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Burglars need to exercise more / Merry Xmas from Cardio Trek

I heard an intruder up on the roof last night so I took a bow and arrow and shot the bastard. His body fell off the roof and was eaten by a crazy herd of man-eating reindeer. Looks like he was trying to steal all our Christmas gifts. Don't worry, we got his bag of loot. All is good.

Serves him right for sneaking around on people's rooftops on the night Jesus was born. Burglars need to exercise more these days. They're getting too fat and jolly. The burglar had the nerve to call me a ho. I am guessing his day job was pimping. He was certainly dressed like one.

If he wanted to be a cat burglar he really needs to get into shape. You can't be running around on rooftops like that and not expect some physical challenges. When I spotted him he appeared to have his foot stuck inside the old chimney that has been plugged up for decades. Not too bright. How he thought he could fit down that I will never know.

When he realized I caught him he started calling me a ho again and again and reaches for something under his jacket. I figured he was reaching for a gun so I shot him first. The impact knocked him off balance, he fell off the roof and the crazy reindeer then ate his corpse.

I grabbed the bag of loot he stole from us and went back inside to call the cops. But as I was about to dial I realized that they would never believe this farfetched story of a burglar dressed in red on rooftops. There wasn't even evidence he was ever there. So since the reindeer had already disposed of the body I shrugged and went back to bed.

The nerve of the guy. Doesn't he know last night was a Holy Night? Twas the night Jesus was born (supposedly, though some say he was actually born in March and a Roman emperor moved his birthday celebrations to December) and therefore not a night to go robbing people.

Plus it was freezing rain last night. How crazy do you have to be to be crawling on an icy / slippery roof during freezing rain? In the dark no less. I nearly slipped and fell.

Anyway, Merry Christmas to all! If you don't find any gifts under the tree from your loved ones this year it is because a bastard in a red suit stole them all.

The 12 Days of Xmas Fitness Gifts

Do you know someone who loves exercising often or wants to be exercising more often? Support their interest (and their health) this Xmas Holiday Season with the following list of gift ideas for the fitness freak in your life.

#1. Water Bottles - The better quality the better. Some water bottles break too easily, so finding a really good water bottle is amazing. One of my favourite water bottles is an old fashioned army canteen. It is nothing special to look at (although you can find them now in pink and other colours), but they are amazingly durable and don't break easily.

#2. Bicycle or Bicycle Accessories

If they don't have a bicycle, get them one. Or if they do have a bicycle, get them lots of handy bicycle accessories. eg. Kryptonite bicycle locks are one of the best bicycle locks on the market, so that is certainly a possibility. There are also lights, helmets, seats, bicycle tools, racks, water bottle holders, camel backpacks and more. HOWEVER some people are picky about what bicycle gear they will use so you may need to research what things they want/need first. When in doubt get them a gift card to a bicycle shop.

#3. Yoga Membership Card

Get them a membership card to a local yoga studio that is close to either work or home. Some yoga studios sell cards which are good for 5, 10 or 20 yoga sessions - and have no expiry date. Shop around and find a yoga studio where your loved one can go - and can use whenever they see fit. Do NOT buy them a "one month membership" as most of it will probably go to waste and not be used. Buying a specific number of sessions is more economical.

#4. A really awesome skipping rope...

The trick here is that you should only buy this for a person who is really into cardio exercises, or even better a person who is already into skipping. There are a lot of unusual skipping ropes out there on the market now, which means you can choose from all sorts of materials, colours and functions.

#5. Sports Equipment

If your loved one is into football, get them football equipment. If they are into archery, get them archery equipment. If they are into baseball, get them a baseball bat and balls (baseball players typically only use their favourite glove).

#6. Hockey Equipment

Hockey isn't just a sport in Canada. It is a lifestyle and a national symbol. Even people who aren't hugely into hockey, still enjoy playing road hockey when given the opportunity. This is Canada. We ALL played hockey at some point when we were younger.

#7. Kettlebells

For the weight lifting aficionados. Or get them dumbbells. I love dumbbells. Barbells are also a possibility, but they take up a lot more space and require a bigger investment.

#8. Exercise Clothing

I don't mean Lululemon (in my experience most people who wear Lululemon don't actually exercise, they wear it because they like to pretend that they exercise). No, I mean clothing from a store like SportChek - where they sell exercise clothes that is meant to actually be exercised in and isn't designed to be a fashion statement. If you don't believe me visit the Lululemon at the Eaton's Centre and then visit SportChek and you will see the difference. SportChek sells clothes, running shoes, exercise/sports equipment, etc - for both men and women.

Heck, Golf Town and also Bass Pro has more actual "exercise clothes" than Lululemon does because it is meant to be functional first and isn't about being a fashion statement.

#9. Heart Monitor Watch / Pedometer

Useful for joggers, High Intensity exercises, seeking the Afterburn Effect, Interval Training and more.

#10. Camping / Hiking Gear

You can never have too much camping and hiking equipment. Always useful.

#11. Polarized Sunglasses

If they are going to be exercising outside then a good set of polarized sunglasses are very useful. You can also get them with prescription lenses.

#12. Heated Hoodie

For exercising outdoors during the winter you can't beat having a heated hoodie. Useful for exercising, shoveling snow (that counts as exercise) and many other activities outdoors. Uses a rechargeable battery pack to provide the heat energy.

BONUS GIFT IDEA: Wii Console + Wii Fit and/or Wii Sports

Why? Because if you are exercising and playing a video game, it is still exercising. So Wii Tennis, Wii Golf, Wii Bowling, Wii Boxing, all good fun and good exercise.

Wii Sports for example has been on the market since 2006 and has become very popular with homes for the elderly. I am even thinking of getting a Wii Console / Wii Sports for my mother, because it is something she would actually use.

And who doesn't enjoy Wii Boxing? Watch the video below of ex Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chretien beating Rick Mercer while playing Wii Boxing.

Zen Relaxation between Exercises

If you are not already familiar with Interval Training it is the concept of alternating exercises in a routine so you are alternating between high intensity exercises and low intensity exercises. HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) for example is one brand of Interval Training.

One way of doing this would be:

Jogging for 5 minutes, walking for 2 minutes, Sprinting for 1 minute;
Jogging for 5 minutes, walking for 2 minutes, Sprinting for 1 minute;
Jogging for 5 minutes, walking for 2 minutes, Sprinting for 1 minute;

Do that for 40 minutes and then walk home and you've had a pretty productive workout.

The benefits of such a program means you are building endurance and speed, but you're not overtaxing your heart rate - it also means you can change it up regularly. Interval Training is very flexible in that you can change it and adapt it to whatever you want to do. The only really challenge is measuring the time you use for each exercise - I use music for my changes myself, each song is a different exercise, but there are also smart phone apps with buzzers that you can use that tell you when to switch to a different exercise.

For weightlifters for example they might alternate between heavier weights on barbells, and then switch to light weight dumbells, and then jog or skip rope for 10 minutes before hitting the heavy weights again. On any particular day they might vary how much time they dedicate to each exercise, or they might do the exact same exercise every day just because they love having the same routine and not having to think about it.

