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

Using Negativity to Challenge Yourself - Coaching and Motivation

One of the biggest tricks to getting better at something is to come up with new challenges - new ways of making it interesting, partially so you are motivated to try and achieve that goal during the process.

From a coaching / personal training perspective, knowing how to challenge the athlete / client in front of you means trying to get inside their head and understand what makes that individual person tick - what motivates them to try harder. Is it pride? Anger? Shame? Possibly even greed? Or (egad) narcissism?

A person who doesn't have any of the seven deadly sins is truly content and doesn't really want anything. Such a person must be sublimely happy, so why would they bother to hire a personal trainer? They're already found contentment and happiness. The only reason I can think of such a happy person wanting a coach or personal trainer is because they are amused by the idea of it. They want to do something and they're doing it for fun*. I will come back to that idea later. See the * further below.

It is the person who is yearning for something who really needs help achieving it. They are struggling for whatever reasons to achieve a goal that is beyond their reach. Perhaps it is a very common goal, like losing weight, and they are struggling because of their diet and lack of exercise, but also because they lack willpower - and quite possibly other factors as well. This is a quite common goal. But why do they want to lose weight?

Vanity? Pride? Anger at people who bullied them about their weight? They feel ashamed of their appearance? Or maybe they made a wager with a friend as to which one of them could lose the most weight, and thus they are motivated by greed?

Knowing what motivates yourself, what the primary reason you decide to exercise - especially if it is on the spur of the moment and you get the sudden urge to exercise, think carefully on that experience. What was it precisely that caused you to get the urge to exercise?

And don't be afraid of negative emotions. To paraphrase Darth Vader, let your negative emotions out and let them give you power - the power of your dark side! Mwahahaha!

People rarely get the urge to exercise because they are feeling charitable or humble - although it would be awesome if more people were so easily motivated. "Oh look, a marathon that is raising money for charity. I think I will start jogging regularly so I can help raise money." How is rare is it that people take up marathon running just for charity? Extremely unlikely. More likely they were already into running marathons and they saw one that was raising money for charity and wanted to join.


Back on topic, once you know what things motivate you - truly motivate you - then you can use those negative emotions to focus your mind on the activities you want to do and get better at. Over time those negative emotions will fade and be replaced by feelings that are more positive, and you will eventually be doing the activity hopefully because you just plain enjoy it.

Which brings me full circle back to the Asterisk...

* Recreational activities are awesome in my opinion because most people do them without any goal in their mind beyond having fun. Take recreational archery for example. Recreational archers don't go to competitions, they don't bowhunt or bowfish, they simply do archery for the fun of it. I argue that recreational archery is actually the purest form of archery - because it is archery for archery's sake. Not for ego. Not for food. Not for bragging rights about bagging a "big buck". Purely for the enjoyment of the activity.

For example, I enjoy writing - but sometimes I am suffering a bit from writer's block and I have to find inspiration to write. One way for me to combat that and find inspiration is to find something funny to write about. In this case it was because I was thinking about Star Wars and Darth Vader memes while I was writing. It not only gave me some inspiration, it helped motivate my writing.

So it isn't just for exercising. It could be for doing any number of activities you should probably be doing. It does not have to be yoga while dressed like Darth Vader, but hey, nobody is stopping you from having a little fun.


Essential Fat Vs Non Essential Fat

Lets start with some definitions!

#1. Essential Fat

Essential fatty acids, or EFAs, are fatty acids that humans and other animals must ingest because the body requires them for good health but cannot synthesize them. The term "essential fatty acid" refers to fatty acids required for biological processes but does not include the fats that only act as fuel.

So for example, omega-3 fatty acids is a chemical your body actually needs for brain function and other activities.

#2. Non Essential Fat

Non-essential fatty acids are important for the body too. Saturated fats are considered to be non-essential fatty acids because they are not required by the body and instead may cause harm - hence the name. Trans fatty acids, although these are a kind of unsaturated fat, are also non-esential fatty acids and should be avoided in the same manner that we should avoid saturated fats because of findings that increased consumption of trans fats is proportional to an increase in the risk of coronary heart disease. It is also used in supplements when used as development enhancements. Meanwhile, there are non-essential fatty acids which are simply classified as such because the human body can synthesize them from other nutrients like carbohydrates and other unsaturated fatty acids. These are the omega-9 fatty acids, which can lower bad cholesterol, increase good cholesterol, and control blood sugar. However, since the human body can create its own omega-9 fatty acids, there is no need to include them in one’s diet.


