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Showing posts with label Notes. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Notes. Show all posts

The deluge of emails for archery lessons in Toronto

Hey Toronto!

So here is what happens every year. Usually around the start of March, as the weather gets warmer, I start to get a deluge of emails from people asking for archery lessons.

This becomes a scheduling nightmare for me, as it is composed of two things:

#1. Returning students from last year who want to schedule more archery lessons. These are admittedly my priority, as returning students are awesome. I already know what their pros and cons are, and I know what we need to do chip away at their bad habits and turn them into even better archers.

Returning students also have their preferred time slots when it comes to scheduling, so I usually prefer to schedule them first so that they get the best time slots for their own schedules. This is why each year in February I contact them first so they get their time slots scheduled and I don't have to worry about scheduling conflicts when the deluge happens in March.

#2. New students are a blank slate. They don't know how the schedule works. They know so little about archery. They are so innocent and get archery jargon confused easily. They are like little puppies, so fresh and new to the world. Then you hand them a bow, some arrows and get them to shoot stuff using proper form, and within the first lesson a lot of their naivete is ripped away and their eyes are opened to the world of archery.

The problem with new students however is that they don't know how busy my schedule can be. They don't know for example that when they ask for a lesson on April XXth that I might be fully booked that day and simply not available to take on additional students.

Years ago during the height of the Hunger Games Archery Fad, I was practically turning students away. This was because I was fully booked 3 to 4 months in advance. People were contacting me in July for archery lessons and I would be saying things like "I am fully booked until the end of the year. Would you like to book for Spring or Summer for next year?"

Literally that. It was so bad I was copy/pasting my reply emails to people asking for lessons to let them all know I was fully booked. Every day. For months. Hundreds of people were told to wait until next year.

And for the prospective students this was a state of disbelief. They could not believe that I was fully booked until the end of the year.

Or alternatively, when I did have time slots available, they could not believe that I had no time slots available on a day they were personally available.

Meeting and Managing the Demand

So when I get these emails I check my schedule on my laptop for availability, and then I email the student back to recommend specific time slots that might fit the student's schedule.

Typically I will make a note in my schedule that I made the offer of those time slots to that specific student.

If however another student comes along, and they ask for those same time slots we now have a problem. Two people wanting private lessons for the same time slot, and I am still waiting to hear back from the first person - as they got the offer first.

This is why I schedule my returning students well in advance. Once they have their archery lessons scheduled I won't have this scheduling problem. Anyone asking for those time slots I can just tell them that the time slots they are hoping for are fully booked. Would you like a different time slot?

Sometimes a student might reschedule their lessons, but this is significantly more rare. But when it does I can go back to the other student and say that there is an opening.

Sometimes students want to talk to me over the phone, which is fine if they just want to ask a few questions. But if they want to schedule something, then they might be calling my phone while I am out and about and I don't have access to my schedule. So it when it comes to scheduling archery lessons, students really need to contact me via email.

Also if I am teaching an archery lesson I don't answer the phone unless it is from one of the following people:

  • My wife (which means it could be an emergency).
  • My babysitter (which means it could be an emergency).
  • My mother or sister (which means it could be an emergency).
  • An archery student who is scheduled the same day (possibly because they are running late or cannot make it, so the call should be brief).

And I maintain that principle of not answering the phone during archery lessons because I believe it interrupts the flow of the lesson. I don't want to gab on the phone with a prospective student who has 20 questions while I am supposed to be teaching. It ruins the experience for the student who is actually there.

Thus if someone wants to ask questions over the phone you cannot expect me to answer the phone unless it is the evening or one of my days off. If I am teaching a lesson, attending a funeral, in a movie theatre, sleeping, in the shower or any other activity where I am not available, your phone call will go unanswered.

So yes, email is your best option.




Teaching Methodology

I am, and remain, the most popular and successful (and most expensive) archery instructor in Toronto thanks to all the demand for archery lessons. I do not claim to be the best instructor, as there is a degree of personal style that comes with being a sports trainer. Some people prefer to have an trainer who is more like a drill sergeant, and that is not my style. I like to use stories, sayings and humour to help students remember things during the teaching process. I challenge students using tasks that get progressively harder as the student becomes increasingly better as an archer. My popularity is largely due to word of mouth because students learn so much and have an enjoyable time learning.

On the topic of instructive sayings...

Have you ever taken an oxy-acetylene welding class and heard the phrase "A before O or up you go?"

It was a saying I learned back in 1994 during welding class in high school. It stands for Oxygen before Acetylene, or else it will explode. Oxygen is explosive. You turn on the Acetylene first, to provide fuel and then you light it. Only after it is lit do you turn on the oxygen and adjust the flow of oxygen to get a good flame. If you were to turn on the Oxygen first, the space you are working in would fill with oxygen and when you do successful cause a spark, the oxygen in the area would explode.

Now that saying has always stayed stuck in my head. It rhymes. It is easy to remember.

I have a long list of archery sayings. So many I have been writing them down and plan to someday publish a book of them.

So here is one archery saying:

"Have some apple pie."

HSAP stands for:
  1. Hand
  2. Shoulder
  3. Anchor/Aim
  4. Power
And you can read my old post for more details about Have Some Apple Pie to fully understand why this is an useful archery saying when it comes to proper archery form.

HSAP is one of those archery tips I give out for free to anyone asking for an archery tip.

That one time someone asked for a discount...

Years ago someone in Toronto asked for a discount on archery lessons. I laugh now, because it is funny, but at the time the request was so ridiculous I didn't know what to say.

I was booked full at the time. To the end of the year. No time slots left available on any day. Everything was prebooked and people were booking for the following year.

So asking for archery lessons and wanting to get a discount was a pretty funny request, and remains such.

I have had people ask me for archery lessons and then they find out what my rates are and change their minds. So I get that not everyone can afford to get archery lessons from me.

But contacting me, asking for a discount, and then finding out that I am fully booked is so deeply ironic I cannot help but laugh at it.

Now I do provide some discounts.
  1. 10% Discount to Seniors over the age of 65.
  2. 10% Discount to Veterans, with proof of their military service.
  3. Discounted rates for signing up for 3, 5 or 10 lessons.
  4. Sales. Once in awhile I do have a sale price, usually because I am trying to fill unused time slots on specific days. eg. Thursdays.
But that is it. I am not giving out any extra discounts willy-nilly on random whims.

If people want to teach themselves, there are plenty of free archery tips on my website, plenty of free tips on YouTube, and plenty of archery books and even archery magazines you could read.

Examples:

"Precision Archery" is by far the best book I have come across.

"Archery Focus Magazine" is the best magazine in my opinion, as it deals solely with archery. Some of the bowhunting magazines tend to get rather off-topic with hunting stories, so I rarely read the hunting stories in those.

So there are plenty of options out there, including a page I wrote years ago in 2013 for "The Canadian Daily" which was titled "Archery Lessons in Toronto + Do-It-Yourself Approach". Sadly The Canadian Daily is no more, and thus I have moved that old article on to my own website.

So if you are looking for archery lessons in Toronto, absolutely, you should contact me. Do it now rather than waiting until later, as I can never guarantee to the people who procrastinate that they will get the time slots that best suit their schedule.

From my experience of talking to students, the biggest killer of archery aspirations is procrastination.


Happy Shooting!

Cardio Trek Milestones and Achieving Milestones

January 4th 2019.

