There’s a brand new show about to be launched in December on Discovery Health titled, “Could You Survive?” The show takes ordinary participants and puts them through a real-life disaster situation. Once the participants have “woken up” to the fact that their fitness levels are not enough to survive a natural disaster, they undergo a grueling 4-week diet and training program to help them get into “survival” shape.
This show has an interesting concept to it, and something I’ve written about before. On the Discovery Health website, they have already given a synopsis on the first four episodes. I thought it would be fun to guess what kind of recommendations I would give to getting someone in shape for that particular situation:
“Episode 1: Could You Survive a Car Accident in a Remote Area?
Car accidents are violent and unpredictable, injuring millions of Americans every year. On Could You Survive?, a lonely stretch of road becomes a proving ground for three average people when their passenger is seriously injured in a frightening accident. Help is only a mile a way, but for these three people, getting there fast enough may be more than their over weight and poorly conditioned bodies can handle. Do they have the mental toughness and physical endurance to save a loved one?”
First thing that comes to mind here is endurance training. I would see how long it takes a contestant to run a mile (or if they can even run a mile). Assuming that the contestant is able to run a mile, now lets assume it takes them 15 minutes to complete it.
The goal is go get that person running as fast as possible within 4 weeks. So, we’re going to be doing a lot of interval sprints and high intensity workouts targeting the lower body. An overall reduction in bodyweight would also help in improving the speed and endurance of an individual.
Interval training alone would help with mental toughness. But in order to really focus on mental toughness and simulate a worst-case scenario, you want to perform some sort of exhausting exercise before your regular workout. For example, perform burpees all out for 2 minutes before starting your workout, and see how much mental strength it takes you to finish now.
“Episode 2: Could You Survive an Accident on the Water?
A disaster can occur any time, anywhere. On Could You Survive?, a day at the lake turns terrifying when ordinary people are faced with a critical life and death situation. In this hypothetical scenario, someone they love is in trouble. They’re in the water, hurt, struggling and rapidly losing consciousness. Without help, it’s only a matter of minutes before they will drown. All three challengers are still young, but already overweight and unhealthy. Can they get to their loved one in time to save a life? To find out, they will be competing against the toughest opponent possible – their unfit bodies and their own worst fears.”
Well, I can’t swim, so I’d probably drown. Well, I can swim, but for some reason I can only swim underwater. And it’s been years. I’m sure muscle memory would kick in, but we can’t rely on that, can we? At the very least, I know how to float and paddle.
You don’t need to be a world class swimmer in the situation, but being a decent swimmer would help. Some sort of familiarity with the water is always a good thing. On top of that, swimming itself is great exercise. However, unlike sprint intervals, I would suggest learning to swim on your own.
Get yourself an instructor or personal trainer that can help you with both learning how to swim and intense swimming workouts.
“Episode 3: Could You Survive a Wildfire?
A wind whipped wildfire can be deadly and unpredictable. On Could You Survive?, a leisurely hike in an urban park will become a potential deathtrap for two average couples. Faced with a wall of flames racing in their direction, they will have to run up a steep hillside and tackle several obstacles as they try to save their own lives. Can they overcome their lack of fitness and work together as a team to make it to safety?”
Not only does this challenge involve endurance, but also strength endurance. You’re pulling your own bodyweight up steep cliffs. And you better make it, or else you die. For this challenge, you’d need lots of upper body strength. Lots of pullups just to hold an pull your own bodyweight.
On top of that, rock climbing also involves using your lower body. Hence, lots of squatting. Pullups and squats are going to be your friends. And the thing here is that you can’t stop and rest, at any point. So interval training is out. You’re going to have to perform high repetition workouts for time.
I’ve never done any rock climbing, but I have done some wall climbing. Climbing a wall with spotters and safety equipment is hard enough, so I can imagine how rock climbing without spotters, safety equipment, or formal training of any kind could be absolutely frightening.
“Episode 4: Could You Survive an Earthquake?
When an earthquake strikes, an old theater becomes a potential deathtrap. On Could You Survive?, three typical Americans – over weight and out of shape – struggle to find their way through a deadly obstacle course of stairs, props, scenery, ladders and dangling power lines. They have less than four minutes to make it out before a gas leak blows the building sky high. Do they have the strength, agility and stamina to save their own lives? “
This scenario calls to mind a few workouts I used to do with my friends. They were like obstacle courses, and the goal was perform them as fast as possible. If you want to improve your strength, agility, and stamina, design a set of physical challenges and see how long it takes you to perform them.
For example, you can start off at the bottom of a staircase. Run up stairs, do 10 pushups, then run back down and do 20 squats. Run around the house or block, come back and do 10 pullups. You can add in other physical challenges such as jumping over objects, carrying heavy boxes across distance or up stairs.
We did a lot of sprinting and odd object carrying. If you have the equipment, you can try holding a dumbbell over your head while walking really fast. Or try holding something heavy close to your body to simulate carrying somebody. Or, you can literally carry someone.
Overall, I’m impressed with the overall variety of the scenarios this show has come up with. I’m going to be extremely excited to check this out! It’s going to start in December, Thursday Nights at 9pm ET.