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Calorie Crunching in 6 Minutes

Lets pretend you weigh 200 lbs and you want to lose some weight - specifically fat off your belly, thighs, under arms, etc.

But you aren't sure what exercises you should be doing. Weight lifting or cardio? Or both? And if so, how much? And which exercises produce the best results?

Well when it comes to weight loss your primary goal is to have a caloric reduction. So you should be doing approx. 70% cardio exercises (because cardio exercises burn more fat) and 30% weight lifting (to maintain muscle tone).

So for example if you had 9 minutes to exercise you might do 6 minutes of cardio and 3 minutes of weight lifting. Which is a tiny amount really, but lets do the math anyway. You have 1,440 minutes in a day so 9 minutes is really only 0.00625 of your day.

So in 6 minutes the most calorie intensive thing you could do is bicycle as fast as you can - approx. 20 mph - which would burn 145.4 calories if you weigh 200 lbs.

In contrast 6 minutes of vigorous weight lifting would burn a mere 54.4 calories. So half that if you did it for 3 minutes, so 27.2 calories.

Grant total for 6 minutes of bicycling + 3 minutes of vigorous weightlifting is 172.6 calories.

It is not a lot. But lets pretend you did that every day for a year. 364 x 172.6 = 62,826.4 calories. Just under 18 lbs of fat. (Exact results will vary on the weight of the person.)

Do that 9 minute exercise routine every day, 2 or 3 times per day and you would lose between 36 and 54 lbs in 1 year. Likely more if you add in the Afterburn Effect and a healthy balanced diet. As your endurance builds and weight drops you will start going faster and pushing yourself harder, possibly exercising for a lot more than 18 or 27 minutes per day... In which case you will reach your exercise goals faster than expected.

27 minutes is less than 2% of your day. Isn't it worth 2% of your day to achieve your exercise goals?

INTERESTING NOTE: Compare below the stationary gym bicycle calories burned vs cycling on a real bicycle. You burn way more calories on a real bicycle because you are moving your own bodyweight, whereas on a gym spinning stationary bicycle you aren't moving any weight. You burn way more calories on a real bicycle - which means the people shelling out money for spin classes would be better off just buying a normal bicycle.

The chart below shows many different activities a person can do and how many calories a 200 lb person would burn in 6 minutes doing those activities. The two best for burning calories (and therefore losing weight) are running and bicycling.


