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

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?

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Max Velocity: The PT Thing

The PT Thing: Clarification

The reality that  many people aren't a young, fit early 20 (even 30/40) something anymore. At the same time there are significant physical demands involved in the realities of realistic survival scenarios, let alone combat.

To paraphrase from John Mosby on the FO Podcast 'If your particular flavor of worst case scenario involves oppositional situations with LEO/MIL types you are not going to be facing starving cannibal San Franciscans. You will be facing young fit 20-early 30 somethings who run and or lift heavy weights daily. Guys who get paid to work out and do things like Jui Jitsu and powerlifting tournaments for fun AFTER their physically demanding jobs.'

 I think being brutally realistic about your capabilities (maybe you are 30 pounds overweight) and potential for improvement then pursing that goal in a slow incremental way is the best answer. Challenge yourself but not to the point of significantly risking injury and slowly increase the time/ speed/ weight.

Anyway that's the periodic PT reminder.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Interesting News

Farmers were once fitter than modern athletes. My thoughts; seriously go figure that people who are on their feet all day, running fast, running long distances and carrying heavy stuff get into pretty good shape.

A sheriff's deputy in Knox County, Tennessee has been fired after he was caught on camera allegedly choking a university student Saturday night.
Frank Phillips, 47, was been found 'unsuitable for continued employment,' according to a termination notice posted Sunday night on the Knox County Sheriff's Office's website.

Read more:
Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook

If a cop cannot handle a drunk college kid 4 inches shorter and many pounds lighter than himself without wringing their neck they should not be a cop. Doubly so since he had 2 other cops in arms reach. A person with that terrible of judgement should not be a cop.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

What Is Crossfit?

Warning: The video below contains language that may be offensive to some. If you do not like bad words then skip the video. You have been warned.

 I saw this on youtube and just had to watch it. Amusement followed. All fun aside I believe in crossfit type conditioning in the format where some sort of logical scientific programing is used for strength. Example warm up, power lifting routing along Jim Wendler, Mark Riptoe, etc type program then a cross fit type circuit routine that uses functional exercises or some running. Obviously ones routine needs to be appropriately scaled to their level of fitness and make sense for their goals. I do believe in lots of strength training and cardio for general purpose preparation but common sense needs to be applied. Obviously 40 year old house wife who wants to love 30 pounds and a skinny kid who wants to play football should not have the exact same routine. John Mosby talked this recently.

Aside from people who do stupid work out's and use terrible form I don't have an issue with Crossfit. Well except that some practitioners take themselves too seriously.

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, 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.]

Friday, October 4, 2013

Rucking, Combat Fitness and Realistic Goals

Ever since Max's post Realistic Rucking I've known that PT was going to be revisited here. John Mosby's Post Fit for the Fight: A Conceptual Approach to Physical Conditioning for Security Patrolling pretty much sealed the deal. Max's recent post Operational Fitness also touched on some good stuff. tte

In no particular order here we go:

1) You get better at a given event and thus more 'fit' by that particular measurement by improving your performance in terms of speed/weight/time. Skipping complex stuff about cardiovascular health, VO2 max and whatever you do not get better at something by simply doing the same thing over and over. You get better by doing it at an increased speed/weight/time. 

2) Recognizing #1 the way to improve is progressive and incremental improvement over time. Tracking is pretty important here (this is something I royally suck at). Say the particular even we are talking about is running. Maybe your tempo run is a 3 mile loop around the AO and you do it 3-4x a month. It would be smart to keep track of time, continually pushing yourself to beat the last time. Of course you would not beat it every single time, maybe it's raining and nasty, you're suck, hung over or whatever. That being said unless the general trend is towards that run getting done faster you are not improving. 

That being said often, especially in strength, the answer is not to train to failure every time. Form goes to pot and injury rates skyrocket. A more balanced approach would be to train intensely, yet not to failure and continually progress over time. Add 5 pounds here, a rep there or an extra set there depending on the goals involved. The bottom line is to increase difficulty towards your goals over time. 

