Functional Fitness

Grease the Groove for SHTF

by Todd Walker

Personal SHTF events are more likely to happen than TEOTWAWKI.

grease-the-groove-shtf

Here’s a fresh example.

I decided to take my 7-year-old grandson on a bushcraft trip with two other grown men last weekend. We hiked about a mile into the woods to practice a few Doing the Stuff outdoor skills for an upcoming survival class.

We set up, built a fire, and then it happened… a personal SHTF for my grandson.

The trip was too demanding for Max. Poor planning and judgement on my part. He needed to go back to the cabin. I ended up carrying him most of the way through fields of hip-tall grass and briars. Had he been injured and unable to walk, I would have had to carry him the entire trek.

Be Strong to be Useful

Developing physical strength is a skill, not just a part of fitness programs. Are you physically prepared to deal with a SHTF event – personal or otherwise?

It makes sense to prioritize for probable scenarios over cataclysmic-end-of-world stuff. But hey, if you’re totally convinced a Zombie Apocalypse is in your near future, this post will help you defeat your un-dead attackers too!

For the rest of us non-zombie believers, we’ll keep doing the practical stuff of self-reliance.

One skill utilized everyday, that is often taken for granted, is functional fitness. If carrying a loved one to safety, changing a flat tire, lifting a toddler, walking two flights of stairs, or hoeing a row is out of the question for you physically, it’s time for you to Grease the Groove.

grease-the-groove-shtf

GTG pushups while hiking.

I first heard the phrase Grease the Groove (GTG) when I started living a Primal/Paleo lifestyle over four years ago. My once athletic physique was 50 pounds overweight and my middle-aged body was a wreck. Mirrors were my enemy. Achy joints were my constant companion.

The Grease the Groove concept came from Soviet Special Forces trainer Pavel Tsatsouline. The idea is to perform a specific exercise frequently throughout the day without reaching muscular failure (max repetitions). Perform 50% – 75% of maximum about 4 to 5 times a day. Keep this up GTG routine up for a few weeks and test you max again for the exercise you’ve chosen to strengthen.

For me, GTG and my new lifestyle changed my pitiful pull up numbers when I couldn’t eek out one stinkin’ pull up.

I’ll confess, I’ve let my numbers slip. So I’ve started greasing the groove again. My goal is to do 15 pull ups – with proper form – before I attend the survival school in a couple of months. I’m guessing I could make it through the course at my present fitness level, but I’m fond of  personal physical challenges.

Here’s my GTG plan…

Install a pull up bar in my classroom. Between class change and breaks (my cue or trigger), I’ll knock out 3 to 5 pull ups. No sweat involved. This would put me in the 20 to 25 pull ups per day range at school for the next eight weeks. The pull up bar behind my shop will be used every time I grill out or fetch a garden tool. These quick reps will all be sub-maximal effort.

I’ll continue my normal bodyweight exercises; push ups, squats, sprints, lifting heavy stuff, and walking – but grease the groove with pull ups only. I’m sharing my pull up challenge for accountability and progress monitoring I suppose. I’ll do my best to update my progress for y’all.

Smash Plateaus with GTG

The principle of Greasing the Groove offers benefits in several areas of self-reliance. This technique can be employed in firearms training, food independence, habit training, self-defense, situational awareness, and all our Doing the Stuff skills.

Repeatedly performing a specific movement causes your nervous system and muscles to work in unison. With enough time and repetition, the movement or skill becomes more natural and easier to perform. Automatic!

Focus on one movement or skill in 2 to 4 week cycles. The key is to remain fresh without reaching fatigue. If you want to shoot more accurately but can’t afford range trips daily, practice drawing and dry firing your unloaded sidearm 3 or 4 times a day between range trips.

Practice doesn’t make perfect, perfect practice makes perfect. Whatever skill you want to strengthen, greasing the groove is a simple technique to get crazy numbers of reps.

Smash your plateaus and be the hero in all your SHTF events!

Keep Doing the Stuff of Self-Reliance,

Todd

P.S. – You can also keep up with the Stuff we’re Doing on TwitterPinterestGoogle +, and our Facebook page… and over at the Doing the Stuff Network on PinterestGoogle +, and Facebook.

P.P.S – If you find value in our blog, Dirt Road Girl and I would appreciate your vote on Top Prepper Sites! You can vote daily by clicking here or on the image below. Check out all the other value-adding sites while you’re there…

Thanks for Sharing the Stuff!

Copyright: Content on this site (unless the work of a third-party) may be shared freely in digital form, in part or whole, for non-commercial use with a link back to this site crediting the author. All links in articles must remain intact as originally posted in order to be republished. If you are interested a third-party article, please contact the author directly for republishing information.

 

Categories: Doing the Stuff, Functional Fitness, Preparedness, Self-reliance | Tags: , , , | 8 Comments

Functional Fitness: The Wild Woodsman Workout

by Todd Walker

Part of our Self-Reliant Summer series

Functional Fitness: The Wild Woodsmans Workout

For those unfamiliar with the term Functional Fitness, FF connects fitness to real-life function. Or another way to look at FF is fitness for the tasks you perform or may one day have to perform. In a general preparedness mindset, I practice functional fitness because it’s fun and build skills.

Another cool part of functional fitness is that you don’t have to pay for a gym membership to get in shape. Use the simple machines around your house or shop to prep your body for Doing the Stuff of self-reliance. In the spirit of saving money on gym memberships and the newest fitness equipment, I give you The Wild Woodsman Workout. By the way ladies, it’s not just for men. :)

The Wild Woodsman Workout

Though I have a bodyweight workout I follow, I wanted to up my game for a specific task – a wilderness survival school next month. I devote time in the woods (dirt time) practicing self-reliance, survival, and bushcraft skills but this is different. Will I have the endurance, strength (mental and physical), stamina to finish the course? We shall see.

Equipment Needed

  • Ax – a sharp one!
  • Wood – preferably in the woods.
  • Backpack – if you’re have access to a wild area.
  • Saw – buck saw, folding saw, limb saw, or crosscut saw.
  • Water – hydration before, during, and after the workout.
  • Insect repellant
  • Footwear – boots

Cut the Core

Any swinging motion done properly works your core muscles. Find a recently downed tree. Older dead falls are likely to be too rotted. [For urban dwellers, a local park will do] If your decently fit now, I recommend selecting a hardwood with dense fibers (oak or hickory). For my workout equipment, I selected a large Beech tree uprooted by March storms.

If you’re not familiar with ax safety, STOP right here! Learn the basics of cutting wood with an ax before proceeding. Until you learn this skill, substitute a sledge hammer for the ax and bang 0n an old tire in the backyard – which is an excellent workout in and of itself. You won’t see wood chips flying with the hammer, but you won’t cut off your leg or foot.

Here’s a helpful video by Dave Canterbury if you’re new to swinging a cutting tool.

<iframe width=”640″ height=”390″ src=”//www.youtube.com/embed/A7ylTAH9aLE” frameborder=”0″ allowfullscreen>

First, tuck your pant legs into your boots and lace them snuggly. Apply insect repellant to clothing and exposed skin. Deet-free sprays are available. A commercial brand I use and find effective is Naturapel. I’m still working on my DiY formula.

Now grab your pack and gear and hike to your fallen tree. Carrying a loaded pack (mine weighs 25#) serves as your warm up exercise.

Ideally, your tree will be laying on flat ground. There’s not many perfect situations in the wild. My tree was on a steep hill. Find a firm footing, cut away any obstructions in the swing path of the ax, and let the chips fly.

Functional Fitness: The Wild Woodsmans Workout

On the backstroke!

I set up on a portion of a limb that was about 10 inches in diameter. Your skill and fitness level will determine the diameter to cut (This comes into play later in the workout). Try to swing at a safe, steady rate until you sever the limb/tree. Take breaks as needed. Fatigue leads to sloppiness and puts you at risk for a stupid injury.

