General Fitness

The fellas at Cypress Creek Archery figured out how to make their DVD player operate. It was on while I was practicing at their indoor range. The video was of an archer testifying about his athletic abilities, the frequency of his workouts, and how fitness improves his performance as an archer. That caught my ear, I think fitness is important and complements archery. I’ve also noticed a lot of archers are a bit out of shape. They are not alone.


A recent survey found that 160 million Americans are either obese or overweight. The US has 78 million obese adults, the highest of number of any country in the world. Nearly three-quarters of American men and more than 60 percent of women are obese or overweight. American is not alone; there are six countries with 20% or more of their population being obese. These countries are: Mexico, United Kingdom, Slovakia, Greece, Australia, and New Zealand. The World Health Organization states that by 2015 there will be 2.3 billion overweight people in the world, 700 million being obese. Look around the range next time you’re there – you’ll see a lot of big people shooting bows.



If you need to lose weight, think, you did not gain it overnight. Give yourself time to lose it. Set reasonable goals for yourself. Find a diet that works and you can follow. When you start a diet and a fitness program, you may find the weight initially falls off faster than occurs as you near your goal. Be patient and go slowly, that will help you reduce the risk of rebounding.

3D in North Carolina

If you want more aerobic fitness, find sports that you enjoy and do them. If you’re having fun you more apt to stick with it. Get your archery friends involved. There is a lot of truth to “the more the merrier.” Check around your club, you may find others that would be interested in running, cycling, or some other aerobic activity. Heck, y’all could get some t-shirts made and collectively support a charity.

Swimming is great for archery. Shoulders get a nice workout

Being fit is important for more than becoming a better archer. Daily aerobic exercise is a life style than enhances overall well being. Running a 5K or a marathon is exciting and earns you bragging rights. If you are not already up and running or participating in another sport, give it some consideration. You may find that it becomes a life style and improves your fitness as an archer.

Columbia Tri Run
Determined run following the bike segment of a triathlon


Red Bull In My Quiver

I race.  I compete in running races, cycling races and swimming events.  Going fast and far is fun, so I am never still for long.  During my training and during races, I ingest masses of caffeine and drink a large amount of Red Bull.  My caloric intake of caffeine and my archery maintain a tenuous collaboration.

Case in point: I had an intense training schedule and a serious archery competition on the same day. The archery event was last on my agenda.  First on the calendar was a 10K-morning run, then, in the afternoon, a 40-mile bike ride. The final activity of the day would be an archery tournament.

After breakfast I knocked out the run in under an hour and between the run and ride, I completed some work.  Within all that activity, I had lunch and took a short nap.  I think it is inhumane to ‘get busy’ while digesting.

The 40-mile ride was a few hours before the shoot, and I needed calories and a caffeine boost.  A windy day on the Eastern Shore, it was going to be a gut buster to complete the ride in the time before heading to the shoot. Plus, I was hungry, again. It is not good to start a ride with no fuel to burn. Bonking is not pleasant.  A pre-ride double espresso along with a PB&J on an English muffin did the caloric trick. Knowing my calorie count for the day remained low; I grabbed a 2X Caffeine GU and stuffed it in my jersey.  Now prepped for riding, I headed out on my Cannondale Slice.


At mile 28 I’d burned about 800 calories so I sucked down the 2X Caffeine GU.  These GU gel food supplements taste awful, their consistency is gag worthy, but they provide fast energy. The 2X caffeine gives a real kick particularly when washed down with Red Bull. (Sometimes, that day in particular, I carry Red Bull in one of my water bottles) I’d finished the 40 miles in a tad more than 2 hours.  Back home I grabbed another Red Bull, drank it, doffed my riding kit, showered, dressed, hopped into my Mercedes SLK Super Sport and headed to archery competition.

During the 35-mile drive to the range, my iPhone linked to the car stereo for music, I cranked up my “running” play list.  That list of music is hardly sedate. Cruising in the SLK is always exhilarating, and I was really feeling pumped. I was headed to an archery shoot, Red Bull, coffee and 2X Caffeine GU coursing through my veins, driving in a sports car – living the dream.

I’d planned to arrive at the range a bit early for a good warm-up. If I’d been arriving for the start of a sprint triathlon I could not have been more warmed up. Hitting the parking lot, stereo booming, with 30 minutes to spare I was race ready. But, I needed to change gears and become archery ready.  Heading in, feeling charged, I put the sight and stabilizers on my bow, grabbed arrows and stepped up to practice.  Firing off a few practice arrows it was apparent I was race ready.


Caffeine increases your mental alertness.  Only a few hours before shooting my bow I’d caffeine loaded.  My brain was alert.  The pre-shoot Red Bull was certainly working as a solid maintenance dose of caffeine.  Actually, I typically drink a Red Bull within 30 minutes of every archery competition.  In practice, I often drink one beforehand. My scores and practice seem unaffected by Red Bull.  It is unclear what this implies about those scores.

Archery isn’t like running a 40 K trail race in the freezing rain in February over ice slick red clay in Georgia. And it certainly doesn’t compare to a parachute jump from space.  But, archery has its own thrill.  The feel, the calm, the focus, and intensity under control, which apply in archery, also apply to more vigorously dynamic sports.  Archery does provide me calm and focus that I carry into other sports.  Once I hit that zone, my shooting becomes relaxing or my racing controlled.

My score for that Red Bull invigorated night was 294 with 11 X.  Not my best score, not my worst score. Whether or not it is advantageous having a heart rate of a hummingbird in archery is debatable.  Prior to the shoot I’d run, biked, and mega-dosed on caffeine and energy drinks. How that impacted my shooting I honestly don’t know. I suppose it is relative or relates to what one is accustomed to having in their bodies and how that body is used.  Frankly, the only times I am still are when I am asleep or putting it on the line, caffeine, Red Bull and all.

Ironman World Championship Kona Hawaii