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

Frugal Archery Equipment, Part Three

Earlier today I answered an email from someone looking to get into archery but was on a tight budget. Fortunately I had already written a number of articles on the topic previously.

Examples

DIY Archery Equipment on a Frugal Budget, which details how to make your own bamboo laminate bow on a tiny budget.

Frugal Archery Equipment, Part Two, which is a guide to buying used equipment, the pros and cons of it, and what kind of equipment a person should be looking for.

Optional Archery Equipment: Need or Don't Need is a list of optional equipment that people don't really need / can craft themselves with very little skills. eg. Sewing your own bow sock or knitting your own quiver.

Years ago I also wrote a piece on the topic of "The Do-It-Yourself Approach to Archery Lessons", which explained a step by step approach to getting into archery and not paying for archery lessons.

Looking over those older articles published in 2013, 2014, 2015, and 2016 I realized that perhaps it was time I wrote a Part Three on the topic. So here goes...

DIY Archery Equipment with (Almost) No Money and No Skills

Step One, read the PDF for Volume I of the Traditional Bowyer's Bible. Henceforth referred to as "TBB".

The PDF is available on Scribd and other sources.

The most important chapter to read is the one on bow design. Reading the other chapters are also handy as you will learn quite a bit about archery and bow making from Volume I of the TBB alone, so you don't necessarily need to read Volumes II, III or IV.

Some libraries might also have a copy of the book. Or if you know someone who already has this book perhaps you can borrow it from them. Whatever you do, find a way to read this book.

Note: Make notes from the various things you learn.

Total Cost: $0.

Step Two, determine what tools you actually have available that would be useful for bow making.

Ideally it would be nice to have the following:

  • Hatchet or Axe
  • Draw Knife
  • Rasp and Files
  • Carving Knife

Hopefully you will already have most of everything you need. If you don't ask to borrow some tools from some friends / family members. If you can get every tool you need without spending a penny then you will be in a good position to start bow-making.

Total Cost: $0.

Step Three, acquire the raw materials to start building a bow.

This might involve:

1) Cutting down a small hardwood tree with the above mentioned axe, and then splitting the tree into several staves the correct length for bow-making. If you get four staves from one tree then you will have enough to hone your skills 4 times.

2) Finding a piece of old oak / hard maple or other kind of hardwood that is a good length and shape for bow-making. There is a chapter in the TBB which details what kinds of wood are good for bow-making.

3) Buy a piece of hardwood. I find oak is one of the easiest pieces of hardwood to find and work with, and it relatively inexpensive.

4) Getting a piece of bamboo instead of using wood. This might involve having to buy bamboo, as it is not something people normally throw out. If you go in the bamboo route you will want to research everything you can about making bamboo bows. I recommend starting by reading DIY Archery Equipment on a Frugal Budget, as I cover one method on how to make a bamboo laminate bow in that article.

You will also need an extra piece of scrap wood for making a tillering stick.

Total Cost: Varies or $0.

Step Four, start bow-making using what you have learned in the Traditional Bowyer's Bible.

Tillering the Bow
Don't expect your first bow to work perfectly. In fact, expect your first bow to probably break. Pay attention to the tillering process and try to make a fairly light and easy to use bow. Don't try to make something really powerful like a "50 lb longbow capable of killing a bear" because chances are likely that bow will be sluggish, the arrows will fly really slow, and will be horribly inaccurate.

A common beginners mistake is to try to make a powerful bow. Instead try to make something that is easy to use, takes about 20 lbs to pull to a draw length of 28 inches, and shoots the arrows nice and fast because that is really your end goal: A bow that shoots arrows quickly and accurately.

After you've made several bows your skills will have progressed and you will have gone from having no bow-making skills to having a good start at learning how to make bows that shoot fast. Then you will be ready to try making something more powerful.

Total Cost: $0.

Step Five, making arrows / etc.

To make arrows and other archery equipment, you are basically just reading different chapters from the TBB and applying the same principles above. A scrap of leather for a shooting tab or an old pair of leather gloves to protect your hand. Buy or find the necessary parts for arrow making and fletching: Straight wood shafts + feathers for fletching + obsidian, flint, metal or glass for arrowheads.

The blue glass arrowhead shown below is made using flintknapping. All you need is a piece of glass and something hard (eg. a large nail or bolt works well) to hit it with to begin the process of learning how to flintknap.

Total Cost: Varies or $0.




But what if I don't want to make my own equipment?

Well then you are left with the following options:

1. Buy equipment that is used. In which case I recommend reading Frugal Archery Equipment, Part Two.

2. Buy equipment that is new, but try to save money by making your own accessories. In which case I recommend reading Optional Archery Equipment: Need or Don't Need.

3. Borrow equipment from a friend who also does archery until you can afford to do one of the above options. Your friend is going to want the equipment back and if you break any of it, you will be expected to buy/replace anything you broke.

4. Ask friends / family members to get you archery equipment for your birthday / Christmas / etc. Be patient, that might take awhile to get everything you are looking for.

5. Sell / trade / barter old things you don't need any more to get archery equipment. That old bicycle you don't use any more? Sell it and buy archery equipment.

Got more ideas on how to get or make your own archery equipment? Post your ideas in the comments section below.

Happy shooting!

Is Canada's Wonderland cheaper than a Toronto Gym?

Okay, stay with me on this one...

How much does it cost you to get a 1 month membership at a Toronto gym?

Well lets look at a few big box store style gyms around Toronto...

Extreme Fitness... Cost? ~ $70 to $100 per month.

Recently got bought out by GoodLife Fitness, is referred to as an Extreme Ripoff by a BlogTo.com review. They try to sucker people in with 1 month free deals or "$8 per month" deals that later turn out to have hidden fees, even though they claim there is no hidden fees. They also claim there is no annual contract, which is bogus because everyone who signs up at their gym is automatically put on the annual contract (it is in the fine print). Learn more about this by reading Extreme Fitness, Extreme Ripoff. For fun try contacting Extreme Fitness and try to get them to tell you their normal monthly rate over the phone and discover how evasive they are about answering that question. Extreme Fitness also has a notorious reputation for overcharging people, double charging people, and refusing to stop charging you even after you cancel your gym membership. They routinely overcharge customers on purpose.

