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Steps to prepare for a fitness/archery competition

Steps to prepare for a fitness/archery competition
February 21, 2022

Sure, there is turkey season but for the bowhunter, is that really enough to scratch the itch? With many deer seasons closing and elk and mule deer long gone, February is a sad time for archers. We should all be turning our attention to training for next Fall, but sometimes that can be tough with no tangible hunts on the horizon. There are options on the table to stay dialed in and sharp. If you love bowhunting, working out and competition, training for an outdoor fitness/archery competition might be the thing to help pass the time until the Fall!

What are fitness/archery competitions?
Gaining popularity in recent years, these are the Spartan Races for the outdoorsmen. They not only test your fitness mettle with physical challenges, but they also require you to shoot and shoot well in a myriad of conditions.  We caught up with Brian Austin, owner of the Beast Mode Archery Challenge to get a better understanding of what these events are, and how best to prepare for them! Austin stated, “The Beast Mode Archery Challenge (BMAC) was born out of my passion for archery, fitness and bowhunting.  A good event will not only test you mentally and physically but will also test your shooting abilities under pressure along with your gear!  Everything we do during the BMAC events has a purpose and that purpose is for you to be more prepared on your hunting adventure.”

Step 1: Plan Ahead
If you are interested in participating in an event like this it is best to start looking ahead to the options available and plan. Are there events close to you or are you looking for a destination event? People have been doing this with marathons and Ironman’s for years and these events are no different. “When picking an archery event, you have to consider several different factors.  Possibly the biggest is travel cost/time, “Austin stated. “This is one of the reasons why I hold the BMAC events here in Wisconsin.  Nobody else was doing them and you had to travel a great distance to get to places that did.  This is also a reason why we now offer events from our fitness challenges to 3D shoots, scrambles and 3D pop up events.  I have traveled the nation doing archery events and learned a lot.  Seek out events that are both enjoyable and worthy of you to travel to.  Avoid events that are too large. Why they may be fun, too many contestants may decrease your shooting time and spoil the experience.” 

Step 2: Pick a goal for the event
Do you want to simply finish the event, or do you want to earn a medal? There is no right or wrong answer here and based on your fitness level today and your reasons for competing in an outdoor fitness/archery event, it may just be something that allows you to prepare for your fall hunts and meet new people. Greg Haak, participated in and won the 2021 BMAC Games and BMAC Indoor Games.  He has several reasons for participating in fitness/archery challenges. “The reason I do the events is because they are a super fun competition to participate in. They test your body, shooting abilities and mental toughness. The people in these events are awesome and cheer for one another no matter what place you are in.  These competitions also keep me sharp for the western hunts I have planned in the fall!”

Step 3: Start training
It is ill-advised to show up for an elk or mule deer hunt out of shape. The same principles apply with an outdoor fitness competition. If you are new to exercise, focus on a program that will help you build a base foundation of muscular strength, endurance, and aerobic conditioning. If you are an advanced athlete, you might look for a program that provides more movement patterns that will mimic those you will experience in the competition. Either way, your program should provide very specific exercises four to six weeks out from the event that will mimic challenges you will experience in competition.  It should also include a tapering phase to ensure you are peaking on the day of the event. 

The Beast Mode Competition DIY Program is our latest workout that is designed to help you prepare for outdoor/fitness events. The 12-week program is broken down into four-week chunks and positioned to help you be ready to compete on race day. Use promo code GoWild10 to get 10% off all Fit To Hunt DIY Programs!

Step 4: Shoot and shoot under duress
And while conditioning is great, you cannot perform well in these type of events if you don’t shoot well. If you are a bowhunting fanatic I am sure you shoot all summer long but now is the time to get specific. In an event, you will be tasked with:

  • Shooting while winded or fatigued
  • Shooting from elevation
  • Shooting from your knees or a seated position

Get specific and practice the way you will be forced to shoot in a competition.

Austin concluded, “Most people that compete in our archery challenges are not "super hunter athletes".  They are normal bowhunters, but they understand the importance of being prepared.  A drill that I like to do when I'm training is 6-10 burpees (or some other full body exercise), grab my bow and make a shot as quick as possible with a follow up arrow with a longer distance shot immediately after.  This will help mimic shooting with an elevated heart rate and burning muscles that some of us get either because of buck fever or because of climbing an incline to get a shot on a bugling bull.  I like to practice making a quick follow up shot as it helps to train our reload, acquire the target, and shot process under pressure as well.  If you are hunting with a backpack on you better be practicing/training with your pack on!”

Step 5: Compete
On game day, show up and have fun! If this is your first event you will have no basis of comparison for performance so go out, meet people, win friends and experience something new. Wherever you finish, you can use that to be better prepared for the next event and set new goals for the future. Either way, you will have grown both physically and mentally and that spills over into your fall hunts paving the way for success.

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