Sign up for personal training / sports training by emailing cardiotrek@gmail.com.

12 Steps of Becoming a Healthier Exercise Machine

#1. Eat healthy, and you will be better able to exercise more. Healthy eating = more energy, more muscle and your internal organs will be happier and healthier too.

#2. Avoid smoking and alcohol. The cigarettes just hurt your lungs and the alcohol damages you heart, liver and kidneys.

#3. Exercise a little bit every day. Even just 6 minutes of cardio per day can have a dramatic benefit for your overall health. Making the effort to exercise 6 minutes x 365 days equals 2190 minutes of exercise per year you would not have gotten otherwise.

A 200 lb person who jogs 6 minutes every day burns approx. 100 calories each time. That is 219,000 calories burned in 1 year. Or 62.57 lbs of fat burned. So yes, 6 minutes per day really can make a huge difference.

#4. Take up a sport that you can really sink your teeth into. No, I am not saying you become like Luis Suarez (soccer legend who likes to bite people), but I am serious about people finding a sport they love which gets them outside exercising at least once per week. And the sport could be anything - axe throwing, rock climbing, kayaking, cycling, competitive dog running, etc. It doesn't matter. Just do it.

#5. A little weight lifting never hurt anyone. You aren't going to bulk up like Hulk Hogan by lifting a few small weights. But you will build extra muscle (which is handy to have) and stronger bones - which will stave off osteoporosis in your old age.

#6. Eat healthy snacks that you love. eg. I love carrot sticks. I cannot get enough of them.

#7. Remember it is not your body that is stopping you from exercising. It is your brain that is too weak willed. Summon the courage and just exercise anyway, regardless of what your brain tells you what you can and cannot do. Start slow and let your body pick up steam as exercising becomes easier as the months go by. Before you know it you will be shedding pounds, adding a little muscle and tossing out your old clothes for new clothes that is tighter fitting.

#8. Be positive about yourself. The people who fail are often the people who are negative about their own abilities to succeed and thus sabotage themselves mentally. Stay positive, stay focused - if you fall off the wagon, just get right back on it without blinking an eye.

#9. "The journey of a 1000 miles begins with a first step." But you need to have the willpower to finish the journey, and the courage to keep going even when the going gets tough.

#10. Stop hanging out with people who insult you. They are not your friends. Make new friends along the way as you change your life for the better. Strangers are only people who have yet to either become a friend, a rival, or an enemy - and most people are not that bad and most likely enjoy having new friends.

#11. Share your exercise / sports passions with friends. Who doesn't want to take up axe throwing, rock climbing, kayaking, cycling, competitive dog running, etc?

#12. Hire a personal trainer in Toronto - because we make lots of free lists like this one just because we really care about the health of our clients. Want to become healthier? We can help you! I don't care if you hire me, but you can always hire someone - even a friend - who can help get you set on the path to healthy exercising.

Archery Testimonials X 5

Five testimonials from a selection of my archery students.

1.

"I am so grateful for your tutelage. I will refer you when I come across someone interested in [your archery] services."

- Joseph Ian Z.

Update: Joseph also sent the following in March 2015, updating his original testimonial:

"Charles has been a wonderful instructor. I am as novice as they come when I started my first lesson. The whole experience was very pleasurable. He was very personable, adaptable and knowledgeable. I would definitely recommend to all. The fact I was able to hit a coffee cup lid from about 60 ft, by my third day, says a lot.

Thanks."


2.

"This has been an awesome experience and I can see why people say you are #1 archery instructor in Toronto. I will be coming back for more lessons, but first I want to go buy a compound bow and then you can teach me how to tune the compound bow during the lessons. Thanks again!"

- Barry D.

Note - I was unaware that I am being called the #1 archery instructor in Toronto, but sure, if that is what people want to call me I am okay with that title. I am not going to go shouting it from the rooftops however. Humility is better for your aim.

3.

"Hey man, thanks again for the lessons. I learned a lot from you. I am going to be buying my own bow and maybe a 2nd one so I can get my girlfriend into it. I might end up bringing her back for lessons as well."

- Jake T.

4.

