Showing posts with label fitness. Show all posts
Showing posts with label fitness. Show all posts

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Eating Healthy & Staying in Shape

An update on what've I've been eating and doing fitness wise and how it has been working for me so far. Not only is your body your most imporant tool, but also your health directly impacts both your chances of survival and quality of life. Remember that!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Parkour for Survivalists.

I love doing what I do. Constantly learning and researching survival and preparedness opens a fascinating world of possibilities. From training, meeting people, to studying, I just love it. There’s hardly any skill or field of knowledge that can’t be associated to survival and preparedness in one way or another.
If I’m talking with a machinist or blacksmith I’ll ask about metal types, if it’s a doctor there’s lots to learn from him, from first aid to human anatomy info that can be used in fights, if it’s a pilot I’d ask about emergency procedures, types of accidents and so on. If its an economist I’d like to know what he thinks about the current situation. If its just an average Joe driving me somewhere I may learn about his life experiences as well, like I did today.

In many ways, at least in my opinion, survival is about exploiting your potentiality of what you can be as a person to its maximum. I’ve heard people telling me “You can’t own a gun. Isn’t it illegal in Argentina?” Yes, you can, and no, its not illegal. (but notice how the person creates a limit to what he can and can’t do before even knowing if that limit even exists) “It’s not safe to own guns! You’re not a cop!” An Argentine cops fires 25 rounds during his entire training, I fire 500-800 rounds per training course. These are just examples of things we’re supposedly not capable of doing but we really are if we make the effort. You can train, you can learn, you can masters skills, and you can mold your life to be anything you want, the limit is mostly mentally.

Looking for information on how to properly perform a roll I came across Parkour. I’ve heard about it before of course, but never really looked into it. One of my life maxims is from “The Little Prince” and that’s to never let a question go unanswered, never let pass the opportunity to learn something new. In this case I didn’t know the first thing about Parkour (PK), only what I saw on a TV report once, mostly some kids jumping buildings. My first thought was “yes, pretty silly to risk your life that way”. Turns out there’s a lot more to PK than just Hollywood stunts.
Parkour is the art of moving from one point to the other overcoming obstacles, most often urban obstacles,  in the most efficient way possible. In a more advanced stage it leads to pretty impressive acrobatics, often seen in movies where there’s chase scenes. Casino Royale, Bourne, Die Hard 4, the last Hulk movie, there’s hardly a big box action movie these days without Parkour scenes. But this is only the most advanced, most acrobatic part of it, there’s  a lot more that while not as flashy is still pretty useful, useful enough that the US Marine Corps are incorporating t to their training.
Jumping from one building to another may not be your idea of fun, but there’s still a lot you can do without risking your life and even a little PK may come in handy. 
From what little I have seen, climbing walls, jumping and learning how to fall from high places, dissipating the energy so as to not injure yourself are among the most useful techniques.
Of course its an outstanding physical activity from the fitness point of view, involving flexibility, strength, cardio and balance. PK and its origins, including the  m├ęthode naturell, have a philosophical side to it that I find strongly linked to survival and preparedness. If “adapt and overcome” isn’t about survival I don’t know what it is. (read more here )
Here’s some PK clips. Of course a good fitness level is needed, but some of the basic moves aren’t that demanding.

Advanced PK by one of its founders David Belle

OK, now that everyone saw that and though “I’ll never do that”, here’s some basic stuff everyone can start with and is still pretty useful. I’d be happy with some basic precision jumping, lazy vault, jump and roll, learning how to fall and climb a wall.

A little Parkour may go a long way when being chased, avoiding obstacles after a disaster, and of course its great fitness workout.
Interested? Find people to PK with near you.

