SURVIVAL & PHYSICAL FITNESS: PT 3
If you’re already exercising in some capacity or have a favorite routine or program, please contact us and we can add them so someone else may benefit from your knowledge!
After reviewing PT’s 1 & 2, at this point, hopefully you’ve decided that you need to start exercising on a regular basis. Even if it’s just twice a week, it’s better than nothing. But once you’ve identified your ideal fitness goal(s), where do you go from there? You need to come up with a fitness routine plan.
Following a fitness routine or program isn’t required to lose weight or gain muscle, but it’s a great tool that can help motivate and encourage if you ever feel like giving up. They also help chart your progress so in a few months you can look back and see tangible results to motivate and keep you going strong. Just like virtually all other facets of survival skills and preparedness, time spent crafting a thorough plan will help set you up for success.
Components of a Fitness Plan
Here are some of the fundamental components that any solid fitness plan should try and incorporate:
- The plan is realistic: If you’ve never lifted weights in your life and then start a plan where the first day you try and life 400 lb’s, that’s unrealistic. The point being, start small, and work your way to whatever goal or plateau you’re trying to reach. Remember, physical fitness is a journey that you’re striving for. It won’t happen overnight and it will at times be difficult. You didn’t get out of shape, obese, etc. overnight so it’s unrealistic to expect total physical fitness that quickly as well.
- The plan fits your schedule: It helps to designate specific times and days that you’ll exercise. For example, you could strength train Mon, Wed, & Fri when you get home from work or when you first wake up. Then Tues and Thurs you could focus on cardiorespiratory endurance with the weekends providing a recovery period with little to no exercise. If you’re work schedule or daily routine don’t allow this kind of stability, at least try and designate 3 days per week you’ll try and fit in some time for exercise. Allowing a recovery period is also critical to becoming physically fit. If you’re exercising every day of the week at a moderate to intense level, you’re probably not allowing enough time for your body to adequately recover from each day’s workout. As a result, this over-exercising could actual work against you. Especially for strength training, you should ideally allow at least a 24 hours after you exercise before you have another intense workout.
- The plan is enjoyable and specific to your needs: If you do the same three exercises day in and day out for months and months, it’s going to get boring. When a plan becomes boring it also becomes harder to stick to. The point is, choose exercises you enjoy doing! If you like lifting weights, pick 4-5 lifts you want to become better at and stick with them for a few months until you reach your goal. Then, switch it up a bit and choose some new lifts to work on. Or maybe you hate lifting weights or don’t have the space/money for them. There’s still plenty of other ways to build and maintain muscle using your body as a weight (think push-ups, pull-ups, chin-ups, etc.), or whatever. Make sure the plan is tailored to accomplish whatever goal you have in mind. .
- The plan progresses: No matter what exercise or style of training you choose to go with, it should always be progressive in nature. If you like to run, bike, jog, or swim, always try and seek improvement on time, distance, etc. Likewise, with strength training activities, you should always try and lift a little more every so often. We say every so often because everyone’s body is different. Some may be able to add 5lbs of extra weight every week while some may need to work at it for a few weeks or even months before they’re able to add additional weight. Without progression, you’re muscles won’t keep growing and your endurance/stamina will gradually decline with age. It feels great to set a realistic goal and then accomplish it.
There are thousands of different programs and routines to experiment with. Ideally the plan should incorporate 2-3 sessions per week of some type of strength training and 4-5 sessions per week of some type of cardiorespiratory (CR) exercise. For those interested in strength training via lifting weights, squats, dead lifts, and presses are essential. All three of these exercises are also great for survival functions such carrying heavy loads, lifting objects, and generally great muscular and cardiorespiratory endurance.
If you’re new to lifting weights or coming back to from a break, it’s extremely critical to focus on flawless technique. Lifting weights with poor / improper form is worse than not lifting weights at all. If you need some sort of idea where to start, look no further than one of the most famous strength training routines of all time, the 5 x 5 program. If you want to learn more about the program, simply click on the link. We’ve used this program and highly enjoy it because it’s easy, efficient, and practical. The exercises promote core strength that translates into actual strength, not just a look that so many individuals strive for…
There are an infinite number of ways you can approach CR endurance exercises. Although running, biking, and swimming are among the more common methods, anything that achieves your target heart rate for an extended period of time will get the job done. It truly is just a matter of personal preference and circumstance that will determine the ideal CR endurance building activity you want to participate in. Intensity has a lot to do with how frequently you should participate in CR endurance building exercises. Ultimately, if you stick with it, you’ll find out what works for you, just remember that a rest/recovery period is very important.
Although using a physical fitness routine or program isn’t required to achieve your fitness goals, they are helpful tools that can be used to motivate, gauge progress, and provide overall discipline in making sure you consistently get an adequate amount of exercise. A good plan should be realistic to your unique needs and schedule as well as enjoyable.
Sure, striving to be physically fit can be extremely challenging at times, there will be days where you just won’t have any desire to exercise. But like survival and other self-reliance concepts and skills, having the foresight to prepare will pay off in the end. Making the decision to strive for physical fitness is essentially preparing for the inevitable decline of the human body as a result of aging.
It increases quality of life, can aid you in dealing with stress, and boosts mental clarity, all of which are very beneficial in the event you ever find yourself in a survival or emergency situation.