So in ancient times the Romans would place a milestone along roads to mark how far that section of road was from Rome. Important Milestones might be every 100 miles, 500 miles or similar distances.

Today we use the term Milestone when there has been achievement of some kind.

For example, as an archery instructor I have been on CBC, CTV, CityTV, TSN and several other television and radio broadcasts, usually promoting the sport of archery. Oh and newspaper articles. I tend to forget the newspaper articles.

I also have personal milestones like when my wife and I got married, or when we had our first son, our 1st anniversary, and our son's 1st birthday party.

And now that it is 2019 I want to do a wee bit of record keeping regarding the "History of Cardio Trek", which began as a website in 2011. Truth be told, I started teaching archery back in 2009, but it wasn't until December 2011 that I began taking it seriously as a business and put together this website. Prior to that my archery lessons were based on word-of-mouth, so the creation of the website was a milestone by itself because it means I realized that this had potential as a business and I could teach significantly more people if I was able to advertise more effectively.

I also got my personal training certificate, although now I think I should have got a sports training certificate instead as that would have been more accurate to what I actually do.

Statistics

Regarding the website, there was an explosion in popularity in the early years of the website.

I even have old posts regarding some previous Milestones:
1 Million Visitors

1.5 Million Visitors

2 Million Visitors
And sometime in late April/early May of 2019 I expect to reach the 2.5 million visitors mark.

I should note however that a lot of those visitors are Americans who are visiting a handful of my posts that went viral. Seven posts in particular that got 20,000 visitors or more. Roughly 850,000 of the current 2.4 million visitors are people who were visiting those 7 viral posts, mostly because the posts in question were unusual subjects.

Of those 7 posts, only 1 of them had anything to do with archery: "Ramsay's Archery Skills on Game of Thrones"

What is more important to me is the statistics for my Archery Lessons in Toronto page, which recently surpassed 40,000 visitors.

Now why is that one important? Because that is the page that usually indicates how many people are checking out my site, looking for archery lessons in Toronto. Since archery lessons makes up a good chunk of my annual income, keeping track of that is important to me.

How many of the visitors to that one page are from Toronto? Unknown. I should hope it is mostly people from Toronto, but I know that I also get international students so there must be a good chunk of people who see my site and say "Hey, this guys looks really good. I am going to plan a trip to Toronto and schedule archery lessons with him." Hence why I also get archery students from the USA, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, Japan, China, the U.K., France, Russia, and other countries.

Regarding Old Posts

As noted in my Cardio Trek End of 2018 Notes, I used to do a lot more posts per year.

180 posts in 2012
230 posts in 2013
120 posts in 2014
120 posts in 2015

And then it dropped to 100 posts in 2016, and 60 posts per year in both 2017 + 2018.

So including the 10 posts from December 2011, there has been 880 posts during the 2011 to 2018 period. At the current rate of 60 posts per year, I should reach 1000 by December 2020.

However, I am somewhat tempted to go back to my old routine of 120 posts per year. 60 is certainly easier, but if I did 120 in 2019 then I would reach 1000 posts by the end of this year. So to do this, I would need to be writing 1 new post every 3 days roughly.

I could in theory do this, and it would no doubt help my business if I grew my content of archery themed posts. My busiest years as an archery instructor was the 2012 to 2016 period.

Starting in 2017 I noticed a decline in the volume of students, partially because the Hunger Games Fad was wearing off, but also possibly because I was not writing as much as I used to do.

Regarding the Future

In 2017 I also did something new. I published my first article in Archery Focus Magazine.

Which was followed by two more articles in 2018, one about Adaptive Archery, and a second article about Teaching Archery through Narrative Storytelling. So these magazine articles were also milestones, and I have another two articles upcoming in 2019.



Then there is also my 2nd poetry book, which was specifically about Zen Archery. So yes, for those of you who don't know I have a secondary career as a writer / poet, and I am not limited to writing nonfiction about archery.


During the past several years I have also been writing an "Archery How To" book, so whenever I finish that it will be an additional Milestone. Plus I have been accumulating things for a 2nd archery how to book. Oh and a 3rd poetry book. And a book of fables which is now about 60% finished. And various fantasy novels, novellas, short stories, and a web series about a vigilante boxer set in Toronto.

So yes, I am very busy. Busy teaching, busy writing, busy taking care of my son and enjoying life with my wife.

But being so busy does not prevent me from achieving milestones.

If anything, achieving milestones is what makes me so busy - and motivated.

Motivating Yourself through Milestones

So yes, the second purpose for writing this post is the issue of achieving personal milestones and motivation.

Motivation is an important thing for people seeking to lose weight, gain muscle, or do specific sports. For the people who lack motivation to go outside and exercise (or stay inside and exercise), finding motivation to exercise is just as important as the exercise itself.

But when you achieve some kind of milestone you also get a feeling of accomplishment. That feeling of accomplishment makes you want to go forth and do more. To do better. To achieve more. To hit greater milestones.

And thus tracking your milestones is important.

For me, Cardio Trek is not just a business or a website. It is also how I track myself through milestones. If I have a particularly great day doing archery, and take photographs of what I did, I do a post about it.

If I do a series of trick shots and have photographs of it, I do a post about it.

If I get some really nice testimonials from students, I post.

Think of it like how some people keep journals of their exercise routine, how many calories they are eating, etc. A person who keeps a journal can also note down their personal bests they've ever achieved in specific tasks, keep track of their weight, etc.

So for me, CardioTrek.ca doubles as an online journal, which allows me to keep a record of every kind of milestone I feel is worth sharing.

Note - Some people might prefer to use Instagram or something similar for their online journal. Photos of their gym workouts and other personal achievements.

Imagine for example a person who wants to lose 100 lbs of weight and they workout every day for 3 years, losing about 33.3 lbs per year. And during that process they took a selfie of themselves every day and posted it on Instagram.

No doubt the images would show a dramatic change in their appearance as they exercised. It wouldn't be a simple before and after photo. It would show the entire process of their physical transformation over 3 years.


So think about what kind of milestones you can achieve and make a list.

Weightlifting Milestones
Speed Milestones
Jumping Distance Milestones
Dieting Milestones
Belt Size Milestones
Weight Milestones

With respect to sports like archery, one could also have:

Accuracy Milestones
Speed Shooting Milestones
Furthest Distance Milestones
Competition Milestones

And you can even track other milestones for other activities that have nothing to do with exercising. So for example for my writing career I have:

First Novel Published
First Short Story Published in an Anthology
First Solo Anthology of Short Stories
First Magazine Article
First Poetry Book
First Children's Book

And then the Second Novel, the Third Novel, the Fourth, etc.

Achieving these milestones encourages you to keep working at it, and it works for everyone regardless.

Imagine a person who has been in a terrible accident and the doctor says they may never walk again because they are paralyzed from the waist down. But they are determined to prove the doctor wrong so they keep trying.

First Toe Wiggle
Second Toe Wiggle
All Toes Wiggling
Foot Movement
Leg Movement
First Steps with Assistance
First Fall
Second Fall
First Steps without Assistance
First Jog
First Dance
First Run

It is really a matter of finding joy in every milestone, no matter how small or how insignificant. That is your milestone. It is important to you.

Every baby has their first steps, but just because you're an adult doesn't mean you cannot achieve more milestones than when you were a baby.

