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2020 was a Weird Year...

We all know that 2020 was a strange year. COVID and the resulting lockdowns threw many industries into a state of disarray and chaos. Now that it is 2021 we can look back on the chaos that unfolded and see how it affected personal trainers and gyms.

Toronto Gyms during 2020

Many Toronto gyms that shut down during COVID I suspect are no more. People cancelled their gym memberships, the gyms were unable to pay the rent, and many of those that had expensive rent / not enough people paying for gym memberships are long since gone.

Good riddance to some of them honestly, because many of the gyms out there are in the habit of ripping off their clients and trying to sell them on $100 per hour personal trainers (meanwhile the personal trainer working for such gyms are getting paid less than $20 per hour).

Ultimately that is bad for the client because they're paying way more for a personal trainer than they should be.

It is bad for the personal trainer because they're being paid barely more than minimum wage.

And it is bad for the reputations of personal trainers in general, thus hurting the industry.

Thus I for one applaud various gyms being forced out of business. Maybe then they will finally rethink their business model and make a business model that is based on charging a fair price and not gouging their clients with ridiculous rates.

Personal Trainers during 2020

For myself it was a huge damper on the number of archery lessons I was able to teach during 2020, but it ultimately led to me finally making a change I had been wanting to make for years.

In 2020 I switched to only teaching one-on-one archery lessons.

This change was important to me because I find teaching is far less stressful when only teaching one student at a time, but I also find that students learn more when they have one-on-one instruction.

Thus it is good for me and good for students.

One-on-one lessons also meant it was safer with respect to physical distancing.

Previously I was also teaching two or three people at a time (often couples, siblings, friends), and while I did enjoy teaching many of those students it was still more stressful for me to be teaching people in small groups like that. Many years ago I even tried teaching 4 people at once and quickly determined that people got distracted too easily when they were in a group of 4 or more, and that teaching such a large group is both very stressful and potentially dangerous.

Honestly, teaching large groups is a bit like herding cats. If I was to ever teach a large group like that I would rather hire extra instructors to help me teach the lesson. (Some of my former students I think would be good at teaching, given the opportunity.)

Anywho, back to the issue of COVID and 2020...

Some personal trainers switched to teaching online during COVID, using Zoom or similar websites/apps to teach. Eg. A colleague of mine switched to teaching her dance classes online via Zoom.

However while teaching dance classes might work well for some types of personal trainers or instructors, for other instructors it doesn't translate well to be teaching swimming or boxing or archery via Zoom. Yoga isn't so bad, perhaps because people are used to watching yoga videos, but it is still better in person.

Thus I suspect that many personal trainers during 2020 switched careers. Speaking for myself I know I did a lot more writing and focused on being an author during 2020. As of January 1st 2021 I have published 7 new books in the past 12 months, and I have 5 more books coming out later this year.

I suspect that many other personal trainers have switched careers during 2020, switched to teaching online, or possibly even retired from the business.

Going forward I suspect that this may be an opportunity for archery instructors like myself and people who teach sports / outdoor physical activities. People during 2021 are going to want more outdoor activities. They're going to be in high demand.

Thus personal trainers / sports instructors like myself may find themselves swamped with requests for lessons / activities. Especially as we near herd immunity when more people are vaccinated.

I expect a lot of people will be signing up for archery lessons in Toronto this year. Especially for the summer months of June, July and August. I am still offering lessons from May to November this year, but I expect June, July and August to be the busiest time of year for outdoor activities.

September and October are technically my favourite time of year to teach outdoors, weather wise. Not too hot, not too cold. Not too windy or wet. Just perfect.

Anyone wanting to sign up for archery lessons for Spring, Summer or Autumn should email me and ask about availability. Right now is the best time to ask. If you wait until June to ask I might be fully booked on certain days.

Hay Bale Archery Backstop


"How far in to a round bale would one of my arrows go when [shot] from the same kind of distance as we do in class?"

- Michelle H.



Hey Michelle!

It will vary upon the poundage of the bow, the weight of the arrow, how much damage the hay bale has previously suffered, etc. Some shots might only go in a few inches, others more so. If it has been shot repeatedly in the same location you will discover it goes a lot deeper.

I think you mentioned previously that you were planning on using the hay bales as a backstop, behind a target made of cardboard, plastic or foam? The hay bales should make a decent backstop, but you will probably still want to swap them out once per year as they will get rained on and start to smell/etc.