Functional Fitness: The Wild Woodsmans Workout

Chopping up hill.

Functional Fitness: The Wild Woodsmans Workout

After cutting through one end, being on a steep slope, I cut two 4′ stakes (2″ in diameter) from the smaller end of this limb, sharpened them, and drove them into the ground to prevent the log from shifting downhill.

Functional Fitness: The Wild Woodsmans Workout

Stake the log on the downhill side if you’re on a slope.

Now you’re ready to cut a section from the log.

A note on cutting tools. The ax I used was my True Temper Kelly Perfect I restored recently. On the second cut I noticed the head was loose on the handle. I figured I could make it through the cut and add a wedge when I got home. Nope. It broke. Make sure you check your equipment regularly and fix what needs fixing. In a survival situation, I’d been up the creek without an ax!

Functional Fitness: The Wild Woodsmans Workout

And this wasn’t a mis-hit.

I intentionally brought my limb saw and I’m glad I did. Saw from underneath a notched log to relieve pressure and prevent binding. The sawing motion was an added bonus to the workout. Push-pull-push transfers to bow drill fires and the companies tug-of-war event.

Functional Fitness: The Wild Woodsmans Workout

Finishing the second cut with my saw.

It’s hot and humid in Georgia. Hydrate before, during, and after your workout!

Functional Fitness: The Wild Woodsmans Workout

Water break at base camp!

Lift Heavy Stuff

Congrats on successfully cutting timber! Now you have a new piece of workout equipment.

Stand it on end and place your shoulder about midway on the log. Grip the bottom end with your hands in a squatting position with your back as straight as possible. Use your legs and hips to lift the log onto your shoulders. Beech happens to have a very smooth outer bark which makes your next exercise easy on the neck and shoulder. I’d recommend de-barking logs with rough bark. Use your ax or bring along a draw knife for this job.

Maintain your balance and haul it to your next station. My leg-destroying station is in the creek bottom just down the hill.

Functional Fitness: The Wild Woodsmans Workout

Squats on the rocks!

How many squats should you do? Depends on your present fitness level. I did 2 sets of 10. Keep your back straight, feet about shoulder width apart, head up looking straight ahead. Thighs should be parallel to the ground at the bottom of the squat.

Haul Heavy Stuff

Drop the log and drink water. Shoulder the log and walk up a hill if one is available. You never know when you may be called upon to haul a buddy to safety. This doesn’t replicate the rescue exactly but will light your calves and quads on fire.

Functional Fitness: The Wild Woodsmans Workout

Uphill gets more for your money.

Walk down and repeat five times. There’s no set distance. Do what you can do.

Jump Stuff

Plyometrics are awesome for developing explosiveness. For this one, find a stump, rock, park bench (for urban jungles), or fallen tree trunk. My equipment was too high for me to do straight up plyometrics – jumping from the ground over the top of the obstacle and back down again like a pommel horse.

Functional Fitness: The Wild Woodsmans Workout

Nature’s pommel horse.

I did about 10 reps of jumping over the tree from side to side…

Functional Fitness: The Wild Woodsmans Workout

Functional Fitness: The Wild Woodsmans WorkoutMight as well throw in a few push ups on the log while you’re there!

Primal Pool Dip

After a long Father’s Day morning workout, a woodsman needs to cool down. No better way to do this than to get all primal and jump in the creek! Grok on!! Not advisable in your city park. :)

Functional Fitness: The Wild Woodsmans Workout

Checking for ticks and other creepy-crawlies. Found one!

 

The purpose of functional fitness is to prepare your body and mind for real-life tasks. It’s not about counting reps and bench pressing the world but more about training your body for situations you’re likely to encounter in daily life. An added bonus is the mental and emotional satisfaction gained from Doing the Stuff of self-reliance with simple tools and makeshift equipment.

Could you fireman’s carry a family member to safety – or split firewood without hydraulic equipment – or hoe that long row in your garden without having a stroke? You may never have to prove your worth in this regard but what if’s do happens.

Keep Doing the Stuff of self-reliance,

Todd

P.S. – You can also keep up with the Stuff we’re Doing on TwitterPinterestGoogle +, and our Facebook page… and over at the Doing the Stuff Network on PinterestGoogle +, and Facebook.

P.P.S – If you find value in our blog, Dirt Road Girl and I would appreciate your vote on Top Prepper Sites! You can vote daily by clicking here or on the image below. Check out all the other value-adding sites while you’re there…

Thanks for Sharing the Stuff!

Copyright: Content on this site (unless the work of a third-party) may be shared freely in digital form, in part or whole, for non-commercial use with a link back to this site crediting the author. All links in articles must remain intact as originally posted in order to be republished. If you are interested a third-party article, please contact the author directly for republishing information.

Categories: Bushcraft, Functional Fitness, Self-reliance, Survival Skills | Tags: , , | 3 Comments

Best Prepper Practices: Add a 4th B to Your 3 B’s

by Todd Walker

Best practices exist in all endeavors –  sports, business, education, and… preparedness.

Best-Prepper-Practices-Add-a-4th-B-to-Your-3-B's

“Best” practice (BP) is used to describe a method that has consistently produced superior results over time compared to techniques yielding lessor outcomes. Methods of Doing the Stuff should change with new discoveries and better techniques.

Pleeeese, try to leave egos at the door to avoid holding on to less than best practices.

Ask ten preppers for their best food storage practice and you’ll likely get 11 different opinions. We’re an opinionated lot. No problem with opinions. But opinions are highly subjective. The aim here is to discuss stuff proven to work and can be applied by novice and experienced preppers.

Keep in mind that BP’s can and should be individualized to fit your situation. For instance, I don’t eat wheat and grain products. On rare occasions that I eat a slice of pizza, my body pays dearly. I store food that I eat now. Whatever your diet, some food storage is a best practice for preparedness.

Again, practicing the best method for Doing the Stuff of preparedness is our purpose here. We’re not covering all Best Practices in one post. We’ll discuss the first one today… the 4th B.

A good a place to start is at the beginning…

Discovering the online “prepper/survivalist” movement 7 years ago, I realized that I was one and had been for most of my life. I’d just never known what label to paste on the stuff I was doing. I’m still unsure. Maybe it’s my hatred for labels.

Labels aside, there are trillions of bytes of information floating through the preparedness community. At last count, I’ve devoured 2.39% of that mountain of data. I chew on the hay and spit out the sticks.

Searching for hay to chew on, I rarely find survival and prepper blogs mention health and fitness in their apocalyptic lists. This needs to change. I mostly find beans, bullets, and band aids – and lots of shiny objects to collect. DRG and I do a fair amount of stuff collecting too.

But…

Two years ago Dirt Road Girl’s cancer destroyed our best practice paradigm. Today, our #1 concern is staying healthy… in a sustainable fashion. This post was partly inspired by Dr. Dan Stickler (PaleoDoc) and his SurvivalBlog post when he stated…

“I would like to see the 3 Bs change to the 4 Bs: Beans, Bullets, Band-Aids, and Body.”

Being able to use the other 3 B’s depends on how well we develop the 4th B… your Body. You’ll never regret focusing on the 4th B as a prep!

Best Practices to Build Your Body

1.) Destroy the Food Pyramid

Pyramids are built by slaves.

80% of your body composition is determined by what you eat. The obesity epidemic in America is directly linked to our government food pyramid. The problem is compounded by nutritional “experts” recommending food that the human body was never meant to consume.

Here’s a chart showing how the obesity epidemic is fueled by High Fructose Corn Syrup.

cornsyrup

Is your pantry filled with HFCS? Read my post on how dropping the F-bomb could save your live.

Owning years of stored food, guns, water filters, first aid supplies, and bug out bags won’t be of much use if you’re body shuts down from chronic disease.

