Ep 16 – Zac Griffith on Fitness for Hunting



Summary

Living Country in the City sits down with Zac Griffith, Jefe de Operaciones of SUMMIT Productions, to talk about the benefits of fitness as a hunter, suggestions for workouts, nutrition and the ketogenic diet, supplements and how a crappy hunter can be a big game serial killer each year.

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Podcast Transcription

Zac:
I’m just out there you know. I mean if you visualize a flat brimmed, you know, rap music, tank top wearing gym rat.
I can say without any shame like there’s not a mountain in North America that I wouldn’t even think twice about hunting.
I’m a serial killer when it comes to (hunting) these animals. I stalk them religiously.
Saying if you don’t wear self-tanner you aren’t a good hunter.
I’m I a good hunter, no I’m a terrible hunter. I’m one of the worst hunters ever.
I very often do stupid stuff like that and it gave me a gut check.
You don’t have to be a physique competitor on-stage to be a good bow hunter. Improve with what you already have.

Living Country in the City:
Hey, this is Zac Griffith, you’re listening to Living Country in the City, episode 16.
Y’all ready for your dose of fly over the state spirit, straight from the concrete jungle, well put down your latte and put on your boots. It’s time for Living Country in the City.
Thank y’all for joining me for episode sixteen of Living Country in the City. Living Country the City is brought to you by Bow Hunter Brotherhood. There’s a connection that all of us feel whether it’s the moment you let that arrow fly to take the perfect big game animal or that time in the morning when you first step outside your tents to take in the view. A love for the outdoors is a thread that ties all of us together and that’s what BoW Hunter brotherhood represents. Check out articles and videos from bow hunter brotherhood as well as get ten percent off all purchases from the bow hunter brother store by visiting our partner’s page at livingcountryinthecity.com/partners. Now a couple of quick items before we get started I just recently announced a huge giveaway. So if you’re not following me on Instagram head over there now. The winner is going to walk away with some great stuff including a year’s membership to Elk101.com’s university of Elk hunting online course, a year membership from the Huntin’ Fool, product and gear from MTN OPS, from Bow Hunter Brotherhood memberships, to Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, and Backcountry Hunters and Anglers, and a ton more.. But you have to be following me on Instagram to win. Now, this is a big push to tell y’all friends because I’m not picking a winner until I hit two thousand followers. If you wanna get all the details on how to enter as well as a full list of prizes and some opportunities to get additional entries the win, head on over to livingcountryinthecity.com/2k. that’s all the info you need to know that’s livingcountryinthecity.com/2k. That’s the number two and the letter K… Also right now my good friend Jaime McCarthy is in the running to win the hunt of a lifetime to the extreme huntress competition. This is a competition that finds awesome female hunters in an effort to provide more role models for women who want to get into the outdoors and hunting. Now here’s where I need your help. Cheney is an awesome huntress so I want you to go over to livingcountryinthecity.com/votejamie. That’s V. O. T. E. J. A. M. I. E. all one word and putting your vote for Jaime McCarthy. You’ll need to check the box next to her name click the vote button and enter your email address now here’s the key. You all get a confirmation email and you need to click on the link they send you in that email to finalize your votes. That’s important your vote doesn’t count it otherwise. But voting for extreme huntress ends this month may twenty seventeen so y’all gotta get over the livingcountryinthecity.com/votejamie now and getting your vote for Jaime McCarthy. Alright, so in honor of May being national physical fitness month and also pretending like I didn’t just find that out right before recording this podcast, I figured it would be the perfect time to talk fitness for hunting. And there are not many people out there better to talk to about hunting fitness then Zac Griffith. If you all don’t know Zac this dude is a hunter, an outdoorsman, he’s an absolute beast. This guy loves physical fitness and it’s pretty much guaranteed to be one of the toughest you dudes on any mountains on.. And he’s always got some great tips for getting into shape for are not just hunting season but for the entire year. So Zac, thank you so much for hopping on the call with me today.

Zac:
Okay career opportunity, I love to talk about this stuff.

Living Country in the City:
So really quick for those of my listeners who aren’t as familiar with you want you can you just give me a quick background on yourself and your history with hunting?

