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Showing posts with label Toronto. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Toronto. Show all posts

How I used personal training to help my infant son roll, crawl and walk faster, Part One

By Charles Moffat, Toronto Personal Trainer.

Okay so my infant son Richard is roughly 3 months and 2 weeks old, and he is already rolling over from his back to his belly, and vice versa. He did his first complete roll yesterday and did several more today.

Now to be clear, being able to roll over by himself is a huge stepping stone for a baby. The normal ages for rolling over, sitting up, crawling, standing up, and walking are as follows:
Rolling Over - 4 to 6 Months
Sitting Up - 4 to 8 Months
Crawling - 7 to 10 Months
Standing Up - 9 to 12 Months
Walking - 9 to 15 Months
Call me impatient if you wish, but I have become determined to help my son reach the various milestones slightly faster than other babies. (For context he said "Daddy" back on August 31st, when he was just 2 months and 1 week old - and he was 2 weeks early popping out of his momma, so clearly he is also impatient to do everything in a hurry.)

Every day I get my son exercising. But the exercises he does differ from what most parents normally do.

#1. Tummy Time

Usually such exercising is referred to as "Tummy Time", which is included in what he does. Tummy Time is typically laying the baby on his or her tummy so they can practice lifting their head up.

Tummy Time is important for building neck and upper back muscles, in addition to arm muscles, leg muscles, abdominal muscles - all muscles your baby needs to start building.

Tummy Time is an exercise that all babies should be doing, every day. So it is strongly recommended parents take the time to have their babies do 10 to 30 minutes of Tummy Time per day.

#2. Assisted Rolling

In addition to Tummy Time I also help my son to roll over - to the point that he can now roll over onto his side - and from his side to his belly - all by himself.

We accomplished this by doing the following:
  • Assisted rolling by helping him move his arms and legs into the correct positions for rolling over and then helping him push himself onto his side, and eventually on to his belly.
  • Laying him on his side so he can practice rolling on to his back or towards his belly, unassited
Now that he can roll himself under his own power he is less vulnerable to SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome). A common cause of SIDS is a baby suffocating on something because they were unable to roll away from the object they were suffocating on. Even being able to perform a half-roll on to their side could end up saving their life.

#3. Assisted Sitting Up and Assisted Sit Ups

This I accomplish by placing him in a sitting position and supporting his back and chest with one hand. As he gets better at it however I have started removing the hand supporting his chest, and even switching to having both hands holding his wrists instead of his torso - this way he still gets support if he needs it, for safety reasons, but otherwise is practicing holding himself upright in a sitting position.

I find you have to kind of steer him using his wrists and arms because his lack of balance will cause him to leave forward or to the sides more often.

The second part of this is holding his hands and helping him to perform a basic Sit Up. He starts from a laying position, holding his wrists I help him into a sitting position - maintain that sitting position - and then help lower him back down into a laying position. I repeat the Sit Ups 10 times before giving him a break.

#4. Assisted Standing

Using my hands under his armpits to support him, I lift my son into a standing position. I then reduce the amount of pressure I am using to support him, forcing him to exercise his leg muscles in order to maintain standing.

Doing this exercise every day, I find it allows my son to build stronger legs so that he is now able to stand for longer periods with very minimal support (mostly for balance and safety purposes) from myself.

Sometimes I will also help him by supporting his hands instead of his arm pits, so he is more under his own power.

#5. Assisted Squats

Since his legs are getting stronger every day, I have also started helping him to do squats. Squats builds his leg muscles even faster than standing does. The method is similar to the assisted standing above, but I reduce the amount of pressure I use to support him so that he is forced to either stand on his own or is reduced to a squatting position and then he has to use his own power to stand back up again.

He hasn't reached the point like the baby below has with the squatting and lifting weights, but nevertheless.



 Your End Goals

The ultimate goal of all of these exercises is to improve the survivability and strength of your baby.

If your baby can roll over by themselves that is a very important step, but being able to sit up independently, crawl away from danger, or even stand and walk away from danger - those seem like important skills to me.

As my son gets older I will also be making sure he learns how to swim and a variety of other useful skills.

Doing all of this in a supervised manner is safer in my opinion.

Doing the things mentioned above may seem like "no brainers" to some people, but I am also applying personal training concepts to his exercises, things like:
  1. Repetition - He does every exercise 10 times or more, or for at least 10 minutes.
  2. Exercising Daily - He exercises every day, even when Papa is tired or busy we still make time to do the exercises.
  3. Do Every Exercise - We don't skip any exercises. 10+ minutes of Tummy Time, 10 Rolls, 10 Minutes of Sitting, 10 Sit Ups, 10 Minutes Standing, 10 Squats. Total time - About 35-45 minutes.
  4. Break Times - So he doesn't get exhausted.
  5. No Exercising on a Full Tummy - Want to see the baby spit up? No? Then wait at least 30 minutes after feeding before doing any exercises.
  6. Nap times are also good, not just for baby, but for everyone.

As your child grows they are going to be exercising constantly. Remember to hydrate and feed them regularly. Sleep. Nap. Rest breaks.

Avoid too much TV, computers and cellphones. If it feels like they are watching screen too often, it is time to go outside.

Remember to have fun outdoors!

Don't Expect This To Happen

Archery Lessons in Toronto, Limited Time Slots Left

Hey Toronto!

So I am looking at my schedule and I only have 8 time slots for teaching archery left before I retire. (See My Retirement from Personal Training / Sports Training for more information about my upcoming retirement.)

So if anyone still wants archery lessons, the time to book is NOW before my retirement arrives.

