How To Be Fit In A Survival Situation?

How To Be Fit In A Survival Situation

No matter how prepared you are, the bottom line is that you won't survive if your body isn't healthy. Learn how to prepare for survival situations?

My name is Van Becker. I am an ACE-certified personal trainer and have a Master of Arts in Human Performance from the University of Missouri-Columbia. Soon I will be 57 years old. I still perform physically almost as well now as I did in my 20s. I am a big fan of the book “Younger Next Year.”

I am motivated to speak to those who, like me, expect major upheavals in America in the near future. Social unrest, civil unrest, economic unrest, and even racial unrest are looking more likely every day.

How To Be Fit In A Survival Situation?

Weather changes and drought affecting the food supply, economic woes abroad affecting the world economy, an administration bent and income redistribution causing the wealthy to put their money in safer vehicles and not in America’s economy, and growing socioeconomic tension, all give pause for us to up our preparedness for possible scenarios of chaos.

So what do we do? We stockpile food and water. We hoard supplies likely to vanish off the shelves in a panic. We acquire firearms and ammo. We prepare to live off the grid and cook and eat with no municipal electricity, natural gas, or water.

We build shelters to withstand all but a full-on military assault. We think we are prepared. Yet I would share my professional experience with you and say that many will be stunned to find out that although their brains helped them prepare for many chaotic scenarios, they are likely to find out that their bodies will have let them down.

How To Be Fit In A Survival Situation

So many people you see on “Doomsday Preppers” and YouTube videos show people well prepared in terms of food, water, shelter, weapons, and supplies. However, the most important asset they need, their bodies and their health, were all but forgotten about or ignored.

In short, unless you can successfully hold off a siege for many months, movement and health will matter very much, possibly more so.

To put it bluntly, when you are hurt or ill, and there is no medical help, while you are fighting for survival, your body can become a liability and actually hurt your chances of survival.

I would assert more time and effort should be spent on getting and staying fit and healthy. What does that mean? Dropping weight is crucial. The more you weigh, the slower you move and the less distance you can go. You are likely to have musculoskeletal problems that the weight only exacerbates.

If you are carrying a lot of spare tire fat, you are also more likely to have metabolic syndrome. Oddly I bet more of you can better describe the ideal characteristics of an urban defense firearm than you can what is metabolic syndrome. Sadly many of you already have it and don’t know it.

In future articles, I will discuss things you should learn about that I feel are of vital importance to your health and survival.

Things like:

* Body fat percentage

*cardiovascular fitness


*muscle strength and endurance

*balance and coordination

These are all important survival characteristics that are seemingly ignored by many who prepare for chaos.

Like the character in Zombieland said, “Rule number 1: Cardio”.

The zombies got the fat people first. So I will be discussing each of these aspects of fitness and how they would impact your chances of survival.

When and if that day comes, knowing you can count on your body as much as your AR-15, is crucial.

You can always acquire another weapon, you cannot acquire another body. The sooner you start the better, because most of the “age-related” maladies are not age-related, but time of neglect related. Many can be reversed.

So preparedness should also include time for fitness and wellness. Now is not too soon. Stay tuned for future articles, the next article will cover cardiovascular fitness.

Van Becker, M.A., H.&P.E.
A.C.E. Certified Personal Trainer
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Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on February 14,,2013, and has been updated for quality and relevancy.

22 Responses to :
How To Be Fit In A Survival Situation?

  1. Bill R. says:

    I could not agree more with this article. I was one of those people that got out of shape and just figured that is was just part of being old. Indeed, I was dealing with the issues of metabolic syndrome. Bad diet and a sedentary life style is not a good combo. I always wondered how I would manage in a survival situation given my physical fitness level.

    Three years ago I discovered Crossfit and it has changed my life. At the age of 42 I am in just as good shape, if not better, than I was when I was in my 20’s while I was in the military. It’s amazing at the physical fitness level that I am at now and it wasn’t that hard to accomplish. It just took consistency and listening to the advice of coaches that knew what they are doing.

    1. Van says:

      Outstanding Bill R. Only concern, cross fit racks up the injuries on back, shoulders, knees and elbows. Lots of tendon trauma. Be prudent. Don’t sacrifice form for time and risk injury.

  2. We moved to the country 16 months ago to get ready. A winter through fall time of near daily woodcutting got me in excellent shape again, but I had many days when I felt like I was going to just lay down and die afterward. Now I have enough wood to last us awhile, and am doing other equally strenuous things with ease.

    I am just shy of 60 years old, and have a few war wounds from life as a mercenary that I had allowed to slow me down a bit. However, now I am back in good combat condition. Even though I am physically incapable of controlling a firearm accurately due to extreme shoulder injuries, I have found other weapons that work just fine for me. If I can do it then you can too.

