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Athletes Outdoors » Fit for the hunt


Fit for the hunt

By Craig Nyhus

Many avid hunters and fishermen wouldn’t be caught frequenting a health club or gym.

But, their activities in the field or on the water are closer to an athletic event than they realize. That’s what prompted Ken Hoover to start i-getit.net — a Web site established to provide information to sportsmen and women — and raise awareness of their health, and especially their heart health.

Hoover has been a trainer, health club founder, and a consultant to health clubs. He helped set up the fitness trailers used by the PGA tour. But first and foremost he is a sportsman.

In April at the Bassmaster Memorial in Fort Worth, he noticed the high fitness level of many of the contestants. He approached Ray Scott with the idea of an “activity trailer” with fitness equipment and information for the pro fishermen and their families, most who travel for several months a year.

Scott called it “the best idea anyone has brought me in 10 or 12 years.”

“It’s all about being prepared to engage in your favorite outdoor activity,” Hoover said. “Studies had shown that the average 40-year old man who goes on his annual deer hunt — if he is successful and field dresses and carries out a deer — has a tenfold higher risk of mortality.”

After learning these results, Hoover was determined to “simplify the science” of health and exercise to the sportsman. “People are dying,” he said, “and with some simple steps, information, and preparation, people can safely enjoy the outdoors.”

Much of the information comes from the use of heart rate monitors that track a person’s maximum and average heart rate, as well as calories expended in the field.

Results of research projects of hunters and fishermen have been staggering. Michael Waddell and David Blanton, hosts of television shows for Realtree, as well as their production crews, volunteered to be monitored.

On a September elk hunt in Arizona involving hiking hills at altitudes of 7,000 feet, Waddell burned 2,500 calories in just four hours. His producer, Marc Womack, who was manning the camera, burned 3,000. “That equates to running 12-minute miles for four hours — a 20-mile run,” Hoover said.

Shortly before Waddell took his successful shot, his heart rate had reached 179 beats per minute. Womack’s was 219. “It was neat to see how the body reacts,” said Womack. “We had been standing still for 10 minutes, but seeing the elk made my heart beat faster than when I’m at a full sprint.”

Caloric intake is also a focus of the research. “These guys burned more than 400 calories per hour,” Hoover said. “A piece of beef jerky and some crackers just won’t get it done. They need fuel.”

The next project involves professional bass fishermen. Pros Aaron Martens and Gerald Swindle have already volunteered. Martens burned 3,300 calories in a short day “just graffing.”

Does the preparation for outdoor activity involve long, grueling workouts? No, said Hoover. “We’re trying to get people who love the outdoors and wouldn’t go to a gym to prepare with increased activity, doing it more often, and understanding the calories they burn and the need to replace them in the field.

What’s the best workout? “The workout you’ll continue to do,” Hoover said.

So does being better prepared physically help with buck fever? “Absolutely,” Hoover said. “In many cases, hunting and fishing equates physically to an athletic event, but many people don’t treat it that way. We hope to change that.”

I-getit.net will launch its “Be Ready” Information Road Show with national and world fitness champions “The Fitness Twins” (thefitnesstwins.com) at the Bassmaster Classic in February in Birmingham, Ala.

As for the research information and results, there’s no catch. “It’s an information resource only,” Hoover said. “This is my passion. It’s all free.”

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