Gym Activities Calories Burned in 6 Minutes (calculated for a 200 lb person)
Aerobics: low impact 45.4 Aerobics: high impact 63.6
Aerobics, Step: 6" - 8" step 77.2 Aerobics, Step: 10" - 12" step 90.9
Aerobics: water 36.3 Bicycling, Stationary: moderate, 150 watts 63.6
Bicycling, Stationary: vigorous, 200 watts 95.4 Calisthenics: Vigorous, jumping jacks, push-ups, sit-ups, pullups 72.7
Calisthenics: Moderate, back exercises, going up and down from the floor 31.8 Circuit Training: w/some aerobic, minimal rest 72.7
Elliptical Trainer: general 65.4 Riders: general (ie., HealthRider) 36.3
Rowing, Stationary: moderate, 100 watts 63.6 Rowing, Stationary: vigorous, 150 watts 77.2
Ski Machine: general 63.6 Stair Step Machine: General, without supporting any bodyweight on hand rails  81.8
Stretching: Mild, Hatha Yoga 22.7 Teaching aerobics 54.5
Weight Lifting: Light, free weight, nautilus or universal-type 27.2 Weight Lifting: Vigorous, free weight, nautilus or universal-type 54.5
Training and Sport Activities Calories Burned in 6 Minutes
Archery: non-hunting 31.8 Badminton: general, social 40.9
Basketball: playing a game 72.7 Basketball: wheelchair 59
Basketball: shooting baskets40.9 Basketball: officiating a game 63.6
Billiards22.7 Bicycling: BMX or mountain 77.2
Bicycling: 12-13.9 mph, leisure, moderate effort 72.7 Bicycling: 14-15.9 mph, leisure racing, fast, vigorous 90.9
Bicycling: 16-19 mph, very fast, not drafting 109 Bicycling: > 20 mph, racing, not drafting 145.4
Bowling 27.2 Boxing: sparring 81.8
Boxing: punching bag 54.5 Boxing: in the ring 109
Coaching: football, soccer, basketball, etc. 36.3 Cricket: batting, bowling 45.4
Curling 36.3 Dancing: Fast, ballet, twist 43.6
Dancing: disco, ballroom, square, line, Irish step, polka 40.9 Dancing: slow, waltz, foxtrot, tango, fox trot 27.2
Fencing 54.5 Football: competitive 81.8
Football: touch, flag, general 72.7 Football or Baseball: playing catch 22.7
Frisbee: general 27.2 Frisbee: Ultimate 72.7
Golf: carrying clubs 40.9 Golf: using cart 31.8
Golf: driving range, miniature 27.2 Golf: walking and pulling clubs 39
Gymnastics: general 36.3 Hacky sack 36.3
Handball: general 109 Handball: team 72.7
Hang Gliding 31.8 Hiking: cross-country 54.5
Hockey: field & ice 72.7 Horseback Riding: general 36.3
Ice Skating: general 63.6 Kayaking 45.4
Martial Arts: judo, karate, kick boxing, tae kwan do 90.9 Motor-Cross 36.3
Orienteering 81.8 Polo 90.9
Race Walking 59 Racquetball: competitive 90.9
Racquetball: casual, general 63.6 Rock Climbing: ascending 100
Rock Climbing: rappelling 72.7 Rollerblade / In-Line Skating 113.6
Rope Jumping: general, moderate 90.9 Running: 5 mph (12 min/mile) 72.7
Running: 5.2 mph (11.5 min/mile) 81.8 Running: 6 mph (10 min/mile) 90.9
Running: 6.7 mph (9 min/mile) 100 Running: 7 mph (8.5 min/mile) 104.5
Running: 8.6 mph (7 min/mile) 127.2 Running: 10 mph (6 min/mile) 145.4
Running: training, pushing wheelchair, marathon wheeling 72.7 Running: cross-country 81.8
Running: stairs, up 136.3 Running: on track, team practice 90.9
Scuba or skin diving 63.6 Skateboarding 45.4
Skiing: cross-country, light effort, general, 2.5 mph 63.6 Skiing: cross-country, vigorous, 5.0 - 7.9 mph 85.7
Skiing: downhill, moderate effort 54.5 Skiing: downhill, vigorous effort, racing 72.7
Sky diving 31.8 Sledding, luge, toboggan, bobsled 63.6
Snorkeling 45.4 Snow Shoeing 72.7
Soccer: general 63.6 Soccer: competitive play 90.9
Softball or Baseball: slow or fast pitch, general 45.4 Softball: Officiating 36.3
Softball: pitching 54.5 Squash 109
Surfing: body or board 27.2 Swimming: general, leisurely, no laps 54.5
Swimming: laps, vigorous 90.9 Swimming: backstroke 63.6
Swimming: breaststroke 90.9 Swimming: butterfly 100
Swimming: crawl, moderate, 50 yds/min 72.7 Swimming: treading, moderate effort 72.7
Swimming: lake, ocean, river 54.5 Swimming: synchronized 72.7
Table Tennis / Ping Pong 36.3 Tai Chi 36.3
Tennis: singles, competitive 72.7 Tennis: doubles, competitive 45.4
Tennis: general play 63.6 Track & Field: shot, discus, hammer throw 36.3
Track & Field: high jump, long jump, triple jump, javelin, pole vault 54.5 Track & Field: steeplechase, hurdles 90.9
Volleyball: non-competitive, general play, 6 - 9 member team 27.2 Volleyball: competitive, gymnasium play 72.7
Volleyball: beach 72.7 Walk: 2 mph (30 min/mi) 22.7
Walk: 3 mph (20 min/mi) 30 Walk: 3.5 mph (17 min/mi) 34.5
Walk: 4 mph (15 min/mi) 45.4 Walk: 4.5 mph (13 min/mi) 57.2
Walk: 5 mph (12 min/mi) 72.7 Water Skiing 54.5
Water Polo 90.9 Water Volleyball 27.2
Whitewater: rafting, kayaking 45.4 Wrestling: one match = 5 minutes 54.5
Outdoor Home Maintenance / Improvement Activities 
Calories Burned in 6 Minutes
Carpentry, installing rain gutters, building fence 54.5 Carrying & stacking wood 45.4
Chopping & splitting wood 54.5 Cleaning rain gutters 45.4
Digging, spading dirt, composting 45.4 Gardening: general 36.3
Gardening: weeding 40.9 Laying sod / crushed rock 45.4
Mowing Lawn: push, hand 54.5 Mowing Lawn: push, power 50
Operate Snow Blower: walking 40.9 Paint outside of home 45.4
Planting seedlings, shrubs 40.9 Plant trees 40.9
Raking Lawn 39 Roofing 54.5
Sacking grass or leaves 36.3 Shoveling Snow: by hand 54.5
Storm Windows: hanging 45.4 Sweeping: garage, sidewalks, outside of house 36.3
Trimming shrubs/trees: manual cutter 40.9 Trimming: using edger, power cutter, etc. 31.8
Watering plants, by hand 22.7 Workshop: general carpentry 27.2
Yard: applying seed or fertilizer, walking 22.7 Yard: watering by hand, standing/walking 13.6
Indoor Home Repair / Improvement Activities
Calories Burned in 6 Minutes
Carpentry: finish or refinish furniture or cabinets 40.9 Caulking: bathroom, windows40.9
Crafts: Standing, light effort 16.3 Hang sheet rock, paper or plaster walls27.2
Lay or remove carpet/tile 40.9 Paint, paper, remodel: inside40.9
Sanding floors with a power sander 40.9 Wiring and Plumbing27.2
Home & Daily Life Activities Calories Burned in 6 Minutes
Child-care: bathing, feeding, etc. 27.2 Child games: moderate, hop-scotch, jacks, etc. 36.3
Cleaning House: general 27.2 Cleaning: light dusting, straightening up, taking out trash, etc. 22.7
Cooking / Food Preparation 18.1 Food Shopping: with or without cart 20.9
Heavy Cleaning: wash car, windows 27.2 Ironing 20.9
Making Bed 18.1 Moving: household furniture 54.5
Moving: carrying boxes 50.9 Moving: unpacking 31.8
Playing w/kids: moderate effort 36.3 Playing w/kids: vigorous effort 45.4
Reading: sitting 9 Standing in line 10.9
Standing: bathing dog 31.8 Sleeping 8.1
Vacuuming 31.8 Watching TV 9
Office Activities Calories Burned in 6 Minutes
Driving vehicle to work 18.1 Sitting: light office work, meeting13.6
Standing: filing, light work 20.9 Riding in a bus or vehicle to work9
Typing: Computer, electric or manual 13.6 Walking: work break31.8
Occupational Activities Calories Burned in 6 Minutes
Bartending/Server18.1 Bakery: general, moderate effort36.3
Building Road: hauling debris, driving heavy machinery 54.5 Carpentry Work 31.8
Coaching Sports 36.3 Coal Mining 54.5
Computer Work13.6 Construction: outside, remodeling50
Custodial Word: general cleaning, moderate effort 31.8 Electrical Work31.8
Firefighting109 Forestry, general72.7
Forestry: planting trees by hand54.5 Heavy Equip. Operator22.7
Horse Grooming54.5 Light Office Work 13.6
Locksmith 31.8 Masonry 63.6
Masseur, standing36.3 Moving / Pushing heavy objects >75 lbs. 68.1
Patient Care: Nursing 27.2 Plumbing 31.8
Police Officer: making an arrest 36.3 Printing: operator, standing 20.9
Sitting in Class 16.3 Shoe Repair: general 22.7
Steel Mill: general 72.7 Theater Work21.8
Truck Driving: loading and unloading truck 59 Welding 27.2

Exercise Vs Bullies and Depression

Exercise is an amazing thing for the human body.

