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How to do Proper Deadlifts

If you're new to weightlifting but have watched it at the Olympics then you probably THINK you were watching them do Deadlifts. Like in the video below.


However those are NOT Deadlifts.

In a deadlift you are only lifting the bar up approximately to your waist. Like in the image shown here on the right.

I think the confusion over the name of the particular weightlifting exercise is that a Deadlift sounds really difficult and people equate that with lifting the weight above your head. Except you are only lifting it about a third of that height.

When doing Deadlifts remember that form is very important so that you don't injure yourself. Stick to the prescribed Deadlift form and do it safely.

So pay attention as we journey down the road of brain and brawn and learn how to do a Proper Deadlift.

Step 1

Place the barbell on the ground and attach weights to it according to your strength and fitness level. If you are just starting out estimate the maximum amount you think you can lift and then lift half of that. (You can lift larger amounts later on once you've got the form correct.)

Step 2

Step up to the bar so that your feet are approximately shoulder width apart, the balls of your feet are under the bar, and your toes are pointing forward or slightly outward.

Step 3

Bend your knees while keeping your back straight, so that you look like you are in a sitting position.

Step 4

You should be close enough to reach the barbell, and grasp it with your hands slightly more than shoulder width apart, outside of your legs.

There are several different ways to grip the barbell. The most recommended style of gripping is the mixed grip (one palm facing you, one palm facing away), as it less likely to result in injuries, but use whichever grip feels the most comfortable.

For Olympic lifting, many people use the hook grip, which is more secure but is painful at first. It is similar to the overhand grip, except that instead of the thumb over the remaining fingers, it is hooked underneath them.

The underhand grip alone is not recommended because it can lead to the rupture of bicep muscle and connecting tendons, especially in people who do not have full flexibility in the elbow joint.

Step 5

Lower your hips so that your thighs are parallel to the floor. Keep the lower part of your legs mostly vertical. The angle between your foot and your lower leg should be close to 90 degrees.

The thighs should be parallel to the ground, but the back is not straightened yet.

Step 6

Straighten your back and look straight ahead. Never lose the natural arch of your back.

Step 7

Lift the bar. Stand up by raising your hips and shoulders at the same rate and maintaining a flat back. Keep your abs tight during the whole lift. You should lift the bar straight up vertically and close to your body. Try thinking of it as pushing the floor away from you. Come to a standing position with upright posture and your shoulders pulled back. Allow the bar to hang in front of your hips. DO NOT try to lift it any higher.
Step 8

Lower the bar. Keeping your back straight, return the bar to the starting position in a controlled manner. Pushing your butt out as if you are going to sit down in a chair, and keep your head up. DO NOT drop the bar.

There, you've done it.

SAFETY NOTE! Avoid doing 6 or more deadlifts at a time. The more deadlifts you do the more likely you are to use improper form because you are rushing and overdoing it - which leads to injuries. Stick to 5 reps or less and stick to proper form.

And before you think for an instant that you cannot do this very simple weightlifting exercise try watching the following video of a little girl who is a weightlifting champion.


Once you've mastered Deadlifts (remember that form is very important for performing that exercise properly and without injury) you may also wish to try the following types of Deadlifts.

Romanian or Stiff Leg Deadlifts

These deadlifts are hips dominant. The exercise is a great core strengthener and also tones the glutes and hamstrings. It targets the lower back quite a bit to strengthen it.

1. Use very little weight while practicing this type of exercise until you get used to it. If you try to lift a lot more you will hurt your lower back.

2. While performing Romanian deadlifts keep your hips so far back that your toes start to rise as the weight is lowered. Think 98% weight on the heels, 2% in the toes for balance.

3. Bending your legs only a little lift the bar using an overhand (pronated grip). Your lower back will be doing most of the work so you will feel it there.

4. Stand tall and hold the bar or dumbbells with arms straight down at your thighs.

5. Keep the head up, shoulders back, knees slightly bent, and low back arched as the bar is lowered to the floor.

6. Repeat multiple times. If at any point you start to feel back pain cease lifting. (If you experience back pain a lot while doing this exercise you need to switch to a lower weight.)

One Leg Romanian Deadlifts

1. Exact same form as the Romanian lift except now you're on one foot with the other leg behind. Use either a dumbbell or barbell. If using a dumbbell attempt to hold it in the opposite hand of the working leg.

2. With this exercise try to do one rep holding the weight, place the weight on the floor, and perform the next rep empty-handed. This is for an extra challenge using co-ordination and balance.

3. Alternate hands and feet regularly.

10 Tips for Morning Joggers

Want to go jogging in the morning more often? Here are 10 Tips for Morning Joggers to help get you started and keep you on track.

#1. Schedule a specific time to go jogging. eg. Add an alarm on your phone as a reminder.

#2. Don't time yourself. You are done when you get back home.

#3. Don't worry if you occasionally stop to catch your breath. That is normal for beginners. You will build endurance over time. After a month of jogging you will notice your endurance has gone up considerably.

#4. Choose a route which is relatively short in the beginning and will take you an estimated 15 minutes to jog it.

#5. Progressively make your jogging route longer. After two weeks of jogging the above route (assuming you are jogging 5 to 7 times per week), add another part to the route so it takes closer to 20 minutes. Keep doing that route for 3 weeks and then add another part to it so it takes you 25 minutes. Then another 4 weeks and add another part so its closer to 30 minutes.

