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Showing posts with label 10 Exercise Tricks. Show all posts
Showing posts with label 10 Exercise Tricks. Show all posts

10 Exercise Tricks for Losing Weight

Here are ten exercise tricks that can be helpful for losing weight:
  1. High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT): Incorporate HIIT workouts into your routine. These involve short bursts of intense exercise followed by brief recovery periods. HIIT helps burn calories and boosts your metabolism.

  2. Compound Exercises: Focus on compound exercises that engage multiple muscle groups simultaneously, such as squats, lunges, push-ups, and burpees. These exercises maximize calorie burn and promote overall strength.

  3. Strength Training: Include strength training exercises in your routine. Building lean muscle mass increases your resting metabolism, helping you burn more calories throughout the day.

  4. Cardiovascular Exercises: Incorporate cardio exercises like running, cycling, swimming, or brisk walking into your routine. They elevate your heart rate, improve endurance, and aid in weight loss.

  5. Circuit Training: Perform a series of exercises with little or no rest in between. This keeps your heart rate elevated, burns calories, and enhances both strength and cardiovascular fitness.

  6. Active Rest Periods: During strength training sessions, use active rest periods instead of complete rest. For example, perform jumping jacks or jog in place. It helps maintain your heart rate and calorie burn.

  7. Incorporate Plyometrics: Include plyometric exercises like box jumps, squat jumps, and burpees. These explosive movements engage multiple muscle groups, increase calorie expenditure, and improve overall fitness.

  8. Stair Climbing: Use stairs whenever possible instead of elevators or escalators. Climbing stairs is an excellent cardiovascular exercise that tones your lower body and burns calories.

  9. Increase Non-Exercise Activity: Increase your overall daily activity level by incorporating more movement into your day. Take the stairs, walk or bike for short trips, stand instead of sitting whenever feasible, and find opportunities to be active throughout the day.

  10. Active Hobbies: Engage in activities that you enjoy and that require movement, such as dancing, hiking, swimming, or playing a sport. These activities are both fun and effective for weight loss.

Hot Tip: Do several of the above activities so you don't get bored doing the same thing all the time. Especially if you want to lose weight faster, you might want to divide up your day so you might be doing 15 to 30 minutes of cardio in the morning, 15 to 30 minutes of HIIT in the afternoon, and 15 to 30 minutes of strength training in the evening.

Remember, while exercise is essential for weight loss, it should be combined with a balanced diet and a healthy lifestyle for optimal results. Consult with a healthcare professional before starting any new exercise program, particularly if you have any underlying health conditions.

10 Ways to Improve your Cardio Workouts

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

#2. Stop drinking sports drinks during workouts.

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

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

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

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

#3. Alternate between strength and speed and endurance.

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

  • Strength
  • Speed
  • Endurance

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

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

Then you switch back to sprinting.

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

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

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

#4. Exercise on a near empty stomach.

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

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

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

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

#5. Eat after a workout.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

#8. Mix body-weight exercises with cardio.

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

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

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

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

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

#10. Fight the urge to stop.

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

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

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

Happy Exercising!

Pokémon Go as a Workout Plan - How to get the Most Exercise and the Most Pokémon

First, what is Pokémon Go?

Pokémon Go is a free-to-play location-based augmented reality mobile game that works on both Apple and Android devices (smart phones and tablets). The game uses real world exploration to collect Pokémon in the game, and later to battle Pokémon against each other.

Note - The game has become intensely popular, as the Pokémon Go craze has swept the USA and Canada. For some people it is now more popular than Facebook. It isn't just for kids either. Many adults, usually between 20 to 40, are now playing the game. But that doesn't mean that elderly people cannot get into it too, and are doing so - partially for the fitness benefits.

The goal of the game is to physically get the player to go from location to location, collecting Pokéballs, Pokémon, and other objects within the game. This means that people are walking, jogging, running, cycling, etc to get from location to location as part of the goals of playing the game.

Pokéstops are real world locations, varying from park benches dedicated to people, statues, museums, art galleries, historic sites, etc. At each Pokéstop a person visits they can then slide the icon sideways so it spins and they then get free Pokéballs and other stuff that are useful for playing the game.

Being close to Pokéstops also means that you are also in a great place to catch random Pokémon. They will randomly appear on the screen, usually with your phone vibrating or making a beeping noise to alert you that there is a random Pokémon nearby. Click on the Pokémon and you can attempt to catch it by throwing Pokéballs at it. (Which feels a bit like basketball, but once you get the hang of it throwing the balls and catching them is pretty easy. The only trick is if you miss, that Pokéball is gone and you can run out of Pokéballs very easily if you are struggling to get good accuracy with your throw.)

Pokégyms are unlike real gyms, in the sense that you don't normally fight people at gyms. When you visit one you can try to defeat the current defender(s) of the gym which works a bit like the old "King of the Castle" game you might have played when you were a kid. You fight your strongest Pokémon against whichever Pokémon are guarding the gym. If you manage to defeat all of the Pokémon guarding a gym, then you capture that gym and you can leave a Pokémon there to guard it. You will get your Pokémon back after they are later eventually defeated.

Pokémon Go's Augmented Reality

So why is Pokémon Go good for Fitness?

This game has been surprisingly good at getting people outside exercising when they would normally be indoors watching TV or fooling around on the internet. It is arguably a Competitive Sport.

The more you exercise, the more Pokémon you get, the more powerful those Pokémon become, the better they do in battles, etc. Thus it is a surprisingly powerful and easy way to motivate people to go outside and exercise.

That motivation factor is one of the biggest reasons why some people succeed at losing weight and others fail in their attempt. A game which helps motivate people to go for walks outdoors certainly scores points on the motivation factor, even if it does seem childish.

Now it is possible to gain various things within the game, like Pokéballs, just by paying for them. However even if you pay for the Pokéballs you still need to go outside and walk around to find and catch Pokémon - as they are rarely going to be on your doorstep. Thus while some people might choose to spend money in an effort to reduce how much exercise they have to do to play the game, they still need to exercise a fair bit just to find Pokémon.

Furthermore you cannot cheat during this game. While it is possible to catch a few Pokémon while in a car or on a bus, most of the time the speed of the vehicle will cause you to miss things, such as Pokémon and Pokéstops that are too far away by the time GPS catches up to the speed of the vehicle you are in. Thus the ideal speeds to be going is somewhere between walking and bicycling.

What I find fascinating is that this game has done what no sport has done before - get millions of people to suddenly go outside and exercise, with little more motivation than the attempt to find fictional non-existent pocket monsters who only exist within the game. You don't really get much out of the game beyond the fun of catching them, and the journey of catching them becomes the really fun part instead - in other words, walking around and exploring becomes the real challenge and the whole point of the game. The journey becomes both the means and the end goal.

10 Ways to Lose Weight using Pokémon Go

1. Family Fitness - Take the whole family with you and you can all play the game together as you explore. Friends who are also into the game means more people to talk to while you explore, so it becomes a social activity for everyone involved.

2. Jogging - Get from Pokéstop to Pokéstop faster by jogging. Dress for the occasion and take water with you! (Or plan your route so it goes by libraries with free water fountains.)

3. Cycling - Get there even faster on a bicycle. See more Pokéstops and catch more Pokémon in less time. Many bicycle trails will also have various Pokéstops along the way too.

Map of Pokémon locations in downtown Toronto
4. Walking - Take the easy way and just walk it. Very relaxing. In Toronto a simple walk around the downtown area will garner you quite a few Pokémon. See map on right.

5. Hiking - Hilly parklands can sometimes have lots of Pokémon. In the last two days I have visited two parks in Toronto and came away feeling invigorated from walking and exploring, and catching quite a few Pokémon.

6. Focus on Cardio - Don't be afraid to alter your speed now and then. Rotate between walking and jogging between Pokéstops the same way people do using HIIT (high intensity interval training). This way you get to enjoy the best of both worlds between walking and jogging, getting more Pokémon faster, but with breaks that allow you to take it easy once in awhile.

7. Stay Safe - Don't take silly risks. Pay attention to where you are going, what is around you, avoid cliffs or steep ledges, take the long way around, avoid dangerous shortcuts, and take your time. Also you don't need to look at your phone the whole time. You can ignore it while you walk from location to location.

8. Go to the Beach - If you want to swim, then do it safely. All of the Pokémon will be on the shore however as they usually dot places of importance, historical or otherwise. Many water-based Pokémon can be found near lakes, rivers, and ponds - and Toronto has plenty of rivers and water features to check out.

9. Rollerblading - Again, watch where you are going and be careful. Rollerblading will let you get from place to place faster, which saves on battery life - and you get to capture more Pokémon faster.

10. Skateboarding - Not for everyone, but still a decently fun way to get around Toronto.

Note - Fans of the Pokémon TV show will also note that one of the main characters also used a skateboard frequently to get around.

Ten Ways to Lose Weight while Running Errands

Don't have time? Make time.
Hey Toronto! Want to lose weight and get in some extra cardio?

Step #1. Starting from your home, jog to the following locations which are near your home and using a watch or the time on your cellphone to calculate the time it takes to jog to each location. Make sure you have an adequate rest break and a small drink between each jog.
  • Library
  • Post Office
  • Grocery Store
  • Convenience Store
  • LCBO / Beer Store
  • Drug Store / Pharmacist
  • Dollar Store eg. Dollarama
You might also add other things to your list, depending on where you live and how close you are to the following:
  • YMCA / Gym
  • Tennis Courts
  • Hockey Arena
  • Dentist Office
  • Doctors Office
  • Swimming Pool
  • Subway Entrance
  • Baseball Diamond
  • Dog Walking Park
  • Stores like: Canadian Tire, Staples, Home Depot, etc.

Step #2. Next type out the list of the approx. jogging times of each location, print it out and keep the list close to wherever you keep your shoes. So for example, I keep my shoes and boots in the foyer, so the list would be going there. For fun you might even decide to frame the list using an old picture frame you have (or buy a cheap one at the local dollar store).

This way every time you put on your shoes to go do an errand you will see the reminder that the library is only a 3 minute jog away. Or that the subway entrance is only 9 minutes. Or that the grocery store is 5 minutes.

Step #3. Every time you run an errand, look at the list and then make the decision to jog there instead. Or walk if you are carrying something heavy. It isn't that far, you've jogged it before when you made the list.