It builds self-confidence. It keeps away depression. It burns calories. It builds muscles. It promotes better sleep.

And it deters bullies in school.

If the photo of the kid on the right looks familiar that is because it is a young Arnold Schwarzenegger when he was 14 years old.

He didn't start weight lifting and weight training until he was 15 years old. Before then his favourite sport was soccer.

And it certainly did not stunt his growth either. Weight lifting took a skinny teenager who had confidence issues and turned him into a weight training champion and later a Hollywood success story.

Parents these days worry about their kids a lot. They worry because their kids are being bullied in school, because their kids are moody and depressed, and they think they can solve these problems by taking the poor kid to a psychiatrist.

A psychiatrist who will often prescribe anti-depressants designed for adults for children.

I would argue however that teenagers are already going through enough hormonal problems that throwing anti-depressant medications into the mix causes a lot more harm than good. If anything anti-depressants are probably stunting their growth, contributing to childhood and teenage obesity rates - and worse - creating a culture of drug addiction within the child's mind.

In contrast exercise (not just weight lifting, any kind of exercise) is a natural remedy for depression. Exercise boosts a person's sense of well-being, their metabolism speeds up, they burn more fat, build more muscle, sleep better, and feel more positive about themselves.

That increased self confidence also means they can stand up to bullies / ignore bullies more easily, without feeling like a loser because they know they are better than the bully. (Bullies are inherently filled with their own feelings of inadequacy and usually take to bullying because they have troubles at home, have weight issues, feel they are less intelligent compared to other students, any number of causes.)

In other words thanks to boosted self-confidence and an increased lack of bullying the child becomes ever more confident in their own abilities - and yet often has a degree of humility because they remember where they once were in life.

Many parents often get their kids martial arts lessons when they discover their kids are being bullied, but honestly any kind of aggressive exercise would help dramatically. I say aggressive with respect to exercises that utilize weightlifting and resistance training, including many kinds of sports. So for example jogging simply isn't aggressive enough because it would only build leg muscles and endurance and would not build the same amount of self confidence that came with learning a sport like caber tossing.

Now admittedly your kids probably won't get into caber tossing. But this is just an example of many of the sports that kids can get into that are more physical and require a bit more brute strength and effort compared to other exercises that are comparatively not that difficult. Parents need to encourage their kids to try these more difficult sports so the kids have a chance to try something they might like, and the boosted confidence from doing it (even if they didn't like it) will stay with them for years.

Some parents even hire personal trainers for their kids in an effort to encourage their kid to enter a life of healthy exercise which will keep their child on a healthy track all their way through life. It probably won't lead to the Olympics or professional sports, but the child which grows into an adult will have many years of happiness and health ahead of them thanks to the parent who planned ahead and put some thought into their child's exercise regimen.

Speaking for myself my parents put me through numerous years of ice skating, swimming, boy scouts, and as I got older and started making my own decisions I got into cycling, archery, boxing, tae kwon do, freehand mountain climbing, and many other physical activities long before I became a personal trainer.

I am very thankful my parents took an active interest in my physical and mental well-being.

In our day and age, with the USA and Canada's cutbacks on physical education, the lowered interest of children with sports (and increased use of computers / electronic gadgets), it has become ever more important for parents to encourage children to engage in sports and physical activities.

Find something that your kids enjoy and encourage them to keep doing it. It doesn't matter whether it is ballet or parkour (although I recommend wearing a helmet for parkour) and find ways to add such activities to your child's weekly schedule so they are guaranteed to keep doing them for years to come.

And if it is an activity that both parents and child can take part in, so much the better!



Variants on Classic Weight Lifting

Chin Ups, Dips, Bicep Curls, Push Ups and Squats are five commonly used classic exercises that you can do at home and you won't need much in terms of equipment to do them. However if you are looking for more of a challenge you can also ramp up your workout a bit by trying new things.

Chin Ups

What do you need? A chin up bar.

Try lifting your legs up and pulling your knees in closer to your chest while in the middle of a chin up. Alternatively, try doing your chin ups really slowly - up slowly and down slowly. Or try doing chin ups with your legs at a 90 degree angle. Experiment with it and see what you can do! You can also do reverse grip chin ups, pulling behind your head chin ups, moving your legs backwards at the knees, holding your hands closer together or further apart...

Or even one handed chin ups!!!

Dips

What do you need? A chair or bench or table.

Dips are very easy to do, but if you want an extra challenge try raising one of your legs up and pulling your knee in towards your chest using your ab muscles.

Other variations include putting your feet on a stability ball or basketball, so you need to concentrate on your balance at the same time. (To make it easier in the beginning try wedging the stability ball into a corner so it doesn't shift around so easily.)

Bicep Curls

What do you need? Dumbbells.

Try the classic bicep curl with one foot raised or down on the floor balancing on both knees. By weight training and balancing simultaneously the entire core is worked, in addition to improving balance.