In unrelated archery news...

Below is a photo of a Toronto police officer who visited the Toronto Archery Range on August 18th and was checking out a vintage Bear Takedown Recurve Bow. The Toronto Police were in the area looking for a homeless person with mental issues who is believed to be camping out in the park surrounding the archery range. The homeless person has been making threats and shouting at people.


And yes, that is a shotgun slung across his back. That particular shotgun shoots non lethal bean bags in order to subdue targets.

The photo below is from August 14th and is a selfie taken by the officer on the left - who was kind enough to send me a copy. In the photo is himself, my old student John G. who I taught in 2014 and is now a frequent visitor to the archery range, the officer's partner, and myself in the sunglasses. (The bow I am carrying is a vintage 1972 Black Hawk Avenger.)


The two officers above said they were just patrolling the park, but I now have a hunch they were also there searching for the same homeless person. The homeless person is considered a threat because they keep shouting threats against people and making references to the terrorist organization ISIS.

Average Wind in Toronto - Archery, Adjusting for Wind

August is the least windy month in Toronto - on average. In contrast January is the most windy month. Clearly this means doing archery in August will be more accurate due to less wind. But how do the other months stack up?

Average Wind Speeds in Toronto, Historical Averages
  • January - 18 kmph
  • February - 17 kmph
  • March - 17 kmph
  • April - 17 kmph
  • May - 14 kmph
  • June - 13 kmph
  • July - 13 kmph
  • August - 12 kmph
  • September - 13 kmph
  • October - 14 kmph
  • November - 16 kmph
  • December - 17 kmph
So as an archer if you want to avoid wind, August is a clear choice. However August is also the 2nd hottest time of year (#1 being July) in Toronto, so there may be other factors to consider.

eg. April, May, June, September and October are considered to be the best times of year temperature wise. Not too hot, not too cold.

Of course maybe you are one of those archers who love a challenge. Who embrace the wind and wnt to learn from it. In which case, you want to learn how to adjust for the wind conditions. It is definitely not impossible to maintain accuracy in these conditions however, you'll just have to modify your shooting patterns a little bit and understand the physics of what happens to your arrow in flight.

Regarding Equipment

Your equipment can have some serious effects, in addition to the wind. If you know you're going to be shooting on a heavier day there are a couple of things to keep in mind.

Heavier arrows will always tend to fly better in the wind. This might seem counter-intuitive since they'll fly at a lower speed and thus are exposed to the wind's effect for longer but they'll maintain a truer course in windy situations thanks to their weight adding to their forward momentum. The heavier the arrow, the less wind can push it. You can plan ahead for this if you know you are going to be shooting on a windy day and bring your heaviest arrows.

Thinner arrows will naturally be less effected by the wind as well. This in theory makes a heavy, thin arrow the easiest to shoot in the wind, but good luck finding both of those qualities in an arrow.

Smaller fletching on your arrows also makes a difference. Larger fletch is more effected by the wind, smaller fletch is less effected. So having heavy arrows with tiny fletching is more accurate in wind.

Your bow's profile can also play an effect, particularly in heavier crosswinds. You'll have to compensate in the direction of the wind in order to stay on target. This can mean removing some accessories depending on your shooting style, but a heavier bow will also be less effected by the wind - and a bottom heavy bow will be more accurate.

Aiming with a Sight

If you use sights on your bow and do target shooting they can make things a bit easier on you as you can learn to shoot at 3 o'clock or 9 o'clock on the target. If your arrows are dipping due to lost speed in windy conditions you might even aim at 2 o'clock or 10 o'clock.

Head Wind - Slightly higher, 12 o'clock.
Tail Wind - Slightly lower, 6 o'clock.
Cross Wind - 3 or 9 o'clock. (Or sometimes higher.)

And if the wind is coming from angles, a bit of head wind + cross wind for example, then you might find yourself aiming at 1, 2, 10 or 11 o'clock in order to have a more centered shot that is the correct height.

Cross winds will often slow your arrow down so you may find you have to aim closer to 9:30 or 2:30.

Traditional Aiming or Gap Shooting

If you are aiming off the arrow (Traditional Aiming) or Gap Shooting (similar to Traditional Aiming, but you are looking at the gap between the target and the side of the bow) then you will make similar adjustments just like you would with a sight, but you have to imagine and guess how much adjustment you need to do. eg. For gap shooting you might be shrinking or widening the gap, while aiming a bit higher depending on wind direction and power.

How The Wind Affects Your Arrows
  • A wind blowing from 12 o'clock will not cause sideways drift, but will slow it down.
  • A wind blowing 1 or 11 o'clock will cause a little sideways drift and slow it down.
  • At 2 or 10 o'clock the sideways drift will be stronger, but the arrow will only slow down a more moderate amount.
  • At 3 or 9 o'clock you're at a direct crosswind and the arrow will definitely have sideways drift, but it should only be slowed down marginally.
  • At 4 or 8 o'clock you will see sideways drift, but the height should not be effected as much because the tailwind is giving it a bit of a push.
  • At 5 or 7 o'clock most of what you will see it tailwind with a little sideways drift.
  • At 6 o'clock you'll be at a tailwind, your arrows will go faster and slightly higher.
Fluctuating Wind Directions and Power

Whenever possible try to pay attention to the following and adjust accordingly:
  • Which way flags are going. Wind socks are also handy.
  • Which way trees and/or grass are going.
  • Gusts - either wait for a gust to stop or adjust more than normal. Being patient and waiting is your best bet for accuracy as a gust can end at any time.
  • Stable wind from one solid direction is a good time to shoot.
  • Fluctuating winds form different directions can really cause problems.
  • Don't worry what the wind or flags are doing behind the target, worry what the wind is doing in front of the target - preferably at half the distance.
Don't Forget the Wind is also Pushing You

Depending on how much you physically weigh, the wind can also be pushing YOU sideways too, thus causing you to be less stable during a shot. The best solution for this problem is to tighten up your abdominal muscles that your core (belly and chest area of your torso) remains stable.

