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Note to Self - Personal Trainers and Sell Outs

Note to Self

If I ever become a sell out personal trainer who becomes so focused on selling books and DVDs that I am no longer providing free advice on my website, will someone please leave a comment on this post and remind me to stop doing that nonsense.

I am speaking of course of the "personal trainers" who apparently spend more time writing books and making DVDs (that very few people actually read or watch and often collects dust) than they do actually training people.

Also I should note, yes, I am currently writing a how-to book for archery, however I should note one of the reasons I am writing that book is because I am so busy I cannot teach everyone who is asking for archery lessons, so my plan is for whenever people have schedules that don't match mine, I can simply point them towards the book instead.

So I am not doing it for the money. I am doing it because I genuinely want to help people learn archery.

Also it is nice being on the CBC, CityTV, TSN, etc for archery clips because I enjoy promoting the sport - but I don't want to be doing that stuff full time. A few days ago I was contacted by a journalist student from Ryerson who is making a documentary about archery. Unfortunately their schedule didn't mesh with mine, so I couldn't help them.

So it is a matter of priorities and scheduling in my opinion.

Less than a month ago I was contacted by a television producer looking for someone for a reality TV show. With some trepidation I put my name in the hat of candidates, even though I despise reality shows. Does that make me a hypocrite? Maybe. But it also makes me realistic. The reality of the situation is that I would probably enjoy being on that show. If I don't enjoy it, I could go back to what I usually do.

Thus, note to future self: If I am not enjoying something, stop doing it and go back to what I do enjoy.

In other news, Happy Halloween! Below are some zombie archery targets, both 3D and 2D.





Pumping Iron, 1977 Documentary

Lou Ferrigno and Arnold Schwarzenegger
"Pumping Iron" is a 1977 documentary about the 1975 IFBB Mr Olympia competition, featuring Arnold Schwarzenegger and Lou Ferrigno.

In bodybuilding circles this film is a classic. Harking back to the days before steroids becoming commonplace at bodybuilding competitions and bodybuilding was considered to be more like sculpture - an art form similar to figure skating or ballet.

Indeed the very first scene of the documentary is a scene with Arnold Schwarzenegger practices poses with a ballet dancer.

You can watch the trailer below:



And you can watch the full film in HD on Netflix.

Admittedly it only has 2 stars out of 5 on Netflix, mostly because people who are not into bodybuilding / weightlifting would probably find the film boring, but I personally enjoyed it and gave it 5 stars. Proof that bodybuilding truly is a subjective art form.

A nice long quote from the film:

"Let's say before a contest, if I get emotionally involved with a girl... that can have a negative effect on my mind... and therefore destroy my workout. So I have to cut my emotions off... and be kind of cold, in a way, before a competition. That's what you do with the rest of the things. If somebody steals my car outside of my door right now... I don't care. l can't be bothered with that. I would only have my secretary call the insurance agency and laugh about it. Because I cannot be bothered with it. I trained myself for that. To be totally cold and not have things go into my mind." - Arnold Schwarzenegger

How to Shoot a Tiny Moving Target (and catch it on video)

In archery it is comparatively easy to hit a tiny moving target, like a bottle cap dangling on a string, moving about in the wind.

Catching it on video, that is the tricky part.

Like in the video below.



Now in order to make that video what you don't see is the following:

  • The years (or decades in my case) of practicing archery.
  • The warm-up practice the day of the making of the video.
  • The rounds prior to the video that involved hitting the bottle or close to the bottle - and all the shots the missed completely because I was not paying attention and too busy talking to friends.
  • The amount of wind there was on that particular day, both in rounds prior and during the round shown in the video.
  • The archer taking a break to drink hot tea because it was also cold outside that day.

I can however give you some tips.

#1. Get archery lessons so you learn how to shoot properly and accurately. If you live in Toronto, contact me about getting archery lessons in Toronto.