Type 2 diabetes or high blood pressure may “run” in your family. That fact doesn’t have to sentence you the same “fate.” There’s a better way…

Leave SADisease Behind 

  • Develop a lifestyle of eating what your body needs. Conventional nutritional wisdom promotes the Standard American Diet (SAD – Processed foods, sugar, High Fructose Corn Syrup  – chemically created sweetener with little to no whole foods). Our bodies aren’t designed to ingest SAD stuff. SADiet leads to SADisease.
  • Stop counting calories! A calorie restricting diet is one more stressor your body and brain can’t afford. Starve your body and your brain goes into survival mode… to store fat.
  • Eat real food. Processed stuff imitating food leaves you overfed and under nourished.
  • Perimeter shopping. The interior isles of your grocery store are filled with boxes, bags, and cans with labels. You can try to pronounce the chemicals resembling food on the package only if your food has labels. If you can’t pronounce it, avoid it. Adopting this simple strategy alone can transform your health.
  • Nourish your noggin. Eat these excellent brain foods: Eggs – the yellow yolk are high in protein, fat, and other essential vitamins and minerals. Fish – your brain is 60% fat. Feed it high quality, wild caught, oily fish for an Omega-3 feast. Nuts – excellent for your grey matter. Check out the Brain Pyramid here.
  • Get to know your local farmers. Find farmers who produce naturally raise grass-fed animals, free-range poultry, and non-GMO fruits and vegetables.

Here’s a few resources to help you locate local food producers:

  1. Eat Wild
  2. Local Harvest
  3. Locally Grown

If you’d like, you can read more my nourishing thoughts here.

2.) Functional Fitness

Functionally fit means having the ability to be physically useful in everyday life and emergencies. This simply means be strong to be useful… or Be ready to go when the SHTF. 

Doing a set of B.O.B. pushups.

Doing a set of B.O.B. push ups.

Being active and exercising are different. Both are important in becoming functionally fit.

But here’s the distinction…

Exercise should be performed in brief, intense sessions with a purpose in mind. Walking the dog, hiking, cycling, and chasing your 2 year-old is not exercise. These activities fail to meet the requirement of brief and intense. You may be thinking I haven’t met your toddler!

You’re right. I haven’t.

These are all activities that keep you moving and helps pump toxins out of your body – an important part of optimal health. Do activities you enjoy that keeps you moving regularly a minimum of 2 hours per week.

Workout Hacks

More exercise doesn’t mean better. Whether exercising at a gym or not, you should learn hacks that save time and pain while maximizing benefits. Don’t have time (or money) for a gym membership? Me either… but I manage to stay fit.

Here’s my top shortcuts to functional fitness:

a.) Use your body weight: An intense, short session of push ups, squats, and pull-ups works all muscle groups. Lifting heavy stuff adds lean muscle mass – very important for those of us on the backside of 40. Another plus is that you can lift your body weight most any place. No gym required. (1-3 times per week)

b.) Max Out (Sprint): Skip your long slow run and do a 10 minute sprint session. You’ll only need to do this once every week to ten days. Your done in 10 minutes or less. My advise is to take it slow and build up to max effort.

c.) Keep moving at a slow pace: This one goes back to being active; hiking, walking, dancing, swimming, and chasing your toddler. (2-5 hours per week)

d.) Be consistent: Practice doing the stuff for your body – Splitting firewood without hydraulic machinery, carrying heavy stuff (safely), taking the stairs (with leaps and bounds), walking a mile with your bug out bag, etc. 

e.) Be safe: Consult your physician before starting a new program. Learn proper technique. Monitor vital signs like blood pressure, heart rate and breathing. 

If you made it to this point in the article, there’s hope no matter the condition of your body. Even if the term “push-up” automatically means the frozen push up treat in your mind, no worries, you can redesign your body and survivability with simple lifestyle changes. I said it’s simple, not always easy. But totally worth the effort!

Is adding the 4th B on your Best Practices radar? If so, we’d like to know how you’re doing the stuff for your body. 

Keep Doing the Stuff!

Todd

P.S. – You can also connect with us on TwitterPinterestGoogle +, and our Facebook page. The Doing the Stuff Network community can be found here: PinterestGoogle +, and Facebook.

P.P.S ~ If you find value in our blog, DRG and I would appreciate your  vote on the “Top Prepper Sites“! You can vote daily by clicking here. Check out all the other value-adding Prepper Sites while you’re there. 

Thanks for sharing the stuff!

Copyright Information: Content on this site (unless the work of a third-party) may be shared freely in digital form, in part or whole, for non-commercial use with a link back to this site crediting the author. If you are interested a third-party article, please contact the author directly for republishing information.

 

Categories: Doing the Stuff, Functional Fitness, Preparedness, Real Food | Tags: , , , , , | 13 Comments

The Essential Pillars of Preparedness for SmartPreppers

by Todd Walker

Part 1 ~ Essential Pillars of Preparedness Series

Don’t be deceived. No matter how elaborate or advanced you think you are in your preparedness journey, it won’t be enough for every conceivable situation. Life has too many unknowns.

Not knowing, or some cases – knowing, motivates us to prepare. It’s easy to be lulled into complacency by our convenience-driven lifestyles. Press a button, get what you want. Food, water, medicine, security, and shelter get taken for granted in our neo mindset.

Just ask school-aged children where that fried chicken breast they’re munching on came from. I once had a 7th grade student tell me that steaks grew in gardens. I kid you not!

I probed deeper. Apparently, farmers dig a hole, cover a piece of meat, and you pick steaks off the stalk. I’m sure the nice gardener takes his ‘produce’ and wraps it in a styrofoam tray with clear plastic wrap and delivers it to the super market.

Chalk this up to youth and our teach-to-the-test public schooling culture.

In this series, you will learn practical ways to increase your chances of not only surviving, but tipping the scales towards thriving in the coming chaos.

We humans have been adapting and changing for thousands of years. If your alive, things change. No matter how much you plan and prep though, our customary way of living can change without notice. Stocking up on essential supplies, resources, skills, knowledge, and relationships will help you get through the hard times – however they appear. No one knows it all. That’s why we have to help each other.

Doomsday events are relative to the individual. Losing your job, being diagnosed with cancer, or the death of a spouse or child all qualify for personal SHTF events. In my world, lessons from our personal SHTF events are transferable to the big picture disaster scenarios – total economic collapse and the coming Reset.

Preparing necessarily means doing the stuff in advance or before the need shows up at your door. There’s not an Easy Button to press to magically make you prepared.

But… here’s the good news! Even if you’re too broke to pay attention, it’s not too late. You can start today!

Once you start your journey to preparedness and self-sufficiency, good habits replace the bad and a whole new lifestyle is forged. You’ll find yourself applying the famous words of Weaver D (of REM fame) as your prepping becomes…

Automatic for the people!

If you’re taking your first steps to climbing the preparedness mountain, I recommend that you focus on these 7 areas first. Any event that disrupts our ‘normal’ can be softened by building firm, sustainable foundations in these 7 areas.

These are my priorities which reflect my paradigm. If you agree, glad to hear it. If not, chew on the hay and spit out the sticks.

Keep in mind that all areas covered in this series must to be applied to your individual situation (see my Individual Preparedness Plan series for more help). This is not meant to be a cookie-cutter solution for all people. For example, if you’re surrounded by natural, abundant sources of potable water, you may put water further down your list.

With that being said, here’s my list:

  1. Health and Fitness
  2. Water and Food
  3. Skills and Knowledge
  4. Shelter and Energy
  5. Waste and Sanitation
  6. Natural Medical
  7. Security and Protection

Health

If you don’t have health and some level of functional fitness, you’re already running on a deficit. This point seems to be lost on a lot of good folk in the preparedness community.

Let me stop right here.

I’ve been there and done that and lived my first two statements. I don’t want to come across as ‘preachy’ or having arrived. I haven’t. Remember, this preparedness journey takes time, effort, focus, and encouragement – NOT bashing!

Here’s what worked for me. Your results may vary.

