Showing posts with label fitness. Show all posts
Showing posts with label fitness. Show all posts

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Thoughts on Self Improvement Part 2: Making it Stick then Upping the Tempo

Awhile back I talked about self improvement in a boringly titled post called Thoughts on Self Improvement. As I progress through some of my own self improvement I have been thinking more about the issue. Today I want to share those thoughts.

So we began action on the issue we want to improve. Generally speaking there are two ways we could do this.

We can totally modify the behavior all at once cold turkey. Stop drinking, stop smoking, stop eating crap, stop finding potential mates drunk at closing time, whatever. In some cases when the behavior is dangerous this is a good option. On the other hand in some cases stopping using substances cold turkey can actually be dangerous. Those are the extreme pro's and con's. In general I am against this approach because it is harder to stick with but sometimes you wake up and don't want to do something anymore and it sticks.

The other option is a more gradual approach. Instead of a heart attack in a bag every day get a turkey sandwich or salad 2x this week, next week do that 3, etc.

How do we make this progress meaningful? I believe we need to make our plan measurable.

Drink less beer is not a measurable plan. Drink 2 or fewer beers Sunday to Thursday and not more than 6 on Friday/ Sat is measurable. Work out isn't measurable. Exercise for 20 minutes 3 times a week is measurable. A measurable goal matters because that way you can know if you are succeeding or not.

Now we know if we are making the initial plan stick.

I should note that these are measures of performance not measures of effectiveness. These are not a long term answer because they are not performance rated. The weakness of measures of performance is you might not be measuring the right thing. You could exercise for 20 minutes 3 times a week (meeting the measure of performance) but not improve at all and thus fail your measures of effectiveness.

I like to start with measures of performance for three reasons.

Image courtesy of Kenny AKA Knuckle Dragging

First the primary goal early on is habit building.

Personal case in point. Leave was chaotic and I a only really getting back to dry fire practice this week. My goal was simple. Do 5 sessions of dry fire this week. No agenda, no time goals, no measures of effectiveness. Just do some dry fire most days of the week.

Why did I do it this way. My goal is just to get back into the habit of doing dry fire.

Second is that in the beginning of many self improvement areas or fitness/ skill building you will make progress right away so that isn't an issue.

Third in some cases you may not have a baseline from which to develop meaningful Measures of Effectiveness.

So how do we up the tempo?

It looks different for different things.

Lets take my dry fire. Next week I will probably do 10 minute sessions and use a shot timer. No real agenda and no par times. Just dry fire for 10 minutes 5 times using a timer. The week after that I will go to 15 and have a rough agenda. A week or two after that and I will probably have a program similar to something John Mosby would use. About that same time I will start keeping track of measures of effectiveness and setting short to mid term goals for them.

So those are my thoughts on how you can work towards self improvement. Get out and do it.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Weight Loss: My Recent Successes and Thoughts PT 1

In the last 3 months from roughly September to right before Thanksgiving I lost over 20 pounds (barely at 21 but anyway). I went from the fattest I have ever been to not too bad of a spot. My intention here is to share some things I have learned with you in hopes you can get to where you want to be.

Of course I am not a doctor, dietician or anything like that. For goodness sake do not take the word of some guy on the internet as absolute truth and do silly things based upon it.

I did this entirely through diet. My exercise program actually slacked off a bit in there for work reasons. The adage that you lose weight at the table and get fit at the gym/ track is so true. If you do not believe me do two things. First look up the caloric content of your favorite heart attack in a bag or splurge desert. Next look up how many calories you will burn running for 20 minutes or doing your normal gym routine. Without gilding the lilly (ultra marathoners and UFC fighters aren't eating shit all the time) it is going to be obvious diet has to be the answer.

With any problem we have to look at where we are and where we want to go. This means defining by some metrics where you are now and setting a goal for where you want to get to. These should be your goals, not another or a magazine's definition of beauty but your goals.

Of course goals should be realistic both in terms of end result and the time it will take to get there. Goals and timelines have to balance out. Case in point, a fat woman decided she wanted to lose some weight and complete a marathon. About a year and 40 pounds later she did.

I think it is also worth considering if you have a short term problem which necessitates a short term solution or a longer term one.

Ryan's informal definitions.

Diet- A temporary change in the way you eat to meet a goal. It could be a weight based competition, looking smoking hot in that dress for whatever or lose a moderate amount of recently gained weight.

How You Eat- This is a much longer term solution to a more systemic problem. If you are fairly over weight (say 10-15% of your desired weight for more than 6 months) you need a systemic solution that is going to be maintained (more or less) for the long term.

