Part 8, Physical Fitness
Physical fitness training can be one of the less interesting parts of your training to be sure, but this does not make it any less important. In order to be properly ready to execute the rest of the training you do, you must first be physically fit and ready for the challenge.
I am not going to lay out an exercise program for you; you need to figure that out on your own. But I will lay down some guidelines.
- Endurance training is the most important. You will need to be able to carry a heavy load for a long time. You need to be able to run and move without tiring quickly. To accomplish this, do some sort of cardiopulmonary exercise every day. Running or jogging is fine, as is riding a bike, or swimming. The key to doing yourself good with this exercise is to raise your heart rate to an elevated level, and hold it there for a length of time.
- Here’s how to determine your correct heart rate for cardiopulmonary exercise:
- First you need to know your at rest heart rate. While looking at a clock or watch, count the pulse in you wrist, or neck (carotid artery) for 15 seconds. Multiply by 4. This is your resting heart rate.
- Now, if you are a beginner, calculate your target heart rate by this formula: 220 minus your age multiplied by 60%.
- If you are a regular exerciser, use this formula: 220 minus your age multiplied by 70%
- If you are and advanced exerciser, use this formula: 220 minus your age multiplied by 80%
It is generally accepted that you should never exceed 85% in this formula during training.
In order for a cardiopulmonary exercise to be effective, you need to maintain your target heart rate for a period of time. If you are just beginning, a 20 minute workout will probably be enough. You should start with something long enough to be challenging, but not so long that you can not complete it. After you start, add time to your workout each week, until you are spending over 30 minutes at an 80% workout level every day.
Other than cardiopulmonary training, you can also lift weights, do sit-ups, push-ups, pull-ups etc. I beleive the cardio training is the most valuable however, from our perspective. If you don't do it, will you be ready to carry a 60-90 pound pack, your LBE and rifle for days at a time? I doubt it.
Now, once you've been doing cardio for a few days, why not apply a new training aspect to it? Go to the range, the back 40, or wherever you can shoot. do some exercises and get you heart rate up to your training level. Now stop and pick up your rifle, and shoot a few rounds. keep doing this through your regular workout. Then examine the target. If you've never tried this before, you will likely not be happy with what you see, or don't see, on the target. But after a few times, you will improve. Keep at it, becasue shooting well under stress is one of the hardest things to learn, but it is a very valuable skill to have. Through practice, you will learn to control your breathing and be able to place your shots well, even if you are out of breath.
The most important aspect of exercise is that you keep at it. It's not always fun, but it's always rewarding in the long run. And no matter what, don't put it off! Go out and start today! You know what they say:
Train hard, fight easy!