“Diets” don’t work in the long run. You’re in this for the long-haul, right? Plus, how will all that Jenny Craig ‘food’ get delivered post collapse? Think of all the real food and preps you could buy with the $7,000/yr. you would spend buying prepackaged JC food.

Developing a healthy lifestyle was the key for me. I eat healthy fats, meat, fish, vegetables, fruits, nuts, and other nutrient dense foods. Basically, I stopped eating the Standard American Diet.

I traded our government food pyramid for this one:

food pyramid flat 2011sm 1

Image Source: Mark’s Daily Apple

Fitness

But my Primal lifestyle goes deeper than just eating like a caveman. When it comes to fitness, I don’t float the mainstream.

I hold two degrees in Health and Physical Education. Over three years ago, I made this discovery – the conventional wisdom I was taught in school was a big waste. Eating what the USDA’s food pyramid recommended and following conventional fitness regiments left me hungry, tired, and fat.

fitness pyramid flat 2012

Image Source: Mark’s Daily Apple

Burn out and injury typically accompany conventional fitness wisdom. You can reach optimal fitness without wrecking your joints and being a permanent fixture in the gym.

If functional fitness is your goal, randomness is a good thing. I define functional fitness as being able to do the stuff (fill in the blank) when it counts.

Would you be able to carry your spouse or a stranger from a burning building? Even if you’re never in a life and death situation, lifting heavy things helps you burn fat, improve bone density, survive longer, and enjoy life better than weaker folks.

Humans have been pushing, pulling, squatting, running fast, and walking slowly throughout our entire existence. Although we won’t have to outrun a saber-toothed tiger or battle rival tribes for hunting territory, these basic movements can help you survive.

Here are four bodyweight exercises every SmartPrepper should incorporate into their physical training: Pushups, pullups, squats, and sprints. There’s no expensive gym equipment involved. And you can do these exercises most any place.

B.O.B. pushups

Doing a set of B.O.B. pushups for added resistance.

If you’re engaging your fast twitch muscle fibers with maximum force over a short period of time, you’ll need 2 to 5 days to recover properly before lifting heavy stuff again.

Mainstream conventional workout programs will have you spend day after boring day on some machine trying to isolate a particular muscle group. When I flip that piece of chimney at our park, all my muscles, tendons, bones, and joints work together at maximum effort. This is how our bodies are meant to function.

brick house workout

Don’t know the weight of this section of chimney. I do know that it takes a maximum effort to flip it.

On days when you’re not ‘destroying’ your muscles from lifting heavy stuff or sprinting, remember to walk long distances at a slow pace.

Do you want to look like a bag of skin and bones just to finish a marathon? Or, do you want to build your body into a functionally fit prepping machine?

The crazy part is that you can gain maximum effect with minimum effort. And you’ll no longer look like the other zombies brainlessly walking on those treadmills at the gym.

This is meant to be a primer on our first Pillar of Preparedness for SmartPreppers. There’s much more that can be added on the topic of functional fitness and healthy living. If you have questions or something you’d like to add, please feel free to drop a line in the comment section or email me.

Essential Pillars of Preparedness Series

Keep Doing the Stuff of Self-Reliance,

Todd

P.S. – You can also keep up with the Stuff we’re Doing on TwitterPinterestGoogle +, and our Facebook page… and over at the Doing the Stuff Network on PinterestGoogle +, and Facebook.

P.P.S – If you find value in our blog, Dirt Road Girl and I would appreciate your vote on Top Prepper Sites! You can vote daily by clicking here or on the image below. Check out all the other value-adding sites while you’re there…

Thanks for Sharing the Stuff!

Copyright: Content on this site (unless the work of a third-party) may be shared freely in digital form, in part or whole, for non-commercial use with a link back to this site crediting the author. All links in articles must remain intact as originally posted in order to be republished. If you are interested a third-party article, please contact the author directly for republishing information.

 

Categories: Functional Fitness, Natural Health, Preparedness, Primal/Paleo Lifestyle, SHTF | Tags: , , , | 5 Comments

Physical Preparedness: Practical Performance for Real-World Survival

by Todd Walker

Is your body fit to function in troubled times? Good times? Events are happening with increasing regularity that are steering us to hard times.

Stories from Great Depression survivors reveal how physically demanding life became after the crash. The difference in last century and the cliff we’re dangling over now is we’re in a state of soft. Soft bodies, soft drinks, and soft minds characterize today’s society.

Granted, there are exceptions. But look around. We’ve become a bunch of physical softies. You might be soft if…

  • Minimal physical exertion like walking up bleachers at your daughter’s soccer game leaves you breathless
  • Bending to place a case of bottled water under your shopping cart sends you to the chiropractor
  • Planting three tomatoes warrants a two-hour nap
  • Playing outside consists of a game of Angry Birds on your tablet on your screened porch
  • Checking the mailbox becomes an endurance event

If the soft shoe fits you, it’s time to stop wearing it. No one is immune from emergencies. Natural disasters happen. Some time we put ourselves in stupid situations that demand a strong response. If you’re soft, you’re not going to be very useful to yourself or those depending on you.

Excuses for staying soft run on forever. But if you’re sick and tired of being soft and tired, you’re the only person that can change you.

I work with a teacher who got tired of being soft. She had lost over 100 pounds by the end of this school year. She decided to take charge of her life and get strong. She’s an inspiration to many. Her method is not what I would use, but you can’t argue with her results.

Back to excuses. Not having a gym membership is not a valid excuse to stay soft. There are many more exciting ways to get functional fit than striding on a treadmill or pulling on a lat machine. As a matter of fact, doing conventional workouts with traditional equipment will build a baseline level of fitness for you, but washboard abs and python arms are not your aim in functional fitness.

To be functionally fit, you train your body to handle everyday situations. You want to perform movements that use multiple muscle groups. Whole body movement will increase your endurance, coordination, resilience, stamina, strength, power, speed, agility, and balance.

Think of it this way. When in nature have you seen a wild animal doing the same repetitive motion over and over like jogging in a circle for an hour. That’s not how they exercise – neither should humans.

And you don’t need a gym to get functionally fit. Allow me to introduce a workout I did the other day in our local park. Dirt Road Girl named it after the Commodore’s disco hit “Brick House.”

The Brick House Workout

brick house workout

Rolling a section of chimney from the ruins of a brick house in our park. 

Chimney flip. Moving this chuck brick and mortar was a challenge. Wear work gloves if you flip rocks or jagged stuff like this. It was heavy enough to work my hips, gluts, legs, arms, and every other muscle in my body. Use caution when flipping heavy stuff. Items like this are homes to various creatures like spiders, snakes, and other scary critters :)

I flipped it end over end about ten times. It ruined my legs and I took a short break to sip from my camel back.

Hydrating on the chimney. Don't forget to stay hydrated before, during, and after workouts.

Hydrating on the chimney. Don’t forget to stay hydrated before, during, and after workouts.

Next up, balance beams. There’s a seating area beside the ruins. I’ve never seen anyone use these for their intended purpose. That’s the beauty of this kind of workout. You can turn most anything into functional fitness equipment.

Balance is something you won’t get much help with from your conventional personal fitness trainer in the gym. However, balance is important in the real world and should be practiced. You never know when you’ll have to cross a flooded creek on a slick log – or walk a straight line in a DUI checkpoint ;)

That blur is me jumping from bench to bench ~ I played the stunt double for Predator in the movie.

That blur is me jumping from bench to bench ~ I played the stunt double for Predator in the movie.

The object is to jump from beam to beam without falling. Jump in a high arc to give you a better chance of sticking the landing. I like wearing minimalist footwear or going barefoot when appropriate. Make sure the beam, log, or bench is not slippery before trying this stunt.

Remember, the most important part of survival is Don’t Do Stupid Stuff! If this looks stupid to you, don’t do it. A safer alternative is to lay a 1×4 on the ground and bear crawl from end to end without touching the ground. If you slip, you won’t fall far.

