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Saturday, April 18, 2020

Saturday In the Octave of Easter Isaiah, Chapter 51, verse 12-13 12 I, it is I who comfort you. Can you then fear mortals who d...

Fitness Fridays

The Roman Plan

Rome was in part a great nation due to their system of "Bathing". After researching the bath system I have reinvented the roman bath into a 10 step method.
  1.  Oil
  2. Light Exercise
  3. Warm bath/massage
  4. Steam Room followed by drinks
  5. Hot Bath/Sauna
  6. Cold Bath
  7. Massage w/oils
  8. Entertainment/Sunbath
  9. Walk/Art
  10. Food/Alcohol

The Roman Bath

The Roman Bath We can safely assume that the Roman Bath, or Thermae, is the father of our modern day spas and health clubs. Bathing in ancient Rome was not a private activity conducted in the intimacy of one's home. Quite to the contrary, it was a highly social activity where men and woman of all classes congregated at different hours to exercise, bathe, socialise, relax and even read in the bathhouses communal libraries. During the Roman Empire bathhouses flourished. The city of Rome had 170 baths during the reign of Augustus, which increased to 900 in 300 AD. Bathhouses were considered a public facility and were built using tax money collected by the municipality. Sometimes a rich lord or emperor would build a sumptuous bath to impress his subjects and would grant them free entrance for a period of time. Generally, a modest entrance fee, affordable by all men was charged at the bathhouse. The women's fee was double, and their bath time restricted to mornings, while men used the baths from the early afternoon to closing time.

Communal bathing, although frowned upon, must have been indulged in regularly in ancient Rome as various Roman emperors frequently outlawed it. An interesting aspect of the Roman Bath was the exercise area or Palaestra (as the gym is still referred to by the Italians today). This is where the ancient Roman males and some females engaged in various types or muscle-building and sweat-inducing exercises like weight lifting, ball games, wrestling and boxing. Bowls, gambling with dice and various board games were available for the less energetic. The Roman bathhouses were the height of luxury. Even the average bath had floor to ceiling mirrors, intricate mosaics and rich marble pools. The baths were the equivalent of a social club or today's shopping malls. Besides the bath and the gym, they had a library with a reading room, a snack bar, restaurants, wine and beer bars, shops, lounges, taverns and hair cutting salons. Some even had a museum and a theatre. A typical Roman bath started in the apodyterium or changing rooms, where people would take their clothes off in small cubicles and leave their slaves to guard them. From there, they would step into the unctuarium where they had various oils rubbed onto their skin and could then exercise in one of the exercise yards or PalaestraThen, they would generally move to the tepidarium or warm room, where they would lie around chatting with their friends, with attendants serving them snacks and drinks. The tepidarium was a transitional area and a preparation for the hot caldariumThe latter is the equivalent of a sauna or steam bath, hot and steamy with heated floors where the bathers would sweat profusely while scraping their skin with a strigilThis curved metal tool was used to remove the oils, which were used by the common people instead of the very expensive soaps, only accessible to the rich.

water From the hot steaming rooms, the bathers would then move to the frigidarium where, as the name indicates, they were able to cool off and allow the skin pores to close. The frigidarium contained pools of fresh water for dipping and swimming. After swimming, the bather would enjoy a massage and have oils and perfumes rubbed into his skin. Feeling clean and relaxed, the Roman bather then drifts through the beautiful gardens decorated with mosaics and colossal sculptures. Undoubtedly, the most interesting feature of the Roman bath was the under floor heating, made possible by the Hypocaust system for heating the building and the pools. Thanks to the Hypocaust, hot air, heated from the basement fires flowing between the bricks and concrete columns would heat the rooms. In some baths the floor would be so hot that the bathers had to wear wooden sandals to prevent their soles from burning. The ancient Romans were undisputed early masters of architecture and civil planning. They are accredited for being the builders of the greatest aqueducts in the world. These refer to an intricate system of pipes, ditches, canals, tunnels, and supporting structures, which were used to transport water from its source onto a main distribution point.
Through these aqueducts water flowed to the city by the sheer force of gravity. It usually went through a series of distribution tanks within the city from which it is later transported to its final destination. 