3) There is a balance between accepting the reality of your age/ health/ life situation yet not condemning yourself to be the slow weak animal malingering at the back of the pack just waiting to become lion food. I don't know exactly how to balance as a general rule. The best option I can think of is being brutally honest about your situation then aggressively pursuing fitness goals.

A lot of my stuff is geared toward people pursuing fitness to be able to conduct light infantry operations on an individual basis as a survivalist or in a small unit setting as a guerrilla/ paramilitary type fighter. That goes double for Max Velocity and John Mosby. While I would say the type of martial fitness we talk about translates into a high level of general fitness/ health it is only a viable option for fairly healthy people. 

A 72 year old ex rodeo Cowboy who broke his back twice and legs 3x riding then was in a bad car accident in '89 with arthritis everywhere is not going to be a member of a direct action cell. That old Codger might have a lot to offer but he isn't going to be running around in the woods with a rifle shooting people. On the other hand a 45 year old that is 30 pounds overweight with "bad knees" is probably physically capable of doing a lot. His "joint problems" brought on by packing extra weight around and a lifestyle of inactivity will probably reverse themselves pretty quickly if he gets to a healthy weight and exercises in a reasonable way. If that 45 year old wants to reach a high level of fitness he probably can within a reasonable timetable.

4) On the topic of weight training as it relates to combat and realistic training. If you want to be in the best physical condition (for strength) possible then lift heavy weights. Sure the guys who won WWII didn't lift but they did not have the advantages of our more modern understanding of science and biology. Also a couple other factors influenced this. First those brave men didn't have to fight guys who lifted weights. Brute strength built on the weight pile lets one put other peoples heads through walls. Second the creation of viable body armor against small arms and shrapnel has vastly increased the weight of an average fighting load. Rough ball park it went from 20 pounds to 50. Moving ones self in, around and over obstacles got a lot harder. An average guy in OK shape might be able to do a pullup with an extra 20 pounds. Make it 50 and without serious time at the weight pile that's just not happening. 

Thankfully in the last few years the big Army has moved towards accepting the usefulness of strength derived from weight training as part of a holistic PT program. Like many good ideas it started out in SOF, largely the Ranger Regiment's Athlete Warrior Program. The bottom line is that strength is a good thing to have for a variety of real world combat related tasks.

5) When it comes to weight lifting there is the inherently oppositional relationship between being big/ strong and fast with lots of endurance. At all but the shortest distances (like under 40m) being heavier makes it harder to move your body around. I think if you lift weights with a goal of building strength (vs body building where the goal is to get bigger/ heavier) size gains are generally negligible. Also if you continue doing good aggressive cardio and eating reasonably the vast majority of people will not grow to the point that their overall fitness falls off the rails. 

Remember, there is no such thing as being too strong, only too slow.

6) In my mind it is important to be ready to go at all times. This means you are never a discusting fat body who can't run a mile because it's a "bulk phase" or a skinny weakling "cutting/ focusing on endurance".  I think there is something to be said for pursuing specific goals in one area or another of fitness but not to such an extent that you let another important part of fitness fall off entirely. Example, you decide to do a 10k race with friends and really want to do well. You run a lot more and accept that weight training is going to take a hit either not progressing or maybe even losing a little ground. That being said you do not stop lifting for 3 months. It is the difference between putting a bit more energy into a goal/ weak area while generally maintaining other core capabilities and radically swapping plans/ goals on the drop of a hat.

7) I believe in big multi joint exercises such as deadlift, squat, bench press, standing press and power clean. These are what you do to become a bigger stronger athlete warrior. Leave all the single joint machine junk for body builders with their huge arms and little chicken legs.

8) For combat based cardio fitness I would split my time between an aggressive rucking program and a sprint/ interval based running program. Probably 4-5x a week between the two events. I would do 2 of each if the goal was rucking based and sprint/ interval work outs. If the goals are a bit more general fitness but you still want some rucking capability 3 hard runs and 1 ruck is a fine option (that is what I'm currently doing). 