Brick squats. For this I found a smaller section of the chimney and held it to my chest while doing squats on top of the big section of chimney I just flipped. Do a few squat sets of 10 to 15 repetitions.

Doing weighted squats on top of the chimney

Doing weighted squats on top of the chimney

Practical Performance benefits: Lifting that case of water, your toddler, or a 50 pound bag of feed.

Timber overhead lift. There are several long, heavy logs laying in our park that I use to work my shoulders and arms. Find one that you can press safely over your head for 2 sets of 10-15 reps.

timber overhead lift

Don’t drop it on your head.

I sometime use shorter logs and balance them on my shoulder and perform squats – or drag them through the park.

Practical Performance benefits: Helps with any over the head lifting, log cabin building, and just looks cool.

Jump on it! Plyometrics are one of the best exercises to increase power. Simply put, power gives you the ability to turn strength into speed, quickly. You need a sturdy elevated surface 18 to 20 inches high. I use two stone park benches. Jump from the ground to the top of the bench and back down to your starting point… and repeat as quickly as possible. Do 2 sets of 10-15 reps as quickly and safely as possible. As you build up your strength and reps, find a higher surface to jump on.

I'm behind DRG's thumb

I’m behind DRG’s thumb

Safety point: If you’ve not been doing much in the way of physical activity, plyometrics are not where you want to start. They are very intense. Build your fitness level slowly before attempting plyos. They are very taxing on your tendons and joints so don’t overdo it.

Alternative to plyos: Do squat jumps. Squat and jump as high as you can. When you land, go into squat position and jump again. Progress until you can do box plyometrics.

Practical Performance benefits: Allows you to finally jump and touch the net (maybe even the rim) on the basketball court, converts strength into power and explosiveness (great for snatching granny from the oncoming bus), and out run your hunting partner while being chased by a grizzly bear.

I finish off my workout with elevated push ups, a few pull ups, and five sprints.

For the push ups, place your feet on the park bench with your hands on the ground after you’re exhausted from plyos and do as many push ups as you can. If you need an easier alternative, put your hands on the bench and feet on the ground to do the push ups.

Keep your body straight and core tight.

Keep your body straight and core tight.

This is my preferred gym, natures gym, to build physical preparedness. The best practical workout of all is actually doing the real stuff like throwing hay, splitting wood, digging fence post holes, clearing land, and carrying rocks for DRG’s garden. When you can’t work on a homestead, at least find a park, backyard, or even a gym and get busy practicing for practical, real-world performance.

Your survival may one day depend on your physical preparedness. Just a thought.

What do you do to increase your practical performance? Please share your thoughts and ideas in the comment section!

Doing the stuff,

Todd

P.S. – As always, if you found this useful, please share it with your friends.

P.P.S. – Dirt Road Girl is finally dipping her toe into the Twitter pool, testing the water. If you’d like, you can follow her @TheDirtRoadGirl – She’s also promised to post here soon!

 

 

 

Categories: Functional Fitness, Preparedness, Primal/Paleo Lifestyle | Tags: , , , | 6 Comments

You Don’t Have To Go Fast…You Just Have To Go

[Editor's Note: One of the easiest and best ways to start your journey to being more fit is to move slowly.  Walking is one of the principles in The Primal Blueprint that revolutionized my health and fitness. Daisy offers a great primer on how to walk the walk.]

SURVIVAL FITNESS: WALK THE WALK

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One oft-overlooked factor in survival is fitness.  How many preppers do you know who rest on laurels of athletic prowess back in their 20s?  Whose idea of exercise is getting up to go to the refrigerator, lobbing a crumpled can to the garbage can?  Who talk the talk, but never walk the walk, especially if it consists of walking that walk in inclement weather?

In many different survival situations, your personal fitness level can mean the difference between life and death.  We’ve already talked about maintaining and achieving a healthy body weight – now let’s talk about being fit.

A prepper’s forte is playing “what if” so let’s play that game right now and look at some examples where being able to move quickly for a long time, possibly in adverse conditions, would be vital.

  • Bug out. Perhaps martial law  has been instituted, house-to-house searches are occurring, and vehicle checkpoints are everywhere, so you and your family have no choice but to set out on foot, through the backcountry.  With a 40 pound bug out bag strapped to your back.  Carrying a toddler.  Over mountains.
  • Car crash. Maybe you are returning home after a visit with family.  You are, of course, on the most isolated road known to man, in the middle of the night, when your vehicle goes into a skid, takes out the railing and tumbles down a mountain.  Miraculously, you survive, but then you realize that no one can see your car.  You have no choice but to wiggle out through the window, climb that darned mountain, and walk for help.
  • Kidnapped. Somehow, you’ve been kidnapped and taken to a cabin someplace deep in the forest.  Through a stroke of luck, you escape the cabin, and begin to hie off through the woods, but your kidnappers aren’t far behind.  In this situation, the person in the best physical condition wins.  Whoever can run for the longest, wins.
  • EMP. An EMP strike or solar flare has taken out the grid, as well as all the vehicles.  If you want to get anyplace other than where you are, it is most likely that you will have to walk.  If, for example, you’re at work, you are going to have to trek your way home to be with your family.  Whatever the distance, whatever the terrain, you better start walking now.

These examples, of course, are what happens immediately, when you must escape something.  What about those long days after the initial disaster, ones of plowing fields, chopping wood, and lugging water?

As a prepper, your personal health and fitness level can be your most valuable asset.  Just as important as tools, weapons and plans, your ability to simply move your body for a long time without stopping can be the difference between life and death.

And it all starts with walking.

Just Walk

Of course, there are many components to fitness and eventually we will talk about all of those.  But the best place to start is to lace up your sneakers and walk.

 (This is where I tell you, as I am legally bound to do, that you should seek the advice of your physician before starting this or any other exercise program.)

When people start a walking program, they tend to make one of two mistakes.

1.) They push themselves way too hard and end up getting so sore on the very first day that they are virtually crippled from Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness.

2.) They don’t push themselves hard enough and stop the  second they begin to feel out of breath.

Your starting point depends on your current fitness level, of course, but that can be hard to judge if you have been moving from sitting on your rear at your desk at the office over to sit on your rear on the sofa at your house.  So I generally recommend that you start with 30 minutes.

If you are truly sedentary, don’t kill yourself by trying to set a rapid pace for your 30 minute walk.  You should walk at a very comfortable pace for at least 5 minutes to warm up your body. Then, speed up to the point that speaking is possible but not super-easy.  Your heart rate should be elevated enough that your speech is limited to short bursts of words, not Shakespearean monologues.  If you get to the point that you can only gasp out a word at a time, you are pushing yourself too hard, and you need to slow down.

If you need to slow down, that doesn’t mean stop!  Keep going, just at a slow, easy pace.  This is you, building your endurance. Unless you are having the symptoms of an actual heart attack (extreme shortness of breath, faintness, dizziness, pain down one arm, etc) keep moving at a slow pace as you catch your breath.

About 5 minutes before your walk is over, drop back your pace a little to cool down.

As you become more fit, you can make things more difficult and more akin to survival situations.  You can add hills, obstacles, increase your speed, carry a loaded pack, or walk for longer to add to the challenge.

Motivation

Some things that help:

  • A dog.   My dog would walk FOR-E-VER!  Walking a dog is a great way to keep motivated and will result in not only a healthier you, but a healthier and better-behaved pet too.
  • A buddy.  A walking buddy will help you maintain a pace.  As well, we are much less likely to cancel our walk if a friend is going to be let down when we don’t show up.
  • Tunes.  My Ipod full of headbanging rock is my favorite piece of workout equipment.  I opt for music with a beat that mimics the pace I want to keep. I like energetic, heavy driving music to keep me motivated.  Make a playlist of whatever inspires you to move quickly.  Sometimes I’ll walk a little further just because there is a really great song on.  I save the Ipod for walks, making it a special treat.