Zac:
My history with hunting began like most, well not like most, but a lot of us. I grew up, it was the culture in our family. We were rifle hunters We hunt you know, one weekend a year in October and talk about it for the other you know fifty-one weeks in the year. I was cultivated at a very young age, to just be obsessed with nature and hiking, hunting and shooting guns. You know my dad just instilled that into me and then as I grew older and had more time and resources I expanded and hunted other animals with other weapons in different areas. The common theme is that the more I do it the more I just grown up fast but then there’s there’s just nothing out there that compared there in this world. You can make a lot of money, you can be successful, you can be happy, but when you’re on the mountain there’s so much you know trial and so much introspection and …you’d really like grow when you’re hunting and it’s physically, mentally, emotionally. I mean it’s just the connection that out there. Not to get too philosophical here but is very rewarding and fulfilling to do it and that I’ve learned because I’m obsessed with you lifting weights and training and dieting and nutrition and all that stuff that there is a correlation between taking care your body and how well you can get around and navigate on the mountain. And so my platform, my social media …motivator has always been to share what I’m passionate about and with no filter. It gets me in trouble sometimes but not that I’m crude or inappropriate, I’m just out there. You know I mean if you visualize a flat brimmed, rap music, tank top wearing gym rat and I’m a bow hunter. I am affiliated with a bunch of big bow and outdoor related companies, so I guess I’m going against the grain but this is who I am and I am not really something I’m ashamed of and I feel like it can open doors for a lot of guys that I’m an inner city guy. I’m not a hunter I’m not a redneck better etc. Hunting has nothing to do with where you’re from or what you’re about. Once we are on the mountain we are all on the same team. I tried to put that out there and I’ve taken a, you know a ton of flak as a result but it was expected so.

Living Country in the City:
Well you know that’s one of the things that I like I mentioned earlier that’s that my whole podcasts are about. It’s you know it’s not about to be a hunter to being outdoors mean you don’t have to have grown up in.. Montana.. or in the South. In these places that are super you know are very stereotypically associated with hunting you know. I’m straight from Los Angeles and this is a passion of mine so. It’s good to hear that perspective coming from other people actually talked with …one of my first few podcast was with a group that in New York called bow hunter brotherhood and their whole thing is their New York guys and they still love to hunt and fish and …they’ve got they’ve got some fantastic gear actually but it’s …that it’s not it totally embarrassing to wear around the city on any given day. But yet so …our subject for the day is really fitness for hunting. I’m gonna I’m gonna ask. Why why do I need to be in shape to go hunting. Really what benefits do being fit give me when I go out hunting?

Zac:
Well, the way I see that you got your three months a year to hunt. You got eight or nine months or ten months to prepare, and relish, contemplate, and dream about hunting. So my take is that. Even if you’re not a gym rat why would you not want to be in shape so that when you give it two months you’re capitalizing on that opportunity with having a body and a mind and a physique that’s prepared to not only hunt but also to not be limited by you know your physical capacity to get around. I think I can say without any shame like there’s not a mountain in North America that I would even think twice about hunting. I don’t care where it is. I’ll pack my gear and I’ll prepare and I’ll get in there. It’s not even an issue for me. The answer to your question is I feel like you’re hunts are better, they are more fun, your recovery it faster you’re gonna be successful generally if you are physically prepared through physical fitness and diet and nutrition well in advance of the hunt.

Living Country in the City:
But I’ll tell you, you know I’m getting prepared for my first (dog hunt), my first backcountry hunt. I’ve been working, I’ve been training, but I still admit I look and you know I’m reviewing some of these units in Idaho and not all of that is exactly flat land. And a look and I’ll be like, oh man, that’s gonna be (tough). You know I am going to be able to physically handle that. To get to the point where that’s not even a consideration anymore, it’s like where I just have the confidence in my own physical abilities to say. “Oh yeah I don’t even, that’s not even a consideration.” That would be an awesome place to be.

Zac:
Yeah, I one one issue I’ve run into it. With my delivery of my content in my opinions and my opinion of things is that I somehow related this sentiment that if you’re not shredded you can’t kill stuff. I don’t advocate that I don’t believe I don’t prescribe. It didn’t even cross my mind. You don’t have to be a physique competitor on-stage to be a good bow hunter. Improve with what you already have. Equipped with what you already have why would you not improve. Improving is good for everybody. We are all at different levels. You and your elk hunt and your prep for have nothing to do with me and my goals. And as long as we are both working towards improving how is that not awesome. It’s very strange how people try to take away from it and try to decipher the underlying themes. Saying if you’re not a self-tanner your not a good hunter. I killed this deer and I’m not in shape, you know whatever, that’s fine. I know from my personal experience that the years I’ve done more cardio, that I’ve trained more cardio vascularly, I used to do more triathlons. Those were some badass hunting seasons because I was light and agile and I could go. There’s nothing like saying what’s in that basin, I wonder whats over the top of that hill, I wonder whats over the backside, I wonder if the buck went into that drainage. Just being ready to go. At some level, you have to be able to get around up there, and if you’re prepared you’re going to be more successful. The harder I work the luckier I get with hunting. I feel like the more opportunity you can put in your lap, the more chances you have to not screw everything up and actually connect with an animal. You have to be physically prepared to open those doors, period.

