You’ll probably have heard us mention this before, but it’s worth repeating. If you’re going to last on our jungle survival course, you’ve got to be fit. We always advise anyone joining us out in Guyana to train before they arrive, as a lack of physical fitness makes the experience significantly more difficult.
Here, we’ve put together some helpful pointers to help guide you through your training, and to remind you of the importance of fitness. It should also be acknowledged that this post applies to all of our courses, not just our jungle survival course. If you’re joining us on any of our survival courses, expeditions, or experiences, then you’re going to need to get in shape.
What do we mean by “fit”?
Being “fit” is an incredibly loose term, and is open to interpretation a lot of the time. Generally, we’re referring to aspects of your physical fitness such as your cardiovascular performance and functional strength. It’s not to do with how you look. We’re not interested in show muscles; you need it where it counts.
Target the right muscle groups
When it comes to building strength, focusing your training on the right muscle groups is essential. It’s often said that the biceps are one of the most useless muscle sets on the human body, and information like this is well worth bearing in mind. Think about which of your muscles you’re most likely to be putting to good use when you’re in the jungle, fighting for survival. In case you’re struggling, we’ve outlined some of them here:
- Legs – squats, lunges, box jumps, and running are all great ways of building up the strength in your legs.
- Core – own body weight exercises, such as planks and push-ups, are a great place to start. Thankfully, by training other areas of your body, you’ll also likely strengthen your core in the process.
- Upper body – Performing exercises such as the dumbbell press, push-ups, and pull-ups will help strengthen your shoulders and chest, while rowing is also a great all-round exercise for your entire upper body.
You’re going to need to be strong in all of these muscle groups when you’re lifting endless logs and trekking through the jungle. Failure to pay enough attention to any of these areas is going to leave you short when you’re being pushed to your physical limit.
You are going to be doing a lot of walking in the jungle. You might even be doing some running there too, but hopefully you won’t doing any swimming …
The advantage of working on your cardiovascular fitness is that it improves your endurance, which is one of the most important aspects of overall fitness. A few tried and tested ways of improving your cardio performance include the following:
- Running – push yourself, and don’t settle for mediocre jogs. Only by going beyond your comfort zone will you actually make a difference to your abilities.
- Biking – another great way of improving your cardio, biking offers an alternative that doesn’t require as much impact on the ground. Biking also has the added bonus of providing a killer leg workout if you push yourself enough.
- Circuit training – this involves performing an array of different exercises, one after the other, with little rest. It’s a great way of mixing things up, and of continually testing yourself.
Not just physical fitness
You’ve got to be mentally strong on our jungle survival course, too. There will be times when you’re struggling, and you’re going to have to push through. Helpfully, a number of our previously mentioned exercises are great ways of improving your mental endurance. Don’t fancy an extra 2 or 3 miles on your third run in as many days? Dig deep, and do it. If you’re able to test yourself while you’re training, you’ll be far better prepared when the elements and your natural surroundings start testing you themselves.
It’s also important to understand yourself. If you can, just take the time to consider how you motivate yourself, and how you can make yourself feel better. During the isolation phase, you’re going to need to become your own best friend, because there won’t be anyone else around to fill that role for you.
Mix it up
The most important thing to bear in mind here is that all of this should come as a package. It’s no good just running lots during the buildup to your jungle survival course; you’re going to need a bit of everything we’ve talked about. Don’t let your body get used to what it’s doing, or it becomes too easy!
Combine all of this, and you’ll be well prepared for our jungle survival course. That’s not to say you’ll find it easy; nothing can truly prepare you for your first survival experience, and you’ll have to be prepared to simply get on with it sometimes.
If you’re not already booked in, head over to our dates and costs to secure yourself a place on our next jungle survival course. They tend to fill up pretty quickly, though, so we’d advise you to get a move on!