As shown in the above graphic men need dramatically less essential fat than women do, however their composition of non-essential fat is roughly the same.

People seeking to lose weight by dieting would be advised to add more eggs and fish to their diet, but cut back on sources of saturated fat. This way they are getting the fat that they need, but they are reducing their consumption of extra fat that their body doesn't actually need.

Understanding your Body's Composition

You have probably heard that the human body is mostly made of water - and this partially correct. But all that water is held together using carbon and other atoms. Some fad diets even try to reduce a person's body weight by reducing their use of water, and thus reducing a person's water weight - which makes a person dehydrated, long term lack of water can cause mental illness and a host of other problems. So those fad diets do work in the sense that person does lose weight, but because it is mostly water they end up regaining the weight as soon as they go back to a normal diet and have normal amounts of water again.

Attacking your body's use of water however is not the solution however. While water is found in both fat cells and muscle, it is not the cause of a person being overweight.

We should note also that fell cells never actually disappear. They just get bigger as they store energy or smaller as they expend energy. Eating healthier foods, getting lots of exercise causes the fat cells to store less energy and to be expending more energy than they are storing.

Your body's composition comes down a number of factors:

Bones and Bone Density

The more you exercise the stronger your bone density becomes. Thus bodybuilders and athletes often have surprisingly strong bone density. Not unbreakable, but still amazingly strong. (Although the film "Unbreakable" starring Bruce Willis suggests that it would be theoretically possible for a person to have unusually strong bones.)

Bone density can fluctuate due to diet, amount of exercise a person is getting, and genetic factors.

Muscle Weight

Muscles weighs more than fat. Try weighing some lean meat sometime and note how much little space 1 lb of lean muscle actually takes up space. Now compare that to 1 lb of fat further below. A person who is very muscular might not look very big, but they might still weight quite a bit. So someone who weighs 250 lbs, but it is all muscle will still look pretty impressive with their shirt off - but might look like a proverbial Bruce Wayne when they are dressed in a suit and tie. For fun see my past article about Christian Bale's muscle gains and losses. When preparing for the role he once weighed 210 lbs, but had to back it down a bit because he ended up looking too beefy.

Muscle weight can also go up or down quite suddenly and rapidly. Being sick for a week, a person could easily lose 10 lbs of muscle. When "Spring Training" athletes can often gain back 20 lbs of muscle in the first 2 to 4 weeks because they have been slacking off during the winter. I myself have a tendency to take it too easy during the winter and often put on 20 lbs of muscle every Spring when I get back into exercising outdoors. This year I am planning to put on extra muscle this upcoming winter.

Body Fat

Fat takes up a lot of space in your body. By volume it actually does not weigh very much, it is light weight - but it is HUGE. A lb of fat is roughly the size of an adult fist. So 5 lbs of fat is about the size of fists. All that space however is basically just for storing energy - energy for exercise, energy for keeping the body warm, and also acting as insulation against the cold.


During the Autumn, as temperatures drop and humans start getting less Vitamin D from the sun we start storing more energy inside our fat cells. Around Christmas time we store lots of food, not just because of traditions, but because our bodies crave more food when we are low on Vitamin D. This storing of energy as fat is hard-wired into our DNA, part of our "caveman genes" and is used as a survival mechanism to keep you alive during the long cold winter. Learn more about Vitamin D by reading "Can Vitamin D help you lose weight?"

Genetics

Speaking of caveman genes, lets talk about genetics in general. Your body's composition of fat, muscle, bone density, etc is effected by your body's genetics. The same thing that makes your hair black and your eyes green also effects how much fat you store, how easily you build muscle, your bone density, metabolism, etc. However it does not CONTROL it. Just because you might be genetically predisposed to having more muscle, does not mean you will automatically be muscular. It will still take years of exercising, weightlifting, helping friends move into new homes and carrying their furniture, working at the construction site, etc. In other words you still have to work at it. Nothing comes easily in the world of weightlifting.

