I’ve been asked on multiple occasions over the years what I consider the be a good measuring stick when it comes to fitness, and just about every time, I respond with the same canned answer: fitness is a personal journey, and I’m not here to tell you how to pursue it. I really do mean that, we’re all here for our own reasons and have our own goals… but if you get a little more specific with your question, I tend to get a little more particular with my answers. If your fitness goals happen to coincide with mine, for instance… I’ve even been known to get downright picky.

I’ll be the first to admit that, just because I believe something is important, it doesn’t make it so – but I’ve lived through a broad and varied trouble making career, and found myself relying on my physical condition in a number of different sorts of circumstances. Anecdotal as my data sets may be, I’ve come to trust my assessment of what I’m currently capable of, what I need to be capable of, and what I have to do to get there. When I was fighting, it was muscular endurance and low weight. When I was playing football, it was grip strength, explosive power, and I could weigh all I wanted. As a rugby player, endurance is the name of the game, but explosive impact gets the crowd going, and when it comes to long hikes through the wilderness carrying a pack, lower extremity stabilizing muscles, endurance, and the ability to channel a pack mule all come in handy. No single regimen makes you ready for all of those challenges, no single fitness metric can assess your preparedness, and no internet writer like me can claim to have unlocked the secret to becoming the most well rounded athlete on the planet. What I can do, however, is offer you a baseline I think is important to start from.



When I say cardio, most people immediately imagine long, slow jaunts on a treadmill, and it can be that – but doesn’t have to be. What most runners won’t tell you is that a brisk walk will burn calories just about as well as a jog, so from a weight loss perspective, spandex pants aren’t a requirement. The real benefit of jogging and similar exercises is the workout it provides your lungs and heart – but if you’ve been out of the fitness game for a while, a hearty walk can provide that too.

My bare minimum requirements from a cardio front is simple: you need to be able to walk three miles at a good clip without taking a break. It sounds simple, but if you’ve been leading a sedentary life for a while, it’ll be surprisingly tough. That metric isn’t just for your cardiovascular system though; knees, shins, ankles, and feet all  need to be conditioned to long duration output, otherwise you’ll find yourself sore and immobile if you ever need to rely on your feet in a survival situation. If you aren’t at the three mile mark yet, start with one, or a half, and build upon it daily.