The Brain Warrior’s Way

Ignite Your Energy and Focus; Attack Illness and Aging; Transform Pain into Purpose
November 22, 2016

The war for your health is won or lost between your ears, in the moment-by-moment decisions your brain makes every day. When your brain works right, your decisions are much more likely to be effective and add laserlike focus, energy and health to your life. When your brain is troubled, for whatever reason, you are much more likely to make bad decisions that steal your energy, focus, moods, memory, and health and lead to your early destruction and trouble in future generations.

Bushido (Japanese: “way of the warrior”) is the code of ethics for the samurai. It is a way of living that is required to be a warrior. Samurais ascribe to a culture focused on constant, never-ending self-improvement in an effort to protect themselves and those they love. “A warrior is someone who is committed to master oneself at all levels, who develops the courage to do the right thing for yourself, others, and community,” Mark Divine writes in The Way of the SEAL.

The Brain Warrior’s Way is also a way of living, a clear path we have developed over three decades of helping patients at Amen Clinics have better brains and better lives. This path grounded in scientific research has helped people in the military, businesses, churches, schools and drug rehabilitation centers. Living the Brain Warrior’s Way will improve your decision-making ability and sense of personal power and help your…
The Brain Warrior’s Way was designed to help you live with vitality, a clear mind and excellent health—even if you are struggling or are in pain right now—even if you’ve made unhealthy choices for many years. Genes play a more minor role than you think, and many diseases are born out of unhealthful choices and behaviors, regardless of whether there is a genetic predisposition. The new science of epigenetics has taught us that your habits turn on or off certain genes that make illnesses and early death more or less likely in you, and also in your children and grandchildren. The war for the health of your brain and body is not just about you. It is about generations of you.
Step by step, The Brain Warrior’s Way will show you how to develop a Brain Warrior’s MASTERY over your physical and mental health. It will teach you:

Mindset of a Brain Warrior—knowing your motivation to be healthy and focusing on abundance, never deprivation
Assessment of a Brain Warrior—having a clear strategy, brain health assessment, knowing and optimizing your important numbers, fighting the war on multiple fronts, and always being on the lookout to prevent future trouble
Sustenance of a Brain Warrior—knowing the food and supplements that fuel success and give you a competitive edge
Training of a Brain Warrior—engaging in the daily habits and routines that protect your health
Essence of a Brain Warrior—transforming your pain into passion and knowing why the world is a better place because you are here
Responsibilities of a Brain Warrior—taking the critical step of sharing information and creating your own tribe of Brain Warriors
Yearlong Basic Training of a Brain Warrior—making lasting changes with tools that will last a lifetime

Brain Warriors Advance in Stages: Primitive, Mechanical, Spontaneous
Every martial artist, athlete, or musician remembers how awkward she felt when she first started learning complex moves. Most felt like their bodies would never cooperate. However, over time the moves became smoother, until they eventually felt like second nature. The brain and body needed time to grow, make new connections, and adapt to new ways of working and thinking.
When someone is first starting the Brain Warrior’s Way program she often feels a bit overwhelmed and confused.
  • Hey, where’s the sugar?!
  • Everything in moderation!
  • What happened to the bread and pasta? When are they coming back?
  • But I love French fries and sodas!
  • I don’t know where to shop or what to buy!
  • I don’t want to get 8 hours of sleep!
  • I don’t want to exercise!
  •  I’m too busy, too stressed, too used to my old ways.
We tell our Brain Warriors in training not to worry, because they are in the primitive phase, when things feel impossible and hard, and they think they’ll never be able to do it. It just takes trust, a bit of knowledge, success in feeling better quickly, and persistence to get to the next stage. Pretty soon, often within thirty days if you are on the fast track or thirty to ninety days if you are taking a more incremental approach, your taste buds regenerate themselves, the brain makes new connections and begins to grow, and soon enough, everything becomes easier.

Then you will transition to the mechanical phase, when you develop a healthy rhythm. You find the foods you love, exercises you can do, and brain healthy habits come easier to you. Clarity and energy replace brain fog. You start associating certain foods with feeling happier and more energized or with feeling sadder and more lethargic. It starts to become much easier to make healthy choices. You become better at noticing your negative thought patterns and begin questioning the negative thoughts running through your head. In this phase you still have to closely follow the Brain Warrior’s Way program, because it is not yet second nature to you. This phase may last for one to three months for the fast-track folks and three to six months for the incrementalists.

