By Steve Payne, Fit To Hunt Pro Staff
Recently, after an arduous training session at our gym, one of my female clients gently touched my arm and said, “Steve, may I ask you a question?”
Her name isn’t Becky, but for the purposes of this article, we’ll call her that.
“Well of course, Becky. What can I do for you?” I replied.
Her bottom lip began to tremble slightly, and then she looked at the floor for a few
seconds. When she lifted her gaze, her eyes had tears in them. I braced myself for what
was about to come.
“I’m just so tired of the constant struggle. I can’t seem to lose the weight, and I don’t
want to be fat anymore. I’m tired all of the time and I’m just so frustrated. I don’t want
to be this age (52) and overweight any further.”
By now the tears were streaming freely.
I’ve been in the fitness industry for a little over 33 years now. In that time I’ve come to
understand a few things about achieving success in reaching a goal or certain level of
health, fitness or performance capability. Don’t get me wrong, there’s a heck of a lot of
stuff I don’t know, but I’m secure enough to emphasize the things I do know about.
My clients are blessed to hear me reiterate and repeat some of the same phrases quite
often. Things like:
“Eat it like God made it!”
“The greatest exercise program in the world is the one you’ll do, and the greatest
nutrition plan is the one you’ll follow.”
“If it’s simple to do it’s also simple not to do. That’s why you need a plan.”
But the one phrase I think I use more than any other, and the thing I talked with Becky
about that day, is the power of clarity and proper mindset in goal attainment.
The Bible in Proverbs 23:7 states, “As a man thinks in his heart, so is he.”
Earl Nightingale noted some 60 years ago that, “We become what we think about most
of the time.”
It’s like a self-fulfilling prophesy the way the power of the subconscious mind
orchestrates the outcomes and events of our lives.
Bottom line: We get what we think about most.
You see the mind thinks in pictures. What it “see’s”, it pictures as necessary, gravitates
toward it and tries to obtain it to appease the soul and/or intellect. The pictures we
create in our subconscious minds are related to the words we use and the thoughts we
I’ll prove it to you: Chocolate Chip Cookie.
What did you just picture in your mind, even though there are no photos shown here?
The power of the mind is strong.
And they can be influenced by those around us, the newspaper, radio and television.
This is why it’s important to protect the mind from negativity or inadvertent bad
I’ll give you another example: Imagine a softball coach giving instruction to one of her
players as she’s about to approach the plate and saying assertively, “Don’t strike out!”
Inevitably the batter hears the phrase ring in her ears, and strikes out. Why? Because
what the mind hears is “strike out” and so that’s what the powerful subconscious mind is
It ain’t rocket surgery, folks.
A large portion of my training day is dedicated to helping people who have Parkinson’s
through the use of flexibility work, strength training and boxing training. I reiterate to
them repeatedly, “We fight FOR better health, fitness, balance, strength, stability and
I want them to plant the seeds of success deep into their soul. I want them to think
about what it is they want (better strength, control, stamina, endurance, balance) rather
than what they don’t. To fight FOR something, not against it. Does that make sense?
And so it was with Becky. I explained the tenets to her, encouraged her to change her
self-talk, her mindset and her desires to that which she wanted rather than what she
It’s subtle, but there is a big action and results based difference between saying, “I don’t
want to be fat!” verses saying, “I want to be lean, strong and fit.”
See…we get what we think about most.
And I’m proud to report that in the 6 weeks since that initial conversation I had with
Becky, she’s happily down two dress sizes and well on her way to achieving the success
she wants and deserves.
We get what we think about most, so focus on what it is you want, and before you know
it you’ll be there.
Steve Payne is the owner and head trainer of Firestorm Fitcamps in San Antonio, Texas. An avid outdoorsman, fitness professional, Man of God and all around good dude, Steve
combines 30 years in the fitness industry with a common sense approach that generates
results for his clients. Check out their website at: http://www.firestormfitcamps.com/
February is Heart Health Month. It’s the time of the year where we raise awareness for the health of your ticker because if your engine isn’t running efficiently and strong, your experience in the woods will be diminished. It might also mean your time in the woods is drawing to a close. One doesn’t have to become a runner or participate in 5K’s to improve heart health but there are a few things you need to know in order to reduce your risk of a heart attack and stay Fit To Hunt.
