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Showing posts with label Cardio Exercises. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Cardio Exercises. Show all posts

Archery Biathlon Lessons in Toronto

Q


"Hi I came across an old post about archery ski instruction out of Toronto.
Wondering if you’re still coaching or if you can point me in the direction of someone who is in the Toronto area (or somewhere within a drive ).
Thanks



E. M."


A


Hello E!

Yes, I still coach that but only on weekends.

Would you like to book for January?

If you have any questions feel free to ask. Have a good day!

Sincerely,
Charles Moffat
CardioTrek.ca
Follow Up Comments
So yes, I still teach Archery Biathlon - but I rarely get requests for that. Not many people want archery lessons during the winter, and even less are interested in learning the sport of Archery Biathlon.
So E's email made me realize I should do a post that confirms, yes, I do still offer archery biathlon lessons (and winter archery lessons), and there has been a few changes and I do want to remind people of the following.
#1. I only teach Archery Biathlon during the weekends.
#2. Winter Archery Lessons are likewise only available on weekends.
#3. Winter lessons of either are one-on-one only. No pairs or groups of 3.
#4. You will need your own skis and ski gear. I do not provide those for you. I only provide the archery equipment, if you need it. If you have your own archery equipment and prefer to use it, that is fine too.

#5. Remember to dress for the weather, using multiple tight-fitting layers of warm clothing. Avoid bulky sleeves and bulky jackets.

#6. Definitely remember to bring a hot drink with you. Snacks are a good idea too.

#7. Lesson Plan:

  • Lesson 1 will include a Safety Lecture, Eye Dominance Test, Lecture on Aiming, Lecture on Proper Form, Archery Biathlon Practice combined with Field Archery Practice (aka "Field Archery Biathlon").
  • Lessons 2 will start with "Target Archery Biathlon", and include a lecture in the middle about arrowheads.
  • Lesson 3 will focus on "Long Distance Archery Biathlon", and include a lecture in the middle about arrow spine.
  • Lesson 4 will introduce how to use a Sight and Stabilizer and focus on "Target Archery Biathlon". At some point during the lesson we will be waxing the bowstring and waxing the skis.
  • Lesson 5 will focus on "Archery Biathlon Speed Shooting" - because it is fun, and why not do something fun for the final lesson?
How many lessons a person signs up for is up to them, but we should be able to schedule in 5 lessons during January / February when there is ample snow on the ground. If the snow starts melting too much towards the end of winter we may simply be doing "archery lessons" and skip the skiing aspect.

You notice also that E. asked about other locations where she could learn archery biathlon. Unfortunately I am unaware of anyone else in Toronto (or remotely near the GTA) who teaches archery biathlon.
To sign up for Winter Archery Lessons or Archery Biathlon send an email to

Tips on Improving Your Exercise Regime While on the Ketogenic Diet

By Sam Hoffman, October 2018.

Before starting a ketogenic diet, your body will use the carbs in your body as a fuel when working out. Now that you’ve made the choice to change your body’s main fuel source, how will it affect your exercise regime? The short answer is — it won’t!

A good set of dumbbells will help you exercise on days you don't want to go outside. [Image Copyright Pixabay]


Your body will take some time to get used to the sudden change you’ve implemented on it, but in the end, your physical performance will be the same it was before your diet, or even better!

Keto diets have an appetite-suppressing effect on your metabolism, so you won’t be feeling hungry as much as you did before. Keep in mind that this is a double-edged sword because not having cravings is great, but it can also mislead you into thinking that your body does not need any more fats than you’ve already eaten.

Essentially, your metabolism will need lots of fats to use as a fuel source, but when you’re exercising this amount can even double up! So, our number one tip for improving your exercise regime is to make sure you are eating enough fats in order to sustain the optimal balance of your metabolism! A good way to do that is through keto-friendly supplements.

Once you follow this first step, you will be ready for whatever exercise regime you are trying to pursue. There are actually four types of exercises: flexibility, stability, aerobic and anaerobic, with the last one being the most intense. This makes it a bit tricky to combine with ketogenic diets, but not impossible!

Jogging is an excellent aerobic exercise as it really gets the heart pumping hard. [Image Copyright Pixabay]


Every type of physical activity has a type of ketogenic diet to help back it up! You just need to understand your body’s needs and how to give it what it requires at the moment. The thing about the aforementioned training types is that high-intensity workouts tend to use carbs as the main fuel source, whereas their low-intensity counterparts use fats for the same purpose. This may come as a relief for those who are not looking to go crazy in their exercise regimes but can be a disappointment for those who are.

Not to worry, if your main concern is how your high-intensity training will align with your keto diet, all you need to do is to increase your carb intake a bit. Eating about 20-30 grams of fast-burning carbs (fruits may be the best choice for this) about half an hour before your workout will help do the trick. Don’t forget to load up on fruits after your workout as well! You can also start using the targeted ketogenic diet (TKD) regime as well, and improve your end results. It will help you stack up your glycogen stores with the right amount you need for your training, and help your muscles recover after it!

However, if you choose to go for low-intensity workouts, you will be able to carry on your diet as you started it in the first place. Eat as many fats and protein as you can, and start running, cycling, swimming or doing yoga, and you’ll surely get the results you want!

The best tip anyone can give you concerning your exercise regime when on a ketogenic diet is to get to know your body and to adjust your diet to its needs. There are three types of ketogenic diets, and they are guaranteed to suit the needs of different athletes and dieters.

The standard ketogenic diet (SKD) allows you to eat 20-50 grams of net carbs a day. A targeted ketogenic diet (TKD) allows you to eat this same amount before and after your workout, which makes it the best choice for high-intensity athletes. On the other hand, the cyclical ketogenic diet (CKD) requires you to eat low-carb meals for several days, and then higher-carb meals for a couple of days.

Once your body adjusts to any of the three diet types, you will be able to burn fat 2-3 times faster than before you started your diet. Also, staying in ketosis for a longer time guarantees you’ll have optimal energy levels throughout your diet, which means you can gradually increase your workout time to your desired period.