Using Zen relaxation techniques in-between different exercises, this is another way you could change the way you exercise.

Say for example a person wanted to create their own approach to Zen Archery training. They might do the following for two hours:

1. Shoot for 10 minutes.
2. Meditate for 10 minutes.
3. Shoot for 10 minutes.
4. Read zen poetry for 10 minutes.
5. Shoot for 10 minutes.
6. Breathing exercises (focus on deep belly breathing, do not use your chest) for 10 minutes.
7. Shoot for 10 minutes.
8. Light yoga for 10 minutes.
9. Shoot for 10 minutes.
10. PMR (progressive muscular relaxation) for 10 minutes.
11. Shoot for 10 minutes.
12. Meditate for 10 minutes.

And then pack up your archery gear and head home feeling relaxed, refreshed and the feeling of having accomplished something today.

I am just using archery as an example here, but the concept could be applied to any sport or activity. By mixing in meditation, yoga, breathing exercises, PMR and even zen poetry you can turn your exercise routine into a more relaxing and thoughtful process - making it the best part of your day.

Visual Standards of Beauty Vs Physical Standards of Health

If she was alive today, Marilyn Monroe would fail the Thigh Gap Test.

Why? Because her thighs would be touching. The standard for passing the Thigh Gap Test is whether you can stand with your feet together, your knees touching and there is a gap between your thighs, where the thighs don't touch at all. That is it.

It is a ridiculous standard of beauty perpetuated in western culture where being super skinny is considered by some to be attractive - a standard which then dictates that countries with the highest starvation rates therefore must have the most attractive people. Except since beauty contestants from Sub-Saharan Africa are not usually winning any international beauty contests, I do think that standard of beauty is really just a MYTH because it has no basis in reality.

Name a historical beauty, a really famous one, like Sophia Loren for example and I will bet they would fail the Thigh Gap Test. Twiggy, the fashion model from the 1960s/70s would pass it, but she was no great beauty.

Notice also that men are not being held to this ridiculous standard of beauty either. Any man who can pass the Thigh Gap Test probably has ridiculously skinny legs.

There are other standards of beauty out there too. Some are just really silly.

For example:

The Finger Test - Touch your index finger in a line from your nose to your chin. Do your lips touch your index finger? If so, you're probably beautiful according to the test. The test is also known as "The Finger Trap" or "The Rickett’s E-line Test".

This particular test is popular in China and other Asian countries. The test has no scientific basis and supposed has to do facial proportions, but if you read actual science into what humans perceive to be beautiful, symmetry is considered to be more important. The Finger Test doesn't even consider Symmetry.

The Anaface Test - Anaface stands for Analyze Face, it is a website where you upload a photo of yourself and then they supposedly check how symmetrical and proportional your face is. However the website has since been debunked for being inaccurate and based on facial proportions that apparently expect the perfect 10 score to look more like an alien.

The Beach Perfect Body Test - This is pretty simple test. Go to the crowded beach wearing a swimsuit and walk around and check how many people you catch staring at you. If you catch more than 5 people staring then you are beautiful. Unlike the Thigh Gap Test, this is one test men can actually pass.

The Golden Ratio - The Golden Ratio is a mathematical ratio considered to be visually pleasing to humans. It is a ratio of 1.6180339~. It is known as phi (Φ) in Geometry, and was used historically in Greek/Egyptian architecture, in India, in Feng Shui, in Da Vinci's Vitruvian Man, etc. In terms of beauty it means that various proportions of the human body should follow a ratio of roughly 1 to 1.6180339~, so if width of your ear is a distance of 1, the height of your ear should be a distance of 1.6180339~. Although honestly, this is really just an excuse for mathematicians to force their ideas unto others.

On the plus side, the Golden Ratio is one test that Marilyn Monroe passes.

But you know what, over 90% of people pass the Golden Ratio Test. So the good news is that according to the Golden Ratio Test we're all pretty much beautiful because it is very easy to get the math to conveniently fit.

So those are some commonly used (and often inaccurate) standards of beauty.

But what are some physical standards of health?

Well there is BMI (Body Mass Index), which compares your height to your weight and then estimates whether you are anorexic, underweight, average, overweight, obese or morbidly obese.

The BMI system works for most people, but ignores the possibility that someone might have a lot of muscle mass. Bodybuilders for example cannot be accurately measured by BMI.

Next there is Body Fat Percentage (BFP), which is more accurate than BMI because it calculates your total weight, the fat content of your body, and how much fat is in your body by percentage. The trick to BFP is that it is tricky to calculate accurately. People can try doing it using measurements, or by using machines, but both just provide an estimate that could be off by as much as 5%.

For women between ages 20 and 40, 19% to 26% body fat is good (26%)  to excellent (19%). For women age 41+, 23% to 30% is considered good (30%) to excellent (23%).

For men between ages 20 and 40, 10% to 20% body fat is generally good (20%) to excellent (10%). For men age 41+, 19% to 23% is considered good (23%) to excellent (19%).
Having more body fat than the amounts listed above is considered unhealthy because the person is overweight, whereas having lesser amounts is likewise considered unhealthy because the person might be at risk for anorexia*.

* However we should note that some athletes fall into the very low body fat percentage and thus having a low BFP does not necessarily mean the person is unhealthy.

Lastly Heart Rate is a great measurement for determining whether a person is unhealthy as it is tied to a strong and healthy heart and a diet that is free from cholesterol. A person's normal heart rate is between 60 and 80 beats per minute when at rest. In contrast a professional athlete will have a heart rate between 40 to 60 beats per minute when at rest. Someone who has over 90 beats per minute while at rest is considered unhealthy because they have high blood pressure, which is often a sign that they have a weaker heart or a cholesterol problem.

Doctors also routinely check Blood Pressure too, which is measured as a comparison between a resting heart rate (diastolic) and a post-intense-exercise heart rate (systolic). Blood Pressure is then measured as the larger systolic number over the smaller diastolic number.

So for example 105 over 70 is considered normal.

80 over 50 is the blood pressure of a professional athlete.

190 over 100, omigod, how have you not died from an heart attack? Please see a doctor right away!


What I hope people will take away from reading all of this is that hopefully you will focus on the healthy standards over the false standards of beauty. Yes, a person can have a thigh gap, but they might also be anorexic, have dangerously low body fat and have high blood pressure (anorexic people often die from heart attacks due to weak hearts).

Be healthy and happy and your beautiful smile will be all that matters.

How to Convince yourself to Exercise and then Actually DO IT!

Want to exercise but find yourself lacking motivation? Well here is some tricks to making certain you exercise, even when you don't want to.

#1. Manipulate yourself so that you don't have a choice but to exercise.

This is basically blackmail. You blackmail yourself into doing something, so you don't really have a choice but to do it. Finding a way to force yourself into doing it is sort of a "carrot or stick" approach, you are either rewarding yourself for exercising or you are punishing yourself for not exercising, or both.

eg. One way to do this is to give your remote control to a friend and tell them not to give it back until you lose 20 lbs. The remote control become the reward, and the lack of TV is the punishment.

