T Nation

Keeping Strength During Hunting Season?

Hope this doesn’t get moved. Right before hunting session my strength was at an all time high. I was weighing about 197 and did 496x8 on squat after 2 triples, 310x8 on bench after 2 triples and 660x9 on deadlift. Then hunting season started. and this week my lifts have dropped to 496x6 squat, 310x7 bench and 660x6 deadlift and every rep of those felt like complete grinds. I carry my stand, sticks and gear in about 800 to 1,000 yards depending where I go. I hunt for about 6 hours without eating and drinking very little. Total carry on weight is like 35lbs. I assume bringing water with a carb supplement might be the best option? Any thought on helping me keep strength. Bodyweight had dipped to 192 ish on average. I eat in the morning but am not hungry by the time I leave go at about 2 pm and then tend to get hungry a few hours in and starving by the end. Another thing is my lower back feels shitty after hours sitting. Maybe stand more while I’m waiting? Looking for any input preferable hunters that go through something similar. Thanks guys

I am so not qualified to answer this, but I do have an idea that may or may not be correct.

What about force feeding. I know you said you start off not hungry, but just force yourself to eat. Bring good snacks on the hunt as well if that’s possible. I think keeping your weight up would help keep the lifts up as much as possible.

1 Like

This is a situation where there might be some benefit from BCAAs too.

Stretching your hip flexors might help, try the half-kneeling hip flexor stretch.

Actually talked to another buddy. I’m gonna bring something loaded with carbs to drink. Should help with the weight loss.

Enjoy your time in the woods.
I would focus on keeping your body weight as high as possible. Let your strength dip. After the season progress slowly back to where you were, you might even hit some new PRs. You didn’t lose the ability to have that strength, it’s the natural cycle of up and down with maxes.
There are probably numerous reason for the strength dip. Diet , training, sleep, stess, etc…
Don’t be distracted and lose focus if you are 30 feet off the ground in a stand. You owe that to yourself and anyone else who’s out.

Sorry, I have the opposite problem. I hunt waterfowl and blind snacks are plentiful. Hell, I’ve even been on hunts where guys cook in a pit blind. My issue with hunting season is less time to train. There’s a reason I always do meets late spring. Hunting season mostly over mid January and fishing isn’t good until early June, lol.

We’ll lifting is my top priority. The problem is I’m dropping weight fast. Those were not mazes those were reps I was hitting each week while increasing weight. The dip was from dropping weight doing too much hunting.

It sucks I got into it. And I’ve got two giants on camera. One (140") is a far walk and almost killed him opening day evening. The other (150"+) is at a property I have limited access to but if I could get a few days in there consistently he’d be done. Last year I shot a 132" so trying to beat that.

What state are you in (if you don’t mind me asking)? Deer season in upstate NY can be like the Rocky 4 training montage once the snow flies. Last year we got 2 feet a week into rifle. Definitely burn calories dragging ass through all that.

Is a meal before and after and a big shake in the middle work for you? U can down a lot of calories and nutrients quick with a shake or maybe split the shake across 2/3 chug sessions during hunting. Hungry or not u can probably chug something no worries.

2 Likes

Nj its not That bad. Large hills and thick woods though.

I’m thinking something like that might be the best way

1 Like

Some a Sumner: steak shake lol

I was thinking something more like Elmer Fudd’s wabbit stew

1 Like

A buddy does this and i almost thought about it but I’m not that desperate haha

1 Like

First, some clarification… how many weeks are we talking between your all time high lifts, and the lower rep grind lifts you mention? Also, how many weeks between the 197 BW and 192 BW? Also, how many days/week are you in the woods?

1000 yards carrying 35 lbs might cause a dip at first, but shouldn’t be anything you can’t acclimate to. Caloric expenditure from this shouldn’t be crazy either, just eat a banana or something before. My son was born last spring, and I took a couple weeks off after my wife went back to work. I would regularly take him on 1.5+ mile hikes in the trails by our house (lots of elevation change) with 30+ lbs in a backpack. Yeah it sucks at first but it didn’t take long to acclimate. I was 240ish at the time too.

As everyone else has said, I think the issue is calories, so you just have to figure out how to convince yourself to eat. First thing I would do is, if you eat traditionally “clean” at all, start switching to more calorie dense foods. And I don’t mean start eating taco bell and pizza all the time, there are plenty of calorie dense whole foods to choose from. Switch from chicken breast to chicken thighs (more fat) or ground beef. Eat tons of peanut butter. Chug whole raw eggs. That sort of thing. There are also some things you can do to trick your appetite when you aren’t hungry, like keep a bag of Doritos in the kitchen and when you know you need to eat, but don’t want to, just go eat like 2 chips. You would be surprised how much more interested in food you get 10 minutes later.

At the end of the day, you just need to make it a priority and understand that it’s going to kind of suck. When I first ate my way up to 250, every single day I would randomly gag probably 10+ times throughout the day, because of how bloated I was all the time. At that was at less than a lb a week gain. So yeah, it’s probably not going to be fun, but if it’s a priority you’ll make it work.

1 Like

It was literally a week difference. I dropped the weight fast and strength took a huge dip. My season started Sept 12. I have been lifting 3 days a week now. And hunt the days I’m not lifting. Sometimes I’ll bench early and hunt the evening. I think I will eventually get used to it but it’s not a 1,000 yards straight shot is small hills, chest high grass and fairly dense woods. I eat trash as is. Take out pretty much every day. Running on pizza, had one last night. Thanks for the post. Seems like I’m gonna need to eat just before I go and bring a shake with me out there.

If you lost 5lbs in a week and were still eating plenty outside the time you were hunting then dehydration is probably part of it, and that will affect your strength too. More fluids and more salt can help sort that out.

1 Like

This

Maybe on training days make sure you’re getting like a gallon of water in before you even start training, plus salt/other electrolytes. If I know I’m going to have a harder, higher volume workout, I’ll toss a teaspoon or so of salt in 8 oz of water and chug that an hour before. Way more effective than any $40/bottle pre workout

I just drink gatorade when I’m training and eat a fair amount of salt on a regular basis, but there are salt pills and stuff like that if you really need a lot more salt and don’t want to drink it. I think avoiding getting dehydrated in the first place is probably a good idea anyway.