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Trampoline Workouts - Fun and Low Effort

When it comes to unusual workouts you can't get much weirder than trampoline exercises - or trampoline sports.

 These "death traps" however are not to be taken lightly. As the classic Simpsons episode demonstrates, trampolines can cause some serious injuries so my immediate recommendation is that you start small, use a space with lots of headroom (so you don't hit your head on the ceiling), and proceed slowly with a degree of caution until you get used to the trampoline.

These days you can get a mini exercise trampoline and this will make much more sense if you are getting purely to be part of your workout. (Note that I said "part of your workout". Using a trampoline should not be sole source of your exercise.)

Like any other fitness gadget you will need to learn how to use it properly and safely - and to its full potential, and thus realize also its limitations. You will want to use it barefoot or in socks, pad the area around the trampoline (in case you fall off), and never have food or water on the trampoline with you (it has the potential to make a mess, become a distraction and cause slippery accidents).

8 Super Fun Trampoline Exercises

#1. Start by doing a simple bouncing exercise on both feet for 2 minutes to warm up. This will be relatively relaxing and fun.

#2. Boxing - Upwards, forward and sides. Alternate punching upwards, to the side and forward. Do this for 2 minutes. Take a small break and stretch if you feel tired after this.

#3. Jumping Jacks - Do 50 if you are just starting. 100 if you've done this before.

#4. Snap Kicks - Be careful doing this. You will want to get your foot back down quickly so you need to kick quickly upwards and back down again. (Snap kicks is a basic martial arts move, but definitely fun to do.) Do 20 snap kicks total. Take your time in-between each kick.

#5. Bounce Side to Side for 2 minutes.

#6. Twist Jumps - Twist your hips from side to side while jumping for 2 minutes.

#7. Marching - Get your knees up high while doing this for 2 minutes.

#8. Cool down again by doing a basic bouncing exercise, going slower until you hop off after 2 minutes.

If you get bored of the workout above try making up your own exercises you can do on the trampoline. Experiment!

NOTES

Trampolines are a low impact workout, but it also tones the legs and core muscles because it involves so much jumping and balance.

The National Ballet School in Toronto even uses mini exercise trampolines for their ballet students.

If you suddenly feel dizzy slow down and get off the trampoline. Take a break and drink a small amount of water.

You may feel a significant energy boost after exercising on a trampoline - the reason is because the fun quality of the exercise boosts your adrenaline and other "fun" hormones in your body which make you feel energized.


Trampolines work well when combined with other exercises like jogging outside, doing yoga on a mat, and even weightlifting with free weights at home (not on the trampoline, that is dangerous).

Trampoline exercises don't really burn a lot of calories by themselves. Hence why they work well as a motivator, but not so good at burning fat. Use the trampoline to motivate yourself to exercise - like a reward for completing your morning jog.


Rapid Fire Archery - Different Techniques of Fast Shooting

I have talked about Lars Anderson before in an archery post called Ancient Techniques of Fast Shooting. I highly recommend reading it and watching the video if you are interested in learning how to shoot arrows super fast.

The problem with Lars Anderson's technique is that it requires some specific archery equipment - so you cannot just do that kind of archery with just any bow.

In theory you would need a bow that you can shoot off the right side (which is very unusual for a right-handed shooter) so that you don't have to move the arrow around the bow riser to rest it on the left side (which is the normal place for an right hand archer to shoot off). So right away this means that various longbows and shortbows would be more ideal for this kind of shooting because you could shoot off your left hand's thumb instead of off an arrow rest.

Thus certain styles of archery - like traditional Korean archery or Turkish archery - have a distinct advantage for archers seeking to shoot fast.

In the photo on the right you see a man using a thumb ring and shooting off his thumb on the right side of the bow. Using the thumb ring means he doesn't have to slow down to check his finger positioning on the bowstring so he gains an advantage to his speed. Shooting off his thumb also means he doesn't have to move the arrow around to the left side just to be able to rest it in preparation for his shot. Taken together this speeds up the process of shooting dramatically.

But the big thing is being able to hold your arrows in your right hand in preparation of the next shot. The Lars Anderson technique (which he learned from ancient texts from Persia) is to hold the arrows between his fingers in preparation for the next shot... But he moves so quickly in the videos you cannot see how he positions the arrows so quickly, moving them into readiness to be nocked on the bowstring.

In the video below you will see a man (Adam Swoboda) demonstrating Middle Eastern techniques of fast shooting - but doing them slower than Lars Anderson does so you can see how he holds his arrows in his hand, uses a Mongolian style draw with a thumb ring, and rests the arrow on his thumb while shooting. In the first part of the video Adam Swoboda holds the arrows backwards so they don't interfere with his shot so much and he comparatively takes his time with each individual shot.

In Part 2A of the video he demonstrates another way of shooting, this time holding the arrows in-between his fingers in a manner similar to Lars Anderson's style. It is comparatively faster. Then in Part 2B he does it again, but this time backwards held between the fingers. And lastly Part 3, where he holds the arrows midway on the shaft - and shoots roughly the same speed.


