The topics of this post will probably not be popular or well received among some, but it needs to be covered. If we consider the hierarchy of factors that contribute to preparedness, physical fitness is (or should be) high on the list. Physical fitness makes you harder to kill, it makes you more useful in society (especially during a socioeconomic collapse), and it can increase your life expectancy and resistance to disease.
This blog post and other content on this website DOES NOT constitute or form an instructor-student relationship between the author (me) and the reader (you). Online education can only supplement in-person formal instruction, it cannot replace it. It is your responsibility to understand the firearm laws in your area and to follow the Firearms Safety Rules.
Moreover, I AM NOT a medical professional or personal trainer. Therefore, the content of this post is my opinion and for entertainment only. This post is not intended for medical, health, or fitness advice.
Health and Handicap Concerns
If you have a health and/or handicap disability, you need to heed the advice of your doctor on matters of physical fitness.
Again, I am not a doctor and this is not medical advice, but it is my experience that some people exaggerate the limitation caused by their condition. I have notice this leads to compounding conditions, thereby generating a positive feedback loop.
I.e., someone claims they cannot workout because of X, so they become more out of shape and unhealthy, sometimes resulting in more health problems, thus more excuses.
Again, I am not a medical professional and this advice should not be taken as medical advice. I am simply sharing my experience and observations.
Don’t show up to a gunfight with a $3,000 worth of gear and $5 worth of fitness.
There is a reason the military establishes height, weight, and fitness standards. Not only do these standards statistically reduce the burden of healthcare, they also provide for a more Combat Effective Warfighter.
Combat Effectiveness is just that, a measure of the combative efficacy of a tool, tactic, or individual. The Combat Effectiveness of something can be defined using the following parameters: time, mass, space, intelligence (Computer processing power for electronics and Training for Warfighters).
For the purpose of a Warfighter, Combat Effectiveness could be answered in the following ways: How long they can move, how quickly they can move, how much they can move, how far they can move. You can then derive specific parameters using combinations, such as: How long will it take them to move this much over this distance.
Law Enforcement Context
If you are a sworn and commissioned Law Enforcement Officer, physical fitness is more than a good idea, it’s a matter of Professional Ethics. As if calling out citizens didn’t ruffle enough feathers, I’m about to poke a hornets nest in this section.
Professional Ethics pertains to the personal and professional standards of behavior expected by professionals. The are expectations regarding the lawful and ethical behavior of police officers. These expectations come from both the community, the government, and the department.
The local community’s expectations include:
- Keeping the community safe and secure
- Responding promptly to calls
- Demonstrate professional behavior and technical competence
- Protect individual human rights
- Protecting witnesses
The government expectations might include:
- Reduce/Control crime
- Provide community service
- Enforcement of the law
The department’s expectations might include:
- Community satisfaction
- Reduction of liability
- Conformance with the law
- Upholding the Law Enforcement Code of Ethics
I recently read an article by Greg Ellifritz, called Strategies for Developing a Police Physical Fitness Program. This article provides a great starting point for department leadership interested in fostering a culture of physical fitness within their department.
Although the term “Combat Effectiveness” may not sound applicable to the civilian context, if a civilian encounters a defensive deadly force encounter, they are engaged in combat.
How quickly can you get you and/or your family to safety?
How much weight can you carry or drag?
How long can you fight before being completely gassed?
Would you be a risk for cardiac arrest during or immediately after a deadly force encounter due to an unusually elevated heart rate?
It may be more satisfying to buy guns and gear, or go to the range to shoot than it is to invest time into physical fitness. However, placing a higher priority on guns and preparedness than physical fitness is just as backwards as placing a higher priority on gear than training.
Understanding why we do something is critical. Consider why you carry a gun or prepare for a grid down scenario. More than likely the answer is to ensure you and your family’s survival. If so, fitness should be just as high, if not higher, on your survival priority list due to it’s direct application in a defensive scenario, a survival scenario, and for general longevity.
Generally speaking, if you are not physically fit, you are statistically more at risk due to health complications than you are at risk of needing a gun for self defense or prepping supplies.
Finding the motivation to improve your physical fitness is something you have to find within yourself, for those of you who made it this far in the article. Some motivations that I have found to be effective are:
- Signing up for a 5k, Obstacle Race, etc. (Deadlines are a great motivator)
- Join a Crossfit gym (be careful of toxic cultures and high rep olympic movements)
- Get an accountability partner
If you decide to begin working out after a long absence, be careful not to overtrain. In my estimation, overtraining is the single biggest contributor to lack of physical fitness and it generates yo-yo fitness.
For example, someone make a New Year’s resolution to get in shape (or they feel shameful after comparing themselves to someone else), they begin an overzealous exercise routine, they either get burned out due to scheduling issues or motivation, or they get injured, then, they stop working out. This cycle repeats over and over.
I recommend following the principles outlined in the book, Atomic Habits, when starting a workout program.
I also recommend Jordan Peterson’s Rule 4 in 12 Rules for Life: Compare yourself to who you were yesterday, not to who someone else is today.