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Make the Best Use of Winter – Part 1

My 2-cents


There was a time when I was in a perpetual state of physical readiness. In my prior life, I had to be ready to climb into an aircraft with a whole bunch of gear and jump out at some point with that gear, and “move, shoot, and communicate” for days or weeks with only a few hours’ notice. There was no grace period where you could say, “OK…I gotta get in shape, cause I’m going to be hitting the field in 6-months.” We did PT (physical training) every day. HARD physical training. Well, those days are behind me and I’m now faced with the reality that I’m no longer “perpetually prepared,” but, that I can say I’m “perpetually unprepared” for the rigors of heavy rucking through mountainous or other difficult terrain.


One universal truth is that no one…I mean no one…can get into good physical condition overnight. It takes time. It takes self-discipline. It takes dedication. It takes a desire to get into shape, and that desire comes from identifying a personal goal and "designing” a plan to reach that goal. As I write this, it is January 1, 2018. Winter is here. Treasure hunting season can start anytime the weather and personal schedules cooperate, and the ground conditions are conducive to “the hunt.” But, generally we could say that Memorial Day is a good target date. Weather is good; start of the traditional summer season; a good holiday weekend to jump start our adventures. In 2018, the start of the Memorial Day (28 May) weekend is Friday, 25 May, 2018. So, my goal is to be physically fit sufficient to pursue my treasure hunting adventures by Friday, 25 May 2018. I have just 144 days (just a little over 20 weeks) to meet my goal. I urge you to look at your calendar and pick your own goal date. But, just what is “physically fit sufficient to pursue my treasure hunting adventures?”


You must be realistic when looking at what you want to do versus what you will be able to do. Going to a beach and swinging a metal detector is a lot less physically demanding that throwing on a 60-pound rucksack and hiking 20 miles into a rugged wilderness. Both of these are different from picking and shoveling hard-pack gravels from an ancient river bed into a dry-washer or a high-banker. All of these are different from going underwater with a hookah rig (compressed air) and moving large boulders to get to bedrock. This article is not going to define exactly what you need to work on in getting fit for your activity. Instead, I’ll touch on a few “givens,” and you can do a self-evaluation on your needs and list them yourself.


Given: Everyone should have a strong “core.” Your core is the sum-total of your musculo-skeletal system that allows you to get up, stand up straight, and move around without undue stress and without pulling or tearing muscles. How do you know your core needs work? Do you have a big stomach? Do you have back problems? Do you have problems getting up once you're on the floor? Do you have problems getting down on one knee just to have equal problems getting back up? These are just examples of what your core does. Get up…get down…pick up...put down...move around. If you have any issues with any of the above, your core needs work.


Given: Everyone needs an efficient cardio-pulmonary system. Your cardio-pulmonary system consists of your heart, blood vessels, and lungs. These systems interact to provide essential nutrients to all parts of your body…nutrients, such as fuel (sugars), oxygen, and many, MANY other trace elements. These same systems transport metabolized waste products from all parts of your body to those organs that eliminate them (lungs, liver, spleen, kidneys). How do you know if your cardio-pulmonary system needs work? If you do ANY heavy breathing in normal activity levels, it needs work. If you’re breath heavy after 1 or 2 flights of stairs, it needs work. If carrying bags of groceries from the car to the kitchen causes heavy breathing, it needs work.



Given: Everyone needs to strengthen the large muscle groups of their extremities. Your large muscle groups of your extremities are what allow you to walk, climb, pickup, and carry large and or heavy objects. The amount of strengthening is going to be dependent on your anticipated needs. Swinging a metal detector is not hard work…but…swinging that same detector for 6 or 8 hours is a different story. Rucksacks can be heavy. Shovels full of bench gravels can be heavy. I remember one story of a gravel bar on the Similkameen River in upper Washington State that was said to contain 1000 ounces of gold per shovel full when gold was first discovered in that area. That’s 83 POUNDS of gold per shovel full!


