Improving Your Fitness For Hunting Season
Back in January, I never thought I'd be where I am today fitness-wise. If you've read my blog, you know that I have dropped a significant amount of body fat, increased my cardio to an all-time high and got my body much leaner than it has been in a long time. It feel great to be able to hit the gym each time in preparation for the mountains in Southern California. My original plan for Colorado elk will have to wait until next year, but for now I aim to climb to the tops of some SoCal saddles and bowls in search of Pacific-Hybrid deer.
A big thanks to my wife for turning me on to Runkeeper.com. After each session, I enter in my totals for the workout. Time spent on a machine, mileage and calories burned. This is a great way to track your improvements throughout the year.
Imagine the grin on my face when I returned from my workout late last week, entered in my totals and saw this total for 2011 on the screen:
Holy Energizer Bunny, Batman! To say I was stoked is an understatement. I love how it's going and yes, I want more. I want to keep improving and then maintain it as a lifestyle change. No more Fat Albert screaming, "Hey, Hey, Heeeyy!"
How am I doing it? One of the things I have been doing is challenging myself each time I go to the gym. Basically, instead of hitting the StairClimber at the rate I think I can manage for that day, I crank it up. Let me give you an example. When I first started, I was climbing at level 8 for 20-30 minutes, hands on the rails and my head hung low. By the end of my workout I was exhausted and my legs were jelly. I still managed to stretch to be sure I didn't pull anything.
Then, for two months I had the machine set at level 10 on the machine for 60 minutes. I no longer held the rails constantly and I held my head high. I was steadily improving, cardio was getting better and I could feel my heart beating stronger. I figure if I am not out of breath at some point in the workout then I am not working hard enough. My legs didn't feel like jelly anymore, my H2O intake was around ten - 8oz. glasses per day (give or take a glass) and I wouldn't feel like I couldn't workout anymore. It actually felt good!
Fast forward to my cardio now. The StairClimber hates it when I walk into the gym now. Instead of me working out on the Climber, I make that machine work for ME! You better believe it. I climb up and I can almost hear the sighs and groans. Now I crank it up to level 12-14 for 60 minutes, nothing less. Can I feel a burn? Damn straight! Are my lungs burning? You bet! I don't hang on to the rails at all anymore. I hike it with the though of having a deer slung on my pack and having to hoof it out of the deep forest. I make sure to drink at least a half liter of water while on the machine and another when I get off. I stretch each and every time after my workout, too. If I don't stretch my workout isn't complete. I haven't missed stretching once during any of my workouts. I am not fatigued anymore, but I still crank it so I am breathing hard. I have to make it count! I am now drinking around a gallon of water per day, sometimes more. No more feeling sluggish, no more headaches and your body just craves it.
The harder I work now, the less I'll have to work when it comes to my hunting, right Cam? Cam Hanes has a motto - Train Hard. Hunt Easy. You can't make it any simpler than that and he's right.
So now, after my workouts, I feel great. I am a sweaty mess, but a lean, super-charged, ready to hit the hills and mountains, sweaty mess. Bring on the heat. Bring on the elevation. Better yet, bring on the challenge because now it's time to hunt.