if you have read my first post, you know that the human body, as is a squirrel’s or a tick’s, is a machine which evolved in order to complete certain survival tasks. it was not, however, made to do the bench press, bicep curl, or cable row.
as a disclaimer, these exercises are not ‘bad’. they are good. do them. but your body wasn’t made for these sterile, controlled motions alone. you need to be dynamic, explosive, and imaginative in your sessions to be a real monkey man. that’s what this blog is about, and there is plenty of information about strength training elsewhere on the web (for beginners, try stronglifts).
in today’s workout, i try to mimic a hunt in order to help you not only burn calories, boost your metabolism, and work your muscles but also to focus on visualizing the act of hunting for motivation. so, without further ado, we begin the hunt.
spot the prey
have you ever walked through a forest, seen and heard signs of a potential dinner everywhere, but just never been able to actually see any of these animals (let alone get within striking distance)? when it comes to perception, humans are at a distinct disadvantage. animals smell us out long before we ever even know where they are. if animals in the forest stay well clear of one of us, then animals outright avoid a human encampment. in order to find any dinner, we have to create some distance.
begin the hunt with a moderate run for 5 minutes. get your blood flowing, keep a steady stride, and concentrate on your breathing. these will probably be some of your last relaxing breaths of the session.
here’s where it gets interesting – you’ve seen a rabbit, a deer, a squirrel, or some other woodland creature. you’ll never beat it in a foot race, but maybe you can tire it out by sprinting behind it, letting it run off ahead, catching up, then doing it again.
sprint as hard as you can for twenty seconds. rest for ten. do it again. try to get eight sets (those in the know can see that, up to this point, this is essentially a tabata session). after the third, you’r sprint will probably feel more like a jog. push through it. imagine that animal just a few yards ahead of you. after you’ve done eight bursts, things get heavy.
unless you’ve been running with a spear, you have to wrestle this animal and kill it with your own two hands.
to simulate this, we’re going to go through a series of bodyweight and, if you have the equipment, kettlebell/dumbbell/waterjug/any-heavy-object-you-can-get-a-good-grip-on exercises. here’s how it goes:
for this portion, you’ll notice i haven’t prescribed any number of reps. know your limits, then push them off a goddamn cliff.
if you’re in decent shape, try 25 for everything but the pull-ups (for these, you may only be able to do four or five and that’s ok). the key is to push yourself, keep your heart moving, and try to keep breaks at ten seconds or less. oh, and maintain good form.
if you have something heavy you can hold, like a kettlebell, dress up your session a little. hold it while you do your squats. do ten snatches for each arm between each exercise. substitute a set of push-ups or burpees with ten or fifteen turkish get-ups on each side. or, ditch the entire prescription given above for a kettlebell workout (there should be a few ideas linked through the kb wiki i just linked you to). for most kb exercises, you should be able to use dumbbells or even a jug with a handle and filled with water.
follow the trail
now that you’ve inflicted the fatal blow, your prey (especially large game) will have limped off to die. but, being the supreme hunter and tracker you are, this is no issue. just stay on the scent/blood trail until you catch back up, and use this as a chance to cool your nerves after a job well done.
this is just like the first section of the work out – keep a light to moderate pace and jog for 5 minutes.
carry home the kill
when i work out, i’m usually a brief walk away from home, and this is intentional. if you’re going to mimic a hunt, then you need to carry home your trophy. but, assuming you killed a deer or an entire family of rabbits, you’ve got some weight to move.
i’ve usually got my kettlebell with me, so i find it pretty easy to simulate. if you didn’t opt to bring any additional weight for the kill, then you’re missing out on one of my favorite parts of any workout due mainly to it’s simplicity. pick up your heavy object. get a firm grip on it. now walk home. switch hands and hold on until you can’t any more. switch again. repeat. try not to put the heavy object down until you’re in the front door.
if you’re working out in your back yard, you won’t have a considerable distance to walk. maybe take this opportunity to go on a stroll, weight in tow, down the street and back?
and that’s it. all in all, this session shouldn’t take you much longer than an hour, if that. if you figure the jogging/sprinting portion should take 14 minutes total, this leaves you 46 minutes to do the heavy portion and walk home. shouldn’t be hard, especially if you don’t allow yourself too many extended rests.
ps – you’ve just made a kill, and that means you get to eat. this is a pretty intense workout, so make sure to stretch then refuel with some fruit, water, and protein when you get home.