How long have you been prepping, now, 6 months? A year? More? I bet it’s not every day that someone comes to you and says:
Look, you’ve been doing it wrong. You’re neglecting a critical aspect of your preparations that could potentially kill you in a disaster.
Well, I am…
I know, I know… Everything is crucial and anything can kill you if you choose to ignore it. But this is different. In fact, this is a game changer.
Your physical ability to run, climb, walk long distances, carry a heavy bug out bag, work the farm, fight multiple attackers, carry an injured person and so on, these all depend on how fit you are.
And when I say “fit”, I’m not referring to having a six pack and look like a supermodel. I’m not talking about being the next Iron Man or turning into a competitive bodybuilder.
I’m talking about a balance between strength, speed, endurance and flexibility that will help you get you to safety when your life is in danger.
Too many preppers, although are well stocked with food, water and ammo, are “so overweight” they’ll not be able to run for a hundred yards when disaster strikes. Yes, they are good people but they’re completely blind to the fact that they’ll be among the first to die should they ever have to run for their life.
Well, it’s not really just about running. When bugging out, even a long walk can exhaust some of the preppers that aren’t even overweight, just not in good shape.
40% of the adults in the United States are overweight. 40%! Obesity is more frequent in adults between the ages of 40 and 59 than those aged between 20 and 39. In other words, if you’re over 40, you probably have way more pounds than you should.
Those extra pounds are just a few of the reasons that might prevent you from moving to safety when you won’t have a choice.
In a post-survival scenario, the number of situations where your physical and mental strength are going to make the difference are so numerous, I don’t even know where to begin. Things like:
- running for your life from a disaster;
- bugging out into the woods at a medium-paced walk;
- jumping over obstacles;
- pulling yourself out of the water (fast river, flash flood etc.) with a string/cord
- jumping from a distance (which may potentially cripple you);
- fighting or outrunning one or multiple attackers;
- working in the garden;
- digging a well;
- hunting and fishing;
- …and many, many more activities that are going to wear you out completely if you’re not up to it.
What I’m trying to suggest is that getting in shape is not only important for people who are more oriented towards bush-craft/wilderness. Pretty much any scenario requires that you get into shape, including “daily SHTF” scenarios as I like to call them, such as electric shocks, drowning (well, you need to pull yourself out of the water, right?), tornadoes, sinking cars, fire (what will you do until the fire marshals get there?) and on and on.
Ok, I know what you’re probably saying right now. You’re already doing some drills. You’ve already walked 2 miles with the bug-out bag on your back.
That’s fantastic. Most preppers could barely run to their car to bug out, let alone through the woods or crowded city streets. If you’re already doing some workouts, you will find this rare course to give you dozens of other ideas on working out and introducing variety in your fitness training.
Here’s the thing. Doing some workouts may give you an advantage but you really don’t know what you may be up against.
You might have to jump really high or climb a tree quickly or run at a fast pace for way beyond what you’re used to…
Your heart might be unable to pump enough oxygenated blood to your heart and lungs…
Your joints might not going to be able to withstand all the pressure, particularly when you do a lot of sudden movements…
Your spine might bend under the pressure of all the heavy things you’re going to carry…
And, of course, your muscle are just not going to be strong enough to help you do some of the heavy duty stuff I just described. The moment you’re in serious s*hit, your body is just going to fail you.
Look, I’m not by any means a doctor. In fact, I strongly encourage you to pay your doc a visit, get a thorough examination and take all the tests in order to evaluate your current health. Based on that, your doctor will let you or, on the contrary, forbid you to do some of the exercises outlined below.
Now, regardless of your current situation, let me say one thing to you:
This is not your fault!
Our modern day of life is extremely different than what we used to be thousands of years ago. We wake up in the morning, go to our office job and, even if we don’t work at an office, the amount of physical work we have to do is minimal. We get home and let our appliances cook our meal for us; all we have to do is move a few dishes around and press a few buttons.
