Contributors to this thread:
Getting in Shape and Hunting
If many of you are like me (49 years old) your starting to feel your age. The wife and I started working out 2 years ago. I specifically started to get in shape for elk hunting and because physically I just felt bad. I started going to CrossFit classes at Legacy Fitness in Gardner, KS. The wife and I also started taking backpack trips to Arkansas and Colorado.
CrossFit has been a game changer. My wife talked me into trying it as I thought it was like jazzercise or something. I was resistant. Actually, there is a lot of local law enforcement that attend. CrossFit is just a cross of cardio with weight lifting. New workouts every class which keeps it from getting boring and repetitive. That good for me cause I’m not doing the treadmill thing. I hate the treadmill.
If any of you are interested in getting in better shape for hunting and you are in the Gardner, Olathe, Paola area you should think about trying CrossFit. Since going I definitely feel stronger both physically and mentally.
Anyone else here who workout to improve you hunting stamina?
I mow 40 yards all summer on my 4 days off a week. Some are 5-8 acre Walmarts, estates, and various businesses. Riding the mower does nothing more than beat you up and dry you out. Trimming and edging hundreds of yards of curb gets a guy in shape though. I used to need several days to acclimate in Colorado, then it became 2 days, then 1 day. Now, I can drive out, hop out of the truck , and hike miles. Symptoms varied from shortness of breath, fatigue, palpitations, and a headache. I guess I've been so many times, it doesn't bother me much any more. I remember a buddy took our high school coach on an elk hunt back in the 90's. The coach was a body builder and all muscle. He lasted 1 day hiking, then decided to stay behind and be camp cook lol.
I do tons of hiking to stay in shape for hunting and everyday life. I’m pretty lucky I live only 2 miles from a National Park with a lot of great trails.
Good on you guys for staying in shape! It takes time and effort to do it. Most people don't like to get uncomfortable.
I exercise some. Don't do it for hunting, but it's a nice benefit to be in ok shape for season.
I’m kinda like Forest Gump. I just keep on running. I booked an elk hunt in Wy in 1984. I started running 5-6 days a week, to get in shape. Thirty seven years later, I still run on a tread mill, four or more times a week. I’ll be 70 in a month and will elk hunt in NM in Sept.
My buddy told me yesterday he does 50 miles a week on an exercise bike in his living room and he is a farmer/rancher.
KSflatlaner good advice. You will have a better elk hunt if you are in shape.
I’ll probably mow 50 lawns in addition to my regular cardio workout. 2021 will be a breeze when it come to CO elk season.
I did 6 to 10 miles a day, 4 to 6 miles a week last year from March to Sept. I did 4-6 mile hikes at twice a week with a 70 pound backpack until the middle of August so the joints could rest and recover. This year was a breeze in the mountains. Just bought an exercise bike and rower to help through winter months. Good luck to a great 2021 season. (52)
I can definitely see how mowing lawns (with a push mower lol) would definitely help. My cousin is a roofer and could walk me into the ground elk hunting back when he was walking roofs daily.
I just thought I would throw crossfit out there in case there were hunters like me that hate treadmills/exercise bikes. It really helped me with preparing for the mountains. I was shocked on how much it helped my chronic back problems through core strengthening. I was also surprised how much it helped with my mental health and just feeling emotionally better...less negative. The backpacking trips were also a good dry run for gear, food, what works, and what does not.
I live in elk country and much of my life revolves around staying in "Elk Shape" I realized early on that I wouldn't spend the money to be a sheep hunter so I realized I can't afford to be in "Sheep Shape"
In order to be an effective mountain hunter cardio is everything. When I first moved to NM I ran a sod farm and was in incredible shape, constantly moving irrigation pipe, bags of fertilizer and thousands of rolls of sod every week. I had zero fat. I was in good shape and was really proud of how I could get around.
It wasn't until I turned 40 and started running distances and training for marathons that I realized being in great shape wasn't good enough. It's not all about muscle tone. You have to get your heart and lungs used to hours of exertion at high altitudes. Like I said earlier, cardio is everything when hunting the mountains.
I run 4-6 miles a day, do a combination of palates and yoga and do pull ups, sit ups and push ups daily in order to stay in shape.
I'm older than most on here and packed out 60-65#, 14 miles in under 8 hours, twice this year. I can do 20 mile days in the mountains with a light pack which allows me to hunt anything I want. Having the attitude of zero limitations is the first step in being a successful hunter. You have to be in your best shape in order to do that.
Who are you guys! My hunters start crying when I won't let them drive 100 yards across a crop field.
Sun, if you're guide I don't know how you do it. I hunt solo but decided to take and help someone hunt elk this year. He showed up a cheeseburger short of a heart attach after telling me he was running 10 miles a day. Totally ruined the hunt on multiple levels and called a two week hunt off after 2 days in the back country. Here's remaining a solo hunter.
Wally, I'm not a guide, just an old man with a few acres here and there. Good luck with your elk hunts I hear you on the cheeseburger short of being in shape good analogy.
Do get me wrong. I’m still a 50 year old flatlander that could stand to lose 20lbs. I’m not the fastest up the mountain and they kick my butt every time. But it’s much more fun hunting (even whitetails from a treestand) if you are halfway in shape. Honestly, there are as many positive effects mentality as physically from working out. I don’t have to work as hard and sweat as much getting to the treestand. I can sit longer too. Easier to keep a positive attitude.
