The first step in preparing is yourself for planting is getting your body in top shape. As a tree planter, you are essentially a company of one, and your body is your company’s most valuable asset. Since an automatic planting machine hasn’t been invented yet you are the reforestation industry’s most advanced piece of planting equipment. The question you have to ask yourself is “do I want to be a shiny, well-oiled, well-built machine, or a rusted piece of crap that only works sometime?”
It is in your best interest to get your body in top shape because the formula for successful planting is simple.
Hard Work – Down time= $$$.
If down time equals ‘0’, your hard work will pay off, but if you’re stuck peeling carrots in the kitchen for days because your back is shot, or your knees are giving out, or you have tendinitis, your hard work isn’t going to pay as well.
I have done some research on the suggestions on the internet for planting fitness, and to be honest, it is lacking. The best planting specific program available is the Fit to Plant system put out by Shelkirk College. My main concern with Fit to plant is however, it’s specificity. By only working muscles that you use for planting, you are neglecting a huge part of what makes planting so difficult. A typical day (see post below) involves much more than just taking 3 steps, bending over, putting a tree in the ground, repeat… there are plenty of obstacles on your piece, tree boxes to be moved, mountains to climb, and cliffs to hang off. The ideal physical preparation for planting should involve a full body regime.
In following with this notion, I suggest checking out Crossfit to get yourself in shape. Crossfit is a full body work out system that in my humble opinion is unrivaled as a training system for anyone who considers themselves an athlete. Their “work out of the day’s” (WOD’s) provide an ultra intense, full body workout on a randomized schedule. The idea is to allow your body to become comfortable performing in high intensity situation, and never allow it to adapt to a routine by varying the WOD’s on a random schedule.
I can only skim the surface of how beneficial Crossfit will be to your planting season. Please check out the website for yourself, and read as much of the information they provide (for free) for yourself.