Hunting is a very physical sport. It requires strength to carry gear and ultimately, whatever you bag. Stamina and speed are also necessary for getting your game. In the off season when you’re not as active outdoors, it can be easy to get a little out of shape. Use these 4 tips so that you can get fit for hunting season.
1. Watch What You Eat
Everyone knows that diet and exercise are important when getting in shape, but just how important is diet? According to Shawn Talbott, PhD, and former director of the University of Utah Nutrition Clinic, the general rule of thumb states that weight loss is 75 percent diet and 25 percent exercise. That means if you are trying to get in shape:
- Eat plenty of lean protein. Avoid processed meats.
- To paraphrase Michael Pollen from In Defense of Food: “Eat. . . mostly plants.” That means get lots of vegetables and fruit.
- Cut down on the sugar.
- Drink plenty of water.
2. Cardio Training Is Important
Chances are you are not going to be chasing game in your truck. More than likely, you will park somewhere and then hike to the spot where you will set up your base. Working on your cardio will help you develop the stamina to hike and to chase game. Cardio can make your heart strong and will improve lung capacity. Try these cardio exercises to improve your stamina:
- Hiking with a pack to simulate field conditions.
- Biking–stationary or on a regular bike.
- Crawling– get down low to work out muscles you didn’t know you had.
- Jogging–the go-to cardio exercise.
3. Don’t Forget Strength Training
When you’re hiking from your vehicle to the place where you’ll hunt, you’ll probably be carrying all sorts of gear. Most hunting rifles alone average better than 12 pounds. Add ammo to that and your pack can get pretty heavy. And for bow hunters, the weight of the bow depends on the strength of the pull. Heavier pull tension means a heavier bow. Then there is pulling or carrying the weight of a dead animal back to your vehicle. Try some of these strength training exercises to get fit for hunting:
- Carry heavier objects such as kettle balls or full rucksacks up and down hills
- Work with an elastic band to increase muscle strength.
- Attach a rope to an old tire and pull it around in as many different ways as you can think of to simulate pulling your game once you have killed it.
- Nautilus weight training
4. Off-Season Hunting Will Keep You Fit In More Ways Than One
The truth is, you can hunt all year round if you are willing to switch up the game that you are after. Hunting off-season allows you not only to remain physically fit but will help you to keep your tracking and shooting skills in top condition. Consider some of these off-season sports to help your mind and body get fit for hunting:
- Predator Hunting– In many states you can hunt predators at any time.
- Ocean Fishing– this isn’t as tame as lake fishing as ocean fish tend to be bigger.
- Bow Fishing– a popular sport that requires focus and split second decision making.
Hunting is not a spectator sport. It requires an active mind and a body that is in shape. Following the above suggestions will help you get fit for hunting.