Preparation is NOT a Luxury
Not sure if you all have been following the world events over the past few years, but the world is not getting any better. Despite the promises from various politicians, everything is on fire. In some cases literally (Looking at you, France). I can almost guarantee that the city folk impacted by their current riots didn’t wake up expecting to see malls, high end stores, and auto lots being looted. Not a single well meaning citizen woke up knowing there would be rioters with belt fed weapons walking down their roads, pushing the police back.
It’s not an isolated incident, either. The world is seemingly falling apart and unraveling as the days go on. That is why preparation is important.
As a society, we have gotten comfortable, lazy, and soft. The people who see the hard times are ostracized and called crazy, but people who prepare ahead of time will do the best when those hard times eventually hit.
And, no. I am not only talking about buying a lot of food and having water/supplies stored up. While those things help, I am talking about having proper physical and mental preparation ahead of time.
Your overall level of fitness is cool on normal days because it tells others you take your health seriously when you walk into a room, but, in extreme circumstances, it can also save your life.
Resilience, endurance, stamina, strength, intelligence, training, mental toughness, and aerobic/anaerobic capacity all work together to make you a much harder target.
Working on those things today, and every day, will 100% make your life easier when the hard times eventually come along.
Defining Hard Times
Life has ups and downs. Sometimes everything just sucks. Losing family, struggling to make ends meet, natural disasters. These are some of the moments when things seem difficult, and we might feel a lot less confident than normal. Hard times can come in many shapes and forms, and everyone goes through them. It’s always better to hit them prepared.
Having problems with family or friends, or losing them outright, is never easy. It’s a challenge that can shake the most mentally together people. Facing a serious illness is always something people struggle with, especially when they are otherwise good-to-go. Personal challenges suck, but they also help us grow and become stronger.
When we run into problems at work, we call it professional difficulties. It might mean having a serious disagreement with a coworker, working alongside someone who is perpetually offended, compounding projects that make it hard to meet deadlines, or the loss of a steady job. Just like personal challenges, these tough times can teach important lessons about mental fortification and the ability to overcome issues as they appear.
Sometimes the whole world faces major difficulties – we call these global crises. Natural disasters, wars and conflicts, terrible world leaders, soft populations, or other big changes around the world can affect millions of people. For example, the COVID-19 pandemic was tough on everyone. Government lockdowns caused lots of lost income, 34% of small business (at minimum) closed permanently, and we are still feeling the impact of the mental effects they had due to forced isolation and fear.
The war in Ukraine and the riots in France are ‘great’ examples of what happens to a population when conflict occurs on their doorstep. Homes and businesses destroyed, supply chains stopped, and the perpetual threat of violence while just trying to go about your day. Not fun stuff.
Earthquakes, wildfires, hurricanes. You cannot predict when or where these things will happen. A lightning strike could start a forest fire that burns thousands of acres. An earthquake could occur hundreds of miles away and still impact your home/business. Hurricanes can impact supply chains, reducing the amount of goods available in the store.
We cannot always control our circumstances, but we can control how we prepare for and face them.
The Role of Mental and Physical Preparation
Keeping our minds sharp and our bodies ready to face difficulties is key to not only surviving this world for as long as possible, but also just enjoying our daily lives, regardless of how monotonous and normal they end up being.
Think about it. You go to the gym, get yourself good and tired day in and day out. You can run miles on end, lift hundreds of pounds. Your flexibility is off the charts. Chances are, you aren’t going to be nearly as sore as anyone you know after doing various tasks. Your levels of various aches and pains are going to be far below most people your age, or possibly younger. Friends and family will be amazed at how you can do things they only wish they could do.
Point is, even if those tough times never come (They will, though), you will have prepared yourself and live a life that is as high quality as possible.
However, once those tough times come you are already ready. You can run the mile or so out of danger if you need to, lift rubble off of others, physically handle and outwork an attacker, or otherwise have a much higher chance of emerging unscathed.
Society likes to praise physical and mental weakness these days, but physical and mental toughness will help you stay ahead of the game once the time times roll around. Your body is your first line of defense. It’s how you interact with the world. The more you train and care for it, the better off you will be.
The Importance of Physical Fitness
Having a strong and fit body means you’re well-prepared to overcome anything life throws at you. It helps you stay positive, feel more energetic, and even helps your brain think more clearly. Plus, nothing beats the feeling of conquering a tough workout.
When the rough patches happen, you are far more equipped to conquer them successfully.
Think about this scenario. An active shooter shows up in your vicinity, what do you do? Chances are that completely depends on your overall physical ability to remove yourself from the situation. If you can only run a few feet before being winded, how far are you going to get before you have to stop? If you have children with you, would you be able to pick them up and get them out of the danger zone?
