by Todd Walker
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
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.
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
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?
- Doing Push-ups for Preparedness (survivalsherpa.wordpress.com)
- The Paleo Solution For Preppers (survivalsherpa.wordpress.com)
- Survival Fitness: Walk the Walk (dprogram.net)