Safety note: I recommend only using one headphone.  Whether you are in the city or out in the woods, like me, wearing two headphones and making yourself deaf is the equivalent of wearing a “Prey” t-shirt.  It’s important to always be aware of your surroundings.

Remember that you can have all of the preps in the world, but if you can’t walk far enough to get to them, they will do you no good whatsoever.  In fact, they’ll feed the next guy, you know, the one who’s out there pounding the pavement every day!  He is in shape enough to get to them.

Your physical stamina can mean the difference between life and death, not only for you, but for those who depend on you.  Just get out there and walk and within a month, you will see that your 30 minute walk takes you a lot further than it did when you began.

Excuses

And a word about excuses.  Okay, a few words, because there are oh-so-many excuses.

Unless I am going to be struck by lightening or die of hypothermia because I’ve gotten soaked in sub-zero temperatures, I walk.  There are many days that I look out the window at the gray skies and think, oh, man, I don’t want to walk today!  But I do it any way.  Why?

Because, if you are a prepper, you are training for life.  You are training for events that happen at the most inopportune times.   Rarely does a disaster conveniently time itself on a sunny day of moderate temperatures.  Nope, if you have to hike away from a car accident, it likely happened because of ice or rain on the roads.  You will be hiking away from it through the pouring rain.  If a crime has been perpetrated on you, and you must flee, are you going to take your chance when it presents itself, or will you say, “Yeah, it’s raining, dude.  I’m just gonna hang out with this serial killer until it clears up.”

You aren’t made of sugar. You aren’t going to melt.  Just walk.

And yes, you do have time.  Unless you are moving from the moment you get up in the morning until the moment you go to bed, you can find 30 minutes to go for a walk.  Trust me, after you get used to it, your body will crave it and you’ll feel so much better!  If you really truly are that busy, break your walk up into two 15 minute walks, or even 3 ten minute walks.  There really are very few days that you can’t take 30 minutes from your day to do something wonderful and potentially life-saving.

You’re sick?  Are you really, truly sick?  If you are, you’re right.  You should stay home, tucked under the covers.  But if you have a bit of a headache, low energy, some female problems, or just general lethargy, you may be surprised at how much better you feel after a bit of exercise and fresh air.  Exercise is nature’s anti-depressant and sometimes those minor aches and pains are related to mood more than they are actual physical maladies.

You don’t have to start with a Marine Corp Mud Run.  You see all those big buff dudes running down the road in fatigues, carrying an 80 lb. pack?  Let ‘em run!  You, my friend, are just going to walk today.  You are going to get started and you are going to find your own path to fitness.  This isn’t about comparing yourself to those who are more fit or more strong than you.  Everyone is not capable of doing what an Ironman Triathlete does but just about everyone is capable of more than they are doing right now.  If you challenge yourself, you might just be amazed at what you can do once you’ve built a base of fitness.

 Get Started

Today.  Right now. If it’s the middle of the night when you’re reading this, then you can wait until tomorrow.  But remember that the sooner you start, the sooner you are ready to face survival challenges head on.  You, keeling over from a heart attack while you bug out, will be one less thing that you (and those with you) have to worry about.

Getting into better shape is something you will never regret. Even if you never need to be more fit because of a survival situation, you still get all the health and well-being benefits from doing it.  Your body and those who love you will thank you!

“I got fit and I never even had to escape from a deranged stalker!

What a waste of time!”

said no one, ever.

About the author: Daisy Luther is a freelance writer and editor.  Her website, The Organic Prepper, offers information on healthy prepping, including premium nutritional choices, general wellness and non-tech solutions. You can follow Daisy on Facebook and Twitter, and you can email her at daisy@theorganicprepper.ca

Categories: Functional Fitness | Tags: , , , | 2 Comments

5 Must Do’s Before the National Nipple Runs Dry

by Todd Walker

I hate labels. I’ve spent the better part of my adult life dodging bumper sticker nomenclature.

Prepping, survivalism, back to basics, resilience, self-reliance, sustainable, self-sufficient, homesteading, simple living, etc. all have a common philosophy: Taking responsibility for you own life. I wrote about chasing the simple life here. Sherpa Simple is…

Living in a way that is economical, sustainable, individualized, self-sufficient, comfortable, practical, resilient, and in harmony with nature and neighbors. It’s all about helping each other as we chase the simple life.

Weaning ourselves off the National Nipple requires time, energy, self-education, and force in some cases. And here’s the thing – the more we drink, the more we believe that the State udder will never stop flowing. We become addicted. Suckling becomes a basic right.

Buzzers Image Ana Ivanovic Nipple

This is what the National Nipple will do for you

“Once the government becomes the supplier of people’s needs, there is no limit to the needs that will be claimed as a basic right.”

– Lawrence Auster

Even if you’re thumping your chest with pride for never wrapping your proverbial lips around the golden udder, we’re all affected by the overwhelming dependency bred into our culture. The State is the great equalizer dispensing fairness for the collective good. This arrangement is not voluntary. It’s sustained by force. “Legitimate” force.

If you knew the day our National Nipple would run dry, wouldn’t you live differently. It’s not a matter of if, but when. And ‘when’ happens, there will be more than a bit of bawling and screaming. Everyone will fill the pain – your elderly parents on medicare and fixed incomes, your neighbor working in the public sector, all the public school teachers (and there are a lot of us), owners of stocks and bonds, retired veterans, everyone. I’m not even counting those totally dependent government for food, houses, and cell phones. The reset will happen.

How could it not. The truth behind the recovery propaganda should cause some of us to begin self-weaning. The feral Federal Reserve will continue the train wreck by printing more fiat paper. The productive class will continue to shrink. It’s becoming more and more difficult for middle class families to provide basic necessities, much less save for that rainy day.

Retirement looks further away by the minute. The elites keep sending their handlers back to the kitchen to cook more numbers to keep the herd happy. Does this make me vigilant and awake or a conspiracy theorist?

You decide. Search economic collapse for yourself. Here’s a small sampling to get you started:

•             Personal Incomes & The Decline Of The American Saver

•             Comparing the past to predict the future

•             A chart proving that the MSM is lying about unemployment

The picture painted is scary. As people come up for air while nursing on the National Nipple, there may be some that begin to wean themselves. For those of you already standing back from the feeding frenzy, you need to get into high gear with your preparedness plan.

You may think I’m hardnosed or uncaring by my next statement. I prefer a sudden reset over a long, drawn out collapse. I never liked tip-toeing into our cold lake. I found jumping in head-first to best for me. My body adapted to the shock of cold water better with total immersing. Let me clarify. I’d prefer no collapse at all. But that ain’t happening.

You only have power over people so long as you don’t take everything away from them. But when you’ve robbed a man of everything, he’s no longer in your power – he’s free again.  — Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

The list of nations spiraling towards collapse is growing. What steps should Joe and Jane Average take now to build a hedge against financial Armageddon? This is not a step-by-step plan. It requires thought, creativity, and determination – no matter what your financial status. To answer the previous question, do what we know is the right thing to do. Simplify. Less is more. ‘Less’ dependence on the fragile systems of mono-crop corporate farming, fractional reserve banking, and our ‘sick’ care medical establishment.

Building resilience in these areas one step at a time will only increase your chances of survival. And may actually help you thrive.

While this list is not exhaustive, it points us in the right direction.

Food

Grow your own or buy from local farmers. Doing this will accomplish several things:

  • Strengthen your local food system. These producers live where you live. Small family owned and operated farms will contribute to your overall health and resilience in return.
  • Reconnect with your food and community. Build relationship with food producers that don’t live 2,000 miles from your house. Better to meet them now than after the balloon goes up.
  • Save resources. The amount of packaging material and fuel is drastically reduced by purchasing/bartering for groceries you can’t produce for yourself. Find farmers that practice sustainable growing practices.
  • Education. Many local farmers/producers are happy to help you learn how to grow your own. Plus, you’ll begin to know where your food comes from.
  • Food storage you’ll actually eat. When you preserve the harvest from you garden or local farmer’s market, you’re putting away food that you’ll actually enjoy eating and not some pre-packaged, processed items or MRE resembling food. Dehydrating, canning, and proper storage techniques will go a long way in supplying your family with stores of food for the long run.

