For some reason, this hunting season seemed longer than the rest. It might’ve been due to starting the year chasing antelope in Montana then getting a head start on whitetails in Missouri before I ever climbed a stand in my home state of Iowa. Or, It might have been that I didn’t hit the gym like I normally do.

Every year, I have this routine. I workout and eat healthy the entire year preparing for the season. I compare it to training for a sporting event, except this one lasts 3-5 months! With work, family, and hunting… Something has to give. So, every year, once the season starts, I abandon my workouts due to the lack of time. I’m up early and getting in bed late much like the rest of us die hards. I used to get really down on myself if I missed a single workout. The gym I used to belong to back in Kentucky was like Cheers… everybody knew your name. You walk in and get the warm welcomes and the simple head nods from the guys and gals who are there like it’s their job. When you missed a workout, you knew it because they let you know it!

I miss that atmosphere. Now I live in a very rural area, and the gym traffic isn’t what I’m used to. Some days, I’m the only person in there – nobody to hold me accountable. That’s ok though – I train for me. No gym selfies will ever build muscle or burn fat. The timber is my judge now. I can honestly say there was never a day in the woods that I struggled to get to the next ridge, or decided I was too tired to hike in. This is why I work out. It might have taken me until I was 30 years of age or so before I could say that.

Now the season is over, its time for the workouts to start back up and prepare for the next seasons grind. I find solace in knowing that I hiked in deep to get to my spots, carried gear it and out of the timber, climbed trees, and ultimately got to drag one out of the woods and into the kitchen.

Having a personal goal that I can truly benefit from keeps me on track. If I miss a workout now, I don’t get down on myself anymore. I just pick back up where I left off. Chest and biceps might not be on Monday if one of my sons has a soccer game that day. One of the best things about sticking to a healthy diet and using Wilderness Athlete products is that even if I miss a workout, I know I’m still taking care of myself. I train for me and the woods!

Take Care Of Yourself!


John also knows a thing or two about the fruits of determination. See how perseverance dictated the outcome of his Montana Antelope hunt in his film The Last Arrow.