#2. Practice, practice, practice. Just because you got lessons doesn't mean you shouldn't practice regularly. "A sharp blade is always sharpest when it is honed regularly."

#3. Challenge yourself with a new goals. How are you supposed to get better at something if you don't challenge yourself? Aim to do something amazing, and with practice and perseverance you will eventually get good at doing the goal you have set.

#4. Take your time! Don't rush your shots. Avoid getting frustrated just because you aren't achieving the goal you set right away - frustration will only push you further from the target, not closer.

The photos below are just a few of the previous times I have set a goal of shooting a tiny moving target.

In the above somewhat blurry photo the bottle cap went flying off.
I cannot take credit for these shots. These were done by a student of mine.
Bullseye. You can tell from the string angle how windy it was.
This is a larger moving target, but note the broken arrow. The arrow next to it snapped it.
Shooting at a broken tab from a pop can. Pinned it on 3 sides.
Arrow splitting string down the middle, AND it is a bullseye at the same time. Huzzah!
Ripped the bottle right off the bottle cap, and shot it a few more times for good measure.
Shooting at a bunny on Easter Sunday.
And many more photos in my collection, like the 3 photos below which are from the same demonstration as the above video.




Have a great day and happy shooting!

10 Exercise Workout You Can Do At Home

Need a workout you can do at home in about 20 minutes? Do the following 10 exercises with 1 minute breaks between each exercise. Total time should be less than 1 hour to complete. Do each exercise for 1 minute.

All of these exercises require zero equipment, so they're extremely frugal.

#1. Knee Highs

#2. Jumping Jacks

#3. Squats

#4. Lunges

#5. Plank Leg Raises

#6. Climbers

#7. Bicycle Crunches

#8. Leg raises

#9. Knee pull ins

#10. Push-ups

Got extra time after completing all 10 exercises? Not tired yet? Start over again!

You can do the above workout once per week, once per day, twice per day - whatever fits your schedule and needs. You can do them at the park, at the beach, in a hotel room while on vacation. Because the above workout requires zero equipment it makes it very versatile.

You can also customize the workout and add / subtract things to it, design it to fit your individual needs. Need more help? Hire a personal trainer. If you live in the Leaside area Toronto consider hiring me as your personal trainer.

For more frugal exercises subscribe to Cardio Trek
 and browse our frugal exercises section.

Buff Vs Obese, Why BMI is confusing to muscular people

Yesterday I wrote a post on the topic of stubborn belly fat titled: Why is it so hard for skinny people to shed the last few pounds?

During the post I talked about how people get too obsessed with trying to weight a specific amount because they have been looking at BMI charts and think that they need to be a specific weight in order to be healthy / attractive.

On the right here you see two cartoon people, both are 6 feet tall and both weigh 250 lbs. Lets call them Dave and Bob.

Dave is extremely muscular and weighs a hefty 250 lbs. Bob in contrast, weighs the same amount but has a lot more fat than muscle. The trick here is that fat takes up more space than muscle, because muscle is actually heavier than fat. 1 lb of fat takes up lots of space, whereas 1 lb of muscle takes up very little space. Thus even though they look very different, Dave and Bob still end up weighing the same.

And having the exact same BMI measurement of 33.9. Which is so heavy it isn't even on the chart below, because this chart only goes up to 215 lbs.

But what we do know is that 33.9 is in the low 30s, so that is the lower half of obese which ranges from 30.0 to 39.9. 40.0 or higher would be extremely obese.

However there is an obvious problem. Nobody in their right mind would call Dave obese. He looks like a bodybuilder. Thus the BMI chart is flawed because it ignores the possibility that a person might have more muscle mass (or possibly even more bone density, which is a factor people often ignore).

Thus we need better ways of measuring body weight / obesity. Well luckily there are ways to do that.

The following three methods are recommended.

#1. Body Adiposity Index

BAI multiplies your hip circumference by your height. Although clinical studies have not shown any proof, it is widely believed that Body Adiposity Index is more accurate than BMI as the resulting figures are approximate. BAI is also useful in areas whenever scales are not be available.

