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Showing posts with label Myth Busting. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Myth Busting. Show all posts

Three Unusual Questions about Archery

I have heard some of these questions before, and one of them (the last one) I have only encountered today. I thought the last question was rather odd, so I thought I would talk about the three questions in hopes of Busting some Myths.

Question #1: Do I need a license to do archery?

No.

You do not need a license to practice archery.

 You need a hunting license (H1 or H2) to go bowhunting, but you do not need any sort of license to practice archery for recreation or competitions. And even if you do have a hunting license, you can only hunt during specific hunting seasons, only for game allowed during that season, and only if you have any required tags for that specific animal. eg. deer tags for deer hunting season. You have to abide by all of the laws and regulations with respect to bowhunting, and not following those laws can result in the forfeiture of your hunting license, a large fine and even prison time.

For example: In 2014 a Peterborough man, Dave Sager, was fined $1,000 and had his hunting license suspended for a year for accidentally shooting his son with a crossbow bolt. He was trying to unload his crossbow incorrectly. He was allowed to get his hunting license back after a year and after retaking the hunter education training course.

There is also bowfishing, for which you need a fishing license, can only bowfish during carp bowfishing season, and must follow all laws and regulations regarding where and when you are allowed to fish.

Question #2: Do I need a hunting license to purchase a bow or crossbow?

No.

Like the above question, this is a frequently asked question. The answer is no. You only need a hunting license if you are intending to go hunting. Anyone can legally buy a bow or a crossbow and they don't need a hunting license or any other kind of license to do so. There is however a requirement that you don't have any kind of weapons ban (due to past criminal activity).

eg. I know of an individual in the GTA who was involved in an aggravated assault (he beat up someone who was abusing a kid) and as a result he spent some time in prison and ended up with a lifetime weapons ban. This resulted in him having to sell any weapons he owned, including his Excalibur crossbow. He is the only person I know of personally who is banned from owning any kind of archery equipment.

Also we should note that certain weapons are just plain prohibited in Canada. Hand Crossbows for example are illegal in Canada.

As long as you are not an ex-con and you are not trying to purchase a prohibited weapon, then you will be just fine.

Question #3: Do I need a certificate proving that I know how to do archery to join an archery club?

No.

Or at least none of the archery clubs that I know of, and I am the president of both the Toronto Archery Club and Archery Niagara. To my knowledge none of the other clubs require any sort of certificate either.

I found this last one rather odd. Someone had apparently told the individual that they needed a certificate in order to join various archery clubs in Toronto. Sadly they were given false information. As president of the Toronto Archery Club I have made a mental note to someday have a chat with the person giving out false information and let them know that, no, the Toronto Archery Club does not require any sort of certificate whatsoever.

I have never seen the need to offer any kind of certificate to archery students, with one exception: I do offer an Archery Instructor Certificate Program, designed for people who want to teach recreational archery (usually at summer camps, resorts, etc).

If you have additional archery related questions or if you wish to sign up for archery lessons in Toronto simply email cardiotrek@gmail.com to learn more.

Happy Shooting!

Bras Vs Bust Firming Exercises

According to a study that came out of France in 2013, bras don't actually alleviate back pain in women and don't do anything to prevent women's breasts from sagging. In fact, the study says that it actually makes back pain worse and the breasts to sag more.

Of course, anyone familiar with Bust Firming Exercises already know this. Marilyn Monroe knew this and she has been dead for almost 54 years.

While she was living however Marilyn Monroe did a number of daily exercises in order to stay in shape and keep her famous figure.

They included:

Push-ups - which act as bust firming exercise, increasing the strength of the pectoral muscles on the chest, which hold up the breasts and keep them from sagging.

Weightlifting, including Chest Flyes (below) which also work the pectoral muscles.


Jogging, for the legs and arms.

Archery, for the back muscles and arms.

Swimming, good as a full body workout.

Stretches (some of which look suspiciously like yoga).


And while she may have occasionally worn something that looked similar to a bra (due to society's convention against women appearing topless in public), she almost never is shown wearing a bra. Many of her iconic pieces of fashion went in quite the opposite direction. No bra at all.

And she certainly did not need to wear one either. Due to her regular exercises and specifically bust firming exercises, she had no need of wearing a bra which at the time conventional thinking was that women needed to wear bras in order to prevent back pain.

