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Long-Term Disaster Training: A Primer on Prepping Your Body

If you aren’t in good physical shape before a long-term emergency, you could be setting yourself up for a disaster.

All the readers at ReadyNutrition know how much emphasis and importance I have placed on physical conditioning and training as part of your preps.  You need to take care of your body and mind.  Exercise and nutrition are critical for you.  I believe that I have emphasized this repeatedly and that they both go together.  So, what’s this?  What is new about this article?  I’m going to mention some areas of the body, and present some technical terms to stimulate your further research.  Let’s go in order.

The Brain

Exercise helps to increase the circulation in the brain by 30%.  That’s an impressive figure.  This helps with the way the brain synthesizes glucose and utilizes oxygen.  A strong, healthy brain is very important for your mental and physical functions.  The brain has many chemicals that are important.  Some it produces on its own, and others it synthesizes from nutrients taken in.

  1. Endorphins: a natural pain-killer produced by the brain, especially in times of stress or physical exertion. Laughter also releases endorphins.  This substance is more powerful than morphine.
  2. Serotonin: has effects that change the mood. Lower levels can lead to depression.
  3. Cholecystokinin: is a hormone that governs appetite. Deficiency in this hormone can lead to insatiable feelings and overeating.

A well-balanced diet with plenty of iron and B vitamins are key to maintaining good brain health.

The Body

You need to look at yourself as an athlete in training.  What are you training for?  You are training to survive…in a “marathon” of when the grid goes down and the SHTF.  When it happens, don’t kid yourself…the society as you know it is not coming back anytime soon, if even within your lifetime.  Now is the time to prepare your body.  Let’s review some substances we have talked about before that are crucial to your athletic and physical performance.

  1. Glycogen: is a form of glucose (your body’s fuel) that is stored in both the muscles and the liver. It is released in the form of glucose in times of high energy activity and when your body needs it.  Exercise is one of those times.  Glycogen is especially used at times when the energy exerted is short to medium term needing high amounts of strength.
  2. Oxidative Systems: this is for long-term and endurance challenges. This is where oxygen works upon the protein, glucose, and fatty acid chains in a process known as oxidation.  These substances then generate energy.  Oxygen intake is the key factor in this phase.
  3. Amino Acids: the “building blocks” for all your protein and tissue repair. We covered these extensively in previous articles.  Protein intake of high-quality meats, poultry, seafood, and protein powder is a must for success in this department.

Protein consumption needs to be high in either of the two phases of exercise (short-term, or long-term/endurance activities).  What is needed is a balanced nutritional intake of protein and carbohydrates, as lean as possible to enable efficient recovery and tissue repair without gaining unnecessary weight from the fat.

This is where your planning comes into play, depending on what type of discipline you follow.  I lift weights and follow power training in all of my endeavors.  Many of you are distance runners.  You must gear your meals and intake to correspond with these accordingly.  Do not forget what I mentioned in other articles about anabolism and catabolism.  These two phases are muscle growth and muscle breakdown, respectively.

In order to effectively prevent “cannibalism,” that is the conversion by your depleted body of muscle protein into glycogen…you must consume protein and carbohydrates within 20 to 30 minutes after your workout.

I also told you that (barring introduction of supplements with protein and carbs at mid-workout) you should keep your workouts between 45 minutes to 1-hour maximum.

Do not forget winter chores “count” as workout time if they involve strenuous physical activity!  That wood-chopping and snow-shoveling are just as good as a workout…and in some instances more difficult and/or better!  The reason I’m writing these articles now is a good one:

The winter hasn’t begun: you need to be into a routine to avoid the complacency normally striking during the winter, and the added “distraction” of the holidays, a “crippler” for the midsection.

I receive dozens of e-mails in the spring, asking “JJ, what kind of program should I start with to get rid of all my excess weight?”  I do feel for these people; however, the best type of medicine is the medicine taken preventatively….to keep that condition from occurring.

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure – Ben Franklin

He was right.  You can prevent what would normally occur by staying on top of things and getting into your exercise program.  There are a ton of articles for you to start with that I’ve written…to get you started.  Get into a routine now and stick with it.  Learn about the body and how it functions.  It is your tool/temple/first line of defense.  You may need to rely on your strength and endurance at a critical moment and if you fail, it may mean dire consequences for your family.  Win the battle before it starts.  This is part of preparing.  In the long run, you’ll be the winner, and you may be what wins the battle for your family, as well.  JJ out!

This article was originally published at Ready Nutrition™ on October 9th, 2017