Take care folks,


Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Physical Fitness and Survival

Physical Fitness and Survival
My name is Cliff Wiese and I am the Director of Fitness for a combatives company in the U. S. called Suarez International.  We teach a broad cross-section of the population on how to become effective in violent encounters.  Recently, we have started implementing fitness training for our clientele.
There are a number of reasons for introducing fitness.  Many violent encounters begin as hand-to-hand fights.  Accessing any weapon is difficult to impossible if a person is not able to win the initial fight.  It requires more than merely strength or even martial arts ability.  To win the fight explosiveness, endurance, and the willingness to bring overwhelming violence to the encounter are all essential.  If you cannot struggle with someone for several minutes at 100% intensity, you are in trouble.  The old-fashioned notion that simply carrying a gun is safety enough is a false assumption.  That weapon may never get out of its holster if you cannot survive the initial violence.
Being in good physical condition also makes you less of a target for criminals.  They want easy victims, not a person who will put up a fight.  If you are willing to commit yourself to becoming strong and powerful, along with remaining aware of your surroundings, you become much less appealing to thugs.  You will not look like a victim.  Why would they want to fight with you when they can wait another five minutes and find an easy victim?
Another reason for being in good shape is the potential for an economic meltdown.  The saying, “Only the strong survive,” holds very true in this case.  The better shape you are in, the longer you will be able to survive.  You will have more energy, be less likely to contract illnesses, have a better outlook, and be prepared to possibly work at whatever physical labor that might be available to support your family.
Probably the most important reason to workout is because you are much more likely to lead a longer and healthier life than someone who doesn’t exercise.  You may or may not be involved in a violent encounter or an economic meltdown.  For certain, your life will be improved by being physically fit.  Working out keeps your heart healthier, lowers your blood pressure, helps you maintain your weight, and, according to the Mayo Clinic, even has some of the benefits of anti-depressants without any side effects.  Staying in shape will improve your life, whatever the future holds.  Doesn’t it make sense to be as healthy as possible in all circumstances?
I have put together two DVDs for people interested in fitness.  The first, Combat Fit I, is for someone who is just starting a fitness regimen.  It teaches you everything you need to know starting with Day 1, Exercise 1, Repetition 1, and helps you progress at a reasonable pace while minimizing your risk of injury and keeping you from becoming too sore from the workouts.  It is the first fitness DVD that I know of that helps someone starting a workout program do it right from the first day and teaching them proper progressions.  Combat Fit II is a more advanced program for the person who has completed Combat Fit I or who is already in good condition.  It teaches exercises that promote strength, power, explosiveness, and endurance.  The way that I describe the difference between the two DVDs is that CF I is similar to a program training someone for a military Physical Fitness Test.  CF II teaches you how to build the muscle to become the “door kicker” on an entry assault team.  I doubt criminals would want to assault either person.  Fitness is a big part of survival.
The DVDs can be purchased at      
       Cliff Wiese

Cliff, its been great exchanging emails with you and I appreciate the article. Couldn’t agree with you more on the reasons why fitness is a top priority. I’ve noticed it too, at contact range the best hand to hand fighter wins, the gun will be of no use at all if your attacker physically overpowers you. I’m sure I mentioned this before, but its worth telling again. During a force on force exercise, I saw how an excellent shooter lost each and every time against an unarmed non cooperative partner simply because he couldn’t draw his weapon and put it to use at such a range. No matter how fast you are, at contact range all he has to do is move quickly, keep your hand from drawing of even if you do, keep it away from his body. There’s of course techniques you train to make the distance and shoot at extreme close range, but physical fitness plays a mayor role. With your attacker’s hands holding your’s, you better be stronger than your attacker and have some hand to hand training. 

Intermediate and advanced combat training is physically demanding. Its not about target shooting. You have to make those tight, small groups when shooting, but you also need to be able to retain your weapon in  a fight, run, move for cover, fight with your hands, knife or whatever you have handy, jump walls, drag a partner away from danger (or family member), kick down doors, etc.  Sounds like too much for the average Joe? Probably, but once you get started you’ll end up doing many of these things even if you’re a average guy. I’m an average guy and that’s what I enjoy doing. One guy on a forum once told me, “you shouldn’t be doing that, that’s only for cops!” Come again? Why the heck not? A cop wont materialize out of thin air to help me when I need it, and frankly I’m not expecting much from a person that shoots less than 50 rounds during his entire firearms training.  In my class there’s business men, construction workers, cops, a judge, a doctor and a lawyer just to name a couple. We’re average Joe but this is what we do with our time and money. 