In general I am pretty off on short term diets unless you have an event based goal. If the goal is to weight X so you can get into a division for the event or look smokin in that dress then go for it. Otherwise I would say to look longer term.

How we approach a diet vs how you eat is significant. We can do most things for a week or two, there are plenty of diets out there. However if the goal is longer term we need a plan that we WILL maintain over time. This means the plan is going to look a lot more like eating reasonably with some portion control than the hot sauce and banana diet or whatever the rage is today.

In PT 2 I will talk about some specific things I did that helped me lose weight.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Spring Fitness Push

I am on day 2. Not quite as low carb as Pastor Joe recommends but we haven't really done a dedicated shopping trip with this new found health push in mind so it's been catch as catch can. Anyway I am working to get fit and establish healthy long term habits. Are you physically where you want to be? If not, what are you doing about it?

Monday, October 20, 2014

What Did you Do To Prepare This Week?

Wifey started a fall garden
I am working on updating my level 2.5 assault pack/ get home bag
Working on our family fishing skills
Packet up a ready to go set of hygiene stuff
Acquired a new holster for the Kahr CW9
Physical fitness has hit center stage. We are working on getting healthy and
fit by eating better and moving more.
We went camping this weekend. Along this line of effort we put together some
stuff that will likely evolve into our camping/ heavy bug out setup.

Next week my plans are to:
Fill up the BBQ propane tank
Get some more water containers
Order some more long term storage food
Get to a tentative revised plan for my level 2.5 bag
Keep hitting fitness hard

What did you do to prepare this week?

Monday, August 25, 2014

What Did You Do To Prepare This Week?

We picked up a large Coleman family sized car camping type tent

I am actively shopping for a single stack 9mm pistol

Over the last week or two I have been refocusing on physical fitness and
diet. Let a few pounds slip on and now it is time to eat less and move more
to lose them.

What did you do to prepare this week?

Friday, December 6, 2013

Devils Advocate No Armor; My Thoughts

 Devils Advocate: a devil's advocate is someone who, given a certain argument, takes a position he or she does not necessarily agree with, for the sake of debate. In taking this position, the individual taking on the devil's advocate role seeks to engage others in an argumentative discussion process. The purpose of such process is typically to test the quality of the original argument and identify weaknesses in its structure, and to use such information to either improve or abandon the original, opposing position.

Too often we get into an echo chamber type group think so it can be good to take a step back to examine the underlying ideas of a given technique or strategy. I worry any time a group considers debate on a specific subject to be entirely closed to the point they refuse to consider alternative perspectives, especially ones based on new information or technology.

I linked to this excellent series a couple days ago. In that post I asked for your thoughts which were interesting as always. Now it is time for me to share my thoughts. For rules of engagement I am going to call it as I see it with an emphasis on adding value to the conversation and keeping argument to an acceptable level.

No Armor: Let's look at the up and down points for armor.
-It can literally save your life. The drastic decrease in lethal wounds over post 9/11 conflicts could be largely attributed (along with modern trauma training/ equipment) to the proliferation of hard body armor.
-Weight. Body armor weight's something. As a generic figure a plate carrier weights about 15 pounds and a full on tactical setup closer to 22. This means an individual fighter is carrying a heavier load which makes them (marginally) slower and is weight that counts against the total a fighter can carry.

-Cost. Body armor costs something. As of the last couple years a lot of new players have gotten into the game producing body armor for the civilian market at much lower prices than it used to be available. A solid setup of a plate carrier and rifle plates can be had from the under $500 range all the way up to 3-4 times that for state of the art ultra thin/ light stuff.

Max Velocity wrote about this awhile back. Our thoughts generally mesh.

My Thoughts: Throughout history we have seen weapons and various forms of armor designed to protect against them. The sword and the shield, lances and suits of armor, etc. With the advent of firearms it took awhile for armor to catch up. However now that there is viable armor to protect against small arms it is foolish not to utilize said armor.

As a general rule if I am carrying a rifle for social purposes I will be carrying spare ammo in a war belt, chest rig or whatever and wearing body armor. The only exceptions that come to mind are 1) In and around water when I assess the risk of drowning if I fall into the water with the extra weight is higher than the risk of being shot. In this case I would ideally bring body armor with me then put it on when I get onto land. 2) For longer duration missions where the weight of body armor needs to be replaced with food and water in order to not die. Maybe surface water is not available, such as in the desert, or we will be lying up in one place on a recon mission for awhile. If my basic fighting load and sustainment load weight 85 pounds total I'm not going to add armor on top of it. Those two scenarios or ones very similar to them are the only reasons I can see not wearing body armor along with carrying a rifle.

