Aged over 40 and still chasing the thrill of the hunt? You're in good company. Many seasoned hunters keep their game strong well into their later years. But let's face it, age can slow you down. Staying fit becomes crucial to meet the rigors of hunting as you get older.
Hunting fitness isn't just about enduring long treks or lugging hefty gear. It's about the muscle, agility, and stamina for all hunting demands: scaling heights, stealthy maneuvers, precise shots. As years add up, keeping fit is a necessity to avoid injuries and keep hunting not just for now, but for years ahead.
The good news? There's a slew of fitness programs tailored for hunters north of 40. And the even better news? You’re at the right place; MTNTOUGH is home to the best hunting fitness programs no matter your age.
The right programs will help you build the muscle, stamina, and flexibility you need. They tackle age-specific challenges like joint pain and reduced mobility. With the right program, you can maintain peak hunting conditions and keep living your hunting passion, regardless of the number on your birthday cake.
As a basic overview, we’re going to show you some of the thinking behind getting mountain-ready over 40, and how you can guarantee your fitness matches your hunting ambitions.
Assessing Your Current Fitness Level
Before you tackle any functional fitness program, MTNTOUGH or otherwise, begin by sizing up where you stand. Because there’s a difference between having a plan and having the right plan. Here's how to break down your current fitness level:
Measuring Your Muscle and Stamina
In the hunting game, strength and endurance aren't just important; they're everything. Sure, getting older means these might dip, but the right program can turn that around.
To gauge your strength, you’ll hit the basics: push-ups, squats, lunges. See how many you can hammer out in a minute. This will establish your baseline.
Cardio Health: Non-Negotiable After 40
Heart health is key, no two ways about it. Past 40, the risk of heart issues ticks up, making regular checks a must.
Test your cardio with your choice of running, cycling, or swimming. How far can you push in a set time? Keep an eye on your heart rate, both at rest and when you're going all out.
At MTNTOUGH, you’ll take part in a 2-week ‘On-Ramp’ program to establish your plan. We offer three types of on-ramps: Bodyweight, Minimal Gear, and Gym. Aside from being age-accessible, you’ll have several options to match your gear and equipment too:
1. Bodyweight ON-RAMP:
The MTNTOUGH Bodyweight On-Ramp program is expertly designed for individuals looking to kickstart their fitness journey. This program is ideal for beginners or those resuming their fitness routine. With no equipment required, it leverages only your bodyweight and a small space for movement.
The program spans over two weeks, featuring three workouts per week, making it a perfect fit for a 14-day free trial. Each session guides participants through fundamental exercises, setting a solid foundation for more advanced MTNTOUGH programs.
The Bodyweight On-Ramp program emphasizes the basics of functional fitness, offering an accessible entry point into the world of fitness without the need for any gym equipment.
It’s a comprehensive introduction to the MTNTOUGH fitness philosophy, emphasizing both physical and mental strength.
2. Minimal Gear On-Ramp:
The MTNTOUGH Minimal Gear On-Ramp program is tailored for those who may feel overwhelmed about starting a fitness regimen.
This two-week program, is designed to ease beginners into the fitness world with minimal equipment. It removes the intimidation factor and focuses on fundamental exercises, requiring only a few essentials, likely already in your home.
The Minimal Gear On-Ramp is a blend of practicality and effectiveness, delivering workouts that build foundational strength and endurance with basic gear.
It's a solid choice for those who want to start their fitness journey with confidence and minimal investment in equipment, plus, it's welcoming for any experience level in the gym.
3. Full Gym On-Ramp - Beginner:
Think of this program as your personal training for the gym - the MTNTOUGH Gym On-Ramp - Beginner program is specifically designed to help you enter a gym and quickly overcome any intimidation factor in the environment.
While it's still self-guided, it will feel more like having a guide at your side for two weeks as MTNTOUGH simplifies the use of basic gym equipment, and gets you more familiar with functional, dynamic movements for a full-body workout.
If you're planning on using MTNTOUGH+ in a gym setting or have any anxiety about training in a public setting, then this On-Ramp is the right choice for you.
By demystifying gym equipment and routines, the Gym On-Ramp - Beginner program empowers participants to build confidence and foundational fitness skills.
Once you complete it, you'll have a smooth transition to the Gym Foundation program. It's an intermediate step-up from the On-Ramp programs, so you'll continue to enhance your gym experience and fitness capabilities.
