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How Smartwatches Can Help You Lose Weight?


By Karlo

Smartwatches seem to be on the rise. They have proven to be more than a fad but are not as popular as smartphones are. One area in which they get heavily touted is fitness. One of the most common obsessions of the modern age is the desire to lose weight. In this article, we explore how you can use your smartwatch to help you with that goal.

Every Step Counts

No matter what someone says, you will not lose weight just by having a gadget on your wrist. It is there to make your tracking and info logging easier and provide you with certain useful information, but it doesn’t magically start reducing your kilos.

Pretty much any smartwatch has a pedometer to count your steps. It’s a good beginning. Most will even have a programmed target of 10.000 walking steps a day. You will most likely fail to hit that target, but don’t worry. 5.000 is also good enough if you have other psychical activities in the day or if your diet is reasonably balanced. Not to mention, any psychical activity (including walking) helps a lot with your insulin sensitivity which might have gotten worse if you lived a sedentary life for some time.

An essential part of exercising (and eating) right is to reward yourself with something after. And in this case, bad food isn’t an option. Instead, we recommend you play games. After each exercise or 2.500 steps, hit an online game with a lot of adrenaline. There is one kind of game that comes to mind that you actually could play on your wrist—slot games. It is possible to win a casino jackpot with nothing but the tip of your finger, which can give you the hit of dopamine that you want to have after you did some positive behaviour (like physical exercise, walking). It then enforces that kind of behaviour in your brain.

 



Half of the Work Is Done In The Kitchen

Walking, running, and exercising is only one-half of the equation. Your diet is the other part. Luckily, you can get a lot of assistance from your smartwatch in that regard.

It would help to track the calories and the macros (protein, carbohydrates, or fats) you are intaking. But to do that, you would first need to know how many calories a specific type of food has. So it would help if you had a convenient way to store information (what and how much you ate) and a quick way to find out how many calories are in the ingredients you are using for dinner. Don’t worry; that’s what nutrition platforms come in handy. And the best ones are., of course, also available for your smartwatch too.

One thing not to forget is to drink enough water. It is suitable for weight-reducing goals, but it is even more critical for your general health and wellbeing. And smartwatches can also help to remind you to drink enough water during the day.

All in all, smartwatches don’t magically make you lose weight. They help manage the process more efficiently and digitally. They don’t suddenly give you a surge of willpower or make you run more. That is your part. Think of your smartwatch just as a fitness (and diet) notebook for the 21st century.


5 Best Treadmills with Web Surfing

By Petra

A treadmill is an excellent investment for both home and professional use. It's always available and can get used no matter the outside weather. Also, running on cushioned tread has a lesser impact than running on outside terrain. The great thing about treadmills is they can track your workout, and some treadmills can simulate different terrains. In addition to basic features, some modern treadmills can get used for web surfing. They also let you listen to music and watch videos. In the text below, we gathered the five best treadmills that allow web surfing and mentioned some of their most significant features to help you find the most suitable one.

NordicTrack Commercial 2450

The NordicTrack 2450 features a 14" screen that allows watching videos and films while working out and taking care of your health. At any moment, you can check your activities by switching to the stats tracking mode. In addition, by automatically adjusting the treadmill's pace, incline, and descent, the iFit app will assist you in concentrating on your running and following the instructions. Other features include space-saving design and FlexSelect cushioning that makes running comfortable and easy.

Artis Run

Artis Run shares the basic and minimalist design of the Artis series. It includes strength and cardio equipment, and it got designed to provide maximum performance and complete training. It features a big cushioned running surface that adjusts to your pace precisely. Also, it comes with 21 inches multimedia touch interface that has an ergonomic placement. The touchscreen serves to watch TV series and movies, enjoy music, and surf the web while the workout gets tracked. The advanced technology enables minimal power consumption and quiet operation. Fast track controls are programmable and easy to use for interval training. For uphill training, the treadmill can imitate an incline of up to 15%.

Matrix TF50

Matrix TF50 is a sturdy and durable treadmill that has a lot to offer. Various connection options include Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and Android. It features a 16" touchscreen display and 5W speakers. Furthermore, it's integrated with many popular apps like Netflix, Facebook, and Hulu, along with workout programs. Other features include the maximum speed of 12.5 mph and incline range up to 15%.

Among other apps, Matrix TF50 includes a web browser. You can browse almost any website you want. You can run on a treadmill any time and don't have to worry about missing sports events. It has enough computing power to visit more demanding HTML5 websites, such as online slot games with detailed graphics (among the few tested websites, you can browse some here - Canadian online slots). If you have one of these treadmills, be sure to check how they cope with these types of casino games because it will be a good benchmark for everything else you throw at it. On top of that, the treadmill has a dent so that you can put a tablet in it. Load it with your favourite apps and combine it with the touchscreen.

ProForm Pro 9000

The 60"x 22" belt surface area of ProForm Pro 9000 provides a large running area for running. The steel frame makes this treadmill durable for many years of workouts. The 10" full-colour touchscreen has a Chrome browser for surfing the internet. Also, the treadmill supports iFit integration, allowing you to use it as a personal trainer with automated decline and incline adjustments.

FreeMotion 890

FreeMotion 890 treadmill has a large running area ideal for heavy runners. It also has multiple incline and decline ranges, while the 10-inch touch screen can connect to the Internet and Android. It even has HMDI and RCA ports for connecting to a laptop. Additionally, iFit and 40 workout applications are available. The integrated fan can get used while working out to keep yourself fresh.

Good News and Bad News: Archery Focus Magazine

Well, I have good news and bad news...

The good news is I have another article that is being published in "Archery Focus Magazine". It will be coming out in the November-December 2021 issue.

The bad news is that the November-December 2021 issue will also be the final issue, the farewell issue, of the magazine.

It saddens me that the final issue is coming so soon. I am aware that many magazines thrive and survive based on subscriptions, and that if those subscriptions eventually falter that the magazine may be unsustainable. Many print media magazines and newspapers have ended during the past 20 years, and digital magazines are similarly vulnerable due to the subscription format.

Between 2017 and 2020 I contributed five articles to the magazine in the following issues:

  • 2017, July-August (Marketing Strategies for Archery Coaches)
  • 2018, July-August (Adaptive Archery)
  • 2018, November-December (Teaching via Narrative Storytelling)
  • 2020, January-February (Reinhart Target Ball Review)
  • 2020, September-October (Trick Shots)

I regret not writing more articles. Contributing 1 or 2 articles per year was one of the highlights of teaching the sport, but I could have written more. I have been very busy doing other things like teaching, raising my son, and writing multiple series of fantasy books... But I could have contributed another article or two. Sadly, we writers have to learn to live with our regrets, just like archers have to learn to live with their botched shooting.

I have also been writing my own "how to book" with respect to archery, so perhaps I will devote more time in the near future towards finishing and publishing that book. Or I might solve my thirst to publish more articles by contributing to magazines like Traditional Bowhunter or TradArchers' World. We shall just have to see what happens.

One last bit of good news...

While the magazine is ending, the back issues will continue to be available. You can visit archeryfocusmagazine.com and get any of the back issues of the magazine dating back to the first issue from 1997. You can get unlimited access to 25 years worth of the magazine's back issues for $160 USD.

The 1000th Post of Cardio Trek

CardioTrek.ca recently surpassed 3.12 million visitors, but that is not the big news. This post is the 1000th post on www.cardiotrek.ca.

Yep. 1000.

Not bad, in my opinion.

