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You Have To Put In The Work

Most mornings there are a lot of things I want to do when work permits. Read, blog, eat breakfast, do chores around the house, etc. 
Driving 25 minutes each way to the YMCA when gas is hovering at $5 a gallon and spending an hour wearing myself out and getting sweaty? That isn’t all that much fun, although I do feel good when I finish it. It is a significant time commitment, around 2 hours all in, and often I have work to do when I get done so my day can get away from me in a hurry.
Why bother? It is a pain in the ass and often it seems like I don’t see the progress as quickly as I want. 
The first “why” is pretty straightforward. Working out improves my general condition. I feel better and I look better. I sure as shit didn’t like the way I looked last year at this time. When I see men my age or even a lot younger who are soft and fat, it is gross and I don’t want to look like that, flabby arms, a big gut and double or triple chins. 
The other reason? 
It seems more and more likely by the day that things are going to go tits up sooner rather than later. When it does, people who are fat, weak and out of shape are going to be prey animals for predators. 

Last fall I wrote in my post A Lean, Mean Blogging Machine:
So I found myself in a place and condition I didn’t like and I felt kind of hypocritical about my neglect of my physical fitness while talking about TEOTWAWKI. In a post-cataclysm world I don’t want to be out of shape and trying to adapt to a drastically lower calorie intake. Believe me, your body goes through a withdrawal stage when you radically change your eating habits and you don’t want that when things go tits up.
When the rules of civil society break down, and they will, and men with a predilection for violence and lawlessness are unleashed, and they will be, those men of violence will go after the low hanging fruit first (more on this soon). If you are a lion, are you going to go after nearly one ton of angry muscle and horn Cape buffalo or a zebra? 
This message is at least as much for me as it is for you. The work you and I put it now will pay off when the SHTF and failing to do the work now will have disastrous results when it goes off the rails.
The choice each day is yours to make.


  1. jl

    Stick to it Arthur! Yes, it sucks, but the alternative is worse! I improved my health by leaps and bounds with regular gym visits, then caught the Plague in January, then the flu in early March and I still haven't been able to get back in the swing of things. And now it's not only starting to show, but I FEEL the difference too, and it isn't good! The sacrifice is worth it, and I appreciate this post as the poke in the eye I need to stop making excuses!

  2. Anonymous

    Farming and lumbering in my spare time is both prepper skill development and exercise. Add in the benefits of food and firewood this sort of exercise pays for itself tenfold.

  3. Anonymous

    Just getting in a good half hour a day of brisk walking is exponentially better for you than doing nothing at all. You'll feel better and be healthier. You might even look better after a while. It helps not to judge yourself by idealized media depictions of fitness. Just try to be better than you were. While father time remains undefeated, this kind of thing can go a long way toward improving your quality of life in your later years.

  4. Last Days To The Rodeo

    Good for you Arthur! I'm proud of you. Fitness is something I preach all the time, especially to my prepper friends, and it is the one thing that is sorely missing from the preparedness community as a whole. Ever been to a survival expo or convention? You're likely to see more portable oxygen tanks and obesity at one of those than on senior citizen day at Wal Mart. YouTube is full of bug out bag videos by super heavy dudes showing 60 pound shiny bags that have never seen anything harsher than the living room floor but they gonna walk 250 miles back home post-EMP. Keep gettin' after it Arthur.

  5. Anonymous

    Zebras are pretty tough too. But yeah, the bullies go for weakness. Sharpen your teeth and hooves, times nearly up.

  6. Anonymous

    Been singing this tune for ages, myself, while watching in frustration as virtually everyone around me grows spongier and softer. Mostly I don't bother preaching anymore. Those who need to hear it and are willing to hear it have gotten the message. As for the rest? Good luck.

    But you don't need "the gym". I've been a weightlifter and bodybuilder for decades now, and I have not set foot in a commercial gym since the 1990s. A 300 pound Olympic weight set costs less than a year's membership at a lifter's gym. And it will still be 300 pounds of indestructible iron long after you are no longer capable of lifting heavy weight.