Push Ups

What do you need? Nothing really, just some empty space.

There are literally hundreds of ways to modify the classic push up. From speeding up or slowing down your usual pace, holding the "down" position for five seconds on every rep, touching your nose to the ground each time, to fingertip pushups, or simply elevating your feet. Changing up your push up is easy, and important. Other variations include: Using a stability ball under your hands or feet (or both), doing one push up and then alternating with one stability ball leg tuck. Also, push ups with alternating dumbbell rows for the back, or alternated with mountain climbers for an intense cardio and upper body workout. 



Squats

What do you need? Standing room.

Squats are safe, easy and work your core muscles plus most of your lower body. Squats can be combined with other exercises such as: overhead extension, bicep curls, and front raises. Squats can be made into cardio and co-ordination training by moving with your squats. To do this simply take a side-step, the squat, and repeat taking a step and squatting all in one direction, and then coming back again. You could also try plyometric squats. This power training exercise should only be attempted by intermediate exercisers with no lower body injuries. Go into a squat and when in a seated position, spring up by focusing the force in your quads and glutes. Your feet should come off the floor in a small but powerful jump.


CBC Interview about Archery / The Hunger Games

Yesterday I did an interview with the CBC about archery / The Hunger Games. One of my younger archery students was also interviewed regarding her interest in the Hunger Games and her newfound interest in archery.

The interviews will be appearing in forthcoming episodes of CBC News, the National, and also be available on the CBC website. (If you are paying attention this comes mere weeks after I shot several archery clips for TSN, so there is a lot of demand right now for archery clips in the news.)

The new Hunger Games film "Catching Fire" arrives in movie theatres tomorrow (or tonight at midnight if you like midnight screenings). Doubtlessly this will fuel more interest in archery amongst young people. Which as I said to the CBC, as long as people are getting outside and exercising this is something I am going to support and continue to support.




Weighted Bar Exercises

Many exercisers like using a weighted bar because of its versatility. It can be used for strength, cardio and high intensity routines - and all it is really is a big heavy stick.

The brand name version of this is the Body Bar, which is a basically heavy weighted metal stick that has been on the market since 1987, but material wise it is no different from a metal bar you could purchase at Home Depot, Home Hardware or Canadian Tire. In fitness terms the brand name Body Bar has managed to stay popular because it is versatile, despite the fact that you could easily buy any metal bar and do the same job with it.

For extra comfort you can also attach a foam insulation tube around the metal bar, or you could just wear weight lifting gloves on your hands. Either way you don't need to buy an official Body Bar - because quite frankly I don't want to promote a product that is a complete ripoff when people can purchase the equivalent for a lot less.

The beauty of a weighted bar is it can be used like a barbell or like free weights. Being weighted throughout the bar, oppose to loading plates, makes it an ideal tool for beginner barbell squats. It makes balance easier and the exerciser can practice on their own, without need for a weight lifting spotter.

You can also use the weighted bar for cardio and abs. Holding on to one for resistance when doing step ups, or placing it over the shoulders and twisting for core training, makes the exercises more challenging, but is still comfortable.

A huge issue with barbell training is that even if the bar is placed correctly across the shoulder blades, as opposed to across the neck which is improper, many people find it uncomfortable and unsettling to be resting the weight on their shoulders thusly. If you opt for the brand name version Body Bar or get the foam insulation then it is not only slightly padded, but the even weight distribution makes such exercises more comfortable and less intimidating.

The other advantage is that metal bars can be purchased in a range of weight increments from lower weights to 50 lbs or more, which means that unlike the Body Bar which has a lesser range of weights you can purchase, you can match the bar to your individual needs. Thus regardless of whether you only want a little weight or a lot of weight you can challenge yourself with heavier bars as you see fit.

It also means you don't even have to PURCHASE such things. You could easily use a big heavy wooden stick that you find while out for a walk and use that for your purposes. Or alternatively sometimes people even throw out metal bars they don't need any more.

I myself use the metal bar that came with my home gym and then wrapped it with leftover faux leather (for comfort) I had lying around from when I made a quiver for archery. So no worries there.

DIFFERENT WEIGHTED BAR EXERCISES

#1. Bench Press

#2. One Arm Row

#3. Shoulder Press

#4. Bicep Curl

#5. Skull Crushers

#6 Make up your own exercises! eg. I enjoy swinging the bar around like it is a kendo shinai sword.

#7. Chest or overhead for weighted crunches.

#8. Across the shoulders and twist from the core, while trying to touch the elbow to opposite knee.

#9. Across the shoulders for lunges

#10. Squats

#11. Yoga poses with 8 to 10 reps, such as warrior 1, 2 and 3.

#12. Deadlifts

#13. Bicep Curls + Raises

#14. Shoulder Lifts while doing Stairs Step Ups

Basically you can do a huge variety of exercises with a big heavy stick. This is but a small sample of the exercises that are possible with a weighted bar. They're perfect for your frugal home gym, so if you're looking for a new fitness toy to motivate your workouts, try it out.

I would definitely recommend making your own rather than spending the $49 to buy an official Body Bar off Amazon / etc. You can buy a metal bar + insulation / faux leather for a lot less than that.

Build a Beach Perfect Body - In The Winter!!!

It is November and it is starting to snow in Toronto maybe once per week. By December it will be snowing more regularly. By January there will be a foot of snow on the ground.

But if you count the months until mid June (the start of swimsuit season) then there is November, December, January, February, March, April and May - 7 months to get prepared if your goal is to lose weight and look fit for swimsuit season.

Now pay attention... most people only start trying to get fit a month or two before swimsuit season - and most of them FAIL to meet their exercise / weight loss goal.

