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Archery Equipment Checklist 2018

One of my former students from 2017 is ready to be buying her own archery equipment and wanted to know what equipment she should be looking for. At present she plans to buy a Samick Sage, but she wasn't sure what else she should be buying.

Below is an edited version of my email reply to her questions.

A few of my personal collection of bows.
Bow

A common bow for many beginners is the Samick Sage, which I like to describe as the "Ford F-150" of bows. Usually Samick Sage comes in poundages between 25 to 60 lbs, but it is possible to get 20 lb limbs that are compatible.

However just because the Samick Sage is so popular doesn't mean you have to buy it. There are many other bow manufacturers to choose from.

See Recurve Bow Brand Manufacturers and Models.

You also don't have to get a recurve bow. You could get a longbow, a horsebow, a compound bow, a flatbow, or various kinds of exotic bows such as a Korean horsebow or a Scythian horsebow or a Japanese yumi bow.

Arrows

What poundage is your Samick Sage? If it is between 20 to 30 lbs, then 600 spine arrows would be best. Aim to get 28 inch arrows (longer is okay too) with feather fletching, 600 spine. Ten or a dozen is usually a good idea as people often break or lose 1 or 2.

Arrowheads

Don't forget these wee things. Arrows don't always come with them as they are frequently sold separately. I recommend beginners get 125 grain arrowheads.

Arrow Rest

A traditional Bear fur rest (not real fur!) is pretty common. There are also more expensive/fancy arrow rests that also work.

Nock Bead

Goes on the bowstring, prevents the nock of the arrow from sliding up and down, aka "stringwalking".

Archery Glove

I recommend the Neet brand, same one you used last year. Comes in various sizes. But there are plenty of other brands (and colours) to choose from.

Bowstringer

For stringing your bow without damaging the limbs. Various kinds available.

Bow String Wax

For waxing your bow string periodically. Lengthens the life span of the bow string, and oddly enough improves accuracy and arrow speed.

Optional Equipment
  • Quiver
  • Bracer or Armguard
  • Archery Backpack
  • Stabilizer
  • Sight
  • Dampeners

See also my:

Archery Equipment Checklist

and

List of Optional Archery Equipment

If you have additional questions just let me know. :)

Thursday Archery Lessons in Toronto

Regarding Archery Lessons...

I have been thinking of making some time slots available on Thursdays - 10 AM, 12 PM and 2 PM for teaching archery lessons.

UPDATE, I may also be available on Fridays too.

At present I only teach on weekends and watch my infant son on weekdays, but in the near future I may be able to start teaching on Thursdays again, pending availability*.

* I might not be available on all Thursdays. We shall see.

Sorry, no evening lessons. Not available.

Anyone interested in Thursday archery lessons should email cardiotrek@gmail.com and let me know what time slots you are thinking of and how many lessons you are interested in.

To learn more please read my Archery Lessons page which provides all the necessary info regarding my rates, equipment, etc.

And now, because I find them interesting and amusing, here are some photos of birds perched on arrows. Tada!


Owl perched on a cluster of Arrows
Peach Faced or Rosy Faced Lovebird Parakeet perched on an Arrow

Fancy Bows for Archery, what difference do they make?




The images above are from Flatline Bows, which I admit do make some very pretty looking bows.

Note - Flatline Bows did not pay me any money to write this post or to mention their bows.

Fancy Bows Vs Beginners

So here is the thing...

Beginner archers sometimes decide to buy a more expensive / fancy bow for their first bow. They do this for a variety of reasons:

  1. They are pretty nice to look at. Just like owning a sports car.
  2. They sometimes think that more expensive also means more accurate.
  3. They want to avoid buying a cheap bow, because they feel embarrassed.
  4. They want a fancier bow because it is a status symbol.

It is a bit like Apple iPhones. Most people who buy them are not buying the iPhone for its operating system or quality, they are buying it because it is a fashion accessory and a status symbol, because there are other companies out there that produce phones that are better.

Thus the same thing happens with beginner archers. They sometimes buy an expensive / fancy bow, and far too often in my opinion it ends up collecting dust in their closet.

They bought the fancy bow, but then they discover the poundage was too difficult for them to shoot. They lose interest in archery. They stop coming to the local archery range. The bow and their other archery equipment collects dust in a closet.

What Should Beginners Buy?

It is my personal belief that beginner archers should find themselves a decent bow that works, preferably one that is a 3-piece recurve so that they can swap the limbs out whenever they want to switch to a heavier or lighter poundage.

So for example they could buy a Samick Sage (typically about $150), which is the bow I bought my girlfriend/wife years ago, and she later married me and she is still shooting that bow.

I have written previously about the Samick Sage multiple times. It is basically the "Ford F-150 of bows". It is an affordable, commonly used bow that is everything you need in a beginner bow.

Some of my past posts:

The Bear Takedown Recurve Vs the Samick Sage

What kind of bow should I purchase?

Recurve Bow Brands and Models

The last post talks about different manufacturers who make bows similar, cheaper, more expensive than the Samick Sage. There are lots of manufacturers to choose from too. PSE, Martin and Bear all sell recurves for a variety of price ranges. Just because I recommend the Samick Sage regularly, it doesn't mean it is the only bow I recommend.