As to the cost of body armor. These days body armor is just not THAT expensive. An entry level setup in the four hundred and change range is doable for most folks with a bit of planning. I do not look down on somebody who hasn't got to purchasing body armor yet due to the prep money going for food, water, basic weapons, etc or those just plain can't afford it. That being said if you have a $1,500 Kimber 1911 and a $2,500 .308 (or a safe full of guns) but whine that armor is expensive I would submit your priorities are about collecting not being ready to fight. We discussed this awhile back.

As to the weight of body armor.
Some folks mentioned a lack of physical fitness, particularly cardiovascular conditioning as a reason not to wear body armor. By that thinking why don't you switch out that big heavy rifle which makes your arms sore for something smaller, maybe a nice little pink Cricket .22?

Don't carry the right gear because you're too fat and out of shape? You have got to be kidding me.  What the hell kind of feel good everybody gets a trophy and you all all special crap is that anyway? I am calling bull spit on this one. How about we use that as a motivator to get to eat better and exercise more to fix the actual problem.

Body armor slows you down but not that much. Awhile back I did a 2 mile run on a rolling course in boots n utes plus body armor. IIRC my time was 15:45. At that time my 2 mile run in shorts and running shoes was in the 14:45 range. The time difference is pretty negligible for the protection armor gives.

Consumer Reports says the average 6th grade student carrier a backpack that weights 18.4 pounds. If a little kid can carry that amount of weight while flirting and dodging bullies in the halls at break I would submit a healthy adult should have no problem carrying it.  If you are in such poor physical condition that the equivalent of a little kid's school napsack kicks your butt then it may be worth revisiting your potential as a fighter. Not everybody in the tribe fights enemies and hunt the meat, some folks cook the meat, some clean up the camp, some watch the children, etc.

As a final thought reasonable people may look at this issue differently. Overall we are probably too psychologically reliant on body armor anyway. People can look at body armor from different perspectives but the primary drivers should not be that you would rather buy something fun than spend money on armor and are in terrible shape.

This got a lot longer than I thought so we will talk "Rifle Only" another time.


Monday, November 25, 2013

Quote of the Day

"If the squat rack were meant for curls it would be called the rest of the gym"
-CPT Crossfit

A coworker's thought after I shared my firm belief that attacking anybody using a squat rack for bicep curls or shrugs should allowed under the Uniform Code of Military Justice.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Cold Snap N Random Thoughts

In the last 3 days the temperature here has dropped about 20 degrees from High 70ish low 50ish to high 50ish low 30ish. Froze both nights. We have also had a cold run through the house. I seem to have caught it last. Feeling like doo doo.

It's max week for 5/3/1. Overhead pressed #130 which is a record. Also dead lifted 345 which is a true 1 rep max record. Might get to bench and squat but might not. Might just roll with formula max's from this months work as there will be no barn burners there.

The Crunch is coming along though not as fast as I would like. I'd love to have it for sale over the holiday season but January might be more realistic. There is movement though so that's something.

I changed up the War Belt yet again. Shifted my admin pouches to USGI canteen pouches which frees up 2 MOLLE rows. Really didn't lose much space in those pouches either as the canteen pouches extend past the MOLLE straps. This change lets me run a dedicated IFAK behind the last mag pouch. That got rid of the awkward horizontal zip pouch in front of my pistol which is good. Having the front of my hips very clear is a good thing. I'm much happier with the setup now. Have something else in mind for the weekend. Pics follow.
From left to right or since the pic is off top to bottom. Frag pouch that will hold compass and a couple small items. 2x HSGI double taco's. Tactical Tailor triple mag pouch. IFAK. 2x USGI canteen pouches. One will be an admin/ NOD pouch and the other will hold some go food. Water bottle pouch that holds .75 liter steel bottle. Would like to replace it with another bottle at some point. Mounted on that pouch is my Ontario RAT 3. Next is a Glock 9mm with TLR-1 in a Safariland 6285.
This system really opens up the front of the belt without sacrificing any pouches. The admin/ NOD and survival pouches are going to be pretty light anyway so the negligible space difference from the old pouches should not be an issue or is at least worth the trade off.

This weekend will also revolve around home improvement but it should not be too bad. That being said "It's a quick easy project" is somewhere between a banned phrase and a cue to laughter in our house.

So that's what is up here. Hope you all have a great day.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Family Low Carb Diet Week 1

The Friday before last Wifey proclaimed we were going on a strict diet of meat, eggs, veggies, etc, basically super low carb.......for 12 weeks. In fairness to Wifey the proclamation was that SHE was going on said diet. However given that she buys and cooks the food plus I try to support her goals and can stand to lose a few pounds I came along for the ride.