GoodLife Fitness... Cost? $63.92 + HST per month.

Spoke to the nice lady on the phone and she quoted me the above price. However having read reviews and some of the info on the GoodLife website, that price is the bare minimum. GoodLife likes to add extra fees for everything you can think of. Towel service. Access to the pool. Access to tennis courts. Day Care services for your kids if you bring them to the gym with you. GoodLife is all about gouging you with the extra fees. With tax included the total is $72.23 per month.

Next lets look at an organization that should be cheaper because in theory they're supposed to be a non-profit.

YMCA... Cost? $48 to $58 + HST per month.

The YMCA of Greater Toronto operates 8 locations with a range of different facilities, some with both gyms and pools. The prices vary on what is available at the location. The price is above is the normal Adult rate for people 22 years old or older. Unlike other gyms however the YMCA also offers family rates with prices varying between $81 to $97. Thus if you are a couple and have kids, you can truly save a bundle. We should note that the YMCA also charges a signup fee when you become a member.

And finally lets look at something that isn't even a gym...

Canada's Wonderland... Cost? $89.99 for a season pass + $45 for all season parking.

And yes, you read it correctly. Canada's Wonderland is arguably cheaper to use as your own personal gym if you don't mind driving there and paying for parking. The $89.99 is the normal rate for an adult season pass. (It is fairly easy to get a discount however as they do promo codes on a regular basis.) The season pass gets you roughly 4 months of access to the park, the splashworks pool, all the rides, etc. Certain things which are optional are clearly going to cost extra, oh and you should really bring food with you because the food prices inside Canada's Wonderland are ridiculously expensive.

Thus a person could theoretically go there, exercise, go on rides, stand in long line ups regularly, go swimming, completely avoid the fattening / overpriced food, and ultimately only pay $89.99 +$45 + HST = $152.54 for the 4 month stay.

Compared to 4 months at the Toronto gyms mentioned above you would be spending:

Extreme Fitness... $280 to $400 for 4 months.
GoodLife Fitness... $288.92 for 4 months.
YMCA... $216.96 to $262.16 for 4 months.

So Canada's Wonderland is cheaper than all the above examples, you will clearly have more fun there, and it is ultimately the more frugal choice (even with the all season parking pass).

Want to know what is even cheaper?

Toronto Parks and Beaches... Cost? Zero $s per year.

Parking is free. Swimming is free. Ice cream is extra. All the sand and beautiful skies you could want. Many of Toronto's parks have many unusual amenities.

Unusual Amenities

The Toronto Archery Range at E. T. Seton Park.
Sunnybrook Stables at Sunnybrook Park (where you can take horse riding lessons for a reasonable fee).
Riverdale Farm Petting Zoo and Dog Park.
High Park Petting Zoo and Fishing Pond (and Swimming Pools, Tennis Courts, and more).
Mountain-bike Trails / Hiking Trails at Don Valley Brick Works Park.
Allan Gardens Conservatory and Dog Park.
Centennial Park Conservatory.
Centennial Park Ski and Snowboarding.
Earl Bales Park Ski and Snowboarding.

Toronto Parks also are home to beaches, pools, skateboard parks, mountain-bike / hiking trails, ice skating/hockey rinks, tennis courts, basketball courts, baseball diamonds, football/soccer/rugby fields, wading pools, water parks and more.

And the vast majority of Toronto Parks services are free.

Oh and lastly Toronto Parks and Recreation operates 81 community centres which have gyms and a wide variety of fitness options. If you live in Toronto then you probably live near one of them. Just register as a member and then just go.

Lastly universities often operate gyms which also open to the community, for a comparatively small fee. So if you live near Ryerson, U of T or York University those are also great options.

Five Exercises for Increasing Your Metabolic Rate

Increasing your metabolic rate is one of the easiest ways to get in shape and lose weight. Below are five exercises that boost your metabolism - and they're frugal, using only your bodyweight.

The primary purpose of these exercise is to get your heart rate up, which kickstarts the Afterburn Effect - a major boost to your metabolic rate and starts a fat burning process in your body. You should do the exercises until your heart feels tired, and then rest.

Best of all, these are exercises you can do every day, for 1 to 2 minutes each. 5 to 10 minutes per day isn't much, but if you are getting Afterburn Effect going then it will give you more energy for the rest of the day as you will feel more energetic, more alert, and you will be burning fat for approx. 24 to 48 hours after the exercises. Do them every day, and the Afterburn Effect is extended and multiplied, causing rapid fat burning.

Note - If you have a known heart condition you should consult your doctor before doing any exercises which could effect your heart.

Step-Ups - use a step or platform that is about 4-6 inches high. Stand with your feet hip-width apart and jump onto the step or platform at least 15 times. Repeat after walking around the platform in a complete circle.


Squats - stand with your feet hip-width apart and place your arms to your side. Pretend there is a chair behind you and almost sit bringing your arms out in front keeping your back flat and abdominal muscles pulled in.


Push-ups - begin on your knees or feet and place your hands shoulder-width apart on the step or platform. Inhale as you lower your body to the step and exhale as you push yourself up. Repeat for 15 repetitions. Pay attention to your form while doing push-ups, you want to do them properly to get the full effect.



Tricep Dips - sit with your back to the step and place your hands behind you on the step. Lift and lower your body using your tricep muscles to do the work keeping your elbows in line with your wrists. Repeat 12 times.


Lunges - stand with one foot on the step and place your other foot behind you so that your front knee is over your heel. Lower your body keeping your shoulders in line with your hips at least 12 times for each leg. Repeat on the other leg.


BONUS EXERCISE

Jumping Jacks - These old school exercises are actually amazingly effective as they get your heart racing fast, use both upper body and lower body simultaneously, and they require minimal space to do. Jumping Jacks are amazing at boosting heart rate and consequently your metabolic rate.


DIY Circuit Training Routine

Q

"Hey there,

I am wondering how much your services are for cardio circuit training for an hours work.

