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Wanted - Sports Photographer in Toronto

For the past several years I have been trying to find a good sports photographer (in Toronto no less) with experience doing a variety of different photography styles.

For example:

Motion Capture Photography, like this tennis player in motion, by Jean Yves Lemoigne, who unfortunately lives in New York State. Pity. He is really good at what he does.


The one below of a male gymnast in motion isn't by Jean, but it is also really good.


Time Lapse Photography, which looks similar to Motion Capture but ultimately looks more like a blur. Depending on the length of the Time Lapse, it can be extremely blurry. Below is an example of Time Lapse Photography of cyclists.


Time Lapse Video, sounds similar to Time Lapse Photography above, except it is video in which only a few frames are captured so that when viewed it appears to be sped up so that you are seeing a longer period of time flashing before you in mere seconds. A good example of this is the GoPro videos that cyclists like to make showing their rides sped up, like the one below.



Slow Motion Video, like the video below which shows a variety of archers shooting and their arrows hitting targets in slow motion. Oh, and it is in HD. Huzzah!



Other forms of photography are also welcome, especially if it works well with the theme of sports.

Anywho, if you are a photographer in Toronto and are available for a short gig please contact me via cardiotrek@gmail.com. Send me your hourly rate and three examples of your past work (which may include links to YouTube videos in the event you have past experience doing slow motion or time lapse work).

Also note that I am a firm believer in paying people for work. None of this "it is good for your portfolio" nonsense. If you are doing a job, you deserve to get paid for it. End of story. Everyone has to make a living and artists deserve to be paid like everyone else.

How much does a stabilizer actually help?

Years ago my buddy Matt and I did a series of experiments with homemade stabilizers to see how much of a difference they would make on accuracy - and within our tests we varied the size and weight of the stabilizers.

We were not the first or last people to conduct such tests however.

What Matt and I determined was:

#1. Stabilizers really only helped a little bit at short distances; Its primary purpose was for shooting long distances.

#2. Absorbing vibrations from the bow was not the primary function of a stabilizer, making the bow bottom heavy was the primary function.

Our testing wasn't very scientific, but fortunately Field and Stream (a fishing/hunting magazine based in the USA) did their own series of tests in 2013 and theirs was much more scientific than ours - and yet concluded the same things.

Manufacturers tell us that the primary purpose of stabilizers is to reduce vibrations in the bow, and while that may end up having a minor effect, it is so minor it may not even be worth mentioning.

During the tests Matt and I did we determined that the biggest effect on accuracy was simply the addition of weight - making the bow bottom heavy and then easier to make sure it was perfectly balanced (left to right) and was not canting to the left or right by accident. A loose and relaxed grip plus extra weight made all the difference to the accuracy.

The Field and Stream tests kept careful track of what they were doing:

The Field and Stream Tests

They had three different people shoot three different bows, each with and without a small hunting-style stabilizer and then measured the size of the arrow clusters and got an average number. They also varied the distances by 30, 40 and 50 yards.

Field and Stream Test Results
 
Total average group sizes for 6-inch hunting stabilizer, no stabilizer:
 
30 Yards: 2.59 with stabilizer, 2.75 without stabilizer (a 6% increase in cluster accuracy)
40 Yards: 3.66 with stabilizer, 3.61 without stabilizer (cluster accuracy was actually 2% worse)
60 Yards: 5.07 with stabilizer, 5.23 without stabilizer (a 3% increase in cluster accuracy)

So their conclusions was that a small stabilizer really had very little difference in terms of cluster accuracy, and they felt the test was a bit inconclusive because the averages might have been effected by fatigue, wind conditions and physical differences between the three shooters.

During the tests Matt and I conducted we saw virtually no difference when shooting at approx. 20 yards. Our conclusions was that stabilizers were basically unnecessary at close range. The difference in cluster quality was more noticeable when we were shooting at 30 yards or more.

Field and Streams Test #2

After the somewhat inconclusive results of the first test above, Field and Stream conducted a 2nd test using longer and heavier 10-inch or 12-inch stabilizers.

