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Thread: Couch to Sheep hunt - advice

  1. #21

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    In my opinion, you're asking several questions in one, Leryt.

    From the couch to being sheep-hunt-demand active is a huge leap. Then there is pack weight (load carriage) and distance & time you think you'll travel. Then there is field nutrition to consider as well as the food habits and physical activity you have all year preceding the hunt window.

    Advice: Get your body weight down to within 10-15 lbs of your last known fighting weight. This will help your performance more than pre-hunt exercise because you're body will adapt more efficiently to being thrown into a sheep hunt scenario. Your knees will revolt, as will your stamina and injury-prone nature IF you're excessively over weight starting the hunt, regardless of strength.

    Prepare your body all year for operating in a state of being calorie deficient. This because couch potatoe bodies are in a state of chronic rest cycles vs the high intensity/duration of a sheep hunt demand. Your body has to know what 20 miles in two days feels like with a load, so train your body to adapt to being active all day on minimal rations.

    I've been studying the metabolic effects of backcountry hunting, and the data we've collected on sheep hunters and float hunters is revealing a lot about nutrition needs and exercise performance. Our study subjects are generally operating on a 50% caloric deficit each day and burning between 4,000-5,000 kcals each day (consuming roughly 2,000-2,300 kcals). That equates to roughly 20-30 lbs of food weight in your pack on a self-supported adventure. Your gear weight plus food weight will wreck your plans if not well calculated and your body isn't familiar with tens of miles each day with weight burden.

    You don't need to lift if walking is your greatest movement activity on a sheep hunt. You don't need a gym, you need altitude and terrain features...plus 4-6 hours every other day walking with 30 lbs on your back pre-season. Just load a pack with expected food weight and train long but slow as often as possible. Rest cycles are great for recovery, allow it pre-season too. Over doing it will screw everything up.

    Calorie restriction: Practice eating 50% of what you eat every day for the next three months and come back to us with your progress. Calorie deficit will help you reduce weight, lower your body strain, and prepare you for getting into better shape. This will also help train your body to work beyond hunger pangs and perform efficiently by burning fat reserves as kcals. But this wont work if the sheep hunt is an acute event vs a chronic stress on your body. Acute being a one-off and chronic stress meaning your body is used to the stress...the adaptation your body makes is determined by this variable in large part.

    Read this month's Hunt Alaska Magazine for the Backcountry Nutrition article I wrote if you want more specs on the above. There will be a follow up article in a couple months to compliment this recent article. That article will highlight some nutrition-focused recommendations to help shave weight on food.

    I'm also co-presenting Adaptation to Hunting Activity and the Metabolic Benefits of Wilderness Hunting with my partner, Dr. Robert Coker, PhD on Feb 22/23 at an SCI event in Anchorage. The information presented will help make sense of muscle adaption and what creates strength and endurance for hunting, as well as highlight what our bodies do in response to backcountry hunting from a metabolic perspective.

    Hope this is at least a start to answer your complex question.

    larry
    https://pristineventures.com

  2. #22
    Member 454casull's Avatar
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  3. #23
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    I second 454Casull, it's not cheap, but is anything when it comes to sheep hunting? And also, you're investing in yourself and well-being. I decided it's time to get off the couch as well and started the MTNTough bundle. It's definitely not for the faint at heart, but just ease into it if needed.

  4. #24
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    I am kinda of in the same boat, and am a pretty informed consumer in regards to the physiology of exercise. This is a GREAT topic to discuss on a hunting forum. Many hunters would be more successful with a bit more physical effort. Climb higher, hike longer, get up early, carry more weight....

    I have a few things I look for when talking about exercise:

    1) Architecture. How is the framework of your body, and do you have any deal breaking injuries. For example bad arthritis in your hip, knees. A bad disc in your neck or back. Chronic illness. Heart condition. These types of things are harder to train through. Generally exercise is meant to overload the cardiovascular system and the muscles of the body. Repeated overload, minus injury, makes them stronger over time. If there is stuff "broken" you have a much harder time reaching a maximum effort because the limiting factors are not cardiovascular or muscular. You might have to do some special routine to get those areas fixed up. Or, maybe a procedure.

    2) Muscle strength. There are some serious heavy loads when backpacking on a hunt. You need to be at peak strength. For most of us, that means we need to do special training to get that strength since our daily lives do not overload us enough. Read, you need to go to the gym and push weight around. Swimming, biking, walking and prolonged hiking do not accomplish this, at least not quickly. It takes many months to build up muscles. 6 months is a very short time to gain strength and build up muscle mass. This equation is not a secret, it just takes time and effort to go do.

    3) Cardiovascular/endurance. There is some misconception here. Intuitively you would think that working out 4-6 hours would really get your endurance up. And it does, but there are better ways. You can improve your endurance but not have to work at it for 6 hours at a time by doing high intensity interval training. It is one of the guiding principles of Crossfit. There is a bunch of info about interval training. It will get you in quick cardiovascular shape and is great for your intended activity, sheep hunting.