...rate of pay for an hour?


hope to hear from you soon.


Regards,

Adrian "

A

Hello Adrian!
I don't do circuit training. I shall explain why.

While it is a good way for personal trainers to make money, charging clients rates as low as $10 per hour and then getting bulk clients willing to shell out $10 each, the goal of the trainer is really to fit as many people into a single circuit training session as possible. eg. 10 to 15 clients, so that the trainer makes a quick $100 to $150. Some trainers might charge $20 and aim for 5 to 8 clients, but the end goal of the trainer is still to make money while doing very little actual work.

For the clients, yes, they do get a decent workout and they do get access to the personal trainer to ask questions, ask for advice/etc, but they could accomplish the same thing doing a DIY Circuit Training Routine and simply establishing an email relationship with a trainer, possibly paying the trainer for their time to answer emails if they have an excessive amount of questions or advice they are looking for. Ultimately circuit training with a personal trainer is a bit of a scam because the amount of time you have to talk to the personal trainer is actually quite small, especially if the group is crowded or time is constrained.

To Make your own DIY Circuit Training Routine

#1. Look around your home for whatever exercise equipment you already have available. It can be a mix of store bought goodies or even things you made yourself / substituted.

#2. Make a monthly budget for your exercise routines (eg. $10 to $20) to be spent on exercise equipment. Things like dumbbells, skipping rope, yoga mat, hand grips and other small items can be easily added to your routine over time. This allows your training circuit to evolve as the months go by and you collect an impressive collection of goodies to exercise with.

Note - If you don't have a lot of equipment you can even focus on frugal body-weight exercises that use almost no equipment. See the graphic on the right for examples.

#3. Clear a space in your living room or possibly your garage or basement where you exercise freely without bumping into things. If you have a backyard and you don't mind the weather, you now have an excuse to exercise outdoors and get some fresh air.

#4. Organize all of your exercise goodies according to high intensity exercises to low intensity exercises, and then alternate them in a circle starting with a low intensity exercise, then high intensity, then low, then high again, etc, only the circuit is complete. If you like a particular exercise more than others and want to focus on that exercise more you can even make it a Figure 8 design so the middle exercise is done twice during every full circuit.

#5. Schedule daily or weekly circuit training sessions for yourself. Make it part of your routine, possibly with a small reward for you to enjoy after each session (eg. playing Candy Crush for 30 minutes after you finish the routine, watching your favourite TV show, etc. The reward should never be sugary food, although healthy food is certainly acceptable.)
#6. During the scheduled time spend 1 minute on each exercise with up to a 30 second break between each exercise. If you are not tired after a particular exercise feel free to proceed to the next exercise with minimal rest.

Note - If you want to spend extra time on particular exercise you might also consider doing it for 90 seconds or 2 minutes instead of 1 minute.
#7. While exercising try to pay attention to the quality of your form. During a circuit training session with a personal trainer they SHOULD be watching your form and showing you how to correctly perform the exercise so you are maximizing results and minimizing the chances of sports injuries, however many personal trainers I have witnessed doing circuit training don't actually bother to try and warn their clients about the potential for sports injuries. Some of them even use the phrase "no pain no gain" when clients talk about the possibility of sports injuries, which is tantamount to asking for a lawsuit - which happened a few years ago to a New York personal trainer who ignored the complaints of pain from her male client and the man ended up with a permanent disability due to torn ligaments. My motto on the topic essentially is "if it really hurts, you are doing it wrong and you should stop". Stop and seek advice.
#8. If you have serious concerns about the quality of your form / sports injuries then schedule a session with a personal trainer who is an advocate of preventing sports injuries (me or someone equally adamant on the topic of prevention) for an one on one session and bring a list of questions to the session with you. If possible schedule the session at your home so you can show the trainer your routine, what exercises you are doing, and then they can see what you might be doing incorrectly and unsafely. If you email a personal trainer and they don't take your complaints seriously, find a different trainer for a second opinion. All else fails, stop doing exercise which is harming you and focus on exercises that don't hurt you. Some people, especially as they get older, get bad knees and other health problems which hinders their ability to exercise, in which case they should seek the advice of a personal trainer before attempting such exercises as a preventative measure. It is possible circuit training might not be their thing and they might want to consider swimming instead, which is more therapeutic for people with bad knees / joint problems.

I hope this helps!

Sincerely,
Charles Moffat
CardioTrek.ca

Six Exercises for Bowhunters

So you're thinking about becoming a bowhunter eh? Or maybe you are already into bowhunting, but want to get better at it by getting a physical edge? Note: If you are looking for compound bow archery lessons in Toronto, please contact me and I can help you out.

Well, lets get started.

#1. Push-Ups, builds the arms, shoulders, pectorals, back muscles and core muscles. A good overall exercise. Also goes well with sit-ups, chin-ups, jumping jacks and other old school exercises. The great thing about old school exercises is that require almost no equipment to do and rely on body weight instead of free weights or exercise machines.

#2. Rowing Machine, this specifically targets the back muscles, which is very beneficial for archery. Gives you a steadier pull and that increases accuracy when shooting.

To make your own rowing machine it isn't difficult, you really just need a metal bar, a rope and a suitably large weight on the end of the rope. You could easily accomplish this in the garage, over a tree limb in the backyard, in the basement, etc. You don't need a fancy set up like the illustration of a rowing machine shown on the right, you could accomplish the same thing with zero woodworking skills. A wire cable over a pulley can do the same job, although I do recommend making a wooden handle for pulling with.

I saw one once which used an old bicycle wheel (minus the tire and inner tube) as the pulley, a wire cable, a wooden handle, and old weights from a weightlifting set.

#3. Rock Climbing, beneficial for any bowhunter who wants to be climbing trees and setting up a tree stand. Tree stands are sadly one of the norms of hunting these days, so few people stalk or use ground blinds. However many hunters fall out of the tree due to having a lack of a safety harness, usually preceded by a comment something akin to "I don't need no stinking safety harness!" And then they fall and hurt themselves. So why not take up rock climbing and see just how easy it is to fall and why even experienced rock climbers always wear a safety harness.