Given: Everyone needs a nutritious diet to meet the needs of their workout, and of their activities. I didn’t say ‘rabbit food diet.’ I said nutritious diet. I am not going to recommend any specific eating regimen. You know the foods you like. You know the foods you can and cannot eat. If you want to build muscle, eat more proteins. If you want to lose weight, eat less sugars and fats. Do a little research and find an ‘eating routine” (notice I did not say diet) that provides you a good selection of your foods that meet your nutrition needs based on your goals. Cut out the ‘bad foods.’ Do some research and design a menu for yourself when in the field. Make sure it provides sufficient energy and nutrients for your activities. Being ‘in the woods,” I guarantee you will burn more calories than when you’re sitting at home. Prepare for it.


Given: Everyone needs hydration. Drink lots of clean water. Save a whole lot of money on bottled water and put a water filter on your house, your drinking faucet, or at least get a filter-pitcher and keep it full.MSR Hyperflow Microfilter Nothing tastes better after a hard workout than a tall glass of cold, clear water. Keeping hydrated ensures your body has the fluids it needs to flush toxins and waste products from your system, especially after workouts. Stay hydrated throughout the day, not just when working out. You’ll feel better for it. Do some research and provide for clean water "in the field."


Well, there you have it. My recipe for getting the most enjoyment out of your treasure hunting activities. Here’s another bit of advice. Get a physical (a real-live doctor type physical) before you start off on an exercise regimen, especially if you have not done some hard, physical exercise in a while (or ever). You don’t want to find out you have a “bad ticker” on a treadmill or off somewhere on a running trail. It’s cheap insurance and just plain smart. Also, depending on your current level of fitness, start out slow. Don’t try running a mile when you haven’t run in years. Start out by walking. Then walk farther and faster. Finally, jog a little. Then graduate to short runs…then long runs. Do it smart. Doing so will show incremental improvements and boost your motivation and self-esteem. Do the same with any part of your workout. Your Rome was not built in a day. Rebuilding it will not happen in a day.


Oh…one more thing. There are a lot of books and magazines advertising the “Green Beret Workout” or the “Ranger Workout’ or some other “Hard-Core Killer Workout.” They don’t exist except in the pages of the book put together by someone trying to sell it. There are PT regimens we did, but they were tailored to the missions we were preparing for, and they differed a lot. Workouts for mountain warfare differed a lot from workouts for desert movements. But, the purpose was the same…that being to get the men into shape for the missions they were expected to perform. Define your own “treasure hunting” mission and tailor your workout to suit your needs.


OK…last thing and then I’ll shut up. Motivation is the key to getting in shape. If a good picture book of exercises is sufficient to motivate you…go for it. If videos are more motivating…by all means get them. If you need to be outdoors and away from the house…take off for the woods. Do what it takes to boost your motivation. Reward yourself for good workouts...and for sticking to your routines. ‘Nuf said.

Full Disclosure: The supplies, equipment, tips, techniques, and procedures I recommend are based on my evaluation and experience. I link items I recommend to companies I have an affiliate agreement with (or to The Rocker Box Catalog) from which I receive a small percentage of sales if sales are made during your visit to their website. The recommendations are mine, and mine alone. I use any proceeds to pay for The Rocker Box website, and to generate future articles and activities. I thank you in advance for your patronage and support to further the great recreations, hobbies, and vocations of treasure hunting, gold prospecting, metal detecting, ghost town hunting, and rock hounding.

30-Second Bio: I am a retired soldier of the US Army Special Forces (aka Green Berets),The Author: Mark Prewitt serving for over 25 years. My specialties were communications, medicine, operations and intelligence, with extensive cross training in weapons and demolitions. I was a paratrooper, jumpmaster, combat diver, combat dive supervisor, combat dive medic, sniper, and pathfinder. I’ve been deployed countless times to locations on four continents, and have participated in operations in open water, riverine, jungle, mountain, desert, arctic, and urban environments…but I’ve been a “treasure Hunter” since I was eight. The End.