We spend a lot of time working on sight picture, trigger control and our groups, but how much time do we put into our fitness?
Heck, even I've joked, "I don't need to run, I've got a gun." But realistically, physical fitness, specifically cardio, plays a huge part in our ability to shoot well. We know about breath control. We know about controlling our heart rate. But without cardiovascular fitness, we can't effectively do either.
With increased fitness comes better reflexes; the time it takes to identify a threat and respond (or, in a competition situation, respond to the buzzer) decreases significantly. Our ability to focus and concentrate increases. In a competition situation, that ROCKS!
In a defense situation, it could save your life.
Not to mention, without fitness we can't fight. Guns are great equalizers - if you can get to them. Even if you've got it on your hip, you might need to fight to buy some space so that you can draw. You might - God forbid - have to fight for control of your gun. In a perfect world, no one would ever get close enough to have to fight off. But, hell, in a perfect world, we wouldn't need to protect ourselves from anybody or anything.
I'm certainly not in the best shape of my life. At one point about six years ago, I was working out 6 days a week, spending 1 1/2 hours in the gym doing strength training and cardio in addition to playing on four soccer teams; two indoor, two outdoor. I was FIT. And shooting-wise, I was at the top of my game. The best shooting I've ever done was while I was crazy fit.
My life changed, I quit working out so much, pretty much quit shooting and gained sixty pounds. And my shooting skills went down the toilet. I picked up shooting again a few months before RCC and I met and, holy cow, was I disappointed. In the past year, I've dropped twenty pounds and have seen an improvement in my shooting. With every pound I shed, I see a positive change in my shooting ability: my reflexes are faster, my concentration greater, and I'm not exhausted by the end of a match.
I hadn't realized just how far I'd let my physical fitness slide. But I'm thanking my lucky stars that I never had to fight during that time, that I never found myself in a situation that required it, because that whole "I don't need to run, I've got a gun" thing doesn't work for me anymore.
I want to be able to go hands-on if I have to.
I want to be able to buy myself some time and space if the situation requires it.
As much as I hate it, I have to spend more time running and doing strength training. I'll probably never go back to the insane workout schedule I had six years ago, but I don't think that some form of strenuous workout three or four times a week is going to kill me.
In fact, it might just save me.
What do you think? Is fitness necessary? If so, what kind of time do you put into your personal fitness?