The same thing goes for the reverse. You might have a genetic disorder that makes it difficult to lose weight. But that does not make it IMPOSSIBLE to do so. It simply means it harder than an average person trying to do the same thing. You might have to get it 150% effort compared to your peers in order to see changes, but you will see changes if you keep making the effort.

Organs and Metabolism

Some of your body's weight is made up of all your organs. Brain, heart, lungs, liver, spleen, cardiovascular system, endocrine system, digestive system, etc. These things are all necessary for life. Thus you can't really do anything about the weight of such things, and you shouldn't worry about them.

Sometimes people do get "fatty organs", such as a fatty liver which can lead to liver damage, cancer, fatty liver disease, etc. However such things can be prevented by exercising regularly and eating healthy. Your body's organs consume / produce chemicals that are used as building blocks to repair your body, and energy for both repair and for activities - all of which are necessities.

Definition of Metabolism: The chemical processes by which cells produce the substances and energy needed to sustain life.

CONCLUSIONS

There isn't much to worry about regarding your bones, organs and genetics. Those things will continue to do what they are meant to do. However the balance between muscle weight and body fat can be altered by the individual. How you choose to do so is up to you. You might choose to focus more on diet over exercise, or more exercise over diet, or some balance of the two - but in reality it is always a balancing act, because you have to eat and you have to move. How you choose to achieve your ideal balance might depend on whether your goals are to lose weight, build muscle or combinations of the two.

If you live in the Leaside area of Toronto and are looking for a personal trainer, you know who to call.



New Winter Archery Lessons Logo

In order to promote my new service of "Winter Archery Lessons" I have added a new logo for promoting Winter Archery in Toronto. It is basically identical to the normal archery logo, with the added bonus of a stylized snowflake in the background.

I also have retroactively gone back to older posts and added the new logo.


This is not the first post regarding logos on my website. In September 2012 I announced the Cardio Trek Logos that have long since become the standard for how Cardio Trek has chosen to direct itself with respect to logos.

The other new logo below is for Archery Biathlon Training - a new service I first offered last year, geared towards those rare few individuals who wanted an unique challenge. For obvious reasons not everyone in Toronto is into archery biathlon, but for those who are it provides a great cardiovascular challenge while simultaneously challenging your endurance and accuracy.

For those curious about whether it has to be cross country skiing. No, it does not. Snowshoeing also works quite well in my opinion. For more information on either Winter Archery Lessons in Toronto or Archery Biathlon Training please email cardiotrek@gmail.com.


Winter is Coming! - Winter Archery Lessons in Toronto

Okay, okay, settle down. It is only September 15th, 2015. It is not Winter yet.

But I am already looking forward to teaching archery lessons during the 2015/2016 winter season. Maybe too much sun has fried my brain and I am now yearning for the cold?

Normally I only teach archery lessons from March to October, but last year and the year before I also taught a few - literally just a few - Winter Archery Lessons to those few Torontonians who were that crazy that they wanted winter lessons.

The start of the 2014/2015 Winter was quite mild last year, but then we got record breaking cold temperatures in late January and early February - so most of my winter lessons last year were done during December / early January or late February. The coldest part of the winter was just so ridiculously cold and snowy and there was no point being out there.

So I do have some rules regarding Winter Archery Lessons:

#1. Must be 16 years old or older.

#2. You must dress warmly - multiple tight fitting layers are best, including long johns, ski pants, hoodie, tight fitting winter coat, nice warm hat, etc. [Myself I am going to be purchasing a new pair of ski pants and a "heated hoodie" for this upcoming season.]

#3. You must bring a thermos full of a hot drink with you. Trust me, you will want it. [I recommend the "24 Hour Thermos" made by Thermos Ltd.]

Winter Archery Gloves will be provided. They work well and are surprisingly warm.

All other archery equipment is provided. If you wish to bring your own equipment please send a description of your equipment when you contact me via email.

