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Showing posts with label Exercise Myths. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Exercise Myths. Show all posts

Girl Pushups and More

The "Girl Pushup"
What is so bad about a "Girl Pushup" ?

It is exercise after all. And lets face it, some people cannot do normal pushups because they haven't reached that stage of athletic fitness - including some men.

It is not a "feminine thing" to be doing so-called "Girl Pushups". It is an "I am out of shape and cannot do a normal pushup yet style of pushup."

You will notice I underlined the word yet. That is the operative word. Do "Girl Pushups" often enough and you will eventually be able to do regular pushups.

Do regular pushups often enough and you will likely also try Incline Pushups or Decline Pushups. Or even One Hand Pushups.

Do various different styles of pushups often enough and you will eventually be able to do Handstand Pushups. Like the woman below is doing.


Clearly this means that Girl Pushups is just part of a gradual process of becoming better at pushups.


My point here is that you should never let embarrassment prevent you from doing exercises. Sometimes things are just names, and there is nothing wrong with doing a Girl Pushup - especially since people (men and women) do them all the time when they are rolling out of bed to get up in the morning.

When you do eventually get good enough to do regular pushups you will want to focus on the quality of your form. Keep your back straight and lower yourself so your chest is nearly touching the floor.

While it is more difficult to do proper form with a pushup, you get more benefits from doing the exercise properly.




The Myth of Spot Training for Skinny Arms

Earlier today I saw a website promoting the myth that doing weight lifting exercises for your arms can help women to get "skinny arms". The website contained a list of exercises, mostly weight lifting exercises like bicep curls and body weight exercises like push ups. It made me so angry I wrote a lengthy comment on their website.

My comment below:

"Wow. Such misinformation. The exercises listed above would give people BIGGER arms, not skinny arms. I am a personal trainer and I come across misinformation like this way too often.

#1. Doing weight lifting or body weight exercises will make your arms get BIGGER, not smaller, because you will be building more muscle.

#2. Spot Training for Weight Loss is a MYTH. You cannot do weight training with your triceps and expect your triceps to shed fat. It doesn't work that way.

#3. If you want to shed fat you need to be doing cardio. Jogging, swimming, cycling, aerobics, etc.

#4. Extra skin is normal after sudden weight loss, but there are tricks to fixing that problem - they're listed on my website."

The level of misinformation in the exercise industry boggles my mind quite often. It is due to a combination of factors:

#1. People who just plain don't know what they are talking about. They are perpetuating a myth due to sheer ignorance.

#2. Companies that are trying to sell you a product and are deliberately giving you false information in an effort to trick you into buying their product.

#3. Personal Trainers who have become so focused on one style of training that they warp, twist the truth and outright lie to their clients. Eg. Weight lifting trainers telling people that they can lose weights using weightlifting - or vice versa, cardio trainers telling people they can build lots of muscle by going jogging.

The third cause above makes me so angry because it means my own industry is partly to blame for the misinformation. It not that my fellow colleagues are stupid or anything, they are simply doing math: more clients = more money, and men who can easily be tricked into thinking weightlifting sheds fat is an easy way to get more clients. It is basically preying on the gullible and/or the ignorant.

But for a website that isn't actually selling anything, that is just posting free information (or free misinformation) what is the purpose of that? They don't make any extra money off perpetuating a myth. Unless they were selling a product I wasn't aware of, or maybe it was the advertising on the website - which implies that their primary goal is to keep their advertisers happy, not to inform the public.

And so to summarize:

Weightlifting and resistance training builds lots of muscle. It will not give you skinny arms. Spot Training to build muscle does actually work, but it only works for building muscle - not for shedding fat.

Cardio exercises shed fat. So if you are looking to shed the extra arm fat, you need to be thinking of a full body workout like jogging or swimming.

Spot Training to remove fat in specific areas is a myth. You can build muscle in specific spots, but you cannot shed fat in that manner.

If your goal is to do BOTH, to build muscle and shed fat at the same time you need to be doing a combination of both cardio and weightlifting. Eg. 15 minutes of weightlifting and a 15 minute jog every day.

FACT - 30 minutes of exercise per day is approx. 2% of your day, but that 30 minutes of exercise can make a big difference towards your exercise goals.

The #1 Reason Why So Many People Fail To Lose Weight

Do you want to know the #1 reason why many people who set out to lose weight via exercise fail to lose the weight they are looking for?

The answer is...

NOT ENOUGH CARDIO

Many people who go to the gym (or set up a home gym) do so by lifting weights or doing various forms resistance training, which in turn builds muscle.

What often happens is the person ends up GAINING WEIGHT due to increased muscle mass. They aren't reducing their overall weight and while their body fat percentage may go down slightly, they are not going to get the results they are looking for.

It is basically an issue of people equating cardio exercises like running, jogging, swimming, cycling, etc with weightlifting exercises and thinking that they can get the benefits of weight loss from weight lifting - and instead they gain weight by building muscle, while seeing no change at all in their waistline. They have fallen victim to the myth that "you can lose weight by weightlifting".

There are of course, exceptions. I will give you a few:

#1. Put weights around your ankles and go for long walks. That is basically combining weight lifting for your legs with cardio - but it is still effectively cardio.

#2. Put a 20 lb backpack on and then go cycling. Yes, you are lifting extra weight on your back, but the more important factor is that cycling = cardio.

#3. Combine aerobic exercises with small 5 lb dumbbells. Yes, you are lifting weights, but again the bigger factor is that aerobic exercises = cardio.

So yes, of course, if you combine weightlifting with cardio you could lose weight - but the bigger weight loss factor is always going to be the cardio.

Your primary goal during a cardio exercise is to get your heart rate going - and trigger the Afterburn Effect (heightened metabolism as your body burns fat for energy). If you don't get your heart rate high enough to trigger the Afterburn Effect, then you are going to have difficulty trying to lose weight. Often people exercising with just weightlifting are just going to use up the energy in their blood (sugar, fat, etc) and then feel hungry and tired.

In contrast if you trigger the Afterburn Effect you suddenly feel energized - more energetic and alive, for the rest of the day as your body starts burning fat to refuel your body's energy levels. Scientific studies show that the Afterburn Effect can last up to 48 hours after the person achieves a high heart rate from doing cardio - and the more prolonged their heart rate is higher, the more their body starts burning fat.

Triggering the Afterburn Effect is part of High Intensity Interval Training and other forms of Interval Training. So if your goal is to lose weight, you might want to consider Interval Training as a method of getting your heart rate up in your goal of losing weight.

The goal during High Intensity Interval Training is to get your heart rate up doing one intense exercise, and then relax while doing a less stressful exercise, and then get your heart rate back up again by doing another intense exercise.

Example 1. Sprinting, Walking, Sprinting, Walking, Sprinting, Walking, etc.

Example 2. Aggressive Mountain Biking, Relaxing Cruise, Aggressive Mountain Biking, Relaxing Cruise, Aggressive Mountain Biking, Relaxing Cruise, etc.

Example 3. Fast Swimming, Leisurely Swimming, Fast Swimming, Leisurely Swimming, Fast Swimming, Leisurely Swimming, etc.

Scientific studies have also shown that 30 minutes of  High Intensity Interval Training is more effective for weight loss than 30 minutes of jogging - because your heart rate gets higher while sprinting, and a higher heart rate triggers the Afterburn Effect better.

So not only are people often doing the wrong exercises for their goal, people are often opting for exercises they consider to be easier - because they know sprinting and similar intense exercises are pretty hard.

But not impossible.

Sprinting is basically just running as fast as possible for a short period of time. Anyone with working legs can do it, so chances are likely you have no excuses.

