Many have threads, blogs, magazines and even books on the single most important prep that people have to stockpile. Some of the common phrases you may hear include “you need three of this” and “make sure this is in your bag”. Whether it be weapons, tactical gear, water filters, can openers, or any number of other items, all of these things are nice to have in multiples of each. Like the old saying goes “one is none and two is one”, but there is something that most people forget when it comes to their preps. It’s something that a lot of us have the ability to control and improve, and it can give you and your family a fighting chance in TEOTWAWKI or a SHTF situation. I’m referring to your body, your health, and your mind!
First, let me share a little about me with some quick highlights. I am a Marine Corps combat veteran Infantry Sgt., trained in tracking and personal security, and I am a combat lifesaver with three tours under my belt in a PSD (Personal Security Detail). I have been to Iraq twice and Afghanistan once. We were tasked with the security of the Battalion Commander and Battalion Sgt Major as well as other big wigs, like former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen and numerous generals as we traveled our battlespace doing large scale operations, training the locals, and doing meetings with local leaders in Iraq and Afghanistan. I left the Marines and did personal security for a former CEO of a major cellular company. I now am an EMT firefighter in a major city in the Midwest. So why does all of this matter? How does it make me knowledgeable enough to speak on the body and mind in SHTF? I have seen what happens when “it” hits the fan. I have seen what happens to people when an IED goes off and then the gunfire starts and the RPGs fly. I have seen the importance of being in the best shape you can be to carry that tactical gear everyone has. I know the importance of training your mind as well. I have trained Marines and security personnel in areas to help them live longer by fighting harder. My hope is to maybe inspire people to prep their body and mind. The following is not for everyone and should be used on a case by case basis, depending on each individual’s ability, health, and fitness levels. Always talk with your doctor before starting any fitness training.
Your body and the condition it’s in, physically and mentally, is going to determine how long you can make it in a TEOTWAWKI scenario……….period! Your body IS the most important prep, not sweet n hot beef jerky, although that is mighty tasty stuff. If we have a hard time walking to the corner store without being short of breath, how are we going to run, maneuver, or just hike with your plate carrier, chest rig, battle belt, weapon systems, pack, ammo, and other gear? Most of us have this gear. Have you tried walking in it in your house or yard? Have for you walked in this gear for a mile, three miles, et cetera? It is nice to have, but if you can’t move in it what’s the use in having it. Should something large scale, especially a nationwide situation, happen, the supply chain could very well be shut down. There would be no more super markets open or stocked where you could go to get your groceries. You could find yourself going on long expeditions to find food and foraging. So how do we improve our ability to move in all that gear, let alone just our bug out bag?
You start slowly, especially if you have not been doing much physical activity as of late. Start off with walking your neighborhood or on a treadmill. Then start throwing in some full body weight training. The key again is slowly getting into it to lessen the chance of injury and setting you back further. Once you have been doing the both of them for some time and your body is getting used to it. Move up to walking with your full combat load out, if you have an area that you can do so without drawing too much attention. The next step is to start getting formal training through places like Gunsite Academy, Tactical Response, or onPoint Tactical. As with any skill, seek to improve it. Continue to improve your fitness level at your body’s pace. Even if you just plan on wearing a pack and rifle or just the clothes on your back, increase your body’s cardio ability and strength output regardless. It will make it that much easier when that threat presents itself.
I love the sweets and sodas as much as the next person, but I’m sure we all heard the saying “stockpile what you eat, and eat what you stockpile.” The main purpose behind that is so that during stressful times there is not a shock to your system. You don’t want your body left wondering where the six Dr. Pepper a day habit you had went. I cut out pop a long time ago to increase my overall health from the amount of sugar and of course to curb the habit. I almost always drink just water. We all can stand to improve the quality of food intake. So, should there be TEOTWAWKI, we can all probably agree that we will go through our entire food stores, right? At some point we are going to run out or lose it one way or another, whether that be from using it, damage, spoilage, theft, et cetera. I know I personally do not have a lifetime supply of supplies. So what does that mean? Well, it means that we will have to resort back to eating single ingredient foods– foods that we get from our environment and our surroundings. These include leafy greens, vegetables, fruits, animal protein, and so on. So the closer to that we can be to that today with our diets and our storage, the better off we will be should that time come.
Something that can also fit into the food and drink category is alcohol, tobacco, or any other bad habits. I know everyone knows the downside of alcohol and tobacco, so I am not going to beat this dead horse too much. However, have you thought about how tough it would be if your supply ran out and you were thrusted into a SHTF situation? We all know how tough it can be to break these habits because of the addiction and the effects on the body. It is not something I would want to go through in a world with limited resources. Another given is the amount of money that can be saved that could, in turn, be used on other critical preps.
- Weight is first among other things to think about when it comes to your bug out gear or tactical gear. Remember when you are packing your bug out bag or loading up your tactical gear “ounces equal pounds, pounds equal pain.” When you are packing, ask yourself, “Do I really need this?” Remember that a bug out bag is to get you from point A to point B. It’s not to sustain you indefinitely. Also, think about when wondering if for your main battle rifle you should go .223 or .308, part of the reason the 5.56/.223 was adopted was that you could carry more rounds with less weight. With that being said, you can increase your weight-carrying capacity by increasing your physical fitness.
- Balance is another gear consideration. For example, if you do plan on having a full on tactical load out, why have every mag you own on your chest? Spread it out to a pack on your back and to a battle belt. Why kill your back being forced forward from the ten or twelve full 30’s in your rig? Lower the center of gravity of your setup with a battle belt. Or even if you plan on just having a bug out pack, use the cummerbund, if it has one. It is there to place some of the weight on your hips and make the hike more comfortable. Maybe consider upgrading to a pack that has one, if yours currently does not, especially if you find yourself being a pack rat.
- Footwear is a BIG one to think about. You have to take care of your feet or you will get nowhere. If you plan on having a set of footwear that is only in case of a bug out situation, break them in. There is nothing worse than major blisters on your feet from shoes that are not broken in or don’t fit properly. For the ladies out there that wear heels to work, be sure you have that back up pair of footwear in your pack. Also when choosing your shoes or boots, choose them based on your environment and time of year. Running shoes may not be the best form of footwear during a Midwest winter, for example.