Years ago I also decided to get a Samick, but I opted for a slightly more expensive version: The Samick Red Stag 3-piece recurve. (They also made a 1-piece version and a longbow version of the Red Stag.)

So someone who still wants a slightly fancier bow could simply go up 1 price margin to the next more expensive model.

3-Piece Recurves Vs 1-Piece Recurves

So here is the thing. If you break something on a 3-piece recurve, you just replace that limb or riser with a new one.

If you break something on a 1-piece recurve, you have to replace the whole bow. (Or be really good at fixing things.)

I have in my foyer closet a 1-piece recurve (a Stemmler Jaguar) that I found broken at the Toronto Archery Range. The previous owner broke one of the limbs and threw the whole thing in the trash. Me? I looked at it and speculated about whether it could be repaired in some manner.
  • I could cut both limbs off it, add bolts and turn it in a 3-piece recurve.
  • I could cut both limbs off it and add the limbs to a crossbow stock.
Either way, I will eventually figure out a way to fix it and make it usable.

But the average person isn't going to go through all that extra trouble.

So to the average people who are looking to buy their first bow, get a 3-piece recurve.

Preferably one that is affordable.

And then if you really get into archery as you progress, you can buy more expensive bows later on. In which case then you can start thinking about buying the 1-piece recurves. You can see some of my collection of 1-piece recurves in the photo above behind the the Stemmler Jaguar limb.

So are fancier bows more accurate?

Nope.

They sure do like nice, but no, generally speaking, they are not more accurate. It is the archer that makes the big difference.

In 29 years of shooting, I have determined cheap brand name bows can go toe to toe with more expensive brand name bows and there is very little difference in their accuracy, and that the major difference lies with the archers themselves. The type of arrow rest being used effects the arrow more than the bow does, so if you are going to invest money in hopes of getting more accuracy, then you should invest in a nicer arrow rest.

Longer bows are also more forgiving, which is why longbows are considered to be quite accurate. You can sometimes make a mistake with a longbow and still hit the target.

A shortbow or horsebow is not very forgiving. If you make a mistake, you probably missed the target by a foot or two.

Same thing goes with compound bows. Yes, more expensive, but the longer compound bows (measured from axle to axle) are often the more forgiving and accurate bows when compared to shorter axle to axle compound bows.

Some people will spend a tiny fortune having a custom bow made out of exotic woods - Flatline Bows for example exclusively makes custom bows. Having all those expensive exotic woods in the bow doesn't make it any more accurate. It just makes it more expensive.

You could add diamonds and rubies to a bow too, it won't make it shoot any more accurately.

Flatline does make some pretty bows... but seeing as I currently need to repair that broken Stemmler, my efforts and money are probably best directed at finishing that project first before going out and buying any more bows.


PS. I actually have a flatbow for sale if anyone in Toronto is interested. It is an Eastern Woodlands flatbow made by Rudder Bows of California. Barely used. I bought it around the same time I ordered a custom pyramid bow from a local Toronto bowyer, and I very much prefer the custom pyramid bow. I only shot the Eastern Woodlands bow a few times. I am asking $180 for it. Send me an email to learn more: cardiotrek@gmail.com.

5 Slimming Foods that are also Fast Foods

Out and about and need to eat in a hurry, but you want to eat something healthier that actually helps you lose weight? Here are 5 items on the menu you should consider.

#1. Ice Water or Lemon Water

Drinking ice water actually burns calories. The colder the water and the more ice water you drink, the more calories your body burns in order to warm the water up to the temperature of your body.

The clear benefit here is that you are also avoiding the sugary soda pop you usually find on fast food menus. However fast food franchises are more than happy to give you ice water instead.

Starbucks also routinely gives out ice water for free, so the next time you are feeling thirsty on a hot day (or even a cold one) that is an option too.

Lemon water (with ice cubes) is also good, as it improves digestion and has a host of health benefits.

See The 8 Benefits of Lemon Water for your Diet

#2. The Big Salad - skip the dressing!

Typically any kind of salad, including egg salad and chicken salad, will be slimming. The trick here is to skip the dressing, as that is often the most fattening part of the food.

If they have a "Big Salad" option on the menu you can literally fill up on salad as your meal.

If you are ordering a burger combo and there is an option to get a salad instead of fries, get the salad. Easy!

#3. Chili

Some fast food places have chili as a side dish on the menu, but you could order 2 or 3 of them. The reason why this is a good option is because of all the beans and legumes found in chili - which are slimming.

#4. Soup

Watery, filling, and to save money they often add lots of veggies in there. Soup is an excellent option. Just avoid adding too much salt, as too much sodium makes you retain water.

#5. Get the Chicken or Vegan Burger!

The mundane chicken burger is basically on the menu for the people who want to eat healthier. If the place you are also has a vegan burger option, that is also a possible solution.

Tuna and salmon, if available, are also slimming foods you can choose. Lean beef is also good, as it has only slightly more calories than chicken.

