It’s a new year! Time to set new goals, plan hunts for the year, and prepare for what’s in season next! With deer and waterfowl season wrapped up it is easy to sit back, relax, and be lazy. Don’t let the gap between seasons get you in a slump. Now is the time to get in some gym time, build up your strength, do some cardio, and prepare for turkey season! Before you know it, you will be chasing turkeys and if you live in southern Ohio, like I do, you will be running the hills and hollers chasing after some gobblers. If hunting turkeys out of a ground blind is not your thing, you better prepare to put in some miles before season!
Physical endurance, strength and cardiovascular health are extremely important to be able to spot and stalk an animal, climb rough terrain, carry a heavy pack and weapon, and to be able to make an accurate shot after doing so. You can do things in the off season to prep and to have a more successful and enjoyable hunting experience.
Here’s some tips for getting in shape for hunting season:
- Hit the gym. You’d be surprised how lifting weights can increase your strength and stamina for long hunts. Weighted step ups and weighted walking lunges will be really beneficial to strengthen your legs for backpack hunting trips. Make sure to work your back and shoulders with exercises like pull downs, rows, shoulder presses, and rope pull backs. These exercises not only help with carrying heavy weight but also with increasing your compound bow draw weight poundage.
- Cardio- whether on a treadmill or outdoors- putting in those miles will keep you in shape. Make sure to incorporate some incline in your cardio. You can be creative! Go shed hunting to get in some miles. This spring, get out in the woods in search of wild mushrooms.
- Load your backpack up and go for a hike. When we were preparing for our backpacking elk hunt out west, I would put 30- 40 pounds in dumbbells in my pack and go for long hikes. This helped condition my shoulders and legs for carrying that extra weight. You will want to make sure to hike in conditions of elevation change, steep hills and long, gradual incline to prepare yourself for hunts in a different terrain that you are not accustomed to. Increase the distance you are hiking to improve on your endurance.
- Diet. What you put in your body plays a huge role in your health and fitness! Choose the right foods to fuel your body! You can never go wrong with wild game recipes, but be cautious of how you prepare it. Limit frying, oils, and butter if your goal is to get in shape and lose some pounds. Getting the appropriate amount of protein in your diet daily will help you build and retain muscle. The rule of thumb for protein intake daily is converting your weight in pounds to grams. If you weigh 200 pounds you need around 200 grams of protein daily. Limit carbs to whole grain carbs only and fill up that plate with lots of fresh veggies. Avoid sugar and sodas.
- Hydration is especially important during this time of getting in shape. Rule of thumb to know how much water you should consume a day is by converting your weight in pounds to ounces. If you weigh 150 pounds your goal should be to drink around 150oz of water.
I hope these tips will get you motivated to be active and get in shape for the hunting season ahead!
Get outdoors and enjoy God’s country!