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Not available at the App Store - Blood, sweat and tears

Hey Toronto!

So you have all the latest apps from the app store that calculate how much physical activity you are doing, give you tips on what to do, and quite possibly is spamming you with advertising from local stores selling protein powder...

Now what?

The truth is having a bunch of apps on your smart phone won't make you go out and exercise. Finding the motivation to exercise is waaaaaaaaay more important than anything an app can do.

After all, what is the point of having an app that measures your jogging speed, calories burned while jogging, etc if you never actually build up the nerve to go jogging?

The blood, sweat and tears needed to actually exercise - whether you are jogging, weightlifting, swimming, cycling or whatever it is you are doing - cannot be purchased at any app store.

That is where a personal trainer comes in.

A personal trainer can motivate you to get outside and exercise - but to do that you first need to be motivated to spend some $$$ to actually hire a personal trainer.

The next possibility - my favourite - is to take up a sport that you love / always wanted to try. eg. If you always wanted to run a marathon, time to start jogging and practicing for that marathon. Or if you always wanted to get into archery, then it is time to do so.

Having the latest exercise gadgets, expensive dumbbells, latest exercise apps won't actually get you exercising. But a sport will. Personal training will force you to keep appointments, force you to exercise, encourage you to exercise during your own free time, and encourage you to improve the quality of the foods you are consuming so you are eating more healthy food and less junk food.

Below are some savvy photos of young women with their smart phones - presumably exercising. But the reality is that these are models being paid for a photo gig. Just because you see it in a photo doesn't mean you will actually exercise and look like that too.

But taking the dog for a walk to the park is a good start. Why don't you go now?




8 Fun Summer Activities

So... you are on vacation and looking for some fun right?

Here are 8 ideas for fun things to do this summer that will get you exercising!

#1. Snorkeling - Honestly, it is actually EASIER than regular swimming.



#2. Bicycling - Get that bicycle outside and explore the great outdoors / Toronto!



#3. Rock Climbing - Not as expensive as you might think, and very easy to get into if you have the Niagara Escarpment near you. Hear that Toronto? Get outside!



#4. Gardening - More fun if you love plants, less fun if you despise mosquitoes.



#5. Water Pistol Tag - Fun for you, fun for the kids, and fun for anyone who is overheating. (More fun if you can only shoot someone who did not shoot you. Same rules as "no touch backs" basically.)



#6. Archery Tag - Wait, what??? What is archery tag??? See below.



#7. Canoeing or Kayaking - Because canoe / kayak rentals really are not that expensive (there are multiple companies offering canoe rentals and it has driven the price down) and totally worth it.



#8. Make up your sport. eg. Bicycle Archery Tag or Canoe Archery Tag

Because new ways to have fun are just waiting to be invented.

Aha! Snorkeling archery!


Sculpture as Exercise

Rock Art made at Ashbridges Bay in Toronto
Want to learn a new exercise that employs both creativity and your muscles?

Try Rock Art / Rock Balancing.

I got introduced to rock balancing years ago (2011) and I have a few tips to pass on to would-be rock art sculptors.

#1. Learn to balance smaller rocks first.

#2. Wear gloves on your hands and steel toed boots on your feet. Protect yourself first because hurting your toes and fingers will REALLY HURT!

#3. When lifting larger rocks or even medium sized rocks, lift with your legs, not your back. If you have back problems you should probably be wearing a back brace.

#4. If you can barely lift a rock, you probably have no business trying to balance it. See Tip #1 over again.

#5. Try to find good quality rocks that balance easier. The best rocks have lots of crevices in them that allow you to balance them on a corner or bottom using 3 points (approximatly 120 degrees away from each other) so that rock won't roll in any direction.

#6. If it is windy outside don't bother. Any wind gusts of 30 kmph or more will knock your rocks over.

#7. When attempting to balance a larger rock get someone else to help you. Make sure they are following Tip #2 as well.

#8. Remember to hydrate. It gets hot outside in the sun! Best times of year to do rock balancing is May- April and September-October. June, July and August will be too hot and will wear you down physically faster so bring LOTS of drinking water with you.

#9. Bring snacks. All that exercise makes you hungry. Protein bars, sandwiches, chicken salads, anything nutritious.

#10. Have fun and bring a camera!