Anyone with bad knees would be advised to do swimming instead.

But once you start doing more intense cardio on a regular basis you will feel invigorated every time you do - that is how you will know the Afterburn Effect is working. The feeling of invigoration.

Instinctive Archery Vs Anchor Points

Q

"Hello!

I saw a video recently about Lars Anderson in which the narrator made a number of claims about archery and people on the internet have been having a heated debate it ever since. I am curious as to what your opinion of Lars Anderson's new video is? I see you have an older post which talks about him. [See Different Techniques of Rapid Fire Archery to see the post he is referring to.]

- Jamie Y."

A

Hey Jamie!

Yes, I have seen the video numerous times, but just in case other people have not seen it lets shows it again.

Warning - The following video contains many falsehoods, many of which I will explain below why they are false, myths, half-truths or complete fabrications.



So during the video the narrator does make quite a few claims - many of which have been proved erroneous, as the internet is filled with people who are Fact Checkers and take any wild claim as a chance to Fact Check the claims being made. This is especially true of Fact Checkers who look for lies made by politicians.

My personal opinion on that style of archery, known as Instinctive Archery in archery circles, is that it is fun for shooting things at close range (point blank). However it is utterly useless for long range or even mid range accuracy, absolutely useless for hunting, and really only useful for showing off at point blank distances. (Little kids with zero experience can hit the target at point blank distances.)

For more details on the erroneous statements made in the video here is a list of statements and why they are wrong / false assumptions / outright lies.

#1. The narrator claims at the start of the video that ancient techniques of archery have been forgotten. This is wholly untrue. Those techniques have been preserved by the Cherokee (and similar tribes) in North America, by Persian archers in the middle-east and by several different cultures in Asia (most notably Mongolia and Korea). So claiming that the techniques have been forgotten is an outright lie.

#2. Lars Anderson is not "reinventing" anything which has been lost. He is just copying what has already been preserved. He is not using any "forgotten historical methods" because they were never forgotten and are still used in various parts of the world.

#3. Holding the arrows in the drawing hand is nothing new, nor is it reinventing something new.

#4. While the technique of holding arrows in the drawing hand is not as widespread as it once was, it is certainly not gone entirely.

#5. Quoting a book that says "This is the best type of shooting and there is nothing beyond it in power or accuracy" does not make it true. Quite the opposite. If you want power and accuracy with a traditional bow, use an English yew longbow or a Cherokee osage flatbow. The osage flatbow is believed to be similar to the design of the famed Welsh bow (which is believed to have been a yew flatbow). Longbows and flatbows are waaaaaaaay more powerful than the shortbow Lars Anderson is using in the videos, and that power translate into faster arrow speed and more accuracy both at close range and longer distances. In contrast Instinctive Archery is only really accurate within point blank range and comes with a measure of luck (the video of Lars shooting omits all of the failed attempts he did).

#6. "Why has it been forgotten today?" asks the narrator. Again, beating a dead horse here. It wasn't forgotten. It just isn't as commonly used any more.

#7. Modern archers don't actually use back quivers most of the time anyway. They use hip quivers or quivers that attach to their bow like in the images below.



#8. Yes, it is true that modern archers do stand still while firing at a target. This is very important for accuracy at long distances. It is equally important that they use proper form and have a consistent anchor spot with drawing back their arrow to aim. Shooting at long distance targets are exponentially harder to hit - the difference between shooting at 20 yards and shooting at 40 yards is not twice as difficult, in my opinion it is more like four times as difficult. Thus 60 yards is roughly 16 times more difficult and 80 yards is roughly 64 times more difficult than shooting at a target at 20 yards.

To put this in perspective Howard Hill (one of the greatest archers of the last century) once shot an eagle that was 150 yards away (that is roughly twice the distance of what modern Olympic archers shoot at, a mere 70 meters). Shooting a relatively small target like an eagle is not easy, especially at an extreme distance. I guarantee Howard Hill was standing extremely still when he performed that shot.

#8. Not all archers use one eye aiming. While it is true that it is more accurate to use one eye while aiming, not all archers do this. It is a matter of personal choice but some archers do prefer to shoot with both eyes open. This is not an Instinctive Archery method per se, but rather personal preference.

#9. "and other technical gadgets, but that is another story" says the narrator. In this case the narrator completely skips over the purpose of the gadgets which is to help archers to shoot more accurately at longer distances with less reliance on skill or experience (eg. compound bows have so many gadgets that they are very forgiving in terms of accuracy, but you have to learn how to tune them properly in order to attain that accuracy). I myself favour my students learning how to aim the traditional way with no gadgets or sights, with one eye open. How many gadgets or lack of gadgets people use is really a matter of personal preference. It is not "wrong" to want to use gadgets, it just means you are trying to get an advantage so you don't have rely on skill / perfect form so much.

#10. "several movements before you can actually shoot". Okay, so what? Yes, using right-side arrow rests (on a bow where you draw with your right hand) is slower - but it is also more accurate. So what if you can shoot faster? If you are shooting at a target, do you want to shoot at it quickly and miss or do you want to shoot at it accurately and actually hit it? The purpose of archery is not a contest to see who can shoot the fastest. It is to see who can shoot and hit the target - being fastest is just a perk.

There is a story about Byron Ferguson (one of the three greatest archers of the last century) who was at an archery event in the USA when a compound shooter decided to challenge him to a duel of sorts, in which they would both shoot at a target and whoever hit it first won. So speed was a factor in this little duel, but I should note that Byron did not rush it either. The target was a small moving target on a track a long distance away - an incredibly difficult shot for most archers. Byron drew an arrow from his hip quiver. He nocked it, drew back the arrow, aimed for a brief moment and then shot the moving target. He didn't rush through the steps, but he was faster than the compound shooter he was still fiddling with his gadgets by the time Byron's arrow hit the target. Was Byron shooting super fast with his longbow? No. He didn't need to. He just needed to shoot accurately and hit the target. The compound shooter was slower just because he was reliant on his gadgets and sights to do most of the work for him.

In the same contest however, Byron Ferguson Vs Lars Anderson, I guarantee Lars would have got a shot off first - and would have completely missed the target because of the distance. By the time he got to his second or third shot Byron would have hit it accurately.

Accuracy matters more than speed. Shooting quickest doesn't matter squat if you can't hit the target.

#11. So apparently Lars studied old paintings and drawings of archers holding their arrows on the right side of the bow. I am sorry, but I studied painting and art history in university but basing your assumptions on old art pieces opens you up to the problem of the 'ignorant artist'. People who don't know how to do archery at all often depict archery in drawings and paintings in the wrong manner. It is like Picasso's Left Handed Picador, artists make mistakes when draw things they know little about. You cannot use drawings or paintings as historical evidence because often the artist simply doesn't have a clue. Artists also frequently archers drawing bow strings back with two fingers instead of three (the proper way to draw back a bow string). The arrowheads are also frequently painted wrong, and the woulds on Saint Sebastian don't show the shape of the arrowheads penetrating. Paintings are wholly inaccurate on multiple levels.

#12. "which is both faster and better" says the narrator. Nope, no it is not better. Faster yes. Definitely not more accurate.

#13. The narrator assumes that historical archers all used the same techniques of archery. Completely false. Archery techniques not only varied from culture to culture, but also from archer to archer. One style of archery might be more popular in Bhutan for example, but that doesn't mean every Bhutanese archer uses the same techniques and the exact same style. (Bhutan's national sport is archery and modern Bhutan now uses a wide variety of different styles of bows and different styles of archery. The styles uses historically in Bhutan likely also varied wildly from archer to archer and there was no set style common to all Bhutanese archers.)

