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Showing posts with label Popular. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Popular. Show all posts

Rapid Fire Archery - Different Techniques of Fast Shooting

I have talked about Lars Anderson before in an archery post called Ancient Techniques of Fast Shooting. I highly recommend reading it and watching the video if you are interested in learning how to shoot arrows super fast.

The problem with Lars Anderson's technique is that it requires some specific archery equipment - so you cannot just do that kind of archery with just any bow.

In theory you would need a bow that you can shoot off the right side (which is very unusual for a right-handed shooter) so that you don't have to move the arrow around the bow riser to rest it on the left side (which is the normal place for an right hand archer to shoot off). So right away this means that various longbows and shortbows would be more ideal for this kind of shooting because you could shoot off your left hand's thumb instead of off an arrow rest.

Thus certain styles of archery - like traditional Korean archery or Turkish archery - have a distinct advantage for archers seeking to shoot fast.

In the photo on the right you see a man using a thumb ring and shooting off his thumb on the right side of the bow. Using the thumb ring means he doesn't have to slow down to check his finger positioning on the bowstring so he gains an advantage to his speed. Shooting off his thumb also means he doesn't have to move the arrow around to the left side just to be able to rest it in preparation for his shot. Taken together this speeds up the process of shooting dramatically.

But the big thing is being able to hold your arrows in your right hand in preparation of the next shot. The Lars Anderson technique (which he learned from ancient texts from Persia) is to hold the arrows between his fingers in preparation for the next shot... But he moves so quickly in the videos you cannot see how he positions the arrows so quickly, moving them into readiness to be nocked on the bowstring.

In the video below you will see a man (Adam Swoboda) demonstrating Middle Eastern techniques of fast shooting - but doing them slower than Lars Anderson does so you can see how he holds his arrows in his hand, uses a Mongolian style draw with a thumb ring, and rests the arrow on his thumb while shooting. In the first part of the video Adam Swoboda holds the arrows backwards so they don't interfere with his shot so much and he comparatively takes his time with each individual shot.

In Part 2A of the video he demonstrates another way of shooting, this time holding the arrows in-between his fingers in a manner similar to Lars Anderson's style. It is comparatively faster. Then in Part 2B he does it again, but this time backwards held between the fingers. And lastly Part 3, where he holds the arrows midway on the shaft - and shoots roughly the same speed.


Thus what we have learned from this is partly that fast shooting requires a lot of fingerwork to the point of sleight of hand because it is tricky to hold the arrows like that - let alone 10 of them like Lars Anderson does in the photo at the top of this post.

But the video above also shows Adam Swoboda's mistakes too. His left arm is moving around too much horizontally when he should have it fully extended the entire time, he is taking too much time positioning and nocking the arrow with his fingers, he is simply taking too many motions to get the task done when he only needs TWO motions - nocking arrow in one motion and then pulling back quickly and releasing quickly. Lastly he seems to take his time actually aiming - whereas for speed shooting you want to be aiming more instinctively based on your past experience.

Using a wooden shortbow I recently purchased I have been practicing these fast techniques at home seeking to find my own fast shooting methodology. So far I have eschewed the thumb ring and am instead using a two finger draw method (with no gloves) and hold the arrows between the two fingers doing the drawing (see photo further below). I hold all the arrows between those two fingers and each time I nock a new arrow it happens very naturally because I don't have to move the arrows from one finger to the next before nocking. I also don't do a full draw of the arrow either. I pull it back only part way before each release and then start nocking the next arrow.

Aiming wise I have to do it pretty much instinctively because my nocking method is so fast I don't really have time to consciously aim. HOWEVER, I am getting surprisingly good consistency using this method. I wouldn't have thought it would come so easily, but my arrows are always hitting the target in tight clusters.

During the first day of trying this method I was able to shoot 3 arrows in 2.7 seconds. With practice I may be able to shoot a lot more and hopefully get faster.


Other things I have learned about fast archery...

#1. Canter the bow to the left. I know it feels weird, but the tilt away from the arrow rest allows me to rest the arrow / nock faster and causes no difference to the accuracy quality of my shots. If anything it improves it because the tilt allows me to see the target easier.

#2. Wear gloves and a bracer to protect your hands and forearms. Mistakes will be made and they hurt. Use feather fletching too. Less problems if the fletching rubs against the other arrows' fletching.

#3. Sometimes I accidentally use a three finger draw without realizing it. It doesn't seem to make any difference.

#4. Note to self, buy wider nocks for faster nocking.

#5a. You have to really practice nocking quickly. I find using the backs of my knuckles as a guide for the bowstring works really well and I don't have to think about it to the point it starts to feel instinctive.

#5b. Don't try to use three or more arrows at once. Learn to nock and shoot two arrows very quickly first before trying to do three or more. Master two arrows fast shooting first!

#6. Don't worry about the arrows bumping or rubbing against each other during the nocking or drawing process. It doesn't matter by the time you actually take the shot so don't waste time thinking about it.

#7. I think my reading about Zen (particularly the book "The Unfettered Mind") may have better prepared me for this because I am less distracted by minor things. Avoiding distractions and not dwelling on them by maintaining a disciplined mind that is focused on doing everything quickly seems to make me go faster. If you think about something too much it ends up slowing you down, but you just do it without really thinking you are much faster.

#8. Note to self, buy a better bowstring for my wooden shortbow. Something thinner and easier to nock.

#9. Note to self, switch to double-fletched arrows instead of triple-fletched arrows. I am not sure it will make a difference but I want to see if the double fletching is faster / more accurate for this kind of shooting.

#10. After awhile it starts to feel like I am aiming without really looking at the target. Makes me wonder if I could hit the target blindfolded if I knew where it was and practiced as such.

#11. Learn to nock the arrows by feel - not by sight. Stop looking at the arrows during the process. If anything look at the target (ignore what I said in #11, I was getting over confident) and do everything else in terms of nocking and drawing by feel.

#12. I also tried an alternate method of shooting a nocking which has the bow going completely horizontal, the arrows over the top (left side shooting this time), and the arrows resting on the top of the bow the same way with my fingers as above, but during the draw I keep the bow relatively horizontal and I am pulling back with the fingers facing downwards (which compared to my normal shooting method, is backwards). It actually felt like it had the potential to be faster still than the method I am using above, but would require a lot of practice to get used to. I guess the tip here then is...

Keep practicing!

Archery Lessons for Kids in Toronto

So your kids want to learn archery eh?

And you live in good ol' Toronto, Canada? Even better because this city has many excellent people and places where you can learn archery.

But the problem is do they cater to kids?

The truth is most places that teach archery do NOT cater to kids - or worse, have no experience teaching kids.

So what are your options?

#1. Personal Trainer / Sports Instructor.

I have been teaching archery for 3 years now and I have loads of experience teaching archery to children as young as 10. I provide all the equipment, and instead of being a glorified babysitter I actually do teach your kids how to do archery - which at times is a bit like trying to teach them patience and concentration skills, since archery does require a lot of patience and concentration. A difficult task to teach children, but one which I have been doing quite well.