I started teaching archery in 2009, but the business grew so fast via word-of-mouth that I eventually realized that I needed a dedicated website for it. So I started the website in December 2011, later got my personal training certificate because I wanted to be a "certified personal trainer" (the whole certification standard for personal trainers is bogus and meaningless by the way, what really matters is professionalism and experience, and I built my business gradually over time, capitalization on the idea that every blog post I did was building my business.

And it worked. I quit my other job and took up teaching sports full time, expanding to teaching boxing, swimming, ice skating and general personal training.

Eventually, because archery was so popular, I stopped teaching the other sports and focused solely on teaching archery. Which is part of the reason why most new blog posts on CardioTrek.ca are now about archery. That is my primary goal now and I no longer worry about trying to get boxing, swimming, ice skating or personal training clients.

I also have habitually accepted sponsored guest posts, creating a secondary source of income from the website, due to the site's popularity. I consider that to be a bonus that helps pay for my son's university tuition.

And finally my website is on the verge of going full circle... Where once upon a time I quit my job and took up personal training full time, at some point in 2024 or 2025 I expect to be quitting this job and taking up writing full time. My book sales are tripling or more each year, and if that trend continues then I will be able to quit my job again near the end of 2024 or the start of 2025 and focus solely on writing.

Writing 1000 posts over roughly 10 years wasn't easy either. Eg. In January 2013 I wrote 50 posts in just one month. That is 1.6 posts per day.

I kept writing 100+ posts per year for several years, but eventually in 2017 (when my son was born) it dropped to 60 per year. Then 50 in 2019 and 40 in 2020. (2020 was a bad year for many reasons.) Starting in 2017 I also started taking my fiction writing career more seriously, so between taking care of my son and writing fantasy books it was really no surprise that the number of posts tapered off.

And now here we are. August 2021 and I have written 1000 posts in less than 10 years. (Not true, a small percentage of them were sponsored guest posts by writers just wanting to advertise something.)

Still, this post is mine, and it is officially the 1000th post.

Note - I might retroactively go back and add posts to May, June and August to bring the total number of posts per month to 5 each. You may have noticed that some months have exactly 5 posts or exactly 10 posts. I just like having round numbers. I admit I am a perfectionist who likes symmetry.

And we archers tend to be perfectionists. ;) 

See Also

The 500th Post

The 700th Post

2021 is Fully Booked for Archery Lessons - Prebook for 2022

Hello Toronto!

Bad news if you wanted to book archery lessons in Toronto for August, September or October of 2021. I am already fully booked and am no longer accepting new students for this year.

I am currently accepting new students for 2022. If you want to book for 2022 you should contact me now (if you know what your schedule will be like in the coming year), or if you're not sure what your schedule will be like in 2022, then I recommend contacting me in February or early March if you want to get your preferred time slots (before things start booking up).
 
I am expecting 2022 to be a very busy year for me.

If you have any questions feel free to ask.

Have a great day!

 


Limited Archery Time Slots Left / My Writing Career

Due to COVID I am going to be restricting how many students / time slots I teach this year during August, September and October. It isn't a matter of time constraints, I am available, but I am putting a limit on the total number of archery lessons I am willing to teach this year.

So my advice is that if you want archery lessons between now and the end of the season you need to contact me sooner rather than later and hope that there is still time slots available and I haven't reached my "quota" for the year.

Basically the point I am trying to make is that this year, due to COVID, I am setting a quota for the maximum number of lessons I am willing to teach. So if you want archery lessons in Toronto then you should email me today and start booking.

If you wait too long you might have to prebook for 2022.


My Writing Career

In related news, my book sales during 2021 are expected to triple my 2020 book sales, which tripled my book sales from 2019, which in turn dectupled my 2018 book sales... So if you can do math that means my book sales are up by a factor of 90 in the past 3 years.

If my book sales continue to triple annually I will be able to quit my day job (teaching archery) and focus on writing books sometime in 2025.

Now don't get me wrong, I love teaching archery. Absolutely love it. But there are days when I would love to just sleep in, spend more time with my wife/son, and focus on writing instead.

Teaching archery, and being good at it / able to make a living doing it, has given me the freedom to pursue my writing career during the cold winter months when very few people in Toronto ask for archery lessons.

Becoming a full time professional writer is the dream of pretty much every writer. I love archery and I love teaching it, but I foresee a time when I will just jack up my prices and only teach on 1 or 2 days per week so that I can focus my energy on writing.

Or quit teaching archery entirely and focus solely on writing. In addition to getting an annual tripling in book sales I keep getting 4 and 5 star reviews, so that's always a nice feeling to know people really like my writing. Cannot complain about that.

And what is the content of my writing? I mostly write heroic fantasy featuring, you guessed it, archery.

You can find my books, available in trade paperback and ebook formats, at amazon.com/author/moffat. I expect to be releasing audiobook versions in 2026 if my book sales continue to go up at the current rate. Hardcover versions of the novels are also expected sometime. If you have the paperback ISBN numbers you can order my books from your local bookstore.

5 Frugal Tips for your Dream Home Gym

5 Tips to Build your Dream Home Gym without Breaking the Bank

The pandemic made most people find creative ways to do the things they love the most, including working out. If you’ve missed the gym but aren’t ready to go back into that atmosphere quite yet, it’s easy to build your dream home gym without breaking the bank.

Here are 5 simple tips.

Keep it simple 

Don’t go overboard, building a killer gym overnight. Not only will you likely buy equipment you won’t use, but you’ll go way over budget. Instead, start small. Think of the workouts you must do that aren’t non-negotiable in your mind and budget for those pieces of equipment.

Aim to buy one piece of equipment at a time to see how often you use it and if you’re seeing the results you desire.
Get creative with household objects
Just because the gym you belonged to had all the bells and whistles doesn’t mean you can’t improvise at home. Think about objects around your house that can double as workout equipment.

Chairs are great for bars for balancing or even a spot to sit to do sitting exercises; paper plates can replace sliders, and gallon water bottles can replicate 8-pound free weights as a few examples.

 



Figure out how you’ll work out
Will you come up with your own routines or will you stream workouts from a gym or streaming service?

This will add to your costs, so figure it into your budget. If you don’t want to use some of your budget on streaming workouts, check out YouTube, they have millions of workout videos you can use either to get you started or to keep you structured.
Pick one room in your home to create the gym
If you want to make sure you use your gym equipment, pick a room in your home and dedicate space for your home gym. You don’t have to build a new area or renovate – just clear out an area of a room or an entire room if you have the space.

Some people add small pieces of equipment to their family room or office and others use garage or basement space that they use only to collect clutter.
 

Use a cashback or rewards credit card to buy equipment

When you’re ready to buy equipment, use the most beneficial credit card to make your purchases worth it. Cashback or rewards credit cards pay you for your purchases. Loo for the credit card that will pay you the most as each credit card pays different percentages of cashback and/or rewards based on the category you’re buying in.
Final Thoughts

Start small and build your home gym carefully, being mindful of your budget and also the benefits of having a home gym. It’s a big switch to go from working out with a group of other like-minded people to working out on your own.

Don’t go overboard right away – improvise with household items and buy only the equipment you know you need to have an effective workout. As you get used to working at home and you save enough money or have the right credit card to buy the equipment, you can build up your gym to make it your dream gym.

Traveling to see the Tour de France / The Virtual Tour de France

The Tour de France cycling competition ended a week ago, but it isn't too early to start thinking about visiting France in 2022 and watching the massive cycling competition in person.

This year's competition lasted from Saturday June 26th until Sunday July 18th.

The event is a huge cash cow for cyclists. Each stage they manage to win is worth 11,000 Euros, and the person who wins the entire competition gets 500,000 Euros...