Fortunately in Toronto there are many rock climbing gyms to choose from. A quick Google search will find you a local rock climbing gym not that far from where you live. "Wow. I didn't know there was one so close!" you might exclaim. Toronto is rife with them. Even if you don't like in Toronto chances are likely you can find a rock climbing gym or a rock climbing club in your area you can join.

#4. Hiking, beneficial for those bowhunters who enjoy stalking their prey. While do this I recommend doing several things:
  • Wear the boots you would normally wear while hunting in.
  • Carry a backpack with water / snacks in it to simulate the extra weight you would be carrying while hunting. Add additional water for weight even if you don't need it.
  • Bring binoculars or a camera. If you spot a deer or smaller critter try to get as close as possible and get a photo, this is your chance to hone those stalking skills.
  • Pay attention to the plants, tracks, droppings, smells, and wind. Learning extra woodsman skills are beneficially to hunting later.
  • Practice walking quietly. Try to make a habit of it. Avoid making loud noises that scare away animals.

#5. Jogging, for endurance. Oddly endurance is a big factor for hunters of all stripes, especially if you have to carry/drag a heavy dead animal out of the woods so you can eat it later. Jogging builds your lung muscles and increases your lung capacity. It also makes your heart stronger, able to pump more blood faster, which in turn gives you more energy.

#6. Cycling, again for endurance, but also handy to get deeper into the woods faster. If your chosen site for hunting in is really far into the woods having a bicycle means you can get there faster, and relatively quietly. Make sure your bicycle is in good working order and quiet before taking it into the deep woods. Tip: A good bicycle for the woods is one with thick tires, as these can handle bumps easier and gives better traction in muddy / dirty conditions. A road bicycle with skinny tires would be comparatively more likely to break.


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.


:)

10 Exercise Workout You Can Do At Home

Need a workout you can do at home in about 20 minutes? Do the following 10 exercises with 1 minute breaks between each exercise. Total time should be less than 1 hour to complete. Do each exercise for 1 minute.

All of these exercises require zero equipment, so they're extremely frugal.

#1. Knee Highs

#2. Jumping Jacks

#3. Squats

#4. Lunges

#5. Plank Leg Raises

#6. Climbers

#7. Bicycle Crunches

#8. Leg raises

#9. Knee pull ins

#10. Push-ups

Got extra time after completing all 10 exercises? Not tired yet? Start over again!

You can do the above workout once per week, once per day, twice per day - whatever fits your schedule and needs. You can do them at the park, at the beach, in a hotel room while on vacation. Because the above workout requires zero equipment it makes it very versatile.

You can also customize the workout and add / subtract things to it, design it to fit your individual needs. Need more help? Hire a personal trainer. If you live in the Leaside area Toronto consider hiring me as your personal trainer.

For more frugal exercises subscribe to Cardio Trek
 and browse our frugal exercises section.

DIY Boxing Equipment

Boxing can sometimes be an expensive sport to get into. But it doesn't have to be. There are a multitude of ways to do boxing more frugally and save a bundle on equipment you either a. Don't need; or b. Can make yourself.

Below are a few examples of how you can make your own boxing equipment.





I should also note that it is possible to purchase used boxing equipment via Craigslist or Kijiji.

I still recommend purchasing new boxing gloves. Same goes with mouth guard.

Frugal Archery Equipment, Part Two

Some of you may have read my old post titled "DIY Archery Equipment on a Frugal Budget" which follows the logic of making your own archery equipment in order to be able to practice archery / exercise cheaply.

However there is a second way to get into archery cheaply - and that is to buy used equipment.

The problem with buying used equipment is that there are some pros and cons...

Pro - It is a lot cheaper than buying brand new equipment. Seriously, this is really the only benefit. However if you learn from Cons below, you can still navigate the dangerous waters of buying used equipment without getting yourself burned.

Con - The equipment you are buying might be in poor condition, so you need to look for the following: Cracked, split, warped bow limbs; cracked or broken bow tips; bow strings that should be replaced; bow risers that are cracked. Ideally you want to buy a bow that is practically new (excellent condition), but the owner has simply moved on and purchased a more expensive bow and now wants to get rid of their old cheap bow that is still in excellent condition, but they just don't like it any more.

Con - The equipment you are purchasing might not suit you physically - this is a very common problem with beginners buying used bows. They buy a bow that is too powerful for them and then they cannot use it properly. Other common problems is beginners buying a bow that is either too big or too small for them, like an adult trying to use a children's bow.

Con - The person you are purchasing from might be an idiot and give you lots of misinformation. They might feed you the wrong information on things like: How to string the bow properly; How to aim properly; What proper archery form looks like; How to pull back a bow properly (without causing various sports injuries); Etc. Clearly this is a very good argument for getting archery lessons BEFORE buying your first bow, just so you have a better idea of how to all of these properly.

Con - The person you are purchasing from might simply be a liar. I will give you an example, earlier today I was browsing bows on eBay and an American was selling a PVC bow he made himself, claiming it was 130 lbs of draw weight. This guy was clearly lying. There is no way a PVC (poly vinyl chloride is basically a kind of thick plastic) bow could have a draw weight of 130 lbs without breaking. More likely the bows he was making was in the 40 to 60 lb draw weight range, and he was either lying - or just plain ignorant about how to measure draw weight properly.

However lets assume that you take precautions as you browse listings for used equipment. Let us assume that you purchase equipment that is "practically new", that you limit yourself to bows that suit you physically, and that you avoid people who sound like either idiots and/or liars. Well, then you might be able to purchase an used bow (and arrows) for comparatively less and get into archery on a pretty frugal budget.

A few purchasing tips:

Tip #1. Buy something with a lower poundage. 25 lbs or less is ideal for a male, or 20 lbs or less if you are female. Why? So you can learn proper form. Trying to pull a 30 to 60 lb bow that is too powerful for you is not going to afford you the endurance to be able to learn proper form. (Writing this, I know immediately there will be people [usually men] who ignore this advice and then go and buy a ridiculously powerful bow that they can't even pull properly, will get a shoulder injury or some other kind of sports injury, and will berate themselves for not listening to my dire warnings. Sports injuries are common [especially for beginners], so why not learn proper form and avoid the injuries?)

