As I described in my last post, "Why Wild Game Meat is the Best Meat", eating healthy is extremely difficult, but it is also very important. Along those same lines, living a healthy lifestyle, with plenty of exercise, is also just as important. I'm blessed to have many family and friends that live extremely healthy lifestyles, and it helps them get into the mountains and do what we love.
I recently had the opportunity to interview one of the strongest and most athletic people I know. Russell Peacock has been a friend of mine since I was a little kid. Him and I literally grew up together. When Russell went into the military, he became very conscious of his physical health. Since that time, he has kept himself in peak physical shape, and has dedicated a lot of his time to learning about the best ways to eat healthy and exercise. I was very intrigued by some of his responses, as I know you will be as well.
Interview with Russell Peacock
Why do you feel fitness is important for hunters?
Athletes are not the only ones who should be pursuing a life of fitness and health. For outdoor enthusiasts, being fit and healthy should be the first step before pursuing big game in the back country of Colorado’s Rocky Mountains. Mother nature is brutal and unpredictable-"that John Denver is full of ---- man", or is he? When you draw back on that 380 bull, after stalking him for 5 miles, you do not want to be shaky, huffing and gasping for air (your adrenaline will do that enough as it is). Thus, you probably need to be living a lifestyle that incorporates fitness as part of your daily activities. What happens after you put down that 380 bull and your cute side by side is two ridges and 3.5 miles away? Plus, you’re low on water and out of trail mix? Sun is going down and temps will be dropping. You do not have a snowball’s chance in hell of packing him out unless you are physically fit!
Everyone is a hunter until they put down an animal and have to do real work. A lot of hunters are afraid of the real work and do not venture far from their 4wheelers and side by sides. However, if you are confident in your athletic ability, packing out your kill ethically should be the best part of the hunt. This is where you are truly connected to nature and the animal. Get yourself in shape and venture further into the back country.
Is it better to be lean, or do you feel it’s better to have more muscle mass?
Both! Everyone is different, and we all have different goals. However, I would recommend working towards developing a body that has lean mass. Set your health goals to put on lean mass while reducing your overall body fat %.
What workouts do you recommend for hunters?
Honestly, hunters should train the same as any other elite athlete. Workouts should be a mixture of weightlifting, cardio, and gymnastic movements performed at high intensity. Additionally, workouts should be varied and broad. Avoid Routine! You should be squatting, deadlifting, snatching, running, flipping tires, doing rope climbs, pull-ups, box jumps, burpees and rowing, swimming, clean and jerks- use barbells, dumbbells, kettle bells etc. Mix up the movement, volume, and load every day.
One quick note- most hunters carry a pack during their hunts that have all their necessary gear and food. The first time you load that pack up and put it on should not be opening morning of the hunt. Incorporate that pack in your workout’s months prior. Load it up, throw it on, and go run, squat, deadlift, and lunge with it. That pack will feel completely different when you’re sweating and fatigued vs when you put it on at home. You will figure out where it rubs and digs into your shoulders/lats/hips and you can adjust for that. Plus, you are training to perform well under those conditions.
How many times a week do you do cardio?
I do not have set days for cardio. Many of my workouts incorporate a cardiovascular movement to train that oxidative pathway/engine. You should not be doing cardio daily unless you are training for a specific event or sport that requires it. If not, your cardiovascular training should be varied and performed with other movements. Go run 600m then execute front squats and burpees for 20min and you will know why it is better to train this way vs just running for twenty minutes!
How many times a week do you have rest days, or do you have them at all?
I typically will take one or two days off a week depending on my schedule. For beginners I would recommend working out 3 to 4 days a week, and as you progress, you can kick that up. Always listen to your body though.
What supplements do you take during a workout, if any?
None. I try to get a meal in before a workout that contains a protein and complex carbs. Plus, WATER!
What supplements do you take after a workout, if any?
Just a post workout shake that contains protein, amino acids, creatine, and minerals/vitamins.
Do you feel we can get most of our nutrients, vitamins, and minerals from the food we eat, or are supplements a necessity?
Absolutely just from food! Save your money and spend it on healthy food for the week or more hunting gear! I would recommend taking a multivitamin, fish oil, magnesium, and zinc. Buy a protein that has amino acids in it. The rest should come from your diet. Again, everyone is different but you do not need to spend hundreds of dollars on fancy supplements that honestly will not make a difference (except in the pockets of big supplement companies).
When you go on a hunt, what foods do you take in your backpack?
My diet is more around paleo-thus. I typically will take a lean meat, oats, veggies, and some fruit. If you are keto then I recommend a lean meat, nuts, seeds, and some berries. Plus, COFFEE and Water! Bottom line is that you need energy out there in the back country and need to be snacking throughout the day.
What workouts/diet/fitness plans did you do in the military that you still use today?
I always prep my meals for the week on Sunday. I eat lean meats, complex carbs, and veggies. No sugar or processed foods and drink a lot of water. There is a lot that I learned in the military that I continue doing. I learned to approach fitness differently. I began working out to increase my performance and athletic ability at any task imaginable.
Rapid Fire Questions:
What do you like better, leg day or arm day?
I prefer training legs for sure.
Favorite post-workout/run drink?
My post-workout drink contains protein, amino acids, creatine, and minerals/vitamins. It's important to get these nutrients into your body immediately following a good intense workout.
Favorite animal to hunt?
I do not think I could limit it to just one! I honestly truly feel blessed to be outdoors and pursue any game. My top three are Turkey, Elk, and pronghorn.
Who is your hunting idol?
Gosh, I honestly do not think I have one!
Accomplishment you are most proud of in relation to hunting/fitness?
Hunting- Definitely teaching hunting/wilderness skills to my son and watching him put down his first game animal. Proudest moments ever! That is what it is truly about!
Fitness- Earning my CrossFit Level 1 trainer and soon opening a CrossFit gym in my hometown.