Or another example is if you decide to bicycle to work every workday and you give your car keys to a friend, thus giving yourself no choice but to use your bicycle.

#2. Don't attempt the impossible. Set reachable goals that you can do in stages.

For example if you weight 320 lbs, set a goal of losing 21 lbs within 80 days. You might actually reach that goal sooner than that, but giving yourself a small goal makes it easier to achieve.

Then once you reach a weight of 299 you set a new goal: To lose 29 lbs, so you then weigh 270.

After that you set a new goal of 249. Notice that having a goal being 1 lb less than 250 is also a psychological point where you can say "Hey, I weigh LESS than that now!"

Then 220, then 199. And keep setting new goals until you reach your desired weight. This way you are always seeing progress.

#3. Context and Timing, set goals related to specific dates.

For example set a goal of losing 10 lbs before Valentines, or losing 20 lbs before your Summer Vacation to Jamaica. Or gaining 10 lbs of muscle before doing a Firefighters Calendar photo shoot.

#4. Choose Exercises or Sports you are Interested In.

It is much easier to convince yourself to do something if it is an activity you've been wanting to do. eg. If you've always wanted to run a marathon, time to start jogging and training yourself to run a marathon. Or if you've always wanted to get into archery, time to go buy some equipment and start practicing every week.

#5. Reciprocity.

If you are in a situation wherein you owe a friend of favour, and that favour involves exercise (eg. helping them shovel snow, move into their new home, help them move a sofa) then you now have no choice but to do it, realizing of course that they will now owe you a favour - or perhaps you owe them a favour and it is time to pay up.

#6. Persistence Vs Boredom.

Sometimes people start exercising and then they stop exercising because they lose interest in it. There are three ways to deal with this:

Option A: Force yourself to do it anyway, using rewards or punishments if you have to.

Option B: It is time to do a new activity instead. So if you were doing weight lifting before and it got boring, now is the time to go jogging instead.

Option C: Change what you are doing by making it more challenging, more fun, or more interactive. eg. If you are weight lifting, try doing dead lifts instead, try challenging yourself with heavier weights, and try listening to music while you are weight lifting.

#7. Give Other People Compliments on their Weight Loss.

Being a little jealous is a good thing. Give compliments to others, and accept their compliments too. Ask them what they are doing that is helping them. Try using any advice they give. Use their compliments to help motivate you.

#8. Give Yourself Expectations and Realize they cannot be done unless you EXERCISE!

Anyone can diet, and it helps, but giving yourself exercise goals and expectations means that you will need to actually exercise in order to reach those goals.

#9. Don't Assume that Exercising Just A Little is Enough to Lose Weight.

Everyone exercises at least a tiny bit every day, just from walking around. If a tiny bit of walking was all it took everyone would be thin and happy with their weight. This is a case in which the more you exercise, the better you will be off. You don't want to go overboard however. Set a goal of exercising a maximum of 14 hours per week, and see how close you can get to that in the first week. You might only do 2 hours, but 2 hours is better than nothing. Then try to beat that next week. And the following week. Keep up this trend of beating your own score until you are exercising 14 hours per week out of habit.

#10. Urgency Matters!

If you are in urgent need to lose weight, that is the time to start exercising for 2 hours every day for a week. Even if the exercise you are doing is just going for a long walk, at least you are doing something instead of nothing - and having an urgent reason to go for long walks, jogs, exercising outdoors will keep you motivated.

The Dangers of Fruitarianism

I don't have a problem with people becoming vegetarians or vegans, but there is something seriously wrong with Fruitarians. They are crazy and dangerous. Let me explain how I know first using examples, and then I will explain why they are crazy on a biochemical level.

Example 1. I met a girl for date years ago who said she was a Fruitarian. I went on one date with her and determined I had no interest in her, but she ended up harassing me with text messages, phone calls and emails for over a month. Crazy nutjob claimed that we were destined to be together, that I need to convert to Fruitarianism and a bunch of other crazy stuff.

Now I admit that could happen to anyone (some people are just crazy), but read the 2nd example.

Example 2. A friend of mine who is a Vegan visited various countries in Central America and at one point she, her son and several friends got invited to visit a Fruitarian's farm for a tour. When they got there however the Fruitarian started shooting at them with a rifle and they had to run to get the heck out of there.

These anecdotal incidents of Fruitarian craziness are not alone however. If you go searching online you will find hundreds of these stories of Fruitarians acting in a crazy / violent manner. Just Google 'crazy fruitarian' and you will see over 65,000 webpages on that topic.

So why are Fruitarians so crazy?

It really comes down to a nutrient deficiency. Fruits are very low on nutrients and are mostly water and fibre, so while they are healthy for you to eat, you should not be limiting yourself to fruits only. You need a mix of both vegetables and fruits in order to stay healthy.

Nutrient deficiencies can cause a host of health problems, and they effect the brain in some rather bizarre ways. See my post from last month about Food Deficiencies and Mood / Anxiety Disorders, which gets into detail as to how various deficiencies effect the brain and cause depression, anxiety, emotional stability and more.

In the case of Fruitarians there are specific health problems they encounter that effect their brain. They are:

Calcium Deficiency - Needed for strong bones, but also needed to ensure proper brain function with respect to memory. A lack of calcium leads to forgetfulness and can be a factor Alzheimers and senility.

Protein Deficiency - Protein deficiencies have also been linked to depression, anxiety, ADHD, epilepsy, and a specific type of autism. The amino acids found in meat, nuts, seeds effect the production of serotonin, a calming neurotransmitter associated with appetite, blood pressure, learning, and sleep patterns. Brain neurons are mostly fat and fueled by glucose, but they use proteins to communicate with one another and control what happens throughout the body. Enzymes and neurotransmitters also use protein to send signals in the brain.

Zinc Deficiency - A lack of zinc leads to learning impairment, cognitive disorders, mild to severe Down's syndrome, dyslexia, emotional instability, depression, mental lethargy, epilepsy, schizophrenia, addictive behaviour such as alcoholism and obsessions, eating disorders, and loss of self esteem due to an increase in acne, boils, dermatitis and psoriasis. Zinc is found in vegetables, fish, shrimp, eggs, grains, nuts and vegetable seeds (eg. pumpkin seeds are very high in zinc). 

Vitamin D Deficiency - Also needed for strong bones, a shortage of Vitamin D means certain brain functions become reliant upon magnesium instead, and if there is a shortage of magnesium those brain functions shut down. Vitamin D also helps regulate hormone levels in the body, so a lack of Vitamin D creates a hormonal imbalance.

Vitamin B-12 Deficiency - A shortage of Vitamin B-12 can lead to neurological symptoms such as a tingling in the legs even though there is no physical cause for it, the tingling sensation is just in the brain. Vitamin B-12 is used in the construction of new brain cells and nerve cells, so a shortage of B-12 means old nerve/brain cells are not being replaced and can result in 'faulty hardware'. B-12 is used for neurotransmitters, enzymes - a lack of these things can lead to shutdowns of part of your nervous system. Side effects of B-12 deficiency include delusions, hallucinations, cognitive changes (like memory decline), depression, dementia, brain shrinkage and neurodegenerative disorders.

