Rule #1: Cardio

Rule #1: Cardio

If you’ve seen Zombieland (and who hasn’t) then you’re familiar with the Rules (as created by the main character, Columbus). While they were intended to be mostly humorous, there’s some real practicality to them. Rule #1 was CARDIO and this was underscored in the early moments of the film while Columbus was running in large circles to buy enough time to reload his shotgun and get into his car.

With regard to cardio being rule number one, more than 200 years of military drill instructors, anyone who has ever boxed, or anyone who has coached football, hockey or soccer would agree. Without a strong foundation of fitness, your team will fatigue in the 4th quarter, or the 3rd period, or your boxer will get knocked out in the late rounds of a match, or your soldiers will get killed on the battlefield. Or you will get eaten when you cannot evade a zombie horde.

Beyond its importance in the ultimate game of survival vs. the undead, cardio is also #1 because it cannot be bought, stolen, scavenged or bartered for. You’re either physically fit or you’re not. And face it, if you can’t run a few miles non-stop on the day that Z-Poc hits, you’re going to be at a huge disadvantage. As Columbus said during the opening montage when a zed ran down a chubby civilian, “Poor fat bastard.”

If Z-Poc were to hit tomorrow, could you strap on a 30 pound pack and go 10 miles non-stop while dodging the undead? If the answer is no, your prep plan needs to take that into account. Are you alone, or do you have family that will be on the move with you? Even if you can run a sub-four hour marathon, you’re only gong to be as fast as your slowest companion, and your prep plan needs to take that into account.

So what do you do if your level of fitness is somewhere in the realm of couch potato? You need to assess your starting point on the fitness continuum. If you’re 5’6″, 250 pounds, and when standing you haven’t seen your feet in a decade, you’re probably somewhere around fitness level 0, or ‘poor fat bastard’ if the SHTF tomorrow. If you just won the Spartan Death Race you’re probably closer to a 10 and there’s not much we can teach you here about how to get fit. Odds are you’re somewhere in between, and of course for legal reasons, nothing we recommend on these pages should be attempted without consulting your physician to ensure you’re medically fit for intense exercise.

To get an idea of the kind of fitness you’re going to need post Z-Poc, consider the following:

  • You’re going to need weapons, ammo, food and water and a pack to carry it in. Depending on the types of weapons you choose, this pack could easily top 50 pounds.
  • You’re very likely going to spending a good deal of your time on foot, perhaps 8-10 hours per day or more.
  • You’re going to have to climb over/under fences and vehicles, through windows, pull yourself up onto ledges, jump between buildings, climb ropes, trees or ladders, cross rivers and help other people do the same.
  • You may have to run miles at a time in full gear to escape a horde of the undead.
  • You’re going to be in close quarter hand-to-hand combat with undead creatures who neither tire nor feel remorse about devouring you and cannot be reasoned with. You may even find yourself in physical combat with the living who want to kill you, rape you, steal your supplies or even use you as food to fuel their own survival.

Can you do these things today? If not, you have work to do. It’s one thing to be aerobically fit (the marathon runner) and another to be physically strong (the body builder); to survive Z-Poc you’re going to need elements of both. I can list exercises that will get you there, and will in later posts, but for now why re-invent the wheel? Go to the Spartan Race web site and sign up for their workout of the day, or go to a local Crossfit class. Either way, your fitness will be heading to the next level in no time.

What about you? Where would you assess your fitness level from 0-10? What do you do to keep fit? Sound off by leaving us a comment, and don’t forget to like our Facebook page.


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3 Responses to “Rule #1: Cardio”

  1. Elijah Howard says:


  2. Elijah Howard says:

    I would say I’m around a 7 and I kill it at Crossfit 5+ times a week 😉 Crossfit eminence is a heat “box” in the northern metro area (south Thornton )

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