2015/2016 Winter Archery Lessons Rates

1 Student
$90 for 90 minutes; 3 Lessons - $255; 5 Lessons - $405; 10 Lessons - $780.

2 Students
$120 for 90 minutes; 3 Lessons - $337.50; 5 Lessons - $540; 10 Lessons - $1050.

3 Students
$150 for 90 minutes; 3 Lessons - $427.50; 5 Lessons - $675; 10 Lessons - $1320.

To sign up for Winter Archery Lessons send an email to

New Winter Archery Logo

Notes

For my purposes "Winter" officially starts when there is either snow on the ground or the temperature dips around 0 degrees Celsius or lower. That means I may start charging the Winter rate in November if the temperatures are that low.

The upcoming Winter will also give me more time off to work on my upcoming archery book, the 2nd archery book I have written (the first is "Dreaming of Zen Archery"). The upcoming book will be a how to guide to recreational archery, as I have determined there are many books on the topic of competitive archery, and quite a few books on bowhunting, and even a bunch on the history of archery - but I have found zero books on the topic of recreational archery, or as I like to call it "archery for archery's sake". Recreational archery is not meant for competitions, not meant for hunting, it is purely for those people who do archery for the sheer enjoyment of the sport.

Oddly enough over 90% of archers are recreational. Less than 9% of archers are bowhunters. Less than 1% of archers actually compete. The vast majority of archers are those who do it purely as a recreational hobby, so I find it strange that nobody has written a book on this topic.

Are you working too hard for your health?

Do you ever feel depressed because all you ever seem to do is work and you rarely have leisure time to spend with your friends or family?

Do you regularly feel tired from working so much that you basically just come home and collapse, eat comfort food and watch TV because it requires the least amount of work?

Do you often agonize over the balance between life and work?

Does your family have heart disease, diabetes, and/or a history of Alzheimer's in your family members who also worked long hours every day?

About a century ago it was common for factory workers to be working 10, 12 or even 14 hour shifts. The 8-hour work day only became a reality during the 1930s when there was so many unemployed people that factories were under pressure to spread the number of hours out amongst a greater number of employees.

Following that success various organizations pushed for a 4-hour or 6-hour work day, but those movements never amounted to anything beyond some interesting cartoons about the economy during the 1930s.

Around the same time such organizations involved in the US Labor Movement, primarily the IWW (Industrial Workers of the World), were also pushing for a 4-day work week and other such interesting ideas that never took hold.

If you answered yes to a bunch of the questions at the top, you probably are feeling pretty overworked yourself - or your family has a history of working too hard too. However ask yourself, did working that hard increase the quality of life for you or your family?

Given the choice which do you value more, leisure time or having more money?

Well lets try to answer that question using MATH.

Lets pretend for a moment that you currently work 8 hours per day, 5 days per week for a total of 40 hours per week. And while we are at it, lets assume you are making $20 per hour - so $800 per week, minus taxes/etc.


Then one day your boss offers you a new option: 6 hours per day, 5 days per week for a total of 30 hours per week. Same pay, but less hours so it would be $600 per week, again minus taxes/etc.

At which point you have to ask yourself, would you prefer to work 40 hours per week and be exhausted after work, have very little leisure time, etc.

Or would you prefer 30 hours per week, 10 hours of extra leisure time, and a pay cut?

According to surveys conducted across Canada, most Canadians say they would take the 30-hour work week and would love to have extra leisure time.

There is a third option too. 8 hour work days, but only a 4 day work week. 32 hours total. This way you get a whole day off for leisure time.

Or even a fourth option. 10 hour work days, but only a 4 day work week. 40 hours total. This way you still get a whole day off for leisure time, but are still managing to work 40 hours per week.

However options 3 and 4 seem to miss the point. Overworking causes health problems, like a 33% higher chance of stroke and a 15% higher chance of heart disease. Other health problems like diabetes and Alzheimer's are also associated with overworking.

Taken together this also means that people who overwork have a much shorter life expectancy. Their risks of stroke, heart attack, heart failure, heart disease and many other ailments are dramatically increased. It is difficult to say how much this effects the longevity of people working long hours, but it is safe to say that people working 50 or more hours per week have an average shorter longevity than people working 40 hours per week or even 30 hours per week.

