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Hay Bale Archery Backstop


"How far in to a round bale would one of my arrows go when [shot] from the same kind of distance as we do in class?"

- Michelle H.



Hey Michelle!

It will vary upon the poundage of the bow, the weight of the arrow, how much damage the hay bale has previously suffered, etc. Some shots might only go in a few inches, others more so. If it has been shot repeatedly in the same location you will discover it goes a lot deeper.

I think you mentioned previously that you were planning on using the hay bales as a backstop, behind a target made of cardboard, plastic or foam? The hay bales should make a decent backstop, but you will probably still want to swap them out once per year as they will get rained on and start to smell/etc.

Some people even build a roof for their archery target so the hay doesn't get rained on as much.
Another thing to look into is a traditional straw archery target, like the kind used during the middle ages. They're inexpensive but last a long time because they're woven together like a rug.

Charles Moffat


What is Reverse Dieting? How do you do it to Maintain Weight?


"What is reverse dieting?"

"How do you use reverse dieting to maintain weight?"


Reverse Dieting
is all about weight maintenance.

The goal with Reverse Dieting is to reach a person's ideal weight and then maintain that weight. Often people will go on a diet, reach their desired weight, and then a few months or years later they regain the weight and feel bad about having regained the weight because they didn't know how to maintain their desired weight.

Reverse Dieting also assumes that a person is maintaining the same level of fitness during the time period, and thus the primary focus is on what they are eating.

There are a number of ways to do Reverse Dieting...

#1. Trial and Error

In this version you eat what you think you should be eating and focus on healthy foods while avoiding sugary foods and high carbs, but you check your weight daily to see if your weight has gone up or down and then keep track of your weight fluctuations to see whether you should be eating more or less.

Gained two pounds in the last week? Eat less. Lost two pounds in the opposite direction? Eat slightly more.

#2. Calorie Tracking

Another popular (and highly successful) way of doing Reverse Dieting is to track your calorie intake and over time determine how many calories you need per day (and/or per week) in order to maintain your ideal weight.

#3. Health Food Days and High Carb Days

This method is about trying to achieve a balance by simply determining which days you can eat healthy foods and which days you allow yourself to enjoy more carbs. I recommend starting with 6 healthy food days and 1 high carb day. Then check your weight every Monday for 3 weeks.

If your weight is still dropping raise the high carb days to 2 and the healthy food days go down to 5. Do that for 3 weeks and track your weight fluctuations every Monday. If it is still dropping then you need to be eating more, which could mean you should be eating more in general or you should add another high carbs day, raising the number to 3 high carbs days per week.

#4. Do all three at once! Or combinations of 2.

#5. Come up with your own system.


Is there a Right or Wrong way to do Reverse Dieting?

The trick to Reverse Dieting is that there is no Right or Wrong system. There is only the system of diet that works FOR YOU.

Tracking high carb days, tracking your weight and some trial and error is to be expected if you want to succeed at finding your ideal diet in order to maintain a specific weight. You have to determine what amount of food you need personally in order to achieve your ideal weight, and you don't fit into a cookie cutter mould of expectations, so you need to expect some trial and error with whatever method you end up using.

Plus you can expect life to throw you some curve balls, like whenever you get sick, when you get injured, and whenever you cannot exercise enough because it is winter or raining a lot outside. So whatever system you choose to use you need to add some flexibility within the system so you can adjust it to fit your personal needs at the time.

Eg. Going on vacation? Expect to be exercising more while on vacation, but also eating more. Even so you might find yourself coming back from vacation having lost or gained a few pounds.

Life is a balancing act. Roll with it.

3 Frequently Asked Archery Questions

Archery Questions

1. What poundage should I start with? I know that some bows are harder to pull back than others, which should I start with the easy ones or the hard ones?

2. Where can I get archery equipment?

3. Can I make my own bow?  I have seen some videos on YouTube and I would like to try it out.


1. You should start with a lower poundage.

If you're an adult I usually recommend people starting with either 20 to 25 lbs, depending upon their physical strength. You want to start with something easier so you can practice proper archery form - which is an ENDURANCE activity - and not being physically exhausted after only doing a few shots.

People who start with 30 lbs or more often do so out of ego (or lack of knowledge), but their form suffers from it because they are frequently shooting too quickly before they have adjusted their form properly. This develops into a bad habit of sloppy form and equates to sloppy accuracy.

