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How to get the best of both worlds when buying archery equipment

A


"Hey Charles, hope all is good with you. This is Aadil, I took lessons with you like over two years ago, unfortunately have not practiced archery since. I want to get back into it, and maybe down the line take more lessons.

I wanted to ask if you could recommend arrows and bows:

For bow, I am looking at the Samick Sage Takedown @ 40 lbs.

http://www.lancasterarchery.com/samick-sage-takedown-recurve-bow.html

For arrows, I am a bit confused about because there are so many. Would you be able to recommend any?

Would love to hear you again, and perhaps maybe catch you on the field someday.

Best,
Aadil S."

A

Hey Aadil!

Long time no see!

I never recommend starting at 40 lbs when getting your first bow, but if you really want to get 40 here is my recommendation:

Get two sets of limbs, 25 lbs and 40 lbs. This way you can practice form on the 25 lb limbs and when you are later ready to shoot 40 (to build muscle, to hunt deer / small game) you can switch to the more powerful limbs. This then gives you the best of both worlds... A lighter set of limbs which are easier for a beginner to practice form on, and a stronger set of limbs for when they want to build muscle, shoot longer distances, practice for hunting, etc.

What I don't like to see is when a beginner gets a 40 lb bow, finds out that shooting it is exhausting, the exhaustion takes the fun out of it, and then their bow collects dust in the closet most of the year. Having the lighter limbs allows them to have more fun, still practice, practice more often, and has the bonus feature that you can give the 25 lb bow to a friend / sibling / etc and they can still hopefully shoot it.

Since you are looking at getting a 40 lb bow, I recommend getting 500 spine arrows. Depending on your draw length you might need different arrows, so please consult the chart on the following page:

http://www.cardiotrek.ca/2014/05/3-frequently-asked-archery-equipment.html


The 500 spine arrows will be a bit too stiff for 25 lbs, but better to be too stiff than to be too easily broken.

Also with respect to arrow fletching, aim for 3 to 4" fletching. 5" fletching is great on a day when there is zero wind, but we live in Toronto and there is ALWAYS wind here. 3" fletching will be less effected by the wind. 4" fletching will be more accurate when there is less wind. Pros and Cons to both.

I wouldn't worry too much about brand names. Get 500 spine and 3 or 4" fletching and you should be fine.

With respect to more lessons I sometimes have discounts, so if you check my website once in awhile I sometimes post a discount. So if you are thinking of getting more archery lessons, perhaps subscribe / come back to my site regularly and you will probably see a discount posted.

If you have more questions feel free to ask. See you at the range!

Sincerely,
Charles Moffat
CardioTrek.ca

The Fine Art of Buying Archery Equipment

Today I purchased some brass nock beads and some red bowstring serving (via Amazon.ca).

For me it was mostly a matter that I needed to buy some baby items for my son (things like safety covers for outlets) and I needed to get the order over $25 to qualify for the free shipping.

So I figured I might as well buy some archery equipment, things I know I will need eventually.

For example, I know I need the bowstring serving because I have a number of old bowstrings that need to be reserved / repaired, and thus made usable again.

I also knew I needed nock beads as I am currently running low on them. I sometimes sell them for $2 each to anyone who needs them, including free installation on my part. If I start running low then I need to conserve them and cannot sell any in case I need to replace one.

I see teaching people how to properly install a nock bead as an educational experience that every archer should learn. Same goes with learning how to make a bowstring, how to serve / reserve a bowstring, how to wax a bowstring, etc. These are basically maintenance issues that every archer should learn to do.

But on to my main topic, the Fine Art of Buying Archery Equipment.

There are some tricks here.

#1. Buy Generic Items Online

If you are buying generic things (like nock beads, bowstring wax, etc) you can definitely order online via Amazon, Three Rivers, Lancaster, Merlin Archery, etc. You don't need to buy these items in person unless you are in a rush to receive them.