Thus what we have learned from this is partly that fast shooting requires a lot of fingerwork to the point of sleight of hand because it is tricky to hold the arrows like that - let alone 10 of them like Lars Anderson does in the photo at the top of this post.

But the video above also shows Adam Swoboda's mistakes too. His left arm is moving around too much horizontally when he should have it fully extended the entire time, he is taking too much time positioning and nocking the arrow with his fingers, he is simply taking too many motions to get the task done when he only needs TWO motions - nocking arrow in one motion and then pulling back quickly and releasing quickly. Lastly he seems to take his time actually aiming - whereas for speed shooting you want to be aiming more instinctively based on your past experience.

Using a wooden shortbow I recently purchased I have been practicing these fast techniques at home seeking to find my own fast shooting methodology. So far I have eschewed the thumb ring and am instead using a two finger draw method (with no gloves) and hold the arrows between the two fingers doing the drawing (see photo further below). I hold all the arrows between those two fingers and each time I nock a new arrow it happens very naturally because I don't have to move the arrows from one finger to the next before nocking. I also don't do a full draw of the arrow either. I pull it back only part way before each release and then start nocking the next arrow.

Aiming wise I have to do it pretty much instinctively because my nocking method is so fast I don't really have time to consciously aim. HOWEVER, I am getting surprisingly good consistency using this method. I wouldn't have thought it would come so easily, but my arrows are always hitting the target in tight clusters.

During the first day of trying this method I was able to shoot 3 arrows in 2.7 seconds. With practice I may be able to shoot a lot more and hopefully get faster.


Other things I have learned about fast archery...

#1. Canter the bow to the left. I know it feels weird, but the tilt away from the arrow rest allows me to rest the arrow / nock faster and causes no difference to the accuracy quality of my shots. If anything it improves it because the tilt allows me to see the target easier.

#2. Wear gloves and a bracer to protect your hands and forearms. Mistakes will be made and they hurt. Use feather fletching too. Less problems if the fletching rubs against the other arrows' fletching.

#3. Sometimes I accidentally use a three finger draw without realizing it. It doesn't seem to make any difference.

#4. Note to self, buy wider nocks for faster nocking.

#5a. You have to really practice nocking quickly. I find using the backs of my knuckles as a guide for the bowstring works really well and I don't have to think about it to the point it starts to feel instinctive.

#5b. Don't try to use three or more arrows at once. Learn to nock and shoot two arrows very quickly first before trying to do three or more. Master two arrows fast shooting first!

#6. Don't worry about the arrows bumping or rubbing against each other during the nocking or drawing process. It doesn't matter by the time you actually take the shot so don't waste time thinking about it.

#7. I think my reading about Zen (particularly the book "The Unfettered Mind") may have better prepared me for this because I am less distracted by minor things. Avoiding distractions and not dwelling on them by maintaining a disciplined mind that is focused on doing everything quickly seems to make me go faster. If you think about something too much it ends up slowing you down, but you just do it without really thinking you are much faster.

#8. Note to self, buy a better bowstring for my wooden shortbow. Something thinner and easier to nock.

#9. Note to self, switch to double-fletched arrows instead of triple-fletched arrows. I am not sure it will make a difference but I want to see if the double fletching is faster / more accurate for this kind of shooting.

#10. After awhile it starts to feel like I am aiming without really looking at the target. Makes me wonder if I could hit the target blindfolded if I knew where it was and practiced as such.

#11. Learn to nock the arrows by feel - not by sight. Stop looking at the arrows during the process. If anything look at the target (ignore what I said in #11, I was getting over confident) and do everything else in terms of nocking and drawing by feel.

#12. I also tried an alternate method of shooting a nocking which has the bow going completely horizontal, the arrows over the top (left side shooting this time), and the arrows resting on the top of the bow the same way with my fingers as above, but during the draw I keep the bow relatively horizontal and I am pulling back with the fingers facing downwards (which compared to my normal shooting method, is backwards). It actually felt like it had the potential to be faster still than the method I am using above, but would require a lot of practice to get used to. I guess the tip here then is...

Keep practicing!

Nose Exercises - Do you actually need them or are you being overly sensitive of your nose?

Shiksha has been doing the nose exercises for
2 weeks and is already seeing results. But
her nose already pretty small and perfect.
 So far I have posted twice about nose exercises. This post would be the third.

The previous two posts are:

1. Nose Exercises Vs Rhinoplasty

2. Fixing a Crooked Nose using Nose Exercises

The first of these two posts are really popular for people to comment on. Likely because many people think their nose isn't perfect.

I admit myself, my own isn't perfect. It is too wide and at one point it was even crooked because I had been punched in the nose and it had gone a bit crooked - but I managed to fix that crookedness using nose exercises and my nose looks straight again. (I should post before and after photos sometime.)

I have also been doing the nose shortening / squinting exercises and the nose narrower exercise so I can make my nose smaller and thinner - and in my mind, more attractive. I was "blessed" with a big German hawk nose, but thanks to the exercises it is getting smaller and thinner and doesn't look so huge any more.

