In any sort of disaster scenario we need to be physically ready to handle anything that gets thrown at us. Physical fitness for preppers is less about weightlifting, and more about endurance. It’s about being farmer strong.
Ok, when the SHTF your ready right? You have your bug out bag filled with everything you can possibly think of, you have a bug out location picked out that is only 10 miles away, you have picked a few different routes that you can drive there and a couple if you have to walk.
Or let’s say you have no plans to bug out and you have plenty of land to plant a garden, your water catchment system is top notch and you have some livestock that will help you be self-sufficient for a long time to come, so you’re ready for anything right?
A well thought out plan is vital to your survival when your life gets turned upside down. But running through scenarios in your mind burns 0 calories, and running for your life with a 50 pound bug out bag on will be far more challenging than you think.
SPP288 Physical Fitness for Preppers
Today’s show is a replay from a couple years ago when I had a friend Brian on talking about physical fitness for preppers. Brian is a retired vet, and a personal trainer among other things.
You can read more about Brian and what we covered in the show from the original show note here.
The Farmer & the Gym Rat
If you’re not prepared physically to travel 10 miles on foot, or you are not ready for some hard labor working on your homestead, your preparedness plan might not work out as well as you thought it would.
We don’t necessarily need to go to the gym twice a week and run on the treadmill with a backpack filled with 20 pound weights, but we do need to make sure our bodies are ready to handle the physical labor if it ever comes to that.
If you look at pictures of people during to the great depression you don’t see many people who looked like Arnold Schwarzenegger or Rambo, you see that most people that weighed between 100 and 150 pounds. These people were not exactly healthy because of their situation, but they could probably out work most of us today.
If I needed help chopping firewood or raising a barn I would pick someone who lived 60 years ago over the modern gym rat any day, someone who is 250 pounds of pure muscle might be able to chop down a tree faster than a 150 pound man, but at the end of the day that 150 pound man who is accustomed to manual labor will out work the gym rat.
Why is this? Because the gym rat is used to a specific workout routine that usually involves working out for an hour a day. The men and women who lived through the depression had to work 15 hours a day just to survive and had endurance.
The military is a perfect example of this as well, when someone chooses to join the military they go through hell during basic training. They don’t just work out every day to get buff and look intimidating, they’re bodies get pushed to their limits so they can endure what they might have to face in the field.
I’m not saying we need to go through anything like the basic training that our service men have to, but we do need to put ourselves through some sort of “personal” basic training. We need to be ready and able to push ourselves when the going gets rough, and have the endurance to handle life without all the luxuries we have today.
How Far Have You Walked With Your Bug Out Bag On?
It’s great to have all the food, water and supplies to get you through some sort of disaster scenario, but how long can you travel with your bug out bag on. Practice walking with your bug out bag on, start with a one mile walk and work your way up.
But keep your health in mind, if your health does not physically allow you to do this you might need to have a different plan in mind. You don’t want to jeopardize your health now for something that might or might not happen in the future.
I don’t think I would feel comfortable walking around City Park wearing my Molle Assault pack, and I think with the way people are today you might get a little more attention than you wanted. Try going somewhere a little more secluded and practice walking with your bug out bag on for an hour at first and increase the time as you feel comfortable.
If you have to you can get a regular backpack and load it with something that weighs the same as your bug out bag, but keep in mind that it will be different because of how the weight will be distributed in your actual bug out bag.
Be the Mule
There could be times when you need to collect firewood, set traps or you don’t have access to your bug out bag. In these situations you will need to figure out a way to carry what you need without the luxury of a back pack. We have all seen the pictures of the kid running away from home with a bandanna tied to a stick, but this could seriously be a situation you are put into.
Practice carrying something like a gallon of water or a log over your shoulder and see how long you can do it. At first it will be no big deal, but as time goes on a 10 pound log or gallon of water will begin to feel like it weighs 100 pounds.
Put Away the Fancy Toys
Technology is great, with all the fancy toys we have today to make life easier we sometimes lose sight of the fact that there is more than one way to skin a cat. Take for example a hand crank phone charger, these are great if your electricity goes out, but how long could you crank that before you gave up?
Next time you cut firewood, build something or do anything around the house, do it without something that requires electricity. I love my cordless drill, but it’s a lot harder than I ever imagined to drill a hole with the hand drill I bought from EBay.
Fire and Water
Another valuable tool to have in your arsenal is the ability to start a fire and collect water, but this could be more difficult than you expect in certain situations. If it ever came to a situation where rubbing two sticks together in the middle of winter meant your survival would you be able to do it?
It is not only important to have the knowledge of how to make fire, but you also need to know that it might take a little more effort than you expected. Try to start a fire with just dry leaves and a flint stick, you’ll see what I mean.
Collecting water could require you to walk long distances to find it, and after you find it you would need to travel that same distance back with the added weight. Would you have the endurance to do this? Or if you have a well, could you use a hand pump long enough to get water flowing?
All of these are things we take for granted these days, but just 60 years ago it was part of daily life, people did this every day and didn’t give it a second thought. If any off the grid event lasted long enough I think we would get accustomed to this lifestyle, but we want to make sure we survive long enough to get to that point. If we don’t have the energy or endurance to actually carry our bug out bag all the way to our bug out location then we might as well not have it at all. If we don’t have the endurance to chop enough fire wood for a winter without electricity it could be a long cold winter.
Why We Prepare Today for Tomorrow
Just like everything else we do we are preparing ourselves to survive any sort of disaster we could face in the future. And just like everything else, if nothing ever happens we are still better off by being prepared.
Being healthy and physically ready to take on life after the SHTF will not only benefit you then, but will benefit you now. We are our own insurance policy, and what could be more important than being ready and able to use the supplies we have acquired?
Do you have some ideas about how to be physically ready for an off grid event? Let us know in the comments below.