The reason why is because they are focusing all of their exercise goals into a month or two month period and then wonder why they failed. When asked why they will point to reasons like not enough time, the workouts were too difficult, they fell off the wagon diet wise, lack of motivation and so forth.

I argue that they need to change their approach.

#1. Stop trying to do everything a month or two before swimsuit season. Start exercising NOW, many months before swimsuit season is even close. Thus their excuse that they didn't have enough time will be null and void.

#2. By doing the first it also means the workouts don't need to be quite so intense. People burn out and lose motivation if their workouts are too intense. In contrast if they start exercising over a 6 month period their workouts will be about one third the intensity of a 2 month workout regimen designed to accomplish the same goal. Thus the second excuse about workouts being too difficult will likewise be null and void.

#3. If you are going to make lifestyle / dietary changes you need to make permanent changes that you can stick with it. Now I admit that means making changes during the Christmas holiday season - a season during which many people are prone to binge eating on chocolate treats, xmas dinners, etc. But it can be done and you can do it if you give it an honest try. Start by making the switch to dark chocolate only (70% or better) - no more sugary chocolate or "white chocolate". Eat more veggies during xmas dinners and make fruits and vegetables part of every meal you eat, and every snack. Find the fruits and veggies you love and stock up on healthy foods you love.

#4. Find ways to motivate yourself. Music I find is a great motivator. Another way to motivate is to use fun activities that you enjoy doing. eg. Ice skating, downhill skiing, or just plain going for an afternoon walk and taking your camera with you.

Wait, its cold outside! I hate going outside in the cold!

Then invest in some thermal underwear. Learn how to layer clothing so you don't feel the cold. Get tight fitting clothes that fits really well and keeps you warm. Wear 3 or 4 layers under your jacket, get good thermal gloves, a neck warmer, hat, thermal longjohns for wearing under your pants/jeans, warm boots, thick socks - and voila! You will probably be so warm you will be unzipping layers!

Dressed like that and you can go jogging / winter walks / ice skating / tobogganing like when you were a kid and you won't really be bothered by the cold at all.

Next you need to avoid the temptation to just relax all winter indoors watching cable television, mucking around on Facebook and nonsensical videos on YouTube. Cancel the cable (33% of it is advertising anyway), take a vacation from Facebook, and go outside and make your own winter oriented videos and then post them on YouTube instead of watching other people's junk.

Things To Do This Winter!

#1. Cross Country Skiing - burns a tonne of calories! Burns 500 to 700 calories per hour depending on your weight.

#2. Take Up the Biathlon - cross country skiing with a rifle on your back! Yeehaw! Who says cross country skiing isn't a manly sport???

#3. Archery Biathlon - don't like guns? Take up the archery biathlon. Basically the same idea, but using a bow and arrow.

#4. Snow Shoeing - also burns lots of calories. Good for balance training too, plus it doubles as weightlifting for your legs. Try it and you will see how hard it is.

#5. Snowboarding - Good for cardio and balance. Works your abs too!

#6. Downhill Skiing - Same as snowboarding, makes for fun cardio.

#7. Ice Skating - Great cardio and balance training.

#8. Hockey - On skates or as Road Hockey, this sport will get you outside and having fun while also providing great cardio. Just don't forget to shout CAR!!!

#9. Shoveling Snow - Okay so technically it is not a sport... but it is very good cardio and weightlifting exercise. Shoveling snow is very hard so if you have a poor heart be certain to take it easy while shoveling snow because it is so difficult people are known to have heart attacks.

#10. Taking the dog for a walk - Seriously. Pets need to get outside and exercise too. So take the dog for a walk as often as you can. Or better yet, try competitive dog jogging.



300,000 Pageviews and 150,000 Unique Visitors

Earlier today, sometime around noon, CardioTrek.ca surpassed 300,000 pageviews from approx. 150,000 unique visitors. (Each unique visitor to CardioTrek.ca stays for an average of 2 pages.)

I realize it is not a popularity contest but it is nice to know the website is growing in popularity.

Most of our visitors come from Canada and the USA - and quite a few are from Toronto, possibly looking for a personal trainer or a sports instructor who teaches archery, boxing, ice skating, swimming and similar activities.

The great city of Toronto has a lot to offer for people looking to either stay fit or become more fit.

Toronto has many bicycle trails, lots of parks, our beaches are rated 5-star world class (betcha didn't know that, eh?), public ice skating arenas, tennis courts, swimming pools, university gyms, YMCAs, publicly funded recreation centres, an archery range, and numerous other things for Torontonians to utilize if they desire to go outside and exercise.

As a personal trainer I believe in spreading the knowledge of such locations - and giving away free frugal exercise advice - because if people want to exercise, then it is best they have those resources at their disposal. It helps my personal training clients, but it also helps anyone who is just looking for exercise advice - including people not in Toronto and therefore outside of my market demographic.

It is true I only make money when clients actually hire me to help them to lose weight, gain muscle or train for a specific sport - but that doesn't mean I don't also feel a certain amount of pride knowing that I helped thousands of other people who are just looking for good solid exercise advice.

So if I have helped 150,000 people to exercise and improve their health, then absolutely, I feel I should toot my horn once in awhile about how awesome free information is and that helping other people is always a good feeling even when you aren't getting paid for it.

The beauty of exercise is that anyone can do it. You don't need a personal trainer to exercise. Or a gym. Or your own exercise equipment at home. You just need the will to do it. But having the advice - especially free advice - available can make all the difference to some people who want to make the most out of their workout.

Sincerely,
Charles Moffat
Toronto Personal Trainer / CardioTrek.ca

Movember and Prostate Cancer

I just finished shaving off my beard - and my mustache.