Which is chump change compared to a tennis tournament or a golf tournament, but in the world of cycling that is the biggest prize cyclists can hope for.

But for a little added excitement, you can also go there in the off season (when it is NOT currently the Tour de France) and then cycle the same route. Just start in Landerneau and copy the route of the Tour de France, from beginning to end with extra bits between the individual stages, until you end in Libourne.

For convenience sake I suggest doing the Paris section of the race after Laval instead of leaving it to the very end.


Will you be able to do it in the same amount of time the professionals do it in? Nope. Definitely not.

Counting the extra distances you will have to cycle, it will be about 5000-6000 km you have to cycle. So you will probably want 4 weeks to do it in.

But if you succeed, you will have spent 4 weeks cycling around France and seen some amazing pieces of scenery.

Three Hot Travel Tips

  1. If you book your plane tickets months in advance you can some a good chunk of money.
  2. Book your "cycling vacation" during the off season, so the tickets are even cheaper.
  3. Book via Air France, as they often have the best rates for traveling to and from France. As Canadians we can get some pretty inexpensive tickets for flights from Montreal to Paris or flights from Toronto to Paris for relative little.

 Also you should decide now whether you want this to be more of a fun journey, or whether you are being competitive about it.

Two, you should decide whether you want to do the cycling version of "Glamping" (Glamourous Camping), or whether you prefer the idea of actual camping. Because sleeping in a tent and cycling every day is not for everyone. Even professional cyclists usually try to stay in the best hotels when doing the Tour de France.

Staying in a nice hotel to me sounds so much better than having to pitch a tent (and carry it with you on the bicycle!) for 4 weeks.

Assuming the route you choose is 6000 km you will want to spread that out over 28 days. But that still amounts to 214 km per day, which is a lot! If you are fast (30 kmph) it will take you 7 hours of cycling every day to reach your destination.

However...

You could just take a train from each stage of the Tour de France to the next stage. That way you are only doing the 3414 km that the pros are doing. True, it means you are spending a chunk of the time on trains (and may feel like you are cheating), but whatever. You are saving yourself a lot of time and effort.

That 3414 km divided amongst 28 days is 122 km per day, which suddenly feels a whole lot easier. You could cycle at a more leisurely 20 kmph and still be done in 6 hours each day.

Or... How about this idea?

Skip the Tour de France, visit a bunch of places in France that you want to see... And buy a cheap used road bike from someone when you arrive, and if it breaks you just buy a different one.

Personally there is a list of places I would like to see - mostly along the coasts - some of which a bicycle would kind of useless in visiting.

Eg. I would love to visit Mont-Saint-Michel, and just looking at it you know a bicycle will be rather useless there. Good place for hiking up and down lots of stairs... Not so good for bicycles.


Another place I would visit is the Alignments of Carnac, which is essentially a big graveyard of huge megalithic stones - beneath which are tombs of prehistoric kings. Very rocky terrain. Again, no point taking a bicycle there. Good place for a hike however.

Honestly France has lots of good places to go hiking. Pick a place and just go!

Horsebows and Poundages


The bow in the photo above (and below on the right) is a Samick SKB horsebow (sometimes also called a shortbow).

Learning how to shoot a horsebow is trickier than learning how to shoot a traditional recurve, although they have many similarities in design. There are some additional challenges, which is why I recommend that students take 3 lessons of traditional recurve before progressing to shooting horsebow, so that they have a good grounding in proper form in that style before proceeding to a more challenging style of archery.

(Same goes with anyone wanting to learn how to shoot Longbow or Olympic Recurve. Definitely study traditional recurve first, then make the transition.)

There is an issue concerning the matter of the poundages made available by the manufacturers.

Many manufacturers who make horsebows do not make low poundages: 20 lbs or less.

This phenomenon of manufacturers not making lighter poundages is not limited to horsebows either. Some manufacturers who make longbows and the higher end traditional recurves also limit what poundages they produce, knowing that their target customers are adults (and mostly men).

The Samick SKB horsebow shown above (and on the right) only comes in 25 lbs to 55 lbs (with 5 lb increments). The bow I purchased was 30 lbs, which I felt was a good poundage for my needs as an archery instructor, and knowing that most of the people wanting to learn horsebows usually have an end goal of purchasing a horsebow that is in the 30 lbs to 50 lbs range.

This consequently creates limitations on who can potentially be using the bow. Eg. Most children won't be able to pull it properly, and many people who are complete beginners really should not be using a 30 lb bow.

However someone who has done 3 archery lessons previously, and proven that they can handle 18 lbs, 20 lbs and 24 lbs, and expressed an interest in learning horsebow. Well, then we can discuss the matter as they might be capable of pulling 30 lbs.

Otherwise they will need to purchase their own equipment - which is usually the standard situation when it comes to anyone who wants to learn how to shoot horsebows (or compounds, or Olympic recurves), and archery in general as the goal of most archery students is to eventually buy their own equipment so they can practice on their own.

Someone who is petite in size will find a difficult time finding a quality horsebow that is sized correctly for them and offers a poundage they can use properly. There are a few manufacturers who make children's bows (and youth bows) that offer lighter poundages, but the issue of quality means there is a gap in the market for well designed bows that fall into these age categories. In some cases they simply don't exist, and what does exist is slim pickings.

The big name manufacturers simply aren't interested in making certain types of bows aimed at children, youth and petite adults.

Still, that doesn't mean a person cannot do archery. It just means they are limited to doing traditional recurve (or potentially longbow or compound shooting) because there are bows being manufactured and sold which are aimed at children, youth and petite adults.

The market is there in my opinion, but nobody is making them.

Jogging 30 Day Challenge: Day 9

I did not go jogging on Sunday. I was very busy that day (working + a family event).

However I have since made up for it by going jogging twice yesterday... and I am planning to extend my 30 Day Challenge by an extra day to make up for the lost day.

Call it a penalty day.

I missed a day so I have to make for it by going twice the day after AND I have to add a penalty day when the 30 days has elapsed.

I have been thinking about what should happen AFTER the 30 days is over. Do I just stop jogging and go back to my "normal routine" of not jogging?

Or should I make jogging "my new normal" wherein I now jog every day?

I am leaning towards the latter. Just keep jogging every day.

Not sure what I will do during the winter... Might have to buy some jogging pants that are warmer.

We shall see.

 

See Also

Jogging 30 Day Challenge: Day 3

Jogging 30 Day Challenge: Day 1 

30 Days as a Vegetarian

 

In the meantime...

A BRIEF HISTORY OF JOGGING: WHEN DID JOGGING BECOME A THING???

Jogging became popular in the 1960s in the United States, but it originally became an exercise activity in New Zealand when an Olympic track coach, Dr. Lydiard, suggested it as a conditioning activity for retired Olympic runners.

The popularity of jogging gained importance thanks to the publication of the book 'Jogging' (1967) by Bill Bowerman, a University of Oregon track coach, and W.E. Harris, a heart specialist. Bowerman observed the practice of jogging in New Zealand and was so impressed he decided to write a book on the subject. The impact of the book cannot be overstated. It was hugely influential to promoting the activity. A year after the publication of the popular book, the U.S. National Jogging Association was formed in 1968 to promote the pastime.

In the decades that followed the activity gained popularity across many continents, sparking newspaper and magazine articles on the subject, in addition to thousands of books. Jogging would late become endorsed by many medical authorities for its value as a heart exercise and for general physical conditioning, usually to be practiced on alternate days, or daily for short periods.

Jogging doesn't come without its risks however.