Living Country in the City:
So you know we understand the importance of being physically fit for hunting. We know it opens these opportunities and it helps make the most of the each hunt and the short period of the year where we do get go out hunting in the country. But I also get a lot of people that say you don’t need to do all the stuff you don’t need to run you don’t need to lift weights what you need to do is just put on a pack and go for a hike. What’re your thoughts on that?

Zac:
I hiked three days a week. I hike a minimum of a four-mile trip and there are two to five thousand vertical feet I’m hiking in (very) rugged terrain. So, I absolutely agree one thousand percent with that statement (there’s) no substitute for hiking with a heavy backpack because you’re actually in the field applying that. Now that’s me who live in Salt Lake City, Utah, surrounded three hundred sixty degrees by ten to twelve thousand foot peaks. I can hike any day of the week and be home to work by seven thirty in the morning. Most guys don’t have access to mountains. Or if it’s not convenient to go three days a week with work so for those guys which I thought would the vast majority would have to at some level train, or use the treadmill, or like you said run or bike. They are not a dollar per dollar exchange There’s the best that we have to work with and you can simulate a lot of stuff. I like wearing a pack on the treadmill or doing heavy lunges and stuff like that. Replicate those movements that come from the mountain, but yeah, absolutely nothing is going to top hiking around in the rugged terrain. I think that’s a lot of guys on the track are thinking and you can’t take for granted what you have out in your backyard. All of us know that we would be hiking if we had access to it. Some of us urban guys, they don’t have that proximity in so it’s not convenient. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be on a treadmill five days a week. You know so that’s my take on it.

Living Country in the City:
Now I’m lucky enough I’m right in the middle Hollywood and so right behind me there’s Hollywood Hills. So I may not exactly be hiking up a mountain but at least I can you know throw on a pack and get a little bit of incline in there and get that good burn in my legs. I know I need to train. I know I can hike with a pack. But what’s important when you’re going to the gym …what do I wanna start focusing on, what things do I want to work on and you know. Do I want to be going heavy do I wanna be going light?

Zac:
It’s relative to the individual. Are you are you forty percent body fat, are you thirty, are you twenty, are you twenty-five. Are you thirty-five years old or forty-five years old? A lot of variables, but I’m gonna speak very generally here. I’m assuming most guys are a little bit overweight and a little bit under muscularly developed so I would do a combination of both. I would do functional exercises that are gonna engage and grow muscle but also to improve cardiovascular performance so stuff like lunges, body weight exercises, pushups, pull ups, stair climbers, and squats. All of these things are going to replicate again, mountain movement and they’re gonna correctly correlate to mountain performance. You gotta know that if you can be climbing mountains you probably have to work on your legs and high knee steps. You need to do lateral lunges to work on building connective tissue an ankle joint the knee joints. Functional work outs that again directly correlate to your performance. If you wanna be a bodybuilder you’re gonna train differently than the guy that wants to be a hunter. I try to marry the two and try to do conditioning and keep the physique that looks good with my shirt off on the beach. But also have the muscles that are functional and useful for hunting. But for most guys, in general, I’m thinking you’re gonna wanna lose body fat, build a little bit of muscle, and increase your cardio. And there’s a ton of resources. I have a website that’s built around training to hunt. I have workout programs, cardio programs, and there are for free on youtube. It’s content that I care about because I’ve had a lot of ask about it and I’d make a video to respond. I think once you get to there you can kind of adapt and tweak stuff to your own liking. But at the end of the day, there’s an extremely subjective.. like each person has a different deck of cards they are dealt and different goals on where they want to get the. Maybe it’s just trial and error but maybe (sometimes) you need to reach out and get direction.

Living Country in the City:
Well, you know that I’ve noticed that’s definitely one thing that is not lacking, especially nowadays in the hunting community. Those resources for training for hunting.

Zac:
It’s funny how I’ll get countless messages a day asking me for programs and what I do for that. And I literally cut and paste the YouTube video that I made three years ago after the question because all content is available online. You guys have to.. you gotta learn to Google stuff and getting used to it. There are youtube videos for everything. Everything. You just type in your question, “How do I get in shape to hunt.” What you’ll have is probably 40 videos that pop-up. They are all very applicable and functional. Start digesting the information and applying to your life. Don’t overthink it. It’s very simple. You know what you do that’s hard becomes easier with time and repetition. Whether it dieting, whether it’s training, whether it’s cardio, it’s going to be a pain in the ass to start. But anything of consequence in life usually is and the more you do it the more you’ll learn to appreciate it. You’ll see results and you’ll be continuously more motivated because the results to want more so just get going. Just jump in. I think a lot of guys like that, they’re comparing themselves to other people. Where are you gonna be tomorrow that’s all that matters?

Living Country in the City:
The only person you’re competing against is yourself. With fitness, with hunting, with all of this.

