Ask yourself this question and be honest with yourself! IF tomorrow morning was opening day of elk season would you be in shape to chase screaming bulls up and down the mountains day after day? We at ELK101.com want to hear from you – a simple YES or NO response in Forums will do. I'll start it off with a YES! You can ask that question to me any day of the year and you will get the same answer.
During this years Wild Sheep Foundation National Convention a friend and I were asked to do three seminars on: Getting in and Staying in Sheep Shape. At the beginning of each seminar we asked, “How many people train?” “How many people bike, run, hike, swim, lift weights… or do something else to get in shape?” “How many people do nothing?” Believe it or not we actually had someone answer “they do nothing” and he's one of the most accomplished bowhunters in the world. His life style keeps him in shape year round. The responses to the questions were all over the board. One thing I found interesting, but not surprising, was very few people STAYED in SHAPE year around. We had a great turn out at each seminar, which was truly surprising as fitness seems to be a love-hate type ordeal. We talked about what we do to get in shape, BUT the most important lesson we wanted people to take from the seminars was the FACT that it's always much easier to STAY in SHAPE, than it is to GET IN shape. If there is only one thing you take from this weeks article, it's that.
I want you to think about this: Let's say last May you started preparing for Septembers elk hunt, then you hunted elk hard for a week or more. You should be in good shape, right? Now, the season's over for another year and you have two choices – maintain all the sweat dripping hard work you put into it for months or do nothing until next May! What would it take to maintain what you have ALREADY accomplished? I can easily maintain my fitness with 2 to 3 days a week. It sure beats starting all over again!!
Here's what I do to maintain elk hunting shape year around. After the season I'm typically in the best shape of the year. I continue to hike local mountains 2 to 5 days a week, sometimes with weight and sometimes without. As winter rolls around and most of the hunting seasons are past, I start adding weight trainings a few times a week. Nothing serious but just enough to maintain my strength. Typically around March I'll start lifting heavier weights trying to strengthen. Around June I start with some HIIT (high intensity interval training) hiking and weight training for a few months, leading into cardio workouts – again hiking mountains – which leads into elk season. After the season it starts all over again…..
Let's say you have four months to go and you are starting from the beginning. Everyone is different but this can apply to everyone. Just vary the intensity, time, and effort. Take it fairly slow and work into it gradually. Walk, hike, climb hills, bike, or whatever works best for you. Just get out and do it. I have always chose to hike mountains as this training is specific to elk hunting. Gradually increase the time, speed, and distance. Do it twice a day if time allows! Twice a days pays huge dividends as long as you are getting the proper rest, nutrition and recovery. If you need some help with training ideas let me know and I'll be more than glad to help you prepare for Septembers elk hunt!! Next week Corey will be covering a “basic workout program” so stay tune.
Remember, after the season, two or three days a week is all it takes to maintain all your hard work. It's A LOT EASIER to STAY in ELK SHAPE than it is to GET IN ELK SHAPE! Make it a life-style. Best of luck to you this fall!