What about a situation where you are hiking with a friend in an area without good cell signal and they get injured. Are you able to pick them up and help them get out?
In the event of a supply chain issue where food and goods are scarce and society is imploding. Are you able to fight your way to safety, or at least have the stamina and endurance as well as mental fortitude to get out?
Most people say they would be able to do any of those things. Most of those people also believe they can throw a football more accurately than Tom Brady in his prime. The arm chair is a dangerous place to live.
Exercise: Your Superpower Boost
Regular exercise is more than charging your battery. It actually expands your battery. Exercise helps you to use your fuel (carbohydrates and fats) and oxygen far more efficiently. By causing more fuel and oxygen to circulate around your body, your energy levels naturally increase. This is a huge boost on a regular day, but it’s an amazing thing to have in an emergency. Sure, the adrenaline will be pumping regardless but the baseline energy levels will alrady be far ahead of most other people.
As an additional feature, some exercise can actually increase your mitochondria density. Remember what mitochondria is from fifth period biology back in six grade or when you first learned about cell functions in third? The powerhouse of the cell, man! Having more means more natural energy. More energy means you are better suited to successfully encounter many situations.
Exercise also keeps your heart healthy and boosts your mood. It also helps boost your coordination, mind-muscle connection, and your brain function.
Whether it’s playing soccer, swimming, riding your bike, weightlifting, MMA, strongman, CrossFit, kickboxing, or any other activity, keeping active is incredibly helpful to prepare you ahead of time for whatever you may encounter.
Fuel Up and Recharge: Sleep and Nutrition
Proper nutrition is overlooked by the bulk of a society heavily focused on sweets, sugary beverages, and fast food. In reality, what you eat literally determines who you are. A diet full of junk is going to give you junk performance.
Everything from blood sugar levels to hormone production, muscle mass to sleep quality is influenced by our diets. Everyone enjoys the trash occasionally, regardless of how that looks for you. Some people don’t eat a single vegetable for weeks and exist on processed trash. To others, a junk day might have a single bag of chips or a cheeseburger once a week/month.
No one can deny, however, that the lower quality food you consume the worse you feel, look, and perform. Even adding in a single serving of vegetables a day is a great start for getting you on the right path. In an emergency situation you may only have access to long shelf life junk, but for right now you should absolutely strive to eat better. The closer to nature the food is, the better it is generally going to be for you. Steak is better than ground beef, fresh vegetables are better than frozen, honey is better than cane sugar which is better than sucralose. You get the picture.
Speaking of nutrition and it’s impact on sleep, getting enough sleep enhances your body’s ability to recover and build strength. Since you never know what the next day will bring, it’s obviously better to approach it well rested. Emergency situations might have you staying up for 18, 24, 36, or even 72 hours. That’s a long time to head into on a sub-optimal amount of rest.
Plus, sleep is when we grow, recover, and regulate our hormones properly. Don’t skimp on it if you want to be the best you can be day in and day out.
Super Activities for Resilience
Building resilience – that is, your power to recover quickly and keep going strong – involves a mix of different activities. These include cardio exercises like running or jumping jacks, strength exercises like push-ups and squats, and flexibility exercises like Yoga or stretching. Mix them up to add some spice to your workouts and keep all aspects of you strong, flexible, and ready!
Being physically prepared is just half of the story. Mental preparation is the secret weapon that helps us tackle tough times with a cool and calm mind. Being strong enough to lift a house, flexible to climb over obstacles with ease, and in shape enough to run for miles only goes so far if you are not mentally tough enough to handle it.
The Importance of Mental Preparation
Staying physically prepared is important and being mentally prepared is the game changer helps us make good decisions with whatever life throws at us. This allows us to stay positive and handle our feelings better when things get tough.
Mental toughness is when you stand tall, no matter how tough the challenge. Resilience is your ability to bounce back from setbacks. Both can be improved with regular practice. Positive self-talk, setting goals, and managing your feelings can help you build these mental muscles. As I mentioned above, the mental game you play can help you win or cause you to lose in any instance. Being ‘street smart’ as well as ‘book smart’ is important, but so is being mentally equipped for various scenarios by training yourself to be calm and collected under pressure. Exercise is one way to help you work on that.
You never know how far you can actually go and what you are capable of until you encounter a scenario that puts you in that situation. Pushing yourself through tough sessions can help you discover your limits and push past them. You will know what you are and are not capable of should the situation arise. This helps with developing confidence, which is an enormous necessity in an emergency.
Inner Peace: Mindfulness and Meditation
Mindfulness is about staying in the present moment. Meditation helps you keep calm and reduce stress.
Action Plan to foster Mental Preparedness and Discipline:
- Set goals: Aim for something each day. It can be as simple as reading a new book or helping around the house.