We sort of tried doing something earlier but it slipped off in all the transitions and minus a week or so just turned into a 3 month long eating out junk binge. It was something we couldn't afford to sustain financially or physically. Anyway we may have enjoyed a few luxuries that weekend but got going strong on Monday. Given that it was a spur of the moment thing with almost no planning I'm glad we pulled it together.

Last week I lost 6 pounds which was pretty good because 2 days were a loss due to lack of self control a busy work schedule. Wifey lost considerably more by percentage. We're generally starting to figure out meals that work and low carb snacks to keep us from going crazy. So far so good I guess.

We will be taking of Thanksgiving and some time for Christmas but otherwise plan to stick it out. One week down 11 more to go. After this I'm not sure what the plan is. Probably to keep a high protien, high veggie diet but intermingle some good carbs and fruit. We've got awhile to figure it out so that helps.

[Note I say family but mean Wifey and I. Walker is eating normally and Princess is eating what she should based on age. I would not recommend any sort of diet, aside from just eating reasonably, for children under any conditions without first consulting a doctor.]

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Technological issues, Weights and Vehicle Kits

I seem to be having some tech issues with my email. Can read but can't answer emails. Hopefully like many of those bugs/ glitches it'll be better tomorrow.

Chris, Sorry I didn't catch that was time sensitive otherwise I'd have responded before the LTIOV. My bad.

Had a late lifting session but it was a good one. Did a few dips and some stretching then worked up to 125x3 on standing press and 300X3 on deadlift both of which are near term (last 90 days anyway) PR's. Could have done a couple more reps of deadlift but form was getting loose which is bad with heavy weights. Think I'm getting into a routine I like. Some results always help reenforce the behavior to actually go to the gym.

Slowly my vehicle kit is coming together. Put a few days worth of food in there. Mostly so I can forget to pack lunch a few times and not need (vs want) to go out to lunch but it's a couple days worth of food. Tossed in a mag light with a reload of batteries and a wool blanket tonight.

Already present were my get home bag, a pretty decent first aid kit and most of a case of water. Do need to pick up maps of the area when I can. A tarp or poncho would be nice too but otherwise that kit is basically done.

Do need to put together a kit to support the vehicle. Off the top of my head it will look like:
2 quarts oil with funnel
AT fluid
Brake fluid
Could get fancier but that's about it for me. 

It was a pretty long day, much of which was spent writing, so my brain is fried. Maybe I'll be more motivated in upcoming days. Do have a few good posts in my head.

Anyway you all should enter THE SOLO STOVE CONTEST. I added a widget to follow the blog on the bottom right side so that issue should be fixed.

I'm going to catch up on some blogs then go to bed. Good night.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Rucking 101 Part 2: Training Plans

Well we figured out our feet, socks and boots in the first part. Now it is time to come up with a plan to train. It's worth touching on how rucking fits into an overall fitness plan.

Before going further we should touch on, if not fully define some rucking goals. A smart way to do this would be to work backwards from what we can see ourselves needing to do. I would submit in terms of cardiovascular efforts a soldier/ guerilla needs to be able to go fairly fast for rather short periods of time with a fighting load and also make slower longer movements with an approach march (fighting kit plus ruck) load when needed.

Without going too far down that rabbit hole I would say rucking is part of the cardiovascular/ endurance answer with the other part being running, particularly some sort of sprint/ interval type workout. One could make a legitimate argument for doing this sprinting type work wearing a fighting load but I do not think the wear and tear on the body of doing that stuff 2-3x a week is worth the negligible payoff over similar efforts  in general athletic wear. However to get back to the point of this article we will focus on rucking.

Just like any other form of fitness the way to improve at rucking is the old 'er as in faster, heavier and longer. If you aren't increasing at least one of those for practical purposes you aren't improving. Rucking is a bit more complicated than most because it has 3 variables instead of the usual 2 (fast/ long for endurance and heavier/ longer(reps or sets) for strength stuff).

The problem with the way most people "train" for rucking is they put on a ruck and go for a leisurely walk. Over time they might build distance so it becomes a really long boring slow walk. Really more than anything these folks aren't exactly getting more fit but are becoming accustomed to the moderate discomfort of walking slow with a ruck on.

Broadly speaking my general observation of rucking is that folks have the hardest time drastically increasing their speed. If they are used to walking a given pace it's awful hard to just walk a 2 minute faster mile tomorrow. That is followed by weight. More weight aggravates the physical discomfort of road marching and is pretty hard for smaller folks to bear. Lastly I don't usually see folks have too much issue adding distance given similar speed and weight as they are used to. Sure going from 4 miles to 30 is stupid and will break folks but, especially folks "training" at significantly slower pace can often walk a lot further than they think. Sort of like our bodies are made to do it. To me it is pretty logical to work in that order (of typical weaknesses) by keeping to some time standards (and pushing to go faster), then building weight and adding in distance over time. A guy who can do 6 miles in an hour and 20 minutes with 60 pounds can almost surely slow down to a 17 minute mile and do 9-10 miles but the opposite is not true. Something to think about anyway.

