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Not available at the App Store - Blood, sweat and tears

Hey Toronto!

So you have all the latest apps from the app store that calculate how much physical activity you are doing, give you tips on what to do, and quite possibly is spamming you with advertising from local stores selling protein powder...

Now what?

The truth is having a bunch of apps on your smart phone won't make you go out and exercise. Finding the motivation to exercise is waaaaaaaaay more important than anything an app can do.

After all, what is the point of having an app that measures your jogging speed, calories burned while jogging, etc if you never actually build up the nerve to go jogging?

The blood, sweat and tears needed to actually exercise - whether you are jogging, weightlifting, swimming, cycling or whatever it is you are doing - cannot be purchased at any app store.

That is where a personal trainer comes in.

A personal trainer can motivate you to get outside and exercise - but to do that you first need to be motivated to spend some $$$ to actually hire a personal trainer.

The next possibility - my favourite - is to take up a sport that you love / always wanted to try. eg. If you always wanted to run a marathon, time to start jogging and practicing for that marathon. Or if you always wanted to get into archery, then it is time to do so.

Having the latest exercise gadgets, expensive dumbbells, latest exercise apps won't actually get you exercising. But a sport will. Personal training will force you to keep appointments, force you to exercise, encourage you to exercise during your own free time, and encourage you to improve the quality of the foods you are consuming so you are eating more healthy food and less junk food.

Below are some savvy photos of young women with their smart phones - presumably exercising. But the reality is that these are models being paid for a photo gig. Just because you see it in a photo doesn't mean you will actually exercise and look like that too.

But taking the dog for a walk to the park is a good start. Why don't you go now?

8 Fun Summer Activities

So... you are on vacation and looking for some fun right?

Here are 8 ideas for fun things to do this summer that will get you exercising!

#1. Snorkeling - Honestly, it is actually EASIER than regular swimming.

#2. Bicycling - Get that bicycle outside and explore the great outdoors / Toronto!

#3. Rock Climbing - Not as expensive as you might think, and very easy to get into if you have the Niagara Escarpment near you. Hear that Toronto? Get outside!

#4. Gardening - More fun if you love plants, less fun if you despise mosquitoes.

#5. Water Pistol Tag - Fun for you, fun for the kids, and fun for anyone who is overheating. (More fun if you can only shoot someone who did not shoot you. Same rules as "no touch backs" basically.)

#6. Archery Tag - Wait, what??? What is archery tag??? See below.

#7. Canoeing or Kayaking - Because canoe / kayak rentals really are not that expensive (there are multiple companies offering canoe rentals and it has driven the price down) and totally worth it.

#8. Make up your sport. eg. Bicycle Archery Tag or Canoe Archery Tag

Because new ways to have fun are just waiting to be invented.

Aha! Snorkeling archery!

Sculpture as Exercise

Rock Art made at Ashbridges Bay in Toronto
Want to learn a new exercise that employs both creativity and your muscles?

Try Rock Art / Rock Balancing.

I got introduced to rock balancing years ago (2011) and I have a few tips to pass on to would-be rock art sculptors.

#1. Learn to balance smaller rocks first.

#2. Wear gloves on your hands and steel toed boots on your feet. Protect yourself first because hurting your toes and fingers will REALLY HURT!

#3. When lifting larger rocks or even medium sized rocks, lift with your legs, not your back. If you have back problems you should probably be wearing a back brace.

#4. If you can barely lift a rock, you probably have no business trying to balance it. See Tip #1 over again.

#5. Try to find good quality rocks that balance easier. The best rocks have lots of crevices in them that allow you to balance them on a corner or bottom using 3 points (approximatly 120 degrees away from each other) so that rock won't roll in any direction.

#6. If it is windy outside don't bother. Any wind gusts of 30 kmph or more will knock your rocks over.

#7. When attempting to balance a larger rock get someone else to help you. Make sure they are following Tip #2 as well.

#8. Remember to hydrate. It gets hot outside in the sun! Best times of year to do rock balancing is May- April and September-October. June, July and August will be too hot and will wear you down physically faster so bring LOTS of drinking water with you.

#9. Bring snacks. All that exercise makes you hungry. Protein bars, sandwiches, chicken salads, anything nutritious.

#10. Have fun and bring a camera!

Rock Art Balancing, 2011

Archery Instructor Testimonials x 4

"Thank you for all the lessons."

- Yunrou Z., July 2014

"Charles is a very attentive and detail oriented archery instructor. You can tell he is passionate about archery and teaching archery, giving 110% to students and giving free archery advice even when he is not on the clock. One on one lessons with him are educational, entertaining and you could not ask for a more dedicated instructor. I have enjoyed every lesson, seen a dramatic improvement in my arrow clusters and I know this would not have happened without such a committed instructor."