My son has been figuring out how to climb out of crib lately - or trying, but I keep stopping him and distracting him. Some day soon he will climb out for the first time and then he will realize that he can climb out of the crib whenever he wants.

Take that as a metaphor for your life. Your crib is not a cage. You can climb out whenever you want to, it really is a matter of motivating yourself and achieving that first milestone.

Cardio Trek End of 2018 Notes

You may have noticed that the number of posts I do per year has gone down in recent years and I currently only post 60 new articles per year.
►  2018 (60)
►  2017 (60)
►  2016 (100)
►  2015 (120)
►  2014 (120)
►  2013 (230)
►  2012 (180)
►  2011 (10)
You can also tell that 2014-2015 had a different standard of 120 posts per year, that 2016 was a transition period, and that 2013 I evidently went crazy by doing about 19 posts per month.

What has been happening has multiple reasons.

#1. In 2016 I got married.

#2. In 2017 we had our first son Richard. In Autumn of 2017 I technically retired from actively teaching archery lessons, but unfortunately that didn't last very long and thus I still teach 2 to 3 days per week regularly.

#3. Ever since then I have devoted more of my writing time (what little I have since I am looking after an infant regularly) to other tasks. I find it difficult to keep up the schedule of making new posts for Cardio Trek constantly.

#4. Redundancy. This is a problem. After talking about an unknown number of topics I am running out of things to write about without repeating myself. I don't like being redundant, so when I do write something that feels repetitively I try to improve upon it by making it better and more useful in some manner.

#5. Book. For several years now I have been compiling a book about archery. This likewise drains my time and digs into the time I dedicate towards other kinds of writing.

#6. Writing for "Archery Focus Magazine" once in awhile. This is not a huge drain on my time as I don't write that often for the magazine, but on the plus side I do get paid every time I write something new for the magazine. (And then I go spend it on diapers or archery equipment...)

#7. Project Gridless, the sibling website to Cardio Trek has been taking up more of my writing time in recent years. You will note the number of posts per year for Project Gridless has gone up during the last 2 years, whilst Cardio Trek has been holding steady at 60 posts per year (and for the foreseeable future).


Project Gridless
►  2018 (90)
►  2017 (60)
►  2016 (20)
►  2015 (25)
I have also been trying to do more Project Gridless videos for YouTube, but finding time to do that is likewise difficult. In theory I could do more archery and fishing videos, but since I am cursed at fishing I am wondering if I should focus on bowfishing instead.

So what will 2019 and 2020 bring?

I have no idea. I hope to maintain the schedule of 60 posts per year, but honestly my writing schedule is such that I am writing something every day and still have difficulty maintaining my writing commitments for everything I do.

And I haven't even talked about my fiction work. For those of you who don't know, I have written 8 fantasy novels, 4 anthologies and 2 poetry books. I have several more novels, an anthology of fables, and another poetry book that is due out sometime in the next two years.

Combined this means I am constantly writing both fiction and nonfiction, and I am publishing books, anthologies, magazine articles, and blog posts.

Plus son. Plus wife. Plus a very active archery lessons business. Plus everything else I am not mentioning here, like hobbies, binge-watching Netflix, painting, woodworking and other activities. And sleep.

You would possibly expect me to be half-insane and pulling my hair out, but the truth is I am very much enjoying my life. I am enjoying teaching archery and meeting awesome students, and I am enjoying writing. Writing gives me such great joy.

So while it is becoming more difficult to maintain 60 posts per year, I am going to continue to set that goal and achieve it.

In other news, Merry Christmas!

I got a new archery glove for Christmas and a vintage bow from the 1970s. Below my son Richard helps me to unwrap my bow.


Reviewing Comments on CardioTrek.ca

So it is the end of the year and I am reviewing comments people have made on CardioTrek.ca.

Over 300 comments from the last two years, 2017 and 2018.

I managed to review (and delete) 100 comments before I got bored of looking at spam comments. Over 90% of the comments are spam / contain links. So by the time I eventually review all 300+ comments, there will probably be less than 30 comments that are genuine and get approved.

The spam comments are selling things like diet pills, detox pills, weight lifting gloves, weight lifting belts, exercise bicycles, health supplements, protein  powders, rhinoplasty, plastic surgery...

And even off topic things like promoting criminal defense lawyers, vacations, spas, viagra (of course!), hair growth pills (for bald people), gambling and such. I am not going to list them all, but clearly some spammers don't care if they are spamming a topic that is even relevant.

All of which gets marked as spam and deleted. Never even seen by the general public.

Because frankly that is how I roll. All comments are hidden until I have approved them.

Which means all the spammers (and spambots) are just wasting their time (and mine).

Even the posts I do approve are double-checked to make sure they didn't hide a spam link in a comment that at a glance looks genuine.

I have half of a mind to just delete ALL of the comments and turn off the commenting function. It would save me time from having to review them and make certain they are genuine comments that don't contain a spam link.

But I do like receiving the genuine comments.

  • The people who say thank you.
  • The people who say "keep up the great work".
  • The people who say "I learned something today thanks to you".
  • The people who are asking questions, which potentially can be used for my Exercise Questions posts.
And of course comments from my clients / students, which are often more personal and anecdotal.

Those are the comments I really enjoy, so clearly I cannot get rid of the commenting function entirely. I just have to weather the storm, delete the spam, and not check/review comments for 2 years again.

Two years from now I should be nearing the 1,000 posts mark (currently hovering around 880 and doing 60 per year) so it is a lot of posts for people to leave comments on.


Note

To the people wanting to sell boxing gloves, weightlifting equipment and other exercise equipment... don't spam! Send me product samples instead and I will do a product review. I will even post a copy of the review on Amazon if you ask nicely. Product reviews from genuine sources are a far better way of advertising your product and getting the positive word out there.

But spamming. Nope. Deleted. Good day sir! Hope you enjoyed wasting your time!

Weekday Archery Lessons, Autumn Discount 10%

Autumn is one of the best times of year to do archery.
Now here is a special offer for anyone who has lots of spare time on weekdays and is looking to get into archery.

For a limited time* I am offering a 10% discount when people sign up for 3 or more archery lessons on weekdays.

*Offer valid until September 21st (Autumn Solstice) 2018. Offer does not stack with the standard Seniors Discount of 10%. Offer does not apply to weekend archery lessons.

Discount Code: AUTUMNSOLSTICE10.

So why am I offering this discount? Honestly, it is so I can fill up some empty time slots on specific weekdays. Purely a logistical motivation on my part to fill those days.

The regular weekday rates for 3 or more lessons for 1 student are:

3 Lessons - $170; 5 Lessons - $270; 10 Lessons - $520.


So the discounted rates are:

3 Lessons - $153; 5 Lessons - $243; 10 Lessons - $468.

Want to book now? Start by emailing cardiotrek@gmail.com. Have a nice day!

Notes
  • Browse my archery lessons page if you want to book lessons for 2 or 3 people.
  • This discount also makes now a great time to prebook archery lessons for Spring 2019.
  • You can also buy archery lessons as a gift for a friend, family member or colleague. I sell Gift Vouchers so they can redeem the voucher later and schedule accordingly.





Steroids, HGH, SARMS and Peptides = :(

Earlier today I got an email (spam???) from a company trying to sell steroid pills / etc.