Our goal is for you to reach the spontaneous phase, when your habits and responses become automatic and second nature. This usually occurs between four and six months for the fast-track folks and six and twelve months for the people who are taking things step by step. And if you persist through your challenges and setbacks, such as job or work challenges, divorce and deaths (which we all experience), the Brain Warrior’s Way will last a lifetime.

In the spontaneous phase, the responses and habits become automatic.
  • Do you want dessert? Yes, but I want something that serves my health, rather than steals from it.
  • Do you want bread before dinner? No.
  • Would you like a second glass of wine? No.
  • You schedule your workouts and rarely miss them, as you would rarely miss your child’s sporting event or a doctor’s appointment. They are important to you.
  • You don’t have to think about your responses because they are spontaneous and habitual in a good way.
Get your black belt in brain health. Being a black belt doesn’t mean you are tougher or stronger or that you don’t get scared. Being a black belt means you never give up, you face your fears, you persevere, and you always get up one more time!

A black belt is just a white belt who never quit.

This gives you permission to fall without failing, as long as you get up and try again. It is a process. Most important, you pass on the information by becoming a mentor to someone who is struggling. To get your black belt you are expected to be a mentor, to teach others your art. By teaching others, you powerfully reinforce in yourself what you’ve learned. It truly is in the giving that we receive.

Excerpted from The Brain Warrior’s Way by Daniel G. Amen, M.D., and Tana Amen, BSN, RN, in agreement with Berkeley, an imprint of Penguin Random House. Copyright © 2016 by Daniel G. Amen, M.D., and Tana Amen, BSN, RN.

Live to 120?

What Are Telomeres?

Telomeres are segments of DNA at the end of our chromosomes. Scientists frequently compare them to the plastic tips of shoelaces that keep the laces together. (1) Telomeres function similarly, preventing chromosomes from fraying or tangling with one another. When that happens, it can cause genetic information to get mixed up or destroyed, leading to cell malfunction, increasing the risk of disease or even shortening lifespans.

How Can I Lengthen My Telomeres and Slow Aging?

While science still isn’t 100 percent sure how telomere length affects how we age, it’s clear that the longer our telomeres are, the better. The good news is that there are a variety of lifestyle changes you can make today to lengthen your telomeres.

1. Control and Reduce Stress

Several studies have linked chronic stress to shorter telomeres.  A 2004 study compared healthy women who were mothers of healthy children (the control moms) and those who cared for chronically ill children (caregiving mothers). On average, the caregiving mothers had telomeres that were 10 years shorter than the control moms. That is, their cells behaved as if one decade older.
Another study that examined African-American boys found that those who came from stressful environments had telomeres that were about 40 percent shorter than peers from stable homes.
The takeaway? Chronic stress doesn’t just put you in a bad mood; it contributes to aging in a very real way. Exercising regularly, getting enough sleep and carving out time for yourself daily are all easy ways to help bust stress.

2. Exercise Regularly 

From boosting happiness to providing an energy boost, the benefits of exercise are well documented. Now there’s another reason to hit the gym. A recent study found that a person who did some type of exercise was about 3 percent less likely to have super short telomeres than a person who didn’t exercise at all. Not only that, but the more a person exercised, the longer their telomeres. The correlation between telomere length and exercise activity seemed to be strongest among those in middle age, suggesting that it’s never too late to start a fitness program and keep those telomeres from shortening. Another study about how exercise keeps your cells young found that middle-aged adults who were intense runners (we’re talking 45–50 miles a week) had telomere lengths that were, on average, 75 percent longer than their sedentary counterparts. Now, this doesn’t mean you need to become an ultramarathon runner. It does, however, suggest that regularly engaging in intense exercise, like HIIT workouts, can keep telomeres long and happy.

3. Eat a Range of Foods for Antioxidant and Vitamin Benefits 

Foods high in vitamins are believed to protect cells and their telomeres from oxidative damage. A diet high in antioxidant foods, like berries and artichokes, can slow down aging and help prevent or reduce cell damage. Additionally, taking a multivitamin supplement to bridge the gap between the foods you’re eating and what your body needs might lengthen telomeres as well. One study found that women who took a daily supplement had telomeres that were about 5 percent longer than nonusers. But supplements still can’t mimic all the health benefits of eating real, wholesome foods. The same study found that, even after adjusting for supplement use, participants who ate foods high in vitamins C and E also had longer telomeres. Oranges, peppers and kale are among the top vitamin C foods. For vitamin E, turn to almonds, spinach and sweet potatoes.

