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8 Fun Exercises you can do in Toronto during the Autumn

Hey Toronto! Happy Autumn Equinox! It is September 21st and Fall is officially here.

Want something fun to do in the city for exercise? Well here is a list of 8 things you can do.

#1. Go Cycling on one or more of Toronto's cycling trails.

#2. Visit Toronto Island and go for a walk. Take the dog with you.

#3. Explore some of Toronto's many scenic parks.

#4. Sign up for a Yoga Boot Camp or similar exercise activity at one of Toronto's Recreational Centres.

#5. Go Kayaking or Canoeing on one of Toronto's rivers.

#6. Join a fitness oriented meetup group - there are many to choose from. eg. The Toronto Archery Club.

#7. Train for a local marathon in Toronto (Toronto has several different marathons and a number of marathon-like events every year).

#8. Take your horse for a swim. Okay, this last one is a joke. But you could still go swimming in one of Toronto's indoor pools which are open all year long. Or you could take up horseback riding. Both are good exercise.

Does Vitamin D help you lose weight?


"Hello! I keep hearing that Vitamin D helps people lose weight and that a lack of Vitamin D causes people to gain weight. Is this true? How can a Vitamin make people lose weight?



Hey Samantha!

Well the good news is YES, Vitamin D does help people lose weight and yes it is equally true that a lack of vitamin D also causes people to lose weight.

How does it work? Well it is very complicated, but I will break it down for you so you can understand all the things Vitamin D does.

#1. Vitamin D regulates how the human body stores fat for the winter. During the summer when people are outside (hopefully exercising outside) their body absorbs sunlight on their skin and the human body absorbs that sunlight and then your kidneys creates vitamin D. You don't actually need to eat food with Vitamin D in the food, although that helps too.

#2. Whether you eat the Vitamin D, get it from sunlight, or even from a Vitamin D supplement, the end result is that Vitamin D triggers a fat burning mechanism in your body and gives you more energy. It basically acts like a catalyst causing your body to burn more fat, make you more energetic, and then the extra energy being used causes you to lose weight.

[What actually happens is our skin absorbs UVB radiation from the sunlight and uses that energy to make Vitamin D which goes into our blood; The liver converts the Vitamin D in your blood into Hydroxy D - and then Hydroxy D does the rest of the work.]

#3. When the human body has a lack of Vitamin D (from sunlight or other sources) what happens is the opposite. The human body starts storing up fat for the winter. Basically this is our Cro-Magnon Man genes at work, telling us that we need to store up fat for the winter.

#4. A lack of vitamin D also makes people more hungry. They start eating more than they need to in an effort to store up extra fat for the winter. You don't even consciously know you are doing it, but your body is sending signals to your brain (and vice versa) telling you to eat more because "Winter is coming."

And yes, that was totally a Game of Thrones reference.

Vitamin D also has numerous other health benefits including disease prevention by boosting your immune system, stronger bones, boosts insulin production, and helps prevent heart disease and diabetes.

Fish, vegetables, fruit and milk are all excellent sources of Vitamin D. So eat all those healthy foods during the winter and you will see results around your waistline. And if you get a chance to go someplace sunny for a vacation during the winter, take it!

To learn more on this topic I recommend reading the following two posts:

All About Vitamins - What do they do?

Winter Weight Gain and What to Do about It

Funny Quote about Exercise and Fat

Normally I don't post funny exercise quotes like this (because many of the images are anti-exercise), but I decided to make an exception for this one because it is actually pro-exercise.

I find it sad that there are so many anti-exercise cartoons / images out there - a reflection of people who have basically given up on exercising and being healthy. To those people who still have hope, you can do it. I did it. Others have done it. Once you start exercising, just keep doing it. You will never regret doing something that is good for you. You only regret NOT doing the things you knew was good for you but you didn't do because you lacked the motivation. Find the motivation. Find the time. Keep doing it.