I teach "Traditional Archery" which is really a method of aiming used by many of the great archers of history. Tried and true techniques to gain accuracy and power in your shots. And it isn't beyond the ability of children to learn if they have a degree of patience.

There are a few other sports trainers in Toronto who provide private lessons for archery - including former Olympian Joan McDonald who coaches Olympic archery (which is expensive and not ideal for kids just learning archery).

The problem with teaching kids archery is that they lose / break arrows a lot. So it becomes expensive to be constantly be buying new archery equipment. (If I was teaching Olympic archery instead of Traditional archery I would need to dramatically raise my prices.)

Another problem is that your kids probably want to shoot a bow similar to the girl Katniss in the Hunger Games or Merida's bow in the Disney movie Brave. (Both are traditional wooden recurves, which fortunately is what I teach and what the kids are looking for.)



#2. Find a place that teaches archery.

Well there you have several options. They include:

Scouts Canada... No seriously, enroll your kid in Scouts. They have their own private archery range in north-west of the GTA. They don't do archery all year round, but each scout group usually does it once per year. However this might not be enough. The first time I did archery myself was in scouts when I was about 10 years old. I was hooked after that.

Don't expect their bows to be spectacular however. When I learned archery in scouts they gave us compound bows we could barely pull. Many Scouts groups use cheap fibreglass bows that are shoddy at best.

Note! You don't have to be a boy to enroll in scouts. Girls are equally welcome, but rare since most girls join Girl Guides instead (which sometimes offers archery too, but less often).



The Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre, located near the Ontario Science Centre, they teach Japanese Kyudo on Saturday mornings and Monday evenings. All the basic equipment for beginners is provided by the JCCC. Monthly fee is $50 which is pretty reasonable. However Kyudo is a whole process similar to Japanese Tea Ceremony. It isn't ideal for kids with low patience. Lastly Japanese yumi bows are really big. I don't know if they even have bows small enough for kids at the JCCC so that might not be your best option. More research required.

Hart House / University of Toronto... It is really a club meant for University of Toronto students, but they do have a waiting list for non-students to join. There is no age rule on their website, but they are probably expecting you to be an adult. Besides you will also need to buy your own equipment. So probably not a good place for kids to learn archery.

The Toronto School of Archery, which operates out of an Etobicoke community centre and an East York church gymnasium. You have to sign up for a minimum of 4 lessons and they are geared towards Olympic archery - which means really expensive equipment. (Getting your kid into Olympic archery is a sizable investment.)

Casa Loma, 1 Austin Terrace, Toronto. They do offer archery lessons ... but according to the Casa Loma website it is only for adults. Hmm. I guess they don't cater to kids.

YMCA Day Camp Archery Toronto
#3. Archery Day Camps in Toronto / GTA.

If you are looking summer day camps that provide archery lessons for kids they are few and far between - and often fully booked by March of each year. That means if you want to enroll your kids in a day camp that provides archery lessons that you really need to book really far in advance.

The day camps that provide archery as part of their activities in Toronto are...

Humriva Day Camp (Humber River)

Claireville Day Camp (Steeles and 427)

Mooredale Day Camp (Rosedale)

Toronto YMCA (various locations)

If you know of any more day camps in Toronto that provide archery please email me at cardiotrek {atsymbol} gmail dot com so I can add it to the list. Or just leave a comment below.

Advice on choosing a day camp. Honestly, ask what kind of bows the camp uses? Longbows, recurve, compound? What is it made of? What is the company brand? If they don't know it is probably a bad sign, but ask if they could find out for you.

#4. Summer Camps outside the GTA.

There is a lot of summer camps where kids can go for a week or two and do archery. Many of them are north of Barrie, in the direction of Algonquin Park. Just a few hours drive north of Toronto and they have less enrollment in comparison to day camps in the city.

There are many others east of Toronto as well. The camps are basically a dime a dozen, but it does mean sending your kid away for a week or so and making the trip to pick them up. However having a week alone without the kids might seem like heaven to some parents.

#5. Teach Your Kids Yourself.

Ah, the old Do-It-Yourself approach! Well then I have some advice for you.

More is more, and it gets expensive. This is not a less is more sport when it comes to teaching kids. Archery tends to be expensive sport, especially for beginners who lose and break a lot of arrows. And children break and lose arrows more than adult beginners.

With probably zero training yourself you will be trying to teach your kid how to do archery. This is a bit like the blind leading the blind, and this will lead to a lot of lost and damaged arrows. Thus I have a number of tips for you.

1) Buy lots of cheap arrows. Fibreglass and wooden arrows are very cheap and ideal for kids learning. By lots I mean 10 or more because you are going to lose them anyway.

2) Find a safe place to practice where your kids won't hurt anyone or even pose a danger to anyone. Failure to do this could result in legal repercussions as doing archery in your backyard is "reckless endangerment" and can lead to criminal charges.

3) Make sure that your kids understand that they can only do archery when you are watching them. Parental supervision at all times must be respected otherwise the archery equipment gets locked in a closet.

4) If you do intend to do archery at home your basement or garage is your best option. Make sure you clear any breakables out of the way. If you have a relative who owns a farm however that would much better.

5) Make a trip to the Toronto Public Archery Range at E.T. Seton Park in Toronto. It is just south of the Ontario Science Centre. It is an ideal location to practice and one of very few free archery ranges in all of North America.

6) Buy a decent bow for your kids size. The little kids bows from Canadian Tire are designed for 5 to 8 year olds. If your kid is 9 or older they are going to need a better starter bow. I recommend a Ragim Matrix bow, 18 lbs to start. Cost is approx. $130 + tax if you buy or order one from Tent City in North York, Toronto. Arrows are $70 for 10, plus you will also need an arrow-rest, fingergloves and an arm bracer. Expect to spend about $300 to $350 on equipment.

7) Make sure you know if your kid is Right Eye Dominant or Left Eye Dominant.

8) Read everything you can about archery form, archery aiming techniques, etc. I have lots of that information here in my archery section of this website. You will be trying to teach your kid to do archery with no experience yourself so it will help if you have lots of helpful information at your disposal.

9) Brace for complaining. Honestly. Kids trying to learn archery with no one to coach them on what to do are going to make lots of mistakes. Even adults make mistakes and it is my job as an archery coach to get them to unlearn their bad habits and learn good habits that will make them a better archer. Kids are slower at picking up these good habits because they lack patience and need to be taught patience during the learning process. Without someone to properly coach them they will complain about the quality of their shots constantly because they don't understand what they are doing wrong - which is why having a coach is important for archery because they can recognize all the mistakes you are making.

10) Try to have fun. Honestly, isn't that the point? Try to motivate the kids by giving them a fun target to shoot at. Make the target a dragon, a zombie or even a Donald Duck poster. So long as they are feeling more motivated to hit the zombie in the nose.