John laid out a pretty good plan in Livin’ The Infantry Dream: Or, How to NOT Cripple Yourself Before the Age of 25.

Take the 25-lb rucksack out and go walk two miles. Time yourself for the two miles. Repeat, once a week, in addition to your normal running or sprinting PT, until you can do the two miles in 30 minutes or less. Then, double the distance until you are doing four miles in 60 minutes.
At that point, add weight to the ruck, up to 35 pounds, and continue the four mile hikes, until you can do them in the 60 minute time limit. Then, step the weight up to 45-lbs, and repeat. Continue at the four mile distance, with the 60 minute goal, until you’re doing that with 65 lbs.
Once you can do four miles, in 60 minutes, with 65 lbs on your back, add a mile, and continue pushing for the 60 minute time limit. That’s “Checkpoint #1.” If you can do a 12-minute mile for five miles, with 65 lbs on your back, you’re light years ahead of most people. Once you’ve accomplished that, keep trying to exceed the standards though. Push on to doing eight miles in two hours. Then, push to doing eight miles in 1:30.
I believe your goal should ultimately be:
12 miles in 2.5 hours, with 65+ pounds. I’d like to see people pushing the two hour time limit, with 75 lbs or more, but I’d offer that the 12 miles, 2.5 hours, 65+ pounds will put you light years beyond what most people in the military, let alone in the preparedness world, will ever achieve, or even bother trying to achieve.

I think this is an excellent starting point for adding rucking to your overall PT plan, to the point I am doing it myself.

As to adaptation of this program?  It starts with the huge advantage that folks of a variety of fitness levels can be challenged and still progress at their own pace. For a person, maybe who is older or really out of shape that can't make the initial 15 minute split's it might make sense to adjust the 2 and 4 mile times up to say 17:30.  Only rucking 2 miles for weeks or months doesn't make much sense to me. I'd rather see them build up some endurance to help boost their speed while getting the fitness/ weight loss/ endurance building benefits of going further.

Folks in better shape will progress faster. Personally I started this program a couple weeks back. Did the first 2 mile with a fairly light (probably closer to 35 but didn't weigh it) ruck in the time hack. This week I did the first 4 mile in 59:07 so I'm going to up the weight for next week. 

How often should you ruck? I think John mentioned this plan as something to do once a week as part of whatever program you are doing now.

Right now I am rucking once a week. Why do you ask? Honestly rucking isn't a huge concern for me these days. As my military career progresses I shift further away from the really pointy part of the spear so the amount of time I'm going to realistically spend humping a ruck overseas is very limited. I ruck now to maintain some capability should it be needed at work or in my personal life and as another way of hitting cardiovascular endurance. Also I just think a soldier should always be able to ruck march reasonable distance/ time/ weight.

If I was more concerned about rucking I would ruck twice (in addition to 3 runs) a week. One ruck would follow wherever I am in the progress on the program above. The other would be 2-3 miles purely for speed with whatever weight I was currently carrying. Why you might ask? Well first to keep pushing my speed to get faster. Second to intelligently manage the amount of strain put on my body.

Max talks about how the Brits do it here.  Different standards but the same basic idea of using logical progression.

There are probably a lot of other plans out there that may or may not suit your needs. Just remember the basics of progression in terms of speed/ distance/ weight as well as training appropriately to your current (not what you did in the glory days) fitness level and to get appropriate rest/ recovery and you should do fine.


Thursday, September 5, 2013

Just Do It!!!

This week we decided to get back to eating right as well as generally being healthy. We were moving out, then on the road then in a hotel at this end for awhile. That turned into a long weekend that was yummy but not especially healthy. I took Walker swimming the other day. Definitely crammed 20 pounds of Ryan into 15 pounds of suit. It was certainly a wake up call. So anyway now we are doing better.

I've gotten back into the gym as well as other exercise. Might just strap on the old ruck tomorrow. Again right now I'm probably figuring out a time schedule that is realistic plus a routine that fits my needs. There is a gym close to where I will be working so that is good. Also post has lots of pull up bars, ropes, dip bars and such for body weight stuff which is cool.

Also I started daily dry fire training. Nothing crazy really just establishing a habit, can fiddle with the programing later. Once spare mags and snap caps come out of storage that will help considerably. Do need to purchase a timer though.