Rock Art Balancing, 2011

Archery Instructor Testimonials x 4

"Thank you for all the lessons."

- Yunrou Z., July 2014

"Charles is a very attentive and detail oriented archery instructor. You can tell he is passionate about archery and teaching archery, giving 110% to students and giving free archery advice even when he is not on the clock. One on one lessons with him are educational, entertaining and you could not ask for a more dedicated instructor. I have enjoyed every lesson, seen a dramatic improvement in my arrow clusters and I know this would not have happened without such a committed instructor."

- Timothy F., July 2014

"Thank you again for the lesson! I am amazed at how much I learned in one lesson. Also thank you for the advice on what equipment I will need to practice archery on my own, the advice was invaluable."

- Rebecca H., June 2014

"Thank you again for both lessons. When it started raining during the first lesson I thought the rest was just forfeit. The 2nd lesson [half of one due to it raining halfway through the first lesson] saw a huge improvement to my form and clusters. Keep up the great work and keep shooting those moving targets!"

- Gerry W., June 2014

Note - The last testimonial is referring to my personal practice of shooting at tiny moving targets attached to the target butt. Below are photos of examples.







Top Five Holiday Workouts - Beating the Holiday Bulge

If you're planning your next holiday before you board the plane it's important to think about your health.

Losing your fitness and packing on flab instead of muscle whilst you're away is a curse many cardio kings often have to endure; however, that doesn't have to be the way.

Staying active during your time in the sun needn't take more than a few minutes a day and will help ensure your beach body doesn't turn into a beach ball body overnight.

Our Top Five Holiday Exercises

Let's face it, putting on some extra pounds is a necessary evil when you're on a break, but if you follow our top five holiday workouts then you can fend off the negative effects of excess without eating into your sunbathing session:

1. Drink at 30,000ft - Airplanes can wreak havoc on both your weight and your immune system, so it's important to counteract the impact of your flight as much as possible. According to a recent article in the Daily Telegraph you should drink one pint of water every hour to avoid dehydration.

Changes in atmospheric pressure mean an aircraft's cabin is extremely dry and when your body becomes dehydrated you leave yourself more exposed to infections.

2. Take a Dip - Virtually every holiday destination has a swimming pool or, better still, the sea in close proximity and you'd be a fool not to make use of it. Aside from being a way to cool off when the heat becomes too much, swimming is a fantastic cardiovascular workout. Aim to complete around 20 minutes of continuous swimming at a steady pace each day and you'll be able to enjoy that dessert or extra drink you've been craving.

3. Use Your Body - Your body is the most efficient and portable piece of exercise equipment you own and something you should make full use of when on holiday. On top of providing a great strength aid, body-weight exercises will help improve your cardiac performance.

The main areas you want to target when performing body-weight exercises on holiday are your major muscle groups. The larger the muscle, the harder your heart has to work which, in turn, means you need to spend less time training in order to maintain your current fitness level.

Our top tip for performing body-weight exercises would be to perform each exercise ten times for three sets and target the following movements: Squats, push-ups, triceps dips, planks, burpees and sit-ups.

4. Talk a Walk - Current fitness wisdom states that regular runs on the beach can cause undue stress on the ankle and knee joints; however, that doesn't mean you shouldn't utilize this resource. A brisk walk along the beach each day (aim for around 20 minutes) will elevate your heart rate just enough to maintain your cardiovascular health without putting too much stress on your joints.

5. Stretch it Out - If you don't want to feel like you need a gastric band when you return from your summer holiday then consider packing a set exercise bands. These elastic strips will take up very little space in your luggage and are perfect for replicating a number of weighted exercises. Our advice is to use a band for the following exercises: shoulder presses, upright rows, press-ups, bicep curls, single leg lunges and squats.

Each exercise should utilize the band's elasticity which means you'll need to either attach it to the bottom of a door or stand on the band. After anchoring one end of the band you should perform each exercise as you would if you were holding a light weight and perform 8 reps for 2-3 sets.

BONUS -  Take Some Sporting Equipment with You - If you have a favourite sport, why not take some of your equipment with you and practice your chosen sport while on vacation? It doesn't matter whether it is tennis, golf, archery, etc - if you have the extra luggage space and have the option to bring it you could potentially bring anything that is small enough to count as luggage. A bicycle might not be so good however, but look into renting a bicycle when you get there.
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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