Some doctors have warned about fallen arches, shin splints, sweat miliaria profunda (tropical anhidrosis), strained Achilles tendons, bruised heels, and knee and back ailments can result from jogging, and such sports injuries usually result from jogging on hard surfaces with the feet striking the ground from 600 to 750 times per mile. Warm-up exercises before jogging, properly designed shoes, loose clothing, proper jogging technique, and general good health are very handy for preventing such sports injuries. Also there is a good argument for only going for "short jogs" as opposed to jogging long distances, as the chance of a sports injury skyrockets if a person is jogging very long distances.

Like many sports and exercises activities it is important not to exercise to excess. Being sensible and doing a moderate or light amount of exercise is significantly safer. There is a now whole industry dedicated towards creating shoes that are designed specifically for jogging / running so that joggers and runners don't hurt themselves.

As an activity jogging burns about 10 to 13 calories per minute in this exercise, but has a high chance of triggering the Afterburn Effect (which consequently burns more calories).

So absolutely, there are definite benefits to going jogging. A healthy heart. Weight loss. But you need to wear proper shoes and be safe about it.

Jogging 30 Day Challenge: Day 3

I went jogging yesterday morning and this morning.

The big difference yesterday was that I got up earlier to do my jog before eating and before having a shower. I figured it would be better to have the shower AFTER I go jogging.

Today it has been raining on and off, so I timed my jog after breakfast (but before the shower), and I timed it so it had stopped raining during the actual jog.

Not giving myself the excuse of "Oh it is raining, I should go jogging tomorrow or delay..." actually felt pretty good.

I have also determined that the cooler temperatures in the morning (or on a rainy day) actually feels pretty nice while jogging.

The physical jog also felt a bit easier today. I am not sure if that was just in my head, but I suppose it doesn't actually matter. Motivation is all in your head anyway. I was even tempted to jog a bit further today.

Tomorrow, if I am feeling up to it, perhaps I will jog a bit further.

Still jogging for less than 6 minutes however, so this still counts as "6 Minute Cardio".

See Also

Jogging 30 Day Challenge: Day 1 

30 Days as a Vegetarian

Jogging 30 Day Challenge: Day 1

I went jogging today for the first time in roughly 8 years.

It wasn't a long journey. I set a small goal of jogging to a bus stop and then back again, less than 6 minutes round trip. (6 Minute Cardio, huzzah!)

I am admittedly not in the best shape right now (partially due to spending months indoors thanks to COVID) and also the fact that I haven't jogged in 8 years.

I was recently conversing with a fellow archer at the Toronto Archery Range and he was telling me how he had taken a big break from archery and had not shot for years, and then only recently got back into it during the pandemic. Then I started thinking about how I haven't ridden a horse in over 20 years, and gosh it would be nice to do that again... Sadly buying a horse or getting riding lessons isn't really an option right now so that didn't make sense for me. Still it got me thinking about how many people take breaks from their various sports and/or exercise activities.

Eg. I haven't gone mountain climbing in over a decade.

Having a big break for a sport activity isn't a bad thing and is nothing to be ashamed of. It happens to many of us and often coincides with big changes in our lives.

The big change for me 8 years ago was when I moved in with my future wife and I started living in a different neighbourhood. Previously I had been living (and jogging) in downtown Toronto. The sudden change in surroundings and having a girlfriend/wife living with me caused a big change in my daily habits.

In April of this year we moved into a house, and the new neighbourhood has had a profound effect on me. Our backyard, our front yard, the closeness of the trees, the wilderness... It made me want to go jogging again. Sometimes just to explore the new neighbourhood, but that desire to go jogging had returned.

Last week I purchased a new shirt just for jogging in. A few weeks before that, new shorts suitable for jogging.

I already had suitable shoes, so that was not an issue for me.

What matters most is motivation.

Getting up, getting dressed in my jogging clothes, and then just go for a jog.

It doesn't matter if it is only a short jog. A short jog is much easier for people to get motivated for anyway.

I know some joggers out there who jog for hours (I had an ex who had an exercise addiction and it was so bad it was hurting her relationships). I don't recommend doing that. Some people may enjoy "Joggers High", but that isn't one of my goals. Still, that Joggers High can be handy for those people who enjoy hours long jogs.

In order to help motivate myself I have also decided I want to go jogging every day. Every day for 30 days.

It is possible I might miss 1 or 2 days, but I can make up for it by simply doubling the distance on any day for which I failed to go jogging the previous day.

Otherwise my plan is to "Start Small". Short jogs. Less than 6 minutes.

5-6 minutes per day for 30 days = 150 to 180 minutes of jogging.

Using a jogging calorie calculator (and my weight, which is currently 210 lbs thanks to me losing 10 lbs back in April when I was in hospital for 4 days) I then calculate my speed (5 mph) and how many calories jogging that much will burn...

1750 to 2100 calories. 1750 calories is equal to half a pound of fat.

However then there is the Afterburn Effect... wherein your heart rate becomes elevated for the next 24-48 hours and you feel more energetic. You feel more energetic because your body is burning fat reserves in order to give you more energy.

Used correctly, the Afterburn Effect can burn an extra 500 calories per day by making you more energetic for the rest of the day. (The exact results vary on the person and the exercise you did to kickstart it)

However if a person manages to activate the Afterburn Effect every day for 30 days, they will burn an extra 15,000 calories.

So instead of burning just 1/2 a pound of fat, a person might actually burn 4.78 lbs of fat.

What does 5 lbs of fat look like? Well, it is bigger than a brick. Maybe about twice the size of a brick in terms of volume.


So that 5 lbs isn't really a small amount of weight. It is a sizable chunk of your body mass. For me that 5 lbs equals roughly 2.4% of my body weight. If I could lose 5-10 lbs by jogging over a 2 month period... Wow. What a big difference that would make to my waistline.

I would have pants in my closet that would suddenly fit again.

Jogging is also a frugal exercise. You need very little in terms of "equipment". A good pair of shoes suitable for jogging is really the only important thing you need. Most of us can find an old t-shirt or shorts suitable for jogging in. You don't need to "motivate yourself" like I did by buying new clothes just for jogging.

I did that partially so that every time I look at the clothes I would be reminded that I purchased them just for jogging and it would remind me to go jogging. It also creates a "monetary responsibility" in which you feel the urge to fulfill the duty you originally committed to when you purchased the clothes or jogging shoes.

Jogging Tip - I hate crosstrainers. I don't recommend them if you're new to jogging. Instead get something more like basketball shoes which have more padding and are comfortable to run in. Crosstrainers are horrible uncomfortable. I have both, but I definitely prefer the basketball shoes for jogging in. Are they more expensive? Yes. Do I care? No.

Other Ways to get the Afterburn Effect

  • Cardio exercises (cycling, swimming, etc)
  • Weightlifting
  • High Intensity Interval Training

Regardless of what exercises you are doing what really matters is your motivation. You have to ask yourself what are your excuses for not exercising, and then ask yourself what are your reasons for WANTING to exercise.

 And then you let your reasons for win.

What are your excuses?

I am including the image below as a good example of a person who didn't let her excuses hold her back.



Pride in my Archery Students

Personal Note

I feel an almost fatherly pride when I see my archery students excelling at the sport.

And I get that sense of pride whenever I see my students returning again and again to the archery range, becoming almost religious about practicing. They're not there for lessons any more. They're there to practice because they love the sport.

It doesn't matter whether they had 3 lessons, 10 lessons, or whatever. It is good to see them out there practicing, and knowing that I had a hand in their tutelage is a matter of personal pride for me.

