of 75 lbs for the draw weight, just because that extra 3 lbs amounts to 4% more accuracy.

#4. Get a Bow you can PULL

You should get a bow that has a stronger pull and aim to purchase one that you can hold at full draw without your arms shaking. You will get stronger later, but if you want to improve your accuracy now then you need a bow you know you can pull and hold it steady while aiming.

Lets say for example you're in the archery store and you want to be shooting at the 90 yard range and you have a choice between a 75 lb, a 80 lb and a 85 lb bow. Same company who made them all, same quality, but different poundages for the draw weight. You can pull the 75 and the 80 okay, but when you try the 85 you discover your arm shakes too much. Your answer? Buy the 80. Use that bow for a year or two to build up your accuracy and strength. You may come back and buy a 90 lb bow next time, but for now the 80 will suit your needs perfectly.

#5. Arrows!

You will need to increase the quality of the arrows so that they can take the added pressure of a heavier torque bow. A flimsy cheap arrow will break too easily. When buying arrows many of them have a marking on them which shows their max weight capacity.

#6. Hone your Form and your Aim!

If you haven't perfected your form at the shorter ranges, you're going to have an even tougher time at the longer range. My advice? Go up the different ranges gradually. Perfect your form at the 20 and 30 yard ranges before "graduating" yourself to the 45, 60, 70 and 90.

You will need to learn how to adjust your aim at different ranges and there are a variety of different techniques for doing so, including adjusting your aiming point higher, moving your anchor lower to below the chin or even to the chest level, "walking the string" (a technique I will discuss sometime in the future), and various other techniques advanced archers use. The easiest of these is simply aiming higher. Moving your anchor point lower is trickier, but is definitely a move for an advanced archer who is experienced. If you want to learn more about "walking the string" shoot me an email and lets book a lesson.

#7. Type of Bow

The type of bow you shoot doesn't matter quite so much. What matters more is the poundage, the quality of the bow and the experience of the archer with that style of bow.

A Japanese archer using a 75 lb kyudo bow will have just as much quality shots as a Hungarian archer using a traditional 75 lb Hungarian bow. Assuming that both archers have the same level of experience.

Traditional bows, modern bows, compound bows, recurve, wooden, Olympic, longbow... all of it doesn't really matter as long as it has the necessary torque to propel the arrow with the same amount of pressure. Even a shortbow can be used if it can be built to have that much poundage to provide the same amount of torque.

There may be some minor differences in terms of gadgets or quality of the bow, but otherwise the type of bow you like to use is a matter of personal preference.

#8. Practice builds Experience

Ideally you should do archery 3 times per week and shoot 200 arrows each time. No more than that or your back muscles will hurt a lot, especially if its a heavier bow. If you are shooting and start to experience pain in your back muscles it is time to stop.

Some people like to shoot heavier bows that they can pull, but they lack the stamina to be able to shoot it 200 times in an outing to the archery range. This is a matter of building up endurance. My solution? Do 200 pushups every day.

Experience counts for a lot in archery and to build experience you need to practice regularly and get lots of shots in. If you lack the endurance to get 200 shots in with your favourite heavy bow then you need to pack a 2nd lighter bow with your gear and when your back starts to get tired take a break and then switch to the lighter bow for the rest of the outing.

#9. Stay Calm and Focused

Regardless at the range you are shooting at, maintaining a calm and serene frame of mind will help you to shoot more accurately. If you start feeling anxiety it will mess with your ability to aim, to concentrate and to shoot remotely accurately. Getting frustrated will make you feel worse and decrease your aim dramatically.

One way to calm down is to remember that archery is fun. Stop worrying about the quality of your shots and just enjoy yourself. So what if you miss? Just have fun missing!

Another source of frustration is losing arrows. If you are losing arrows in the grass (and arrows are expensive) you may want to invest in a metal detector to help find the arrows easily. Some online archery stores also sell LED nocks which blink and can be more easily spotted in the grass.

Remember to bring healthy snacks and water with you. Some people have difficulty maintaining their emotions if they are hungry and lack nutrients or are dehydrated. Best to keep both food and water with you.

#10. Don't Shoot Underwater!

