10 Ways to Improve Your TEOTWAWKI Survival Fitness

Survival Fitness SHTF

Your personal fitness is a core principle of survival.  Whether it is heavy lifting, being able to travel over long distances, or engaging in hand to hand combat.  In order to survive a SHTF or TEOTWAWKI scenario, you and your love ones have to be in shape.

Contributed by By Mark, Former Marine Reconnaissance Team Leader, Marine Infantry Officer, Cross Fit Coach, Endurance Athlete, and Survivalist.

*Check with Your Doctor Before Starting a Survival Fitness Plan

1 – Have A Fitness And Training Plan

Work to develop an aerobic endurance, strength and mental toughness plan

2 – Get Outside And Get Moving!

Go for a walk, run, hike, bike, swim, do some calisthenics – squats, push-ups, sit-ups, pull-ups, stretchTEOTWAWKI SHTF Survival Fitness

3 – Fuel For Your Engine

Don’t think your body can endure everything it could when you were younger.  Make sure you are getting good rest, hydrating, putting good fuel into your body – you would not put low octane fuel into a high performance sports car, don’t do the same for your body

4 – Think

Don’t have the mentality of a child or the unprepared.  Think, plan for contingencies, game out different scenarios, PLAN, PLAN, PLAN – and work your daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly plan. The Strong and Prepared WILL SURVIVE!

5 – Open For Change

Although you may be very smart, be open for change and new ideas, listen to them, evaluate them, see if they can fit Survival Fitnessinto your TEOTWAWKI SURVIVAL FITNESS planning and routine – learn from others who have different experience

6 – Develop Your Long Term Fitness

Start developing your fitness if you have not done so already.  You may not be able to stay in your existing location or bug out location and will likely have to move for long periods of time during TEOTWAWKI – BE READY and prepare NOW!

7 – Routine Is Your Enemy

The definition of Fitness Insanity: Doing the same thing day in and day out expecting different results.  Step outside of your comfort zone – push harder, longer, faster, stronger.  Change the way you eat, change the way you drink, cutback on alcohol.  Add more protein to your diet in the form of lean meats.  Increase the amount of raw and organic foods in your diet.  Take a whole food supplement.  Try to eat local grown fruits and vegetables.  Change your workout routine drastically.  Add more aerobic activity to your fitness routine, put more weights on that bar, or put a sandbag in your bug out bag when you train

8 – All Calories Are Not Equal

It takes more for your body to burn protein than it does to burn fat and carbohydrates.  If you are trying to lose weight, add more lean protein to your diet – jerky, nuts, seeds, and protein drinks that are low in sugar.  Stay away from processed foods.  If you are trying to gain lean muscle mass – add more calories to your diet with more protein, good fats, and carbohydrates that are not processed

9 – Shut Off The TV

Read a book, do research online for fitness routines, diet, exercise plans that will fit into your schedule, solicit help from others.  Make yourself better, smarter, stronger, and faster

10 – Stick It Out

There are many fitness routines and diets out there.  Find a plan that works for you and stick with it, when you start to Getting in Shape for the end of the world as we know itget comfortable or it gets too easy, make a change to continue to push yourself.  The human body can endure things many of us can’t comprehend.  Unlock your potential, prepare and be STRONG – MENTALLY and PHYSICALLY!!!


Look for upcoming TEOTWAWKI SURVIVAL FITNESS tips, strategies, plans, and routines from Mark to help you achieve your fitness goals and prepare you for TEOTWAWKI @ SurvivalCache.com


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{ 36 comments… read them below or add one }

its_exit March 25, 2012 at 8:09 pm

I think #7 is one of the most important.

Routine gets you bored and also probably works against building muscle. Do new things!


marksurvfit March 26, 2012 at 7:28 am

#7 is very important… We get comfortable and like routine (it is in our nature). Strive to break out of your comfort zone and challenge yourself. Remember to incorporate the others in your TEOTWAWKI Fitness and Survival Planning/Preparation


RealistMe March 26, 2012 at 7:43 am

Cutting out all the processed foods, sodas, snacks, and junk foods should be priority #1 for anyone hoping to improve their level of fitness. Try to eat everything in it's unprocessed form, tons of leafy greens, and as raw as possible (except for meats of course). You'd be amazed at how much more energy you'll have and how much better you'll feel. Trail running is also great for the preparedness minded individual, improves your balance, endurance, and is easier on the body than running on paved surfaces, just remember to ease into it to avoid an overly sore next day.


Rescue7 March 29, 2012 at 10:29 am

Hooyah Mark! Great post! This is a real indicator of how serious a survivalist you are.
Realist has a great point about trail running… It often requires you to place your foot with every step, change direction, engage your core and use different muscle groups than pavement running. It also lays down the synapse trails in your brain for this skill.
Like you said Martial Arts or Hand to Hand are also important survival skills. Who cares how much you can bench if you can’t defend yourself in a fight?
Swimming is also a great aerobic, survival workout and for people who are overweight or injured low impact as well.
Keeping an extra 5 or 10 pounds of survival weight is a good thing. Like when we used to bulk up on ship before starving on patrol. We stayed strong for longer.
Worked out with Habu last week… He's still an animal. Swam yesterday w the wife. Doing a beach run, lift and San Soo before work tonight… Keeps me young.


Jeff Wise March 26, 2012 at 1:47 pm

Excellent tips for getting our families fitness levels better. You're right. It's a lot tougher carrying around 20 extra pounds of fat than if you weighed 20 pounds lighter. I can't imagine having to walk several miles in a survival situation while being overweight.


Zed March 28, 2012 at 12:06 pm

Thanks for the post, need to get back in shape.


bamaman March 28, 2012 at 1:41 pm

Make a fitness journal.

Write down your progress and push yourself to run further, faster and lift more.

Writing it down sounds silly but makes all the diffrence in the world.


matt March 29, 2012 at 7:30 pm

The articles on this site used to be good and have actual information now you guys are just phoning them in bored with site now good luck with it


sam March 31, 2012 at 2:19 pm

Ten ways to improve your fitness….. not really. Eat better, move more, be tougher….thanks I got it. How about posting an actual plan of attack instead of an overall basic concept of what to do. Everyone who is out of shape knows what they must do to get back in shape, they are simply LAZY! You mean watching TV for 8 hours a day and eating McDonalds won't prepare me to bug out on foot for 20 miles with a 60 lb pack on through the mountains? Damn, I need to get a plan then. Tell people what new fitness plans to use, how much sleep to get, what to eat and what not to eat, you cannot get all that information in 250 words on a single page. I like this site but some posts really insult the intelligence of the more seasoned and prepared among us.


alex April 1, 2012 at 12:33 am

I know what you mean, i knew I had to get fit and all the obvious things, but i didn't have a plan of attack or an idea about how to get into it, until i stumbled across the army field manual for fitness, and this will tell you all you need to know in terms of how to exercise, how often, how much, what type of exercise, diet, etc… basically everything you need to know. And because it's not written by someone just trying to make a quick buck i think it's a lot more reputable, and can be applied to prepping a lot easier as well

i read the whole thing first, even parts i didn't think were applicable to me before i even started any exercise, and it has helped heaps, wished i read it years ago, just google "US Army Field Manual pdf" and you'll find it, heres one link for it though: (hope it works) good luck :)


sam April 1, 2012 at 6:58 am

Alex- The US Army field manual on physical fitness is pretty basic on the concept of fitness and diet. I've been in the military for 15 years, and wasn't commenting on the 'lack of plan' for myself, just as a benefit for others who depend on this site for good useful information. The Army is updating it's overall concept of fitness from the basic push-up, sit-up, run concept to the combat fitness type. It is a transitional phase right now with no concrete doctrine, but will potentially be useful in the field of asymmetric warfare. Muscular endurance and explosive power is the focus.


Mark April 2, 2012 at 5:32 am

Sam –

Thanks for comments. Check out my self evaluation/assessment article. I would be happy to put together an example plan for you.


Tim G. May 13, 2012 at 4:55 pm

You're going to want practical strength and conditioning. Look here for some great information. http://www.stewsmith.com/linkpages/meetstew.htm

Stew trains candidates for BUDS. All the Navy SEALS I know are not big muscle heads. They are some lean and fit individuals with A LOT of endurance. Check out his site. He probably has what you're looking for and it is simple o enough for anybody do.