#2. Waist Circumference Measurement

Ah, the old fashioned tape measure. By measuring the natural waist you can get a good indication of the amount of abdominal fat you are carrying. Knowing the circumference of your waist can help determine your risk of getting heart disease and other medical conditions. According to physicians, the following figures indicate individuals in the 'at risk' group:

Women with a waist circumference of 35 inches and over.
Men with a waist circumference of 40 inches and over.

#3. Waist-to-Hip Ratio

The waist-to-hip ratio is not only an excellent way of calculating how much excess weight you are carrying, it can also be used to indicate susceptibility to a number of health issues, including high blood pressure, heart disease and diabetes.

Using a tape measure, take a reading from your natural waist line and the widest part of your hips. Now divide the circumference of your waist by your hip circumference measurement. The World Health Organization considers abdominal obesity is represented by a waist–hip ratio above 0.90 for males and above 0.85 for females.

The following two methods are NOT recommended.

#4. Hydrostatic Weighing

Hydrostatic weighing is NOT an effective way of calculating body fat. The weighing process takes place underwater on a chair that is placed on a zeroed out set of scales. You then sit on the chair before exhaling all the air from you lungs and then placing your head underwater. Once the scales stabilize, your weight is then noted down. The resulting figure is then passed through a series of formulas which, ultimately, produces a body-fat reading based on the buoyancy of your body fat. That is a hugely inaccurate way of measuring body fat however as it ignores muscle buoyancy, ignores bone density, ignores how much air might be in your lungs, etc. So don't bother.

#5. Body Fat Measuring

By using a special set of callipers skin and fat measurements are taken from the waist, shoulder blades, biceps and triceps. The resulting readings, in millimeters, are added up to produce a single figure. The figure is then plotted against a chart that takes the patient's sex, age and measurement into consideration to determine the body-fat percentage figure. In theory the higher the body fat, the higher your risk of suffering from obesity-related conditions. However this method also suffers from inaccuracy as it also is confused by measurements due to saggy skin / very elastic skin, a more muscular physique, and even factors like disproportionate body shape.



Conclusions? Maybe stop worrying about the numbers and just exercise because you enjoy feeling healthy. It doesn't matter HOW you do it. Just enjoy doing it.


Why is it so hard for skinny people to shed the last few pounds?

Q

"Hello! I have lost a lot of weight over the past 3 years - over 50 lbs - and my friends now describe me as skinny. However I still don't have abs. I have checked out other websites and articles on this topic, but nobody seems to have a proper answer for why is it so hard for skinny people to shed the last few pounds so I can see my abs? These days when I lose weight I only seem to lose muscle weight instead of fat, so I am definitely doing something wrong.

- Anonymous"

A

Hey there!

Many people have the same problem you do. They get down close to their desired weight and then they have difficulty attaining the desired number and the feeling / look of physical perfection they were hoping for.

Often people lose weight due to a combination of healthy diet, exercise and lifestyle changes, but when they try to get something specific - like great looking abs, they find that everything they try doesn't seem to get rid of that last bit of fat layer on top of their abs. The stubborn fat that just won't leave.

Part of the problem is that your body composition has changed dramatically... and to explain this I am going to need to use an example:

Bob started off weighing 250 lbs and was overweight. He lost 50 lbs and now he weighs 200 lbs, but he still has some stubborn belly fat that he just cannot get rid of. He tries dieting, he tries jogging and other cardio activities, but the stubborn belly fat just won't leave. Indeed, he does lose weight during these attempts, but what he discovers is that he seems to be getting weaker, not thinner. His body is cannibalizing muscle tissue instead of using up his fat reserves.

This is because his body composition has reached a point where he has very little fat left to choose from but he has plenty of muscle his body can cannibalize for energy. Thus when Bob loses weight due to doing lots of cardio, he loses a lot of muscle weight and his body fat doesn't seem to change.