"Thanks again for the lessons. Patrick and Ryan really enjoyed learning from you and I am amazed at how quickly they learned how to shoot 10s. We will definitely recommend you to our friends. As per your suggestion we have already enrolled the boys in Boy Scouts so they can get some archery practice that way too. See you next Summer!"

- Mary-Lee and Jason G.

5.

"Thank you again for teaching me and my boyfriend. He is now demanding we buy our own equipment so we can get into archery on a more permanent basis. We had a wonderful time and look forward to shooting more zombie targets in the future."

- Andrea L.


Below - Elvis teaching archery during a clip in the film "Tickle Me".





Want a fun target to shoot at? Zombie Elvis. :)


Dieting - How much dieting is actually necessary to achieve results?

Q

"Hello!

I have noticed in the past that sometimes people don't actually diet or exercise that much and yet still manage to shed the pounds they were looking to shed. What are they doing differently? How much dieting [or exercising] is actually necessary to achieve results?

- Vanessa R."

A

Hello Vanessa!

Honestly, it varies with the person obviously, but the quick and easy answer is "not that much".

People can sometimes achieve amazing results just by reducing their caloric intake to the recommended amount for their body type (if they were over eating this will be more difficult for them to do because they will get cravings for their favourite foods) and combining their new "reasonable and balanced diet" with an exercise routine - something simple like jogging for 30 minutes every day or doing yoga for 30 minutes, or swimming, bicycling, or any kind of cardio activity.

30 minutes out of every day is a tiny portion of the 1,440 minutes a person has available in a day - we use 480 minutes just for sleeping. 30 minutes is only 2% of your day, but that 2% can make amazing differences if you use it for exercising.

For food it is all about calories in and calories out. The average female only needs approx. 1800 calories per day, and the average male only needs about 2000 calories per day. The exact number a person needs varies with their body type and their level of physical activity, which is usually based on their occupation. Athletes for example often consume 2500 to 3000 calories per day because they need the extra energy. But for the Average Joe, those numbers are unnecessary extra calories.

Unfortunately many people often eat out at restaurants, order pizzas, snack on junk food, etc - and their diet might be closer to 3,000 to 4,000 calories per day.

Let's pretend you're a man who we will call Average Joe who only needs 2,000 calories per day. At his normal weight he weighs 170 lbs.

But Joe likes eating junk food regularly and consumes closer to 2,100 calories per day, but he is only burning 2,000 calories per day during his daily activities.

Now here is the important part: 1 lb of fat is 3,500 calories.

Ergo if Joe keeps eating an extra 100 calories per day he will gain 1 pound every 35 days. He would gain roughly 11 lbs of fat in a year - and possibly start developing health problems if he does this over many years without changing his routine. In a single year (plus overeating during Xmas) he might go from 170 lbs to 185 lbs.

But lets pretend that Average Joe decided he wanted to reverse the process. By going on a healthy diet, and only eating 2,000 calories per day.

Joe's weight would then stabilize and stop going up. He would stay at 185.

Now he could try reducing his diet to 1,900 calories (or lower, which is problematic for your health if you go below 1,500) and would lose weight doing that (some of that would be muscle mass however, due to a loss of protein in his diet).

A better solution for Joe is to maintain that 2,000 calories / day routine - but ADD more exercise to his routine.

So for example if Joe weighed 185 lbs and then got into cycling and cycled 6 miles (or 10 km) every day then he would burn approx. 350 calories each time. (Note: It takes approx. 25 to 30 minutes to cycle that far at a leisurely pace - it isn't even cycling that fast.)

At 350 calories per day Joe would lose 1 lb (3500 calories) every ten days.

Which means Joe could be back at being 170 lb "Average Joe" in only 150 days.

And have more muscular legs to show for it. So truth be told he might actually be closer to 175 lbs, because he might put on 5 lbs of muscle (or more).

Note also that Joe could have also just skipped the diet and gone straight to cycling. At 2,100 calories - 350 calories, Joe would be losing 250 per day. Or 1 lb every 14 days. Thus it would take him longer to lose the weight, but he would eventually achieve his results (and still be able to enjoy the snacks he loves).

Eventually Joe would reach his goal and then would actually need to either decrease his cycling or increase his eating habits to balance his exercise activities with his diet. Preferably with healthier food so he puts on more muscle.