#14. "and start reading historical manuscripts" says the narrator. Actually no, you don't need to read those at all. Yes, Lars may have read lots of historical manuscripts during his research of so-called 'ancient techniques', but those same techniques are still used today by many different cultures.

#15. "and ultimately it is also more fun." says the narrator. Yes, this is partially true, Instinctive Archery is fun - but not everyone wants to do Instinctive so whether it is "more fun" is a matter of personal preference. Myself I love shooting at moving targets, but I also love shooting long distances on a windy day. Both are those activities are quite a bit of fun, but I wouldn't go telling people it is "more fun" in an authoritative way as if my opinion is somehow the rule of law.

#16. I wonder how many times Lars dropped his bow when trying to toss it in the air and catch it.

#17. "master archers shoot the bow with both hands" says the narrator. Not necessarily. The narrator is quoting a book Lars Anderson supposedly read. Just because the book says so does not make it true.

For example Awa Kenzo - one of the three greatest archers of the last century - always shot right handed. He was reputedly "able to shoot 100 bullseyes with 100 arrows" and during a demonstration in Japan he once shot the filament out of a lightbulb, without shattering the lightbulb. Awa Kenzo is the epitome of the zen master archer - but he only shot with his right hand.

So sorry, but I am calling bogus on the narrator's quote from that book.

#18. "must be able to hit a blade so the arrow splits into two parts". Wow. This book just claims all sorts of stuff. I will also note that Lars does many of these trick shots while standing less than 10 feet (3.33 yards) from the target. Lets see him repeat that shot while at a greater distance.

There is a video of Byron Anderson on YouTube shooting a tylenol pill in the air at a distance of roughly 10 yards (30 feet). That is still a relatively short distance, but I think Lars needs more practice if he wants to catch up to Byron Anderson.

#19. "Archers could also pick up enemy arrows and shoot them back." So what? Anybody can do that. Seriously, anybody with working arms and fingers can pick up an enemy's arrow and shoot it back. How is that an important skill?

#20. Notice how Lars catches the arrow in mid air and then shoots it at a target that is literally a few feet from him. At that distance he would be better off just stabbing the enemy with the arrow.

#21. Shooting at a target up close is not an impressive ability. Sitting at a table and shooting two people across the table from you is something anyone could do. Yes, speed would be handy in that situation, but the moment he takes out his bow wouldn't the enemies just stand up and stab him with a sword?

#22. Again with the claim that "this technique was forgotten". I am really getting tired of these. It was never forgotten, it continued to be practiced. Just because firearms became the primary choice for hunters does not mean people neglected to do archery and preserve old techniques. The Cherokee tribe in the USA for example has maintained an unbroken succession of both archery skills and also bow-making / arrow-making techniques. This means that the skills that are being passed down to young members of the Cherokee tribe today are the same skills that were passed down pre-European settlements in the USA, skills that have been passed down from fathers, grandfathers, great-grandfathers - doubtlessly skills dating back to the pre-history of their tribe.

#23. Penetrating chainmail armour is not hard to do with an arrow. It is actually ridiculously easy because the chinks in chainmail are designed to reflect blades, not arrows. The arrows go right through the chinks in the armour like a hot knife through butter. Penetrating plate armour, that is difficult. There is a story about a group of Saxons who were chased into a tower by a group of Welsh archers. The Welsh bow was so infamously powerful, but this story demonstrates how much. The Saxons barricaded themselves inside the tower, behind a door made of 4 inches thick oak. The Saxons were wearing chainmail armour, but the arrows from the Welsh archers went right through the 4-inch thick doors, right through the armour, and killed them easily.

#24. I think the reference to using "both hands" to give a bow more power is actually a reference to foot bows. I think Lars / the narrator has misinterpreted the meaning of using both hands. Likely it was used in a manner similar to the footbow shown on the right.

#25. So the narrator says ancient archers were expected to shoot 3 arrows in 1.5 seconds. So... Weird question, but how were they measuring time without a stop watch? Was it really 1.5 seconds or were they using a different measurement of time?

#26. "while speed is important hitting the target is essential" says the narrator. Finally, some truth in this video full of lies, half-truths and glaring historical inaccuracies.

#27. At which point he then tries shooting at a moving arrow with his own arrow. Yes, that clearly requires some skill - although again he does it a ridiculously short distance of mere feet from him - and again we don't get to see all of the failed attempts. And trust me, there would have been plenty of failed attempts before they finally managed to succeed at this archery stunt.

#28. So in the 1938 film "The Adventures of Robin Hood" (featuring a young Howard Hill as a cameo and performing all of the archery stunts) Robin Hood splits an arrow with another arrow. The narrator in Lars' video then says "some consider this to be the ultimate archery trick". Yes, some people might consider that to be the ultimate archery trick. However myself personally, I have hit and split my own arrow on moving targets (and have the photos to prove it) at 60 feet away on a windy day. See my post Robin Hooding a Moving Target from 2014 for details of this feat.


So then the narrator says that "They are wrong. The ultimate archery trick is splitting an incoming arrow in two with one of your own." Apparently at a very short distance - and apparently by editing out all of the failed shots in which he completely missed.

So yes, Lars Anderson does have some impressive speed and accuracy at short distances, but speed is not everything - in fact speed is pretty useless and impractical when it comes to any situation that doesn't involve short range combat.

For hunting purposes, for warfare (which means volleys of arrows), or for competitions then accuracy at longer distances is more important. Most bowhunting occurs at ranges of 20 to 40 yards (60 to 120 feet) and in war archers would be shooting volleys extreme distances anywhere from two hundred yards away to 1400 yards - wherein accuracy was less important because they were counting on the sheer number of arrows raining down death upon the enemy. At short, mid range and long range distances that is when the archers would begin actually aiming at specific targets. Aiming at a target point blank almost never happened because if you were that close to an enemy it is time to get your shield and sword out lest they start hacking you to pieces.

Persian archery - for which Lars Anderson claims to base much of his research on - was specifically a style of horseback archery, which meant archers were shooting at targets that were close range while riding by them on horseback. It is basically the "driveby shooting" style of archery. Horseback archery is not famed for its long or even mid distance accuracy. It is really only accurate at point blank distances.

There have been many websites and videos that have refuted Lars Anderson's newest video and the wild lies from the narrator. My nitpicking of each of the points in the video is nothing new or unusual. I am not "reinventing how to nitpick a video" or making any wild claims of "discovering ancient techniques of how to nitpick videos". I am not the first person to nitpick this video full of outrageous statements, half-truths and lies. We live in a society of people who know how to Fact Check. Deal with it.

The world has lots of trick shooters out there. I am content to be one of them, but I don't need to make phony misinformation to garner attention.

Want to learn how to shoot an arrow? Practice. Preferably by practicing proper techniques with the aid of an archery instructor who knows what they are doing. I do not recommend copying anything you saw in the Lars Anderson video. Copying what he does is just plain dangerous and will likely damage your archery equipment. (For archery lessons in Toronto, contact me or one of the other local archery instructors.)

Learning how to draw back to a consistent anchor point is one of the first steps archers need to learn how to do. Subscribe to Cardio Trek and stay tuned for an upcoming post about consistent anchor points. Update - See Archery Anchor Points.

Below is an art piece of sorts I created using the faces of 8 different archers with their faces overlapped. In the photos they are all pulling back the arrow to approximately the same anchor point.

"Eight Archers, One Anchor Spot"

I ended up making a 2nd version of the image to align their heads and the bow string better than the first draft.