According to the 2013 French study, everything we've ever been told about supporting the upper back has it all wrong. Wearing a bra does nothing to decrease back pain, and the support offered by a brassiere actually encourages the breasts to sag. The study was a lengthy one too, starting in 1997 and ending in 2012, before being published in 2013. 15 years of women in the study group either wearing a bra or wearing no bra, and comparing which ones had back pain and which ones did not, and measuring how much sagging was really happening.

Led by Jean-Denis Rouillon, a sports scientist from the University of Besançon in eastern France, he found that "bras are a false necessity."

"Medically, physiologically, anatomically — breasts gain no benefit from being denied gravity. On the contrary, they get saggier with a bra," says Rouillon.

Rouillon spent a decade and a half measuring the changes in breasts of hundreds of women using a slide rule and caliper at the Centre Hospitalier Universitaire in Besançon. The participants were all between the ages of 18 and 35.

Of the braless women, the researchers concluded that "on average their nipples lifted on average seven millimeters in one year in relation to the shoulders." This meant that they effectively became "perkier" over time as their pectoral muscles became stronger from the added weight, as opposed to the extra strain going to the shoulders and back muscles instead.

According to one 28-year-old woman who took part in the study she hasn't worn a bra for two years now, and doesn’t expect to go back. "There are multiple benefits: I breathe more easily, I carry myself better, and I have less back pain," she says.

So less back pain, less shoulder pain, stronger pectoral muscles, better posture, stronger lungs. Lots of benefits. Learn more about Bust Firming Exercises.

Note, men who want larger pecs / chest muscles can also benefit from these exercises. eg. Arnold Schwarzenegger is a huge advocate of Chest Flyes, shown below, for its benefits of building huge pectorals on men.

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.

Exercise + Nutrition Vs Advertising

I am going to go a bit off topic today, but my goal here is to talk about the advertising industry and its place when it comes to both the exercise industry and the food industry. Time for some myth busting!

SAY CHEESE

You would think, judging by TV commercials for cheese that cheese is inherently good for you because it contains lots of calcium. This is only partially true.

It only takes a Google search to find hundreds of articles about the Cheese Lobby in both the USA and Canada, and how it is being used to sell everything from fattening cheese pizza to cheesy Taco Bell to cheeseburgers and more...

eg. Read the NY Times article: While Warning About Fat, U.S. Pushes Cheese Sales

Fun Fact: "Americans now eat an average of 33 pounds of cheese a year, nearly triple the 1970 rate."

The Cheese Lobby in the USA is HUGE. They represent every fast food chain that has cheese on the menu, whether it be cheese pizza or cheeseburgers. Their goal? To fool North Americans into thinking cheese is healthy for you because it contains calcium.

Truth be told when you actually check milk and cheese isn't actually a good source of calcium. Milk is actually a good source of protein, and cheese is a good source of fat. Cheese is something you should be asking for less of, not more of.

Want a good source for calcium? Check out the vegetables below.


FIVE RED FLAGS

To demonstrate how bad the food industry is sometimes I am going to show 5 Red Flags to look for when you are watching advertising:

#1. Exotic Ingredients from Asia, Brazil, Africa, Etc.

The idea here is simply: To fool people into thinking that you can lose weight by eating some kind of exotic berry (acai berries for example) or fruit from a place you've never been to (South African Hoodia Extract). If they're pushing something exotic for a hefty price, they're basically just selling you juice or extract for something you don't actually need.

#2. Fake Studies with Fake Doctors

If they have to back up their product with a study from a doctor, most likely the doctor in question is either not a real doctor or he/she is being paid oodles of money to push a bogus study that says their product works. Often there will be a photo of a doctor dressed in white holding a supplement.

#3. Free Trial

Free Trials are a great way to get gullible people hooked on a product that doesn't really work any better than a placebo. Plus when you try to cancel they make it very difficult to do so - you basically have to cancel your credit card to get rid of them. Note - Many companies stick an addictive agent (caffeine usually) in the product so you become addicted to the product.

#4. Celebrity Testimonials

It doesn't matter whether the celebrity is a bodybuilder or Oprah, if they are pushing the product using a celebrity then then company's primary goal is to make money off gullible people.

#5.  Too Good to be True

If it contains the words "Lose Weight Fast and Easy" or some similar slogan, you know they're lying to you.

THE FITNESS LOBBY

If you Google the words fitness lobby you will get a bunch of gym websites and photos of lobbies of gyms. The reason why, apparently, is because there is no "Fitness Lobby" in the USA or Canada (or in any other country for that matter).