Here are some more facts for you:

The United States is the only country in the Americas that does NOT have paid parental leave. Canada and other countries in North / South America have an average of 12 weeks of paid parental leave. This effects the physical well being of adults working long hours and their ability to balance work and family.

134 countries in the world have laws setting the maximum number of hours a person can work in a week. The USA is one of the few countries without such a law.

Americans work 137 more hours per year than Japanese workers, 260 more hours per year than British workers, and 499 more hours per year than French workers. (According to the International Labour Organization.)

The USA has no federal law requiring paid sick days.

Most countries in the world have laws requiring workers to have at least 20 paid vacation days.

Many countries also have paid holidays. The USA has zero. Canada has 9 paid holidays.

I could just keep going. There are lots of facts and figures on this topic I could quote. But my purpose here isn't to tell people to work less hours. It is to encourage people to have more leisure time for the sake of their health and to hopefully have less stress. If you truly love your work and it is stress-free, or maybe you even love having a little stress, then maybe it isn't such a big deal that you work so hard.

But for many of you then you have probably already concluded that having more money doesn't make you any happier. Therefore I want to offer 12 steps you can take in an attempt to have less stress, live healthier and ideally also live longer and fuller.

After all, what is the point of working 50+ hours per week every week until you die at the age of 55 because you didn't take good care of your health? Wouldn't it make more to have more leisure time, take care of your health and live to the ripe old age of 95?

12 Steps to Live Longer, Healthier and More Stress-Free

#1. Do something every day that doesn't cost you any money and yet makes you happy. It might be spending time with your kids, taking the dog for a walk, or going for a nature walk with a friend.

#2. It is okay to ask your boss for less hours at work. The worst they can do is say no. They can't fire you for asking for less hours (because if they did, that would be grounds for a lawsuit).

#3. Remember to use your paid vacation time and/or sick days if you have them. Don't bother saving them up because otherwise you probably won't get to use them at all.

#4. If your work place has the option to do so, asking to work from home might be a good solution for you. Saves on travel time and most companies report higher productivity from people who work from home.

#5. If you have a baby and want to take some time off to spend time with your newborn, it is okay to do so. You might even wish to take extra time off which is unpaid, and that is okay too.

#6. If you somehow suggested to your boss that your entire company switch to a 6 hour work day (possibly with shifts from 9 to 3 and from 3 to 9) that would be just plain awesome. Your whole company, including your boss, would benefit and live longer/be happier as a result.

#7. Take siestas or naps if you get a chance. People who take naps in the afternoon live longer, have less weight problems and have less mental health problems.

#8. Pick a sport or activity you think you could still be doing into your old age and then do it regularly. eg. Dancing is a good activity for both young and old.

#9. When you feel overworked don't go straight for the junk food when you get home. Take your time and make something nutritious instead. The junk food may make you feel happier temporarily, but it is not good for your health or your long term happiness.

#10. Exercise regularly. You don't have to do it constantly, but you should make an effort to at least be doing something that gets your heart rate going. For best results pick exercises or sports that you enjoy doing and makes you happy.

#11. Work towards finding a job where you work less hours, have less stress and feel happier about yourself. Working just to pay the bills may keep bread on the table, but your long term happiness should be the primary goal.

#12. Be creative in how you spend your leisure time. Try new things. Avoid doing the same thing all the time, especially if it is something that doesn't actually bring you happiness.


PERSONAL NOTE

I am reducing my work hours in 2016. Last month I started reducing the amount of hours I am currently working. I currently have an abundance of clients and have raised my rates twice in the last year.

My goal in 2016 is to be working 4.5 to 6 hours per day and only 4 days per week. I estimate I will be working approx. 22.5 hours per week. That may not seem like much, but when you consider I *currently* charge $50 per hour for personal training I would still be doing quite well.

As is normal for personal trainers, not every time slot gets filled so the total number of hours I will be working from week to week may vary dramatically, but ideally this will mean more time for me to focus on leisure activities... things like fishing, working on my skills in the kitchen, and woodworking. While still managing to help my clients achieve their fitness goals.

