Are You Ready to Actually USE Your Fitness?

By on September 8, 2022

One of the reasons many people cite when asked why they train, is that they want to be “ready for anything.” While most of us hope we never need to run from a threat, climb out of a pit, carry a wounded friend, or potentially fend off attackers… it’s still nice to know that we could, if necessary.

And to be honest, it’s just nice being able to join in in strenuous activities, help people lift heavy objects, or even just bust out a cool move because you feel like it!

ready for anything

This “ready for anything” approach to training guides exercise selection and overall training style; usually resulting some form of “functional” programming.

But then comes the question: what else are you doing to support that readiness? You’ve built the fitness but are you actually ready to use that fitness, right now?

What do I mean? Read on to find out!

Recovery

The first issue with training to be “ready for anything” is that the training itself can actually make you less ready.

Yesterday, for example, I was not ready. What I wanted to do, was film an awesome straddle planche for my upcoming video about “Athletic Calisthenics.” I knew I could do it and thought it might even make a nice thumbnail.

Monday, I did a great workout that included my best ever advanced tuck planches, held for 20 seconds, using no parallettes. This was a breakthrough for me. And only the previous week, I managed to hold a straddle planche for just a couple of seconds. It wasn’t much, but it was done properly with properly locked out elbows and everything.

Tuck Planche

But by Wednesday, it was just not happening. And if you watch the video, when it goes live, you can see multiple shots of me doing a not-advanced tuck planche, for about 5-10 seconds. Urgh.

This has happened so many times before. The worst is when I’m collaborating with other fitness YouTubers and I turn up running at 70% because my last workout was too recent. I get bad enough imposter syndrome as it is, without being too blasted to do any of my more advanced moves!

You see my point?

Now imagine that you’re being chased after your leg-day workout. You can barely walk down the stairs, let alone engage in a high-speed parkour chase scene! Hardly ready for anything!

What’s the solution? One is to get better at the moves you want to practice. For me, I need to get good enough at those planche progressions that I can do them multiple times per week without getting burned out.

Holding Back

It also means knowing precisely the skills and abilities you want and then stopping there. In other words, don’t push your training too hard just because. Learn to say “I can already squat enough” and then just look to maintain that level. That way, you won’t be limping for the rest of the day.

Whenever I write imaginary training programs for Batman (which I do far more often than is probably normal), I keep this in mind. Batman shouldn’t be doing 1RMs and burning out his nervous system. His training needs to support his goals. Batman definitely needs to be ready for anything.

See also: Prep Time Workout: Batman Training 2022

Athletes know this, too.

If you want to be ready for anything, you need to drop your ego in the gym.

Think of it like leaving some reps in the tank, just in case you need them later in the day! This should be a key component of training for anyone interested in being ready for anything.

Clothing and Carry

Sometimes I want to randomly jump over a railing. I have trained a lot to be able to clear railings that are as high as my navel, and I enjoy doing it.

You know what often prevents me from doing that? Having loads of stuff in my pockets and on my person.

Likewise, I sometimes want to get in a little random training: maybe do some deep squatting to work on my mobility. The most common issue? My jeans won’t let me get down there. You’d be surprised just how many jeans have big holes in the crotch for this very reason.

Clothing

Now, I’m not saying you should be wearing tactical gear 24/7 (some people definitely take the whole ready for anything thing too far). But it does make sense to wear clothes that are light and flexible, if you want to be able to move well. Likewise, you may want to reduce your daily carry.

There’s not much I can do about my laptop bag (other than to carry something compact like my favourite GPD Win Max). But I am looking into getting a much smaller wallet and definitely removing the keys I don’t need from my keychain. I’m also considering carrying them in a small bag or even a bumbag (fanny pack, to my American readers). It looks goofy, but it definitely hampers movement a lot less.

More importantly: stretchy trousers! Shorts are great in summer. The rest of the time, I’ve been enjoying stretch denim jeans that let me squat and lunge still. A great brand I’ve been using is Uniqlo.

Unfortunately, I’ve never found that jogging bottoms work with my personal style.

Footwear

Of course, the last and most important point is shoes. I wear barefoot shoes that have extremely minimal soles, no heel-toe-drop, and a wide toe box.

These shoes are perfect for squatting and lifting weights because I’m not balancing on a squishy pad. They’re perfect for climbing and parkour, because I can feel the railings and ground underfoot. They’re great for running, because they force the proper fore/midfoot strike.

See also: How to Build Stronger Ankles: Mobility, Stability, & Balance

And, increasingly, you can find barefoot shoes that don’t make you look completely strange. Sure, you’ll lose an inch or two of height (which is not ideal for my 5’8’’ stature) but if you want to drop into a Cossack squat, you’ll be much better served.

Vivobarefoot shoes

If you are wearing high heels, or dress shoes, then you are not ready for anything. And it kind of undermines all that balance training you’ve been doing.

Lifestyle

Unfortunately, I do have experience with being attacked.

And, unfortunately, I was not “ready for anything.” In fact, I was extremely drunk. I was also wearing inserts in my shoes to make me a little bit taller.

You live and learn.

I did get away, but not before having my cheek bone broken and lip split open rather severely.

Likewise, I probably wouldn’t be in the best place to respond to a situation as I write this. That’s because my son has chicken pox and I’ve gotten an average of four hours sleep the last seven nights. I can barely make my way around the house without crashing into things, let alone escape from a burning building.

See also: Psychology is Your Most Important Tool for Self-Defense

Some of these things will be outside of your control. And I’m not saying you should never let your hair down.

BUT getting that kind of drunk is definitely a thing of the past for me. I’m not 21 anymore, and apparently 21-year-olds don’t act like that these days, anyway!

If you go to the trouble of training and getting into amazing shape, it makes sense to be mindful of how your habits are affecting your ability. To avoid doing anything that will seriously impair your judgement. And to look after yourself when you can.

Injury-Proofing and Staying Warm

Of course, being injured is a big problem if you want to perform your best at all times.

Me telling you “don’t get injured” probably isn’t all that helpful, though.

What you can do, is to train with injury proofing in mind. Work on your mobility and use lighter weights and higher reps to strengthen tendons.

Once again: don’t push yourself too hard during training, such that you’re prone to snapping any moment later on.

Jump when you can

Another tip is to keep moving throughout the day. This keeps the blood flowing and keeps your body warm. It also prevents entire muscle groups, like the glutes, from going to sleep.

The result is that you’ll be raring and ready to go, when you need it!

Some of you may be reading this and thinking it’s going a little far. And sure, there are definitely other things to consider when choosing what to wear or how to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

But for the truly nerdy out there, these are just tips to keep in the back of your mind, to help you stay ready for anything life may throw at you.

About Adam Sinicki

Adam Sinicki, AKA The Bioneer, is a writer, personal trainer, author, entrepreneur, and web developer. I've been writing about health, psychology, and fitness for the past 10+ years and have a fascination with the limits of human performance. When I'm not running my online businesses or training, I love sandwiches, computer games, comics, and hanging out with my family.

One Comment

  1. Dan says:

    Hello there,

    Any chance you could please produce a video detailing your current supplement stack and what supplements you have used most consistently over the years? Just curious how this has changed and why and if there are any supplements you have changed your stance on etc.

    Could you also detail which specific brands you take and in what doses as well as what a typical diet looks like for you?

    I think a lot of people would be interested in all of that sort of stuff.

    Cheers.

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