#6. Set a cap for how much time you want to spend jogging. If you only want to jog for 30 minutes every day, that is okay. Some people have busy schedules, but you will still be getting lots of health benefits from that 30 minutes.

#7. If you've set a cap your new goal should be to go FASTER. Not sprinting, but aim for a fast jog so that you can cover more distance in the same amount of time. This way you are still challenging yourself.

#8. If you're looking for a challenge go jogging in places which are more hilly - or even places which have stairs, like an university football stadium. (Wearing hiking shoes in wooded areas so you are less likely to slip and fall.)

#9. After jogging do some stretches during a cool down period.

#10. Eat something nutritious after your jog. Raw eggs, a protein shake, a hearty soup or stew will help increase your endurance faster by giving your body what it needs to build new muscle tissue.

BONUS TIP - Drink lots of water after your jog to rehydrate and take a multivitamin. (Extra vitamins never hurt anyone.)

An 160 lb person jogging for 30 minutes burns 254 calories. It doesn't seem like much but if they go jogging every day for a year that is 26.4 pounds of fat that they've shed.

And if they keep jogging regularly they will keep that extra weight off permanently. What is more is that 30 minutes per day is only 2% of their day.

Archery Warmup Exercises + Stretches

Doing a series of simple stretches and exercises during or after an archery session can be very beneficial. (Doing stretches before exercises haven't been proven to prevent injuries, but doing stretches after helps maintain and improve flexibility.)

Doing warmup exercises can also be beneficial however, as they get blood-sugar flowing to the muscles and that will improve your performance on the archery range.

I recommend the following stretches / exercises to help warm up the muscles and improve flexibility.

#1. Twists (turning from side to side, stretching the obliques [side muscles]).

#2. Isometric Pulling (see the list of stretches below).

ISOMETRIC STRETCHES FOR ARCHERY

Loosen upper arm and chest muscles.

Interlock the fingers with palms out. Extend arms above head, keeping fingers locked. Stretch upwards and hold for 10 to 15 seconds.


   

Loosen back muscles.

Cross arms in front of chest and place hands around shoulders. Slowly stretch hands towards middle of back as far as possible. Hold for 10 to 15 seconds.



Loosen chest, top of shoulder and lower arm muscles.

Bend one arm over head and down back, bend other arm around and up back. Grasp finger tips and hold for 10 seconds, then reverse arm positions and hold for 10 to 15 seconds. Keep backbone vertical during this exercise.



Loosen shoulders and back muscles.

Lock fingers together, extend arms and twist slowly as far as possible to the right and hold for 10 seconds. Then twist slowly to the left and hold for 10 to 15 seconds.

WARNING: Do not twist suddenly as it may damage backbone joints.
     


Loosen neck and upper shoulder muscles.

From a normal standing position with arms at sides, raise up both shoulders towards neck as high as possible, then move shoulders forward, then move shoulders back. Do this for about 20 seconds.



Loosen back and shoulder muscles.

Use a length of spear gun rubber or rubber tubing, grasp each end, raise arms to shoulder height and extend arms, keeping elbows straight, outwards and backwards by squeezing shoulder blades together. Hold for 10 to 20 seconds and repeat about 6 times.


   

Loosen shoulder muscles.

Use a length of spear gun rubber or rubber tubing, grasp each end, raise one arm above head and the other arm level with shoulder. Pull down with arm and hold for 10 to 20 seconds. Repeat about 6 times.

Swap arm positions and repeat exercise.



Loosen chest and shoulder muscles.

Use a length of rubber tubing, grasp each end behind back, hold arms at shoulder level, then swing arms forwards to stretch rubber. Hold for 10 to 20 seconds. Repeat about 6 times.



Loosen shooting muscles.

Use a length of spear gun rubber or rubber tubing tied in a loop, imitate the shooting draw. Hold for 10 to 20 seconds. Repeat about 6 times.

Repeat exercise with opposite hands to balance muscle development.

5 Slimming Fruits that help burn calories!

Chili Peppers - Goes great with pasta!

Spicy chilies increase your calorie burn thanks to an antioxidant called capsaicin. A health study from the University of California found that in the few hours following a meal containing capsaicin, calorie burn nearly doubled. The antioxidant also significantly increased fat oxidation, pushing the body to use more fat as fuel. Other studies have even found that meals flavored with capsaicin can diminish appetite. Experiment with a few different fresh premade salsas and read the ingredients carefully to get a sense of which peppers speak to you. And when in doubt, just add peppers to lots of your meals. I like chopped up pieces of pepper in my eggs.


Pears - Makes a great snack!

Apples may get all the nutritional glory, but a pear a day is a great idea too. Pears have especially high levels of a kind of fiber called pectin, which is known to help promote weight loss. Poached pears make a tasty warm dessert; raw, their creamy-gritty texture pairs nicely with cheese for a snack. I prefer them just plain and fresh!


Grapefruit - Great for breakfast!

Lots of vegans swear by grapefruit for breakfast. This citrus fruit won weight-loss fame after a study found that people who ate half a grapefruit with each meal lost 3.6 pounds, while those who drank a serving of grapefruit juice three times a day lost 3.3 pounds. Many people in the study lost more than 10 pounds without making any other changes to their diets. Grapefruit isn't for everyone, but if you enjoy them then try and buy them regularly and make them part of your healthy diet.



Tomatoes - Goes well on pizza or with spaghetti!