Tip #2. Buy a bow that is the correct size for you. Examples: No buying a children's bow if you are over 5'2" tall; Avoid buying a shortbow if you are super tall (like 6'4" or taller) because you will probably break it with your super long arms.

Tip #3. Buy arrows that fit the length of your arm / draw length. If you are not sure what your draw length is, find out before you start purchasing arrows.

Tip #4. Buy arrows that suit the type of bow you are shooting. The type of arrows used on a compound bow for example are very different from the kind of arrows you should be using on a recurve or a longbow.

Tip #5. Buying archery equipment off Toronto Craigslist or Toronto Kijiji might seem like a good idea because you can pick the equipment up in person, but you need to be careful all the same as some of the sellers on those websites are pretty sketchy.

Tip #6. Buying archery equipment off eBay is more expensive due to the extra cost of shipping, but you can look at the seller's reputation score on eBay to see how reputable the seller is. They also typically post lots of photos of the equipment they are selling, so you can get a clear idea of how good of condition the archery equipment is in.

Tip #7. Buying archery equipment off a friend who does archery is arguably one of the best ways to purchase equipment, because in theory your friend isn't going to lie to you about the quality of the equipment. Or if they do lie, I guess they weren't that good of a friend, were they?

Speaking for myself I like buying antique bows for my own personal collection. Recently I purchased two "vintage" longbows on eBay: #1. A Roy Rogers longbow from the 1950s (Roy Rogers was a TV show from 1951 to 1957, and various longbows were made circa 1952 with the logo on it) that is a collectors item. #2. A Ben Pearson lemonwood longbow with linen backing, circa 1945. (I am also currently bidding on a vintage recurve bow as well, rounding out my recent acquisitions.)

From which you might conclude "Wow, those are really old bows!" and I would agree. They are the kind of bows you don't shoot that often because they ultimately end up decorating your wall instead. So the last tip, if you are buying your bow for the purpose of doing archery as a sport / exercise, then do NOT buy a vintage bow. Vintage bows need to be treated with respect and care as they could break easily in the hands of someone who overdraws its, strings it incorrectly, dry fires it, etc. Therefore...

Tip #8. Buy a bow that is relatively new. Avoid vintage archery equipment that are more for show. There are a lot of old vintage bows from the 1940s, 1950s, 1960s - largely due to a long lasting archery fad during those decades, and thus many bows from that era still exist and are shoot-able, but they are not necessarily a good bow for a beginner as they could easily snap on the 1st or 2nd shot. (You can thank the Errol Flynn film "The Adventures of Robin Hood" for the enduring success of archery during those decades.)

If you have questions about buying your first bow or buying an used bow please feel free to post your questions in the comments section below.


How to do Proper Wall Pushups

For some people doing normal pushups is too difficult, but there is an alternative - the Wall Pushup.

Doing a Wall Pushup is significantly easier than doing normal pushups (especially compared to say fingertip pushups), but that doesn't mean you can be lazy about it either. To master Wall Pushups it helps to actually do them properly so you get the most benefit from them and aren't injuring yourself by accident.


Step One

Stand with your feet together about 1 to 2 feet from a wall.

Step Two

Place your hands flat on the wall at the same level as your shoulders and space them a little more than shoulder width apart.

Step Three

Slowly bend your arms at the elbows to lower your body toward the wall until your head touches the wall. (Myself I like to lower myself towards the wall until my nose brushes the wall a tiny bit.)

Step Four

Slowly raise your body back up by straightening arms. It is important that you do both steps 3 and 4 slowly. Don't rush. Take your time.

Step Five

Repeat Steps 3 and 4 slowly 10, 20 or more times and then take a short break. Ideally you should try to do perhaps 5 sets of 10 or 5 sets of 20 every day to give yourself a decent workout for your triceps, shoulders, pecs, etc.

Wall pushups are a great exercise to do every morning. They're also handy for vacations, when visiting family / friends during holidays, and they're very frugal. They're also good for elderly people or people dealing with an injury.

Another kind of pushup you can try is an Incline Pushup, usually done using stairs, large heavy furniture or something equally stable to brace yourself up against.

There are also Decline Pushups, but you should really master how to do normal pushups before attempting Decline.


DIY Archery Equipment on a Frugal Budget

If you have read some of my past topics about Frugal Exercises then you know I am a big fan of people exercising without having to spend a lot of money on the activity they are doing. People should not have to spend oodles of money on a "Bow Flex", "Shake Weight", etc.

eg. In 2014 one of the biggest exercise gadgets being promoted is bracelets and watches that estimate how many calories you are burning, your heart rate, how fast you are jogging, etc - often with attachments or Blue Tooth that attach to your phone. But do these gadgets actually get you exercising? No. Do they allow you to miraculously lose weight more effectively? No.

All such gadgets seem to do is remove money from your wallet in an effort to nerdify your workout (assuming you actually have a workout and the gadget doesn't end up collecting dust in a shoe box).

For example if you browse a list of such gadgets you are just as likely to see "Bicycle Helmet Camera" or "Earbuds for listening to Music" on the list of gadgets, as if the camera will cause you to actually go out and bicycle, or the earbuds will cause you to jog and listen to music while you jog. More likely the camera will get used once, and the earbuds will be used more often on the bus or subway en route or coming home from work.

But enough ranting. Lets talk about archery equipment.

Buying archery equipment is expensive right from the get go. Expect to spend anywhere from $120 to $350 on your first bow if you go into an archery store and ask to buy their cheapest bow. Then you also need arrows, bow stringer, finger glove (or tab or thumb ring) to protect your shooting fingers and a bracer to protect your bow arm. Quiver, store-bought targets / target butts, spare bow strings are optional.

If you want the really nice equipment, expect to be spending $400 to $900 - or $1,000 to $3,000 on the super expensive equipment.