Ketogenic diets definitely have more benefits than other diets you can hear about, as they only require sufficient education on the principles they work on. And now, you’ve got the knowledge on how to improve your exercise regime while staying in ketosis!

Think of being on a ketogenic diet as going back to your roots. Historically speaking, our predecessors were bowhunters and spearhunters who did not have an open access to carbs as we do today, so their meals consisted mostly of fats and protein. And since they spent their days hunting, it means they were physically active most of their days. So, from now on you can think of yourself as a hunter for ketones!



5 National Parks that are Great for Cardio Workouts

Joshua Tree National Park
By Ella, October 2018.

America's vast network of national parks is one of the country's most well-loved treasures. From towering mountaintops to crystal waters to sweeping desert land, the parks are varied in their terrain and choices of recreational opportunities. These parks are an ideal place to get outside for your workout and connect with Mother Nature at the same time. Here are five national parks that are ideal for getting in a solid cardio workout:


JOSHUA TREE NATIONAL PARK: The desert wonderland is ideal for those seeking dry and warm conditions during their workout. Mountain climbers and those looking for a surge of adrenaline will revel in all of the rock faces just asking to be climbed and scaled. Because rock climbing is a serious calorie blaster, Joshua Tree National Park is a great place to work up a sweat in the desert while feeling good about your cardio efforts. Located in Southern California and straddling both the Mojave Desert and the Colorado Desert, this park is named for its network of twisted Joshua trees of the region. Sweeping views of the Coachella Valley give this park a distinctive desert vibe.


Voyageurs National Park
VOYAGEURS NATIONAL PARK: This unique park is located near International Falls, Minnesota, close to the Canadian border. The area is most known for its large network of waterways, creating an oasis for those who love being out on the water. Exercise enthusiasts will delight in the many opportunities to kayak, canoe, and SUP their way through a workout. The remote location makes Voyageurs National Park the perfect place to get away from the hustle and bustle of everyday living. Unlike some national parks that can get extremely crowded during the high tourist season, Voyageurs is a haven for peace of solitude.


ROCK CREEK NATIONAL PARK: This urban oasis is conveniently located in Washington, D.C., making it a quick escape to those city dwellers who want to get away from the lights and noise of the nation's capital and connect with nature. 32 miles of wooded trails beckon runners, walkers, hikers, and bikers. The Thompson Boat Center provides the opportunity to rent kayaks and canoes if a water workout is what your body is craving. Those looking for a competitive team sport can take to the many tennis courts or the 18-hole golf course.

Rock Creek National Park



Golden Gate National Park
GOLDEN GATE NATIONAL PARK: This jewel is one of the most visited national parks in the country. And for good reason. The San Francisco park gives visitors plenty of opportunities to get in a good workout while providing amazing views of the city landscape at the same time. The experience of biking along the Golden Gate Bridge and taking in all of its majesties never gets old. The urban location delivers a variety of group exercise class options located in the park.


ROCKY MOUNTAIN NATIONAL PARK: There is no shortage of outdoor recreational opportunities in Colorado, but this gem in Estes Park is top of the list. In the winter, the snowy mountains of the region deliver a host of skiing, snowshoeing, and snowboarding options. However, the workout fun does not stop when the temperatures warm up. The summer, spring, and fall provide a bevy of opportunities to work up a sweat while running, hiking, or biking through the many trails. When are you done with your workout, the quaint town of Estes Park is a fun place to grab a bite to eat or do some shopping in the historic downtown area.

Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado


Whatever your workout fancy, America's national parks provide something for every personal need and preference. The only thing left to do is lace up your shoes and get moving!







Ella, Content Manager for trekbible , is a writer and content specialist with a predilection for learning and exploring new places and cultures around the world. With family scattered throughout the U.S. and South Korea, she loves to see cross-cultural influences around the world. Her favorite thing to do on her travels is to taste the local cuisine of each destination.

Top 10 Calorie Burning Sports

Guest Post by Alicia Kate.

Previously in ‘12 Tips to Stay Fit with Modern Lifestyle’, one of our recommendations to get into great shape was to take up a new sport. Athletes are some of the fittest and healthiest people on the planet for a reason. In the context of fitness, playing sports is ideal for burning fat because it burns a lot of calories and you enjoy the activity so you strive harder and end up burning more than you would simply exercising. If you are looking for a new sport here are 10 calorie burning sports you should consider.

Many of the exercises below are ideal for Summer, but can also be done other times of the year.

1. Marathon

Running a marathon burns thousands of calories, with a 130 lbs runner burning 2,224 calories during a typical 26.2 mile course. A 165 lbs runner, on the other hand, will burn 2,822 calories, while 210 lbs runner will burn 3,593 calories. Marathons are the perfect way to get fit due to the training involved to be in good enough shape to be able to run one.

2. Basketball

A lot goes on when you play basketball. You run and sprint back and forth between the two hoops on the court frequently. You move constantly both to score and to block shots. For all that constant effort, you will burn upwards of 400 calories per hour depending on your body size. A fun session with friends is enough to get the heart racing and burn a lot of calories.

And there is no age limit for playing many sports. Some people keep playing well into their old age.


3. Soccer

Soccer is one of the best sports for getting into great shape, with some sources claiming that 900 to 1,400 calories per hour are burnt - although it really varies on how much they are running and the size of the individual player. Soccer players are some of the fittest athletes due to the intensity and pace of the game. A match typically lasts for around 96 minutes. While you most likely won’t be playing for that duration of time, a quick soccer game with friends can still provide a very good workout.

4. Football and Rugby

Concussion concerns in football are real, so we are recommending less physical versions of the sport—touch and flag football, and also rugby which requires a less violent method of tackling opponents. While physical contact may be prohibited in touch and flag football, you will still burn 600–900 calories an hour as you will be doing a lot of running, sprinting, pivoting, catching, and throwing.