"Eight Archers, One Anchor Spot" (Version II)



Update - If you do want to see a video response to Lars video, I recommend watching "A Response to Lars Andersen: a New Level of Archery" posted by YouTube user "skepticallypwnd". I didn't see that particular video response until after I finished writing this, but it does make some of the many same point I have made and many other archers have made about the ridiculous statements made in Lars' video.

Including one statement which I skipped over, the idea that "the back quiver is a Hollywood myth". The response video points out that the back quiver has existed for millennia - and unlike Lars who apparently is clueless about some things - there are plenty of historical images showing people using back quivers, and while the style of archery used may not be accurately depicted by artists, we can safely say that back quivers are not a "Hollywood myth".

I would like to point out that ancient hunters knew how to stuff a back quiver with fur so their arrows didn't move around / fall out easily, making them both quieter (for hunting purposes, having a quiet quiver is handy) and also helping to prevent the loss of arrows by making it more difficult for arrows to fall out haphazardly.

The video by skepticallypwnd also points out that the mass media sort of jumped on the bandwagon with headlines like "Everything you know about archery is a lie", and then proceeded to quote a video that was itself full of lies, half-truths and misinformation.

I am also happy to see in their video that I am not the only one who caught the "1.5 seconds" lie and asked how they managed to measure time.

Also another page you might be interested in reading is Geek Dad's posting titled "Danish 'Archer' Demonstrates Gullibility of Audience".



UPDATE, February 2016: Glossary of Terms

There seems to be some confusion about the term "Instinctive Archery" and what makes instinctive archery so different from other styles of archery so I have decide to add a quick glossary for those people who don't understand the differences.

Traditional Archery - Aims off the tip of the arrow, utilizes a high anchor point sometimes referred to as North Anchor, Traditional Anchor or High Anchor. Usually no gadgets, although arrowrests are sometimes used. Sometimes also called "Barebow Archery". Commonly uses many kinds of more traditional styles of bows, longbows, shortbows and traditional recurves, including ethnic varieties like the Turkish horsebow, the Korean horsebow, the Japanese yumi, the English longbow, the Cherokee flatbow, etc.

Gap-Shooting Traditional Archery - This is a sub-type of Traditional Archery, which uses the same techniques as Traditional Archery, with the exception of how to aim. Instead of aiming off the tip of the arrow, Gap Shooting involves using the gap between the target and the side of the bow / shooting window. Gap Shooting is usually used by experienced archers who have been shooting for a very long time.

Olympic Archery - Aims off a sight attached to the bow, utilizes gadgets like a clicker, stabilizer, and arrowrest. Also uses a low anchor point sometimes referred to as South Anchor, Olympic Anchor or Low Anchor. Utilizes Olympic archery equipment designed specifically for shooting at 70 meter targets during competitions.

Compound Bow Archery - Aims through a smaller peep sight and off a sight attached to the bow. utilizes pulley cams to create a let off on draw weight, stabilizer, complex arrowrests (eg. drop away arrowrests, whisker-biscuits, etc) and does not normally use a fixed anchor point because the peep sight is doing most of the work in that respect and worrying about an anchor point is considered unnecessary on a compound bow.

Instinctive Archery - Doesn't aim off anything in particular, does not use any kind of sights or gadgets, does not necessarily have a fixed draw length or a fixed anchor point - this doesn't mean the archer doesn't sometimes use an anchor point, it merely means that most instinctive shooters do not use a fixed anchor point. However it should be noted that if they are looking at the target and using a fixed anchor point, then they might be technically Gap-Shooting without realizing it and they are not doing instinctive archery. eg. Lars Anderson does not use a fixed anchor point. Many people confuse Gap-Shooting with Instinctive Archery, mostly because they don't know what the difference is.

Equestrian Archery - Firing a bow from the back of a horse, usually while the horse is in motion. Often utilizes either Traditional or Instinctive archery techniques, as well as specific techniques designed for equestrian archery, eg. a "live" horseman's release, during which the drawing arm moves backwards away from the bow after releasing the arrow.

Crossfit and Why it is Dangerous to Over Do It

Lets do a little myth busting.

First, yes, it is true that Crossfit exercise routines will help you lose weight.

But it is also true that Crossfit is dangerous, pushes people to extremes and even causing exercise addiction - and the resulting Crossfit devotees (or should we say addicts) get really into all the activities done at crossfit gyms - but the repetitive strain and the injuries pile up, which can lead to extreme injuries.

In fact to outline just how dangerous Crossfit is why not Google the words 'crossfit injuries' and read some of the 1.17 million webpages on the topic.

What is also funny is how many Crossfit enthusiasts (addicts) tell fellow enthusiasts to "suck it up", "no pain no gain", "don't be a wussy", etc whenever the topic of injuries come up.

 And we're not talking mild injuries. We're talking about people who injure themselves so much they can't even walk any more.

That puts it on the same level as people who are so anorexic they cannot walk any more, or people so obese they cannot walk any more... in this case it is people who exercised so much they injured themselves and now they cannot walk any more.

Cannot walk, are in severe debilitating pain, and in some cases will be like this the rest of their lives.

There are Iraq War Veterans out there missing limbs who are in better physical condition than some of the Crossfit devotees who injured themselves because they didn't know when was a good time to rest and recuperate.

So let me break this down for you.

When you exercise, weightlifting for example, you need about 24 to 48 hours (sometimes more depending on your age and how much weightlifting you do) in order to repair all the muscle tissue you ripped during your weightlifting session. With weightlifting you are often only challenging a few parts of your body at a time, which means your body only needs to repair muscle tissue in those areas after the exercise is over.

The purpose of Crossfit however is to rip muscles in almost every muscle in your body by pushing your limits in many different ways. Afterwards your body heals up and you end up being stronger all over (not just in specific muscle groups)... but because Crossfit is addictive you end up with people who are doing it 5 to 7+ times per week, leaving your body almost no time to repair itself.

Lack of repair time leads to repetitive strain injuries - and repetitive strain rip tendons.

Do you know how to fit a tendon?

Surgery.

Lots of surgery. It is painful and truth be told whatever body part you ripped the tendon in may never be the same again. It is a bit like someone who has a heart attack. Once you have your first heart attack it is pretty much all down hill from there.

Below is a photo of a ripped tendon in someone's arm being repaired via surgery. If he is lucky he still has full use of his arm, but the chances are more likely his arm will be in pain and have restricted motion for the rest of his life.


And this is just one of the many injuries people can develop from Crossfit.

As a personal trainer I actively discourage all of my clients from activities that could result in any kind of sports injuries. Yes, I know you want to lose weight and gain muscle - but sports injuries are not worth the risks associated with 'extreme fitness' activities like Crossfit.

In other news, Happy Halloween! I hope the above photo scared you away from Crossfit.

Oh and mountain climbing. That is pretty dangerous too. Trust me, I nearly died twice in South Korea while climbing mountains there. The view up there was nice, but in retrospect I should have taken the safer route to the top.

Dieting - How much dieting is actually necessary to achieve results?

Q

"Hello!

I have noticed in the past that sometimes people don't actually diet or exercise that much and yet still manage to shed the pounds they were looking to shed. What are they doing differently? How much dieting [or exercising] is actually necessary to achieve results?

- Vanessa R."

A

Hello Vanessa!

Honestly, it varies with the person obviously, but the quick and easy answer is "not that much".

People can sometimes achieve amazing results just by reducing their caloric intake to the recommended amount for their body type (if they were over eating this will be more difficult for them to do because they will get cravings for their favourite foods) and combining their new "reasonable and balanced diet" with an exercise routine - something simple like jogging for 30 minutes every day or doing yoga for 30 minutes, or swimming, bicycling, or any kind of cardio activity.

