Fitness and survival……..

There are tons of article written on which caliber is best for survival. Same goes for how much water you should have and which water filter is the best. Let’s throw in the countless opinions on why you should own this knife or that knife above all others. Know what I rarely hear about? Fitness as related to survival.

six million dollar manI am no exercise or fitness expert – but in my 43 years I have spent much of it “trying” to get fit and looked for workout programs to survive a SHTF situation. Right now I am in the best “fitness level” of my entire life. I am better, stronger, faster. No, my name is not Steve Austin.

As a teenager in the late 80’s I was HUGE into bodybuilding. I ate an extremely low fat diet and worked out with free weights for 3 hours a day, 6 days a week. Know what happened? I couldn’t gain any weight, or strength, and my endurance was terrible  My fitness program was very one sided – trying to build my chest, back and arms to “get the chicks”. Yeah – worked decent for that!

Over the next 20 years I was in and out of gyms lifting weights, running, and mountain biking. I used to run short distance sprints.


Hours and hours of basketball summer after summer used be take up much of my time. Brazilian ju-jitsu and Okinawan karate have been infrequent activities. I have been practicing Filipino stickfighting for the past 9 years. P90X was great but I lacked self-discipline to go out in the garage, stick that DVD in, and work my as off.

Today I Crossfit – which I love and I have found it to work. Why? It combines so many attributes of many of the things  have done in the past. I lift weights – sometimes light and sometimes extremely heavy. Bench press, cleans, squat, dead lift, overhead press – and more. I run – sometimes short distances and sometimes long. I hate running. I row. I hate rowing more than running. I push up, sit up, air squat, do pull ups, and climb ropes.

Fitness and survival. I believe the key to getting fit for survival is VARIETY. If you run miles and miles and then believe you are fit for survival – good luck when you are called upon to lift something heavy and carry it over distance.  If you go to the YMCA and bench for hours and do some pull downs – good luck when you need to travel 10 miles as quickly as possibly. How about the big muscle-bound guy that throws his back out while setting up camp?

Variety is key. Stressing the body many different ways, different angles, different intensity levels is required. THIS  to me is the best way to try to duplicate the stresses of a survival situation.

– Rourke



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  1. Great post. I’ve always thought that hiking would be a great way to get and stay fit. Practice survival. Pack up, hike in, set up camp, chop wood and practice survival.

  2. I agree that sometimes fitness gets pushed far down the list. Keeping yourself healthy if for no other reason than to ward off illness is very important. I have dealt with weight issues, and I still deal with them. For me its even more important. I started running a few years ago, and I really enjoy it. However I have seen that being 1 dimensional can be problematic. Its nice to be able to run 10 to 15 miles, but in a SHTF scenario I need to be able to do that carrying up to a 40 to 50 pound pack, while needing to sprint some sections and crawl others. Crossfit is a good complete package, but I have found it tough to do on your own. Variety and consistency are key. Thanks for the post

  3. I have a desk job and do get out more in summer with camping and dancing on the wknds but do need to exercise more ~ recently I’ve joined a like wise group and they’ve done some hiking prior to my joining. Our first meeting where I was able to attend we brought our BOB backpacks and discussed what we had in them. Then it came to putting them on and wearing them. It was a big difference ~ so I’ve recently been wearing mine around the house when doing chores, and will add sprinting and walking up and down my street with it on (its a side street) Its loaded down w everything I need for a 3 day bugout or camp trip , cept the water bladder and bottles, those come next (have water filtering device inside too) and will add to the weight when I do; this will not only help in my summer hiking & camping but for that what if time. Note, last summer I tested the BOB on a campout trip and fined tuned some items needed or didnt need. I look forward to this summer to do some more hiking and testing out the supplies; but also know bad weather would be good to exercise in this too. ~ oh darn ..forgot I need a poncho for my pack…off to the store.

  4. I think you hit the “nail on the head” with Crossfit logic. I too have done all the “regular” stuff, even kettlebells for core work, but for tactical advantange and practical strength and endurance you can’t beat Crossfit or Sealfit. Yes it will make you hate it at times, but the variety and fitness and remembering your goal makes it worthwhile. Remember, NOTHING is free, especially when it comes to fitness. There is no magic pill or easy way out. You HAVE to do your “dirt time”. The old adage of “no pain no gain” applies here.

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