August 2006

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Fitness Required For Tournament Angling

By Cory M. Schidler, B.S., HFI

You may be asking yourself, fitness required for tournament angling? Yes thatís right: fitness for tournament angling ó and even more specifically, conditioning for angling.

Now, I must admit, when I first learned that I would be writing about such a topic, I was a bit skeptical. I grew up fishing in eastern Nebraska, and I always thought of fishing as relaxing.

However, I was usually baiting a hook and waiting for a big cat ó not casting a thousand times trying to hook the biggest bass.

With that in mind, there is a certain level of conditioning in which a professional angler should take part. Physical conditioning can help to enhance performance in many ways.

The casting and set arms need to be conditioned to help avoid inflammation in the muscles and tendons. The lower back and shoulders need to be strong to avoid aching.

And, overall physical endurance will help keep the angler alert throughout the fishing tournament.

Nutrition Is First Detail

The very first detail to your physical conditioning program is nutrition. You need to have the right amount and type of fuel in your body for optimal performance.

Optimal nutrition will help your body recover after workouts and will keep high energy levels throughout the tournament. The most common mistakes I see in nutrition are overeating and/or skipping meals.

Your calories should be spread out during the day and divided into five-six meals or snacks. For example: I am a 160-pound, active 35-year-old male. I know I need about 2,200 calories per day to maintain by current body-fat percentage.

If I divide up the calories throughout the day, I find that I can have about 500 calories for each breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Also, I can have about 200 calories for each of three snacks; this keeps my energy levels up throughout the day.

Second Step Is Cardio

The second step in your anglerís conditioning program is cardiovascular or aerobic conditioning. Brisk walking, bicycling, elliptical, running, and the stair stepper are all good examples of exercises that will help your aerobic conditioning.

You will want to do a minimum of 20 minutes of aerobic conditioning per workout, three to five times per week. You will want to get your heart rate to 65 percent of your maximum heart rate.

To find out what this number is, take 220-your age and then multiply it by .65. For example: for myself I would take 220 minus 35 which equals 185. I then take 185 times .65 and get 120 beats per minute, which is where my heart rate needs to be when I am exercising aerobically.

Next Comes Strengthening

The next step in the anglerís conditioning program is strengthening muscles. Four exercises come to mind to strengthen all major muscle groups: Squats, Pushups, Rows, and Crunches. Form is very important!

If you do not know how to correctly perform these exercises, please e-mail me or visit my Web site. These exercises should be done at eight to 12 repetitions per set with one to two sets per exercise. You should do this workout two to three days per week.

Now You Can Stretch

The last step in your conditioning program is stretching. This is the most often skipped part of the workout, but often the most therapeutic. You should stretch all of the major muscle groups.

Areas that need particular attention are the shoulders, the lower back, and the backs of the legs. Form is very important! Remember, you can e-mail me or go to my Web site with any questions.

These stretches should be done after your workouts. You should hold each stretch for 20 seconds and can repeat a second time for enhanced results.

So, there it is anglers ó your own conditioning program to enhance your performance on the water. Remember, always consult a physician or exercise professional before starting an exercise or nutritional program, learn how to correctly perform exercises to avoid injury, and work into your exercise program slowly.

Please e-mail me at if you have any questions or suggestions on topics related to fitness that you would like to learn about in upcoming issues.