5. Tennis

Tennis is akin to a full body workout, with your upper and lower body, along with your back and core, getting an intense burn. You will burn a lot of calories simply by moving around the court, and you will burn quite a few more swinging the racket. An hour of a singles tennis match will burn approximately 400–500 calories.

6. Swimming

Swimming, despite being low impact, is an aerobic exercise that is a full body workout. It is also one of the most accessible sports as you can swim in public pools, rivers, lakes and the ocean. The best part of swimming is that you are getting a great workout without stressing your joints. Swimming is perfect for those carrying recurring injuries and want to get back into shape.



7. Rowing

Rowing is a must try if you want to lose weight and get a great upper body workout to boot. Your shoulders, back, and biceps will be tested and that means you will burn 560 calories per hour. As mentioned, a strong back and shoulders is needed to excel in rowing, so before you try out this sport, you might want to fortify your back by performing the exercises Cardio Trek suggested in ‘6 Exercises for a Stronger Back’.

8. Boxing

To be a boxer is to be in the peak of physical condition. Going 12 rounds in the boxing ring is one of the biggest tests of endurance an athlete can go through. Boxers burn upwards of 600 calories an hour. While it may be a step too far to get into the ring in competition, boxing training is a highly effective way to burn calories and build serious strength.

Note - While Cardio Trek does provide boxing lessons for people in Toronto, it should be noted that we favour a more relaxed and jovial approach to teaching boxing wherein we focus on exercise and having fun. People who want to do boxing as a serious sport are recommended to go to a dedicated boxing gym and find a boxing coach who teaches competitive boxing.

9. Martial Arts

Learning a martial art like Tae Kwon Do or Karate can have the same intensity as boxing, but with a different focus. As kicks, elbows, knees, grappling, and even wrestling are all allowed in some martial arts (eg. Judo combines wrestling with throws), martial arts training is a true full-body workout. You will be burning between 400 to 600 calories an hour.

10. Lacrosse

The intensity and pace of Lacrosse, along with carrying and swinging a lacrosse stick, make it a highly effective sport for becoming physically fit. Upper strength along with good cardio levels are required to play this sport, which is why if you are looking to burn calories it is a good place to start.

Lacrosse is one of the potentially more violent sports on this list, and compares to say "ice hockey" and has a reputation of being pretty brutal.

Conclusions

There are many other sports worth trying and plenty of other reasons why you should play sports aside from that fact that doing so burns calories. Playing sports improves all aspects of health such as enhancing heart function, lowering cholesterol levels, improving blood circulation, and decreasing hypertension and stress levels. It also brings forth positive energy, promotes discipline, and builds self-esteem.

So, what are you waiting for? The time to play sports is now!

How to train like a Superhero Vigilante

Step 1. Disappear off the grid for 5 years to study weapons, martial arts, and how to MacGyver yourself out of a bad situation...

Step 2. Focus on cardio and endurance in the beginning, then switch to weightlifting and speed training over time to become a more efficient fighting machine.

Step 3. Get an actor or actress like Ben Affleck or Jennifer Garner to portray you in the film adaptation... Is it weird that those two are married, and yet Ben Affleck plays Batman and Jennifer Garner is in the new film "Peppermint" where she basically plays a female version of Batman*?

* Although to be fair, her character is more like the Punisher.



So how did Jennifer Garner really get in shape for the film role? According to interviews she has done, she used a variety of exercises including:
  • Australian Twist
  • Handstand Butt Kick
  • Side Shaper
  • Single Towel Slider
  • Wonder Woman Pose
But the exercise she did most of all was Star Jumps. She did 10 star jumps in-between each of the other exercises. See what Star Jumps looks like below.


The exercise routine uses a combination of cardio to burn fat and body weight exercises to build muscle. eg. Simply jumping in the air is both cardio and a bodyweight exercise.

And where did she come up with this unusual exercise routine? Well, she didn't do it herself. The studio hired a personal trainer for her. Having a personal trainer gives a person a real edge towards accomplishing the goals set forward.

In other news I am promoting my other website "Project Gridless" this September and to start things off I am giving away tickets to see an advance screening of "Peppermint".

To be eligible, simply visit my Project Gridless youtube channel, subscribe, and leave a positive comment on one of my videos.

Also you must live in or near Toronto in order to receive your prize if you do win, but everyone is welcome to check out the Project Gridless website and youtube channel http://youtube.com/ProjectGridless even if you don't live in Toronto or the GTA.

Project Gridless is all about "off the grid" living. eg. To live in the wilderness, to fish/hunt/farm/forage for food, to build your own shelter/home, survival skills, etc.

So if you ever want to disappear off the grid for 5 years, and then come back a vigilante superhero, please let me know because I would like to interview you for my youtube channel. ;)

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!

7 Fun Ways to Work Out With Your Dog

Competitive Dog Jogging
Guest Post by Eva Sykes

Keep your dogs away from developing health problems by ensuring they get their dose of physical activity! Obesity or overweight in dogs can cause them to have joint and heart problems, diabetes, and more. What’s a better way to keep them healthy and moving by doing something fun together, right?!

Here’s a list of fun ways to workout with your dog. Join forces with your loyal companion in achieving that healthy and fit bod!

1. Hiking

Have a spectacular time with your four-legged friend with a breathtaking view! Dogs also love nature and they definitely love exploring. But there are also some considerations you should be aware of to ensure your dog will be able to keep up. This includes their fitness, behavior, age, health, and size.

For your next trip, be sure to pack the essentials for your buddy! Just like humans, they will need some food, water, and their doggy bowl. And one more important thing is to consider all the precautions and safety measures for the both of you!

2. Running

Introduce him or her to a blissful jogging! You might’ve guessed that being on our list. Which really should be! Running is one of the famous and basic ways of staying active and fit. It may also be the easiest way to incorporate your dog into your workout routine.