Due to space restrictions and the fact that they only had two people available for the 2nd test they didn't publish their full results of the 2nd test, but what they did note was that: "We both shot markedly better with them."

So the extra weight was certainly a benefit. A big benefit. "[T]he full story is that these results were even more surprising than those of the original test. Damned-near astonishing, in fact."

They didn't notice any major differences at 40 yards or less, but at 60 yards there was a big difference.

"Shooting a Bowtech Insanity CPXL with your basic 5-inch hunting stabilizer, I shot 10 three-shot groups that averaged 4.82 inches—which was on par with most of my other 60-yard groups. Then I screwed on a 10-3/8-inch, 10.5-ounce, Doinker EFDF (doinker.com), and shot 10 more groups at 60. Average size: 2.97 inches. I figured that had to be a fluke, so I shot another 10 groups. They averaged 3.21 inches. I later got similar results with a 12-inch Doinker D.I.S.H. and a 10-inch Bee Stinger Pro Hunter, too (beestinger.com)."

"Meanwhile, Brantley cut his 60-yard groups nearly in half (from 6.12 to 3.50) when he went from no stabilizer to a 12-inch, 17-ounce Fuse Carbon Bowhunter Freestyle (fusearchery.com) on a Hoyt Spyder Turbo. He called the result “amazing.” In the end, we agreed that it makes no sense to hang such a big, heavy model on a short-range woods bow, but on long-range western or 3D bow, we’d definitely carry the extra weight to get all that extra accuracy."

So the bigger heavier stabilizers really do help - but only at long distances and only a small bit at close distances. At close range or point blank range they are pretty much unnecessary.

One last note...

Years ago I witnessed a fellow archer who prefers to shoot Olympic style go from a mid-weight stabilizer to a very expensive / much heavier stabilizer. Prior to switch he was shooting doughnut sized clusters at 30 yards. After the switch his clusters became the size of footlong subs, going up and down. Now you might wonder what was he doing wrong? If the only thing that had changed was the stabilizer, why would it be causing his clusters to go up and down so dramatically?

The answer is that his bow arm/shoulder was too weak for the huge / heavy stabilizer. He had spent $400 on a very expensive stabilizer that was actually too big for him to handle properly.

And to top it off, according to the test results by both myself, Matt and the good folks at Field and Stream - he really did not need a stabilizer to be shooting at 30 yards. It was an unnecessary crutch and in his case he was actually getting worse.

Now you might think "Won't he get stronger if he keeps using it?" Maybe. However from past conversations with him I know that he is against exercising and argues that "You don't need to exercise to do archery."

Which is true, you do not need to exercise to do archery. But it certainly helps your accuracy if your muscles are stronger in all the right places.

In the same vein, you don't need a stabilizer to do long distance archery. But it does help improve your accuracy a little bit.

Ultimately it is up to personal choice. Some people prefer to shoot with stabilizers, some prefer to shoot without them. I personally only put stabilizers on when shooting my compound bow. I rarely use them on recurve bows.

 Happy Shooting!

Gym Personal Trainers and Why I Don't Like Them

Many years ago, long before I became a personal trainer myself, I signed up for a gym membership here in Toronto and got a complimentary session with one of the gym's personal trainers. (This happened twice on separate occasions when I signed up for different gym memberships, revealing to me that gym personal trainers have a lot of flaws.)

Former Mayor Rob Ford with Personal Trainer.
Sometimes trainers are hired for their physique, not their skills.
Now I want to point a few things out before I get into this...

Gym Personal Trainers are low paid, often un-certified, and seem to just make it up as they go along. Having spoken to multiple gym personal trainers I have determined a number of things.

They are often paid as little as $17 to $19 per hour (minus taxes/etc), but the gym charges $60 to $120 per hour for their services. This is compared to normal personal trainers which often charge between $30 to $120 per hour - but they make that full amount, minus taxes/etc.

Take into account that personal trainers at the gym are often un-certified and give shoddy advice, and you would probably wonder if you are overpaying for their services.

From my experience with gym personal trainers, they do the following:

#1. They don't really write much down.