I did manage to find one article about fitness groups lobbying for a tax break, but it wasn't an actual lobby group being paid to lobby the government, it was simply a selection of fitness groups trying to get a tax break. They only had one cause and they weren't being paid to do it, whereas lobby groups are basically hired thugs being paid to fight on behalf of the tobacco industry, the cheese industry, the oil industry, and basically any industry which everyone knows is doing something bad.

How many decades did the tobacco industry use lobbying to keep cigarettes being sold and how many more decades will they continue to do so before smoking cigarettes gets banned in North America for causing ridiculous amounts of cancer and killing two thirds of smokers? An industry that kills 66% of its customers is doomed to eventually get banned.

In contrast the fitness industry doesn't kill people when they are selling new fitness gadgets.

But it does use false advertising, like the Fake Doctors, Free Trials, Celebrity Endorsements, and Too Good To Be True slogans mentioned above.

But here are additional tricks used in advertisements:

#1. The fitness industry often uses people who were already thin and attractive (or already lost weight) before they started using whatever new fitness gadget is being pushed at the consumer. So regardless of whether they are trying to sell a Thigh Master or a Bowflex, their goal is to show you people who are already fit using the product. They don't show you people who overweight and not fit using it and then the slow progression of them losing weight - that would be too time consuming, and also impossible because people would realize that the people using the product are also using other kinds of exercises.

#2. They don't mention that people using the product should also be using a wide variety of other exercises - such as jogging, swimming or cycling - in their goal to lose weight.

#3. They ignore the fact that a home gym composed of weight machines really only builds muscle and is useless to someone who wants to lose weight by shedding fat. To shed fat they need to be doing cardio exercises.

#4. Fitness gyms sign people up for 1 year contracts and then make it difficult to cancel the contract by charging the membership fee every month even after the contract has been finished or cancelled. Fitness gyms claim it is due to clerical errors that people are routinely charged again and again even after their contract has expired or been cancelled.

#5. Fitness gyms routinely overcharge members for their membership fee, for an inflated amount with hidden fees - or sometimes charge the membership fee twice in the same month. Or both.

#6. Fitness gyms offer personal training services, but often charge ridiculous rates for those services while paying their staff peanuts. eg. Extreme Fitness charges $80 to $90 per hour for the services of a personal trainer, but only pays the trainer $17 to $20 per hour.

So the fitness industry doesn't really need a fitness lobby because they're already making lots of money off gullible people signing up for fitness gadgets they don't need and gym memberships they likewise don't need.

Want to get some exercise? Start by going outside more often and doing fun activities that require exercise.

Want to lose weight through dieting? Start by learning how to cook healthier food.

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.

Visual Standards of Beauty Vs Physical Standards of Health

If she was alive today, Marilyn Monroe would fail the Thigh Gap Test.

Why? Because her thighs would be touching. The standard for passing the Thigh Gap Test is whether you can stand with your feet together, your knees touching and there is a gap between your thighs, where the thighs don't touch at all. That is it.

It is a ridiculous standard of beauty perpetuated in western culture where being super skinny is considered by some to be attractive - a standard which then dictates that countries with the highest starvation rates therefore must have the most attractive people. Except since beauty contestants from Sub-Saharan Africa are not usually winning any international beauty contests, I do think that standard of beauty is really just a MYTH because it has no basis in reality.

Name a historical beauty, a really famous one, like Sophia Loren for example and I will bet they would fail the Thigh Gap Test. Twiggy, the fashion model from the 1960s/70s would pass it, but she was no great beauty.

Notice also that men are not being held to this ridiculous standard of beauty either. Any man who can pass the Thigh Gap Test probably has ridiculously skinny legs.

There are other standards of beauty out there too. Some are just really silly.

For example:

The Finger Test - Touch your index finger in a line from your nose to your chin. Do your lips touch your index finger? If so, you're probably beautiful according to the test. The test is also known as "The Finger Trap" or "The Rickett’s E-line Test".

This particular test is popular in China and other Asian countries. The test has no scientific basis and supposed has to do facial proportions, but if you read actual science into what humans perceive to be beautiful, symmetry is considered to be more important. The Finger Test doesn't even consider Symmetry.

The Anaface Test - Anaface stands for Analyze Face, it is a website where you upload a photo of yourself and then they supposedly check how symmetrical and proportional your face is. However the website has since been debunked for being inaccurate and based on facial proportions that apparently expect the perfect 10 score to look more like an alien.