It is significant to note I would only employ various cardio type machines (other than treadmills which let you run in a more climate controlled environment) for active recovery, alternate cardio or as part of some sort of circuit (an idea largely represented as new in crossfit) workout. These are fine for terrible hangover/ cold days or whatever but don't fool yourself into thinking they are a replacement for covering ground.

9) Functional fitness as shown in Crossfit, Man Aerobics P90X, Military Athlete, Mountain Athlete, etc all is a craze these days. That is a good thing. Getting runners into lifting and lifters into running is good. However as John said these folks can get silly sometimes and fail the common sense test. While it may be difficult doing 5 pound single handed kettle bell snatches standing on a balance ball twirling a hula hoop around your hips will not make you a better athlete warrior. 

10) Do not disregard the warm up and cool down. As I get older this is becoming much more important. I can perform better, have fewer injuries including strains, etc and recover better. Every time I forget I regret it. While not exactly scientific my personal warm up goes something like this. Static stretching of the whole body with a bit of extra emphasis on the areas to be worked. Walk a little bit to limber up, say 200-400 meters. If it's going to be a run workout I do an easy jog for 400 or so. If it's going to be muscular/ weights I do warm up sets starting with the bar then progressing as needed to the weight of my first working set.

Cool down is basically the same as warm up but in reverse order ie maybe jogg, walk then stretch. 

11) Nutrition. Read some stuff on diets and nutrition then do something reasonable. Avoid junk or at least minimize it's role in your diet. You wouldn't put nasty old gas with water in it into a race car and expect it to win so don't shovel McDonalds into your face 5x a week and wonder why you aren't doing better at PT. 

So anyway those are my thoughts on that. As always input is welcome.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Low Carb Week 1

It was a bit of a short week but I like doing Friday weigh in's so there we are. Lost 5.2 pounds this week. My diet was basically eggs, meat, fruit, veggies and some dairy. Strictly speaking fruit and some veggies have carbs so maybe low starch is a better way to put it but lets keep things simple. The dairy was generally minimal, a bit of cheese on some dishes and a glass of milk before bed. Had some various sauces with meat, largely as part of coming up with meals that worked for me and the family.

Going to have a fatty meal tomorrow for dinner (realized that eating well Sunday-Friday at noon then junk for 30 some odd hours doesn't work) then do the same thing again next week. After this I don't know. Probably a fairly similar diet for awhile but may work in some oatmeal or decent cereal in the morning.

Aside from being happy about ditching a few pounds this is my way of reminding you that it's simply not practical to outrun the fork. The math doesn't work. A hard workout can easily be outdone with a couple of cookies. Baring insane volume (like ultra marathon type stuff) you simply have to address diet to get weight loss results.

 I did get back to some decent exercise this week but nothing crazy. More of a transitional week back into it than anything. Just might have a rough idea of a decent routine for my needs as well as wants. Next week I'll hit it a bit harder to see.

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!!!

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.

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.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Fitness Conversation is Migrating

My various ramblings on fitness will now be conducted at Work Out Plan. Also I will keep track of workouts and various other fitness metrics there. It is going to be apolitical and entirely fitness oriented. The only real overlap with this blog, aside from the schmo who writes both, will be that it is my take on preparing yourself physically for all manner of challenges that life as a soldier or potentially a survivalist or guerrilla could include.

The format will be regular posts of exercise I have conducted and intermittent ramblings on philosophies of fitness, setting up a program and tips/ tricks. I will not spend much time there to be honest just enough to jot down whatever happened that day and occasionally some writing so please do not expect anything huge.

Figured you all might want to know. Go there if you want or not.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

My Gut is Telling Me

1) Store food. Lots and lots of food.

2) Develop skills to do things for myself and to trade with others.