It said the following (edited so I am not accidentally advertising their company):

"Hi friend,

Good day! This is Vera from NAME OF COMPANY REMOVED, which has engaged in R&D, production and marketing steroid powders, HGH, peptides and Sarms for more than 10 years, our products are exported well into U.S. , Canada, Brazil, UK, Germany, Poland, Greece, Italy, Australia and many other areas. Our company gains high reputation among our old and new clients through the highest quality, best price, fast and safe delivery as well as the excellent customer service, many of them are famous labs.

What we can serve for our customers:
◊ 100% legit steroid powders with top purity
◊ Competitive price with frequent discount
◊ Mature logistic system to assure the delivery time
◊ Discreet package for worldwide shipping
◊ One to one on&after-sales customer service to support

If you have interests, small trial order for first cooperation to test our quality and shipping efficiency is welcomed. I'll try my best to satisfy you on your request. Looking forward to your kind reply.

Regards,
Vera
COMPANY WEBSITE REMOVED"

Getting this email disgusted me.

It is bad enough when professional athletes are induced into taking steroids because they really want to win and they manage to find someone willing to sell them a steroid or illicit drug that will allow them to cheat.

But it is even worse to be trying to sell this crap to a personal trainer / sports coach, who would then effectively become drug dealers trying to sell the drugs to their clients / athletes. That to me is much worse, as it tarnishes the sacred role of a teacher (which is what I consider myself to be) and turns the teacher into a drug dealer who can effect multiple students / clients. So not just one person is effected in such a scenario, but multiple people.



No reputable person should be dealing in steroids.

Not an athlete. Not a coach. Not an instructor. Not a personal trainer. Not a doctor. Not a nutritionist. Nobody.

Anyone who is encouraging cheating / drugging yourself to bulk up should be ashamed of themselves, and when caught banished from the industry.

Vitamins, minerals, calcium supplements, whey protein powders, creatine - these I don't have a problem with because they are all natural things we get in our diets, they are just being used as supplements to make certain the athlete is getting enough of what they need.

Whey protein is just a protein found in milk, which is separated during the process of making cheese, and is sold in powder form so people can take mix with water / milk for a protein drink. Creatine is just a chemical found in red meat that regulates energy to muscle tissue, and thus is handy for losing weight / building muscle.

As such they are used by people who know they aren't eating enough red meat or not enough protein, so that they can maximize their body's natural ability to regulate energy / build new muscle tissue.

Man-made Steroids however...

All sorts of bad side effects.

Decades of research into the topic has revealed while steroids do give a temporary advantage to athletes, they cause long term permanent side effects which I am not going to bother listing as there are so many of them. The most notable and common side effect is liver damage leading to terminal liver cancer, as steroids are also toxins and the liver will try to filter the toxins out - but doing so puts so much stress on the organ that it effectively kills the person's liver.

HGH is technically a natural hormone, human growth hormone, but humans usually only have large amounts of it when they are children or pregnant. Adults taking HGH pills is effectively unnatural and allows the person to build muscle at a faster than normal rate. It is heavily regulated too, and numerous celebrities and athletes have been arrested trying to smuggle HGH across international borders. So if it has to be smuggled into Canada by criminals, then it is definitely not something I am interested in.

SARMs, are various chemicals categorized as selective androgen receptor modulator are a type of androgenic drugs. They can be used legitimately for people who suffer from low testosterone, but for people who do not they are used to increase testosterone production. Various athletes in the NFL and NBA have been banned due to alleged use of SARMs.

Peptides are short chains of amino acids connected by peptide bonds, hence the name. They block and/or control sugar, and thus they can be used as anti-obesity medication, but are also used in the bodybuilding industry to increase energy levels to muscle tissue. Taking in combination with steroids, they give a person an unnatural edge over the competition. Some peptides can also effect the body's HGH production levels, can be used to increase testosterone levels, etc. As such an athlete who tests positive for certain peptides used to effect HGH, testosterone, and anything else that gives them a competitive edge is considered to have cheated.


Honestly... are people so obsessed with winning that they have to damage their liver and ruin the reputations just for a shiny trophy or gold medal to hang on a mantle?

Clearly some people are.

Ben Johnson, Lance Armstrong, Marion Jones, etc.

Thankfully there are some sports where doping doesn't really help. Figure skating for example is more about finesse than bulk muscle.

Tonya Harding already had the physique of an amazon that gave her a physical edge to perform triple axels - making her the first woman to complete a triple axel in a competition. But her fear of losing resulted in her conspiring with several men to put out a hit on rival Nancy Kerrigan's leg.

So there are always more ways than one to cheat in sports, but when you consider that Tonya Harding was banned from figure skating and later took up a brief career in boxing because of her financial problems.

Clearly cheating doesn't pay.

And selling the drugs to do so clearly means that a sports trainer is in it for the money, not because they actually enjoy teaching and guiding athletes.

Speaking for myself, I enjoy what I teach. It allows me to go outside and exercise regularly, and to get paid to do it. I cannot ask for anything better.

A Lesson in Adaptive Archery, Archery Focus Magazine


My 2nd article for Archery Focus Magazine has been published in the July 2018 issue. Titled "A Lesson in Adaptive Archery".

The article is about my first experience coaching a very brave student with no fingers. Not many coaches will take on the challenge of teaching students with a disability, but for its challenges it is also a rewarding experience.

Adaptive Archery is the term used for teaching people who have disabilities when it comes to doing archery and have to adapt their methodology so that they can still shoot (and even compete) in the sport.

There is a whole industry of products available for people with various problems to overcome, so for every disability there is usually one or more items available for the Adaptive Archer to use to beat the problem they are facing.

Some people also make their own solutions and/or adaptive equipment. It really comes down to problem solving.

So in my case as the student's coach I needed to do some problem solving so that a student with no fingers would be able to hold the bow, and also to be able to draw the bowstring.

And if you want to read about how we solved this problem, you will need to buy a copy of the magazine. I am not going to spill the beans here.

Subscriptions to Archery Focus Magazine are available by visiting archeryfocusmagazine.com. You can even use the following discount code to get 20% off your subscription: 20afm2018.



You may have noticed I said this was my 2nd article to be published in Archery Focus Magazine.

My first article was about how to market/advertise an archery coaching business, and titled "Marketing Strategies for Archery Coaches" and was published in the July 2017 issue.


So clearly I need to keep up a tradition and publish another one in July 2019. I have no idea what the topic will be...

Maybe something about teaching my son archery? He is barely over 1 now, so by March 2019 I might be showing him how to shoot already. Maybe. Maybe not. Some toddlers even compete in archery competitions for the under 3 category, but I don't think I want to push Richard into archery. It should be something he sees and wants to do. I don't want him to feel pressured he has to do it.

Who knows? We shall have to see.

Last year I also set myself a goal of publishing articles in multiple archery magazines.
  • Traditional Bowhunter Magazine
  • TradArcher's World Magazine
  • Bowhunting World Magazine
  • Petersen's Bowhunting Magazine
And just because it is a local magazine found here in Ontario:
  • Ontario Out of Doors (OOD) Magazine

Also if you noticed, Simon Needham and Steve Ruis seem to have their own July tradition. Writing and publishing "Getting to 600" and "Getting to 650" one year apart.

So clearly some archers really like their traditions. Especially Traditional Archers. 😉

Is it too much to ask clients to remember the day of their lesson?

So imagine you are a personal trainer or some kind of sports trainer (eg. swimming instructor) and clients book specific days and times for their training session. This describes me and my business, as I am both a personal trainer and a sports instructor.

