I love coaching, training, and rehabbing athletes of all ages, types, and abilities. It’s been my jam for 40 years. One of the athletic populations with which I work a lot is the Backcountry Hunter. I coach a lot of these athletes on an individual basis, but I also have the privilege of offering the Fit for the Field online course. It’s been a project of mine for 20 years and it’s really going strong right now.
I recently did an analysis of the backpacking athlete, and coming up soon are mountain bikers and trail runners. Each athlete is unique and they benefit from training that is specific to both their sport and their body. Fit for the Field just opened for registration and the course officially launches April 24. Here’s some information about it.
Fit for the Field is the ultimate conditioning system for the backcountry hunter and mountain athlete. Designed by a Board Certified Specialist in Orthopedic Physical Therapy, FftF is based on the physiologic and biomechanical demands of the athletic hunter. Weekly conditioning workouts, backpack training, and scientific progressions take you to the optimal state of readiness over a 16-week period. Summer 2023 participants receive bonus email coaching and admission to the Lifetime Hunter Online Summit July 7, as well as an invitation to the Lifetime Athlete Rendezvous in Bozeman, Montana July 14-15. 15% off early bird registration thru April 30! [2023 course dates: April 24 to Aug 12]
What makes Fit for the Field unique? This program is scientifically designed to meet the energetic and mechanical demands of the backcountry hunter. Basic athletic competencies such as strength, speed, power, agility, and endurance are addressed but the unique outcome with FftF is that it not only gives you all-day durability…it gives you multi-day repeatability. And it’s designed from a physical therapy perspective to help you avoid injury in the process.
I’m not a backcountry hunter. I prefer to walk for upland birds, go for waterfowl, and sit in my tree stand for deer. Does this program have value for me? You bet! Covering ground and busting brush in the uplands will be easier. Big decoy setups and takedowns will be a breeze. And you won’t be a statistic when you harvest and pack (or drag) out your deer (studies show that a lot of heart attacks happen when overweight, unfit hunters take to the woods)!
I do quite a bit of fishing in addition to my hunting. Does this program work for fishing also? Absolutely. Many of the multi-positional demands in hunting and fishing are similar. And safety around water and boats, and when wading, is enhanced.
Is running mandatory in this program? No. If you can’t run or just don’t like it you can still participate in every part of this program. You’ll get all the ambulatory fitness you’ll need from the hikes in the program. That said, each week includes several brief locomotive sessions, and it’s optional to run or walk…whichever you prefer.
What kind of time commitment are we talking about? The full-body Conditioning Workouts, which are done twice per week, are about an hour in length. There are also three Hiking workouts each week, and the weekday versions are only an hour long. The weekend hiking assignments (unless you have a flexible schedule and prefer to do them during the week) will vary from 2-4 hours (this progresses through the program). So the total time in a 168-hour week that you devote to hunter fitness is only 6-8 hours per week. This represents a great bang for your fitness buck and it provides a maximum return on your training investment.
It looks like this is a summer program. What do I do in the fall? We build our conditioning base over the summer, and put that fitness investment in our hunting season bank. I’ll give you a maintenance program to do over the fall that fits into your hunting season at your discretion. Using an athletic training model which emphasizes seasonality, or periodization, you will be at your peak during hunting season and won’t need as much work to maintain conditioning and feel fresh and rested for your outings. One more thing…you can use this program any time of year to get ready for a hunt, or just to keep in great shape, even if your seasons and calendar year looks a little different than the one we emphasize in FftF.
What are the official dates for the course? The official team dates for the 2023 FftF course (which includes email coaching) are from Monday April 24 through Saturday August 12, 2023. You can jump in at any time but getting signed up early gives you the best experience and results.
How much does FftF cost? A buck a day if you sign up by April 30. It’s actually half that if you count the maintenance program.
I have a busy job, a lot of family responsibilities, and a “bad” back. Does this mean I’m out? Well, the first thing I’ll say is “You are probably not alone concerning at least one of those statements!” Next I’ll tell you that there is always a way to adjust and adapt. Just be patient, cautious, and intelligent in your approach to training. This is “can-do” country. I believe in you, and you should believe in yourself.
What can I expect from my fitness once hunting season rolls around? If you stick with the program, you’ll have more energy, less fatigue and soreness, and you’ll be able to hunt as long and hard as you like. And, you will be much less likely to hurt yourself in the field, whether from fatigue-related falls, back and other injuries from all the physical work, and even colds and illnesses due to immune system stress. You’ll simply be a more durable and effective hunter.Register for Fit for the Field