The Beach Perfect Body Test - This is pretty simple test. Go to the crowded beach wearing a swimsuit and walk around and check how many people you catch staring at you. If you catch more than 5 people staring then you are beautiful. Unlike the Thigh Gap Test, this is one test men can actually pass.

The Golden Ratio - The Golden Ratio is a mathematical ratio considered to be visually pleasing to humans. It is a ratio of 1.6180339~. It is known as phi (Φ) in Geometry, and was used historically in Greek/Egyptian architecture, in India, in Feng Shui, in Da Vinci's Vitruvian Man, etc. In terms of beauty it means that various proportions of the human body should follow a ratio of roughly 1 to 1.6180339~, so if width of your ear is a distance of 1, the height of your ear should be a distance of 1.6180339~. Although honestly, this is really just an excuse for mathematicians to force their ideas unto others.

On the plus side, the Golden Ratio is one test that Marilyn Monroe passes.

But you know what, over 90% of people pass the Golden Ratio Test. So the good news is that according to the Golden Ratio Test we're all pretty much beautiful because it is very easy to get the math to conveniently fit.


So those are some commonly used (and often inaccurate) standards of beauty.

But what are some physical standards of health?

Well there is BMI (Body Mass Index), which compares your height to your weight and then estimates whether you are anorexic, underweight, average, overweight, obese or morbidly obese.

The BMI system works for most people, but ignores the possibility that someone might have a lot of muscle mass. Bodybuilders for example cannot be accurately measured by BMI.

Next there is Body Fat Percentage (BFP), which is more accurate than BMI because it calculates your total weight, the fat content of your body, and how much fat is in your body by percentage. The trick to BFP is that it is tricky to calculate accurately. People can try doing it using measurements, or by using machines, but both just provide an estimate that could be off by as much as 5%.

For women between ages 20 and 40, 19% to 26% body fat is good (26%)  to excellent (19%). For women age 41+, 23% to 30% is considered good (30%) to excellent (23%).

For men between ages 20 and 40, 10% to 20% body fat is generally good (20%) to excellent (10%). For men age 41+, 19% to 23% is considered good (23%) to excellent (19%).
Having more body fat than the amounts listed above is considered unhealthy because the person is overweight, whereas having lesser amounts is likewise considered unhealthy because the person might be at risk for anorexia*.

* However we should note that some athletes fall into the very low body fat percentage and thus having a low BFP does not necessarily mean the person is unhealthy.

Lastly Heart Rate is a great measurement for determining whether a person is unhealthy as it is tied to a strong and healthy heart and a diet that is free from cholesterol. A person's normal heart rate is between 60 and 80 beats per minute when at rest. In contrast a professional athlete will have a heart rate between 40 to 60 beats per minute when at rest. Someone who has over 90 beats per minute while at rest is considered unhealthy because they have high blood pressure, which is often a sign that they have a weaker heart or a cholesterol problem.

Doctors also routinely check Blood Pressure too, which is measured as a comparison between a resting heart rate (diastolic) and a post-intense-exercise heart rate (systolic). Blood Pressure is then measured as the larger systolic number over the smaller diastolic number.

So for example 105 over 70 is considered normal.

80 over 50 is the blood pressure of a professional athlete.

190 over 100, omigod, how have you not died from an heart attack? Please see a doctor right away!

CONCLUSIONS

What I hope people will take away from reading all of this is that hopefully you will focus on the healthy standards over the false standards of beauty. Yes, a person can have a thigh gap, but they might also be anorexic, have dangerously low body fat and have high blood pressure (anorexic people often die from heart attacks due to weak hearts).

Be healthy and happy and your beautiful smile will be all that matters.

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.

Oral Health connected to Overall Health

Now here is some interesting myth busting - your oral health is actually connected to your overall health, including your mental health.

Many people think that oral health is independent from the rest of their body - believing that they can have bad teeth and dental problems and that it is somehow separate from other parts of your body.

So let us start with some facts / interesting tidbits which will make you realize just how connected they are.

#1. One of the first side effects smokers get when they first start smoking is a yellowing of their teeth. If they brush regularly this won't be that visible, but over time this starts to wear down on their teeth as the chemicals released during the process of smoking wear down the enamel on their teeth - and enamel erosion leads to teeth loss. So if you can imagine dying of cancer, imagine being toothless and also dying of cancer.

