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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
“If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds' worth of distance run -
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And - which is more - you'll be a Man my son!” KIPLING

This is a realistic look at what will be required physically in a post collapse survival environment; it is not a call for you to train like a special operations soldier! However, that said, it's time to wake up and smell the coffee. There will be a requirement for a certain amount of physical ability and activity to accomplish tasks post collapse. You can prep all you want, but it will be hard to put your preps into effect if you have negelcted the physical side, particularly if that is simply due to laziness or neglect. The very fabric of the society that enable us to become so out of shape will, by definition, be gone post-collapse. There will be no taking the car everywhere any more.

However, it goes beyond that. You have a responsibility to yourself and your family to be in shape NOW. Illness and disease excepted, if you have your health you have no excuse to let things go. Post-event, it will be too late. Take a long hard look at yourself; are you in shape and can you do better? The more physically fit you are the better you will perform overall in a survival or combat situation. You will tire less easily. There will be a lot to do that you may not be accustomed to; lifting, carrying, digging, loading, unloading, hiking etc. To be physically prepared, you don’t need to be a super-person or a triathlete. You should strive be able to carry weight both on your back and in your arms. You should be able to dig and lift. Ideally, you should be able to carry a heavy rucksack uphill and fight. It is about being robust. Try to do some basic fitness, some kind of aerobic activity like running, biking or rowing. Throw in some push-ups, sit-ups and pull-ups. Importantly, be the sort of person who will go out and dig that hole or lay that paving in the garden. Laboring would be good preparation for a post-event situation; if you work in an office, landscape the yard at the weekends. Go hiking. A certain amount of aerobic ability is needed, so that you can at least hike with a pack and carry your weapons. Train by running, walking or similar. There is no utility in being overweight and your mobility will be severely hindered in a survival situation.

On the tactical side, if you find yourself having to fight or run from bad guys, you can’t be fit enough. Movement under fire is an extremely tiring activity. You may be running, crawling or “fire and maneuvering”, which is short sprints, followed by hitting the ground, firing and repeat. A lot of this is anaerobic activity, which means you can’t get enough oxygen in however hard you breathe: “sucking it in from China”. You can train for that with sprints and shuttles but really you just need to make sure that you have a good overall level of fitness and that your weight is controlled. You will have adrenalin to aid you and a lot of the ability to achieve this kind of physical activity is rooted in the will to win and determination of the individual. For those "bunker bandits" who envison sitting in a protected homestead and shooting down bandits outside from an armchair, think again. If they have any tactical ability at all, they will be on you, and if you are not prepared, they will either burn your place down around you or you will be on the run, with your family members, fighting your way out. Bear in mind that if you have a “man down” situation and take a casualty, you will have to have the physical ability to move them. Casualty movement is a physical challenge. The stronger and more robust you are the better able you will be to add value to your team. Conversely, if your team members or yourself are overweight and unfit, not only will they find it hard to help the casualty or physically perform because they have let themselves go, it is also a lot harder to move a grossly overweight casualty.

You are likely to have to be some sort of hybrid between an infantryman and a farmer/laborer. Think the original citizen soldier. Conventional infantry work itself can be a lot like laboring; a lot of digging, such as trenches (foxholes), latrines, filling sandbags and making bunkers.

The point, as laid out above, is that you should take sensible measures to physically prepare and be ready for the demands that a post-event situation could put on you. If you are the head of your family, then you need to be able to physically protect your family WTSHTF. Now, there are other aspects to this including age and illness. You only have to spend some time on a shooting range or even at the Mall for that matter, to see the various shapes and sizes that come through. Many of the range user types definitely rely on the old joke that “you may be able to outrun me, but you won’t be able to outrun this 5.56 / 9mm /substitute caliber here”. Being in such poor physical shape is only doing them and those they will need to protect a disservice. On the other side of this are those that are genuinely disabled or old, despite a healthy lifestyle. Many of the shooters on a range will be sensible law abiding older folk with CCW permits. They are determined to be able to defend themselves in a self-defense situation or home invasion. And they will, no doubt. But they will be less likely to be able to deal with the rigors of the overall post-event scenario and the physical demands. Even your combat veteran from Vietnam era is slowing down now. So, beyond keeping yourself fit and healthy as best you can, there are limits to this created by age, infirmity, disease and disability. However, such characters can bring a huge wealth of knowledge and experience to the party and therefore the best approach would be specialization to allow best use of resources. Thus, the message here is not so much that everyone needs to be super-fit, more that there is no room for self-inflicted laziness and lard-asses: get out and keep physically prepared to the extent that you are able. Step away from the cookie jar!

Don’t take supplements to artificially enhance muscle mass, and don’t take recreational drugs. None of this will stand you in good stead post-event. Don’t obsess about having “six-pack abs”; this is neither important nor natural. Consider the utility of having a little “reserve” around your waist, so long as it is not excessive. On the long strenuous marches across the Falklands Islands by British Forces in 1982, carrying heavy weight advancing on the Argentinian positions, it was notably the PT instructors that suffered and fell out. The “Gym Queens” never do well: they are often either on supplements or have too little body fat to sustain themselves. So, don’t try and “get massive” for its own sake and on the other hand, take a good look at you: for example, are you really a big boned guy, a big strong tough guy, or are you just overweight? Would you be better served reducing your body fat and being able to maneuver yourself better?
 
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