He might even add weightlifting to his exercise routine later - becoming a cycling and weightlifting aficionado. No longer is he "Average Joe". He would become "Hunky Joe".

So yes, back to Vanessa's question, people can make dramatic changes with relatively minor (but permanent) changes to their diet and exercise routine. It is really just a matter of math. Calories in vs calories out.

Note - The guy in the photo below is just a model. His legs are too skinny to be a cyclist.



Archery Personal Note - Robin Hooding a Moving Target

The following is more just for me.

Dear Diary,

Today I Robin Hooded (split my own arrow) while shooting at a moving target 60 feet away.

In recent years (ever since I started taking archery seriously) I have gone from shooting cake sized clusters to doughnut sized clusters and more recently to shooting at tiny moving targets.

To what I did today... Hitting and splitting my own arrow on a moving target, on a very windy day (30 kmph gusts).

Today was a day to remember.

I need to start shooting at small moving targets 90 feet away. I figure that should be more of a challenge.


Shooting compound long distances / adjusting sights

QUESTION

"Hello!

I am a beginner at archery and recently bought a compound bow because I was told that you could shoot long distances using them. But when I went to the archery range and tried shooting at the long range I couldn't even hit the target. The arrows didn't even go half way. When I tried adjusting the sight higher the arrows kept going roughly the same spot. I used the peep sight and everything they said to use in the store, but I cannot figure out what I am doing wrong.

Someone at the range said I was shooting at the 90 yard range, which doesn't seem that far to me. My arrows are flying at 305 feet per second so 90 yards (270 feet) should be no big deal. Why are my arrows only going halfway?

- Geoffrey C."

ANSWER

Oh wow.

#1. Your arrows may be traveling at 305 fps, but they are still arcing downwards as they fly through the air. You need to be aiming higher - which on a compound bow means moving the sight lower. See #4.

#2. You really need to practice at shorter distances first. Especially if you are a complete beginner. Start at 20 yards and sight in the top pin. Then go to 30 yards and sight the next lowest pin. Then 40 yards, 50 yards, etc. If you just purchased the bow it likely came with a 3 pin sight, which means you are very limited in what ranges you can shoot accurately using the pins.

8 Pin Compound Sight
If you get a 5 pin sight then you can sight in 20, 30, 40, 50 and 60 yards. Or you could do 20 yard increments: 20, 40, 60, 80 and 100. Obviously having a 5, 6, 7 or 8 pin sight gives you more options.

The Toronto Archery Range has 20, 30, 50, 60, 70 and 90 yards targets - thus a 6 pin sight would be sufficient for every target - with larger gaps between the 30 and 50 pins and between the 70 and 90 pins.

#3. You should stick to the 20 yard range until you can get tight (doughnut sized) clusters that are on target using the top pin. Then move to the longer ranges. Beginners are always trying to shoot at longer distances before they are ready to do so, so you are not alone in this.

When your clusters are tight then you can try the 30 yard range and repeat the whole process until your clusters are on target and the size of a doughnut.

#4. When adjusting your sights, if your arrows are too low then you need to move the sight lower, not higher. If the arrows are too high, then you need to move the sight higher. Whatever you do on the sight, the arrows will do the opposite.

The same goes with left and right. If your arrows are too far to the right, you need to adjust the sight to the right.

Now you might wonder "Why is it the opposite?"

The reason is because you need the arrow to be angled upwards on a higher angle. If you move the sight higher, the arrow goes lower instead of higher. When you move the sight lower - closer to the arrow - then your arrow will be angled higher.

#5. When it comes to shooting really long distances you may need to get an oval-shaped sight with quite a few pins, like the 8 pin sight shown further above.

#6. You might also benefit from some archery lessons. You might even consider getting recurve archery lessons too, just so you understand the physics better. I always recommend people learn recurve first before trying compound, longbow or Olympic.

If you continue to have difficulties you should consider archery lessons as an option. Beginners especially should consider getting lessons because beginners have so many bad habits that need to remedied before they can shoot straight.



10 Exercise Tricks that Help Burn Fat FASTER

Want to learn how to lose weight faster? Well then you need to learn how to burn calories FASTER!