Let me make it clear: you are not to blame for your body’s evolutionary response to such a dramatic change in our lifestyle. We evolved too fast and that’s that. But you are the only one responsible for keeping yourself in shape, fit and ready for whatever may come.
Caveat: you need to be healthy if you’re going to do everything I teach you. Sure, walking never killed anyone (as far as I know) but, again, I highly recommend checking in with your doctor before beginning to make sure doing the workouts won’t cause bigger problems in the long runs.
Things like asthma, arthritis, allergies and ankle and joint problems could restrict the type of exercises you can do as well as the duration of your workouts.
Of course, I have a responsibility as well. To you. My goal is to take you from wherever you are right now with your physique and give you back your strength, your stamina and make you feel better in your own skin?
Sounds good? Great. Here’s my action plan for you. We’re going to focus on four key aspects, namely:
- …and flexibility
Each of them has a set of exercises you can do and you’ll be the one choosing them. You don’t have to do all of them but the more the better.
Here’s how we’re gonna do this. In the main course (this one) I’m going to give you the full list of exercises you can do, complete with explanations and advice on how to get the most out of your workouts.
In the workout bonus, you’re gonna get a few dozen workouts that are based on the exercises presented here. So the two courses are linked to one another and I recommend you use them in conjunction.
Aerobic and Anaerobic Activities
Every exercise you’re going to do can basically put in one or two categories: aerobic or anaerobic. I know you probably know about aerobics, right? Maybe you’ve even taken a class at some point in the past.
Aerobic exercise is a low intensity long-term exercise that requires “free oxygen”. This is also known as cardio and is really getting that’s really causing your heart to work hard at pumping oxygen. Think running, walking, swimming etc.
Anaerobic exercise is a high intensity short-term exercise. Think weight lifting and sprinting. Do them to develop power, speed and strength.
Now, the truth is you need both of these if you’re going to become a fit prepper. You’ll need to run or hike as well as to lift heavy objects, climb trees or fences and so on. That’s “the bad new”, which really isn’t all that bad because it just means more variety in your workouts.
The good news is that you don’t need to train that hard. You don’t need to become an Olympic athlete or the next Iron Man. In fact, studies have shown that overtraining not only increased the chances of injury but doesn’t do anything to promote a longer, healthier life than average, medium-paced exercise.
While most people who go to gyms train 4-5 times a week (plus running and sprinting and, sometimes, doing even two work-outs a day), you only have to train 2 or 3 times.
Training only once a week isn’t enough as it doesn’t allow you to progress fast enough and to give all your muscles a proper workout. You have over 650 different skeletal muscles in your body and each of them is more or less involved in your training, depending on the particular exercise you.
You don’t have to train each of them one by one, of course. In what follows I’m going to teach you compound movements/exercises that will target dozens of muscles at the same time. What you do have to do is make sure you’re CONSISTENT with your workouts and do them in the long run.
Don’t start doing them 3 times a week only to quit after a month. A month is not enough to really get into shape. Instead, do it twice a week but make absolutely sure you never miss a workout (unless you’re sick or some unforeseen event has happened).
If you miss a workout because of random things that happen in your life, you have no excuse. You should have predicted them and planned better.
How to Stay Motivated
You know what they say right: disaster is always 6 months away. That being said, it’s somewhat of a challenge to keep fit without knowing for sure if something will happen. In what follows, I’m going to give you a few tips to keep yourself motivated in the long run.
You see, I was always the good guy as a kid… and somewhat of a dork. I would always do my homework and study “because I had to”. See, I stuck to doing the right thing in the long run because there was a little voice in my head that would tell me that, unless I studied, I would never amount to anything in life and end up poor and miserable.
In my humble opinion, the way you keep yourself motivated for something it make sense for you to do is to be logical in the long run. See, most people are emotional. They get comfortable, they get lazy, they go for quick fixes, magic pills and, even though they logically know diet and exercise are what they should do, their logical side is not strong enough for them to actually stick to it.