There’s also that little thing called reality and common sense that the survival community could benefit more from. Truth is most of us are thousands of times more likely to die from health complication probably linked to a sedentary life than anything else. How to you “fight “ this? By loosing that extra weight, eating healthy and staying in shape.
Summarizing, fitness will benefit your survival skills and life in general:
*By being combat fit.
*By “looking” fit and strong, thus both being and looking like a hard target certain criminals will avoid messing with.
*By benefiting both your physical an emotional health. You don’t just look and feel better, working out changes your mood and boosts your immune system. Endorphins make you a happier person.
Cliff sent me “Combat Fit I” and “Combat Fit II” and I highly recommend both of them. Between the two they cover fitness to get started from zero to top physical shape. Take it easy when doing the workout and don’t try to skip stages. Cliff Wiese is a Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist and a Sports Performance Coach with almost three decades of fitness experience.


Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Fitness for Survival


I heard about your blog last week on Coast To Coast AM here in the United States. I'm always interested in survival techniques so when I heard about your blog, I started reading it for a few hours each day.

I just wanted to give you one suggestion pertaining to your physical fitness blog that you posted back in 2008 (I think it was in December). While I agree 100% that cardio-training and weight training is essential to prepare for worst-case scenarios, one thing I hope you could mention is the *type* of weight training that should be done.

In a survival situation where a person might have to work/walk/run for hours a day, normal body building is actually a bad idea. In "normal" body building, a person generally performs two exercises comprised of three or four sets of 10 repetitions per muscle group. Obviously, if done correctly and religiously, this increases strength and muscle mass. And that's fine for normal circumstances.

However, in a survival situation, bulky muscle mass can be more of a hindrance rather than a benefit. Large muscles consume more precious calories--calories that would be better used hiking, running, hunting, etc. If a person is weight training for a survival situation, he should concentrate on building *lean* muscle. Lean muscle uses less calories, and are also more useful for situations where endurance is critical.

To train for building lean muscle, do three or four exercises per muscle group, and instead of doing three sets of 10, do four sets of 16-20 at a lesser weight; focusing most of the training in the legs and shoulders rather than the chest and biceps. By doing this, you train your muscles for endurance rather than strength.

Keep up the great work on your blog, and good luck.


Hi Jeremy, thanks for your email.
I agree partially with what you say.
You are right regarding cardio for work/walk/run, and that more repetitions with less weight is better to build up lean muscle for this kind of activity.

Having said that, you're pulling a Rawles: you're mistakenly assuming survival will be what you want it to be: hiking, running, farming like Charles Ingalls and hunting.
And while you read about all that cool stuff that for some reason never happens your in your little apartment or house,you are dealing with other problems much less charming: Finding a job, fighting inflation,trying to make ends meet, and dealing with increasingly worse crime on the streets.

Running away from danger of any type, walking away from disaster areas, that could happen.
Most often running away from shootings and thugs, that will be a typical use of good cardio during high crime, post economic crisis scenarios.
Also remember that for manual labor such as construction jobs you also need good muscles, strong back, neck, arms and upper body strength in general.

Now, for when you CANT run, you need strong muscles. Not to mention the training as well of course.
I'm preparing for the class I mentioned in the previous post. These types of classes get pretty physical and if you don't have good upper body strength you get your butt kicked.
If you're all lean and thin you may win the marathon at the next Olympics but you'll get your head torn off by these guys in force on force.

For hand to hand fighting you need good upper body strength, strong big muscles.
For combative sports cardio also is important since the fights last longer than they would in a real street fight, but to win a street fight good strength is paramount and even more important than good cardio.

Its not that hard to go for both.You can be wickedly strong and fast.
Don't be fooled. Those guys that look like frogs, its not just that they are building up muscle doing fewer repetitions with more weight, those guys are taking all kinds of drugs, steroids and supplements. You dont end up looking that way just by lifting weights so don't worry.
I know people that lift a lot of weight, have tried very hard to get buffer naturally and its just not happening for them. It defends a lot on your particular body as well. I build up muscle fast so I try to not overdo it. Last year I was doing too much weight and it showed, the t-shirts feel tighter and the arms get ticker, so I took it a bit easier and starting doing more cardio and more repetitions with less weight as you say.

