Mindset: less guns, less fat, more time in the gym.

The literary work below isn’t meant to be condescending, degrading or insulting, it’s simply an honest observation with some general ideas of how to make oneself harder to kill, and therefore more likely to survive. I️ am also by no means advocating spending less time shooting but rather, advocating spending more time worrying about another very crucial portion of the survival equation.

I’ve been involved in firearms and training most of my adult life and also worked at a large retail FFL for three years, which, somewhat unfortunately, got me intimately familiar with the industry and “gun culture.” I am now a career Firefighter at a large metropolitan fire department, which gives me an enormous amount of exposure to the general public, I also work part time at a local strength and conditioning gym.

First, I understand this is America and you can do whatever the hell you want. Nobody can force you to go to the gym, nobody can force you to not eat your self into a sweet, delicious sugar induced diabetic coma. However, if you’re going to prepare, then prepare the best you can. Most people are lying to them selves when they say they’re prepared. The vast majority of people I encounter on the street are at best, weeks away from death on any given day, much less in a natural disaster, and this applies to many gun owners.

In reality most people are preparing for some sort of civil unrest or self defense situation not because they’re serious about self defense, but rather because it’s fun, it’s a hobby for them. They may not realize this, but it’s the case, and I understand; guns are fun, shooting is fun, acquiring gear is fun.

Say what you want to make your self feel good but the reality is, most gun owners lack appropriate mindset, discipline and are in poor physical condition. If you’re a “training junky” and you’re not incorporating physical fitness into your routine, your doing it wrong. And I’m not talking about getting on the recumbent bike twice a week and cutting down on the McDonalds. I’m talking a serious program.

Gun owners spend hours upon hours upon hours researching gear, and tens of thousands of dollars buying firearms and equipment, most of which is unnecessary; they then go on to boast about how “prepared” they are for a set of potential situations that ultimately range from low to nearly non existent in their probability of actually happening. Yet they neglect their own health.

Now I’m all for preparing for these low probability situations. Why? Because even though they are low probability scenarios they have a very high potential penalty for failure (death). Therefore, we should prepare our selves the best we can.

A few people go a step further than just acquiring cool gear and theoretical knowledge. These few people actually get out on the range and run what they brung, fewer still actually follow some sort of regimented training program.

How many, though, actually spend any amount of time, effort and money on their own health? If I take a quick look around the local range on any given day, the local gun shop or even the monthly USPSA or CFDCC match, the answer is not too many.

At the end of the day, most people are infinitely more likely to die from chronic diseases that arise from a sloppy lifestyle than from having under armed them selves for the next civil war, Katrina or even a common street robbery, home invasion or car jacking. Most people are infinitely more likely to have their life seriously impacted or ended by Diabetes, heart disease and obesity.

What good is your $50,000 stash of firearms and ammunition if you can’t actually move with it? What value is all that tactical name brand awesomeness if you die at 50 from heart disease. How are you supposed to survive long term if you’re an insulin dependent diabetic?

How much money and time is spent on celebrity instructor taught classes? You make it to the range every week? That’s awesome. How many hours have you spent at the gym? What’s your diet look like? And I’m not just talking fat people, just because you don’t look like Rosie O’ Donnell doesn’t mean you aren’t unhealthy.

Take a step back and think for a second. Ask your self, am I really actually prepared? Do I have the stamina and conditioning to run a mile in my gear all out? What if I got into a physical confrontation? Can I physically over power someone?

The effects of physical fitness don’t just stop at being more desirable to look at, able to run faster and lift more. Being fit makes you harder to kill in every way. You’re less likely to develop chronic diseases, your joints will be in better shape, you’re less likely to develop heart disease, the list goes on and on.

So how are you preparing your self physically to survive? If you’re not you have no excuse, none. I work a full time job, run a business, work a part time job and go to school full time. I’ve not been without injury either. If I can do it anyone can.

If you’re serious about being prepared I strongly encourage you to begin a serious physical fitness regimen, especially so if you’re a first responder. It doesn’t matter how old you are or what your current life situation is, it’s never too late to start.

If you have the money for multiple rifles and pistols, quality optics, suppressors, SBR’s and the tax stamps that accompany them, the training courses, the ammunition and time to shoot, then you have the money and time to get in the gym.

Here’s some straight forward suggestions:

- Quit eating like shit, there’s no excuse. Eat real food. Want to avoid health problems? Cut out the processed stuff. Figure out what your body likes. Just becasue I eat 300g of carbs a day doesn’t mean that’s the right diet for you, it also doesn’t mean “low carb” is good.