And as my son grows and is already obsessed with archery, I look forward to seeing him grow and shooting. I want to note that I am not forcing archery upon him. He is naturally obsessed with it because he gets to see both of his parents shooting and he wants to do it too.

Even if by some chance in the future he gets bored of archery (which I highly doubt will happen), it won't matter. Because I will still be proud in the knowledge that when he was 2 - 4 years old he was obsessed with the sport and wanted to shoot "bow arrow" with daddy as often as he could.

HAPPY FATHER'S DAY!

PS. The photo below of my son is from February 2021. I remember that day fondly. The stonework in the park looked a bit like a castle, so we were playing with his bow and arrow in there. (With all the heat lately that snow looks wonderful.)

 


Teaching Archery Again = Awesome


It feels really good to be teaching archery again. The photo above is recent, from June 2021, and shows a quiet moment at the Toronto Archery Range.

Anyone interested in archery lessons in Toronto (one-on-one lessons only) should contact me to discuss scheduling and availability.

Happy Shooting!


Vaccinated! Finally! Archery Lessons starting in June!

I got my first shot of Moderna today and I am pleased to announce that I will resume teaching archery on June 2nd when the current lockdown/stay-at-home order in Ontario ends.

Various archery students have been contacting me since January asking for archery lessons, but due to the cold winter weather + lockdown measures I have been unable to teach.

My vaccination also lined up nicely 8 days before the reopening so I happy about this new turn of events. Thanks to the new stage one reopening of sports areas (tennis courts, golf courses, archery ranges, etc) plus my vaccination I can now say with more confidence that I am finally able to teach again.

People interested in archery lessons in Toronto are invited to browse my rates and let me know which days they are looking to book lessons.

And it couldn't come soon enough. While I enjoy gardening in my backyard, I clearly need to get out more! Just look at those trilliums and ferns. They are doing just fine without me! 😋


When is it time to buy New Archery Equipment?

Q

 

"When is it time to buy new archery equipment?"

 

A


Well, it varies for many people.

#1. Can you afford it in your budget?

Not everyone can afford to be buying 1 or 2 new bows (or more!) every year. *Cough Cough* as I glance at the bows in the basement that require a new bow rack on the wall so I can store them properly.

Some of us (eg. actors seeking to expand their skill sets that they can put on a resume) can even claim things like riding lessons and anything related to owning a horse as a business expense on their taxes because they want to star in a Western someday. Or a fantasy film, or a historical film, or a post apocalyptic film featuring horses... Basically any film with horses.

Likewise an actor could in theory claim their archery expenses as business expenses, as I am sure William Shatner did during the early days of his acting career.

But not all of us can do that and thus we also have to weigh whatever financial pressures we are facing against our thirst to go buy more and more archery equipment.

So let's pretend that money is not the issue...

#2. Do you want a stronger bow?

Some archers (usually men) want a stronger bow because they want to be able to go hunting someday, or perhaps they just want their arrows to fly faster, or perhaps they just want to get more exercise by pulling a harder bow.

For whatever the reason I recommend waiting at least 6 to 12 months after you purchased your first bow before you go and buy your second bow. Why? Because hopefully during that 6 to 12 month period you went out and practiced with the first bow at least once per week (or sometimes twice). So at least 24 or even 48 times.

After that much practice the archer then might be ready for a higher poundage, at which point they should consider getting a bow which is 5 to 6 lbs heavier.

Thus if you started off with a 24 or 25 lb recurve it would now be time to consider getting a 30 lb bow.

Or if your bow is a three-piece recurve bow, well then you could just buy bow limbs that are 5-6 lbs heavier.

Why should you not make bigger jumps? Like 10 lbs or more? Because it is a bit like dumbbells at the gym. You start with the 10 lb dumbbells and repeat that for a few months and then switch to 15 lbs. Then 20, then 25, then 30. You take your time doing it and focus on your form.

If you skip ahead a person's form will frequently suffer, you lose accuracy, you stop making progress with respect to the quality of your form, and such inaccuracy effects your mental confidence. You stop shooting because you think you suck at the sport... But in reality you just pushed yourself too quickly.

Personal Note - I go through this process every Spring. I start by shooting my lighter bows and then practice with them slowly, rebuilding any strength I lost during the Winter. I gradually build up my strength until I am used to shooting 35, 40, 45, 50, 55 or even 60 lbs.

#3. Do you want a prettier bow?

This is certainly a thing. Some archers just want a bow that looks really nice. There are some very pretty bows out there. But here's an interesting rule when it comes to price, prettiness and accuracy.

  • If a bow is both pretty and accurate, it will also be pretty expensive.
  • If a bow is both accurate and inexpensive, it will be "meh okay" to look at.

And nobody wants to buy a bow that is pretty and cheap, because guaranteed it won't be accurate.

Take for example the bow below... It is a Blacktail Elite VL Series bow... It is currently priced at $1470 USD. It is a very pretty bow and suitably accurate when you consider the price tag, but most of what you are paying for is the looks.

This is actually one of their less expensive bows too. They have other bows from their Legacy series which are priced at $4500, $6500 and $8999 USD.

So yes, you can buy super expensive bows it you really want - bows that are essentially more art piece than craft, but would you really want to shoot that bow regularly or take it hunting???

My advice for anyone who is new to archery is that you should aim smaller when it comes to buying a prettier bow. Something in the $400 to $800 range is still a very pretty bow, but you won't need to get financing just to buy it. (Seriously, Blacktail Bows offers financing on their website...)

#4. Do you want to collect archery equipment?

Yes? Awesome.

Most collectors however are not buying "new archery equipment". They're buying vintage. Specifically they are looking for bows that are 40 or more years old. So right now that means anything from the 1970s or earlier.

It also means you are usually browsing bows on eBay or similar websites where people auction off old vintage bows.

When buying such bows you want to look carefully at the photographs being offered. There should be photographs of every part of the bow, and from every angle. Usually that means 16 or more photographs, in high resolution, with no blurry photography.

#5. Do you need new arrows?

Honestly this is the most common reason people buy new archery equipment.

Usually it means they have:

  1. Broken most of their arrows beyond repair.
  2. Damaged most of their arrows (and they need repairs).
  3. Lost most of their arrows.
  4. Combinations of reasons 1, 2 & 3.

Now if you are just dealing with damaged arrows that could be repaired, then absolutely, you should learn how to repair them. You can buy replacement nocks, replacement fletching, replacement inserts, replacement arrowheads... Modern arrows are rather like Lego. Most of the parts are interchangeable and can be replaced.

If they are broken beyond repair / lost, well... Yeah, not much you can do about that. Time to buy new arrows!

#6. Did you break your bow?

Breaking a bow is a very rare occurrence. Extremely rare. Most modern bows are very durable if you take good care of them and are not mistreating them, and the rare manufacturing defects are quite rare.

If it was a manufacturing defect you should check your warranty and see about getting a replacement from the manufacturer. If you don't have a warranty... Well then, you need to buy a new bow.

I definitely recommend buying a bow that comes with a warranty. You never regret it.

Note - Vintage bows definitely do not come with a warranty. Likewise certain cheaper companies don't offer warranties at all. Likewise, there is also the problem of counterfeits - you send the broken bow back to the manufacturer and then they inform you that your bow is a counterfeit, and thus there is no warranty. (Counterfeits are more often purchased online during some kind of sale or discount, so you need to beware of any company selling bows online at large discounts.)

#7. Do you want to try a different style of archery?

One of these days I am going to buy a Japanese yumi bow. It is on my Wish List of bows to buy, but it might be a few years before I do that.