The point of this is to stop being complacent and get yourself in gear. Start working to be the person you want to be. Just do it!!!

Friday, July 19, 2013

Challenge Week Done

It turned out something I planned to do this evening had to shift to tomorrow. That made getting a long ruck in tomorrow unlikely. Pleasantly the weather was cooperative as it was cool (like 75) and cloudy at 4 when I got off work. Decided to slap on the ruck and get it done. Had measured out the splits for 6, 8 or 9 miles to give myself some wiggle room to decide on the move. Ended up doing 8. It was pretty good except the hills got to me a bit. It was gently sloping hills but the way it played out was a really long (like 1.5-2 mile) uphill on the way out and another on the way back. Not excessively steep but walking up hill for 35 minutes strait is kind of a mind screw.

I was doing fine to the halfway point but around the 5 mile mark was fading fast. Stopped for a couple minutes to drink some water and grab a snickers bar to eat on the go. A bit of sugar was just the energy boost I needed. Overall the way back was good. Glad I didn't decide to go further, my feet can probably use some conditioning for longer marches.

This week I lost a bit under a pound. Not amazing but I also had an unplanned cheat day Wednesday which didn't help matters. Well I shook things up a little bit this week which was good.

Next week I am going to eat a bit less, shooting for the 1700-1900 range. Also I plan to alternate running and rucking with the runs focusing more on intervals and pushing speed a bit more on the rucks. Basically strait out of the John Mosby handbook of how to not be weak and slow. Ended up doing upper body at the gym with some guys and pushed myself a bit harder. I have been under performing at the gym so that needs to be improved.

Anyway that's what happened with that.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Fitness Reminder

Max did a good post on ruck marching today. John Mosby also talked PT. If there is a single combat veteran/ SWAT or SOF person who argues that physical conditioning is not important I have not met them. Fitness matters a lot.

In the survivalist/ preparedness as well as the "militia" sphere it is by far the area most people are weakest in. 

The most important issue with fitness is that it does not have a fast forward turkey fried option. Fitness takes consistent effort and time. There is just not a way around it. That means you need to start now. Do not be crazy trying to do some super hard internet crossfit/ military athlete workout tomorrow. Start with something reasonable and gradually increase time/ speed/ weight over time. Most programs can be scaled appropriately to your strength and fitness level.

Do not disregard the importance of diet. First and most importantly you simply cannot outrun the fork. The saying that you lose weight at the table and get fit at the gym (and track) is very valid. Second the relationship between proper nutrition and athletic performance is very direct. You wouldn't expect the cheapest nastiest imported surplus ammo to shoot sub MOA or 2 year old, non stabalized gas that may have a bit of water in it to fuel a race car so why is the stuff you put into your body any different?

Couch to 5k is a good option to consider. Work in some sort of strength program and you will be headed in the right direction. We could argue exact methods, techniques, training plans and such. That is an interesting discussion to have for sure. However for a person who is 20-40 pounds overweight that genuinely cannot recall the last time they ran a mile none of that matters. Joe Beer Belly will benefit greatly from any sort of semi reasonable training program. Heck simply getting outside to go walking is a solid start.

Do not try to make a total 180 in nutrition and fitness overnight. It would be great but you probably will not be successful on nutrition and will likely hurt yourself working out. Do it gradually over time, a bit better every week till you are in a good place.

For fitness it is good to have goals. Obviously they should be reasonable and fit your age/ health/ body and have reasonable expectations for time. Going from a fat shmoe to a powerlifting SOF Pipe Hitter will not happen in a month and is not a realistic goal for a 60 year old with some medical issues. I do not want to get people down, just be realistic about your goals. I would recommend having interim goals to keep you on track. Say lose a pound a week and stick to X workout schedule.

You can do amazing things, it just takes time. A former co worker of Wifey's decided she wanted to run a marathon. The woman was obese and as out of shape as you can be. She got some quality coaching and started working on it. She ran a (slow) marathon 10 months later and lost about 40 pounds in the process.

Get started!

Edited to include: Day 2- 3 mile run this morning and 3 mile ruck this evening. My legs felt yesterday this morning while running uphill but otherwise it was fine on the fitness front. In terms of food I screwed up and didn't eat enough during the day. Forgot to bring a mid morning snack and ate a light lunch. I was a bit hungry throughout the day and my energy level was a bit low till after dinner. Anyway I ended up right on the nose at 1,800 calories so that worked out OK.

Quote of the Day

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

#1 Tip for Survival

The folks at Proper Survival asked what my #1 tip for survival was. Here is the answer.

My number #1 tip is to get into shape.