Fiber and a high volume of water ensure that tomatoes fill you up for few calories. They're also loaded with lycopene, and health researchers have found that the higher the level of this antioxidant in people's blood, the lower their level of heart disease and other chronic illnesses. Plus, tomatoes increase in nutritional power when cooked, so saute or roast them, make sauce, or blend up tomato soup—on a low-energy day, it's a true comfort food and goes well with pasta and many other dishes.


Artichokes - I hate these things, but they're super good for you.

When you get bored with leafy greens (and that can happen easily when you're counting calories), artichokes are a nice alternative. They make an ideal appetizer- one artichoke has just 60 calories, and all the fiber they contain will help you consume fewer calories during the rest of your meal. When you can get artichokes fresh (in the spring), they're delicious steamed; just sprinkle with salt, pepper, or a squeeze of lemon juice and eat the leaves one by one. Canned artichoke hearts come in handy when you need a simple but satisfying snack. I personally don't like the taste of them, but that is just me. Ignore me. My tastebuds are weird sometimes.

Weightlifting Front and Back Squats

Front and Back Squats are two different weightlifting technique used by amateur weightlifters, professional weightlifters and of course Olympic weightlifters. Together they are two very commonly used weightlifting exercises for training.

However like many weightlifting exercises it is very important to use proper form so you don't injure yourself.

The Front Squat is demonstrated in the image on the right, where you can see the weight is held in the front.

Below, you can see the Back Squat where the weight is held behind the head and above the shoulders.



HOW TO DO A PROPER FRONT SQUAT

1. The weight is in front, on the shoulders. The barbell is touching your neck, elbows are lifted high in front and your hands are slightly open. For an easier grip variation, grab the barbell with crossed arms.

2. Go down into the squat with hips pushed back and the weight in your heels. Keep your knees in line with the toes and never too far forward or behind. Keep your back straight and you should always have your chest lifted and eyes up.

3. Drive up and remember to exhale on exertion.

THE BACK SQUAT

The back squat is identical except for the load being placed behind the body, resting on the trapezius muscles, the muscles which run across the back of the shoulders (not the neck!). When the weight is placed on the neck it is dangerous and even in the best case scenario, you will be very sore the next day!

There is also the Split Squat and the Side Squat, but I will cover those in a future post.

Excuses to Not Go Jogging - and why many of them are just excuses.

Being not motivated is really the biggest reason people say they want to go jogging - and then forget to do so.

According to my informal survey of friends, the following excuses are why many people decide to not go jogging.

#1. "Don't have time."

Really? You don't have time? Jogging for only 15 minutes per day is just 1% of your day. But that 15 minutes per day can make a huge difference in terms of shedding fat.

#2. "Don't have any jogging clothes or shoes."

Go buy some or double check your closet to see what you do have. They don't have to be amazingly fashionable, just work with what you have available.

#3. "Too embarrassed to jog in public."

Multiple solutions. Walk to someplace that is less public. Go jogging in the wee hours of the morning when many other people are sleeping. Jog around your house or apartment building 20 times. Jog up and down staircases.

#4. "Its too cold or raining."

Jog indoors. Check out local gyms, recreation centres, indoor parking lots.

#5. "I don't have a jogging partner."

Find a jogging partner who lives in your neighbourhood. Go jogging and look for other joggers. Or better yet, get a dog. If you already have a dog, take the dog jogging with you.

#6."My joints ache."

Your joints might be aching due to lack of exercise. Start by going for walks, then hiking, and as your joint pain is lessened start jogging gradually.

#7. "My breasts bounce around too much and it hurts."

Buy a really good quality sports bra that fits you properly and significantly reduces the bounciness.

#8. "I don't have a stopwatch."

Do you really need a stopwatch? If so, download a stopwatch app to your smartphone.

#9. "I am afraid of being robbed."

Oh really? Who is going to rob a jogger carrying keys and a cellphone and no wallet or purse?

#10. "I don't like jogging."

Okay. Why? There has to be a reason why.

"Umm, its too much like exercise and I get tired so easily."

You get tired so easily because you don't exercise. Start by walking more regularly, then hiking and gradually build up to jogging. You will discover you love it once you build up your endurance.

BONUS - "I need knee surgery and my doctor said I need to avoid exercises that might hurt my knee."

Okay, that is a legitimate reason. You may want to consider other exercises such as light swimming so you can stay active without putting undue stress on your knee.

But for everyone else who doesn't have a good reason and have lots of excuses, please tell me what your excuse is? Post in the comments below and have a nice day!


Correcting Errors in Archery Release

Having an archery coach or instructor can be extremely beneficial when it comes to improving the quality of your shots. An archery instructor can tell you what you are doing wrong and give you valuable tips on how to improve and practice.

Assuming that there is no problems with your form or your equipment, the most common causes of faulty shots is a poor release of the arrow.

And sadly there is many possible ways a new archer can muck up their shot by making any number of the following mistakes.

#1. Gripping the bow with your bow hand too tightly.

Gripping the bow too tightly will cause a tiny jerk up, down, left or right (or combinations thereof) which during the tiny fraction of the second where the arrow is passing by the bow itself will cause the arrow to jerk in a different direction.

To fix this you need to hold the bow gently, relaxing your bow hand. You are still holding the bow there, but you aren't gripping it really hard. That can make a huge difference on the quality of your shots.

#2. Gripping the bow off-centre.

If your grip on the bow is more to the left or to the right it can cause torque in the bow on release which will bump the arrow to the left or right. You can even grip the bow too high or too low.