4. Prayer and meditation (Rosary?)

In a 2014 study among breast cancer survivors, those who participated in mindful meditation and practiced yoga kept their telomeres at the same length; the telomeres of the control group, who did neither activity, shortened during the study time.  A 2008 study among men found that, after three months of a vegan diet, aerobic exercise and stress management, including yoga, there was increased telomerase activity. A 2013 follow-up study found that those lifestyle changes are associated with longer telomeres. Meditation comes in different forms for different people. For me, it’s healing prayer and setting aside time to reflect. For others, it might be setting an intention for their day, attending a regular yoga class or spending time with loved ones without the distraction of technology or work. Whatever your meditation looks like, it’s clear it’s good for our minds and bodies.

While we wait for science to unravel all the mysteries of telomeres and how they work for ­— and against — us, we can make changes to lengthen them and positively affect the rest of our lives.

Can catholic's do yoga?

Changing Body Composition

If you’re reading this, then somewhere in your mind you’ve already made the decision to change your life for the better. That’s great!  Making the decision to improve your life in a healthy and positive way is half the battle.

Many people start off with a simple weight loss goal like: “I want to lose 10 pounds.”  That’s a great goal, but unfortunately, it’s a little too vague.  10 pounds…of what? Fat?  If yes, how will you know when you’ve hit that goal?  By standing on a scale?  Even if you see your weight decrease by 10 pounds, how can you be sure that 10 pounds is all fat?  The truth is: you can’t.

Instead of focusing on trying to change your weight, focus on changing your body composition.  This is a different way of thinking about getting fit or losing weight, but it’s a much better way.  It will free you from worrying about your weight on the scale, make you clothes fit better, and have you looking fitter faster than you thought possible.

To change your body composition, you won’t have one goal (like “lose weight” or “gain muscle”). You will have two:
  • Reduce Fat Mass
  • Increase Lean Body Mass
If you’re a bit unclear on terms like “Fat Mass” and “Lean Body Mass,” check out this guide to body composition to help you get up to speed.
By working towards these goals, you’re setting yourself up for long-term success. You’ll be on the path to changing your body for the future, which means you’ll keep the weight off and the muscle on.
To start changing your body composition today, follow these 5 steps. You’ll be glad you did.

1. Get Your Body Fat Percentage Measured

This is the most important step.  You must get your body composition tested, and you must commit to judging your progress by your body composition results – not what your weight is on the scale.  This means focusing on your body fat percentage instead of your weight.  By determining your progress with useful metrics like this and lean body mass, you will be equipped with the knowledge you need to get the results you want faster and smarter.

One of the quickest and easiest methods to determine body composition and find numbers like body fat percentage is to use a device that uses BIA technology.  For many years, these devices weren’t accurate enough to give reliable body fat percentage results, but that has changed in recent years.

Depending on how you determine body fat, you may get a complete readout of your body with muscle mass, fat mass, body water, etc., or you may just get a body fat percentage.  Try to get as much information as possible using the best tests available so you can plan out your goals properly.

2. Choose a Goal to Work on First

Now that you’re working with two goals instead of one, it’s best to target them one at a time.  Although building Lean Body Mass can go hand in hand with reducing Fat Mass to a certain degree, to reach your goals faster, it’s usually best to target one goal at a time.  This is because your body responds differently to programs that target fat and to those that are designed to build lean muscle.

Here’s how to decide which goal to begin with:
·         Fat Loss First
This goal is best for people whose body compositions have two characteristics: high body fat percentage and high overall weight.  For men, this means body fat percentages in the upper 20s, 30s, and above; for women, body fat percentages in mid 30s and above.  Here’s what this can look like (male test subject):