For starters, you could use a leash and train them to run beside you. This will take a little time - but patience and consistency are key! Also, consider the heat and humidity. Dogs have small amounts of sweat glands, and they get rid of heat through panting and only sweat through their paws.

See Also: Dog Jogging for Beginners, a Competitive Sport

3. Obstacle Course

Level up the workout and fun with some obstacle course! This can create a challenge for both the dog and owner with its various exercise equipment. Some basic obstacle course items include a teeterboard, tire jump, a dog walk and a tunnel - which you can build in your own backyard.

Just keep in mind the safety and well-being of your dog while you set up the course. Unwanted accidents may also occur sometimes which can be treated by their vets. A wise advice, be prepared in advance and don’t put your finances in jeopardy with expensive vet bills! Have your dogs insured and be more financially smarter!

4. Swimming

Enjoy the water and burn some energy with your playful bud in the pool or beach! Some dogs may be scared of the water at first, but they will get used to it after some few tries. And if you really do love swimming, water-loving dog breeds like the Golden Retriever or American Water Spaniel will be your best swimming buddy! Swimming is also beneficial for old dogs suffering from joint problems or hip dysplasia.

For starters, you can have your dogs on a leash and walk by their side in the shallow area. Slowly let them get used to having their feet wet and the rest will follow. What are you waiting for? Chill by your pool or hit up the ocean!

5. Fetching!

Dogs are known to be crazy for retrieving items - be it their favorite toys, a ball or frisbee. Thus, they love fetching! This is a game they seem to not get tired of. And there is a scientific explanation backing this up. Dogs have been with us for centuries and they were used for hunting in the early ages. The behavior of running after something that is moving is still instilled and built-in dogs. This behavior is self-reinforcing to them and makes them feel good!

Dogs aren’t just the one who should enjoy fetching while you just stand and wait for them. Try making this game more active and rigorous by incorporating some of your muscle-building moves like crunches, lunges, and squats while he or she retrieves.

6. Cycling

Another cardio you can do with your dog pal is cycling. It’s a great workout for you and can help build your leg muscles. This is especially great for dogs that are always excited when running! You could bike around at a fast pace and don’t have to worry if they can keep. It’s best to engage in this activity in a safe bike trail or terrain where you can avoid traffic from other vehicles.

7. Seasonal Adventures

Whatever the season is, with the sun showing high up or snow falling, there are always activities you can do outdoors for fun! Go surfing or kayaking with your dog in the summer, snowshoeing, skiing or snowboarding through winter, and a lot more! Dogs are smart, active and trainable - try exploring new sports with them!

See Also: 10 Exercises to do with your Pet this Summer

6 Apps to Help with Your Fitness Goals

Guest Post.

As everyone knows by now, there are apps to help with every area of modern life. From staying on top of work emails to finding events in foreign cities, the tiny computers that live in our pockets have become essential tools for optimizing daily life.

Health and physical fitness are issues that affect everyone and that a lot of people actively want to
improve, so it’s not surprising that there are hundreds of apps to help you do just that. You should
investigate them yourself and find your own favourites, but the list below is a good place to start.

There are many apps that work well but are designed to function in conjunction with fitness
trackers, and we’ve left those out because, obviously, they only work if you have an extra piece of
equipment (the tracker). We’ve also chosen apps that are especially interactive, since the more
engaged you are, the more likely you are to stick with them.

DietBet

DietBet is especially helpful if you’re naturally competitive or have a penchant for gambling. Choose
a challenge based on how much money you’d like to bet and how long you’d like to participate, and
if you lose a minimum of 4% of your total body weight you’ll win. To keep you motivated, tracking
your progress with weigh-ins that you submit is very simple, and you can read and send positive
messages to the rest of the DietBet community too.

PEAR Personal Coach

The PEAR Personal Coach works with all fitness levels, offering hundreds of different audio workouts led by well-known health and fitness professionals. The voices you might hear include those of Jay Johnson, who coaches the Dallas Cowboys cheerleaders, and Olympian Deena Kastor.

The interactive PEAR Personal Coach app also allows you to determine your VO2Max. This is defined as the body’s ability to consume oxygen during exercise, and gives a good indication of
cardiovascular fitness so you can use the number to track your progress. Find it by putting on a heart
monitor, pairing it with your app, and performing a quick running test.

Sworkit

Sworkit, which stands for Simply Work It, also acts like a portable, affordable personal trainer.
Professional trainers demonstrate all kinds of different workouts, and you can choose from standard
options or customize your own. Just say which areas you want to target, how long you want the
session to be, and explain any other special needs or limitations that you have. More than 200
exercises are randomly combined with interval training, for maximum effectiveness.

CycleCast

Use CycleCast to turn any time you spend on a stationary bike into a fat-busting spin class, delivered
by experienced instructors. Choose the playlist, instructor and class length that you’d like, and get
spinning.

Couch to 5K

If you’re new to the fitness game, Couch to 5K is a simple, supportive way to get things going. I just
30 minutes a day, 3 times a week for 9 weeks, you can get yourself ready for your first 5K race. You
get to choose your own interactive coach who will keep you motivated every step of the way, and
you’ll be able to connect to the supportive 5K community, as well as share your results on social
media.

Pocket Yoga

If you’re looking for a different kind of workout, this app that allows you to practice Yoga any time
and anywhere is well worth a look. Experienced Yoga practitioners have designed all poses and
routines, and as you use the app more you’ll unlock new Yoga “environments” – this seemingly small
reward can keep you really motivated! All poses are clearly illustrated, with detailed descriptions of
their benefits.

Honourable Mention: Charity Miles

Charity Miles is interactive, but in a different way; it uses your physical activity to give back. For
every mile you run or cycle, sponsors like Lifeway Foods, Humana and Timex Sports will donate
money to charity. You get to choose where it goes, from a group that includes Habitat for Humanity
and the Wounded Warrior Project. Take your motivation to get fit to a whole new level of
philanthropy!

