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Author Topic: My Elk Season Fitness, is it enough?  (Read 5497 times)

Offline Cab

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My Elk Season Fitness, is it enough?
« on: June 19, 2017, 05:32:21 PM »
This is my first elk season and I want to take the physical training serious. I would hate to start the season and realize I didn't prep enough. First I want to outline my goals and what I've been doing/plan to do and I just wanted to get some feedback by some seasoned hunters if it's enough.

Start of Jan I was 6ft 245ish and pretty much only would go for hikes once a week for about 4-5 miles. Now I am currently down to 215(would like to get down to 190-200) still hike once a week but now around 7-8 miles. I have started using a treadmill 5 days a week to do 30mins 10%-15% incline at 3mph with about 60 push ups. I plan to increase push ups to 100+ a day(would like to reach this by mid July), to start wearing a pack with 20lbs(starting in July and move up in lbs as I get closer to season) to start doing squats with pack/weight(start of July). Does this sound like a solid plan to get ready for elk season? I am currently working out at home and don't really have the funds to join a gym/buy a ton of work out gear. Is there any other suggestions? I know nutrition is very important and I have started to really crank down on what I eat/drink. I've started cutting out all sugar, carbs and beer and started to ramp up protein and veggies.

 End result I would like to be around 190lb, able to chase elk for about 7-9 days and able to pack out deboned elk a mile or two(trying to limit myself in distance). Am I doing enough to get ready and are my goals realistic?

Offline vandeman17

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Re: My Elk Season Fitness, is it enough?
« Reply #1 on: June 19, 2017, 05:36:42 PM »
For the most part I would say yes. One thing to add would be adding your pack with some weight on your hikes and also try to hike in uneven terrain as much as possible. I am in pretty good shape but every year the first thing that gets tired are ankles, heel cords etc. Those areas can only be trained by actually doing the real thing.  :twocents:
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Offline HUNTINCOUPLE

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Re: My Elk Season Fitness, is it enough?
« Reply #2 on: June 19, 2017, 05:56:52 PM »
Carry your bow on your weekly hike as well. I know my arm muscles are pretty spent after a two week elk hunt.
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Offline Cab

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Re: My Elk Season Fitness, is it enough?
« Reply #3 on: June 19, 2017, 06:10:42 PM »
Carry your bow on your weekly hike as well. I know my arm muscles are pretty spent after a two week elk hunt.
good idea! I'm going with my recurve so it certainly helps with weight but yea two things get heavier in the woods, what you've shot and what you shot it with

Offline WapitiTalk1

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Re: My Elk Season Fitness, is it enough?
« Reply #4 on: June 19, 2017, 06:21:47 PM »
Sounds to me like you're on a great path Cab!  Would only add what vandeman17 mentioned, throw that ruck on and hike.  What are you preparing for?  To hump up, down, and sideways in the elk woods with probably a 17 lb daypack (or all in one pack) on your back, if you're in an area that you can hike in (you may get some funny looks if you're hiking downtown Olympia  :chuckle:).  Treadmills are fine and dandy (put your pack on doing that also, grin), but, I personally have found that with 2 or 3 years of elk hunting under my belt, nothing gets me in better shape for elk hunting than hiking with a ruck on my back.  30 pounds is fine to start but by the middle of July and up till season start, slowly increase the weight in your pack up to close to 50 "and" find a way to hike up and down hills, even if that means just using the local stadium stairs.  You'll be surprised at how well hiking with a ruck on, 4-5 times per week will get you in tune with what the mountains have in store for you.  RJ
« Last Edit: June 19, 2017, 06:30:03 PM by WapitiTalk1 »
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Offline baker5150

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Re: My Elk Season Fitness, is it enough?
« Reply #5 on: June 19, 2017, 06:58:26 PM »
Sounds like you've got a good plan going forward.
Only thing I would add is try to get some time in at the elevation you plan to hunt with a weighted pack and get a feel for how thin the air is.

Offline lord grizzly

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Re: My Elk Season Fitness, is it enough?
« Reply #6 on: June 19, 2017, 07:07:48 PM »
Spend your time looking for elk. If your finding them consistently you'll be getting in shape to hunt them.

Offline coachcw

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Re: My Elk Season Fitness, is it enough?
« Reply #7 on: June 19, 2017, 08:44:03 PM »
Your  good buddy add sherr will power !
My wife told me that I hunt way more than I did when we first got married. I said yeah I know isn't it great !