I was tempted to grow a mustache for Movember (to raise awareness for prostate cancer and other male cancers), but I changed my mind because every time I have done so my mustache is so itchy it annoys me. (I even tried using conditioners and other things on it to make my mustache softer, but they don't work well enough to suit my needs.)

The Movember Foundation encourages men to be aware of any family history of cancer, to have an annual checkup with their doctor and to adopt a healthier lifestyle - all things which I heartily support for both men and women.

However since I am not growing a mustache myself I have instead decided to write a post - this one - promoting healthy food and some interesting facts / statistics.

The average person has cancer 40 times during their lifetime, the difference is that usually your body fights it off. As you get older however and toxins build up in your body the toxins make it more difficult for your body to fight off the cancer growing inside you. When it gets really bad the cancer becomes malignant and life threatening by shutting down one or more of your body's vital organs.

The connection between toxins and cancer growth in the human body are well documented. Alcohol, cigarettes, and other sources of toxins can build up the amount of poison in your system that leads to cancer.

So how do you get rid of these toxins?

The easiest and most effective way is through a healthy diet which includes lots of green vegetables. Foods like spinach, broccoli, peas, cabbage, lettuce, asparagus, brussel sprouts, etc. Other types of vegetables are also good, as long as they are high in alkaline.

Another thing that is super effective against cancer is Green Tea. A single cup of strong green tea has more alkaline than two cupfuls of broccoli.

Lastly you will want to avoid foods you know to be carcinogenic. Foods that are burnt for example contain carcinogens, so try to avoid eating meat that is burnt. Well done is good, but avoid any burnt pieces.

Which means that even if you cannot grow a great mustache like Tom Selleck, Burt Reynolds, Sean Connery, George Clooney, Hulk Hogan and others well then at least you can still eat and drink healthier - which in turn will decrease your chances of developing prostate cancer and similar cancers.

Want to learn more about this and similar topics?

Just Google something like green tea prevents prostate cancer and learn more!

Whey Protein + French Press

Do you get annoyed by the chunky bits of whey powder in your drink when drinking a protein shake?

Well, here is a hot tip.

Buy a French Press (typically used for making coffee) and use it for mixing your milk and whey powder together.

No chunky bits of whey protein. Huzzah!



The Lowly Chin Up Bar

If you have a chin up bar, or a place in your home where you can place a chin up bar, you should absolutely be using it.

The chin up bar is a great body-weight device for weightlifting. The concept is simple - lift your own bodyweight using your biceps.

This is something some people have simply never done. They don't have adequate strength in their biceps to physically lift their body - and their body is sometimes in ample proportions. Which is basically a polite way of saying a person is too fat to do a chin up.

But that doesn't mean a person will NEVER be able to do a chin up. With some weightlifting exercises over a period of two months a person who is overweight (but not obese) should be able to do a chin up after the two month period.

To achieve this they would need to do the following...

1. Bicep Curls with 20 lb Dumbbells - 12 sets of 8 reps, every 2 days for 60 days.

Rationale: Doing bicep curls will build up your biceps, the primary muscle used during chin ups. Doing 12 sets of 8 reps means your focus is on muscle gain, not on endurance. You can build endurance later...

2. Pushups (or Knee Pushups) - 12 sets of 8 reps, every 2 days for 60 days.

Rationale: Doing pushups will build your triceps and deltoids. The deltoids (shoulder muscles) are a secondary muscle used during chin ups. Even though they are secondary you will still need those muscles during a chin up.

3. Jumping Jacks - 10 sets of 100 jumping jacks, every day for 60 days.

Rationale: Lowering your body weight via cardio exercises will increase your chances of doing a chin up by reducing the amount of fat in your body. Jumping Jacks and Jogging are both good for this.

4. Jogging (or Jogging on the Spot) - 15 minutes, every day for 60 days.

In the morning of every day you should attempt to do a pushup. After 60 days of doing the above workout they should have lost some fat weight and gained some muscle weight - enough muscle that they can lift their body during a chin up.

You will also need to be eating a balanced diet. That means no binge eating on unhealthy foods, eat smaller portions, learn to snack healthily, cutting out sugary drinks and all those things you know are bad for you.

If you are more overweight (ie. obese) you will need to do a lot more jogging, jumping jacks, and other cardio activities to reach the point where you can do a chin up. So this process may take longer than you were hoping if you are severely overweight.

AFTER YOU ACHIEVE YOUR FIRST CHIN UP

Congratulations!

Now keep doing them! Now is the time to start building endurance and strength at the same time. Work your way up so you can do a set of 5 chin ups at a time.

Once you reach that point you can basically swap out the #1 exercise above (Bicep Curls with 20 lb Dumbbells) and replace it with the following:

1. Chin Ups - 20 sets of 5 chin ups, every day. Or 12 sets of 8 chin ups.  Or 10 sets of 10 chin ups. Or 8 sets of 12. Or 7 sets of 15. Or 5 sets of 20.

Rationale: Now that you can do chin ups you can keep doing them, and if you increase the number of chin ups you do per set then you will be building both your strength and your endurance simultaneously. So pick whichever set combination from above that you want to do and keep doing them. Upgrade to the next set combination when you feel you are ready for a challenge.

Note! Keep doing the pushups, the jumping jacks and the jogging.

Add other exercises to your routine. Yoga for example is great for core muscle strength. But you might also try swimming, ice skating, archery, marathon running, competitive sports...

Basically if you make doing that First Chin Up your exercise goal, and then once you achieve that chin up goal you need to start setting new exercise goals so you can keep progressing. Making recognizable progress will help you keep motivated and keep exercising.