BONUS! Learn archery yourself and you will be better equipped to try and teach your kids. If you live in Toronto let me know if you need archery lessons.

Learning Instinctive Shooting for Archery

Traditional Archery in Scotland
I have been teaching archery for over 3 years now and during that time period I have learned that you cannot teach Instinctive Shooting to archery students.

Now that doesn't mean they can't learn how to shoot instinctively.

And it doesn't mean I cannot set them on the right path to learn how to shoot instinctively.

Which is what I am going to do right now, in this post, is set you on the right path towards becoming an instinctive archer - assuming that is your goal.

But first lets explain the four different types of shooting a person can do.

#1. Traditional Shooting

You aim off the tip of the arrow, learn through experience, trial and error, and determine where your arrows will go. Your goal is to develop tight clusters of arrows and then adjust your aim so that your clusters are lined up with the target.

Learning to shoot traditionally takes time and practice as you have to learn through experience. However traditional shooting is argued to be better because when shooting at targets at different ranges the experienced traditional archer can gauge the distance to the target with their eyes and knows from their experience where to aim.

With traditional shooting your eye should be looking at both the tip of the arrow / the adjusted target, and the center of the target at the same time. This is tricky to learn how to do because it requires teaching your shooting eye to multitask.

The traditional archer also pays attention to wind conditions, obstacles, can adjust their footing to unfamiliar terrain, adjust for a moving target (when hunting), and can shoot despite bad weather conditions based on their previous experience of shooting in such conditions.

#2. Gadget Shooting

Gadget shooting is typically used with olympic archery bows and compound bows. You aim through a gadget located above the arrow rest. In the case of compound bows you also use a peep sight to line up the peep with the primary sight.

With gadget shooting your eye is simply lining up the sights with the target. It is brainlessly easy.

Where gadget shooting fails however is that it is overly reliant on the accuracy of the gadget. The archer becomes too dependent on never changing their form, on the wind/weather conditions they are used to, and they will be completely confused as to how to aim if their sight is ever broken or lost. A person can get really good accuracy with a gadget, but they're so reliant on it that they don't know how to shoot without it.



#3. Zen Shooting

With zen archery you aren't so much aiming as you are meditating and trying to achieve a zenshin moment. Zenshin is a moment in time wherein "you know" you will hit the target. If you've ever played basketball or golf you've probably experienced such moments where everything just seems to go perfectly. The method of aiming is not so much as important as your mental state while shooting.

Zen archery in Japan is traditionally done with a Japanese yumi bow. However zen archery in general can be done with any kind of bow because it is not the equipment or the stance or the way you aim. It is your mental focus.

In a way Zen Shooting is similar to Instinctive Shooting because it isn't really something you can teach. It is something a person has to experience and then once they have experienced it they must then pursue it as a mental discipline. Nobody can teach you mental discipline - but you can be set on the right path so that you can learn it through self-purification, learning to both control and unleash your mind, and improving your mental skills so that you can attain zenshin more easily.

#4. Instinctive Shooting

Learning to shoot instinctively ends up being a bit like both traditional shooting and zen shooting. Except you aren't looking at the tip of the arrow - instead you are ignoring the arrow and looking straight at the target. The idea in instinctive shooting is to advance beyond traditional shooting wherein you are adjusting your aim and instead start shooting without even thinking about it. You just look at the target, pull back the bow-string, and release. In theory you are relying on experience, but instinctive shooting is supposed to be more than that. It is supposed to be about reaching a point of experience wherein you don't even think about it any more.

This is why instinctive shooting is considered to be a desired skill for experienced archers - to shoot without thinking, to hit targets at different ranges without really gauging the target because your mind just does it instinctively.

The problem is you can't teach instinct.

But I can attempt to set you on the right path so that you can eventually teach yourself how to shoot instinctively.

TIPS ON INSTINCTIVE SHOOTING

#1. Constant Practice - Practice archery 3 to 5 times per week, shooting for several hours each day. Aim to shoot for 6 to 10 hours per week.

#2. Use the same bow and the same equipment whenever you practice - Make your bow and your arrows like extensions of your own body through constant use.

#3. During a shooting session start off by shooting large numbers of arrows in the early stage of the session and slowly reduce the number of arrows you shoot each round so that by the end of the session you are shooting 3 arrows per round.

#4. Take your time in-between each shot. I cannot stress this enough. TAKE YOUR TIME!

#5. Stare at the target constantly, even when not shooting.

#6. Don't aim off the tip of the arrow. Just stare at the target itself, narrow it down to a specific spot, and then shoot.

#7. Ignore distractions and things that interfere with your shot. Ignore trees, twigs, wind, rocks. Just stare at the target.

#8. Experiment with different ranges, different size targets, moving targets, shooting in different weather conditions. Constantly challenge yourself to shoot in adverse and difficult conditions.

#9. Don't worry about holding the bow the same way every time or angling it a specific way. Just shoot in whatever manner feels comfortable.

#10. Practice, practice, practice. Practice is the alpha and omega of instinctive shooting.

CONCLUSIONS

Now you might think "Hey, isn't Instinctive Shooting very similar to Traditional since it is so reliant on experience?" and you would be partially correct. Experience is very important for any archery practice. The difference is that where traditional shooting worries about shooting clusters and adjusting your aim, instinctive shooting focuses on "just hitting the target without really aiming".

Which is a tad confusing, because you are aiming at the target and yet not really aiming at the target. It is very difficult to explain. You are and you are not.

It is one of the reasons why Instinctive Archers are so rare. Most archers, even the really great archers, were not instinctive archers.

Howard Hill (1899 to 1975) for example was not an instinctive archer, he was a traditional archer.

Same goes with Byron Ferguson, also a traditional archer.

Awa Kenzo, the great archery zen master from Japan, started off as a traditional archer and later became a zen archer.

Notes

Some people actually claim that Instinctive Shooting is a myth. They say that nobody really shoots instinctively and that it is impossible to learn to do so. They argue that Instinctive Shooting is for people who have advanced beyond Traditional Shooting so that they can shoot faster and with less thought - and argue that it isn't really instinct at all. However some people who identify themselves as Instinctive Shooters say the opposite - that the naysayers of Instinctive Shooting are simply too far behind on the experience curve and have never made "the leap of instinct" (some people describe it as being similar to a leap of faith) and thus such naysayers are dissing something they themselves have been unable to experience. And possibly never will. Trying to explain Instinctive Shooting to a naysayer, especially when Instinctive is so hard to explain in the first place, is a bit like trying to explain evolution to a creationist. It is simply too complicated to explain to someone who refuses to accept it in the first place.

I myself am a Traditional Shooter but I try to do Zen Archery and instinctive shooting on the side. I can see certain benefits to learning to shoot instinctively, but at this point I get more enjoyment out of just challenging myself.





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.

Fixing a Crooked Nose using Nose Exercises






Q

"Hi!