#2. Try to Only Buy Things you know you NEED

Years ago I would sometimes buy things I knew I didn't really need right away. Fancy arrowheads, extra fletching just because I liked the colour, etc. I have three boxes of "archery supplies" now filled with things like that which are waiting for me to eventually repair arrows, replace fletching, etc - and to be honest I rarely find the time to do those things.

To qualify as something I need, I really need to NEED it right away. ASAP.

eg. Those pack of 6 broadheads that are still in the packaging? I probably didn't need those at all. (I do still want to go hunting someday, but until I actually get my hunting license I actually don't need to buy broadheads.)

The new bowstrings I bought a couple years ago and am currently using on several bows? Yep. I definitely needed them. It was just a matter of time.

If you are shopping for archery equipment for the first time I recommend taking a checklist of items to be buying. See Archery Equipment Checklist.

#3. Always buy Bows in Person, Ideally

Honestly I have broken this rule many times when buying antique / vintage bows off eBay. Buying a new bow, I always buy it in person and I have it strung in the store to double-check it is working properly. Buying a vintage bow off eBay, I am already aware that it is a gamble - hence why I prefer to only buy from people with perfect ratings and only bows which have photographs showing every part of the bow in detail.

#4. Avoid Impulse Purchases

See a fancy bow on sale, but it isn't what you are looking for? Don't buy it.

Sure, it is on sale, but the salesperson in the store just wants to make a sale and then get rid of you. The bow could be wrong for you. The wrong poundage, the wrong style, the wrong draw length, a lefty bow when you actually need a right handed bow, etc. Salesmen often just want to get rid of something and can/will lie to customers to get rid of an item.

Try to return it? "Oh, you bought it on sale. There is no returns on sale items."

Always better to "browse now, buy later" if you are new to archery.

#5. Learn the Lingo

Archery is rife with jargon terminology. New archers really should take some time to learn the names of different things so they can tell a hen fletch from a banana fletch. Read an archery glossary.

  • Hen Fletch - Usually faces towards the bow, whereas the cock/rooster fletch faces away from the bow. The two hen fletches are typically one colour, while the cock fletch is a different colour.
  • Banana Fletch - Describes the shape of a style of fletching because it is shaped like the curve of a banana. Other common shapes are shield fletch and parabolic fletch. Many archers get their banana fletching in yellow because it is amusing.

#6. Buy Arrows that suit the Bow

A very common beginner mistake is to buy arrows that are too flexible / too stiff for the bow the person is shooting. You should consult an arrow spine chart.

Read 3 Frequently Asked Archery Equipment Questions to learn more about arrow spine.

#7. Take a Friend / Family member

Hopefully someone who will talk you out of buying something you don't need / is unsuitable.

If you aren't sure about buying something, you really need a sober second opinion sometimes to remind you "Oh, wait. Isn't that a left-handed bow?"

FYI
  • You draw a right handed bow with your right hand (the drawing hand). You hold the bow in your left hand (the bowhand).
  • You draw a left handed bow with your left hand (the drawing hand). You hold the bow in your right hand (the bowhand).



Is traditional archery the same as instinctive archery? Nope.

Q

"Hi Charles,
Is what we did last class considered instinctive shooting, since we didn't use sights?

D."

A

Hey D!

That would a misnomer to call traditional aiming/style the same thing as instinctive. The two things are very different.

Unfortunately there is a lot of confusion/misinformation about what instinctive aiming / instinctive style is (Lars Anderson is not helping either, his videos are full of misinformation), and this is not the first time I have had to explain the difference. Compound Shooters and Olympic Shooters have an awful habit of looking at traditional style and thinking that it is instinctive, but they don't know that there is an aiming methodology to what the traditional archer is doing, and that there is a specific form.

Traditional Aiming - Aiming off the tip of the arrowhead.

Gap Shooting - Aiming using the gap between the side of the bow and the target, using memory to remember where to aim. Sort of like an imaginary sight.

Aiming with Sights - A gadget commonly used by Olympic and Compound shooters that tells them where to aim.