(Wow. Researching and writing the B-12 section above scared the crap out of me. Thankfully I eat fish, meat and eggs regularly, which are the only sources of vitamin B-12.)

Folate / Vitamin B Deficiency - Other kinds of Vitamin B deficiencies also cause neurodegeneration and similar side effects to Vitamin B-12 above.

Iron-Deficiency Anemia - The symptoms include fatigue, weakness and susceptibility to infections. Iron is found in Spinach and similar green veggies, and also found in meat. The effects on the brain include cognitive impairment, dementia and Alzheimer's disease. It is not life threatening, but it does effect cognitive understanding, memory, and causes abnormal behaviour due to defective neural transmissions.

Outside of mental functions, Fruitarianism also causes pancreatic cancer (which killed Apple CEO Steve Jobs, even though he only tried it earlier in his career it caused permanent damage to his pancreas), kidney failure, 

Deficiency Conclusions

The nutrient deficiencies alone are scary. It is no wonder Fruitarians are crazy people, the lack of nutrients in their system is making them hallucinate, forget things and is giving them impaired judgement. Alcoholics are less crazy in comparison because at least they are not hallucinating.

Psychosocial Problems

One of the problems of an all fruit diet is that it disrupts a person's social life, since they cannot eat regular meals with your friends and family. Vegans and vegetarians can usually do okay at Thanksgiving meals because there is plenty of mashed potatoes, carrots, peas, salad, cranberry sauce and other things that fit their diet. How often have you seen fruit served at a large family meal however? I think cranberry sauce counts as a fruit since it is a berry shrub. But a person isn't going to eat an entire plateful of cranberry sauce.

Thus not being able to go on dates with normal people, not being able to socialize with family or old friends, forcing themselves to socialize only with Fruitarians - who are crazy due to nutrient deficiencies and therefore not the most social group of people - it is no wonder Fruitarians end up being hermits who live on fruit farms and shoot at people they apparently forgot that they invited over for a tour.

According to my research into the topic a lack of other foods also causes Fruitarians to suffer from food cravings and obsessions. These obsessions leads them down a dark road of social anxiety, forbidden foods, social isolationism, and delusions.

The food cravings often cause Fruitarians to later abandon their previous beliefs, becoming a vegan or vegetarian, or even going back to being an omnivore.

Myself, I could never give up bacon. But I do feel like I did a good deed for today having warned people about The Dangers of Fruitarianism.

Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead

In 2010 an Australian man named Joe Cross released a documentary film called "Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead". It is a remarkably well made film about a particular kind of diet that relies on eating vegetables and fruits every day for 10, 20 or 30 days in an effort to lose weight. It is basically a vegan juice diet, or as they call it in the film "a Juice Fast".

But the good news about this particular type of diet is that it does work. Guaranteed results as long as the person sticks to the diet. In the diet you only drink juice you made yourself (no store bought juice containing lots of added sugar) using a juicer machine and lots of veggies and fruits. The dieter can drink as much juice as they want, as long as it is from the juicer or from a company that makes fresh juice with no added sugar.

The film is available on DVD, Blu Ray, Netflix, YouTube and Bit Torrent. And probably a dozen other ways too.

However Juice Fasts are not for everyone. During the first week or so people will end up feeling sick and irritable because their body is detoxifying. Once that week is over however it is smooth sailing. Your body feels healthier, more energetic and you start dropping the pounds dramatically as your caveman genes takeover and you start using up stored fat as energy.

In the film Joe does a 60 day Juice Fast and convinces other people to try a juice fast in order to help them lose weight / improve their health.

Also please be advised you need to be eating a mix of veggies and fruits for the Juice Fast to work properly. You need the vegetables to provide a lot of the nutrients in your diet, whereas fruit is more fibre and has a lot less nutrients. Eating only fruit causes nutrient deficiencies that effects your inner organs and brain. (Fruitarians tend to go crazy after awhile because of lack of nutrients reaching their brain. So please, please DO NOT become a Fruitarian. Those people are crazy.)

Before going on a juice fast people should consult a doctor first to see if there is any health complications. People with weak hearts or who have heart attacks for example should not go on a juice fast, but they could still supplement / change their diet by including more fruit, veggies and juice in their diet.

Eating healthier is always going to end up better for your body. People don't have to do a juice fast to eat healthy, there are many other ways to improve their diet by eating other healthy food.

The message I hope people will get out of watching the Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead films is that they can eat healthy and get better. Juice Fasting is just one method of doing it.

The 2nd trailer below is for the sequel "Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead 2", in which the juice fest continues but more emphasis is placed on eating vegetables and less emphasis is on juice itself.

The Dangers of Sugary Drinks - 10 Cans of Coke per Day

Have you ever wondered how much weight you would gain if you drank 10 cans of Coca-Cola (or Pepsi) every day, for 30 days?

L.A. resident George Prior, a Paleo diet aficionado decided to conduct an experiment - in a "Super Size Me" way - by drinking 10 cans of coke every day for 30 days. So 300 cokes overall. He then documented his results on his website

The trick to this is that Prior made no other changes to his otherwise healthy diet. He had a very healthy diet already (and a pretty lean, muscular body), so he would just be adding sugary drinks to his daily diet. That means he was putting 350 extra grams of sugar into his body every day.

So what difference do you think that would make? After all, not many people actually drink 10 cokes per day, do they?

Actually a lot of people do drink the equivalent of that.

"That’s true, perhaps you’re only drinking four Cokes, but if you add in the two glasses of orange juice, the two sweetened coffee drinks from Starbucks, the 16 ounce Odwalla drink, the two ‘healthy’ brand ice teas, and the $9 fruit smoothie you waited ten minutes in line for, you’ve made my ten Cokes look like child’s play. Maybe it’s not all Coke, but they’re all sugar drinks, and a big percentage of Americans drink at least the sugar equivalent of my ten Cokes," explains Prior.

So yes, sometimes people do drink that much every day. Or eat the equivalent amount of calories in junk food. A single can of Coca-Cola is 139 calories, so 10 cans is 1,390 calories - approx. 70% of your daily energy needs.

3,500 calories = 1 pound of fat. Thus consuming 41,700 calories in 30 days, we would expect Prior to gain 11.914 lbs of fat in 30 days.

So how much did Prior gain?

At the start of his experiment he weighed in at 168 lbs. 30 days later he weighed 191 lbs, an increase of 23 lbs. How is this possible that the amount consumed led to a larger than expected weight gain?

There are several possibilities:

#1. Prior cheated on his experiment, eating more than he claimed he was. But we will assume he was honest in his experimentation and give him the benefit of the doubt.

#2. The sheer amount of sugar caused him to become temporarily diabetic and also slowed his metabolism. A dramatically slower metabolism would cause him to store more sugar as fat, leading to excessive weight gain.