* I may be raising my personal training rate in 2016 significantly.

Arrow Fletching - Kinds and Shapes

There are many different kinds of feather fletching used in archery for arrows. Three of the most commonly used fletching shapes are:

Parabolic Fletch

Shield Fletch

Traditional Fletch

Banana, Low Banana, T-Hawk, Pope + Young and Swift Fletches are less commonly used, but the various shapes have different advantages and disadvantages when it comes to physics and the accuracy of the arrow.

Fletching in general is used to improve the accuracy of the arrow's flight by providing drag that will keep the arrow flying straight, but too much fletching can cause the arrow to behave more sluggishly and fly slowly, which decreases accuracy.

So for example "Swift Fletching" is designed to let the arrow go really fast, but what it loses is some of its accuracy as there is so little actual fletch doing the job of keeping the arrow flying straight.

Another problem with too much fletching is that it can cause the arrow to be effected by the wind more, whereas various smaller designs of fletching will be effected by the wind less - but loses accuracy due to less drag keeping the arrow straight, thus depending on wind conditions it is better to shoot a small-size fletch arrow during high wind and a medium-size fletch when it is not windy.

Large or very large fletching has a role too. Large fletch arrows - sometimes called "Flu Flu Arrows" are commonly used for hunting small game (rabbits, birds, etc) because they are easier to find in wooded areas. Losing the arrow is less likely when the fletch is so large and easier to spot. Because larger fletch arrows also fly slower, it makes it easier for the human eye to track where exactly the arrow went and the archer has a clearer idea of its trajectory.


Often fletching is really a matter of personal preference, as some archers prefer to make their own arrows and do their own fletching. This means there can sometimes be some pretty exotic styles of fletching available.

The person below evidently enjoys very large fletching made from peacock tail feathers.


The fletching below was given an extra individual touch by having extra wisps at the front.


And the one below went green by using Holly leaves glued onto the shaft.


There are lots of options to explore, not just with different kinds of fletching but also in decorating your arrows. Note the painted decorative shafts below.


Happy fletching and shooting!

12 Ways to Enjoy Healthy Living while visiting Toronto

Hello Toronto and tourists visiting Toronto!

Here are a list of 12 healthy ways to have fun in Toronto. Enjoy!

#1. Summer? Go swimming at one of Toronto's many Blue Flag rated beaches. Or visit some of the local pools operated by Toronto Parks and Rec. Or better yet, go to Canada's Wonderland and hang out in the Splash Works all day long - swim all day and go on the water slides.

#2. While you are at the beach you can also do exercises, yoga, go jogging, take the dog for a walk - for those people who take their dog on vacation with them! For those who want more competition, have a beach volleyball game.

#3. Autumn? Go hiking. Now is a good time of year to visit one of Ontario's many waterfalls, especially in the Hamilton / Niagara area. Hike to Hilton Falls near Milton, Ontario - take the dog with you and your camera, because the trees at Hilton Falls during the Autumn will be incredibly beautiful. The hike to Hilton Falls from the parking lot is about 20 to 40 minutes depending on what route you take.

#4. Another great thing to do at Hilton Falls is bring your bicycle. The park has lots of bicycle trails you can use. Toronto and the surrounding area has literally hundreds of bicycle trails for you to choose from.


#5. Join a 5K run. Toronto has many marathons, half marathons, 10Ks 5Ks and other running events for amateur runners. During Spring and Summer there are sometimes 15 or more events each month. Consult http://www.runguides.com/toronto/runs to learn more about different events happening in Toronto.

#6. Winter? Lace your skates up and visit one of Toronto's many public ice rinks. My favourite to go to is the rink in front of the Toronto City Hall - I find they use the zamboni more frequently there and it keeps the ice in better condition, and that rink has multiple options nearby for hot beverages.

#7. Archery Lessons - Learn how to shoot properly with an experienced instructor. Contact me to sign up for archery lessons in Toronto. I even teach archery during the Winter, so if you are curious to learn more about Winter Archery Lessons please contact me.