 

Archery Segment for TSN

This morning I helped a film crew from TSN make a segment on archery for an upcoming TV episode about archery / accuracy.

Huzzah!

In other news I have added to me "To Do List" a series of YouTube How To videos on archery. Something for me to work on when Spring 2014 comes.

And in more other news I am not teaching archery any more in 2013. I am done for the season. See you in March 2014.



Yoga Injuries - Be careful, trying to perfect a pose can hurt

TORONTO - Sports injuries sounds normal for many more vigorous sports, including ballet dancing, but what about yoga?

It may seem ironic at first, but the exercise regime often recommended by doctors and therapists (aka yoga) as a rehabilitation tool to overcome a range of sports injuries can itself become a cause of sports injuries if people get "too into it".

Yoga, considered a relatively gentle means of building flexibility, muscle strength and endurance through physical poses and controlled breathing, can lead to a number of repetitive strain injuries and even osteoarthritis, Ontario doctors say.

"Most of the injuries I see are from repetitive strain," says Dr. Raza Awan, a Toronto sports medicine physician who's been practising yoga for about a decade.

The most common yoga-related injuries he sees in patients are rotator cuff tendonitis and tears; spinal disc injuries in the low back and neck; cartilage tears in the knee; hamstring strain and tears; and wrist injuries.

There are a number of reasons why yoga — in which practitioners generally perform a series of poses, called asanas — can cause injury, he says.

One of the causes is "definitely pushing too hard" to attain a specific pose, which can involve stretching the upper body into a forward or backward bend, twisting the torso, or performing an inversion, such as a handstand or headstand, balanced on the hands or forearms.

In other words trying to show off by doing handstands and headstands can get you injured. Gotcha!

"So, for instance, people who are too flexible or people who are too tight, they're at more risk, I find," says Awan. "If you're too tight and you try to force yourself into a pose and your muscles aren't flexible, then you might strain another area to compensate."

"Or let's say that you're very flexible and you get to the end range of a pose and you don't have the muscular support to maintain the pose ... you're holding the pose without muscular endurance, you're basically holding it on your ligaments or your tendons and you strain those structures that way."

Ego also can lead to injury, he says, explaining that in yoga classes, some people push their bodies beyond their limits trying to match or outdo the person on the next mat. Being a showoff is basically an excellent way to get yourself injured doing any exercise.

Even competing with oneself — for instance, trying to get the heels flat to the floor during the "downward dog" pose, despite having tight calf muscles from sitting at the computer for hours — can lead to strains or tears, he says.

"You strain yourself because you push yourself."

Sometimes, overdoing it in yoga may exacerbate an underlying problem called femoroacetabular impingement, or FAI, in which the bones of the hip are abnormally shaped and don't move together smoothly. The hip bones grind against each other during movement, causing joint damage over time and osteoarthritis.

Dr. Chris Woollam, a Toronto sports medicine physician, says he started seeing "an inordinate number of hip problems" about two years ago, including among women aged 30 to 50 who were practising yoga.

When range of motion in their hips was tested, not only was movement limited, but "they would jump off the table because of the pain," Woollam says.

MRI scans showed the women had joint damage resulting from FAI, which can be severe enough in some cases to require hip-replacement surgery.

And since yoga is becoming increasingly popular it is now ever more important to warn people about the dangers of trying to over do it.

"So maybe these extreme ranges of motion were causing the joint to get jammed and some to wear," Woollam says of certain yoga poses. "If you start wearing a joint down, then it becomes arthritic. So you're seeing these little patches of arthritis in an otherwise normal hip that seems to be related to these extremes of motion or impingement or both."

However yoga isn't entirely to blame. You just have to listen to your body. When it's saying there's a pain, then you have to recognize that and then take a break from whatever you are doing. Pain is a good signifier that you are overdoing it.

Vancouver chiropractor Robin Armstrong, who's been practising yoga since 1999, says the most common injury she sees among fellow enthusiasts are hamstring strains. Typically, they are overuse injuries and tend to occur more among experienced practitioners rather than beginners.

"I think it's also just repeating core movement patterns, and if you have a teacher who corrects the way you're moving, I think that can help prevent these types of injuries," says Armstrong, who also teaches anatomy and injury prevention to yoga instructors.

"I talk about where you have to use caution in certain poses and when appropriate use certain poses for certain people and when to avoid them altogether."

Some yoga teachers will encourage students to try a more challenging pose, while others may physically "adjust" a student to correct their posture and alignment. And that can take a person to a place their muscles and joints aren't ready to go. So sometimes it is the yoga instructor who is pushing the student too much.

But Armstrong says how far and how fast an individual advances in yoga is a shared responsibility between the student and the instructor.

"The teacher doesn't know what you're feeling in your body and you have to be comfortable enough knowing, 'OK, is this right for me? This might be right for the person beside me, but is this right for me at this moment?'"

"Don't get so attached to making the pretty picture with your body, you're still doing yoga even if you're not doing the full expression of the pose," she says. "And that goes back to not comparing yourself to others, because everyone comes with a different body and a different experience."

Yoga has many upsides, including sharpening mental focus, easing stress, and improving range of motion that can help avoid injuries while performing day-to-day activities or participating in sports.

"There's a lot of benefits to doing yoga for certain types of problems, but obviously any physical activity has its risks, too," says Dr. Awan, who is among those who uses yoga as a therapy for some patients and believes most yoga-related injuries are preventable.

"It's a great movement-based activity to do, but you have to try to keep safe, just like in other sports activities. Don't push your body beyond."

