Prepper Fitness | Training For Survival

It can be easy to lose sight of preparedness priorities. You may get the impression that a survival bunker, time spent at the range, and the best gear money can afford would be the best way to improve your survivability in an emergency or disaster- but impressions are not always right. All of the traditional ‘preps’ that most people talk or think of when they talk prepping are useless without one important thing: you. This is why prepper fitness is always a top priority.

Your health is paramount to your preparedness. This is why we store emergency food, keep first aid kits, and have creative water storage solutions. Too often, fitness is left out of the conversation. Preppers condition their minds and surroundings but also need to condition their bodies to be ready for emergencies.

Contents (Jump to a section)

Why Fitness is Important

The US adult obesity rate has hit a staggering 42.4%. This is a strong indication that fitness levels for Americans are dropping over the years, even though fitness isn’t just based on your BMI (body mass index). Fitness, according to the Oxford Dictionary, is the condition of being physically fit and healthy. There are many facets to fitness, including:

  • Nutritional health
  • Sleep health
  • Mental health
  • Substances, including smoking
  • Stressor effects
  • Physical strength
  • Physical endurance

Although all of these are important, the last two facets are our focus for prepper fitness. Physical ability can be either a huge asset or a liability during an emergency or disaster. Physical exertion, higher stress levels, and limited sleep and nutrition can be challenging for your body if it is not ready.

As with everything prepping: the time to prepare is now.

Prepper Fitness Goals

Many people have different goals when it comes to fitness. You may train for flexibility, strength, speed, balance, endurance or to get better at a specific sport. One of the minimum goals a prepper should have when it comes to fitness is to have practical strength, flexibility, and endurance.

Your benchmarks to achieve this may vary, but here are a few of mine:

  • 35 pushups
  • 45 situps
  • 2-mile run in 18 minutes

These are not strenuous goals, but some of you veterans may notice these are similar to the PT test (they are actually from the middle-aged men minimum scores).

Feel free to set your own goals, but I found these as a good starting point.

As far as the practicality of goals, you need to at least be able to use your equipment. One drawback to many people’s preparedness plans is that they create a bug out bag that they are not capable of carrying any significant distance. Going on hikes with your bug out bag is a very practical way to work on your fitness.

Stretching and Flexibility

Being flexible and nimble enough to avoid injury is a priority for prepping, even if you aren’t ready to run distances or lift anything heavy.

You don’t want to get hurt moving a log in the aftermath of a hurricane, and if you made a lifting motion like that in a while you are more prone to injuries. There are plenty of examples of this: even just going for hikes and runs can cause shin splints and cramps.

Avoid being hampered by injuries and strained muscles by stretching regularly. In emergency situations, you might not be able to warm up or stretch before you act so working on your flexibility is always a good idea.

Here is a great flexibility and stretching routine:

Kicking Habits

Bad habits can hold you back from reaching your fitness potential. Whether its binge eating or binge streaming on the couch, there are several habits that don’t align with a fit lifestyle.

The main ones include:

  • Poor diet
  • Smoking
  • Sedentary habits
  • Phone addiction

Here is a list of 11 habits that aren’t great for preppers.

Why Bodyweight Workouts Are Perfect

Bodyweight workouts can be done anywhere without any extra gear. This works perfectly whether you are at home or on the road. Practical strength and endurance workouts will mimic real movements that you will encounter in survival situations- moving your body.

These workouts are also convenient. Without any prep work or anything to buy, you can start on them right away.

There are a lot of free YouTube channels dedicated to bodyweight workouts with a range of experience and strength levels to pick from.

Here is one of my favorites:

Hobbies that Improve Fitness

Many hobbies that get you off your feet double as great ways to keep you in shape. Whether your hobbies include playing sports or foraging in the woods, getting mobile is always a good start.

Here are some of the best hobbies that align with survival fitness:

  • Running – Whether you are sprinting, doing intervals, or distance running- they are all useful in survival situations.
  • Orienteering – hone your map reading and navigational skills while you hike.
  • Hiking – or you can just get out into the woods.
  • Backpacking – hiking, but with equipment that is very similar to bugging out.
  • Rock Climbing – Strength, balance, endurance, and more.
  • Paintball/Airsoft – Playing around can be fun and help you maintain a fit lifestyle.
  • Martial Arts – There are plenty of martial arts options, from Krav Maga to Tae Kwon Do and everything in between.

The list goes on, but getting active and having it align with the interests you already have is the easiest way to stick to a fitness routine.

More Resources

I’m not a personal trainer but there are a ton of online resources for fitness. Here are a few of the ones I go to often:

The Final Word

Fitness is important for more than just prepping- it’s an important part of life.

Here are some other guides our subscribers have found helpful:

Keep exploring, stay prepared, and be safe.

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Prepper Fitness Training for Survival

Rusty Collins

I am an engineer, Air Force veteran, emergency manager, husband, dad, and experienced prepper. I developed emergency and disaster plans around the globe and responded to many attacks and accidents as a HAZMAT technician. I have been exposed to deadly chemical agents, responded to biological incidents, and dealt with natural disasters. Check out my full story here: Rusty's Story

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