Assessing where you're at fitness-wise lets you build a plan that’s tailored for you. Start at a pace that feels right, then crank it up. With focused training, you'll shore up your strength, endurance, and heart health. That’s how you stay hunting-ready.
Creating a Personalized Fitness Plan
Building a fitness plan that's cut to your unique needs and goals is crucial. Hunting demands grit and fitness, and a tailored plan ensures you're up to the task. Let’s break down how to build a fitness routine that keeps you in the game.
Carving Out Achievable Targets
First off, set goals that are real and within reach. Take a hard look at where you're at fitness-wise, any health concerns, and the time you can commit. Your targets need to be tough enough to push you, but within the realm of possibility to keep you driven and seeing results.
A solid approach is the SMART method. It's about goals that are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound. Say you're a 40-plus hunter. A SMART goal could be upping your cardio game by running 30 minutes, three times a week, for six months.
Tailoring Your Routine to Hunting
When plotting out your fitness plan, fold in exercises that mimic hunting’s physical demands. Think about boosting balance, building strength, and beefing up endurance, all with a hunter’s moves in mind.
Consider hunting-specific workouts that contain exercises such as:
- Cardio drills like running, trekking, or rowing for endurance.
- Strength moves like squats, lunges, and deadlifts to bolster leg and core power.
- Balance workouts, think single-leg stands or yoga, for steadiness.
- Endurance tasks like hauling a heavy pack or farmer’s walks, mimicking the load of hunting gear.
Weaving in hunting-focused exercises will prime you for the physical challenges of the hunt, setting you up for a rewarding season.
RELATED POST: HOW DO YOU STAY IN SHAPE FOR HUNTING YEAR ROUND?
Core and Legs for the Over-40 Hunter
Any hunter stepping past 40 faces a cold truth - keeping fit is no longer a choice. Now a necessity, fitness over 40 is the only way you'll manage to survive long hikes and multi-day hunts.
You'll need a heavy dose of core strength for balance and the leg power to handle the long hauls ahead. It’s something you start and commit to building year-round.
Core: Your Power Center
Few realize that a solid core is your foundation when hunting - but it's true all the same. It keeps you stable, controls your moves, and guards against injuries. Planks, sit-ups, and Russian twists – these are your go-to exercises for a rock-hard core. They hone your posture and amp up your overall might.
Take the front plank. It's straightforward but tough: Hit the push-up pose, rest on your elbows, and keep your body ramrod straight. Hold it as long as you can, and keep pushing that limit.
Easy enough. But executed correctly and it's a great exercise to mix into your workouts.
Legs: Your Hunting Wheels
Your legs are your machinery for scaling, hauling, and enduring. Focus on exercises like squats and lunges to get those legs hunting-ready.
- Squats are your leg-building champions. Stand feet apart, like you're about to sit down, but there's no chair. Keep your back straight, eyes forward. Dip down, then drive up. Rinse and repeat.
- Lunges – another leg buster. Step forward, lower yourself till that front knee hits a right angle. Keep it neat – back straight, knee over toe. Do your reps, then switch sides.
There are far more movements to include that should be tailored to your goals, but at a minimum, folding the core and leg exercises mentioned above into your existing routine will help lay the foundation for a fitter, stronger hunting season.
As always, start at a pace that suits you and dial up the intensity gradually.
Strength Training with Free Weights
Free weights shouldn’t call fancy or expensive equipment to mind. That’s not the purpose or the requirement here. Rather, free weights, like dumbbells, get you ready for the field, working multiple muscles in ways that mimic real hunting actions.
Dumbbell Drills: Your Strength Arsenal
Dumbbells are simple yet powerful. They’re your go-to for building hunting strength. Here are a few of the effective ones for hunters:
- Dumbbell Rows: These hone your upper back, crucial for lugging gear in the wild. Better posture, better load handling.
- Dumbbell Bench Press: Work your chest, shoulders, triceps – the muscles you need for pushing, pulling, and steadying your shot.
Dumbbell Lunges: Target your legs, essential for steady, balanced treks across uneven ground.
Squats and Deadlifts: The Foundation Builders
Squats and deadlifts are the cornerstones of a hunter's strength. They power up multiple groups of muscles, echoing the movements you need in hunting.
This is the second time squats has made the list in this article; emphasizing just how important this move is to hunting fitness. Making its first appearance this list, yet no less critical, is the deadlift. Here's how to perform it.