A complimentary session is more of a sales pitch and not a very good one. They ask you your weight, your height, calculate your BMI, and they use a machine or some other method to give you an estimate of your Body Fat Percentage (BFP). This process is basically designed for them to waste time as they try to make it look like they know what they are doing. They may also ask if you want to lose weight and if so, how much. Often at this point they will get out a calculator because they lack the mental skills to perform the simple task of subtracting one number from another. Beyond your BMI, BFP and finding out how much weight you want to lose, they don't write anything else down because their primary goal during a complimentary session is to get you to sign up for more sessions.

A real personal trainer should have a notebook, tablet or similar device - and be recording goals, setting a timeline / schedule, taking note of what types of exercise to focus on, etc. Details matter and unless you have an eidetic memory like I do, then you need to write those details down. (Note - I write these things down anyway, more as a matter of record keeping for the client than as personal notes for myself. I like keeping records of everything.)

#2. They barely even mentioned food.

I found this to be bizarre. 90% of weight loss is eating habits, and it is a big factor to weightlifters / bodybuilders as well, because if they are not getting their protein and veggies, then they cannot bulk up as quickly as they could be. People who are not eating properly are really just delaying their goals or preventing their goals from happening at all. (Especially if the gym visitor goes out for a cheeseburger after their workout every time.)

A real personal trainer has to be part coach and part nutritionist. If they are not advising you on food matters, at least offering to give you advice (regardless of whether you accept it), then they are really only doing half of their job.

#3. 20 Minutes on the Treadmill.

Both times that I had complimentary sessions years ago the gym personal trainers stuck me on a treadmill and left me there for 20 minutes while they went to read email, play on their cellphone, and basically do nothing for 20 minutes. The one trainer actually did this THRICE during the same session. 20 minutes on the treadmill followed by 15 minutes on the rowing machine, followed by another 10 minutes on an elliptical. He basically wasted 45 minutes of the 1 hour session goofing off on his cellphone while I did all the work.

A real personal trainer shouldn't be wasting your time watching you do 10, 15 or 20 minutes of the same activity while they do little or no work. If you are paying $60 per hour for example, and you just spent 45 minutes on a treadmill/etc, then you just spent $45 on having the trainer stand there and play on their cellphone. The other 15 minutes of your personal training session better have some pretty valuable advice otherwise you just got ripped off.

#4. Not Correcting Your Technique.

If you watch gym personal trainers you will notice their clients struggling to perform an exercise (a Burpee for example) and the trainer does nothing to help the client correct their technique. Nothing. Zip.

A real personal trainer should be helping you use correct form so you don't hurt yourself / develop a sports injury. Serious sports injuries are even grounds for a lawsuit if it causes permanent damage.

#5. Bosu Balls and other Fads.

I hate Bosu Balls. I just plain refuse to use them. That doesn't mean people cannot use them, but having been on the receiving end I will tell you that some gym personal trainers have a tendency to overuse these devices. The purpose of a Bosu Ball is to build balance muscles, mostly in the legs and core. However they are mostly useless for the vast majority of people's goals of losing weight or gaining muscle. Unless you are dancer, a gymnast or someone wanting to increase your balance, then there is no reason for you to be using a Bosu Ball. In my experience Bosu Balls are the result of a fad that really took off and some gym personal trainers are "one trick wonder gadgeteers" who are obsessed with one gadget and have all of their clients use the same gadget, regardless of what the client's goals are.

A real personal trainer custom tailors their sessions to the client's needs and goals, and uses whatever tools available that suit those goals. They don't force ridiculous gadgets on clients because it is the latest fad.

#6. Exhausted and Demotivated.

Anyone can make you exhausted. Trying playing tag with a five year old and you will get a pretty good cardio. A personal trainer who sticks you on an elliptical for 20 minutes, weights for 20 minutes and a bosu ball for 20 minutes will have tired you out. Will you have learned anything? Nope. Will you be motivated to do that over again next time? Nope. You don't really need a personal trainer to make yourself exhausted and demotivated, you can do that pretty well by yourself.