3) Fill in the little holes in our systems. This ranges from a $40 sling that makes a $1,000 gun functional to yeast that will help turn flour into bread or little pieces of kit to make rough living more comfortable.

4) Address deficiencies in my weapons handling/ defensive/ tactical training.

5) Get into the best shape of my life.

I don't know what any of it means or where it came from though most of it makes sense.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Debate Workout Game

I will be watching the debates because they are sort of interesting. Also the Joe 'Drunken Gaff-master" Biden and Paul Ryan should be funny. Since it is happening at about my usual workout time I am going to turn this into a workout. Sort of like a drinking game except good for you.

The rules:
-Joe Biden appears obviously under the influence of drugs or alcohol: 10 burpies
-Either the President Barrack Obama or Mitt Romney's names are mentioned: 5 pushups
-Obamacare is mentioned: 5 situps
-Social Security, medicare or medicaid are mentioned: 5 burpies
-The word economy is mentioned: 5 incline pushups (feet on coffee table)
- The word Terrorism or a direct reference to 9/11 or the recent attacks in Libya are mentioned: 10 situps

Person specific:
-Paul Ryan mentions Ronald Regan: 5 wide arm pushups
-Paul Ryan mentions balancing the budget: 5 leg lifts

-Joe Biden rambles incoherently: 5 close hand pushups
-Joe Biden talks about how Republicans hate seniors and plan to kill them off: 5 (4 count) fluter kicks

This should make for a decent muscular endurance/ core session.

Edited to include: Immediate realizations.

Will not 'owe' exercises so if I am still doing one and another is mentioned it will not count.

Obvious additions: 5 pushups for OBL, Iraq or Afghanistan.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Thoughts and Mosby on Physical Fitness

John Mosby wrote about physical fitness awhile back. He starts with a great quote "It's gotta be a man thing. Every guy I know thinks he's in shape. It doesn't matter if he weighs 245, with 27% bodyfat, and the only "athletic" activity in his life is performing 12oz curls while watching NASCAR, motherfucker is convinced he's an Olympic-caliber athlete." 

Please read his post in it's entirety before continuing.

Two sayings guide my thoughts on physical fitness: "There is no such thing as being too strong, only too slow" and "I don't want  to be the biggest guy, the strongest guy or the fastest guy, but I want to be big and strong and fast." 

Now onto some fundamental thoughts:

On General Physical Preparation vs Sport (or whatever) specific training. If you want to be in shape you will lift heavy things, move your body and do vigorous cardiovascular activity with some core and flexibility stuff to protect you and eat well.  This is the same for a guy who just wants to be healthy, a kid trying to perform better at a sport, a soldier who wants to be fit, whatever.

Aside from the same basic playbook everybody who wants to be healthy and athletic should use there are of course considerations for your specific goals. A runner needs to train towards their goals. A football player probably wants to get big/ strong and capable of short bursts of speed. A wrestler or MMA guy wants to be strong, but not necessarily bigger with a ridiculous cardio base. For each of these goals slightly different training is required. However it is a lot less different than you would think. The football player and wrestler should both lift heavy but football boy should be eating more (to grow) and doing lots of sprints while the wrestler will eat less (to not grow too much) and do more longer duration cardio.

Think of it like a bread recipe. To make any basic bread you will need yeast, flour, salt and some other stuff. One recipe might use all wheat flour and another some white, you may or may not add honey, cinnamon or raisins depending on if it is a breakfast bread or whatever. My point (and I know it is an over simplification of baking) is that things do not really change all that much. A little tweak will get the results you need without messing up the whole thing. Adding a dozen eggs or omitting a key ingredient like flour will just result in a big nasty mess.

Also it is worth briefly revisiting the concept of a point of diminished returns. This is a point in time/ place where you will either get less progress out of something, or the progress is less meaningful.