#2. Bacteria in your mouth is normal. The problem however is that when you get too much bacteria in your mouth they start to produce acid which causes problems for your teeth - and when swallowed the acid harms your neck, stomach and lungs as the acid and bacteria spreads. People with poor dental hygiene are more prone to getting sick because bacteria spreads more easily through their system. They are also more prone to getting heartburn due to acid reflux.

#3. Various medications — such as decongestants, antihistamines, painkillers and diuretics — can reduce saliva flow. Saliva washes away food and neutralizes acids produced by bacteria in the mouth, helping to protect you from microbial invasion or overgrowth that might lead to disease.

#4. Oral bacteria and the inflammation associated with periodontitis — a severe form of gum disease — plays a role in some diseases. In addition, certain diseases, such as diabetes, HIV/AIDS, and others, can lower the body's resistance to infection, making oral health problems that much more problematic.

#5. Endocarditis is an infection of the inner lining of your heart (endocardium). Endocarditis typically occurs when bacteria or other germs from another part of your body, especially your mouth, spread through your bloodstream and attach themselves to damaged areas in your heart.

#6. Cardiovascular disease. Heart disease, clogged arteries and stroke are sometimes linked to the inflammation and infections that oral bacteria can cause.

#7. Periodontitis has been linked to premature births and low birth weight of babies, decreasing their chances of survival.

#8. Diabetes reduces the body's resistance to infection — putting your gums at risk. Gum disease is more frequent and severe among people who have diabetes. Likewise, people who have gum disease have a harder time controlling their blood sugar levels.

#9. Oral problems, such as painful mucosal lesions, are common in people who have HIV/AIDS and similar diseases.

#10. Osteoporosis — which causes bones to become weak and brittle — is linked with periodontal bone loss and tooth loss.

#11. Tooth loss before age 35 is a risk factor for Alzheimer's disease and a risk factor for other mental health problems.

#12. Sjogren's syndrome — an immune system disorder that causes dry mouth, which in turn leads to higher levels of bacteria and too much acid wear on your teeth.

A couple weeks ago I went to a new dentist near Rosedale - Archer Dental near the corner of Sherbourne and Bloor - and I was amazed at the form they had me fill out during my first visit. It covered a long list of medications for heart disease, diabetes and many other health issues that at the time I thought was unrelated to oral health care.

But evidently I was wrong. After all I am not a dentist. So I had to do quite a bit of research in preparing this post so I could learn why that form was so comprehensive with respect to other health conditions.

Now I feel so much more educated on this topic and decided to share some of my myth busting info with others.

So what can you do to improve your dental health / overall health? Luckily I have made a list.


12 things can you do to improve your overall health AND your dental health

#1. Brush 2 to 3 times daily.

#2. Floss daily.

#3. Eat healthier meals that .

#4. Eat healthier snacks in-between meals.

#5. Rinse out your mouth regularly with anti-bacterial mouthwash.

#6. Chew sugar-free gum (removes bacteria from your mouth).

#7. If you are a smoker, stop smoking.

#8. Replace your toothbrush every 3 to 4 months.

#9. Schedule dental checkups regularly.

#10. Find a dentist you actually LIKE (this improves your odds of going there). eg. I really liked Archer Dental (and not just because it has archer in the name) because they spent the time explaining things to me and made me feel really comfortable about what they doing with my teeth. I am actually looking forward to my next visit.

#11. Contact your dentist immediately if you have an oral health emergency. Don't delay and wait for it to get worse.

#12. If you don't have dental insurance from your workplace, look into getting dental insurance. (eg. Manulife Financial offers Coverme "Flexcare" health/dental insurance. This is not a promotion, I am just quoting the first company that came up when I Googled 'dental insurance toronto'.) Or failing that set aside money every year just for your dental needs, which is what I do. The latter requires more fiscal discipline.

Does Vitamin D help you lose weight?

Q

"Hello! I keep hearing that Vitamin D helps people lose weight and that a lack of Vitamin D causes people to gain weight. Is this true? How can a Vitamin make people lose weight?

Curious
Samantha"

A

Hey Samantha!

Well the good news is YES, Vitamin D does help people lose weight and yes it is equally true that a lack of vitamin D also causes people to lose weight.

How does it work? Well it is very complicated, but I will break it down for you so you can understand all the things Vitamin D does.

