ZAP! The Zombie Apocalypse Preparation Fitness Programme


Some of you might know that I’ve been working with Jennifer L. Oliver to start the #WANAfit hashtag for those of us involved in Kristen Lamb’s We Are Not Alone movement, but many of you readers are not involved in that. And WANAs aren’t the only ones who want to get fit!

I have wanted to get into better shape for a long time. I’ve succeeded in losing weight and gaining muscle before, but I’ve always let life sneak back in and negate my progress.

Well, it’s time to take ownership. It’s time to get bad. It’s time to get dangerous.

If you’re anything like me, you probably don’t much like the idea of working out. I always enjoy it once I’m doing it, but I also love cheeseburgers. And Chipotle burritos. I need motivation. I need a whip beyond the blue numbers of my abysmal scale creeping past digits I never wanted to see.

I need something chasing me. Something that wants to eat me.

Which is why I have decided to train for the zombie apocalypse.


Zombie Apocalypse Preparation

English: A participant of a Zombie walk, Asbur...

English: A participant of a Zombie walk, Asbury Park NJ, USA. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I find the idea of zombies incredibly motivating.

I also find the idea of increasing my badassery quotient enticing.

It’s one of those things that could totally happen, and if it does, I don’t want to be fat. I want to be so bony, they wouldn’t want to touch me even with ketchup and malt vinegar slathered all over me.

Okay, so not really bony, but you get the point.

I’ve spoken before about the importance of being prepared for the zombie apocalypse, but one big factor is fitness. If you can’t outrun FloJo, at least be able to outrun some zombies. Or the poor sucker next to you.

The ZAP Fitness Programme will focus around three major areas:

  • CIS: Chance of Initial Survival
  • WUS: Weapon Utilization Skills
  • AIS: Ability for Indefinite Sustenance

Chance of Initial Survival

This competency area will be the first building block of being able to stay alive in a world of zombies, from the initial onslaught to creating a new life.

This area will focus in three things: reducing BMI, reducing percentage of body fat, and increasing strength/cardiovascular  health.

Why those three? Because none are a foolproof measure of fitness by itself. These numbers will look different for everyone. That’s fine. Our goal as ZAP Warriors? To be able to outrun and outclimb a zombie if necessary.

The Body Mass Index can be a good starting point to get an idea of your body’s starting health. The reason I say it’s only a starting point is because it doesn’t take into account any muscle mass contributing to the numbers on the scale. It’s possible to have an overweight BMI and still be getting healthy.

Which brings us to the Body Fat Percentage. This in combination with your BMI can tell you more about your state of health. If you have a high BMI and a high Body Fat Percentage together, it probably isn’t the best indication of zombie survival. But that’s what we’re here for.

As for the rest, increasing cardiovascular health and strength — that will look different on everyone as well. If you can do ten pushups now, improvement is doing fifteen. Then twenty. Then twenty-five.

And while we’re on the subject of pushups — I want all you women to get on your toes and off your knees. Your body is a miraculous machine. If you push it, it will respond. You can do pushups. You can do squats. You can do plank exercises. You can make your body stronger.

I lift weights. I can curl 20 pound weights for sets of about 10 reps right now, and I do that at least four times a week in addition to my other weight training. According to my quasi-trainer Rich, you want to choose a weight that will work your muscles to fatigue in 10-15 repetitions, and you’ll want to do 3-5 sets.

Am I afraid I’ll bulk up? No. The fabulous Ginger Calem explains why women won’t bulk up in her awesome WritersButt blogs. You should check them out.

As for cardio, I’ve found that I can maintain a heart rate of 180 for over 40 minutes on the elliptical trainer. That’s higher than most websites would recommend, but it feels comfortable for me. Find out what works for you, but keep general recommendations in mind as well, and always slow down if you feel dizzy, faint, or exhausted.

Weapons Utilization Skills

Swords, bows, guns!

We are ZAP Warriors — of course we need our weapons! This is one reason that ZAP is different. We will study the history of different weapons and learn how to use them. And you can choose what you feel comfortable wielding. I like dual short swords and recurves (long bows) myself. If you feel better with a 9 mm, learn how to use it. Go to a shooting range.

I wasn’t kidding when I said we’re going to get dangerous.