Health Vigilante – physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually.

  • 90% of what we eat is the cause of our chronic health conditions.
  • Be your own health vigilante. Take your health into your own hands. This past year taught DRG and me that modern medicine is run by pharmaceutical companies. There’s a chemical soup in pill form for everything.
  • Explore holistic health practices.
  • Eat nutrient dense foods. Avoid processed junk foods. I recommend the Primal Lifestyle. Your mileage may vary.
  • Regular exercise without being married to the gym. Develop a mindset of functional fitness. Lift heavy things, move slowly every day, and sprint (max capacity) once every 7 to 10 days.

Invest in assets and skills

  • By assets, I mean tangible items that hold value. Look up Alpha Strategy. That case of ammo you bought last year was a good investment after all. 
  • Focus on your strengths. You’ve got one or two skills that you’re very good at. Develop those even more. But don’t forget to add more resilience-adding skills to your toolbox.
  • Barter is becoming more important these days. It may one day be a crucial skill for acquiring basic necessities.
  • Learn permaculture. Hiding food in plain sight.

 Build Community

  • Most of us don’t live in a rural homestead self-sufficiently. We live mostly in urban and suburban neighborhoods. Your neighbors will play a huge part in your families ability to survive and thrive in coming days. I’ve written some thoughts on the importance of neighboring here
  • With proper planning and the existence of basic resources, your neighborhood is very defensible and livable in SHTF scenarios. More on this in a later post.

Housing – Living big in small places

  • Learning to live big in small places (locally) means re-educating ourselves on what resilience really means.
  • Simplifying your life gets rid of all the clutter. If you’re like me, that’s a hard thing to do. Letting go of things I’m going to do something with one day. It forces me to really evaluate what’s important. Prioritizing my stuff allows me more free time to focus on what’s really important.
  • Consider downsizing your home. We’ve downsized twice since the housing bubble popped. Talk about freeing up time!

I’m aware there are many more must do’s before the National Nipple runs dry. This is intended to spark a discussion on adding to our list. Please feel free to comment on the list and add your valuable insight. Or email me your thoughts via the contact tab at the top of my blog.

Follow me on Twitter for the latest on our journey to self-reliance, preparedness, and resilient living: @SurvivalSherpa

Categories: 180 Mind Set Training, Barter, Canning, Economic Collapse, Food Storage, Frugal Preps, Functional Fitness, Homeopathy, Homesteading, Investing/Tangibles, Permaculture, Preparedness | Tags: , , , | 10 Comments

How Chronic Couch Preppers Can Look Good Naked Again

by Todd Walker

Do you hate mirrors!

http://fitnessgurunyc.com/wp/wp-content/uploads/2010/09/1.1250550826.fat-mirror.jpg

In the not so distant past, mirrors were my arch-enemy. I’d talk myself into believing that the shirt hid my love handles. The Dirt Road Girl must have used a shrinking agent in the laundry. Wait a minute! That doesn’t explain my leather belt shrinking. Hum. What’s up with that?!

I had become a chronic couch prepper. I was carrying 50 more pounds than my once athletic frame was intended to haul. In my delusional mind, I figured on summoning super-hero strength if the time came for me to hump my 40 pound bug-out-bag plus an extra 50 pounds of self-indulgent body fat. Pulling myself up by the bootstraps in a SHTF scenario or emergency situation has it’s time and place. What do I do when merely reaching for my boot straps is exhausting?

If you’ve followed my journey any length of time, you’ve heard me talk about my primal/paleo lifestyle. It’s not some fad diet. It’s a lifestyle of making choices and taking your health and fitness into your own hands. I can’t imagine that preparedness minded people would not embrace this lifestyle. Going into any emergency, natural or man-made, optimal health and fitness might give you the edge in survival. The people who depend on you can’t if you’re a chronic couch prepper.

If you stumbled upon this site and aren’t into preparedness, self-reliance, and resilience, but are looking for a solution to the dieting dungeon and want to experience real long-term health and fitness, you’re in the right place.

The benefits of going primal

Since going primal in February 2010, I’ve lost the aching joints, irritated bowel, sugar cravings, and 50 pounds. I’ve gained confidence in my physical abilities, muscle mass, increased energy levels, new appreciation for play, and a lifestyle of healthy living. An added bonus is I look good naked again – according to Dirt Road Girl :) Vanity? Not really. It just goes with the territory of a primal lifestyle.

Do you have to follow the primal lifestyle to be physically fit? No. It’s the path I’ve followed and highly recommend for those who have tried ‘everything’.

Prisoner of the Pyramid

http://philadelphia.grubstreet.com/20070711zombies.jpg

The real Zombie Food Pyramid is the USDA Food Pyramid

Nutrition is key to a healthy lifestyle. Following conventional wisdom on nutrition was a big fail for me and millions of Americans. I have two degrees in Health and Physical Education. In those six years, I was schooled to follow the conventional wisdom of eating mostly carbs mixed with a little fat and protein. Great plan if you value chronic health problems, fatigue, and dying. Following the misinformation put out by our benevolent government (corporate-driven USDA food pyramid) will only help you remain a chronic couch prepper. Why would they do that? Follow the money. I’ve chosen to abandon willful ignorance and take control of my own life. Self-reliance and preparedness starts within you.

RESET!

Flip the pyramid upside down and start over. Eat no grains, or grain based meals for one month. Hold on there pilgrim! All preppers know that storing grain in 5 gallon buckets is the way to survive TEOTWAWKI. Again, think like a hunter/gatherer. Destroy the old conventional paradigm. I know this will offend and even anger traditional/conventional preparedness folks. I’m no expert on nutrition, I just know what worked for me. All I’m asking is that you take the challenge for one month. Break free from the conventional wisdom and give it a chance.

The Caveman’s Gym

http://agarlandcrown.files.wordpress.com/2012/01/caveman-fitness.jpg?w=470

What would Grok do? Short and intense is better than long and grueling. I’ve had friends join me on my work outs. They are very simple and minimalist. No gym membership, long hours, expensive equipment, or boring stuff. Here’s some of the ‘gym’ equipment I use.

  • My body weight for pull ups, push ups, lunges, and squats.
  • Rocks for throwing and lifting.
  • Fallen trees, broken into manageable pieces, are used for weighted squats and balance.
  • Sledge hammer swung at old tires. I also do Shovelglove. Never heard of it. Click here to check it out. Splitting wood with a sledgehammer, wedge, and axe are great full body movement creating functional fitness.
  • Don’t discount children and grandchildren. I hoist my grandson on my shoulders (40 pounds) every time he comes over and we do our walk. Well, he rides and giggles. I walk.
  • 7 gallon water containers. Grab two that are full to perform killer lunge sets. I don’t do many with that weight. Work up to heavier weight with two gallon jugs of water or other object with a handle.
  • Sprint as fast as you can every 7 to 10 days. This is all out effort whether you bike, run, or swim. My sprint sessions only last about 10 minutes. Long slow distance only leads to stress related injuries (chronic cardio)…especially in shoes.
  • Tree climbing. I’m not talking about with a deer climbing stand either. Get over your domesticated workout and go wild!
  • Here’s another wild workout I posted that you may find helpful.

Functional fitness for SHTF

Specialization is for insects. “Time to go to the gym,” my buddy moaned. He can bench press 400 pounds but can barely squeak out a pull up. In any survival situation, versatility will be the key to not becoming room temperature. If he and I were hiking and had to climb a tree to escape a charging wild boar, he might be out of luck. Ever watch a dog ‘exercising’ outside? He doesn’t run in a boring circles. He mixes it up with jumping, sprinting, sparing, playing, with an occasional stop to pee on bushes. Animals move without monotony. Movement is survival.