According the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), as of 2012, there are an estimated 117 million people who have a least one chronic health condition with cardiovascular disease being one of those conditions. A heart attack or stroke can be disabling at best and deadly at the worst.
I think for many, the image of a person keeling over while shoveling snow is the main outdoor cause of heart attacks in the winter time, but what if I told you buck fever could put you at risk for a cardiovascular event? Would you believe me? According to an research article in the American Journal of Cardiology , 25 middle-aged men with an average age of 55 were fitted with heart rate monitors during whitetail season. 17 of the 25 men had been diagnosed with coronary artery disease which means they knew they had blockage in their arteries. In different aspects of their hunts, 22 of the subject’s heart rates exceeded 85% of their age predicted heart rate maximum while hunting by doing things like dragging deer out of the woods. Some exceeded their max heart rates just by seeing a deer or what you and I call Buck Fever.
For a person with good heart health, dragging deer, climbing tree stands and butchering your harvest can be challenging. For a person in poor condition who may have underlying heart problems, it can be deadly. Here are some tips to help you improve your heart health and reduce the spread of Buck Fever:
1. Get a check-up: When we talk to new clients one of the first questions we ask is when was their last physical. Many cannot remember or have never had one. This is key because your doctor will be able to assess your risk, run some simple tests and help you understand the numbers (blood pressure, cholesterol, blood sugar) that impact your heart health.
2. Start moving: We use physical activity as the means to improve performance in the field but it serves a dual role in improving your heart health. Not sure where to go? Just start getting more steps in your day. If you need professional help, we can put together a personalized 6-week exercise plan to boost your aerobic fitness that is safe and effective. And if you have not been to the doctor in a long time we would encourage you to speak to your physician before beginning any exercise program.
3. Lose ten pounds: Your doctor may have suggested more but there is quite a bit of research that shows even a ten pound weight loss has positive effects on blood pressure and cholesterol. Plus, if you can both lose and keep off ten pounds there is a good chance you will be able to lose more if needed.
4. Follow the 85% Rule: Our number one nutrition principle. Simply make the best choice 85% of the time (which leaves 15% of the time to eat what you want). How does it work? Choose the baked chicken over fried. Pick the apple over the candy bar. Drink water instead of a soft drink. You can still have fried chicken, candy bars and soda; you just aren’t consuming them the majority of the time.
5. If you smoke please quit: I can smell a smoker a mile away. So can the deer and no amount of scent spray can fix that problem. If you aren’t seeing deer it is because you smell like an ash tray and cigarette smoking will accelerate all of the risk factors for heart disease (and lung cancer). If you do smoke we implore you: Please work on quitting! We know it is tough and are here to support you the entire way.
6. De-stress: I have read that uncontrolled stress is as toxic to your body as cigarette smoking and obesity combined. There are a myriad of stress management tools available but one that will serve a dual role for you is exercise. This means you can blow off stress and improve the function of your heart at the same time.
The boys at Fit To Hunt want to help you improve your heart health and want you to look good doing it!
February 8-12 all merchandise is 40% off. Just use promo code: SHED40 at checkout. This time of year the best way to start working on your heart health is shed hunting. Take a walk in the woods, snap a pic of you in your Fit To Hunt gear and post it on our Facebook page to let us know you will not let Buck Fever get you down!
We want to start a movement across this great land. You are a member of the Tribe so help us build our brand and spread the message that being Fit To Hunt is a very good thing. If you know someone who needs to improve their heart health, share this blog with them. Thanks for reading and for letting us be a small part of your journey to better health, happiness and performance in the woods!
By Jeremy Koerber
There is no doubt that there is an opportunity to market health and fitness products to the outdoorsman. Social media is inundated with what is being now being called the “Outdoor Athlete” and the proof is in their Facebook posts, pics on Instagram and tweets depicting their daily workouts and hunting adventures. Companies like Wilderness Athlete provide supplements to help you both prepare and power through your hunt and Under Armour with their UA Hunt line will keep you warm, dry and stylish. To some this trend is motivating. To others, it is an annoyance. Some try to ignore them. I’m going to make a case why you should be joining them.