Mark April 2, 2012 at 5:45 am

There are many free resources and example plans online that anyone can access. I plan on making instructional videos on exercises, diet, rest and wellness – they are coming.

This is not about making a buck. This is about feeling better, getting stronger, being ready and living a better life.

If you are looking for something to do or a plan to implement…

1) Get moving – go for a walk, if you can already walk, then run, if your run is too ez, then put on a pack or vest. If you can't walk then swim, ride, get on an elliptical training. Get moving!
2) Improve your diet – minimize your sugar intake, reference the 60minutes episode on 4-1-12, no April Fools. Sugar is a drug. Eat more whole foods, green leafy vegetables, fruits, lean meats, nuts and seeds. Don't take in more calories than you need
3) Get adequate sleep. Good sleep promotes recovery, immunity and boosts levels of human growth hormone that helps you burn fat and build muscle




Tim G. May 13, 2012 at 5:04 pm

Just read your bio page Mark. Nice! Pleased to hear you are going to create some instructional material for people. Physical fitness is usually a category the I seem to notice is missing on survival websites. How do people expect to carry their bug out bag, filled with cool stuff, long distances if they're wheezing. Maybe they packed a winch? haha

Thanks for your contributions!


marksurvfit April 3, 2012 at 5:41 am

Here is your TEOTWAWKI SURVIVAL FITNESS Challenge for the next 30 days!!!

100 Burpees a day a more! Complete 3000 Burpees total in 30 days

Check out these links if you don't know what a Burpee is: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Burpee_(exercise) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7MGljX4bbps&no…

Post your daily totals on SurvivalCache's FB page, talk trash if you want to… NOW GET BURPEE'G!!!



SurvingJerry April 3, 2012 at 10:14 am

Alright. I'll do it. Can I start tomorrow? :)
Hopefully "Burpee" will not evolve into "Vomitee"
(For the record, marksurvfit's post is from 4/3/12)

update… ok, one day down, 29 to go


marksurvfit April 4, 2012 at 5:09 am

‎303 BURPEES done yesterday!!! BURPED up 5 times, soaking wet, sweat, spit..Tough, but did not quit. Plan on being at 505 tonight! Let me know if you don't know what a BURPEE is. Have a good Humpday and BURPEE DAY



SurvingJerry April 4, 2012 at 11:07 am

You didn't specify, and this is how I'm going to do it and others may find it more "do-able", but I'm NOT doing them all at once. Maybe I will once in a while do all 100 at once, and then I will roll over and die. But for now I'm doing them 10 at a time as I have a minute.
I don't think this is cheating as a survival scenario may or may not require you to give an all or nothing expenditure of energy, but rather periods of increased strenuous activity.
Some days, I may do them in 20s, or whatever. Heck, do them one at a time if that's all you can handle at the start.
Also, your wikipedia link is good for some variety. One variant I don't see is to do a backwards Burpee (backwards, not reverse). Squat down and roll onto your back (or do a break-fall if you know how), do a v-up/sit-up/leg-lift or other abdominal exercise, then roll back up into a standing position (try not to help yourself up with your hands if you can).
I generally do Burpees with push-ups but my right shoulder has an impingement which can act up with too many push-ups, so I need to mix it up.
You'll find that getting up 100 times from lying down flat on your back is harder than it may sound at first. (Also, great practice for when you get knocked on your backside.)


marksurvfit April 5, 2012 at 12:36 am

Throw in the variations if you would like…

Work towards doing a group of 100 at a time as fast as possible. I did 2 sets of 101 today. The 1st one after a 3+mile cruise run this AM and the next 101 after Bike Intervals and a hard 3mi run in the PM. The second 101 was harder and a bit slower, although my form was better. Yesterday when I did 303 – I did 8×25, then 34, then 36, I think 15, then 16. The 1st 101 today was easier than the 303 definitely.

My left shoulder has an impingement also, and needs to be worked on… If I come down with arm in the wrong position it locks for a few then works it way out. So far, it is not feeling bad. My triceps are heavy and so were my legs on the bike intervals today.

All in all, this is very doable… do sets of 1 if need be, rest and go again… or try 25 a day, then progress to 50, 75, etc until you make a 100

Happy BURPEE'g!