I found your nose exercise page this morning. Cannot wait to try them. Are there exercises for my crooked nose? Picture attached. 
Thank you.
Steff"

SEE NOSE EXERCISES TO SEE THE PAGE SHE IS TALKING ABOUT.

PHOTO OMITTED FOR PRIVACY'S SAKE

A

Hey Steff!

Is it the bone or cartilage that is crooked or just the muscles that are imbalanced? Usually it is just the muscles that are imbalanced (one set of muscles on one side is stronger than the other). However if you've suffered and injury to your nose (such as being punched there really hard) it could be the bone or cartilage that is the problem.

If you feel the bone with your fingers in the top of your nose and anything feels off centre, you will know which it is.

With crooked noses its usually the nose tip area which is crooked, which means it is the muscles that are too strong on one side and too weak on the other. So what you need to do is "equalization exercises" to correct those muscles. It is a bit like weightlifting / resistance training for your nose.

The exercises I recommend you do are:

#1. Squinting the Nose <-- This is the really important one for fixing a crooked nose, although the others help too to keep things "balanced".

#3. The Nose Shaper

#4. Nose Narrowing

And nose wiggling wouldn't hurt either.


Do #1 twice per day, #3 and #4 once per day, nose wiggling will help too, although that is easier to do with a mirror. Keep doing all of them every day for a month and you should start to see results. Keep doing that for several months and the nose muscles on each side should balance themselves out.

Note: If you underwent nose surgery very recently I would wait 2 weeks before starting the exercises. Your nose will need time to heal first.

Sincerely,
Charles Moffat
CardioTrek.ca

Want to learn more on this topic? Visit the NOSE EXERCISES post.



PERSONALIZED HELP


I am getting a lot of requests from people wanting personalized advice about their nose and what nose exercises they should do, how often they should do them, special circumstances,  etc. My advice is to follow the instructions listed above and on other posts I have made about nose exercises.

If you are contacting me asking me for personalized help - basically asking for my services in aiding you with your nose exercises, then I will need to charge you my personal training rate ($50 per hour) for my services.

I know this is not the answer many of you are looking for. I have already answered many of the frequently asked questions in the comments section of various nose exercise posts, and answered many emails from people asking for help with their nose exercises - but I am a busy person and the emails have reached a point where I need to start charging for this service because I cannot answer all of them.

Best of luck with your nose exercises!

Archery Warmup Exercises + Stretches

Doing a series of simple stretches and exercises during or after an archery session can be very beneficial. (Doing stretches before exercises haven't been proven to prevent injuries, but doing stretches after helps maintain and improve flexibility.)

Doing warmup exercises can also be beneficial however, as they get blood-sugar flowing to the muscles and that will improve your performance on the archery range.

I recommend the following stretches / exercises to help warm up the muscles and improve flexibility.

#1. Twists (turning from side to side, stretching the obliques [side muscles]).

#2. Isometric Pulling (see the list of stretches below).

ISOMETRIC STRETCHES FOR ARCHERY

Loosen upper arm and chest muscles.

Interlock the fingers with palms out. Extend arms above head, keeping fingers locked. Stretch upwards and hold for 10 to 15 seconds.


   

Loosen back muscles.

Cross arms in front of chest and place hands around shoulders. Slowly stretch hands towards middle of back as far as possible. Hold for 10 to 15 seconds.



Loosen chest, top of shoulder and lower arm muscles.

Bend one arm over head and down back, bend other arm around and up back. Grasp finger tips and hold for 10 seconds, then reverse arm positions and hold for 10 to 15 seconds. Keep backbone vertical during this exercise.



Loosen shoulders and back muscles.

Lock fingers together, extend arms and twist slowly as far as possible to the right and hold for 10 seconds. Then twist slowly to the left and hold for 10 to 15 seconds.

WARNING: Do not twist suddenly as it may damage backbone joints.
     


Loosen neck and upper shoulder muscles.

From a normal standing position with arms at sides, raise up both shoulders towards neck as high as possible, then move shoulders forward, then move shoulders back. Do this for about 20 seconds.



Loosen back and shoulder muscles.

Use a length of spear gun rubber or rubber tubing, grasp each end, raise arms to shoulder height and extend arms, keeping elbows straight, outwards and backwards by squeezing shoulder blades together. Hold for 10 to 20 seconds and repeat about 6 times.


   

Loosen shoulder muscles.

Use a length of spear gun rubber or rubber tubing, grasp each end, raise one arm above head and the other arm level with shoulder. Pull down with arm and hold for 10 to 20 seconds. Repeat about 6 times.

Swap arm positions and repeat exercise.



Loosen chest and shoulder muscles.

Use a length of rubber tubing, grasp each end behind back, hold arms at shoulder level, then swing arms forwards to stretch rubber. Hold for 10 to 20 seconds. Repeat about 6 times.



Loosen shooting muscles.

Use a length of spear gun rubber or rubber tubing tied in a loop, imitate the shooting draw. Hold for 10 to 20 seconds. Repeat about 6 times.

Repeat exercise with opposite hands to balance muscle development.

Correcting Errors in Archery Release

Having an archery coach or instructor can be extremely beneficial when it comes to improving the quality of your shots. An archery instructor can tell you what you are doing wrong and give you valuable tips on how to improve and practice.

Assuming that there is no problems with your form or your equipment, the most common causes of faulty shots is a poor release of the arrow.

And sadly there is many possible ways a new archer can muck up their shot by making any number of the following mistakes.

#1. Gripping the bow with your bow hand too tightly.

Gripping the bow too tightly will cause a tiny jerk up, down, left or right (or combinations thereof) which during the tiny fraction of the second where the arrow is passing by the bow itself will cause the arrow to jerk in a different direction.

To fix this you need to hold the bow gently, relaxing your bow hand. You are still holding the bow there, but you aren't gripping it really hard. That can make a huge difference on the quality of your shots.

#2. Gripping the bow off-centre.

If your grip on the bow is more to the left or to the right it can cause torque in the bow on release which will bump the arrow to the left or right. You can even grip the bow too high or too low.

To fix this again, it is very important to relax your bow hand and hold the bow in a central position.

#3. Grip too relaxed causing arrows to go too high.

Yes, I admit, the previous two were about relaxing your bow hand and gripping it gently. But relaxing it too much can cause your arrows to jerk upwards. So you need to practice holding the bow firmly, but still in a relaxed fashion. Remember the old story of Goldilocks. You need to find the grip which is "just right".

#4. Extending your bow arm more than usual.

Extending your bow arm more than your usual amount (using your shoulder joint to push it further out) can cause extra torque, and in turn cause your arrows to shoot higher than normal. This is a problem that will correct itself with time and experience, but if you notice you tend to do this then you can remind yourself to hold your bow arm in the same position every time you shoot and to not extend it further using your shoulder joint.

#5. Bow Arm is Locked or Bent.