Alternatively it is also possible to try and shoot from a position where you are less effected by the wind, such as a bowhunter who is stalking and trying to shoot a deer might decide to shoot from a different angle where trees or a hill might give them more protection from the wind.

Frequently Asked Questions

How much wind is too much?

Honestly, I find 30 kmph or more is quite a bit. Definitely more challenging, but not impossible. 40 kmph or more is when you might as well not even bother. 50 kmph or more is basically a windstorm. Seek shelter.

Is there any equipment I can buy to compensate for the wind?

Asides from heavier arrows with smaller fletching, yes, buy flags! Flags will help you learn how to look at the wind and adjust for the wind accordingly. Or failing to get a flag, try to get a wind sock, weather vane, or something that tells you what the wind is doing.


Any Questions?

If I left anything out please leave any questions in the comments below and I will respond to your questions ASAP.

Also for fun, here is scene from Game of Thrones:


6 Ways to Make Running more Fun!

Guest Post by Cara H.

Are you getting bored or find it increasingly difficult to get yourself to go out running? Why not turn running into a more enjoyable experience and get back to finding running a fun activity? Here are 6 ways to make running more fun:

1. Choose beautiful places for your running sessions.

Why not explore a nearby beautiful park, instead of running around your dull neighborhood streets? By focusing on exploring new places, and running near landmarks you enjoy, you will find much more joy in running as well. So, plan your next run to somewhere you love going or wish you could go to. You will find yourself much more motivated to go run there.

In Toronto, check out the following locations to run for fun:

High Park
The Don Valley (aka the Don River Trail)
Rouge Park
Beaches
Sunnybrook Park
Stan Wadlow Park
Charles Sauriol Conservation Area
Tommy Thompson Park
Toronto Island Park
Humber Bay Park
West Humber Parkland
Martin Goodman Trail
The Beltline Trail
The Humber River Trail


2. Rejoice for the progress made.

Enjoy the fact that you are continuously improving your running performance and results. Track your steps, times and progress, so that you can feel the satisfaction of your improved performance.

3. Treat yourself to rewards for the efforts.

Plan a fun dinner with friends after a long run, or reward yourself with a beautiful new running accessory when you reach a specific running related goal of yours (hint: bright coloured shoes will definitely lift up your mood). You can enjoy a small forbidden treat or drink after a long run too, but without overdoing it on calories of course.

Hot Tip - Chocolate Milk makes a good after run treat, as it contains a good amount of protein, calcium and energy.


4. Get a running buddy.

Running is always more fun if you have a running buddy to join you. It is perfect if you can engage one or more of your close friends or your significant other to run with you. Run at a comfortable talking pace, so that you can have a conversation with your running buddy. This will definitely make the experience much more enjoyable. Even if you can’t find a friend who is willing to run with you - don’t worry, just do some research on your local running groups and join one of them. You will meet new people, and possibly make new friends on the way.

5. Listen to some great music.

Create a playlist with your favorite tunes to listen to when running. It is better if you pick high energy, faster songs, especially if you want to push on your running pace. There are a number of readily available playlists for running on Spotify and other music websites. If you prefer, you can catch up on your reading, and listen to the latest bestselling e-book while running. It will keep you engaged, and will make running much more enjoyable too.

Inspirational music also works well too. Music that makes you feel inspired, energetic and wanting to run harder.


6. Take part in races.

There is nothing more satisfying than that feeling of reaching the finish line with a crowd cheering on! Enjoy the fun of the competition and your result at the finish line. Don’t be afraid to sign up for a race. You will be able to explore new places, meet new people, enjoy refreshing snacks and challenge yourself to reach the result you have planned.

Obstacle races are the real deal, if you are looking for the fun part of the running. Even if you do not finish first, the joy of taking part in the race will be sufficient to keep you happy and satisfied, believe me!

Lovely Winter Weather for Archery / Antique Bows

On Saturday I was very tempted to go do some archery, as the weather was warm (10 degrees or so) and a bit foggy. Unfortunately I had chores to do around the home so that was not to be despite the beautiful warm weather on Saturday.

I also have two *new* bows with brand new bowstrings that I want to try out sometime soon.

The two bows are:

A 1949 Bear Grizzly Static (Grayling)

A 1960s Archery Craft Toronto 64" Longbow

(Photos forthcoming.)

I purchased them both back in 2016 but had to wait to get custom made bowstrings for the two bows before I can use them. I strung them up two nights ago to exercise the limbs a little bit.

This is the thing about antique bows. When you buy an antique bow you should not be full drawing them right away. Instead you want to exercise them because they may not have been drawn in a very long time. Exercising them improves their life expectancy.

To exercise a bow you string the bow (preferably using a bowstringer) and then lightly pull on it a few inches. You repeat this process many times and then leave the bow strung for an hour or two.

Then you unstring the bow and leave it alone.

A day later or a few days later, you repeat the process. This time you *might* decide to draw it a bit further, always being cautious to never pull it to full draw.

Only after the bow has been exercised multiple times do you begin full drawing - and this assumes you have a normal draw length. If you any weird noises (pings or clicking sounds) this is a bad sign and you should immediately stop. A loud cracking noise would be really bad.