We could go into the weeds of my beliefs or different fitness plans but the endstate is to 1) be able to move on foot light (probably jogging/ running) and while carrying a load for reasonable distances. 2) Be able to lift heavy things. 3) Be able to move your body with individual equipment (fighting load) over and around obstacles. Training should generally mirror these endstates. While I didn't discuss appearance as it doesn't matter (function matters, incidentally it also drives form/ appearance) it's pretty much impossible to succeed by any reasonable measure at #1 and #3 without being at or close to a healthy body weight. 

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

5 Systemic Mistakes in Survivalism

These mistakes are not universal but I think are widespread and should be addressed.

1) Lack of Physical Fitness. This should not come as a surprise. Some seriously prepared individuals with awesome skills and massive logistics are in pathetic shape. Some famous folks in survivalism would almost surely die if anything actually happened because they cannot do anything physical. I can't say what will take them out but something sure will. It might be walking to the neighbors and coming home with a bag of potatoes, or trying to do farm chores without a truck, tractor, chainsaw, wood splitter, power tools, etc all or maybe not being able to move their body and equipment during a fight or for some other reason. However to think they can fight or live an independent 19th century lifestyle is laughable.

For the sake of this article I don't care what type of exercise plan you have. Be able to move your body and some stuff quickly or for a long time and be able to lift stuff. Get to a reasonably healthy body weight. Enough beating that dead horse.

2) Overindulging in hobbies. Some folks like to sew, others like to garden, many like to shoot guns. The problem comes when we put too much of our preparedness money into our (even useful) hobbies. The woman with 12 sewing machines and a room full of stuff that doesn't have enough food or a gun is one example. On the other end is Mr Joe Survivalist with thousands of dollars in guns,  2 cases of MRE's and a little hotel sewing kit. I recall a guy who had multiple "shtf" motorcycles. You do not need a $600 fly fishing rod to be prepared, a decent alternative could be had at 1/10th of the price. I'm not saying you should not have hobbies or spend money on them. Just don't confuse a hobby (even a useful one) with preparations. Spend hobby money on hobbies and preparedness money on preparedness.

3) Worrying too much about narrow unlikely scenarios. Lots of things MAY happen but putting some energy and resources into ones that are a lot more likely to happen. Cough savings cough medical insurance cough.

4) Overconfidence and lack of training. Few people happen to come into survivalism with every useful skill yet for some reason people think they can fill those gaps  with Bubba at the range, youtube or blogs. That we are willing to spend lots of money on stuff but as a group have little interest in spending money to learn to use that stuff puzzles me.

Maybe it's that cool gadgets are tangible as well as cool. It could be admitting they need to improve or learn a skill does not sit well with many self styled rugged individualists. Everyone has unique skill sets and thus different gaps in the proverbial wire. Someone might need to improve a tactical skill set or learn wilderness survival or medical training or whatever. Over time and in proportion to other efforts ones skill set should be improved.

5) Not using the stuff they have. Gear should be trained with to get used to it and figure out how to make it work. Equipment should be tested. Little accessories and such will be identified during the course of this. Stuff needs to be tested as even good companies make a lemon now and then. Better to figure out your knife/ gun/ radio/ generator/ water filter/ whatever doesn't work on a lazy Sunday when you are testing it than when you need it to save your life.

Well there it is. If these apply to you do something about it. Otherwise feel free to disregard. Thoughts?

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Quote of the Day and Fitness Reminder

"The most important thing you can do as a patriot in this country is get your butt in shape"
-David AKA SouthernPrepper1

People grossly underestimate the physical demands of combat and true 18th- 19th century living. No going to a cool guy class on a flat 25 meter range or having a few chickens and a small garden are not just about the same thing. Cutting your own wood with a chainsaw, hauling it in a truck then splitting it with a hydraulic splitter is not the same thing.

This serious mistake is compounded by the fact that fitness is a genuine slow cooker concept. Think of it like cooking with a crock pot. If dinner isn't in by 10 you aren't eating it at 6. It takes hours and there is no crank the oven up to 500 and cut off the burned parts option. Should you mess up and stick it into the oven at 2 dinner will be at 10pm. There is just no way around it.

Key to crock pots and physical fitness are patience. That chicken is going to take hours to go from frozen to wonderfully cooked. You didn't get into whatever condition you are currently in overnight and you won't get out of it overnight either. It's going to take between a couple months and a year or two depending on where you are and where you want to go with the variable of how much you are willing/ able to work in the middle. Obviously going from a morbidly obese couch potato to the fitness level of a collegiate athlete or JSOC Jedi will take a really like time. For a reasonably healthy person ditching a 20 pound spare tire, building up to running a decent 5k/ road marching a decent 10k and putting on some muscle might be more of a 4 month thing. 