- Deadlifts: They work your legs, back, and core, important for lifting and carrying in the hunt. Stand with feet apart, weights in hand, hinge at the hips, lower them down, then drive up.
Start light, nail the form, then up the weight. Weaving these free weight exercises into your routine will build the strength you need for hunting, keeping you sharp and ready for the outdoors.
Cardio for Hunters: Toughening Up for Trek
If you've stopped to catch your breath on a hike, you know how important your heart and lungs are to hunting fitness at any age.
Cardio training ramps up your stamina, expands lung power, and toughens your ticker.
Cardio Drills: Trail and Water
From AssaultBikes to SkiErgs - there are a ton of ways to get your cardio ready for the hunt ahead. But, don't forget two of the most effective and accessible training methods to build hunting cardio:
- Hiking: This isn't a leisurely walk; it's your training ground. Hiking builds the kind of endurance you need for the hunt. It strengthens your legs and gets you used to high altitudes and rough terrains. Start with manageable trails, then push the distance and difficulty.
- Rowing: Whether you take to the water or hit a rowing machine on dry land, rowing’s a powerhouse cardio move, strengthening your back, arms, and legs while shoring up your endurance.
HIIT: Short, Sharp, and Hunting-Ready
HIIT is all about intensity in bursts – perfect for hunting situations. Short, explosive exercises followed by rest periods boost your cardiovascular capacity, burn calories, and rev up your metabolism.
This is easily one of the most important components of getting mountain ready, and critical to high altitude training as well (although you'll want a mix of low, medium, and high intensity training mixed throughout your routine.)
Make it through your HIIT program and you'll be pushing yourself through one of the best ways to get your heart and lungs ready for the hunt. They'll ultimately become your tools to a stronger, more resilient hunting season.
Prevention and Recovery Are Key to Staying Injury-Free
Hunting at any age is a risky business. As soon as you blow out the candles on your 40th birthday cake - something happens. Your risk level seems to sky rocket out of nowhere. Staying injury-free requires more of your attention than ever.
As a basic entry-point, keep injury at bay with proper warms up and recovery before and after your workouts and hunts.
Warming Up: Get Ready to Move
Don’t just jump into your workout. Start with a solid warm-up to prep your muscles and joints. It's your shield against injuries.
- Joint Rotations: Start from the top. Roll your neck, shoulders, elbows, all the way down to your ankles. It’s about getting those joints ready for action.
- Dynamic Stretching: Forget static holds; go for movement. Walking lunges, high knees – these get the blood pumping and your muscles limber.
- Light Cardio: A bit of jogging or jumping jacks does wonders. It's about getting your heart rate up and your body temperature rising.
Post-Workout Recovery Techniques
After pushing your limits, give your body the downtime it needs. It's about recovery, not just rest.
- Cool Down: Ease out of your workout. A slow walk or some stretching does the trick. Bring your heart rate down the right way.
- Foam Rolling: It’s like giving your muscles a massage. Roll out the tight spots, increase blood flow, and help in muscle recovery.
- Hydrate and Refuel: Water is key, and so is nutrition. Refuel with a healthy snack or meal to replenish those energy stores.
Injury prevention and recovery aren’t just part of the routine; they’re crucial for keeping you hunting strong for years.
Pay attention to what your body tells you and adjust your workouts accordingly. That’s how you stay tough on the trail.
Nutrition and Supplements for Peak Performance
To keep your body running at its best, focus on solid nutrition and smart supplementation. Here's the lowdown on eating right and supplementing smart for top-notch hunting performance.
The Hunter's Diet: Lean, Mean, and Clean
Your plate should be as balanced as your shot. Mix it up with whole foods: lean proteins, complex carbs, and healthy fats. These are your fuel for endurance and strength in the wild.
- Protein: It's muscle repair and growth in food form. Load up on lean meats, fish, eggs, and dairy.
- Complex Carbs: Think whole grains, fruits, and veggies for energy that lasts, keeping you sharp and steady on long hunts.
- Healthy Fats: Go for nuts, seeds, avocados. They're brain and hormone boosters.
Supplements: The Extra Edge
Even the best diets can miss a beat. That's where supplements come in, filling the gaps and upping your game.
- Protein Powder: A quick fix for protein needs, it’s perfect for on-the-go hunters.
- Omega-3s: Key for your brain, heart, and joints. Found in fatty fish or in supplement form.
- Multivitamin: Pick one made for active adults. It's your nutritional insurance.