#8. Archery Tag - Shoot arrows at your friends or friendly strangers at an archery tag event. Hint - It helps if you already know how to shoot properly. Visit ArcheryToronto.ca to learn more about archery tag locations in the GTA.

#9. Join a Meetup group for a sporting activity on Meetup.com. Nobody cares if you are not a local, they only care if you show up to the event. eg. http://www.meetup.com/torontosports/ has everything from indoor volleyball, badminton and a range of other activities to do.

#10. Tennis and Golf. Now I personally hate golf - I see it as a sport for people who like to sit in a cart and follow their balls around. But tennis on the other hand takes a lot of energy to do and I respect that. Regardless, Toronto has many tennis clubs and golf clubs to choose from, so if you bring your racket or golf clubs with you on vacation, Toronto has lots of options for you to choose from.

Note - So far I have only been listing exercises for things to do in Toronto. These last two are food based options.

#11. Take a cooking class. BlogTO and Groupon have lists of cooking classes you can choose from, many of which are about healthy cooking, vegan cooking, etc. So while you might not normally think of doing that while on vacation, it is still a fun option to consider. Toronto has literally hundreds of places that teach cooking. I know of one where their primary goal is actually religion and they offer vegan cooking lessons for a donation. That is pretty reasonable when you think about it, so if you don't mind people chanting Hare Krishna that is certainly an interesting option. (Those Hare Krishna people are really huggable and nice.)

#12. Go for a walk and window shop many of Toronto's fine restaurants until you find one that looks both interesting and healthy. Depending on the neighbourhood you are in this is harder than you would think. Some neighbourhoods have only restaurants that serve unhealthy / greasy food. But if you pick a good neighbourhood with lots of options you can not only work up an appetite with your walk, but once you pick a favourite to try you can walk back to that option and see just how good their food really is. If you want to speed up the process the neighbourhoods I recommend are:

East Danforth
Queen West, west of Bathurst
Eglinton West, west of Yonge
Yonge Street, north of Mount Pleasant
Queen Street East, north of Beaches
Toronto's Vegan Village (Bloor Street West, north of High Park, and the surrounding area)
Kensington Market

There are more, but these will get you started. Happy walking and eat healthy!

Age Requirements for Archery Lessons Updated - 2016 and Beyond

Earlier this Summer I began contemplating changing my minimum age requirements for archery lessons. Previously they had been a minimum of age 10 or higher, but as of 2016 I will no longer be accepting students younger than 15 and maintaining a minimum age requirement of 16.

Why the change you may ask?

Multiple reasons...

#1. Lack of attention span. This is more common with teenagers, 13 to 15, in my opinion. Often teenagers in this age group just want to try archery and once they've tried it they either love it or they begin to lose interest. If they lose interest their attention span goes out the window and it is a bit like teaching someone who isn't even listening. "Failure to listen" has basically become a pet peeve of mine when teaching teenagers who just don't want to listen.

#2. Lack of emotional maturity. I find this is more of a problem for kids ages 10 to 13 and I have to be extra watchful of what they are doing to make sure they don't do something unsafe. I have the same concern for kids under the age of 10 too, which is why I previously set the standard of minimum age 10.

#3. Youthful Stubbornness. I wish there was a better way to describe this. I have on occasion encountered teenagers who not only refuse to listen, but just outright ignore the instructor and do what they think is right - and is ultimately wrong judging by their arrows flying right over the top of the target and have to coax them to shoot and aim properly, however no amount of coaxing will work if they are so stubborn that all my efforts are basically an exercise in futility. I encountered one such student in 2014 that was so stubborn I became suspicious that they might have a learning disability that caused them to refuse to listen to instructions. To this day I am unsure which it was as they seemed intelligent, but were so stubbornly opposed to listening / following instructions.

#4. Parents lying about their kid's age. Because I had previously set the standard minimum age of 10 I am pretty sure some parents were lying about their kids age so they could get their 8 or 9 year old archery lessons. Parents claiming that their kid is "small for their age" for example makes me worried they are just plain lying to me, and the behaviour of their kids often reveal their true maturity.