Zac:
People always say to me you know you’re that big or you’re not that ripped. I’m like you should have seen me 10 years ago dawg. I’ve come a long way so the guys that are saying these things are trolls, so it’s not someone that is actually, sincerely trying to critique me. I’m not at that level, and I’m not trying to be. I want to feel good and I want to be able to just go anywhere I want.

Living Country in the City:
That’s the right attitude to have. There’s always gonna be people that are gonna find something to criticize you about. You know what, have fun, waste your energy on talking crap, and me, on the other hand, I’ll be spending my time doing my best to make a better version of myself so.

Zac:
Hundred percent man. That’s a great summary of it.

Living Country in the City:
A big portion of fitness it isn’t just your time hiking with your pack it isn’t just your time, you know, on the machines or on the weights at the gym… It’s also your diet that’s the one thing I’ve always struggled with working on but you know it was something I could eventually convince myself to do. But diet was the big thing for me is not at all capable of managing my diet and so that’s been a huge struggle for me. I know you’re a big proponent of the Keto diet right.

Zac:
Yeah..

Living Country in the City:
Maybe if you talk just a little bit about that. You know, give a quick explanation for those who may not fully understand what that is.

Zac:
As alien and strange as it may seem, I’ve actually enjoyed dieting for the last twenty years. I’ve loved using my body as an experiment to try different combinations of foods, different macro nutrient break downs, different …diet programs, different workout programs. I like trying that out and seeing how my body reacts and tweaking it accordingly. I think it’s fascinating and I just love it so much I’ve tried every diet out there and read every book. I bought the P. ninety X. I’ve tried all the cross fit programs. I just like to try them all out and see how well how my body reacts to it. Last few years, the last ten years I’ve done some competitive bodybuilding competitions and stuff and I’ve subscribed to the chicken and broccoli diet where you just have no flavor. I’d cut carbon to cut, then keep protein high. Fat should be almost nonexistent or very small amounts of it. What I found was I can get lean but I lose a lot of muscle, and I’m stress out and an evil cranky b*tch while I’m dieting. And that’s not conducive to being a good husband, father, or employee. You know it says you can’t exist in the world while your body is literally starving itself to death and Athat’s what I never liked about it. I liked being lean and being able to take my shirt off to beach and having abs and that’s always been important to me for whatever reason but getting there is that as the pain so …again. I’m always looking for that magic diet. Well, that keto diet or the ketogenic diet is something I stumbled on about four months ago and the guy that was advocating it is absolutely shredded and looks amazing. He’s actually a fitness competitor, like world level, top tier. And this guy starts talking about my appetite. All I did to get there I eliminated carbs from my diet I keep protein moderate and eat a pile of fats. And he’s going on a diet of cheese, bacon, avocado, coconut oil, nuts, seeds, greens, chicken, and salmon. I’m like, dude, I eat all that stuff anyway. The common denominator though is there are no carbohydrates. Basically, with ketosis you are training your body to ween away from glucose and carbohydrates as an energy source and turn to fats that are metabolized in your liver into what are known as ketone-bodies and they are a new fuel source. They are almost like the sugar molecule except we don’t have sugar. Sugar has all sorts of detrimental effects to your stamina, to your mood, to your blood sugar, to your body fat storage etc. The keto diet, in general, teaches that your body burns fat more efficiently, your brain thrives on high fats. Your hormone levels are higher because they are comprised of fats and cholesterols. On paper, the thing looks amazing. And who doesn’t want to go on a diet where they can eat cheese and bacon with their broccoli and not feel like you’re limited. I will tell you right now and I don’t know how deep you want to go into it. Once you cut carbs out of your diet you are gonna crash, you are going to feel like dog sh*t for a few days. It’s like a relapse. The narcotic is sugar and don’t think that at some level some sugar isn’t addicting. At some level, sugar is a drug. We crave it. Once we break that barrier our body says sugar is no longer coming. Once it doesn’t exist anymore then it turns to the ketones and starts processing fat. And once that happens, it’s amazing. You feel indescribable unless you’ve done it. The way your brain works, the way you sleep. Your digestion and your skin clear up. There are so many fascinating side effects that come from this. I’ve made probably fifty videos in the last two and a half months. Athletic performance is amazing because remember, fat molecules are nine calories per gram. Carbs and protein are four. You don’t have to eat as much quantity to get double the amount of nutrient density. So fats make way more sense as a hunter because I don’t have to pack as much food. I just switch to the food that has double the energy crammed into it. I don’t have to eat as often and your body can actually thrive, insurance training wise, on fats. It’s amazing how well you do with it. It’s just been a trial and error thing for me. I’ve lost a ton of weight on purpose. I always do a cut in the spring. I do a keto cut in the spring. I’ve done a keto cut right now, and obviously blogging it on Youtube. I’m learning as I go but in the meantime, I’m absolutely scratching my head every time I eat my breakfast or whatever. I can’t believe I’m getting shredded eating these types of food. But it LEGIT! And it’s actually, I believe, it’s gonna be an Atkin Diet on steroids. I think it’s going to be huge in the next few years, I really do.

