Survival Fitness Part 2: The Assessment

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By Joel Jefferson •  5 min read

Starting anything you might be uncomfortable with or challenging is daunting to almost anyone. With the right mindset, support structure, guidance, coaching and most importantly motivation, you can do just about anything you put your mind to.

This article is part 2 of a series of posts – Read Part 1: An Introduction

Survival Fitness, where to be begin?

I believe starting with a baseline self-assessment is where to begin. After doing an initial assessment I am going to put together an aerobic endurance (both cardiovascular and muscular) build phase that will last up to 3 months.

Following the aerobic phase I will incorporate simulated real world high intensity scenarios into our Survival Fitness plan coupled with continued aerobic base and strength building. I plan on doing another assessment in 3 months to ensure we are all progressing in the right direction. At that time, I can make appropriate changes so you can get the most out your training.

Initial Assessment

(Safety:  Please check with your physician to ensure you are healthy enough to start a fitness program.)

The initial assessment is going to consist of multiple events that you should complete in a minimum of 3 days. The events over the 3 days should be completed without a rest day in between.

If this is too challenging, rest one day between each day’s events. For example, start Day #1 on Wednesday, then Day #2 on Friday and Day#3 on Sunday. You are going to do Hollywood events (No Gear), and Geared Up events.

In the real world, you are not going to high tail it to your bug out location empty handed so we need to assess how your body reacts under the stress of a load. The events will be run with time, conditions, and standard guidelines. You will rest 2 minutes between each event.

For Example:

Event: Maximum Push-ups
Time: 1min
Chest to the ground, back straight, arms to full extension
Rest 2 minutes
(then begin the next event…)

If you have questions on time, condition or standard for any of the events feel free to email me. These events should be familiar to many of you.

Safety:  If you cannot complete the entire assessment, complete as much as possible. If you have family members, friends, etc., I recommend doing this in teams and with support if possible. If you are doing it alone, let someone know what you are doing… Going to Force March 4 miles, hike 10 miles, the route, etc.  Have a contingency plan , bring your phone, etc.  If you have any safety questions/concerns email me and I can hopefully assist you.

The Self-Assessment is as Follows

Day One: (No Load)

1) Run 5K for time, Non-weighted. Pick a level out and back course preferably.  Record your time when done. If you cannot run a 5k, then walk, force march, Recon Shuffle, etc.

Rest 2 minutes

2) Maximum Pull-ups, Non-weighted.  Chin over bar and arms to full extension at the bottom of the pull-up.  Note: Make sure do the same type of pull-up on each assessment.

Rest 2 Minutes

3)  Maximum Sit-ups, Non-weighted, in 2 minutes or until failure. Shoulder blades must hit the ground and chin/head must break the plane of the knees when coming up. Record your number after 2 minutes.

Rest 2 Minutes

4)  Maximum Push-ups, Non-weighted, in 2 minutes or until failure.  Chest to ground, back straight, and arms to full extension. Record your number after 2 minutes.

Day Two: (With Gear)

1)  4 mile Forced March with your Bug Out Bag. Pick out a 4 mile course, out and back preferred and flat. Remember to bring water with you.  Simulate the load you will be bugging out with. This is a hike, run, forced march, recon shuffle, etc.  This is as fast as possible. Record your time at the end of the 4 miles.

Rest 2 Minutes

2)  Maximum Pull-ups, With Pack. Chin over bar and arms to full extension at the bottom of the pull-up.  Note: Make sure do the same type of pull-up on each assessment

Rest 2 Minutes

3)  Maximum Push-ups, With Pack, in 2 minutes or until failure. Chest to ground, back straight, and arms to full extension. Record your number after 2 minutes.

Rest 2 Minutes

4)  Maximum Squats, With Bug Out Bag, in 2 minutes or until failure. Legs to full extension when coming up and thighs must go beyond parallel when going down. It helps if you have a medical ball, soccer ball, basketball to put below you. Go down and touch the ball with your glutes, then come up to full extension – that is a count of one. Record your score after 2 minutes.

Day Three: (With Gear)

1)  10 Mile Hike with pack, gear and water. Pick out a 10 mile course over varied terrain.  Simulate your bug out load just like the 4 mile Forced March however, this is a hike. Strive to maintain the same rate of speed over the entire 10 miles. Record your time when done

Be sure and record all of your scores and keep them so you can reference them in the future

Why these events?

These events are basic assessments done by many branches of the Armed Forces (as many of you will recognize). The weighted scenarios are in here for obvious reasons, we don’t fight and/or evade with minimal gear. They are to simulate and prepare you for real world conditions. This is a very BASIC assessment of cardiovascular and aerobic endurance. Ensure you are hydrating during the events and before after each day.

Be prepared for the next Survival Fitness Training article coming in one week. Please share your results in the comments section below.

Stay Survival Fit!!
TBC CrossFit Coach – San Antonio, Texas
[email protected]
“The Future Belongs to Those Who Prepare”

Joel Jefferson

Joel is one of the original founders of After college, he joined the USMC where he served as an (0302) Marine Infantry Officer. Joel is an avid outdoorsman and spends much of his free time in the mountains. Joel’s hobby is researching survival gear & weapons as well as prepping. Read his full interview here.