Some people even build a roof for their archery target so the hay doesn't get rained on as much.
Another thing to look into is a traditional straw archery target, like the kind used during the middle ages. They're inexpensive but last a long time because they're woven together like a rug.

Charles Moffat


What is Reverse Dieting? How do you do it to Maintain Weight?


"What is reverse dieting?"

"How do you use reverse dieting to maintain weight?"


Reverse Dieting
is all about weight maintenance.

The goal with Reverse Dieting is to reach a person's ideal weight and then maintain that weight. Often people will go on a diet, reach their desired weight, and then a few months or years later they regain the weight and feel bad about having regained the weight because they didn't know how to maintain their desired weight.

Reverse Dieting also assumes that a person is maintaining the same level of fitness during the time period, and thus the primary focus is on what they are eating.

There are a number of ways to do Reverse Dieting...

#1. Trial and Error

In this version you eat what you think you should be eating and focus on healthy foods while avoiding sugary foods and high carbs, but you check your weight daily to see if your weight has gone up or down and then keep track of your weight fluctuations to see whether you should be eating more or less.

Gained two pounds in the last week? Eat less. Lost two pounds in the opposite direction? Eat slightly more.

#2. Calorie Tracking

Another popular (and highly successful) way of doing Reverse Dieting is to track your calorie intake and over time determine how many calories you need per day (and/or per week) in order to maintain your ideal weight.

#3. Health Food Days and High Carb Days

This method is about trying to achieve a balance by simply determining which days you can eat healthy foods and which days you allow yourself to enjoy more carbs. I recommend starting with 6 healthy food days and 1 high carb day. Then check your weight every Monday for 3 weeks.

If your weight is still dropping raise the high carb days to 2 and the healthy food days go down to 5. Do that for 3 weeks and track your weight fluctuations every Monday. If it is still dropping then you need to be eating more, which could mean you should be eating more in general or you should add another high carbs day, raising the number to 3 high carbs days per week.

#4. Do all three at once! Or combinations of 2.

#5. Come up with your own system.


Is there a Right or Wrong way to do Reverse Dieting?

The trick to Reverse Dieting is that there is no Right or Wrong system. There is only the system of diet that works FOR YOU.

Tracking high carb days, tracking your weight and some trial and error is to be expected if you want to succeed at finding your ideal diet in order to maintain a specific weight. You have to determine what amount of food you need personally in order to achieve your ideal weight, and you don't fit into a cookie cutter mould of expectations, so you need to expect some trial and error with whatever method you end up using.

Plus you can expect life to throw you some curve balls, like whenever you get sick, when you get injured, and whenever you cannot exercise enough because it is winter or raining a lot outside. So whatever system you choose to use you need to add some flexibility within the system so you can adjust it to fit your personal needs at the time.

Eg. Going on vacation? Expect to be exercising more while on vacation, but also eating more. Even so you might find yourself coming back from vacation having lost or gained a few pounds.

Life is a balancing act. Roll with it.

3 Frequently Asked Archery Questions

Archery Questions

1. What poundage should I start with? I know that some bows are harder to pull back than others, which should I start with the easy ones or the hard ones?

2. Where can I get archery equipment?

3. Can I make my own bow?  I have seen some videos on YouTube and I would like to try it out.


1. You should start with a lower poundage.

If you're an adult I usually recommend people starting with either 20 to 25 lbs, depending upon their physical strength. You want to start with something easier so you can practice proper archery form - which is an ENDURANCE activity - and not being physically exhausted after only doing a few shots.

People who start with 30 lbs or more often do so out of ego (or lack of knowledge), but their form suffers from it because they are frequently shooting too quickly before they have adjusted their form properly. This develops into a bad habit of sloppy form and equates to sloppy accuracy.

What you want to do instead is to think of your bow(s) like dumbbells. You start off with the some lower weight dumbbells and build your endurance/strength, and then as you get stronger you start getting some heavier dumbbells.

You want to use that same philosophy with your bows. You start with an easier 20 or 25 lb bow and then progressively get stronger bows. So if you start with a 25 lb bow then your second bow might be 30 lbs, your 3rd bow might be 40 lbs, etc.