 ·         Develop Lean Body Mass First

You may want to start by increasing your Lean Body Mass if you are skinny fat. You may be skinny fat if you aren’t overweight but have low amounts of Lean Body Mass and high amounts of Fat Mass.  Here’s an example of what that can look like (female test subject):
Notice how the overall weight, 132.3, does not fall in the overweight range (up arrow), but that the Skeletal Muscle Mass falls under it (down arrow) while the Body Fat Mass is over. Because someone with a body composition like this has less than the recommended levels of Skeletal Muscle Mass, it’s a good idea to start with increasing Lean Body Mass before targeting Fat Mass. 
Fortunately, if you start resistance training to build muscle, this will likely bring down your Fat Mass as well.  Increasing your Lean Body Mass will increase the calorie need your body will have in order to maintain itself, and this increased caloric need can lead to your body getting energy by burning some of that extra fat.  The calories you burn in resistance training will also speed up fat loss.
Having enough Lean Body Mass is important for many reasons, including increased strength and increased function of your immune system.  Skeletal Muscle Mass composes the majority of your Lean Body Mass, so increased LBM will also improve your musculature and make you look stronger and more toned.

3. Choose a Health Plan to Reach Your Goal

Once you’ve decided which goal to work on first, you will need to choose a plan to help you meet that goal.  Although everyone’s individual needs will be different, you can use the following to help build a general plan that you can modify later once you understand how your own body responds to diet and exercise.

  • Targeting Fat Loss

The basic principle behind fat loss is deceptively simple: according to the Center for Disease Control, it’s all about burning more calories in a day than you take in.  This is referred to as maintaining a “caloric deficit.” You can achieve a caloric deficit in two ways: calorie restriction and exercise.  By taking in less calories than you typically do, your body will respond by finding the calories it needs from your fat mass since it no longer is getting those calories from food and drink.  Many products today are marketed as “fat-free” in order to help people trying to lose weight to make healthy choices. But as it turns out, overall calorie reduction can be more effective than just cutting fat out of your diet, particularly since fat plays a significant role in cell health and metabolism. You can further increase your caloric deficit through exercise.  Both resistance training and cardiovascular exercise will cause your body to use more calories than you did before beginning training.  Both types of training will play different roles in meeting your goal.

  • Building Lean Body Mass

    Although some people might discount the importance of resistance training or weightlifting in a fat burning program, to completely ignore this type of exercise is misguided.  Resistance training is very important because it can help you maintain your existing Lean Body Mass and ensure that it doesn’t decrease along with your fat.  Increased Lean Body Mass is linked to higher overall calorie needs, and the more calories you require, the more you weight you stand to lose. It is true, however, that cardio is important for creating a caloric deficit.  How many calories you stand to burn depend on the type of exercise, duration, and intensity and you may need to find an intersection of the three that works best for you. It’s helpful to understand what Lean Body Mass is so you can understand how you can go about developing it. Lean Body Mass is your total weight minus your fat.  This includes all the weight due to your muscles, organs, and total body water.  You can’t develop your organs, but you can develop your muscles.  The best way to develop your muscles – and thereby your Lean Body Mass – is to adopt a resistance training program. As you develop stronger muscles, the size and amount of your muscle cells will increase.  Your muscles will require more water – more intracellular water, to be specific – which will allow them to function properly.  As your muscles grow and take in more water, your Lean Body Mass will increase.

    4. Retest to Track Your Progress Towards Your Goal
    After a month or two, it will be time to get your body composition tested again.  Resist the temptation to measure yourself for at least a month; it is going to take some time for your body to respond to the diet and exercise changes that you’ve made.
    Since you will be measuring your body composition, you should be less interested in your overall weight and more about your body fat percentage and Lean Body Mass.  These will become the most important numbers you will use to determine the success of your program by. 

    After a month, you should begin to see changes in your body fat percentage regardless if you decided to focus on fat or lean mass.  If your weight drops due to fat loss while you maintain your Lean Body Mass, your body fat percentage will drop. 

    Conversely, if your weight stays the same or even increases due to Lean Body Mass, this means that you’ve gained Skeletal Muscle Mass and potentially lost some fat mass too
    If you see a rise in your BMI, that is not a bad thing.  BMI is just a mathematical ratio of your height to weight, and remember, you if your thinking in terms of body composition, simple weight measurements aren't important anymore.  What's important is seeing drops in body fat percentage and increases in Lean Body Mass.
    If you are hitting your goals after a month, great! If not, you may need to adjust the diet and exercise plans you have set for yourself.  If you aren’t seeing any drops in fat mass after a month, you may need to consider increasing your caloric deficit.  If you aren’t gaining lean mass at the rate you would like, you may need to adjust your calorie intake, your protein intake, or modify resistance training program you’ve adopted.  Then, after another month or two, retest.