Sources:

https://www.active.com/fitness/articles/18-best- health-and- fitness-apps- of-2018/slide- 6

The Advantages and Benefits of Rowing Machines

Guest Post by Karen Neilsen.

Rowing is a form of workout that develops healthy muscle tissue on your arms and some other parts of the body. In the nonexistence of a substantial river, one can perform his rowing workouts in the home with the best rowing machine, also known as a rower by many. This movement with a machine to imitate the activity of a sloop rower is known as an indoor rower.

In actual fact, this activity became a popular and competitive game connecting men and women contestants not considering of age. Home rowing contests use this machine and evaluate the power used by the participants regardless of the level of resistance used on it. The final results are published through websites and even on Television.

For more information on Rowing Machines, please read this great post, https://garagegymplanner.com/rowing-machine-reviews/ 

There are several advantages that a best rowing machine may bring to your whole body.

It can provide as gym equipment for working out your entire body. These advantages include:

  1. The best rowing machine provides whole body workouts. It is not only for a specific type of muscle, but it works for all muscle groups.
  2. If your target is to burn fat and calories, then it is the best exercise equipment. This fitness equipment can burn your calories faster than any other exercises. Can you imagine, burning 900 calories within maximum one hour?
  3. It is totally risk-free and does not harm your body at all. It never creates any pain and strains on joints or any part of the muscle of the body. Additionally, it provides very comfortable feelings and genuinely very quick benefits on the whole body.
  4. If you are looking for any effective exercise for rehabilitation after a wound or injury, then perform rowing regularly for joints or muscle rehabilitation.
  5. The best rowing machine allows you to adjust it according to your need. It is flexible and you can make it suitable for your stamina level. Check what suits your stamina level and then adjust.
  6. No matter, what is your age! Anyone can use this without any harmful issues.
  7. It provides proper workouts for the heart and you can perform rowing to keep your heart good.
  8. It provides noticeable benefits to losing weight and for cardiovascular.

With a large number of advantages, one might assume this as the perfect fitness equipment for his or her indoor use. Though, without the right coaching and workout position, it can give significant amounts of stress on the back. It is recommended to acquire first the right coaching before taking any workout program.

Alternatively, the best rowing machine can be the ideal workout program for those who desire to lose weight and tone the entire shape. At the very first glance, one can determine that this workout only focuses on the upper body area.

Although if you will inspect the motions needed to complete the workout, one can observe how other parts of the body pass synchronously with the upper parts.

In a rowing contest, participants compete to reach a line marking the end of the race.

The first team who is capable of crossing the finish point is the contest champion. In the home rowing using the machine, the statistic is based on the energy or power applied by the team.

The team who has exerted the more power and the more energy is the champion. Indoor rowing contest can be possible only if the participants have hooked their machines online.

The best rowing machine is frequently qualified as genuine and definitely not cushioned to ensure that the data given are precise and to guard the reliability of the sport. For such, the sport has a powerful entice those who desire to play team sports and get the full advantages of doing rowing workouts.

Rowing Machine Benefits

Using one of these devices gives you all of the perks of a high impact workout, but without having to torture yourself. After all, high impact means bringing your metabolism to a nuclear level of burning fat and calories. To achieve this, you would normally participate in jarring, quick movements that would exhaust even an Olympic athlete. This device does virtually the same firing of your metabolism, but without collapsing on the floor.

A full movement on this device starts with the pelvic and legs as you go forward. In the backward movement, the arms, back, shoulders, abs and buttocks take on the work.

Finally, the sliding motion that places you back into the starting position incorporates your back muscles along with hips, midsection and once again the legs. As if this were not enough, you will also notice other seemingly forgotten areas start to show response to the work. The most common targets for this additional definition are the backs of the arms and the lower and upper back.

Another great side effect of this workout is the nature of the movements. We tend to tire easily of the jarring, slamming and rapid movements normally associated with high impact workouts. Those are not a problem here. As you execute your movements during this devices workout, you will be using a smooth, gliding movement throughout.

This reduces the possibility of injuries. So, as you can see, when you add up all of the rowing machine benefits there really are quite a few.

Although rowing Machines are not one of the top choices when it comes to personal fitness equipment is actually a very good one. Rowing is something that has to be done for between 20 and 40 minutes which makes it a very good cardio exercise, but at the same time it involves a lot of resistance training which also strengthens the muscles. It is thus useful both as an aerobic exercise machine and as a strength one.

Four Extremely Effective HIIT Workouts

Guest Post by SpotMeBro.com

HIIT (High-Intensity Interval Training) is one of the best and most effective ways of shedding fat and increasing your overall fitness. The best thing about HIIT is it doesn’t take much of your time, making it a perfect workout for busy individuals. After successfully completing a HIIT workout, you’ll feel good and satisfied with a refreshed and clear state of mind.


Many studies have shown that by doing intense workouts helps boost your metabolic rate and ultimately burn more fat. If you are the kind of a person whose job is to sit more than 8 hours in front of a laptop or several hours at the office, then HIIT is probably the ideal cardio routine for you.

Here are five HIIT workouts that will definitely help you lose more fat and, of course, it’ll be very challenging – especially if you’re a complete newbie. Don’t worry, it will find a special place in your heart once you see those amazing results.

1. 8 Minute HIIT Workout

Let’s start with more resting time to allow your body to become used to the intensity and stress. You don’t need any equipment, belts or weights for this. There will be 8 one-minute rounds of 20 seconds of working and 40 seconds’ rest in between each exercise.
  • Jab Cross, Front Right: With your right foot in front of the left and hips facing towards your left, bring your arms in a boxing position and jab forward with your right arm. Finally, throw a cross punch with your left arm and allow your body to rotate towards the right.
  • Jab Cross, Front Left: Same as the above but with the opposite foot. Bring the left foot in front of the right one with your hips facing towards the right. Bring your arms up in a boxing position and jab with your left arm. Throw a cross punch with your right arm and allow your body to rotate towards the left.
  • Jumping Jacks: Keep your feet hip-width apart and arms extended by your sides. Now, jump with your feet out and swing your arms above your head. Jump back to your starting position while lowering your arms back down to your sides. Do as many reps as you can.
  • Bodyweight Sumo Squats: Slightly different from normal squats. Position your feet more than shoulder-width apart with your toes pointing at a 45-degree angle. Keep your back straight while lowering your body till your thighs are parallel to the floor. Drive yourself back up to the starting position.