I feel more confident about exercising the Bear Grizzly Static as the limbs are made with an aluminum core.

The Archery Craft Toronto bow I purchased from a woman in Montreal, so to me that was a case of bringing an antique longbow made in Toronto back to Toronto where it belongs. I am less worried about shooting that bow and more interested in it as a collector's item and museum piece (it is my long term goal to someday open an archery museum).

If you have a really long draw length of 29 inches or more, then you probably should not be purchasing the really old antiques. Bows from the 1970s or 1980s you would probably be okay with, especially if they are compounds or fibreglass recurves, but for people with longer draw lengths you need to be extra careful overdrawing an antique.

I have a few antiques that even now I never full draw them. eg, I have 1942 Ben Pearon lemonwood longbow which still shoots well, but I only pull it to roughly 26 or 27 inches when using it. It may be lemonwood (a very good tropical bow wood), but because it is 75 years old I am super cautious with it.

I also have several antique bows that are meant for children - which are basically decorative and not used at all. Maybe someday I will let younger family members use them. Or maybe they will simply decorate my walls, or likewise a presumptive archery museum.

Buying antique bows there is always a risk you might break the bow. It hasn't happened to me yet, but I did have one bow make weird noises two years ago. It was a 1952 Roy Rogers longbow meant for kids. I drew it back and clearly was drawing it too far when I heard a sharp click sound from the bow limb. That is a bow that is evidently meant to have a short draw length and should never be drawn by anyone who is taller than the bow.

Having been making my own bows for almost 28 years now I should also say you do some of the same things during the tillering process of making a bow. If you hear a click or ping sound when tillering, you need to stop and examine the bow limbs for any signs of cracks or chips in the wood. Last winter I did a bowmaking class here in Toronto and a topic that came up during the class of what to do if a bow makes such a sound during the tillering process.

There was a number of solutions, but the most obvious one was: Don't shoot that bow because it could break. The alternatives were time consuming and didn't guarantee the bow would be safe to shoot. It would be less time consuming and safer just to start from scratch and make a whole new bow.

Toronto's $88 million hockey / skating arena still not completed

Back in August 2010, Toronto decided to build an $88 million hockey and skating arena on Toronto's waterfront, near Commissioners St. and Don Roadway. At the time $34 million had already been earmarked for the project. The city was contemplating a bond (essentially a mortgage) to help pay for the rest of the arena plus additional funding from the Ontario government. I am not sure how they raised the rest of the money, but the 'finding the money part' was presumably done years ago.)

Artists Rendition, circa August 2010
An user surcharge was designed to help pay off the bond over a period of 30 years. The arena complex will include four NHL-size ice rinks stacked above each other, spectator seating, restaurants, meeting rooms, an indoor track for running. The indoor arena will be ideal for tournaments and allow Torontonians to hone their ice skating skills even in the off season. The facility will act as a regional sports complex.

The building is designed to be environmentally sustainable (which is important since its build near the waterfront and can't be leaking waste into the lake) and may include an Olympic-sized rink for speed skaters and figure skaters (which would be great for if Toronto ever gets another shot at hosting the Olympics).

There was also some concerns about migratory birds flying into the nearly-all-glass structure so there are also plans to make it more bird-friendly.

So yeah, this was all announced and planned for back in August 2010.

Only one problem. It still has not been built.

As of April 2015, the only thing completed is that land was set aside for the new building and proverbial plans were still being made. The latest estimate is that building won't be built until 2018 at the earliest.

Meanwhile Toronto Mayor John Tory has been threatening to shut down 35 skating rinks across Toronto.

 To which you might ask, how many skating rinks does Toronto currently have? 49.

So 49 - 35 would leave 14 left open.

And since this is Toronto, and politicians in Toronto are corrupt, the 14 that get left open would probably be in rich neighbourhoods. Rich neighbourhoods with outdoor rinks that have been sponsored by companies like Natrel.

Below is the Natrel Rink on Torontos Harbourfront, a wealthy neighbourhood with lots of condos. The Natrel Rink is boasted to be "The most scenic rink in the city", but it only continues to exist thanks to its corporate sponsor, Natrel, maker of milk and cheese products, based in Montreal, Quebec. And guaranteed when choosing which ice rink to sponsor, Natrel opted for the "pretty one in a rich neighbourhood".

The Natrel Rink at 235 Queens Quay West

So Mayor John Tory is shutting down ice rinks across Toronto, but somehow back in 2010 the city managed to cough up $88 million to build 4 new ice rinks down on Toronto's Waterfront - but that conveniently hasn't been built yet and seems to be caught in a time loop of "Oh, we're still making plans for it." Something is fishy down on the waterfront...

Heads up Toronto. We will be having another Mayoral Election in 2018. If you appreciate hockey or ice skating, please don't vote for the idiot currently in office. True, he may not be as bad as Rob Ford, the worst mayor in Toronto's history, but that bar is pretty low and that doesn't mean John Tory deserves re-election.

In other news, please go outside and appreciate the ice rinks that Toronto does have. While we still have them.

Fitness Trends in Toronto, 2016

Toronto's gyms are changing. In 2016 we saw some dramatic changes so far this year.

Old School Exercises like Push-ups, Chin-ups, and Jumping Jacks are In.

But Crossfit is now out and no longer popular.


Archery Lessons are in.

But those grueling Zumba classes are out.


Indoor and outdoor obstacle courses are in. (This includes Pursuit OCR, which offers up a jungle gym slash obstacle course adults can race through. There is also the Battlefrog Obstacle Race.)

