If you’ve ever watched shows such as Doomsday Preppers (we watch on Netflix for $8 a month), you may have noticed that at the end of the show they give each person, couple or family a preparedness rating. Many times where people lose it on their score is in the area of physical fitness. They’ve done all of the technical things they need to do to be prepared, such as storing up food and water, preparing an alternate heating source, etc., but they’re not physically prepared for the hard work of survival during tough times.
We in the Frugal Farmer family love to watch old shows that are set back in the 1800, such as The Rifleman . Back in those days, everyone had to do hard physical work to feed their families and care for their homes. These days, things are different. We’ve “advanced” into the world of modern convenience, where fulfilling all of our needs (and more) simply requires a trip to a local store or a saunter down the hall to the home office to browse the Internet.
Along with that, we have our “convenience” foods – or should I say “foods” – which minimize our need to grow and prepare meals. The problem with this “convenient” lifestyle – at least from a prepping standpoint – is that it has left a majority of people overweight and out of shape. I get it – I myself struggled with a 35-pound weight gain after we moved here as I gorged on processed foods, too tired from our self-sufficient lifestyle to prepare and eat the real food we’d grown and preserved.
The problem with our modern lifestyle, however, is that it takes many “points” away from our survival score, so to speak.
The summer after we moved here, after a particularly hard week of cleaning up after a summer storm and weeding our rather large garden, the work took such a toll on me that it left me laying on the grass, bawling from exhaustion. A prepping, self-sufficient lifestyle is a he** of a lot of hard work, and if you’re truly serious about being prepared for any type of disaster, whether it be weather-related, a job loss, a terrorist attack or an economic meltdown, you’d better think long and hard about whether or not you’ve got the physical stamina to survive in less-than-convenient conditions where you have to grow/catch/preserve your own food and heat your house with wood.
If you have come to the realization after that rather blunt mini-rant that you want or need to get in better shape, you’re in luck, because I’m about to share with you what you need to do to get yourself in better physical condition so that you can truly handle a prepper’s lifestyle. Read on below for non-negotiable suggestions.
You’d Better Start with Eating Healthy
I never realized how much processed pseudo-food was affecting my health, my mood and my energy level until I stopped eating so much of it. In January of this year we started on a macrobiotic diet, which eliminates processed foods, meat, sugar, flour and dairy from one’s diet. We also added in some Mean Green Juice smoothies to our diet. I felt fantastic. I had energy like never before, was content with 5 and a half hours of sleep, and felt like a million bucks. At times, for special occasions and what-not, I’d have something sugary or processed. Within twenty minutes I’d feel achy, tired, bloated and cranky. I never noticed the lack of “feeling good” before because this is the way I felt all the time. Once I got a taste of what it’s like to walk in optimum health though, I really noticed the difference when I ate processed foods. And it wasn’t fun.
If you’re serious about being able to live a self-sufficient lifestyle, you’d better dump the crap food and start eating food the way God made it. Self-sufficiency is hard work, and in order to handle it for any length of time you’re going to need to be at an optimum level of energy and emotional stability.
You Need to Have Muscular and Cardio Strength
Eating well will definitely help with your energy levels and with feeling good, but if you’re seeking the ability to be self-sufficient, you need to drop the extra pounds and get into fighting shape. You’ll need:
Cardiovascular Strength: Start walking, running, biking, hiking – including some type of cardio conditioning. Anything you can do will help. Go for a walk with a friend or family member a few days a week, start parking at the back of the parking lot or taking the stairs instead of the elevator at work. You don’t need to join a gym or buy a $1,000 treadmill for home. Use the world around you – just like they did in the pioneer days – and start walking, running or hiking when you can instead of watching TV or surfing your smartphone.
Upper Body Strength: Again, no gym membership needed here. Start doing push-ups or lifting free weights. Get a heavy bag and hang it in the basement and punch the crap out of it to vent all of the day’s frustrations. This bag has great reviews on Amazon:
When I was in my twenties, I used to do Tae-Bo for cardio and strength training. That was a super fun, kick-butt powerhouse of a workout that was great for upper and lower body strength.
Ironically, gardening is great for upper body strength improvement as you pull weeds, etc., so use that to your advantage and start a garden.
Lower Body Strength: Taking the stairs instead of the elevator, hiking or biking will do wonders for lower body strength. At home you can do some squats or run up and down your own stairs. Lower body strength will help you to handle the physical demands of self-sufficiency, which can require quite a bit of walking, lifting and kneeling as you chop wood, do garden work or whatever.
Core Strength: Your core is the center of your body strength. Having a strong core will help ward off back injuries and will help improve your overall body strength. Check out these core-strengthening exercises for ideas to help strengthen your core.
Honestly, I fear for this country. If a disaster of any magnitude, such as another Great Depression, came to America’s shores, 75% of the people would be S-O-L. Between financial instability, poor physical condition and a complete lack of education about how to care for themselves, most of society would go into a panic, and that would NOT be good for anyone.
Do what you can for yourself and your family, and start making physical fitness a priority as you learn how to grow, preserve and prepare REAL foods from home, and start educating yourself on how to be self-sufficient should the time come when you need to be. You may not ever need to put into practice what you learn, but if you do need to put it into practice, I can guarantee that the time you spent learning and practicing will be of more value to you than any money you could ever hope to accumulate.