Living Country in the City:
That sounds like the dream diet for me. The bacon, eggs, and avocados are like my morning. I feel like honestly, i’ve just been naturally sort of lending myself to that kind of diet anyway. I’ve been trying to cut way back on the carbs, and you know, I’m such a sugar fiend between even the processed stuff, candy, and fruit. That’s been difficult this week. I’ve been pretty good, but this week I grabbed a handful of m&ms, and it was just like giving a needle to a heroin fiend, I’m sure of it.

Zac:
You relapsed.
Hears the thing, if you look at, let’s say humans have been around for millions of years. So let’s say in 10000 years, until the last 200 years, most humans were out gathering food. they were picking up nuts and seeds, killing animals and eating them. They weren’t cultivating crops per say. In my area in Utah, two hundred years ago there was nothing to eat other than animal and some roots, nuts, and such. Your body, as a human being, we adapted to eat a certain way in the last few hundred years we have been adding this artificial stuff, carbohydrates, these fruits and seasonal things that never existed before. And that’s why there is this huge onset of diabetes, and weight gain. All these toxins and crap (are bad). So the Keto Diet is actually very logical because it’s pretty much what humans have been eating since popped up. So it makes sense that your body would be more efficient with it because it’s kinda the diet we had back then.

Living Country in the City:
You touched on a little bit, but there’s more of a transition time. Say you have been trying different diets, whatever it may be, but you are used to having these carbs. I’m sure it’s somewhat individual to people, but what kind of transition time do you think you would typically see that you are moving from eating all these fruits and carbs and trying to switch over to something like Keto.

Zac:
Well, you body stores its energy in the form of whats called glycogen. It stores intramuscularly in the liver and muscle tissue. For the average person, who doesn’t do anything, it might take a week or two to burn through their glycogen stores and basically force their body to seek the other energy alternative, and that’s going to be fat. If you’re active and you are training, with cardio and hiking like me. I was within full blown ketosis within 3 days. My body crashed the second day. It was like, “where are the carbs, what are we supposed to run on.” It’s called the keto flu. You feel horrible, you are completely dehydrated, you are depleted of minerals. You lose a ton of water when you flush carbs because carbs increase water storage inside the muscle tissue. So when you bump those carbs that the glycogen out of the muscles you lose water weight. So most people lose 5% of their body weight just in water in the first two to three days. When you lose water at that level you also lose sodium, potassium, magnesium, electrolytes. All the micronutrients that you need, that are normally just packed away, you are flushing them so a lot of by products is nausea and headaches. One of the fascinating things about keto is you’re not limited on your salt intake. I literally eat 5 to 7 grams of salt a day. Which as a bodybuilder, that’s obscene. Most guys will run around two to three grams. But you need salt when you keto. You go to the bathroom a lot more, you don’t hold water, so. That got rid of all my flu symptoms. I drink chicken broth, I eat two avocados every day for the potassium. I eat a ton of greens such as spinach, kale, etc. Not only to assist in digestion but they are nutrient rich and packed with vitamins. Again, the more you workout the more you expend energy and the more you deplete those glycogen stores the faster you body will flip over. So I do diet coaching, and every guy that I have that jumps on keto, we do an hour of cardio post workout for this week. It just burns all that sugar out of your body. They will go into ketosis within three or four days. Because it has to, It needs to run on energy and flip the switch.

Living Country in the City:
On that note, let’s take a quick moment to hear a word, my partners. “Hey y’all we all know physical fitness is of paramount importance as back country hunters. But if you all are anything like me and can find yourself getting discouraged at not seeing the results or improvement you wanted, not having the energy to really go at it, or just feeling so dang sore after a workout or a hike that it takes you a week to recover. I’m going to recommend you do the same thing as me and give MTN OPS a try. I’m the first one to admit that I was super skeptical when it came to supplements but after talking to experts that I trust and admired, hunters and personal trainers, as well as comparing quite a few of the hundreds of products on the market, I went with MTN OPSand I’ve seen a world of difference when it comes to results and how I feel. MTN OPS has a huge product line up that can help you with anything you could want to target. Pre-workout, meal replacement, hydration, recovery, energy boost, even anti-inflammatories and high altitude performance. they can help you find the right combos if you want to reach your fitness goals if you want to go further and further in the back country. Which just might be the difference between elk steaks and tag soup. Additionally, through MTN OPS Operation Conquer Hunger, with each and every purchase you make MTN OPS will help provide a nutritious meal to a child in need. If you want that extra boost to help you start crushing your fitness goals check out MTN OPSon our partner’s page at Livingcountryinthecity.com/partners.