#1. Move faster when doing cardio activities - including daily activities like running to catch the bus. The faster you move the more calories you burn.

#2. Try harder - The harder and faster you do an activity - whether it be yoga, jogging or even sex - it burns more calories!

#3. Angry? Upset? Want to key your boss's car? Time to exercise! Exercising while angry or upset is a great way to burn more calories faster and it relieves stress.

#4. When weightlifting do the exercises SLOOOOOOOWER. Cardio exercises you want to do fast, but for weightlifting you get better results if you do things slowly. Lifting a weight slowly takes more energy and burns more calories - and it builds more muscle, faster! Seems counter-intuitive, but it works!

#5. Music makes you burn more calories faster - especially if it fast paced music that gets you excited. More excitement equals more calorie burn.

#6. Try to do everything - exercise wise - perfectly. It takes more energy, but you reap more rewards. So if you're doing yoga - try to do each pose perfectly instead of being lazy about it. If you are weightlifting, use perfect form while lifting - which means lifting slowly and watching your form carefully, sometimes even in a mirror.

#7. Exercise with a friend. You lose track of time, you exercise longer, you help motivate each other, you even compete with each other, and you burn more calories overall. No exercise buddy? See trick #10 instead.

#8. Stay hydrated. You burn more calories if you can try harder while properly hydrated. Don't bother with the energy drinks (they're mostly a waste of sodium which will give you more "water weight"), good old chilled water works wonders.

#9. Eat before you exercise. Not after. Helps burn more calories and you won't feel hungry afterwards. Sometimes people binge eat after they exercise, and it ruins what they were striving for.

#10. Hire a personal trainer. Me. Someone else. It doesn't matter. We can teach you a much longer list of ways to burn calories faster.

8 Activities to do at the Beach

#1. Frisbee!

#2. Build a sandcastle - if you are moving sand around, it still counts as exercise.

#3. Go snorkeling in the water!

#4. Try Rock Balancing. See my post "Sculpture as Exercise".

#5. Fly a Kite - admittedly this could burn very little calories, but if you run with the kite it burns a lot more.

#6. Go for a jog or run along the beach.

#7. Do yoga at the water's edge.

#8. And the classic, go swimming!

Bonus Activities!!!

Tug of War

Beach Volleyball

Skip Rope

Arm Wrestling

Play Tag with Water Guns


Archery on the Beach - this used to be a pretty popular activity in the 1950s - but now it is banned in some locations. eg. You cannot do that in Toronto, but there are other beaches within an hour drive of Toronto where you can do archery at. Check the local by-laws to be certain. You will need your own equipment and you will still need to establish some safety guidelines so you are not shooting near people (reckless endangerment = fine + possible jail time). Best way to do it is to pick a secluded beach which has almost no people there.

The Hidden Dangers of Your Excess Abdominal Fat

Did you know that the vast majority of North Americans have excess abdominal fat? If you've been following the obesity epidemic in the USA and Canada then you know what I am talking about.

The most common thing that most people think of is that their extra abdominal fat is simply ugly, that it is covering up their abs from being visible, and makes them self conscious about showing off their body.

However, what most people don't realize is that excess abdominal fat in particular is also a dangerous risk factor to your health. Scientific research has clearly demonstrated that although it is unhealthy in general to have excess body fat throughout your body, it is also more dangerous to have excess abdominal fat.

There are two types of fat that you have in your abdominal area. The first type that covers up your abs from being visible is called subcutaneous fat and lies directly beneath the skin and on top of the abdominal muscles.

The second type of fat that you have in your abdominal area is called visceral fat, and that lies deeper in the abdomen beneath your muscle and surrounding your organs. Visceral fat also plays a role in giving certain men that "beer belly" appearance where their abdomen protrudes excessively but at the same time, also feels sort of hard if you push on it.

Note - There is also "baby fat", which most people lose when they are kids or teens, but for people who are obese when they were children they might still possess some of their baby fat because they never used any of it as energy.

Both subcutaneous fat and visceral fat in the abdominal area are serious health risk factors, but having excessive visceral fat is even more dangerous than subcutaneous fat because of its proximity to your internal organs. Visceral fat dramtically increases your risk of developing heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, stroke, sleep apnea, various forms of cancer, and other degenerative diseases.