Adrenaline High Exercise and Motivation

Some people love adrenaline highs.

But the great thing about them is that they make you super active and they burn through calories (3500 calories per lb of fat) like CRAAAAAAAZZZZY!

So doing things that give you an adrenaline high can help you lose more weight in a hurry.

However HOW you find ways to get an adrenaline high is really up to the individual. So what I want you to do is to think of a list of things that get you really excited - and possibly even scared - and eliminate any from the list that might end in bodily dismemberment, death, etc. What remains can be used to help you exercise - and run faster than you normally would.

Sometimes you only even need to simulate or pretend that the thing is happening. Children do this all time while playing, pretending to be running from explosions, flowing lava, etc. (Adults even do the equivalent for fun sometimes, things like LARPing, Paint Ball Warfare and even contests like Tough Mudder. Something for everyone.)

The last one below is my personal favourite. :)

8 Fun Autumn Exercises

Want to get outside and exercise? Don't let the cooler weather slow you down. Autumn is arguably the best time of year to exercise outside - less sunburns, no heat exhaustion, no snow, beautiful colours. And unlike Spring, no mud from all the rain.

#1. Go Hiking in the Woods - Take your camera, the family dog, friends and family with you. There are plenty of locations in or near Toronto you can visit. eg. Try visiting Hilton Falls near Milton Ontario, just west of Toronto. The conservation area has both hiking and cycling paths, and a waterfalls you can walk behind.

Hilton Falls

#2. Go Cycling in the Woods / Pretty Neighbourhoods in Toronto. Two of my favourite locations to cycle through is Rosedale and the University of Toronto campus. (And yes, you can still take the dog with you.)

#3. Go Swimming at the Beach - September and early October is still warm enough to go swimming. Or try out one of Toronto's many indoor pools.

#4. Go Canoeing / Kayaking - You can rent canoes and kayaks in several locations in Toronto. Also makes a fun activity for a date or a family outing. If you own your own kayak or canoe, even better - but if you don't then you can also rent them.

#5. Baseball / Softball - The cooler temperatures make for great baseball weather. So even if you're just playing catch with a friend or practicing your swing at the local ball diamond, baseball is a good ol' fashioned fun activity. Don't like baseball? Try road hockey, football, archery, golf, tennis, basketball and a dozen other sports you can do outside.

I even found an "archery baseball" portable target people can use for playing an amusing game.

#6. Ultimate Zombie Tag / Capture the Flag - the game of children has been transformed into a sport for adults. Think larger scale games of hundreds of adults playing tag or capture the flag or similar games. The rules are simple, and it makes for an amazing good time for friends who want to join in for such large social / sporting activity.

In 2011 the website organized a large urban Capture the Flag event in downtown Toronto in the financial district / Toronto City Hall. Recently in NYC they also organized a "Lightsaber Battle", as well as "Pillow Fight Days", Bubble Battles and other silly events.

Note - You don't have to wait for NewMindSpace to organize an event. You could just organize your own or find a different group that organizes similar events.

#7. Rake Leaves + Leaf Fight / Leaf Wrestling.

Step One - Pile all the leaves together.

Step Two - Fight like tigers playing together!

(The above photo was too cute NOT to add here.)

#8. Cleaning out the Garage - Just kidding. That isn't much fun. But it is much more fun what you can do with your garage during the Autumn (and Winter) once you've thrown out some junk you don't need. It gives you more space to put a hockey net or two, to store your kayak, baseball bat/gloves/balls, bicycles, walking sticks,

500th Post - Browse the Best of Cardio Trek from the past 3.5 Years


500 posts already?

Well, it has been 33 months. I started Cardio Trek in December 2011 and it has become incredibly popular as exercise and dieting websites go - and fueled my personal training / sports training business.