To fix this again, it is very important to relax your bow hand and hold the bow in a central position.

#3. Grip too relaxed causing arrows to go too high.

Yes, I admit, the previous two were about relaxing your bow hand and gripping it gently. But relaxing it too much can cause your arrows to jerk upwards. So you need to practice holding the bow firmly, but still in a relaxed fashion. Remember the old story of Goldilocks. You need to find the grip which is "just right".

#4. Extending your bow arm more than usual.

Extending your bow arm more than your usual amount (using your shoulder joint to push it further out) can cause extra torque, and in turn cause your arrows to shoot higher than normal. This is a problem that will correct itself with time and experience, but if you notice you tend to do this then you can remind yourself to hold your bow arm in the same position every time you shoot and to not extend it further using your shoulder joint.

#5. Bow Arm is Locked or Bent.

A bent bow arm can cause your arrows to go lower than usual. At the same time a locked elbow (rotating it counter-clockwise on a Right Handed Shooter of rotating the elbow clockwise on a Left Handed Shooter) can cause your whole bow arm to jerk during the release.

To fix either of these problems you need to hold your bow arm straight, but without locking the elbow.

#6. Bow string is rubbing against jacket or arm during the release.

The bow string rubbing against anything, such as your jacket, your arm, your hat, anything can send the arrow slightly awry. To correct this remove any obstacles that might rub against the bow string. Take off your jacket, remove your hat while shooting.

The bow string might even be rubbing against your out-turned (and probably locked) elbow, which can cause extremely painful stringburn. To fix this, rotate your elbow outwards.

#7. Bow shoulder problems...

There are variety of shoulder problems related to your bow arm. I have already talked about over-extending the shoulder and bow arm above, but there are other common problems people do too. Bunching up the shoulder too much, hunching your shoulders, these are usually problems resulting from a person who has a weak shoulders and is trying to use a bow which is too powerful for them.

Solution? You can try relaxing your shoulders but if that fails you will need to switch to a lower poundage bow. You are challenging yourself too much and your shoulder muscles aren't up for the intense challenge. (Someone needs to do more push-ups.)

Once you have a lighter bow remember that you don't need to bunch or hunch up your shoulders. Just relax your shoulders and aim for what feels natural.

#8. Shoulder angling to the side.

Another shoulder problem is if your shoulder is bunching slightly forwards towards your chest or backwards towards your back. This subtle difference can cause your shots to sometimes jerk to the left or right.

Again, try to relax your shoulders.

#9. Fingers not aligned.

Assuming you are using finger gloves for your release, make sure they are aligned evenly before pulling back on the bowstring. This will make for a smoother release. Beginner archers will sometimes have difficulty doing this as their finger muscles need to build up more strength, but with time they will correct the problem if the archer pays attention to their finger alignment.

#10. Plucking the bow string during the release.

An improper release such as accidentally plucking the bow string (it will sometimes even making a funny sound if you do this) will cause the arrow to go way off to the side.

Focus on releasing your fingers quickly and evenly.

#11. String alignment is off to the left or right.

This is more of an equipment error, but one that can be easily fixed. Make it a routine to check the alignment of your string so that is straight up and down. Older bows may also be warped, causing the alignment to be completely off.

#12. Tilting the bow to one side.

Some people enjoy shooting their bow on a slight angle. This is often more of a personal choice than anything else. However it will frequently cause your arrows to go off more to one side because the arrow is rubbing against your arrow rest on a different angle.

Tilting the bow can also mess up your arm and shoulder alignment, causing the bow to jerk more during the release.

Fixing this problem can be done one of two ways... Either stop tilting the bow like that or learn to shoot that way by building up lots of experience and adjusting your aim accordingly.

#13. Shooting too quickly.

Some people will sometimes pull back the arrow, but then release too quickly before reaching their anchor point (the point on your face or chin that you pull back to every time). This problem is sometimes called "Snap Shooting".

Simply remember to pull back to your anchor point, breathe into your gut, aim and then release.

#14. Breathing irregularity.

More advanced archers learn to control their breathing better. Breathing too rapidly can cause your shoulders to rise and fall too much, knocking everything off. Practice breathing into your stomach so your shoulders don't move so much and during shots, take a deep breath into your gut and then aim and shoot.

#15. Head position irregularity.

Tilting your head forward or to the side will change the amount of torque you are pulling back with (and effectively change your anchor point). Keep your head straight up and down and try to keep it in the same position every time you shoot.

#16. Leaning body backwards, forwards or to the side.

Some beginner archers have a tendency to arch or lean in funny directions while shooting. (See photo of Marilyn Monroe and look at the angle of her back.)

Keep your spine straight up and down and stand in the same position every time. Changing positions constantly by standing at different angles will cause slight differences in how much torque the arrow has and will cause it to go higher or lower than expected.

#17. No follow through.

Once you've released the arrow stay perfectly still and relaxed while the arrows passes by the bow. Releasing the arrow and then jerking your body or arm slightly during the milliseconds that your arrow is going by the bow can cause the arrow to go in any number of directions.

During each shot give yourself at least half a second after the shot where your remain still and relaxed. Use the time to follow where the arrow went and contemplate what other things you might have done wrong.

#18. Gold Shy or Freezing

Gold Shy or Freezing are mental problems that archers sometimes develop, wherein they aren't really aiming or concentrating on the center of the target face (the yellow circle of the target), and then they botch their release somehow.

Similar problems are Snap Shooting or Punching wherein the archers aims, but then releases too quickly.