2. 20 Minute HIIT Workout

An ideal workout for maximizing calorie burning and increasing your metabolic rate. There will be 20 rounds of 45 seconds of work and 15 seconds of rest in between exercises. When you hit the 10-minute mark, take a two-minute break and continue.
  • Push-ups: Using the normal push-up technique, do as many reps as you can. Keep your hands more than shoulder-width apart and don’t allow your back to arch.
  • Bodyweight Squats: Unlike the sumo squats, these are just normal-stance squats -- your feet under your hips.
  • Butt Kicks: Stand in an area where you'll have enough space around you. Now, jog in place and kick the left heel back so that it touches your butt. Do the same with your right heel.
  • Tricep Dips: Take a chair and place it against a wall for support. Now place your hands on the edge with your back towards the chair. Straighten your legs out in front of you while keeping the balance on your palms. Lower your body by bending your elbows and press up. Go for maximum repetitions.
  • Side Lunges: You’ll be putting your body weight on your heels with your toes pointing forward. Step towards your right in a deep, lateral lunge and keep your knee above your toes. Switch positions and do the same for the other side.

3. 5/10/15 HIIT Workout

This workout demands less time and is ideal for beginners. There will be only 5 seconds of rest in between exercises for maximum intensity.
  • 5 Pull-ups: Grip the pull-up bar with your hands wider than shoulder width. Now quickly perform 5 pull-ups without your body's momentum.
  • 10 Kettlebell Snatches: You need a kettlebell for this workout. Place it between your feet. Now bend your knees and push your butt back. Look in front of you and swing the kettlebell back in between your legs. Now, quickly reverse your direction and drive it through using your hips and knees. This way the kettlebell will be swinging in an upward direction. As soon as it reaches shoulder height, quickly rotate your hand and punch straight up.
  • 15 Kettlebell Figure 8's: Grab the kettlebell and place it between your legs. Bend your body in the same way as in kettlebell snatches. Now lift the kettlebell and pass it to your other hand between your legs in such a way that it forms an 8-figure.

4. The Quick 4-Minute HIIT Workout

Pretty easy, but will definitely make you sweat. Here is what you have to do without any rest in between the sets:
  • Plank: Drop down into a plank and hold this position for one minute.
  • Mountain Climber: From the plank position, get into a push-up position. Raise your hips, bend your knees and try to touch your right knee to your chest. Do the same with the left knee as quickly as possible.
  • Jumping Jacks: Use the same technique for jumping jacks and aim for maximum reps.

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A Six Month Plan to Lose 10 Pounds using 6 Minute Exercises

Lets pretend you currently weigh 200 lbs and you want to lose 10 lbs over a 6 month period (or 20 lbs over the course of a year). What would you need to do to accomplish that using purely exercise and no changes to your diet?

Well, first lets look at the math.

10 lbs is the equivalent of 35,000 calories.

Divided up into 6 months, that is a goal of losing 5833.33 calories per month. Or 194.44 calories per day.

If you go for a simple 6 minute walk during which you walk 0.5 km, a person who weighs 200 lbs will burn 37 calories. (Admittedly that is a fairly slow and leisurely walk.)

The person in question would need to do that same walk 157.65 times per month to burn the necessary calories to meet their monthly goal. That would be roughly 5.25 walks per day.

So a 6 minute leisurely walk just isn't going to cut it.

But a slightly faster pace and more time, 30 minutes walking 2.7 km, that would burn 200 calories.

A significantly faster pace, jogging for 15 minutes a distance of 2.0 km, that would burn 188 calories. Counting the Afterburn Effect, it would end up being over 200 calories.

However if the goal is to get the Afterburn Effect, then you would actually get the best results with the least amount of effort by using Interval Training.

Sample Interval Training Routine

1 minute running or jogging, followed by 5 minutes of walking.
1 minute running or jogging, followed by 5 minutes of walking.
1 minute running or jogging, followed by 5 minutes of walking.
1 minute running or jogging, followed by 5 minutes of walking.
1 minute running or jogging, followed by 5 minutes of walking.

So the person is getting in 5 minutes of running/jogging, which gets the heart pounding hard, following by light exercise in the form of walking. By spacing it out into intervals it causes a combination of multiple hormonal releases and multiple triggers of the fat burning Afterburn Effect. Interval Training is also easier for people who lack stamina and endurance, and over time they can change the routine to add more time jogging and less time walking. As a result they are burning fat, and building endurance so that they will later be able to burn fat at a faster rate.

The above routine would burn over 250 calories, plus a bonus amount depending on the Afterburn Effect. In theory they could do less time, 25 minutes instead of 30, and still be burning the 200 calories per day.

So what about 6 Minute Cardio Routines?

Well, you are not going to burn 200 calories in six minutes. That is basically impossible. Even the most intense exercise won't be able to burn 200 calories in six minutes.

But a 200 lb person jumping rope (fast) for six minutes will burn 108 calories. That means that if a person did that twice per day (once in the morning, once in the afternoon/evening) they could burn 216 calories per day.

So it is possible to break the 200 calories per day mark by doing 6 minute cardio exercises, but you would need to choose a very intense exercise and most people will not be able to do an intense exercise for 6 minutes straight.