Offline zackmioli

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Re: My Elk Season Fitness, is it enough?
« Reply #8 on: June 19, 2017, 09:39:25 PM »
sounds like you got a good start. id suggest throwing in more squats, lunges, side lunges, etc to really strengthen those muscles. if you are interested I wrote up a workout plan for mountain hunters looking to get into shape without needing a gym. all you need is your pack and some effort! throwing in a couple of these circuits would definitely benefit you in the mountains.

https://pnwild.com/blog/2017/2/1/functional-fitness-for-the-mountain-hunter
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Offline Shoofly09

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Re: My Elk Season Fitness, is it enough?
« Reply #9 on: June 19, 2017, 09:53:19 PM »
if you have the work ethic to drop 30 pounds (which you have), you should have the physical ability / mind set to take one down and carry it out.


Offline scudmaster

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Re: My Elk Season Fitness, is it enough?
« Reply #10 on: June 19, 2017, 10:03:02 PM »
A simple one to add is Kettle Bell exercises.  Get a 54# and you can start building back, core, arms, and shoulders.  Great to add to your squats and lunges. and you can throw it in your pack as you get closer to hunting season.
 
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Offline Stein

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Re: My Elk Season Fitness, is it enough?
« Reply #11 on: June 19, 2017, 10:23:12 PM »
Sounds like you are doing well.  I would focus on getting the miles up, sore muscles and blisters end a bunch of hunts and those are only conquered through long work.  Personally, I would focus more on duration and less on specifics (weight, elevation, type of work, etc).

Another thing to think about is your mindset.  At the end of the day, most people give up for reasons that aren't life threatening.  In other words, get used to being uncomfortable and build your mind to be able to deal with what you could encounter.  I would guess that for every 10 people that end up doing less than they could, 9 would be from their mind failing and only 1 would be from their body giving out.

Go find a big, hairy, scary event and sign up.  It could be a marathon, ultra, tri, Goruck, Tough Mudder, STP or whatever you find that you really don't want to do.  Two things happen: first, you end up training more and second, you get to the point during the event that you really, really want to quit and have the opportunity to keep going.  The same thing happens during hunts, your mind reminds you that camp or the hotel are a short distance away, it's cold, wet and you haven't seen anything for a day or two.  Having tools to deal with this is what separates those who go back out just one more time and those that accept all the reasons why the hunt didn't work.

That is probably contrarian advice and maybe a bit deep for a workout discussion, but it is something that has made a huge difference for me.

Offline SemperFidelis97

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Re: My Elk Season Fitness, is it enough?
« Reply #12 on: June 20, 2017, 12:29:10 AM »
The mental part is one of the hardest things to develop as well.  As Stein said most people reach their mental breaking point long before they reach their physical limits.  It sounds like you have a solid work ethic, I think getting some mountain miles on your boots should round out your physical needs.

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Offline Cab

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Re: My Elk Season Fitness, is it enough?
« Reply #13 on: June 20, 2017, 06:16:21 AM »
Wow guys, fantastic feedback!!! Thank you all for the tips! The mental part is huge and I will say when it comes to being cold and miserable I have a plenty of experience with that deer hunting in Maine. Most years even seeing deer is a successful year so I spent the last couple years getting use to sitting in -15 all day. Where I worry about the mental part is stated above where I'm physically exhausted (but not completely running on empty) and throw in the towel. I feel like the more prepared I am the more confidence I will have in my own physical ability to keep going. Plus I want to scout my tail off once some of this snow melts. I think knowing what your infor for the area your hunting can really play a part in being mentally and physically ready.  I appreciate everything said by you guys and I definitely will keep it up and ramp it up. You guys gave me some great motivation!

Offline SilkOnTheWetSide

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Re: My Elk Season Fitness, is it enough?
« Reply #14 on: June 20, 2017, 06:29:23 AM »
Congratulations on losing all that weight! Rome wasn't built in a day and neither will your elk body.

Mental toughness is definitely something that is trained. The only problem is that it is trained during season.

As far as physical, you seem to be at a point in your training where you shouldn't be doing any hikes without weight. Start light if you must but work towards 80 pounds or more.

I'd also recommend weening off the treadmill and start going on runs. Push yourself further and further.

Good luck!