30 minutes out of every day is a tiny portion of the 1,440 minutes a person has available in a day - we use 480 minutes just for sleeping. 30 minutes is only 2% of your day, but that 2% can make amazing differences if you use it for exercising.

For food it is all about calories in and calories out. The average female only needs approx. 1800 calories per day, and the average male only needs about 2000 calories per day. The exact number a person needs varies with their body type and their level of physical activity, which is usually based on their occupation. Athletes for example often consume 2500 to 3000 calories per day because they need the extra energy. But for the Average Joe, those numbers are unnecessary extra calories.

Unfortunately many people often eat out at restaurants, order pizzas, snack on junk food, etc - and their diet might be closer to 3,000 to 4,000 calories per day.

Let's pretend you're a man who we will call Average Joe who only needs 2,000 calories per day. At his normal weight he weighs 170 lbs.

But Joe likes eating junk food regularly and consumes closer to 2,100 calories per day, but he is only burning 2,000 calories per day during his daily activities.

Now here is the important part: 1 lb of fat is 3,500 calories.

Ergo if Joe keeps eating an extra 100 calories per day he will gain 1 pound every 35 days. He would gain roughly 11 lbs of fat in a year - and possibly start developing health problems if he does this over many years without changing his routine. In a single year (plus overeating during Xmas) he might go from 170 lbs to 185 lbs.

But lets pretend that Average Joe decided he wanted to reverse the process. By going on a healthy diet, and only eating 2,000 calories per day.

Joe's weight would then stabilize and stop going up. He would stay at 185.

Now he could try reducing his diet to 1,900 calories (or lower, which is problematic for your health if you go below 1,500) and would lose weight doing that (some of that would be muscle mass however, due to a loss of protein in his diet).

A better solution for Joe is to maintain that 2,000 calories / day routine - but ADD more exercise to his routine.

So for example if Joe weighed 185 lbs and then got into cycling and cycled 6 miles (or 10 km) every day then he would burn approx. 350 calories each time. (Note: It takes approx. 25 to 30 minutes to cycle that far at a leisurely pace - it isn't even cycling that fast.)

At 350 calories per day Joe would lose 1 lb (3500 calories) every ten days.

Which means Joe could be back at being 170 lb "Average Joe" in only 150 days.

And have more muscular legs to show for it. So truth be told he might actually be closer to 175 lbs, because he might put on 5 lbs of muscle (or more).

Note also that Joe could have also just skipped the diet and gone straight to cycling. At 2,100 calories - 350 calories, Joe would be losing 250 per day. Or 1 lb every 14 days. Thus it would take him longer to lose the weight, but he would eventually achieve his results (and still be able to enjoy the snacks he loves).

Eventually Joe would reach his goal and then would actually need to either decrease his cycling or increase his eating habits to balance his exercise activities with his diet. Preferably with healthier food so he puts on more muscle.

He might even add weightlifting to his exercise routine later - becoming a cycling and weightlifting aficionado. No longer is he "Average Joe". He would become "Hunky Joe".

So yes, back to Vanessa's question, people can make dramatic changes with relatively minor (but permanent) changes to their diet and exercise routine. It is really just a matter of math. Calories in vs calories out.

Note - The guy in the photo below is just a model. His legs are too skinny to be a cyclist.



The Myths of Spot Reduction

Everyone stores fat differently.

And when it comes to losing weight, many people find a stubborn pocket of fat that they cannot get rid of.

So what do you do?

Most exercisers are familiar with the concept of "spot reduction", but what many people don't know is that spot reduction is a myth and doesn't work.

The idea behind spot reduction is the concept of exercising a specific part of your body in an effort to make that body part lose fat. In reality what happens is the spot gets bigger as you grow more muscle tissue in that area, and the fat doesn't go away.

So for example this means someone doing only crunches in an attempt to slim their waist, or for example performing just squats because, "All I want is a smaller butt!"

And then what happens is their ab muscles get bigger from doing crunches, and their glutes (butt muscles) get bigger when doing squats.

So regardless of what exercise you are doing, if you are trying to reduce fat you need to be thinking cardio instead. Cardio cuts fat all over your body - which means wherever your body is storing fat (belly, thighs, sides, etc) then your body will take the fat, use it as energy during the cardio exercises, and your special problem area will be reduced noticeably over time.


So why does Spot Reduction not work???

When exercising your body uses sugar in your blood to fuel your activities. When your blood sugar levels start to get low (like during jogging, cycling, etc) then your body absorbs fat into your blood to provide extra energy, and it absorbs it from ALL OVER your body. Wherever your body is storing fat, that is where the fat will be drained from.

When doing weight lifting / body weight exercises like squats and crunches you are actually doing muscle building exercises - which uses very little energy in comparison to a cardio activity like jogging. That means you aren't using very much blood sugar. So you are not going to lose much fat because the exercise simply isn't using that much energy.

Your muscles will feel tired, because your muscles are not used to being used that way during crunches and squats, but that is primarily due to muscle fatigue.

A better way of determining whether you are actually burning fat is seeing whether you can maintain a conversation. If you are gasping for breath and unable to talk - like someone who is jogging - then you are likely burning fat. If you can talk easily, you really are not exercising that much.

What about Spot Creation???

Weight lifters often want bigger biceps, bigger pecs, bigger abs. Yes, they can achieve some results by focusing only on specific body parts - like the guy who got into professional arm wrestling and only exercised his one arm.

However most people don't want freakishly big Popeye arms.

The thing is muscle building and toning, similar to cardio, doesn't actually happen one muscle at a time - it is a whole set of muscles that are co-dependent.

It is the fact that muscle groups are co-dependent that often causes confusion, because people don't realize that an "all over approach" often builds muscles faster because it targets muscles groups as a whole instead of just one specific part.

For swimmers, cyclists, gymnasts, etc these results will be more obvious to them as they are often targeting muscle groups - cyclists for example tend to get really strong legs. Like the photo below of a man with freakishly big legs.


So what have we learned here?

#1. Spot reduction doesn't work. If you want to reduce fat from a specific spot, go jogging and do cardio exercises to reduce fat all over your body.

#2. Spot creation does work, but if you want better results you are better off doing large muscle groups exercises because they are co-dependent on each other.

HAPPY MYTH BUSTING!

What type of bow is best for weight training?

Q

"Hello!

I want to get into archery because I heard it is good for building strength. What type of bow would you recommend for building muscle?

- Kyle J."

A

Hello Kyle!

I recommend longbows if you want to get into the really high poundages and build lots of muscle. Longbows can go up to really high poundages - whereas recurve bows only go up to a maximum of roughly 60 lbs. Compounds bows can go pretty high, but they have a let off and are not that good for weightlifting because the letoff reduces the poundage once it is at full draw. eg. A 60 lb compound bow with 75% letoff will feel like only 15 lbs at full draw.

Longbows and recurves don't have a letoff and thus are better for weightlifting, and if you want to get into the heavier poundages then longbows is definitely the way to go.

If you are looking to buy a longbow in Toronto you have many options.

Option 1. Buy a bow from Basically Bows Archery on Queen Street East. Tell Gary I said hello! Gary has the best selection of longbows in the GTA.

Option 2. Commission a longbow from Mike Meusel, a local bowyer in Toronto. He made my 36lb pyramid bow "Ramses" for me.