Bob also has it stuck in his head that he wants to weigh 180 lbs because he is 6'0" tall and he has consulted a BMI chart that states that being 200 lbs and 6'0" tall means that he is overweight because he has a BMI of 27.

So how should Bob fix this problem?

#1. Bob needs to stop worrying about his BMI and stop trying to weigh a specific amount. There is no "cruise control" for your weight. Everyone is different. Some people are not meant to weigh the amount they think they should weigh. Instead they need to change their focus to being healthier and worry less about the numbers.

#2. Bob needs to try a new way of exercising, one that won't decrease his muscle tissue. In Bob's case he should try weightlifting instead of cardio - and building muscle instead of trying to shed fat. He can do this one of three ways:

  1. Switch his cardio regimen to a purely weightlifting regimen.
  2. Split his exercise regimen to half cardio and half weightlifting.
  3. Gradually change from a cardio regimen to a weightlifting regimen, possibly 10% more weightlifting per week and gradually reduce the amount of cardio by 10% per week.
 By building muscle instead of trying to reduce fat, especially in combination with abdominal exercises if his goal is to have more pronounced abdominal muscles, Bob would end up building up muscle tissue and restricting his body to using ONLY fat stores for energy instead of using a combination of fat and muscle for energy. I recommend starting off with a gradual approach (eg. option 3 above) and focusing on core muscles (chest, abs, back muscles) first to build a strong foundation.

#3. It is possible Bob might also have a high cholesterol problem that is clogging arteries and preventing energy from being transferred in a healthy manner from fat tissue to his muscles during exercise. A low cholesterol diet might be beneficial to see if it helps make Bob more energetic, give him more endurance and change his blood sugar levels.

You can get those "six pack abs" you are looking for, but it will take extra time and effort to shed those stubborn last few lbs of fat - and it might mean you have to build up lbs of muscle during the process, just so you are not accidentally cannibalizing muscle tissue.

That means that in Bob's case he might actually put on weight and become a more muscular 220 lbs instead of his desired weight of 180 lbs and skinny. Maybe Bob is meant to look more like a muscular caveman than he was hoping for.

And this goes the same for the ladies out there. Many women have it stuck in their heads that women with muscles is unattractive. Absolute nonsense. Amazons are beautiful. Thus for women, sometimes the answer to shedding those last few lbs isn't more cardio. Maybe it is time to accept that you are an Amazon at heart and that your ideal body isn't a skinny mini, but a strong and beautiful Amazon.



Training Montages - What they get right and get wrong

"There is a saying, a very old saying: When the pupil is ready the master will appear."
- Zorro, played by Anthony Hopkins, in The Mask of Zorro

Movies in my experience are the worst ways to learn anything. They trivialize the act of training for months or years down to a training montage that lasts less than 4 minutes. Like in the montages below for The Mask of Zorro, Rocky Balboa and Captain America.

The Mask of Zorro Training Montage


Rocky Balboa Training Montage


Captain America Training Montage


Now how many things in the above 3 montage videos did they actually get right?

#1. Attacking in anger is apparently something not to do, and a bit of a trope.
#2. Lots of physically challenging stuff.
#3. Stay aware of your surroundings.
#4. Use brains over brawn - the flagpole exercise in Captain America is actually supposed to be a team building exercise, wherein they form a human ladder to get the flag.
#5. The videos work as motivation inspiration for people who want to exercise / train for a specific sport or activity.

Watching the videos won't make a person a better swordsman, a professional boxer or a super soldier - that much is clear. Most of what you see in the videos are just there for entertainment purposes - designed to look good, funny, impressive, all the while ignoring the long training process it actually took to get there. After all - they can't bore the audience with 3 months worth of footage. They have to boil it down, which is why training montages typically last 3 minutes, the amount of time that a typical audience can watch something without getting bored.