And lets imagine you teach certain sports and activities outdoors, even when it is one of the hottest days of the year. Like it was Saturday with the combined temperature and humidity putting Toronto in a bake you until you die 46 degrees Celsius. So crazy hot.

So you are there in the baking heat, so hot that a friend of yours sticks unbaked cookies inside their car on the dashboard and comes back later and their cookies are baked (and their car smells like freshly baked cookies now). True story.

So you are out there in the heat and you notice your client / student is running late. You check your email and see the following:

"I am so sorry for the last minute.
I am just getting back from Prague..
an I thought this was tomorrow."

And you should be rightfully annoyed. I know I was.

At 7:30 AM that morning I sent them an email warning them about the heat that day. Recommending they bring cold drinks with them.

Did they really get back from Prague? Who knows. Maybe.

Or maybe they just realized it was going to be super hot outside and wanted to reschedule based on the weather conditions. That is normal. Would not be the first time we have rescheduled because of rain, thunderstorms, too hot, too windy, snowing, blizzard, too cold, etc. Except weather was not their excuse. Their excuse was they thought the lesson was Sunday, even though they scheduled it for Saturday.

Not even showing up however and/or last minute cancellations... those are a personal pet peeve for me.

There is a reason why dentists charge patients if you forget your dentist appointment and don't show up. They were there. Their staff was there. Everything ready for the patient to arrive. And then they don't show up. The staff and everyone still needs to get paid, even if the patient forgets they had a dental appointment.

Same goes for me. I am out there in the weather, sometimes very hot weather, with all my equipment ready to go, and if a student / client doesn't show up for their lesson...

Well then that is just a clear forfeiture.

Because I was there. Where was the student?

Relaxing after getting back from Prague supposedly.

Years ago I ended up making a Terms of Service page to remind people what happens when they miss lessons or want to reschedule lessons. Rescheduling a lesson? No problem, I just need 24 hours notice so I don't end up outside in the heat or cold waiting for a student who decided last minute to not show up. Missing a lesson because you forgot? That is a forfeiture.

I am also not your Social Secretary. It is not my job to remind clients of when their lessons are. It is the client's job to remember to show up, just like it is my job to be there on time, ready to instruct.

Not knowing or remembering the day of the lesson (if that was truly the case) is clearly the fault of the client. After all, I am not their Social Secretary. It is not my job to remind them what days and times they have lessons on.

Is it too much to ask clients to remember the day of their lesson?

So after receiving the email I was annoyed. And overheating in the heat/humidity, and being in such a state is never good time to answer emails from people who have annoyed you.

I ended up waiting 24 hours before replying and politely explaining that they had forfeited the lessons because they had failed to give me 24 hour notice. Politely. Like a true Canadian would.

I have also noticed that some clients in the past are "problem clients". The type of people who reschedule lessons frequently, show up late, forget they have lessons, and even make up funny excuses. One such "problem client" years ago claimed she had somehow misplaced her children after a series of similar times when she had failed to show up for lessons on time or at all. She did it so often she ended up forfeiting all of her lessons by supposedly getting lost, claiming to be stuck in traffic for two hours, forgetting what day the lesson was, and finally the "I misplaced my children" excuse.

I eventually Googled her name and discovered she had been fired from her workplace for a serious case of office politics coupled with being accused of fraud. So her reputation was that of a person not to be trusted, and myself and others should probably avoid having any dealings with such an untrustworthy person who clearly makes up excuses and lies all the time.

So what should a person do with problem clients?

  1. Fulfill any remaining obligations.
  2. Issue a refund or partial refund if absolutely necessary.
  3. Once 1 and 2 have been accomplished, stop answering their emails.

I once had a client whom I was teaching his son archery, and he basically treated me like a babysitter - which I am not. His son also had behavioural issues which made him unsafe to be teaching a sport like archery. Somehow (long story) I gained the impression that the client was in the mafia and was not used to being told "no". So when he asked for more archery lessons for his son, after his lessons had been exhausted and my obligations had been met, I asked him to send me an email regarding booking more lessons. I then simply never replied to his email. I also later changed my policy regarding minimum age for archery lessons to 16.

So there are more than one way for a client to be considered to be a "problem client" in my opinion. Chronic lateness/not showing up at all is certainly one way. Me becoming worried that the client is a criminal (or hires other people to commit crimes) is certainly another way. Treating me like a babysitter or having a spoiled kid who is a safety hazard, that is also another way.

Most of My Clients are Wonderful

99.7% of my clients show up on time. Or if they are running late, they let me know via text message or email.

They are a joy to teach. They don't make up lies or excuses either.

It is really the few bad eggs out of thousands of clients I have taught over the page 9 years that cause me headaches. I don't lose sleep over these people. I just point to the Terms of Service so they know what happens when they miss lessons and the proper way to reschedule a lesson.

Or at least, the proper way to lie about it. People who are sick or severely injured get a free ride when it comes to rescheduling lessons. Here is how to lie about it:

Contact me BEFORE the lesson begins and just say you are sick and unable to make it. Contacting me after the lesson has begun (or was supposed to have begun), well that still counts as a forfeiture, because you knew you were sick or injured hours before the lesson and there is no reason not to have let me know as soon as possible.

If the lesson start time comes and a client is clearly late I typically contact them after 10-15 minutes with a polite "Running late?" If they then say they are sick, that is unfortunately a forfeiture because they failed to notify me of their illness BEFORE the lesson time began.

Jetlag is not an adequate excuse because the person knew they would have jetlag when they returned from a trip, and it is neither an illness or an injury. There is no reason they should not have been able to email me 24 hours before the lesson and let me know they want to reschedule.

If a client is going to lie and make up an excuse, at least say you are sick. And do try to let me know before the lesson start time. Preferably before 8:30 AM, but definitely before the scheduled time slot.



Happy Canada Day!

On Sunday the wife, son, and I visited my mother-in-law for Canada Day. I never book archery lessons that day (or other holidays) because people have a tendency to reschedule anyway.

Monday (a holiday thanks to Canada Day being on a weekend this year) we went to the beach and it was so crazy hot we got slushies en route to the beach. Slushies are not very healthy, but I said to the wife:

"I would rather have brain-freeze than have heatstroke."


And to paraphrase myself on this true topic of this post:

"I would rather have clients who show up on time and remember their lessons than to have clients who do not."


The 2018 Seton Archery Competition

NOTICE - Due to rain/thunderstorms on both the Saturday the 23rd and Sunday the 24th, the competition has been reschedule for Sunday, July 29th.

The 2018 Seton Archery Competition is coming up this Saturday, June 23rd Sunday, July 29th, and I shall be adjudicating and judging the competition this year. Which is basically a fancy way of saying I will be doing lots of math and making sure people follow the rules.


Note that the deadline for taking part is 11 AM. Meaning if you show up late, you won't be able to ranked and take part. So it is very important that people show up early or on time. SHOW UP ON TIME.

You do not need to register to take part, but you do need to show up on time.

Location: The Toronto Archery Range located at E. T. Seton Park.

This annual (usually) event is free to take part in and includes a Potluck BBQ for everyone who attends. So if you want to show up and just watch the competition, absolutely. Bring some food to share, a picnic blanket or a lawn chair, and have a fun time watching the competition.