Step #4. Over time as you jog more regularly you will become faster and your endurance will skyrocket. You will be able to go jogging and barely break a sweat. You will be faster at it. When you start noticing that you have become faster, make a note of it by writing the date in the corner of the list. Within one week of that date, do Step #5.

Step #5. Jog to all the locations from your initial list and record the times again. Check to see if you have gotten faster at jogging to any of those locations. Make note of all the new times in minutes, rounding down.

Step #6. Add several new locations you can jog to on to your list. Locations that are further away that perhaps you don't often go to, but places you feel that are close enough now that you are faster and have more endurance that perhaps you could and should start jogging to those locations too.

Step #7. Repeat Steps #2, #3 and #4. Repeat Steps #5 and #6 maybe once per month to see how you have progressed.

Step #8. Once you feel confident about your jogging skills, make a new list that is specifically for wherever you work. Determine how close certain stores for coffee, tea, office supplies, drug stores, food, etc are to your workplace in terms of jogging distance. Or perhaps calculate the walking distance or "brisk walking" distance if you want to avoid jogging in your work clothing.

Step #9. Repeat Steps #2, #3 and #4, but this time for your workplace. Put the list on your desk in some place prominent so other co-workers will see the list and realize that they too are only a "3 minute brisk walk from the gourmet tea shop". This way you are doing the extra walking, but you are also promoting your co-workers to try out these steps too.

Try making a list of travel times for your bicycle.
Step #10. Some day you will feel very confident about your skills and say "Hey, its time to run some errands!" Except instead of jogging you will literally run and sprint those errands, and you will feel great doing it.

Bonus Tip - Make a separate list for bicycle times and distances. This way you will be motivated to get out your bicycle more often.

"If you do something gradually and get better at it gradually, before you know it you will be doing something amazing."

"Everything worth doing is worth trying."

10 Exercise Tricks for Joggers and Would-Be Joggers

Jogging daily is arguably one of the best exercises people can do to lose weight and build endurance. However jogging is also incredibly boring, and many people also assume that there isn't a lot to know about jogging... and thus end up doing it wrong because they don't know any better!

#1. Get the right running shoes! You cannot go jogging in just any old shoes. You need shoes that are both comfortable, have good grip on both grass and pavement, and it should fit you properly. Failure to do these things could lead to foot aches and sports injuries.

#2. Jogging is not running or sprinting. One of the first mistakes beginner joggers do is that they run too fast - or more precisely, they are running when they should be jogging. You are not going for a run. You are going for a jog. You need to learn how to pace yourself. If you are out of breath, you are going too fast. In theory you should be able to jog and talk at the same time. If you are running, you are breathing too hard to be able to talk. If you cannot past the "talk test" then you are going too fast.

#3. Upper body form! Move your arms while you are jogging. This may sound like a no-brainer, but many beginners don't know the basics apparently. Try to keep your hands at waist level, right about where they might lightly brush your hip. Your arms should be at a 90 degree angle, with your elbows at your sides. Keep your posture straight and erect. Your head should be up, your back straight, and shoulders level.

#4. If you are having difficulty pacing yourself (#3 above) then try a run / walk approach. Run until you are breathing heavily, then walk, run until you are breathing heavily, then walk, repeat. Eventually you will get an idea of how fast to go when you are "just jogging" and then you can focus on that.

#5. Avoid over doing it in the beginning. Many beginners like to overdo things, so here is a quick tip: Jog until you feel distracted by wanting to do something else. This works well because it means your jogging forays will be kept short in the beginning and as you progress and build endurance, then you can switch to a tactic of "jog until you reach a goal" (see #7 below).

#6. Remember to hydrate. An easy way to do this is to construct a jogging route that takes you by a library that has public water fountains. eg. Jog to the library, get a drink, jog back home. Easy. Alternatively carry a water bottle with you - however I personally find it annoying having to carry things while jogging. I don't even like carrying my keys with me while I jog because they jingle too much.

#7. Jog until you reach a goal. If your goal is to jog around the block three times, then jog around the block three times. Easy. Done? Go drink some water. Reaching a goal is a good start, but you should keep it small in the beginning and then slowly increase the amount you jog.

For example jogging around the block once on the 1st week and then twice on the 2nd week and then three times on the 3rd week, that is too much too fast. When increasing distances traveled you should only be increasing by approx. 1% per day. So for example if you jogged 6 days last week, you could increase the distance jogged this week by 6%. If you only jogged twice last week, you should only increase the distance by 2%. Increasing the distance by 10% or more each week will just cause you to become burned out. The amount needs to be very gradual so that your body has time to adjust. Thus when setting new goals you should actually take the time to measure the distances (even if it is just a crude measurement) and figure out how much is "1%".

An easy way to do this is to measure by time jogging, not by distance traveled. So for example if you go jogging for 10 minutes the first week and jog 5 times that week, then the next week you should add 5% to your time - an extra 30 seconds. This may not seem like much in the beginning, but this compounds over time.