The great thing about swords and bows though is that they either lack ammo or use sustainable ammo — and they’re quiet. In a zombie apocalypse, you want to look for the traits that are most likely to stay relevant longer. Swords and bows are also exercise in and of themselves — you try drawing a bow with an eighty pound draw weight thirty or forty times. Does your arm hurt just thinking about it? I thought so.

I’ve wanted to learn how to be competent with weapons for a long time. Let’s learn together. As ZAP warriors, we can battle the zombie horde and impress our friends.

Ability for Indefinite Sustenance

We 21st century dwellers are used to running water, flushing toilets, and grocery stores stocked with Oreos and diet soda. What happens when all that vanishes in the calamity surrounding a zombie apocalypse? Yeah. We all get really hungry and thirsty really quick.

How do you find water when it doesn’t come out of a tap? How do you know if a plant or berry is safe to eat? How do you find food once you’re past the canned food expiry dates (because with ZAP, you will learn how to survive that long)?

This competency area will teach basic survival skills, from how to build a fire without matches to common edible plants. Most of this will be new to me, so we will explore together!

Sound like your not-so-average fitness plan? Sound more useful than burning hours on a treadmill and counting calories? I thought so. ZAP will make us into lean, mean, zombie-destroying machines who can fend for ourselves in the wild.

More than anything, ZAP will be a community of people who need a little extra push to get their arses off the couch. Like me. A lot of the time I’d rather be watching Lost or Vampire Diaries. Or Buffy. Again. I need the idea of ravenous, slavering corpses chasing me to the gym.

Plus, how awesome would we be if we could do all this? Pretty damn awesome. Come be awesome with me.

Tweet about your Zombie Apocalypse Preparation at #ZAP. Tell your friends. Tell your family. But don’t tell the zombies.

Move over, Bear Grylls.

ZAP Disclaimer: Emmie Mears is not a personal trainer or nutritionist or weapons expert and makes no claims to be. No new exercise regimen should be begun without consulting a doctor. ZAP makes no guarantee that you won’t be eaten by zombies, and all participants handle weapons and wild food and undertake all workouts at their own risk. Emmie Mears and are not liable for anyone poking themselves with a sword or arrow, or any other possible injuries that may occur when training for a zombie apocalypse. Use common sense. Learn what you’re doing.

Most of all, kick some zombie ass.


About Emmie Mears

Saving the world from brooding, one self-actualized vampire at a time.

Posted on August 1, 2012, in Ability for Indefinite Sustenance, CIS: Chance of Initial Survival, WUS: Weapons Utilization Skills, ZAP and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 22 Comments.

  1. I always wanted to be a bad ass glitter zombie warrior. I am in. Now if only I could find a way to get off my ass and do it.

    • DO it! 🙂

      My ass and the couch also seem to have some sort of covalent molecular bond, but I’ve found I’m able to break it if I threaten my ass with zombies.

  2. Hi Emmie!! Thanks for the shout out and GO GIRL!!! You will be so ready for the Zombie Apocalypse!! When it happens, I’ll be on your team. 😉

  3. Such a fabulous idea! My parkour instructor insisted that learning parkour was essential in case of zombie apocalypse.

  4. This is brilliant!

  5. *smiling and nodding yes!* while reading this. I wanna be a ZAP Warrior! Excellent post!

  6. What great motivation. Years ago I remember (vaguely) some woman (probably on Oprah) trying to motivate other women to fitness by telling them that they need to be at least fit enough to run if necessary for life or safety and strong enough to try to defend herself if attacked (not necessary to be judo champ). That’s always stuck with me. I lost so much ground before and after my neck surgery, but slowly I’m getting back to meeting those criteria.

  7. Emmie, if there’s anyone I would trust to guide me (and gawd knows I’ll need help!) through the Zombie Apocalypse it wouldst be thee! See you at #ZAP!
    (Will my grandson’s plastic Thor sword and shield be of any help to me?)

  8. I’ve got myself into a moderately good eliptical trainer habit, having installed one in the living room, but I admit the weights/resistance side of things is languishing somewhat. So many things to fit in! But definitely want to survive the zombie apocalypse!

  9. This is awesome. Im learning muay thai and brazilian jiu jitsu. Muay thai is less about style and forms and more about devastaing your opponent with brutal kicks and punches

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