Myself, as a judge, I will be bringing a lawn chair so I can enjoy watching and eating (and adjudicating / doing math).

In the event of rain on Saturday the competition will be moved to Sunday (in which case I will not be the person judging, as I will be busy with my son's birthday party that day). Or rescheduled for July evidently.


Job offer to teach archery in Japan

Last week I received a job offer to teach archery in Japan at a resort. They are looking for an experienced instructor who can teach a variety of different kinds of archery to complete beginners. Woot? Or maybe not woot... keep reading!

They were offering an annual salary of 2 million yen (roughly $23,000 CDN) plus free room and board at the resort.

Sounds like a sweet offer, yes?

Think again.

#1. I am married and my wife just graduated law school, which means she is currently articling as a lawyer. Articling is sort of like an apprenticeship. So we are not going anywhere until she finishes articling.

#2. My wife and I have a son now. I spend most of my weekdays looking after him and I usually only teach archery on weekends (although I can sometimes teach on Thursdays and Fridays). When in doubt, ask.

#3. I happen to like my current routine of looking after my son and teaching archery when available.

The resort wanted me to be available to teach 7 days per week, from 9 AM to 7 PM. With breaks whenever there was a lack of students. And I would be expected to work on holidays. So that is 10 hour days, 70 hour weeks. Practically sweatshop hours.

Now I can do math.

70 hour weeks... x 52 weeks. 3,640 hours per year. At $23,000 per year...

Is $6.32 per hour.

Which is less than Japan's minimum wage, but since I get free room and board, and breaks whenever there is *supposedly* a lack of students... apparently it circumvents Japan's minimum wage laws. Seems awfully fishy.

Somehow I doubt there would be a lack of students and many breaks.

So I would probably be working sweatshop hours and rarely get to see my son.

#4. I used to teach English in South Korea many years ago. That whole experience made me distrustful of the corrupt "hagwon" system in Korea. Is the resorts in Japan similar to Korean hagwons? Maybe. I don't see any point in finding out.

#5. I checked... the starting rate for teaching English in Japan is about 3 million yen per year. So it would actually make more sense for me to teach English instead of archery. Better pay.

True, I love teaching archery - but teaching it 70 hours per week would take some of the fun out of it. My current system of less hours, better pay suits me just fine.

#6. No pay for the first 3 months. Afterwards they would pay me 222,222 yen per month. This is to deter people who aren't serious about sticking around, so they claim. Makes me wonder what the turnover rate of new employees is.

#7. This offer started to sound more and more like a scam. Trick foreigners into working in horrible conditions, pay them peanuts... most of them quit before 3 months.

#8. Cost of living in Japan is very high. Korea and China are cheap in comparison.

Would my wife and son be expected or welcome to just hang out at the resort all the time? Most likely they would get bored of it. Which means they are going out, taking taxis, eating out, etc. Such things add up and Japan is notoriously expensive to live in.

#9. Free plane ticket for me, but what about my wife's and son's tickets? Who pays for that? Plus how big is this room? Is it big enough for a small family?

#10. Why would I leave a successful business here in Canada, close to friends and family, for a job offer that is dubious?

So yes. The offer sounds like a scam. Which is why I am recommending other archery instructors to be wary of such an offer. This is also why I am not mentioning the name of the resort, where it was located, etc. I don't want other archery instructors to get sucked in to this scam. If anything, I am now doing a public service by trying to warn other people.

So even if I didn't have a wife and son, I still wouldn't be interested in this scam. There is too many IFs and irregularities in the offer.

Would teaching archery in Japan be fun and interesting? Sure, but I would rather not have such a risky sounding offer.

And I would rather do it on my own terms.

8 hour days, 5 days per week, holidays off, 4 weeks of vacation time, 3,500 yen per hour (roughly $40 CDN per hour)... 10 paid sick days, health/dental insurance benefits for myself and my family.

So that is 40 hours per week for 48 weeks, 3,500 yen per hour is... 6.72 million yen annually. ($76,800 CDN annually.) That is enough for a family of 3 to live on.

But even then I still wouldn't take it, because my wife's earning potential as a lawyer is greater than mine.

I would much rather stay here. Buy a house in Toronto, practice my woodworking skills, look after my son, teach archery because I enjoy it. Maybe eventually get that horse farm and teach equestrian archery.

Japanese Yabusame (equestrian archery) would be interesting to see... but there are other ways to see that kind of archery don't involve so many risks, what ifs and poor pay.


The 2018 Seton Archery Tournament at the Toronto Archery Range

I will be judging / adjudicating an archery competition on June 23rd, namely the "E. T. Seton Archery Tournament" mentioned in the image further below. As an adjudicator I will basically be called upon for my math skills and to settle any disputes about whether an arrow is touching a line (in competitions if the arrow is touching the line, it counts as the higher amount of points).

The location is at the Toronto Archery Range within E. T. Seton Park. If you have never been there before I recommend using a map.

The tournament is free to join and there will be prizes, and a Potluck BBQ Lunch.

People who want to take part in the tournament should be EARLY or ON TIME. If you are the type of person who is always running late, then you should really aim to be early. People need to be there on time in order to do their Ranking Rounds and then later enter the elimination rounds.




Three Tips for Archery Competitions
  1. Eat, drink and be merry! Food, drink and laughter reduce stress. Hunger, dehydration and melancholy are a mental distraction.
  2. Relax during your shots and focus on the quality of your form and aim. Forget everything else.
  3. Ignore your rivals, instead focus on defeating the part of yourself that is holding you back.
And Bonus! Pay attention to the wind conditions, but don't let the wind mess you up mentally either. Two years ago I took 2nd place in a compound competition because the wind started gusting during the final rounds and it was blowing me sideways while I was shooting. The frustration made me anxious and I messed up the final round, costing me 1st place. So my primary problem wasn't my rivals, it was myself getting frustrated by the wind conditions and allowing my anxiety to win. So I failed to follow my own tip in that scenario. Part of me was also tired and just wanted the competition to be over.

Happy shooting!

Thursday Archery Lessons in Toronto

Regarding Archery Lessons...

I have been thinking of making some time slots available on Thursdays - 10 AM, 12 PM and 2 PM for teaching archery lessons.

UPDATE, I may also be available on Fridays too.

At present I only teach on weekends and watch my infant son on weekdays, but in the near future I may be able to start teaching on Thursdays again, pending availability*.

* I might not be available on all Thursdays. We shall see.

Sorry, no evening lessons. Not available.

Anyone interested in Thursday archery lessons should email cardiotrek@gmail.com and let me know what time slots you are thinking of and how many lessons you are interested in.

To learn more please read my Archery Lessons page which provides all the necessary info regarding my rates, equipment, etc.

And now, because I find them interesting and amusing, here are some photos of birds perched on arrows. Tada!


Owl perched on a cluster of Arrows
Peach Faced or Rosy Faced Lovebird Parakeet perched on an Arrow

Looking forward to teaching archery again

Hey Toronto! Happy New Year!

Starting in March 2018 I will be offering archery lessons again, however this year I will be limited to teaching archery mostly on weekends.

People who want Archery Lessons in Toronto should contact me via email - cardiotrek@gmail.com - to arrange lessons.

The time restrictions is because on weekdays I am looking after my son Richard, who is currently 6 months old, while my wife is attending university. There may sometimes be weekdays during which I am available, but I would not wager on it.