A real personal trainer gauges your exhaustion levels and schedules breaks into your training session and uses that time to feed you advice about proper form, attaining better results, nutrition, etc. They should also be using their time to say things that are encouraging so you feel like you've accomplished something when you are done and feel motivated to do it again.

Conclusions

Having bore witness to the kind of amateur nonsense that gym personal trainers do, I have to conclude that they are really just there to make money and have very little interest in helping clients achieve their goals. They waste your time and your money and give a bad rep to personal trainers.

Often gym personal trainers are simply people who are in good shape who needed a "job". It isn't a career to them. Just another job that they will quit when they find something better.

Happy Exercising!

Javelin as a Sport

Javelin throwing as a sport isn't something you normally hear about these days except for those few people who practice it for the Olympics, Decathlon events, and similar sporting events. Very few people have even tried throwing a javelin and even less get into javelins as a sport.

As such, it is an extremely rare sport.

The Javelin is like a spear, but longer and shaped so most of the weight is on the front end of the javelin, which gives it better accuracy and impact when used for hunting. Historically there is over a hundred different names and variations of the classic javelin, but the design principles of them are roughly the same. 1.8 to 2.8 meters long, and tapered so most of the weight is towards the tip.

Modern competitive javelins are 2.6 to 2.7 meters long for men and 2.2 to 2.3 meters long for women.

Unlike Archery, javelin is thrown for distance - not accuracy. Historically javelins were thrown for accuracy, but modern javelin as a sport is all about throwing for distance.

It does have its benefits however.


#1. Cheap.

It is a relatively inexpensive sport to get into, and thus it isn't a particularly elitist sport compared to other more expensive sports like polo, horse-racing, golf, yacht racing, etc. All you really need is a few javelins and a wide open space to throw.


#2. Easy to Learn.

I learned how to throw a javelin when I was in highschool. Our gym teacher taught a series of classes all about various Olympic sports and of those javelin was one of the things we did. I ended up having an aptitude for it and enjoyed it. I sometimes wonder what could have happened if I had pursued it as an activity and tried competing in it.

Technique wise it is rather like throwing a baseball, except with javelin you get a 30 meter running start before you throw. The throw must be over the shoulder or upper arm, and you are not allowed to spin like you are throwing a discus or shot put. You aren't allowed to go over the line at the end of the 30 meters otherwise the throw doesn't count. If you step over the line before the javelin lands, the throw is disqualified. New rules in recent decades state that the tip of the javelin has to be the first part to hit the ground, otherwise it is disqualified. Measurements are rounded down to the nearest cm.

During a competition each athlete gets 1 throw per round, with 3 to 6 rounds during the competition. The athlete with the longest throw overall wins. Depending on the number of athletes present all of the athletes compete in the first 3 rounds, but only the top 8 athletes (determined by their best scores in the first 3 rounds) compete in the final three rounds.


#3. Space to Throw

All you really need is about 100 meters of space to practice. Some place safe, away from people, like a high school or university football field. (Hence why most javelin competitors are university or high school students.)

The world record from 1984 is 104.8 meters and that is before they changed the specifications for men in 1986 and for women in 1999. At the time was the issue that they needed javelins to be throwing within the confines of a stadium and thus they redesigned javelins to have the center of gravity closer to the front of the javelin, which made it dip down sooner and had the added benefit of being more likely to be sticking point down in the grass where it landed, as opposed to landing flat on the ground by accident.

In 1991 holes or serrations in the tails of javelins were also banned, causing a number of world records to be reverted and disregarded. The current world record for men's javelin is 98.48 meters. The current world record for women's javelin is 72.2 meters.


On the topic of Javelins...

While spears existed in many countries and cultures, the modern sport of Javelin is predominately an European activity. So much so that most of the world record holders are from Finland, Sweden, Norway, Great Britain, Germany, the Czech Republic, Greece, Bulgaria, Hungary and Russia.

In North America competitive javelin is pretty rare because anyone with a good throwing arm and fast legs usually ends up playing baseball or football. It does make me wonder however if you asked a lot of football players and baseball players to try javelin, just how well would they do at it? Quite well I imagine.