A bent bow arm can cause your arrows to go lower than usual. At the same time a locked elbow (rotating it counter-clockwise on a Right Handed Shooter of rotating the elbow clockwise on a Left Handed Shooter) can cause your whole bow arm to jerk during the release.

To fix either of these problems you need to hold your bow arm straight, but without locking the elbow.

#6. Bow string is rubbing against jacket or arm during the release.

The bow string rubbing against anything, such as your jacket, your arm, your hat, anything can send the arrow slightly awry. To correct this remove any obstacles that might rub against the bow string. Take off your jacket, remove your hat while shooting.

The bow string might even be rubbing against your out-turned (and probably locked) elbow, which can cause extremely painful stringburn. To fix this, rotate your elbow outwards.

#7. Bow shoulder problems...

There are variety of shoulder problems related to your bow arm. I have already talked about over-extending the shoulder and bow arm above, but there are other common problems people do too. Bunching up the shoulder too much, hunching your shoulders, these are usually problems resulting from a person who has a weak shoulders and is trying to use a bow which is too powerful for them.

Solution? You can try relaxing your shoulders but if that fails you will need to switch to a lower poundage bow. You are challenging yourself too much and your shoulder muscles aren't up for the intense challenge. (Someone needs to do more push-ups.)

Once you have a lighter bow remember that you don't need to bunch or hunch up your shoulders. Just relax your shoulders and aim for what feels natural.

#8. Shoulder angling to the side.

Another shoulder problem is if your shoulder is bunching slightly forwards towards your chest or backwards towards your back. This subtle difference can cause your shots to sometimes jerk to the left or right.

Again, try to relax your shoulders.

#9. Fingers not aligned.

Assuming you are using finger gloves for your release, make sure they are aligned evenly before pulling back on the bowstring. This will make for a smoother release. Beginner archers will sometimes have difficulty doing this as their finger muscles need to build up more strength, but with time they will correct the problem if the archer pays attention to their finger alignment.

#10. Plucking the bow string during the release.

An improper release such as accidentally plucking the bow string (it will sometimes even making a funny sound if you do this) will cause the arrow to go way off to the side.

Focus on releasing your fingers quickly and evenly.

#11. String alignment is off to the left or right.

This is more of an equipment error, but one that can be easily fixed. Make it a routine to check the alignment of your string so that is straight up and down. Older bows may also be warped, causing the alignment to be completely off.

#12. Tilting the bow to one side.

Some people enjoy shooting their bow on a slight angle. This is often more of a personal choice than anything else. However it will frequently cause your arrows to go off more to one side because the arrow is rubbing against your arrow rest on a different angle.

Tilting the bow can also mess up your arm and shoulder alignment, causing the bow to jerk more during the release.

Fixing this problem can be done one of two ways... Either stop tilting the bow like that or learn to shoot that way by building up lots of experience and adjusting your aim accordingly.

#13. Shooting too quickly.

Some people will sometimes pull back the arrow, but then release too quickly before reaching their anchor point (the point on your face or chin that you pull back to every time). This problem is sometimes called "Snap Shooting".

Simply remember to pull back to your anchor point, breathe into your gut, aim and then release.

#14. Breathing irregularity.

More advanced archers learn to control their breathing better. Breathing too rapidly can cause your shoulders to rise and fall too much, knocking everything off. Practice breathing into your stomach so your shoulders don't move so much and during shots, take a deep breath into your gut and then aim and shoot.

#15. Head position irregularity.

Tilting your head forward or to the side will change the amount of torque you are pulling back with (and effectively change your anchor point). Keep your head straight up and down and try to keep it in the same position every time you shoot.

#16. Leaning body backwards, forwards or to the side.

Some beginner archers have a tendency to arch or lean in funny directions while shooting. (See photo of Marilyn Monroe and look at the angle of her back.)

Keep your spine straight up and down and stand in the same position every time. Changing positions constantly by standing at different angles will cause slight differences in how much torque the arrow has and will cause it to go higher or lower than expected.

#17. No follow through.

Once you've released the arrow stay perfectly still and relaxed while the arrows passes by the bow. Releasing the arrow and then jerking your body or arm slightly during the milliseconds that your arrow is going by the bow can cause the arrow to go in any number of directions.

During each shot give yourself at least half a second after the shot where your remain still and relaxed. Use the time to follow where the arrow went and contemplate what other things you might have done wrong.

#18. Gold Shy or Freezing

Gold Shy or Freezing are mental problems that archers sometimes develop, wherein they aren't really aiming or concentrating on the center of the target face (the yellow circle of the target), and then they botch their release somehow.

Similar problems are Snap Shooting or Punching wherein the archers aims, but then releases too quickly.

And then there are combination problems wherein they are doing multiple things wrong mentally, which is known as Target Panic.

Left untreated these problems can cause the archer to lose focus and their aim and form will degenerate until they over-thinking every shot, constantly panicking, releasing too quickly, intensely nervous and basically having a panic attack.

Some archers even quit the sport entirely because their mental game becomes so difficult to control.

One of the recommended solutions for this problem is to meditate and focus your attention on a single object in the distance. Just stare at it for long periods of time. If a person spends 10 minutes every day staring at something they will, with time, feel calmer and more relaxed when focusing at the target.

However that solution might only work for some people.

Some people might have a different mental problem which is more connected to loud noises or distracting conversation. In which case the recommended way to prepare yourself for this is to listen to music or stand up comedy routines while practicing your archery. The goal is to get used to and to tune out the sounds around you while you are shooting.

Many mental problems for archers can be solved through experience and practice, but when that fails meditation and mental exercises need to be devised which can help the archer correct the problem they are facing.

Ideally what you want is to reach a point where your form, your mind, your aim is all being controlled by your subconscious and you are more in a zen frame of a mind while shooting. Being distracted, over-thinking, impatient, frustrated - these are all things that will result in shoddy shots.

NOTE

There are many other ways people can mess up their shot, such as squeezing the arrow nock, twisting your body during the release, flinching, releasing the bow string too slowly, uneven finger pressure, jerking your head, wrist on a weird angle...

But all of these problems can be corrected with lots of practice shooting. Although its much faster to fix these problems with an archery instructor who can point out the errors you are making.

For archery lessons in Toronto contact cardiotrek@gmail.com.

How to get a Thigh Gap

Now you might first be wondering - "What is a thigh gap???"

Basically it is a term commonly used by fashion-conscious young women to describe legs so skinny that the thighs don't touch when your knees are together.

It is therefore a standard of beauty to which very few women in North America fulfill - Not even Marilyn Monroe had legs that skinny.

It is the kind of legs you would typically see on a teenager or a woman in her 20s who does a lot of jogging, cycling or possibly ballet dancing.

So if you're looking for tips on how to achieve your own personal "thigh gap" then there are three very goods tips for you - running, jogging, cycling and/or dancing - basically any kind of cardio is good for you.

But lets not stop with cardio exercises. What other things could you do to help you get those skinny legs? And do it a healthy way using exercise and diet!