- Timothy F., July 2014

"Thank you again for the lesson! I am amazed at how much I learned in one lesson. Also thank you for the advice on what equipment I will need to practice archery on my own, the advice was invaluable."

- Rebecca H., June 2014

"Thank you again for both lessons. When it started raining during the first lesson I thought the rest was just forfeit. The 2nd lesson [half of one due to it raining halfway through the first lesson] saw a huge improvement to my form and clusters. Keep up the great work and keep shooting those moving targets!"

- Gerry W., June 2014

Note - The last testimonial is referring to my personal practice of shooting at tiny moving targets attached to the target butt. Below are photos of examples.

Top Five Holiday Workouts - Beating the Holiday Bulge

If you're planning your next holiday before you board the plane it's important to think about your health.

Losing your fitness and packing on flab instead of muscle whilst you're away is a curse many cardio kings often have to endure; however, that doesn't have to be the way.

Staying active during your time in the sun needn't take more than a few minutes a day and will help ensure your beach body doesn't turn into a beach ball body overnight.

Our Top Five Holiday Exercises

Let's face it, putting on some extra pounds is a necessary evil when you're on a break, but if you follow our top five holiday workouts then you can fend off the negative effects of excess without eating into your sunbathing session:

1. Drink at 30,000ft - Airplanes can wreak havoc on both your weight and your immune system, so it's important to counteract the impact of your flight as much as possible. According to a recent article in the Daily Telegraph you should drink one pint of water every hour to avoid dehydration.

Changes in atmospheric pressure mean an aircraft's cabin is extremely dry and when your body becomes dehydrated you leave yourself more exposed to infections.

2. Take a Dip - Virtually every holiday destination has a swimming pool or, better still, the sea in close proximity and you'd be a fool not to make use of it. Aside from being a way to cool off when the heat becomes too much, swimming is a fantastic cardiovascular workout. Aim to complete around 20 minutes of continuous swimming at a steady pace each day and you'll be able to enjoy that dessert or extra drink you've been craving.

3. Use Your Body - Your body is the most efficient and portable piece of exercise equipment you own and something you should make full use of when on holiday. On top of providing a great strength aid, body-weight exercises will help improve your cardiac performance.

The main areas you want to target when performing body-weight exercises on holiday are your major muscle groups. The larger the muscle, the harder your heart has to work which, in turn, means you need to spend less time training in order to maintain your current fitness level.

Our top tip for performing body-weight exercises would be to perform each exercise ten times for three sets and target the following movements: Squats, push-ups, triceps dips, planks, burpees and sit-ups.

4. Talk a Walk - Current fitness wisdom states that regular runs on the beach can cause undue stress on the ankle and knee joints; however, that doesn't mean you shouldn't utilize this resource. A brisk walk along the beach each day (aim for around 20 minutes) will elevate your heart rate just enough to maintain your cardiovascular health without putting too much stress on your joints.

5. Stretch it Out - If you don't want to feel like you need a gastric band when you return from your summer holiday then consider packing a set exercise bands. These elastic strips will take up very little space in your luggage and are perfect for replicating a number of weighted exercises. Our advice is to use a band for the following exercises: shoulder presses, upright rows, press-ups, bicep curls, single leg lunges and squats.

Each exercise should utilize the band's elasticity which means you'll need to either attach it to the bottom of a door or stand on the band. After anchoring one end of the band you should perform each exercise as you would if you were holding a light weight and perform 8 reps for 2-3 sets.

BONUS -  Take Some Sporting Equipment with You - If you have a favourite sport, why not take some of your equipment with you and practice your chosen sport while on vacation? It doesn't matter whether it is tennis, golf, archery, etc - if you have the extra luggage space and have the option to bring it you could potentially bring anything that is small enough to count as luggage. A bicycle might not be so good however, but look into renting a bicycle when you get there.

"My Dog Ate My Exercise Journal" and other excuses for not exercising

As a personal trainer I hear all manner of excuses for why people don't want to exercise. (Warning, you are about to read a rant.)

Its raining outside.

Its too cold.

Its too windy.

My dog is sick.

I just broke up with my ex (plus I am depressed and refuse to exercise apparently).

And then of course there is occasions when people cancel last minute their personal training session, in which case I really need people to read the Fine Print in the Rescheduling and Missed Sessions part of my website.

Especially the part where I need at least 24 hour notice before a cancellation.

Cancelling at midnight before a lesson the next day because "I have to go to a Steve Miller concert" is not sufficient warning.