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Offline Old Man Yager

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Re: My Elk Season Fitness, is it enough?
« Reply #15 on: June 20, 2017, 06:58:45 AM »
One thing that helps me is to use a Crossfit type wood box. Most are built to dimensions of 20x24x30. You can do either jump up on it, or step up on it with your pack on, or wear a weighted vest. Good job on sheding some lbs, that right there helps a lot!!
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Offline ctwiggs1

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Re: My Elk Season Fitness, is it enough?
« Reply #16 on: June 20, 2017, 07:09:39 AM »
Sounds to me like you're on a great path Cab!  Would only add what vandeman17 mentioned, throw that ruck on and hike.  What are you preparing for?  To hump up, down, and sideways in the elk woods with probably a 17 lb daypack (or all in one pack) on your back, if you're in an area that you can hike in (you may get some funny looks if you're hiking downtown Olympia  :chuckle:).  Treadmills are fine and dandy (put your pack on doing that also, grin), but, I personally have found that with 2 or 3 years of elk hunting under my belt, nothing gets me in better shape for elk hunting than hiking with a ruck on my back.  30 pounds is fine to start but by the middle of July and up till season start, slowly increase the weight in your pack up to close to 50 "and" find a way to hike up and down hills, even if that means just using the local stadium stairs.  You'll be surprised at how well hiking with a ruck on, 4-5 times per week will get you in tune with what the mountains have in store for you.  RJ
:yeah:  And to add, make sure the pack has your actual hunting gear in it.  Not a bag of sand.  That way you are training the way you will be hunting.  The pack will ALWAYS feel different with different loadouts, so it's best to just train as you hunt. 

If you're training already, then you're ahead of probably a solid 90% of the hunters already.  Keep it up!  :tup:

Offline buglebrush

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Re: My Elk Season Fitness, is it enough?
« Reply #17 on: June 20, 2017, 07:43:13 AM »
Congratulations on losing all that weight! Rome wasn't built in a day and neither will your elk body.

Mental toughness is definitely something that is trained. The only problem is that it is trained during season.

As far as physical, you seem to be at a point in your training where you shouldn't be doing any hikes without weight. Start light if you must but work towards 80 pounds or more.

I'd also recommend weening off the treadmill and start going on runs. Push yourself further and further.

Good luck!


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I sure wouldn't train with 80#'s unless you're just walking smooth easy stuff.  No reason to risk injury before season ever comes.   Just put 25#'s of hunting gear in, and do lots of off trail hiking in steep country.  Training is about building your self confidence so you have that mental strength that you can do it. 

Offline ctwiggs1

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Re: My Elk Season Fitness, is it enough?
« Reply #18 on: June 20, 2017, 07:53:55 AM »
Congratulations on losing all that weight! Rome wasn't built in a day and neither will your elk body.

Mental toughness is definitely something that is trained. The only problem is that it is trained during season.

As far as physical, you seem to be at a point in your training where you shouldn't be doing any hikes without weight. Start light if you must but work towards 80 pounds or more.

I'd also recommend weening off the treadmill and start going on runs. Push yourself further and further.

Good luck!


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I sure wouldn't train with 80#'s unless you're just walking smooth easy stuff.  No reason to risk injury before season ever comes.   Just put 25#'s of hunting gear in, and do lots of off trail hiking in steep country.  Training is about building your self confidence so you have that mental strength that you can do it.
:yike:  Train as you hunt!  Silk's advice is what I would follow.  You WILL be faced with a 100lb ruck at some point (or a LOT more loads).  Training with 60-80lbs is totally normal.  Just don't do it on hardtop pavement - That WILL kill your joints.

Offline SilkOnTheWetSide

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Re: My Elk Season Fitness, is it enough?
« Reply #19 on: June 20, 2017, 08:16:28 AM »
Congratulations on losing all that weight! Rome wasn't built in a day and neither will your elk body.

Mental toughness is definitely something that is trained. The only problem is that it is trained during season.

As far as physical, you seem to be at a point in your training where you shouldn't be doing any hikes without weight. Start light if you must but work towards 80 pounds or more.

I'd also recommend weening off the treadmill and start going on runs. Push yourself further and further.

Good luck!


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I sure wouldn't train with 80#'s unless you're just walking smooth easy stuff.  No reason to risk injury before season ever comes.   Just put 25#'s of hunting gear in, and do lots of off trail hiking in steep country.  Training is about building your self confidence so you have that mental strength that you can do it.
:yike:  Train as you hunt!  Silk's advice is what I would follow.  You WILL be faced with a 100lb ruck at some point (or a LOT more loads).  Training with 60-80lbs is totally normal.  Just don't do it on hardtop pavement - That WILL kill your joints.

25 lbs is what he was walking around with for body weight 6 months ago.

50 lb bag of sand is really not that hard after a time or two.