#5. I am not a babysitter. Parents have sometimes been known to sign their kids up for archery lessons and then disappear during the 90 minutes I am teaching, ignoring my request that they stay present at all times during the lesson. I require parents to stay present in case the kid has any health issues (allergic reactions, asthma, etc) and also so that their kid behaves themselves, thus reducing the chance that they might misbehave in a manner which is unsafe on the archery range.

By increasing my minimum age requirement to 16 I am guaranteed to get more mature students who have longer attention spans, more emotional maturity, less likely to refuse to listen due to youthful stubbornness, a significantly higher age that parents will be less likely to lie about their kids age, and lastly because they are at least 16 years old I don't feel like I am babysitting a kid any more.

Now in theory it is still possible that parents might try to lie about their 15 year old's age and claim they are 16, but I would hope that parents don't try to deceive me in that manner. If they did and I discovered the falsehood I believe cancelling the lessons (with no refund) would be an appropriate punishment for such deceit.

I should note that there are many kids I have taught in the past who listened, were very attentive, very safety conscious and their parents were equally responsible and took an interest in what their kid was learning - sometimes even developing a keen interest for having lessons themselves. It pains me that I have to change my rules / requirements, but sadly some bad eggs have spoiled it for other potential students.

As your kids get older contact me about getting them archery lessons for their 16th birthday. Have a great day!

Above - Jeff and Austin, father and son, admire a shot at 60 yards that went half way through the target.

What kind of bow should I purchase?

Q

"Hello! I am 5'8" tall and 180 lbs (a little chubby as I like to say). What kind of bow should I purchase since I am a beginner and new to archery? I am thinking recurve, but can you recommend a brand and how many pounds?

Also what other equipment should I get?"

- J.T. Turner.

A

I would recommend you get a 25 lb Samick Sage. You can get one at Tent City in North York, Basically Bows on Queen Street East or Bass Pro in Vaughan - prices vary by location, the most economical option is Tent City. There are other brands you could try, by the Samick Sage has very good reviews and is readily available. It was even recently shown on the cover of Ontario Out of Doors magazine.

Make sure you do the eye dominance test first so you know whether you should be getting a right handed or left handed bow.

I have an older post on this same topic you should read:

What is a good bow for an archery beginner?
Regarding other equipment you will need I recommend the following:

12 arrows with removable screw-in arrowheads. Do NOT get the glued-in arrowheads, they break too easily and once broken the whole arrow is basically garbage. If a screw-in arrowhead breaks, you unscrew it and then just screw in a new one. Note - 12 is a good number to start with.

Bowstringer so you can easily string your bow and not twist/damage the limbs of your bow using the leg method (which is meant for longbows, not for recurves).

Spare Bow String. In case your bow string ever breaks in the future, it is nice to have a spare.

Spring Loaded Arrow Rest
Arrow Rest. The Samick Sage is nice because it can be fitted with a traditional fur arrow rest, a cheap glue-on arrow rest or a more modern mechanical arrow rest. For beginners I recommend either the fur arrow rests or a spring loaded mechanical arrow rest like the one on the right. I am not a fan of the cheap plastic arrow rests because they break too easily.

For more advanced archers I recommend the Cavalier Super Flyte Arrow Rest (shown below). I find it is more accurate than many other styles of arrow rests, but it is a bit annoying to use because if you squeeze the arrow between your fingers then it slides off the arrow rest very easily. It is super accurate, but very annoying for beginners who tend to squeeze/bump the arrow too much.



Brass Nock Bead(s). Most people only use one nock bead, but sometimes people use two. When using one it goes above the arrow when nocked to prevent "stringwalking" up and down the bow string. Some people prefer to use two nock beads so the arrow cannot slide either up or down. Make sure the nock bead is installed properly, so when in doubt get an archery instructor or the sales rep in the store to do it for you.

Brass Nock Beads

Archery Finger Glove. I recommend Neet. I have reviewed many different archery finger gloves, tabs and mechanical releases (for compound shooters) but when it comes to finger gloves the company I find works best is Neet.

Neet Archery Finger Glove
Overall expect to be spending $300 to $400 on everything. Getting a quiver is optional. I personally find quivers annoying.
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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