Written by Zack Ellis

    Just under 3 months, that's all that's left. 2017 hunting seasons will be here before we know it. Shed hunting, spring bear, spring turkey, etc. Now is the time to look yourself in the mirror and ask one simple question, "Are you ready?!.....Be honest, are you really ready?" The mountains play no favorites, and they don't hold a grudge. They will send you crying back home if you aren't prepared mentally and physically. So if you have been kicking back enjoying the offseason, and over-indulging in all the food around the holidays, you might want to get your butt back into gear, because the mountains are waiting. No more "I'll start tomorrow" or "I have plenty of time" excuses folks, it’s time to get to work!

     I prepare all year for the mountains, trying my best to stay consistent in my workouts, even during the holidays and the offseason. If you are able to do that, great, but not everyone is. Life gets in the way, honey-do lists need attention after being pushed aside all season, kids happen, etc. So let this article be the push that gets you moving again. Get your brain focused on the relentless climb you'll be making to your favorite glassing spot in just a few short months! This workout program will help you be sure that when you spot the color phased bear of your dreams in a meadow 2 miles away, or a big muley buck bedded in the next basin, your legs and lungs will be able to take you there.

     This entire assortment of exercises was designed so that they all can be performed in the comfort of your home, at the gym, in a park, or anywhere else you like to work out. All you will need is the hunting pack of your choice, and anything that will add weight to your pack, and the motivation to get started. This is a functional fitness program, designed to increase your cardiovascular endurance and build lean muscle to your whole body. You will get out what you put in with this program. How honest you are with yourself, and how hard you’re willing to push, will be what determines your results. Remember, you are your only competition!

Workout #1
15 minute AMRAP (as many rounds as possible)
10 squats (feet shoulder width, toes point forward)
10 push-ups
5 lunges (each leg)
10 mountain climbers (each leg)
5 push-ups
10 sumo squats (wide legs, toes pointed out)
    Once you are able to complete 8 rounds in 15 minutes with just your pack on, no added weight, add 10lbs. Once you complete 8 rounds in 15 minutes with 10lbs, add another 10lbs.  

Workout #2
15 minute amrap
10 standing knee to elbow (each leg)
10 floor wipers (take off pack, lay on your back, hold pack above chest in bench press position, legs straight out then raise them up to touch left corner of pack, back to the floor, then up to the right corner of pack)
5 burpees (with pack back on)
10 lunges (each leg)

Workout #3
15 minute AMRAP
8 burpees
45 second low plank (on forearms)
12 squats
10 lunges (each leg)
Once you are able to complete 5 rounds in 15 minutes add 10lbs to your pack.

    I suggest doing these 3 workouts with a rest day in between to start. Monday, Wednesday, Friday for example. Once you are feeling good with how these are going, incorporate a cardio day into the mix. Go for a run, or take that mountain bike collecting dust out for a spin, just be active! Be sure you are stretching and taking in plenty of fluids throughout the week as that will seriously aid in your recovery. If you need advice working around an injury, or instructions on any of these movements just ask us, we’re here to help!  

    These circuits will be as hard as you make them. Dig deep and push past your perceived limits, you can always do more. When you’re honest with yourself you may find that one more rep inside you, or the power to fight thru those last 10 seconds. A more advanced workout program is already in the works for late spring and early summer, to really ramp up for hunting season, so get ready!