Summarizing, I agree with most of what you say but you do need good upper body muscles for self defense and bad guys notice it too. They'll go after the jogger instead... not the guy with the thick neck and broad back. :-)


Sunday, August 23, 2009

Getting into fighting shape: Your neck

I’m working out a bit more to prepare for a coming CQC class, same one I took some months ago.
One of the things that became evident was the need to have a solid, strong neck.
When you train in a gym you do so under controlled circumstances where people have experience or the instructor supervising stops things before they get out of hand.
When you just fight someone without that safety net there’s a greater chance of injury. These classes mostly lack such safety nets and even though that’s great fighting training, you can of course get hurt.
An injured arm or leg is one thing, and injured neck is either a serious injury or even fatal, it’s a complicated spot.
All you need is one neck muscle getting hurt and it may leave limbs useless for months, since it will affect the nerves.
I had such a problem and it took months to get the right arm working properly. The muscles tighten up and apply pressure to the nerve. It’s no joke folks, very painful and still have little sensitivity in the tips of the fingers. It also demanded lots of chiropractic sessions.
Given the amount of neck chokes and punches to the head in these classes, it’s better to have a strong neck.
Because it’s such a complex spot to injure, take it easy, since the risk of injury while working out is considerable as well.
Good warm up and stretching is paramount.
Once you warmed up, start with a simple exercise, light pressure with manual resistance exercises in all directions.
Standing straight, place your hand in the side to work out and apply light pressure for a few seconds.
Again, take it easy and supervision under a qualified instructor is advised if you’re not familiar with this type of workout.
Going straight for a neck harness with weights or a neck bridge will almost guarantee an injury.
Here’s a website with some information.

Take care.


Tuesday, December 30, 2008

FREE prepping

Reading about cutting expenses and preparing for as little money as possible, I started to think about all the preparedness that can actually be done for FREE, and how this FREE prepping actually covers many of the most important key points.

FREE Water:
Filling up empty jugs or soda plastic bottles. It’s pretty much free except for the tap water you use, and if kept in a dark place it will last for a couple years, before it starts tasting too much like plastic. (better to rotate each year)

FREE first aid:
It’s probably one of the easiest things to do.
Check with the Red Cross
Ask in your local hospital or community center.

FREE craftsmanship classes:
Sometimes you find terrific classes and you don’t have to spend a penny, the district or government pays for it. Carpentry, plumbing, electricity or welding would be my top priorities so as to learn to fix things around the house.
My grandparents were carpenters and I learned a lot from them, but that may not be your case.
It’s important to have a basic handyman set of skills, and if you didn’t already learn it from your parent like I did, if you look around you may learn most of it for FREE. :)

FREE hand to hand training: I practice vale todo and ground fighting for FREE.
My son’s TKD instructor is a vale todo fighter and was looking for a partner to train with. We spar and in exchange I get some free lessons. I already knew boxing and that seemed to work well for him.
All I have to pay for is the gym fee, and some tai boxing lessons with a different instructor.
If you look around and contact guys in your area, you’ll soon find people that are also looking for a sparring buddy, and maybe you can exchange knowledge, say a few shooting lessons for some knife fighting and H2H.
Just try it! If you have some skill to teach in exchange or even just offer to spar in exchange for a few lessons, you can practice a lot for FREE.

FREE defensive shooting training: OK, here you need a few lessons and the basic gear and trigger time, but once you have that, you can do a lot for FREE.
Setting up various “targets” either paper targets, some you make up with cardboard or even some big silly teddy bears.
Setting these make-believe “bad guys” around the house and going through the place dry firing ( Caution!) can be some of the best as close as it gets training, practicing in the actual area where you may one day defend your life and the life of your loved ones.
Even better, get someone else to arrange the “bad guys” so you don’t know the location as you move around.
You need the weapon and previous training, and be careful about the dry firing, but again, dry firing is FREE, and it’s one of the best kept secrets of competition shooters.

Even if you have no firearms training, shooting schools sometimes offer FREE classes, look around and do some research to find if there’s any coming up soon.