Tips for Marathon Runners

Running a long distance race like the Toronto Waterfront Marathon or the Ironman Competition takes months of hard training, proper diet and preparation. All competitive sports require that extra level of commitment. Here are 5 handy tips to get ready for a race with only a month to go:

#1. Buy New Shoes

Don't run your race in brand new shoes, or the old trainers you have been practicing in for months! One month is an ideal amount of time to find a new pair, and practice, to break them in. It will allow the time for the new shoes to feel comfortable, but remain relatively new for the race. (Wearing brand new shoes will feel uncomfortable.)

#2. Check Your Distance

You should be able to run at least 3/4 of your race distance with ease. It's not necessary to practice the full distance, but doing a practice run is a confidence boost. You will feel less nervous if you know you can complete the full distance having done 75% of it with barely trying.

#3. Merge Your Training Runs

Running intervals, for time, endurance, and speed are all necessary, separate, training techniques. However, now it's time to combine them. Start training with one run per week during which you "run your best." Have a session running fast and long, with little recovery time, if you require walking breaks, will be great practice for building your endurance.

#4. Plan for Race Day

Start planning for the morning of the race. Think about what you will eat for breakfast, and what snacks or gels to bring for the run. Decide what to wear and run a few times in the outfit to make sure it's comfortable, and nothing bothers you about it. Plan for rides or parking, and be sure to consider all of the practical matters like urinating before the race, what you will eat the night before, optional things you might wear depending on weather conditions, etc.

#5. Ask Friends and Family to Come Out

You'll need a cheer squad. Ask friends and family well in advance to come out and cheer you on. Plan for a celebratory big breakfast / dinner, for when you triumphantly cross the finish line and everyone can celebrate.

Being prepared for race day will ease nerves, and save time on the big day. This will leave more free time for training, and will have you relaxed at the starting line, and pumped for the race.

Eat Simple, Eat Small, Weigh Less

I try to write a lot about nutrition on here because that is often the biggest Achilles heel that people are facing when their goal is weight loss.

However the problem I find with writing about nutrition is trying to NOT sound preachy. I don't like preaching to people because it feels like I am trying to convince them to do something they don't want to do.

In the back of my head I sometimes even imagine what a 12 year old version of myself would say. "Booo! I hate vegetables! Give me more bacon!!!"

And sometimes the 12 year old in me wins, and I have bacon maybe once per month.

But if you consider I eat approx. 90 meals in a month - and the vast majority of those meals are healthy meals - I would argue I am winning most of the battles - and therefore winning the war.

And that is the piece of wisdom I want to pass on to other people out there struggling to control their inner 12 year old. Yes, you can still have bacon. But try to make it part of a healthier overall meal (like making a bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwich), keep the amount of bacon you eat relatively small. And don't go back for more.

Now take that philosophy and apply it to many of your other more unhealthy meals that you might enjoy.

#1. Pile on the lettuce for every hamburger you make for yourself.

Or if at a restaurant, ask for EXTRA lettuce on your hamburger. Pile it on there! Same with other healthy veggies you enjoy, get more of those on your menu item of choice.

#2. Learn how to make FAST HEALTHY FOOD. Examples below:

Pita Pizza. Spread canned diced tomatoes on a pita and season as you like, with pepper, basil, oregano etc. Spread a thin layer of shredded cheese. Add the toppings of your choice. Jalapeno peppers, mushrooms, green/red pepper, spinach diced onions and mushrooms are a few suggestions. Bake at 350 F for 4 to 5 minutes.

French Lunch. At the grocery store grab a whole grain baguette or bun, cheese and red grapes. This small meal is loaded with nutrition: Fiber, anti-oxidant fruit, healthy fats and protein. Remember to eat just a small amount of cheese.

Egg Muffin. Microwave an egg for 1 min in a cup. Add to a toasted whole grain English Muffin with a bit of cheese, thinly sliced turkey (or veggie alternative) and tomato. Season to taste.

Cottage Cheese. A good sized portion of cottage cheese (3/4 cup is ideal), diced tomatoes, and chopped scallion. Add some pepper. It is high protein and you will feel surprisingly full! Still hungry? Eat it on a slice of toast or with a side of carrot sticks.

Sandwiches. Learn how to make some unusual and tasty sandwiches that maybe you have never tried before. Apple slices, tomatoes, berries and more can make for some interesting, fast and healthy sandwich alternatives. Best served on whole grain bread.

#3. Eat Healthy Snacks Regularly.

It doesn't matter if it is apples, veggies, oranges, grapes or whatever. My personal favourite is carrot sticks. Just stock up on your favourite healthy snacks and make them your go to at 10 AM, 2 PM, and 8 PM so you are eating healthy in between meals.

#4. Always remember the Small Portions Mantra.

You don't have to eat like a pig to fill yourself up. Try eating smaller portions and eat healthy snacks in-between meals. What you will learn over time is that you will eat less during the larger meals if you are eating healthy snacks in between. With time your stomach will also shrink in size and it will take less food to fill you up and mentally you will realize you don't need large amounts of food.

#5. Break your Cravings for Carbs.

Try going on a low carb diet for 30 days and see if you break your cravings. That means only eating small portions of bread, pasta, rice, sugary foods. In 30 days your cravings for such foods should be diminished. Your goal during this is to stabilize your diet by introducing more healthier food into your diet and using those foods as your source of energy instead of heading straight for the high carb / high sugar foods.

#6. Learn How to Grocery Shop Healthy

Eating healthy doesn't have to mean a trip to an overpriced specialty food store, surrounded by items you have never heard of. Your normal grocery store has everything you need. Healthy nutrition can start with the staples you have on hand, and foods that are readily available in the corner store. Eating healthy means you can eat more often, feel satisfied, and lose the weight you have been wanting to drop. All while eating healthy foods that you already enjoy - you just need to learn how to utilize those foods more and buy them more often.
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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