SurvingJerry April 5, 2012 at 7:33 am

Ibuprofen works for my shoulder, but once I took it for too many days in a row (yes, I intentionally ignored the warning on the label) and had a bad reaction (Serum sickness-like reaction), so I can't recommend it as a solution. Maybe to get through a bad day. Ice packs provide relief, but it's annoying. The shoulder is a hard place to get to. I use a large piece of cloth, sort of like a keffiyeh/shemagh (or just call it a piece of scrap cloth if the other terms offend your sensibilities), twist the ice pack up in it, and then wrap it over and around.


marksurvfit April 5, 2012 at 12:38 am

I added wrong from the 303, lol… 3×25, then 26, 3×25, then 26, then 34, then 36, then 15, 16 = 303


Bjorn April 5, 2012 at 4:18 am

You dont need to get fit just to bug out. That shouldnt need to be the reason for working out.
But you should work out with the purpose to be fit. Not just for the SHTF.


BamaMan April 5, 2012 at 7:20 am

Working out for SHTF and working out for physical fitness are different.

If you want to be in good shape and strong, then use free weights and run.

If planning on the SHTF bug out scenerio – then get a pull up bar, push up, hand stands etc….

Knowing how to do hand stands, pull ups, etc….will help you when in an enviornment that has no gym and the need to remain strong will probably be at a high level of demand.


Tim G. May 13, 2012 at 4:45 pm

You got it right with the push-ups, pull-ups comments. In Navy SEAL training, they stretch, run, swim, sit-ups, pull-ups, and push-ups to stay fit. Weights are not needed. Stu Smith has a book that takes you through what he does to prepare BUDS candidates. Obviously not everybody is capable or wishes to put in the time to be as fit as SpecOps, but it put you on the right track.


bamaman April 5, 2012 at 7:26 am

I found a push press and bench on ebay for less than 200 buck.

300lbs of free weight with olypic bar at local commercial sales place for cheap.

I keep it in my garage and have have far more success working out when I can without distraction than ever had at a gym. bench, squats, overhead press, deadlift, basic stuff work best.

Having it at home helps with many things and could be used if you did not want to get out much due to changes in society or economy.


Jason April 8, 2012 at 7:06 am

CrossFit. It covers all the basis in working out. You most Lilly won’t have weights to lift or a machine to work out with. CrossFit allows you to work out in many different styles & never get bored. To heal after a work out you need the right balance of protein & Carbs are essential. That being said you either need to workout to just maintain or stock up on more food to support your healing body. Other wise your body is not going to respond to your post workout healing.


marksurvfit April 10, 2012 at 9:12 pm

I added wrong from the 303


HTSG May 3, 2012 at 2:49 pm

Burpees are great, also get an old medium size tire and a sledge hammer, then go to town on the tire. Start at 30 seconds of hitting followed by 2 minute rest, then repeat two more times (total 3 rounds of 30 sec hitting each round and 2 minutes of rest). Once this becomes easier, move to 3 rounds at one minute of hitting and the two minutes of rest. This will burn calories and be an awesome overall conditioning tool.


Survivor369 May 30, 2012 at 8:30 pm

I am a pretty big "fitness freak" myself. I haven't had a soda in over 3 years now and work out daily. I also do parkour, which really helps with endurance and agility.


Jason Jennings March 25, 2013 at 1:04 am

Wow thank you for sharing these ways on improving my workout. Actually, I'm starting to feel like I was stagnating in workout routine. These ways will really fire up my current workout.


bronchial asthma May 17, 2013 at 11:26 am

I am a fairly big "fitness freak" myself. I haven't had a soft drinks in over 3 decades now and perform out everyday. I also do parkour, which really allows with stamina and speed.


Look At This June 4, 2013 at 8:29 am

Thanks with regard to supplying these sort of wonderful written content.


Daisy Anne September 3, 2013 at 10:45 am

Burpees are incredible, likewise get an old medium estimate tire and a sledge mallet, then get down to business on the tire. Begin at 30 seconds of hitting emulated by 2 moment rest, then rehash two progressively times (sum 3 rounds of 30 sec hitting each round and 2 minutes of rest). When this gets simpler, move to 3 rounds at one moment of hitting and the two minutes of rest. This will smolder calories and be a mind blowing generally speaking molding apparatus.


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