    5. Be Patient and Reach Your Goal!

    Changing your body composition is going to take time, and it is going to take some serious effort.  However, the rewards will be great because the changes you make will last. While you are putting in the hard work, something to avoid is weighing yourself every day.  Because you’re tracking your body composition/body fat percentage, weighing yourself on a normal scale is going to be less and less useful for you – particularly if you started changing your body composition by building Lean Body Mass.  In that situation, because you’re trying to gain weight due to muscle, you may not register any weight gain at all as the weight due to muscle gain will replace the weight due the fat you’re losing. You may find that you even gain overall weight, but as long as that weight is due to muscle, you’ll actually appear thinner.  This is because muscle is much denser than fat. As you continue to see results, you may find that your goals change over time.  You may find that you have lost a significant amount of fat and would like to rebuild yourself with more muscle.  Conversely, you may become satisfied with the amount of Lean Body Mass you have and start focusing on losing fat to build a lean physique. Whatever your goals are, the key is to make smart decisions.  By committing to assessing yourself by testing your body composition, you will have the tools and the information to make those smart decisions.  If you are gaining Lean Body Mass, you’ll know.  If you’re losing fat, you’ll know.  Body composition assessments take the guesswork out of getting healthy.  So go out, be smarter, and start building a better you today.

    Australian Fitness-F45 

    Looking for an intense workout but have only 45 minutes to spend at the gym? F45 Training may be the answer you’ve been looking for. The concept is to make it easy for you to reach your fitness goals in a limited timeframe. Launched in Australia in 2014, F45 Training recently came to the U.S. and has plans to take the county by storm. There are currently about 35 locations in this country, with more than 400 new franchises anticipated to open by the end of the year. This will be in addition to the more than 750 franchises currently operating in 26 countries. Like other standardized exercise programs (such as Bikram Yoga), this will also make it easier for traveling practitioners to keep their workouts going on the road. Currently open studios are primarily in Southern California, across Los Angeles, Orange County and San Diego, with a few other clusters in the works around Chicago, Toronto, New York and Texas, as well as more widespread studios throughout the county.
    The “F” in F45 Training is for “functional” and “45” is for the class duration. All classes are 45 minute, high intensity interval training (HIIT) sessions. According to F45, they are meant to burn 750 calories through a combination and strength and cardio exercises. The workouts are team-based, cycle through interval stations and consist of 27 distinct workouts, with more in development, from a library of over 3,000 exercises. Studios offer the same class at different times throughout the day, but classes on different days should never be the same, bringing variety to workouts. The daily circuits vary the number of exercise stations, repetitions and work time vs. rest time. Functional training incorporates exercises that use the full body and multiple muscle groups, similar to everyday movements. F45 Training’s exercises include lifting, squatting, jumping, twisting, pulling, pushing, punching, kicking, rowing and biking. The studios contain TVs that demonstrate the daily workouts at each station and offer heart rate monitoring and gamification software. Trainers provide personal encouragement and support.

    F45 Training

    Battle ropes add challenge--and fun--to workouts.

    Rob Deutsch, founder and chief executive officer for F45 Training, said via release, “What we started three years ago as a means to fill a gap in the fitness industry quickly became the largest franchise concept ever born in Australia. As we enter the United States, we expect to see a similar trajectory in the way F45 Training resonates both with clients motivated to see their best results and with budding entrepreneurs looking for an inspired and reliable business model.”

    According to the International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association’s Health Club Consumer Report, about 53 million Americans belong to health clubs, with 23 million “core members,” who use clubs at least 100 times annually and about 22 million who participate in group exercise. F45 is the latest of several companies chasing this market and other notable franchises in the fitness space include several ranked by Enterprise in its Franchise 500 2017 ranking: Anytime Fitness (#14), Orangetheory Fitness (#19), Planet Fitness (#32), Jazzercise (#81), Crunch Franchise (#88) and a few others. CrossFit is probably the best known company offering functional movements performed at high intensity, though they operate through affiliates rather than franchises and function differently.

    Fitness Friday-Hunting Workout

    Recognizing that God the Father created man on Friday the 6th day I propose in this blog to have an entry that shares on how to recreate and renew yourself in strength; mind, soul and heart.

