Keith, CrossFit, and Hunting
Keith has been hunting virtually his entire life, he started hunting with his dad around the age of 7 or 8. In 2010 Keith started going out west to bow hunt elk in the Rocky Mountains. There he found something he really enjoyed; however he had a desire to take the hunting experience to a new level. In 2014, with another hunting partner, Keith decided to do his own back country elk hunt. This involves carrying everything you need to survive and hunt for over a week in the mountains. It is typical to be over 15 miles from the trail-head and any ties to civilization. Motorized vehicles are prohibited in the public land areas they hunt so every step is on foot. The first three years he would train for months in advance of the hunt, working on strength, endurance, and doing heavy-pack hikes to prepare for the long excursions. The physical demands for a 9 day hunt are intense and the initial pack weight on the 10 mile hike in is over 60 pounds.
These trips generally take place in the middle of September, while training and planning start almost as soon as the previous years hunt ends. This year other priorities prevented Keith from training until 5 weeks prior to the hunt. Based on a recommendation from one of his hunting partners, Keith decided to give CrossFit a try. He walked into Equity and asked "Can CrossFit get me ready in 5 weeks?", the reply, "Lets get started!".
For the next 5 weeks Keith came to class Monday through Friday, primarily during the 6AM classes unless work or his other obligations needed him to move his workout time to the evening. On weekends he would hike with his back-country pack and do wind sprints on his own to prep for the long hikes and elevation with all the gear.
This year, Keith went with two other hunting partners; Drew (from Maryland and does CrossFit in Harford County) and who Keith works with at Delmarva Power, and Ben who is from Northern Wisconsin and has been elk hunting his whole life, but started hunting the back-country last year with Keith. The three of them drove to Colorado for their trip this year. By the end of the entire hunt they had accumulated 9 consecutive days, 100 miles, and hiked through over 60,000 feet of elevation change. During the hunt they had a lot of elk action and were able to fill one of their three tags. The elk that they took had to be broken down and carried on their back for 3 miles to meet up with a local rancher who was hired to bring horses to pack the meat the rest of the way out.
Both Drew and Keith used CrossFit to help them prepare for their trip. Both gave the most credit to their training in the gym for their success and ability to handle the physical demands of the hunt. However, after talking with each other after the hunt it is not the physical side that CrossFit helped with the most, it was the mental side. The mental toughness and focus needed to hike 100 miles with all your gear on your back then to have the composure to make the shot at the critical moment can be mentally draining and difficult. CrossFit allows you to test mental strength and to improve it by pushing you past what you think is capable. Pushing when it is uncomfortable is very challenging but you can train to be comfortable being uncomfortable.
At Equity we want to help you lead the life you want to lead, stay healthy and happy for a long time, and have fun everyday with others reaching for similar goals. CrossFit prepares you for life from hunting, to your job as a first responder, running and playing with your kids, or walking up and down the stairs everyday. No matter your physical or mental goals we want to help get you there.
Thank you to Keith for sharing his story with us and allowing me to write about it.
How has CrossFit helped in your life? Let me know.
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Live Long and Prosper,