As a more traditional sport javelin fits in there with sprinting, hurdles, relays, steeplechases, shot put, hammer-throw, discus, archery, diving, swimming, high jump, long jump, triple jump, pole vault, decathlon, heptathlon, pentathlon, biathlon, and marathons. In contrast "neo-sports" like surfing, water polo, BMX, mountain biking, trampoline, Taekwondo, golf, water skiing and others have either been added as Olympic sports, or are currently being discussed as becoming Olympic sports. 50 years from now there might be many Olympic sports that we no longer recognize and have to scratch our heads and wonder "How did THAT become an Olympic sport?!"

With Javelin you don't have that problem. As an Olympic sport it has been around for over a century, but as a traditional sport and hunting implement it has been around for at least 500,000 years.

Men's Javelin was first introduced as an Olympic sport in the 1906 Summer Olympic Games in Athens, Greece (now known as the 1906 Intercalated Games). Women's Javelin was first introduced in 1932 at the Summer Olympic Games in Los Angeles.


Where to find Archery Camps in Toronto / GTA

Q

Hi

I am looking for an archery day camp for my son who is 11yrs old.  I found your website and it talks about day camps in Toronto by all the link and camp listed are overnight camps up north.

Is it possible to guide me where I can find a day camps in Toronto preferably around Bloor west village, Etobicoke (more west end and south).

If there is  a number I can called to discuss it will be great

Thanks in advance

Dominique

A

Hello Dominique!
Sadly I am unaware of any day camps or summer camps in the Bloor West Village area, or the region south-west of there, that does archery.
There are various day camps and summer camps in other parts of the city that do offer archery however, although they are probably less convenient to get to. ArcheryToronto.ca maintains a list of camps at http://www.archerytoronto.ca/Toronto-Archery-Camps.html

If you do manage to find a camp that is not on that list I recommend contacting ArcheryToronto.ca and letting them know about any other locations in Toronto or the GTA that do archery.
Another option would be for you to look into Boy Scouts of Canada. [Or Girl Guides of Canada for any parents reading this who want their daughter(s) to learn archery and other skills.] Some scout groups also do archery, so that is a possibility as well since your son is the right age for it. I first learned archery in Boy Scouts myself when I was 10, and speaking from personal experience I would say Boy Scouts is an excellent way to learn a variety of other woodcraft skills. The website http://greatertoronto.scouts.ca/ would be a great place to start.

Lastly I know of an instructor in Burlington who teaches kids / teenagers, private lessons only. If you are willing to go in that direction that is also an option.

Have a great summer!

Sincerely,
Charles Moffat
CardioTrek.ca

Note: If any parents are reading this and your kids are over 16 years of age and they are serious about learning archery, private lessons would be their best bet. In that case bring them to me.


The photo above is from Boy Scouts of Canada.

Six Exercises for Bowhunters

So you're thinking about becoming a bowhunter eh? Or maybe you are already into bowhunting, but want to get better at it by getting a physical edge? Note: If you are looking for compound bow archery lessons in Toronto, please contact me and I can help you out.

Well, lets get started.

#1. Push-Ups, builds the arms, shoulders, pectorals, back muscles and core muscles. A good overall exercise. Also goes well with sit-ups, chin-ups, jumping jacks and other old school exercises. The great thing about old school exercises is that require almost no equipment to do and rely on body weight instead of free weights or exercise machines.

#2. Rowing Machine, this specifically targets the back muscles, which is very beneficial for archery. Gives you a steadier pull and that increases accuracy when shooting.

To make your own rowing machine it isn't difficult, you really just need a metal bar, a rope and a suitably large weight on the end of the rope. You could easily accomplish this in the garage, over a tree limb in the backyard, in the basement, etc. You don't need a fancy set up like the illustration of a rowing machine shown on the right, you could accomplish the same thing with zero woodworking skills. A wire cable over a pulley can do the same job, although I do recommend making a wooden handle for pulling with.

I saw one once which used an old bicycle wheel (minus the tire and inner tube) as the pulley, a wire cable, a wooden handle, and old weights from a weightlifting set.

#3. Rock Climbing, beneficial for any bowhunter who wants to be climbing trees and setting up a tree stand. Tree stands are sadly one of the norms of hunting these days, so few people stalk or use ground blinds. However many hunters fall out of the tree due to having a lack of a safety harness, usually preceded by a comment something akin to "I don't need no stinking safety harness!" And then they fall and hurt themselves. So why not take up rock climbing and see just how easy it is to fall and why even experienced rock climbers always wear a safety harness.

Fortunately in Toronto there are many rock climbing gyms to choose from. A quick Google search will find you a local rock climbing gym not that far from where you live. "Wow. I didn't know there was one so close!" you might exclaim. Toronto is rife with them. Even if you don't like in Toronto chances are likely you can find a rock climbing gym or a rock climbing club in your area you can join.

#4. Hiking, beneficial for those bowhunters who enjoy stalking their prey. While do this I recommend doing several things:
  • Wear the boots you would normally wear while hunting in.
  • Carry a backpack with water / snacks in it to simulate the extra weight you would be carrying while hunting. Add additional water for weight even if you don't need it.
  • Bring binoculars or a camera. If you spot a deer or smaller critter try to get as close as possible and get a photo, this is your chance to hone those stalking skills.
  • Pay attention to the plants, tracks, droppings, smells, and wind. Learning extra woodsman skills are beneficially to hunting later.
  • Practice walking quietly. Try to make a habit of it. Avoid making loud noises that scare away animals.

#5. Jogging, for endurance. Oddly endurance is a big factor for hunters of all stripes, especially if you have to carry/drag a heavy dead animal out of the woods so you can eat it later. Jogging builds your lung muscles and increases your lung capacity. It also makes your heart stronger, able to pump more blood faster, which in turn gives you more energy.

#6. Cycling, again for endurance, but also handy to get deeper into the woods faster. If your chosen site for hunting in is really far into the woods having a bicycle means you can get there faster, and relatively quietly. Make sure your bicycle is in good working order and quiet before taking it into the deep woods. Tip: A good bicycle for the woods is one with thick tires, as these can handle bumps easier and gives better traction in muddy / dirty conditions. A road bicycle with skinny tires would be comparatively more likely to break.


Gardening - A Weight Loss Exercise Plan + Diet

Gardening can be a fascinating topic for some people - or really boring to anyone who has zero interest in plants. But if you are fascinated with the idea of growing your own food, I want to propose the following Exercise Plan / Diet.

The goal essentially is to grow your own food in your backyard. This will require lots of work (exercise), careful planning, time, cooking/baking skills, and a dose of determination.

I recommend planting the following, which I have listed in order of spectrum because I think it would be nice to have a garden that is ordered by colour:

Red Beats
Radishes
Tomatoes
Raspberries (Requires more space.)
Strawberries
Mini Red Potatoes (Smaller than regular potatoes, but tastier.)
Red Peppers
Carrots
Orange Peppers
Yellow Peppers (Because it is nice to have variety.)
Sweet Corn (Requires more space.)
Green Beans
Broccoli
Peas
Lettuce (There are many different kinds of lettuce, I recommend planting 3 different kinds so you have variety.)
Watermelons (Green on the outside, red on the inside.)
Herbs (There are likewise many different herbs, such as basil, parsley, cloves, dill, etc. They are commonly used as spices, not as a main dish.)
Cucumbers
Blueberries
Purple Cabbage
Purple Cauliflower
Eggplant
Garlic
Onions
Mushrooms

I recommend against planting anything huge like squash or pumpkins, because those plants take up a lot of space. So unless you have tonnes of space, you should focus on plants that produce more food for their smaller area. This is similar to the Sweet Corn above, which does take up more space, except that pumpkins and squash take up a LOT of space. Also don't expect to be growing any huge "prize winning pumpkins" on your first try. Most likely they will be quite small. (Also who wants to eat that much pumpkin???)

I also recommend against planting white or yellow potatoes, which contain a lot of starch and starch is fattening. I includes the Mini Red Potatoes above for variety and also because they taste better.

Baked mini red potatoes are also very tasty. Just bake on a pan, add some spices and yum!


Once you've got your garden growing your next step is to eat what you've grown. Some of that may require learning some new cooking / baking skills, but honestly the internet and youtube has lots of recipes for you to explore. Make a mistake? Oh well, you will know better next time.

The end goal is that you will be eating more healthy food that you've grown yourself - which often tastes better than anything found in a store.

All that exercise from tilling, planting, weeding, harvesting means you will have shed some pounds over the course of Spring to Autumn. Once you've harvested the food at various stages during the year you will reap the benefits of eating lots of healthy vegetables - whether they be the form of salads, stews, soups, berries with yogurt, on pizza, juicing, or whatever recipes you decide to cook up with them.

The end result is if you treat your garden as both an exercise plan and a diet plan, you are guaranteed to become a healthier weight / a healthier person in the process.

I also recommend weening yourself off sugary drinks and high sugar / high cholesterol snacks. Some foods are so addictive that people will get into a habit of eating them at a specific time every day and if they do not then they get cravings for sugary things at that time of day. (This happens to me every year when I visit my parents and my mother sends me home with bags full of cookies, squares, etc - and I end up developing a sugar craving during a particular hour of the day afterwards due to snacking on them that part of the day. Fortunately I eventually run out of them and the craving is forced to go into decline.)

There are three ways to ween yourself off addictive foods:

1. Eat less of them and stop buying them, you will eventually have to stop because you run out.

2. Go cold turkey, meaning cut yourself off from them completely. This is trickier because if they're in your cupboard / freezer you either have to ignore they are there or thrown them out. Option 1 suddenly looks more appealing, yes?

3. Eat berries. Berries have natural sugars in them, so they will fulfill your craving for sugar but you are switching your addiction from one food to a different food. Other foods that are also higher in sugar are: grapes, mangos, bananas, cherries, apples, pears, kiwis and pineapple. By replacing your addiction with something healthier this is a good way to ween yourself off sugary foods and make a gradual switch towards healthier options.


How to train yourself to Fall Asleep at Will

Once in a Blue Moon I sometimes like to talk about the importance of rest and sleep.

But what if you have difficulties falling asleep?

Like I sometimes do, although I find that usually only happens if I am either too excited or too stressed and my brain is working overtime. (I also find that such times is a great time to get out a notepad and work on poetry - like my 2015 book "Dreaming of Zen Archery", available on Kobo, Chapters and Indigo.)

Anywho, back to the matter of sleeping there is a breathing technique which can help you to fall asleep. Some people claim to have tried it and that it helped them to fall asleep in less than 60 seconds.

Side benefits of being able to sleep more often is that is slows down aging, improves your odds at weight loss, is positive for mental health, reduces health, improves cognitive reasoning and a slew of other benefits.

To test this theory I am going to have an afternoon nap and see if it works. Scroll below to see if it worked.

So what do you do?

Step #1 - Breathe in through your nose for four seconds.
Step #2 - Hold for seven seconds.
Step #3 - Breathe out slowly through your mouth for eight seconds.
Step #4 - Repeat steps 1 to 3 until you fall asleep.

This breathing method of falling asleep was pioneered by Harvard-educated Doctor Andrew Weil who studies meditation, breathing and relaxation exercises and it supposedly works because it lets oxygen better fill your lungs, calms your mind and relaxes muscles. The process releases certain hormonal chemicals that soothes your brain and induces sleep. When we are stressed our endocrine system releases adrenaline, which makes people feel excited and unable to sleep. The breathing technique supposedly counteracts the adrenaline and forces your heart rate to relax so you can sleep.

So does it work???

Well, I have a mixed review. I did fall asleep and have a nap (and was wise enough to set my alarm on my cellphone to wake my up at 3:30), however by the time I fell asleep I had given up doing the whole 4 seconds, 7 seconds, 8 seconds counting thing. The breathing / counting was too distracting in my opinion and I opted for breathe in - hold breath, and breathe out slowly. That did work for me even if the counting did not.

I was even having a nice little dream when I was rudely woken up by my cellphone's alarm.

So it does work, kind of. I may have to try it again in the future to see if the counting actually helps or if I am better off just working on the deep breath - hold - slowly release thing that I was eventually doing.

We can't all sleep like kittens and babies, but with practice maybe we can learn how to fall asleep using a deep breathing cycle.


Archery Tip, Trust your Instincts

Today I was doing some personal practice and doing two different styles of shooting: Traditional and Instinctive.

During this I was alternating distances to a doughnut-sized target, also working on my ability to gauge distances and estimating where to aim.

During one particular shot I estimated I needed to aim at a particular spot before pulling back. When I pulled back however my brain suddenly said "No, aim slightly higher" and without thinking about it I instinctually did so. Scored a bulls eye and had an epiphany about "trusting my instincts".

It was as if the instinctive part of brain suddenly said NO to the part of my brain that was based on reason and math. Instincts won and I was left with a moment of insight.

I would compare this to a zenshin moment archers sometimes experience, wherein everything suddenly feels perfect and you perform a perfect shot simultaneously.


Bras Vs Bust Firming Exercises

According to a study that came out of France in 2013, bras don't actually alleviate back pain in women and don't do anything to prevent women's breasts from sagging. In fact, the study says that it actually makes back pain worse and the breasts to sag more.

Of course, anyone familiar with Bust Firming Exercises already know this. Marilyn Monroe knew this and she has been dead for almost 54 years.

While she was living however Marilyn Monroe did a number of daily exercises in order to stay in shape and keep her famous figure.

They included:

Push-ups - which act as bust firming exercise, increasing the strength of the pectoral muscles on the chest, which hold up the breasts and keep them from sagging.

Weightlifting, including Chest Flyes (below) which also work the pectoral muscles.


Jogging, for the legs and arms.

Archery, for the back muscles and arms.

Swimming, good as a full body workout.

Stretches (some of which look suspiciously like yoga).


And while she may have occasionally worn something that looked similar to a bra (due to society's convention against women appearing topless in public), she almost never is shown wearing a bra. Many of her iconic pieces of fashion went in quite the opposite direction. No bra at all.

And she certainly did not need to wear one either. Due to her regular exercises and specifically bust firming exercises, she had no need of wearing a bra which at the time conventional thinking was that women needed to wear bras in order to prevent back pain.

According to the 2013 French study, everything we've ever been told about supporting the upper back has it all wrong. Wearing a bra does nothing to decrease back pain, and the support offered by a brassiere actually encourages the breasts to sag. The study was a lengthy one too, starting in 1997 and ending in 2012, before being published in 2013. 15 years of women in the study group either wearing a bra or wearing no bra, and comparing which ones had back pain and which ones did not, and measuring how much sagging was really happening.

Led by Jean-Denis Rouillon, a sports scientist from the University of Besançon in eastern France, he found that "bras are a false necessity."

"Medically, physiologically, anatomically — breasts gain no benefit from being denied gravity. On the contrary, they get saggier with a bra," says Rouillon.

Rouillon spent a decade and a half measuring the changes in breasts of hundreds of women using a slide rule and caliper at the Centre Hospitalier Universitaire in Besançon. The participants were all between the ages of 18 and 35.

Of the braless women, the researchers concluded that "on average their nipples lifted on average seven millimeters in one year in relation to the shoulders." This meant that they effectively became "perkier" over time as their pectoral muscles became stronger from the added weight, as opposed to the extra strain going to the shoulders and back muscles instead.

According to one 28-year-old woman who took part in the study she hasn't worn a bra for two years now, and doesn’t expect to go back. "There are multiple benefits: I breathe more easily, I carry myself better, and I have less back pain," she says.

So less back pain, less shoulder pain, stronger pectoral muscles, better posture, stronger lungs. Lots of benefits. Learn more about Bust Firming Exercises.

Note, men who want larger pecs / chest muscles can also benefit from these exercises. eg. Arnold Schwarzenegger is a huge advocate of Chest Flyes, shown below, for its benefits of building huge pectorals on men.

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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