Instinctive Aiming - Not really aiming, but rather just "shooting from the hip" using "gut instinct", like you might see in a Western quick draw duel.

Traditional Recurve Style - Following form principles designed to increase accuracy through repetition, muscle memory, stable footing/form, consistent back power, etc.

Olympic Recurve Style - Very similar to Traditional Recurve Style, but with several changes to take full advantage of gadgets commonly used in Olympic archery.

Compound Style - Form wise it appears similar to the other two, but compound shooters are less worried about form as the gadgets on the typical modern compound bow basically allow a complete beginner to shoot with a remarkable amount of accuracy with little to no knowledge about how form could improve their accuracy.

Howard Hill Style - Commonly used by longbowmen and some traditional recurve shooters, the Howard Hill Style is similar to Traditional Recurve Style and is for archers who prefer to cant their bow while shooting. (You saw me demonstrating this style on Sunday with my 1972 Black Hawk Avenger bow, although with the aided flair of me kneeling during the shots.)

English Longbow Style - No canting, often involves aiming to the side a bit. In the case of an English Warbow there is a different method of holding the bowstring and releasing.

Horseman Style - Nearly identical to the Howard Hill Style, but with a Horseman's Release and/or a Thumb Ring. Often with a much more profound cant on the bow.

Instinctive Style - Formless. Just pull back any which way and shoot. No form needed. So for example if I lifted one leg and pulled the bowstring back underneath my leg (like a showoff would) and then shot, that would count as instinctive shooting. Pull back the bow from behind my back, over my head, partial draw, overdrawing way off to the side, etc - that would all be instinctive. The downside of this formless style is that the archer is really just guessing where the arrow will go. With practice they get better at guessing, but it is really only remotely accurate at very close distances. Any mid to long range distance and instinctive style/aiming is useless.

Little kids who have never done archery before basically shoot instinctively.

What I prefer to teach is ALL the different methodologies of shooting, starting with traditional and progressing in the directions the student is more interested in. If they later want to learn how to use sights, I will teach them how to use sights. If they want to learn Horseman Style, a horseman's release, etc - then I will steer the teaching in that direction. If they express an interest in longbows, then I will typically teach them the Howard Hill Style and show the differences between English Longbow and Howard Hill style. Thus if they want to learn multiple styles, I will teach them multiple styles.

So what you did on Sunday was:
  • Traditional Aiming.
  • Traditional Recurve Style.
  • Field Archery - In terms of what you were aiming at and the random distances. As opposed to say "Target Archery", "Flight Archery", "Clout Shooting", "Popinjay"... "3D Shooting" would be pretty similar to Field Archery, but would often involve shooting uphill or downhill.
If you want to learn more about Instinctive Style during lessons let me know and I shall demonstrate some shots and you can try it out too to see how you like the formless style of shooting.

(I decided to use this question and answer for an article on my website. I will list your name as "D." for privacy's sake.)

Sincerely,
Charles Moffat
CardioTrek.ca

The Best Ways to Avoid Sunburns when Exercising Outdoors

So it is Summer and you are exercising outdoors regularly and you keep getting sunburns. How do you stop that from happening?

Prevention.

So what are the best ways of thinking ahead to prevent sunburns?

#1. Understanding how Sunscreen Works

You might think SPF 30 is twice as good as SPF 15 and blocks out twice as much of the sun's UV radiation, but you would sadly be wrong. That isn't actually how it works. It seems logical that 30 should be twice as good as 15, and likewise 45 and 60 should be three and four times as good, but that isn't how it works.

According to scientists:

SPF 15 blocks approx. 94% of UV radiation.

SPF 30 blocks 97% and SPF 45 blocks 98%, and SPF 60 blocks 99%.

So with numbers in the low to high 90s, this sounds pretty good, right? Sadly this assumes that the person applies the sunscreen liberally on their skin. There are other factors too:
  • Some places on the skin might get less sunscreen.
  • Sweat from exercising or extreme heat can cause the sunscreen to become diluted and less effective.
  • How often you reapply sunscreen.
  • The brand of sunscreen also varies in efficacy*.