Option 3. Shop for a longbow online. eg. howardhillarchery.com sells a variety of longbows. Expect to pay about $600, but they can also make really powerful (expensive) longbows too. For longbows over 75 lbs they charge an extra $2 per lb, and longbows over 100 lbs they charge an extra $5 - up to a maximum of 200 lbs. So if you are doing the math that is about $1150 for a super powerful longbow.

However I don't recommend you get yourself a super powerful longbow. You won't even be able to string it. You need to work your way up to that. If you are a big guy start with a bow that is between 30 and 40 lbs - make sure in the store you can draw it properly before purchasing - and practice with that bow 3 times (several hours each time) per week for 6 months.

Then get yourself another longbow that is 5 lbs heavier and practice with that one for 6 months.

If you start with a 35 lb bow and go up by 5 lb increments every 6 months (shooting even in the winter) then after 3 years you should be up to a 65 lb bow - or better, depending on your body type, adrenaline/testosterone levels (hormones that make you build muscles faster), the quality of your diet, and whether you are supplementing your exercise routine with a full body workout.

I strongly recommend archers adopt a full body workout that includes weightlifting, yoga, body weight exercises, balance exercises and even yogic breathing exercises. Such exercises will make you stronger, give you better balance, allow you to control your breathing during each shot - and better breathing gets more oxygen to your muscles.

Don't forget to stay hydrated. Water is best. Just plain old fashioned water. (I have determined energy drinks are a complete waste unless it is exceptionally hot outside and you are exercising a lot.)

Lastly I recommend drinking a whey protein shake after you return home from the archery range / after any weight lifting session.

Exercises to Treat Male Pattern Baldness - Real or Hoax?

Q

"Hello!

I read with interest your posts about nose exercises and how you can change the shape of your nose. I was wondering if you have heard anything about exercises or massages or diet plans you can do to either prevent male pattern baldness or to regrow hair where you now have a bald spot?

Thanks!

JCL"

A

Hello JCL!

I am afraid that so-called hair growth exercises are a complete hoax.

Same goes with massages. Complete hoax designed to get people to buy anti-baldness cream or similar products.

Diet plans on the other hand can help you to grow hair faster - but only in places where you already have hair.

I will tell you something I heard years ago. Most men who worry about baldness are worried that they will be less attractive to women. And YET most women don't care about baldness, what they care about is men who take care of themselves. That means exercising regularly, being well-groomed, cleanliness, nice/clean clothes, taking care in their appearance - and presumably also cleaning their home regularly and taking care of their mental well-being.

The articles JCL was referring to are:

Nose Exercises Vs Rhinoplasty

Nose Exercises - Fixing a Crooked Nose

Nose Exercises - Do you actually need them or are you being paranoid about your nose?

Understanding Weight Fluctuations

When it comes to dieting and exercising a person's weight is going to fluctuate dramatically from day to day. Weight fluctuations can be frustrating if you don't understand why it is happening, and why you sometimes seem to be going in the opposite direction.

A common myth is that exercise always equals weight loss. Except it is not always true. Often exercise equals muscle gain, which means weight gain. You might also be losing fat too, but it will be confusing as to how much muscle you are gaining and fat you are losing.

During a strict diet where a person is consuming less calories than their needs but still using the same amount of calories for their daily activities you will see constant weight loss as the body consumes fat stores to make up the difference. (During such a diet it is recommended they eat a fair bit of lean protein and supplement their diet with weightlifting in order to maintain muscle tone.)

During a less strict diet wherein a person doesn't know how many calories they are consuming then they might sometimes be eating more than they actually need and see combinations of weight loss on some days and weight gain on other days.

Note - Remember to weigh yourself in the morning before breakfast to get more accurate results. If you eat a meal, especially a large meal, weight measurements will give you an inaccurate glimpse of your true weight.

Large meals, extra water retention, binge eating are some of the biggest contributors to weight fluctuations, but there are other factors as well such as:

#1. Muscle Gain - Muscle weighs more than fat so even a little muscle gain can result in overall weight gain. This frequently happens when people are exercising, as people often gain muscle faster than they lose fat due to a combination of factors. Learn more by reading How Fast Can You Grow Muscle?

#2. Muscle Loss - It is common for people on fad diets to also lose muscle due to a lack of protein, vitamins and minerals in their diet. This can create a false sense of fat loss because your scales don't know whether you are losing muscle or losing fat. Often people gain the weight back after they quit the diet because their muscle weight can regrow at a faster weight due to muscle memory. See also Two Alternative Models for Predicting Muscle Growth.

#3. Inaccurate Scales - We've all done it at some point. We stepped on the scales and got a reading that was hugely inaccurate. To remedy this step off the scales and step on again to see if it gives the same results twice. You may need to double check 3 or 4 times to get a truly accurate reading. Electronic scales often need to recalibrate if they have been stored sideways, haven't been used for a long time, etc. Thus you need to give it some time to recalibrate.

Personal Note: I have to this myself often because I store my electronic scale sideways so whenever I plop it on the floor to check my weight I have to first wait for it to recalibrate by stepping on and off it a couple times and then finally getting an accurate reading.

Another possibility is that you have an old set of scales that uses a tension spring to measure weight, and the spring is old and worn out (and losing tension). Best option is to recycle it and buy a new set of scales.

If you have access to an old fashioned scale like the one below then absolutely use it. That is the kind of scale used by doctors because they are the most accurate.


#4. Too Much Salt / Sodium - Eating too much salt / sodium causes your body to retain more water and also more fat. Simply cutting all your salty foods from your diet can cause a sudden shift towards weight loss and fat loss. Eat more veggies and less salty foods and you can see a dramatic change. A constant over abundance of salty foods will cause your body to store more fat on a daily basis.

#5. Constipation - Nothing a quick laxative wouldn't fix. Otherwise try eating more foods that are high in fibre. Having a good bowel movement on a daily basis is definitely a good thing. Try to weigh yourself AFTER you've had a bowel movement and before you eat breakfast.

#6. Hormonal Changes - Women and men both suffer from monthly hormonal changes that can cause their weight to fluctuate. Hormonal levels can even be effected by your mood, as feelings of depression cause various hormones to be released which causes weight gain. In contrast feelings of happiness and contentment cause hormones which induce weight loss.

HANDY TIPS FOR COUNTERING NEGATIVE WEIGHT FLUCTUATIONS

#1. Don't weigh yourself every day. Instead pick a day (eg. Tuesday) and always weigh yourself on that day after your morning bowel movement and before breakfast.

#2. Keep track of your weight fluctuations from week to week by tracking them on a piece of paper that you keep near your scales.

#3. Avoid large meals, parties where you might overeat, binge eating, etc the day before you weigh yourself. Also avoid salty foods, caffeine, nicotine, alcohol, sugary treats and anything else you know is bad for you.

#4. Drink more water to bring your sodium levels down. Water also helps remove contaminants in your system from toxins, as water acts a natural detoxifier. Other natural detoxifiers include lemon juice, green tea, broccoli (although many other vegetables also work wonders), dandelion tea, fresh cranberry juice. Learn more about lowering your toxin levels.

ALTERNATIVES TO WEIGHING YOURSELF

A better way to judge your true weight is to look at how well your clothes fit. If your clothes feel roomier or baggier, then you've lost weight.

If possible try to also get monthly measurements of your body fat. This will give you a percentage of your total weight which is fat and a better idea of whether you are losing or gaining based on the percentage.

Try using fat calipers.

An old fashioned route is to use a tape measure. The tape measure will be less accurate around your middle (as you might gain muscle there if you are doing abdominal exercises) so I recommend also measuring your hips (as your body often stores fat in your buttocks instead) and keeping track of both your waist and hips measurements.