Wanting to try different styles of archery is just something that many people want to do, so you're not alone in this desire. The problem is that certain styles of archery are more expensive, and learning the different style of archery is also an issue.

Eg. When learning a new style you should probably get archery lessons in that specific style.

So yes, if your goal is to try a different style then you should get lessons in that style, and presumably your archery instructor can give you advice about what kind of bows you can purchase, what other archery equipment you will need, where to purchase, anything else you should know, etc.

And if you live in Toronto and want to learn one of the five styles of archery then you should contact me to get archery lessons, because I teach all 5 major styles of archery.

  1. Traditional Recurve
  2. Olympic Recurve
  3. Longbow / Flatbow
  4. Horsebow / Shortbow
  5. Compound Bow


#8. Accessories and issues...

Wear and tear is a thing. Take for example the common three finger glove used by traditional recurve and longbow archers. Made from rawhide (usually) they eventually wear down and stop offering you protection from the bowstring. When you start experiencing this you need to buy a new archery glove.

Same thing happens with bowstrings. You can maintain them as best you can by waxing them, taking good care of them, but eventually you will need to reserve them if they unravel or replace them when they break.

Your gear will wear down and/or break over time and certain things will need replacing. My recommendation whenever replacing an item is to try and replace it with something that is better quality / more durable that will last longer.

Eg. When replacing a plastic arrow rest aim to replace it with either a traditional fur arrow rest, or with a wire arrow rest. Fur or metal will last a lot longer than plastic.

Personal Note - I once bought a plastic arrow rest back in 2010 that broke on the first day. Complete trash. I will never buy another plastic arrow rest.

Additional Note - I routinely see plastic arrow rests on the ground at the archery range. Not broken ones necessarily. Some of them look to be brand new. But this is the inherent problem with them. They're so bad (and people know they're bad) that people are just littering with them.

#9. Did I miss anything?

When in doubt ask yourself the following question: "Do I need this new piece of equipment?"

If you're talking about buying an armguard because you keep hitting yourself, then the answer is probably yes.

But if you are thinking of buying a new armguard just because it is pretty, and you already own 3 other armguards... The answer is no.

But hey! Maybe you are collecting armguards, in which case that is your hobby and who am I to throw stones? I have 30+ bows in the basement that need a new bow rack...

3 Bizarre Cases of Archery Injuries

Archery is a very safe sport. Injuries in the sport are more likely the result of repetitive strain from pulling a bow incorrectly, leading to tennis elbow (previously known as archer's elbow before tennis became popular).

Another common archery sports injury is when archers over tense their bow shoulder and don't learn how to relax it; Your back muscles should be doing most of the work, not your shoulders!

Lastly there is also "Bowstring Burn"... This is what happens when you keep hitting your elbow or arm with the bowstring. If you bruise easily you should really be wearing an arm guard or bracer to protect your arm. Furthermore if you're a beginner, you really should get archery lessons so you learn how to position your elbow correctly.

However just because the vast majority of injuries in archery are sports injuries like tennis elbow (cough cough, archer's elbow) that doesn't mean that more bizarre and serious injuries don't happen.

Plus accidents do happen.

 

#1. THE BACKYARD RICOCHET MISHAP

Take for example 2012 case of a young Australian man who was practicing in his backyard when he missed a shot, the arrow ricocheted off a door, and then hit a pedestrian walking on the sidewalk 30 meters away.

 


Which is all the more reason why people should practice archery in a proper archery range like the Toronto Archery Range. Or at very least in a wide open field, on a farm, in a secluded forest, etc. Accidentally hitting someone with an arrow isn't really an accident if the person was shooting in their backyard and not taking adequate precautions to prevent any kind of ricochets that could lead to someone being injured.

Nor is this an isolated incident. Many cities around the world have laws in place regarding the firing of guns and/or archery equipment in backyards, largely because of the associated dangers of such reckless behaviour.

 

#2. THE GALKA VS STANKIEWICZ INCIDENT

In October 2000 two men in Toronto were at the Toronto Archery Range and lost an expensive arrow. In a bizarre turn of events however one of the men proposed the idea of shooting over one of the targets while his friend stood in the vicinity of the lost arrow and reported where it landed. But instead of this unusual plan leading to the lost arrow Patryk Stankiewicz accidentally shot his friend Wieslaw Galka in the eyeball (and brain), resulting in the loss of his eye, permanent brain damage, mobility problems, and psychiatric needs.

You can read details about the case in the court document PDFs found at:

The two men ignored the safety bylaws and presumably were each fined about $4000 CDN for reckless endangerment with a firearm.


#3. THE TEEN SHOT IN THE HEAD & SURVIVES

This particular incident happened in October 2013 in Piatt County California. According to the Sheriff's Report the incident was caused by multiple factors:

  • Archer fatigue
  • Bow not tuned properly
  • Lack of safety precautions

Not necessarily in that order.

The victim was a teenager (16-year-old Maci Webb) who was down range from where the archer was shooting (in the line of fire). She was sitting on the tailgate of a pickup truck at the time.

The archer, Andrew J. Dick (age 21) loaded his compound bow while other people were down range from him, which is a big safety no-no.

The bow was relatively brand new and had not yet been tuned properly yet, which means the arrow could go further to the left or right than the archer is expecting.

It is also noted that AJD was a new archer and had only been shooting two days, and he had shot roughly 80 arrows (approx. 16 rounds of 5 arrows per round), and thus was exhausted.

AJD then either drew back his loaded bow, while either intending to fire or perhaps just to pull it and let it back down slowly, when he misfired, his arrow flying down range and striking the unsuspecting teenager.

And this is why you never load a bow (especially not a compound bow) while other people are down range from you.

And you certainly don't pull back the bow in such a situation, because all it takes is a misfire for someone to get injured.

Such an incident also wouldn't have happened if the shooter had had archery lessons. Any competent archery instructor would have given him a safety lecture first, his compound bow would have been tuned second, and he would have known to follow safety etiquette when shooting, which includes things like:

"Don't load your bow when other people are in front of you."


So yes, another reason why you should get archery lessons.

For archery lessons in Toronto please contact me to discuss availability.


How do I make my own bow?

Q

"How do I make my own bow?"

 

A

One of my archery students during 2020 (one of the very few people I taught between COVID lockdowns) asked my advice on how to make his own archery equipment, specifically longbows.

My response was that he should try learning how to make flatbows first, because flatbows are easier to make than longbows (and many people confuse the two because they don't know the difference anyway).

Also because of the COVID restrictions and everything I suggested a number of books that would help him. I got bow making lessons years ago with a bowyer in Toronto, but because of COVID having in-person lessons isn't really a good idea right now.


Specifically...

The Traditional Bowyer's Bible, Volume I

The Traditional Bowyer's Bible, Volume II

The Traditional Bowyer's Bible, Volume III

The Traditional Bowyer's Bible, Volume IV

and

The Traditional Bowyers Encyclopedia


The 5th book, TBE, is really mostly about recurves, which are more tricky to make than flatbows and longbows. However that book is available from the Toronto Public Library, so good news, you don't need to purchase it if you're curious about reading that one.


There are also lots of videos on this subject, available via YouTube.

One of my favourites is Mick Grewcock's YouTube channel and videos like the following in which he makes an ash longbow in a day.


I should also note that it takes a lot of tools to make a longbow or flatbow. You really shouldn't be getting into bow making because you think it is a good way to "save money". You won't save any money. For someone just getting into bow making it is actually very expensive to buy all the tools you will need. It really only becomes economical when you are making multiple bows. At least 6.