Now the thing is that the people who comment on the Nose Exercises Vs Rhinoplasty post are basically people just like me - for whatever reason they are dissatisfied with their nose. They might even have been tempted to get rhinoplasty to fix their nose.

Or worse, someone might have even been rude to blurt out something like "You should get a nose job!" (Like that scene in the Seinfeld episode "The Nose Job".)


At which point you have to ask yourself are you the type of person who is actually worried about the appearance of your nose and want to do something about it?

Shiksha's nose is already pretty small - making
her an ideal candidate for nose exercises.
In which case, what are your options and what kind of changes do you want?

Well, obviously here my goal is to encourage people to simply do the nose exercises, be patient and they will see results over the long term by doing them. Their nose will slowly but surely change their shape due to a remaking of the various muscles inside the nose so that eventually your nose is a different shape.

But for a person who lacks patience, or a person who wants really drastic changes (a la Michael Jackson), well then rhinoplasty is going to be their first choice because they won't want to wait to do it through simple exercises because they want dramatic changes right now. Instant gratification and a big surgery bill - and possibly a botched surgery, which happens surprisingly often in that industry. (Elective surgery companies always understate how often botched surgeries happen for fear of scaring customers away and potential lawsuits.)

What nose exercises does however is provide a second option for people who are tempted by surgery, but only want to make small changes to their nose - and they're willing to do the exercises in order to see the long term results.

Here again is the list of Nose Exercises that will help reshape your nose. Please read the full details at Nose Exercises Vs Rhinoplasty so you get a better idea of how long to do the exercises, how often, maintenance, etc.

And if you have a specific problem like a crooked nose (due to a boxing injury, etc) read Fixing a Crooked Nose using Nose Exercises

1. Squinting the Nose

Basically all you do is smile and try to squish your nose upwards using the muscles within your nose. No hands required. This upward "squinting" of the nose will add more girth to muscles in the sides of the nose and, assuming you do it evenly, both sides of the nose will auto-correct themselves with time until they're both equally muscular.

Hold for 5 to 10 seconds. Repeat 20 to 30 times daily until your nose muscles straighten out.


2. The Nose Shortener

This exercise isn't so much to repair damage as it is to prevent long term degradation of cartilage within the nose. As you get older your nose continues to grow, and the cartilage in the lower section may weaken and then separate from the upper part of the nose. This often gives the appearance that a hump has developed on the bridge of the nose. A plastic surgeon can perform surgery to improve the shape of your crooked nose or you can do this handy "Nose Shortening" exercise which will help to strengthen the muscles in that region of the nose.

Using your index finger, push the tip of your nose up. Contract the muscle by flexing your nose down against the resistance created by your finger. Hold for 5 to 10 seconds. Repeat 30 times, each time concentrating on the muscle forcing your finger down. Keep your breathing steady while performing the exercise. To get the maximum results, perform the Nose Shortener exercise twice a day.


3. The Nose Shaper

The upper part of the nose is made of solid bone and the center part is made from cartilage, so there really is not anything that can be done via exercising. However the bottom part of the nose had several different muscles which can be exercised, and by doing so it is possible to change the general shape of your nose. The "Nose Shaper" exercise involves placing your index fingers down either side of your nose, and flaring your nostrils by using the muscles above and below your nostrils. Your fingers create resistance by keeping your fingers in place against the movement of the nostrils, sort of like weightlifting for your nose.

Repeat this exercise 30 times, twice per day. The end result will create a less droopy nose, but the nostrils will appear wider... so if you don't want wider nostrils maybe you should consider the exercise below instead.


4. Nose Narrowing

Want a more narrow nose? Lower your chin and mouth and narrow your nose in the process. This uses a different set of muscles inside your nose which will help tighten up and narrow the appearance of your nose.

Hold for 5 to 10 seconds. Repeat 30 times, twice per day, and observe the long term results as your nose becomes more narrow.


5. Nose Wiggling

This one is easier to do in front of a mirror. Wiggle your nose from side to side, without moving your lips/etc. Why? Well, if you can master it then it makes for an interesting party trick. Not sure if its useful in terms of improving your looks however, but presumably it helps build the muscles within your nose.


End Results?

Do you actually need nose exercises? No, not really. But it is your nose. Do you actually need to exercise and eat healthy? No, not really. But it is your body, and therefore you exercise and eat well to keep it healthy and looking good. So choosing to do exercises to correct a crooked nose / etc is your choice - even if your nose seems perfectly normal and beautiful to everyone else.

Well, if nose exercises put a smile on your face then who are we to say no to something that makes you feel better about yourself? (Or in some cases, fixes a boxing injury.)



PERSONALIZED HELP

I am getting a lot of requests from people wanting personalized advice about their nose and what nose exercises they should do, how often they should do them, special circumstances,  etc. My advice is to follow the instructions listed above and on other posts I have made about nose exercises.

If you are contacting me asking me for personalized help - basically asking for my services in aiding you with your nose exercises, then I will need to charge you my personal training rate ($50 per hour) for my services.