10 minutes
10 minutes, 30 seconds
11 minutes, 1 seconds
11 minutes, 33 seconds
12 minutes, 5 seconds
12 minutes, 45 seconds
13 minutes, 25 seconds
14 minutes, 3 seconds

So in 8 weeks you've already increased the time traveled by over 40%. By week 52 you are jogging for 2 hours (and 24 seconds) five days a week. That might actually be too much, so you should set a long term goal of maybe 30 or 60 minutes.

#8. Use both your nose and your mouth to breathe. Nothing wrong with using both. Breathing only through your nose means less oxygen going to your muscles, and this is a time when you want MORE OXYGEN! So breathe in as much as possible.

#9. If you get Side Stitches remember to take Deep Belly Breaths. A side stitch is a sharp, intense pain under the lower edge of the ribcage, more often on the left side. They're common in beginner runners who tend to breathe more quickly and shallow. Proper breathing and a reasonable pace can prevent Side Stitches from happening. Eating too much sugar or drinking high-sugar beverages before exercise increases the likelihood of Side Stitches.

#10. Mix it up once in awhile. Doing only jogging should not be your goal. Mix jogging together with other activities like hiking, rock climbing, going to the gym, socializing with friends, going to a yoga studio, doing body-weight exercises at a public park, etc.

For example if the above mentioned library is next to a park, you could jog to the library, get a drink, go do some body-weight exercises in the park, and then get another drink, and then jog home.

10 Weightlifting Tips for Archers - Part Two!

Today I updated an older post titled 10 Weightlifting Tips for Archers and decided it might be time to make a sequel to that post.

So here it is! 10 MORE Weightlifting Tips for Archers!

#1. Proper Weightlifting Shoes, AKA Flats

What you might not know is that the shoe industry makes specific styles of shoes for weightlifters that allow them to build muscle faster when doing specific exercises. Indeed there is a bit of an argument within the weightlifting community as to which is better: Flats or Raised Heels.

Basically all you need to know is that there are pros and cons to both flats and raised heel shoes for weightlifters. All weightlifting shoes (regardless of whether they are flat or raised heel) are designed to have better traction to avoid slippage, a hard sole, and a snug fit. Where the two schools of thought differ is what activities the shoes are being used for:

Raised Heels are better for front squats, back squats, and Olympic style lifts and squats.

Flats are better for deadlifts, barbell rolls, wide stance squats, and basically everything else.

I should note also that for archery purposes, flats are best. If you are curious about why flats are best I recommend reading Steve Ruis' blog post on the topic of Leaning In, during which he rightly bashes crosstrainers (which I despise) and extolls the benefits of wearing flats.

#2. Learn Proper Form

The principle of learning proper form applies in weightlifting just like it does in archery. Whatever exercise you are doing please learn the proper way to safely do that exercise because: A. It builds muscle faster and B. It prevents injuries.

For example lets say you are doing a Back Dumbbell Row (an exercise which targets your rhomoids, deltoids and triceps) you need to be doing it properly.

To do a Back Dumbbell Row start by kneeling down on an exercise ball (or sofa or chair or bench) with the opposing arm holding onto a dumbbell. Slowly bring the dumbbell upwards to your chest keeping your elbow tight as possible into your body. Slowly bring the weight back down to the starting position.

A good starting weight to use for this exercise is 15 lbs.

#3. Learn Many Different Exercises

Don't limit yourself to just 1 to 3 exercises. Research new exercises and learn how to do them properly too. For example learn other versions of exercises that are similar, like the Front Dumbbell Row shown below:

Other exercises archers should try include:

Chin Ups or Reverse Grip Chin Ups
Close Grip Pulldowns
Dumbbell Bent Over Row
Exercise Band Standing Back Row
Lat Pulldown
One Arm Row
Power Clean / Hang Clean
Seated Row
Standing Row
Straight Arm Pulldowns
T-Bar Rows

#4. Invest in Quality Equipment that is Versatile

Just like you do with archery, invest in equipment you can use and keep using because of their versatility. Dumbbells for example are very versatile and can be used for hundreds of different exercises. Exercise balls in contrast are comparatively limited in terms of the number of things they can be used for and arguably are completely unnecessary when a chair, stool, pillow or other device could be substituted. Spend your money wisely on versatile equipment.

Also avoid buying cheap junk that breaks easily. Exercise balls can get punctured, a dumbbell in contrast is very difficult to break.

#5. Even Things Out

Don't just exercise the one body part like Homer Simpson did in that one episode. Work both sides of your body evenly. For archery purposes you might think you can get away with only exercising the one side, but trust me, you actually need both.

#6. Skip Anything Too Good To Be True

If a weightlifting gadget or supplement sounds like it is too good to be true, then it is. Don't waste your time or money on gadgets or supplements making ridiculous claims. The companies selling such products make their livings by selling to gullible suckers. Don't be a sucker.

#7. Supplements Only Help If Used Properly

Whey protein and Creatine supplements will help you to build muscle faster, but only if you are using them properly in the correct proportions for the amount of exercise you are actually getting. If you are only exercising for tiny amounts and then gorging yourself on whey protein, you are not going to get all the benefits you were dreaming of. Eat healthy, use minimal amounts of supplements, don't overdo it.

#8. Safety = Use Common Sense

You know the saying "Common sense is very uncommon." ? Well if it seems like a bad idea, then you probably should NOT do it. A lot of weightlifting accidents happen when people try to lift things that are way beyond their ability to lift and properly control.

The same thing goes in archery, as you should already be aware. Don't try to pull a bow you know you can't handle and hold steady properly.

#9. Get a Spotter

Honestly, having someone watch what you are doing is incredibly important for safety - especially with the heavy weights. If you drop it, cannot handle it, you could potentially hurt yourself or even kill yourself by accident.

#10. Try Bodyweight Exercises like Yoga or Gymnastics

Many different kinds of exercises utilize bodyweight instead of using dumbbells, barbells, etc. Yoga for example is very effective for using your bodyweight to give you the physical challenge of lifting your own body. Gymnastic exercises are also good for building the necessary strength.

10 Exercises to do with your Pets this Summer in Toronto

#1. Take your dog jogging!

#2. Take your dog to the beach - go swimming and play frisbee!

#3. Doggie Weightlifting - this is you lifting your dog up in an affectionate manner and rubbing their belly, then setting them back down, and repeat. You dog will think it is a game.

#4. Take your dog cycling in High Park.

#5. Join a Meetup Group for people who enjoy dog-related activities. Learn more by browsing the different meetup groups for Toronto dog owners.

#6. Competitive Dog Jogging. (Yes, that is a real thing.)

#7. Mountain Hiking with your Dog.

#8. Canoeing or Kayaking with your Dog. (Get your dog a special canine life jacket.)

#9. Dog and Owner Hurdles.

#10. Play a Classic Game of Fetch with your Dog. (Even more fun with water.)


Dog Yoga in the Park

10 More Ways to Trick Yourself into Burning Extra Calories

One of the most popular posts I have done in the past is 10 Ways to Trick Yourself into Burning Extra Calories, which has apparently gone viral. So it is past time I expanded the list by adding more!

To summarize the 10 Tricks are:

Drinking Cold Water
Swing Your Arms When Walking
Listen To Music While Exercising
Lift More When Weightlifting
Break Up Your Sets of Exercises
Head Outside
Crank Up The Incline When Jogging, Walking or Running
Log 12 Minutes of Exercise Every Day
Cut Your Workouts in Half, One in the Morning and One in the Afternoon
Warm Up by Jogging in Place

Such a simple list, but simplicity is beautiful.

I think that is why that particular post is so popular. It is full of simple and easy tricks to make yourself burn extra calories.

In keeping with that I have kept the 10 New Tricks to Burn Extra Calories simple and easy to do.

#1. Add Jumping into your Routine - Whether you are jogging, swimming or weight training, adding jumps to your exercise routine boosts your energy output - and burns more calories in brief bursts of motion. Thus jumping rope, jumping over puddles while jogging, or even just adding a little jump into your dance routine this can boost your calorie burn.

#2. Stairs - If jogging gets boring, try running up and down stairs instead. The dramatically steeper incline burns extra calories than jogging up a hill or over a flat surface. Want a bigger challenge? Carry a weighted backpack while going up and down the stairs.

#3. Add Balancing to your Exercises - Standing on one foot while doing bicep curls is harder than doing bicep curls by itself. It forces your legs to do work while your upper body is working too. Remember to alternate legs evenly.

#4. Combine Different Exercises into One Exercise - For example when doing yoga, hold small kettlebells or dumbbells in your hands while performing the exercises. The weight doesn't have to be a lot, but you are basically combining yoga and weightlifting simultaneously into "Weight Yoga".

Note - Obviously for safety reasons you should not mix two exercises that sound dangerous into 1 exercise. eg. Weight lifting while rock climbing = dangerous. Use good judgment.

#5. Alternate Two Different Exercises - Jog Two Minutes, Lift Weights Two Minutes, Jog Two Minutes, Lift Weight Two Minutes. Keep alternating back and forth between an upper body exercise and a lower body exercise and it boosts your strength and endurance.

#6. Keep Moving While Watching TV - Clap for funny things (even though they cannot hear you), tap your feet during music, get up and dance when excited, stay standing or walk around while watching, clean your living room, etc. Basically if you stay active while 'relaxing' you will burn way more calories than simply sitting and watching.

#7. Jog across the Street - When out shopping or doing errands you will sometimes need to walk across the street. Instead of casually walking across, jog across. Only takes 5 to 10 seconds to do, depending on the width of the street, but if you make a habit of it you are burning extra calories.

#8. Don't Go Home until you are Tired - So for example if you are outside walking the dog, if you are not tired of walking the dog (and don't have any pressing business at home) then just keep walking the dog until either you or the dog is tired and wants to go home. This also means you can take the long way home, you can visit places along the way, you can take the hilly route, you can walk by the beach on the way.

#9. Put on Music and Dance while Cooking - It helps you build an appetite (a good appetite is good for digestion, and good digestion means you use more energy and store less of it). Plus the physical act of dancing burns calories.

#10. Make Excuses to Clean + Clean It NOW - Find reasons why you need to clean (eg. company is coming over), schedule time to clean, and if something is dirty and know it is dirty you should probably clean it NOW instead of doing later. Put on some music, watch a TV show while you clean, steam some veggies while you clean. Cleaning your home burns calories, and while it is just going to get dirty again later the good news is that a lack of clutter improves the Feng Shui of your home - and good Feng Shui creates a mental mood in the inhabitants that makes them want to exercise and be more active.