Balancing your Mirror Muscles

 Body symmetry is exceptionally important for bodybuilding and weightlifting - but what many people don't realize is that body symmetry also effects many other things too.



MUSCLE IMBALANCE = BACK PAIN

For example, did you know that pregnant women develop overly strong back muscles during the pregnancy? The reason is so they can support the extra weight of a baby and all the extra water weight, and that with time this leads to back pain - even after the baby has been born.

Now you might think, wait, why would they have back pain if their back is STRONGER? Shouldn't a strong back eliminate back pain?

Nope, and therein lies the problem. Many people don't realize that the primary source of backpain is a loss of balance between front mirror muscles and their back muscles. Often it is directly connected on a lateral level.

Examples

Small pectoral muscles = upper back pain.

Small abdominal muscles = lower back pain. (Especially since people often have weak lower back muscles in the first place.)

The reason is because the pectorals and abs are also used for balance, and if those muscles are smaller / weaker the back muscles in the corresponding mirror muscles have to work twice as hard in order for a person to maintain their balance and posture. A person with really lax muscle mirror muscles is going to have really bad posture and lots of back pain.

It is possible to have overdeveloped front torso muscles, which is exceptionally rare for the common person, but more common for bodybuilders who place too much emphasis on their front muscles because they want large pecs and abs. Since humans use their backs for so many things it is usually the back muscles which become overdeveloped and the front muscles which suffer.

AESTHETICS

Training for muscular balance is important is also important for aesthetics. Visually people are just not attractive if they have one part of their body that is abnormally large to the point it becomes grotesque.

For example people who don't exercise properly often develop a "crooked six pack" in their abdominal region - like in the photo below.



So basically there is many ways a person can screw up the symmetry of their muscles - both front and back, and also side to side.

It can be fixed with time fortunately, but it is best to take preventative measures while you are exercising so you use proper form. The use of proper form during each exercise means you won't be sloppy and then overusing one muscle compared to the other - the constant use of one muscle and ignoring its mirror muscle will always result in an imbalance over time.

On an aesthetic level bodybuilders can see their front muscles in the mirror easily, and exercises wise it is more fun to do bench presses and bicep curls. For most people however it is the opposite. They use their back for lifting things regularly, whereas weightlifters have been taught proper form and to lift with their legs more so they don't injure their back - and thus training their backs becomes a problem.

The end result is that aesthetically different people need to do different things to correct their muscle imbalances.

STABILITY / PREVENTS INJURIES

Having strong and well balanced front and back muscles means you will have better balance and stability - which is important while lifting heavy weights as you will be using your muscles both to lift the weight and to maintain balance. Having the extra mirror muscles will take up some of the effort of maintaining your balance while the other muscles do the job of lifting the heavy object.

Trying to lift the heavy object AND maintain your balance with just the one set of muscles is going to lead to injury over time due to bad posture. In my head I see a cartoon of a man falling over and the box landing on top of him because he can't maintain his balance, but this is only a literal interpretation. The reality is that overuse of one set of muscles will cause them to eventually rip - ripped muscles is normally a good thing in bodybuilding - but in this case a rip could mean ripped ligaments, which is exceptionally painful and sometimes untreatable.

Common injuries like hernias for example can be prevented by developing better mirror muscles. It is well worth it to make the effort. Do a google image search for hernia sometime and that should scare you into exercising your mirror muscles more to correct your imbalances.

FIXING MUSCLE IMBALANCES

Overdeveloped Back

The majority of you are probably reading this because you are an average person and have back pain. So the quick answer is for you to work on your pectorals, abdominal muscles and even your oblique (side) muscles.

This means doing exercises like push ups, sit ups, and side twists to build up pecs, abs and obliques. It is a relatively easy fix, takes you about 5 - 10 minutes every day and keep doing that for several months and you should have a lot less back pain as those muscles grow. (Unless you have chronic back pain caused by something else, like a slipped disk in your spine. In which case see your doctor.)

Overdeveloped Front

If you are the opposite however, someone who has been weight training for a long time and has developed overly large front muscles and neglected your back then there is a variety of exercises you can.

#1. Take up archery (archers tend to develop overly large back muscles, so this is a quick solution to your problem if your front muscles are currently overdeveloped - see Mirror Muscles for Archery).

#2. Use any kind of pulling machine in the gym. Rowing machines work well too.

#3. Be creative and use dumbbells in pulling exercises. Exercises like reverse flies. Make sure the weights are heavy enough to challenge you.

#4. Body weight exercises that use your back muscles. Pull ups, chin ups use your back shoulder muscles and your back muscles for balance.

#5. T Flies - Bend forward at the waist so that the back is very straight. Look down and with straight arms, slowly flap your arms. You may feel silly doing this at the gym so do it at home. Each time your arms come up to as high as they can go, really focus on squeezing your shoulder blades together. When they come all of the way back down, focus on stretching the back and shoulder muscles forward.

#6. Yoga - Hold the poses for longer periods of time to stress your muscles more. Try
Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga to get a more powerful workout.

OTHER WEIRD IMBALANCES

Biceps Vs Triceps

Pain in your biceps can mean you are overusing your biceps in your effort to get bigger - a common problem with newbs at the gym. This affliction is rare because the triceps are used in many exercises so the good news is you can easily fix it by doing more triceps exercises regularly.

Biceps may get more attention, but anyone who has been concerned over the back of the arm being flab, or just having nicely toned arms in general, will have trained their triceps.

The triceps are easy to train with exercises such as dips, overhead extension, and skull crushers but also shows results really quickly because the triceps build bulk muscle faster.

Lower Back and Abs

The lower back is probably the least trained muscle group of all. If any muscle should be trained, it is this one - but you need to exercise your abs too so you correct the imbalance without making a new imbalance.

I recommend doing abs and lats exercises FIRST during a workout so you get it over and done with. Many people do these exercises last and sometimes forget to do them. Or skip them entirely. This doesn't help them since the lower back and abs is used for core balance, and injury prevention.

Nobody is ever going to compliment you on your toned lower back, but the muscles there are exceptionally important for balance, posture and injury prevention.

Try doing alternating back extensions, either on all fours or on your belly. See photos below.




Another good one is Superman Pushups. They make look easy but they are harder than they look because most people have weak lower back muscles.



Hamstrings

Many people neglect to exercise the back of their legs. But there are man common exercises that build muscle there.

Squats
Bicycling
Lunges
Standing Leg Curls
Straight Leg Deadlift
Snap Kicks
Sprinting (especially on a sandy beach, because it works them harder)

CONCLUSIONS

Mirror muscles are exceptionally important for aesthetics, sports training, balance, strong core muscles, pain prevention and preventing injuries. I cannot emphasize the importance of Mirror Muscle Training enough. For whatever exercise goals you have set forth for yourself, you should do complimentary Mirror Muscle Training to give yourself a physical edge.

Mirror Muscles for Archery

Many archers over time develop really strong back muscles because they are using the back muscles a lot for pulling and steadying their bow.

However the problem is that as time progresses their back muscles becomes overdeveloped, their form deteriorates and they can't balance properly while performing a shot.

There is however a solution.

Push ups.

Just good old fashioned push ups targets the Mirror Muscles for archery - which in this case is the pectorals or "pecs". Push ups also build shoulder and triceps, muscles archers also use a lot, so it is ultimately a very good exercise for archers to be doing on a daily basis.

I recommend 100 pushups per day. Either 5 sets of 20, 10 sets of 10, however you get them done so long as you can do them and build up the corresponding muscles and mirror muscles.