And then there are combination problems wherein they are doing multiple things wrong mentally, which is known as Target Panic.

Left untreated these problems can cause the archer to lose focus and their aim and form will degenerate until they over-thinking every shot, constantly panicking, releasing too quickly, intensely nervous and basically having a panic attack.

Some archers even quit the sport entirely because their mental game becomes so difficult to control.

One of the recommended solutions for this problem is to meditate and focus your attention on a single object in the distance. Just stare at it for long periods of time. If a person spends 10 minutes every day staring at something they will, with time, feel calmer and more relaxed when focusing at the target.

However that solution might only work for some people.

Some people might have a different mental problem which is more connected to loud noises or distracting conversation. In which case the recommended way to prepare yourself for this is to listen to music or stand up comedy routines while practicing your archery. The goal is to get used to and to tune out the sounds around you while you are shooting.

Many mental problems for archers can be solved through experience and practice, but when that fails meditation and mental exercises need to be devised which can help the archer correct the problem they are facing.

Ideally what you want is to reach a point where your form, your mind, your aim is all being controlled by your subconscious and you are more in a zen frame of a mind while shooting. Being distracted, over-thinking, impatient, frustrated - these are all things that will result in shoddy shots.

NOTE

There are many other ways people can mess up their shot, such as squeezing the arrow nock, twisting your body during the release, flinching, releasing the bow string too slowly, uneven finger pressure, jerking your head, wrist on a weird angle...

But all of these problems can be corrected with lots of practice shooting. Although its much faster to fix these problems with an archery instructor who can point out the errors you are making.

For archery lessons in Toronto contact cardiotrek@gmail.com.

Archery Testimonial

"Thanks again for the lesson....today was awesome! I'd like to do another lesson on the next warmer day whenever you're available and at around the same time would be good too. Thanks for the picture! I really didn't expect to have those results for the first time out but the teaching must have been the key."

- Chris




Spectator Sports Vs Activity Sports

Can you name the number one spectator sport in America?

I will give you some hints.

It is NOT football.

It is NOT baseball.

And it most certainly is not basketball or hockey!

The number one spectator sport in America is NASCAR.

That is right. Its not even an exercise. Although the drivers do get injured regularly, they're not sports injuries in the normal sense of the word.

Now that isn't to say Nascar drivers don't have to stay fit. They do, but their goal isn't peak fitness - its peak awareness, reflexes and reaction time. In theory a juggler would be good at driving a car in Nascar.

Another big spectator sport is the horse races - again a sport where the rider isn't doing much of the work and its mostly the horse which is getting all the exercise. Horse racing is mostly popular however due to the gambling that goes on, as the horse races really wouldn't exist on a day to day basis without gambling propping it up financially.

Now obviously many people who watch Nascar or go to the horse races are not racing cars around a circular track or riding horses on a regular basis. Many of them have probably never even touched a racecar or a horse.

When it comes to regular sports however the percentage of people who watch the sport and the percentage of people who also engage in that particular sport can vary wildly. eg. For many winter sports like the bobsled, figure skating and giant slalom skiing the people watching such sports have likely never used an Olympic bobsled, figure skated professionally, let alone attempted to ski down a giant slalom track.

I am ranting here, I admit.

Sports rants are actually pretty common to sports oriented websites and blogs. There is even a YouTube channel called SportsRantz wherein that is all they do - rant about different sports. See http://www.youtube.com/sportsrantz to see what I am talking about.

SportsRantz TV - Interactive sports talk and sports tv


But that is just the thing about spectator sports. They're for spectating. Normal people don't actually DO these sports.

Oh sure, some people out there play football, baseball, basketball, hockey, soccer, rugby, cricket... Some of them like me even do boxing, archery and swimming.

But being an avid spectator of a sport and being an active participant in a sport are two extremely different things. They can certainly be complimentary however.

If you watch sports regularly, yes, you can learn things to improve the quality of your performance in your chosen sport. But it will only happen if your chosen sporting franchise is actually giving away professional tips to people new to the sport.

Example...

Watch an archery competition on YouTube sometime. They will talk and talk about concentration and focus, and it is true that those things are important. But they will completely skip over important aspects of archery such as form, balance, training regimens, training methodology, diet, cross-training, etc. In other words the sports broadcasters / announcers are really focused on the entertainment value of what they are presenting and they aren't teaching the viewers anything about the sport and how to get better at it.

And there are many televised sports that do this - all entertainment value, almost no sports educational value.

And then there is the advertising commercials - which largely vary between beer commercials and sometimes, if you're lucky, you might get a Nike or Adidas commercial.

Lets take for example the Tour de France - a bicycling race across part of France which takes 21 days to complete and includes 2 rest days. Which means people watching the Tour de France on television are basically watching 21 days of people doing nothing but bicycle really hard (and sometimes have crashes, which admittedly makes it a bit like Nascar, people like to see athletes crashing into each other).

When you watch the Tour de France on television you will see on a regular basis commercials for bicycles. And it is basically the only time I have ever seen a bicycle commercial. You will see other commercials too, again geared towards sports fans, but the bicycle commercials will dominant.

Now that to me is the way commercials for sports SHOULD be done. The advertising fits the sport itself.

Whereas if you watch football every second ad will be either a truck commercial or a beer commercial - because they've recognized that the people who watch football in America are the working class, and they just happen to like beer and trucks. (Ironically you will also see a lot of commercials telling people to not drive while drunk, which makes perfect sense when you consider the other things they are being told to go out and purchase.)

