You never know when disaster will strike. From acts of God to terrorist attacks and more, you’re better safe than sorry. While there’s a lot we can do in terms of preparing ourselves with the necessities, many of us overlook the ultimate survival tool: the human body.
You’re only as strong as your weakest link, and it’s critical you’re physically capable in the event worst comes to worst. Just like you need to maintain your car to keep it running optimally, you have to make time to keep your body fit. There are some things you can do to best ensure you’re able to face whatever life throws your way.
Survival Scenarios to Keep in Mind
To prep for survival, it’s important to consider the types of situations you may face. Just a few things you may be required to do include:
-Carry your belongings long distances
-Run or jog long distances
-Withstand extreme temperatures while exerting yourself
Working out for survival is not about losing weight. Quite the opposite, in fact, especially if you’re not carrying a lot of excess weight, to begin with. Muscle weighs more than fat, and your goal is to gain the muscle mass necessary to aid you in the worst case scenario.
So Many Workout Routines to Choose From
It can be a bit overwhelming to pick a fitness routine. There are so many to choose from, and some end up feeling like the whole thing is just a sham for gyms, personal trainers, and fitness equipment manufacturers to make a quick buck.
The truth is, the reason there are so many different workout routines is because everyone’s needs are different. Some people start off a fitness routine with pounds of excess fat to shed. Others are too skinny and need to bulk up. You may find you have good strength but lack in endurance. The needs of the individual are critical to consider before you get started with any fitness routine. As you prepare, a few things to think about include:
-What are your goals?
-How will you fit your fitness routine into your busy schedule?
-What are things you enjoy doing that will keep you pushing for more?
-Do you need equipment, or will you be utilizing a gym?
-Do you need to join a fitness group or hire a personal trainer to hold yourself accountable?
-Do you have any underlying health issues that need considered?
Consistency is key when it comes to meeting fitness goals. You’ve probably seen gym parking lots in your community jam-packed in January only to find them nearly empty in February.
Failure to consider how you’ll keep yourself motivated is a huge contributing factor to this common decline. By taking the time to answer these questions, you’re more likely to arrive at the right routine for your needs and preferences.
How to Train for Your Body Type
Your body type also makes a difference in how you should train. There are three primary body types. Ectomorphs are what we would consider skinny, mesomorphs are athletic, and endomorphs are heavy. Depending where you fall on this spectrum, you should train as follows:
-Focus on increasing weight as much as possible.
-Allow for plenty of rest time between sets.
-Focus on one or two body parts per training session.
-Shoot for around ten reps and eight sets of each exercise.
-Take a day off when sore.
-Keep your training routine varied.
-Use heavy weights for basic exercises like squats, rows, and lunges.
-Aim for around four to five sets of eight to 12 reps.
-Start workout with cardio to increase metabolic rate.
-Avoid heavy weights as you get started, and work your way up.
-Focus on full-body workouts until you reach weight loss goals.
Focus on the Core
The core is where just about every physical activity you engage in begins. It consists of the muscles of the abdomen, lower waist, hips, back, and upper legs. No matter your body type, it’s important to incorporate a fitness program that considers the core and allows ample time to focus on it. Just a few benefits of ample core focus include:
-Reduces the risk of injury to bones and muscles
There’s not much you can do in terms of training when you’ve become injured. By taking time for your core, you reduce these risks and best ensure your ability to remain consistent in your training program.
Training for the Real Deal
It’s difficult to mimic a survival scenario in the gym. In order to best ensure you’re ready when disaster strikes, it’s a good idea to spend time working out under real potential scenarios. This helps you recognize problem areas in your physique as well as enables you to consider the true strain certain situations will place on your body. Just a few great ways to prepare yourself for the real deal include:
-Walk home from work, preferably with a survival bag.
-Carry your emergency water container one mile.
-Go for a long walk while carrying your child.
-Chop and carry wood.
Quit Smoking Now
Quitting smoking is hard enough. Imagine being forced to quit while already under an enormous amount of stress in a disaster. The best time to quit is now while you have more control of your surroundings. Trying to keep up with physical demands is difficult when your body isn’t able to properly oxygenate. In addition, if you have a drinking problem or binge drink often (as 15% of Americans admit to doing so), then it is also imperative that you cut out the influence of alcohol from your diet as well. If the ultimate goal is survival, then it’s essential to limit your alcohol intake. Drinking can lead you to make decisions that you wouldn’t make while sober, like driving under the influence, which has legal and life-threatening consequences. Cut out drugs and alcohol and you’ll be healthier and safe.
Yes, it’s a stressful and difficult process. The good news is that, when you employ mind over matter, it’s easier to succeed. The physical effects of nicotine withdrawal only last 72 hours. After that, it’s all in your head.
Prepare for Whatever Life Throws Your Way
Life is unpredictable. While there’s no way to know when disaster may strike, you can take measures to prepare for it. You never know how desperate a situation may become. In these scenarios, it’s critical that your body is capable of facing physical hardship. Just remember that injuries can happen, sometimes of our own choices and sometimes due to the choices of others. Make sure you’re prepared for any situation and you know how to handle them so you don’t suffer any unnecessary distress.
An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. By following these tips, you can be on your way to prepping your body for the strength and endurance you never know when you’ll need.
Make sure to spend some time in the Disaster Prep section of our website to make sure you know what to prepare for and what you need to have ready!