Okay, guppies and whales, we're here to talk about your favorite subject, getting in shape for the big fishing vacation. Whadaya want, the long story or the short?
Time's flying, so let's get to the point: Walk 'n jog, hit the weights, and eat right. The trio is a snap, but must be practiced regularly and sensibly, and way before you board the boat and bait the hook.
If, on the other hand, you've got time in a net, we can take the long and circuitous route and discuss some of the finer points of going where you're going and getting what you need. Strength and health is for everyone, for all occasions.
You're a sport fisherman who is generally fit and loves your time and tasks aboard a rippin' and robust craft and at the smart end of a mean and unpredictable fishing pole, the line of which is extended in deep and blue Floridian waters. Grappling large fish is challenging and exhilarating - not a spectator sport for wimps and weaklings.
Preparing the boat, gear and bait is no easy task, and once you're on the big waters - with a little luck and skill, guesswork and knowledge - you just might have your hands full, and I don't mean with a brewski and peanuts. The thing straining the line and tormenting your pole might be bigger than your pickup truck.
You'd better be strong, enduring, confident and agile, Chum, or one slick fish will make a monkey out of you. You need stability in your torso, power in those shoulders, arms and back, and a heart that beats like a bass drum.
GAFF's beloved Editor-in-Chief, Matt Draper, is my nephew (don't tell nobody). Aware of my rep as an incorrigible musclehead who eats a case of tuna a week, he asked me to write an article for ya'll about getting in shape for fishing.
The last time I went fishing, I caught a bass, maybe it was a perch, from the side of my rowboat on Lake Gerard in New Jersey. I was 12 years old and the slippery fella was three pounds -- twelve inches. I had a few clanky-clunky years of weight lifting behind me, could run like the wind and was fish-fighting fit. I felt like a 50-horse Merc, and the hook, line and sinker had met their match that fine summer day in Still Cove.
I let the little guy go as quick as I could... back to its friends, family and sweetheart. To this day I can't fish, I can't hunt, I can't swat a fly or eradicate a spider, but I can squeeze the daylights out of a dumbbell.
Today, thinking of a fishing vacation, I imagine a bunch of guys loading a boat with tangled gear, some scraps of bait and plenty of ice cold beer. Fishing? In shape? What's it take... hic... to hoist a coupla... burp, snicker... cool ones? Matt's gonna kill me if he gets wind of my take on fishing and fishermen.
Here's my long-winded plan for the recreational sportsperson (not your typical worldwide physical wreck) who wants to add zap and capability to his body for the fishing trip this summer... and, incidentally, the job every day and a trip to the mall, market and park any afternoon.
Step # 1) Clean out the fridge and empty the cupboards: no soda pop, no beer, no chips, no sugary stuff and no grease; more protein, more water, more salads and enough fruit, and smaller meals regularly throughout the day. And last, but not least, include gobs of discipline, heaps of commitment and piles of perseverance regularly.
Go. Do not hesitate and do not look back.
Rule # 1) Fitness is for everyone: you and me and us and them and fishermen.
Pure, unadulterated fitness is, in fact, the most sensible and least demanding physical condition one can pursue, and is achieved by sound eating habits and fundamental exercise. Physical conditioning is common sense; fitness reflects personal responsibility.
I like to think of being in shape as the consequence of habitual conscientious living. We need to attend our fitness always, as we do our hygiene, literacy and civility.
Act # 1) Walk a lot, jog if you can, sprint if you're able -- three or four times a week: a mile minimum on the walks and rationality applied on the ambulatory upgrades.
Consider steady walking with a weighted backpack, up hills and stairs and across rugged terrain.
Fact # 1) You need a gym, down the street, around the corner or in your garage, on the deck or in the basement. Here's where you comfortably and regularly, and with attention and deliberation, practice your freehand and weight-resistant exercises.
Be strong and courageous.
Start #1) 10 minutes of torso and midsection exercises to warm up and get the body in motion, which leads to action, which leads to muscle and might, and endurance and endorphins... victory and euphoria (the list never ends), fame and fortune. Rope tucks and leg raises are my choices. Ease into everything, never rush. Push, but don't burst. Smile, be happy and never gripe.
Goal #1) Give yourself something like three hours a week for your dedicated resistance exercise: 60 minutes, three days a week or 45 minutes, four days or 30 minutes, six days a week.
If you're present and accounted for, committed and diligent, the few hours invested will reap great and inestimable rewards, today and tomorrow, in you and in those around you. You're becoming a better person and people notice it, including your kids, your spouse and you... of all people. One problem: Fish will hide.
Routine #1) Your menu, leg- and torso-stability, endurance and energy are in control. Congratulations! You are a rare individual, indeed.
It's time to focus on the strength of the arms and shoulders and back. You're ready for the primary muscle- and strength-building, push-pull exercises that enable you to wrestle the big ones and hoist them aboard... without fatiguing, tearing your biceps, trashing your back, groaning and losing a grip on your pole and yourself.
Wait, there's more. Exercise enables you to sit patiently as you watch your limp, unstrained line play dead in the baby blue waters -- forbearance and self-control are major benefits of disciplined training.
This is what I would do if I were you.
The routine -- the simplest (I did not say easiest) part of your job -- is composed of only three basic exercises: Standing barbell curl, 45-degree-incline dumbbell press and seated lat row. I call it The Shark. Perform 4 sets X 12, 10, 8, 6 reps of each exercise, take two days off and work out again throughout the weeks and months.
The all-purpose scheme, when done with form, finesse, exertion and consistency, along with your cardio and warm up, will equip you to reel in any gorilla swimming in your neighborhood any time.
Disappointed? Try these three - add them: Dumbbell clean and press, straight-arm dumbbell pullover, seated lat row. The Barracuda.
Bored? Give these a go: Bench press, squat and deadlift. The Giant Squid.
Confused? Try them all; mix them, match them and decide what works for you.
Lost interest? I know a fish market on the pier with a great assortment of fresh-caught fish in a barrel. Like the weights, just grab 'em.
Who is Dave Draper?
Dave Draper, formerly Mr. America, Mr. Universe and Mr. World, lives and trains in California with his wife Laree. He is the author of three critically acclaimed fitness books, a frequent contributing writer in major fitness magazines, and the inventor of several proven weight training devices. As a movie and television actor, Dave toured with the likes of Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sharon Tate and Elvis Presley. He has appeared on 26 magazine covers, spoken at over 200 seminars and book signings, and holds a place in the Bodybuilder's Hall of Fame.