Your arrows won't go very far underwater. This isn't so much useful advice as it is funny. I just thought the photo below was awesome!

Happy shooting!

Marilyn Monroe's Diet and Exercise Routine

The September 1952 issue of Pageant magazine gave details on Marilyn Monroe’s diet and exercise routines, written by Marilyn Monroe herself.

The entries given in the magazine detail a morning exercise routine and a diet composed mostly of protein, milk and lots of carrots.

How I Stay in Shape

By Marilyn Monroe

“Frankly, I’ve never considered my own figure so exceptional; until quite recently, I seldom gave it any thought at all. My biggest single concern used to be getting enough to eat. Now I have to worry about eating too much. I never used to bother with exercises. Now I spend at least 10 minutes each morning working out with small weights. I have evolved my own exercises, for the muscles I wish to keep firm, and I know they are right for me because I can feel them putting the proper muscles into play as I exercise.”

She Doesn’t Like To Feel Regimented

“EXERCISE. Each morning, after I brush my teeth, wash my face and shake off the first deep layer of sleep, I lie down on the floor beside my bed and begin my first exercise. It is a simple bust-firming routine which consists of lifting five-pound weights from a spread-eagle arm position to a point directly above my head. I do this 15 times, slowly. I repeat the exercise another 15 times from a position with my arms above my head. Then, with my arms at a 45-degree angle from the floor, I move my weights in circles until I’m tired. I don’t count rhythmically like the exercise people on the radio; I couldn’t stand exercise if I had to feel regimented about it.”

How to Feel Blond All Over

“SPORTS. I have never cared especially for outdoor sports, and have no desire to excel at tennis, swimming or golf. I’ll leave those things to the men. Despite its great vogue in California, I don’t think sun-tanned skin is any more attractive than white skin, or any healthier, for that matter. I’m personally opposed to a deep tan because I like to feel blond all over.

By nature, I suppose I have a languorous disposition. I hate to do things in a hurried, tense atmosphere, and it is virtually impossible for me to spring out of bed in the morning. On Sunday, which is my one day of total leisure, I sometimes take two hours to wake up, luxuriating in every last moment of drowsiness. Depending on my activities, I sleep between five and ten hours every night. I sleep in an extra-wide single bed, and I use only one heavy down comforter over me, summer or winter. I have never been able to wear pajamas or creepy nightgowns; they disturb my sleep.”

A Set of Bizarre Eating Habits

“BREAKFAST. I’ve been told that my eating habits are absolutely bizarre, but I don’t think so. Before I take my morning shower, I start warming a cup of milk on the hot plate I keep in my hotel room. When it’s hot, I break two raw eggs into the milk, whip them up with a fork, and drink them while I’m dressing. I supplement this with a multi-vitamin pill, and I doubt if any doctor could recommend a more nourishing breakfast for a working girl in a hurry.

DINNER. My dinners at home are startlingly simple. Every night I stop at the market near my hotel and pick up a steak, lamb chops or some liver, which I broil in the electric oven in my room. I usually eat four or five raw carrots with my meat, and that is all. I must be part rabbit; I never get bored with raw carrots.

P.S. It’s a good thing, I suppose, that I eat simply during the day, for in recent months I have developed the habit of stopping off at Wil Wright’s ice cream parlor for a hot fudge sundae on my way home from my evening drama classes. I’m sure that I couldn’t allow myself this indulgence were it not that my normal diet is composed almost totally of protein foods.”

According to photography of Marilyn Monroe she also enjoyed light weightlifting, jogging, yoga and horseback riding. She even tried archery, although judging by her form wasn't particularly good at it. (William Shatner also does archery, but he is GOOD at it.)

This historic look at how Marilyn Monroe kept in good shape, and she had a figure many women still aspire to, also makes for good inspiration because it makes you realize that if she could do it so can you.

And being able to inspire people to exercise is more than merely motivating them. Inspiration becomes a constant motivation that you can keep returning to, that reminds you of what your goals are and why you first started exercising.

Exercise Motivational Photography

Making your desktop image for your computer something which motivates you to exercise... or printing out various motivational images and putting them on your fridge, next to mirrors, etc are a great way to remind yourself to exercise regularly.