Living Country in the City:
Ok so we talked a little bit about working out, we talked about diet. For someone starting to get into fitness, what would you recommend as far as their daily diet? How to get started?

Zac:
Again it’s relative. You’re working with so many variables. Age, sex, hormones, body fat, outputs, training, goals. I recommend anyone that wants to get results to hire a nutritionist or a trainer. They are all going to teach you different things and they are all going to contradict each other, but at the end of the day, your journey is an individual subjective thing. You personally have to figure it all out for yourself. So why would you not start gathering that info and a great resource is to have an actual body with a pulse, that is going to respond to you and help you navigate through it all? It can be confusing as hell. I recommend going on youtube and accessing that content, but you’re going to find yourself to be overwhelmed, you are going to be disorganized, it doesn’t; have a lot of direction. I think it’s smart to just bounce off of somebody even if it’s just for a few months. You don’t have to hire someone, you might find a friend or someone at the gym that knows what they are doing that’s willing to help. There’s a lot of people that are very knowledgeable that don’t charge services. Again, you need a living resource just to get you started because there’s just a lot of variables. For me to give a cookie cutter program I think it would be kinda irresponsible.

Living Country in the City:
That honestly mirrors a lot of when I talked to people on this podcast about anything to do with hunting, whether it’s fitness or just learning about hunting, that’s one of the first things they tell me. Just in general is find someone that knows what they are doing, find a mentor, and in this case maybe a trainer or nutritionist. Find an expert and pick their brain as much as you possibly can. That’s one of the things I love about doing this podcast is, you now, I get the chance to sit down with guys like you and all these fantastic people that I admire and respect. I get to learn first hand. However much I do like to share this information with other people, call my reasons selfish, but it gives me an excuse to grab peoples attention for half an hour of forty-five minutes and ask all the questions I want to learn about.

Zac:
No that’s a great point. Some of the wealthiest most successful people in my life they always had this common thing. Find someone that’s doing it better than you and copy them. Why would you go out and reinvent the wheel? I go to a rich guy if I wanna get rich. When I was in real estate in college, I remember one of the kids, in a higher graduate level class, I remember my teachers going through all these cap returns and ROI, and all these formulas and some kid was a total smart ass that was so funny.. he raises his hand and he’s “Doctor blah blah blah, how many rental properties do you own.” Doctor, ” I don’t own rental. I teach school.” The kid just scratched his head and I’ll never forget that that was almost twenty years ago. And I can remember why am I learning to buy and sell rental properties from a guy that doesn’t even own them. He’s just regurgitating information out of a book. I want to go find a real estate mogul that’s rich, that drives a Bentley that knows whats up, so that’s what I did. When I jumped into the real estate side of things, I went to guys that were playing the game, not just talking about it. And I feel like it’s the same thing with anything in consequence in life, you want to get shredded go talk to a guy that’s shredded. If he’s an asshole go find another one. There is going to be someone out there that’s humble and friendly and they will give you the info. The bottom line is, dude, I love sharing things that make me happy because it makes me happier. Just the selfish motivations for doing podcasts, dude, I completely agree with what you are saying there because I love to help people get in shape, and I love to see them smile, and to see them send pictures of their shot at 10,000 feet because they worked their tail off all year. It’s extremely fulfilling. I don;t get compensated for that it’s cool. There is more to life. Again, just find someone that knows what they are doing and be a sponge. Just be humble, and ask questions and shut-up and listen. You’d be surprised how much other people can save you as far as time in mistake and errors by saying, “do this, don’t do this etc” because they learn from experience or someone else and it’s a perpetual education where you are constantly sharing your experience with others and they are passing that on to others.

Living Country in the City:
Absolutely. I feel like this fitness discussion without at least taking supplements… I know for some people it’s recently become a more accepted thing, but I know a lot of people are super critical of taking supplements. They feel like it does more harm than good. I’m of the opinion that they help me out quite a bit but I’d love to hear some of your thoughts on that.

Zac:
Well, first of all, supplements, the name implies it all. They are a supplement. They are extra, an addition to a healthy diet of whole foods. So supplements alone are not going to anything for anyone. I could take all the protein powder and creatine powder in the world and sit on my ass and I’m not going to grow, I’m not going to get shredded. Vice versa, I can take formulas and all this stuff, and if I don’t hike it’s not going to benefit me but, if I eat a clean diet and I exercise, supplements absolutely will improve performance, improve my stamina and my motivation they will improve recovery. There’s a reason why there’s a market for them is that they actually work. Now are their garbage supplements out there? Absolutely. How do you know? Try them all. I’ve bought everything. I’ve bought them at Costco, bodybuilding.com. I’ve used different supplements in the hunting community. I work with MTN OPS now as a partner. There’s a lot of great supplement companies out there that use very similar formulations that use similar products. But at the end of the day, they will all similar things. I’m a huge believer in supplements. I take them religiously on a daily basis. I take the for training, recovery, and performance on the mountain. But at the end of the day, you have to eat a healthy balanced diet of whole foods because real food is what your body needs first. Then exercise, then supplementation. And it has to be in that order. You can’t put the supplements before the food and the exercise. You need to eat good, and train, and then supplement. And that’s how they work. And any supplement company that says otherwise they are just lying to you because most of them don’t claim to do anything more than improving or enhance as a supplementation to exercise or whatever platform you have.