- Stay positive: Even when things are tough, look for the good things in life.
- Control feelings: When you’re feeling angry or upset, take deep breaths to calm down.
- Practice mindfulness and meditation: Spend a few minutes each day just being quiet and focusing on your breathing.
Stacking mindfulness and meditation alongside good amounts of strenuous exercise is a fantastic way to calm down your brain, relax your body, and generally just live a less anxious life.
Benefits of Being Prepared
Why do these really matter? Why should you strive to be prepared for any situation, and why isn’t that a wee bit weird? Your life is nothing to gamble with. Living a comfortable life full of lounging and delicious snacks is great. It can be fun. It’s easy. But, it’s also dangerous. Living in complacency is not a good place to live.
We all know that you need to service your car so it will work, save for retirement in order to meet our needs as we age and don’t have a steady paycheck any longer, and bring rain gear along if the (inaccurate) weatherman says it is going to rain. Why don’t more of us do the same with ourselves?
Too many people think life will always be comfortable and safe. History proves that isn’t the case and that it can change in an instant. It’s always better to show up to an interview prepared. ‘Showing up’ to an emergency is no different. It’s better to arrive in that situation fully capable of handling it.
Doing so will bring about all sorts of good benefits:
- Confidence: Being physically and mentally prepared makes you confident in your abilities to react appropriately.
- Less Stress: No situation will ever be stress-free, but when you’re ready for any life situation, you worry less.
- Success: The more you prepare, the more successful you are. This applies to every aspect of life, for the record.
Being prepared, both physically and mentally, is being ready at all times!
Approaching Hard Times with Confidence
Being ready to face tough times with confidence is important. You ever see a boxer head into a ring looking unconfident? They lose. Every time. The ones who are prepared physically and mentally are the ones who win. Those who let their opponent shake them don’t.
When you feel strong, powerful, and ready to take on the world you have far better odds.
That is why putting in the work now can be a game changer whenever ‘then’ hits.
If you aren’t already hitting the gym, start now. Literally right now. Find a gym and enroll. Then, go. If you need to start slow, that’s fine. Start once a week and go for an hour. Then up it to twice a week. Then three, and four sessions a week.
Hire a trainer if you need one to teach you the ropes and get you on the pathway to success. Jump into some sort of regimen, whether that is bodybuilding, powerlifting, strongman, CrossFit, or a martial art. They all have their own strengths and weaknesses, but they will all get you stronger, faster, and more agile than you probably are today. Extra points if you combine a few of them.
Running short distances a few times a week is also important. Get that cardio going. Run a hundred yards, then 200. Before long you are running miles.
Get that weight in check. Big might be beautiful in the eyes of some, but it isn’t helpful in an emergency. How can you start with that? Fix your diet. Find our how much you should be eating, and stick with it. Consume enough protein for your weight and goals. Drink your water. And sleep. If those don’t help, get your blood work done to see what might be causing the issue.
Small steps cascade into large changes. The important thing is to actually start and keep going long enough to make a habitual change that sticks.
Be Ready: Doing Hard Things for Hard Times
Being ready for hard times is the ultimate life skill.
- Get Physically Prepared: Work on our bodies by eating right, exercising, and resting well.
- Get Mentally Prepared: Build mental muscles through setting goals, positivity, controlling feelings, and practicing mindfulness.
- Boost Confidence: Prepare, practice, and stay positive to approach hard times confidently.
- Self-Empowerment: Believe in ourselves and have trust in our ability to do things well.
Get yourself up and out there. Prepare yourself for whatever you can that might happen in the future. Build yourself into an immovable object full of strength, confidence, and skill.
The world really isn’t doing too well these days. It’s up to you to face whatever happens tomorrow. No one is going to force you to exercise. No one is going to force you to eat right. Just doing those two things will give you a discipline lacking in society today and will give you the upper hand should the unthinkable happen. Physical and mental preparation is key!
Let Us help You Out
At CONDITIONerd we are here to help you achieve better physical and mental health through exercise. Check out the plans we offer to our customers and see if you could benefit from working with our team. And if you have questions, you can always contact a CONDITIONerd team member.
Personal trainers, like those found here, can help guide you on your pathway towards reaching your fitness goals, whether that is getting bigger, stronger, faster, more lean, or just generally feeling better.
We can get you setup with a periodized workout plan, supplement information, and advice on nutrition to help you reach your goals.
The only thing you need is some motivation and a willingness to change some old habits.
Get into contact with us to find out what membership is right for you. In a CONDITIONerd program, you’ll be surrounded by others who can help you to get where you want to be.
Generally, our clients start to see some pretty awesome changes in 2-3 months time, some sooner.