Shooters in general are passionate about their addiction and many will willingly take you shooting, and give you a few FREE lessons. Just be kind enough and pay for the ammo. I took more than a few newbies to their first shooting session, and by the time we were ready to leave they had no problem keeping their shots center of mass at a respectable distance with a big bore handgun.

FREE information: You already have access to a computer and internet. Use it! The amount of information is endless, and most of it is FREE.

Try to make the most of your internet time, reducing the amount of time you fool around, and spend more time looking for useful information.

There’s lots of field manuals in PDF ( don just download them, READ them!) , as well as some excellent essays.
Where there’s no doctor, and where there’s no dentist are just a small example of what you can find.
I download and print the most important pieces.
If you are up to it, you could even bind it yourself… for FREE. :p


Monday, November 3, 2008

Most essential piece of gear: You body

Most essential piece of gear you own, and the one most often neglected.
Brain gets covered when we talk about mindset, but what about the rest?:)

How many people out there consider themselves ready for disasters and a plethora of SHTF events but can’t run for a couple miles, or even walk 10 miles a day without needing an IV dose of sugar?

God gave us all different bodies, that part there’s not much we can do about it. But think of it this way:
What car runs best? One that is 20 years old, that got properly maintained through the years, even customized here and there with various upgrades, or the rust bucket with the same amount of years that received no maintenance at all?

Your body is your first weapon, your most essential, irreplaceable material belonging, take care of it the way it deserves so it will serve you best when needed.

Cardio and Muscle

You may be a huge muscle mountain and have no cardio resistance at all. You not only need to be strong, you need to be able to walk and work for several hours a day. Your ability to run and walk long distances may be a matter of life and death during a crisis.
Running and walking 3 times a week, for at least an hour, is a good way to get started. If an hour is too much start with 30 minutes, but you really need to work it up until you can easily do an hour of cardio without getting a heart attack. This is of course you minimum setting, if possible you should do more, find yourself a good program and stick to it.
While running is nicer, stationary bicycle and escalator aren’t that hard on your knees so you might want to do that instead.
Doing 40-60 minutes of escalator works nicely and you can do that while watching TV.

If there’s a crime problem in your neighborhood, going out jogging might not be the smartest thing to do.
I use the escalator thing a lot and going up and down stair isn’t a problem.
10 floors by stairs in the hospital because there’s a broken elevator and a line waiting to use the one working? No problem, I take the stairs instead.

Think about the situations when power goes down and or there’s a fire and you must use the stairs, like it or not.

Running away form danger, getting out of a collapsed structure, swimming to save your life when falling in a lake or river, just walking or running to get yourself form one place to another when there’s no transportation available, are just a few situations I can think of right now and are very real possibilities.


Mostly for getting work done, using a shovel, axe or machete, moving things around, lifting heavy objects.
Also for fighting, weapon retention and wrestling, you need strength.
Again, think of it as upgrading your car.
Granted, it’s not just laying down the money, you need to invest time and physical effort, but you can shape your body the way you want up to a point.
As a kid, my mother made me and my brothers swim like fish in the local health club.
Summer brake was worst, we trained everyday, 8AM for two hours.
In return we got good strong backs, good cardio and lung capacity, and that’s something you can’t put a price on when you grow up.
I’m sending my kid swimming as well.

Careful not to make a kid too young do weight lifting, get professional advice otherwise because it can ruin a young boy’s body .
The body should be fully developed before doing serious weight lifting, so it will depend a lot on age. Some say 15 to start lifting, others say 18.
All I know is that I knew two kids from school that overdid it while in their teens, 15 or so, and they ended up with nice looking muscles but lost several inches of the height they would have otherwise, one even had growth problems in his legs and needed surgery just to keep walking, forget about running for the rest of his life.
Both ended up noticeably short, specially when compared to their parents and brothers.

Bench work, barbell and dumbbells of various weights. I do a bit of each at least 3 times a week to keep arms and torso strong.

This website has some good exercises.

No, not suggesting people to get into body building, but the neck exercises pictured are similar to the ones my chiropractor gave me when I hurt my neck, and the rest also sounds like good sound advice.
I don’t care for that kind of looks, but it’s good to have a strong neck, shoulders, back and strong up upper body generally speaking.