In contrast some TV shows actually get more real exercises into their shows, mostly because of two things: 1. They are not crippled by a 120 minutes of normal film run time and instead have perhaps twenty 44 minute long episodes to work with. 880 minutes means they can get a fair amount of training time in, a little bit in each episode. Take for example the compilation video below from the TV show "Arrow", in which they often mix training scenes with dramatic dialogue in order to convey the idea that the hero is continuously training, and they save time regularly by mixing the training scenes with dialogue. Bonus - Many of the training things, like handstand pushups for example, are actually doable by people looking for a challenge.

Compilation of Workout Scenes from the TV show "Arrow"


There is one issue that many training montages either skip over or pay only lip service to:

The need for an instructor.

Some training montages skip having an instructor entirely, some manage to have one but take more of a "wax on, wax off" approach (as per The Karate Kid franchise), and then wanders off while the student trains alone.

In The Mask of Zorro, we have Don Diego De La Vega, who takes a more hands on approach - but apparently also spends half the time drinking wine and smoking cigars.

In Rocky Balboa he has multiple people helping him train, but they're not really teaching him anything new that he doesn't already know.

In Captain America the instructor is replaced by an army drill sergeant who really spends more time yelling at and insulting his troops rather than teaching them anything.

In Arrow, the hero has multiple different instructors - who all inevitably seem to end up dead, and then he ends up training others.

The "dead instructor" is even a bit of a trope in films, as they often train the hero of the story and often ends up dead either after training the hero, turns out to be the villain and then dies, dies halfway through the story, etc. In films meant for children the instructor is often injured or kidnapped instead of dying, as death is considered to be too much of a downer for kids.

Examples:

Obi Wan in Star Wars, dies after he only partially trains Luke Skywalker.

Yoda in Star Wars, dies after he finishes training Luke Skywalker.

Splinter of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles franchise, is kidnapped during the first film.

It is basically classic storytelling: The master / instructor / teacher is kidnapped / injured / killed and then the hero(es) must go and rescue / avenge their fallen master.

Now in real life, if you get a trainer / instructor, they don't normally die unless it is of old age*. (In which case, if they are that old, why haven't they retired yet?)

They train you, often once per week or maybe several times per week, and the only negative part of this relationship is that they send you a bill for their services once per month roughly.

In conclusion training montages are really only good for motivating yourself to go exercise, train, perhaps even have fun while training - but you aren't going to learn anything truly valuable from them.

Most of the value and wisdom you gain will be from having an instructor, a personal trainer, your own personal Jedi master essentially. So regardless of whether you are hoping to lose weight, train in a sport, or become a superhero - having an instructor certainly helps.



* The example I am thinking of is the case of Awa Kenzo, who kept training people in Kyudo despite becoming old and sick. He probably should have retired, but he kept training his students anyway. There is a story told by his students of how he went for a walk one wintry day with several of his students and they noticed he was dripping blood in the snow. He responded by saying:

"This too, is training."

DIY Boxing Equipment

Boxing can sometimes be an expensive sport to get into. But it doesn't have to be. There are a multitude of ways to do boxing more frugally and save a bundle on equipment you either a. Don't need; or b. Can make yourself.

Below are a few examples of how you can make your own boxing equipment.





I should also note that it is possible to purchase used boxing equipment via Craigslist or Kijiji.

I still recommend purchasing new boxing gloves. Same goes with mouth guard.

Strange Sports you can do in Toronto

There are many sports a person can do in Toronto, and many which are quite unusual for those people who are seeking something different and exciting to do.

For example: The husband of one of my clients does competitive fencing. He recently won a bronze medal for his age category. He also has an impressive collection of antique swords, sabres, epees, etc. Fencing, Japanese Kendo, Korean Gumdo, Chinese Swordfighting, European Medieval Swordfighting, and even Jedi combat acting (I call it that because it is not real swordfighting) are all available in Toronto.

Also I should note that there is no age barrier to swordfighting. Judging by the photo on the right it doesn't matter how old you are. (They do however seem to have a 66% chance of growing a beard... Hmm. And a 100% chance of looking Awesome!)