Anyway, back to my original point of this post...

If you are going to show interest in a particular sport I recommend actually doing that sport yourself. If you love tennis, go get a tennis racquet and learn how to play tennis. You don't even need a partner or a tennis court to practice either. You can practice against a wall for fun (similar to a squash court).

Although I do recommend it be a wall without windows. Breaking windows and losing your tennis balls constantly would be a bad idea.

Some tennis courts also have walls specifically made so people can practice against a wall by themselves - as shown by the image on the above right.

So you definitely don't need a partner all the time if you want to do a competitive sport, and therefore a shortage of an exercise partner should be no deterrent from you getting your needed exercise.

Of course, if you absolutely must have a partner you could also hire me as your personal trainer. Although I admit, I suck at tennis, but that is mostly because my backhand is so horrible and I don't do tennis that often.

However like with any sport that takes patience and practice a person will get better if they just follow the Nike slogan and "JUST DO IT".

How to Train for Archery at Home

Here is a 10 Exercises you can do at home to improve your body for the sport of archery.

#1. Pushups. Lots of them!

I do 25 push ups at a time, 4 times per day. If you can't do 25 at once, try doing 20, 15 or 10 pushups at time... but aim for a total of 100 pushups.

#2. Headstand Pushups!

I do 20 of these per day. Use a wall or door to balance your feet so you don't fall over. You should feel a muscle ripping sensation in your arms and shoulders. If you are new to this exercise, aim to do 5 at a time.

#3. Yoga!

Yoga helps build core muscles, posture and balance, both of which are important for archery and maintain a good still pose while readying a shot. You can put as much effort into yoga as you have motivation. I recommend at least 30 minutes per day.

#4. Situps!

Situps will help tighten up your stomach muscles and improve your breath control. For extra challenge try doing breathing exercises while doing your situps. Learning to control you breathing and you stomach/lung muscles is an important part of archery. Breathe into your gut, not your chest. Aim for 100 situps twice per day (morning and late afternoon).

#5. Bicep Curls!

Get some dumbbells. Preferably a weight that is a challenge for you, but not so much that you can't do more than 5 repetitions. Aim for a weight where it starts feel like a challenge after 10 reps.

#6. Tricep Curls or Triceps Kickback!

This one is more important than the biceps, because you use your triceps a lot more in archery. My favourite way of doing tricep curls is to lift the dumbbells above and behind my head, and then lift upwards above my head. You should feel it in the backs of your arms. Do 20 reps, rest, repeat 5 times.

Another option you can do is the Triceps Kickback, shown here on the right photo.

#7. Squats

Do 20 squats, 5 sets.Try and keep your back straight up and down while you are squatting. The goal here is to improve your posture and balance.

#8. Balancing Exercises

Explore a variety of balancing exercises. Invent your own! There are a variety of yoga poses you can do to improve your balance.

#9. Rowing

If you have a rowing machine at home or at the gym, use it! If you don't get a stretchy piece of fabric or a rope and do rowing exercises using it. An exercise stretch band would be ideal.

#10. Fast Shadow Boxing

The action of punching and pulling back your arm super fast uses the triceps a lot. For extra challenge use a small weight (5 lbs) while you are boxing.

The end result is to forge your body into a more efficient archery machine. After that its just a matter of honing your aim, building experience, and mind-body control.

If you want to push yourself even further I recommend exploring Zen Archery.



An Interview with Lou Ferrigno

"Your health is your best wealth." says Lou Ferrigno, who talks about weightlifting, wine and how his career kept his life on the right track. All that and more in the following interview with William Shatner.


How to Reduce Stress using Exercise, Diet and Sleep

Q.

"Hello!

I have a very busy schedule with work and it is extremely stressful. It isn't really a lot of hours, but its the stress and I am not sleeping properly either. I want to exercise more, and I do have time on the weekends, but I don't feel motivated because I am so exhausted and stressed out from work. HELP!

Seriously, any advice would be extremely helpful.

- Jonathan R."

Stop stressing out!
A.

Hey Jonathan!

I am sorry to hear work has got you down so much. But let me try to help you with some very sound advice (which I have separated into three sections below).

SECTION #1. DIET

I noticed you didn't mention your diet at all. What you are eating is often largely responsible for how you are feeling. From a nutritionist perspective diet plays a huge a role (about 80%) in everything we do. Sleep and exercise also plays a role, but the percentage of each is small in contrast.

When people are stressed out they tend to crave comfort food. Foods that are high in carbs, sugar, etc. Breads, pasta, ice cream, chocolate, and also salty junk food. The reason is because these foods cause a temporary boost in endorphin levels. They're like a drug and they are addictive. The extra carbs later makes you feel worse, bloated and depressed, so you go back for more just so you can get that temporary boost in endorphins. Its a horrible cycle and its only made worse if you are under a lot of stress.

So how do you fix this?

STEP ONE - Don't go grocery shopping when depressed. Go when you are in a positive mood and only buy things that are good for you. Whole wheat breads/pastas, get yogurt instead of ice cream, buy lots of veggies and fruits (LOTS!), skim milk instead of 2%.

STEP TWO - When hungry, snack on healthy things. Don't starve yourself until later. Eat now and eat healthy. Starving yourself is both unhealthy and adds more to your stress levels.

STEP THREE - Plan your meals ahead of time to make healthier meals. Doing so will help regulate your stress levels.