So here’s where you need to start. Say to yourself every single day that physical exercise might save your life when SHTF. Constantly slap your emotional side with your logical side and keep the latter in charge.
Read the news of all the horrible things happening in the world today. Think about how much being in shape matters when SHTF (probably more than your food and guns, that’s for sure).
Next, let’s talk about habits. You know what they say:
Motivation gets you started, habits keep you going.
The key to getting and staying in shape is to do your workouts even when you don’t feel like it and even when you might have other important things to do. Just say to yourself:
I don’t care, I’m going to do my work out anyway.
So how do you stick to habits? How do you keep going once that initial spark is gone? A few suggestions that worked (and still work) for me:
- Think about your family, your kids and how much they’ll need you in times of crisis;
- Think how much your self-esteem will grow because you’ll be following through with your plan instead of quitting like the rest of the sheeple.
- Add variety to your work-outs. Try something new.
- This is, in a way, the opposite of the above suggestion but find a few exercises that you truly love and train yourself to love them even more.
These will help build anticipation on your workout days that include them. I, for example, really enjoy doing those seated leg raises that work my quadriceps.
In the end, you have to understand that being in shape is more than just about running and lifting weights. It’s a lifestyle. It’s a balancing act between exercise, nutrition, your work and family life and you shouldn’t neglect any of them.
One last thing to remember is that it’s better to start with one workout a week and keep that up forever than to do it 5 times a week for two weeks and then give up completely.
You spend too much energy overtraining because you happen to have time, then life hits you in the face and you can’t go as often as you can. Your motivation falls and you end up completely discouraged because you remember about your first week in training and realize you can’t keep it up.
On the other hand, if you could hold that energy inside you and start small, with one or two workouts per week, you actually help build further anticipation so, the weekend after your first workout, you’ll be looking forward to doing another one. After 3 workouts the first week, if you’re not used to this, you’ll be physically and mentally fatigued and won’t look forward to the following week.
Keeping your enthusiasm up no matter what is key, I cannot stress this enough.
Humans are goal oriented. If there’s nothing in it for them, they won’t do it. And, a lot of the times, the reason we quit is because we lose sight of what we want to accomplish.
This is why it’s important to measure certain key metrics such as how fast you run 100 yards or how fast you swim or how much weight you pump… so that, the following week, when you’re doing the same workout again, you have a personal best to beat. This will only make things more interesting and ensure you don’t quit along the way or start training less and less often.
Try Something New
Surely when you were in high-school or college, you used to like some sport. Maybe it was ping-pong or basketball or just normal activities such as long walks or hiking. Chances are you’re still going to like doing them and add some variety to your work-outs.
Although I’ve given you quite a few exercises throughout the course, there are hundreds more you can try:
- power skips
- foot fire
- diver’s push-up
- mountain climber
- squat jumps
OK, this is it for today, but rest assured I’ll follow up with other articles, toughing on most of the aspects of survival fitness. Some of the things we’ll be discussing in future articles in this series include:
- how to warm up properly (very important if you’re not in your youth years anymore)
- how to easily improve your endurance, so you’re able to bug out on foot for longer distances
- how to improve your strength little by little (basic weight training exercises)
- how to improve your speed and flexibility
- this one is really cool: how to make your own gym equipment!
So stay tuned, and do pin this article for later on your favorite Pinterest board!
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3 thoughts on “Introduction to Survival Fitness”
The days you ain’t got it you still go and you still at least stretch and move.
Ok, the intro sounds great. Are you compensating any for age and old injuries? I’ve read too many articles stating that some exercises are not good for older people, my self included. I’m 66 and have abused myself most of my younger years, too young to know better. So, again, any plans to point out what excercises some folks should not do?
That’s something you should probably ask your doctor, because everyone has a different problem(s) (back, knees etc.).