Boring single use exercise machines at the gym are out.


Fitness Tracking T-shirts are in and getting the techies excited.

Fitbits are now out. So much for that fad.


Bodyweight exercises like Yoga, Push-ups, and TRX Suspension Training (shown below) are in.

Indoor Cycling and Spin Classes are out. Who wants to pay to bicycle indoors without actually going anywhere?


High-intensity interval training (HIIT) is in.

Pole Dancing Classes are out. That was so two years ago...


Tight Rope Walking is in. You can even buy a tight rope walking kit that attaches between two trees. Fun to do with friends.

Those idiotic Bosu balls are out.

Where to get archery lessons west of Toronto?

Q

"Hello,

I am living in Oakville and that location is too far away from me. Do you give [archery] lessons at  other locations [closer to Oakville]?

Thanks,
C"
A

Hey C!
Sadly, no. There is a shortage of archery ranges in your region and I am not in the habit of traveling that far to teach.

OCCS is closer to you, located near 403 and Burnhamthorpe Road in Mississauga.

They have an indoor range and teach group archery lessons, although they might not be teaching the style of archery you are looking for - they only teach Olympic style, whereas I teach all 5 major styles of archery (since Craig referred you to me I am guessing you are hoping to learn how to shoot compound). I cannot comment on the quality of the instructors, but they are certainly closer to where you live.

See http://www.classicalsport.com/archery-adults
Barefoot Bushcraft in the Niagara region (Allanport Road) is actually further away from you, but might suit you better if you are in the habit of going to the Niagara region.

Barefoot Bushcraft Outdoor Archery Range
BB has two instructors, Wolf who teaches longbow / traditional bows / bushcraft, and Britt who teaches compound. So depending on which you are interested in learning they could help you as well. Lessons with either Wolf or Britt are more likely to be one-on-one lessons. They run their own private archery range which is outdoors.

See http://www.barefootbushcraft.ca/services/archery-lessons/

Those are the only two locations I currently know of that are out your way. I recommend you shop around for instructors in the Hamilton, Burlington and Milton area. Chances are there are archery instructors out that way that I have never heard of who will be able to instruct you in the style of archery you are looking for.

[Disclaimer - I have no affiliation with either of the above two organizations, nor have I been paid to advertise them. I simply enjoy promoting the sport of archery.]

If you still want lessons out this direction, let me know and we can begin scheduling.
Best of luck!

Sincerely,
Charles Moffat
CardioTrek.ca

Pokémon Go as a Workout Plan - How to get the Most Exercise and the Most Pokémon

First, what is Pokémon Go?

Pokémon Go is a free-to-play location-based augmented reality mobile game that works on both Apple and Android devices (smart phones and tablets). The game uses real world exploration to collect Pokémon in the game, and later to battle Pokémon against each other.

Note - The game has become intensely popular, as the Pokémon Go craze has swept the USA and Canada. For some people it is now more popular than Facebook. It isn't just for kids either. Many adults, usually between 20 to 40, are now playing the game. But that doesn't mean that elderly people cannot get into it too, and are doing so - partially for the fitness benefits.

The goal of the game is to physically get the player to go from location to location, collecting Pokéballs, Pokémon, and other objects within the game. This means that people are walking, jogging, running, cycling, etc to get from location to location as part of the goals of playing the game.

Pokéstops are real world locations, varying from park benches dedicated to people, statues, museums, art galleries, historic sites, etc. At each Pokéstop a person visits they can then slide the icon sideways so it spins and they then get free Pokéballs and other stuff that are useful for playing the game.

Being close to Pokéstops also means that you are also in a great place to catch random Pokémon. They will randomly appear on the screen, usually with your phone vibrating or making a beeping noise to alert you that there is a random Pokémon nearby. Click on the Pokémon and you can attempt to catch it by throwing Pokéballs at it. (Which feels a bit like basketball, but once you get the hang of it throwing the balls and catching them is pretty easy. The only trick is if you miss, that Pokéball is gone and you can run out of Pokéballs very easily if you are struggling to get good accuracy with your throw.)

Pokégyms are unlike real gyms, in the sense that you don't normally fight people at gyms. When you visit one you can try to defeat the current defender(s) of the gym which works a bit like the old "King of the Castle" game you might have played when you were a kid. You fight your strongest Pokémon against whichever Pokémon are guarding the gym. If you manage to defeat all of the Pokémon guarding a gym, then you capture that gym and you can leave a Pokémon there to guard it. You will get your Pokémon back after they are later eventually defeated.

Pokémon Go's Augmented Reality

So why is Pokémon Go good for Fitness?

This game has been surprisingly good at getting people outside exercising when they would normally be indoors watching TV or fooling around on the internet. It is arguably a Competitive Sport.

The more you exercise, the more Pokémon you get, the more powerful those Pokémon become, the better they do in battles, etc. Thus it is a surprisingly powerful and easy way to motivate people to go outside and exercise.

That motivation factor is one of the biggest reasons why some people succeed at losing weight and others fail in their attempt. A game which helps motivate people to go for walks outdoors certainly scores points on the motivation factor, even if it does seem childish.

Now it is possible to gain various things within the game, like Pokéballs, just by paying for them. However even if you pay for the Pokéballs you still need to go outside and walk around to find and catch Pokémon - as they are rarely going to be on your doorstep. Thus while some people might choose to spend money in an effort to reduce how much exercise they have to do to play the game, they still need to exercise a fair bit just to find Pokémon.