Also don't expect your first bow to be particularly good. Expect it to be bad and break.

But then you keep trying and you get better at it.

As you progress at it you develop your craft and your skill improves. Your bows stop breaking so easily and your bows get progressively better.

I am reminded of a chart I found on social media...


And this is why people need archery lessons from a professional archery instructor.

For bow making it is basically the same chart. You are learning how to do something and you really should be expanding your knowledge on the subject. Hence why I recommend reading those books above. The books + bow making lessons from an experienced bowyer is arguably the best solution, but in lieu of that I recommend the books + watching YouTube videos made by experienced bowyers.

Admittedly Mick Grewcock doesn't consider himself to be an experienced bowyer. He thinks of himself as a beginner, but that is just his modesty showing through. His videos are also very well made, which certainly adds to the enjoyment factor when watching them.

Fix your Bicycle for Fun and Exercise (and Profit)

So bicycling is already an exercise, but so is fixing your bicycle. Or better yet, learn how to fix other people's bicycles and you can "exercise and get paid for it" on a regular basis.

Learning how to fix your own bicycle is certainly a good way to save money. Professional bicycle mechanics in Canada typically charge $60 per hour + the cost of parts.

See How much should a Canadian Bicycle Mechanic be charging for repairs?

So yes, you can definitely save money and get exercise while fixing bicycles.


But How Do You Learn How To Fix Bicycles?

Well, there are a number of methods of learning how to fix bicycles. Here is a list of ways:

  1. Take a bicycle mechanic training course from a professional bicycle mechanic instructor. The one I recommend is Smokey from the Quadra Bicycle Mechanic School. Smokey used to teach the BAM class in Toronto, but later moved his teaching to the island of Quadra in British Columbia. Before I became a personal trainer / sports trainer, my one time goal was to open a bicycle shop and become a full time bicycle mechanic. Smokey is the guy who trained me, and even though I never opened my bicycle shop, I still credit him with me changing my life around and starting my own personal training business.
  2. Learn from a book: The book I recommend is "Barnett's Bicycle Repair Manual". If you do a Google search you can probably find a PDF copy of it. Otherwise it usually costs about $29.99. I have a copy of the book that I got when I took the BAM program in 2009.
  3. Learn from a website: Eg. The Bicycle Mechanic, for example, is a website I started in 2009 around the time I took the BAM program here in Toronto. I was basically learning everything I could during the BAM class from Smokey, plus the Barnett manual, and converting the things I learned into a website that other people could read and use.
  4. Learn from various YouTube channels. There is no one YouTube channel I am going to recommend on this subject. Many of them are good. They range from celebrities like James May (from "The Grand Tour" and "Top Gear") doing bicycle builds and maintenance videos to people who are not famous, but are professional bicycle mechanics. I have included one such video from James May below in which he does some "boring bicycle maintenance".
  5. DO ALL OF THE ABOVE. Watch the videos on YouTube, read websites like The Bicycle Mechanic, get a copy of Barnett's manual, or take a bicycle mechanic training course. If you're absolutely serious about getting really good at fixing bicycles then just do everything.




And once you learn how to fix bicycles then you can potentially earn money (and get more exercise) while doing an activity you enjoy. (Well, it isn't always enjoyable. Sometimes it is hard, but anything that require exercise during the process usually means there is a work element to it.)

What about myself?

Speaking for myself I learned how to fix bicycles from my dad and my best friend Jonathan (who was practically a brother to me) when we were growing up. When I was older and serious about learning more about how to fix bicycles I took the BAM course, I got the Barnett manual, I made the website myself, and I have even considered making my own bicycle mechanic YouTube videos. With the exception of the bicycle mechanic training course from Smokey I did everything else myself.

Same thing goes years ago when I got more serious about making my own bows. I took a course from a bowyer here in Toronto and I purchased 5 books on the subject of bow making, so now I can make my own flatbows, pyramid bows, longbows and more.

If you really want to learn something then hire someone to teach you. It is the whole premise of my sports training business. I teach archery, boxing, swimming and ice skating. Skills that people really need an instructor for if they want to learn how to do it properly.

What should you do with broken or damaged arrows?

Q

"What should you do with broken or damaged arrows?"

 


A

Well, there are a number of options you can use them for.

#1. You can repair them and use them again as arrows.

Possibly even keep using the same arrows for years and years if you get good at repairing them.

You could potentially even take a broken aluminum arrow that has a wider shaft, cut the shaft into smaller pieces, and use them to make footed shaft arrows out of your carbon fibre arrows, thus making them more durable (and more accurate at short distances).

#2. You can throw them out / recycle them.

I personally find this to be very wasteful, even though you are recycling them. They would have to be completely useless in my opinion to do this.

Also it should be noted that because carbon fibre arrows are made from carbon fibre, well, they're not really recyclable... So you should probably try to find a different use for them. Aluminum and wooden arrows however are certainly recyclable.

#3. Gardening! 

I know multiple people who use their old broken arrows for gardening. Why gardening?

Because a wide variety of plants often need a pole for them to climb on. Peas for example, as well various other varieties of plants. Broken arrows can also be used for labels so you know which plant is which (sometimes it gets confusing when they look similar), and there are other creative options for how to use your broken arrows in your garden.

#4. Crafting!

Some people are just really creative and can use long straight hollow rods for a variety of things. You can glue the arrows together to make sculptures, items for your home, decorations (xmas, halloween?), and other things.

#5. Reuse them for something else!

This is borderline crafting, but not necessarily. You might only need to trim the broken arrow shafts to a desired length and then you can use it for a variety of things.

Eg. While gardening is one example of reusing the arrows, you could also potentially use them for fishing by making a fishing pole out of broken arrows. It wouldn't be a very fancy fishing pole, but all you really need is a pole, fishing line, a hook and bait for it to catch a fish. (A little luck helps too.)

Winter is arguably the best time of year to be doing any kind of crafting project, but with spring coming gardening will soon be an option too!

Bow String Brace Height

Q

"What is the best brace height for my bow?" 


A

It depends on the type of bow and the manufacturer. You should check the manufacturer's guidelines for the best brace height. If you cannot find the manufacturer's guidelines for the ideal brace height then you may need to experiment a bit.

Once you have the manufacturer's recommended distance then you just measure the distance between the lowest point in the handle to the bowstring. If it is too low you need to tighten the string by twisting it about 5 to 10. If the bow string is too high then you need to untwist it 5 or 10 times and check again. Keep repeating this process until you reach the optimal distance.

I personally use the "rule of thumb" method for recurve bows, and slightly less than that for longbows and flatbows. I am less worried about being exactly precise because I know the optimal brace height is really often a range within 1 to 2 inches of the rule of thumb method.

The important things to keep in mind are the physics involved...

The Physics of Brace Height

Too Long Bow String = Too Low Brace Height = Bow string de-accelerates, causing slower arrows, more arrow vibration, more bow vibration, sluggish accuracy.

Perfect String Length = Optimum Brace Height = Bow string accelerates fully, causing nice fast arrows, reduced vibrations, optimal accuracy.

Too Short Bow String = Too High Brace Height = Bow string doesn't accelerate fully, causing slower arrows, vibrations are still reduced, accuracy is down because arrow speed is slower.

Optimal > Too High > Too Low.

Thus it is better to be slightly too high than slightly too low, but ideally you want to get as close to the Optimal Brace Height as you can.

So if you cannot find the manufacturer's recommended brace height then it is better to try the "rule of thumb method" and experiment a bit.

If your bow string is hitting you in the wrist during shots then your brace height is definitely too low.