My uncle had a heart attack and passed away dragging a deer out of the woods. He was only in his early 60s...too young. Doing some cardio and strength training a few times a week can’t hurt.
If you don’t think treadmills and weight benches are for you then consider CrossFit if you want to do some physical exercise for hunting. You might just like it. As I said, I was resistant but the wife convinced me to try it. We workout together. It’s turned it a couples bonding thing for us.
After my first CrossFit workout I couldn’t tie my shoes for 2 days...no exaggeration. I was so out of shape and my muscles were sore. After a couple weeks going I felt 10 times better.
Some good stuff in this one all. I actually enjoy everything about the training for an upcoming hunt. After high school and college sports, it was evident that the only person who was going to push myself further was going to be me. A few other events in life made me realize I wanted to be here for my children and grandchildren. That's probably the biggest motivation, but I don't care if my long term goal is hunting on a limited entry elk tag in future years, it still is what fuels me each morning.
I highly recommend listening to hunting/fitness motivational podcasts such as The Elk Shape podcast and one I really enjoy for overall health is the Hunt Harvest Health podcast with Ryan Lampers and his wife Hillary. I know it can be tough to motivate and I always struggled with the intake side of it but enjoy gardening and to be honest, a few Netflix series' changed my diet completely. I still have my vices, but there is nothing better for me than looking ahead to a grueling pack out and knowing I only have so many Septembers left. One thing to add is that I think a lot of the fad diets are just that and I'm also not a fan of the hassle with gyms. My basement is setup just fine for me and my workouts are probably considered old school to most, but what is important is that you make it what it is and what works for each of you. I have considered coming up with a way to do this and create a business for the flatlanders to train for the mountains. I know there are programs currently out there, but nothing in my zip code that relates to it. Like a jungle gym of deadfall.
I've only elk hunted a few times, but in all honesty, it has surpassed my love of whitetails, which is hard to believe for some and much of that is all that goes into the experience and what it does to your life in general. Good luck to all in 2021 and beyond!
I planned an OTC elk hunt this year, due to the weather I figured it would be my one chance. Lost 30lbs in preparation... spent quite a bit of money in camp supplies/gear. However, the weather completely screwed up the timing and never got to go (farm full time).
BUT, I noticed a huge difference during archery season. Separated my shoulder (recurring injury) during harvest pulling a chunk of wood out of my combine, at this point I’m nearly back to 100%, might try and shoot my bow this week. Made some pretty awesome and stupid stalks that I haven’t tried in probably 15 years. Energy level and confidence was way up from the past 7 years or so. Had the more fun this year than I’ve had in the last 20 years and shot the biggest buck of my life... probably ever and I completely think it had to do with the weight loss.
Need to lose another 20 and hit the weights again, but I contribute the weight loss and training to my better outlook on everything.
When I taught PE I always told my students “strong mind, strong body... they are connected”. I should have practiced what I preached... neglected my body for the last 15 years.
It's no coincidence that the most successful bowhunters in the world are also in phenomenal shape. It's just part of the mindset that ensures that they are totally prepared to do what it takes.
I've killed a number of good elk that I was only able to get because I was able to move fast and still have my breathing and heart rate at a tolerable level.
Not the shape many of you are in that’s for sure, but everyday I walk 2.5 miles and on 3-4 days per week I also do some Push-ups and squats with the walk. It was minus two actual temps today, minus temps with wind chill. We had more than 3” of snow and another three today. Still did my walk and exercises, the full 2.5.
It was tough for me honestly. I have missed less than 6 days since bringing home my yellow lab in late May of 2019. Most days I get 10,000 steps in on my Fitbit, at least once per month going well over 15,000.
My goal is to be able to keep hanging my stands whenever I want to. Getting tougher at 62, but no real complaints yet. I am still pulling 67 on my bow early season, but dropping to 60 by late season, and 50 whenever it gets below 20 out. Right elbow really sings in cold weather.
Take care of yourselves guys, it is worth it!
Frank...great job and very impressive. Keep up the good work and thank you for being a role model and for the encouragement!
Frank - agree 100%. The poor decisions I’ve made in my life will haunt me to my death.
Should have taken better care of myself.
About to get on the treadmill. With a ton of snow and today ice and rain it’s made it real hard to get out to hike. I hate the treadmill but I have always had one and use it when the weather is bad.
My daily routine at my business I often covered 8-9 miles per day and moving thousands of pounds of paintballs a week not to mention the mowing and chainsaw work. I could always out walk most guys chasing Pheasant, Muleys, and Elk even though I am big guy. Always a mountain climber since I was young as we spent all of our free time in Colorado at an aunts in the Spanish Peaks region. However now after having covid I am worried. I needed to move 180 boxes of Paintballs at about #22 each into the house as my shop heater went out yesterday with the cold temps. Up and down a small flight of stairs and moving three boxes at a time I would be out of breath after about 5-6 round trips and needed to rest. I checked my heart rate and was in the 165-170 range. With rest in between I was able to do a job that normally would take 25 minutes in about an hour. I guess I need to check out some cardio classes before I fall anymore behind.