Furthermore you cannot cheat during this game. While it is possible to catch a few Pokémon while in a car or on a bus, most of the time the speed of the vehicle will cause you to miss things, such as Pokémon and Pokéstops that are too far away by the time GPS catches up to the speed of the vehicle you are in. Thus the ideal speeds to be going is somewhere between walking and bicycling.

What I find fascinating is that this game has done what no sport has done before - get millions of people to suddenly go outside and exercise, with little more motivation than the attempt to find fictional non-existent pocket monsters who only exist within the game. You don't really get much out of the game beyond the fun of catching them, and the journey of catching them becomes the really fun part instead - in other words, walking around and exploring becomes the real challenge and the whole point of the game. The journey becomes both the means and the end goal.

10 Ways to Lose Weight using Pokémon Go

1. Family Fitness - Take the whole family with you and you can all play the game together as you explore. Friends who are also into the game means more people to talk to while you explore, so it becomes a social activity for everyone involved.

2. Jogging - Get from Pokéstop to Pokéstop faster by jogging. Dress for the occasion and take water with you! (Or plan your route so it goes by libraries with free water fountains.)

3. Cycling - Get there even faster on a bicycle. See more Pokéstops and catch more Pokémon in less time. Many bicycle trails will also have various Pokéstops along the way too.

Map of Pokémon locations in downtown Toronto
4. Walking - Take the easy way and just walk it. Very relaxing. In Toronto a simple walk around the downtown area will garner you quite a few Pokémon. See map on right.

5. Hiking - Hilly parklands can sometimes have lots of Pokémon. In the last two days I have visited two parks in Toronto and came away feeling invigorated from walking and exploring, and catching quite a few Pokémon.

6. Focus on Cardio - Don't be afraid to alter your speed now and then. Rotate between walking and jogging between Pokéstops the same way people do using HIIT (high intensity interval training). This way you get to enjoy the best of both worlds between walking and jogging, getting more Pokémon faster, but with breaks that allow you to take it easy once in awhile.

7. Stay Safe - Don't take silly risks. Pay attention to where you are going, what is around you, avoid cliffs or steep ledges, take the long way around, avoid dangerous shortcuts, and take your time. Also you don't need to look at your phone the whole time. You can ignore it while you walk from location to location.

8. Go to the Beach - If you want to swim, then do it safely. All of the Pokémon will be on the shore however as they usually dot places of importance, historical or otherwise. Many water-based Pokémon can be found near lakes, rivers, and ponds - and Toronto has plenty of rivers and water features to check out.

9. Rollerblading - Again, watch where you are going and be careful. Rollerblading will let you get from place to place faster, which saves on battery life - and you get to capture more Pokémon faster.

10. Skateboarding - Not for everyone, but still a decently fun way to get around Toronto.

Note - Fans of the Pokémon TV show will also note that one of the main characters also used a skateboard frequently to get around.


#TakeYourShot for the Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation

Earlier today I performed a trick shot on behalf of http://takeyourshot.org/, which is raising money for the Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation, located in Toronto.

#TakeYourShot is a social media campaign to raise money/awareness and they are encouraging athletes and sports enthusiasts to use whatever skills they have - football, basketball, darts, archery, bowling, javelin, axe throwing, etc to show off their skills and raise awareness/money for the PMCF.

The trick shot I chose to perform was "Two Arrows at Once", which I recorded at 120 frames per second on my cellphone and then slowed it down to 30 frames per second to show it in slow motion.



The video was made today (July 11th 2016) at the Toronto Archery Range. I spent half an hour before the filming practicing shooting two arrows at once, then handed my cellphone to a friend and we recorded the trick shot in one attempt. That first attempt was so good we didn't bother doing it over again.

The bow used was a three piece Samick Red Stag, which I have named "Ulmaster", draw weight 35 lbs. The arrows were Easton Power Flight 400s. The distance I was shooting at was approx. 20.5 yards (61.5 feet or 18.5 meters).

To donate to the Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation you can visit either: http://takeyourshot.org or http://www.thepmcf.ca/Ways-to-Give/Donate-Now.

ArcheryToronto.ca is also looking for people to submit links to YouTube videos of archery trick shots for the campaign so that people can get inspired and take part / donate.

Want to see more archery trick shots? Leave a comment below and a suggestion for another archery trick shot and I will see if it can be done.

Toronto Archery Photos a Hit

One Very Popular Photo
I recently received an email from Google notifying me that some photos of mine are extremely popular.

Years ago I submitted 5 photos to Google Maps in an effort to help boost the popularity of the Toronto Archery Range located at E. T. Seton Park.

Those photos have since apparently gone a bit viral, with over 300,000 views. Woot? Sure, what the heck. Woot!

During that time I have also seen attendance at the Toronto Archery Range skyrocket. Much of that is largely due to the Hunger Games and other film / TV franchises.

But the good people of Toronto wouldn't necessarily know we even have a public archery range. That is the real trick. The range is one of Toronto's best kept secrets, as the vast majority of people don't even know that the place exists.

When I first started going to that archery range in 2009 it was usually dead quiet there and you would be the only person there most of the time. On a busy day there would be maybe 3 people there, and they were the "regulars" and you would get to know them all by name.

During the height of the Hunger Games/etc visitors to the archery range exploded, with crowds of 15 to 30 people there regularly, or even 60+ on the really busy Saturday mornings.

So clearly the word that the place existed was getting out. Huzzah!

Last year it was so busy I found myself wistful for the quiet days back in 2011 and prior to that, when archery was comparatively less popular.

Recently visitors to the range has dropped off in 2016. A sign perhaps that the archery fad has slowed down a bit and only the true archery fanatics are sticking around.