The problem however is that many new archers don't know this - often because they're new to the sport and no nothing about sports conditioning. So they are operating under the illusion / myth that they don't need to do push ups and don't know the benefits that stronger mirror muscles will give to their form.

And this is true for many newcomers to sports. Many people who take up boxing for example don't understand why boxers often train by skipping rope - because it builds endurance, balance and feet coordination, all of which are important during a boxing match.

It is purest simple minded thinking (combined with a dose of laziness) that causes amateurs to think they don't need to do something to reach their goal. It never occurs to them that to reach (a) goal, they have to (b) train regularly and (c) do complimentary exercises. Or even (d) eat a healthy balanced diet.

Other complimentary exercises for archery...

#1. Yoga - builds balance and core muscles. Also boosts mental acuity and concentration. 20 to 30 minutes of yoga every day can give an archer a serious edge.

#2. Situps - builds abdominal muscles, which also boosts balance and is a mirror muscle for the lower back. 100 per day is a good number.

#3. Squats - builds leg muscles and boosts the balance in your legs. 100 per day.

Basically archers use almost all their body in performing a shot because they need better balance so they can steady their shot. It is true that certain muscles, like the back, shoulders and triceps are used more - but overdeveloping those muscles will cause their form to fall to pieces.

You are never too old to start a new sport

I was going through old emails earlier today and found one I had failed to answer (it was in the wrong folder).

In the email a mother was talking about signing her son up for archery lessons and said "he is kind of too old to start new sports".

I read this with quiet bemusement.

I didn't laugh out loud or anything. I was just mildly amused and a tad indignant. How is SIXTEEN too old to start a new sport?

I mean com'on, many athletes don't start their preferred sport until they are 17, 18, 19 or well into their 20s.

And there is nothing stopping adults and even seniors from taking up a sport - including a competitive sport - well into their golden years.

An elderly (and even overweight person) can easily learn to do the splits (see photo below) or any number of other activities during their older years.


They might get really into bicycles - and even fixing bicycles in their old age.


They might take up archery as a recreational sport - or even compete in archery competitions.


They might even take up boxing, martial arts or yoga.



What it really comes down to is that there is nothing stopping you from starting a new sport - and even competing in a new sport.

Age, disability, sex/gender, being overweight - these are just excuses.

Willpower and taking the first steps towards a new goal, those are the deciding factors.

Extreme Heat effects your Workout and Diet

When it gets super hot and humid in Toronto you're going to be sweaty, cranky and tired. So how do you beat the heat and still manage to eat properly and get a good workout?

Today we are going to do some ol' fashioned myth busting when it comes to exercise and eating healthy in the heat. And give you some healthy tips along the way!

#1. Is it really hot enough to fry an egg? No, not really. And seriously, would you even want to eat the egg? Stick to frying your eggs in a pan instead.

#2. Does the heat actually make you more tired? Yes. Heat is very draining on your body and it uses a lot of your active energy just to try and cool your body down. Which means if you have air conditioning you will be able to sleep better at night.

It isn't just the heat however - it is also the humidity. Which means a dehumidifier in your bedroom can also help you to sleep better. And better sleep = more energy the next day and less likely to binge on sugary foods to boost your energy levels.

#3. If you feel so tired that you are nauseous and dizzy (or suffering memory problems) you may have heat exhaustion or heat stroke, and you should get to some place cool immediately and drink some cool water. When in doubt call 911.

#4. However, heat exhaustion doesn't mean you should jump in a cold shower or a pool. The shock could knock you unconscious. Your goal should be to SLOOOOOOWLY lower your body temperature back to normal. So a dip in a cool pool - not a cold one - will help. A cool / luke warm shower is also good. Drinking lots of water (not too much all at once) will also help. Avoid alcohol and caffeine, they will just dehydrate you further.

#5. Avoid very large meals on a hot day. Binging on food will just make you more tired. Your body is already working hard to maintain your body temperature, so digesting a big meal will just put more stress on it. Aim for smaller, lighter meals - and eat snacks in-between meals.

#6. When running / jogging don't drink ice cold water. Instead drink cool water that is only moderately cold. The reason is because your body has to expend energy to warm that water up. The lost energy then makes you feel more tired than you would normally be. By drinking only moderately cool water you don't feel the energy drain as much but are still getting the cooling effect. Some marathon runners prefer to drink water which is luke warm / room temperature that way they are minimizing their energy drain as much as possible and only want the water for hydration, not for cooling them down.

#7. The more fit you are the less effect the heat will have on your body, this is true - but that doesn't make you immune to heat exhaustion, dehydration or heat stroke. If you start to notice symptoms of any of these three seek shade, a cool place and water.

#8. A handy trick is to exercise AFTER the sun goes down. You can download a smartphone app that will tell you when sunrise and sunset is in your area or check it online. (I personally use one which tells me sunrise, sunset, a detailed hourly weather forecast and the weather forecast for the coming week.)

#9. If doing any kind of weight training outside on a hot day it is best to have a partner if possible. Long list of variety of safety reasons. And the list grows longer if you are older and / or unfit. Exercise caution.

#10. Sweating a lot doesn't burn more calories. It just means your body is overheating and trying to cool down. If you feel too hot you won't be able to exercise as hard. You can exercise much harder in cooler conditions because your body doesn't have to expend so much water, sodium and energy trying to cool you down.

#11. Sports drinks like Powerade and Gatorade help. Why? Because in addition to the water they also replenish sodium and calories. Gives you more energy, and the sodium means you can sweat more - which in turn cools you down physically - which in turn allows you to exercise harder because you don't feel as hot.

#12. If you're tempted for a beer on a patio, try to stick to just one beer. None is better, but if you fall to temptation try to limit yourself to one and then have a glass of water with it. Same goes with coffee and other caffeine drinks. Alcohol and caffeine dehydrates you because you end up using more water from your body just trying to flush the toxins from your system. (Which is why you will feel the need to urinate later after drinking alcohol or caffeine.) Exercising immediately after having alcohol is not recommended, but if you do try to rehydrate yourself by drinking a fair amount of water before, during and after the exercise.

#13. Your body adapts over time to hot weather. It is why we get sunburns on our arms for example and later our arms become more resistant to sunburns. It is in our genetics that we adapt to summer by getting sunburns a couple times and by the time we have a good tan going we don't burn as easily - but you can still get a painful sunburn if you aren't careful! So use sunscreen, wear a hat and avoid long exposure to the sun.

#14. Your blood vessels and sweat levels also adjust to the weather. You will start craving more salty foods and this is normal - the sodium in the salt replenishes your ability to sweat and keep yourself cool.

#15. A health tip for women and men. Antiperspirants contain aluminum in the form of toxic chemicals like aluminum zirconium tetrachlorohydrex gly - a chemical proven to cause lymph node and breast cancer in both women and men. If you are going to use an antiperspirant try not to use so much - or switch to deodorant instead.

Women who wear antiperspirant regularly have significantly higher chances of developing lymph node and breast cancer. In contrast most men use deodorant instead, which doesn't prevent sweating and instead just masks the smell - and thus men have significantly lower chances of lymph node and breast cancer because they aren't using antiperspirants as much as women do. This doesn't mean men cannot get cancer in those body parts, it just means that most men don't use antiperspirant and thus have lower chances. A man who does use antiperspirant regularly will have the same chance of developing lymph node and breast cancer as a woman who uses antiperspirant regularly.

Also your body is going to sweat anyway. Swiping some toxic chemicals on your armpits isn't going to stop you from sweating from head, neck, chest, arms, belly, back, legs and so forth. In its efforts to cool your body down your body will simply sweat from all available pores anyway.
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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