    If you can't afford that, or make the excuse of having nowhere to use and store the plates and bar, start with dumbbells and a more modest pile of iron. Still too much? Part with $11 and get an ab wheel. It is the best, cheapest, most portable piece of exercise equipment you will ever own. And that little plastic wheel will kick. your. ass. You can use it anywhere. In the very room you are sitting in right now. It can even be disassembled (it's just a short bar with handles and a single, 6" plastic wheel) and stashed in your suitcase for keeping up with the exercise while away on travel.

    Start small, if you are not already in fine shape. Rollouts in sets of 8 reps, done with good form, will leave you aching in the core (and the triceps, lats and delts) for days, until you work up basic whole-body strength. I do half a dozen sets of 20 reps each on ab wheel day, but it took me a year to work up to it.

    Other inexpensive non-barbell exercise equipment include push-up handles and a chin-up bar. If you can do 20 good pushups, and 10 chins from a dead hang, you are in better shape than 95% of other men of any age. No gym required. A 35 pound kettlebell for sets of KB swings is another relatively small, inexpensive piece of equipment that requires very little space to use and will pay dividends many times over.

    It can be done, at any age. The earlier you start, the better chance you will have of making it a lifelong hobby and habit. And you know you need it.


  7. McNasty

    I just started working out last week. I am the same age as you. 5th day I did something to my leg below the calf, can hardly walk now. It's always something.
    Hope it heals and I can continue.
    I too feel the need to be fit is going to be real important soon.
    At least if I can't get back where I was, I take a seat, enjoy the view and hole them off while my family escapes.

  8. Anonymous

    splitting and stacking firewood is good for you. it will kick your ass as well.
    my neighbor is having her lot clean up by some tree guys and I getting the good firewood.
    ash and white oak for the most part, have small electric splitter and it will wear your ass out.
    but it does beat paying 230 or more per cord for it. next week I getting a big gas powered one for the big stuff- over 30 inches rounds
    walking and running is not in the cards for me as too much damage done to the old body over the years. torn out shoulder doesn't like push ups anymore either.
    still, close to 70 now and still wear size 34 jeans and no belly. so,,
    but my running and gunning days are long behind me. it was a long time ago when I was in the 1/503 abn. and I know it.

  9. Arthur Sido

    For me the force of habit going to the gym makes is necessary at this point, mostly for the same reason I got a little mp3 player instead of using my phone: it minimizes the chances for distractions. If I am home, I am more likely to stay near my computer but if I go somewhere and lock my phone up with my other stuff I can focus on working out. That's just me.

  10. Arthur Sido

    At our age that is a real concern, it is easy to overdo it and hurt something. A year or so ago I started on this path by just walking and it first my shins would kill me after just a few laps but I kept at it. I often use a lighter setting than I probably could manage just so I don't hurt myself.

  11. Anonymous

    Henry Rollins: Iron and the Soul. Yes, THAT 'Henry Rollins', of Black Flag fame. He is the most inspiring musclehead and so intelligent and articulate it defies belief. I reread his writings on working out regularly and it never fails to motivate me.

    Although it is mostly geared toward a younger set, is also a great resource for all things diet and exercise.


  12. Anonymous

    I'm not an expert, but I'd suggest looking into stretching for folks who are older and trying to start out. If you have a section of floor that will fit you lying down both across and up/down, you should start stretching. It will warm up and loosen your muscles, increase elasticity in your tendons and joints, increase blood flow, and actually give you a work out. From there, it is a small step to leg lifts, crunches, "girl" push-ups (knees and arms, not feet), etc. Slow stretches, without bouncing (never bounce!) and only what feels a bit pushed, but still good.

    YOu get that down, you are on your way.

  13. Anonymous

    Quit smoking about 6 years ago.
    Gained around 80lbs. Started going to the YMCA. Lost about 50 after about a year. In 2019 bought a weight set and bench from my boss for $125. Went to Play It Again Sports and bought a few more plates and another bar. Turned a spare room into a gym. Changes my diet and lost the other 30. Weigh about the same but leaner and healthier and stronger than before. Its hard to stick with it, especially the diet. Keep pushing.

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