So if you are looking to get into fencing or other forms of swordfighting you might consider contacting the following organizations, listed alphabetically:

AEMMA - Academy of European Medieval Martial Arts
The Beaches Sabre Club of Toronto
The Canadian Haidong Gumdo Association
The Dragon Fencing Academy
Fighting Arts Collective Toronto
The Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre, Kendo Dept.
Kendo Ontario
Metro Blades Fencing Club
My Fencing Club
Ontario Fencing Association
The Ryerson Kendo Club
The Toronto Fencing Academy
The Toronto Fencing Centre
The Toronto Fencing Club
The Toronto Kendo Club 
Toronto Kenjutsu
The University of Toronto Kendo Club


However there are also many other unusual sports in Toronto you might try:

Axe Throwing

The Backyard Axe Throwing League offers axe hurling, performed competitively and for recreation at one of their multiple locations. The sport is growing so fast they have new locations appearing every few months. Axes are thrown at four by four foot wooden targets from 15 feet away, and points are tallied to determine the winner. There is also league play for more competitive people.

Bike Polo or Bicycle Polo

Bike Polo is basically a mix of polo, hockey, and cycling, and it's played in teams on an iceless hockey rink. The BPTO meets as often as four times per week, usually at either Dufferin Grove or Scadding Court shinny rinks. BPTO has a beginner night once a week, with extra mallets on hand to lend out to new players.

Unicycle Hockey

The Toronto Unicycle Club meets regularly in Toronto (usually in the west end) to practice their peddling and often a game of unicycle hockey. The game is usually played with five players on each team and a lack of full body contact for obvious reasons. Always open to new players.

Pillow Fighting (All Girls)

What was once called the Pillow Fight League is now Bedlam Pillow Fighting. The all girl league uses pillows in WWE style combat, with the intention of winning my pinfall or surrender. Professional pillow fighting has an attitude akin to roller derby or amateur wrestling-acting. No men allowed.

List of Archery Clubs in Ontario

Notes

I may update this list over time as I locate more clubs or new clubs are created.

Many private archery ranges also operate small archery clubs in order to promote members.

Many high schools operate small archery clubs that are not listed here.

Many hunting-oriented clubs also do archery, but they are not exclusively archery.

List of Archery Clubs in Ontario

Almonte - Gobble 'n Grunt Archery & Outfitting

Amherstburg - AMA Sportsmen Club

Ancaster - Hamilton Angling & Hunting Association

Astorville - Jim-Bows Archery

Beamsville - Mackies Mountain Archery

Belleville - Quinte Bay Archers

Caledon Village - The Archers of Caledon

Corbeil - Wilderness bowhunters and archery

County Lambton - Lambton-Kent Archers

Markham - The Marksmen Den in Markham

Mississauga - Ontario Centre for Classical Sport

Newmarket - York County Bowmen

Niagara - Archery Niagara

North Bay - North Bay Bowhunters & Archers

Ottawa - Kanata Archery Club

Ottawa - Ottawa Archers

Ottawa - RA Centre Archery Club

Penetanguishene - Huronia Family Archery

Richmond - That Hunting & Fishing Store

Sault Ste. Marie Soo North Archery Club

St.Catharines - St.Catharines Bowmen Archery Club

Sturgeon Falls - West Nipissing Archers

Thamesville - Kent County Bowhunters Assoication

Thunder Bay - Lakehead Archers

Toronto - AEMMA Traditional Archery

Toronto - Hart House Archery Club

Toronto - The Humber Valley Flintknappers Guild

Toronto - Toronto School of Archery

Toronto - The Toronto Archery Club

Toronto - University of Toronto Archery Club

Utopia - Wolfs Den Sporting Supplies

Waterdown - Waterdown Rod and Gun Club

Waterloo - The Bow Shop

Waterloo - University of Waterloo Archery Club

Windsor and Lasalle - Lasalle/Windsor Sportsman Club.



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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