Let us take a moment and look back at some of the most popular posts / topics:

Nose Exercises Vs Rhinoplasty

Honestly, the popularity of all the Nose Exercises pages is a bit of a blip. When I first wrote it my main concern was boxers who had suffered nose injuries - but evidently there is a much bigger population of people out there who feel insecure about their nose shape and want to make their noses smaller, thinner, less bumpy, etc. Smaller, thinner and longer can be done by exercising the muscles inside the nose - less bumpy? Sad to say, but that is often cartilage issue and cannot be fixed with nose exercises.

10 Ways to Trick Yourself into Burning Extra Calories

Sounds easy right? They are. Basically it is just ten little tips and tricks that allow you to burn more fat.

20 Ways to Tighten Skin after Weight Loss
and Weight Loss + Loose Skin

For people who have lost a lot of weight the above two posts have become very popular. Not just for people who lost weight through diet/exercise, but also for women who recently gave birth to a bouncing baby and want to shed the extra skin from their pregnancy.

How to get a Thigh Gap

Honestly, as beauty standards go "thigh gaps" and "panty bridges" are a bit silly as a measurement. Want to feel beautiful? EXERCISE and EAT HEALTHY and stop looking in the mirror so much.

Motivational Quotes for January

I find new motivational quotes every month, but the January 2013 post is the most popular of the quotation posts. Want to read more? Subscribe to Cardio Trek via email to receive updates when new posts appear. See also Motivational Exercise Quotes from March 2012, another popular one.

Anatomical Terms for Athletes

Ever had a personal trainer refer to a part of the body using a word you didn't know? Well my handy guide to which parts are which is one of most popular pages on Cardio Trek.

25 Ways to Motivate Yourself to Exercise

I love articles like this one. Ways to get my clients and subscribers to get outside, motivated, and exercising on a regular basis.

Marilyn Monroe's Diet and Exercise Routine

Hey, it is Marilyn Monroe. No explanation needed for why this post is so popular.

Note: Popularity wise Cardio Trek will surpass 600,000 hits sometime in October.

Buy Exercise Gift Vouchers for Xmas

Not sure what to get your loved one for Xmas 2014?

How about some personal training or sports training sessions?

Thus if your loved one has a weight problem - or even if they do not (they might just be a Katniss or Rocky fanatic) you could get them personal training sessions, archery lessons, boxing lessons, swimming lessons or even ice skating lessons.

Contact me at to learn more about my gift vouchers.

Please Note - Gift Vouchers have an expiry date 18 month after the date of purchase. eg. If the Voucher Number says OCT16, then it expires October 2016. 

Autumn Cycling

The Fall months are arguably the best time of year to go bicycling. And it is a great time of year to do something with the whole family.

It is not too hot, not too cold, you can wear a hoodie or a short sleeved shirt (or both), and the chance of rain is minimal.

The cooler temperature means you can cycle harder and faster without overheating.

Visually the scenery becomes quite brilliant too, so take your camera with you as you cycle through pretty neighbourhoods in Toronto - or take the bicycle with you as you visit locations near Toronto.

One of my favourite places is Hilton Falls near Milton. It has both hiking and bicycle trails. And with the waterfalls as part of the scenery it makes for a fantastic place to stop and enjoy the wonder of nature.

Hilton Falls is one of the few waterfalls in Ontario which you can walk around behind the waterfalls and then plunge your arm into it. The Hilton Falls Conservation Area has multiple bicycle trails of varying intensity. More than enough to challenge experienced cyclists - and plenty for fun for people new to cycling in the great outdoors.

I am already planning another trip back there in October when the leaves will be different colours.

There are many other fun locations to go cycling in the region around Toronto.

Things to take with you:

Camera / cellphone

Water / Sports Drink


Umbrella (not for the rain, for walking around behind the waterfalls - trust me on this one)

Depending on where you are going you might also wish to take a map with out. A proper paper map is easier to read than your phone app. So if you are going on a bicycle / wine tour of the Niagara wineries, take a map with you - and don't drink and ride!