    I have also developed a survival community of like-minded neighbors, and we are all helping each other everyday. When an emergency comes along then it will just be “business as usual” for us. Again, if I can do it then so can you. All it takes is a few short conversations to feel people out, and then to talk with them about what they see coming for our country. Then you make friends with the ones who have the heads out of the sand, and decide now how you will deal with the others who don’t prepare, but may want what you have. A moment of indecision in a crisis attack by desperate people can make all of your preparations be for nothing.

    1. Joe says:

      Clifford that is a great story!

      I would love to speak with you further about how you involved your community in your preparedness as that seems to be a hard thing to do.

      Everyone tends to have the lone wolf syndrome and just refuse to speak about preparedness and that is something that needs to be fixed!

      I’d also like to hear about how you have coped with your shoulder injuries and what weapons you have found work best, not to mention I’m sure you have some great stories to tell about your mercenary days.

      Please feel free to respond back to me if you would like to discuss this further!


    2. patrick says:

      Shoulder injuries. Look into a doctor that does prolotherapy. If he tells you that you not a candidate, PSP(Platelet Rich Plasma) might work. I have seen some amazing healing from these treatments. Look them up.

    3. Van says:

      Yep, so true.

  3. Loa Andersen says:

    What does one do if they can’t find like-minded people nearby? My neighbors ALL think I’m silly to be doing what I do…and they don’t know 75% of what I’m doing to be prepared! I’m a female, well over 70 years old and live the life of a recluse (not by choice, necessarily). I have joined a preppers group, but the nearest member lives two bridges and miles away. Any suggestions?

  4. JJM says:

    I wish my medical would benefit from weight loss, I would have done so 30 years ago. I know that hard physical work results in not requiring quite as much insulin. Continue to search for valid natural control or cure for Type 1 Juvenile Diabetes that I was diagnosed with at age of 30. Cinnamon &/OR Colloidal Silver may be responsible for slight reduction of insulin but still must keep stock of refrigerated meds that expire in 18 months. At least that would be enough time to get my sons pointed in the right direction.
    Any proven solutions would be greatly appreciated.

    1. JW says:

      a big misunderstanding about diabetes is that most people think it is caused by . yes sugar plays a big part. but oils or fats also cause a big problem. the fat coats the cell and stops it from receiving the insulin that your body produces. if you are interested let me know and I will go through my books and see what I can find on natural remedies for diabetes. JW

      1. JJM says:

        Would appreciate any suggestions you might offer for TYPE 1. Meanwhile, with no winter in Houston, I plan to start planting my herb garden next week including several mentioned as potential aids.

        1. JW says:

          give me a couple days as some of my books are still packed from a move. JW

          1. JJM says:

            I’ve waited 25 years so a few days or weeks is no prob. Just concerned about what if SHTF.

          2. JJM says:

            Thanks – Much more than I expected. Several herbs I had never heard mentioned as potentials. Hope against hope to eliminate the insulin but at the same time, the less required the better. Always keep hoping that something will be discovered to repair the Pancreas – so back to following

    2. Roger says:


      If you are the type of diabetic whose cells are insultin resistant, then METFORMIN is the drug of choice. It is a generic and very inexpensive and It works wonders. However, if you are the type who produces an insufficient amount of insulin and. Thus requires insulin, you would not do well on METFORMIN. Tfhe way to tell is to have you blood tested for “fasting insulin”.If it it’s. high, then you are insulin rsistant. Work with your doctor and eventually cn accumulate a sick months or more supply.


  5. SCSharon says:

    Just finished DEVOURING the book: Wheat Belly by William Davis, MD.
    I have studied nutrition and exercise for the past 40 years and have found myself in the embarrassing position of carrying around a “spare tire” IN SPITE of low fat, vegetarian, diet, lots of exercise, no sugar diet, cleanses, vitamins, etc. Made WW bread, homemade, for many years…Dr. Davis makes an excellent case for Modern hybridized Wheat, white, whole, organic, whatever, as being the culprit, spiking our blood sugar, causing Carb addiction and diabetes! For some reason, no one thought to test out the hybridized wheat to see if it was good for people! I suppose those stashes of pasta would keep you from starving, but, he documents many,many cases of weight loss from simply dropping ALL wheat from the diet. Hmmmmmm, seems worth a try!

    1. JW says:

      you’re right we turns into sugar when it’s in the body so too much we will cause diabetic problems as well. JW

      1. JW says:

        that’s supposed to be wheat not we. JW

    2. van says:

      yes. I struggle too with the wheat addiction. I have dramatically cut wheat down to 3-4 servings/day. also recently eliminated artificial sweeteners. weight is slowly coming off. since I am not in a hurry and don’t kill myself working out, it will take a month or so.

  6. Irish-7 says:

    Although I am disabled with multiple injuries and conditions from 30 years in the military, I still do some form of exercise at least 5 days a week. I call it “PT” (Physical Training). I never had much of a metabolism, even when I was young and healthy. So, I only eat one real meal per day. This may not be correct by medical standards, but it has sustained me for quite some time.

    1. Van says:

      You need to see this!

      Be prepared to be moved and motivated

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