However expensive equipment does not make a better archer. Case in point, my cousin Ken won three Canadian National Championships back in the early 1990s using a Hoyt traditional recurve that in today's prices would only be about $600 CDN. But that isn't the bow doing the work. It is the archer. (Because apparently archery skill is part of our Scottish family history, going back centuries. Although to be fair, many families have a dose of archery in their family line.)

I have seen many archers using homemade bows and performing shots that would make their ancestors proud. So you don't need a store bought or expensive bow to do archery.

But I should say however that bow making is not easy. Bow making is both a craft and an art form, because it relies on knowledge of the materials - but also on an understanding of how to make a bow which shoots effectively.

So the question then becomes, how do you do archery on a frugal budget?

Well, it depends on how frugal you want to be.

For example, I know it is possible to make a trilam bamboo bow for only $20 worth of materials - but you will end up spending closer to $60 just on tools, and making a trilam bamboo bow requires a degree of woodworking skill that is beyond most first time bow makers (and even moderately good woodworkers).

You can even buy kits for making your own bow (see http://basicallybowsarchery.com/Bow_Building.html) for roughly $120, but I think we can find a style of bow that is even cheaper and easier to make.

Which brings us to the topic of PVC. There are plenty of videos on YouTube about making PVC longbows, PVC recurves and many other styles of PVC bows. They're all super cheap, costs you about $5 to make the simplest designs, or closer to $50 if you want to make something more complex. A good YouTube channel to watch on the topic of PVC bows is BackyardBowyer.

But I have an issue with PVC bows. I have seen many people at the archery range using PVC bows, and they all inevitably break. Often in a spectacular way, which is to say a horrendous cracking noise as the PVC splinters and explodes in different directions. I have yet to see an injury from an exploding PVC bow, but they do happen.

Bhutan man using a homemade bamboo bow.
Archery is the National Sport of Bhutan.
Thus my recommendation for a frugal bow is going to be a different material entirely: Bamboo.

Now I did mention trilam bamboo bows further above, but what I am talking about here is in Indian-style Bamboo bows (Indian as in India, not Native American). People in India cannot always afford to buy a bow in stores, but archery is quite popular there and bamboo bows (and bamboo arrows) are easy to make and cheap since both bamboo and cheap labour are both very plentiful in India. (I should also note bamboo bows are also popular in Bhutan, in parts of China, and other countries in south-east Asia.)

But let us pretend you want to make your own bamboo bow. Here is what you do...

STEP ONE

Get a thick 6 foot long piece of bamboo in Toronto's Chinatown. Approx. cost $5 to $10.

STEP TWO

Using a saw, hack saw, band saw or whatever kind of saw you have handy cut the bamboo lengthwise into 3 or 4 flat pieces. Once you have the three or four pieces you need to smooth down the bamboo so it is nice and flat on the interior side (how you do this is up to you, I recommend rasps and sandpaper).

STEP THREE

Find the middle of each piece of bamboo and mark it with a pencil. Next mark the three quarters point on both ends of each piece of bamboo. Mark lines on the bamboo from where the tip of the bow will be down to the 3/4 marks on the bamboo. The triangle parts on the corners of the bamboo you've just drawn should then be removed with a saw. (Try to make sure each bamboo piece is identical in terms of where they are being cut, so when finished cutting and stacked together they look like perfect copies of each other.)

STEP FOUR

Now comes the tricky part, because you have options here and you have to decide which method suits your needs. The trick here depends on how strong you want your bow to be, how durable

Option 1 - Laminate 2 or 3 of the bamboo pieces together using wood glue or epoxy. Epoxy works best as filler, whereas glue needs to be pressed between two tight surfaces. For best results get the bamboo super flat and then use TiteBond 3 wood glue. Note - You probably don't need to use more than 3 pieces of bamboo to make your bow, using 4 pieces might make your bow too strong and impossible to pull. Use your own judgement and realize there may be some experimentation.

Option 2 - Skip laminating the bamboo together and instead wrap it tightly together using sinew, rawhide, or even duct tape... Duct tape is your cheapest option.

Option 3 - Laminate with glue AND wrap it with sinew.

Option 4 - Don't bother using multiple pieces of bamboo to make the bow, use a single piece - the bow will be very weak but functional.

STEP FIVE

Cut notches into the tips for a bow string + make a bow string out of twine, linen, silk, sisal, B55, B52 Dacron, etc.

STEP SIX

String your bow and give it a few tries with an arrow in the safety of your garage/basement/etc. The great news about working with bamboo is that you can basically skip the normal tillering process of making a bow. Bamboo has amazing tensile strength and flexibility - making it ideal for bow-making.

The end result is a bow which is functional and which will work better than any 'stick bow' you could make using found materials. Made well it will work just as good as a PVC bow, but without the danger of the PVC breaking / exploding into sharp pieces.

You will also need arrows, a bracer, a fingerglove (or tab or thumb ring) and possibly a bowstringer (although for a homemade bamboo bow, a bowstringer might be unnecessary).

If you feel you would prefer to try making a wood bow instead (out of yew, osage, ash, hickory, oak, elm, lemonwood or any of the other quality bow woods) then I recommend you purchase the following book:

The Traditional Bowyer's Bible, Volume I

Volumes II, III and IV are also good, but Volume I is the most important book because it covers all the basics of selecting/seasoning wood, design, tillering, arrow making, glues, etc.

If you are remotely good at making things with your hands you can probably figure out how to make a wood, bamboo or PVC bow. It doesn't take a genius to make something that works, but it will take several tries before you can make something you are truly proud of.

But hey, learning is a journey and you only get there when you take the first step.

Rock Climbing, Waterfalls Exploring, Spelunking and More!

There are many great ways to exercise, but the following is several of my favourites. Some of these you can even do as family activities, but others are dangerous and children should not be doing them at all. Use your better judgment. Some of them are also very frugal and won't cost your wallet much.

#1. Rock Climbing

Now I don't mean going to a special "rock climbing gym". I have never done that, although I presume it is still fun to do that indoors with the safety of a harness and first aid kits nearby. You can still do that if you wish, but for myself I do Freehand Rock Climbing - no ropes, no safety harness, if I fall, I fall and hurt myself.

