Thursday, February 9, 2012

Training for the Outdoors: Get Ready for Spring!

Easy way to get in shape for hunting season!
© 2012 Albert A Rasch and
The Rasch Outdoor Chronicles

Train Your Way to Better Hunting
Train for Endurance

Y'all remember this post of 2009? I was at 212 lbs, and dragging butt.

US Army Training Center & Fort JacksonImage via Wikipedia

After seeing the Bear at Fort Jackson, I was motivated by the lines of recruits scampered to and fro while being yelled at, their bodies being forged and hammered by their kind and conscientious drill sergeants, and finally drawn and tempered into finely honed fighting members of the United States Army. I'm telling you, it was as if I was reliving my youth as I watched the activities, washing down my slice of stuffed crust, extra cheese, Italian sausage pizza with a Super Big Gulp of Pepsi.

As I looked down at my extended midline, I was reminded of the fact that hunting wild game can be an athletic adventure, and I should plan on getting myself in shape before the season starts. Quite frankly I'm in decent shape, my blood pressure is low, cholesterol is low, and overall I'm pretty good. But my endurance is not what it once was. And endurance is what determines what physical demands you can place on your body.

Image: acetosa
I spend a lot of time behind the keyboard when I am at home, and I spend a considerable amount of time sitting while driving and while at work. I'm sure many of you do the same. I did a little research and decided it was high time I not only got back in shape, but make a change in the way I have been leading my life. No I am not going vegetarian, nor am I going to give up calzones, lasagna, chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream, and big hunks of red meat. What I am going to do is get regular exercise, and moderate my intake of food.

The goal is to design a program that will reflect the needs of a hunting sportsman, build up endurance, and tone up the muscles. Remember we are not looking for gains in size and large increases in strength, we want endurance.

Repetition and time are the key ingredients of endurance. But how are we going to go about it?
Image: MoonJazz
Rules of the Game:
You have to have a modicum of discipline.
You must think before you act.
It helps if you have a partner that's willing to support you.
Write down your plan of action.
Then get started!

First things first. Decide you want to do this. If you can't make even a small commitment to the regimen then forget about it. You must decide you are going to make time every day to get yourself back in shape. Decide if anyone else is with you on this. The truth is it is easier if you have someone that will do it alongside you.

So where are you now? Don't even think of going out there and doing a Rocky in the Russian mountains or anything like that. Let's think before we act!

If you've been on your rear end for the last nine months, then a little walking might be the way to go. Get a decent set of hiking boots, if that is your proclivity, but wait a while before you lace them on. Let's start with sneakers or walking shoes. You will also need a watch that is easily read, or a stopwatch.

Find a place where you can walk undisturbed and proceed to take a brisk and invigorating walk. Go from point A to point B and time it. Use that as your initial marker. Now try to do a little more a little faster every day. Once you are motivating for thirty minutes at a good pace, switch to those hiking boots. Make sure you have good socks on and that the boots fit is correct. I recommend Darn Tough Vermont socks which are by the way the Official Socks of The Rasch Outdoor Chronicles.

Make sure you do some moderate stretching before you start, each and every time it really does help prevent injuries.

See if you can find a piece of 1.25 or 1.5 inch black iron pipe that's about 3 foot long. Nice to carry a bit of weight in your arms to simulate that rifle during season.
A great tip I picked up is the 5 repetition push-ups during those moments between TV shows, or between desk and door. It's not enough to make you sweat or get out of breath, but it is enough to help you gain strength. You can increase them little by little over the summer and into the fall. I'm up to 25 reps, and I do them 3 to 5 times per day. It takes less than 20 seconds, and considering I started at ten sloppy ones a few weeks ago, I'm pretty pleased.

The other exercise I recommend is the good old sit up. Abdominal strength is the key to core strength, and ultimately determines factors like back strength and alignment, and hip alignment. These factors help with your balance and help prevent and minimize back injuries.

Wedge those feet under a piece of furniture, keep your knees bent, and fold your arms across your chest. Don't pull your chin into your chest as you lift, just bend it modestly as you start to lift off. Suck that gut down to your spine as your shoulders leave the ground and continue the lift in a controlled manner. Go back down in the same controlled fashion. Do what you can with proper form, and add to it as your strength increases. Sit ups are my evening exercise and I try to do as many as I can the first time, and follow it up with a set or two more, doing as many as my abs will allow.

Back in my Army days we used to "slap our boots." Basically we would squat, back relatively straight, until we could swat the top of our boots. This is a great exercise that you can do at any moment, quickly, and with great effect. It works your quads well, and helps with balance. I do ten reps whenever I remember. You can do them slow, or pick up the pace when you're in a hurry.

I thought of this a little while ago. We tend to stick to things we like. Don't fall into the trap of only doing what you like or are good at. Try to work on every part equally! Legs, abs, upper-body, they are all equally important.

That's my current regimen; walking, push ups, sit-ups, and squats. I do other odd-ball things as the mood or opportunity strikes me like pull-ups, chair dips, arm raises, and jumping jacks. Anything at anytime that is convenient. The key is to be doing something constructive and healthy for your body.

Stop and think for a moment how much time you spend doing a good job for your employer, or how much time you spend keeping that car or boat in great shape, or blogging. Don't you think you deserve the same care and consideration?

Repetition is the key to endurance. Keep adding repetitions as you gain in strength and endurance and before you know it, even the Mrs will notice the improvements in your physique...


Epilouge: It helped that I have been in Afghanistan for some time now, but at home I stay at about 185 lbs. That's without watching what I eat, other than from the plate to my mouth. I do moderate the amount of ice cream i consume, and I pretty much avoid soda pop, but other than that I don't limit myself much. I walk everyday, bicycle as often as possible, and knock out a few push-ups, sit-ups, and the occasional motivated run up a couple of flights of stairs to keep the weight in check.

The Rasch Outdoor Chronicles


Bob said...

You have won an award, of sorts.

Anonymous said...

I'm still learning from you, but I'm improving myself. I definitely enjoy reading everything that is written on your website.Keep the stories coming. I loved it!
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Hippo said...

Rasch, come over here and I'll give you all the free fishing you want and you can be my personal trainer! The Tarpon are running.