#1. Start limiting your intake of fatty dairy. Avoid cheese, cream, ice cream and anything more than 1% milk. Aim instead for skim milk.

#2. Avoid foods with high sugar or high carbs. Aim for breads with whole grains or multi-grains. Avoid white rice too, aim for brown rice instead.

#3. Eat your veggies and lots of them! Berries, nuts, fruits are good too. Avoid avocados however, they're very fattening.

#4. One way of measuring your legs - Stretch your leg along the floor and pinch the top of your thigh. If you can pinch a lot, it’s more fat; if you can barely get a grip, it is more muscle. Chances are much more its fat so you goal will be fat burning via diet and exercise. If its all muscle than you must be a freaking bodybuilder to have Popeye legs - in which case you won't really be able to do much and in theory would want to avoid exercising your legs if you really want a Thigh Gap.

#5. Daily stretches for your legs! Stretching (including yoga and pilates) helps elongates the muscles and gives you taller looking legs.

#6. Do jumping jacks in the pool/water - the light resistance of the water plus the cardio will help you build lean muscle.

#7. Don’t starve yourself because that will just result in yo-yo dieting - which will lead to loose skin and flabby thighs - Don't over-exercise either. Instead try to eat something small every two hours to keep your metabolism level. Eat moderate amounts of protein but stick mostly to fruits and vegetables.

#8. In addition to basic strength-building / stretching exercises you need to be doing cardio every day. Jogging and running is best, but you can also just walk, cycle, swim or even engage in more fun activities like volleyball, rollerblading or boxing.

#9. You can eat a big meal once in awhile because it helps with metabolism plateaus and makes your metabolism speed up!

#10. Do a lot of jump squats, squats, plie squats, lunges, reverse lunges. For extra challenge use 5 lbs dumbbells in each hand. Walk every day, and jog or bicycle 20 minutes at least twice a week. Do yoga or stretches at least once a week for an hour to stretch and relax muscles.

#11. Aim to eat 5 small and super healthy meals per day. Or if you can't 3 medium meals and 2 snacks in the late morning and mid-afternoon. Remember to take your vitamins and drink LOTS of water too. If bored of water try broths, teas, and pure fruit/veggie juices, and drinking protein shakes if you feel weak/tired.

#12. Dancing in the privacy of your home works really well for some people. The music can get you really fired up to do jumping jacks, abs and squats too. There are plenty of dance videos on YouTube.

#13. Stop drinking regular sodas, coffee with add ins, or any drink with calories and lots of sugar. Liquid calories are a huge factor in weight gain and if you cut them out, you will see results! If you must have caffeine for work in the morning, then only drink in the morning. No more caffeine after 2 PM.

#14. Get LOTS of sleep. Aim to be in bed reading a boring book by 10 PM and awake by 7 AM. On weekends try to get naps. Extra sleep helps recharge your body and speed up metabolism.

#15. Ignore anyone who claims Spot Training works. It does NOT work. (Spot training is the idea that if you exercise one muscle or set of muscles that you will lose fat in that one region. It doesn't work that way. If you want to lose fat, then you lose fat everywhere.)

#16. Stay hydrated - Drinking lots of water is very important. If you start to get a headache, drink water. Avoid alcohol, caffeine and anything that will dehydrate you. Toxins from smoking are also bad because fat cells store toxins and your brain won't burn fat cells with a high toxicity, so you need to detoxify your body by drinking lots of water and avoiding toxins.

#17. If you lose weight quickly, you can get saggy loose skin on your legs, stomach, under arms and thighs - which will look really awful. To avoid this aim to lose weight slowly - about 2 lbs or less per week, and use a moisturizing lotion (Aveeno works great) and lather it on your problem areas as much as you possibly can to help moisturize and improve the elasticity of your skin so it tightens up faster as you lose weight. See more of my tips on how to avoid loose skin.

#18. Don't give up if you don't see improvements right away. Instead what you need to do is set yourself a long term goal - like 25 lbs in 25 weeks. Then get yourself a scale and check your weight once per week, on a specific day and time such as Saturday morning after your shower. Don't bother checking every day because your weight will fluctuate a lot daily from eating, drinking, urination, etc.

#19. Stay motivated. Keep coming back to CardioTrek.ca for more advice on a regular basis. Better yet subscribe by email and get updates whenever new posts go up.

#20. Hire a personal trainer to help you stay motivated. If you live in Toronto you can hire me.

20 Ways to Tighten Skin after Weight Loss

The most popular blog post on this website thus far is one titled Weight Loss + Loose Skin, even though my later post Preventing Loose Skin During Weight Loss has more information on the topic.

I also wrote How to get Rid of Fat Lines as an expansion on that topic, as it goes hand in hand with loose skin.

The post below (are you listening up Toronto?) is the most expansive list of ways to get rid of loose skin that I've compiled thus far. Some of them I have already covered in the older posts mentioned above, but sometimes it is necesary to beat a dead horse (metaphorically, not literally!) in order to get your point across.

There are lots of ways to tighten skin after you lose weight, and many reasons to do so - mostly because its embarrassing and it looks bad. The real issue is that you've lost all that weight and you want to strut your stuff on the beach etc, but your loose skin is so unsightly after losing weight that you are too embarrassed to do so. You might even still feel bulky, and the culprit is that dastardly loose, sagging skin. So how do you tighten skin after weight loss, so you can fit into the clothes you want, and look as gorgeous and healthy and toned as you know you are?

Well keep reading because here are 20 Ways to Tighten Skin after Weight Loss!

#1. LOSE WEIGHT NOW!

If you haven't already lost the weight or are still in the process of losing weight, then keep at it. As we age, our skin naturally loses elasticity, but if you lose weight while you are younger you can prevent this problem from happening later. This means that the younger the age at which you lose weight, the faster your skin will rebound and reshape itself. So if you have a weight issue, lose weight now! The sooner you lose weight, the better the chances your skin will tighten on its own.

#2. SAY NO TO YO-YO DIETING

Yo-yo dieting is a big no-no. If you’re always gaining and losing weight, more than 25 pounds up and down each time, that’s ol' fashioned yo-yo dieting, and it is stretching out your skin like crazy. The constant growing and shrinking puts stress on your skin, so stop the yo-yo dieting. It is time to make some PERMANENT lifestyle changes, hire a personal trainer, hire a nutritionist if you have to and make permanent changes. Otherwise this problem will likely just continue since the only solution is kicking the habit and doing it long term.

#3. DON’T LOSE WEIGHT TOO QUICKLY

Slow and steady wins the race, and helps tighten your skin during weight loss. Aim to lose 2 lbs per week. No more! Your skin tightens slowly, so help the natural tightening process by losing weight safely and slowly, too. Losing weight slowly using permanent lifestyle changes also helps prevent yo-yo dieting. So #2 and #3 go hand in hand.