Spinach, one of the world's healthiest foods

A single half cup of cooked spinach (90 grams) contains a lot of nutrients - including many of the nutrients people need and often lack in their unbalanced diets. It makes a great way to rectify that problem by re-balancing your diet.

Note: 90 grams of cooked spinach is only 8 tablespoons.

vitamin K 493.6% of your Recommended Daily Intake

vitamin A 52.4% of your Recommended Daily Intake

manganese 42% of your Recommended Daily Intake

folate 32.9% of your Recommended Daily Intake

magnesium 19.5% of your Recommended Daily Intake

iron 17.9% of your Recommended Daily Intake

copper 17.2% of your Recommended Daily Intake

vitamin B2 16.2% of your Recommended Daily Intake

vitamin B6 13.9% of your Recommended Daily Intake

vitamin E 12.5% of your Recommended Daily Intake

calcium 12.2% of your Recommended Daily Intake

potassium 12.0% of your Recommended Daily Intake

vitamin C 11.8% of your Recommended Daily Intake

fiber 8.6% of your Recommended Daily Intake

phosphorus 7.2% of your Recommended Daily Intake

And many more nutritious things in a single half cup of spinach.

And if you're thinking "yuck", remember a half cup is only 8 tablespoons (or roughly 4 heaping tablespoons) - which means you get all that nutritional value from eating a mere 4 gulps worth.

Spinach is also high in antioxidants (which prevents / fights cancer, and slows down the aging process).

Spinach also fights inflammation of the digestive tract - so if you have problems with that region, this is a good food to be eating.

Spinach is especially valuable for fighting prostate cancer. And getting rid of constipation, and for fighting stomach ulcers.

According to various nutritional groups, they list spinach as being the world's most healthiest foods. Other groups list it in their top 5 or top 10 - the exact placement varies on the organization, but its constant presence in the top 'whatever' lists of healthiest foods shows that it deserves to be there.

Spinach also helps prevent osteoporosis. This is because it contains a combination of vitamin K, calcium, and magnesium - all three are needed for healthy bones.

Unlike other veggies, cooking spinach actually increases its health benefits. Half a cup of spinach is actually more nutritious than 3 cups of uncooked spinach. (Raw spinach is too hard to break down by itself, it needs to be cooked so the nutritional value is released.)

Blended uncooked spinach is another good way to eat spinach - it also breaks down the fibre and makes it more nutritious.

Baby spinach or smaller leaf spinach is the healthiest of spinach to eat.

A little spinach goes a long way. Add just a bit to your pasta for some extra flavour and reap the health benefits.

September 2014 Exercise Quotes - Robin Williams

Robin Williams was a huge advocate of bicycling and exercise overall. Here are just a few inspirational / exercise quotes from the comedy legend.

"Why do they call it Rush Hour when nothing moves? Except all the cyclists zooming by like everyone else is standing still!"
- Robin Williams

"No matter what people tell you, words and ideas can change the world."
- Robin Williams

"I was going to say diet and exercise, but the love thing's good too."
- Robin Williams (in Battle of the Smithsonian)

"Cricket is basically baseball on valium."
- Robin Williams

"I love running cross country....On a track, I feel like a hamster."
- Robin Williams

"And I love to ride my bike, which is great aerobics, but also just a great time for me to think, so it's like this terrific double bill."
- Robin Williams

"And if we bury you *** up, I have got a place to park my bike."
- Robin Williams

"I'm strong to the finish, 'cuz I eat me spinach."
- Robin Williams (in the 1980 film "Popeye")

"Death. To die. To expire. To pass on. To perish. To peg out. To push up daisies. To push up posies. To become extinct. Curtains, deceased, Demised, departed And defunct. Dead as a doornail. Dead as a herring. Dead as a mutton. Dead as nits. The last breath. Paying a debt to nature. The big sleep. God’s way of saying, 'Slow down.' "
- Robin Williams

We bid a fond farewell to Robin Williams. He was a truly unique inspiration to millions.

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