    Elk hunting[1] (or indeed any rough-country hunt where drastic elevation changes are a routine part of the hunt) requires a different kind of planning and conditioning than your usual whitetail hunt. The most common problem out-of-state hunters experience is not being in good enough physical condition to handle constant up-and-down foot travel at high elevation - especially when carrying a pack. The result is a physically exhausted hunter who is unable to perform. Hours and days of precious hunting time are wasted due to need for rest and recovery. Here’s a twelve-week plan that will prep you for the high country. There are two main components to physical prep for rough-country hunting: cardiovascular and muscular. Plan on exercising thirty to forty-five minutes per weekday, alternating between cardio and muscular workouts. Be sure to stretch and warm up gradually before workouts and cool off gradually afterwards.

    Week One: Start out easy on yourself to lower risk of hurting joints or tendons.
    Mon/Wed/Fri cardio: Go for a brisk 45-minute walk, preferably including up and down terrain.
    Tues/Thurs/Sat muscular: Spend 30 minutes climbing up and down the local bleacher stairs (or a nice steep hill). Take regular short rests.

    Week Two: Step it up a little.
    Mon/Wed/Fri cardio: Add short stints of jogging to your walk.
    Tues/Thurs/Sat muscular: same 30-minute routine, just cut down on rest time.

    Week Three: Start getting focused.
    Mon/Wed/Fri cardio: Begin pushing yourself, walking less and jogging more.
    Tues/Thurs/Sat muscular: Same 30-minute routine, add three squats and three lunges (don’t use weights) alternately during short rest periods.

    Week Four: You should be feeling much stronger by now, and hurting less. Remain careful to avoid injury.
    Mon/Wed/Fri cardio: Try to jog the majority of your 45 minutes.
    Tues/Thurs/Sat muscular: Try to spend the entire 30 minutes climbing your stairs or hillside, alternating between five squats and five lunges every few minutes. Only rest at the ten and twenty minute marks.

    Week Five: By now you should be enjoying your workouts.
    Mon/Wed/Fri cardio: Warm up, then alternate two minute sprints with walking to catch your breath. 45 minutes.
    Tues/Thurs/Sat muscular: Wear a pack with 20 pounds of weight in it during your routine. Rest when needed.

    Week Six: You should be feeling like a bonafide athlete.
    Mon/Wed/Fri cardio: Back to jogging, but pick up the pace a bit.
    Tues/Thurs/Sat muscular: Try to get through your routine – hiking with pack and five crunches/lunges every five minutes – without stopping to rest.
    Week Seven: Halfway there!
    Mon/Wed/Fri cardio: Back to sprinting/walking. Push yourself.
    Tues/Thurs/Sat muscular: Add five pounds to your pack (total 25), same routine.

    Week Eight: Second amendment week.
    Mon/Wed/Fri cardio: Trade the jogging in for a smooth relaxed 45 min run. (Faster than jogging, but not a sprint)
    Tues/Thurs/Sat muscular: Same routine as week seven, but carry your bow or rifle (empty of course) or object of similar weight/balance).

    Week Nine: Hang in there.
    Mon/Wed/Fri cardio: Sprinting and walking. Keep pushing.
    Tues/Thurs/Sat muscular: Add five pounds – you’re up to 30 pounds plus your rifle/bow. Stay strong and focused.

    Week Ten: Home stretch – only three weeks till the hunt.
    Mon/Wed/Fri cardio: More smooth relaxed running. Keep it strong.
    Tues/Thurs/Sat muscular: Same routine, add another five pounds. You’re up to thirty five now, approximately the weight of a three day bivy pack. Keep up the squats and lunges, they will prep you for big tough steps when climbing, and crouching while stalking.

    Week Eleven: Better be packing…
    Mon/Wed/Fri cardio: Back to walking and sprinting, you should be traveling well.
    Tues/Thurs/Sat muscular: Yep, you guessed it – add another five. You should be really strong by now, muscles bulging in your legs that you never knew you had.

    Week Twelve: Congratulations! You’re probably in better shape than me now.
    Mon/Wed/Fri cardio: Running, just keep it strong and relaxed.
    Tues/Thurs/Sat muscular: Keep it up. No additional weight this week, just stay strong.
    Next week – Have a great hunt!



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