Updated: Jan 23, 2020
It's a highly debated topic on whether you need to be in great shape to hunt the mountains. I can see the argument from both sides. I think we all know of people that are out of shape that flat out get it done even if they're carrying around a little extra weight. With that being said, I don't believe there is any argument against the fact that it increases your odds when you are physically fit. I can promise you that you will never wish that you were in worse shape in the mountains!
This year, I decided to take a little more of an organized approach to my training. I signed up for MTNTOUGH Fitness Labs post-season strength and pre-season programs to keep myself in line and disciplined. The program is built for hunters, but builds an overall foundation so that you are always ready for whatever comes your way. The workouts are all on your phone with daily videos that show you how to properly do the workouts along with digital coaching through the process. At this point, I've completed the post-season program and started the pre-season program a few weeks ago. I can say that I've never felt this good coming into the summer, in which I will continue to train for my elk hunt in September, but more importantly - to live an "always ready" life. It's funny how we will spend money on gear without blinking an eye, but tend to hold back on gym memberships and programs that are investments in yourself.
In my opinion, the most important aspect of this program is the mental toughness gained from it. Your mind will quit long before your body will in the backcountry. This was a huge player in the success and enjoyment of my elk hunt in 2019. The country was steep, rugged and the elk made us work for 14 days. I came off of the mountain heavier than when I went in, and although a lot of things came into play for this to happen - my physical fitness was a big player.
For more information on physical conditioning, I did a podcast with Corey Jacobsen on this topic.
For information on MTNTOUGH Fitness programs:
Listen to the podcast I did with the founder of MTNTOUGH Fitness Labs: