Something that is rarely addressed in the survival community or on forums is the need to stay fit as an integral part of your preparedness plans. This is especially true when you are a traveler, spending inordinate amounts of time sitting in terminals, taxis, buses, or in meetings along with constantly eating in restaurants.
What’s the point of having well-laid contingency plans and bug-out gear if you can’t jog a few blocks or run down a flight of stairs to avert an impending disaster? Real survival is grueling- there’s nothing fun or romantic about it. The better shape you are in the better your body will handle the myriad daily stressors associated with survival along with hastening your recovery time.
When I am traveling and confined to a hotel, I try to hit the gym and do twenty minutes of Cross-Fit type training once a day. If I am without a gym, then bodyweight exercises such as burpees, lunges, pushups, crunches and plyometrics help to keep my ticker in good shape. If space isn’t an issue I pack along a resistance band. I do my exercises in the morning so as not to use the excuse of being too tired at end of a long day of teaching.
When I travel, some days are easier than others for getting in a short workout when jetlag, frantic business schedules and the drain that accompanies time zone changes are factored in.
When I’m at home, I always change up routines every 6-8 weeks and like a blend of kettlebell work, hitting the speed-bag, and some type of aerobics like jogging or biking around town. AND, of course, having a good diet is key, especially as you get older. Bodybuilders say that their physiques are built in the kitchen not the gym. You might get in a killer workout for half an hour but what’s the point if you’re then jamming three, 1200 calories fatty meals into your day while snacking on Cheetos (although I admit to going down this road in my early 20s when I had the metabolism of a shrew…).
I do the following routine 3x a week and it’s designed to hit the Core. The rest of the days, I get in my aerobics by hitting the trail with my dogs for an hour, mountain biking, or getting on the treadmill during snow days. Prior to guiding a trip, I make sure to focus on doing plenty of lunges which helps my legs prepare for the rigors of carrying a pack through the mountains/desert.
3×12 of side planks
3×15 kettlebell rows (single-arm)
3×12 Shoulder press w/kettlebell
3×15 Goblet squat
3×12 Single-leg hip bridge
3×12 log-flip in backyard (some people use a big tire)
Try to maintain your fitness level and workouts even if only a few times during a busy week or if you are traveling. Being fighting-fit is one of the foundation pillars of survival. All of the cool gear won’t matter if you’re not physically fit enough to use it during a real-world crisis!