Get rid of your drapes and blinds. Let in more sunlight to your home and the extra Vitamin D in your body helps to burn more calories. Plus the sunlight and sight of the great outdoors will encourage you to go outside and exercise more.

Want more tricks for how to burn extra calories? Leave some comments, show your support, subscribe and I will do my best to add more in the future. :)

10 Weightlifting Tips for Archers

Weightlifting is a great tool for people who take their archery skills seriously and want to get an edge on the competition. (I also strongly recommend Yoga for improving balance and core muscles, and Meditation for improving your mental approach.)

Physical Strength is all important when it comes to the physical ability to string a bow, draw a bow, and hold it steady. Balance is great for holding your body still while trying to aim, but if you can't even draw the bow and hold it steady your sense of balance will be somewhat useless. (And your mental game even more useless if you can't draw the bow.)

Thus to make any use of the bow you first need to be able to physically draw the bow you are using. For this reason it is best to start with a bow you can already draw. The bow in question may not be that powerful or accurate, but at least you can draw it and hopefully hold it steady.

Progressing to a more powerful bow is a stepping stone for many archers. It shows that they have worked very hard, grown more muscle mass, and now have the physical strength to draw a more powerful bow. In ancient mythology only the strongest heroes were able to string and draw such bows.

An archer can become stronger simply through regular practice in archery, but lets pretend they only visit the archery range once per month or once per week. Well they aren't going to get stronger very quickly then, will they?

No, they won't. But if they complement their archery practice with a weightlifting regimen (especially during the winter months) they can continue to grow stronger and stronger and reach a point where they can draw the more powerful bows and hold them steady.

10 Weightlifting Tips for Archers

#1. Always lift something at least 10 times. If you only lift it 5 times you won't get much benefit from it in terms of endurance. Aim for 10 to 15 repetitions and do 5 sets.

Note - It is important to practice proper weightlifting form when lifting so you are targeting the muscles properly. Whatever weightlifting exercise you are using, research it so you know how to do it properly. This is beneficial both for faster results, but also to prevent injuries.

#2. If you are struggling to reach 5 you are trying to lift too much. Choose a lesser weight.

#3. Don't ignore basic old school exercises like push-ups and pull-ups. Those are both very handy. Sit ups won't help you much because that is targeting your ab muscles, but push-ups and pull-ups are great for targeting the muscles involved in archery.

#4. Don't do only one kind of exercises. Do a huge variety of exercises so you can target multiple muscles groups. Yoga is an excellent example because the different poses target different muscles.

#5. If you start feeling pain in one muscle group its time to switch to a different muscle. "No Pain No Gain" is only partially true. Too much pain means you are overdoing it.

#6. Think Progressive Loading. You want to lift 75% of your maximum lift and then aim for repetitions. As you grow stronger you can increase the amount you are lifting so it is still 75% as your maximum lift continues to go up.

#7. Don't forget stretches. I have an older post on Archery Stretches you will find useful. Isometric Stretches and Body Weight Exercises are very handy for increasing your strength while simultaneously maintaining your flexibility.

#8. Aim for exercises you can use for cross-training the same muscle groups that are used during archery. eg. Boxing and rowing both use pulling motions with the arms and a tensing of the upper back, which will improve both your triceps and back muscles (rhomboids).

#9. Over time you will want to increase the number of repetitions you are doing of each exercise. If you start off doing 10 reps of each exercise you will want to gradually raise the number of repetitions to 20. After you reach 20 continue doing that for 2 weeks and then increase the amount of weight you are lifting and start back at 10 repetitions.

#10. Remember to have recovery periods between sets of repetitions and also between days when doing weightlifting. You have to give yourself time to grow new muscle tissue. Overuse of the muscles on a daily / constant basis will cause muscle fatigue.

BONUS! Remember to focus on the following muscle groups which are commonly used during archery:

upper back and shoulder muscles to draw the bow;
upper and lower shoulder muscles to control the draw arm;
arm muscles to extend the bow arm;
finger muscles to hold the bowstring.

The finger muscles will be most difficult to strengthen. You will need to pull things using those three fingers and hold them in a steady position. In theory one of the best ways would be to string your bow at home and practice pulling the bow and holding it steady every 2nd day.

ANOTHER BONUS - Remember to include both right and left hand sides to maintain a balance of muscle strength.

WAIT, ONE MORE! - Do squats and similar exercises to improve the upper and lower leg muscles which are used to control balance, do twists and yoga to improve the lower back and waist muscles to control a steady stance.

10 Tips for Morning Joggers

Want to go jogging in the morning more often? Here are 10 Tips for Morning Joggers to help get you started and keep you on track.

#1. Schedule a specific time to go jogging. eg. Add an alarm on your phone as a reminder.

#2. Don't time yourself. You are done when you get back home.

#3. Don't worry if you occasionally stop to catch your breath. That is normal for beginners. You will build endurance over time. After a month of jogging you will notice your endurance has gone up considerably.

#4. Choose a route which is relatively short in the beginning and will take you an estimated 15 minutes to jog it.

#5. Progressively make your jogging route longer. After two weeks of jogging the above route (assuming you are jogging 5 to 7 times per week), add another part to the route so it takes closer to 20 minutes. Keep doing that route for 3 weeks and then add another part to it so it takes you 25 minutes. Then another 4 weeks and add another part so its closer to 30 minutes.

#6. Set a cap for how much time you want to spend jogging. If you only want to jog for 30 minutes every day, that is okay. Some people have busy schedules, but you will still be getting lots of health benefits from that 30 minutes.

#7. If you've set a cap your new goal should be to go FASTER. Not sprinting, but aim for a fast jog so that you can cover more distance in the same amount of time. This way you are still challenging yourself.

#8. If you're looking for a challenge go jogging in places which are more hilly - or even places which have stairs, like an university football stadium. (Wearing hiking shoes in wooded areas so you are less likely to slip and fall.)

#9. After jogging do some stretches during a cool down period.

#10. Eat something nutritious after your jog. Raw eggs, a protein shake, a hearty soup or stew will help increase your endurance faster by giving your body what it needs to build new muscle tissue.

BONUS TIP - Drink lots of water after your jog to rehydrate and take a multivitamin. (Extra vitamins never hurt anyone.)

An 160 lb person jogging for 30 minutes burns 254 calories. It doesn't seem like much but if they go jogging every day for a year that is 26.4 pounds of fat that they've shed.

And if they keep jogging regularly they will keep that extra weight off permanently. What is more is that 30 minutes per day is only 2% of their day.

How to Train for Archery at Home

Here is a 10 Exercises you can do at home to improve your body for the sport of archery.

#1. Pushups. Lots of them!

I do 25 push ups at a time, 4 times per day. If you can't do 25 at once, try doing 20, 15 or 10 pushups at time... but aim for a total of 100 pushups.

#2. Headstand Pushups!

I do 20 of these per day. Use a wall or door to balance your feet so you don't fall over. You should feel a muscle ripping sensation in your arms and shoulders. If you are new to this exercise, aim to do 5 at a time.

#3. Yoga!

Yoga helps build core muscles, posture and balance, both of which are important for archery and maintain a good still pose while readying a shot. You can put as much effort into yoga as you have motivation. I recommend at least 30 minutes per day.

#4. Situps!

Situps will help tighten up your stomach muscles and improve your breath control. For extra challenge try doing breathing exercises while doing your situps. Learning to control you breathing and you stomach/lung muscles is an important part of archery. Breathe into your gut, not your chest. Aim for 100 situps twice per day (morning and late afternoon).

#5. Bicep Curls!

Get some dumbbells. Preferably a weight that is a challenge for you, but not so much that you can't do more than 5 repetitions. Aim for a weight where it starts feel like a challenge after 10 reps.

#6. Tricep Curls or Triceps Kickback!

This one is more important than the biceps, because you use your triceps a lot more in archery. My favourite way of doing tricep curls is to lift the dumbbells above and behind my head, and then lift upwards above my head. You should feel it in the backs of your arms. Do 20 reps, rest, repeat 5 times.

Another option you can do is the Triceps Kickback, shown here on the right photo.

#7. Squats

Do 20 squats, 5 sets.Try and keep your back straight up and down while you are squatting. The goal here is to improve your posture and balance.

#8. Balancing Exercises

Explore a variety of balancing exercises. Invent your own! There are a variety of yoga poses you can do to improve your balance.

#9. Rowing

If you have a rowing machine at home or at the gym, use it! If you don't get a stretchy piece of fabric or a rope and do rowing exercises using it. An exercise stretch band would be ideal.

#10. Fast Shadow Boxing

The action of punching and pulling back your arm super fast uses the triceps a lot. For extra challenge use a small weight (5 lbs) while you are boxing.

The end result is to forge your body into a more efficient archery machine. After that its just a matter of honing your aim, building experience, and mind-body control.

If you want to push yourself even further I recommend exploring Zen Archery.

Dog Jogging for Beginners

Rule #1. Don't walk your dog - JOG YOUR DOG.

Rule #2. Use a short or medium length leash - this way as your dog jogs, you have to keep up according to their speed. For best results get a leash that goes around your waist.

Rule #3. Stop to drink once in awhile - Give your dog a drink too!

Rule #4. Jog the same speed as your dog is jogging. Not too fast, not too slow.

Rule #5. When your dog is tired it is time for a break!

Rule #6. If your dog is really big or really small you will need to learn to be either faster or slower while jogging.

Rule #7. Avoid areas with high traffic. Less busy streets are best.

Rule #8. Skip your iPod for once. Listen to the sound of your heart and your feet (and your dog's feet) on the pavement.

Rule #9. Eat something after you are done jogging. A protein shake, a boiled egg, chocolate milk - something with protein in it. Feed your dog too!

Rule #10. Remember, DOG JOGGING IS FUN. And the beauty of it is because your dog wants to go jogging it forces you to stick to a schedule.

Note: There is even COMPETITIVE DOG JOGGING. Nothing like a frugal competitive sport to get you in the mood to exercise!

10 Swimming Tips

Want to learn to be a better swimmer? Here is 10 tips for becoming a stronger / smarter swimmer.

#1. Swim Daily - Daily swimming builds muscles on the whole body, creating a better swimming form naturally with added time.