    4) Technodoping. You can make things easier on yourself by having gear that decreases your work load. Buy yourself some ability. Horses, planes, boats, rafts to decrease walking. Light gear. Great boots. Optics that allow you to make calls without hiking up a hill for no reason. Intel on the area to decrease needless walking.

    5) Nutrition. Start with the basics. Eat good food, and not too much of it. Drink enough water. Sounds simple but, if you can't do all that, then all the calorie counting, nutrition supplement work does not mean much. Amazing what happens when people learn how to eat quality food and reasonable amounts. And, decrease or eliminate things that they are sensitive or allergic to.

    6) Commitment. Gotta make time every day toward your goal. 5 Days a week you need to strengthen or do cardiovascular. Or both. Gotta eat good almost every day. And, do your fix up work on you "architecture" problems.

    7) Coaching. Most of us can't juggle all of this and work through our stumbling blocks. Pay somebody to coach you like at a gym or a physical therapist. Most people are VERY resistant to this. They don't like the idea of being told what to do or think it is a waste of money. But, it will be money well spent, especially if you want to get through this quickly. $2000 for a new 6 pound gun or 130 visits to a workout gym at $15 a pop? Or 100 visits to a physical therapist (which is ludicrous) at a $20 copay. Small price to pay if you get results in 9 months without an injury.

    Just a few rambling thoughts. I am fully aware that this is my opinion and there are other factors to consider. I hope this helps.

  5. #25
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    Personally I cannot stand the gym or the traditional weight training. Knowing that about myself, it makes it very hard to be dedicated with that. I find stuff I enjoy doing i.e. hiking, skiing, hockey, skating, biking, stuff like that where I don't think about it and enjoy the activity.

    When I add weight to my pack in the summer I carry a flat 7 gal aquatainer and fill it with water. When I reach the top I will dump the water out so I am not beating my knees up on the way down.

    When out sheep hunting go at your own pace. It is easy to kill yourself in the first 2 days if you don't watch it. Even if you average 4-5 miles a day on a 10 day hunt you will cover 40-50 miles.

    Sent from my moto g(6) (XT1925DL) using Tapatalk

  6. #26
    Member Leryt's Avatar
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    So itís been 4 weeks since I posted this and primarily through eating healthier and eating at a calorie deficit I have dropped about 8 pounds. Iím loosing about 2 pounds a week. I had started a strength program at my house but just bruised my ribs sledding with my kids (please donít ask, hahaha). I was not completely sedentary, but compared to sheep hunting I was very inactive. During season last year I hiked about 6 miles in an afternoon twice in a 3.5-4 day hunt and was pretty wiped afterwards. I am currently 256 pounds and my goal even without hunting is to get back to 220 pounds. The wife and I won a vacation trip in August through my work so she has also developed some motivation which will help.
    So to summarize, around Christmas I was 270 pounds, 4 weeks ago I was about 266, today am 256, long term goal of 220 and Iím doing healthier eating and calorie deficit. Once I can breath without my ribs hurting I will start the strength training and walking again.
    Iím glad you guys are still posting in here. Hope that this helps some other guys in here as well and Iím going to keep trucking.

  7. #27
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    Nice work thus far Leryt! I hope you keep on getting after it and I also hope you find success this fall!

  8. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by Leryt View Post
    So itís been 4 weeks since I posted this and primarily through eating healthier and eating at a calorie deficit I have dropped about 8 pounds. Iím loosing about 2 pounds a week. I had started a strength program at my house but just bruised my ribs sledding with my kids (please donít ask, hahaha). I was not completely sedentary, but compared to sheep hunting I was very inactive. During season last year I hiked about 6 miles in an afternoon twice in a 3.5-4 day hunt and was pretty wiped afterwards. I am currently 256 pounds and my goal even without hunting is to get back to 220 pounds. The wife and I won a vacation trip in August through my work so she has also developed some motivation which will help.
    So to summarize, around Christmas I was 270 pounds, 4 weeks ago I was about 266, today am 256, long term goal of 220 and Iím doing healthier eating and calorie deficit. Once I can breath without my ribs hurting I will start the strength training and walking again.
    Iím glad you guys are still posting in here. Hope that this helps some other guys in here as well and Iím going to keep trucking.
    DUDE.... That is very hard to do in my experience. Keep it up.

  9. #29
    Member 4merguide's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Daved View Post
    DUDE.... That is very hard to do in my experience. Keep it up.
    Anyone can do it if you have that mental fortitude, or as I call it....gumption. Sometimes a guy needs a lot of gumption!.....lol
    Sheep hunting...... the pain goes away, but the stupidity remains...!!!

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