How To Train For Your BOSS Course

You will be hiking through rugged canyons and mountains at elevations ranging from 4,000 to 11,300 feet above sea level, often while cold, hot, hungry, thirsty or just plain tired. We recommend arriving for your course prepared to hike long miles off-trail and at high elevation. Aerobic activities such as cycling, running and hiking are good forms of survival fitness training to prepare for your course. 

On many phases of your Field Course you will be carrying personal gear in addition to food and water. Long hikes with a loaded backpack (40+ pounds) can be good preparation for a BOSS Field Course. 

survival camping trips
survival fitness plan

The Cooper Run

For BOSS Field, Navigator and Hunter Gatherer Courses we require all students to complete a 1.5 mile run near the BOSS property. The goal of this exercise is to observe individual students’ response to stress at elevation and in the desert environment. We record vital signs (heart rate and respiratory rate) at rest and after the run to quantify this. 

Please Note: This test is for evaluation purposes only and is not designed to eliminate you from the course. If you are concerned about your level of fitness and how it might impact you on your BOSS course, please contact us. 

We strongly encourage all of our students to undertake some fitness training and arrive in good physical condition for their field courses.

survival fitness

Attitude and expectations

We often observe a student in good physical shape with a great attitude outperform an athlete in peak condition but with a poor attitude. Attitude is a critical element of success on a BOSS course. It is also more difficult to train and condition your attitude. Understand that BOSS courses are intended to push you physically and mentally, and that you will experience cold, hunger, thirst and fatigue. Approaching your BOSS course with a positive mental attitude and open mind will be a huge asset.

outdoor fitness training

Fitness on skills courses

Skills courses are centered around one or more basecamps and involve less hiking than a Field Course. You should be in a reasonable physical shape to handle day hikes and overnight stays away from the basecamps. Physical challenge is not our primary goal on skills courses, but students should expect that there will be challenges inherent to the experience.

Fitness on Wilderness Medicine courses

Wilderness medicine courses are formatted with a combination of lecture and hands on scenario-based practice often conducted outside. Fitness is not a factor for these courses however one should have the basic mobility to participate in the practical exercises and medical scenarios included in the course.

Please contact our office for any information about the above or to address any concerns you may have regarding your health and fitness.

Interested in a life-changing challenge?

Our survival instructors are some of the most experienced and competent in the world. The challenges that our BOSS survival courses offer aren’t for everyone, but if you’re the right person and it’s the right time for you, we promise adventure, challenge and world-class instruction.

BOSS™ is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization.