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2,000,000 Visitors to Cardio Trek

March 31st 2017.

Roughly 1.5 years ago (in June 2015) I wrote a post titled 1,000,000 Visitors to Cardio Trek. Well, sometime today, March 31st 2017, likely halfway through the day, we finally reached the 2,000,000 mark.

Woot!

It took 3.5 years to get our first million visitors. It only took roughly 1.6 years to get our 2nd million. Clearly we are doing something right. I don't want to estimate when we will reach the 3 million mark, but hopefully the rate of growth continues.

June 2015
  • 550 pages on topics ranging from weight loss, muscle growth / weight lifting, cardio exercises, sports advice, and lastly dietary / nutritional advice. Free.
  • Cardio Trek is home to Toronto's "best archery instructor - according to testimonials.
  • Cardio Trek offers a number of unique / bizarre exercises and tips that are rarely seen elsewhere.
  • If you Google 'cardio personal trainer toronto' then CardioTrek.ca is the #1 personal training website that comes up in the results. CardioTrek.ca is also #2 too.
  • We make a special effort to make Cardio Trek fun to read.
February 2017
  • 770 pages, etcetera etcetera.
  • Still the best archery instructor in Toronto. Just have lots more testimonials now.
  • Still offering a selection of unique and bizarre exercises - the lists just keep getting longer.
  • If you Google 'cardio personal trainer toronto' then CardioTrek.ca is #1, #2, and #3. Still dominating the top of the roster in Toronto, just more so.
  • We still keep making an effort to making Cardio Trek fun to read. Mostly because we enjoy writing things that are fun, and therefore don't waste time writing about boring subjects.
Last time we toasted the next million visitors with a strawberry smoothie in a wine glass. I think we shall do that again, except this time I will be using:
  • Fresh Strawberries.
  • Homemade strawberry ice cream.
  • Milk
My cousin last year gave the wife and I an ice cream maker as a wedding gift and we have been experimenting with making ice cream since then.

The great thing about having your own ice cream mixer is that you can experiment with lower calorie recipes and also make frozen yogurt, thus creating your own low calorie versions becomes comparatively easy - and you can use the ice cream and/or yogurt when eating berries, bananas, nuts, granola, etc. And whether you mix or make a smoothie, there are many ways to use it too.

When should you get a better bow?

While this is an uncommon question (more suited to an intermediate archer who is ready for their second bow), but it is an important one when it comes to archery equipment.

First lets explore what the word Better might mean to some people:
  • More expensive.
  • Higher poundage.
  • Faster limbs.
  • Different style of bow.
Next we shall answer the questions according to each of these different meanings?

Gold Plated Martin Firecat
When should you get a more expensive bow?

This first question really relates more to budget than anything else. Someone who is on a frugal budget might want to limit themselves to buying 1 new bow per year (along with arrows with the correct arrow spine for that bow).

Someone with a more expensive budget could buy a new bow every 6 months or so, or more often, depending on their whimsy. It is their money after all, they can spend it on whatever frivolities they want - like buying a gold plated compound bow, like the one on the right. I suggest 6 months however because I feel that is a good amount of time to get reasonably good with one bow before moving on to the next (assuming the person is practicing regularly).

When should you get a higher poundage bow?

When your current bow feels too easy and weak because your muscles have grown so much that it now feels easy in comparison. If it feels a little easy, get a bow that is 5 lbs heavier. If it feels very easy, get a bow that is 10 lbs heavier.

Not sure which to get? 5 lbs heavier is the safer option.

When should you get a bow with faster limbs?

This is a trickier question, because faster limbs really comes to style, brand and model. For example Black Swan is a recurve bow manufacturer that makes bows with ceramic-carbon limbs - which are very fast, comparable to compound bow speed.

Black Swan Ceramic Bow Limbs

If you shoot a compound bow and want a faster compound bow, this becomes more of an issue of your budget, in which case see the More Expensive Bow option further above. How often you buy a new compound bow and go through the process of tuning it is really up to the individual. Compound bows comes in a variety of speeds, with each bow having a variety of pros and cons such as:
  • More speed / kinetic energy
  • Less hand shock / vibration
  • Smoother draws
  • More let off
  • Less physical weight
  • More durable materials
  • Smaller or longer axle to axle length
  • More gadgetry
  • More overall accuracy
  • Price
The problem however is sometimes one pro offsets a con. eg. If something is made of more durable materials, it is typically also heavier. If it is both more durable and lighter weight, then it probably be very expensive - however using lighter weight / more durable materials can sometimes be a good way to increase overall speed, so there can also be a speed benefit by using better materials.

Note - Most compound bows already shoot in the range of 300 to 350 fps anyway, so you do have to wonder what difference a few extra fps actually makes? Answer: The biggest difference is more accuracy at longer distances - in which case if you are shooting that far then you had better learn how to breathe properly while shooting because a simple error like breathing into your chest and lifting your shoulders can ruin a shot.

When should you get a different style of bow?

When you feel like trying something new and different. Nobody is forcing you to use one style of bow, and no single style of bow or archery style is "better" than other styles, it is simply different and comes with its own pros and cons.

Someone who shoots compound bow and later decides to get into longbows might decide that longbows is something they feel is better simply because it is more enjoyable and challenging. Some people really enjoy the simplicity of shooting longbows.

Detail of arrowrest on fibreglass backed laminated wood longbow.
Or vice versa, someone who is getting older and wants to keep shooting despite some physical ailments might decide to swap out their old longbow for something different - like a wooden compound bow made by Black Hawk, example below. This way they still get to shoot a beautiful wooden bow, but get to relax a bit more thanks to the 50% let off.

Black Hawk Warrior Wooden Compound

Amateur Fighters Vs Trained Boxers

March 17th 2017.

When people find out that I like boxing sometimes the topic gets into the idea that amateurs can somehow compete against a trained boxer.

At which point I have to either stifle a laugh or burst out laughing.

The problem lies with the public misconception / myth that boxers are just brawlers and that boxing doesn't require any skill or training. After all, any idiot can throw a punch right?

Yes, any idiot can throw a punch. But are they actually good at throwing a punch? Do their punches connect? How hard do the punches connect? Do they know how to dodge or take a punch?

People who don't know what they are doing typically:
  • Regularly miss the target.
  • If they do hit, it is often a glancing blow which deals no real damage.
  • Don't know anything about footwork.
  • Don't know anything about how to fade, block, deflect, etc.
  • Don't know how to take a hit.
  • Unable to control their emotions, they leave their defenses down.
Trained boxers however:
  • Consistently hit the target.
  • Rarely deal a glancing blow and hit quite hard in comparison to someone who lacks training.
  • Understand how to use footwork to both execute hits and avoid getting hit.
  • Knows how to fade, block, deflect, etc.
  • Can take their share of hits.
  • Very much in control of their emotions, handles themselves with experience.
In the video below you will see an Irish bouncer (who apparently got his job because he is a trained boxer) vs two idiots who think that they have the advantage because of youth. Two young men with no boxing training vs one middle-aged man who knows what he is doing.




Take note of the following:
  • The footwork of the bouncer.
  • How he avoids confrontation. He plays it safe, and he is also patient.
  • How he only punches when he needs to and only when he knows he will connect.
  • When he hits, he hits hard. The one idiot gets knocked out cold.

Bonus Boxing Myth Busting Tip

Boxing gloves aren't just to protect the hands of the boxer. They also allow the boxer to hit even harder. Similar to wearing brass knuckles. Get hit by someone using their knuckles and get hit by someone wearing a boxing glove, and you will realize the glove actually hurts more. Unfortunately most people think that boxing gloves hit softer, because they think it is fairly soft. This myth is perpetuated due to ignorance.

In other news, Happy St Patrick's Day!

I am going to spend a chunk of today binge watching the new Netflix show "Iron Fist". I am looking forward to it. (Do you think it is a coincidence they released it on St Patrick's Day?)

The Benefits of Hiking Staffs Vs Trekking Poles

Decades ago my Aunt Carol got some special hiking sticks, which looked like ski poles, for Christmas and at the time I was a teenager and thought they were silly and unnecessary. My mother later tried using them and also liked them and got something similar for when she goes on walks.

However as I have gotten older and done my share of hiking, I have determined having a walking stick of some kind is handy for really steep hill climbs (to help with balance, to hook onto trees to help pull myself upwards, etc) and have long since determined them to be very useful.

When I purchased snowshoes a few years back they came with 'snowshoe poles', which ended up being very useful for snowshoeing and staying upright - it is surprisingly easy to fall over when you lose your footing in snow.

Last year I even went snowshoeing in April after a Freak Snowstorm, and did a post about it. See photo below for my snowshoes and poles in action.

So yes, I have definitely changed my opinion about walking sticks.

Hiking Staffs and Trekking Poles are a whole different topic however. There is the classic wooden walking stick, obviously, but there are subtle differences when you get to the more unusual varieties...
  • The Classic Walking Stick - A stick you pick up and just use - perhaps even carved so it is more interesting to look at. Usually about the length of a cane or a bit longer.
  • Hiking Staff - Typically made of wood, carved, often a lot taller than your normal walking stick, closer in size to a quarterstaff used by "Little John". Might even be decorated with feathers and/or paint. The "Gandalf" of walking staffs.
  • Trekking Poles - Ergonomic handled poles similar to ski poles, designed using lightweight but durable materials, spikes on the bottom for better grip.


Pros and Cons of Each

Source: How to Choose Trekking Poles and Hiking Staffs
  • Hiking sticks and trekking poles help take the load off your feet, legs, and back. By employing one or two additional points of contact with the ground, your upper body can help offset the strain on your lower body and core.
  • Hiking sticks and trekking poles help improve your balance. Even experienced hikers occasionally find it difficult to keep their balance while carrying a heavy pack. By giving yourself an additional point of contact (or two), you’ll benefit from much better stability and balance.
  • Hiking sticks and trekking poles make it possible to cross more difficult terrain when necessary. If you are forced to cross a stream, climb a steep hill or negotiate a sandy dune, you’ll have much better success if you use a hiking stick or pair of trekking poles.
  • Hiking sticks and trekking poles provide a small measure of increased safety vs predators. While they certainly aren’t designed for the purpose, hiking sticks can help increase your apparent size should you encounter a coyote, bear or stray dog that gets too close for comfort.
And I can think of a few more things to add to the list.
  1. You can use the pole as a hook on trees to help pull yourself upwards while climbing steep areas.
  2. You can lean on the pole when tired.
  3. If it is a really good wooden stick and you have a carving knife handy, you could begin the process of carving a longbow while you are walking - you know, for fun. Then you just need to braid or twist some plant fibre together to make a bowstring.
  4. You can have swordfights with friends while hiking, for fun.
  5. For thwacking it against rocks or trees to make noise - because music is fun, even in its crudest forms. Also handy for scaring away predators with the noise.
  6. To keep your arms busy, trekking poles keep your arms in motion which gives you a better upper-body workout while you are walking so you burn more calories.
  7. Increased safety while making your way across something precarious, such as a log that bridges a small stream. Not everyone would walk across that, but I would do so easily with a walking stick for extra balance.

Spring is here early, time to get outside and do Archery

March 1st 2017

This year global warming seems to be in Toronto's favour. I just checked the forecast for the next two weeks and there is only one snowy day (March 3rd) coming up for the city of Toronto. There is supposed to be a little bit of rain next week, but the average temperature will be getting very warm in a hurry.

Historical averages are also handy for predicting how warm the weather will be, but with global warming we can expect it to be warmer than average.

In the photo below you see a homemade moving target I made two years ago for Easter weekend (April 2015). See the amount of snow on the ground? Very little. But that was April during a very long winter we had back in 2015.


In contrast if you go outside today, March 1st, and there is no snow at all. None. We are clearly having a very short and mild winter this year.

On Friday, March 3rd the forecast is calling for 5 mm of snow. Just a tiny bit. Probably will melt by Saturday.

And judging by Toronto's extended forecast for the rest of March, that will probably be all the snow we get in March. (I am starting to really love global warming...)

So how can we take advantage of this lovely weather?

Start booking Archery Lessons right now. Because if you wait too long all the warm weather days will be booked up for the rest of the year.
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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