#4. SCRUB AND SCRATCH

The reason using sea salt scrubs (or other body scrubs) helps tighten skin after weight loss is that they encourage increased blood flow, which in turn encourages healthy, elastic skin - and elasticity = tight skin! Which begs the question, would scratching and massages also help? Probably! Whatever the exact reason, it works for many people so try using a good scrub in the shower several times per week, up to twice per day, and see if it helps you!

#5. COLLAGEN CREAM

Another way to tighten skin and improve elasticity after weight loss is to keep it nourished with a collagen cream, one designed specifically to cope with loose, sagging skin. They can be expensive however, but well worth the expense if they work well. Some collagen creams won’t work for everyone, so ask family members or friends for recommendations before you invest any products. (And don't pay attention to paid reviews online. Look for first hand reviews.)

#6. MASSAGE THERAPY

Remember what I said about massages and scratching? A weekly massage therapy session can help tighten skin after weight loss - or the DIY solution, get your partner to scratch you all over once per week and see what happens. Why not give it a go? At best, it will help tighten your skin… at worst, you get an invigorating massage - and quality time with your partner. ;)

#7. SEAWEED WRAP

You can also get a seaweed wrap at a local spa, and maybe go back every 6 to 8 weeks to enjoy its other benefits. Find a spa near you and check out the online reviews. Are their clients as happy or do they have negative reviews? If they don't have a single negative review they are probably worth the try.

#8. WEIGHT TRAINING

You may have used weight training to help you get to your goal weight, but if not, it’s time to add weight training or increase the amount of weights you are lifting. The extra muscle girth will help give your skin a tighter appearance. If you are still losing weight doing weight training 3 times per week will help keep your skin tight and you won't end up looking overly buff or masculine (that only happens with steroids). Simply add weights to your workout three times a week, because building toned, lean muscle under your skin will help you look tighter and sexier!

If weight training isn't your thing you can also do exercises or sports that use either your body weight or use resistance training - such as getting archery lessons or taking up boxing.

#9. DRINK WATER + COLD SHOWERS

Healthy skin is hydrated skin. Some people even argue its best to drink 64 ounces of water per day to help keep skin healthy and happy. Plus if you’re drinking that much water, you’re not drinking soda or coffee. Caffeine dries out your skin and prevents proper sleep (and sleep increases your skin's softness / elasticity). While you are it you should also avoid hot baths or hot showers. Hot waters robs your skin of moisture, whereas cold water moisturizes your skin. Ever noticed how your fingers look like prunes after being in a hot bath too long? That is the hot water stealing moisture from your skin and stretching out your skin in the process. Whenever possible try to take cold showers. Hot water strips away natural oils which moisturize and nourish your skin.

#10. PRACTICE YOGA OR STRETCHING

Yoga will help you relieve stress, be more flexible, lose weight (at 175 calories per hour!) or maintain your current healthy weight, and even help your skin rebound after weight loss. Being more flexible will stretch your skin out and give it more elasticity, encouraging your body to tighten up that skin in the process.

There are plenty of yoga studios in Toronto so you have no shortage of places to choose from, or you can even do yoga at home by subscribing to various yoga channels on YouTube.

#11. BE PATIENT

A lot of these things require patience. It won't happen overnight. Maybe you've had significant weight loss and your skin will take up to six months to tighten to the new, slender you. If you lost a LOT of weight it is going to take awhile. Be patient and if your skin doesn’t rebound immediately, keep in mind that it may take a little time. Set realistic skin loss goals, encourage your skin to tighten up by treating it well and pampering it and your skin will return the favour.

#12. DO CALISTHENICS

Calisthenics are great for building lean muscle, great for your heart, and they’re also good for tightening skin after weight loss. Add calisthenics to your weekly routine, up to three or four times a week, and enjoy jumping jacks, push-ups, windmills, etc. Combined with stretches or yoga and you will see faster results.

#13. EAT LEAN PROTEIN

Adding lean protein to your diet will also help tighten skin after weight loss. How? First of all, it helps build lean muscle, which will make you appear more toned (and goes well with weight lifting and calisthenics). Lean protein also contains the collagen and other nutrients your skin needs to stay elastic. Consuming lean protein or whey protein after a workout will help boost the muscle-building effect.

#14. AVOID HIGH-FAT FOODS

Foods that are high in fat are a dieter’s worst nightmare. First they can wreck your diet. Second, they do your skin no favors and threaten you with yo-yo dieting. Try to avoid foods that are high in fat and only treat yourself on rare occasions.

#15. FIVE SERVINGS OF FRUIT AND VEGGIES

The USDA recommends we eat five servings of fresh fruits and veggies every day, to give us nutrients we need, and to help us maintain healthy weights. However fruits and veggies have a high water content and lots of nutrients, which your skin needs to rebound. So its a bit like taking a multivitamin. If you are getting enough water and vitamins your skin will rebound faster.

#16. AVOID SULFATES

Sulfates are used in lots of body washes, soaps, and shampoos because they’re good, cheap cleansers and they make for lush lather. However sulfates can also over-dry and irritate skin, stripping it of vital moisture and making it less elastic. Shop around for sulfate-free products. L’Oreal, Oil of Olay, etc. Look for quality moisturizers.

#17. DON’T TAN

The tanning process is horrible for your skin and dries it out, especially when using a tanning bed to boost your melanin. You might think it makes your skin look smoother and healthier, but it doesn’t. Wear sunblock with moisturizer in it when you’re outdoors, and be patient about getting a tan. (Besides, loose skin will create funny looking tan lines...)

#18. RINSE AWAY CHLORINE

Excess chlorine from swimming pools and hot tubs can dry out your skin, making it less elastic, and less likely to rebound after weight loss. A quick solution is to wash your hair and skin with club soda. I know, weird, but it apparently works really well against chlorine. If you swim to keep fit, be sure to shower immediately after, and use cleaners designed to remove chlorine and moisturize your skin. Also, remember that you don’t need HOT water to rinse chlorine away, use warm water or even cold water instead, which will also help keep your skin hydrated.

#19. DRESS THE PART

Even the skinniest girl can have a "muffin top" out the top of her pants if the jeans she’s wearing are too tight. Wear clothes that fit better and don't try to squeeze into pants that pinch your skin. You will still be the same size, but at least you won't look ridiculous by trying to wear clothes that is too small for you.

#20. CONSIDER SURGERY

This should always be your absolute last option.

If all of the above tips fail to tighten your skin after severe weight loss (eg. losing 200+ lbs) and you’ve waited six months since you dropped that last pound, you may want to consider surgery to remove the excess skin. Losing an extreme amount of weight can often mean you have a lot of excess skin. With surgery, there are risks, but for some, those risks are outweighed by the benefits. Talk to your doctor before deciding anything.


Cold Showers Burn Calories






Q

"Hello! Do cold showers really burn calories? I've heard that drinking ice water burns calories and someone told me that cold showers burn calories too. Is that for real or is it a myth?"

- Victoria W.

A

Hello Victoria!