- Find and follow a real strength and conditioning program.

- Focus on functional movements. Back squat, dead lift, overhead press, bench press, pull-ups, bent over rows, kettle bell work, sand bangs etc.

- Follow a program with strength work as the foundation.

- Push a sled at least 2-3 times a week.

- Machines are the work of of Satan, avoid them like the plague. Why? Because they are they plague... the plague of the fitness industry.

- Run, running is good. If you cant run, then walk, row, stationary bike etc, push the sled more.

I will end with what I feel (in my humble opinion) are some very basic minimum standards people should be able to meet:

- Back Squat your own body weight for 10 reps.
- Deadlift 1.5x your body weight for 10 reps.
- Overhead Press your body weight
- Bench Press your body weight for 10 reps.
- 10 pull-ups (unbroken)
- 50 push-ups (unbroken)
- 50 Kettlebell Swings w/ 53lb kettlebell (unbroken)
- Run 1 mile in street clothes in 7:00 without going into SVT.
- Row a 5k in under 20:00 without going into SVT.
- Be able to walk 10 miles with your “bug out bag” in your “bug out” gear.

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If people would just be more careful about what they would eat and would walk vigorously on a regular basis, that would help a LOT
If people would just be more careful about what they would eat and would walk vigorously on a regular basis, that would help a LOT
This has been a big thing for me. Several years of Monster, Taco Bell, Yuengling, and Papa Johns were not the best choices for me to make. I went from 295 when I got married to 225 today. 30# from my target of 195. I cut the crap food, carbs and sugar and walk a lot. The pounds melted off. My first 5k is in April and I'm looking to start working on my strength training in the next couple weeks.

Having a wee one to look after now changed my outlook on a lot of things . . . big one was "Yeah, I can't shoot a heart attack in the face, I can't stab diabetes, and my family history is not in my favor."

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Regular Member
I agree, I was having this discussion with a gun friend the other day. He was complaining about the cost of a gym membership. I asked him how much his direct tv sat package with HD DVR ran a month compared to $10 a month for a gym. The conversation kind of went sideways from there.

I would add two things. First, some sort of combative training in there. BJJ/MMA something realistically focused on protecting yourself that isn't gun related. I've just started this myself after listening to the P&S podcast about it. It is great for fitness, gives you tools besides "choot em in the face", etc etc. Second, I'd think some sort of smaller over land travel would be fitting for the standards. Maybe a 40,100 or 400m "sprint" time. Getting to or away from a confrontation quickly can be very valuable.

Also, that basic minimum is a pretty high bar depending on what you are setting that standard for. I've never tried a 5K row but the rest of it I can do except maybe the BW overhead press. I'd say you can be a healthy and competent gun person well below those numbers.
I would also recommend finding a buddy as a workout partner. This will help to stay on track and will provide you with the motivation and knowledge to make your time at the gym better spent. I lucked out with a friend who is younger, faster, and stronger than me, yet more important than that, is willing to show me the way in the gym particularly with the proper form of Olympic style lifting.

Now that I'm creeping up to his abilities, he pushes himself harder....leading me to want to catch up. It's a great cycle to get caught up in.

Joe _K

I’m 6’1” and went from 195lbs up to my current weight of 220lbs after leaving the Corps 5 years ago. My current job is sedentary in nature and keeps me indoors. I tend to be lazy when I don’t have an immediate goal in front of me.

Currently I’ve cut out unhealthy processed foods, and go running at least 3 times a week. I’m working on getting rid of the tub o’ flub, and getting my cardio up to a reasonable level, as well as attain a baseline level of endurance and standards met.
From there, probably in a month or so, start working on basic body weight stuff Pull-ups, Dips, Push-ups, 8-Counts, Burpees, Squats, & Lunges. Then move to incorporate gear, extra weight, more reps etc. All while still running minimum of 3 times per week.

Years spent smoking, drinking, eating whatever I wanted, and not hydrating along with injuries, (back, ankles, feet, ribs, and shoulders), has taken its toll, but I’m fighting back. I hope to report to be able to do the majority of the physical standard minimums on Dr. Cornwallis’ list this time next year.

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Good stuff, I am doing the same trying to focus on working out

You guys with good knees/lack of injuries are so lucky. I have a bad knee and have basically no cartilage on my right knee and can't run more then a mile with out being on the floor in pain.

I do think for more "combative" oriented fitness stuff like kettlebell workouts and sprints are good versus just straight powerlifting.