Anyone who has ever gained 20 lbs during the Christmas Holidays know how option #2 happens.

#3, Prior also gained muscle / bone density during that time period. Since the meat and veggies he was eating wasn't being used for energy due to the abundance of sugar in his system, those materials would have then been used for growing extra muscle and increasing his bone density. Increased bone density is normal for anyone putting on extra muscle / weight, as your bones needs to be able to support the extra weight.

#4. Combination of #2. and #3. But how would we know?

Well, fortunately there is a way to check. We compare his body fat percentages and total body fat weight.

At the start of the experiment Prior had 9.4 percent body fat. Or 15.792 lbs of fat.

By the end of the experiment his body fat was 15.3 percent. Or 29.223 lbs of fat.

So in reality he only gained 13.431 lbs of fat.

So that isn't so far off from the 11.914 lbs we would have expected him to gain.

Thus Prior must have also gained 9.569 lbs of muscle and bone density during that period. So we now know #3 - extra muscle / bone density - is the more accurate reason for the extra weight gain. (The increase in muscle / bone density also disproves #1, showing that he didn't cheat on his experimental diet.)

So what about that extra 1.517 lbs of fat?

Well, lets look at Prior's blood pressure. At the beginning of the experiment his blood pressure was 129/77. By the end of the experiment it had increased to 143/96. An increase of 16%.

Blood pressure and metabolism has an inverse effect. The person becomes resistant to insulin (diabetic); Insulin regulates the absorption of sugar, the storing of sugar as fat tissue and plays an important role in weight gain. An increase in blood pressure, a reduction in metabolism and a rise in resistance to insulin would result in extra weight gain.

For Prior this meant only a difference of 1.517 lbs of fat, but it is important we keep track of what was happening in his body.

Note - All the math calculations on this page are done by me, using a calculator and only the raw before and after data. I have not relied on George Prior's website for any of my calculations.


Yes, eating lots of sugary drinks (or sugary food) will cause you to gain a lot of weight in a hurry. That part is a no brainer. So if you are eating a lot during the upcoming Christmas Holiday Season and then weigh about 20 lbs more than usual by the time January comes around, now you will know why. All those snacks, cookies, wine, beer, chocolate, turkey, stuffing, potatoes, etc went straight to your waistline. The holiday season is amazingly effective at causing people to gain weight in a hurry.

Oddly enough not all of it will be fat. A chunk of it will also be muscle and bone density, but the added fat gain is going to be tricky to get rid of.

So Merry Christmas. You will need to go on a diet / exercise routine come January.

If you need a personal trainer in January, shoot me an email. We can start by measuring your weight, figure out how much you want to lose, and then we can determine what kind of diet and exercise program you will need to reach your desired weight.

In the meantime have a Happy Holidays and try to eat healthier this year!

Archery Lessons Testimonials X 2

Here are two more testimonials from earlier this year for my archery lessons.

"Hi Charles,

I wanted to thank you for making our first archery experience so much fun and entertaining yesterday. I think I speak for Carolyn and Gurdeep too when I say we had a great time, and that archery could be our new hobby.

Maybe I will be able to audition for a part in Arrow or Game of Thrones soon!!

Thanks again.

Bally J."

"Hello all!

I am writing this testimonial because I really loved the archery lessons I had with Charles. Not only did Charles make it easy to learn with his straight forward instructions, he also was incredibly knowledgeable about the physiology of archery form and the physics of how an arrow flies through the air. I came away from the lessons being able to shoot tight clusters consistently and I know without a doubt it would have taken forever for me to figure out how to do that through trial and error / trying to teach myself.

I also want to compliment Charles on his teaching style which is very supportive, encouraging and how he employs humour in order to make the coach-student relationship more enjoyable. Maybe that is just his personality. I wish my university professors were half as funny as Charles is.

In short, if you are looking for archery lessons in Toronto I highly recommend Charles. I have seen other archery instructors doing their thing, but seeing others in action shows me that I chose well when I signed up for lessons because I apparently got the best instructor in Toronto.

Very Happy,
Annabelle V."

Two Good Shots

20 Great Foods for Slimming Down this Winter

Winter is coming, but so is Xmas. Which means you will likely be eating lots of sweets during the Holiday season.

But what if you want to lose weight this Winter instead of gaining it?

Well we do have some suggestions. The following foods are good for slimming down - even during Winter! Many of the following foods are an excellent source of nutrients, contain chemicals that help your body slim down, high protein, anti-oxidants, and/or are very low on calories. The precise reasons vary for each food, but we recommend all of them. For organizational reasons we have separated the foods into different categories.

Hot Oatmeal

Coconut Milk
Greek Yogurt

Prickly Pears (aka pear cactus)


Chia Seeds
Cocoa Beans or Dark Chocolate
Macadamia Nuts
Sunflower Seeds

Honey (use as a sweetener instead of sugar)
Maple Syrup
Red Wine or Red Grapes


Shiitake Mushrooms

Gift Vouchers for Archery Lessons and More

November 16th 2014

It is snowing outside which means I am done teaching archery for the season.

Winter for me is time meant more for teaching ice skating, boxing (indoors) and personal training. So if you are looking to learn ice skating, boxing or are looking for a personal trainer feel free to contact me.

Prebooking Archery Lessons

For people who want to get into archery and are looking for archery lessons in Toronto, you can prebook lessons for Spring and Summer 2015 right now.

And by right now, I mean contact me right away because people started prebooking for 2015 back in August 2014 so some of the time slots in April and May are already fully booked.

When Prebooking Archery Lessons I require a 30% deposit for the total sum, payable via Interac Email Transfer from your bank.

Gift Vouchers

If the lessons are not for you but are for your friend, significant other, child, parent, boss, colleague, etc. and you are not sure when to schedule them then I also offer Gift Vouchers. The prices of the Gift Vouchers are the same as my regular rates so browse my Archery Lessons page to see my rates, and learn more about my services.

Payment for the Gift Voucher is done via Interac Email Transfer from your bank.

Please be advised that Gift Vouchers have an expiry of 18 months after the day of purchase. So if you purchase a Gift Voucher in December 2014, it will expire by June 30th 2016 if it is not used during 2015 or Spring 2016. (I figure 18 months is ample enough time for people to use a voucher.)

Lost voucher? Email me with your contact information, who purchased the voucher and the value of the voucher and I can send you the voucher number. All you need is the voucher number to redeem it.

Tip: Aim in the corner if the target butts are damaged.
Winter Archery Lessons

Ideally I would prefer to teach archery lessons indoors during the colder months but we have to make do with what we have. Last year I made an exception in February to teach a single archery lesson to a student who wanted to get into bowhunting. So it is not impossible for me to teach archery lessons during the winter, but it is a case wherein I prefer to wait for the weather to cooperate and I do prefer to teach only those students who are unwilling to wait for Spring because they have a dire urge to learn immediately.

