Run, gun, calorie burning fun: A Man's Health Retreat
Posted Oct 02 2010 8:08am
This is a guest post by John Durfee.
There's an increasing number of fitness and health spa 'vacations' meant to bring your body back into shape. In the morning you take a leisurely stroll. For meals you're given natural, exotic foods and juices. You take mud baths and Yoga classes , finishing the day off with massages, while nature sounds from a stereo play over a speaker. I'm a 6'2” former Army infantryman. Imagine the look on my face when my wife tried to convince me to go on one of these getaways with her. I politely declined, saying it would be better to save my half of the money and for her to go with a friend.
However, there is one kind of 'vacation' I take regularly. I take it at least once a month. I literally eat on the run, with dried fruits, jerky, and the occasional protein bar. I slosh around filthy in the mud of stream and stretch myself out behind bushes. I finish the day off muscles sore and exhausted, listening to the sounds of real nature as I lay on hard earth. Every month I do this ritual, because not only is it a great workout, but it lets me know exactly where I stand in terms of my physical health. I play at airsoft events. These airsoft vacations are a great way to keep you motivated and in military level shape.
Airsoft is a form of recreational shooting where plastic bb's are used. It's similar to paintball and is used for military training and play. It is quickly becoming much more popular than other safe shooting sports because airsoft replicas outperform and look more realistic than many other alternatives. There are a growing number of extended “Ops” or events being played at outdoor fields. They're mostly run on weekends (sometimes weekdays during the summer) and can last for multiple days. I personally prefer these events over the small indoor fields.
I try to keep in shape, I exercise regularly at least three times a week with balanced cardio and strength routines, (I like interval cardio mixed with combined exercises; it saves time and burn more fat). However, it's not the same intensity as being in the military. In the military every day is a constant test to push your body and mental endurance to the limit. Playing at these events brings me back to the rigor of my infantry days and lets me know whether I'm in shape or not. It's a regular goal that I know is always three to four weeks away, so it keeps me motivated to push myself harder during my exercise to see how well I can perform at the next outdoor airsoft event. I want to be able to run faster, climb higher, and shoot my airsoft M4 faster than the other guys, and I thrive under that pressure. In airsoft the law of the quick and the dead rings true, you can't lie about your physical training. It shows through in how fast you can run, and how well you can handle the pressure of a firefight.
When you're angry, 'Count to five, then throw the grenade.'
Playing airsoft for me is a huge stress reliever. I find myself calmer, happier and level headed throughout the week after playing. Because of this, I don't reach for food or other stimulants as a coping mechanism, ie: junk food, candy, coffee soda – pick your vice.
These airsoft events are also a great way for me to detox. I only bring healthy, light easy to carry food, usually dehydrated fruits and nuts, some lean jerky, and lots and lots of water. With all the full tilt running I'm doing I'm sweating out all the impurities and junk that's been accumulating in me from living a “modern life”. I liken it to bringing myself back to the early roots of our evolutionary process, where we forage and are constantly on the move, because that's the way our bodies still operate and react to nutrients. I always come back a few pounds lighter and with much more mental focus.
Where to go:
When playing airsoft hard you literally slough off all the excess (fat, chemicals, laziness) and become leaner, meaner, and stronger. I'm already planning my next few months ahead of me, involving extended runs (I plan to average running 30 miles a week for the next three months) and some intense strength training, (still have yet to bench my own weight, but I'm getting there)
I'm planning to go at least two times a month, and it gives me something to look forward to. Its actually inspiring me to work out more, so when I do play, I'll be fitter and able to perform better on the field.
To find a destination for your next intense physical "vacation," Airsplat has a comprehensive list of US airsoft fields .