However as the archery fad of the 1940s to early 1970s shows, these things come in stages. The 1940s-1970s fad lasted 4 decades, spawned largely due to all the Robin Hood movies in the 1940s. (There was literally dozens of them, beginning with the 1938 film "The Adventures of Robin Hood" starring Errol Flynn and showing the archery skills of Howard Hill.) The fad ended a few years after 1973, the year Disney made their animated version of Robin Hood. Deliverance in 1972 was also part of the same fad.

A brief archery fad in the 1980s sparked up after the making of the 2nd and 3rd Rambo movies. Another one followed with Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves in 1991. A small one occurred after the first Lord of the Rings film in 2001.

But those fads were all relatively small. Especially compared to the decades long fad of the 1940s-1970s era.

In this era of smartphones, the internet, and cable television it is very difficult for people to get motivated to go outside - thus it is also more difficult for large numbers of people to get involved in an outdoor sport. We will likely never see an archery fad as big as the one which occurred between 1938 and 1975.

A Journey with Pebbles in your Shoes

"A journey of a thousand miles will inevitably include having pebbles in your shoes. Bend over, take off your shoe, shake out the pebbles and put your shoe back on. Keep walking, you will get there."


18 Tips for Long Distance Walking / Walking in a Walk-a-thon

Every few months Toronto has various organizations that organize walk-a-thon style events, usually raising money or awareness for cancer or various other ailments. Some of these activities include walking extremely long distances over 1 day, 2 day or even 3 day periods. However to do those kinds of extreme walking distances not everyone is up to snuff and perhaps should be warned that they should be "in good shape" before the Big Walk and should be trying to be "a bit more energetic and healthy" in the days leading up to the big event. Thus here are 18 tips for taking part in such a long journey. Many of the tips below are also handy for long distance hiking.

I have split these tips into several categories, what to do "Before the Big Walk", what to do the "Day of the Big Walk", and "After the Big Walk".

Before the Big Walk

1. Keep a balanced diet. At least one item out of every meal should be vegetables.

2. Start going for walks every day to get yourself in shape (and double check the condition of your shoes, see #11 below).

3. Start eating smaller more frequent meals. Four to five are better for you than three big meals as it is easier for your body to digest smaller amounts.

4. Aim to eat fresh produce, especially fresh veggies - the more colourful the better, as unusual colours have a greater variety of nutrients.

5. Eat a variety of meat products. Beef, chicken, pork, fish, liver, oysters and mussels. This way you are getting a wider variety of nutrients.

6. Hydrate every day. A long journey is harder on the liver and your sweat glands, so it is important for both that you are well hydrated on the days before the Big Walk.

7. Make sure you have cushioned, breathable socks. Aim for comfort.

8. Moisturize your feet regularly. Check for any recent injuries and make sure they have healed fully.

9. Do NOT have a pedicure before the Big Walk. You are not there to show off your feet.

10. Clip your toenails short. Lots of long distance walkers lose toenails if they are too long due to the constant rubbing of the inside of their shoes on their toes.

11. Make sure you have TWO sets of comfortable walking / hiking shoes. If you know the terrain is going to be more rugged, be practical and get hiking boots. Having a second set is smart in case the first set has any problems.

Mr T during an United Way Walk-a-thon in downtown Toronto
Day of the Big Walk

12. Take time once in awhile to stretch your legs a bit so you can avoid cramping.

13. Hydrate at least every 10 minutes. If going up rugged terrain, hydrate every 5 minutes.

14. Bring food and eat some of it while you walk. Don't worry about the calories, bring something that packs lots of energy in it.

15. Pace yourself. You don't have to be the fastest person in a walk-a-thon. It is not a race. Travel at a reasonable pace and take your time if need be.

After the Big Walk

16. Finish your walk with a cool-down. Stretches. Brief jogging in one spot. Talk to other people while hydrating / stretching.

17. When you are finished walking, drink a bottle of juice, chocolate milk, something with lots of vitamins in it. Korean vitamin drinks with ginseng in them for example are awesome. Even V8 juice is good if you like that stuff (I cannot stand V8). My personal preference is chocolate milk.

18. Daydreaming about a hot shower afterwards? Make it a cold shower or a cold swim instead. Having a cold shower reduces any swelling that may have occurred during your walk. Myself a cold relaxing swim is best, followed by a BBQ in the backyard.

Don't forget to eat afterwards!!! Preferably something with lots of nutrients and vitamins in it.



Happy Walking! :)

Is Canada's Wonderland cheaper than a Toronto Gym?

Okay, stay with me on this one...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Want to know what is even cheaper?

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

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

Unusual Amenities

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

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

And the vast majority of Toronto Parks services are free.

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

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

Toronto getting exercise after freak snowstorm + Snowshoeing

Last night the fiancée and I visited my future mother-in-law and the three of us watched the season finale of The Walking Dead - and marveled at the freak blizzard out the window. This is not so unusual for Canada, but it is unusual for April.

By the time we left to go home our car was covered (shown here on right) and the snow was falling so fast it was difficult to clean the car fast enough because the snow kept adding more.

When we got home I had to shovel the driveway out before we could even park the car, because it is on an uphill slope and it was too slippery to get the car up into the driveway properly until after it had been shoveled.

So thanks to the weather many of Toronto's residents are getting some extra exercise cleaning off their cars or shoveling their driveways.

Today is my day off so I am going snowshoeing for fun - in April.

If you have ever gone Snowshoeing before then you know it is an exhausting exercise. However I will point out that with modern snowshoes it is easier than the old fashioned snowshoes.