Wild animals depend on their ability to move to survive. The odds of us having to sprint to the nearest tree to outrun a wild beast is small. WTSHTF it’s the two-legged predators I’m worried about. Knowing we could escape a dangerous encounter is rewarding. More practically, could I carry my wife or children to safety if called upon? Our fitness level should be well-rounded. We’ve got to be strong to be useful.

Here are a few resources I recommend to get you into the wild and moving naturally.

1) The 13 MovNat Movement Skills© (Check out this site for natural movement)

If you’re wondering what moving naturally means for human beings, think of human species-specific movement aptitudes. Visualize how the human animal would move in nature for his survival – that is natural human movement.

‘Aren’t there more natural ways to move naturally than just running?’

Human beings possess locomotive skills such as 1) walking, 2) running, 3) jumping, 4) balancing, 5) crawling, 6) climbing, or 7) swimming.

In addition to locomotive skills, human beings also utilize manipulative skills such as 8) lifting, 9) carrying, 10) throwing, and 11) catching, and 12) throwing and combative skills, such as 13) striking or grappling.

2) Mark’s Daily Apple. Reprogram your genes for effortless weight-loss, vibrant health and boundless energy.

3) The Paleo Solution. Revolutionary solutions to modern life.

4) Free The Animal. Richard Nikoley’s quest to live a primal/paleo lifestyle.

If you’re sick and tired of being sick and tired when it comes to your workout, give these suggestions a try.

You’re turn. What’s been your exercise regiment? – I hate that word. It’s so hard to keep up with a regiment. Share your wild functional workout with us.

NOTE: A recent email conversation with Daisy Luther got us both thinking about the importance of fitness and health for survival. Over the next few weeks I’ll be putting together a more detailed series on functional fitness, healthy living, and unconventional advice for those following a preparedness and self-sustainable lifestyle.

Got anything in particular that you’d like to hear discussed?

 

Categories: Functional Fitness, Natural Health, Primal Skills, Primal/Paleo Lifestyle, SHTF | Tags: , , , , , | 3 Comments

Doing Push-ups for Preparedness

I do a lot of push-ups every day. Why? I don’t need fancy equipment, gym shorts, or a gym membership. Al Kavadlo does an excellent job with his guest post over at Mark’s Daily Apple explaining this perfect primal (and prepper) exercise. Can’t do a regular push-up? No worries. Take it step by step and gradually build up to massive amounts of this functional fitness exercise.

Push-ups: The Perfect Primal Exercise

Push up1This is a guest post from Al Kavadlo of AlKavadlo.com.

Push-ups are one of the oldest and most widely known strength exercises on Earth. They’ve been a staple in military fitness, martial arts and just about every other type of exercise program that’s ever existed. Anyone who has even the slightest interest in working out has probably tried to do a push-up at least once in their life.

Funny thing is, amongst many modern fitness enthusiasts, the push-up is often overlooked due to its simplicity. A lot of people are under the misconception that something so basic couldn’t possibly be the best overall upper-body exercise out there. Even members of the primal community who know better than to buy into mainstream hype are often skeptical of my claim that the humble push-up is nature’s perfect exercise.

I hope you’re at least willing to hear me out.

 

Perfect Push-up

Push up2

Push-ups are as close to a perfect exercise as you can get. They work your entire upper-body (including your abs), and can be modified in an infinite number of ways to suit any fitness level. Push-ups emphasize the chest, shoulders and triceps but every muscle in the body has to do its part for a proper push-up to take place. Your lats, traps and abs must stabilize your pushing muscles, while your lower back, legs and glutes need to stay engaged to keep your hips from sagging or piking up too high. Like many calisthenics exercises, push-ups teach your muscles to work in harmony with one another.

But my favorite thing about push-ups is that they don’t require anything more than a floor, so you can do them anywhere. And as I always say, If you don’t have a floor, you’ve got much bigger problems!

Wall Push-up

WallPush up

Everyone knows strength training is great for your muscles, but a lot of people don’t realize that working out also does a lot for your bones, tendons and other connective tissue. It’s true though; strength training makes the entire body strong. It’s obvious when you really think about it – your connective tissue needs to be strong to support those muscles! Sometimes people are so concerned with aesthetic goals that they overlook the changes that can’t visibly be seen.

If you have bad shoulders, wrists or elbows, in time your joints can be restored with lower intensity variants like the wall push-up. The body can only be as strong as its weakest link, and connective tissue tends to be slower to adapt than muscle. A novice or an injured person should start with the wall push-up, working to 20 and eventually 50 consecutive reps in each set before moving on. To perform this variant, simply lean against a wall with your toes a few feet away and do the push-up movement from this semi-upright position.

Read the rest here

 

Categories: Functional Fitness, Preparedness, Primal/Paleo Lifestyle | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment

Freedom Outlaw and Hoarder of Light Bulbs

I first discovered Karen De Coster in February 2010. She’s a frequent contributor at LewRockwell.com and is solely responsible for ‘ruining’ my life by turning me on to the Primal lifestyle. Here’s a piece, shared with her permission, in the category of the-government-knows-what’s-best-for-you. Also a great picture of her shooting a BAR!

Keep doing the stuff,

Todd

______________________________________

Gawker Media Piece On Me

by Karen De Coster

Sunday, September 23, 2012

This article from Gawker media, which is centered on my opinions and writings about the incandescent light bulb banishment, appeared on Gizmodo on Thursday, September 20, 2012, complete with compare-and-contrast photos. Gizmodo is one of many weblogs of the parent company, Gawker media. I took no issue with doing the interview with this particular website on why the government’s ban on incandescent light bulbs is totalitarian, even though I had a gut feeling – very early on – that the author and/or editor would attempt to slam dunk me. And the author indeed attempted to do this, and only lightly so, but the straw man argument was not very successful.

In fact, the author and story editor had googled me and they came across what they thought to be an interesting pro-gun photo of me that was in contrast to the photo – me with some light bulbs – that I had supplied to them. I had no problem with them running the other photo, knowing that the slam dunk and photo reveal on their part would actually backfire very much in my favor.

First of all – to correct a few items from the article: the shorts I am wearing are not “daisy dukes,” as several observant folks pointed out on my Facebook page. They are 1970s-style, cut-off Levi shorts. Big difference. Additionally, the rifle I am holding is a BAR (Browning Automatic Rifle), not an “assault rifle.” My friend who owns the rifle notes that the BAR would not be considered an assault rifle because it fires a full-size .30-06 cartridge. The “assault rifle” designation, which is always used as a pejorative remark, is merely an old ploy to paint one as a lunatic who is doing something that is in opposition to the uninformed opinions of the compliant masses (gasp!) that prefer following the sheep over the cliff in order to be good little citizens of the state. Since my blog clearly sates, “eccentric in demeanor and opinion,” one can expect that I may have a hobby or two, along with a thought or two, which are not approved by the masses who worship the purveyors of conventional wisdom from their dutiful fiefdoms.

Also, I am not an “unofficial leader” of any movement to hoard incandescent light bulbs. I am a lone writer, with almost no “official” associations, who has stood as an independent writer/blogger/researcher for fourteen years. I write what I see, and that includes both research and facts, and my ensuing opinions and/or conclusions are presented in various formats – serious, critical, humorous, and/or satire.

Read the rest here

Karen De Coster, CPA is an accounting professional in Detroit, MI. She is a writer of libertarian stuff, Primal/Paleo lifestyle, food freedom, Austrian economics, destroyer of conventional wisdom, and is resisting tyranny one word at a time. She has archives at LewRockwell.com and Mises.org. Check her blog out here. You can also follow her on Twitter @karendecoster.

 

Categories: 180 Mind Set Training, Functional Fitness, Life-Liberty-Happiness, Preparedness, Self-reliance, Tyranny | Tags: , , , , , | 2 Comments

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