Other intense exercises and the calories burned for a 200 lb person:
  • 6 minutes of Jumping Jacks, approx. 73 calories.
  • 6 minutes of Sprinting/Running 8 mph, approx. 122 calories.
  • 6 minutes of Kettlebell Training, varies on the weight of the kettlebell. Approx. 90 calories.
  • 6 minutes of Kickboxing, approx. 90 calories.
  • 6 minutes of Cycling, approx. 103 calories.
  • 6 minutes of Rowing Machine, approx. 79 calories.
  • 6 minutes of Stair Climbing, approx. 64 calories.
Notice something about all of the above exercises? They are all exercises that use both the legs and arms. Want to know what else burns lots of calories? Swimming.

Here are the same numbers but for different kinds of swimming exercises, again calculated for a person who weighs 200 lbs:
  • 6 minutes of Leisure Swimming : 71 calories
  • 6 minutes of Backstroke : 82.5 calories
  • 6 minutes of Front Crawl (Slow) : 82.5 calories
  • 6 minutes of Breaststroke : 118 calories
  • 6 minutes of Front Crawl (Fast) : 131 calories
  • 6 minutes of Butterfly : 131 calories
So if a person really loves swimming, this is certainly an option. Doing the 6-minute Butterfly exercise 300 times over 150 days (5 months) would burn 39,300 calories or 11.2 lbs. Doable? It really depends on how much you love swimming.


What about dieting?

After seeing the amount of exercising many people may be thinking "Hmm, maybe I should just diet instead."

In which case you will want to reduce your daily intake of calories to a more reasonable level. Your best bet is to be calorie counting, as that multiplies your chances of success. Aim to be consuming 200 calories less than the normal amount of calories you need per day, which means you will be burning fat stores instead. So if your body burns 1800 calories per day, aim to eat only 1600 per day.

So yes, dieting is certainly an option.

Or you could do both, diet and exercise. The combination of both is a surefire way of burning more calories than you are consuming. It really depends how much you want to lose and over what time period. Trying to burn 10 lbs in 1 month is possible, but would be extremely grueling. Doing the same amount, but spread over 6 months is much more reasonable.

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.


Inventing your own Exercises - For Home Fitness or Sports

Earlier today I sparked upon the idea of using a cat toy as something humans can exercise with. The toy in question, was a simple mouse dangling on a long string from my chin-up bar - a cat toy we received during Christmas for our cat Victoria (see The Pet Project for more details). However what sparked my imagination was using it for other activities, such as:

Boxing
Tennis

Which are two intense cardiovascular sports, both requiring a level of dexterity and accuracy.

I thus conducted a fun experiment during which I practiced punching at the string, with an eye towards accuracy - after all, what good is a punch if it completely misses the target?

What I discovered is that a moving string - being both small and moving quickly, presents an interesting challenge for accuracy while boxing - it forces the person to concentrate on the accuracy and the quality of the punches over brute force. (I should note this is not the first time I have used a string as a target, being a huge fan of "splitting the string" during my personal archery practice.)


For the 2nd part of my experiment I decided to get my tennis racquet out of the closet and try batting the mouse on the end of the string back and forth, letting gravity and pendulum motion to bring it back towards me each time. This turned out to be an excellent exercise for practicing my back swing and also switching back and forth.

With a few changes it would be pretty easy for someone to practice with a tennis ball on a string indoors with a similar set up.

Add a pole in the middle and you have a sport similar to tetherball.

Inventing your own sports / exercises can be a lot of fun, whether you do them for a specific purpose such as training for a sport, or whether you are simply looking for a frugal exercise you can do at home.

A few tips when it comes to inventing your own exercises:

#1. Avoid anything where you think there is a chance you might injure yourself.

#2. Use objects that are sturdy and can withstand impacts if dropped. Avoid anything you know to be breakable.

#3. Don't do the same motion all the time with your new exercise. Find ways to change it, spice it up. Repetitive motion can lead to a sports injury. Not all pain equals gain, sometimes pain means you broke something or are repeating the same motion too much.

#4. Try to invent exercises which are fun to do, or can be combined with music or other exercises to make it more fun.

#5. Hydrate. Don't forget to drink something regularly. Many people forget to do this.


:)

Using Exercises to Keep Warm

Winter is coming.

Which for Toronto means we are usually in for 3-4 months of miserable cold weather. But it doesn't have to be miserable if you don't want it to be.

Winter should not be an excuse to not exercise either. After all, exercising keeps you warm.

We have all seen the crazy joggers out there in the harshest of weather, apparently unaffected by the extreme cold.

HOWEVER, jogging is not the purpose of this post. The purpose of this post is actually on the topic of KEEPING WARM for survival purposes - or at very least comfort levels. It has been my experience that the simple act of "rubbing your hands together" really only works for your hands, and if you want to stay warm and comfortable sometimes it is necessary to do more full body exercises.

For example one of the things that I sometimes do is I miscalculate how cold it is outside and I don't wear enough clothing. Thus I end up freezing my proverbial behind off, but I do have a trick to prevent it...

I do 100 jumping jacks. Takes about 2 minutes to do, but 100 jumping jacks later and I am cozy warm because my blood is now pumping energy from my fat stores and invigorating my body. Burning the fat off in such an aggressive manner warms the muscles, warms the blood, and ultimately warms the whole body.

Jumping jacks are not the only exercise you can use to keep warm however...

Five Ways to Keep Warm using Exercises

#1. Weightlifting

You don't need the ghetto weightlifting set like the guy below, any weights will do. Backpack, suitcase, whatever you have handy.


#2. Body Weight Exercises or Calisthenics

Pushups, chin-ups, wall push-ups, situps, it doesn't matter. Any old school body weight exercise will do. Even the simple act of climbing something, such as stairs, can keep your body warm. If you are athletic enough you could even do hand-stand push-ups.

The trick with some of these exercises, eg. chin-ups, is that you need something stable that isn't going to break under your body weight. Pick something big and stable.

The young woman on the right for example chose the underside of a bridge to exercise on, but the basic concept is there. Something large, heavy, durable, won't tip over / rock back and forth. It also shouldn't have sharp edges, spikes or anything dangerous like that in the vicinity.