Another reason visceral fat is particularly dangerous is that it releases more inflammatory molecules into your body on a regular basis.

If you care about the quality of your life and your loved ones, reducing your abdominal fat should be one of your TOP priorities! There's just no way around it. Besides, a side-effect of finally getting rid of all of that excessive (and ugly) abdominal fat is that your stomach will flatten out, and if you lose enough stomach fat, you will be able to visibly see those sexy six pack abs that everyone wants.

So what gets rid of extra abdominal fat?

There really is only one solution: Exercise, in particular cardio exercises like swimming, cycling, running, jogging, etc. (Or more specifically, exercise + a healthy diet. You need to do both to fix this problem.)

You aren't going to find any cheap/quick fix solutions like a diet pill or anything like that which only targets your abdominal fat. [Ignoring liposuction, which is expensive and not recommended - especially in a day and age when you can get gastric bypass surgery to reduce your stomach to the size of an apple so you are forced to eat smaller meals and have no choice but to cut down on over-consumption.]

Thus, ignoring elective surgery, your only real option is exercise and a healthy diet.

Which honestly doesn't take that much time. Read any of the 6 Minute Cardio Workouts posted on my website.

Or read my recent post in which I answer the question "How much dieting is actually necessary to achieve results?"

And here is an important bit:

The people who only diet often end up yo-yo dieting and their weight going up and down.

The people who eat a healthy diet and exercise - no yo-yo-ing because the changes they make become lifestyle changes. Just straight results in which they make changes in their lifestyle by exercising more and eating more healthily, and they achieve results faster and safer than any fad diets ever could.

Want fast results that are permanent? Change your lifestyle.

And if you pick a sport that you enjoy, you will find the new lifestyle is a lot more enjoyable than you ever could of expected because the sport will help motivate you and make it fun to exercise.

Rock Climbing, Waterfalls Exploring, Spelunking and More!

There are many great ways to exercise, but the following is several of my favourites. Some of these you can even do as family activities, but others are dangerous and children should not be doing them at all. Use your better judgment. Some of them are also very frugal and won't cost your wallet much.

#1. Rock Climbing

Now I don't mean going to a special "rock climbing gym". I have never done that, although I presume it is still fun to do that indoors with the safety of a harness and first aid kits nearby. You can still do that if you wish, but for myself I do Freehand Rock Climbing - no ropes, no safety harness, if I fall, I fall and hurt myself.

Rock Climbing Tips

Don't climb anything freehand unless you are absolutely confident you can climb it without falling.

Practice on trees. (Or in a rock climbing gym.)

Stick to small climbs first as you build up your strength and skill.

Always be certain of your footing or handholds before you go to the next foothold or handhold.

Remember to plan your route back down. Sometimes getting up is easier than climbing back down.

If you don't think you can do it, maybe it is time to crack out the harness and ropes. Safety first.

#2. Waterfalls Exploring

This is a bit like rock climbing, but the surfaces are going to be slippery. Often you need to climb over wet rocks that are slippery, but it is a lot of fun to work your way around and get behind a waterfalls - or even go swimming below it (warning - if there is signs that say "no swimming", that means this falls is powerful enough to have undertow that can drag you under and kill you. Only swim near the base of a waterfalls that is relatively weak).

The photo on the right is of Hogg's Falls in Ontario.

Waterfalls Exploring Tips

Wear super grippy boots that you don't mind getting wet.

Wear gloves, possibly even grippy fishing gloves.

Wear clothing you don't mind getting wet. Avoid white t-shirts unless you enjoy showing off.

Don't bother trying to climb the sides of the waterfalls. It is too slippery.

#3. Spelunking

Otherwise known as cave exploring or cave diving, spelunking is an amazing activity to get into if you love exploring geological formations, crevices and caverns.

Spelunking Tips

Good quality boots.

Gloves are handy too.

Flashlight or headlamp is very handy.

Try getting guided tours of caves (ones with stairs, safety bars, etc all in place) first so you know what to expect.

Take a spelunking safety course.

#4. Rocky Mountain Biking

Bouncing over rocks while cycling down a hill might not sound like your cup of tea, but to those who love it then it is certainly a possibility.