Or here is my favourite thus far "I seem to have misplaced one of my children." I am paraphrasing what they said, but that is basically what their excuse was. It was the parental equivalent of "I lost my homework." or "My dog ate it." I am pretty sure it was a lie, and if it was not a lie, then that parent is obviously disorganized. Disorganization only gives a person a bad reputation for missing / breaking appointments.

Other personal trainers will understand what I am talking about. Dentists, doctors, lawyers and anyone who uses an appointment based schedule will understand what I am talking about. You make an appointment and you stick with it.

If you cancel an appointment with a dentist and you don't give them 24 hours notice for the cancellation, the dentist charges the person for the wasted time.

I do the exact same thing. If people don't show up, me waiting for them counts as the session.

Some personal trainers also require a deposit or prepayment for each session. I have not reached that point yet, but I really am wondering if I should require a deposit of some kind. (eg. Some trainers require a 30% deposit before they will even mark someone down in their schedule, which makes sense.)

[Update - In November 2014 I added a 30% deposit for scheduling lessons, so that is now my standard practice.]

Why? Sometimes people schedule a session, forget about the session, and there I am (proverbial cap in hand) waiting outside their condo on the day of the appointment and wondering why they are not answering their phone.

It is one thing if people are running late. I don't mind starting a personal training session 5, 10 or even 15 minutes late. I can understand why people are sometimes late for appointments.

And as long as I don't have another appointment after the first, I don't mind going over time by 5 to 15 minutes just because we started late.

But if I do have appointment afterwards, well sorry, I have to go otherwise it will be me who is running late.

And I don't like being late for anything. I like being either on time or early.

Call it one of my Personal Trainer Pet Peeves, it is personal training clients who always have an endless supply of excuses for why they cannot make an appointment.

If they were sick, okay, use that excuse. If someone says they are sick or injured I always give them the benefit of the doubt.

But when they come up with excuses that sound suspiciously like "My dog ate my exercise journal" and other lame excuses, wow. Just wow. Total lack of maturity.

And when they do it without 24 hours notice and expect to be compensated by receiving a replacement session, that is when I need to point to the Rescheduling and Missed Sessions fine print on my website.

Now I would like to point out that 99% of people don't do these things. 99% of people are on time (or sometimes slightly late) for sessions. It is the 1% of people who are chronically late every time, who are always making up excuses, who are forgetting sessions entirely. Those are the people that the Rescheduling and Missed Sessions fine print page is written for in the first place.

Chances are highly likely you are not part of that 1% of people. (It isn't even 1%, it is more like 0.25% of people who are chronic rescheduling.) The vast majority of people are very good about keeping appointments.

But for the 0.25% of people who are always very late, always cancelling last minute, who are expecting an endless stream of replacement sessions because they feel they are entitled - well I am sorry you are that disorganized, but I don't want to be your personal trainer. Go find someone else. I am not wasting my time worrying about the 0.25% of people who apparently are too scatterbrained to keep an appointment.

Boxing - Good Sportsmanship Vs Cheating - Who wins?

When it comes to competitive sports there is a lot of cheating - and I am not just talking doping and steroids here, although that certainly happens too.

No, I am talking about just plain old fashioned cheating. Which in the world of professional boxing is things like low blows, head butting, hitting the back of your opponent's head, kidney punches, rabbit punches, etc.

The fight in the YouTube video further below - Riddick Bowe Vs Andrew Golota - is a rematch between two boxers who hate each other. The first of the two fights can also be seen on YouTube, but it is their 2nd fight which is the more interesting of the two fights.

The two boxers are evenly matched, but their primary difference is that Golota likes using headbutts and low blows - which gives him an unfair advantage over a fighter who doesn't cheat.

So who will get the upper hand during the fight? Who will win? Watch and see. When you see the match you will understand why this is such an important match and why it is a great demonstration of both boxing skill and the difference between good sportsmanship / cheating.

(Personal Note - This is my all time favourite boxing match to watch. I love watching this match. Even people who are not normally into boxing will appreciate watching this match.)

Indoor Archery Lessons in Toronto - Pros and Cons

Hey Toronto, please be advised that my Summer / Autumn schedule is very full. If you are looking to sign up for archery lessons you might want to consider signing up for indoor archery lessons for November 2014 to March 2015.

What are the pros and cons of taking indoor archery lessons?


#1. No wind.

#2. Not freezing cold or ridiculously hot.

#3. No mosquitoes.

#4. Less distractions.

#5. No worry about archery lessons being rescheduled due to rain, snow, thunderstorms, high winds, etc.


What people love about doing archery outdoors is often the wildlife, the wind providing an extra challenge, the added distractions. So the things some people dislike about outdoor archery are also the same things people love about it too. Indoor archery feels almost clinical in comparison.

