Sunday, May 08, 2022

Strength and Conditioning


Five Takeaways from the Prototypical Wilderness Athlete


by Derek Benoit  January 4th, 2021


Whether you are enjoying adventures outdoors regularly or you are still dreaming about going back to those fields and waters, it is crucial to understand how to optimize your performance. Fishing and hunting are much more than sports. Of course, they can help you keep fit, relaxed, and healthy. However, these activities can help you discover much more of yourself and allow you to be in close contact with the natural world around you.

Simultaneously, just like other sports, they require a unique set of skills and strengths that can help you improve your performance while outdoors. And, these skills go far beyond being able to cast a line or shoot a deer. When it comes down to preparing yourself for your next adventure, there are several aspects to consider for a more successful outing. Start preparing your mind and body with the tips below.



Have the Right Gear and Equipment

Whether you are into fishing or hunting, you cannot perform those activities without the right gear. Depending on the type of sport you practice, you might need to pick the appropriate equipment that can help you enjoy your experience even more.

Many beginners fall into the trap of buying cheap or lower-quality pieces of equipment to test the water before committing to more substantial investments. At the same time, hunting or fishing with low-quality equipment might make your whole experience far less enjoyable, causing you to give up on the sport altogether.

So, if you wish to improve your performance and enjoy your time in the wilderness a bit more, follow the tips below and secure the best equipment.

  • Consider Price and Budget  – When it comes down to securing the best gear for your activities, it is crucial to keep in mind the budget at your disposal. Remember that you will want to make the most of high-quality, high-tech pieces of equipment, but also you will need to travel light. Therefore, make a list and be clear on a budget before heading to the nearest specialized store.
  • Consider Your Level of Expertise – Not all types of equipment are perfect for your needs. For example, skipping the first stages of your experience and jumping straight into more complicated bows or fishing rods might cause you to miss out on important basics. Therefore, it is always important to speak to expert wilderness athletes that you can trust and ensure that you have the right hunting or fishing equipment for your skill level.
  • Consider Specific Gear for Your Sports Subcategory – There is a wide range of fishing and hunting subcategories and alternatives that you might try. While it is important to experience most of them to be sure of your favorite ones, you can’t get started without the right equipment.
  • You Will Need Much More than Just Equipment! – Of course, a great portion of your budget will go towards your equipment. However, you should make sure to spend some time and effort understanding the conditions that are awaiting you outdoors. For example, you might decide on the essentials and how to enjoy your time outdoors for longer. You should also consider flasks, lunch boxes, hand warmers, and the right clothing among the necessary equipment.



Focus on Nutrition and Preparedness

Going out in the wilderness to hunt, fish, or shoot is a life-changing experience that should not be taken lightly. It can bring you much joy, excitement, peace, and relaxation. However, you should always remember where this activity that you love so much takes place – in nature. Therefore, it is crucial to prepare your mind and body before going on a long adventure or an intense expedition. After all, it is not uncommon to encounter issues and obstacles when you are in a wild natural area.

In terms of getting your body ready, nutrition plays a crucial role. Indeed, it is important to be fit and strong enough to withstand and enjoy several hours in the wild. You might need to walk, jog, move silently, or hold a position for a long during this time. All these skills will require stamina and strength, which you can cultivate through proper nutrition. If you have been dealing with health conditions that have altered the way your digestive system works, you should consider speaking with an expert nutritionist who can help you find the right diet for your needs.

Nonetheless, some of the aspects that you should consider when preparing yourself for your outdoor adventure should include:

  • Adequate caloric replacement – depending on your activity, you will be burning calories and spending energy. Make sure the lunch and snacks you have packed can help you replace them and provide sustainment for the length of your adventure.
  • Use supplements – when you are out on long outdoor adventures, you are likely to end up eating pre-prepared and dehydrated foods. Vitamins and minerals can help you maintain a balanced diet while eating so little ingredients.
  • Be aware of local health concerns – depending on where your outdoor adventure takes place; you should consider what vaccinations and insurance you need to be entirely safe.
  • Always have extra medications with you – if you need to have certain medications to remain healthy, make sure you have extra doses in your backpack when traveling. Important medications to pack include chronic diseases, prophylactic medications, antibiotics, pain management, and general illness.
  • Have a first-aid kit with you – even something as simple as cuts and scrapes can cause you to struggle through the rest of your adventure. Having a simple first-aid kit with you can help you find a quick solution and get back on your feet.



Cultivate Self-Awareness

As we have seen, hunting and fishing are much more than just sports. Practicing these activities allow you to spend endless hours in nature and increase self-awareness. When hunting or fishing, you will also be exploring the wilderness and entering an area that might not be so familiar to you. In such a natural space, humans are only visitors, and being able to merge with the surrounding environment is a great gift for hunters and fishers.

So, it is important to cultivate awareness of yourself and your persona when entering such pristine environments.

For example, wild animals are blessed with a much more powerful sense of smell than humans. Therefore, when heading into the woods, you should make sure that animals won’t be frightened by your unusual scent. You might disguise your natural odor by washing yourself with unscented soap and using unscented aftershave. You should also avoid leaving your equipment and clothing in places where they can pick up a different or fresh scent. Rubbing your boots in manure is an excellent way to leave behind a more natural scent!

As you can see, there is much to work on, and there are several aspects to work on. However, you can start working towards your self-awareness while in the wilderness and refine your technique with time.



Train Yourself for the Outdoors

A hunting or fishing trip can undoubtedly be relaxing and rejuvenating. However, you need to be prepared to deal with the wilderness of certain natural areas. Of course, if you are thinking about a relaxing camping weekend at a nearby lake, there won’t be much to worry about. However, if you have bigger hunting or fishing goals in mind to achieve, you must train yourself to survive for hours or days in the wilderness.

When it comes down to training your body for such an experience, don’t underestimate some kinds of parallel training that can help you achieve a better physical shape.

  • High-intensity interval training (HIIT) – is an excellent way to tap into the explosive strength of your body. When hunting or fishing, you might need to stay silent or still for a while, just to focus your energy on a brief but powerful explosion. Practicing HIIT circuits at the gym or at home can help you with this.
  • Core Training – if you are looking at getting stronger, it is important to keep in mind that it all comes down to your core strength. When walking, hiking, or picking up your equipment, your core can play an essential role in sustaining such effort.
  • Endurance – whether your adventure is set to last one day or a week, it is crucial that you understand your level of endurance and stamina. To increase it, you should consider activities such as uphill endurance or Rucking. Consider that you might be hiking for miles with a heavyweight on your back!
  • Yoga or Pilates – these types of mindfulness activities might seem to be at the opposite end of hunting and fishing, but they can help you improve your focus and concentration skills when practicing your outdoor sports.



Understand Your Limits

Not two wilderness athletes are the same or pursuing hunting or fishing for the same reasons. Some might do it for personal pride, while others are looking at bringing back fresh games for a specific recipe. Therefore, when approaching your next adventure, make sure you don’t compare yourself to others in your hunting party. You might find that some might be affected by certain conditions or cannot exercise and train as much. When out in nature or in the wilderness, understanding your limits and skills is crucial to survival – don’t underestimate nature!



Derek Benoit

Owner-Founder of The Outdoor Phoenix Community

Engage, Improve, Thrive

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