I know this is not the answer many of you are looking for. I have already answered many of the frequently asked questions in the comments section of various nose exercise posts, and answered many emails from people asking for help with their nose exercises - but I am a busy person and the emails have reached a point where I need to start charging for this service because I cannot answer all of them.

Best of luck with your nose exercises!

Pape Subway Station closed - Donlands station now routing to Archery Range

If you are planning to get to E.T. Seton Park - home of Toronto's Public Archery Range - via Pape Station and the 25 bus please be advised that Pape Station will be closed from August 19th to 30th and will reopen on August 31st.

In the meantime archers will need to get to the Toronto archery range via Donlands station, where the 25 bus will be rerouted during the 12 day closure.

That or drive. Or bicycle. Or use the Don Valley's many hiking trails (which are easy to get lost on and it is rather far to walk, depending on where you are coming from).


Torontonians looking for archery lessons are advised to contact cardiotrek {atsymbol} gmail.com for more information about lessons and scheduling.


The Benefits of Olympic Weightlifting

Olympic style lifting has many health benefits including:

Multi-joint movement. These are not isolated exercises. Many muscles work at the same time as a group.

Lots of core work (back, side and stomach muscles) involved.

Trains for speed, power and agility.

Strengthens ankles and wrists.

More functional than isolated exercises like bicep curls.

Some examples of Olympic Lifts are:

1. Hang Jump Shrug

2. Clean and Snatch Pulls and High Pull

3. Power Clean and Power Snatch

4. Front and Back Squats

5. Split Squasts and Side Squats

6. Deadlifts

7. Good Morning, Push Press and Push Jerk

But first...
 
Two Basic Weightlifting Positions You Should Learn First

Squat Jumps

This plyometric exercise (a power exercise, your feet will leave the floor) is a staple movement for many Olympic lifts. It's comparatively easy! Start by assuming a basic squat stance with your feet hip width apart, all of the weight on the heels, and your buttocks pushed back like you're about to sit in a chair. Keep your abs tight and back straight.

Next, place your hands behind your head, go down into the squat, until your thighs are basically parallel to the floor.
Finally, focus your energy on pushing up through the heels and ankles and spring upwards. Your feet leave the floor and your body straightens completely in the air.

Tips for Beginners - Begin by using body weight only, and by coming about an inch or so off the ground, just to test for limitations, and to perfect your form. When it becomes too easy, aim for more height. The intermediate step would be to add dumbbells, or a barbell behind your head, placed over your trapezoids.

The Hang Position

This " power position" is the basis for many Olympic lifts. It will set you up for explosive power with jumping lifts, and work on having excellent form for your deadlifts.

Start by getting back into the basic squat position with knees slightly bent, weight on the heels, and buttocks back. With your back straight, and shoulders back, slide your hands down your thighs to your knees. This movement is initiated by bending at the hips, not the knees.

Now that you are leaning forward, arms down, hips back you are ready to start lifting!

Food Motivation Quotes

"You wouldn't choose to eat poison would you? So why would you choose not to eat healthy?"
- Charles Moffat

"I do the same exercises I did 50 years ago and they still work. I eat the same food I ate 50 years ago and it still works."
- Arnold Schwarzenegger

"One of the very nicest things about life is the way we must regularly stop whatever it is we are doing and devote our attention to eating."
- Luciano Pavarotti

"Shipping is a terrible thing to do to vegetables. They probably get jet-lagged, just like people."
- Elizabeth Berry
"When baking, follow directions. When cooking, go by your own taste."
- Laiko Bahrs

"It's bizarre that the produce manager is more important to my children's health than the pediatrician."
- Meryl Streep

"The bagel, an unsweetened doughnut with rigor mortis."
- Beatrice & Ira Freeman

"We are living in a world today where lemonade is made from artificial flavors and furniture polish is made from real lemons."
- Alfred E. Newman

"Tell me what you eat, I'll tell you who you are."
- Anthelme Brillat-Savarin 


Hang Jump Shrug

Hang Jump Shrug is a simple weightlifting exercise that is recommended after mastering the jump squat.

Instructions

1. Start by holding a lightweight loaded barbell or a light pair of dumbbells with a pronated (palms facing back toward your thighs) grip. Your grip is shoulder width apart and your feet a little wider than hips.

2. Lower the weight down to your knees and get into what is called the "hang" or "power position".

3. Remember to slightly bend your knees, and stick your hips back while lowering. Keep the back straight with the eyes and chest lifted. This position will feel like leaning forward to look out a short window.

4. Next, push into the ground with your feet and jump up and straight with power. During this movement, with arms straight, simultaneously shrug the shoulders up toward the ears.

5. Land flat footed with knees bent and hips back. This absorbs the landing in the hips, oppose to landing on your toes and taking the impact in the knees.

6. Reset position for next rep.

Do 3 sets of 20 or 6 sets of 10, whichever you are more comfortable with.

All Year Fitness in Toronto

Bikini season is almost over and as scary as that sounds, WINTER IS COMING...

