The ancient Greeks probably were the people with the highest emphasis on physical fitness. In fact, their great athletes were worshipped as gods. Hence, we have the Olympic games. Over the ages, people have always had respect for physical exercise and practiced it. But in modern days, we see a shocking amount of obesity; it is on an unprecedented scale, and it’s not a good thing. Those of us preparing for TEOTWAWKI know that we need equipment. We also know that gear without knowledge or training is useless, so we read manuals and attend classes and courses and so on that teach us how to utilize our gadgets. However, the part that we sometimes forget about is also the most important part: you. We all know what we are going to do when things get bad. Most of us have a plan, but we often underestimate our own ability to carry out these plans. It’s like the time when we were kids and Dad said, “Be careful! Maybe I should carry that heavy box.” And we thought, “The old man is crazy! I got this.” For many of us, it was an embarrassing lesson. And so it is now: the worst happening is something we have already decided to face as a possibility, but it may take the breath out of us! Now, I’m no Olympian, but I do work hard to stay able to take on the day. In fact, if you were to ask me why I run long distances or am fanatic about pushups, my answer wouldn’t be “so I look good” (but this is a nice side effect!); it would be so that, when the situation arises where failure to be able to conquer whatever the difficulty is would have disastrous or life threatening consequences, I will not fail for lack of strength. So, here is my humble contribution to our realm of preparedness– a guide on practical fitness for when the SHTF.
A Note On Health
I have no intention of turning this into a nutrition class, but when it comes to physical fitness, a few things are worth mention and many go without saying.
Nothing will drain you and totally ruin your long-term health faster than a shortage of sleep. Get at least six hours of sleep a night. The time you sleep is also important. Pick up a autobiography of a Navy SEAL or the like and you’re sure to find mention of Ambien or other sleep drugs. The reason is that he spends many hours of the night doing extremely high stress work and attempts to sleep during the day. Studies have proven that the most restful and healing sleep occurs between 10 and 2am, assuming that you are a normal human being on a regular schedule. This is because that is the way we are meant to function; that’s the way our biological clocks are calibrated. It doesn’t mean we can’t function under less than ideal circumstances or at less than ideal times. It means only that our performance won’t be as spectacular. So, don’t make a habit of staying up late and no all-night TV marathons! Lack of healthy sleep is also the fastest way to catch a cold or the flu, as it weakens your immune system.
Without any question whatsoever, this is the one necessity for life that an absence of will kill you the quickest. At minimum you need half your body weight in ounces per day. (If you weigh 190 pounds, you need at least 95 ounces per day.) Plus, you need more with increased activity. The bottom line is if you are thirsty drink. In America, chronic dehydration is rampant, thanks in part to sugary (and corn syrup-filled) carbonated beverages. The reason is that the sweetener dehydrates you, and many people who drink these sodas are addicts. So, they reach for another to quench the thirst caused by the first. Also, thirst is commonly mistaken for hunger, so be sure to drink up before reaching for snacks. Lastly, drink water that is free of fluoride. There is no proof whatsoever that fluoride prevents cavities, and studies actually support that it is only harmful. The Nazis used it to keep the Jews complacent in the concentration camps; it is a brain-damaging substance and also attacks your gut and thyroid. City water also is just too unpredictable, with reports of drugs being “added” in certain places. In Europe, live polio virus was dumped into the Lasne River in Rixensart, Belgium by pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline, who claimed it was an accident. So, if you’re going to drink city water, purify it with a reliable system, such as a Propur system, which is American made and affordable: http://store.infowars.com/-Propur-Water-Filtration_c_53.html
(Like I said, this isn’t a nutrition article so I will try to keep this brief; I can write more in depth on this in the future.) Food is our fuel. More important than eating enough is eating good food, and I don’t mean food that tastes good (although pretty much all foods taste delectable, I find that the ones that are healthy taste better than the ones that aren’t), I mean what is healthy. This could get long, so I’ll keep it to bullet points.
- Eat organic. GMO foods are the product of the last 60 years, and they are a disaster. They cause infertility, cancer (on an epic scale), obesity, long-term disease in almost every body system, and more. Why would you eat something that is resistant to pesticides that kill people who come into contact with them? (You won’t hear about this in America. GMO is too big an industry to let that get out. But, just Google “African boy killed by pesticide”. He died within hours.) In fact, pesticide-resistant crops began when Monsanto found an organism that had survived in a puddle of the toxic waste from their pesticide production. Their brilliant idea was to stick the DNA from this lucky substance into seeds, and voila! We have GMO, Roundup-resistant crops. Another thing to consider is the fact that most all chronic diseases that exist today didn’t exist 150 years ago. They are, to a large degree, a product of the lifestyle of the city dweller of the 20-21st century. I could go on forever on this subject, so for this article, I’d better leave it there. The bottom line: make meals from scratch using organic ingredients.
- Stay away from meals already prepared, as these are designed for long shelf life and to do so make use of non-organic preservatives and other harmful components. If your local store doesn’t have much of an organic selection (although organic is making a major comeback as people reject the GMO paradigm), you can make use of bulk nationwide suppliers. The one I and my family buy from is Azure Standard. They ship a huge selection of items and food across the U.S to drop points where you then pick up your order. If there isn’t a drop point, you can start one if you have people around you that are interested in making use of one, and if not for an extra cost you can have it delivered right to your residence. I recommend you request a catalog. To recap, organic is the way food was since the Creation of the Earth; the food man first consumed was organic. Why should we change that? Messing with our food in a lab (playing God) is not a very smart idea.
You may think you already know how to breathe, but astonishingly there are a lot of people who are practicing detrimental breathing habits. I myself was one of them. Bad breathing habits make your exercise a real pain and limit your performance. For better workouts, follow these guidelines.
Most importantly, do what feels natural. Anything that feels restrictive can almost always be attributed to being counterproductive. Notice, though, that “almost” means almost. Learn to belly breathe, if you don’t already. Breathing with your upper chest is something many people do, but it doesn’t allow your lungs to expand as much as they could. When you inhale, concentrate on expanding your belly, not your upper chest. This increases the amount of air you can take in. Start learning to belly breathe now. Next time you inhale, do as stated above. I recommend breathing with your nose. When you think about it, it makes sense to use your nose: Nose breathing filters out dust and dirt. Mouth breathing or panting dehydrates you faster. Mouth breathing displaces your carbon dioxide level faster than is healthy.
When doing strength exercise, such as pushups, pull-ups, et cetera, inhale on the easy part of the rep (the “drop”), which in a pushup and a pull-up would be the drop down. In bench resting it would be when you drop the bar to your chest. Then exhale when you do the actual work. The expelling the air goes hand-in-hand with the expansion of your muscles as you do the rep. Inhaling on the work takes the energy you need for the rep away. During strength exercise, it is going to be hard to feel your belly expanding with your breath (because you will usually have your abdominals engaged in the exercise), but just focus on that pattern and you’ll do fine. When you run, a rhythm is just as important as how you breathe. Running wild without a tempo will exhaust you quickly, and you won’t get anywhere. Inhale for a count of three, which would be left-right-left, and then exhale for another count of three, right-left-right. Note that I am addressing running here; sprinting will involve more footfalls in one breath than this. But for running, this is a good, even tempo.