By Jeremiah Johnson – ReadyNutrition
ReadyNutrition Readers, this piece covers something that can affect you quite adversely and make the difference between success and failure during a long-term emergency. We’re talking about muscle fatigue brought on by stress and overexertion. The precursor to that is the buildup of Lactic Acid. Doesn’t sound as if it’s such a big deal, does it? Read on, because it is something that can affect your ability to survive.
Stress and Extra Physical Activity Can Wreak Havoc on the Body
As you may have deduced from previous articles, I am a big believer in weight training and physical training in general. Whatever your “thing” is, do it, and be consistent with it. You need a good, physical fitness regimen and a well-balanced diet. Even those with physical limitations should make this part of their daily lifestyle. By following after this, you can virtually eliminate problems resulting from Lactic acid buildup and muscle fatigue. Let’s go over some basics and delve into this subject.
Lactic acid is an organic acid, and it is formed and built-up in your body’s muscles after strenuous exercise and/or stress. It can be produced when there is not adequate oxygen to the skeletal muscle system and other tissues of the body. Lactic acid also is formed during anaerobic muscle activity during a period of glycolysis, where your glucose isn’t changed into pyruvic acid and this is the factor that leads to a marked increase in muscular aches and fatigues.
Physical Challenges on the Body
Anaerobic exercise, keep in mind, is the type that uses energy that is limited to short bursts of strenuous tasks or activities. Weightlifting is a prime example of such, as opposed to aerobic exercise where the body takes in a tremendous amount of oxygen over a longer period of duration. So what does all of this have to do with survival, you may ask? Here’s the answer: if you’re not in good shape already, the stresses and extra physical activity when a collapse occurs will be telling on your body.
Already someone out there is smirking, but be advised: this advice comes with experience. When your power goes out and you have to haul water from a river or lake by hand, and have to walk ¼ of a mile with two 5-gallon jugs (they would weigh 75 lbs.), you will see how quickly this will debilitate you. The stress and pressures of maintaining security for yourself and your family, the loss of electricity, and the need to build a fire (hence cut wood and move it) and do other tasks…this starts the minute everything collapses.
As well, in a related article, Ruby Burks discusses some of these same viewpoints.
“No matter what kind of shape you think you’re in, training to bug out on foot and being prepared for the unique stresses it puts on your body is best accomplished practicing often with the actual gear and in the setting you’re most likely to find yourself when the SHTF. It builds strength, endurance, flexibility, and improves your cardio and respiratory fitness. And most importantly of all, you’ll be confident that you can stand – or run – on your own two feet.”
There may be other physical challenges, such as an injury to a family member who needs to be carried to safety. You will not have time to wait and rest. All of these factors can make your arms and legs so sore as to not even be able to straighten them out, let alone do more work with them.
Make Physical Fitness a Priority in Prepping
If you work out 3-4 days per week, you will be building your muscles and body up, conditioning yourself to strengthen the muscles and thus avoid the problems with excessive Lactic acid buildup that leads to muscular weakness and fatigue. These daily strengthening exercises will give you a good head start. You don’t need an expensive gym membership – all you need is the will power and a few tools to get started. From when you first start working out, it will take you anywhere from 1-2 weeks to initially recover from lactic acid and soreness. Eventually it will go away, but you have to start somewhere.
I strongly recommend a good protein supplement to take at least once per day to help balance your body’s needs for protein. Tissue repair is very important. There’s also some stuff out on the market (supplements) that can be used for recovery that aid in synthesis of proteins and cut your recovery time in half. I use this stuff called RapidDrive BCAA 5000, in a 9.33-ounce container that gives you 50 servings. The BCAA stands for Branched Chain Amino Acids, specifically L-Leucine, L-Isoleucine, and L-Valine at 3,000 mg, 1,000 mg, and 1,000 mg respectively.
This stuff is micronized (pulverized) from larger to smaller molecules that are easier to absorb and uptake. These amino acids stimulate muscle protein synthesis, keep your proteins from breaking down post-workout, and preserve the glycogen stored in your muscles. Glycogen is fuel used by your muscles; when they run out of their natural supply, your muscles feed off of themselves, literally. All of this complicates and lengthens your recovery time. This stuff comes from GNC (the pro performance series), and it isn’t cheap: a can will run you $50.00, but I’m here to tell you it’s worth every penny.
You can pick up a couple of cans (this is what I do) and FIFO them as you’re using one. It takes me about a month and a half to go through a can. I know this is stuff we’re mentioning for recovery, and it is: you can have some always on hand…that spare can, if you need it, to help you get rid of the Lactic acid buildup and protein debilitation that you will experience naturally as a result of a catastrophic event.
I also use Beta-Alanine powder, with ½ teaspoon giving you 2,000 mg of Beta-Alanine that helps you with both muscular endurance and to reduce muscle fatigue as a result of lactic acid buildup. My stuff is made by Now Sports, and it’ll run you about $45.00 for a 17.6-ounce jar that gives you 250 servings. Between those two, my recovery time for a muscle group I’ve worked is down to one day. It is fairly expensive; however, my question to you is do you see yourself as being “worth” it? You would not skimp on a water filter, or on any kind of home canning equipment. How much less should you invest in yourself…your most important asset?
Catastrophe is something that you are absolutely unprepared for, in any capacity.
Once again, consult with your family practioner for his approval prior to taking any actions or using any of the materials recommended in this article.
As preppers and survivalists, it is our job to be “well-rounded,” and I’m not referring to body shape. I am speaking about being well-rounded and well-versed on all of the different disciplines that go into surviving and preparing. Physical conditioning is a key factor for you, and the work that you do now will pay off in spades when the time arrives. I wish to encourage you…you can do it if you set your mind to doing it consistently and with regularity. You keep fighting that good fight, and keep a sense of urgency about all of it…without stressing! JJ out!
About the author:
Jeremiah Johnson is the Nom de plume of a retired Green Beret of the United States Army Special Forces (Airborne). Mr. Johnson was a Special Forces Medic, EMT and ACLS-certified, with comprehensive training in wilderness survival, rescue, and patient-extraction. He is a Certified Master Herbalist and a graduate of the Global College of Natural Medicine of Santa Ana, CA. A graduate of the U.S. Army’s survival course of SERE school (Survival Evasion Resistance Escape), Mr. Johnson also successfully completed the Montana Master Food Preserver Course for home-canning, smoking, and dehydrating foods.
Mr. Johnson dries and tinctures a wide variety of medicinal herbs taken by wild crafting and cultivation, in addition to preserving and canning his own food. An expert in land navigation, survival, mountaineering, and parachuting as trained by the United States Army, Mr. Johnson is an ardent advocate for preparedness, self-sufficiency, and long-term disaster sustainability for families. He and his wife survived Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath. Cross-trained as a Special Forces Engineer, he is an expert in supply, logistics, transport, and long-term storage of perishable materials, having incorporated many of these techniques plus some unique innovations in his own homestead.
Mr. Johnson brings practical, tested experience firmly rooted in formal education to his writings and to our team. He and his wife live in a cabin in the mountains of Western Montana with their three cats.