Endurance and Efficiency

special operator

Endurance and Efficiency

Becoming hard to kill and training for a zombie apocalypse.


As a trainer, I always ask the individual before they start training why they are training or what they are training for. In order for anybody to stick to something you must have a definite reason. This is the most important thing you must consider because if you do not, you will not see it through, you will fail and feel and look like shit.

Training must be functional and must be transferable. Functional training is such a buzzword that the majority of trainers themselves completely miss the point. Your training must reflect and strive towards your objective, your goal.


Endurance and Efficiency: Functional Training

Everybody wants to look good naked


Aesthetics however is simply a by-product of the correct form of training. If you train the way your body is actually designed to train, to move and to function, looking good naked will happen as by-product, not as the main.

As a hunter-gatherer you moved, stalked, hunted, crawled, climbed, lifted, dragged and carried. The hunther-gatherer was efficient in many ways, not just one. The same principles apply to training. Do not just lift a heavy weight. Move with it, carry it, lift it, drop it, run, crawl, climb. I do not care how much you can lift if that is the only thing you can do or train for.

Let us kill this notion first, “being stronger makes you harder to kill.” No, it does not. A person with a 100kg deadlift and another person with an 300kg deadlift both encounter the same mortality when confronted with life a threatening situation. Being useful and as efficient as possible is what matters here.

Your body was designed and built in a particular way. You were built for survival, for endurance. Your training and your fitness must be functional and transferable. Which leads me to the title of this blog. You are going to become hard to kill. You are going to train for a zombie apocalypse.

Why the zombie apocalypse?

The best humans at survival are our armed forces special operators. They are top of the food chain. The American Department of Defense have actually used a zombie apocalypse to evaluate their readiness, preparedness and structure.

I also really don’t like zombies, fucking hate them actually, and the last thing you want to do is be bitten or eaten by one or a group of them. So, how do you prevent it? You are going to train for survival, train the way your body was designed to be trained.

How do you train for the zombie apocalypse?

It may come as complete shock to you to find out that after all the years and hours you’ve spent trying to attain the perfect physique through bodybuilding and impressive powerlifting scores that you are no more fit for survival than you were when you started. You are not training for survival.

Like I said, your training must be functional, transferable and aesthetics are only a by-product of the training.

Big numbers and being strong will not save you

If strength truly made you harder to kill, our armed forces and military would train exclusively as powerlifters and bodybuilders. I can assure you they do not.

If you were caught in a battle with a zombie trying to eat your face, I am pretty sure you would appreciate assistance from a bad-ass Ranger, Commando or Navy Seal. Having these on your side would greatly increase your chances of survival.

It comes down to endurance and efficiency

Special Operation Units recognise the importance of strength and power training but in the form of strength endurance and power endurance. Their training is efficient because if they are not efficient, they die and reduce the survival rate of the rest of their Unit. They are made accountable and it all starts with their training.

It is far more important to have the physical and mental ability to load and carry a 20-35kg rucksack, hike, climb, crawl and trek for 12 hours with it while knowing that at any moment they will come into contact with a hostile force. The ability to do that and not succumb to exhaustion is down to efficiency.

A large majority of training with the armed forces is spent making the soldier efficient and getting them to adapt to the environment, so they are ready when ‘being harder to kill” really matters.

Efficiency is key to functional and transferable training

Your training should and must be more efficient than just powerlifting or bodybuilding. You must put it all together. You must be smart. Make sure your designated hour of training is spent on the training session, not checking out your phone every 5 minutes or reading this blog or checking out somebody’s ass. Be smart. Be efficient. Be accountable.

Now, I am not trying to demonise strength and power training. A basic level of strength and power is required for most endurance activities. I also believe that chasing large 1-rep maxes outside of specific sport preparation is a terrible definition of functional strength training. Even on the rare occasion that maximal strength becomes relevant in the real world, you’re unlikely to encounter a handy knurled barbell or handle that works perfectly for your grip.

In this respect, I commend those who know their own ability when it comes to farmer carries or axle bar deadlifts. At least these lifts serve a function, even if they are still contrived and artificial.

The slowest one will most definitely get eaten

The ultimate question to answer in determining your chances of surviving the zombie apocalypse is this:

How much of your training is actually functional and transferable?

Do not think for one second that this is a defence of the cardio junkie or an opening to bash strength and power training. What it is is a fantastical look at the most basic human movement: the ability to move and run far, fast, and efficiently.

When you consider the functional aspects of training that are also major constituents to survival, it becomes obvious that running and moving is a big player. No other human ability or cardio respiratory capacity enables you to escape the terrifying attacks of deranged zombie wankers.

So next time your friend or gym partner complains that running hurts their knees, rowing sucks or the Skierg is too difficult and they are opting for the crosstrainer or a beach muscle workout, you can smile and know there will be one more piece of human fodder that can be put between you and the approaching zombie horde. You don’t have to be the fastest, but you sure as shit can’t be the slowest.


What to take from this:

  • Train for a purpose, for a goal, an objective.
  • Don’t just lift. Lift, move, combine.
  • Strength is important but Strength Endurance is essential.
  • Train efficiently
  • Train smarter

Train to become ‘Hard to Kill’ not just a piece of Zombie fodder.