I add an extra $20 surcharge for Winter archery lessons because the probability of lost arrows is much higher and because I want to discourage people who are less than serious. All lessons are dependent upon cooperation from the weather. If the weather is too foul / blizzard-like, we will reschedule for a nicer day using the 14 day forecast and confirm the weather conditions the day before the lesson.

For tips on doing archery during the Winter please read Guide to Winter Archery in Toronto.


To contact me regarding prebooking archery lessons, purchasing a Gift Voucher, or scheduling a Winter archery lessons you can email

Enjoy the Winter!

Archery - What to do if you are Cross Dominant



I am cross dominant (right handed but left eye dominant). I find it very awkward to pull back and shoot using my left arm. Is there anything to do to rectify this problem? I have tried shooting with my right side instead, but my accuracy that way is horrible / worse. Help?!

- Gerry W.


Hey Gerry!

First, for my readers I am going to clarify what it means to have a dominant eye and to be cross dominant. Your dominant eye is the one people aim with. It doesn't necessarily match up with which hand is dominant. Roughly 15% of people are left eye dominant, and while some of them are left handed, quite often there is a percentage of people who are right handed and left eye dominant (or the reverse, left handed and right eye dominant, although that is more rare).

To check which eye is your dominant one please read the Eye Dominance Test page and follow the instructions listed there.

Second, the reason it feels awkward for your left arm is because you are not used to using your left arm for pulling exercises and it is physically weaker than your right arm. There are two ways to rectify this:

#1. Practice, practice, practice. The act of doing archery will make your left arm / left side stronger and you will eventually be able to pull the bow with ease.

#2. Complement your archery practice with weight lifting. Devote 10% to 15% more repetitions to your left side. Over time your left side will become stronger and more used to the act of pulling the bow. Both arms, shoulders and back muscles will get stronger, but your left arm

Third, a common problem with cross dominant people is that their left hand is both weaker and less dextrous because it isn't used for tasks requiring manual dexterity / gripping tasks. Making your hand stronger is relatively easy - buy a pair of hand grips and do hand grip exercises with them. (See Hand Grips for Beginners.)

How you increase the manual dexterity in your off hand is a matter of debate. I recommend juggling with three balls or juggling two balls right-to-left because it forces you to be catching/throwing the balls with your left hand instead of just your right. If you only juggle with two balls then use your right hand to be catching the balls and your left to be throwing them. Usually most right handed people shift the ball left-to-right when juggling two balls because they are catching with their left hand, shifting the ball to the right and then the right hand is throwing the ball up again. By reversing the process, you are forcing your left hand to catch the ball being shifted to the left, and to be tossing the ball accurately in the air. This will take a lot of practice to master. Days, weeks, maybe even months.

It takes time for people to work their way up to juggling three balls (which requires that both hands be equally dexterous), so juggling right-to-left will be a good stepping stone to eventually learning to juggle 3 at once.

However once mastered juggling with your left hand, it should have dramatically more manual dexterity and won't feel so clumsy when you are trying to shoot with it.

DIY Archery Equipment on a Frugal Budget

If you have read some of my past topics about Frugal Exercises then you know I am a big fan of people exercising without having to spend a lot of money on the activity they are doing. People should not have to spend oodles of money on a "Bow Flex", "Shake Weight", etc.

eg. In 2014 one of the biggest exercise gadgets being promoted is bracelets and watches that estimate how many calories you are burning, your heart rate, how fast you are jogging, etc - often with attachments or Blue Tooth that attach to your phone. But do these gadgets actually get you exercising? No. Do they allow you to miraculously lose weight more effectively? No.

All such gadgets seem to do is remove money from your wallet in an effort to nerdify your workout (assuming you actually have a workout and the gadget doesn't end up collecting dust in a shoe box).

For example if you browse a list of such gadgets you are just as likely to see "Bicycle Helmet Camera" or "Earbuds for listening to Music" on the list of gadgets, as if the camera will cause you to actually go out and bicycle, or the earbuds will cause you to jog and listen to music while you jog. More likely the camera will get used once, and the earbuds will be used more often on the bus or subway en route or coming home from work.

But enough ranting. Lets talk about archery equipment.

Buying archery equipment is expensive right from the get go. Expect to spend anywhere from $120 to $350 on your first bow if you go into an archery store and ask to buy their cheapest bow. Then you also need arrows, bow stringer, finger glove (or tab or thumb ring) to protect your shooting fingers and a bracer to protect your bow arm. Quiver, store-bought targets / target butts, spare bow strings are optional.

If you want the really nice equipment, expect to be spending $400 to $900 - or $1,000 to $3,000 on the super expensive equipment.

However expensive equipment does not make a better archer. Case in point, my cousin Ken won three Canadian National Championships back in the early 1990s using a Hoyt traditional recurve that in today's prices would only be about $600 CDN. But that isn't the bow doing the work. It is the archer. (Because apparently archery skill is part of our Scottish family history, going back centuries. Although to be fair, many families have a dose of archery in their family line.)

I have seen many archers using homemade bows and performing shots that would make their ancestors proud. So you don't need a store bought or expensive bow to do archery.

But I should say however that bow making is not easy. Bow making is both a craft and an art form, because it relies on knowledge of the materials - but also on an understanding of how to make a bow which shoots effectively.

So the question then becomes, how do you do archery on a frugal budget?

Well, it depends on how frugal you want to be.

For example, I know it is possible to make a trilam bamboo bow for only $20 worth of materials - but you will end up spending closer to $60 just on tools, and making a trilam bamboo bow requires a degree of woodworking skill that is beyond most first time bow makers (and even moderately good woodworkers).

You can even buy kits for making your own bow (see for roughly $120, but I think we can find a style of bow that is even cheaper and easier to make.

Which brings us to the topic of PVC. There are plenty of videos on YouTube about making PVC longbows, PVC recurves and many other styles of PVC bows. They're all super cheap, costs you about $5 to make the simplest designs, or closer to $50 if you want to make something more complex. A good YouTube channel to watch on the topic of PVC bows is BackyardBowyer.

But I have an issue with PVC bows. I have seen many people at the archery range using PVC bows, and they all inevitably break. Often in a spectacular way, which is to say a horrendous cracking noise as the PVC splinters and explodes in different directions. I have yet to see an injury from an exploding PVC bow, but they do happen.

Bhutan man using a homemade bamboo bow.
Archery is the National Sport of Bhutan.
Thus my recommendation for a frugal bow is going to be a different material entirely: Bamboo.

Now I did mention trilam bamboo bows further above, but what I am talking about here is in Indian-style Bamboo bows (Indian as in India, not Native American). People in India cannot always afford to buy a bow in stores, but archery is quite popular there and bamboo bows (and bamboo arrows) are easy to make and cheap since both bamboo and cheap labour are both very plentiful in India. (I should also note bamboo bows are also popular in Bhutan, in parts of China, and other countries in south-east Asia.)

But let us pretend you want to make your own bamboo bow. Here is what you do...


Get a thick 6 foot long piece of bamboo in Toronto's Chinatown. Approx. cost $5 to $10.


