At all times an outdoorsman must care for his body as much as his work. Be a firm believer that exercising your body outside of the field will allow a better experience in the field. When working out I like to focus on movements and strengths needed while in the field. Lets be honest, there are a bunch of hobbyists out there that are in rough shape and the occasional stroll in the woods is adequate for their outdoor experience. The dry heaving and sweat is hardly motivational enough to get these types in shape. I’m talking to the people who want to be outdoors and live a physical life. We’re talking the multi-mile hunting hike, climbing or wadding the white waters. You must be physically compatible with any obstacle or action you take to have an effective and proficient outcome. So lets start with the basics.
#1. Core workouts.
Your core muscles are the first muscles to respond to any movement made. A strong core will eliminate a sore back and increases your bodies endurance. Some popular options for great core workouts would include: Sit ups, pushups, squats and pull-ups. These workouts can easily be accomplished at home and should be exercised daily.
Option #1. If you rather stay in the woods than enter the realm of gym madness, purchase yourself a 3+ lb felling ax now! Search on eBay or at your local antique shop and find a nice vintage ax. This will easily split your costs in half and offers a higher quality product. Swinging an ax builds upper body strength and core endurance. The more you swing the more intense it gets and the better fire you can build when you’re finished.
Option #2. The art of rowing is a killer work out for upper body and endurance building. If you have access to a lake and boat, try doing this twice a week for no less than 30 minutes at a time. Try to keep your row speed consistent through out this exercise for best results. As muscles and endurance develops add logs or bring along some company for some additional weight. Never forget to enjoy the outdoor experience! It by far out weighs working out in a gym next to some stanky folks. Option #3 Tree climbing with a combination of pull-ups is a tough feat but one of my favorites. I’ve climbed trees since a toddler and have yet to be seriously hurt doing it. This is another all around body building work out but must be done carefully. The type of tree you climb will determine the risk you take while climbing. The great Pine is by far the best and safest tree to climb. If your wilderness is starved of such a tree, never turn down the presence of a big maple. The mighty Maple offers the height and the limbs needed for awesome pull-up and climbing action. Do this enough and you’ll have boulders for shoulders and some serious man hands - your legs will thank you for it too.
#2. Cardio workouts
Most Men hate to run unless they’re chasing lady tail but there are ways to keep the man candy biceps and still tend to your hearts health. Option #1. Focus on short sprints that last no more than a minute long per session. Do this between 3 minute rests for 30 minutes. This will improve endurance while not interfering with your muscle building goals. Are you a gun man and find your arms tiring from long hunting excursions? Carry a limb with you that is similar in weight and during your resting periods curl it like a bar bell.
Option #2. Don’t let the rough winter months be an excuse, there are excellent adventures to partake in that act as great cardio workouts. Find a quality pair of used snow shoes and hit the forest a few times per week. Not only does nature offer a different view, but you will find out fast that snow shoeing works the cardiovascular system as intensely as running will. Make sure to dress properly and STAY HYDRATED - you will dehydrate much faster in the cold because your vitals work 3 times harder to keep your core warm. This is also a great workout to enjoy with company.
As you build your body stronger and become comfortable with your workouts, you will find a new appreciation for the wilderness. Making your workouts a routine and not an occasional period of suffering will ensure consistent results. Stop making excuses, get outside, and enjoy the great outdoors with a strong body. Body, Mind, Soul, and the Great Outdoors.
Be Man Made.