Which means many of you are going to start looking for ways to exercise indoors - preferably for cheap. However you are in luck because Toronto is ripe with fitness classes, big box gyms, skating rinks and parks with trails. Now that the freakishly hot weather of Summer is starting to dwindle it is time to start exploring your other fitness options for staying lean and fit.

If you are looking for a gym in downtown Toronto there is only a few I actually recommend - and they're all owned by either Ryerson or the University of Toronto. Ryerson has the RAC and the MAC (and I had a membership with both of them this summer so I could use their weightlifting rooms and their pool). The University of Toronto likewise has a number of equally good pools and gyms you can use. Which one is better? Honestly, just get the one closest to you.

And if there isn't an university gym or pool near you then I recommend the Toronto YMCA.


I do not recommend ANY of the big box gyms in Toronto because their goal is to get your credit card / bank info and then rape you every month with extra charges, cancellation fees, and refusing to stop taking money from your account even after you cancel your gym membership. (I had an Extreme Fitness membership once and the only way I could get them to stop charging my credit card was to phone the credit card company and cancel the card.) If you do get a gym membership from a big box gym my recommendation is that you pay in cash every month.

Ryerson, the University of Toronto and the Toronto YMCA offer a number of programs that can get you exercising indoors easily enough. Everything from martial arts (tae kwon do, karate, etc) to generic fitness, spin, yoga and pilates classes.

That means that there is basically something for everyone - including Bruce Lee fans.


Outside of gyms and pools, spin classes, etc your next option is to TRY SOMETHING NEW.

In which case there are a variety of places and people to give you some interesting options.

#1. Join a bicycle club - Ride around with other bicycle fanatics on tripped out bicycles.

The Toronto High Park Bicycle Club - torontohpbc.ca

The Toronto Morning Glory Bicycle Club - mgridetoronto.com

The D'Ornellas Cycling Club - dornellascyclingclub.ca

This is not a complete list. When I googled bicycle club toronto I wasn't expecting to find so many... There is pretty much a bicycle club for every age group and neighbourhood in Toronto.

#2. Take up Archery or a similar sport.

Yes you can get archery lessons from me, but there are other sports you might consider as well. For example Javelin throwing.

#3. Take up Boxing or a martial art.

There are a number of boxing gyms in Toronto that you might consider. Remember that boxing is a sport however, not a martial art, and thus is very different. For martial arts you don't even need to take martials arts classes to study martial arts - although it is strongly recommended that you do if you want to get really good at it. Private practice and watching youtube videos will only get you so far.

For boxing gyms check out Sully's, Toronto Newsgirls (a women only boxing gym), and the Cabbagetown Boxing Club. There are many more too.

#4. Take up a winter sport like ice skating.

As the winter gets closer this will become more available as an option. There are several indoor ice rinks however so you can go ice skating even in the summer. (Or take up rollerblading during the summer, which is somewhat similar.)

One of the indoor rinks is at the Ryerson MAC. So with a Ryerson gym membership you get access to weights, cardio equipment, pool, squash courts, and even an ice rink.



#5. Ball Room Dancing / Latin Dancing

Believe it or not you can burn a lot of calories and build good decent muscle tone in your legs through dancing - regardless of whether you are doing a waltz or a salsa. I am not suggesting you should take up ballet, but a healthy awareness of different dance styles and which ones you enjoy will certainly keep you busy. One site you might check out is ballroomdancingtoronto.com, which offers dance classes in Tango, Waltz, Fox Trot, Cha Cha, Rumba, Samba, Salsa, Hustle, Merengue, Swing and more.



Yoga Gloves Vs Fishing Gloves

Have you ever seen these before? They're called yoga gloves and they're very grippy. The idea is that you can wear the gloves and do yoga on a bare wooden floor without needing a yoga mat. You also get yoga socks and you're basically set to do yoga anywhere, anytime.

However what I find funny is that yoga gloves look and feel very similar because they're made of the same materials and also designed to be very grippy - so that you can grab a slippery fish and they can't wiggle away.

The bottom line is if you like to do yoga in weird places (like during a fishing trip...) you can do so using yoga gloves and socks - or if those aren't handy, try some tight fitting fishing gloves instead and discover just how darn similar they are.


How to do Archery in the Wind and Rain

When it comes to outdoor archery competitions there is a good chance you will sometimes end up competing in wind and rain conditions. If you don't like it you have two options:

1. Don't compete in outdoor archery.

2. Learn to shoot despite wind and rain.

Now I am not suggesting you just give up and do number 1. If you give up that easily due to a little wind and rain you seem to be missing the point of outdoor archery - and likewise outdoor archery competitions. The wind and rain (and heat) is supposed to be an added obstacle.

I once did archery on a very foggy day and I have to admit it made it a lot more interesting having a blurry target in the distance. And it really didn't effect the quality of my shots once I got over the unfamiliar environment.

RAIN

Taking positive and preventative action will help you get better results. Fussing over the weather conditions won't help you, but being proactive about them will. Take your time like you would during a normal shot. Don't rush it just because you want to get it over with.

Some people have more difficulties than others shooting in the rain. They think things like "I suck at shooting in the rain. I always shoot badly in the rain." Etc. However that negativity is a mental block. You can adjust for rain conditions very easily.

