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Bringing Home the Gold

8/3/2012
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Ok…. So maybe you aren’t an Olympic athlete, but you have to admit that seeing the U.S. Olympic team win medal after medal gets you pretty jacked up about athletics and the spirit of competition.  As you sit in front of your TV set with your adrenaline pumping, you have probably fantasized about being there and demonstrating all of those fantastic feats of strength, balance, agility, endurance, etc… The endorphins are probably flowing just thinking about it, so why not do some exercising of your own?  Deer season is drawing near, and I know a couple of people (myself definitely included) that couldn’t sneak into a deer stand to save their lives right now due to gasping for air from a short walk, or those extremely heavy footsteps (it’s not the boots weighing you down).  Feed off of the energy created by the Olympic Games to motivate you to get in better shape. 

I’m not talking about calling Jenny Craig, or losing 100lbs, I’m just talking about being able to walk a mile with your light gear on your back rather than having to take a break at the bottom of your front steps.  I have to repeat this process every year (I’m not very good at sticking to an exercise regimen).  I think the best way to go about getting in shape for deer season is to incorporate it into your daily tasks.  While you’re watching the Olympics, instead of yelling for one of the kids to grab you a soda, do it yourself, and maybe trade it for water.  Here at Heartland, I am constantly going back and forth between the lodges and the office.  It is always tempting to hop on an ATV or drive my truck, but now that it’s getting close to crunch time I force myself to walk.  Small changes to your daily routine can help out immensely; however, at some point you’re going to have to test yourself with something a little more difficult.  I like to get my exercise by doing some preseason scouting.  Scouting is critical to your success anyway, so why not turn it into something beneficial to your health?  Again, take the keys out of the ATV and walk.  Make sure to pack plenty of water, a snack, and a roll of TP just in case.  The beauty of carrying a backpack with these supplies when scouting is that it provides some weight resistance to enhance your workout on the way in, but generally the pack is a lot lighter when you’re tired on the way out.

However you choose to exercise, make the most of it, and try to incorporate things that have hunting applications.  The movements associated with climbing a tree, drawing your bow, or belly crawling on a spot and stalk are the types of things you will be facing in the season, and are what you should be preparing for.  Do you think Olympic weight lifters spend the majority of their training time swimming?  No, they train their bodies for the challenges related to their event, as should you.

We may not all have the ability to go out and win a gold medal, but I assure you, if you put in the time and the effort you will reap rewards, and the victory that you experience can be just as sweet as gold.

Allen Ballinger

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