Surviving when SHTF requires a high level of physical fitness. You may have to walk miles to get food and supplies, carry a heavy pack, and help children and injured adults escape damaged structures. Your life may depend on your ability to complete physical tasks, so training in advance is a vital part prepper fitness.
After a disaster, gas stations will run dry and the roads will likely be damaged, making cars and other forms of transportation unusable. Therefore, you will be required to walk to secure food to supplies –averaging ten miles a day. Most people are unprepared for this level of exercise, as most jobs today are primarily sedentary rather than active. If you have not trained for long-distance walking and hiking, you will face sore muscles especially in the lower back and injuries, which will severely hinder your ability to provide for yourself and your family. Prepper fitness is not achieved overnight and can take week, months or even years to master.
Why Fitness is Important for Prepping
No matter how long you have been prepping, you are most likely not prepared to carry a backpack filled with survival supplies for hours on end. Without training, you will experience discomfort that will worsen over time. Thus, unless you have conditioned for long-distance hiking, bugging-out will be extremely difficult, not to mention painful. Your well-planned survival stockpile is not of any use if you cannot get out of the damaged area, or even the neighborhood, carrying it.
If you plan to hunt for protein when SHTF, survival fitness prepping is especially important. It can take hours of hiking to find and catch game. Then you will need to carry it home on your back, because you will not have a pickup truck waiting. This might be easy if you catch a squirrel or rabbit, but if you are lucky (and skilled) enough to get a deer, transporting it can certainly be a struggle if you are not physically fit.
You will also need to chop firewood to build a fire for cooking, which is physically exhausting without practice. This is even more important in the winter when you will need large quantities of firewood to keep warm.
Getting in Shape for Prepping
Even if you go to the gym five times a week, you are probably not prepared for survival fitness, since it is unlike normal gym exercise. Hiking with a 50 pound pack is significantly harder than walking on a flat treadmill. The only way to condition yourself for survival activities is to train based on those specific tasks. However, strength training at a gym when hiking trails are not available can be a great alternative.
Begin by carrying a 10 pound pack or bug out bag that you would use for long-distance hiking prep around at home during the day. Start with walking a mile and build up slowly. Once you can walk a few miles at 10 pounds, add more weight, and continue increasing the weight until the pack weighs 25% of your body weight. Do not attempt to carry more than 30% of your weight, as it can result in stress injuries. Doing such tasks can increase your core strength among other things.
The best way to train is to hike on uneven terrain as much as possible, to imitate the conditions you will be facing after a disaster strikes. You should also practice doing everyday tasks with your pack on, as you may not be able to set it down in certain bug-out situations. You should also wear your hiking boots whenever you train, so that they will be well-broken-in when the time comes to use them.
Achieving prepper fitness is not something that happens in a day, or even a week. Set an exercise schedule and stick to it. A great way to get started is with something simple like 50 push ups every day. Do not try to do too much immediately - increase the weight of your pack and length of your activities a little bit over time, in order to remain healthy. Remember that, in an emergency, your family will be relying on you to provide food and supplies, so their lives depend on your prepper fitness.
What have you done to train your body for a SHTF fitness situation? What exercise routine works best for you? Share your story with other Battlboxers on the Facebook Members Only Page. Our free newsletter is a great way to stay up to date on survival and prepping articles.