And if you still can't find the motivation to exercise then its well past time you hired a personal trainer to help keep you motivated.

Ice Skating + Swimming Testimonial

"Thank you again for teaching me ice skating and swimming. I feel much more confident now when skating / swimming alone and I am using the techniques you taught me.

Thank you so much!"

- Janet W.

Don't Cut out Carbs Entirely

Two of most popular fad diets are no carb and low fat... However both of these fad diets make a fatal error.

It is true that too much carbs and fat is bad for you, but you shouldn't eradicate carbs and fat from your diet entirely.

Various no carbs or reduced carb diets such as Atkins or South Beach work around the idea that dieters start the meal plan by eating almost no carbs or no carbs at all in an effort to lose weight quickly. It is true that such a diet will cause you to lose weight quickly, but at the expense of muscle tissue. Your body, in an effort to find energy will start burning protein from your muscle tissue in order to provide the body with enough energy. Carbohydrates and fat are macronutrients that are very important to full body functioning and wellness. Carbohydrates especially should consist of approx. 30 to 50% of overall food intake.

The real trick for the dieter is learning how much carbs is enough, since many foods contain small amounts of carbs but various foods like bread contain a lot of carbs.

The best solution is to simply avoid over-consumption - aka binging.

Next if you are going to eat bread, get whole wheat or cracked wheat bread.

Why are carbs so important? They give you energy and feed your brain! Without them energy lows and you will encounter trouble thinking / problem solving as your brain will be working slower.

No/low carb diets work because they quickly release water retention. Sure, this is great for about ten days, but when you start eating normally again your body will treat it like you've been on a fast and you will gain it all back again in an hurry!

Same goes with fat. You need healthy fats from egg yolks, fish, seeds, flax, virgin olive oil, etc. What you want to avoid is super fatty foods that are obviously not good for you and avoid binging on things you know will push your fat consumption over the edge (eg. eating a whole package of bacon by yourself).

So now you're asking what is the best diet?

A balanced one! Aim to reduce your carbs and fat intake, eat lots of veggies, eat non-processed meats, make sure you are getting enough calcium and take a daily multivitamin. Don't be afraid to treat yourself once in awhile, but don't binge on cookies or bacon strips just because they're there.

Are Exercise-induced Orgasms real?

There is a fun topic that has been circulating various exercise websites on the internet for a few short years now. The concept of Exercise Induced Orgasms, aka Coregasms.

Various surveys administered online to women claim that some women experience exercise-induced orgasms (EIO) and/or exercise-induced sexual pleasure (EISP). But can those claims be substantiated by the scientific community, or are they just a way of drawing in extra readers to exercise websites seeking more attention.

As a man I will admit I really don't really know if women are capable of achieving orgasm via exercise. But since this seems to be a relatively new phenomenon that hasn't been talked about before, I am inclined to believe that it is mostly hype and possibly even bogus.

If its mostly hype, then yes, that would imply that there are a few rare women out there capable of attaining orgasm or sexual pleasure via exercise. It is in theory possible, especially since its mostly the brain which serves the largest role in the process.

If its a bogus hoax meant to draw in extra readers, then I am really not surprised. People are always looking for new ways to capitalize on the whole "sex sells" concept and the exercise industry is no stranger to using attractive fitness models to draw in extra consumers.

The websites claiming to have studied and surveyed the phenomenon make an active effort on their part in trying to get extra people to visit their websites, and since there is a very short list of websites claiming to have conducted surveys, it does lend some credence to the idea that their survey's might be nothing more than fiction and falsified information created purely for intention of drawing in consumers.

I have been unable to find any serious scientific studies into the topic, which suggests that the scientific community either don't take the topic seriously, or the rarity is such that it is very difficult to find women who have experienced such things.

I suppose that achieving orgasm during exercise would be a great motivator for some people, but let us not forget that people often lie on online surveys and that men would not be above pretending to be women and filling out false answers in such a provocative subject.

Archery Testimonial

"Hello again!

Thank you for taking the time to teach me archery. It was a lot of fun even though it was more difficult than I was expecting. I am looking forward to my 2nd lesson!"

- Zeinab A.