Rock Climbing Tips

Don't climb anything freehand unless you are absolutely confident you can climb it without falling.

Practice on trees. (Or in a rock climbing gym.)

Stick to small climbs first as you build up your strength and skill.

Always be certain of your footing or handholds before you go to the next foothold or handhold.

Remember to plan your route back down. Sometimes getting up is easier than climbing back down.

If you don't think you can do it, maybe it is time to crack out the harness and ropes. Safety first.

#2. Waterfalls Exploring

This is a bit like rock climbing, but the surfaces are going to be slippery. Often you need to climb over wet rocks that are slippery, but it is a lot of fun to work your way around and get behind a waterfalls - or even go swimming below it (warning - if there is signs that say "no swimming", that means this falls is powerful enough to have undertow that can drag you under and kill you. Only swim near the base of a waterfalls that is relatively weak).

The photo on the right is of Hogg's Falls in Ontario.

Waterfalls Exploring Tips

Wear super grippy boots that you don't mind getting wet.

Wear gloves, possibly even grippy fishing gloves.

Wear clothing you don't mind getting wet. Avoid white t-shirts unless you enjoy showing off.

Don't bother trying to climb the sides of the waterfalls. It is too slippery.

#3. Spelunking

Otherwise known as cave exploring or cave diving, spelunking is an amazing activity to get into if you love exploring geological formations, crevices and caverns.

Spelunking Tips

Good quality boots.

Gloves are handy too.

Flashlight or headlamp is very handy.

Try getting guided tours of caves (ones with stairs, safety bars, etc all in place) first so you know what to expect.

Take a spelunking safety course.

#4. Rocky Mountain Biking

Bouncing over rocks while cycling down a hill might not sound like your cup of tea, but to those who love it then it is certainly a possibility.

Start slow, stick to the easy cycling trails and work your way up. Also, buy a better bicycle that has higher quality shocks and sturdier tires. You don't want your equipment to fail if you go over a rock your bicycle simply could not handle.



#5. Natural Parkour / Freerunning

If you are familiar with parkour / freerunning, then you also know this activity normally occurs in an urban environment. But there is no reason why you could not do this in a more natural terrain - using rocks and trees as your obstacle course. All you are really doing is applying the same principles of parkour to a different landscape.



#6. Tree Climbing

And by this, I am referring to climbing trees using ropes, helmet and a harness. You could climb the bottom reaches of the tree freehand, but once you start to go high enough that you might run into a weak limb that could snap underfoot it is time to get the rope and harness out. The views from the top can be pretty spectacular.



#7. Underwater Spelunking

See #3 above, but add in scuba gear. You will need snorkeling lessons, scuba lessons, and eventually underwater spelunking lessons. This activity is both expensive and dangerous. Definitely not for children either.



#8. Extreme Rock Balancing

Normally rock balancing is an activity done by one person who just lifts up a rock and then balances another rock on top of it. Extreme Rock Balancing is done by a team of people using much larger rocks, ropes, chains, pulleys, ladders, the whole shebang.

You will need a group of friends (preferably friends who are also into rock balancing), and you will probably want one person to document the whole project using a video camera.

Muscles will only get you so far with this project. You will also need patience and perseverance. And friendships will be tried and tested if you get into an argument about how to best achieve the finished product.

You will also want your finished product to last. You won't want it falling down the first time a teenager comes along and gives it a push. Thus aim to your rocks large enough - and well balanced - so that it wouldn't fall down even during a small earthquake.

Some people might want to cheat and use a crane or tractor to move the rocks, but if men of old can build Stone Henge and the pyramids of Egypt, certainly a group of adults can balance some rocks without using machinery.

Unlike normal rock balancing you probably will not be balancing multiple rocks together. But one or two should be possible.

Best of all your end results will stay up for a long time and baffle future generations.



10 Ways to do Boxing more often

Want to do boxing more often?

#1. Do 6 minutes of shadow boxing in the morning when you wake up, combined with some morning stretches. Helps wake you up in a hurry.

#2. Install a boxing punching bag in your basement or garage - and then schedule 20 minutes every day to use it.

#3. Practice shadow boxing while you wait for water to boil. eg. When making coffee, tea, when boiling water for pasta, when making soup, etc.

#4. Buy an old used punching bag that has seen better days and take it with you to the cottage and take it out whenever you want to practice with it.


#5. Get yourself some portable boxing punching bags so you can practice while camping or on road trips.

#6. Practice boxing while waiting for a bus or taxi outside. Also keeps you warm if it is cold outside.

#7. Sign up for boxing lessons with a trainer (like me) or sign up with a local boxing gym.

#8. Encourage your friends or family members to get into boxing too, and practice boxing together in a safe manner.

#9. Go jogging and practice boxing while you jog. Great for your endurance.

#10. Install a homemade boxing bag in a nearby wooded area for everyone to use. A cheap way to do this is to use old tires like in the photos below.



Woodworking as an Exercise

It might sound strange but you can get in some good cardio exercise by doing woodworking.

The beauty of woodworking is that minus the cost of tools and wood, it is relatively inexpensive. You can make lots of things around the home that you need / will use, and you will burn lots of calories during the process of making them without really noticing that you are burning them - because woodworking is itself fun.

All the calorie burns listed below are for an individual who weighs 200 lbs, and a time of 1 hour.

Painting or Wallpapering - 186 calories burned.

Plumbing or Electrical Work - 228 calories burned.

General Carpentry - 286 calories burned.

General Painting - 319 calories burned.

Furniture Carpentry - 319 calories burned.

Scraping, Washing, Waxing Boat, Car, Etc - 319 calories burned.

Painting, Outside Home - 364 calories burned.

Construction, Outdoors Remodeling - 416 calories burned.

Building a Fence or Roofing - 455 calories burned.

Paving New Driveway - 455 calories burned.

Using Heavy Power Tools (Jackhammers, Chainsaws, Etc) - 455 calories burned.