The point is to get started now.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Food and Fitness

Too many folks are doing a lot of reading and blogging and discussing but not enough DOING.

Food and fitness are the two primary areas people tend to fail in at the most basic level. For goodness sake do something to improve your situation.

Food is easy. We could go at it from a lot of angles but at the most basic level just buy a little bit more of the stuff you regularly eat on each shopping trip. I am talking about shelf stable stuff like dried pasta and sauce, beans, rice, pancake mix, Bisquick, peanut butter and jelly and various canned goods. We will touch on money later but if you can't manage to squeeze five or ten bucks of extra stuff into the budget per shopping trip I recommend looking at your life. If you have some more money and want to stash away some canned staples or emergency food then all the better. I care less how you do it so long as you are doing it. The point is simply that you need to be putting back food in case something happens that disrupts the supply chain.

Fitness is something way too many folks miss. I split off my fitness efforts into another blog because folks would rather talk about other things here. How folks think the world is going to collapse and they are going to be doing all this stuff but lack of fitness will not come into play baffles me. There are way more situations where you will need fitness than cool rifles and emergency food. Sort of like food getting started in any way is a good thing. Eat a bit better and do more exercise. Lift and run or do crossfit, man aerobics or whatever. Heck just go for walks. Doing anything will improve your situation.

In the context we are talking about finances are not that hard either. Avoid debt for obvious reasons. Do some thinking and educate yourself about what is happening and historical comparisons. The Modern Survival Manual: Surviving the Economic Collapse by FerFal is a bit pricey but has some great info. It's writer has actually lived through an economic collapse which is a lot more than most other folks can say. 
If you have some money that isn't doing anything right now you might want to think about what to do with it. Putting a portion of it into precious metals and emergency food could be a good way to go. 

It is easy to put too much money into firearms.  Most guys who are into preparedness like guns and it's easy to get canalized into stuff one likes. However if you are objectively short on .38 ammo for the nightstand revolver or buckshot for the scatter gun then do something about it. I like a lot of ammo but even the tightest budget will let you put back at least a couple hundred rounds per gun with a bit of dedication and some planning.

Get out and do something! Exercise and stash some food. Look at your money situation and if you need it some ammo. The bottom line is that unless your butt and gut are getting smaller and the pantry is getting filled you are not actually becoming more prepared. A little bit of knowledge put into action is a whole lot better than a bunch of knowledge which you do nothing with.

Monday, December 31, 2012

Draft New Years Resolutions

So a few days ago Alexander Wolfe of TEOTWAWKI Blog reminded me that I usually do New Years Resolutions. Last years deployment threw off the cycle. Anyway I got moving on this a lot later than usual; so these are not as thought through as they could be. I am posting some ideas. In a week or a month these will be solidified into the New Years Resolutions I am going to run with.


Maintain a consistent weight lifting program.

Run over 1,000 miles

Ruck at least 1x a week

Eat reasonably with decent consistency so I don't gain and lose the same weight 2-3 times over the year.

Skills/ Training:

Attend a defensive handgun course.

Attend a trauma based first aid class (I am due for retraining).

Work on developing a variety of other skills as they come up by doing as much myself as possible.

Guns and Gun Junk:

Pick up a couple holsters, pouches and assorted other stuff to get squared away for what we have. 

Buy 2 cases of .223 ammo.

Free float the barrel on project AR

Get more spare parts. Beef up on core stuff (AR's and Glocks) and get some basic stuff for other guns.

Finally get my (already sporterized) 1903 30'06 tapped and mount a scope on it. 

If this gun ban madness calms down start building an AR pistol.


Build up to a 1 year supply of food for 4 people.

Can something

Pursue gardening/ fishing/ hunting as it fits with our environment and life. 

 Energy/ Other:

Get a better solar setup. A bigger panel with a power supply and a few small lights is the answer. Goal 0 makes what I am looking for. It will cost about $400. Probably 500 once I get the lights. This would have gotten purchased late in 2012 but the whole ban madness shifted my priorities elsewhere.

Get licensed to drive a motorcycle. Purchase a used enduro/ adventure touring motorcycle.

Continue putting together and refining our systems. Firm up the bug out bags and the heavy (vehicle) bug out setup.

Re look and improve our cache situation.


Continue being debt free and saving. Along these lines continue not doing stupid things. 

Once we are done with the food storage goal get back to putting away some silver and gold.

Long Shots:

Get a DBAL for my AR.

Buy some land (this mostly depends on some other things).

As always input is welcome. It would be fairly useful now before these resolutions are solidified. 
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