I had a conversation a few weeks back with Ken Swasey of Chasing Wild Creatures
regarding this new breed of hunter (and the pics they post). An outdoorsman from the Pacific Northwest, Ken works extremely hard to prepare for his hunts but thinks there are a lot of men and women that turn a blind eye to using physical training to prepare for their hunting and fishing adventures. This fascinated me because owning and operating a company with the sole purpose of preparing people for their outdoor adventures, I wanted a better understanding of what he meant. From our perspective, if you are stronger, more flexible and have a high level of aerobic fitness, you are going to perform better in the field. It was right there that I understood what he meant. It was the difference between image and performance.
For every individual who looks like celebrity bow hunter and fitness junkie Cameron Hanes, there are probably 1000 more that could likely rest a beer can on their belly while leaning against an oak tree waiting for a gobbler to strut by within range. When they see pictures or video of a guy or girl running eight miles up a mountain with muscles ripped and shredded like a Greek statue, it’s a turnoff. The likelihood of those men or women ever taking the time (or having the time), energy and making a commitment to transform into a Mr. Hanes clone is virtually non-existent. For thousands of people,
Hanes is an inspiration. For thousands more, it could potentially be a detriment to improving their fitness because they will never possess that kind of physique, so they either say why bother or write off the fitness component of hunting completely.
Oddly enough, the concept for our main training philosophy did not come from the back country. It didn’t come from the deer woods or the field. It came from the golf course. Eight years ago I was watching my colleague and friend Jeff Pelizzaro of 18 Strong train his clients which were almost exclusively golfers. What I noticed is that his clients (ages 16-70+) where flexible and they were strong (high levels of aerobic conditioning aren’t exactly a premium in golf) but they didn’t look like Tiger Woods. Many had bellies and almost all of them had the same physique of a person you might see in the aisle at the grocery store. That is when the light bulb went off; these people aren’t training to look good in a swimsuit. They are training to hit the ball further and play better golf.
The prototype client I used to create the Fit To Hunt brand was a whitetail hunter from Missouri who came to me and said “get me ready for an archery elk hunt.” We went to work building his core, leg and upper back muscles while prescribing lots of minutes on stair steppers and treadmills with high inclines. He left for the trip, shot a beautiful bull and raved about his conditioning. We have trained this same client six years and in that time he has improved his strength, aerobic fitness and flexibility all while being 60 pounds overweight. He likes to eat. In early 2014 he asked for help with his nutrition and has since dropped 50 pounds with about 10-12 to go until he hits his goal weight. This client just got back from a trip to Mexico and no one will accuse him of looking like the most physically fit guy at the pool.
That isn’t his motivation and it isn’t his goal. What drives him first is performance followed closely by health and longevity (he has a wife, two kids and a thriving business so he wants to stick around). He does not fit the social media image of the “Athlete Hunter” and while he may not have the striking physique of the celebrity hunter athletes on outdoor TV, this client has to climb, carry packs, bend, twist, jump, crawl, push and pull when hunting. So do you.
Recently we helped Louie Mazzeo, owner and operator of Yo Buck Deer Mineral and Attractant with his fitness program. Louie quit smoking over a year ago on his own accord and in November decided to pick up the weights and improve his nutrition to improve both health and performance in the field. 26 pounds later he is has replaced smoking with weight lifting and has a goal to lose 7 more pounds. Knowing Louie, he could care less what you are or I think about how he looks in his swimming trunks. He is changing his life because he wants to perform better in the field. He also has a daughter he wants to be around for.
Our overarching goal is performance-based training. Do what we ask you to do and you will perform better in the field and the enjoyment factor of your hunts will skyrocket. We do have a confession to make: By following these programs, your health will also improve. It’s also possible your waistline will shrink and you will look and feel better. Our goal isn’t to make your butt look good in your camo (or a swimsuit). If that is your goal, we can work with you on that but know this: when we prescribe a plan for you, we are doing so to improve your ability to hunt, fish, hike, camp, chop wood, hang tree
stands….just to perform better in the outdoors. You may not look like the outdoor celebrity fitness guru but rest assured, you are an athlete hunter! You will have to do the same things they do and while you might not train like them, eat like them or have their motivation, don’t shy away from the movement. Train to be Fit To Hunt!
Want more info about our programs, partners and services? Shoot us an e-mail at
Jeremy@fit2huntperformance.com or call 314-807-8634.
Contributions made by Fit2Hunt Staff!