For example if you practice shooting in the rain regularly you may realize you shoot several inches lower in heavy rain. You can correct this by simply adjusting your shot upwards by the same measurement.

Depending on how heavy the downpour it is you may have to adjust your shots a different amount. If it is barely spitting outside then you don't really need to adjust your shots at all. "It is the arrow hitting the rain, not the rain hitting the arrow."

When it comes to your equipment it is best to think preventative. Keep all your equipment in waterproof containers until it is ready to use. A big baggie can be slid over your quiver to keep your arrows dry. Small baggies for everything else you want to keep dry - including the lens on your telescope when not in use.

Dress appropriately. Always bring your rain gear to competitions because you never know when you might need it. Waterproof boots or shoes, a towel to dry off your equipment, a large umbrella, wide brimmed waterproof hat (Stetson cowboy hats work great), a tight-fitting jacket with a waterproof hood, etc.

If you can have a friend, coach or fellow competitor hold an umbrella for you while you shoot and do the same for them when they shoot.



WIND

Studies show that the wind effects the archer more than the arrow by making you less steady on your feet. The wind is literally blowing you in one direction and you need to anchor your feet and stand firmly to your spot - unbending like an oak tree. Master this ability to be unmoving despite the wind blowing you and the simple matter of adjusting your arrow shots to match the wind will seem easy. (Building up your strength and balance in your legs will be an advantage in such conditions to help keep you steady.)

In wind conditions it depends on whether it is a steady wind or gusting.

A steady wind is easy to adjust for. It will knock your arrows sideways so you need to adjust your shots accordingly. I also find that heavier arrowheads make for less fishtailing arrows, so that will improve your accuracy.

A gusting wind means you need to be patient and time your shot between the gusts. A technique I use is to study the grass while waiting to make my shot. If the grass stops moving in the wind momentarily then it is the right time to shoot. You will still need to adjust your shot like during a steady wind, but the random gusts will feel less random.

If you don't like looking at the grass (or there is no grass) you can also tie a ribbon, windsock or flag to a nearby post and you can get an idea of the wind's direction and speed.

If you don't learn how to adjust for both steady and gusting wind then good luck. Your shots will be a lot more random because you lack the experience learning how to adjust your shots. Experience and training yourself in these conditions are the biggest factors for improving your ability to shoot.

Let your arrows tell you where to aim. This is an old school traditional archery thing, but it remains true for all time. If your shots are going to the left then shoot to the right the appropriate distance. Do NOT changes your sights on your bow. The reason is because if the wind changes several times during the competition then you won't be able to remember all the changes you made.

Shifting Wind Conditions - These are the worst. The wind keeps changing direction at random, sometimes changing and then changing again within mere seconds. Remember your training however and learn to shoot in-between the gaps when the grass it still.

During competitions remember that your fellow competitors are having the same problems as you are. If you have trained to shoot in wind and rain then you will be fine. If they haven't then that gives you a competitive edge.

HEAT AND HUMIDITY

Many archers have less problems combating extreme heat and humidity because they are used to training outdoors on hot days. A lot of this you should already know. However for the purpose of  diversity here is some tips.

Drink lots of fluids - Powerade, Gatorade, juice, etc. Avoid caffeine and alcohol. Avoid sugary drinks too.

Learn the warning signs of heat fatigue, heat exhaustion and heat stroke. Not just for you, but for your fellow competitors.

Keep ice packs and cold drinks in a cooler. A personal cooling device (like those backpacks that cyclists wear) would be handy too. Apply cold packs to your neck and other areas where blood flows.

A fun thing to bring is a camping shower device. Fill it with cold water and stand under it for a cool shower.

Wear clothing that doesn't trap heat or sweat.

Stay in the shade whenever not shooting. A large beach umbrella would be handy if there is no shade available.

Ancient Techniques of Fast Archery

Learning how to shoot fast is a desirable skill for many archers. But is impossible to do using modern archery equipment and techniques.

Rather, an archer needs to learn ancient techniques that haven`t been commonly used in centuries so that they can shoot arrows so fast it seems humanly impossible.

And do things that most archers would never dream of. Things like:

Shooting 3 arrows while falling off a horse or while running backwards.

Shooting 3 arrows in less than 1.5 seconds.

Shooting 10 arrows in less than 5 seconds.

Shooting instinctively without using a fixed anchor point.


If you don`t believe it is possible try watching the following video. Proof that traditional/ancient archery techniques result in superior knowledge of how to shoot.

Motivational Cartoon - Treadmill with Laptop

I agree. People would run a lot more faster if it meant their downloads downloaded faster. It would be very motivational for people to keep jogging.

Normally I don't post funny stuff like this but this time I made an exception.



Archery Lessons for Kids in Toronto

So your kids want to learn archery eh?

And you live in good ol' Toronto, Canada? Even better because this city has many excellent people and places where you can learn archery.

But the problem is do they cater to kids?

The truth is most places that teach archery do NOT cater to kids - or worse, have no experience teaching kids.

So what are your options?