This is significant because we only have so much time. If we choose to free up 10 hours a week to exercise it is important to use them intelligently. Putting lots of time into improving a capability that is already past the threshold of practical utility does not make sense. For example, it is highly unlikely that the difference between a 45 minute 10k and a 40 minute 10k or the difference between a 500 pound dead lift and a 600 pound dead lift will really matter. The skinny runner guy probably needs to put some energy into other things and so does the gym rat.  

To some specific thoughts on John Mosby's post.

When it comes to finding time to work out it is just like anything else, you make choices. To get off work and spend a couple hours at the bar, have dinner and watch TV until it is time to go to sleep is a choice. Spending 4 hours a day on the internet is a choice. You get the drift. Also it helps to come at the problem from a positive standpoint "I am going to work out 4x a week, when does it best fit into my life?" than a negative one "I am too busy to work out."

I do not disagree that absolute strength (the sheer ability to move a given amount of weight) is important but do think relative strength (strength to weight) is important. I think it is important for a couple of reasons.

Strength to weight is what lets you move yourself and your body. If you can chin 200 pounds but weigh 250 you are sucking. If you can chin 200 but weight 150 that means you have a decent shot at getting your body, armor, kit and weapon over obstacles.

It also has value as a way to assess ourselves (and develop group standards). Relative strength lets you more accurately measure strength and develop meaningful standards than absolute strength. A guy who weighs 150 pounds that presses 275 and squats 375 is pretty much jacked while a 200 pound dude who does the same is kind of average (for a guy who lifts) and a 250 pounder who does the same is behind the power curve. Conversely if you use absolute strength to develop standards it just doesn't work. Our 150 pound dude could be a serious competitive power lifter and not meet the sort of standards that average lifters in any gym 40-60+ pounds heavier can do with ease.

Personally I see 3 reasons to do isolated single joint type exercises. The first is body building. As a brief sidebar body builders lift weights, typically doing lots of isolated single joint exercises to develop their physiques to have bigger more shapely muscles. Olympic and power lifters lift weights to get stronger on a given set of lifts. Body building is all about show and power lifting (or oly) is all about the go. Body building is not particularly useful in terms of performance (Though a body builder is going to be much stronger than most folks simply because he actually lifts weights regularly, even if it is in pursuit of a given look instead of performance.) and I see no reason to discuss it further.

The second is rehab/ prehab. If doing a circuit of shoulder exercises lets you stay in the gym then doing them is a no brainer. Ditto for other body parts (typically knees). Also one could make a good case for training areas like the neck which are prone to injury. Sometimes, especially if you are lifting heavy and have old injuries, it is smart to get ahead of these things and do them before you have a serious injury AKA prehab. The last  reason to do isolated single joint exercises is to support or aid in the big exercises. Maybe you hit a wall on bench press so you start doing tricep extensions or shrugs to help with the lock out on dead lift or whatever.

It is still important to keep the small exercises in their place. Jim Wendler who is well, really big and strong, has a saying "majoring in the minors" about folks who give too much attention to the far less important little lifts. You do not get big and strong by doing reverse cable tricep extensions and calf raises; you get big and strong by pressing and squatting.

 As to farm work for fitness John pretty much nails it. If you do a serious physical job (I'm talking stone mason, blacksmith, laborer who lifts heavy things all day, etc) then maybe less effort needs to be devoted to strength but it is still not an end point in fitness.

Some closing thoughts:

Start slow and easy then build up progressively in terms of speed/load/distance. You didn't get fat and out of shape in a day so don't expect to fix it in a day either. Exercise should be challenging but there is a fine line between hard and stupid. Trying to run or ruck 50 miles this month when you haven't covered that distance in the last 6 months would be stupid. Going from 0 to running/ rucking 20 miles this month, 30 the next, 40 the one after that and 50 the month after that would be hard but probably doable.

