Efficiency in Exercise
–>There have been lots of articles and discussions on hunting forums regarding the fitness aspect of hunting. Questions usually come up are:
How important is Physical Fitness to overall success?
Do fit or athletic hunters have an advantage?
Is this a bigger factor for bow hunters or gun hunters?
If fitness is important. Than what kind? Cardio? Strength? Muscle endurance?
In our last article we spoke about the 4 main parts of fitness. And I explained a split workout routine using upper and lower body as well as building endurance and flexibility. Fitness is very important for a good hunt. How else are you going to carry an expired deer back to base? Or trek 5, 10 or 20 miles through backwoods, over rocks and hills? As stated in the previous article, we need our workout to mimic whatever our chosen sport is. A runner should run, a swimmer should swim, a wrestler should wrestle, and a hunter should hunt. That is the best way to stay in shape for a hunt, is to hunt.
Unfortunately, none of us have the time to go hunting on a daily, weekly or monthly basis. Time is of the essence, or more importantly time used efficiently. There are two principles that I would like to share with you when it comes to fitness and hunting.
1. The Pareto Principle
The Pareto principle (also known as the 80-20 rule, the law of the vital few and the principle of factor sparsity) states that, “For many events, 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes.”
2. Parkinson’s Law
Parkinson’s Law states that “work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion.” A more succinct phrasing also commonly used is “work expands to fill the time available.”
Why are these two theories important? Well, in order to use our time as efficiently as possible, we must keep these two theories in mind. I mean, if we only have 4 hours per week to exercise and work out, we have to study and find out the most effective use of that time. Find out what the most effective exercises and routines are to get the maximum effect and minimize stuff that doesn’t cause much of a difference.
An example to cover the Pareto Principle: Have you ever seen people working on an adductor machine (that is that silly machine reminiscent of a thigh master.) which works a muscle about three inches long and two inches across. Spending time on tiny muscles like that does not give you major “Bang for the buck”. As opposed to the good old fashioned push-up which works some major muscle groups (Chest, Triceps, Shoulders, Abs and a bunch more). Now that is getting 80% usage out of 20% effort.
I recall a martial arts master who I used to train with said, “Its not the hours that you put in, its what you put into the hours that count.” In order to be in-line with Parkinson’s Law we shouldn’t have to drag out a workout for two or three hours. If you are working out with intensity for that forty five minutes to an hour that you are there, that’s putting Parkinson’s Law into effect.
So how to use our workout time most efficiently? That is the burning question for this article. Let us discuss what the purpose of this workout is.
- To build strength for lifting, climbing, walking and stalking.
- To build endurance for trekking, climbing and just plain old dragging stuff up and down a mountain.
- To prevent soreness after a day in the field doing all the stuff we have already discussed.
So, we only have 4 hours per week to work out. We have to cover these different areas and build upon them. How to proceed? Here is where I cop-out; “Go find a personal trainer in your area and explain to them what you are looking for.” More than likely your trainer will have you run through a program that should have three major factors:
- A progressive warm-up routine, to prepare your body for a strenuous work out.
- Full body exercises that mimic what you do in the field.
- A routine that keeps you moving for the entire session, with little or no breaks.
If you are with a trainer that has you doing body part specific stuff, with long rests between sets, he is trying to turn you into a body-builder (which is fine, if you are worried about the aesthetics. And lets face it we are all a little vain.). Be sure that your trainer understands what you are trying to accomplish.
Examples of full body exercises that mimic what you do in the field are, push-ups, pull-ups, farmer’s walks (carrying heavy dumbbells across the gym), squats and inclined jogging/walking on the tread mill.
As you move from exercise to exercise, you should be resting for more than 1 minute. This will allow you to keep your heart rate up and blood flowing throughout the workout, while at the same time building strength. Minimizing the rest periods increases your endurance.
In the next article I’ll be talking about what I call “The Body Shock Principle” and how to keep your body always guessing. Here’s to functional fitness for the hunter