Foods for Cardio Workouts

An all-around healthy diet is best for any exercise routine, but cardiovascular exercises requires a balance of special nutrients. If you do cardiovascular exercises regularly (and we all should) you should also learn how to fuel up so you are getting the most out of your workout.

Cardio Basics

Cardio exercises like swimming, walking, running and cycling require energy from both carbohydrates and fat. Carbohydrates are the body’s #1 go-to source, but healthy sources of fat also give ample doses of energy.

As exercise intensity changes (like due to an increase in speed or running uphill, for example), the body switches back and forth between carbs and fat to provide energy, often giving people their "second wind". Since you can’t completely control how and when the body needs what nutrient, it’s best to have adequate amounts of both as a regular part of the diet.

Your best choices for carbs are whole grains, fruits, vegetables, legumes and dairy. The healthiest types of fats come from foods like canola oil, olive oil, avocado, nuts, peanut butter, eggs and salmon.

All foods are digested and metabolized differently, so you need to think about the best times to eat foods that will support your exercise schedule.

Before A Workout

Pre-workout meals should focus mostly on healthy carbs, but since carbs with high amounts of fiber take longer to digest, you want to be careful not to take in too much directly before exercise. Protein and fat also take longer to digest, so those should also be spaced further away from exercise.

If you have 3 to 4 hours before exercise…… Have a regular meal.

•    A salad with grilled chicken, vinaigrette dressing and whole wheat roll
•    Turkey & cheese or PB&J on whole-grain bread
•    Grilled salmon with brown rice and broccoli
•    Whole grain pasta with feta cheese and grilled veggies

If you have 60 minutes or less before exercise….. Have a low-fat (and relatively low-protein) snack.

•    Nonfat yogurt
•    A low-fat granola bar
•    A piece of fruit
•    A handful of pretzels

Note: always consider your personal tolerance – choose foods you digest comfortably.

After A Workout

The post-workout window is time for refueling energy stores and helping tired and worn out muscles recover. That means more healthy carbs plus a boost of protein. If it’s been more than 4 hours since your last meal, it’s time for another one. If not, try one of these snack options:

•    A glass of chocolate milk
•    Hummus with pita chips
•    (In a time crunch) A protein bar
•    Half of a turkey sandwich on whole grain bread
•    Raw egg milkshake

Don't forget you are also shedding "stored fat" while you exercise too. Not all of it is from food.

Each 3500 calories worth of exercise you do amounts to burning 1 lb of fat. Exercise combined with a healthy diet means you can easily drop that 1 lb of fat (or more) in 1 week. Over a year you can drop 52 lbs or more if you keep up that routine.

Cool Ways to Beat the Summer Heat

Toronto gets really HOT in the summer! The sun, the humidity from the lake and the constant lack of rain often makes many people feel sluggish, and not exactly pumped for a sweaty workout in the intense heat.

The same thing applies when you go on vacation somewhere really hot and realize its way too hot to exercise during the day.

So if you're looking for summer alternatives to exercises that won't leave you feeling (and looking) like a burnt raisin, try the following exercises:

Three Summer Workouts to Stay Cool

1. Public Pools

In Toronto, outdoor public pools are free, and when it's extremely hot they are open until 11pm. Swimming is a fantastic full body workout that combines cardio and strength. A swim is a great way to cool down, and with the extended hours, a dip in the pool after work or even before bed is a cool way to fit in activity this summer.

Or get a membership at a gym (or the YMCA) so you can access their pools.

2. Evening or Early Morning Workouts

When the sun goes down cycling, walking, jogging and even yoga are exercises that can be safely performed in the summer. Doing anything physical in the late morning or afternoon is not recommended. Not only is that the hottest time of the day, but it's also when the sun's UV rays are at their most dangerous levels. Try and evening workout to unwind and work off the stress from the day.

If you're a morning person you can also do early morning workouts before the sun is fully up.

3. Air Conditioned Classes

Maybe it's time to try out a class in an air conditioned studio. Even if it is only once a week dancing, martial arts, yoga and fitness classes are an effective way to beat the heat and achieve fitness goals. This also offers the opportunity to try something new, that has always been on the, "to-do" list.

Always remember to stay hydrated and stop exercising if you feel faint or nauseated.
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