Moving on to Part 3: Physical fitness, now there’s a place that most Americans fail miserably as we are a nation full of couch potatoes who walk less than 75 miles a year and eat processed garbage 24/7. It’s true, we look like crap physically. Most people can’t run across the street without passing out. It doesn’t matter what you PLAN to do or how well you planned to do it. If you are not physically up to the task your chances of survival diminish greatly. Now there’s 2 ways to look at this, crime and disaster scenarios.

Let’s look at crime first, if you are a target of violent attack. Should a 100 year old woman on O2 in a wheel chair just give up when 2 young thugs bust down her door?? Absolutely not, if old Grandma Erma has her late husbands old Smith 38 from WW2 she’s got a good chance, blast away Grandma!! That’s not what I mean. I mean you are extremely overweight and your walking out of a theatre one Saturday night with your wife and kids. First of all your lack of fitness MAKES you a target, criminals are not out looking for a challenge, they are looking for victims. Now your approached by a group of miscreants maybe with a crowbar, some blades, whatever, even a gun and it gets nasty. This is all probably going to happen very quickly, you can’t run away due to physical condition, more importantly you have a family to defend. Do you think when your attacked by a group that there won’t be some hand to hand combat?? You think your going to draw in time to drop everybody without a struggle?? I doubt it. As normal people we don’t want to shoot everybody, so you wait till the last millisecond trying to avoid just that. Now you’ve got 2 dirt bags on top of you beating your face in before they do who knows what to your family, sound like fun?? This is where physical fitness comes in, a stronger body and you stand a MUCH better chance of coming out of this. You stand a better chance of NOT having this even happen if you look and carry yourself like somebody who shouldn’t be messed with. Am I saying you should all start bodybuilding and living in gyms like we do?? No, I’m not but trim down, walk, jog and hit a heavy bag. Lift some weights, do some push-ups and crunches, do whatever you can do. Anything at all is an improvement in most peoples lives. YOU NEED TO FIX THIS!! If you are capable of making any improvements in your fitness then DO IT! You’ll be amazed at just how much better you feel everyday! You don’t need to be an Olympian, I’m not but exercise has been a part of my regular day for roughly 23 years now. It may save your life in more than 1 way. Out of all the preparations you can make I feel this one is right up there as it will save your life whether there is disaster or crime or none of either. It’s just a good habit.

Now disaster fitness: Have you ever walked all day and night with no sleep, food and a hundred pounds of junk on your back?? For days on end with little rest??? Dug holes and slept in them?? Been too hot or cold doing it?? Slept in 20 minute naps?? Ate while walking?? Not showered, brushed your teeth?? Been running on peanut M&M’s and adrenaline for weeks?? Had blisters on top of blisters on your feet?? All while people were trying to kill you?? Well it’s HELL on you, emotionally as well as physically. I know this from personal experience. It’s unbelievable how tired you can get, are you ready for this?? Probably not. Neither am I anymore and you won’t get used to those conditions until you’ve been in them for awhile BUT you WON’T make it long enough to get used to them if you don’t try to exercise now. It all starts with basic fitness. You will not survive harsh field conditions without some physical training prior to be dumped in a situation like that, you won’t so don’t kid yourself otherwise.

Now let’s talk about adrenaline: I promise you your heart rate will be approaching 200 beats per minute the second that first bullet flies, it will, as sure as God made little green apples. Now add in the fact you probably have to move and shoot, can your heart take it?? Is your breathing labored after 1 flight of stairs?? I swear to God I have never been more physically exhausted as I have been after a gunfight. The stress on you is unbelievable without having experienced it. A good shootout will make you so tired afterwards you wish you’d been shot and could lay down, I kid you not. Then maybe you’ll have to keep walking, it’s a disaster you know, your not checking into the nearest Hilton for a massage, shower and room service before bed. Your butt has to keep saving itself and the ones you love. Physical fitness folks, it will save your life.

Sadly right this second I am in the worst shape I can remember being in. It makes me sick. I have surgery coming up in April for 2 hernia’s and have been out of the gym for 4 months and I have gained a few bad pounds and lost a ton of good pounds. Rest assured the second I’m cleared by my Doc I will be living in the gym till I’m back to these pics. I posted them to show I do take the physical fitness deal as far as I can and I am not some “armchair commando” telling you what you should be doing but never having had done it myself. Those pics are from last Sept, so 4 months or so ago. In spite of the fact I haven’t trained for 1 minute in the last few months I still stopped by the gym to visit and just to see if I could still bench at least 300 once, no problem even with 2 hernias. That might as well be 10,000 lbs. for most people. Generally that’s not that much for me but I have to admit it felt very heavy 🙁 In spite of what I call “bad shape” I can still scrape by with a passing USMC PFT score.

Now what to do?? Well I made some recommendations. As simple as walking daily and some push ups, sit ups and deep knee bends, eating better or getting a gym membership and going all out. I don’t care but do something to improve YOU. That’s the only person you are in competition with, just try to get stronger than you were the day before. You cannot go wrong by doing so. It is as important as being armed, that gun is a tool, YOU are the weapon. Make sure your weapon will perform when the need arises.

As always thanks for reading and happy shooting.

By: Cary Kieffer


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Cary Kieffer

USMC Infantry/Combat Veteran/MUESOC/Sniper School - Med Retired LEO w/ 8yrs on job before Iraq wounds caught up with me.

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