Living Country in the City:
Yeah, I definitely think that’s the important thing to remember. I know sometimes I’ll get busy and I’ll want to just shake up some AMMO and make my protein shake and call that a meal. When I need to realize this is not a full replacement for eating real food. It’s definitely an easy trap to fall into. I know I struggle with that. As I said I already have trouble maintaining a good diet. And when something is as easy as rattling a shaker bottle for a while and calling that lunch, hard to not slip into that.

Zac:
Well, the good thing about MTN OPS is the AMMO and stuff, it’s a meal replacement, it’s not a six meal a day diet. For example, I’m sure you don’t always eat AMMO all for your meals, it’s a matter of getting your nutrition in a nice smaller package in general. The ingredients in there are all healthy and natural so its not toxic to take that but. In general, you want to eat balanced whole food. And that here and there to supplement what you are eating is ok but it’s never going to substitute a whole diet. You need whole grains and whatever your platform of dieting is.

Living Country in the City:
Now can you share any stories where, I mean this may sound kinda cheesy but, where your physical fitness is really what ended up allowing you to take the town? Like if you hadn’t been as prepared physical the hunt wouldn’t have worked out or you wouldn’t have taken a specific animal. Anything like that?

Zac:
Yeah. The answer isn’t going to be a single time, because every single time I hunt, people don’t realize I hunt 100 days a year minimum. I probably kill three to five animals, and these are trophy animals. I eat it but I’m after the downhill old warrior that’s out of the gene pool that’s lived it’s live. That’s the ultimate conservation in me is taking the mature animals out of the herd so the younger ones can flourish. In order to hunt one-hundred days a year you have to be in shape. And in order to harvest animals consistently, you have to hunt a lot. So there isn’t one time because it happens to me hundreds of times a year because I can get to that saddle before the deer crosses it or because the sun goes down. I’m ready and prepared, and I’m able to accomplish things that I wouldn’t of if I hadn’t. Am I a good hunter, no I’m a terrible hunter. I’m one of the worst ever but I go a lot more than other people and I don’t quite. I’m not limited in my skills. There are guys that could get it done in 3 days what I take ten days to do. But at the end of the day, we both killed a day. There’s still the same reward. I’m the guy that takes longer and takes more swings but I still score the runs and still connect with those animals. Even when I don’t I still have a rewarding experience and not quantifies my success by animals. I just went throughout that process and enjoyed it. Being in shape is gonna help you every day you are on the hill in limitless ways.

Living Country in the City:
So, I do want wanna bring up one thing and I hope you don’t mind, but I do want to ask. Not too long ago you released the video, you were out shed hunting, and you cut your arm. I recently watched that and you follow up video. I just want to say I was really able to appreciate your thoughts on that and admire you released that video. I know you got a lot of flak from people, but I wanted to say I really admired you releasing that. Not everyone will admit that and you really owned up to that one.

Zac:
I appreciate that man. My intention was to tell people to slow down and be prepared. There was no motivator behind that. For a guy like me, I might sound arrogant for saying this but I know a handful of people on this Earth that I feel could out hike me or out work me in the gym and that’s a fact. So for the masses of people that criticize or question would happen, I don’t care. They don’t hunt where I hunt, and they don’t hunt with me, they don’t know what I did. They aren’t me and they weren’t there. And for them to judge from a keyboard is absolute nonsense to me. I was four miles from my vehicle which is almost four hours of hiking. I didn’t take my pack because I wanted to go light. I was cocky and figured I could go all the way to the top of a ten-thousand-five-hundred-foot shed system that I had spotted the week before and just one stupid decision after another led to a really serious life threatening case. And you know, one thing that a lot of people missed the story was that I cut my arm which was fine. I lost two units of blood. But what hurt me the most and was messed me up the most was my leg got crushed. My thigh…. the rock landed on my thigh. I’m two-hundred pounds. To walk three to four miles down three-thousand rocky vertical slopes and no leg and not water or jacket, with an arm full of stupid sheds that I should have just left up there, my body just said to hell with this and shut down. I was passing out, I was short on blood, dehydrated, and pre-hypothermic. I just did a bunch of bonehead bozo stuff that could happen to any one of us at any given time and considering how often I hike that country and how often I’m up there it’s amazing to me how it hasn’t happened sooner. I very often do stupid stuff like that and it gave me a gut check. And I have no problem admitting I made a mistake and I have no problem admitting that I could have prepared and prevented it. If that helps one guy down the road to just give them a reality check and reset their bearings, to recheck their pack, then that’s mission accomplished. Now did I have to wave through a bunch of bullsh$t with trolls online, that follow me around and criticize me? Yeah I did, I knew it was coming, but the vast majority of my support system and follows, and friends.. literally 99.9% of people said hey dude, I’m glad you’re ok and I’m glad that you shared that because it reminded me that I need to get myself together as well. That was the whole purpose so that was missioned accomplished, 100%.