What you want to do instead is to think of your bow(s) like dumbbells. You start off with the some lower weight dumbbells and build your endurance/strength, and then as you get stronger you start getting some heavier dumbbells.

You want to use that same philosophy with your bows. You start with an easier 20 or 25 lb bow and then progressively get stronger bows. So if you start with a 25 lb bow then your second bow might be 30 lbs, your 3rd bow might be 40 lbs, etc.

Also when buying a beginner bow I recommend getting a 3-piece bow where the limbs can be removed and swapped out. This way you can start with 25 lb limbs and when you want to go to a higher poundage then you just buy extra 30 lb limbs.

This then gives you the option of switching to harder or easier limbs when you go to the archery range as you might have 2 or 3 different sets of limbs to choose from.

"What limbs do I want to use today?"

2. There are archery specific stores you can go to, or you can try hunting/fishing stores that also sell archery equipment (although they might have a limited selection and only sell compound bows or crossbows). has a list of recommended stores in the GTA and southern Ontario which you can look into at

With respect to specific brands and models I usually recommend the Samick Sage. It is an affordable bow, usually costing $150 to $180 CDN, it isn't bad to look at, and it offers everything that a beginner archer will want in their first bow.

3. Yes, tt is certainly possible to make your own bow, although I recommend using a simpler design when trying to make your first bow.

Eg. A flatbow made out of oak, ash or hickory may be the easiest thing to make and a good thing to try when making your first bow.

Think of it like a progression, a learning process. Make something simple for your first bow.

A normal flatbow is a very good way to start off.

A pyramid bow is a bit more complicated, but the handle looks more interesting.

And there are other more complicated bow designs that you can look into, but I recommend practicing making flatbows and pyramid bows first.

I also recommend getting a book:

"The Traditional Bowyer's Bible, Volume One"

Technically there are four volumes of this book series, but the first book is the most important book that anyone who wants to do bow making should definitely read. So if you read the first book, especially the section on bow design, and you make several bows and decide you want to learn more then you can look into buying books II, III and IV.

In my case I also went a step further than just buying the books. Years ago I also invested in getting bow making lessons from a local bowyer here in Toronto, which is certainly more expensive than just buying some books and doing it yourself, but for me I felt it was important to see what other bowyers were doing in their workshops so I could perhaps learn some tips and tricks to bow making that I wouldn't necessarily learn from a book or from a YouTube channel.

I also habitually watch woodworking episodes of "The Woodwright's Shop" from PBS, which isn't about bow making, but certainly informative in other ways. Many of those episodes are now available via YouTube.

There are lots of YouTube channels out there on making bows too. One of my favourites is Mick Grewcock from the UK. I find his videos very relaxing and enjoyable, and there is a lot of quality effort put into his videos.

Below I have included a video from Mick Grewcock's YouTube channel in which he makes an ash flatbow in a day.

Do you need a personal trainer to learn how to do the splits?


 "Hi...are you still available to provide split training? I am seeking for a trainer to help me achieve the splits."

 - Kamal B.




Hello Kamal!

I presume your email is in response to my 2013 post titled "How to do the Splits".

However I am sorry to disappoint you, I am not available to do such training right now (due to COVID), but also you don't really need a personal trainer to train yourself how to do the splits. All you really need to do is to be doing the Three Exercises listed on that page daily.

1. Each Butterfly Stretch takes 5 to 10 seconds to do and you're supposed to do 10 of them. If you take a short break between each stretch you should be able to complete 10 of them in about 5 minutes.

2. Knees and Leg Stretches take 30 to 60 seconds each and you want to do 5 for each leg, so 10 total. You shouldn't really need a break between the stretches, but if you are taking short breaks then it will take about 5 to 15 minutes to do all 10 stretches. So on average about 10 minutes.

3. The Standing Leg Stretches take 10 seconds each and you want to do 10 for each leg, so 20 total. With short breaks you should be able to do 20 stretches in about 7 minutes.

The 4th activity of course is attempting to do the splits, but I don't recommend even trying this until week 3 or 4 of consistently doing the stretches.

Now if you've been doing some math you will have noticed it only takes about 22 minutes per day to do the stretches. Thus you don't really need a personal trainer to watch you do the stretches and my minimum pay rate is for 1 hour of my time, so you'd be paying for the full hour and you'd have to do some other kind of exercises for the other 38 minutes. I would be really bored watching the stretches however as you don't really need me (or any other trainer) to help you do these particular exercises.