Start slow, stick to the easy cycling trails and work your way up. Also, buy a better bicycle that has higher quality shocks and sturdier tires. You don't want your equipment to fail if you go over a rock your bicycle simply could not handle.



#5. Natural Parkour / Freerunning

If you are familiar with parkour / freerunning, then you also know this activity normally occurs in an urban environment. But there is no reason why you could not do this in a more natural terrain - using rocks and trees as your obstacle course. All you are really doing is applying the same principles of parkour to a different landscape.



#6. Tree Climbing

And by this, I am referring to climbing trees using ropes, helmet and a harness. You could climb the bottom reaches of the tree freehand, but once you start to go high enough that you might run into a weak limb that could snap underfoot it is time to get the rope and harness out. The views from the top can be pretty spectacular.



#7. Underwater Spelunking

See #3 above, but add in scuba gear. You will need snorkeling lessons, scuba lessons, and eventually underwater spelunking lessons. This activity is both expensive and dangerous. Definitely not for children either.



#8. Extreme Rock Balancing

Normally rock balancing is an activity done by one person who just lifts up a rock and then balances another rock on top of it. Extreme Rock Balancing is done by a team of people using much larger rocks, ropes, chains, pulleys, ladders, the whole shebang.

You will need a group of friends (preferably friends who are also into rock balancing), and you will probably want one person to document the whole project using a video camera.

Muscles will only get you so far with this project. You will also need patience and perseverance. And friendships will be tried and tested if you get into an argument about how to best achieve the finished product.

You will also want your finished product to last. You won't want it falling down the first time a teenager comes along and gives it a push. Thus aim to your rocks large enough - and well balanced - so that it wouldn't fall down even during a small earthquake.

Some people might want to cheat and use a crane or tractor to move the rocks, but if men of old can build Stone Henge and the pyramids of Egypt, certainly a group of adults can balance some rocks without using machinery.

Unlike normal rock balancing you probably will not be balancing multiple rocks together. But one or two should be possible.

Best of all your end results will stay up for a long time and baffle future generations.



12 Archery Quotes to Help Motivate Beginner Archers

“Don't think of what you have to do, don't consider how to carry it out! The shot will only go smoothly when it takes the archer himself by surprise.”
- Eugen Herrigel, passage from 'Zen in the Art of Archery'

“You have described only too well, where the difficulty lies...The right shot at the right moment does not come because you do not let go of yourself. You...brace yourself for failure. So long as that is so, you have no choice but to call forth something yourself that ought to happen independently of you, and so long as you call it forth your hand will not open in the right way--like the hand of a child.”
- Eugen Herrigel, passage from 'Zen in the Art of Archery'

“The right art is purposeless, aimless! The more obstinately you try to learn how to shoot the arrow for the sake of hitting the goal, the less you will succeed in the one and the further the other will recede. What stands in your way is that you have a much too willful will. You think that what you do not do yourself does not happen.”
- Eugen Herrigel, quoting D. T. Suzuki in 'Zen in the Art of Archery'

"Fundamentally the marksman aims at [perfecting] himself."
- D.T. Suzuki

“This, then, is what counts: a lightning reaction which has no further need of conscious observation. In this respect at least the pupil makes himself independent of all conscious purpose.”
- Eugen Herrigel, passage from 'Zen in the Art of Archery'

“Keep practicing," he told her.
"Until I get it right?" she said. But he corrected her.
"No. Until you don't get it wrong.”
- John Flanagan, 'The Royal Ranger'

“If you would hit the mark [at long range], you must aim a little above it: Every arrow that flies feels the pull of the earth.”
- Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

"In the long run, you only hit what you aim at."
- Henry Thoreau

"I can teach you to shoot better than the greatest archer in 30 minutes provided we blindfold him and
spin him around so he doesn't know where the target is at."
- Peter Hill

"There is only two steps to learning archery. Step one, learn how to shoot a ten. Step two, repeat step one."
- American Archer, whose name I have forgotten (if you know who said it please put his name in the comments).
Looking to sign up for archery lessons, boxing lessons, swimming lessons, ice skating lessons or personal training sessions? Start by emailing cardiotrek@gmail.com and lets talk fitness!

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