The video below shows a young woman demonstrating a number of different body weight exercises outdoors.



#3. Yoga

You don't even need a mat to do winter yoga, the snow is your nice soft mat. But in the event you are surrounding by cold harsh ice, a blanket would also do. Helps if you are already familiar with yoga, but if you are not please read my posts on the topic or check out the thousands of free videos on YouTube.


#4. Squats or Squat Jumps

Squats are not hard. You just squat down part way, keep your back aligned straight up and down, and then stand back up again. Do 20 of those and your legs will be warmed up significantly.

For extra challenge, do the squats while carrying a weight (perhaps a backpack full of books), or try squat jumps - wherein you squat down and then stand up so fast that you jump into the air.

#5. Stretching and Scratching

Sometimes the simple act of stretching, touching your toes, flexing various muscles, can also warm you up. It doesn't take much, and it is far less obvious what you are doing if you have a crowd of people staring at you. If you are standing on a cold train platform with lots of people around, they may get weirded out by someone who suddenly decides to do 100 jumping jacks - but someone who is just stretching won't get a second glance.

The second part is this last tip is that you can also warm your skin by scratching it. Scratch your back, your arms, your chest, your legs - it might look you have a rash to a passerby, or it might look like you just have an itchy arm and that is no big deal.

If it truly is a survival situation then embarrassment isn't a factor any more.

Have a great winter and stay warm!

Kicking Exercises and Tips

Kicking Exercises are just what they sound like - fast paced kicks in an effort to build fast twitch muscle fibres in your legs. However done improperly they hold the potential to injure yourself.

I should also note that the primary purpose of these kicking exercises are for EXERCISE, not for self-defense or fighting. I will note the various uses of some kicks, but please remember the primary goal here is to promote kicking as a form of exercise.

With that in mind I am going to be teaching 3 different styles of kicks you can try at home. Shin Kicks, Side Kicks and Back Kicks.

#1.

Use a large open space that has no obstacles or walls nearby. Accidentally kicking a wall and hurting your foot would be counter-productive.

#2.

Next you should be doing some stretches. Because you are going to be doing an exercise that explores the limits of your flexibility I want people reading this to make an effort to stretch before you begin any workout that contains kicking.

Start by sitting on the ground and doing a variety of poses that explore the limits of your flexibility, similar to the poses mentioned in the How to do the Splits post.

#3.

Warm up your leg muscles by doing about 30 to 60 seconds worth of jumping jacks and another 30 to 60 seconds worth of squats (or jump squats if you want more of a challenge).

#4.

Don't worry about height when you kicking. Stand upright and start by doing low kicks in the air aimed at an imaginary target about 1 foot off the ground. This is known as a Shin Kick. It may not look like much, but aimed at someone's leg it would be difficult to block and successful contact means the other person will be in pain and possibly have difficulty walking.

When doing Shin Kicks your legs should be spread further apart with your leading foot pointed towards the imaginary target. Your kicking foot will be spaced further back and the foot should be angled off to the side for extra stability.

Every few minutes you should switch sides and practice kicking with the other foot. Try to focus on the quality of your form and accuracy, not your speed.

Shin Kicking can also be used for tripping an opponent, except instead of kicking the person with the toe or the base of the foot you are instead angling your foot in from the side in an effort to knock them down / make them lose their balance. This is demonstrated in the graphic below.

In a situation where you feel threatened, kicking someone in the shins and then running away is a fairly effective means of self-defense. The other person could be potentially prone if you tripped them, or they might simply be unable to run quickly due to the sudden pain. The pain would be temporary however, so if your plan is to run do so quickly.

#5.

This is not the impressive Side Kick you may have seen in the movies. You need to work up to that.

Instead your goal here is to kick sideways and hit something that is approximately at groin level. eg. An opponent's family jewels.

To do this kick you first need to be facing towards your target, your feet slightly spaced apart and your leading foot slightly off to the side for extra balance. During the kick you will first raise your knee up towards the target, and then in one motion you will kick outwards while rotating your body. Use your arms to maintain your balance (potentially you could use one arm to perform a simultaneous punch like in the image below, but your primary goal should be to maintain your balance).


Done properly a sidekick should be both accurate, fast and with minimal loss of balance. These three things are important because:

  • You actually want to hit the target properly so it does more damage.
  • Your kick should be fast enough that your opponent cannot catch and twist your foot, leaving you at a disadvantage.
  • You don't want to lose your balance. If you fall the fight is practically over.
My tae kwon do instructor in South Korea taught that you never want to kick an opponent unless you either already have the advantage or if you can be absolutely certain of your success. He argued that kicking an opponent too aggressively and without a degree of caution was too risky, especially against any experienced opponent who knows how to counter such a kick and turn it against you.

For our purposes however side kicks still make for great exercise - both for muscle speed and strength, but also as a balance exercise.

#6.

The third and final kick I am going to teach today is the Back Kick.

Similar to the Side Kick, you start by raising your knee up in front of you and then kick backwards at an imaginary target at roughly groin level. Your primary goal during this kick is to learn how to maintain your balance, so note how your arms stay tucked close to your body and most of your balance is achieved not with your arms, but with your torso / core muscles.

7.

Don't over do it with any of the above kicking exercises. Focus on form and balance, not speed. There is no point hurting yourself by trying to kick superfast. Speed will come with practice.

After completing your kicking exercises for the day I also recommend doing a series of exercises such as:

Lunges
Sit Ups
Push Ups
Squats
Jump Squats
Jumping Jacks
Skip Rope or Skipping
Yoga
Etc

The goal here is to build up your leg muscles and also your core muscles (abs, lower back, etc). That way the next time you practice kicking exercises the muscles in question will be stronger and you will have better balance.

Happy Exercising!
Looking to sign up for archery lessons, boxing lessons, swimming lessons, ice skating lessons or personal training sessions? Start by emailing cardiotrek@gmail.com and lets talk fitness!

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