Also when buying a beginner bow I recommend getting a 3-piece bow where the limbs can be removed and swapped out. This way you can start with 25 lb limbs and when you want to go to a higher poundage then you just buy extra 30 lb limbs.

This then gives you the option of switching to harder or easier limbs when you go to the archery range as you might have 2 or 3 different sets of limbs to choose from.

"What limbs do I want to use today?"

2. There are archery specific stores you can go to, or you can try hunting/fishing stores that also sell archery equipment (although they might have a limited selection and only sell compound bows or crossbows). has a list of recommended stores in the GTA and southern Ontario which you can look into at

With respect to specific brands and models I usually recommend the Samick Sage. It is an affordable bow, usually costing $150 to $180 CDN, it isn't bad to look at, and it offers everything that a beginner archer will want in their first bow.

3. Yes, tt is certainly possible to make your own bow, although I recommend using a simpler design when trying to make your first bow.

Eg. A flatbow made out of oak, ash or hickory may be the easiest thing to make and a good thing to try when making your first bow.

Think of it like a progression, a learning process. Make something simple for your first bow.

A normal flatbow is a very good way to start off.

A pyramid bow is a bit more complicated, but the handle looks more interesting.

And there are other more complicated bow designs that you can look into, but I recommend practicing making flatbows and pyramid bows first.

I also recommend getting a book:

"The Traditional Bowyer's Bible, Volume One"

Technically there are four volumes of this book series, but the first book is the most important book that anyone who wants to do bow making should definitely read. So if you read the first book, especially the section on bow design, and you make several bows and decide you want to learn more then you can look into buying books II, III and IV.

In my case I also went a step further than just buying the books. Years ago I also invested in getting bow making lessons from a local bowyer here in Toronto, which is certainly more expensive than just buying some books and doing it yourself, but for me I felt it was important to see what other bowyers were doing in their workshops so I could perhaps learn some tips and tricks to bow making that I wouldn't necessarily learn from a book or from a YouTube channel.

I also habitually watch woodworking episodes of "The Woodwright's Shop" from PBS, which isn't about bow making, but certainly informative in other ways. Many of those episodes are now available via YouTube.

There are lots of YouTube channels out there on making bows too. One of my favourites is Mick Grewcock from the UK. I find his videos very relaxing and enjoyable, and there is a lot of quality effort put into his videos.

Below I have included a video from Mick Grewcock's YouTube channel in which he makes an ash flatbow in a day.

Do you need a personal trainer to learn how to do the splits?


 "Hi...are you still available to provide split training? I am seeking for a trainer to help me achieve the splits."

 - Kamal B.




Hello Kamal!

I presume your email is in response to my 2013 post titled "How to do the Splits".

However I am sorry to disappoint you, I am not available to do such training right now (due to COVID), but also you don't really need a personal trainer to train yourself how to do the splits. All you really need to do is to be doing the Three Exercises listed on that page daily.

1. Each Butterfly Stretch takes 5 to 10 seconds to do and you're supposed to do 10 of them. If you take a short break between each stretch you should be able to complete 10 of them in about 5 minutes.

2. Knees and Leg Stretches take 30 to 60 seconds each and you want to do 5 for each leg, so 10 total. You shouldn't really need a break between the stretches, but if you are taking short breaks then it will take about 5 to 15 minutes to do all 10 stretches. So on average about 10 minutes.

3. The Standing Leg Stretches take 10 seconds each and you want to do 10 for each leg, so 20 total. With short breaks you should be able to do 20 stretches in about 7 minutes.

The 4th activity of course is attempting to do the splits, but I don't recommend even trying this until week 3 or 4 of consistently doing the stretches.

Now if you've been doing some math you will have noticed it only takes about 22 minutes per day to do the stretches. Thus you don't really need a personal trainer to watch you do the stretches and my minimum pay rate is for 1 hour of my time, so you'd be paying for the full hour and you'd have to do some other kind of exercises for the other 38 minutes. I would be really bored watching the stretches however as you don't really need me (or any other trainer) to help you do these particular exercises.

Many people are able to successfully do the splits after 30 days of doing the stretches, but obviously "mileage may vary" with this depending upon the person's commitment to remembering to do the stretches every day and their personal level of fitness / flexibility before they started doing the stretches.

I wish you luck in your journey and hope you will make the stretches part of your daily routine so you can eventually reach your goal.

Charles Moffat

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