* Some brands of sunscreen contain chemicals that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration have a watch-list for being potential carcinogens like titanium dioxide and octyl methoxycinnamate (OMC).

Because people often forget to reapply sunscreen, I recommend setting an alarm clock on your phone to remind you to reapply. Most companies recommend applying every 2 hours, but if you are worried you might forget then maybe aim for every 100 minutes or so.

If you are exercising and sweating a lot, you might even reapply once per hour.

If you are especially worried about getting a sunburn then you should always apply sunscreen liberally, as if you are a vampire who will die if you don't.

Do not use sun tanning oil. The SPF in that is so low it is basically non-existent.


#2. Limit your Exposure Time

The first half hour or hour, most people will be pretty safe from UV radiation depending on how vulnerable a person is. Some people are more pale and get sunburned easily, so they need to limit their exposure more.

So if you are exercising outdoors you might want to set a time limit for how long you are exercising, like 45 or 60 minutes, and then go someplace in the shade to cool off. Combined with sunscreen this is a very safe strategy.

You could even take a break for awhile, and later reapply sunscreen and resume exercising for another 45 to 60 minutes.

#3. Deliberately get a Tan

So your skin is actually pretty good at blocking out UV rays, but to do so it needs to be tanned. The darker shade of skin blocks more harmful rays from the sun and protects you. The more you tan, the more protected your skin becomes from UV rays.

The trick here is to get the tan, without getting the sunburns... and that means sunscreen and possibly limiting your exposure time. So you would need to be setting specific times to "go to the beach or park and get a tan" or whatever it is you are doing, and set a specific amount of time you will be spending at the beach, park, etc tanning. That or reapply sunscreen using an alarm clock on your phone to remind you.

#4. Tightly Woven / Loose Fit Clothing

Fabric that is too thin and not tightly woven can still let through lots of UV radiation, causing you to get a sunburn right through your shirt.

You should also bring something extra to wear in case your sunscreen wears off or runs out.

Try to pick clothing that is also comfortable to exercise in.


#5. Hat and Scarf

A good hat or scarf can protect you face and/or neck from sunburns. eg. A bandanna tied around the neck like a scarf also works well to prevent sunburns on the back and sides of the neck.

A big floppy hat is not ideal for exercising in, but a baseball cap and a bandanna would work nicely.

#6. Avoid 12 PM to 4 PM

The worst times of the day to be outside in the sun is approx. from 12 PM to 4 PM. So if you want to exercise and avoid those times, try to exercise in the morning or late afternoon / evening.

#7. Plan your Route / Day

Lets say you are going jogging. Plan a route that takes you under lots of shade trees so you are limiting your exposure to sunlight.

Or if you are doing an activity where you know you will be in direct sunlight, plan out specific times during the day to take breaks, drink water, eat snacks, and reapply sunscreen. (Recommend eating first before applying sunscreen. Nobody likes tasting sunscreen in their food.)

#8. Vitamin Supplements = Minor Benefit

There are some benefits to taking a vitamin D3 supplement, in that sunburns won't be as severe, but it doesn't prevent sunburns. So you can take it if you want to, but bear in mind it doesn't prevent the sunburn itself. Anyone who claims it prevents sunburns is basically perpetuating a myth.

Some people have deficiencies in zinc and magnesium (likely due to a shortage in their diet or a genetic disorder), and as a result have more photosensitive skin. Taking vitamin supplements or eating foods that are higher in zinc and magnesium are helpful for people with those conditions, but will not benefit the average person.

Health claims by 3rd party websites and the supplement industry should be treated as biased and suspect. In researching this post I determined a lot of websites were advertising vitamin D3 and other supplements, and that they were exaggerating the benefits of taking the supplements.






Happy Exercising!

5 Easy Ways to Stay Active at Work

Guest Post by Cara Benson.