What is the rule of thumb method?

Holding the bow sideways with the string away from you place your hand on the lowest point on the bow's handle in the "thumbs up" position towards the bowstring. If your thumb is touching the bow string then the brace height is too low and is likely to hit you in the wrist.

You then unstring the bow, twist the bow string 10 times to make it tighter, and restring the bow.

You check the brace height again using the rule of thumb method and if it is still touching your thumb then you repeat the process.

Because people have different sizes of hands the optimal brace height may be roughly 1 or 2 inches above your thumb.

Notes

With longbows and flatbows expect the optimal brace height to be slightly lower than what is normal for recurves, so closer to your thumb or even touching your thumb.

If a bow string is brand new expect it to stretch a bit during the first hour of being used. You may need to stop and adjust the bow string's brace height 30 to 45 minutes a second time.

Why I Love Blunt Field Points and Wingnuts

When it comes to archery finding a really good target to shoot at is really important.

However what you can safely shoot at (depending upon the distance and other factors) can really vary significantly based upon the type of arrowhead you are using.

The standard metal blunt arrowhead, like those sold by 3riversarchery.com, I would argue are the most useful and beneficial because you can add a wingnut or a washer behind the arrowhead and make it so digs into the grass or dirt like an anchor.

Using a metal blunt with a wingnut means you can use a target ball like the Rinehart target ball, shown below, which is extremely durable and if used with blunt arrowheads will last a really long time. (I currently have two of these target balls and use them regularly during my archery lessons because they're very versatile with respect to both field archery and target archery.)

If you don't have a target ball you don't necessarily need to use blunts however.

You can also add wingnuts to pointed field points (like in the image below), allowing you to shoot at anything you don't mind damaging. Eg. Plastic water bottles raised upright on a broken arrow I find makes a great target.


 There are also other types of blunt arrowheads, like those shown below which have sharp edges and are meant for small game hunting. Don't use those on a target ball, but combined with wingnuts they work great for shooting at plastic bottles and similar targets which you don't mind damaging.

With respect to rubber blunt arrowheads you don't want to use those on a rubber target ball either. For some reason rubber bouncing against rubber BOUNCES LIKE CRAZY!

So yes. Definitely don't use rubber blunts on a rubber ball.

Using the blunt field points and wingnuts in combination also works well for:

  • Shooting in snow.
  • Long distance shooting.
  • Any time you are worried about possibly losing your arrow.

Do field points plus wingnuts still work? Yes, but then you need to use a target that you don't care if it gets damaged. So you don't get the versatility and durability of a target which is reliable when it comes to stopping your arrow. (When hitting a plastic bottle your arrow will often rip right through the plastic and the plastic can damage your fletches. By shooting at a rubber ball it STOPS the arrow and your fletching doesn't get damaged.

So really this is a matter of durability and longevity for your equipment.

Plus doing field archery shooting at a rubber ball is great practice for small game hunting and hunting in general. Also good practice if you want to enter a field archery competition.

Sign up for archery lessons in Toronto by emailing me at cardiotrek@gmail.com to learn more.


Off Season Training + Weightlifting

If you're like me the winter is your off season when it comes to sports training. In my case my primary sport is archery and during the winter I don't have many archery students and I am not doing personal practice as much either.

Plus with COVID going on it has put a damper on how many archery students I have had in the past year and how many people have currently signed up for archery lessons in 2021. (Many people seem to be delaying archery lessons until they have a better idea of what the COVID numbers will be.)

However that doesn't mean I just stop exercising when it comes to my personal fitness. I am a personal trainer/sports trainer after all, and I need to stay in shape too.

This is why I have a list of daily exercises that I do every day in order to stay in shape. They are:

 

DAILY EXERCISES
100 Jumping Jacks
100 Sit Ups
100 Push Ups
100 Chin Ups
100 Bicep Curls
100 Tricep Lifts
100 Shoulder Lifts

 

Now you may have noticed that it is a relatively short list, but trust me the size of the list doesn't compare to the amount of time required to do these exercises.

I chose these 7 exercises because they give a full body workout and require the bare minimum when it comes to equipment. All you really need is 1 chin up bar and 2 dumbbells.

I also recommend MUSIC while you are doing these exercises. It will help motivate you and keep you going even when the exercises start to feel boring.

The first 4 things on the list are all body weight exercises designed to target my legs, arms, abdominals, biceps and shoulders. Only the chin ups require the use of the chin up bar. The last three are weight lifting exercises using dumbbells.

They don't need to be heavy dumbbells. I am currently using a 20 lb dumbbell, but my goal is to work my way up to 25 lbs and eventually 30 lbs as I build my endurance and strength. If you're a beginner when it comes to weightlifting I recommend starting with 10 or 15 lbs. It is better to start with a low number and then build endurance + strength first, and then when you get to the higher poundages it will be easier and you won't lose your motivation so easily.

Doing 100 jumping jacks is arguably the easiest and fastest of all 7 exercises. Takes less than 2 minutes to do them if you can do the full 100 jumping jacks all at once.

Doing 100 sit ups is more difficult if you're out of shape and not used to doing sit ups. You may need to do 10, 20 or 50 at a time and then take breaks.

Same thing goes with doing 100 push ups and 100 chin ups. Don't be afraid to separate them into smaller numbers.

If you have difficulty doing push ups you can do Wall Push Ups instead. They're comparatively easier and less stressful and you can control how much effort is required by standing further or closer from the wall.

If you don't have a chin up bar handy (or are physically unable to do a single chin up currently) then you can just skip over that one for now and just focus on the other exercises.

Similarly the 100 bicep curls, the 100 tricep curls, and the 100 shoulder lifts may need to be broken up into 10 sets of 10 or 5 sets of 20. I currently do 5 sets of 20. Nobody is expecting you to do all 100 all at once.

What about a Personal Trainer or a Gym Membership?

Having a personal trainer doesn't really make a lot of sense right now during COVID. Neither does a gym membership.

Anyone who is clinging to their gym membership these days should just give up and focus on doing exercises at home or buy a bicycle. Or buy a canoe. Or buy other sporting equipment for use outdoors.

Myself I like the sound of buying a canoe or kayak.

So save your money. Don't bother getting a personal trainer or gym membership for now. Spend your money elsewhere.

Eg. Get yourself some archery lessons in Toronto when the COVID numbers go down and you feel more confident about doing such things. Until then stay home, exercise at home, buy a bicycle, and maybe consider a canoe to be a fun investment.

How to do Interval Training

With the above exercise it is possible to play with the order and do Interval Training instead of just doing everything in their stated order. Instead try doing the following:

20 Bicep Curls, 20 Jumping Jacks, 20 Shoulder Lifts, 20 Sit Ups, 20 Tricep Lifts, 20 Push Ups, 20 Chin Ups

And then repeat the same order 4 more times, for a total of 100 each.

Or come up with your own order or change how many you do per set. You could do 10 rounds of 10 sets. Whatever works for you.

The idea of Interval Training is to alternate between different kinds of exercises that are more intense and more relaxing, so that you keep your heart rate elevated, but still allow yourself breaks in between the more intense exercises. Thus if you find one type of exercise to be too intense you will want to change the order to suit your needs.

Most likely you will find the 20 Chin Ups to be the most challenging of the bunch so I recommend taking a break before attempting that one. Many people won't even be able to do 5 or 10 Chin Ups at once so don't be surprised if you cannot make it to 20. Just try your best and then move on to the next exercise.

Just because you failed today doesn't mean that someday you won't succeed.

Each time you try and fail is just another stepping block towards succeeding.


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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