#2. Learn Proper Technique - Maintain the best possible technique at all speeds during a workout. If you try to go fast with bad technique, you are wasting energy; it might still be a good physical workout, you are still burning plenty of calories and you are getting your heart rate up, but you are not helping yourself to become a better swimmer. If you can teach yourself to go fast while using good technique, you will make bigger and better strides towards making yourself a better swimmer.

#3. Variety Drills - Do different swim exercises to build up your knowledge of different swim styles and build different muscle groups.

#4. Challenge Yourself - Try to make small improvements to your swim exercise routine every week.

#5. Remember to Have Fun - Sometimes its a good idea to just relax and have a fun swim workout. Don't worry about challenging yourself constantly. Just learn to have fun once in awhile.

#6. Practice and Perfect the Little Things - Even the little things like learning the proper technique for pushing off from a wall or making a really good dive are good things to perfect.

#7. Invest in Quality Swimwear - Baggy beach shorts with a fancy logo won't make you a better swimmer, but quality swimwear at least won't slow you down.

#8. Swim with Friends - Sometimes swimming with friends will cause you to be more competitive and really challenge yourself, but it will also make you enjoy the act of swimming more.

#9. Take Up Snorkeling / Do Breathing Exercises - Learning how to breathe / hold your breath while under water is essential. Especially if you decide to take up snorkeling and give yourself an extra challenge.

#10. Hire a Swim Instructor - An instructor can see what you are doing wrong and give you pointers for how to fix your mistakes.

10 Winter Exercising Tips

#1. Stay Warm

One way to do this is to stick your exercise clothes in the dryer the night before, zap them some heat for 3 minutes in the morning, put them on and then go outside and exercise. You won't notice the cold so much then. Other alternatives are to have a hot shower before you go outside or drink hot tea / hot chocolate before leaving the house. Go to the bathroom before you leave your home too. Your body will be warmer if you aren't wasting energy keeping your urine warm.

#2. Extra Long Warmups

Before you go outside do stretches, jumping jacks, jogging in place to warm yourself up before going outside. The extra 2 minutes of jumping jacks before you go out in the cold air will warm you up significantly.

#3. Interval Training

Doing intense exercises and moderate exercises in varying intervals will both make you hotter while exercising outdoors, but it also burns calories more effectively due to the Afterburn Effect.

#4. Shovel Some Snow

Shoveling snow counts as weightlifting. And having a tidy driveway is just a nice perk.

#5. Wear Layers

Wear 3 or 4 layers and you won't notice the cold so much. Wear 2 pairs of socks, extra thick underwear, etc. Don't forget a neck warmer, arm warmers, a hat or scarves. Think tight-fitting when picking what to wear. Don't ignore silk and high quality fabrics for your base layer. Silk is very breathable and warm.

#6. Mix and Match Cardio and Strength Training

If jogging in the winter doesn't suit you mix it up by adding in chin ups at your local park jungle gym. Find ways to change it up and the extra effort will keep you warm. Climbing stairs also works well.

#7. Try New Winter Sports

Never done ice skating? Road hockey? Winter Archery? Now is a good time to try it.

#8. Reward Yourself

Don't dread exercising outside when you get to reward yourself a simple pleasure afterwards. Listen to your favourite music after you exercise, have an extra long hot shower or bath, enjoy your favourite hot chocolate or coffee, take a nap, listen to an audiobook...

#9. Don't Fear the Cold, Embrace It

Remember that the cold won't kill you. You are only minutes from your home anyway.

#10. Think Positively and Laugh

Laughter warms your spirit and positive thinking doesn't hurt either.

10 Ways to Trick Yourself into Burning Extra Calories

Want to burn more calories and trick your body into burning more calories without thinking about it? (Okay, some of them you do have to think about, but once you get into the habit you won't think about it so much.)

1. Always drink Cold Water - Cold water BURNS calories because your body ends up expending energy to warm up the water to body temperature.

2. Swing your Arms when you walk.

3. Listen to Music / Wear Headphones - You will walk faster and move your legs without thinking about it.

4. Lift More - Decrease the repetitions and lift more weight over shorter time periods. The more you lift the more you rip... and ripped muscles = muscle regrowth. (The old no pain = no gain.) Lifting more also burns more calories, even though the total weight lifted is the same. ie. 10 x 10 lbs = 100 lbs... vs 5 x 20 lbs = 100 lbs, but the 5 x 20 lb version burns approx. 25% more calories.

5. Break Up Your Sets - Do 5 different exercises, then repeat the same exercises. This burns more calories because your body is pumping more blood sugar to different body parts.

6. Head Outside - The cold air burns calories.

7. Crank Up the Incline - Running uphill burns waaaaaay more calories.

8. Log at Least 12 Minutes - To fight fat you need at least 12 minutes of continuously moderate to high-intensity activity EVERY day.

9. Cut Your Workouts in Half - What is better, an one hour workout every day or two half-hour workouts, one in the morning and one in the afternoon? Splitting your workouts burns more calories because it raises your metabolism.

10. Warming Up - A quick jog in place to get your heart going makes a difference before you begin every workout. It decreases the chances of injuries and fatigue.

SEE ALSO - 10 More Ways to Trick Yourself into Burning Extra Calories!

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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