I will update this post later with some photos of my snowshoes in action. (See Update Further Below.)

Snowshoeing Notes and Tips

If you have poles, might as well use them. Keeps your arms moving = extra exercise.

Make sure your snowshoes actually fit you. I recommend trying them on inside before heading outside so you know how to put them on easily and that they do fit you.

Wear boots. Shoes won't do it. Maybe don't wear steel-toed boots like I do, but hey, I am used to them.

Dress warm in multiple layers. If you get too hot while exercising you can unzip or unbutton a layer.

Bring a drink with you. Water, tea, coffee, hot chocolate. Snowshoeing is thirsty work.

Pick a nice circular trail / route, possibly one with different options so you can pick and choose which way to go. Avoid steep hills.

Remember to wash off your snowshoes before storing them. 

The snowshoes in the photos and shown above, in case you are curious, are Yukon 930s (size large). Brand doesn't really matter so much so long as they work and do their job.

Update Below: Photos of my Snowshoes in Action.








Archery for Actors in Toronto

It seems as though I am building a growing reputation for training actors how to shoot and doing occasional work for TV shows / etc.

To date I have:

Trained two television actors how to shoot longbows for a period piece television series about the French monarchy.

Trained a theatre actress to shoot a recurve bow because part of a script required her to shoot an Olympic recurve bow out a window off of the stage.

Shot all of the trick shots during some slow-motion film work on behalf of Rice Krispies. (That was a lot of fun by the way. I would totally do more slow-motion filming in the future again.)

Did all of the archery shots for a sports documentary made by TSN.

Trained a Quebec musician how to do archery for an episode of a French language television show.

Appeared on an episode of Storage Wars Canada (OLN) because of my knowledge/collection of antique bows. (The bow they had me identify was not actually an antique. It was a circa 2000 Bear Grizzly.)

Doing various TV clips for CBC, CTV and CityTV.

All this work training theatre/TV actors and appearing on television has got me thinking however. Maybe I should offer lessons designed specifically for actors, which is what I have done in the past when teaching actors - tailored the classes to suit their needs. Longbow lessons for the actors who are doing period work, Recurve / Olympic Recurve lessons for the threatre actress who is shooting an Olympic recurve on stage.

Toronto does have a vibrant film, television and theatre industry after all. There is certainly a demand for more actors who can do archery properly, as opposed to the current standard which is actors who barely know how to shoot appearing in films/etc and looking like they don't even know how to shoot. So if you are an actor in Toronto and looking for archery lessons in Toronto then I am certainly available to teach you how to shoot properly.

Note - I think movie directors should also get archery lessons. Joss Whedon (director of The Avengers) could certainly use a lesson because he apparently wanted the actor (Jeremy Renner) to look "heroic" while shooting, no matter how mistakes the actor was making. Hawkeye's archery style was rather ridiculous. His drawing elbow is too high, his bow arm elbow is locked when it should be relaxed, he is squeezing the bow when his fingers should be relaxed, he is wearing TWO armguards on his bow arm because apparently the actor kept hitting his arm (due to his locked elbow) [if you look closely you can even see bruises on his bow arm], he is pulling to his chin when he should be pulling to his mouth, he has both eyes open when he should be closing his right eye since he is left eye dominant, his finger positions on the string are uneven and curved inwards when they should be even and aligned, and it looks like he is leaning backwards a bit - a sign of bad posture. There is a lovely article on GeekDad titled "Hawkeye, World's Worst Archer" which doesn't go in to all the details I just did, but the idea that people are calling him "Hawkeye, World's Worst Archer" is rather amusing.



There is a long history of professional archers teaching actors how to shoot. Below are a few examples.

Howard Hill teaching Errol Flynn for "The Adventures of Robin Hood".
Burt Reynolds and Jon Voight received archery training prior to their roles in "Deliverance".

Fred Bear remarked that Burt Reynolds caught on quickly and was a natural.
Sometimes the professional archers would also appear in cameo roles in the films or be tasked to perform any of the trick shots during the filming, like Howard Hill who did all of the tricks shots for "The Adventures of Robin Hood" and appeared in the competition scene of the film.

What bothers me (and many archers/film critics) is when a new film comes out and the actor/actress clearly doesn't know how to shoot or someone taught them the wrong way to shoot that style of bow. A famous example of this is Jennifer Lawrence of The Hunger Games franchise. I have already explained in a previous post why Jennifer Lawrence's shooting style is wrong and thus I am instead going to point you to that older post and the video below, in case you are curious about learning why that particular style is wrong.

See The #1 Mistake made by Amateur Archers: Not Anchoring Properly to learn more about why Jennifer Lawrence was trained wrong.



Happy Shooting!

Going to the Toronto Sportsmen's Show

This Saturday myself and several other archers from the Toronto Archery Club will be attending the Toronto Sportsmen's Show at the International Centre at 6900 Airport Road.

The 5 day event started today, March 16th, and continues until Sunday March 20th.

2016 Ticket Prices are:

Adult: $20.00
Seniors (60+): $13.00
Juniors (13-17 yrs): $13.00
Kids (12 & Under): Free!

The Toronto Sportsmen's Show features many exhibitors / speakers on topics such as archery, hunting, fishing, canoeing, kayaking, boating, falconry and many other outdoor activities.

The photos below are from the 2015 Toronto Sportsmen's Show.


Lots of compound bows for sale.

Recurve bows too!

I want to get one of these someday.

Or build one.

I have never seen men so fascinated with clothing before.

Owls and falcons are awesome!

Watching the kids try archery.

Last year they didn't just have one archery range, they had two.
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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