#1. Vitamin D regulates how the human body stores fat for the winter. During the summer when people are outside (hopefully exercising outside) their body absorbs sunlight on their skin and the human body absorbs that sunlight and then your kidneys creates vitamin D. You don't actually need to eat food with Vitamin D in the food, although that helps too.

#2. Whether you eat the Vitamin D, get it from sunlight, or even from a Vitamin D supplement, the end result is that Vitamin D triggers a fat burning mechanism in your body and gives you more energy. It basically acts like a catalyst causing your body to burn more fat, make you more energetic, and then the extra energy being used causes you to lose weight.

[What actually happens is our skin absorbs UVB radiation from the sunlight and uses that energy to make Vitamin D which goes into our blood; The liver converts the Vitamin D in your blood into Hydroxy D - and then Hydroxy D does the rest of the work.]

#3. When the human body has a lack of Vitamin D (from sunlight or other sources) what happens is the opposite. The human body starts storing up fat for the winter. Basically this is our Cro-Magnon Man genes at work, telling us that we need to store up fat for the winter.

#4. A lack of vitamin D also makes people more hungry. They start eating more than they need to in an effort to store up extra fat for the winter. You don't even consciously know you are doing it, but your body is sending signals to your brain (and vice versa) telling you to eat more because "Winter is coming."

And yes, that was totally a Game of Thrones reference.

Vitamin D also has numerous other health benefits including disease prevention by boosting your immune system, stronger bones, boosts insulin production, and helps prevent heart disease and diabetes.

Fish, vegetables, fruit and milk are all excellent sources of Vitamin D. So eat all those healthy foods during the winter and you will see results around your waistline. And if you get a chance to go someplace sunny for a vacation during the winter, take it!

To learn more on this topic I recommend reading the following two posts:

All About Vitamins - What do they do?

Winter Weight Gain and What to Do about It



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 Hidden Dangers of Your Excess Abdominal Fat

Did you know that the vast majority of North Americans have excess abdominal fat? If you've been following the obesity epidemic in the USA and Canada then you know what I am talking about.

The most common thing that most people think of is that their extra abdominal fat is simply ugly, that it is covering up their abs from being visible, and makes them self conscious about showing off their body.

However, what most people don't realize is that excess abdominal fat in particular is also a dangerous risk factor to your health. Scientific research has clearly demonstrated that although it is unhealthy in general to have excess body fat throughout your body, it is also more dangerous to have excess abdominal fat.

There are two types of fat that you have in your abdominal area. The first type that covers up your abs from being visible is called subcutaneous fat and lies directly beneath the skin and on top of the abdominal muscles.

The second type of fat that you have in your abdominal area is called visceral fat, and that lies deeper in the abdomen beneath your muscle and surrounding your organs. Visceral fat also plays a role in giving certain men that "beer belly" appearance where their abdomen protrudes excessively but at the same time, also feels sort of hard if you push on it.

Note - There is also "baby fat", which most people lose when they are kids or teens, but for people who are obese when they were children they might still possess some of their baby fat because they never used any of it as energy.

Both subcutaneous fat and visceral fat in the abdominal area are serious health risk factors, but having excessive visceral fat is even more dangerous than subcutaneous fat because of its proximity to your internal organs. Visceral fat dramtically increases your risk of developing heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, stroke, sleep apnea, various forms of cancer, and other degenerative diseases.

Another reason visceral fat is particularly dangerous is that it releases more inflammatory molecules into your body on a regular basis.

If you care about the quality of your life and your loved ones, reducing your abdominal fat should be one of your TOP priorities! There's just no way around it. Besides, a side-effect of finally getting rid of all of that excessive (and ugly) abdominal fat is that your stomach will flatten out, and if you lose enough stomach fat, you will be able to visibly see those sexy six pack abs that everyone wants.

So what gets rid of extra abdominal fat?

There really is only one solution: Exercise, in particular cardio exercises like swimming, cycling, running, jogging, etc. (Or more specifically, exercise + a healthy diet. You need to do both to fix this problem.)

You aren't going to find any cheap/quick fix solutions like a diet pill or anything like that which only targets your abdominal fat. [Ignoring liposuction, which is expensive and not recommended - especially in a day and age when you can get gastric bypass surgery to reduce your stomach to the size of an apple so you are forced to eat smaller meals and have no choice but to cut down on over-consumption.]

Thus, ignoring elective surgery, your only real option is exercise and a healthy diet.

Which honestly doesn't take that much time. Read any of the 6 Minute Cardio Workouts posted on my website.

