Whether it’s losing the ol’ spare tire or dropping a dress size, a mob of people from all walks of life resolve each January to get in shape.
However, this is a tough resolution for many hunters and outdoors enthusiasts to make, as a majority of the popular hunting seasons such as pheasant, waterfowl and deer have recently closed and won’t reopen until late summer and fall arrive later in the year.
However, hunters and even anglers should use future hunting seasons as motivation to stay physically fit, said Jordan Miller, owner of Run2Gun, a Sioux Falls-based fitness program that focuses on athletic preparation for hunting. Run2Gun TV, which illustrates how hunters go from the gym to the outdoors, also just kicked off its third season of episodes on Jan. 3.
“What I try to teach people, or what I preach, is that Jan. 1 kicks off the application season when you can start applying for big-game tags again,” Miller said. “I tell people don’t wait until you draw the tag you want. Treat it like you’re going to draw the tag and start training right now. What’s the worst that could happen? Even if you don’t draw a tag, you’re still in better shape and can find an over-the-counter hunt if you want.”
Miller started his business in an effort to help people prolong their hunting careers.
“The idea behind Run2Gun was I saw my hunting mentors, my grandfather and great uncles, stop doing some of the big hunts they did every year or applied for because they just weren’t physically able to,” he said. “I wanted to help people prolong their hunting careers and live a life beyond average.”
Miller said physical limitations should be the last thing on anyone’s mind while pursuing their passions. He said he’s designed high-intensity programs for people who want to hunt elk in mountainous terrain all the way to simple training goals for people who simply want to bust through a few more stands of cattails during pheasant season.
“It should never cross your mind if you can make it to that next ridge and back,” he said. “You shouldn’t have limitations in the field.”
The first thing Miller said hunters should consider is hitting the weights.
“I see and hear of a lot of people who start walking or running with a pack on to get in shape for a hunt,” he said. “For hunting, though, to focus on strength or resistance training would be my No. 1 tip.”
Miller said walking, running or hiking with a pack for five or 10 miles doesn’t offer the calorie-burning workout strength training can provide. Miller also knows how busy people are and said the time-efficient nature of weights is a major benefit that merits consideration.
“Strength or resistance training for 30 to 45 minutes a day burns more calories than a cardio workout does, because your body can burn calories for up to 30 hours after you lift,” he said. “With a cardio workout, a majority of the calories are only being burned while you’re on the treadmill or out walking or hiking.”
Strength training also helps people stay in the field longer by reducing the chances of injury, Miller said.
“When your muscles are fired up, there’s way less risk of injury,” he said. “With weight-bearing exercise, your body is tuned up. Even if you’re only going to walk cornfields, it can make a difference.”
Like other fitness-based resolutions, finding the right inspiration is still a key factor.
“My second tip is finding what means the most to you for motivation,” he said. “Is it hunting with your kids or grandkids, going on the hunt of a lifetime or just to have more energy and feel better? Take things that really hit home to you and give you the most meaning.”
In other words, the time is now. Whether your thing is dragging a sled packed with fishing gear across a frozen lake or preparing for another pheasant season, there’s no better time than now to identify what matters most and work toward making 2016 your best year yet.
— Follow @OutdoorForumMag on Twitter. —