Using a saw, hack saw, band saw or whatever kind of saw you have handy cut the bamboo lengthwise into 3 or 4 flat pieces. Once you have the three or four pieces you need to smooth down the bamboo so it is nice and flat on the interior side (how you do this is up to you, I recommend rasps and sandpaper).


Find the middle of each piece of bamboo and mark it with a pencil. Next mark the three quarters point on both ends of each piece of bamboo. Mark lines on the bamboo from where the tip of the bow will be down to the 3/4 marks on the bamboo. The triangle parts on the corners of the bamboo you've just drawn should then be removed with a saw. (Try to make sure each bamboo piece is identical in terms of where they are being cut, so when finished cutting and stacked together they look like perfect copies of each other.)


Now comes the tricky part, because you have options here and you have to decide which method suits your needs. The trick here depends on how strong you want your bow to be, how durable

Option 1 - Laminate 2 or 3 of the bamboo pieces together using wood glue or epoxy. Epoxy works best as filler, whereas glue needs to be pressed between two tight surfaces. For best results get the bamboo super flat and then use TiteBond 3 wood glue. Note - You probably don't need to use more than 3 pieces of bamboo to make your bow, using 4 pieces might make your bow too strong and impossible to pull. Use your own judgement and realize there may be some experimentation.

Option 2 - Skip laminating the bamboo together and instead wrap it tightly together using sinew, rawhide, or even duct tape... Duct tape is your cheapest option.

Option 3 - Laminate with glue AND wrap it with sinew.

Option 4 - Don't bother using multiple pieces of bamboo to make the bow, use a single piece - the bow will be very weak but functional.


Cut notches into the tips for a bow string + make a bow string out of twine, linen, silk, sisal, B55, B52 Dacron, etc.


String your bow and give it a few tries with an arrow in the safety of your garage/basement/etc. The great news about working with bamboo is that you can basically skip the normal tillering process of making a bow. Bamboo has amazing tensile strength and flexibility - making it ideal for bow-making.

The end result is a bow which is functional and which will work better than any 'stick bow' you could make using found materials. Made well it will work just as good as a PVC bow, but without the danger of the PVC breaking / exploding into sharp pieces.

You will also need arrows, a bracer, a fingerglove (or tab or thumb ring) and possibly a bowstringer (although for a homemade bamboo bow, a bowstringer might be unnecessary).

If you feel you would prefer to try making a wood bow instead (out of yew, osage, ash, hickory, oak, elm, lemonwood or any of the other quality bow woods) then I recommend you purchase the following book:

The Traditional Bowyer's Bible, Volume I

Volumes II, III and IV are also good, but Volume I is the most important book because it covers all the basics of selecting/seasoning wood, design, tillering, arrow making, glues, etc.

If you are remotely good at making things with your hands you can probably figure out how to make a wood, bamboo or PVC bow. It doesn't take a genius to make something that works, but it will take several tries before you can make something you are truly proud of.

But hey, learning is a journey and you only get there when you take the first step.

Food Deficiences and Mood / Anxiety Disorders

Food can have dramatic side effects on the body. Caffeine, alcohol, chocolate for example each distinct side effects on the human body.

But a lack of certain types of food can also result in metabolic or nutritional deficiencies which can lead to psychological disorders - including side effects like depression, mood disorders and anxiety disorders - to say nothing of eating disorders.

Unfortunately many doctors don't even check for metabolic or nutritional deficiencies that may be the real cause of a person's depression or disorder. Instead they just like to prescribe anti-depressant pills when in reality what a person just needs is a healthy diet and perhaps some vitamin/mineral supplements. (We should also note that regular exercise also boosts self esteem and self-image, so healthy diet combined with regular exercise would garner the best results.)

Patients have no idea why they are feeling so awful or where to start looking for the answer. They expect their doctor to give them real solutions, and doctors end up pushing pills on them as a bandaid solution. Drugs are the easy fix, but they're often not the final solution because there are serious side effects that come with taking powerful anti-depressants.

Doctors prescribe anti-depressants using information they get from drug sales reps and every time they prescribe an anti-depressant they get paid a commission (even though you collect your prescription from the drug store). The side effects and dangers of these drugs are down-played so that patients don't realize all of the pros and cons of the medication. The problem is doctors are prescribing these medications without first ruling out dietary deficiency as a cause. Some doctors have realized that many patients refuse to change their diet and thus go straight to prescribing pills because they think the patient is unwilling to change their diet.

Every winter millions of people get the "Winter Blues", a depressing funk from being inside all the time and not getting enough vitamin D. People can get the "Winter Blues" any time of the year however. All they have to do is avoid sunlight for 2 or 3 months and barely eat any vitamin D, they will get depressed quite easily.

If you suffer from depression or mood/anxiety disorders it is possibly you may simply be deficient in one of the nutrients below. Scientific researchers have determined that many people who suffer from depression and mood disorders are deficient in not just one nutrient but several, all contributing to the symptoms. So pay attention because it is possible you are missing out on several key ingredients for your happiness.

#1: Junk Food Diet = Common Nutritional Deficiency

Does your diet contain too much sugar, junk foods, sodas, or processed foods? Do you often skip meals? If you suffer from depression or mood disorders, one solution is to start a food diary of the foods you eat every day and then compare the results at the end of the week with what you should be eating. Chances are you are not eating enough fresh vegetables or fruit and this is extremely common in North America for people to have a nutritional deficiency from lack of veggies and fruit.

#2: Omega-3 Fatty Acids Deficiency

Omega-3 Fatty Acids are found in foods such as fish, fish oil and Flax Seed Oil. A deficiency of Omega-3 fatty acids or an imbalance of Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids could be the cause of your problems. Omega 3 Fatty acids are important to brain function and your mental outlook on life, a lack thereof results in a feeling of sluggishness and uselessness. Omega-3 Fatty Acids also help people who suffer from inflammation and pain problems. Researchers have found that the vast majority of patients with depression and mood disorders are deficient in Omega 3 Fatty Acids.

Conclusions from #1. and #2: Eat more fish, salad and veggies.

#3: Vitamin D Deficiency

I already mentioned Vitamin D above, but Vitamin D is also important for your immune function, bones, and brain health. Sunlight is the richest source for the human body making its own natural Vitamin D, but during winter months you need to be eating more Vitamin D in order to compensate for the lack of sunlight. A 2013 study determined that Vitamin D deficiencies are present in patients with depression, panic disorders and especially Alzheimer's. So to combat this you can go outside more, take Vitamin D supplements, or eat more foods containing Vitamin D like fish, eggs, milk, and cheese.

#4: B-Vitamins Deficiency:

In recent years Neuropsychiatry has proven the link between B-Vitamin deficiencies and mood disorders including depression. But there is a solution for this. Take a vitamin pill that contains 25 mg of each of the different B-Vitamins included in the pill. Vitamin B rich foods include fish, meat, nuts, dairy products, leafy greens, carrots, tofu, eggs.

#5: Zinc , Folate, Chromium, Iron and Mineral Deficiencies

Patients with depression are often found to be deficient in many minerals. Many modern processed foods contain almost no minerals or only trace minerals. Whenever possible, eat normal non-processed meat, veggies and fruits.