Self Defense training

Whatever it is you do, do it often and practice it a lot.
Personally, I believe a combination of box, Muay Thai, BJJ (or some other grappling/wrestling technique you like, such as Judo) is the best combination.

You’ll need a partner to spar with. Real sparring with gloves and mouthpiece is the only thing that works for preparing for what you may encounter on the street.
Run away from instructor that teach self defense but claim the stuff they teach is too deadly and can’t be sparred with full contact.

Of course you’re not going to pop your partner’s eye out, kick him in the groin or crush his windpipe, but other than that you can do all the kicking and punching you desire, and in particular submissions work just like they do on a real fight, the difference being that you wont care if your attacker tried to tap out.

A boxing heavy bag becomes mandatory for any self defense involving punching and kicking, and there’s this great full scale dummies used to practice wrestling that would be neat for practicing submission moves and locks on the floor.
Don’t own one myself but doesn’t look that difficult to make on your own.

The speed bag is also something you’ll eventually want to get, for fast hands and coordination.
The humble jumping rope will get your feet in shape.


Most of these are all mandatory in Argentina
At birth, I got BCG (anti tuberculosis) and anti hepatitis B
From the first month of life onwards, I got SABIN for polio
MMR (measles, mumps y rubella) The VZV shot, commonly called chicken pox.
Antihepathitis A.
Diphtheria, Pertussis, tetanus and Hemophilic influenza type b infections. Tetanus shots.
Getting flu shots once a year isn’t a bad idea either.

There’s somewhat of a debate in USA regarding vaccines and side effects.
There’s no debate here. You’d be an idiot not to get them, given that in recent years we’ve seen many of these diseases believed eradicated resurge, and many kids die because of them.

Best thing you can do is to talk with a doctor you trust about this.
But there’s a catch though.
Your doctor might not think a certain vaccine is really necessary, given that your doctor probably is not a survivalist, and he’s not taking into account the possibility of a more poor, dirtier population in the future, with viruses thought extinct coming back. Yellow fever and dengue just to mention a couple.
As long as there’s no significant serious side effect, get them covered, especially the ones that are common in third world country since these are the ones that may show up as general social health standards to go down along the crisis.


How would you manage without your eye? Oh, I do applaud those that even blind mange to go through life better than most but it is a true handicap, specially when SHTF or when you have to manage in a more brutal society.
I’ve needed glasses almost all my life, but even at a young age I couldn’t find myself wearing glasses.
Maybe others have different experiences and that’s dandy, but in Lomas de Zamora at age 13 wearing glasses was a social death sentence, since any weakness would be exploited.
Right away I refused to wear them and went directly to contacts, only wearing glasses maybe to watch TV or read at night.

Once you grow up? Things change little.
While GQ and Maxim magazine may say glasses make men look sophisticated, your pal FerFAL tells you social predators will see weakness in your glasses, and they are indeed something you don’t want to have in your nose when getting hit.:)
Safety glasses and google are another story, but a piece of glass, and one that you need to see your enemy is not something you want to rely on.
The solution?
For me it came in the form of LASIK.
I didn’t hesitate as I signed the paper that said I acknowledged the possibility of loosing my eyeballs during surgery.
People feel sick in the stomach when you mention the possibility, but for me it was a risk small enough worth taking, when weighted against the benefits.
Glasses ..100 USD with your MasterCard.
Upgrading your eyes and never again having to reply on contacts, glasses, worrying about getting eye solution, loosing your contacts when getting punched… priceless.

This is what I talk about when I compare your body to a tuned up car. You get what you get in life, but it’s up to you to make the most out of it.
Mind set is terribly important for a survivalist or prepper, for any person than not only wants to survive, but succeed in survival and in every other aspect of life, reaching his maximum potential.
Think of everything you can do to better yourself:
Loose weight, workout, get your eyes fixed, your teeth, having a beauty mark/mole that is a bit too dark removed (skin cancer), fix and improve everything you can about yourself.

Getting rid or a mole today sounds ridiculously silly.
Will you be able to pay for it in the future?
Will you have a doctor available to get it done?