As much as I love the stage, touring, and performing to crowds, being able to sneak away and become secluded with just the wilderness and myself is something my heart, mind, and soul needs in order to operate cohesively. I’m either on stage nearing the end of a tour, anxiously thinking about getting into the mountains with my bow in hand or I’ve punched my tag after an awesome hunt and am anticipating the adrenaline of being onstage in front of thousands of fans somewhere in the world. It’s an awesome life to live but like all of us I need to keep it balanced.
Now that touring is over and the year ahead looks to be lending itself to spending more time in the field, one of my big hunting adventures is taking me to Idaho for archery elk with hopes that my time in the mountains lands dead center in the heat of the rut.
Now is the time to sketch out a plan of action to get back into hunting shape. I’m grateful to have been able to maintain a consistent workout pattern during tour last year that resulted in a solid fitness foundation. I can now stack a workout plan on that foundation that should make me much more efficient on my hunt this year.
When it comes to getting into hunting shape, my mindset switches from typical “gym rat” physique building, to focusing on functional strength. It’s about making the transition from training in a controlled gym environment to being able to perform in mother nature’s realm. It’s kind of like taking a highway ready 4×4 pickup and giving it a lift, beefing up the weaker areas on the frame, and putting tires on to handle whatever obstacles, elements, and workload you put it under when using it off road.
The same goes for the human body when it comes to training for the tasks and challenges at hand when mountain hunting. Always expect the unexpected and anticipate making adjustments. I want to be as prepared as possible for anything that may change with my mind and body under taxing workloads.
The other truth to why I am choosing to take a functional approach to my training is because it is going to be fun for me. In all honesty, most of 2016 I was either working out in hotel gyms, outside of the bus at arenas, or popping into a local gym in whichever city I was in that day and after awhile, the monotony of training with the same routines and equipment caused me to hit a plateau and level off. Not to mention, it just got to be boring and uninspiring.
Eat chicken, rice, and broccoli every other day for months and chances are, you will probably be ready to try some different foods and stay away from chicken, rice, and broccoli for awhile. I am grateful that my will power and dedication to achieving my goals was enough to keep me going every day with my workouts for the year. But now is the time for a change of focus and gears!
A big part of functional training for me has been coming up with creative exercises that are effective, efficient, and fun. I do train in the gym at times, but I also train a lot at home with the equipment I have there, as well as using other “objects” as makeshift gym equipment. Tires, a sledgehammer, and a riding lawnmower can make for awesome pieces of gym equipment.
Weight is weight is how I look at it. All we’re doing is moving weight up and down, side to side. Some equipment may look prettier than others, but at the end of the workout; it all serves the same purpose. Maybe it’s just the Wisconsin farm boy in me, I’m not sure, but I’m going to go with that.
The foundation I had dedicated building all last year was much of the 4×4 analogy I had described earlier. Most of my cardio workouts were accomplished either by treadmill, stair climber, or running arena steps on show days while the strength and conditioning all came from standard gym equipment and kettlebells. Even after reaching my goals of adding size and weight to my frame, I quickly found out that I had some weak points, structurally, that needed to be focused on if I was to endure any mountain hunting and especially hauling a full frame pack of meat off the mountain. That is, if the Lord so blesses me this fall.
My excitement and determination to give my all to my workouts and be able to do whatever I need to in order to be successful on the mountain are at an all new high and I’m ready to step it up and take it to the next level. Now please excuse me while I get to work.