Many people are able to successfully do the splits after 30 days of doing the stretches, but obviously "mileage may vary" with this depending upon the person's commitment to remembering to do the stretches every day and their personal level of fitness / flexibility before they started doing the stretches.

I wish you luck in your journey and hope you will make the stretches part of your daily routine so you can eventually reach your goal.

Charles Moffat

The Three Main Types of Personal Trainers

There are three main types of personal trainers out there, and they can basically be organized on a triangular chart between the three styles of instructing.

1. The Exercise Buddy Personal Trainer

This type of personal trainer typically does the exercises with you. You are basically paying them just to do the exercises with you, but you're also paying them to help motivate you to exercise more.

Some clients prefer this style of personal trainer because they like the exercise buddy experience. It is more informal and friendly.

However to save money you could literally just find a real exercise buddy who has a similar schedule to you. Or several exercise buddies. Or find a group of people who like exercising together (outdoors usually).

2. The Drill Instructor Personal Trainer

Some people like having someone boss them around and tell them what to do. This doesn't necessarily mean they are shouting at you and ordering you about like a real drill instructor, but the concept is basically someone who tells you what to do (although not necessarily how to do it, see #3 below on how to do it).

Not everyone is into being bossed around all of the time, but every personal trainer has to do this at least a little bit because it is part of the whole teacher-student role to sometimes be telling people what they need to be doing.

3. The Form Oriented Personal Trainer

This type of personal trainer is focused on making sure you do the exercises correctly and is watching you to make sure you do them properly. They are also sometimes demonstrating how to do the exercises properly so you get a better idea of how to do it.

The Form Oriented instructor is really focused on teaching you the proper "how to" of each exercise, often for safety reasons so you don't hurt yourself, but also for efficiency reasons so you are getting the most out of the exercise instead of developing a sloppy form that is both inefficient, but also unsafe.

There are also legal reasons why personal trainers should focus on form and safety.

I recall years ago hearing about a "celebrity personal trainer" in the USA who was more in the drill instructor variety of personal trainer with respect to weightlifting, but she pushed her client too far physically and he ended up complaining about pain in his arms. She told him to "man up" and "no pain no gain", etc. He ended up tearing the ligaments in his arms and ended up with permanent damage to his arms, and consequently suing the personal trainer for negligence. It was wrong for her to be pushing her client so hard like that and to be ignoring safety issues. Nor are such lawsuits uncommon. Just do a search for personal trainer negligence lawsuit and you will find that a lot of personal trainers are failing to do their due diligence when it comes to safety issues with respect to form.

What about Me?

As an archery instructor (and boxing instructor, swimming instructor, and ice skating instructor) all of the sports that I teach are form oriented. Archery is extremely form oriented, but the other sports place a lot of emphasis on form too.

If I had to choose therefore I would say I am closer to being a Form Oriented instructor than the other two. Yes, I am still demonstrating things to my students, but I am certainly not the exercise buddy who is doing the exercise next to them. I spend most of my time watching the student do the tasks set for them and then correcting their mistakes. Likewise I do have to boss my students around regularly, but I also sometimes give the student the option to choose what we are doing on a particular day.

Eg. Let's say a student signs up for 10 archery lessons. The first five lessons I have a lesson plan for, but the the final 5 lessons are more dependent upon what the student wants to learn and what the student is more interested in learning. Thus I take cues from the student and customize the lessons to their needs.

I am probably somewhere in the middle, closer to average, when compared to most personal trainers, but with a stronger emphasis on the form oriented issues.

I firmly believe in the whole "safety first" mantra with respect to exercising and sports.

Take swimming for example. People need to learn how to swim in the shallow end of the pool before you toss them into the deep end of the pool and expect them to learn how to tread water. If a swimming instructor forced a swimming student into the deep end of the pool, told them to tread water, and then the student drowns I would fully expect the personal trainer to be found guilty of negligence and manslaughter. Not just sued. Imprisoned.

The "safety first" mantra never hurt anyone. But a lot of people have no doubt been hurt or died historically because they ignored safety concerns.

Looking to sign up for archery lessons, boxing lessons, swimming lessons, ice skating lessons or personal training sessions? Start by emailing and lets talk fitness!

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