With some of you prompting me I decided to buckle down and pound out a few of my "biased" thoughts on how to get physically prepared for your hunts next fall! Perhaps the most important reminder I can pass on to each one of you is that your training should begin now! Don't put your physical preparation off until summer because you may not get yourself ready if you do. There have been instances over the years where I have not only guided individuals who had been outstanding athletes but also some younger hunters in the prime of life who thought they could just throw a backpack over their shoulders without going through a regimen of rigorous physical training and "hit the mountain" running only to find out that "the mountain" won the battle and kicked their butts big time!
Remember, these comments are from my perspective and not everyone is going to see it exactly like I do. There are as many diverse philosophies out there regarding training routines as grains of sand. You should personally research and decide on a training routine that is going to work for you. We come in all shapes, sizes and physical abilities. Although most of us are not Olympic caliber athletes, I believe that we can still set personal goals for ourselves that will help us compete and successfully perform out on the mountain in what should be our own "hunting Olympics"!
Generally, I've been very lucky when guiding most sheep, goat, elk and buffalo hunters as they truly have understood the importance of being in "sheep shape." I'm sure that each one of you knows that getting yourself into prime physical condition or finding yourself on the mountain "out of shape" will almost always dictate the success or failure of your hunt. I guarantee that if you work your butt off for the next 5 or 6 months you will not only enjoy chasing that big bull, buck, billy, or ram but your family, wife or husband will be extremely proud of you for the progress and accomplishments you have made. You will also feel much better about yourself, your health will improve and you will find yourself more mentally alert.
Before I go through the physical program I have chosen for myself, I'm always mindful of just how tough it is to work out and avoid the numerous distractions that are out there. I'm just like all of you, I enjoy sleeping in when possible and eating things like chips, ice cream, cold coke, hotdogs, desserts, candy bars and grilled steaks! This is where each one of us must conquer the mental difficulty and obstacles of getting into shape and losing some weight. I've found that it is helpful if you will find something that will motivate you to reach your goals. Think of yourself as a Navy Seal and never give in to the temptation of "ringing that bell" and quitting. All of us are capable of going far beyond our mental and physical limits!!!!!
Ok, here are a few of my suggestions. If this works for you, great. If not, I'm confident that you will find a program that does.
- Get a very thorough physical examination to ensure that you are ready to participate in a rigorous training program. Your examination should address key factors like body fat percentages and weight dependent upon body frame, age, gender, etc.
- Set personal, attainable goals for yourself and write them down where you have to see them daily.
- If you have a group of friends challenge them to work out with you. It's kind of fun to have a bet of somekind to see who wins.
- Start out slow. Don't try to do too much at first. If you haven't been working out you will experience some muscle soreness. That will go away and you will slowly begin to improve after several weeks.
- Research and incorporate a proven nutritional program into your daily eating habits that will help you lose weight and build lean muscle mass. There are some great nutritional books/guides out there that will outline your meals for you. Remember, you don't have to starve yourself to eat healthy. Believe me, this aspect of your training program is every bit as critical as your workout routines!
- Don't make the common mistake of concentrating solely on your leg strength and cardiovascular conditioning in preparation for your hunt. It is absolutely critical that you utilize a training program that will strengthen all muscle groups. Research has proven that you will burn off more calories when strength training in comparison to just walking or running.
- Don't become too critical of yourself if you have to miss a day of training or if you can't eat the right foods one day. Recharge your battery and start fresh again as soon as possible. NEVER, NEVER give up on yourself nor the goals you have established. You have waited, sacrificed and worked too hard to let your "once in a lifetime" opportunity slip away from you!
Randy's Personal Training Routine - 2013 (It is important to break up, change and cycle your routine so that you are addressing both Aerobic and Anaerobic training)
Monday: This can be a difficult day to "start your engine." However, it is very important for me to get myself going strong as the week begins.
- My warm up is a 60 minute workout on a stationary bike or participation in a spin class. I will substitute a 3 or 4 mile run at a comfortable pace some weeks
- This will be followed up with a 50 minute Tapout XT or P90 X workout with emphasis on strengthing my core but also offers excellent resistance training.
- 3 sets of dead lifts/15 reps at 75% of max
- 3 sets of pull ups/wide grip, reverse grip, narrow grip/max reps
- 3 sets of push ups/military, wide, triceps
- 3 sets of lunges/10 reps at 75% of max
- (before going to bed I try to do a few sets of abdominal exercises if I have any fuel left in the tank)
- 45 to 60 minutes on a Stairmaster, Eliptical Trainer or Treadmill (I will substitute this in the summer with a 2 hour hike in hilly terrain-80 lb pack)
- 7 sprints up a 200 yard long hill that is about a 10% grade. Walk back and start again.
- Tapout XT, Insanity or P90X workout (lots of plyo and core exercises)
- 45 to 60 minute workout on a stationary bike or in a spin class.
- Deadlifts, Lunges, Squats and Calf-Raises (3 sets of each with a lot of reps at lower resistance)
- Tapout XT, Insanity or P90 X workouts (upper body strength)
- Abdominal/Core Exercises 15 minutes
- I like to do 2 to 3 miles of light jogging or walking on this day.
- 60 to 90 minutes of YOGA. Last year I didn't include this workout in my routine and feel that I didn't have near the flexibility or overall strength that I wanted. At one time I thought that Yoga was only for "meditators" but found out that it can be an incredible workout. Believe me, it is not just for the women hunters and it can kick the butt of some big time weight lifters. It is very physically demanding. I generally use the Yoga routines included in P90X or Tapout XT.
- On some Thursdays I will substitute the P90X or Tapout XT Leg workout for my Yoga routine.
- I like to take my brown lab, "Charlie," with me, throw on my 80 lb backpack on and go for a 2 hour hike that includes some very steep, rugged hills.
- Follow up with aTapout XT, or P90X workout program if I have the energy!
- If I'm not out scouting and backpacking on weekends then I like to jump on my mountain bike and ride a "quad burning mountainous road" not far from my house. It takes me about 2 hours and I definitely have some aching legs and a sore butt by the time I get back.
Sunday: Rest those aching muscles and re-energize
I wish each one of you the very best as you plan ahead for the personal hunts that you have scheduled and how you will attain the physical goals that you have set. Keep your mind focused during the summer and there's no doubt in my mind that you will be ready for your hunt. I've mentioned before that if your children and grandchildren see you preparing and working hard when it comes to hunting that they will also catch your love and enthusiasm and "the hunting wanderlust" will effect them also. Your personal health and longevity will also be effected in a positive manner. Good luck everyone as you set out on your personal journeys. I look forward to hearing about your successes!