Published November 29th, 2018

Since I was in high school, I’ve always had the habit of learning by watching other people: how they are and what they do.

My husband is an outdoorsman, and introduced me to many sports: snow skiing, water skiing, windsurfing, equestrian, backpacking, hiking and camping. To better command my body for these types of sports, I took up aerobic exercises at the age of 32. This helped me build physical strength and stamina that improved my performance.

When I first begin to do shooting competitions, I noticed all the top shooters were physically fit. Though I entered the world of competitive shooting later in life than most, I realized that I had to take care of myself to do well. I trained with weights and aerobics for 18 months in preparation for the 1996 IPSC National Championship. By the time I made it to the 15-stage National Championship, I sailed through! Every stage seemed easy to run, and I was not tired by the end of the two-day event.

Why? Because my training gave me the strength and stamina to perform well, both emotionally and physically. It also allowed me to stay focused and shoot my best.

But just exercising isn’t enough; fitness needs to be balanced with healthy eating. Of course, all our bodies’ nutritional needs are slightly different. What works for one person may not for another. But overall, be mindful of your diet, avoiding processed and fast food as much as possible and instead choosing lots of fruits and veggies, chose proteins and grains. Be knowledgeable about the nutritional qualities of food, so you can determine if foods that are marketed as “healthy” really are what they say they are. And most importantly, STAY HYDRATED.

For some of us, it’s difficult to find the motivation to exercise and eat well. We need a GOOD REASON to make that kind of lifestyle shift. Shooting competitions, or any competitive sport for that matter, are a very good reason. We all want to deliver our best performance in a match, right? You can’t perform at your best if you aren’t at your best. Stick with an exercise program and be conscious of your diet to see your muscles and strength develop, and then see your scores go up!