As far as injury goes, not sure how humping 80 lbs of sand on a trail is going to be a cause for injury concern anymore them playing basketball or jogging in a busy area would be.

Once you get accustomed to that I would increase weight further. Of course, a solid pack frame/bag helps in these endeavors. I wouldn't be doing it with a Jansport! 😂

But I can't support the idea of NOT training with heavy weight...doesn't compute with me...


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Offline ctwiggs1

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Re: My Elk Season Fitness, is it enough?
« Reply #20 on: June 20, 2017, 08:17:52 AM »
Congratulations on losing all that weight! Rome wasn't built in a day and neither will your elk body.

Mental toughness is definitely something that is trained. The only problem is that it is trained during season.

As far as physical, you seem to be at a point in your training where you shouldn't be doing any hikes without weight. Start light if you must but work towards 80 pounds or more.

I'd also recommend weening off the treadmill and start going on runs. Push yourself further and further.

Good luck!


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I sure wouldn't train with 80#'s unless you're just walking smooth easy stuff.  No reason to risk injury before season ever comes.   Just put 25#'s of hunting gear in, and do lots of off trail hiking in steep country.  Training is about building your self confidence so you have that mental strength that you can do it.
:yike:  Train as you hunt!  Silk's advice is what I would follow.  You WILL be faced with a 100lb ruck at some point (or a LOT more loads).  Training with 60-80lbs is totally normal.  Just don't do it on hardtop pavement - That WILL kill your joints.

25 lbs is what he was walking around with for body weight 6 months ago.

50 lb bag of sand is really not that hard after a time or two.

As far as injury goes, not sure how humping 80 lbs of sand on a trail is going to be a cause for injury concern anymore them playing basketball or jogging in a busy area would be.

Once you get accustomed to that I would increase weight further. Of course, a solid pack frame/bag helps in these endeavors. I wouldn't be doing it with a Jansport! 😂

But I can't support the idea of NOT training with heavy weight...doesn't compute with me...


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Not training with weight is what will lead to injuries - not the other way around.


Offline Cab

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Re: My Elk Season Fitness, is it enough?
« Reply #21 on: June 20, 2017, 08:36:58 AM »
So this morning I used my pack and added 20lbs to it and wore it the whole time during my work out(even with push ups) added squats and tried to keep my normal pace. I was surprised at how well I did with the added weight but was unable to keep at my normal pace. Just going to keep at it, slowly increase weight and add in some shooting with my recurve a couple times a week. I really like the idea of using hills or real incline with my pack and I think I will try that out. I do have issues sometimes with my sciatic nerve so I think by taking my time and increasing my core strength I can avoid injuring that again. I think I have hurt it mostly from going out during season pushing myself and not training before hand so I want this year to be different.

Offline Stein

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Re: My Elk Season Fitness, is it enough?
« Reply #22 on: June 20, 2017, 09:05:24 AM »
For me, I never train with more than 50#, most work is in the 30-50# range.  I have found that if I can ruck 12 miles in 3.5 hours with 40-50, it is no trouble to jump up to as much as double that for a hunting trip.  My theory is that injury is part of training - it will happen.  That said, the more weight you ruck with, the greater the probability for injury and the severity and I think there is a point where the odds really stack up.

If I walk with no weight, the odds of injury are very close to 0%.  If I ruck uneven ground with 100#, the odds are certainly much higher.  I can't catch myself if I get off balance, so I'll twist or go down much more often.  Additionally, if I twist my ankle with light weight it usually is no big deal, no injury.  If I do it with 100#, it usually is at least a mild injury, often a significant injury.

So, for me, I haven't found much benefit to going over 50# while the risk goes up.  I will do a few scouting or hiking trips with more weight just due to the gear I am carrying, but it will be a few times a year vs several times a week in training.

That's what works for me, at my age with my experience.

Offline fillthefreezer

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Re: My Elk Season Fitness, is it enough?
« Reply #23 on: June 20, 2017, 09:20:07 AM »
i would add running. up and down hills, dirt and pavement. it punishes the feet and joints, but in a way that i deem necessary to get them hard to the rigors of elk mountains. i would expect anyone in my group to be under 45min/5mi before season

Offline ctwiggs1

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Re: My Elk Season Fitness, is it enough?
« Reply #24 on: June 20, 2017, 09:24:10 AM »
i would add running. up and down hills, dirt and pavement. it punishes the feet and joints, but in a way that i deem necessary to get them hard to the rigors of elk mountains. i would expect anyone in my group to be under 45min/5mi before season

that's running shoes and shorts, not with a pack right?   :chuckle:

 

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