- Creatine: For when you need a burst of strength and muscle power. Useful for those intense, high-energy moments.
- Caffeine: The old faithful for focus and endurance. It's in your coffee, tea, and some supplements.
In a nutshell, proper nutrition and the right supplements are non-negotiable for the hunter over 40. Give your body what it needs to hit the marks, every time. Eat well, supplement wisely, and keep your body in prime hunting condition.
Home Training for the Seasoned Hunter
For some, training at home beats the gym any day. It's all about the ease, time-saving, and shaping a personal fitness zone. With a number of Minimal Gear and No Gear programs, MTNTOUGH+ can turn your home into a powerhouse for hunting prep. Here’s the rundown on building a home gym that keeps you hunting-fit.
Rigging Up Your Home Gym
Creating a home gym doesn’t mean crowding your space or emptying your wallet. Stick to the basics:
- Dumbbells: They’re the workhorses of your gym. Flexible for various workouts, easy on the wallet and space.
- Kettlebell: A single kettlebell ramps up the challenge, offering a full-body workout.
- Pull-Up Bar: Mount it in a doorway. It’s simple and effective for building upper body strength.
- Cooler or Sturdy Box: Use what you’ve got. Perfect for step-ups and box jumps, adding to your leg power.
Bodyweight Drills: Your Built-In Gym
Don’t underestimate bodyweight exercises. They're your always-ready, no-cost fitness tools.
- Push-Ups: The bread and butter of upper body training. Do them anywhere, scale up or down as needed.
- Squats: Essential for leg strength, key for those long hunts. No weights needed, just your body and determination.
- Planks: Core strength is critical. Planks are straightforward but challenging, and you can do them anywhere.
Turning your home into a training hub is a savvy move for hunters. A basic home gym combined with bodyweight exercises saves you time and money while keeping you in top hunting shape.
Outdoor and Functional Training: The Hunter’s Edge
Outdoor and functional training is the bread and butter of hunting fitness. Leveraging the natural terrain and elements not only spikes the challenge but also dials up the enjoyment. Here's how to weave the great outdoors into your workout regime.
Hiking and Rucking: Nature's Gym
Hiking as part of your training isn’t just a leisurely stroll, or at least it shouldn't be if you're hunting the backcountry at 40+. Really, it should fee like endurance training with a view.
It preps you for the hunt, whether you’re scaling peaks or navigating the backwoods. Amp up the challenge by adding a weighted pack – that’s rucking. It's a solid way to build leg and back strength, crucial for those long hunts.
Be smart when you hike or ruck. Pack enough water, food, and emergency gear. Let someone know your route and expected return time. Safety first.
Incorporating outdoor training into your routine is more than fitness; it’s about being as rugged and ready as the land you hunt on. It builds the strength and stamina you need for the toughest hunts, right where they happen.
Year-Round Training for the Seasoned Hunter
Whether your over or under 40, unlike hunting, fitness isn’t seasonal – it’s a year-round commitment. You need to be in top form to meet the demands of the hunt, meaning a consistent workout routine is key.
Off-Season Fitness: Stay Sharp
Don't let the off-season be your downtime. It's prime time to keep your fitness steady. No need to mimic your hunting pre-season and in-season workouts, but maintain that edge. Focus on endurance and strength.
Off-season activities like hiking, jogging, or cycling keep your stamina up and your heart strong. And don't forget strength training. Whether it’s lifting weights or bodyweight exercises, it’s about keeping your muscles primed.
Pre-Hunt Training: Gear Up
When hunting season looms, it's time to up the ante. Tailor your workouts to the hunt. Think weighted pack marches, shooting practice, and exercises that mimic the hunt's physicality. MTNTOUGH’s Backcountry Hunter Preseason Prep 2.0 is a game-changer in getting fit for hunting season. Do yourself a favor and start your preseason with this program.
Once your season begins, MTNTOUGH’s in-season program is a solid choice for maintaining your strength, endurance, and agility as much as possible, without getting in the way of your hunting experience.
Expect workouts that challenge you with weighted carries, uphill sprints, and drills that fine-tune your body for precise shooting.
By keeping fit all year and intensifying your training as hunting season approaches, you’re setting yourself up for success. See how what it takes to become MTNTOUGH in your 40s by trying MTNTOUGH+ with our 14-day free trial.
You’ll hike further, carry heavier, and shoot greater precision – all essentials for being mountain-ready at any age.