That said, I am looking forward to teaching archery again. I taught a dozen or so lessons back in September and October, on weekends, and so it has been several months and I miss being outside teaching.

Although admittedly it is winter right now, and I do not normally teach much during the winter anyway. Still, the snow will melt and it will be Spring soon enough. It will be good to get back to teaching, even if it is only on weekends.


Happy Yuletide Season from Cardio Trek

Happy Yuletide Season!

Okay, so fun fact - the 12 Days of Christmas is actually originally the 12 Days of Yuletide, a tradition that dates back to the Vikings, Scandinavian and Germanic peoples of northern Europe.

Old Norse Calendar
"Yule" (or Ylir) is the Old Norse word for the month of December.

During the Yuletide Season, the great god Odin would visit the homes of the people while riding his eight-legged horse Sleipnir, and bring them presents. He would sneak into their homes via their chimney. Historically it was celebrated in Scandinavian, Germanic, and regions conquered by Vikings / Anglo-Saxons.

Later the Christians in Denmark would co-opt the tradition and changed the names. The modern "Santa Claus" myth actually originates from Danish Christians living in New York... and if you are interested in all this you can research it, I am not going to go into the details.

Santa Claus = Odin
Eight Reindeer = Eight-legged horse Sleipnir
Elves... well, that one is easy. It is based on Norse myths of elves.

Yada yada yada.

Odin riding his eight-legged horse Sleipnir
Merry Christmas and the So-Called "War on Christmas"

So I have never liked the phrase Merry Christmas. Not even when I was a kid. I like having more variety. I sometimes say it, but I mix it up by saying other things like:

Happy Yuletide!
Happy Holidays!
Happy Winter Solstice! (December 21st)
Happy Hanukkah (which this year started on December 12th and ended December 20th)!
Happy Kwanzaa! (December 26th to January 1st)
Mele Kalikimaka! (* I will come back to this later at the bottom. *)

I might even jokingly say "Humbug!" to people in my best impersonation of Ebenezer Scrooge. That always gets a laugh.

Okay, so Hanukkah is tricky because unless you are familiar with the Hebrew Calendar you might not know WHEN exactly it is. It starts in the evening on 25th of Kislev and lasts for 8 days, but since the corresponding Roman calendar doesn't line up, the dates end up being different every year.

2018:   December 2-10
2019:   December 22-30
2020:   December 10-18

Kwanzaa is also tricky because technically you're not supposed to say "Happy Kwanzaa!", but there is nothing stopping you. What you are supposed to say is "Habari gani?" and the other person is supposed to respond with a different answer depending on which day of the Seven Days of Kwanzaa it is. So for people who don't celebrate Kwanzaa, easier to just say Happy Kwanzaa to those people who also say it to you.

Okay...

So why are these greetings even an issue?

Well, because the Holiday Season (which includes Christmas) is now being used as a political boxing glove to hit opponents. Certain people (including the more recent American president) have been arguing that people should be forced to say Merry Christmas, even if they do not celebrate Christmas, or if they have chosen to go with a less politically charged way of saying it.

Saying Merry Christmas these days actually is seen as trying to force one's religious beliefs unto the other person. The big fuss that politicians have made about the phrase "Merry Christmas" is actually making it worse too. It is those kinds of people who have "declared war on Christmas". They are the ones making it worse by using Merry Christmas as a political boxing glove.

So where does that leave companies and corporations, including small time companies like Cardio Trek?

Well, I have to ask myself what phrases do I want to use when conducting official correspondence to my audience of potential clients.

Do I use Merry Christmas? Sometimes. Especially if it is actually Christmas Day.

But other times I use Happy Holidays, Happy Yuletide, etc.

If someone says Happy Hanukkah or Happy Kwanzaa to me, I will say it back to them. Not because I am being forced to, but because I feel it is more polite.

I do the same thing when I speak other languages. If I want to make it clear I am thankful I tend to gravitate to the more formal ways of saying thank you. eg. In Korean there are many ways to say thank you, but if I want to make it clear that I am really thankful - I use the formal polite traditional way of saying it, which would be 구맙 습니 다.

Why??? Because I prefer to be polite when speaking to people and to me, the formal polite traditional way of something is ultimately more polite.

So Merry Christmas is a traditional way of speaking.

But honestly so is Happy Holidays... which dates back to the 1860s and earlier.

And if we want to get technical, the Yuletide is even older and more traditional. It predates modern Christmas celebrations.

Coupled with this is that the Moffat family is from Scotland and we can trace their line back to Vikings who settled in Scotland. So to me, anything to do with Vikings is basically a matter of familial ancestry.

My mother's side of the family is from what would have been the north coast of Prussia, south-east of Denmark. So it is not a stretch to say there is probably some connections to Viking ancestry there too.

So I am at least doubly inclined towards "Happy Yuletide".

As someone who is not a Christian but still uses Merry Christmas once in awhile I find the whole "War on Christmas" idea to be idiotic. It really only matters to the people who worry about such things.

I don't care about such triviality. I greet people in a manner which is polite, that is what is more important to me.

Which is more important to you?

People who say Merry Christmas, but are jerks about it.
People who behave politely and use whatever greetings they feel work in that situation.

Honestly, I would rather go with the polite way of doing it.

This all reminds of the Hawaiian way... Mele Kalikimaka!

Now that is a fun way to greet people during the Holiday Season. For those who don't know, here are the lyrics.

(Stanza x 1)
Mele Kalikimaka is the thing to say on a bright Hawaiian Christmas day
That's the island greeting that we send to you
From the land where palm trees sway
Here we know that Christmas will be green and bright
The sun will shine by day and all the stars at night
Mele Kalikimaka is Hawaii's way to say Merry Christmas to you

(Chorus x 3)
Mele Kalikimaka is the thing to say on a bright Hawaiian Christmas day
That's the island greeting that we send to you
From the land where palm trees sway

(Repeat Stanza x 1)

So it is kind of like you are saying Merry Christmas, but you are not.

And if people ask what is Mele Kalikimaka, then it is your chance to spring into song. ;)

And if people get the reference to the film National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation... then so be it. It works.

Happy Yuletide!
Charles Moffat and Family
CardioTrek.ca

No Winter Archery This Year, Winter 2017-18

Hello Would-Be Archery Students in Toronto!

I will not be teaching archery this winter, but I will be resuming teaching archery lessons (weekends only) in March 2018.

Anyone wishing to have archery lessons in 2018 should prebook now as availability may be limited.



I don't like the word "Superfood"

Earlier today I removed all references in a guest post to the word "superfood" and replaced it with "useful food" or similar wording.

I made this change because I find that word "Superfood" to be problematic, because it tends to imply that the food is somehow special or magical. While it is true that many foods have special properties or have lots of specific nutrients or minerals, that trait of being useful in some way is pretty much universal of all vegetables, fruits, berries, nuts, etc.

I also find that people in the food industry have a tendency to use the word "superfood" in the same way some people use the words:
  • new, or new and improved
  • exceptional
  • free, or hassle free
  • easy, or very easy
  • perfectly honest
  • results, or get results
  • sex, or sexy
  • love
  • discover
  • guarantee
  • health, or healthier
  • now, or immediately
  • best, or better
  • save, safety or safe
  • proven (Really? By whom?)

These advertising clichéd words are a problem within the food industry because they are being used to sell you on a product - and their usage annoys me and feels dishonest to me. This includes variations on the word like Superfruit or Super-Veggie.