STEP FOUR - Don't get rid of carbs completely. You still need them. That is why whole wheat bread/pasta is good for you.

STEP FIVE - Avoid junk food, but don't be afraid to indulge during parties and special events. You are there to have fun and relax. Enjoy! Don't punish yourself either.


SECTION #2. EXERCISE

Many people who come home from work and are exhausted just want to chill in front of a TV and not doing anything active all evening. However exercising for 30 minutes to 60 minutes between 6 PM and 8 PM will also help you get a better night's sleep and will reduce your stress levels dramatically. I don't recommend exercising after 9 PM because then you can get insomnia from getting "too pumped up". Basically if the sun is still up, its a good time to exercise. Once the sun sets, its time to relax and get ready for bed.

Plus some exercises are really good at lowering stress levels. But what exercises can you do at home that help lower stress?

OPTION ONE - Boxing. I love boxing myself. It is very good for cardio. Just doing shadow boxing by yourself for 30 minutes every night will both provide exercise and reduce stress. Other forms of martial arts are also handy, but more difficult for beginners to learn and do at home.

OPTION TWO - Yoga. Yoga is great for developing your core muscles and also reducing stress.

OPTION THREE - Weightlifting. Try getting some dumbbells to start off and lifting weights while watching your favourite TV shows. During commercial breaks do jumping jacks and then go back to the dumbbells. If you progress further with this get a barbell and do deadlifts during the commercial breaks, but be sure to learn how to do a proper Olympic style deadlift so your form is correct and you don't hurt yourself. Start off with weights that are just heavy enough that doing 10 reps is a challenge. If you can only do 5 they are too heavy. If you can do 30 without feeling a challenge, they are too light.

OPTION FOUR - For the weekends look for exercises you can do that get you outside and are either "low stress exercises" like going for nature walks and similar "low cardio exercises", or alternatively try "stress release exercises" like archery, boxing, martial arts. Look for fun exercises that you can enjoy again and again every weekend.

You may be exhausted after work and on the weekends. But if you make a plan to do these things you will find the motivation because you've made it part of a schedule.


SECTION #3. SLEEP

Having a balanced diet and regular exercise will help you sleep better, but there are also other ways to improve your sleep patterns.

#1. Close the drapes / get thicker/blacker drapes so you can block out the light. This way you don't have the light bothering you while you are trying to sleep.

#2. Get more comfortable pillows.

#3. Clean your bedsheets and make your bed regularly. A smooth and comfortable (and clean) bed will help you sleep better because it will be more comfortable.

#4. Some people prefer to fall asleep to music. Get a stereo or program on your computer (or app on your smartphone) with a timer which will play music and then shut off automatically after 45 minutes or so.

#5. Seek psychiatric help. Some people have problems sleeping at night because of old guilt / unresolved feelings. Might even be giving them nightmares. Facing your demons, apologizing to past enemies, visiting the gravestones of your loved ones, etc can also help you to sleep better at night once you've figured out what is stressing you out.

#6. Sex. Ahem. Yes, that could certainly help you sleep too. Great for reducing stress too! And its exercise!


If it is really purely work that is stressing you out and you can afford to make a career change, you might also consider that as a possibility. It really depends on how much you love your job or whether you only do it because you are chasing the almighty dollar. That is for you to determine, not me. I will say however that money is not everything and learning to let go of our stress over money can also lead to a happier and healthier life.

A career change, taking a year off to travel and relax, taking a sabbatical - they are all options if you have the resources and/or will.


How to Hire an In Home Personal Trainer

Its Spring. April. The time of year when many young people want to start losing weight so they can get that "Beach Perfect Body" for the summer.

Chances are likely you spent the winter hibernating indoors (because lets face it, even Toronto gets cold in the winter despite being one of the warmer places in Canada). You might still even have some extra weight from Christmas, which is no big deal.

And if you are like me, you probably just ate a chocolate bunny or multiple chocolate eggs during Easter long weekend. Unlike me, you might not be so active that you burn off the extra sugar from the chocolate bunny so quickly.

So in an effort to stay on top of your personal fitness regimen, or get started on a program, since you've never really taken exercise seriously before, you start thinking about hiring a personal trainer. A personal trainer who will not only design a custom program to address your individual goals, strengths and limitations, but will also provide accountability, consistency and constant motivation to help achieve your goals more quickly, and in a healthy manner.


Now when it comes to in-home training services all you really need to do is find a personal trainer you like. Some people prefer more of a drill sergeant routine and some people prefer a personal trainer who is more like their best friend / coach. I am the latter, I am extremely talkative. Once you do find a trainer who suits your needs then you just need to workout a schedule, a location, a payment plan... and that is it! You're done.

The personal trainer comes to your house or condo or local park (some people prefer to train outdoors when the weather is nice) and you do your workout with privacy and without silly onlookers gawking at the person doing jumping jacks, punching a boxing pad, etc. Or maybe you are more confident and just don't care that people gawk at you.
 
The convenience of completing workouts in the comfort of your own home or condo gym helps make sure you stick to workouts because its part of a schedule and people crave regular schedules. Having a personal trainer who is punctual, extremely reliable, and results driven also means that you keep coming back for more (although maybe not until next year, when its that time to get ready for summer again).

The best part is once you get into the rhythm of regular exercise it becomes a lifestyle change and begin to feel younger, stronger, faster, fitter and more confident about yourself.


Don't just get in shape for Summer. Get in shape for LIFE!