#6: Iodine Deficiency:

Iodine is necessary for your thyroid to work properly. The thyroid is part of the endocrine system and is one of the most important glands in your body. The thyroid gland affects every function of the body including body temperature, immune function, and brain function. Iodine is found in foods such as potatoes, cranberries, Kelp, Arame, Hiziki, Kombu, and Wakame.  Decades ago people used to eat Iodine enriched salt, but these days iodine deficiency is again becoming a problem with salt free diets. So if you're not a fan of the veggies mentioned above, try eating some salty foods instead (eg. salt-water fish).

#7: Amino Acids Deficiency

Amino Acids are used to make neurotransmitters in order speed up brain function and control emotional stability. There are 9 necessary Amino Acids that cannot be manufactured by your body and can only be attained by eating food. The Amino Acids you need are found in meat, eggs, fish, high quality beans, seeds and nuts. You also need to eat a variety of different foods to furnish the body with all the amino acids needed to be healthy - you can't just choose one and eat only that because not all foods contain all nine amino acids. A great source for amino acids is Moringa Oleifera leaves.

Overwhelmed neurotransmitters caused by an Amino Acids deficiency results in an imbalance between emotions, resulting in many different kinds of mental disorders. Dopamine, noradrenaline, and GABA are three important neurotransmitters often deficient in depression. You can test for this deficiency by visiting an Orthomolecular doctor who will test your blood and urine to check your amino acid levels. Unlike regular doctors who just prescribe anti-depressants, Orthomolecular doctors treat the base cause of the deficiency and can tailor make a treatment program for the person. Thus if they notice a deficiency, they will recommend you eat the appropriate foods or take supplements.


There are tests that prove nutrient deficiencies. You just have to ask your doctor for a Nutrient Deficiency Test. The problem however is most medical doctors in the USA will not give clearance for the tests, nor will your insurance pay for them - so if you are American and want this test done you have to pay for it yourself. In Ontario (and the rest of Canada) however the test is covered by OHIP (because the Canadian government knows they save money in the long run if people make the choice to safeguard their health and have the test so they know how best to do this).

So huzzah! Isn't Canada awesome?

Archery Woes - Hair and Eye Problems



I have two problems when I am doing archery. I cannot close my left eye when I am trying to aim. If I close it I end up closing/squinting my right eye too, so much that I can barely see the target. I find I have problems aiming with both eyes open because it makes double vision.

The second problem is my long hair has a tendency to get in the way. Aside from cutting off my hair or wearing a hat, what can I do to counter my hair getting in the way of my eyes?

Thanks in advance!
Kayla N.


Hello Kayla!

Problem 1

I have encountered people with the problem that they cannot close their left eye before and I have a very simple solution: Wear an eye patch. It may feel silly but many archers in your position do it. Some of them even have decorative eye patches made.

Problem 2

Now you know why Katniss in the Hunger Games wears her hair in a braid. This is the quickest, most effective solution to your hair problems. Just braid your hair, tie it back, make a ponytail, pigtails, etc. You could even put your hair up in Princess Leia buns if you wanted to.

If your hair is too short to make a ponytail, braid or tie it back then I have several other suggestions:

1. Bandanna to hold your hair out of your face.

2. Hair barrettes to hold your hair in place.

3. Bows / ribbons holding your hair in place (feel free to make jokes with your fellow archers about how many bows you are using at the same time).

4. Wear a toque or knitted kufi hat.

5. Get a perm. Curly hair is more springy and won't get in your eyes so much when you are shooting.

Three Common Compound Tuning Questions

Below are three common questions students often ask when it comes to compound bows.


"I recently purchased a compound bow and I don't know how to adjust the draw length. How do I do that?"

It varies on the individual compound bow, but basically it is a matter of reading the owner's manual and then following the instructions. There are however common

Step one will typically be to unscrew the top limb bolt (where the limb meets the riser) using an Allen key / hex key. Doing so lowers the poundage of the bow on the top limb. Start by rotating the key 2 full circles.

Step two, unscrew the bottom limb bolt 2 full rotations.

Step three, repeat step one and step two until the limbs are at their maximum lowered poundage. Keep track of how many full rotations you used for both top and bottom limbs.

Step four, consulting your owner's manual adjust the pins on your top and bottom cams to the desired settings for the draw length.

Step five, rescrew the bottom limb 2 rotations, then the top limb 2 rotations, and keep repeating this process until both top and bottom limbs are back at the original settings (so the draw weight is once again returned to the same amount).


"How do I adjust the draw weight?"

 If you already read the answer to Question One, this part will be easy. You adjust the draw weight by either unscrewing or screwing both the top and bottom limb bolts equal amounts until you get to your desired draw weight.

You will want to use a draw weight that you can pull back easily. If you feel like you are going to rip your muscles or that it is almost impossible to full back, then it is too heavy for you and you should lower it to a more manageable draw weight.

Note - For hunting purposes you would still need to use a draw weight that is equal to or above the legal minimum for your prey. eg. In Ontario the legal minimum for deer is 39.7 lbs, and for moose / elf / black bear the legal minimum is 48.5 lbs.

Determining the precise draw weight requires a gadget to measure to the draw pull at "the Wall" (the point at which the draw weight while pulling back is at its highest point). Most archery stores have such a gadget on hand and can tell you the precise draw weight when they setup your bow for you. Experienced archers can also estimate the draw weight of your bow just by pulling it back and giving their best guess based on their past experience.


"How do I adjust the sights on my compound bow?"

For this one you really should sign up for an archery lesson. Beginners have a tendency to make all sorts of mistakes when adjusting the sights on their compound bow so it is a case wherein you are best guided by someone who has experience adjusting the sights to help tune your compound bow so you get the utmost accuracy out of your equipment.

The short answer to this question is to make clusters of arrows on the target and then 'chase the cluster' by adjusting your sights in whatever direction(s) the cluster is in. Adjusting the sight is counter-intuitive. You have to adjust the sight in the direction of the cluster. Many beginners think if your shots are too high that you need to lower the sight. It is actually the opposite, you need to raise the sight upwards and then your arrows will go lower. Raising the sight lowers the trajectory angle of the arrow, lowering the sight raises the trajectory angle of the arrow. Huzzah for physics lessons.

Fine tuning the sights up/down and left/right is more complex than that however so if you have a friend who has experience tuning compound sights, I strongly recommend you ask them to help you out - or if you live in Toronto you can hire an archery instructor like myself.

Sometimes people also install other parts on compound bows improperly and they need to be adjusted first before you adjust the sight. For example the arrow rest should be tuned first, before you tune the sight. eg. I once met someone shooting a right-handed bow with a left-handed bow's arrow rest installed backwards on it. That was a case in which they needed a right arrow rest first, install it, tune it, and then they can start tuning the sights.

Looking to sign up for archery lessons, boxing lessons, swimming lessons, ice skating lessons or personal training sessions? Start by emailing and lets talk fitness!


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