For folks with lingering injuries or who are just plain old or whatever I think it is important to really be honest with yourself and consult doctors or physical therapists as needed. My first question is often about body weight. Your body is meant to haul itself around at or around a healthy body weight. If you are 60 pounds over weight and have a back, knee, ankle or foot problem getting to a healthy weight will go a long way towards fixing it. Also there may be something in terms of physical therapy/ rehabilitation to get things back to the point where you can really exercise again.

If getting to a healthy weight and rehab will not fix a problem then learn to deal with it. Work right up to the level of what you cannot do. If shoulder injuries make bench press not an option work out with dumbbells. If you cannot ruck with 60 pounds then do it with 55 pounds. If you cannot run then find a huge hill to hike up. The point is not to say "well I can't work out" and turn into Jabba the Hut.

Anyway those are my thoughts on that.

Oh yeah and I am 15.5 miles into this month's due. A bit behind glide path but not unfixable. This week I have ran 7.5 and rucked 3 so far. In the rest of the week I will probably ruck 6 more and run 3-4 more. A rough week but it will get me back to where I need to be. Also as my capacity has increased this becomes a lot more doable. I am kind of fiddling with a routine of alternating long and short ruck and run. So a week might look like long run, short ruck, break or lift, long ruck, short run. Will let you know how it works in a couple weeks if I stick with it.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Free and Low Cost Survivalist Actions

After my recent post "I can't afford to prepare" I got to thinking of ways to prepare yourself that cost little to nothing. First we will talk about free ways.

1.Physical fitness. Start a running program. Put on your ruck and do some marching. Do body weight exercises like pushups, situps, pullups, planks, dips and plunges. Lift heavy things because well, it makes you stronger and more awesome. If you cannot wrangle free access to weights (or theoretically other good heavy things) to lift I recommend that you check out Beast Skills and Convict Conditioning  (brief description, you tube channel, I have heard you can find a PDF of the book online if so inclined) for some ideas on serious body weight training.

2. Dry fire practice. Do it. Drawing your pistol, ready up drills for the rifle, mag changes and trigger squeeze drills. Somewhere awhile back John Mosby talked about this if I recall.

3. Planning. Put thought and research into things that worry you.

4. Organize your stuff. Build thought out systems to suit your needs using things you already have.

5. Cross training, If you are a skilled mechanic the other members of your group or family should be also. Same if you are an MMA guy or a competitive shooter or an ER nurse.

Revenue neutral ways to prepare. These ways are not free but are ways to get more out of things most folks already do.

1. Shooting. If I had to guess about a quarter of the US based readers of this blog shoot monthly. Probably half (50%, not half of the remainder) shoot at least quarterly. Be intentional about this shooting. Don't get me wrong dumping mag after mag into empty beer cases and such is fun. Plinking is one of my favorite things to do. However if money is tight (and probably anyway) you need to really get something out of shooting. Shoot to zero a weapon, improve or test a skill, not to destroy cheap pumpkins you got the day after Halloween. Again I have to refer you to John Mosby's excellent site for specifics, half because he talks it better than me and half because I don't feel like working hard enough on a post at this time to do the topic justice.

2. Food Storage via normal food purchasing. This takes a few bucks to get going but is definitely worth it. By purchasing THINGS YOU NORMALLY EAT in quantity when they are on good sales you can then wait until they are on sale again. Thus you can eat stuff at sale prices (almost) all the time. Also by not needing to purchase baked beans (or whatever) every week it frees up dollars to buy extra peanut butter when it is on sale. By dropping the average price of much of the food you eat it lowers the cost though that money will likely be sitting in the pantry, not the checking account. You can eat better and increase food storage without spending more. Talk about a win.

Working coupons helps a lot also. So many folks talk this better than I do. Also learning which sales are when helps a lot. This is best when you can work 2-3 big stores. Buy meat once a month at the big sale at store A, canned goods when store B does BOGO, or whatever you can work.

I noticed that the sidebar with my links, ads and such was gone from the main page. Since I didn't change anything I am going to wait a couple days in the hope that the problem is a glitch that will correct itself.

Anyway I hope you all enjoy the post.

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