Living Country in the City:
You know fitness can make you the most capable person on the mountain, but nothing is going to make you invincible and it’s a reminder all of us need. It was just very valuable to everyone that you shared that (with).

Zac:
Thanks Man

Living Country in the City:
Of course. So what are you excited about this year. What should we be keeping an eye out coming from Zac? What’s coming up for you?

Zac:
I did the application so I applied for hunting in every state for 20 years. I’ve killed some awesome animals by waiting my turn and playing the point systems, and I’ve got applications out for every species in every state imaginable. They are gonna start popping up on the board to see what the fall entails. I don’t know what I have yet because I haven’t seen the draw results, but I am going to Alaska next week to hunt black bears with my wife. We are gonna both hunt spring bears new Fairbanks. So that will be fun it will be an archery hunt. And then I’ve got scouting, I’m taking up sheds still… Literally putting up my cameras out in those high country basins to start watching those bucks and their horn development and their progression. I’m a serial killer when it comes to these animals. I stalk them religiously, I have names for all these bucks, I watch them all spring and summer. I try to kill them in the fall and I pick up their horns in spring and it’s just a residual, just every single year repeat the process. So I’m up there looking for their sheds and putting up cameras to watch them grow their new horns that I’m going to chase this year. It’s going to be a busy summer as always but I love doing it and I love being up there and my bow wanted to come with me until August. I’m sure I’ll make thirty to forty trips to that same country until then.

Living Country in the City:
Well as we are winding down on time here. Do you have one last final words of encouragement for any folks like myself and folks in the city that might feel a little overwhelmed by trying to get out and do this stuff and hunt? Or even just new hunters who are thinking, “I love the idea of hunting, the outdoors, but I just am intimidated by it, it’s a lot of work, stuff to learn, and stuff to do.” What would you say to those folks?

Zac:
Luckily with Instagram and social media, and youtube, I think if you get a lot of your fix online just through daily posts and stuff, there’s a great community of hunters that share their successes and experiences what that provides for guys that don’t have the access or the know-how, they have a resource where they can reach out to people that are doing it. Get information on where to start. I get several messages a day, “Hey man, I’d like to hunt elk in the west one day, what do I do to prepare though.” I’ll give them some basic information and they have to run with it from there. I’m not going to hold their hand and take them to a spot. But you’re gonna have to learn the way most of us do, by getting out there and planning a couple of trips and saying this might take three of four years, but every year I’m going to go out in September, hunt elk, and do it. I think a lot of guys get frustrated when that’s my response. I think they want an easier answer but the bottom line is all of us have had to go through that type of growth and development in some way. That would be my recommendation. Get involved with the hunting community and the social media aspects of it. Start communication with people, start finding like minded individuals in your area that you can collaborate, train, shoot with, and plan hunts with. It’s a brotherhood, it’s a fellowship, a team, and we are all on the same path with the same goals. We should just enjoy ourselves out there. Most hunters you’ll find are very humble and approachable, willing to share information, especially to guys that are new to the sport that wants to expand.

Living Country in the City:
I appreciate that very much. I think the hunting community is one the most generous groups of people. Like you said, we aren’t going to show you my exact spot but everyone that I’ve reached out to has been super helpful, supportive, willing to go that extra mile to introduce you to someone or point you towards those resources that help you. I just want to say thank you so much, Zac, for hopping on the show, taking the time to share your experience and advice with my listeners, I appreciate it very much.

Zac:
No, thank you for the invite. It was really fun. I live for this crap. In time I’d love to be back on and thank for extending the invitation.

Living Country in the City:
Alright y’all that will do it for Living Country in the City. If you want to get those fitness tips and check out all the great things Zac it putting out there then get his social links on our show notes page at livingcountryinthecity.com/16. Don’t forget, give me a follow on Instagram and check out the huge price package you could win by visiting livingcountryinthecity.com/2k. That’s the number 2 and the letter k. Make sure you don’t miss out on any of my new episodes by subscribing on your favorite podcast platform and if you like this show give it a good rating and review. In the meantime, stay country y’all.

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