With the word "Superfood" they basically just stuck the word Super on front of the word Food, and then used it as an advertising word to try and sell people on the concept that the food they are promoting is somehow special.

When you go to Wikipedia and look up superfood, here is the first paragraph:

Superfood is a marketing term used to describe foods with supposed health benefits.[1][2] The term is not in common use by dietitians and nutrition scientists, many of whom dispute that particular foods have the health benefits often claimed by their advocates. Catherine Collins, for instance, the chief dietitian at St George's Hospital in London has stated that "[t]he term 'superfoods' is at best meaningless and at worst harmful... There are so many wrong ideas about superfoods that I don't know where best to begin to dismantle the whole concept."[3]

 So clearly I am not alone in my assertion that the word Superfood is possibly harmful to the people who are tricked into thinking that various foods are "magically special".

I fully recommend reading the full Wiki entry on the topic: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Superfood

Use of the word Superfood is also ever expanding. It is theoretically possible for people to use it to describe junk food.

"Look at our new high sodium potato chips! It is a superfood chockful of sodium and electrolytes! Great for replenishing after you exercise!"

See my point? All potato chips are high in sodium and potassium - which are technically useful to replenish sodium and potassium.

But do you actually need to replenish if you are done exercising? No. You don't. Your body will naturally replenish those things over time through your regular diet. Bananas and potatoes are both high in potassium. If you really needed more potassium, you could get it from a baked potato, banana, plantains, or various other foods.

A common example of a "superfood" used by the food industry is blueberries, despite being very average when compared to various other foods. So while blueberries are good for you, don't believe everything you read about their greatness.

Spand-Ice Vest for Back Pain - For Weightlifters and More

If you are into weightlifting and various other exercises / sports, you may sometimes experience back pain. While Back Pain is not strictly a sports injury, it might as well be - and if you are experiencing extreme back pain - that could be a sports injury, and you should consult a doctor.

My normal recommendation for people experiencing back pain is to use Tylenol 650 mg tablets - which are marketed in pharmacies both as a muscle relaxer and for people suffering from arthritis. Hot Tip - It is the exact same product in both bottles, but the arthritis pills are typically cheaper. I guess they are counting on weightlifters on being unable to do math.

Yoga is also good for people suffering from back pain, as it helps to improve your posture - and posture problems is a common cause of back pain.

However today is different.

Yesterday I received a package from a courier.

In it was the "Spand-Ice Safe Alternative to Opioids: The Revive Tank - Wearable Ice + Heat Therapy for Back Pain Relief, Recovery, and Support".

Or as I like to call it, an "Ice Vest for Back Pain" or just "Ice Vest". So much simpler.

Spand-Ice (American company) contacted me in late August, seeking to promote their product.

And at the time my response was "Hmm... I sometimes get back pain." More often these days since the birth of my son, and I will sometimes strain my back a bit while carrying him. (Proof that this product isn't just for weightlifters, although my son recently clocked in at 14.9 lbs when we visited the pediatrician - so he is growing fast!)

So I agreed to test out their product and post a product review.

So yes, yesterday the package arrived containing a Men's Size Large version of their product and I briefly reviewed some of the written documents they sent with the product. (And my wife says I never read instruction manuals...)

And then I tossed the new ice packs in the freezer, next to the ice cubes and ice cream.

Now I should note this is not my first time using ice packs for pain therapy - I also have a collection of ice packs for treating wrist and elbow pain.

I should also note that ice packs only serve to provide pain relief. It is not a permanent cure to any kind of chronic pain. For that I recommend consulting a doctor.

My Thoughts So Far on the Spand-Ice Vest
  1. Wear the vest over clothing, don't try to put it directly on. The extra clothing gives you a buffer zone between you and the ice packs.
  2. Why did they call it a Tank? It is clearly a Vest. A tank top wouldn't have a zipper or buttons going down the front. But a vest would have a zipper or buttons going down the front. Someone in their product naming department needs some Fashion Police to tell them what is what.
  3. It feels really good on a hot day. I could see wearing this just to cool down on a hot day.
  4. Bonus, the packs can also be heated in the microwave - which means you could wear them on a cold day to warm up. For Canadians, this would go well with shoveling snow out of the driveway or sidewalks of your home. Heat up the packs in the microwave first, put on the vest, add a few extra layers for added warmth, go outside and shovel the snow while wearing them - stay warm while doing it!
  5. It does feel nice numbing any back pain. So it works. Huzzah.
  6. Because the vest is pretty snug and fits me well, I could see wearing this outside under a sweater or hoodie, with a shirt underneath the vest.
  7. I don't think it is very fashionable however. Not something to wear in public.
  8. The vest seems to be well constructed and made of durable materials. Only time will tell however, but at present it looks pretty good in terms of durability.
  9. I tried it on briefly yesterday and then ended up feeding and burping my son. He spat up a little bit on the shoulder during the burping process, but it wiped off easily. Woot?!
  10.  I am wearing the vest right now while typing this. It feels pretty good. So it works and does what it is supposed to do. I like it when a product does that.
  11. I like how the pouches for ice packs have two levels, one for the lower back and one for the middle of the back. I just use both, to get the "full effect", but I can see some people preferring to only use one ice pack at a time.
  12. The ice packs might be compatible with other ice packs I use for elbow and wrist pain. Maybe. Not sure. I haven't actually tested this yet, but they LOOK to be roughly the same size.
  13. The vest includes a belt that goes around your mid-section and then Velcros in place. I am guessing this is to prevent the vest from sliding around too much. Once it is on it is pretty snug and doesn't really move.
  14. I do feel a bit fat wearing it - but I guess that is normal for vests as they add bulk to the chest and gut area. But whatever, you are not wearing the vest for its fashionableness.
  15. If I was to wear a vest out in public, I have other vests that are fancier. Maybe wear one of those over top of the Spand-Ice Vest? Example below.
The author wearing a more fashionable vest and a Stetson while directing traffic at his sister's wedding.
Additional Commentary

I get that Spand-Ice is marketing their vest ("tank") for people who are into sports, and thus it looks like sportswear. But honestly, if they just added some buttons and pinstripes, it would look so much better. And then could offer it in colours other than black. True, black worked well for the Model T Ford, but when it comes to fashion more options is certainly better.

Also there is a long list of back pain sufferers I think who would like this product.
  • Pregnant mothers.
  • Elderly people.
  • People with back arthritis.
  • Parents who have to bend over constantly and pick up their children (cough cough, like me).
  • Construction workers.
  • Anybody with bad posture induced back pain.
  • People suffering from a back injury due to an accident.
  • People recovering from back surgery.
  • People who need to wear too much clothing at work and just want to cool down underneath all those layers. Ha!
  • Hunters - because carrying a deer or similar large prey out of the woods so you can eat it is back breaking work. Bonus, just make it camouflage instead of black. Hunters will buy anything that has camo on it.
The price is a bit much in my opinion: $125 USD. I was not expecting it to be that much.

It is made in the USA. So that might be a factor as to the cost.

But that is probably normal for a new product that recently went through its Kickstarter phase and only recently became available to the general public. I imagine the price will gradually go down as its popularity grows.

Product Links

For Men
http://spand-ice.com/product/the-revive-tank-men/

For Women
http://spand-ice.com/product/the-revive-tank-women/

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