Or read my recent post in which I answer the question "How much dieting is actually necessary to achieve results?"

And here is an important bit:

The people who only diet often end up yo-yo dieting and their weight going up and down.

The people who eat a healthy diet and exercise - no yo-yo-ing because the changes they make become lifestyle changes. Just straight results in which they make changes in their lifestyle by exercising more and eating more healthily, and they achieve results faster and safer than any fad diets ever could.

Want fast results that are permanent? Change your lifestyle.

And if you pick a sport that you enjoy, you will find the new lifestyle is a lot more enjoyable than you ever could of expected because the sport will help motivate you and make it fun to exercise.

Waist Training, Skinny Waists and Training Corsets

Myth Busting on Training Corsets

For women (and historically, some men did this too) one of the techniques people used to lose weight / prevent over-eating was 'training corsets' designed to cinch the waist together so that they could achieve an hourglass shape of their chest to waist to hips ratio.

1950s Pinup Model Betty Brosmer
The purpose of training corsets was not for it to be worn as a fashion piece, but to train the waist so it was a specific shape whenever the corset was NOT on.

You can see the results in the photo on the right from the 1950s.

Or at the photo of Kim Kardashian further below. In the case of Kim Kardashian there has been a lot of social buzz about whether various photos of her were photoshopped to make her waist looking small and her hips look bigger. But if you are familiar with the history of corsets you will know that Kim's waist and hips don't need photoshop. There were plenty of women (and men too) from history who had highly cinched waists who had curvier / more hourglass shaped figures.

Doing this is basically just another form of body modification similar to piercings, tattoos, breast implants / pectoral implants, botox, liposuction, synthol injections, steroid addiction, cosmetic surgery, rhinoplasty, circumcision, eyeball tattooing (I bet you didn't even know that one existed), microdermal / transdermal / subdermal implants, silicone injections, tongue splitting, cranial binding, foot binding, branding, ear shaping, scarification, tooth filing, etc. Many of these activities are the result of body dysmorphic disorders / mental illnesses in which the person feels inadequate unless they can change their body in a specific way.

Kim Kardashian taking a Selfie

In the case of waist training, it is true that many practitioners do lose weight because it is a bit like Gastric Bypass Surgery in that it restricts how much a person can eat. (Gastric bypass surgery is a surgical procedure in which the stomach is divided into a small upper pouch and a much larger lower "remnant" pouch and then the small intestine is rearranged to connect to both. The small stomach can then consume less food, resulting in the person having smaller meals and they lose weight over the long term.)

However the health effects of tightlacing / corset training causes havoc with the individual's internal organs. Below is a list of health defects that can result from an addiction to tightlacing.

Short term effects of tightlacing
  • Extreme discomfort
  • Shortness of breath
  • Faintness
  • Indigestion
  • Chafing of the skin
Long term effects of tightlacing
  • Weak abdominal muscles
  • Spinal problems / back pain
  • Problems urinating / leaky bladder (a practitioner might end up having to wear diapers)
  • Broken ribs / osteoporosis in the ribs
  • Compression of internal organs (similar to when organs are compressed during pregnancy)
  • Decreased lung volume / shallow breathing (intercostal breathing)
  • Mucosal build up in the lungs causes frequent bouts of pneumonia / coughing, which caused a Victorian myth that corset wearing caused tuberculosis
  • Liver is pushed upwards towards the ribs, forming ridges in between the ribs and accessory lobes - the connection of which can be quite thin, which resulted in the Victorian myth that corset wearing can 'cut a liver in half'.
  • Stomach volume compressed resulting in long term problems with indigestion, heartburn, gastric reflux. Practitioners avoid carbonated drinks, beans or any gassy foods.
  • Intestine compression causes constipation / anal leakage / rectal discharge (again, necessitating the use of diapers)
Dietary problems
  • The reduced stomach volume means many practitioners need to eat 6 smaller meals because eating 3 larger meals is no longer possible due to insufficient volume. Failing to eat sufficient nutrients can result in severe weight loss and accompanying health problems.
NOTES

If people really want to try waist training that is really their personal choice. But they should at least get into it knowing the health dangers/embarrassement they face (back pain, diapers, heartburn, etc). The prospect of diapers alone is enough of a reason in my opinion.

We should also note that sometimes training corsets are sometimes used to deliberately correct the curvature of the spine, in the case of people who have suffered traumatic injuries to the spine.
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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