Sawing Hardwood with a Hand Saw - 592 calories burned.

Pickaxe, Shovel, Etc - 637 calories burned.

Walking while carrying anything just over 100 lbs in weight - 683 calories burned.

And this is just a sample of the many cardio / weight lifting exercises a person can do while doing woodworking.

REMEMBER TO OBSERVE SAFETY PRECAUTIONS AND USE SAFETY EQUIPMENT TO PROTECT YOUR HANDS, EYES AND EARS. ESPECIALLY WHEN OPERATING HEAVY MACHINERY WHICH CAN CAUSE HEARING LOSS.

How to do 400 Pushups - The 400 Pushups Challenge

Anyone who can do 400 pushups will obviously have really nice pecs - simply due to the combination of strength and endurance that is required to do that many pushups.

But the good news is that you don't need to have a body like Bruce Wayne (aka Batman) to be able to do large numbers of pushups. (Although doing large numbers of pushups will certainly help you to become more like Batman...)

So how do you become a pushups machine? Start by taking Cardio Trek's 400 Pushups Challenge.

The 400 Pushups Challenge - Step One

What you need to do is first be able to do a pushup. If you cannot - due to being overweight or lack of physical strength - then you will need to do lots of cardio (to lose weight) and after you've lost a healthy amount of fat start weightlifting and focusing on upper body strength building. Once you reach the point where you can do at least 10 pushups then you are ready to begin training.

Your pushups don't need to be fancy. They could even be an easier version of standard pushups - like the bench pushups demonstrated below.



The 400 Pushups Challenge - Step Two

Next determine how many pushups you can actually do before collapsing in a heat of sweat and craving release. If you can do 15 then your start point for the next stage will be 10. If you can do 30 then your start point will be 20. Basically whatever amount it is you can do, multiple it by 66% and that is your starting goal.



The 400 Pushups Challenge - Step Three

Do 66% of your maximum pushups. Then take a 2 to 3 minute break and do 66% again. Keep doing this until you have done 400 pushups.

So for example lets say you determined you could do 30 pushups at once before collapsing, thus you do 20 pushups during each set - and you do 20 sets of 20, for a total of 400 pushups. That is your goal.

Note - It will take you a significant amount of time to total 400 pushups. Think hours due to all of the breaks you are doing. So for example if you watch TV a lot in the evening you can do your pushups during the commercial breaks. Every commercial break until you get all 400 done. If you have difficulty finding time to do that many pushups then set yourself a lower goal like 200 or 100 pushups.

The 400 Pushups Challenge - Step Four

The next day you do one extra pushup. Thus in our example you do 21 pushups, for 19 sets. A total of 399 pushups.

Every day after that you add 1 extra push up. Some days you might do slightly more or less than 400.

20 x 20 (400)
21 x 19 (399)
22 x 18 (396)
23 x 17 (391)
24 x 17 (408)
25 x 16 (400)
26 x 15 (390)
27 x 15 (405)
28 x 14 (392)
29 x 14 (406)
30 x 13 (390)
31 x 13 (403)
Etc

The 400 Pushups Challenge - Step Five

When you start getting to the bigger numbers (like 40 or more) you can starting adding a half set or a portion of a set just so you keep the total number of pushups to roughly 400.

Assuming a starting point of 20 it should only take you 380 days of training to eventually do 400 pushups. Doing 400 pushups all at once will be exhausting work. It takes about 40 minutes to actually do it because closer to the end you will be pausing for breath between pushups.

The good news is that in a period of roughly 1 year you will go from having tiny pecs and being able to do 30 pushups to being able to do hundreds.

You will also find that your arms, legs, back muscles are also stronger and have greater endurance.

If you take up The 400 Pushups Challenge please let us know by leaving a comment below. Happy exercising!


Over 100 Cardio Exercises you can Try

Below is a list of over 100 cardio exercises you can try - and many of them won't cost you much to try them either.

At The Gym

Arm ergometer (arm cycle)
Box jumps
Circuit training
Elliptical trainer
Interval training
Jacob's ladder (climbing treadmill)
Kettlebells
Plyometrics
Rowing machine
Stair stepping
Stationary or recumbent bike
Step ups
Treadmill walking or running

Household Chores

Changing sheets
Cleaning out the garage
Cleaning the bathtub
Cleaning the gutters
Gardening
Heavy landscaping such as planting trees, shrubs and bushes
Heavy renovations (pulling carpet, knocking down walls, etc.)
Mopping
Moving furniture
Mowing the lawn with a push mower
Painting
Raking
Scrubbing floors
Shoveling snow
Sweeping the patio and walkways
Vacuuming
Washing the car
Washing windows

The Great Outdoors

Cycling
Hiking
Snowshoeing
Downhill skiing
Cross-country skiing
Water skiing
Wakeboarding
Rock climbing
Jogging / Running
Power walking (brisk walking)
Rollerblading
Paddling a canoe
Nordic walking
Surfing
Paddle boarding
Swimming
Water jogging/running
Skateboarding
Bleacher running
Ice skating

Sports

Tennis
Flag football
Hitting balls at the driving range
Archery
Archery Biathlon
Triathlon
Marathon Running
Decathlon
Soccer
Hockey
Basketball
Lacrosse
Boxing
Martial arts
Kickboxing
Kickball
Karate
Jiu-jitsu
Racquetball

Group Classes

Spinning
Step aerobics
Jazzercise
Zumba
Bootcamp
Yoga (Ashtanga and/or Vinyasa)
Salsa dancing
Dance classes or lessons
Cardio kickboxing
Hi-lo floor aerobics
Water aerobics
BODYPUMP
Silver Sneakers
Gliding
Hip hop dance
Sports conditioning
CrossFit
Krav Maga
StrollerStrides or StrollerFit classes
Turbokick

Play Time

Walking the dog
Playing with your children
Dodge ball
Tag
Hooping (hula hooping)
Obstacle courses
Jump rope
Water games in a pool
Playing with your dog
Skipping
Surfing
Hop scotch
Taking the stairs
Jumping jacks
Trampoline jumping (rebounding)
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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