#1. Personal Trainer / Sports Instructor.

I have been teaching archery for 3 years now and I have loads of experience teaching archery to children as young as 10. I provide all the equipment, and instead of being a glorified babysitter I actually do teach your kids how to do archery - which at times is a bit like trying to teach them patience and concentration skills, since archery does require a lot of patience and concentration. A difficult task to teach children, but one which I have been doing quite well.

I teach "Traditional Archery" which is really a method of aiming used by many of the great archers of history. Tried and true techniques to gain accuracy and power in your shots. And it isn't beyond the ability of children to learn if they have a degree of patience.

There are a few other sports trainers in Toronto who provide private lessons for archery - including former Olympian Joan McDonald who coaches Olympic archery (which is expensive and not ideal for kids just learning archery).

The problem with teaching kids archery is that they lose / break arrows a lot. So it becomes expensive to be constantly be buying new archery equipment. (If I was teaching Olympic archery instead of Traditional archery I would need to dramatically raise my prices.)

Another problem is that your kids probably want to shoot a bow similar to the girl Katniss in the Hunger Games or Merida's bow in the Disney movie Brave. (Both are traditional wooden recurves, which fortunately is what I teach and what the kids are looking for.)



#2. Find a place that teaches archery.

Well there you have several options. They include:

Scouts Canada... No seriously, enroll your kid in Scouts. They have their own private archery range in north-west of the GTA. They don't do archery all year round, but each scout group usually does it once per year. However this might not be enough. The first time I did archery myself was in scouts when I was about 10 years old. I was hooked after that.

Don't expect their bows to be spectacular however. When I learned archery in scouts they gave us compound bows we could barely pull. Many Scouts groups use cheap fibreglass bows that are shoddy at best.

Note! You don't have to be a boy to enroll in scouts. Girls are equally welcome, but rare since most girls join Girl Guides instead (which sometimes offers archery too, but less often).



The Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre, located near the Ontario Science Centre, they teach Japanese Kyudo on Saturday mornings and Monday evenings. All the basic equipment for beginners is provided by the JCCC. Monthly fee is $50 which is pretty reasonable. However Kyudo is a whole process similar to Japanese Tea Ceremony. It isn't ideal for kids with low patience. Lastly Japanese yumi bows are really big. I don't know if they even have bows small enough for kids at the JCCC so that might not be your best option. More research required.

Hart House / University of Toronto... It is really a club meant for University of Toronto students, but they do have a waiting list for non-students to join. There is no age rule on their website, but they are probably expecting you to be an adult. Besides you will also need to buy your own equipment. So probably not a good place for kids to learn archery.

The Toronto School of Archery, which operates out of an Etobicoke community centre and an East York church gymnasium. You have to sign up for a minimum of 4 lessons and they are geared towards Olympic archery - which means really expensive equipment. (Getting your kid into Olympic archery is a sizable investment.)

Casa Loma, 1 Austin Terrace, Toronto. They do offer archery lessons ... but according to the Casa Loma website it is only for adults. Hmm. I guess they don't cater to kids.

YMCA Day Camp Archery Toronto
#3. Archery Day Camps in Toronto / GTA.

If you are looking summer day camps that provide archery lessons for kids they are few and far between - and often fully booked by March of each year. That means if you want to enroll your kids in a day camp that provides archery lessons that you really need to book really far in advance.

The day camps that provide archery as part of their activities in Toronto are...

Humriva Day Camp (Humber River)

Claireville Day Camp (Steeles and 427)

Mooredale Day Camp (Rosedale)

Toronto YMCA (various locations)

If you know of any more day camps in Toronto that provide archery please email me at cardiotrek {atsymbol} gmail dot com so I can add it to the list. Or just leave a comment below.

Advice on choosing a day camp. Honestly, ask what kind of bows the camp uses? Longbows, recurve, compound? What is it made of? What is the company brand? If they don't know it is probably a bad sign, but ask if they could find out for you.

#4. Summer Camps outside the GTA.

There is a lot of summer camps where kids can go for a week or two and do archery. Many of them are north of Barrie, in the direction of Algonquin Park. Just a few hours drive north of Toronto and they have less enrollment in comparison to day camps in the city.

There are many others east of Toronto as well. The camps are basically a dime a dozen, but it does mean sending your kid away for a week or so and making the trip to pick them up. However having a week alone without the kids might seem like heaven to some parents.

#5. Teach Your Kids Yourself.

Ah, the old Do-It-Yourself approach! Well then I have some advice for you.

More is more, and it gets expensive. This is not a less is more sport when it comes to teaching kids. Archery tends to be expensive sport, especially for beginners who lose and break a lot of arrows. And children break and lose arrows more than adult beginners.

With probably zero training yourself you will be trying to teach your kid how to do archery. This is a bit like the blind leading the blind, and this will lead to a lot of lost and damaged arrows. Thus I have a number of tips for you.

1) Buy lots of cheap arrows. Fibreglass and wooden arrows are very cheap and ideal for kids learning. By lots I mean 10 or more because you are going to lose them anyway.