Yes, you are correct cold showers DO burn calories. In order to maintain a core body temperature your body uses up energy by burning brown fat to keep your body warmer and ultimately boosts your metabolism. When burned brown fat, aka brown adipose tissue or BAT, boosts your metabolism and energy levels and you end up feeling more energetic. It then kick-starts burning other kinds of fat in your body in order to maintain energy levels.

For reference see the 2008 study: "Human Skeletal Muscle Mitochondrial Uncoupling Is Associated With Cold Induced Adaptive Thermogenesis" which explains how it works.

However a better question is how much calories is being used?

While we are at it, since fat is also a good insulator, what difference does body fat make on the amount of calories being burned?

Lastly, what is the best way to get the full benefits of cold showers?

Well lets answer these questions one at a time.

#1. How much is the calories burned by cold showers?

A shower at 60 F (16 C) burns 75 calories in 5 minutes*. Initially that doesn't seem like much, but lets put it another way: That is 900 calories in one hour!

* Based on the flow of an average shower head, approx. 5 gallons per minute. Modern low flow shower heads use roughly half of that.

However being in a cold shower like that for 60 minutes will likely give you pneumonia and could even kill you since pneumonia can be deadly if your immune system is weak. So my official advice is that you limit your cold showers to 25 minutes or less.

#2. What difference does body fat make?

Because fat is a good insulator it really depends on how much fat a person has. There hasn't been any research into this topic, but what is known is that people with large amounts of brown fat won't feel the cold or start shivering very easily. Their bodies will activate the brown fat more easily and burn it at a faster rate, which implies that they are actually burning more fat than the average person would.

A fit person has a body fat percentage of approx. 12.5% (11 to 14%). A professional athlete would have a body fat percentage of around 8.5% (7 to 10%). Body fat percentage of 25% or more is considered obese.

Knowing this we can hypothesize that an obese person likely burns twice as many calories than a fit person because they have twice as much brown fat, and thus would get more of a benefit from taking cold showers than a fit person.

#3. What is the Best Way to have a Cold Shower?

You want to slowly adjust your body to the colder temperature. If you just hop straight into a freezing cold shower your natural desire will be to scream and get back out immediately.

Start with a warm comfortable shower and then turn the knob slightly to a colder temperature and wait for your body to adjust to the new temperature, wherein it doesn't feel so cold.

Then keep repeating this process until you reach a point where you start to shiver. Then back off the temperature a bit so the temperature is just above the point where you start to shiver.

If you buy and keep a thermometer in your shower try to aim for 60 F (16 C), this way you can try and accurately predict how many calories are being burned during your showers.

Also remember that since this kick-starts a fat burning metabolism boost that you will feel more "invigorated" and energetic after the cold shower, which means you will burn a lot more than the calories you burned in the shower. Thus a good time to go exercise is right after a cold shower.

For improved results you could try and take cold showers 3 times per day. Limit your cold showers to 25 minutes or less.

In theory, three 60 F showers per day at 25 minutes each can burn 1125 calories per day, plus kick-starting a calorie burn that will boost your metabolism dramatically.

In a week, assuming you have a healthy / balanced diet, you should burn 7,875 calories - just over 2 lbs of fat. Possibly more due to the metabolism boost.

However I should warn you that losing fat more than 2 lbs per week can cause loose skin, so I don't recommend doing the whole three cold showers at 25 minutes per day thing.

My recommendation would be two cold showers at 10 minutes each - 300 calories per day, or 2100 calories per week. Its just under two-thirds of a lb and it should sufficiently boost your metabolism so you can lose the remaining 1.33 lbs via exercise.

If you decide to experiment with weight loss via cold showers I recommend you err on the side of caution. I wouldn't want to start an epidemic of cold shower addicts.

OTHER BENEFITS OF COLD SHOWERS

#1. Boosts the Immune System - Increases white blood cells: monocytes and lymphocytes. While certain lymphocytes are instrumental in eliminating bacteria, viruses, and toxins; monocytes are indirectly responsible for the engulfing and consuming of pathogens and foreign materials.

#2. Improves Blood Circulation - Causes vasoconstriction, prevents hypertension, prevents hardening of the arteries, and prevents the appearance of varicose veins.

#3. Regulates Temperature - If you suffer from chronically cold hands and feet, or feel that you sweat an abnormal amount, try a cold shower.

#4. Alleviates Depression - Cold water has a stimulating effect on the brain's “blue spot”, the main source of noradrenaline for our bodies. Noradrenaline is a chemical that might be used to help alleviate depression.

#5. Boosts Lymphation Circulation

The lymphatic system is a system of tubing separate from our blood vessels that is responsible for carrying away waste from your cells as well as help fight pathogens (disease). Unlike blood vessels, the lymphatic system does not have blood, it has lymph, which carries away waste products and white blood cells which handle infection.

#6. Deeper Oxygen Intake

The stress of the cold water, vasoconstriction and the overall need for oxygen to respire and keep oneself warm opens up the lungs much like strenuous physical exercise does and results in a higher average intake of oxygen, which is good for your energy levels and overall health.

#7. Better Hair and Skin

Cold water can make our hair look shinier and our skin look healthier by tightening cuticles and pores, preventing them from getting clogged, thus reducing blemishes like acne. Cold water also contributes to detoxification which results in the squeezing of toxins and waste products out of the skin. This detoxification has a good effect on the skin which appears more clean and young. Additionally, the cold water closes the cuticle which makes the hair stronger and prevents dirt from easily accumulating within our scalp. Stronger hair, of course, prevents hair from easily falling out and it helps in slowing down overall hair loss.

#8. Higher Hormone Levels

Many different hormones are boosted by cold water, including testosterone levels, which increases muscle building. Also increases sperm count. Men who take cold showers will be more muscular and have higher sperm counts.

For fun I also tried researching "cold shower negatives". Apparently there aren't any negatives beyond sometimes shouting "Damn that's cold!" and the risk of pneumonia if you stay in there too long.

On the plus side if you ever get to bathe in a waterfalls you will be used to cold water and not that bothered by it.



Motivational Quotes for January

Before and After: Proof that you can do it.
If you look like the girl on the left remember that she eventually became the girl on the right. If she can do it, why not you?


"Life is exercise. We do it every day without thinking about it. The challenge is for people to get outside and do it more for fun instead of focusing on how difficult and painful life can sometimes be."
- Charles Moffat

"Even when the going gets rough, you can keep going. After all, you've been doing it all your life."
 - Ralph Marston

"The greatest mistake you can make in life is to continually be afraid you will make one."
- Elbert Hubbard


"I failed my way to success."
- Thomas Edison


"Go back a little to leap further."
- John Clarke

"Every failure brings with it the seed of an equivalent success."
- Napoleon Hill

"We learn wisdom from failure much more than success. We often discover what we will do, by finding out what we will not do."
- Samuel Smiles


"Keep going, and allow your efforts to build upon one another. Keep going, and transform the disappointments into achievements."
- Ralph Marston
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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