What the eff is FOC Weight? Plus Archery Acronyms

The first time you hear an experienced archer say the words "FOC Weight" you might think they are using a bad word that starts with F.

They're not. Its just an acronym.

FOC stands for "Front of Center" and its weight refers to the weight of the arrowhead on the arrow and where the arrow's balancing point should be.

Arrowheads are largely interchangeable and different weights of arrowheads are better for shooting different distances, depending on the type of bow you are using. Higher weight target arrowheads are often used by archers who also do hunting, because hunting arrowheads tend to weigh a lot more - and thus they need to practice using the heavier arrowheads.

Arrowhead weight is measured in Grains.

Thus you can get arrowheads in 50 grain, 75 grain, 100 grain, 125 grain or 150 grain. There are many more size than those I am listing here. Most beginner archers use a lighter grain. Experienced archers don't get into experimenting with different grains until they've been doing archery for a few years already.

[1st NOTE - If you don't like experimenting you can also try just measuring. On a 30 inch arrow the balancing point of the arrow should be 12 inches from the tip of the arrow. At that location you should be fine for most of the things you do archery wise. Only people who are trying to get an extra edge should worry about finding the perfect FOC Weight for their arrow.]

[2nd NOTE - A handy rule of thumb, on a 30 inch arrow the optimal balance point will be approx 30 cm in from the tip. On a 29 inch arrow it will be 29 cm. On a 34 inch arrow, 34 cm. Basically the ratio of inches to cm is almost exactly the ideal balancing point. It will be off ever so slightly (by like an eighth of an inch) but the difference is negligible. So if you want to calculate the balancing point very quickly just get a measuring tape or ruler that has both inches and cm.]

But lets pretend for a moment that you have been doing archery for a few years. How do you experiment with it?

Well, the truth is you have to be really scientific about it. My recommendation is taking 12 of your favourite arrows (that are all the same size, correct length for your draw) and then buy 12 arrowheads of 3 different sizes (eg. 50, 100, 125) and then experiment at your local archery range with the different arrowheads and record each round the quality of your shots.

For best results use a scoring method with the target, possibly even standard archery competition scoring.

Try different ranges of distance too. See which arrowheads work best depending on the distance.

Watch out for fishtailing arrows. If your arrow is doing that often then that means you are using the wrong weight of arrowhead. Your end goal is to get good distance and accuracy with your arrows with very little fishtailing.

In short, just keep experimenting until you determine which arrowheads work best for you. You can read more into FOC Weight on other websites, I am just doing a generic posting for now to explain what FOC Weight is.

MORE ARCHERY ACRONYMS

ASA - Archery Shooters Association

ATA - Archery Trade Association

BH  - Broadhead (Arrowhead that is wider)

BP - Bullet Point (Arrowhead)

BT - Back Tension

CS - Compound Shooter

DL - Draw Length

DLDW - Draw Length and Draw Weight

DW - Draw Weight

FITA - International Archery Federation (English name), the French name is Federation Internationale de Tir a l'Arc.

FP - Field Point (Arrowhead)

GPI - Grains Per Inch (measurement of arrow weight)

IBO - International Bowhunting Organization

IOC - International Olympic Committee

NEWB - Not an actual acronym, just means someone who is New to the sport.

NFAA - National Field Archers Association

RED or LED - Right Eye Dominant or Left Eye Dominant

RH or LH - Right Hand or Left Hand

TJFA - Tree Jumped in Front of my Arrow

TS - Traditional Shooter

April Exercise Motivational Quotes

"Live life to the fullest and you will never find an excuse not to exercise."
- Charles Moffat

"Good for the body is the work of the body, and good for the soul is the work of the soul, and good for either is the work of the other."
- Henry David Thoreau
 
"Give thanks for what you are now, and keep fighting for what you want to be tomorrow."
- Fernanda Miramontes-Landeros
 
"Seek freedom and become captive of your desires. Seek discipline and find your liberty."
- Frank Herbert
 
"The first and greatest victory is to conquer yourself; to be conquered by yourself is of all things most shameful and vile."
- Plato
 
"Excess on occasion is exhilirating. It prevents moderation from acquiring the deadening effect of a habit."
- W. Somerset Maugham

"The vow that binds too strictly snaps itself."
- Alfred Lord Tennyson

"I have been impressed with the urgency of doing. Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Being willing is not enough; we must do."
- Leonardo da Vinci

"Successful people aren't born that way. They become successful by establishing the habit of doing things unsuccessful people don't like to do. The successful people don't always like these things themselves; they just get on and do them."
- Unknown

"Doing the best at this moment puts you in the best place for the next moment."
- Oprah Winfrey

"The higher your energy level, the more efficient your body The more efficient your body, the better you feel and the more you will use your talent to produce outstanding results."
- Anthony Robbins

"Little by little one walks far"
- Peruvian Proverb 

"Sometimes the most urgent thing you can possibly do is take a complete rest."
- Ashleigh Brilliant
 

"Rest when you're weary. Refresh and renew yourself, your body, your mind, your spirit. Then get back to work."
- Ralph Marston
 

"Rest: the sweet sauce of labor."
- Plutarch
 

"It is not good for all our wishes to be filled; through sickness we recognize the value of health; through evil, the value of good; through hunger, the value of food; through exertion, the value of rest."
- Dorothy Canfield Fisher 


"I still need more healthy rest in order to work at my best. My health is the main capital I have and I want to administer it intelligently."
- Ernest Hemingway
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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