Wellness in the workplace is becoming a trending topic of discussion due to the advancement of research regarding the health risks of sitting all day. Sitting behind a computer screen all day is becoming the modern work-style within most businesses. Sadly, most desk workers are oblivious to the fact that sitting in an office all day can lead to some pretty serious health problems.

To avoid experiencing any sort of desk induced health issue, it is important that we motivate ourselves to move around more often during the day. Doing so will not only improve our overall health, but it can stimulate motivation in others to do so as well. Are you looking for some ways to remain active in your workplace? Check out these ideas:

#1. Stand Up and Stretch

When your muscles and ligaments aren’t moving enough, cramping, aches and sharp pains can occur in different areas of the body. In addition to an improvement in flexibility and better posture, stretching helps the body release tension that is built up from remaining stationary for too long. Taking frequent breaks from your desk to stand and stretch is a simple way to avoid such health problems and to make your work day a less painful one. Check out Cardio Trek's section on stretching where you can find some other great benefits and tips of stretching everyday!

#2. Walk or Bike to Work

Depending on the location of your workplace, walking or riding a bike to work are great options to fit in exercise before starting your day. Walking or biking might already be part of your transportation method on your arrival to work, but if not, park slightly further away from your job site to walk a block beforehand. If walking to work is part of your daily schedule, try extending your commute by strolling an extra block or two. That way, you’re entering your office feeling revitalized and ready to conquer the day! If walking or biking to work isn’t something you think will stick in your itinerary, try finding time during your lunch break for a brisk walk!


#3. Schedule a Group Fitness Event

Remember, as you’re sitting at your desk all day and feeling sluggish, most likely, some of your coworkers are as well. Spread motivation throughout your workplace by scheduling a group fitness event! By using an online event planning platform (eg. Meetup, Facebook or Eventbrite via https://www.eventbrite.com/l/registration-online/), you can establish a time and location for the fitness event, and track your RSVPs with the benefit of staying organized!

Sample Activities you can do with your coworkers on weekends or during the evenings after work:

  1. Archery Lessons (for up to 3 people).
  2. Boxing Lessons or Beach Volleyball.
  3. Cycling Outdoors. Or possibly Spin Class.
  4. Dance Lessons.
  5. Fencing Club. Or even Fishing (most of the exercise is carrying fishing equipment).
  6. Golf or Mini Golf.
  7. Hiking.
  8. Ice Skating.
  9. Jogging.
  10. Kayaking - Because who doesn't want to at least try kayaking?
  11. Laser Tag.
  12. Martial Arts Lessons or Mountain Biking.
  13. Nine Pin Bowling.
  14. Obstacle Course Races.
  15. Pokemon Go, the game is still surprisingly popular and great exercise.
  16. Rock Climbing.
  17. Swimming.
  18. Tennis. Or even various Team Sports.
  19. Volleyball.
  20. Water Polo.
  21. Yoga Classes - The more the merrier.
  22. Zumba Classes.

#4. Take the Stairs

An elevator is an easy ride, and requires a very low level of activity. Usually, individuals take the stairs when the elevator is broken or if it’s the only option to get one floor to the next. Using the stairs everyday can improve heart health, increase activeness, and actually save you time (according to Reuters the stairs are often faster than the elevator, reuters.com/article/us-stairs-elevators-idUSTRE7BB1B020111212). If you have the option to take the stairs in your workplace, do so to get in as many steps as possible, especially if you work at a desk.

#5. Take Frequent Walks Around the Office

Being stagnant all day is the definition of an unhealthy lifestyle. It is extremely important to make a constant effort to remove yourself from your desk chair to get your legs moving. Without motion, you are more prone to the health risks that come with sitting at a desk all day, such as blood clots, fatigue, and chronic pain. Along with the fitness related advantages, taking walks around the office is like pushing a mentality reset button, and can change your negative mindset to a motivated one!

Let’s reduce the amount of sitting at our desks all day by motivating ourselves and other desk workers to pursue a more active lifestyle!
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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