Ok, I’ll be among the first to admit it; I got lazy in the offseason and let my love of booze, wine, and food (Mexican food, specifically) get the better of me, read: I’m out of shape as a mofo and hunting season is around the corner.
Anybody else in the same boat? If so, here’s what I have in the works for getting back in shape just in time for hunting season.
So, let’s just go ahead and get this out of the way up front. I despise working out and everything that comes with it. There I said it. I love my food, wine, and laziness (in that order actually) far too much to ever be considered an authority on getting in shape. But, knowing that the better shape that I’m in, the further I can go and the harder I can hunt, is motivation enough because this is the year that I’m pulling out all of the stops. I plan to hunt harder, go further, and stay longer than in years past. “Why?”, you might ask? To which my response is going to be “Why the hell not!?”.
So what does my plan look like? Take a gander below:
Your cardiovascular health is incredibly important, especially when it comes to putting in work in the field. As hunters, we tend to do a LOT of walking, especially on uneven ground, and oftentimes at much higher elevations than we’re used to. Getting your cardiovascular system in tip-top shape should be a top priority.
Personally, I’m not a fan of jogging (IRL or on a treadmill) but I know I’ve got to get my cardio in somehow. Enter the Peloton Bike.
We picked up a Peloton Bike right before COVID hit and it’s been an on-again/off-again love/hate relationship since day one. I hate the bike, but I love the results when I’m using it. Keyword there is when. They say it takes 21 days to make a habit, but as someone who struggles with wanting to work out, especially when it comes to cardio, I’ll confess that I’m not much for sticking to things I don’t like. But, being that I’m hell-bent on making this THE YEAR for hunting, I’m committing to riding the Peloton Bike at least four (4) days a week to begin, with the possibility to add in more days as we get closer to opening day of hunting season.
I like to mix up my rides and usually find myself opting for 15-minute HIT rides, 20-minute recovery rides, 20-minute low-impact rides, and/or 30-minute regular intervals rides. The overall goal is to get that heart rate up and get those leg muscles moving, building leg strength and improve cardiovascular health.
2. Strength Training
First off, I don’t have a gym membership so when it comes to strength training my plan is to get as creative as possible. I’ve already started incorporating a variety of sets pushup while using pushup bars, as well as mixing in flutter kicks and planking for core strength. The target daily number of pushups is set at 80, and I’m looking to plank for a minimum of one (1) minute at least five (5) times per day while getting in as many flutter kicks as I possibly can in three (3) minute increments. Is it a science? Not even close, but I’ll modify based on results/need.
Side note: I highly recommend pushup bars as you’ll be able to get even deeper than with regular pushups and you’ll start seeing results pretty quickly.
Lifting-wise, I’m still going to need to explore some options here, but I’ve been making do with yard chores and projects around the house. Need a big ass mirror moved, dear? Sign me up since it’s a win-win for me. I’ll bank some goodwill with the lady at the same time as getting some strength training in.
While “Honey Do’s” and house chores might keep me occupied for a while, I still need a long-term solution for strength training, so if you have ideas that don’t involve a gym membership, drop ‘em below in the comments.
3. Yoga (Yes, yoga)
Yoga. Yeah, I said it. It’s 2021 and I’m finally done knocking yoga. My old bones and muscles (I’ll be 36 this year) could’ve benefited tremendously if I would’ve incorporated yoga earlier on in my life, but alas it’s never too late to start.
As it sits right now, I’ve completed a whopping one (1) yoga session on Peloton’s streaming application, and I’ll tell you what I feel like a new damn man. Every muscle group that was worked feels looser, more relaxed, and dare I say…..more capable overall. I’m actually kicking myself as I write this for not trying yoga out sooner. There’s something to be said about the exercises and poses that are accomplished in a yoga class and how cross-transferable they are to hunting. I can already see/feel that with continued practice I’ll be popping out of layout blinds, pit blinds, and hides a whole helluva lot quicker and easier than most folks I’ll be hunting with.
Remember the first part of this article where I mentioned I love booze, wine, and food? That statement still stands, but my plan is to modify quantity overall. My love of booze and wine are two (2) things that some might say, for better or worse, define me. I’ve always loved a strong drink or a nice glass of wine and if there’s not a reason to celebrate, I’ll task myself with finding one. Now mix in my love of food and we have a recipe for disaster if I don’t control things like quantity or quality.
My plan here is to really watch my caloric intake as well as the type of foods and beverages I’ll be consuming. Best believe I’m not giving my staples up entirely, but I will be making a concentrated effort to cut back on certain items. Fast food, for example, is something I enjoy on a very infrequent basis as it is now, which means I’ll be cutting back even further. Additionally, instead of ordering six (6) tacos, I’ll cut that order back to something more manageable like five (5)……ok three (3). I also plan on removing a good amount of processed foods from my diet and sticking with more natural ones like fruits, nuts, and vegetables.
I figure if I can drop some weight, while also improving my diet, it’ll pay off in spades across the board. Less bodyweight to hike in and out with as well as cleaner “fuel” for my body to burn, resulting in more time in the field and less time in a post-meal food coma.
As you can see, I’m not making incredibly drastic changes, but the changes that I am incorporating will be enough to not only improve my health but also give me an edge come hunting season. Lord knows those hot foot races from the refuge parking lot to free roam ponds are going to be a helluva lot easier at least.
What are your thoughts on getting in shape for hunting season? Also, if you have any tips or tricks let us know by leaving comments below.
About the Author
When not hunting, Casey spends his days overseeing brand management and partnership opportunities with one of the largest eye care and eyewear companies in the world. By night, he puts his passion and knack for creative direction to use building out and managing Hunt Bums and its respected properties.
A native Californian, Casey is a diehard Pacific Flyway waterfowl hunter who also enjoys pursuing dove, deer, turkey, and just about anything else with four legs or feathers.
Casey lives in Elk Grove, CA with his girlfriend, two stepsons, and a lazy dog with a crooked mouth named Zephyr.