2) Find a safe place to practice where your kids won't hurt anyone or even pose a danger to anyone. Failure to do this could result in legal repercussions as doing archery in your backyard is "reckless endangerment" and can lead to criminal charges.

3) Make sure that your kids understand that they can only do archery when you are watching them. Parental supervision at all times must be respected otherwise the archery equipment gets locked in a closet.

4) If you do intend to do archery at home your basement or garage is your best option. Make sure you clear any breakables out of the way. If you have a relative who owns a farm however that would much better.

5) Make a trip to the Toronto Public Archery Range at E.T. Seton Park in Toronto. It is just south of the Ontario Science Centre. It is an ideal location to practice and one of very few free archery ranges in all of North America.

6) Buy a decent bow for your kids size. The little kids bows from Canadian Tire are designed for 5 to 8 year olds. If your kid is 9 or older they are going to need a better starter bow. I recommend a Ragim Matrix bow, 18 lbs to start. Cost is approx. $130 + tax if you buy or order one from Tent City in North York, Toronto. Arrows are $70 for 10, plus you will also need an arrow-rest, fingergloves and an arm bracer. Expect to spend about $300 to $350 on equipment.

7) Make sure you know if your kid is Right Eye Dominant or Left Eye Dominant.

8) Read everything you can about archery form, archery aiming techniques, etc. I have lots of that information here in my archery section of this website. You will be trying to teach your kid to do archery with no experience yourself so it will help if you have lots of helpful information at your disposal.

9) Brace for complaining. Honestly. Kids trying to learn archery with no one to coach them on what to do are going to make lots of mistakes. Even adults make mistakes and it is my job as an archery coach to get them to unlearn their bad habits and learn good habits that will make them a better archer. Kids are slower at picking up these good habits because they lack patience and need to be taught patience during the learning process. Without someone to properly coach them they will complain about the quality of their shots constantly because they don't understand what they are doing wrong - which is why having a coach is important for archery because they can recognize all the mistakes you are making.

10) Try to have fun. Honestly, isn't that the point? Try to motivate the kids by giving them a fun target to shoot at. Make the target a dragon, a zombie or even a Donald Duck poster. So long as they are feeling more motivated to hit the zombie in the nose.

BONUS! Learn archery yourself and you will be better equipped to try and teach your kids. If you live in Toronto let me know if you need archery lessons.

Most Popular Topics

Earlier today (around 12:30 EST, August 1st 2013) Cardio Trek surpassed 200,000 visitors.

Now you might think, wow, that is a lot of visitors. But I think we should point out that some topics are really low interest - and others are really high interest.

We shall start off with the high interest topics.

The Top Ten Most Popular Posts on Cardio Trek

#1. Nose Exercises Vs Rhinoplasty
#2. Weight Loss + Loose Skin
#3. 20 Ways to Tighten Skin after Weight Loss
#4. Motivational Quotes for January
#5. How to get a Thigh Gap
#6. Anatomical Terms for Athletes
#7. 25 Ways to Motivate Yourself to Exercise
#8. 10 Tips for maintaining a Beach Perfect Body
#9. 10 Ways to Trick Yourself into Burning Extra Calories
#10. Whey Protein Supplements

Now I admit some of those topics are pretty interesting and exciting - and sometimes just plain useful to know.

But let us look at the LEAST popular topics on Cardio Trek and see if they are any less useful. As you can see below they are mostly topics about motivation, lifestyle changes, food and eating healthy - things that many people have problems with - and are extremely useful information, even though the topics are less glamourous than 10 Tips for maintaining a Beach Perfect Body.

#1. Bored of exercising indoors?
#2. How much rest do you need?
#3. Working out despite the Winter Blues
#4. 5 Tips to Help you Live Longer
#5. How to Make Lifestyle Changes
#6. 5 Tips to Push Yourself Harder
#7. 5 Slimming Fruits that Help Burn Calories
#8. Weightlifting Split Squats and Side Squats
#9. Eating Healthy in an Hurry
#10. The Hallmarks of a Successful Weight Loss Plan

They are certainly worth reading if you are having difficulty losing weight and finding motivation to exercise.


August Exercise Motivation Quotes

"You've lost weight before. Now just do it again and again until it becomes a lifestyle instead of a random whim."
- Charles Moffat

"Strength does not come from winning. Your struggles develop your strengths. When you go through hardships and decide not to surrender, that is strength."
- Arnold Schwarzenegger

"Winning isn't everything, but the will to win is everything."
- Vince Lombardi

"Sure I am this day we are masters of our fate, that the task which has been set before us is not above our strength; that its pangs and toils are not beyond our endurance. As long as we have faith in our own cause and an unconquerable will to win, victory will not be denied us."
- Winston Churchill

"Courage is as often the outcome of despair as of hope; in the one case we have nothing to lose, in the other, everything to gain."
- Diane de Pointiers

"A winner is someone who recognizes his God-given talents, works his tail off to develop them into skills, and uses these skills to accomplish his goals."
- Larry Bird

"Win as if you were used to it, lose as if you enjoyed it for a change."
- Ralph Waldo Emerson
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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