Still, in comparison to freezing your buttocks off, indoor archery is a welcome change when compared to standing outside in -20 Celsius (with a wind chill factor lowering it -40+) and trying to complete a shot while shivering.

8 Fun Ways to Exercise this Summer in Toronto

Looking for fun ways to exercise this summer? With the whole family?

#1. Go swimming at Canada's Wonderland!

Just north of Toronto is a great place to go swimming. Skip the rides, the games, etc. Just go for the SPLASH WORKS. Take the family with you!

The Splash Works does include rides and other fun things to do, but you will also get a good deal of swimming done while you are having fun. My favourite is White Water Bay, Canada's largest wave pool.

#2. Take up archery and visit the Toronto Archery Range!

The Toronto Archery Range is free to use, but you will need your own equipment.

Go buy 2 or 3 wooden longbows (don't buy the crummy fibreglass bows or cheap Canadian Tire bows). Just get some light poundage wooden longbows that are good for children / youths, 10 to 12 arrows, armguards, fingergloves, etc. If longbows are not your thing recurves are slightly more expensive, but are great for beginners. Expect to spend about $300 to $400.

However once you have the equipment, you can go do archery every weekend (or even on weekdays) until it starts getting too cold in November. Then just store your equipment for the Winter and resume in April. (Or sign up for indoor archery lessons for the Winter.)

I do not recommend compound bows (compound bows have pulleys on the top and bottom of the limbs) for children or beginners.

#3. Toronto Beaches and Public Pools!

Toronto has many great beaches and public pools you can use. Some of them do require a fee to use, but browse the list on to find one which is close to you.

#4. Toronto Rivers - Swimming and Canoeing!

If the beach or local swimming pool is too crowded, don't forget Toronto has many rivers you can also swim in. Just be careful to pay attention to which ones allow swimming and which do not.

Also Toronto rivers are a great place to go canoeing - and there are companies out there who rent canoes by the hour if you want to try it out.

Or go purchase your own kayak or canoe.

#5. Cycling and Off Road Cycling!

Toronto has many great off road trails designed specifically for cyclists (and people who like hiking). To get the most out of them you will need a mountain bike or hybrid mountain bike. Then just go and explore Toronto's Don Valley, High Park, and many of the bicycle trails around the city.

#6. Windsurfing!

Windsurfing is not for everyone, but it is certainly fun to do. If you haven't tried it and always wanted to try, now is your chance.

#7. Yoga in the Park!

For those of you who love yoga, there are numerous groups out there that practice weekly or bi-weekly yoga events in public locations. They're free and anyone can join.

#8. Local Non-Professional Sports Teams and Clubs!

Toronto has many local sports organizations that are always looking for new members. eg. The Toronto Archery Club, The Toronto Soccer Meetup, Toronto Tennis League, Co-ed Ultimate Frisbee, Ashbridges Beach Volleyball, GTA Golf Meetup, Toronto Touch Rugby, Toronto Baseball Meetup, or even the more generic "Toronto Sports Group".

July Motivational Quotes, + World Cup Quotes

In honour of the ongoing World Cup we have included a few noteworthy quotes by soccer players.

"I give my soul every time I step on the pitch. I have done this with Uruguay, Ajax and Liverpool. I do not hold anything when I finish a game."
- Luis Suarez

"It's the only sport that's played in every country in the world. It's played and watched all over the world, it's the most popular sport in probably 90% of the countries, and then with the World Cup, you have the most viewed tournament of any sport in the world."
- Claudio Reyna

"Football became my life at five or six. The earliest memory I have is of playing in my first boots, a pair of black and white Alan Balls. It was 1970, four years after the World Cup, and I scored three goals at school."
- Vinnie Jones

"The boy can do anything, but to be the star of the World Cup you have got to get to the final and win it!"
- Alan Hansen

"I want to be more than just some guy who played in a World Cup final."
- Jonny Wilkinson

Find Inner Strength

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

"If we could give every individual the right amount of nourishment and exercise, not too little and not too much, we would have found the safest way to health."
- Hippocrates

"I do not think that there is any other quality so essential to success of any kind as the quality of perseverance. It overcomes almost everything, even nature."
- John D. Rockefeller

"Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will."
- Mahatma Gandhi

There Are No Limits

"If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus; and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them."
- Bruce Lee

"Most of our obstacles would melt away if, instead of cowering before them, we should make up our minds to walk boldly through them."
- Orison Swett Marden

"You can't depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus."
- Mark Twain

Never Give Up

"Energy & persistence conquer all things."
- Benjamin Franklin

"I've missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I've lost almost 300 games. Twenty-six times, I've been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I've failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed."
- Michael Jordan

"The secret of getting ahead is getting started."
- Agatha Christie
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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