So a sample burger combo could be: Chicken burger, side salad instead of fries, and ice water instead of soda pop.


10 Ways to Improve your Cardio Workouts

Want to get better results with your cardio workouts? Here are 10 tips and tricks for getting a better workout.

#1. Stop looking at the clock, lose track of time.

Don't wear a watch, and stop looking at your phone to see what time it is. Just exercise, exercise, exercise and take a break once in awhile. Don't finish your workout until you feel like you have exercised all you are willing to do today.

Now the first couple of workouts that you do this, you will probably work out less time than you would have hoped.

However, as you progress your workouts will get longer and longer as your endurance improves and you will eventually just lose track of time during your workouts. Music helps too, as people are more likely to lose track of time while listening to music.

Note - If you have a meeting or event you want to attend and you don't want to miss it, just set an alarm on your phone to remind you. Otherwise your goal should always be to workout as much as possible so that you forget what time it is and end up exercising more than you have ever hoped for.

eg. Lets say your goal was to exercise for a minimum 30 minutes every day. The first couple of times you might only exercise 20 or 25 minutes, but as you progress and build endurance you could eventually be working out 45 to 60 minutes or more because you keep losing track of time.

#2. Stop drinking sports drinks during workouts.

Unless you are planning to be exercising for more than 60 minutes, you don't need any sports drinks containing sugar, salt and electrolytes. The salt in the drink just makes you thirstier, causing you to drink even more. Plus your body doesn't really need all that extra salt and sugar.

If you want to hydrate while you workout, your best bet is water. Just plain normal water.

Plus if your goal is weight loss, the sugar is counterproductive to your goal.

Want to learn more? Watch the following video from CBC Marketplace:



#3. Alternate between strength and speed and endurance.

Pick two of the following and then choose an exercise that focuses on those two aspects, with one of them being your primary goal:

  • Strength
  • Speed
  • Endurance

So for example you might choose Speed and Endurance, in which case a good exercise is sprinting for as long as you can and then take a break.

Then if Endurance is your primary goal, you pick a different combo to focus on, such as Strength and Endurance, in which case you climb stairs or a hill (lifting your own body weight as you climb). You don't have to go quickly since your primary goal is to build endurance, but you should keep climbing until it is time for a break.

Then you switch back to sprinting.

So if Strength was your primary goal you then choose two exercises that emphasize Strength/Speed and Strength/Endurance.

And if Speed is your primary goal then you choose two exercises for Speed/Strength and Speed/Endurance.

Alternating between the two exercises allows you to effectively do Interval Training. You can also change it up and do 4 different exercises, different combinations, etc.

#4. Exercise on a near empty stomach.

If your goal is weight loss, you want to be exercising on a near empty stomach. Not completely empty obviously. The more you exercise, the more fat you burn.

You want to avoid exercising on a completely empty stomach because you will just get exhausted in a hurry.

Exercising on a full stomach can give you stomach cramps and make you want to take a break and relax, so you can digest properly.

Thus timing your workout when you are not quite hungry yet garners the best results, as you have the energy to workout but won't become exhausted too quickly.

#5. Eat after a workout.

Afterwards your workout you want to eat a balanced meal that has low carbs and more protein. Lots of veggies is good too. The more intense the workout, the healthier you want your meal to be so you are getting plenty of protein (building blocks for muscle tissue) and plenty of veggies (mortar for the building blocks), and the small amount of carbs will replenish your energy levels.

#6. Vary the intensity of your workouts based on your mood.

  • Angry or frustrated? Do a very intense workout focuses on speed.
  • Stressed or worried? Do a slower and more relaxing workout that focuses on endurance.
  • Sad or depressed? Do the exercises you enjoy the most, emphasis on fun.
  • Happy? Do the exercises you find to be the most challenging.

The advantages of varying your workouts based on your mood means you have better mental health, but it also allows you to use your emotions to fuel your exercise routine on happy or angry days.

#7. Make a workout plan / list / schedule.

This way you know in advance what you are doing today. This way you can focus on the tasks on the list and not get distracted.

Get bored of your workout plan? Spice it up a bit with new exercises.

#8. Mix body-weight exercises with cardio.

This allows you to get more out of your workout by adding things that build muscle too.

Classic Examples of Body-Weight Exercises
  • Situps
  • Chinups
  • Pushups
  • Stair Climb

#9. New to exercising? Focus on endurance first.

If you don't regularly exercise, your primary goals should never be strength or speed. Building your endurance should always be #1 for a beginner. Focus on easy exercises that you can do for long periods of time.

When you later become ready for a challenge, see #3 further above.

#10. Fight the urge to stop.

Want to stop exercising? Just keep going. Think of mental reasons why you should just keep exercising. Don't stop exercising unless you have a legit reason for taking a break, like hunger, exhaustion, the need to urinate, etc.





The better you get at fighting the urge to stop, the greater your results will be over the long term because your endurance will improve a little bit each time you refuse to stop.

Every time you think of an excuse to stop, deliberately think of a different reason why you should keep going.


Happy Exercising!
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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